Alan Watts on meditation

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clyde
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Alan Watts on meditation

Post by clyde » Fri Apr 12, 2019 6:22 pm

For some of us older practitioners Alan Watts was an early, if not ‘official’, Zen influence. I came upon this video in which Alan discusses meditation or “What happens If You Stop Talking To Yourself All The Time:

“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

“The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful.” Pema Chodron, “What to Do When the Going Gets Rough”

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Larry
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Re: Alan Watts on meditation

Post by Larry » Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:30 pm

Yes, it was Alan Watts & D.T. Suzuki for me.

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Re: Alan Watts on meditation

Post by Spike » Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:37 pm

Me too.

Relevant also to the "Who Are You?" thread is a Watts quote, which I value, to the effect that the outline of an object is the inline of its background.

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Re: Alan Watts on meditation

Post by Great Sage EofH » Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:49 am

My 1967-1972 readings: I'm not sure I read D.T.Suzuki, Alan Watts The Way of Zen, yes, I particularly liked his Joyous Cosmology, and also Aldous Huxley Perennial Philosophy, i also read Ernest Wood's Yoga, The Sufis by Idries Shah, Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda, Paul Reps, Zen Flesh Zen Bones, I even read the now rare Science of Being and Art of Living by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Monday Night Class Steven Gaskin, a book Reaches of Heaven: The Story of the Baal Shem Tov by Isaac Bashevis singer, Be Here Now by Baba Ram Das, Politics of Ecstacy Tim Leary, Art of Yoga, Art of Tantra Ajit Mookerjee, Tassajara Bread Book Edward Espe Brown and more...in 1972 i started into TM and lost my curiousity but did read Bhagavad Gita, Whole Earth catalog, etc. etc.
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Re: Alan Watts on meditation

Post by Crystal » Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:59 pm

.

Doesn't it bother anyone here that he was a known alcoholic? I can remember reading somewhere that as well as taking recreational drugs, he drank a bottle of vodka a day.

I also watched a couple of videos of him a few years ago - and my opinion was that he seemed to be a phony from my part of the world, who was talking gobbledegook with a posh accent!

Sorry folks, just being honest! :110:


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Re: Alan Watts on meditation

Post by fuki » Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:22 pm

Crystal wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:59 pm
Doesn't it bother anyone here that he was a known alcoholic? I can remember reading somewhere that as well as taking recreational drugs, he drank a bottle of vodka a day.
I'm not very familiar with him, but I know he inspired a lot of people so (like everyone) that was his service I figure.
Regarding alcoholism, not perse (in general don't know much about Alan) some habits of the body may remain, that doesn't automatically make what he said all bullshit, but again a "teacher's" job is mostly inspiring folks to use their own Wisdom (eye) so even a "bad" teacher can do more good then a "good" one, was he ever officially a teacher though within a specific religion? (I mean Watts) It's different (for me) when teachers don't practise what they preach, the occassional video I came across of Alan I saw nothing which I found to be misdirectional, I thought it was only to inspire people not specifically analyzing his words, I never felt a click with Alan but that means nothing, "people" who have lighted my match do nothing for others, you never know what or who can water your seed, so I'm sure Alan has been important to many, it's never about the person for me (since there are no persons in reality, but sure I can be critical about certain behaviour too, alcoholism isn't something I frown upon, unless if alcoholism meant he was violent to his wife or anyone in his surroundings, then I might have an "opinion" about it, but he's gone so it does't really matter.)
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Re: Alan Watts on meditation

Post by Spike » Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:31 pm

Crystal wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:59 pm
Doesn't it bother anyone here that he was a known alcoholic?
Yes, it certainly is a terrible shame. I have nothing but sympathy and well wishes for persons with this disease. I am glad to have worked as a group psychotherapist in a drug and alcohol rehab clinic. I have a perspective from this experience on this particular population, and I am proud to have served them.
I also watched a couple of videos of him a few years ago - and my opinion was that he seemed to be a phony from my part of the world, who was talking gobbledegook with a posh accent!
My very first zen book was Watts' The Way of Zen. It was a positive influence and led to my second read, Zen Mind, Beginners's Mind by Suzuki roshi.

I have nothing negative against the memory of this man at all.

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Re: Alan Watts on meditation

Post by fuki » Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:36 pm

ps whenever I see a photo of Alan Watts it reminds me of Terence Gray (Wei Wu Wei)
someone I did have a click with.

Here's a nice essay on him.
https://westernmystics.wordpress.com/20 ... ei-wu-wei/

bits and pieces from his books
http://weiwuwei.mysite.com/bits.html

perhaps those who know Alan Watts better can say if matches his vision.
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Re: Alan Watts on meditation

Post by fuki » Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:42 pm

Spike wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:31 pm

Yes, it certainly is a terrible shame. I have nothing but sympathy and well wishes for persons with this disease. I am glad to have worked as a group psychotherapist in a drug and alcohol rehab clinic. I have a perspective from this experience on this particular population, and I am proud to have served them.
Yes good point, I know people who have the illness who did manage to stop drinking and others never did, the one's suffering from that condition and can't stop drinking doesn't mean they're suddenly no worth as a zen teacher (or whatever arena) the idea that a perfect teacher has overcome or 'liberated' certain conditions is a myth, in the same way limbs don't grow back after "awakening" lol
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Re: Alan Watts on meditation

Post by avisitor » Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:48 pm

If one focus on stopping the internal dialogue then it is the same as the iron rod method
(Please do not actually do this) Take an iron rod and smack one's head to stop the talking. Done.
But, no great bliss, no enlightenment, no nirvana, no kensho
Just a roaring splitting headache
Meditation is not about stopping the talking in one's head

As for Alan Watts, he was what some needed to continue their journey
There are many along this journey who will help
And some that will not be so much help
Hopefully, one will know which is which
And travel the right road

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Re: Alan Watts on meditation

Post by fuki » Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:10 pm

avisitor wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:48 pm
Meditation is not about stopping the talking in one's head
What talking in one's head? The only talking I witness is coming from the oven! :lol:

But all kidding aside (said the oven) thoughts arise due to conditions so there's no such thing as MY or YOUR thoughts, nevertheless when we speak about a self-narrative, it's best to "stop" that, in the sense of not looking at it, like right now you aren't looking at a Rembrandt in some museum, a self-narrative can only happen by creation of the deluded mind, linking succeeding thoughts together. So "let" the thoughts come and go but don't make a talk/narrative out of it, a story of "me" in time :lol:
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Re: Alan Watts on meditation

Post by KeithA » Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:26 pm

Spike wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:31 pm
Crystal wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:59 pm
Doesn't it bother anyone here that he was a known alcoholic?
Yes, it certainly is a terrible shame. I have nothing but sympathy and well wishes for persons with this disease. I am glad to have worked as a group psychotherapist in a drug and alcohol rehab clinic. I have a perspective from this experience on this particular population, and I am proud to have served them.

<snip>
:560:

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Re: Alan Watts on meditation

Post by Great Sage EofH » Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:34 pm

Watts had a very good intellectual knowledge of Zen nonetheless. To me that has some value, and I don't think he tried to make any outrageous claims about his attainment, like so many Buddhist teachers do. If he had, I'd be critical about it, as the intellect can very easily masquerade itself to emulate attainment. I wonder if that's all the majority of teachers in the West actually do.
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Re: Alan Watts on meditation

Post by [james] » Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:19 pm

Great Sage EofH wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:34 pm
... the intellect can very easily masquerade itself to emulate attainment. I wonder if that's all the majority of teachers in the West actually do.
Why do you wonder that? Zen, as taught “in the West”, would be a sham if such were the case. Is this what you are suggesting, or something else? Perhaps you could elaborate.

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Re: Alan Watts on meditation

Post by Great Sage EofH » Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:47 am

[james] wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:19 pm
Great Sage EofH wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:34 pm
... the intellect can very easily masquerade itself to emulate attainment. I wonder if that's all the majority of teachers in the West actually do.
Why do you wonder that? Zen, as taught “in the West”, would be a sham if such were the case. Is this what you are suggesting, or something else? Perhaps you could elaborate.
That's the crux of the difference between "enlightenment experience" and "Supreme Enlightenment" ~ nowadays both are rare so either will suffice

Actually I was casting a wide net in saying all Buddhist teachers in the West, not just specifically Zen. Okay, call me a cynic?
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Re: Alan Watts on meditation

Post by Larry » Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:19 am

Okay, you're a cynic :D

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Re: Alan Watts on meditation

Post by fuki » Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:28 am

Larry wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:19 am
Okay, you're a cynic :D
:lol:

Let's get....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxbfLpqJ6Hc#t=00m35s
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Re: Alan Watts on meditation

Post by Larry » Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:32 am

:lol:

Olivia seems to have overdone the vocal coaching :lol:

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Re: Alan Watts on meditation

Post by Nothing » Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:38 am

I have read his book "The Way of Zen" few years ago and I liked it. His writing style is very good, quite good intellectual understanding of Buddhism/Zen Buddhism, a very good thinker, philosopher, but he was not teacher or practitioner so there is a misleading information here and there about Buddhism/Zen Buddhism in his book.

D.T. Suzuku "Zen Buddhism" is much better book imo and one can see the difference between one who is practitioner and one who is not.

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Re: Alan Watts on meditation

Post by fuki » Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:39 am

Larry wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:32 am
Olivia seems to have overdone the vocal coaching :lol:
:lol:

A bit too much horizontal practise perhaps. :lol:
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