Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More




High Class Zen

Naples, Florida, USA

Christmas Day, December 25, 2003
Reposted May 25, 2020



"It needs to be seen that
Zen is not a religion in the Western sense. Neither for the most part is Buddhism. A Zen person practicing any religion would practice it with a Zen quality. So there are undoubtedly Zen Christians and Zen Jews and Zen Muhammadans as well as Zen Buddhists."
... 
sharing his experience of Zen with Professor William Warren Bartley III, Werner's official biographer, in intersection 4 "Zen", in chapter seven called "Quest" in part II, "Education", of "Werner Erhard: The Transformation of a Man - The Founding of est"
"I appreciate your commitment to communicating with me on the basis of what you have to share and contribute, rather than 'in order to' something. For me there is nothing presumptuous in your saying 'our relationship'. I take our relationship as a gift from you. What you say is very high class
Zen. Good for you."
... 
from over Siberia on the way to Tokyo, to Laurence Platt in an e-mail conversation
This essay, High Class Zen is the third in a group of nineteen on Nothing: It is also the first in a group of ten written on Christmas Day:
  1. High Class Zen
  2. Holiday Service
  3. Out Of My Head
  4. How To Enroll The World
  5. Holiday Service II
  6. A Game Worth Playing
  7. Peace On Earth And Good Will To All People: A Possibility
  8. Five Star Restaurant
  9. Direct Experience
  10. Thirteen Hawks A-Soaring
in that order.



This sumi-e  (Japanese word for "black ink painting") circle, is derived from the Sanskrit word "sunyata". It means "emptiness" or "nothingness" in Zen Buddhism.

It was created by Zen master and calligrapher Yamada Mumon Roshi.


One day I turned around, and there it was: nothing.

Just like that.

Not nothing like another something. And neither not nothing like not  another something.

Nothing. Not no thing. Just plain ... nothing ...

That, I noticed, is where I stand: in nothing. I'm not saying that like a vote, nor like a position, and nor like a preference or (even worse) like a belief. I am saying that I looked ... and without voting, without taking a position, without a preference, and without believing it, I observed that actually where I stand is in nothing.

That is who I really am. That is the source of my life.

Standing in nothing, I can create. Standing in nothing, I can really invent. If I stand anywhere else, all I seem to do is change or rearrange things.

The trouble with nothing is that once it becomes a concept, it's no longer nothing, and when it's no longer nothing, then it's not useful for anything.

True nothing, however, is a riveting experience against which all distinctions can be examined, against which all discriminations can be evaluated, against which all choices can be weighed, against which all actions can be authenticated, and against which all consequences can be pre-considered.

And it's not inaccessible either. On that day when I turned around and saw it, it was very, very close to me, literally behind my thoughts. I turned around and looked at what was behind my thoughts, and there it was: nothing ... and it knocked me on my ass.



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