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The secret

The secret
September 10, 2013, 10:13:22 PM
Two Zen monks, a young and a patriarch, walk on a desert plateau. The young appointed asks: "Master, I want to know what is the secret, what is the silence?" The patriarch remains silent and continues on its way, followed by the young disciple that repeats: "Master, Master, what is the secret, what is the silence?" They reach the edge of a cliff. A tree is overlooking the empty almost at horizontal. The old monk commanded his young friend: «Walk on balance along this branch." The young monk cautiously advances above empty. "Now, the patriarch said, stop, get down, bite quickly the branch between your teeth and hang up in the wind like the green fruit that you are!" The young monk, very nervous but much disciplined obeys his master, and soon he is hanging above the empty, held only by its own jaws. "Now, said the master, tell me, what is the secret, what the silence?
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” -Krishnamurti

''I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.''  -Hippolyte Taine

Re: The secret
September 10, 2013, 10:36:51 PM
The Zen master seems a bit irresponsible.
Squawk!

Re: The secret
September 10, 2013, 11:18:04 PM
The disciple seems way too obedient.

Re: The secret
September 11, 2013, 12:44:29 AM
obedience!!!


this reminds me :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Devil_and_Miss_Prym

(checked for the complete book).

Re: The secret
September 11, 2013, 01:06:06 AM
Does this mean to say that what can truly be known can't be spoken of? As soon as it is, it stops being what it is. As much as we can know, it isn't half as much as the one great reality faced in death.

Re: The secret
September 11, 2013, 01:11:14 AM
Where did you find this lost_wanderer?

Re: The secret
September 11, 2013, 01:14:45 AM
Very interesting.

Re: The secret
September 11, 2013, 03:18:25 AM
Where did you find this lost_wanderer?

I think it was on a site they put citations on different subjects. I don't remember wich one. It was in french. I have translate it the best I could.

 The quote supposedly  from the book of :Marc de Smedt, Éloge du silence, Albin Michel, Espaces Libres, 1999, p.243. 

In english the title mean ''Eulogy of silence.


Does this mean to say that what can truly be known can't be spoken of? As soon as it is, it stops being what it is. As much as we can know, it isn't half as much as the one great reality faced in death.

It's a good interpretation.

The disciple seems way too obedient.

Or maybe he is too obsessed with gaining knowledge so he will do anything in order to obtain it.
But I don't think it meant to be taken litterally
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” -Krishnamurti

''I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.''  -Hippolyte Taine

Re: The secret
September 11, 2013, 03:33:49 AM
An interpretation could be that the lack of silence  of the mind can kill your soul if you are on a spiritual quest. But this abstract notion can be hard to understand so a more ''physical'' approach can be needed to somes.
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” -Krishnamurti

''I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.''  -Hippolyte Taine

Re: The secret
September 11, 2013, 09:10:03 AM

The disciple seems way too obedient.

Or maybe he is too obsessed with gaining knowledge so he will do anything in order to obtain it.
But I don't think it meant to be taken litterally
What about: An obsession with knowledge is obedience to an irresponsible master?

This interpretation is both literal and abstract. In fact, I don't think it's an interpretation at all: It's more of a description.

To interpret means to look for the knowledge 'behind' something. If we are to believe the zen-master, such an approach will lead one to dangerous places.

Re: The secret
September 11, 2013, 03:38:26 PM
The master is illustrating to the disciple how  the Secret cannot be told, it must be done. It is something that cannot be passed from one mind to another; each mind must absorb it from a source outside of the mind.

It is a standard occult concept. At once strange and not strange to find it reflected in Zen.

Re: The secret
September 11, 2013, 04:21:57 PM
The story illustrates quite well the dangers of being either a 'master' or a 'student'.
The master can get carried away with his own standing, becoming a tyrant, while the student desires what he assumes the master has, so much, that it may get him killed.
Squawk!

Re: The secret
September 11, 2013, 05:29:53 PM
Why the assumption that the master intends to inflict violence on the student? Or the assumption that the student is the master's bitch?

I can't see that the assumption is incorrect, I just wonder where it comes from.

Re: The secret
September 11, 2013, 05:46:04 PM
I just wonder why you see assumptions where there are none.
There are dangers inherent in the master/student relationship.
Squawk!

Re: The secret
September 11, 2013, 06:36:08 PM
I see assumptions as I make them, and if I'm wrong then I'm wrong; no harm, no fowl. ;)  It's a messy but efficient way of learning for me.

I didn't think of inherent dangers in the master/student relationship. Probably I assumed that theirs was an altruistic relationship to serve as foil for the lesson, because when it comes to fables and Zen, underhanded dominance through explotation of authority is not a theme that springs to mind.

I also didn't see the student as being in any mortal peril. Obviously he would not open his mouth while biting the tree and surely the master would know that of his own student. Psychopathic Zen masters are new to me but you learn something new every day.