Zen Koans, the Mind and the Senses

The essence of the Heart centre is described very well by the old Zen Koan "What is the sound of one hand clapping". When the boundaries of perception have been removed, and the sound of one hand clapping is understood, God outside of self no longer exists ..

The Heart Centre

"does the tree falling in the forest make a sound"


· Definitions and Laws
· Mind and the senses
· God and the Guru
· The Heart

The Zen of Falling Bird Poo

The scientific method (and the Language of words) likes to divide things up into little pieces in order to understand what life is all about.

Mr Newton observed the effect of Gravity when an apple fell and hit him on the head. Someone asked why did the apple fall, someone else asked how did the apple fall and someone else asked why did it hurt.

So the mind observed the event and needed definitions. The simple statement was "the apple fell and hit me on the head".

The first question - what caused the apple to fall .. there must be some force acting on the apple to make it fall. "Let me call it gravity".

Then he looked at the observation "the apple hit me on head and it hurt". Now, mused Mr Newton, gravity did not hurt me, but apple hitting me hurt. If it hurt, apple must have had some force to cause pain.

And so the mind analysis went on. Concepts were defined by thought. For every concept, there was a word. The word needed another concept as a definition.
"In the beginning was the word"

Definitions and Laws

Mr Newton looked at the trees covered with apples and saw that every apple had the potential to hurt if it fell from the tree and hit him on the head .. so "potential" was invented and defined as what the apple was capable of doing when it dropped out of the tree.

Oh .. here's another consideration. In order for the apple to hurt, it has to be higher than my head when it drops. So, it is at a higher potential when it is in the tree than it is when it hits my head.

"Now, let me see," says Mr Newton ., walking round the orchard and placing his head under apples in trees .. "the higher in the tree the apple is, the more it hurts."

So we have another relationship .. Higher and Lower.

Since then, the scientific method requires defining and analysing. Gravity has been pulled apart and science argues the nature of the force .. and more words are invented to describe all of the forces which cause the apple to hurt when it hits someone on the head from falling out of the tree.

These observations and the words used to describe the observations become definitions and laws. Both are inexorably linked.

But, continued musing Mr Newton .. (and this is not written in the history texts) .. a bird poo falling from the tree from the same height as the apple and hitting me on the head made a different sound and did not hurt as much .. Why ..? There must be something else other than my first observation at work here.

So we find that the bird poo and the apple are travelling at the same speed when they hit me on the head .. what is the difference. So the Weight of the falling object comes into the equation for potential .. and for energy ..

The Mind and the senses

And so develops another relationship, another set of definitions, and another set of laws .. so that the mind can understand why an apple falling from a tree hurts and a bird poo falling from the same height does not.

Another definition .. Pain .. where does pain come from .. who is it that feels the pain .. why are there different types of pain.

(oh .. and I forgot .. I am using different senses here .. sight.. feeling ..

The sight of the apple or poo falling does not cause feeling .. until I am hit on the head .. hmmm .. we have different senses .. some must be higher and some lower ..

Now let me analyse the nature of feeling .. and so feeling is described in terms of pleasure and pain .. the more it hurt .. more definitions and more words .. more laws)

Feeling get described as emotion, as words and definitions are found to describe the effect on the physical senses of the apple and the poo hitting one on the head.

Questions and questions. Each question requiring a new word, a new definition, and a new law to describe the principle.

Then we have

"What is the sound of one apple falling and hitting me on the head" "What is the sound of one poo falling and hitting me on the head"

and another set of words, laws and definitions are introduced to explain the observed phenomena.

Observation > Question > Principle > Definition > Law .. and so it goes on .. each step dependant on the logical analysis of the previous step in order to create an explanation.

God and the Guru

Then someone decides that the man who has more definitions (words) must be more knowledgeable .. and so people gather round to find out all of the laws .. and another word is found to describe the one who has the power and potential to attract others because he knows more big words and can define more laws .. this word is teacher .. and those who gather to learn are called students ..

all to explain the reason why one poo falling and hitting me on the head hurts less than than the apple did.

If you take the apple out of the equation, you do not need a doctor to attend to the pain you are feeling .. but that's another story ..

The various centres of feeling are definitions used to define how the falling object is defined as it falls from a great height and hits me on the head.

Then, God got invented to describe all of the various reasons and effects and causes and outcomes .. and anything that could not be defined by some pre known word, definition or Law became known as "an act of God" .. until someone created more power for himself by creating new Laws and Principles to define the words that were used to describe the sound of

"one poo or apple falling .."

The Heart

The heart of the matter is that, if there is no process of analysis, creation of law, definition .. all of those things that require the use of the mind to observe and analyse ..

"does the tree falling in the forest make a sound"

the answer to this is, of course .. only if someone is there to hear it and uses observation, discrimination .. etc etc etc ... to discriminate, divide, analyse ..

all of which require different centres of feeling which create different effects on the observer .. even to the point of the fear which says .. "Thank God I was not under that tree when it fell"

The essence of the Heart centre is described very well by the old Zen Koan

"What is the sound of one hand clapping"

If, in understanding what I have written above, you can understand the Zen Koan, you have found the heart .. which is beyond definition, analysis, discrimination and therefore beyond emotion.

and the pictures that are drawn (the mandalas) for the Heart Centre are visual recordings (definitions) of the energies and principles which merge together to show that within the Heart there is no separation .. and this is the Highest Potential.

When the boundaries of perception have been removed, and the sound of one hand clapping is understood God no longer exists .. because one is no longer victim to the senses, and the nature of the senses are understood.

Spiritual Heart Centre

: Index - Knowledge and Wisdom
  Insights from the Silence

· On Death and Dying
  The Great Uncertainty

· The Heart Centre
  The Zen of falling bird poo

· Pure and simple
  Being in the Mind of God

· Still Point - The Crucible

· Power and Existence
  The Journey Home

· The Tantra of Detachment
  All the world's a stage

· The Cosmic Soup
  Needs of the mind

· The Power of the Past
  The Word - frozen in time

· Love - the sadness and joys
  of the carousel pony

· Virgins and Virginity
  Exploring the myths

: Lifestreams Index
    an introduction to this site

Personal Reflections
     My stormy Search for Self


The Heart Centre and the Zen of Falling Bird Poo


08 Oct 2003 - Copyright 1998-2003 Transpersonal Lifestreams - Disclaimer - Privacy

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