The Zen Of Buk (1 Viewer)

I don't know a lot about Zen meditation but it kinda seems to me Buk was doing it without even realizing it. Those many nights after slaving away at some shit job, he would just lay there in bed in the dark, drinking, smoking, and just stare at the ceiling or dresser/drawer for hours. Also, when he was drinking in some bar, he describes just sitting there for hours and studying the grains of the wood of the bar and being acutely aware of the sounds around him. Even later on in his life, going up to his room at night and opening up a bottle of wine, smoking a cigar and listening to classical music, he would get into a "zen" state where he waited for the poems to come gushing out of him rather than him forcing them out.Probably why he took to practicing meditation those few months before he died. Then again, everything I just said could be complete bullshit.
 

ROC

It is what it is
Sadly, yes. The bullshit bit, I mean. ;)
To enter a meditative state in the Zen 'tradition' requires the elimination of external stimuli.
Smoking, drinking and listening to music would certainly not help one to achieve a state of samadhi or some such.
Having said that, I do see a link between his "don't try" approach and some Buddhist philosophies. Many of his of his later poems echo sentiments that are found in Buddhist literature.
I wonder what Linda's influence was in this respect?
I know he read the German philosophers... maybe he read some Indian, Chinese and/or Japanese stuff in translation too.
Who knows?
 

Father Luke

Founding member
I don't know a lot about Zen meditation...
I have a friend who practices what he calls NASCAR meditation.
What that involves is putting on a pair of head phones and listening to cars
racing around a track.

Works for him, and I don't know that I would ever tell him that the way he is
meditating is wrong.

Then there are the Monks, of whom it is said, they can hear the ash fall from
the incense as they meditate. What calm!

It's not too far a stretch for me to feel the same way about Bukowski.
Thinking of him, his day, and his cigars. Then, later, his Beedis.
 

ROC

It is what it is
Linking the "10 easy questions" post and this one...
His response to question 2;
"Drink and fuck, eat and shit, sleep, stay clothed, stay alive, stay away from guns and mass-ideals and mass-history and find whatever single truth might be found in a single man so that when the so-called mass-truths and ideals and ideas decay again that he (the poet) and they (the tricked) can have more to hold than rubble and rot and tombstones and treachery and the waste of hysteria and Time."
In the late 60's, early 70's there was a guy called Seung Sahn who wrote and said "Just do it" many, many years before Nike got hold of it as an advertising slogan.
Don't try, the above, just do it... he tapped into an existing philosophy whether he was conscious of it or not.

Great question procrastinator!
 
Yeah, maybe I jumped the gun on posting that thread. It's just that I started reading this book called Hard Core Zen by Brad Warner. A punk rocker who got into zen and has been doing it for many years now. It's written in a fairly honest and no-bullshit style but the more I read the less interested in zen I become. Maybe Buk (along with getting drunk) wasn't doing zen-meditation but definitely "tuning-out" into some state.
 

ROC

It is what it is
Post Modern.
A central tenet being that all competing theories are equally valid.
i.e - bullshit.
 

mjp

Founding member
I don't think post modernism is clearly enough defined to have any central tenets. Maybe you are referring to a post modern philosophy that holds that things can't be clearly defined in black and whit terms...but it's a bit of a stretch to go from that to stating that all theories are equally valid. I've never heard that in relation to post modernism.

Anyway, I use it in more of the artistic or cultural sense. That ironic, winking kind of hey-we're-all-so-cool-wearing-these-awful-plastic-baseball-hats-and-$300-70's-tshirts kind of hyper awareness and nothing means anything because everything is insincere smirking bullshit.

So yeah, we agree that it's bullshit.
 

ROC

It is what it is
I don't think post modernism is clearly enough defined to have any central tenets. Maybe you are referring to a post modern philosophy that holds that things can't be clearly defined in black and whit terms...but it's a bit of a stretch to go from that to stating that all theories are equally valid. I've never heard that in relation to post modernism.

Sure... I'm not being entirely serious here.
Post Modern in the sense that we are post modern man... as in the era... if you like.
A sociological phenomena I witness almost daily... a clinging to the belief that if I don't criticize your opinions, hopefully I won't be called upon to defend my own. The 'touchy feely' "no body is wrong" kind of stance.
I should have said "a central tenet of which seems to be".

Father Luke... I'm not saying this in relation to you. No flames please :eek:

Anyway, I use it in more of the artistic or cultural sense. That ironic, winking kind of hey-we're-all-so-cool-wearing-these-awful-plastic-baseball-hats-and-$300-70's-tshirts kind of hyper awareness and nothing means anything because everything is insincere smirking bullshit.

So yeah, we agree that it's bullshit.

Exactly.
 
P

postino

To enter a meditative state in the Zen 'tradition' requires the elimination of external stimuli.
Smoking, drinking and listening to music would certainly not help one to achieve a state of samadhi or some such.
I disagree. Smoking at least, has a place in zen. Incense is always burned to alleviate the experience. Drinking, not so much, but the fact that Bukowski inundated his life with the doctrine of having no desires makes him a yogi of sorts.
 

ROC

It is what it is
It's not a question of agreement or otherwise postino.
Zen mediation as practised and taught in Japan has very clear guide lines, none of which permit the use of drugs. Incense is burned, but it is not a drug (as tobacco is) and is not deliberately inhaled.
Drink just goes without saying.
In so far as Buk living his life in a manner that seemed to place little or no importance on possessions and being true to his self-defined purpose... I couldn't agree more.
A yogi of sorts? He has certainly taught me some valuable lessons!

Of course people can pray to whomever they want in whatever manner they want. But you don't take drugs and call it Zen meditation, just like you don't screw 12 year old boys and still call yourself a catholic priest.

Oh.... wait a minute...
 
P

postino

really? I think Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and many others would disagree. Drugs have always been part and parcel with meditation.PERIOD Opium incense and hashish are often burned in the meditation rooms, at other times, sandalwood, and other such types are burned. Certain vedantic societies don't ascribe to psychotropic herbs, but Japanese medicine in particular is based on consciousness altering herbs.
 

Father Luke

Founding member
In the NASCAR meditation above, fossil fuel was being burned.
The meditator was drug free, however.

Or is that too pomo?
I can't keep up with you kids.
 

ROC

It is what it is
really? I think Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and many others would disagree. Drugs have always been part and parcel with meditation.PERIOD Opium incense and hashish are often burned in the meditation rooms, at other times, sandalwood, and other such types are burned. Certain vedantic societies don't ascribe to psychotropic herbs, but Japanese medicine in particular is based on consciousness altering herbs.

Not pomo... but you're one funny mofo!
Drugs have been part of meditation (Labelled 'Zen') in the west... maybe even always...maybe.
But guess what? Zen Buddhism is just a little older than Ginsberg or Kerouac.

If you are basing your knowledge of Zen on 1960's American culture, you are going to come off looking like a twit every time.
 

mjp

Founding member
really? I think Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and many others would disagree. Drugs have always been part and parcel with meditation.PERIOD Opium incense and hashish are often burned in the meditation rooms, at other times, sandalwood, and other such types are burned. Certain vedantic societies don't ascribe to psychotropic herbs, but Japanese medicine in particular is based on consciousness altering herbs.
But medicine and meditation aren't the same thing, are they. My great, great grandmother was an Oglala Sioux Indian, and a pocketful of most of her medicines would probably land you prison these days. So yeah, medicine has a long (continuing) history of consciousness altering as healing. But I think most Buddhists might have a problem with the statement, "Drugs have always been part and parcel with meditation."

Interpreting Eastern philosophy based on what hippies did (wasn't Kerouac just a hippie with a haircut?) seems like shaky ground.
 
P

postino

Not pomo... but you're one funny mofo!
Drugs have been part of meditation (Labelled 'Zen') in the west... maybe even always...maybe.
But guess what? Zen Buddhism is just a little older than Ginsberg or Kerouac.

If you are basing your knowledge of Zen on 1960's American culture, you are going to come off looking like a twit every time.
Kerouac and Ginsberg are just examples of zen practitioners who used drugs. If there's one thing I know about the practice, it's that the monks must achieve a reasonable balance, the middle path, for many the most important tenet of Buddhism. There's no other buddhism to practice that's secular than Zen Buddhism, so the fact that Bukowski practiced the middle path and the doctrine of having no desires makes him very zen.

and Zen's not Japanese, it's Chinese. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen
 

ROC

It is what it is
Kerouac and Ginsberg are just examples of zen practitioners who used drugs. If there's one thing I know about the practice, it's that the monks must achieve a reasonable balance, the middle path, for many the most important tenet of Buddhism. There's no other buddhism to practice that's secular than Zen Buddhism, so the fact that Bukowski practiced the middle path and the doctrine of having no desires makes him very zen.

and Zen's not Japanese, it's Chinese. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen

Your argument is highly spurious.
If we use your reasoning we can say John Coltrane and Charlie Parker used drugs and played Jazz. Therefore taking drugs is integral to the art of Jazz...
Some cyclists use performance enhancing drugs, therefore taking performance enhancing drugs is integral to cycling.
It's just so much hot air.
60's American 'counter culture' has as much to do with the practice of Zen as lemon chicken has to do with Chinese food.

Incidentally, the burning of incense in the meditation hall is to mark time (each stick lasting 45 minutes).
 
P

postino

Your argument is highly spurious.
If we use your reasoning we can say John Coltrane and Charlie Parker used drugs and played Jazz. Therefore taking drugs is integral to the art of Jazz...
It is. Almost all great jazz is created under the influence of drugs.

ROC said:
Some cyclists use performance enhancing drugs, therefore taking performance enhancing drugs is integral to cycling.
It's just so much hot air.
There's addiction involved in everything. In Cycling, the addiction is to the chemicals released by exercise.

ROC said:
60's American 'counter culture' has as much to do with the practice of Zen as lemon chicken has to do with Chinese food.
Lemon chicken is chinese food. Chinese food is lemon chicken, what's your point?

ROC said:
Incidentally, the burning of incense in the meditation hall is to mark time (each stick lasting 45 minutes).

But it's also nice that the incense causes an effect, but that's just the zen of it isn't it?
 

ROC

It is what it is
Oh I get it!
I thought you were being serious!
Now I'm sure you are just joking around.


Either that or you have shit for brains.

Good luck.
 
P

postino

Oh I get it!
I thought you were being serious!
Now I'm sure you are just joking around.


Either that or you have shit for brains.

Good luck.


well, I lost track of what exactly we were talking about. Back on topic, I think that Bukowski can get away with being zen because he was terribly poor, and his drug use could be seen as a way to transcend his extreme poverty. You can't always transcend extreme poverty with meditation.
 
Bukowski was living in extreme poverty ???

It's not only the first I've heard of it, but it's also an insult to those that genuinely are.
 
P

postino

is there a debit of good information on Bukowski in England? He spent the first half of his life sleeping on benches and the second half living in the projects. I would call that extreme poverty.
 

ROC

It is what it is
You mean 'deficit' prepostino.
And you being a writer n'all!

Oh, and relax dogdice... I think we have established by now that preposterous boy has no idea.
 
the FBI files didn't put up the addresses of all those park benches unfortunately.

and as for the "projects," well, I've lived in worse places than those east hollywood appartments...

there's no need to over-romanticise all this "being poor" rubbish. when old man bukowski popped off hank had plenty in the bank and he was very careful with it too.
 
P

postino

hah, accounting never was my best subject ROC. And dogdice, I guess I didn't mean "extreme poverty" in the sense of living in the sahara in a tin house, just that he wasn't a wealthy man, and it was exceptional that he was able to rise to such a level of wisdom.:)
 
ok postino. but I think you'll agree that "not being a wealthy man" is a far cry from living in "extreme poverty"

btw, I am an accountant & I have done an extensive audit of the bukowski finances throughout his life for a book on the subject.
 

ROC

It is what it is
So... should we start putting together a postino dictionary?

Extreme poverty = Not wealthy.
Zen meditation = Taking drugs (& being poor[?])
Addiction = Everything.
Chinese food = Lemon chicken.
Playing Jazz = Taking drugs.
or
Taking drugs = Playing Jazz.



Carry on.
 
P

postino

So... should we start putting together a postino dictionary?

Extreme poverty = Not wealthy.
In a way, all poverty is extreme.
ROC said:
Zen meditation = Taking drugs (& being poor[?])
Pretty much, transcending poverty or affliction.

ROC said:
Addiction = Everything.
you could live by this. I think Bukowski even said this in his notes of a dirty old man.
ROC said:
Chinese food = Lemon chicken.
I don't pretend to understand the finer aspects of the chinese culinary tradition, but any tradition with so much pride would have to call any of it's creations representative of the whole.

ROC said:
Playing Jazz = Taking drugs.
or
Taking drugs = Playing Jazz.

I jive.
 
see what I mean ? the child-like idiocy almost transcends itself and becomes a wisdom all of it's own. the kind of wisdom one attains when one ties ones own shoelaces for the first time.

jive on postino !
 

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