|Thanks, Zach. I didn't know Sam's history in this regard. The Zen practitioners I know of wouldn't consider themselves "mystics" in any sense. They may refer to Buddha-mind and enlightenment, but these refer to a fully conscious grasp of direct experience, not to anything supernatural ... "nothing extra," as the teacher Shunryu Suzuki put it. |
But how wonderful that Sam Harris, the ultimate rationalist hard-nose, would go a step further in his thinking and begin to offer an alternative to the bleak emptiness that believers fear is all that remains without their supernatural consolations.
--- On Fri, 8/10/12, Zach Price <[address removed]>
From: Zach Price
Subject: Re: [KC-Midtown-FreeThinkers] Sam Harris - Death and the Present Moment
To: [address removed]
Date: Friday, August 10, 2012, 10:01 PM
I know that Sam has specifically spoken about Yogi's, Buddhism and what he sometimes refers to as "proper mystics" and he does give them credit often in his lectures for evolving in a direction that focuses on the experience instead of wasting so much time trying to explain them in a manner that invokes the supernatural . He has been accused of being soft on Buddhism specifically, to which he usually responds with many of the same points you have made. Sam's claim has been that "Spirituality" has been hijacked by religion. The very word has been so entangled with metaphysical ideas
that it makes it seem impossible about talking about "transcendence" without it having those connotations (which also mirrors the point that you have made). There is absolutely no reason why just about anyone cannot have such an experience without having to invoke anything supernatural, a point that Sam is constantly making and with which you and I both seem to agree.
On Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 7:01 PM, JP <[address removed]>
Gotta love Sam, as usual. But I wish he would have given due credit for the great idea he promoted to the ancient atheistic philosophy of Zen Buddhism, whence it originated. Core tenets espouse no personal deity, no personal life after death, and never have, focusing instead on the problem of suffering and compassion for all sentient beings, using the very techniques he demonstrated. Zen has been highjacked by the mindfulness movement, but it works, so it's good of Sam to serve as an advocate. |
--- On Thu, 8/9/12, cole morgan <[address removed]> wrote:
From: cole morgan <[address removed]>
Subject: [KC-Midtown-FreeThinkers] Sam
Harris - Death and the Present Moment
To: [address removed]
Date: Thursday, August 9, 2012, 10:01 AM
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