Metaphor and Zen

Metaphor and Zen

 

Both the dream state and the waking state are originally the one real nature. The Buddha-dharma, even if it is a metaphor, is the real nature.

~Dogen, Shobogenzo, Muchu-setsumu (Expounding a dream in a dream), Trans. Hee-Jin Kim, Flowers of Emptiness, p.284

  

If the new empirical results are taken seriously, then people throughout our culture have to rethink some of their most cherished beliefs about what science and philosophy are and consider their values from a new perspective.

Above all, the key sticking point is the existence of conceptual metaphor. If conceptual metaphors are real, then all literalist and objective views of meaning and knowledge are false. We can no longer pretend to build an account of concepts and knowledge on objective, literal foundations. This constitutes a profound challenge to many of the traditional ways of thinking about what it means to be human, about how the mind works, and about our nature as social and cultural creatures.

~George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, p.273

 

Peace, Ted

2 thoughts on “Metaphor and Zen

  1. Hi, Ted- seemed like this is close to what I’ve been writing about lately, something I describe as the practice of waking up and falling asleep. And more exactly, I found this among my recent posts:

    “I would contend that what we truly believe causes us to act, like the hypnotist’s subject responding to suggestion, and that such action can take place in the absence of will, intention, or preoccupation, just as a hypnotist’s subject can be moved without the exercise of their will or intention.

    If you grant that this is possible, then the collection of experiences and thoughts that make up what we believe cause our action.” (the rest of that is here.

    Something like the dream state/waking state oneness Dogen is talking about, maybe.

    yers, Mark

    1. Hi Mark,

      Thank you for your post.

      Yes, good stuff – Zen practice-enlightenment, in my view, is unduanted in its pursuit of truth for the sake of truth (Dharma for the sake of Dharma). There is undoubtedly an infinite treasure trove of truth to disclosed in the fields of your recent observations.

      You wrote: “I would contend that what we truly believe causes us to act, like the hypnotist’s subject responding to suggestion, and that such action can take place in the absence of will, intention, or preoccupation, just as a hypnotist’s subject can be moved without the exercise of their will or intention.”

      I agree – the trick here, it seems to me, is what being able to discern “what it is” that we “truly believe” as well as “who it is” that does the discerning…

      Thanks again.

      Peace,
      Ted

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