we don't need to change how we do conservation, we need to change why we do it

Darwinian Zen

Please understand this as coming from a friend who shares with you the dis-ease of remaining fully human in a divided world. I am just a humble student of population evo-ecology and of zazen, and I don’t mean to present myself as a shining example of one who has perfected Rumi’s “marriage of form and spirit”. In the times we live in, these “two truths” may be loosely understood as science and spirituality, and I hope their natural tension will become a positive force for change as you read the following excerpts, with modifications and added segues, from the book: Darwin, Dogen and the Extremophile Choice: Fifty Short Essays on what it Means to be Human in the Natural World.

Excerpt from Essay nine

This I of which you speak, no matter whether it be the great I or small I, is only a pure concept which does not correspond to any reality. That is what Buddha meant. —Thich Nhat Hanh[1] (Italic and regular fonts as in original)

If we accept the insubstantiality of ‘self’, then there is nothing to hold human intelligence above that original phylogenic intelligence which dwelt long before humankind in the bio-associations of Earth. Certainly this pre-human intelligence was a prerequisite for our human intelligence, and our ancestors were obliged to shape their techno-logical wisdom in response to the eco-logical patterns that in-formed the tree of life, perhaps even to model it upon them. Furthermore, it can be argued that even today our cultural associations must be overseen by at least a convention of selflessness that contradicts this trumped-up superiority over Nature. So, if indeed the intelligence of evolving Nature operates enough like our own minds that we can postulate a primordial Mind at work here too, then perhaps it is wise after all, if not to anthropomorphize, at least to empathize with a Natural selection that distinguishes between the minute chemistries and activities of biological bodies as fit, or unfit, for an ecological niche. Perhaps we can learn something ‘personal’ after all from this sacrificial Way of at-tending that pervades evolving bio-associations. Whether we call it selfless, of not. (If you want to see how far this analogy can be taken, see Essays thirteen through sixteen in the book, or scroll to the condensed version in my December 8, 2019 blog post, where I argue that sexual selection serves the same function in biological evolution as language does in human culture and cognition.)…

Excerpt from Essay eighteen

The life lessons to be drawn from Nature’s vastly pre-human evolutionary dynamic are profound; in fact, eco-evolutionary intelligence seems to be the kind of wisdom that can be faithfully conveyed only by giving an appropriately adapted introduction to the teachings of Zen Buddhism. Also, for the scientifically minded, the teachings themselves might gain some much needed credibility from their juxtaposition with recent evolutionary insights—both studies can help us move beyond the deterministic patterns of closed reiterative cycles, and introduce us to a more natural, open-ended, open-handed, creativity. …

Excerpt from Essay twenty-four

… Without some way of Knowing, which pertains beyond our words and calculations, all arguments are inevitably circular. So how, in this verbal-play-ground where echolalia and contradiction are the insensible rule, can we expect to characterize non-automatic activity? Let alone favour it (as all sensible people do) over ‘more’ activity?

Essay twenty-five

What would it be like to settle into your own body, into a sense of just being alive, even for a few moments … You can find out of course, just by dropping in on yourself and purposely not filling the present moment up with anything, especially anxieties about the future … or resentment about what has already transpired …  —Jon Kabat-Zinn[1]

I am painfully aware that (you being a sensible reader) this question of whether or not we have free will may seem hopelessly unproductive as an exercise in theory, but in practice, as the evening news amply demonstrates, it is far from trivial. The question has been taken up by almost every Western philosopher, and as often as not (and circulating from the pens of the wisest I would say), Thales’ maxim “know thyself” has been variously recommended. For example, according to Anthony Gottlieb, Spinoza offered the oracular consolation that “man can obtain a satisfying degree of autonomy in everyday life by trying to understand the hidden causes of his feelings and actions”,[2] and Husserl counselled a science of “pure self-reflection”.[3] However (and one might say characteristic of philosophy in general) these gestures by Western thinkers toward the radical autonomy of insight were not followed up with useful instructions (other than just more thinking) on how to actually know that autonomy, or purify that liberating in-sight.

Which brings us to ‘the Buddha’. Having grown tired of Eastern philosophies, Gautama developed a practical means of direct insight through quieting the mind (of course a mind isn’t really quiet until it’s no longer busy with means, and when an experienced practitioner reaches this point, he or she is really “just sitting”). Apparently this sitting practice worked for Gautama, and it still works for anyone who commits to it. But this path of knowing yourself hasn’t universally caught on, and I suspect this is mainly because (for those who need it most anyway), “it’s just boring.” Also, since the very act of stepping beyond philosophy (like falling in love) makes any attempt at justification self-defeating (or even worse, dishonest), thinking minds from East or West can dismiss it way too easily. And then again (to cap off a philosopher’s irony with a teacher’s culpability) this means there’s no mental support for not-thinking. So how can we recommend formal practice at all? And why would we recommend it (especially to those who need it most)? On what authority, or what rationale, once we understand that courage alone must sustain us?

To simply pay attention, just seeing through our quiet desperation of attachments, is the whole and unconditional assignment. Teachers, teachings, and mindfulness groups are all here to support you (and despite the challenges, they will, and surprisingly, they can); however, the ‘refuge’ phrases you might learn (“I take refuge in the Buddha, the dharma, and the sangha”) are not meant to protect you from the upheaval of your (supposedly fundamental) belief systems: there is no real safety from self-knowledge except in the difficult quiet of non-judgemental acceptance itself. But then, when we do commit to this path of everyday heroes, “why we do it” becomes excruciatingly obvious. As Zen priest Steve Hagen (the writer who taught me the importance of practice) tells us, “We only need to see that it’s beyond the [re-presenting] spin of paradox that Truth and Reality are glimpsed. If we would simply not try to pin Reality down, confusion would no longer turn us away.”[4]

Excerpts from Essay twenty-six

It is by a mathematical point only that we are wise, as the sailor or the fugitive slave keeps the polestar in his eye; but that is sufficient guidance for all our life. We may not arrive at our port within a calculable period, but we would preserve the true course.  —Henry Thoreau[1]

…My obsessive need to write a book about what it means to be human in the Natural world might be explained in part by my vulnerability, from an early age, to private bouts of total existential panic. It takes a certain amount of anxiety to produce a writer they say, so maybe it takes total panic to make a philosopher. From my current perspective, of seventy-one philosophically and meditatively guided years, I am most inclined to think that this vulnerability was related to a congenital condition: when I almost died at the age of five, my distraught parents were told that I had a “late closing heart valve”. My heart is good as new today, thanks to modern prosthetic technology. In any case, The Fates presented my worried family with an overly withdrawn and preoccupied child by the time I was in grade six. Mom would explain me to her friends with the story about “the absent-minded professor” who walked all the way to the school bus (we had a quarter-mile-long driveway) carrying his freshly squeezed milking pail instead of a lunch bag. It’s true that from grade seven on I seemed to be able to ace just about any exam without really trying, but of course my ‘talent’ for dividing body and mind got me only half way through university. Twice: engineering straight out of high school, and later, environmental studies. There was no money, no sensible prospects, no drugs, just a lot of disillusionment and a rock’n’roll band exit strategy. …

…I’ve been a farmer, a logger, and for many years a tradesman and employer; and I’m still a registered building designer, a master electrician, a husband, a father, and lately a grandfather. Life’s been good. But for a very long time this traumatic condition of a divided body and mind preyed upon me, and I couldn’t put my heart into the little things that should bring joy to life, for to me they were desperate entertainments. I was haunted by fundamental and endless questions about the viability of not only my insecure self, but of my species (in this respect, a typical story in the fallout shelter generation perhaps). I couldn’t let the questions go so long as I had any expectation of a ‘final answer’.

It was only after I turned fifty years old, after many promises had been kept, and a few inevitable disappointments had been accepted, that panic and despair paid their final visits as credible despots. Like many, I let them go in my own good time, with no training in formal practice. For such is the universality of an awakening human life that even Gautama can’t lay claim to “the right path”. This said, the prescription for an enduring escape from suffering was his, and to avoid the quicksand of reinventing a tradition of mindful living and detached thinking I would eventually have to ground my experience with the help of a mindfulness community.

You’ve probably heard that following the breath plays a big part in meditation. There are some good metaphysical reasons given for this, and the very practical reason that the breath is always available as an object of meditation, but my years of casual introspection (exploring the relation between my thoughts and my overt behaviours for this book) had begun to reveal an exquisitely material reason. Tired of living in a ‘model reality’, I was finally ripe for the effects of pure method. So, in the spring of 2001, I was walking along a quiet back-road to appease an unquiet mind, when it occurred to me that feeling the air moving in my throat helped me to stay, at the same time, aware of the very subtle speech impulses taking shape in the same anatomical area. I discovered that whenever these sub-vocalizations were interrupted by a concurrent awareness of “breath just moving”, then my body, the trees, the Pepsi cans in the ditch, also “just walked”, “just rustled”, “just were”. After thirty-five years believing that meditation was just another dubious exercise in reconditioning (an unfortunate impression left by a certain autobiography of a yogi), I finally learned how to see-conditioning. I was doing walking meditation. As any vipassana teacher might instruct, my feet and legs were “just stepping”, the pain in my neck was “just tensing”, and all these aborted speech impulses with their attendant reflections were “just arising”, “just falling away”. I could ‘see’ the verbal bars of my conceptual cage as just behaviours in my throat and mouth, no less habitual, and no more solid, than the breath moving there. I could even feel a little of what I began to call my attitudinal ‘wall-paper’, for these more pervasive body tensions were continuous with the stiffness in my neck, but much more subtle. I could see that my living reality itself, which all this thought-structure had been built to frame, was …unaffected. And the framework itself—the bars, the wallpaper—oh how insubstantial all that was! And is. …

…Over time (for language and the thinking mind are fundamental pieces in the human tool kit, and must be re-calibrated carefully and slowly, so they obscure as little insight as possible) I came to think of my experience on the back road as the meeting of an old friend. One who was walking with me all along, but I’d almost forgotten he was here. And so I took up my practice very deliberately, because I wanted to get to know this Friend better. I knew, beyond all the self-protecting shadows of doubt, and knowing even that these doubts would still visit me, also as ‘old friends’, that the good will of this Friend I had rediscovered can never be truly lost, or even shaken. Because it is my own.

Essay twenty-seven

“If your cart doesn’t move,” [Dogen] asks, “is it better to prod the cart or to prod the horse (sic)?” …everyone knows you should prod the horse … the secular world has plenty of ways to prod the horse [meaning the mind] but “lacks any method of prodding the cart [meaning the body].” —Brad Warner[2]

We get into trouble when we take our religions too literally. Our bodyminds know this at some level, but bodies are variously challenged by an uncertain world and so minds grasp at indelible truths with varying degrees of desperation. We all share this unspeakable state of religious affairs, so why then do we feel superior to “others” when they are “obviously wrong”? Is it because, whether we are God-fearing believers or open-minded philosophers, our self-assurance is ingrained in the form of deep-touch patterns laid down by a studious imitation of “proper behaviour”?

Buddhists are people too. But not taking things literally enough can actually be a problem for Zen students because, when the teachings emphasize propositional uncertainty, this often starts the thinking mind down overly convoluted pathways, instead of releasing it to engage with the more radical authority of a teacher’s simple and direct communications. When Dogen  spoke of the bodymind,[3] he meant us to take this at face value. When we train the body to sit still, and to be perfectly balanced, the mind doesn’t just follow the body’s postural enlightenment show: the mind is the body’s subtle gestures, habits, and training. And so it is that our continuous physical imitation of family and peers[4] makes “our” culture of “proper behaviour” seem more probable than an outsider’s lecture on moral relativity (the view that behaviours might be wrong in one culture but right in another). A Zen teacher, on the other hand (or any good teacher really), is thoroughly confident that her unhurried pause, and her unguarded, receptive, eye contact, will speak louder than a wordy lecture on open-mindedness. A quiet mind is the body’s stillness, and this is why years of sitting practice can lead to self-knowledge and acceptance of others in a more direct way than any amount of counselling and argument alone.

But of course silence is not for everyone and for all times. When the need for outside help is warranted by mental or physical circumstances beyond one’s reasonable ability to control, then a call for help is a courageous choice. The needs of a child, left starving, sick, and homeless, within a failed-state created by economic interests outside her culture, can’t be met through self-help alone. She needs hope, and perhaps even some well-intentioned religious dogma. But notice that, even here, such a desperate ‘courage to hope’ is learned or unlearned by a body’s intimate experience or non-experience of reward for effort. And this behavioural reinforcement, of kindness or selfishness, ‘embodies’ its believability. (If you’re interested in reading further along these lines, my personal understanding of how covert behaviours, often very fast and very subtle, might constitute thought—or what John Locke called ‘mental operations’—can be found in Essay thirty-two of Darwin, Dogen, etc.)

Excerpt from Essay twenty-eight

… to understand religion and to affirm it are not the same but almost exactly the opposite. —Merleau-Ponty (as interpreted by Remy C. Kwant)[1]

There’s nothing very profound in my saying that when we experience a thing repeatedly, we reinforce habits and expectations; and when I say this conditioning is felt as the thing’s fundamental ‘believability’ you surely understand me. But believing conceptually, relies on an additional verbal, or at least symbolic, reinforcement, and here something happens to our sense of certainty that will be less familiar if we haven’t trained ourselves to watch for it: truth becomes a moving target that always evades our philosophical arrow. An example of a symbolic near miss might be found in phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s Zen-like conception of thought as a “product of the body’s interaction with the world it inhabits”. These thought products allow us to step away from our direct experience in order to objectify it—all part of a philosopher’s job.[2] To be fair, Merleau-Ponty knows enough to start with the body’s experience as his foundation, and he even sees that it is with thought that doubt first enters in: the conviction of body experience is denied by the intrusion of thought. But even this truism can never be Truth, and Merleau-Ponty doesn’t tell us (though perhaps the convoluted nature of phenomenological ‘thinking’ in general demonstrates) that without some practice at ‘just sitting’ upon the body’s perfectly adequate foundation, thought’s need for justification continues to bring more words, and thus entrenchment on a whole other level. Any philosophy that doesn’t stipulate practice, excites the love of knowledge to seek postulates for its ground. … 

Essay forty-six

9 … God caused to spring up … the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden …

16 … Then God gave the man this admonition, “You may eat indeed of all the trees in the garden. [Author’s note: She said this in a time of innocence that ended in self-knowledge and the invention of the plough.]

17 Nevertheless of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you are not to eat …”   —Book of Genesis, chapter two[1]

The Eden myth can be adapted as a lesson on the judgemental attitude: clinging to an idea, or ‘consuming’ an insubstantial thought so it becomes part of your identity as being for or against something, means removing it from the evolving flux of a properly functioning open mind. The fruit of an ontogenic tree must disperse. In other words, it must fall, or be eaten (for the nutritional value of its pulp and not for the DNA information it holds), for only then can it return seed stock (perhaps a little modified) from its genepool design-space to take its expressed and speci-fied place on a non-seeding, non-aging, non-perishing phylogenic tree. Thus a phylogenic tree is ‘immortal’; it is its own ‘fruit’. In our continuing analogy, ‘setting seed’ corresponds to a thought being occasionally ‘picked out’ for overt expression, then the overt behaviour is tested for its fitness to our personal, and ultimately cultural, needs. This is how our dreams evolve: they are reborn by dying on a cultural tree of knowledge. In contrast, a ‘consumed idea’ goes far beyond this brief engagement between rising and falling away on a personal or cultural tree: instead of re-entering a tentative idea to a living flux, our self-identification maintains dead-heavy ideologies to feed even more intractable paradigms.

Knowing about Darwin’s tree of life can help us to see why a creator would say, “from the tree of [judgements] you are not to eat”. When we cling to a belief, even though hypotheses are all the thinking mind can deliver, we are trying to ‘finalize’ that which is already timeless because it changes. Like this Eden myth, which now becomes a lesson telling us it’s OK to make the occasional judgement call, but identifying with our choice out of desire or fear means an attitude “claiming the knowledge of good and evil” is at work. That is, we are being judgemental. So how do we get at the root of our fearful and needy confusion in order to eradicate this species-original “sin”? The Darwinian Zen version of the creator’s command tells us we must become familiar with our own ‘judgement trees’, and to do this we must take up a tradition of practice: we must look deep inside our ever-changing bodyminds, and learn to catch this rejecting of ‘phylogenic’ change, this settling for unvaried, unexamined, ‘propagation’. The daily choices come and go, but for the ‘tree’ to remain immortal it must not, it-self, ‘set seed’.

It’s a familiar enough human problem: our thoughts about others, about ourselves, about our situations, do not trouble us except to the extent we feel they are ‘good’ or ‘bad’. The likeness of our shadow-play thought behaviour to our overt act-uality, as well as its contrived association with discretely ‘real’ speech behaviour, can leave us feeling physically engaged in our imagined pasts and futures; and it is because of this ‘natural stickiness’ that we find it hard to rise above ourselves and step into the wonderfully unselfish intimacy of direct experience. It is only here that a thought’s or an emotion’s immediate use can be properly distinguished. But if we spend all our time there, where grand propositional sketches are ‘realized’ by, and the life-preserving emotions are readily misinformed by, their more subtle embodiment, then our creative picking at illusion, our verbal ‘mastication’ of concept, becomes naturally reinforced until a stifling finality is achieved. (In Essay forty-five I make the case that, although Nature can easily make the distinction—and according to Weismann’s germ plasm theory the distinction is ‘necessary’ for evolution to move forward—between its nucleic acid ‘design space’ and its protein ‘actuality’ because they are chemically distinct, animal thought and act on the other hand are both basically ‘behaviours’ that are distinguishable only by their respective ‘covert’ and ‘overt’ expressions. Here also I compare Nagarjuna’s ‘necessary’ distinction between absolute Truth and relative truth: “Those who do not understand the distinctions between the two truths do not understand the profound truth embodied in the Buddha’s message.”) …

OK, that’s a bit tricky, so let me try to bring it down to earth. When we “think outside the box”, what is this “box”? Meditation teaches us our thinking is ‘sticky’—we’re afraid to let go of our thoughts the way Nature lets go of its organisms because we ‘identify’ with them. We refuse to ‘commit’ them to a critical, culture-genic, interrogation because covert thought and overt (direct) experience ‘feel like’ they are one. …

Essay forty-seven

When you see forms or hear sounds fully engaging body-and-mind, you intuit dharmas intimately. Unlike things and their reflections in the mirror, and unlike the moon and its reflection in the water, when one side is illuminated, the other side is dark. —Dogen[1]

It was the third brother … who received the hand of the princess. He lived the marriage of form and spirit, and did absolutely nothing to deserve it. —from Rumi’s Mathnawi[2]

Enlightenment is nothing special, the teachers say. It’s nothing but our seeing through the illusory human conventions (both public and personal and acquired over a lifetime of mostly continuous thinking) to our direct animal sensations upon which these mental constructions are built. For it is illusion itself, the mediated ‘reality’ of a tool-making animal, that’s special. ‘Speci’-al in fact. We call it enlightenment when we see through this, but we’re really just becoming whole again: not just wholly animal, but wholly human.

Now here is a distinction worth looking at more closely.

In meditation classes the need for thinking is acknowledged, but seldom elaborated upon. If you ask whether or not it’s possible to be fully present (to ‘be awake’, in dharma-speak) and at the same time to fully engage with technical problems where we have to practise extended thinking, the response will probably be something like: “Of course, this is what we wake up to.” This might be a good enough answer in the zendo, where we practise not-thinking, but it doesn’t comprehend the supra-ecological human project in which the “two truths” dynamic makes meditation practice necessary in the first place. The zendo itself wasn’t designed simply by absorbing the atmosphere, and in order to reinvent ‘human ecology’ on a daily basis we must spend serious time in a model space where we see, darkly, nothing but parts in relation.

Without selfish engagement—this emotional investment in thoughts and dreams as if they are real—would we even bother to dream, or to design? What we need is already here, right? Meditators, and even dharma teachers, will often avoid discussions of a scientific or speculative nature simply because it might pull them and others away from the stillness they have found. This is understandable in the beginning, or as discouragement from interrupting silent practice, but having a still mind all the time is not what it means to be authentically human, and just paying lip-service to the utility of critical thinking (implying that it ‘just comes naturally’) doesn’t recommend the teachings to those who need them most. Sure, the zendo would not be needed if we didn’t love our ideas and gadgets so much, but we have built this lovely place to sit expressly so that we can learn to accept our inventiveness, with discernment, forgiveness, and even love.

If you are familiar with meditation culture and you don’t think scientific laziness is a notable problem in the West, then I ask you to consider this: At the end of a meditation session, practitioners will often formally repeat something like, “May all beings live in harmony and be free from harm.” But what does this ‘metta phrase’ actually mean, coming from the one being who is free of the harmony of beings eating each other? In a time of species die-back unparalleled in the last sixty-five million years, can we afford such carelessness in our speech and understanding of the Natural world? Any good teacher will tell you that intellectual work is necessary to the extent that it is useful. An exceptional one might even point out that an unforgiving victory over illusion, an enlightenment that feels superior to science, is no victory at all. So the real question for critical minds is: “Do buddhas have bodies with dreamscapes to fill?” Here is a koan that’s hard to resolve with a meditator’s complete dispassion; and it’s why, in a book for both practitioners and non-practitioners, I’ve been so bold as to imagine it might help the most sceptical among us—those who share with me the stubborn compulsion of William James’ philosopher to “think things through”—if Dharma spoke Darwinian.

If thought and act are seen to cyclically arise, flow, and ebb on their own, like the seeds and creatures in an evolving ecosystem, then there need no more be a ‘thinker’ than there need be a ‘god of evolution’. And even if we insist on imagining such a god—it may be Pan, Mother Nature, or Gaia—‘he’ or ‘she’ has no need for a name, no need to be set a-part in this Reality of endlessly deep and ever changing ‘context’, because, as we have learned from the Mother Tree, immortals don’t need to set seed. Or consider even this purely physical analogy: if the force of a thought or an act is within its nature, then the detached but mindful follow through (in Buddhist terms, ‘right effort’) doesn’t depend on an independent agent, but only on a presence as each succeeding moment unfolds. Either way it’s the quality of our presence—whether we respond intimately, like Maxwell’s ‘fictional’ Demon (see Essay five), or just react to the calculated statistics, like a ‘realistic’ philosopher—that determines the creative quality, the magic, in the outcome.

But there’s an other-side to this story. The evidence for evolution, and a separate germ-line, demonstrates what Dharma (at least in the West) is disinclined to say: to be fully human we must engage our imagined selves and their projects, passionately enough to ‘evolve’ human ecology, as well as train our minds for not-thinking. (The present Dalai Lama, who says if he wasn’t a monk he would like to have been an engineer, readily slips out of ‘his holiness’ and into ‘debate mode’ when necessary.)[3] This “marriage of form and spirit” ensures that the most abstruse calculation, even the sparring of a devil’s advocate, will seem less an all-consuming bother and more a sacred trust. The meaning of life, of being human in the Natural world, is not hidden from us; we hide our authenticity in words and forms for a while, perhaps even for an adult lifetime, but then we stand forth wordless again in death as we were at birth.

Or in some sublime moment in between.

Or in this moment.

As we please.

And so it is that insight training can help us to ‘think’ better, even though we step away from our mindful presence. And yes, even when we’re driven by passionate puzzle solving. For as we become more familiar with our motivations, we learn how to see into them—a brief glance perhaps between the spinning of our mental gears, but this is enough to release the buildup of “good” and “bad” so the gears can still turn freely. And (to mix metaphors) we also keep faith that a heavenly body still shines beyond these clouds of thinking. At the very least, when we do find ourselves stuck, our training allows us to step right out of our model space, for as long as we like; and here, seeing deeply into how “the affections color and infect the understanding” (see Bacon quote, Essay seven), we can find our true course again …

This might be a good time to return to the concept of ‘method philosophy’ introduced in Essay eight, for now we can see how only a transformative method can point beyond our philosophic ‘conclusions’. If this term meant only that all philosophy and science is to be treated as a means to some particular end, then it would simply be another excuse for restricting our imaginations. But method philosophy doesn’t assume an end at all—it invites a moment-to-moment beginning. In fact, the marriage of form and spirit that it invites would be just the same as mindful sitting, or mindful laundry, except that, because we’re problem solving, we must for the moment allow our presence to be partly lost in re-presentation: one hand tinkering with what works, the other reaching for what matters. Our inner scientist is no longer oppressed by a “meaningless” world view then, and our inner poet no longer fears his “dark side”. As a gadget-loving building designer, I no longer lose heart every time a philistine client seems to “waste my effort”, because my overriding effort is to reveal his better nature. The ‘method of silence’ reveals our natural goodwill, to ourselves; and only then do all our methods of philosophic and scientific tinkering put our full humanity at the service of a larger awakening, for the ‘agent’ is goodwill itself.


Essay nine

1. Thich Nhat Hanh. 1974 Anchor Books edition. Zen Keys. Garden City NY: Doubleday. p. 34.

Essay twenty-five

1. Kabat-Zinn, Jon. 2005. Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness. New York: Hyperion. p. 421.

2. Gottlieb, Aug. 30, 2016. The Dream of Enlightenment. p. 106.

3. See note 1, Essay twenty-four, for source. Also see Husserl, 1967, p. 73. “That which we have submitted against the characterization of what is given to us from the natural standpoint, and thereby of the natural standpoint itself, was a piece of pure description [of reflection] prior to all “theory”. In these studies we stand bodily aloof from all theories, and by “theories” we here mean anticipatory ideas of all kind. Only as facts of our environment, not as agencies for unifying facts validly together, do theories concern us at all.” Husserl doesn’t set out to answer the question of free will, but rather to free the mind to do truly objective science; which, by favouring un-predetermined scientific ‘advancement’, I suppose amounts to the same thing. This reminds us of mindfulness meditation, except that the ego’s “intentionality” towards its “environment” is ever present, but never directly an object of mindfulness.

4. Hagen, Steve. 2004. Buddhism is Not What You Think: Finding Freedom Beyond Beliefs. San Francisco: Harper Collins. p. 5.

Essay twenty-six

1. Thoreau, Henry David. 1957 & 1960 [1854 & 1849] Sherman Paul, ed., Walden [and] Civil Disobedience. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Riverside Editions. p. 49.

2. Ibid p. 1.

Essay twenty-seven

2. Warner, Brad. 2007. Sit Down and Shut Up. Novato California: New World Library. p. 48. See also, Dogen, 2010. P. 4-5/11.

3. Dogen zenji, Eihei. 2011 in Nishiari Bokusan, Shohaku Okamura, Shunryu Suzuki, Kosho Uchiyama, Sojun Mel Weitsman, Kazuaki Tanahashi, Dairyu Michael Wenger, trans. and commentaries., Dogen’s Genjo Koan: Three Commentaries. Berkeley: Counterpoint. p. 4-5/11.

4. Bargh, John A. Jan. 2014. Our Unconscious Mind: Scientific American. vol. 310, no. 1, p. 35, the “chameleon effect”.

Essay twenty-eight

1. Kwant, Remy C. 1967 Anchor Books edition in Joseph J. Kockelmans, ed., Merleau-Ponty and Phenomenology. Garden City NY: Doubleday. p. 383. To be clear, this is followed with, “Understood and interpreted religion is no longer affirmed religion.”

2. Colarossi, Alessandro. Jul./Aug. 2013. Focusing On The Brain, Ignoring the Body. Philosophy Now, issue 97, pp. 17-19; also see Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. 1967 Anchor Books edition “What is Phenomenology” in Joseph J. Kockelmans, ed., Phenomenology: The Philosophy of Edmund Husserl and Its Interpretations. Garden City NY: Doubleday. pp. 356-374

Essay forty-six

1. “Moses” (the Yahwist tradition). 1968. Genesis, various trans., in Alexander Jones, ed., The Jerusalem Bible, Reader’s Edition Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company. p. 6.

Essay forty-seven

1. Dogen zenji, Eihei. 2011 in Nishiari Bokusan, Shohaku Okamura, Shunryu Suzuki, Kosho Uchiyama, Sojun Mel Weitsman, Kazuaki Tanahashi, Dairyu Michael Wenger, trans. and commentaries., Dogen’s Genjo Koan: Three Commentaries. Berkeley: Counterpoint. p. 24.

2. Rumi. 1996 in Coleman Barks, trans. With John Moyne, The Essential Rumi. New York: HarperCollins.p. 237 (from “The Three Brothers and the Chinese Princess”).

3. Goleman, Daniel. 2003 (trade paperback edition/April 2004) Destructive emotions, How Can We Overcome Them? A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama. New York: Bantam Dell.

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