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Modernist Zenism

The interest in Zen manifested of late years in the Western countries has resulted from an understandable reaction against the coarseness and ugliness prevalent in the world today, and also from a certain weariness in regard to concepts rightly or wrongly judged to be inoperative; while on the other hand people have tended to feel increasingly bored by the habitual philosophical battles of words. Unfortunately, these justifiable motives get only too easily mingled with anti-intellectual and falsely 'concretist' tendencies—this was only to be expected—in which case the reaction becomes deprived of all effective value. For it is one thing to take up a stand beyond of the scope of the thinking faculty and another to remain far short of that faculty's highest possibilities even while imagining one has transcended things of which one does not comprehend the first word. He who truly rises above verbal formulations will ever be ready to respect those which have given direction to his thinking in the first place; he will not fail to venerate 'every word that proceedth out of the mouth of God.' There is a rustic proverb which says that only the pig overturns its trough after emptying it and the same moral is to be found in the well-known fable of the fox and the grapes. If Zen is less given to doctrinal formulation than other schools, this is because its own structure allows it to be so; it owes its consistency to factors that are perfectly rigorous, but not easily grasped from the outside; its silence, charged with mystery, is quite other than a vague and facile mutism. Zen, precisely by reason of its direct and implicit character, which is admirably suited to certain possibilities of the Far Eastern mind, presupposes so many conditions of mentality and environment that the slightest lack in this respect jeopardizes the result of any effort however sincere; at the same time we must not forget that a typical man of the Japenese élite is in many respects a product of Zen. [The Essentials Writings of Frithjof Schuon, p. 217-218].

  1. Gnosis and gnosticism, theosophy and theosophism
  2. Modern Vedantism
  3. Psychic powers, miracles, ecstasy, apparitions, visions
  4. Neo-yogism, "realizationism"
  5. Occultism, spiritism, fetishism, paganism and decadent traditions
  6. The psychological Imposture, psychoanalysis
  7. Modernist Zenism