Saturday, May 10, 2014

Zen Throw Down: Top 10 Posts

Here are the top 10 Zen Throw Down posts, measured by page views. The titles are links to the posts. I'm happy to see that the most popular posts are those related to Zen Buddhism since that has become the core of the blog.

1. Do Zen Buddhists Believe in God? 
Number one by a big margin, this post arose from having been asked this question (or asking it of myself, I can't remember which). What struck me most about the question the first time it was posed was how odd it seemed to me that I had never given it any thought, despite having been practicing zazen and identifying as a Zen Buddhist for many years at that time. As I thought through my answer aloud, I was surprised at where I was led...and how quickly and easily I got there. The fact that I had not needed to answer the question before was part of what made the answer fairly obvious!

In the aftermath of coming up with my answer, I was not sure which is worse to deists: being an atheist or saying that the question of God's existence is not relevant. I will say that atheists may place more importance on the god/no-god question than I do, which seems a bit strange. Atheists may have dismissed god philosophically but enthroned him politically.

Of course, I understand why the issue is important for atheists (and others) from a social and legal (and political) perspective. In the United States, which is founded on the concepts of separation of church and state and freedom of religion, we unfortunately find ourselves more often than ever having to tangle with the Christian god in the secular realm. I believe that this flare-up of activist Christianity is a sign that religion - at least the dogmatic, repressive kind - is losing it's grip on United States citizens. And I think the dogmatists know it.

If this question (or my post about it) is interesting, make sure you also check out the follow-up post: Do Zen Buddhists Believe in God? (Part 2). This one is my attempt to apply the ideas of the first post to some of the "big issues" in life. Both posts received excellent (albeit anonymous) comments and input from visitors to the blog.

2. Zen Buddhism and Existentialism
Wherein I propose that Existentialists are depressed Zen Buddhists.

3. Concrete Poetry
Includes Pedro Xisto's Ephitalamiun. (I'm sure the hits to this page are due entirely to that fact!)

the edition of the Mumonkan that I use
4. Mumonkan, Koan 14: Nansen Cuts the Cat in Two
Happy to see so many posts related to my working through the Mumonkan are receiving hits. I don't think I ever got over my doubts abut the wisdom of posting my 'solutions' to these koans on Zen Throw Down, but I'm obviously not as worried about it as I was at the outset.

5. Mumonkan, Koan 18: Tozan's 'Masagin'

6. Mumonkan, Koan 13: Tokusan Holds His Bowls

7. Mumonkan, Koan 12: Zuigan Calls His Master
This one contained - for me - some valuable cautions for the solo practitioner.

8. Jean-Paul Sartre - 'The Wall'
Excellent short story and introduction to Sartre and his philosophy.

9. Mumonkan, Koan 6: The Buddha Holds Out a Flower

10. Mumonkan, Koan 12 (continued): Loose Marble
We can make great progress when we fail to progress. The original koan post is #7 in this list, and the haiku I wrote and reference is here.

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