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Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance
April 5, 2004
3:39 pm
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gingerleigh
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Anyone read this book? It's from the mid 70's. I'm finding it to be a tough but rewarding read, seeing as I know nothing about Zen and even less about motorcycle maintenance.

April 6, 2004
8:22 am
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eve
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Yes, I read it and liked it. I don't know if I learned a lot about Zen from it, though. But it's an interesting and thoughtful read.

And boils down to the old latin

quidquid agis prudenter agas - et semper respice finem.

have to run now

April 6, 2004
11:48 am
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eve
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eeehm here's the translation:

whatever you do, do it wisely, and keep the outcome/goal in mind.

April 6, 2004
11:55 am
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So far what I've taken from it is that whatever you do, do it with quality. If you don't have time to do it with quality, perhaps it isn't worth doing. I'm trying to let that idea permeate my everyday actions... even something as small as immediately washing a dish or cup after dinner or taking extra time to craft a note to a colleague or cutting out that extra commitment that isn't providing much value in my life anyway... we'll see if it works.

And the only thing I have read about Zen is a picture that another frustrated coworker of mine keeps on his wall and refers to when things go out of control around here... "Zen... Just Accept It." ๐Ÿ™‚

April 6, 2004
12:38 pm
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eve
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yep - if its not worth being done thoroughly, its propably not worth being done at all.

Nice contrast to the everyday "bigger, more, faster, cheaper" of the business world.

April 7, 2004
1:36 am
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I ride a Jap 1100 cc V twin cruiser - a Harley look alike. I study Chinese Zen (Ch'an).

I have had the book "Zen and the art of motor cycle maintenance" by Robert M. Pirsig, in my library for many years. Yet strangely, I have never read it.

You've prompted me to drag it out and read it. Thanks.

Can you ever see the same river or the same person twice?

April 7, 2004
4:28 pm
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gingerleigh
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Nope ๐Ÿ™‚

April 9, 2004
12:24 pm
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eve
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I'd vote "yes". Because people or rivers are lasting categories. They are not fixed, and forever changing - but one person is different for another person, and the Rhine is quite different from the Missisippi (however this may be spelled).

April 11, 2004
1:12 pm
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Molly
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Nope nada never............ So, Tez, how is the single life treating you?
You doing ok? No new crashes ?

April 11, 2004
10:34 pm
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Twinks.

You said:

"What a strange question, Tez. Did it come from your head, or somewhere else?"

The title of this thread is "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance."

The saying 'You can never step into the same river twice" is very 'Zen'.

The answer of course to my question in my posting of 7th April 2004 is 'no'.

Such questions force the mind to contemplate both the impermanence of everything and the absence of any differentiating self-hood.

Where are the unchanging borders and permancy of content of a river? In the limit, the idea of a river bank is a mind construct that can not really be found. Can the same water be drawn from the same river twice?

Substituting a human being for a river yields a no more satisfactory example of 'self-hood' than the concept of 'river'. However, our minds continue to delude us about our 'selfhood'.

April 11, 2004
11:00 pm
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Molly.

You asked:

"So, Tez, how is the single life treating you?"

In terms of quantity, I'm getting plenty of ... ๐Ÿ™‚ It seems that, as I've grown older, my stocks have increased in value. ๐Ÿ™‚ I'm buggered if I know why. Perhaps my old smooth, youthful approach of sticking my head out of a car window and yelling out "How about a bit?" at a potential 'bootie call' has improved a teenzie weenzie smidgen. ๐Ÿ™‚ In that regard, being a social ballroom dancer has side benefits in the 'chick winning' department - I guess.

In terms of the quality of companionship and caring in a relationship, well ... hmmmmm, I guess that is another story. Meeting Ms. Right is only a forelorn hope.

As for my 'sickle', it is in the doldrums. I have just let it sit there with its twisted handlebars together with graunched mufflers and distorted highway pegs and crash bars. It awaits the coming of the resurrection. ๐Ÿ™‚

April 12, 2004
7:09 pm
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Twinks.

You asked:

"... can we have a little from you on the other thread, 'What would you change...'?"

Right now I cannot think of anything that I would particularly want to change in women.

That's not to say that I think women and are perfect. It's just that I have the belief that anything, that another does that irritates me, is a good signpost that something in my own psyche needs my attention. Why try to change the projection of one's delusions by trying to change the behavior of another? It's like trying to set in plaster the unbroken leg of another, when one has a broken leg oneself.

A classic example is my irritation with the 'men bashing' that goes down unchallenged on at this site. My 'irritation' is a symptom of some past 'baggage' within me that requires looking at. If the 'men bashers' want to relieve themselves of their dissatisfactions with men, they have a 'challenge' of their own to look into their own psyche to find the inner cause that requires their attention. Why try to make their problem mine by telling them of my 'irritation'? It would only be an invitation to have them 'lash out' at me and vent their feelings by uselessly projecting the inner cause of their anger onto me!

April 14, 2004
8:53 pm
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Molly
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Tez------- at least one of your engines is getting serviced!!!! Glad for you that you are out there, got to try on the shoes before you know if you want to buy them, no ? Relationship / companionship will take time, you know that, and it will come. Or is that you must kiss a few frogs before you find your princess ? Truth is it will take time. I would suggest that your not ready for that relationship/ companionship. I can tell you why your stock has increased in value... lol.........
The "sickle" will be repaired when you are ready, perhaps it is a symbol of something that needs time to heal, perhaps you are pre occupied, with your stock value increase, and bootie calls. None the less you sound good.

April 15, 2004
1:22 am
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Twinks.

You said:

"... then it would mean that my resentment and anger at my husband's inability to ever consider my feelings before his own pride is a product of my own psyche, and nothing to do with him at all. That would make it my problem."

Yep - afraid so. Your resentment is, in my opinion your problem - just as your husband's suffering, caused by his inconsiderations and self-centeredness, is his problem. I see that your husband's part in your resentment is that of an external trigger. Whether or not that trigger sets of anger and resentment in you depends upon the state of your psyche. That is not to suggest that you should always continue to expose yourself to the trigger source.

You can choose to try to:

(1)change hubby so that he won't act as a trigger, or

(2)change yourself by learning how to stop sustaining the emotional arousal once triggered, or

(3)remove yourself from the situation so as to be free of the trigger source altogether. But there will be other trigger sources.

"Have you ever read the writings of Zed the Zen priest? " No - I've never heard of Zed.

April 15, 2004
1:37 am
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Molly.

Thanks - hehehe.

Unfortunately bootie calls don't really provide a lasting peace. For a short time, they are a good distraction from the pain of a breakup but not a cure unfortunately. The cure as you pointed out is time. Throw in a bit of meditation, compassion for others and wisdom and wow! What a potion.

To some extent, I'm practicing the meditation and compassion bit and the wisdom is on its way - I trust.

What helps also is the knowledge that all things end. The loss of a partner of 17 years had to happen sooner or later. Feeling unable to effectively implement choices (1) and (2) mentioned in the previous post, I chose to end the relationship 'sooner' rather than the more destructive 'later' by inmplementing choice (3)instead of (1) or (2).

April 15, 2004
8:36 pm
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Twinks.

You said:

"Interesting to hear that you manage to find girls who are willing and able but don't want a relationship. We are all so different."

Whoops! I may have given the wrong impression that I am sleeping around. Not so. There have been about 5 women who, upon learning of my break up, have made overtures; one of which I availed myself. She wants a permanent long term relationship and was very upset and emotional when I told her that I was not about to set up house with anyone in the forseeable future.

I pointed out that I was concerned about establishing honest, open communications in the relationship. If we are compatible then the relationship might have a long term future. Otherwise, there would be a parting of the ways. When I was referring to plenty of 'bootie calls' I meant with this one woman at her home. I hate one night stands and I never go in for them at all.

One instant at a time life goes on. Nothing is permanent, especially not a relationship with someone.

April 15, 2004
10:14 pm
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Molly
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Being just 15 months the other side of a 16 year relationship break up, I can tell you that there is life, hope, happiness, forgivness,acceptance and love. Certainly not in one night stands. But in your self. True all things must end,pardon me if this seems harsh, but his death would have been easier, than my kill off,by my partner, emotionally, physically, financially, lol, yada yada yada, aka. choices, 1&2. Yet I get that it wasn't about me, it was about him, my choice to work it, try so to speak, or end it was about me! There are alot of emotions that go from here to there for a while, dreams, that haunt your sleep,feelings triggered memories, but with time they are more controlled and accepted, just like understanding that the river continues to flow. I can't controll a river any more than I can controll another person. But, sometimes I can controll me. Its been a great lesson in living in the moment, learing short term gratiication, and long term gratifaction. Lessons on expectation. What I want, what I need, and what serves me. This break up has taught me so many lessons,and at this point with the disappointment I have acceptance, and growth, not to forget clarity.
To be honest there are things that I miss about a relationship, but I don't know if I am willing to give to have one today. It will take some sever chemistry, some damn good communication, some real mutual goals, and I guess this is all the stuff that I should have done before. Lessons, lessons lessons....Learning the cost of comprimise, and there is never a guarantee. Never ever... how does that song go we'll sing in the sunshine we'll laugh every day, we'll sing in the sunshine and I'll be on my way. Love the one your with, when your with them ? Hell, just be happy, content with you, celebrate now. Don't attach any thing to tomorrow, who knows what tomorrow brings?

April 21, 2004
8:19 pm
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Twinks.

No probs.

I've stripped the damaged parts off my motorcycle and have the new parts arriving early next week. Then the collection of bits becomes a motorcycle again - hopefully.

This begs the question:

Is a pile of motor cycle parts a motor cycle? If not when does it become a motorcycle? When the last part is installed?

Considering just one part of the motorcycle part, when do the atoms based raw materials become a motorcycle part? When the paint dries in the final part of the manufacturing process?

Extrapolating, are not all 'things' similarly just mind constructs - including the 'self'?

Where is the 'self' in a dog before and after death?

Where is the 'self' in the later stages of Alzheimer's disease and ultimately after the death of the 'victim'?

"Death where is thy sting - grave where is thy victory?"

April 25, 2004
8:54 pm
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Twinks.

You said:

"Am I taking the piss? Certainly. Sorry."

I hadn't noticed. It seems to me that you stated a relative truth. I can't quite see how objectively stating a relative truth is "taking the piss".

Of course, if you regard deep philosophical discussion about how humans are preconditioned as "a joke", then I can see how you would think that you were "taking the piss". If that is the case well... what can I say?

April 26, 2004
1:10 pm
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bel
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Twinks I like what you said here:

it's just that I find it hard to understand some of the things you say, and think that there must be a more obvious and simple way to state the same things so that dimwits like me can grasp the meaning without having to struggle. I have always felt this way and tried over and over to understand all that is being said and I get lost alot of the time. I always thought maybe there is something wrong with me or IM not as bright as I should be.

But I think that people are all different and some can grasp any subject in their own way and others read and it just goes over their head like me....but I dont believe it means I am dumb I dont know why that is but I refuse to consider myself dumb or less bright or less of an equal anymore........

Am I making any kind of sence here???

๐Ÿ™‚

Bel

April 26, 2004
5:59 pm
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Twinks.

You said:

"You are right, I did state a relative truth, but I could have just said: 'We just happen to call that pile of parts, when they are all joined together, a motorcycle... etc.' "

Often times we humans cannot see the wood for the trees. We cannot see the parts for the motorcycle. We cannot see the cells and patterns for the human body. We cannot see the mind for the thoughts and emotions.

We cannot see absolute reality for the relative reality of 'form'!

We cannot see absolute reality for the 'emptiness' of the parts!

Absolute reality is the synthesis of the two that goes beyond words and is incapable of being grasped by the conditioned mind - only by the unconditioned mind. If you cannot grasp that, then I understand why.

If you see what 'I' mean.

April 27, 2004
6:45 pm
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Twinks.

You asked:

"What is a โ€˜conditionedโ€™ mind? What is an โ€˜unconditionedโ€™ mind?"

No child is born with an 'unconditioned mind'. Psychologists refer to the unconditioned mind as a 'tabla rasa'. These are latin words meaning a 'blank slate'.

Psychologists accept that our minds are pre-conditioned even at our birth. This means that we perceive 'things' after first passing them through mind 'filters'. We filter out that which we consider irrelevant to our wellbeing and pass 'things' that we consider relevant. We have 'learnt' the relevance of these 'things' for the well being of a 'self' that we have 'learnt' that we 'are' ever since birth. Psychologists use the term 'individuation' in refering to the time an infant begins the process of learning that he/she and the mother are separate entities.

The word 'learnt', used frequently above, implies the 'conditioning of the mind'. This instant by instant conditioning of the mind depends upon both external events and how the meaning of these events are interpreted by the 'preconditioned' mind in relation to the wellbeing of the 'perceived' self. This 'perceived self' is a preconditioned mental object as are all other 'mental objects'. When we see a 'tree' what we are actually seeing is a 'mental object' that has been constructed in our mind. In terms of our welfare, we then evaluate the image in terms of its positive, neutral or negative attributes.

To have awareness with a totally unconditioned mind is to 'see' things without any reference to a 'self' or 'other than self'. Such an unimaginable state of being is an 'enlightened' state; a state of mind without boundaries of any kind.

Can such a state of mind ever be accomplished? I guess that seeking the answer to this question requires faith in the veracity of the belief that such a state of mind has been attained in the past by many people. Of course, 'momentarily' experiencing such a state of mind oneself helps verify this belief too.

May 1, 2004
6:07 pm
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Twinks.

You asked:

"So does it follow that there can be such a thing as an over-conditioned mind, ..."

I guess that there is a spectrum of minds ranging from the unconditioned mind to some extreme of conditioning that would hardly be measurable.

If you watch a flock of birds, 30 or so, nervously eating seed, then you will observe some interesting behavior. At the slightest sound, a few will be startled and fly away, while the rest keep on feeding. These few have been conditioned to produce a fear response to the slightest sound - the others have not. I'm sure that they will in all probability have a long but fearful life. If you clap your hands, the vast majority of the birds will take off leaving only one or two left. These two are the most secure or the least fear conditioned birds in regard to loud sound responses. Of course whilst these birds' lives might be more pleasant they may well be much shorter than the rest. Therein they have less time to propagate offsprings with a lower propensity for fear conditioning than the rest.

Thus both the nature of the beast and the nurture, or lack of that it receives, play a major role in the conditioning processes.

However we have the ability to 'think' that is both our best friend and our worst enemy. We can think of and imagine future danger and our emotions will erupt as if that projected danger were already present.

The cognitive 'scripts' within our memory banks influence our thinking and thus our emotions. These scripts are conditioned into being and often lead to suffering by triggering off negative emotions unnecessarily.

Here's where the Buddha comes to the fore. He said that our intentions underpinning our behavior are the critical component in performing the conditioning of the mind. What underpins our intentions? Our beliefs about ourselves and the world around us often determine our intentionality. What governs our beliefs? Our previous conditioning! And so around and around and around we go in a vicious circle.

What will break this cycle of conditioning? Understanding our true nature and practicing certain principles like not killing, etc.

When we kill even a moscuito, it is interesting to observe the emotion that underpins the act. In my case I have observed mild anger when doing this. Thus my intentions towards the moscuito laid down just a little more negative conditioning for which I will reap what I sowed.

Realizing that we can change our own future conditioning is a great start. The Buddha and other great masters showed us by example and their teachings how they discarded all their preconditioning. However, in our case, it may not be in this lifetime that we can see this come about for us. But it has to start somewhere - that is, if we want to be freed from our dissatisfactions and downright suffering.

May 4, 2004
6:01 pm
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Twinks.

You asked:

"Is one of the principles of Buddhism that everything comes from within... "

From my limited understanding of the Buddha's message any discrimination between what is 'within' and what is 'without' us is the deluded (preconditioned) mind in action. To describe enlightened vision, without any delusions, with words that originate from conditioned minds is impossible.

From what I can grasp, an enlightened mind is 'All seeing All'- the 'boundry-less seeing the boundry-less' beyond space and time which are constructs of a limited mind.

Space implies an end to space - time a beginning and an end. Clocks delineate the day and rulers, space. What is a clock to a mouse but something to run up.

I think that as one experiences 'enlightenment' more and more the conditioned boundaries of the mind widen and widen, while our 'self image' becomes more and more vague until as one approaches boundry-lessness no sense of 'selfhood' would remain.

Even now in a deluded state, I find it very hard to define exactly where my 'boundaries' lie. However my 'ego' - my deluded belief in the existence of a separate self called 'I' - will certainly let me know if someone transgresses one of my boundaries. ๐Ÿ™‚

Just the fact that I can comfortably use the word 'my', 'me', 'I' and 'you' demonstrates how deluded I am. It is one thing to intellectually know how things are and quite another to experience it without the fetters of the 'conditioned mind' to engineer deluded perceptions.

May 6, 2004
2:52 pm
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get a helmet and go for the ride. Its fun.

My grandma went out and about for shopping, visiting friends or her garden on her moped (thats a very small, slow motorbike, don't know if the word exists in English). She only stopped it when she wasn't able to walk whithout a cane any longer. Reason: the cane couldn't be stored and transported safely whith the moped, no reason to drive anywhere where you can't do anything but wait for somebody to help you off your ride. So, I don't really think that you can be too old for that ๐Ÿ˜€

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