Reply To: Message from Iain to members about why he wrote The Matter with Things

  • Don Salmon

    September 30, 2022 at 2:42 pm

    Hi James,

    I’ve been making an effort to add a comment or so on each of the discussions. I also started a separate “group” to discuss practice, which I find is WOEFULLY lacking in Iain’s works.

    I think you were at the last group zoom, where Iain made an initial comment to the effect that the idea of practice may be too “LH” then made a perfunctory nod toward mindfulness.

    But contemplatives around the world, throughout history, have struggled with and come up with brilliant ways of integrating “Effort’ and “Grace” (which is really more the essence of the challenge of practice than LH or RH, which BOTH are involved in ALL contemplative practices)

    If you go to “Groups” look for the “BE” logo and please join in. My favorite topic related to Iain’s work is attention, and the vast and varied ways Christian, Buddhist, Taoist and other traditions – as well as modern psychology and neuroscience – have found we can shift attention in a way that leads to profound transformations.

    you may know the little Zen story? I think Iain should tell it every time he gives a talk!

    A disciple has been studying Dogen, and Nagarjuna, and many others who have contributed to the Zen Buddhist tradition, and finds himself getting overwhelmed.

    He asks his teacher, “Can you sum up the essence of Zen?”

    The teacher replies, “Attention.”

    Having hoped for a LITTLE more, the student responds, “Well, can you say something else also?”

    The teacher responds, “Attention, attention.”

    “But,” the student, now a bit irritated, “what does attention MEAN”?

    The teacher responds, “Attention means attention.”