Buddhists and riddles

Discussion in 'Buddhism' started by voiceofwood, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. voiceofwood

    voiceofwood Interfaith Forums

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2014
    Messages:
    192
    Likes Received:
    0
    1st riddle, you are correct in thinking that it is about getting stuck or fixated on method

    2nd I don't see how this is connected with the clue but it is about he difference between looking and seeing
     
  2. stranger

    stranger wolfwing, a feral angel

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2013
    Messages:
    892
    Likes Received:
    308
    To try once again, from a different perspective... :)

    The faculties of both men are brought to focus on one object, standing in the middle of a field, conspicuous due to the absence of its like in said field. This contrast should make for clarity, right? The simple identification of the object. But not so fast.

    How does one make such identifications? He works from concepts that already exist in the mind. He has learned a certain way of relating to his world, if not from formal education, at least by a sort of mental osmosis through relating to other human beings. The eye takes in a retinal image, and the mind associates it to a proper concept. That concept is then expressed in language (in English at least), as "tree".

    One man looks, one man sees. The man who looks, also sees. The man who sees, also looks. Looking and seeing are but concepts too. The difference between these and the tree in this riddle is the lack of contrast. We find ourselves dumbfounded because the concepts of looking and seeing have blurred boundaries and thus tend to defy proper categorization as separate things. In an attempt to understand them, we might tend to assign one a category which is superior to the other (as I did). So we tend to add contrast where perhaps none exists.

    In this sense, there is perhaps no difference between looking and seeing, but our minds will work hard to find that difference anyway, because... that is just what we do. :)
     
  3. voiceofwood

    voiceofwood Interfaith Forums

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2014
    Messages:
    192
    Likes Received:
    0
    1st two paragraphs are very good. What is the role of conceptualisation in perception?
     
  4. stranger

    stranger wolfwing, a feral angel

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2013
    Messages:
    892
    Likes Received:
    308
    Conceptualization brings order to that which is perceived. It's a tool or vehicle for navigating the sensible realm. I daresay it is also that which is comfortable to the creature and that which he naturally gravitates toward. Reduces the discomfort of mystery (I don't know) and concretizes that which is perceived into forms that can be mastered with the natural faculties. (I now know: I trust my perceptions).
     
  5. voiceofwood

    voiceofwood Interfaith Forums

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2014
    Messages:
    192
    Likes Received:
    0
    So then in a manner of speaking a concept is a category or a set. I cat is a member of the set of cats,etc
     
  6. voiceoftheshires

    voiceoftheshires Interfaith Forums

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2014
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    The 1st riddle the acolyte follows the instructions of the master, though the instruction be absurd. What then is the master trying to communicate to him

    The 2nd riddle, one perceives A tree, one perceives THE tree
     
  7. stranger

    stranger wolfwing, a feral angel

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2013
    Messages:
    892
    Likes Received:
    308
    The master is asking the acolyte to abandon all he knows or thinks he knows concerning the path to enlightenment. To start afresh, as a child, knowing nothing.

    The man who perceives "A" tree works with concepts, apprehending the tree by sense and assigning it to a set. Immediacy is lost, he sees not the tree as it is in the moment but as it appears via his concept. The man who perceives "The" tree, is able to see the tree as it really is in the moment, divorced from concepts. His apprehension of the tree is immediate, situation specific, and non-conceptual.

    Closer?
     
  8. theophony

    theophony God Sounds. Agape.

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't know about some of these interpretations of the second riddle. From what I've learned, all Buddhist "riddles," in Zen, they are called ko'ans, are meant to bring the riddle-breaker into mindfulness of the present moment.

    Here's my interpretation of the riddle: the man who looks, sees the tree and the tree brings him into mindfulness. The man who sees, already being mindful, looks at the tree as a part of his very mindfulness. Thus, the two men are bodhisattvas together at that moment. They can each bow to the tree and to each other, saying, "a lotus for you, a buddha"
     

Share This Page