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This collection of philosophical essays by a student of Zen Buddhism synthesizes aspects of Western culture and science with the author’s insights from his Zen practice, revealing understandings into both. The book discusses a wide and provocative range of topics including Zen and The Lord of the Rings trilogy; Zen and artificial intelligence; Zen and the Postmodern condition; Zen and Christian afterlife; Zen and the problematic questions of free will and morality; and Zen and the nature of consciousness, among others. This book is a stimulating and off-beat philosophical tour that will challenge how the reader looks at things.
11-YEAR OLD Charles Hartley, known as Tuna by his friends, delivers papers for the Pooderville Daily News and sings in the boys' choir of the Anglican Church downtown. Tuna befriends Coyote, an eccentric drifter who may-or may not-be a renegade from the Pleiades. Coyote exposes Tuna to an array of otherworldly and disturbing possibilities as Tuna navigates his active imagination through life's wonders. In the meanwhile, Tuna's sister, Maggie, Miss Pooderville, needs a gown for the upcoming Miss New York State pageant. Beatnik sister Terri and her buddies howl and groove to the latest scene; and brother Ruff is a mischievous geek who does not amuse his parents with his existential nihilism and ribald antics. Art Hartley, Tuna's financially-strapped, ex WWII P.O.W. father, and Bev Hartley, his talented and intellectually curious mother, hold court and contend with it all. Along the way we meet Johnny Starbuck: stunt car driver EXTRAORDINAIRE! Tuna's heartthrob, Molly Lovelace and her unfortunate brother Chris who "takes the hits for them"; Mr. Edwards, Johnny's manager and jazzified Wizard of the Celestial Vestments; and, of course, Coyote: A-1 Reality Mechanic, Keeper-of-the-Hyper-Falutinous-Fartuinous-Potentialities, Grand Exhalted Prosetylizer of the sunlight dialogues, and maybe---or maybe not---renegade from the Pleiades.**********TUNA IS A SEMI-FICTIONAL MEMOIR written in screenplay format. My childhood, as I remember it through the lens my childhood was happy in that happy TV family sit-com way of the early sixties TV shows that I grew up watching: Leave it to Beaver; My Three Sons; Father Knows Best; Andy of Mayberry, and others similar. TUNA is a loose parody of these situation comedies, which should explain its innocent, if not naïve, G-rated humor and sentimental dramas---with a few disturbing and perhaps controversial exceptions. I should add that TUNA is a character-driven work. I was fortunate in my childhood to have been surrounded by more than a few verbose story-tellers and harmless eccentrics. So, the idea of a character(s)-driven screenplay appealed to me.**********TUNA IS NOT a typical plot-point-driven screenplay. If you want references, consider the works of screenwriters and movie-makers Charlie Kaufman, Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson and Richard Linklater.**********ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Andrew Powell is the author of the book Zen and Artificial Intelligence, and other Philosophical Musings by a Student of Zen Buddhism (2019). His essays "Hobbits as Buddhists and an Eye for an "I" (2011) and "On the Conceivability of Artificially Created Enlightenment" (2005) appeared in the journal Buddhist-Christian Studies. He presented his essay "Infinite Games in the Age of Novelty" at the Consciousness in the Arts Conference in Aberystwyth, Wales in 2007, and his paper "Zen and Artificial Intelligence" at the Toward of Science of Consciousness Conference in Tucson, Arizona, in 2002. An occasional gallery artist (Telluride, CO), actor (SAG 1987, long expired), and coffeehouse musician; he is also the father of four remarkable daughters and has been a student of Zen Buddhism for over four decades.
A sequel to the popular Zen and the Brain further explores pivotal points of intersection in Zen Buddhism, neuroscience, and consciousness, arriving at a new synthesis of information from both neuroscience research and Zen studies. This sequel to the widely read Zen and the Brain continues James Austin's explorations into the key interrelationships between Zen Buddhism and brain research. In Zen-Brain Reflections, Austin, a clinical neurologist, researcher, and Zen practitioner, examines the evolving psychological processes and brain changes associated with the path of long-range meditative training. Austin draws not only on the latest neuroscience research and new neuroimaging studies but also on Zen literature and his personal experience with alternate states of consciousness. Zen-Brain Reflections takes up where the earlier book left off. It addresses such questions as: how do placebos and acupuncture change the brain? Can neuroimaging studies localize the sites where our notions of self arise? How can the latest brain imaging methods monitor meditators more effectively? How do long years of meditative training plus brief enlightened states produce pivotal transformations in the physiology of the brain? In many chapters testable hypotheses suggest ways to correlate normal brain functions and meditative training with the phenomena of extraordinary states of consciousness. After briefly introducing the topic of Zen and describing recent research into meditation, Austin reviews the latest studies on the amygdala, frontotemporal interactions, and paralimbic extensions of the limbic system. He then explores different states of consciousness, both the early superficial absorptions and the later, major "peak experiences." This discussion begins with the states called kensho and satori and includes a fresh analysis of their several different expressions of "oneness." He points beyond the still more advanced states toward that rare ongoing stage of enlightenment that is manifest as "sage wisdom." Finally, with reference to a delayed "moonlight" phase of kensho, Austin envisions novel links between migraines and metaphors, moonlight and mysticism. The Zen perspective on the self and consciousness is an ancient one. Readers will discover how relevant Zen is to the neurosciences, and how each field can illuminate the other.
The Prajnaparamita ("perfection of wisdom") sutras are one of the great legacies of Mahayana Buddhism, giving eloquent expression to some of that school's central concerns: the perception of shunyata, the essential emptiness of all phenomena; and the ideal of the bodhisattva, one who postpones his or her own enlightenment in order to work for the salvation of all beings. The Prajnaparamita literature consists of a number of texts composed in Buddhist India between 100 BCE and 100 CE. Originally written in Sanskrit, but surviving today mostly in their Chinese versions, the texts are concerned with the experience of profound insight that cannot be conveyed by concepts or in intellectual terms. The material remains important today in Mahayana Buddhism and Zen. Key selections from the Prajnaparamita literature are presented here, along with Thomas Cleary's illuminating commentary, as a means of demonstrating the intrinsic limitations of discursive thought, and of pointing to the profound wisdom that lies beyond it. Included are selections from: • The Scripture on Perfect Insight Awakening to Essence • The Essentials of the Great Scripture on Perfect Insight • Treatise on the Great Scripture on Perfect Insight • The Scripture on Perfect Insight for Benevolent Rulers • Key Teachings on the Great Scripture of Perfect Insight • The Questions of Suvikrantavikramin
To live life fully and die serenely—surely we all share these goals, so inextricably entwined. Yet a spiritual dimension is too often lacking in the attitudes, circumstances, and rites of death in modern society. Kapleau explores the subject of death and dying on a deeply personal level, interweaving the writings of Western religions with insights from his own Zen practice, and offers practical advice for the dying and their families.
Written by prominent scholars, this text covers rituals from the early Chan period to modern Japan and key developments that occurred in the Linji/Rinzai and Caodon/Soto schools. It describes how rituals mould the lives of its practitioners in accordance with the ideal of Zen awakening.
A fascinating, engaging, and unique memoir, this story covers John Coleman’s life after his cover is blown as a CIA agent in Asia in the late 1950s, leading him to embark on a vigorous pursuit of spiritual truth. In his travels through India, Burma, Japan, and Thailand, he encounters luminous teachers such as Krishnamurti, Maharishi, and D.T. Suzuki. Ultimately, his search for peace of mind and liberating insights comes to fruition in Yangon—also known as Rangoon—under the tutelage of the great Vipassana meditation master Sayagyi U Ba Khin.