Wednesday, October 20, 2004

To share the problem, not the answer.

I had a long conversation with the young Zen priest, Jikisai Minami in a temple in central Tokyo. Jikisai is known for his books on the Buddhist philosophy, emphasizing non-traditional and yet essential views on what Buddhism is all about. The conversation is to be published in the quarterly magazine "Kangaeru Hito" ("The Thinker") to be released in December.
In the conversation, Jikisai emphasized the importance of sharing the problem, while not necessarily sharing the answer. Sharing a particular answer, he said, might lead to the closure of the system. Many religions failed to remain open spirited because the leaders imposed a certain set of official answers. We can share the problem instead, he said. As human beings, we cannot escape from the fundamental constraints on our existence such as age and death. Everybody can share these basic problems. If we remain open-minded about the possible answers to these questions, then we can be religious and open at the same time.


Jason Mulgrew said...


jason mulgrew
internet quasi-celebrity

Ken Mogi said...

Hello, Jason

Thank you for dropping a comment.
And thank you for making fat sexy.

I am quasi-fat, my friends testify.

Petrusa said...

Very true.

Ken Mogi said...

Hello, Petrusa.

Thank you for your comment.
I could not find your blog URL. Have you started one


yacchin's comment Part1 said...

Hallo, Mr.MogiKen!

I previously know the content of this blog by reading “人は死ぬから生きられる~脳科学者と禅僧の問答~”.This book seems to me so inspiring that I feel it worthwhile for many Japanese who tend to think spiritually to read and deeply consider about.

To tell the truth, I feel the idea of Jikisai Minami similar to that of Jiddu Krishunamurti, who is a philosopher,and influenced the Jungian analyst, Hayao Kawai. He became apart from every tradition and had nothing to do with any specific religious organization, and acted through all his life as an outsider by the famous words,“The truth cannot be organized.”. He has been recognized as so clean image by me and probably by many people. I guess that from Mr.Mogi ,you might feel a sense of incongruity. If so, please read roughly.

Krishunamurti consciously avoided using the mysterious concept of “God”or“holiness”,and talked focusing on the “awareness”on just in this moment. Such a strict attitude has a kind of commonality with Mr,Minami. He says that attachments to what has been inherited without a break from the past such as the psychological ties on all traditions, and the religious beliefs disturb the awareness of what is as it is here and now. He suggests to become aware by seeing the“ inside” of one's own.

His talk is something far from religion. What he wants to refer to does not mean so called “something transcendental”and talks about the whole recognition without any thought for the self as it is in this moment.

There seems to me no such thing as a simpler approach than Krishunamurti’s. And at the same time it is not even the approach.

The concept of approach means the“movement”of trying to reach something of the future from the place of now.

But it trains being aware of “present”and continuing to focus on the moment of“present”.

He says,“There is no road to reach the truth”. He denys in fact every spiritual teqnique by these word.

Why does he take such a perspective? Because every method is besed upon the thoughts, and they are “in the past”as soon as is recognized. The old, that is to say the“thought”cannot “see”what happens in the present moment.

A man need to quit deep attachment to the thoughts in order to see the“inside”of one’s own. It is important to“see”without any thought. Just simply “seeing”with no conceptualization…. I also feel that I am influenced deeply by the idea of Krishunamurti. But at the same time, there is a clear difference from his idea.

yacchin's comment Part2 said...

There might be quite a few points in common between the approach of Krishnamurti and that of Zen Buddhism. But Krishnamurti makes a thorough denial ,and denies even the role of a spiritual teacher. His attitude is fundamentally different from such a strict style of hierarchical relationship as a discipline absolutely obeys to his Zen master.

In any event, the “awareness” which Krishnamuri talks about cannot be expressed by any word. He denies all of the spiritual traditions, sutras, mysterious ideas, and spiritual teachers; besides does not intend to transcendence and simply remains in the present self as it is.

There is no any suitable expression about the awareness. It is not adequate to express it by such words as a kind of enlightenment or leap, because they are dual. Because they can mean the limited ideas such as enlightenment “against” worldly desires, a leap“from here to there”.

It is surely a sort of jump, but at the same time it overlaps closely and is continuous with the self of just here-now. It is the one with the self as it is.

Paradoxically enough, the leaping equals NOT leaping.

On the one hand; in case of Zen, it is based upon such ideas as can be recognized by the words concretely for example,“Zazen”,or the“teaching” in the sutras of Zen, or “Zen master”

On the other hand; from the place of the awareness, all of them can be also made a denial of because they are all obstacles which prevent us from recognition of the truth.

Such an approach by Krishnamurti is extremely radical. Of course, a denial is NOT even a denial. Because “the subject which denies” is also the result of the thoughts.

Nevertheless, what I have referred to now is also be grounded on my own thoughts, and they have nothing to do with the “awareness” itself.

The awareness even does not exist; moreover, it fills everything.

What I have written last is my own paradoxical expression about Krishnamurti's concept.

yacchin's comment Part3 said...

Provided that it is possible for there to be a point of contact between my world and that of Mr.Minami, it might be the concept of “protoqualia”, which is my own word, and which I have called frequently in Japanese,“原経験”. It cannot conflict with the mind, but at the same time it is the fundamentally different dimension of recognition from the mind, and penetrate the flow of all the conscious experiences.

How is the relationship like between the protoqualia and the “subject”,which is located on the kernel of the mind? Maybe, it seems to me difficult to answer easily.

The protoqualia is the awareness that the subject ,which is as it is, does not exist, and from a different angle, the realization that the subject surely “is” but is embraced in what base the subject itself. The protoqualia continuously appears at present moment, and it is by no means possible for us to reach by using some method.

At a point I have written my idea in this way, I feel protoqualia similar to the “awareness” of Krishnamurti, so it is necessary for me to arrange the similarity or difference of both after this.

The protoqualia is always located on “before” the subject is about to act. It exists before starting to think. It exists before starting to feel. Therefore it is not even the experience. It is not even the qualia.

It is impossible by any means for the subject to try to grasp. But it is true that it“exists”.I do not know the current that it is possible for me to say that it is the basis that "generates" every experience.

But I feel the mental activities which are connected to the subject to be expanded by the actions in the depth ;where the protoqualia exists.

In this sense, I feel the protoqualia to be the awareness of the “proto-self” or “proto-identity” or “proto-subjectivity”,and to be the realization about “something” that carefully observes the activity of the subject. Where the awareness exists, there is neither any thought nor any subject.

It is not such a sort of “awareness” as is made up of by the idea of subject and that of verb and that of object in the sentence of“I recognize something.”.

This is what I also feel is difficult to exactly describe. The “awareness” might be a sort of subject as such. In the dimension of awareness, there is no duality of the “subject” and the“object”in the first place. Therefore there is originally no verbal expression of the awareness.

But divided that the most suitable linguistic expression for it can exist, that must be “to be”. It can be simply expressed by the word “to be”. But “to be" does not conflict with “not to be”, and is not only “to be” but also ”not to be”. There is no distinction between “to be” and “not to be” in this expression, ”to be”. "To be” is “not to be”; therefore “to be” is “to be”.