November 5, 2008

The Zen of the ancient Greeks

Many people are afraid to empty their minds lest they may plunge into the void. They do not know that their own mind is the void. The ignorant eschew phenomena but not thought; the wise eschew thought but not phenomena.

-- The Chun Chou Record of the Zen Master Huang Po, tr. John Blofeld.

Oh, those Greeks! They knew how to live. What is required for that is to stop courageously at the surface, the fold, the skin, to adore appearance, to believe in forms, tones, words, in the whole Olympus of appearance. Those Greeks were superficial -- out of profundity.

-- Nietzsche, The Gay Science, preface to the 2d edition, tr. Walter Kaufmann.