Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Clever Fly

Trying to be right, trying to do good, is, for a Zazen practitioner, the most pernicious of unconscious bad habits.

Anything one does to break this habit just increases ones entanglement in it, like a fly increasing its entanglement in a spider's web. The solution is not to do something but just to wake up, to become conscious.

To become conscious does not mean to recognize something intellectually; it means to let the whole body be liberated from unconsciousness.

A clever fly does not struggle in the spider's web. It simply wakes up to the sticky situation in which it finds itself. Then, if it is a fly blessed with good karma, there may be a chance that its body and mind will drop off.

6 Comments:

Blogger oxeye said...

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Friday, January 20, 2006  
Blogger MikeDoe said...

"A clever fly does not struggle in the spider's web. It simply wakes up to the sticky situation in which it finds itself."

Better. Much better. Accepting things we like is not accepting. Accepting things we don't like and wish to deny is allowing.

"..., if it is a fly blessed with good karma, there may be a chance that its body and mind will drop off."

I have seen a picture of your body (which I thought was Mike Cross). I have not seen picture of your mind. I stupidly thought that Mike Cross was just a body, nothing more. Maybe I was wrong and Mike Cross is attached to a Body and a Mind and is neither of them and can therefore do without them.

As for this good Karma, show me where you keep it. I always thought (naively) that Karma arose out of what you did not who you were. And so both Mike Cross and John Doe started with zero karma points.

You have the shobogenzo. Hell, you translated the bloody thing. That contains the instructions for what to do and how to get through it. I will not explain further.

I think it is a safety feature of what he (Dogen) wrote. Only when you are ready can you understand the instructions. The thing is, that at any point during waking up you could always choose not to 'return' to reality and that would lead to 'nirvana' or more simply psychosis. So the stakes are not small and this is not a game. Therefore, it would be stupid for me to make it more clear than Dogen did. All I have chosen to do is allow you to empty your cup a little.

What are the Ox Herder plates saying?

Friday, January 20, 2006  
Blogger oxeye said...

It might be better to see karma as the result of our actions rather than the cause of them. So maybe the fly should struggle to get away. he should allow himself to act. What do you think Mike?

Friday, January 20, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Oxeye asked me, on his own blog:

I came across a Marjorie Barstow quote that said, "It isn't natural for our bodies to be held in positions." What could that mean to someone who sits zazen?

My reply was this:
the Chinese character for samadhi is JO, or TEI, which expresses something stable, definite, fixed, or set -- as in the Japanese word "TEI-SHOKU" -- set menu.

What I have increasingly come to realize over the last ten years or so of Alexander work, is that samadhi expresses stillness, not fixity.

Samadhi expresses not fixity, but stillness.

Stillness.


But the above is only my answer; I have written it to satisfy myself. The above explanation of samadhi is something I have been wanting to get off my chest.

The really important thing is not my answer, but your asking of the question. It is a very very good, a very very perceptive question.

Friday, January 20, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

To answer your question directly, Oxeye: I think the fly should keep still.

Maybe a passing butterly, or a gust of wind, will set him free. It might be unlikely, but it is not impossible.

On the other hand, if the fly follows his instinct and struggles blindly in the web, there is only going to be one outcome.

Friday, January 20, 2006  
Blogger oxeye said...

There is more than one possible outcome. Because he has an instinct to survive he will struggle. His struggle will undoubtedly alert the spider. So his action might be his downfall. But his action might also free him from the web. The fly will be realistic and struggle. He will not hope for butterflies. Only men do that.

Friday, January 20, 2006  

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