Thursday, April 24, 2008

Zen and the Brain

A reader pointed me towards Zen and the Brain, which attempts to reconcile the relationship between Zen and the neurology of the brain.

I started thinking about a couple of things:

First - Buddhism and the concept of suffering. The notion that the solution to suffering is detachment from this world seems odd. I am sure there is more to it that I don't understand yet.

Which brings up the second point. It seems like most other popular ideas, others took Buddha's ideas and greatly expanded and complicated them. And just like every other set of "Big Ideas" there was a counter reaction to the complexity and intellectualism which focused on simplification and going back to the basics.

And lastly, that just like every other human endeavor, the reality of human beings means that often the behavior of people is the opposite of their core beliefs. Hence, despite the ideals of non-violence in Buddhism, there have been plenty of violence and killing that was done by Buddhists throughout history.

But the book sounds like an interesting read...


Blogger dbs said...

I'm no expert, but I think that you've got it a bit sideways. A core teaching of Buddhism is to be competely present in the reality of the moment, rather than to 'detach' from the world. The idea of detachment is to let go of preconcieved ideas of 'attachment' (or anything, really) to people and things.

e.g. You tune in completely to the comfort and pleasure that your shoes give you, but you let go of the feelings of need and entitlement for having those shoes in the future. So you don't worry about having shoes tomorrow, you don't reminice about better shoes you've had before and you don't mourn the eventual loss of the shoes you're wearing.

I think that in many psychological ideas, the buddhists have it right. Then again, when you scratch below the surface, you find a full blown traditional religion, complete with fables, rituals and funny clothes.

April 24, 2008 9:04 PM  

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