library/highlights/selected cuts & bits
In Zen monasteries, the practice of eating is done according to strict rules, not to satisfy hunger or appetite, but to carry out the teachings of Buddha. The act of eating is itself a Zen discipline.
discipline at Eiheiji has nothing to do with attaining supernatural powers or doing special meditation, nor does it entail harsh penance or mortification of the flesh. Rather, it is to be found in the everyday practice of Zen rules. There is no differentiation between means and end. Monastic discipline is not something done in order to gain enlightenment; rather, the faithful observance of monastic discipline is enlightenment, in and of itself.
But anyone who has received a modern education with emphasis on the concept of “freedom” cannot help entertaining grave doubts about an environment where deciding how to live one’s own life is not allowed, where one’s only choice is to renounce all for the sake of family tradition.
Words are always qualifications and limitations.
There’s something inside you that knows when you’re in the center, that knows when you’re on the beam or off the beam. And if you get off the beam to earn money, you’ve lost your life. And if you stay in the center and don’t get any money, you still have your bliss.
What we are trying to do in a certain way is to get the being of our subject rendered through the partial way we have of expressing it.
There is an image in the Upanishads of the original, concentrated energy which was the big bang of creation that set forth the world, consigning all things to the fragmentation of time. But to see through the fragments of time to the full power of original being—that is a function of art.
…the whole question of life revolves around being versus becoming.
There’s another emotion associated with art, which is not of the beautiful but of the sublime. What we call monsters can be experienced as sublime. They represent powers too vast for the normal forms of life to contain them. An immense expanse of space is sublime.
Joyce says that you put a frame around it and see it first as one thing, and that, in seeing it as one thing, you then become aware of the relationship of part to part, each part to the whole, and the whole to each of its parts. This is the essential, aesthetic factor—rhythm, the harmonious rhythm of relationships. And when a fortunate rhythm has been struck by the artist, you experience a radiance. You are held in aesthetic arrest. That is the epiphany.