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DalTheJigsaw123, March 31, 2009 in General Discussion
I think your problem lies in one of the oldest philosophical divides in the world: between the Confucians and the Taoists.... And you, my friend, are a Taoist at heart.
In the Confucian world view, you are only a true and benevolent man if you follow the societal norms, including your hygiene and fashion for your particular age, rank, and profession. The outward appearance of conformity helps to mold the inward conformity of mind (rectified virtue). When everyone knows and follows their roles, from the king to the peasant and the father to the son, the world will achieve perfect harmony...
Thanks man! Yea, I believe I am a Taoist too. I do not recognize myself as a religious person, even though I was born into Judaism. I am thinking reading into Zen? Any suggestions?
If you want some heavy (and mind blowing) zen philosophy, you will want to pick a translation of some of the essays of Zen Master Dogen. The Moon in a Dew Drop is a very good text as well as the more academic Shobogenzo, which is translated by Maso Abe. Dogen is a genius at describing the indescribable, though his writings take a long time to fully absorb.
For philosophy/dharma that is a little more contemporary and approachable, I would defiantly go with Thich Nhat Hanh. He is a living Vietnamese Zen Master, and he has some amazing insights to impart to anyone who is willing to listen. I recommend starting with The Heart of Understanding, which is his commentary on the Heart Sutra. Really though, I have never read a bad book by him, so anything you pick up will be useful. Here is a quote of his on emptiness and interdependent arising that really gets to me:
"If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper....So we can say that the cloud and the paper 'inter-are.' We cannot just be by ourselves alone; we have to inter-be with every other thing."
If you are more interested in the practice end of things, you will want a copy of Zen Training by Katsuki Sekida. He has some the most detailed examinations of zen meditation, koan practice, and kensho/spontaneous awaking that I have ever found.
Right now I am focusing on just meditation and that is really all. Well, I am also focusing on living in now as well and when I do something I want to put 110% into it. THank you for all of those recommendation. You are great!:0
When you walk down the street and people look at you, how do you think they perceive you?
I'd have to stop doing Japa when I walk to ponder what others think about me so I don't know.
Do people stare at you in awe or do they stare in disgust because you lack an image that society is used to having for each individual?
I doubt people stare at me that much, but I avoid eye contact and do not look at other people in general so I do not know.
What impression do you want to give out to people when you walk down the street?
I only walk to get from one place to another, as a matter of fact I do not drive nor have I ever. I dress for the weather and for the activities I plan, not for giving impressions. I bet I give some people the impression that I have no fashion sense.
Do you care what you look like?
To a degree yes, and I care what others think of me. However I do not make my life choices based on the expectations of others. So in comparison to most people; I do not care what I look like. I care more to wear clothing that feels correct than to wear clothing that looks correct.
Do you think your image if poor, portrays you in a bad light?
To some people I am sure, however I can use my image to weed out people like that so that they will neither talk to me nor think of me as their equal. I much prefer being left alone and underestimated.
Why is that women cannot choose who is attractive and who is not on their own? Why do they need Magazines, Televisions, Internet and other media outlets, to make their decisions for them?
When all the world knows beauty as beauty, this in itself is ugliness.
The more things change the more they stay the same. Do not oppose the way of society, but neither should you seek to please society. I am my own society, my own approval means far more to me than that of others, but I am not anti social in every sense for here I am.
Josh Young - Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It is much appreciated.