Download Zen Effects: The Life of Alan Watts (Skylight Lives) PDF

TitleZen Effects: The Life of Alan Watts (Skylight Lives)
Author
TagsAlan Watts
LanguageEnglish
File Size7.2 MB
Total Pages118
Table of Contents
                            Front Cover
Contents
	Foreword
	Introduction
	1 - The Paradise Garden 1915-1920
	2 - The Education of a Brahmin 1920-1932
	3 - Christmas Zen 1932-1938
	4 - The Towers of Manhattan 1938-1941
	5 - Colored Christian 1941-1947
	6 - Correspondence 1947-1950
	7 - A Priest Inhibited 1950-1951
	8 - The Wisdom of Insecurity 1951-1960
	9 - Counterculture 1960-1968
	10 - The Home Behind Home 1969-1973
	Notes
	Books by Alan Watts
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 1







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ContentsFonword10lite
l.ivesEdition
1:X:XIVIntroductionxvI.TheParadiseGarden,
19[5-[9202.TheEducationofaBrahmin,
1l)20-193214
3.ChristmasZen,
1932-193H424.TheTowersofManhattan,
[93H-194[725·ColoredChristian,
1941-1947
9[6.Correspondence,1947-1950[107.APriestInhibited,
[950-[95[125H.TheWisdom
ofInsecurity,
[95[-[96013[9·Counterculture,1960-196H15510.TheHomeBehindHome,
1969-1973186,""011'.1217BookshI'
A/allflims227indc:229AboutPatlis236


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Thetimehadcome,Wattssuggested,torecoverthedeep
mysticalsenseChristianityhadpreviouslyknown,butwithanew
emphasis.MedievalChristianshadfeltatonewithGodandwith
religioussymbolisminaprimitive,childlikeway.TheRenaissance
andthegrowthofhumanismcouldbeseenasakindofrebellious
adolescence,necessaryasamovementtowardsmaturity,butnot
maturityitself.Thiswasfollowedbyatremendousawarenessof
humanpowerinaction,inscienceandtechnology.Butthis
mousupsurgeofenergyandactionwasfollowednotjustby
ness,butbythespiritualmaturityofage.
FollowingOswaldSpenglerWattssuggeststhatWestern
turewasonthevergeofa"SecondReligiousness"thatinsome

wayswouldbequitedifferent.Itwouldbe"aninterior,spiritual

andmysticalunderstandingoftheold,traditionalbodyofwisdom.
...Whatthechildunderstoodasanexternal,objective,and
symbolicfact,thematuremindwillseealsoasaninterior,
tive,andmysticaltruth.Whatthechildreceivedonanother's
authority,theadultwillknowashisowninnerexperience.t'"
Wattsgoesontoconsiderwhatatwentieth-centurymysticism
couldbelike.InthepastChristianmysticismhadhadakindof
"unholyalliance"withManichaeism,denyingthefleshliness
claimedintheIncarnation,"theWordmadeflesh,"bydespising

thebody-supposingit,itssenses,andinparticularitssexual

fulfillment,tobeinimicaltothelifeofthespirit.Atrue

standingoftheIncarnationinvolvesarecognitionofthe

tionofbodyaswellasspirit,that"theeternallifeofGodisgiven
tomanhereandnowinthefleshofeachmoment'sexperience."
Releasefromourownisolatingegoismcomespartlyfrom
recognizingthehungerforGod,partlyfromaSOrtofrelaxation.
Egoismitselfis"liketryingtoswimwithoutrelyingonthewater,
endeavoringtokeepafloatbytuggingatyourownlegs;your

wholebodybecomestense,andyousinklikeastone.Swimming
102ZENEFFECTS
ColoredChristian
requiresacertainrelaxation,acertaingivingofyourselftothe
water,andsimilarlyspirituallifedemandsarelaxationofthesoul
toGod,"15
Unionisoftenthoughtofasatremendousattainment,needing
hugestruggles.Butthereisawholeothermethod,asinZen
satori,whichsuggeststhatwhatknowingGodisaboutisnoteffort
andattainment,butrealization:"Thesoulstrivingtoattainthe
divinestatebyitsowneffortsfallsintototaldespair,andsuddenly
theredawnsuponitwithagreatilluminativeshocktherealization
thatthedivinestatesimplyIS,hereandnow,anddoesnothave
tobearrained.?'"
Yettherewas,Wattssuggested,someperversedeterminationin
usthatithadtobedifficult,someself-regardingromanticpicture
ofourownheroiclabors:"Weflatterourselvesinpremeditating
thelong,longjourneywearegoingtotakeinordertofindhim,
thegiddyheightsofspiritualprogresswearegoingtoscale,"The
tragedyisthatwethusmisstheobvious:
Godisnotniggardlyinhisself-revelation;hecreatesus
toknowhim,andshortofactualcompulsiondoeseverythingpossible
topresenthimself
toourconsciousness.InsayingthatGodgivesus
unionwithhimselfhereandnow,wearesayingalsothathereand
nowheexposeshimselfrightbeforeoureyes.Inthisverymoment
wearelookingstraightatGod,andheissoclearthatforus
plexhumanbeingsheispeculiarlyhard
tosee.Toknowhimwe
havetosimplify
ourselves.!"Wattsmakestheveryinterestingsuggestionthatthemystical
consciousnessofGod(asopposedtothemoredirect,beatific
Vision)maybeverylikethesortofawarenesswehaveof
selves:Forwhilewecannotperceiveourownegosdirectly,weknowthat
weexist.Wedonotknowwhatweare,burweknowourselvesas
existing,andthisknowledgeispresentasanundertoneinallother



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knowledge.Similarly,themysticalknowledgeofGodisa
edgeofGodintheactofhispresenceandunionwithus,butis
notimmediatevisionandapprehensionofthedivine
essence.!"Theamazingjoyofthissortofapprehension,partialasitis,is
thatweknowourselvestobepartofa"livingmystery,which
impartslife,powerandjoy."Thepriceofknowingthismystery
isthecuttingoffofthe"possessivewill."
Alwayspracticalaboutspirituality,Wattsgoesontoconsider
whatthisviewofGodmeans.Heisnotagainstformalreligion.
ForsomeitisanecessarywaytodiscoverultimatelythatGod

cannotbepossessed.Forothersitisapreciouswayoftracingout
thesymbolicandanalogicpatternsofGodinordertomoveonto

"theRealitybeyondsymbols."Forothersagain,formalreligion
hassuchrepugnantassociationsthatitisalmostimpossiblefor
themtoespouseit.
WattsenvisagesanewflexibilityinChristianworship,witha
formalliturgyatoneendofthescaleforthosewhowantit,and
wordlesscontemplationattheotherforthosewhowantthat.
Sermonizing,moralizing(especiallywherethedubiousleverof
guiltisemployed),andexcessivetheologicalspeculation,seemto
Wattstotallyfruitless.Whatthewholereligiousendeavorisabout
isinfindingGodinthemosthundrummoments-this,he
believes,ratherthanby"devotions"toJesus,isthewaytodiscover
"themindofChrist."HewouldliketoseetheChurchgive

formalteachingon"diggingpotatoes,washingdishesandworking
inan
office."Theremust,hethinks,beaChristianwayofwashing
yourhands.
ThisisaninterestingviewofChristianity,obviouslymuch
fluencedbyZen.Inhisperceptionofpeople'shungerformystical
experienceWattsanticipatedmuchthatwastocomewithinthe
nextthirtyyears-thesearchformysticalexperienceoutsidethe
104ZENEFFECTS
ColoredChristian
Churchandtherenewedinterestincontemplativeprayerwithinit.
Inotherways,too,hewasprophetic.Hesawthatthetimewas
comingwhenthe"maleGod"wouldseemincongruous,andthat
theelevationoftheVirginMary,thoughimportant,didnottouch

therealneed.HesawtheneedforChristianstoundotheir
chaeanheritageandfinallyacceptthemessybody,abletofeelat
onewithGodevenwhen,orespeciallywhen,in
flagrantedelicto.
WhenBeholdtheSpirit
cameoutin1947thereviewerswere
rapturous.AnEpiscopalreviewer,CanonIddingsBell,saidthat
thebookwould"provetobeoneofthehalfdozenmostsignificant
booksonreligionpublishedinthetwentiethcentury,"whichwas
highpraiseindeed.AnotherCatholicauthornotedwithinterest
thatthebookrecognized"contributionsfromOrientalreligion
whichsimplyarenotpresentincontemporaryWesternreligion.
MorethanthisitshowshowthetraditionalWesterndoctrineof
theIncarnationandtheAtonementcanbereconciledwithand
combinedwiththeintuitivereligionoftheOrient,suchasthatof
ZenBuddhism.Theseareexceedinglyimportantandoutstanding
achievements."19MeanwhileWattswassettingtoworktotransformtheliturgical
experienceofstudents.OnSundaysat
II:00A.M.
heconducteda
serviceattheChapelofSaintJohntheDivineonHavenStreet,
which,thoughitstuckbasicallytotheBookofCommonPrayer,
managedtoachievecolorfulanddramaticeffectsunknowntothe
Episcopalstudentsbefore.Heintroducedincense,theslow,casually

formalprocessionsthathehadlearnedaboutfromHewlett
son,shortarrestingsermons,GregorianchantandRenaissance
polyphony,sungbyaspeciallytrainedensemblefromthemusic
school.Worshipperscameintoachurchfragrantwithsmoke,
brilliantwithvestmentsandcandles,inwhichtheprayerswere



Page 117




226NOTES15."TheTimelessMoment,"BBCTV,August10,1973.
16.MaryJaneWartstoLaurenceWarts,February16,1974.
17.RickFields,
HowtheSwansCametotheLake:ANarrative
toryofBuddhisminAmerica
(Boulder,Colo.:Shambhala,1981),
P·360
.BooksbyAlanWatts
TheSpiritofZen;AWayofLife,Wark,andArtintheFarEast.
London:JohnMurray,1935.
TheLegacyofAsiaandWesternMan:AStudyoftheMiddleWay.
London:JohnMurray,1937.
TheMeaningofHappiness:AQuestforFreedomoftheSpiritin
ModernPsychologyandtheWisdomoftheEast.
NewYork:
Harper&Row,1940.
TheTheologiaMysticaofSaintDionysius.
Worcester,Mass.:Holy
CrossPress,1944.
BeholdtheSpirit:AStudyintheNecessityofMysticalReligion.
NewYork:RandomHouse,PantheonBooks,1947.
Easter-ItsStoryandMeaning.
NewYork:HenrySchuman,Inc.,
1950.TheSupremeIdentity.
NewYork:RandomHouse,PantheonBooks,
1950.TheWisdomofInsecurity:AMessageforanAgeofAnxiety.
NewYork:RandomHouse,PantheonBooks,195I.
TheWayofZen.
NewYork:RandomHouse,PantheonBooks,1957.
Nature,ManandWoman.
NewYork:RandomHouse,Pantheon
Books,1958.
'ThisIsIt"andOtherEssaysonZenandSpiritualExperience.
NewYork:RandomHouse,PantheonBooks,1960.



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228BOOKSBYALANWATTS
PsychotherapyEastandWest.
NewYork:RandomHouse,Pantheon
Books,1961.
TheJoyousCosmology.
NewYork:RandomHouse,PantheonBooks,
1962.
BeyondTheology:TheArtofGodmanship.
NewYork:Random
House,PantheonBooks,1964.
TheBook:OntheTabooAgainstKnowingWhoYouAre.
NewYork:
RandomHouse,PantheonBooks,1966.
MythandRitualinChristianity.
Boston,Mass.:BeaconPress,19
68.
TheTwoHandsofGod:TheMythsofPolarity.
NewYork:
millan,CollierBooks,1963.
DoesItMatter?EssaysonMan'sRelationtoMateriality.
NewYork:
RandomHouse,PantheonBooks,1970.
InMyOwnWay:AnAutobiography.
NewYork:RandomHouse,
PantheonBooks,1972.
Cloud-hidden,WhereaboutsUnknown:AMountainJournal.
NewYork:RandomHouse,PantheonBooks,1973.
TheEssenceofAlanWatts.
Berkeley:CelestialArts,1974·
Tao:TheWatercourseWay.
WiththecollaborationofAl
liangHuang.NewYork:RandomHouse,PantheonBooks,1975·
IndexAbe,Maseo,194
Adams,Richard,106-7
Alpert,Richard,169
AmericanAcademyofAsian
Studies,132,135-40,141-42,
143Andrews,AnnWatts.
See\X!atts,AnnAshron-Gwatkin,Frank,34
Ashton-Gwatkin,Canon
TrelawneY,32Baker-roshi,Richard,193,213,
215Bateson,Gregory,193
BeholdtheSpirit,
99-105,127
"Be-In,"181-82
Bell,CanonIddings,105,127
Bernard,Pierre,62
BeyondTheology,
InBirley,Norman,25,37-38,39
Blavarsky,HelenaPetrovna,39,
42,162
Book,The:OntheTabooAgainst
KnowingWhoYouAre,
178Buchan,Eleanor,1-2
Buchan,EmilyMary.
SeeWatts,EmilyBuchan
Buchan,Ethel
(Er),
22Buchan,Gertrude,
37,108
Buchan,Harry,22,33,34,45
Buchan,Joy,22,34,46,108-9,
187,210
Buchan,William(father),
IBuchan,William(Willy),1,24,
33,108Buddhism,42,44,64,66,87,
128,130,185;inWatts'early
life,35-39;andWatts'
version,88-89;andGestalt,
155

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