Such photography!!!! I loved it! I think your domehome is lovely and quite Zen. Did you take all those photographs, Amena? By the way your post on our most recent outbursts was wonderful. I think we might be like kids with a new toy we don't quite know how to play with yet...bless our hearts, each and every one.
I think we owe a lot to the Chinese and the Japanese. Those cultures, in their traditional forms, are really out there. For whatever reason, I never connected so well with India's spirituality, although she was the mother of the expressions of the Chinese and Japanese.
Dougy, I studied Oriental medicine...which is a truly amazing thing in both philosophy and action. It's interesting that (acupuncture) points that are used to kill in some forms of martial arts are the same points that are used to heal in the medicine. When you are taught to use Oriental medicine, you have to do Qi Gong, Tai Chi or some related form to learn meditatively to focus and direct your own chi, because that's what you use, whether you use needles or bodywork or visualization... just as you do in the martial arts. I have seen some truly amazing things done with each of these. Of course, all this is different from Healing, in the far more basic and profound way the Course uses the term. It's a physical form of medicine, although it works with energies western medicine doesn't even recognize. The martial arts are equally interesting, coming from the same system... and, it is my impression, never go beyond what Raj calls the choice for the most love, and never sit on the fence. Great stuff!!
Although I found Zen a wonderful thing, like all Buddhism, it is without the concept of the Father. Although I think the masters might not have called it the Father, it's pretty clear they connected with something there that was acknowledged in the most powerful, awakening terms. I guess I combine both in what I love to experience, and I absolutely think they are most compatible.
Shifting a little bit, before I was a Zen student, I was what might be called a Biblical scholars lurker. I read all kinds of books they wrote, some for the general public, and some that were so scholarly I didn't know what they were talking about half the time. But there was an interesting way they had of trying to determine what what was original to what Jesus said. First, they stripped out everything that had been said before, all the teachings of Judaism that predated Jesus. Then they stripped out all the references that included mention of the church, reasoning that the church post-dated Jesus. They took out all prophecy. It was not that Jesus might not have said, taught or prophesied these things, and they didn't discount them, they just wanted to isolate what was totally original to him. They looked at the linguistic aspect of the ancient texts, excluding anachronistic usages, stuff out of time, although most of that was beyond me, since I am not an ancient language scholar by any means. But this aspect included looking at stuff like the parable, a Jewish form that was never given metaphorical meanings like those that turn up in the gospels...i.e., the seeds that fell on barren ground=something else. Apparently, metaphorical meanings were a Greek thing. It went on and on, and was a study that started in the 1800's and continued way into the 20th century. In the end there were very interesting results. When everything was stripped out, what was left that the scholars felt was original to Jesus, started to sound a lot like ACIM. There was the concept of an immediacy, a call to transform, and the idea that it was the Father's will that would drive and inform this. It starts to sound like something Lao T'su would not be unfamiliar with. He would never talk about a Father, but his going-with-the-flow-of-the-Tao wasn't off the beam. Wonderful stuff.
Don't worry about your corner ensemble, Dougoz. Work it in! You know, I'm not a futon sort of girl. Too hard and uncomfortable. I have a very comfortable bed. Not soft, but comfortable. Just this weekend, I bought some wonderful sheets, Egyptian cotton and some great new pillows. (Always buy white sheets, by the way. No matter if the sheets are a solid color or patterned, colored sheets will always be scratchy.)Might seem over-luxuriating, but you know those cotton fibers grew in God's Kingdom and in fact are God, and I have no problem being held by them when I sleep.
Some time ago, I bought a set of Zen Tarot cards. There's a card in there that refers to "Zorba the Buddha." This character is about joy combined with discipline, not asceticism. The Buddha's middle way. The Buddhists say that discipline is about increasing one's joy, not diminishing it. Raj has said it's time to sober up, but I don't think he means not to take joy in simple pleasures at all. Enjoy your corner refuge!
I tell you what, if I ever get down to one bowl, that bowl will be a ravishingly beautiful thing. It might be the simplest wood, but I promise you it will have the mark of God on it.
The Navajos have a wonderful way of describing it..."Walk in Beauty."