Friday Fish Wrap, 20080530

Hooray! It is payday! Time to take care of the bills.

I had a fun Week up in Tacoma, helping out another Marine with some technical stuff I wont bore you all with. It did keep me busy and engaged though.

I met Ted, from the Flatbed Sutra while up here. Nice guy. We shared tea, dinner and chat; all had a good time.

It will be good to get back down south to Vancouver and get in some much needed tickle time with the wife and kids, cut the grass and pull weeds.

16 days till the promotion board message comes out. 1240 days left in the Corps if I don’t get promoted.

Slow news week.

Be well,


oxeye said...

good luck with the promotion board depending on how you want it to go..
a slow news week is usually a pretty good week.. at least for me it is. take care.

SlowZen said...

Thanks Jeff,
I think so too!

Carol said...


Sorry I haven't posted lately and haven't been checking in. Trying to adjust to being back home and getting things ready for Dad's party. Lots to do but still picking berries--36 pts. this morning!

Love your pictures, especially the frog!!!

A friend of ours died this week--gifted, talented, 59 yrs. old--sober for nearly 2 yrs.--went back out--in hospital--let go from his job--apparently threw in the towel and gave in to the disease.

Baffling, cunning, powerful. So frightening--and his field was drug abuse!

We will miss him.

Miss you and looking forward to your visit.



SlowZen said...

Hi Mom,
Check in when you can. Sounds like your busy, I certainly understand that.
I am so sad to here about your friend.

Stay strong, I'll see you soon.

Yamakoa said...

Hello Jordan,
Thank you for "froggin" in at my post on "flatbed sutra" the other day. I was away and have not been able to continue this train of thought that I grapple with.

I feel it is maybe more appropriate to continue here if it is ok with you. I do not wish to "hijack" the posts on Ted's blog.

You wrote "your question seems to implicate that the brain is separate from the absolute.
This bag of bones is the absolute, along with everything else."

What you stated is exactly how I feel. Everything is an expression of the absolute. "Mind" is also an expression of the absolute. But as we know it, for "Mind" to exist or better yet manifest, this "Mind" functions as a condition of the brain (nervous system) which functions because the conditions allow "this bag of bones" to manifest. This "bag" functions because of a enumerable conditions that allow it to manifest.

What I was replying to was that this "Mind" can only exist because of the conditions that it needs. As of now (point of evolution in this universe), what we refer to as "Mind" or "Consciousness" is a result of having a healthy functioning brain. Which as stated before, relies on everything else. If this is the case, then "Mind" is bound by conditions, contrary to what "Loiue Wing stated.

I feel that this is in accord with dependent origination and also with some of the other teachings of "Old Shak and his Peeps." I also feel we must take care and not refer to this "Mind" as some other substitute for what other cultures refer to as a "Soul" (existing outside of all known conditions and never changing substance).

If one wishes to speak allegorical or poetically about this (Mind) manifestation of the Absolute, that is fine. I happen to think it is beautiful. It is an expression of the ineffable. I am just vigilant when something "smacks" me of one thing and it is truly another.

Yamakoa said...

I just realized I hijacked your posts. I hope you dont "Mind" ;->

SlowZen said...


Feel free to jump in anytime.. this might seem like a tangent, so my apologies to start with.
I am fairly sure everything “Known” is (or has been) affected by conditions. However there is always the unknown that should not be left out. This unknown is the present moment, which I feel is critical, that while indeed affected by conditions is also somewhat random. I have heard a good description of this as “Like a pea balancing on a razors edge” or also the first step in causation (sometimes called “Ignorance” or as I prefer, chaos) for those studied up on the old stuff. A side note that I feel this is where our freedom to act falls in that chain of causation; without which we would be bound by predetermination, which I feel is a wrong view. Consciousness or “mind” is not involved until the fourth link in that chain. So where is our consciousness or “Mind” then?

This can be pretty tough stuff to penetrate, and a lot of people have written some lengthy explanations of it. I think I wrote something related to this subject a little while ago. All of these teachings are interconnected, Time, Karma, cause and effect, dependant origination.

I think I just blew a brain gasket.

Something for your consideration,

Yamakoa said...

I think you may have also blown my gasket! I will sit and ponder. I wanted though to take a stab at your question ("Consciousness of "mind" is not involved until the fourth link in that chain. So where is our consciousness of 'Mind" then').

If we look at the five skandhas or aggregates, the Fifth is the aggregate of Consciousness. The other four being Matter, Sensation, Perception, Mental Formation (Karma). Without delving to deeply into the five aggregates, the buddha did state unequivocally that consciousness depends on matter, sensation, perception, and mental formation. Reflecting on this (although I am only an amateur) I find the same conclusions.

In other areas , Shak's teaching seem to reflect this teaching of "I" as just a convenient nomenclature for this amalgam of the five aggregates. Each one of these skandhas are constantly changing and are impermanent. That is why I previously stated that without the proper conditions, what we normally refer to "Mind" or "Consciousness" can not manifest. Even when it does manifest, it is alway changing and in flux. And when the conditions are no longer present, "it will also no longer be present.

In the 12 steps of conditioned genesis, the second condition states through volitional activities, is conditioned consciousness and through consciousness are conditioned mental and physical phenomena (step three). WOW, The Buddhas seem to infer that it is consciousness that gives rise and conditions mental and physical manifestations. I find this particularly fascinating as it goes against what we normally think of as the root cause.

Many humans and almost all scientist and doctors, believe that is our highly sophisticated nervous system that gives rise to "Consciousness." I can understand why. If one has ever work with traumatic injuries to the brain or patients that have suffered strokes, one will notice immediately that their sense of self awareness, ability to relate to the world or themselves and cognition has totally gone askew. In addition, the medical establishment has now defined death as the cessation of brain function. Why? Various answers, but I believe it is because self awareness and cogniton is present in almost any other organ failure (at least until you deteriorate). One can loose their eyes, limbs, have transplanted hearts and lungs and still, that one thing determining "consciousness" is still present. Not so with the brain. At least up until now. I will leave room for the unknown.

What the buddha and his ilk propose is a radical departure from this way of interpreting oneself. I personally do not have a problem or see a conflict with this reasoning. It is like asking what came first, chicken or egg. My only conflict arises when it is stated that "Mind or Consciousness" is without limit or conditions. Unless speaking as a manifestation of the Absolute.

From one gasket to the other

SlowZen said...

Sounds reasonable to me.

Take care,

SlowZen said...

Hrmmm, then again, all this conceptualization is taking place within the mind…

Anonymous said...

A wise old owl lived in an oak
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can't we all be like that wise old bird?

Answer: Because we are monkeys.

SlowZen said...


I am with you until the monkeys part. Had you said apes...

Anonymous said...

Yes.. of course, apes.. I meant apes. lapse of mindfulness. I was thinking about my banana when I should have been thinking of what I wanted to write. Blame it on my monkey mind.

SlowZen said...


Thanks for looking!