The Library of Congress cataloged the first Vintage Books edition as follows: Watts, Alan, – The way of Zen = [Zendō] / Alan W. Watts — 1st ed. p. cm. Free Eastern Spirituality PDF Books Way of Zen: by Alan Watts (). The Way of Zen guides the reader through the histories of Buddhism and Taoism. The Way of Zen [Alan W. Watts] on terney.info *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. In his definitive introduction to Zen Buddhism, Alan Watts explains the.
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the way of zen by alan watts (pdf book). Excerpted from the Preface of The Way of Zen. During the past twenty years there has been an extraordinary growth of. rigel's () The Method of Zen, and served as editorial advisor to The Psyche- delic Review students and scholars, called The Alan Watts Mountain Center, is now under construction terney.info Ellwood. Alan Watts - - The Way of terney.info - site root. terney.info Views. 6 years ago. Mind, · World, · Chinese, · Buddhism, · Buddha, · Words, · Human.
Error rating book. Refresh and try again. The Way of Zen Quotes Showing of But if a decision itself were voluntary every decision would have to be preceded by a decision to decide - An infinite regression which fortunately does not occur. But wars fought for simple greed will be far less destructive, because the aggressor will be careful not to destroy what he is fighting to capture.
Reasonable - that is, human - men will always be capable of compromise, but men who have dehumanized themselves by becoming the blind worshipers of an idea or an ideal are fanatics whose devotion to abstractions makes them the enemies of life. Watts, The Way of Zen. If we try to make a thermostat absolutely accurate—that is, if we bring the upper and lower limits of temperature very close together in an attempt to hold the temperature at a constant 70 degrees—the whole system will break down.
For to the extent that the upper and lower limits coincide, the signals for switching off and switching on will coincide! The system is too sensitive and shows symptoms which are startlingly like human anxiety.
For when a human being is so self-conscious, so self-controlled that he cannot let go of himself, he dithers or wobbles between opposites. We saw that when the furnace responds too closely to the thermostat, it cannot go ahead without also trying to stop, or stop without also trying to go ahead.
This is just what happens to the human being, to the mind, when the desire for certainty and security prompts identification between the mind and its own image of itself. It cannot let go of itself. It feels that it should not do what it is doing, and that it should do what it is not doing.
It is not religion or philosophy; it is not a psychology or a type of science. As will soon be obvious, a way of liberation can have no positive definition. It has to be suggested by saying what it is not, somewhat as a sculptor reveals an image by the act of removing pieces of stone from a block.
A philosophy restricted to the alternatives of conventional language has no way of conceiving an intelligence which does not work according to plan, according to a one-at-a-time order of thought. Translation of the Mandukya Sutra by Swami Krishnananda. The Mandukya Upanishad is entirely devoted to explaining OM.
The Mandukya is generally acknowledged as the most important Upanishad and is believed to contain all that is needed to attain Self-realization.
Translation of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. A primary sutra for Hatha Yoga. Written by Swami Swatmarama, in approximately the s. Emphasizes Yoga postures, energetic breathing exercises, and the chakra system.
The first known written description of the chakra system is in the Sat-Cakra-Nirupana Description of the Six Chakras , written by Purnananda-Swami in In , Sir John Woodroffe translated this text in his book The Serpent Power under the alias Arthur Avalon , which became the basis for the chakra system popularized in contemporary Western Yoga. Who am I if not this consciousness which I have just disclaimed? Surely it is obvious that there is no sort of little man inside us who has or who owns this consciousness on trust.
This is a figment of speech taken too seriously. It is the total abandonment of proprietorship on the external world of nature and the internal world of the human organism. It comes about from the insight that there is no proprietor, no inner controller. This becomes evident as soon as the consciousness which has felt itself to be the inner controller starts to examine itself, and finds out that it does not give itself the power of control.
When it thus becomes clear that I own nothing, not even what I have called myself, it is as if, to use St. When I can no more identify myself with that little man inside, there is nothing left to identify with—except everything!
And thus in using intelligence what has hitherto been the course of nature, one has the realization that this is a new bend in the course and that the whole flood of the stream is behind it. All that I have been describing is a subjective feeling. It gives no specific direction as to what is or is not a proper use of intelligence in varying the course of nature—which must always be a matter of opinion and of trial and error.
What it does give is what I feel to be a correct apprehension of the continuum, of the context, in which we are working, and this seems to me to be prior to, basic to, the problem of what exactly is to be done.
Much as we discuss the latter question, is it really sensible to do so until we are more aware of the context in which action is to be taken? That context is our relationship to the whole so-called objective world of nature—and relationship as something concrete, as more than an abstract and theoretical positioning of billiard balls, is practically screened out of consciousness by our present use of intelligence. Just as the study of natural history was first an elaborate classification of the separate species and only recently involved ecology, the study of the interrelation of species, so intelligence as a whole is at first no more than a division of the world into things and events.
This overstresses the independence and separateness of things, and of ourselves from them, as things among things. It is the later task of intelligence to appreciate the inseparable relationships between the things so divided, and so to rediscover the universe as distinct from a mere multiverse. In so doing it will see its own limitations, see that intelligence alone is not enough—that it cannot operate, cannot be intelligence, without an approach to the world through instinctual feeling with its possibility of knowing relationship as you know when you drink it that water is cold.
In the early days of modern science the situation was less obvious, for the application of scientific controls to nature and to ourselves seemed to be something that we could extend indefinitely along wide and unobstructed roads. It is, perhaps, at its very clearest in the sciences of communication which include study of the dynamics of control, and also in psychology, the science which deals most intimately with man himself. In its simplest and most basic form—of which all its other forms are just extensions and exaggerations—the problem is this: man is a self-conscious and therefore self-controlling organism, but how is he to control the aspect of himself which does the controlling?
All attempts to solve this problem seem to end in a snarl, whether at the individual level or at the social. At the individual level the snarl manifests itself in what we calla cute self-consciousness, as when a public speaker frustrates himself by his very effort to speak well.
At the social level it manifests itself as a loss in freedom of movement increasing with every attempt to regulate action by law. In other words, there is a point beyond which self-control becomes a form of paralysis—as if I wanted simultaneously to throw a ball and hold it to its course with my hand. Technology, which increases the power and range of human control, at the same time increases the intensity of these snarls. He is called upon, in other words, to do something contradictory, and this is usually within the sphere of self-control, the sort of contradiction epitomized in the title of a well-known book, You Must Relax.
This lies behind the widespread conception of man as a double or divided being composed of a higher self and a lower, of reason and instinct, mind and body, spirit and matter, voluntary and involuntary, angel and animal. So conceived, man is never actually self-controlling. It is rather that one part of his being controls another, so that what is required of the controlling part is that it exert its fullest effort and otherwise be freely and uninhibitedly itself.
And the conception is all very well—until it fails.
Then who or what is to blame? Was the lower, controlled self too strong, or was the higher, controlling self too weak? If the former, man as the controller cannot be blamed. If the latter, something must be done to correct the weakness. But this means, in other words, that the higher, controlling self must control itself—or else we must posit a still higher self available to step in and control the controller.
Yet this can go on forever. The problem is well illustrated in the Christian theory of virtue, which for centuries has put an immense double-bind on Western man.
The addition implies that it is not enough to think and act as if I loved God. I am not asked to pretend that I love. I am asked really to mean it, to be completely sincere. But, if the heart is the controller, how is it to convert itself? If I am to love sincerely, I must love with my whole being, with unhindered spontaneity. But this amounts to saying that I must be spontaneous, and controlled or willed spontaneity is a contradiction! Christian theology has attempted to clarify the problem by saying that the heart cannot convert itself without the help of God, without divine grace, a power that descends from above to control the controller.
But this has never been a solution because it is really a postponement of the solution, or a repetition of the same problem at another level. Once again, I am commanded to control the controller who, in this case, is God. But will I truly lay myself open if I do it halfheartedly? And if I have to do it wholeheartedly, must I not have the grace to lay myself open to grace?
This, too, can go on forever. The point which emerges here is that the problem of self-control is not made any clearer, but rather the contrary, by splitting the self into two parts—and it matters not whether the self in question be the human organism or the whole universe.
This is why all types of dualistic philosophy are ultimately unsatisfactory, even though we do not seem to be able to think effectively about problems of control without resorting to dualism. For if the human organism does not have a separate controlling part, if the higher self is simply the same as the lower, self-control must seem to our dualistic way of thinking as impossible as trying to make a finger point at its own tip.
But the argument is actually self-contradictory. For when a machine states that it is a machine, it is presuming that it is able to observe itself—and once again we have the apparent absurdity of the finger pointing at itself. In other words, to assert that I am not capable of self-control at once implies a measure of self-knowledge, self-observation, and, to that degree, of self-control. The division of man into higher and lower selves does not clarify the problem of self-control, because it remains a useful description of the dynamics of control only so long as the higher will succeeds in mastering the lower feelings.
But when the will fails and needs somehow to strengthen itself or transform itself from ill-will to good, the dualistic description of man is not only useless but confusing. At such moments the will has to be released from its paralysis in rather the same way that one turns the front wheel of a bicycle in the direction in which one is falling.
Surprisingly, to the beginner, one does not lose control but regains it. Yet the unexpected psychological fact is that man cannot control himself unless he accepts himself. In other words, before he can change his course of action he must first be sincere, going with and not against his nature, even when the immediate trend of his nature is toward evil, toward a fall.
The same is true in sailing a boat, for when you want to sail against the direction of the wind, you do not invite conflict by turning straight into the wind.
You tack against it, keeping the wind in your sails. So, also, in order to recover himself the automobile driver must turn in the direction of a skid. Our problem is that our long indoctrination in dualistic thinking has made it a matter of common sense that we can control our nature only by going against it. But this is the same false common sense which urges the driver to turn against the skid. To maintain control we have to learn new reactions, just as in the art of judo one must learn not to resist a fall or an attack but to control it by swinging with it.
Now judo is a direct application to wrestling of the Zen and Taoist philosophy of wu-wei , of not asserting oneself against nature, of not being in frontal opposition to the direction of things. The objective of the Zen way of life is the experience of awakening or enlightenment insight, we should say in current psychological jargon , in which man escapes from the paralysis, the double-bind, in which the dualistic idea of self-control and self-consciousness involves him. In this experience man overcomes his feeling of dividedness or separateness—not only from himself as the higher controlling self against the lower controlled self, but also from the total universe of other people and things.
The interest of Zen is that it provides a uniquely simple and classic example of a way of recognizing and dissolving the conflict or contradiction of self-consciousness.
The student of Zen is confronted by a master who has himself experienced awakening, and is in the best sense of the expression a completely natural man. For the adept in Zen is one who manages to be human with the same artless grace and absence of inner conflict with which a tree is a tree. Such a man is likened to a ball in a mountain stream, which is to say that he cannot be blocked, stopped, or embarrassed in any situation.
He never wobbles or dithers in his mind, for though he may pause in overt action to think a problem out, the stream of his consciousness always moves straight ahead without being caught in the vicious circles of anxiety or indecisive doubt, wherein thought whirls wildly around without issue.
He is not precipitate or hurried in action, but simply continuous. This is what Zen means by being detached—not being without emotion or feeling, but being one in whom feeling is not sticky or blocked, and through whom the experiences of the world pass like the reflections of birds flying over water.
Although possessed of complete inner freedom, he is not, like the libertine, in revolt against social standards, nor, like the self-righteous, trying to justify himself. He is thus the grand seigneur, the spiritual aristocrat comparable to the type of worldly aristocrat who is so sure of the position given to him by birth that he has no need to condescend or put on airs.
Confronted by such an example, the ordinary Zen student feels totally uncouth and ill at ease—particularly because his situation as student requires him to try to respond to the master with the same unhesitating and unself-conscious naturalness. Thus no deliberate or willed response will answer the problem, since this will show only the acquired self.
On the other hand, the only alternative under the circumstances will be for the student to try to make a response which is wholly spontaneous and unpremeditated. But here is the double-bind.
Just try to be natural! Under these circumstances most students are nonplussed and blocked for a considerable length of time, for when asked to act without controlling themselves they are faced with their own acting and existing and so paralyzed by self-consciousness. In this predicament, the student discovers that so long as he is aware of himself he cannot—obviously—be unself-conscious.
When he tries to forget himself, he remembers that he is trying to forget. On the other hand, when he does forget himself by absorption in everyday affairs, he finds that he is carried away by affairs and that he is responding to them not spontaneously but by socially conditioned habit. He is just unconsciously acting his role, and still not showing his original face.
The master will not let him escape into this unselfconsciousness, for every confrontation with the student reminds him painfully of his awkward self. By these means the student is at last convinced that his ego, the self which he has believed himself to be, is nothing but a pattern of habits or artificial reactions. Strain as it will, there is nothing it can do to be natural, to let go of itself.
At this point the student feels himself to be a complete and abject failure. His acquired personality, his learning and knowledge seem—at least for this purpose—worthless. Hitherto, be it remembered, he has been trying—or trying not to try—to show his genuine self, to act in perfect sincerity. He now knows beyond any shadow of doubt that he cannot do it; somehow it must happen by itself. He finds, then, that he has no alternative but to be, to accept, the awkward, self-conscious, and conditioned creature that he is.
But here, too, he runs into an apparent contradiction. For the idea of accepting oneself is another double-bind. Let your ind alone; let it think whatever it likes. But one of the things it likes is interfering with itself. Or look at it the other way around. But this is the blind leading the blind, for the mind that needs to be controlled is the one that does the controlling. Thought is trying to drive out thought. At this moment there is a sudden flash of psychological lightning.
All this time the student had been paralyzed by the ingrained conviction that he was one thing, and his mind, or thoughts, or sensations, another.
Thus when faced with himself, he had always felt split in two—unable to show himself all of a piece, without contradiction. Thinker and thoughts are the same. After all, if you begin to let your ind think what it likes, the next moment it wants to interfere with itself, so let it do that. So long as you let it think what it wants at each successive moment, there is absolutely no effort, no difficulty, in letting it go.
But the disappearance of the effort to let go is precisely the disappearance of the separate thinker, of the ego trying to watch the mind without interfering. Now there is nothing to try to do, for whatever comes up moment by moment is accepted, including not-accepting. For a second the thinker seems to be responding to the flow of thought with the immediacy of a mirror image, and then suddenly it dawns that there is no mirror and no image.
There is simply the flow of thought—one after another without interference—and the mind really knows itself. There is no separate mind which stands aside and looks at it. Furthermore, when the dualism of thinker and thought disappears so does that of subject and object. The individual no more feels himself to be standing back from his sensations of the external world, just as he is no longer a thinker standing back from his thoughts.
He therefore has a vivid sense of himself as identical with what he sees and hears, so that his subjective impression comes into accord with the physical fact that man is not so much an organism in an environment as an organism-environment relationship. The relationship is, as it were, more real than its two terms , somewhat as the inner unity of a stick is more solid than the difference of its two ends.
The human being who has realized this unity is no longer a trap set to catch itself. For self-consciousness is no more a state of being in two minds, which, fortuitously enough, also means a state of indecision and dither and psychic paralysis.
In separation, the self I know is never the one I need to know, and the one I control is never the one I need to control. Politically, this dualism is manifested in the separation of the government or the state from the people, which occurs even in a democracy, a supposedly self-governing community. But governments and states have to exist when people have no inner feeling of their solidarity with others, when human society is nothing more than an abstract term for a collection of individuals—divided from each other because each one is divided from himself.
In the Eastern world, Zen and other means of setting man free from his own clutches have been the concern only of small minorities. In the West, where we believe in, or are at least committed to, the dissemination of knowledge to all, we have no Zen masters with whom to study. Yet in this we may have an advantage, for the separation of master from student is another form of the duality of the controller and the controlled which—obviously—would not have to exist if the organism-environment called man were truly self-controlling.
This is why, in Zen, the master does not actually teach the student anything, but forces him to find out for himself, and, furthermore, does not think of himself as a master, since it is only from the standpoint of the unawakened student that there are masters.
We are forced to find out for ourselves, not by masters, but by their absence, so that there is no temptation for us to lean on others. But cannot we be embarrassed by our very natural environment of sky, earth, and water, as by the marvel of our own bodies, into making a response, into acting in a way that is commensurate with their splendor?
Or must we continue to buffet them blindly with bulldozers, fancying ourselves as the independent controllers and conquerors of what is, after all, the greater and perhaps better half of ourselves? For what is important is not the particular things to be done but the attitude—the inner feeling and disposition—of the doer.
The problem is to overcome the ingrained disbelief in the power of winning nature by love, in the gentle ju way do of turning with the skid, of controlling ourselves by cooperating with ourselves. I do not, nor do I represent them in any capacity. This is not because I disrespect them or have some quarrel with them, but because in matters of this kind I am temperamentally not a joiner.
I do not even style myself a Zen Buddhist. For the aspect of Zen in which I am personally interested is nothing that can be organized, taught, transmitted, certified, or wrapped up in any kind of system.
Strictly speaking, there are no Zen masters because Zen has nothing to teach. From the earliest times those who have experienced Zen have always repulsed would-be disciples, not just to test their sincerity, but to give fair warning that the experience of awakening satori is not to be found by seeking, and is not in any case something that can be acquired or cultivated. He knows himself to be one with all, for he is no longer separating himself from the universe by seeking something from it.
On the surface, this looks like a master-disciple relationship.