Adonis Diaries

Is “Let go and go with” a Zen philosophy or existential need?

Posted on: October 20, 2011

Is “Let go and go with” a Zen philosophy or existential need?

The Zen master Swami Prajnanpad is famous for a few quotes or slogans. For example:

“The photographic plaque capture. Mirror just receive, but does not retain…”

“Mankind is a puppet show, a marionette: The alias of existence toy with the threads…”

Does the slogan “Here and now” similar to the “letting go” teaching such as “May your will be and not mine…”?

If we have to learn to let go, this applies equally to the happy and unhappy occurrences of events, emotions, and mental states. In order to learn taming the ego, this reaction of constantly attaching “I like this” or “I don’t like that…” is a long process of vanquishing the forces of inertia related to habits, in reactions to external events and internal emotions…

The Zen main principle is to resist playing the game of our acquired habits.  It is a permanent battle asking ourselves: “How we are situated in relation to physical and emotional reactions…?” Since mental, emotional, and physical aspects are interconnected, and since every action has consequences, and since an action is relative to other chains of causes and effects, and since we have limitations in capabilities, how could we master the behavior of not reacting promptly to events that we feel concern us and that most of the time we have no control over them?

This question is always fresh: “Can we ever know what events or emotions we have control, partial control, or no control over them?”  Don’t we change as we grow in age and experience and reflection? Shouldn’t what we thought we had control over change too?

Ego connote a dual world. We acquired this duality in childhood as we realize that the external world is not a prolongation to our world as babies. Ego divides what is “reassuring” (mother protection and presence) and what is threatening to our perception of continuity in life and the universe. Ego seeks to let “what I like” vanquish “what I don’t like” during this titanic tag of war in our life.  As Devos wrote: “We are all ancient babies”.  We are babies ever ready to react and get excited, to what suit our comfort zone.

May be we should replace Ego with “egocentric” in order to have a clearer term that reflects our needs and wishes and likes, and dislikes… 

Once, Swami coaxed his student Arnaud into recounting his experiences and exposure to various teaching philosophies, and how Arnaud got inflamed, excited, engaged with new perspectives, and how he vigorously refused a few philosophical lines of thinking…At the end, Swami said: It is a status of slave, isn’t it?”

Wrong Swami: Getting engaged early on, and seeking knowledge from various quarters is not an attitude of “Slave Status”.  It beats sitting like an obese Idol, watching the world turn around, and expecting the world to paying him a visit once a year. Like: “Al Salaam alikum. It was a busy year, wasn’t it?” Yes, it was very busy up our asses, how about your’s. This non-interference in the course of sustained indignities is a slave attitude.

Youth are youth, and that is what they do and supposed to be doing. It is in the nature of youth to react vigorously to indignities, humiliations, and injustices. Youth are this section of mankind that constantly play the catalyst for change and reforms.

For sure, those religious fanatics of all affiliations, who have barely read a single book, a “Sacred Book”, most probably who liked selected verses that suit their ignorance and restrictive passions, need to wait until the noxious dust in their dimmed knowledge settle down, before reacting and imposing their emotions on their communities.

No Swami, dividing society into caste categories, in the name of a divine higher order, will not do, regardless of any Zen byproduct philosophy on life and the universe.  Waiting for the dust of liberal capitalist elite classes to settle will never come on its own volition: This dust never settle because it is in a constant movement in search of how to exploit anything, even the air we breath. Youth want to put the massive pressures on political systems that cohabit with the oppressors and exploiters of mankind and nature.

If you are interested in comprehending the existential side of letting go, you may read my post https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/goodbye-perfectionism-hello-let-go-how-to-learn-to-delegate-tasks/

Note 1: This post was inspired by an interview conducted by Marc de Smedt with Arnaud Desjardins in 2005

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