By John Danvers
Via an research of many various examples, Danvers articulates a brand new state of mind approximately mysticism and scepticism, now not as contrary poles of the philosophical spectrum, yet as fields of enquiry with overlapping goals and strategies. caused by means of a deep experience of ask yourself at being alive, many mystics and sceptics, just like the Buddha, perform disciplines of doubt with a purpose to turn into freed from attachment to fastened appearances, essences and viewpoints, and in doing so that they locate peace and equanimity. They enhance methods of dwelling with impermanence and the unforeseen through letting move of adherence to dogmatic ideals and via postponing judgement. In universal with many artists and poets they act as brokers of uncertainty, actively nerve-racking the workouts and conduct of daily notion and behavior as a way to reveal the way to continue a feeling of stability and spontaneity in the middle of life's problems. subject matters explored contain: being and self as method; mysticism and language; scepticism and dogmatism; Buddhism, interdependence and vacancy; Daoism and impermanence; dialectics of doubt in artwork and poetry. Written in a full of life and obtainable kind, followed through drawings and pictures by means of the writer, this quantity is geared toward students, artists, academics, and a person attracted to philosophy, faith, artwork, poetry and methods of being.
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Extra resources for Agents of Uncertainty: Mysticism, Scepticism, Buddhism, Art and Poetry (Consciousness, Literature and the Arts, Volume 31)
In his writings about zazen or shikantaza, sitting meditation, Dogen argues that zazen involves neither any intention to think, in the usual sense of discursive reasoning and discriminating between one thing or idea and another, nor any intention not to think. Rather, in zazen, the meditator, “neither affirms nor denies, accepts nor rejects, believes nor disbelieves”, and in so doing becomes open to, or realises, the “presence of things as they are”. (ibid: 204) To sit in zazen is to be present, in the deepest and fullest sense of the words.
Above all that of Zen, seeks not to explain but to pay attention, to become aware, to be mindful, in other words to develop a certain kind of consciousness that is above and beyond deception by verbal formulas”. T. Suzuki: “Zen teaches nothing; it merely enables us to wake up and become aware. It does not teach, it points”. (ibid: 49-50) Elsewhere Merton writes in very similar language about 38 Agents of Uncertainty Christian contemplation as being “essentially a listening in silence”. (Merton 1973: 112) And this silence is the silence of the desert, the silence of emptiness – an emptiness full of “purity, freedom and indeterminateness of love”.
The language used is apophatic – full of paradoxes and reciprocal affirmations and negations. God is described as being in darkness, beyond or outside, rational thought and discursive language. The author argues that it is important “’to trample on’ thoughts that arise (even those about God), even when they ‘seem to be holy’”. (ibid: 60) In order to become conscious of God we have put away thoughts “deep down in the cloud of forgetting”, only then can we penetrate the “cloud of unknowing” between us and God.
Agents of Uncertainty: Mysticism, Scepticism, Buddhism, Art and Poetry (Consciousness, Literature and the Arts, Volume 31) by John Danvers