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Face toward the wall

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — Hezekiah’s Bodhidharma Zen? ]
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Bodhidharma sat in meditation nine years facing the cave wall, so we have heard.

Fly fishing with Trump, Priebus and Suzuki Roshi

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — or fly swatting, fly watching, in white house and zendo ]
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Trump once summoned Priebus to kill a fly in Oval Office: report

A source told The Washington Post that once during an Oval Office meeting, a fly began buzzing around Trump’s head, distracting him. Trump eventually summoned Priebus and told him to kill the fly. As a senior White House staffer, the chief of staff would not ordinarily be tasked with such matters.

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I was going to write something about the fly being the buzzing, distracting thought that disturbs the quiet of meditation — but hey, I’m not a zen master, I just play one, as the saying goes..

Shunryu Suzuki, om the other hand, just might be the real thing, and in his book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, on pp 68-69 he leaves the question of the fly open:

A real-life situation not unlike the trolley problem

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — a koan for our western world ]
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This description of a patient with an aneurysm is from British neurosurgeon Henry Marsh‘s book, Do No Evil, excerpted here:

If we did nothing the patient might eventually suffer a haemorrhage which would probably cause a catastrophic stroke or kill her. But then she might die years away from something else without the aneurysm ever having burst. She was perfectly well at the moment, the headaches for which she had had the scan were irrelevant and had got better. The aneurysm had been discovered by chance. If I operated I could cause a stroke and wreck her – the risk of that would probably be about four or ?ve per cent. So the acute risk of operating was roughly similar to the life­time risk of doing nothing. Yet if we did nothing she would have to live with the knowledge that the aneurysm was sitting there in her brain and might kill her any moment.

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The trolley problem: should you pull the lever to divert the runaway trolley onto the side track?

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What would Jesus do?

  • neurosurgery?
  • trolley?
  • What would Bodhidharma do?
    What would Solomon do?
    Can we really transport ourselves that far back in time and that far across in culture?
    What would the outcome be if Somerset Maugham were telling this tale?
    What would you do?

    I am so thankful I am not a neurosurgeon.

    Zen (ie dhyana, ch’an, not Mark!) is supposed, somehow — via koan practice — to prepare you for situations like the neurosurgical one described above.

    That brings salvation vividly into the here and now.

    More to the somewhat right, Zenpundit

    Friday, June 9th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — second of two posts ]
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    And here’s the second of two posts, one from myself and one from Zen, both about today’s Comey testimony — in an initial attempt at balance in response to our friend Scott observing:

    This blog has been getting a little partisan since November…can we go back to being a little more objective?

    I don’t suppose Zen will mind my making a post of it here, since he posted it en plein air / en clair on FaceBook himself:

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    The Comey testimony is amazing on a number of levels.

    My initial read is that the President didn’t obstruct justice in a legal sense but his actions in attempting to influence the investigation of General Flynn provide more than a theoretical ground for an article of impeachment.

    Historically that is not going to get you a conviction in the Senate by itself. Not even in a Democratic Senate, without other articles and clear evidence supporting them. Which is why Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton finished their terms after being impeached and Richard Nixon resigned even before articles could be voted upon.

    The GOP has a POTUS who is out of control in the sense that he won’t accept normal staff assistance and advice to avoid transgressing obvious red lines in the daily conduct of his office.

    The last administration inappropriately tried to influence Comey in an investigation too – but note that the President personally didn’t wheedle him. There’s good reasons he didn’t. While the type of convo between Comey and Trump was common with J. Edgar Hoover and US Presidents, ever since Watergate this has been understood to be suspect behavior at best and a red line to be avoided.

    If Trump continues as he has done he will soon be in dire straits and all the complaints about hyper partisan media and Never Trump/Obama mole leakers will not matter, no matter how accurate

    Sunday surprise: Paul Ryan

    Sunday, May 7th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — Paul Ryan and friends, plus dogs, pants, tardigrades, and the quantum cat ]
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    Kyle Matthews provides his Twitter followers with a fine example of a visual DoubleQuote, which I’m reproducing here with the two images at the best magnification for Zenpundit:

    If Paul Ryan and company were performing a re-enactment, they could scarcely have done a better job!

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    On a more serious note.. Paul Ryan gave a presentation of his health care plan, which CNN brings you complete, thus:

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    Less seriously again though, as Time reports, The Internet Is Having a Field Day Turning Paul Ryan’s Health Care PowerPoint Into Hilarious Memes. This one in particular caught my eye:

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    Take a closer look at that slide. It’s amost a koan do dogs have pant-nature?

    Sometimes imagining yourself into the scene helps solve the conundrum:

    Or applying it to another koan:

    Or applying it to the lovely but somewhat complex tardigrade..

    Hey, you could always reduce it to the quantum level..

    — probably — but not once the wave-form collapses..

    Canadians, however, got all practical and entrepreneurial, with a company called Muddy Mutts:

    Oh, and cute:

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    With any luck, I took your mind off politics for a moment there..


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