Sunday, March 13, 2016

Inspirations and Sources

"The book is the Supreme Doctrine by Hubert's the best explanation for the human problem that I've ever found... a French psychiatrist who was in a severe accident that left him almost completely helpless for years..." Nothing Special Living Zen   --by C. Joko Beck

While we all from time to time have inspirations, mysterious invitations to new possibilities and ways of seeing or doing, not often do we consider the source of inspiration. The ancients attributed them to the muses, the gods and goddesses about in their midst. Modern rational man looks elsewhere, or nowhere at all. In the creative mind, there may be many attributes or, surprisingly none well defined, just the result itself.
 For some like Charlotte Joko Beck, she writes in her book, Nothing Special, Living Zen, that "I studied it at one time for 10 or 15 years. I have a copy that looks like its been in the washing machine." The book she writes of is authored by French psychiatrist, Hubert Benoit, titled La Doctrine Supreme, first published in France in 1951; later published in England in 1955; the one which is quoted here was copyrighted in England in 1998.

Dr. Benoit was severely injured in an accident that left him paralyzed and immobile. He had a great mind and a great deal of time on his hands in the aftermath of his accident. In his immobilized condition, he set out in deep thought.
The results of his pensees, or thoughts were the genesis of that book, titled in English  The Supreme Doctrine. He had a good knowledge of spiritual matters which deepened with his enforced confinement. Benoit was quite knowledgeable about the works of Zen master Suzuki, especially the book, The Doctrine of No Mind. Paying heed, especially to the thoughts of Suzuki, Benoit reminds the reader that like Suzuki, No Mind is an anti-intellectual mind, a mind that "detests every kind of intellectuality, wrote Suzuki.'

And continues Suzuki,"there is nothing complicated that man needs to do; it is enough that he see directly into his own  nature." Thus Benoit starts by saying, "Man has always reflected upon his condition, has thought that he is not as he would like to be... after having demonstrated what does not go right in the case of the natural man, and why that does not necessarily go right, come to the question: How are we to remedy this state of affairs?"
Benoit remarks that the remedies most often proposed fail to address the root cause, the germ that inspires or fails to do so; perchance  misery is often inspired because of unending want for something.
 Yoga, he writes, "is often prescribed, as if the perfection of the body would cure the root ill of the human condition."

"All that," Benoit concludes in his opening chapter, "is just animal-training and leads to one kind of servitude or another... it is perfectly analogous to the storyAchilles and the Hare." Yet the penetrating manner of Zen cuts through illusion; it does not pause to consider peculiarities. "It knows that nothing is wrong with us, and that we suffer because we do not understand that everything works perfectly."
And so this volume by Benoit which has inspired many begins. But do not be perturbed that good and great minds have read Benoit's words before you; so many have, and many puzzle over them. You will too, and perhaps they will inspire you.

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