That’s my view of the matter and why I disagree with your dismissal of the Buddha’s teaching.
But remember what the quote said: “If you have any views at all, cut them right off and don’t let them continue.” So, you should cut your “view” right off and not let it continue. Again, this goes in a circle. The logos at least has some content, some definition, which, from a Christian perspective, we find excellently portrayed in John 1:1-18. It is embodied in a person, and a person is something we can grasp. I John 1:1-5.
The quote from unsmoked has you jumping off a cliff without any goal in mind and not even know why you are jumping. That sounds insane.
“Choke me in the shallow waters before I get too deep” sounds like giving up because of fear of the unknown but for someone who knows how to swim, the deep waters are no boundary. There is a balance between cowardice and heedlessness which the Greeks called the mean of courage. CanZen has said that the scientistic framework needs to protect “the epistemic structure we are building”. And, I agree with him: My two compromises ... cannot be let through the doors in their present form (reminded of [my] Trojan Horse comment to [CanZen] earlier) without destroying (compromising) the epistemic structure [they] are building.
However, I don’t think that the process of building an epistemic structure is compromised by learning to see how matters are fairing within the epistemic structures of others. But to understand these structures requires what M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Travelled) calls bracketing or putting our ideas on hold while we jump over a cliff . The epistemic structure we have been building won’t go away in the meanwhile.
Alan Watts has compared Zen to water and has said that one must let oneself go in order to float in the water “indeed in essence you become the water” (Watts). “We are not an organism in an environment. We are an organism/environment.”
All of this sounds very strange (and the doubts are good indicators of why it would not be wise to leap ... although jumping off a cliff with a bungee cord attached can be a lot of fun!). But let’s look at the epistemic structure you are tapping into when you quote from John 1:1ff. John is developing what has been called Logos Theology which was the result of Philo’s melding of Greek philosophy with the Jewish Wisdom tradition. His writings provide us with a generic link between Greek thought and Jewish thought which helps us to understand what John is doing in his prologue. Christ is a person (according to John) but he is also the appearance of the logos which is much wider in its scope than the bodily person of Christ. This is important to understand first of all for interpretting John and, also, for understanding Zen.
From the writings of Justin Martyr we see one branch of thought in the early christian theology (the eastern view):
“We have been taught that Christ is the first-born of God, and we have declared above that He is the Word of whom every race of men were partakers; and those who lived reasonably are Christians, even though they have been thought atheists; as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus, and men like them”(First Apology.XLVI).
Another indicator of the direction of the eastern view is from Clement of Alexandria’s Stromata (Chapter V)
Accordingly, before the advent of the Lord, philosophy was necessary to the Greeks for righteousness. And now it becomes conducive to piety; being a kind of preparatory training to those who attain to faith through demonstration. “For thy foot,” it is said, “will not stumble, if thou refer what is good, whether belonging to the Greeks or to us, to Providence.” For God is the cause of all good things; but of some primarily, as of the Old and the New Testament; and of others by consequence, as philosophy. Perchance, too, philosophy was given to the Greeks directly and primarily, till the Lord should call the Greeks. For this was a schoolmaster to bring “the Hellenic mind,” as the law, the Hebrews, “to Christ.” Philosophy, therefore, was a preparation, paving the way for him who is perfected in Christ.
btw note the affinity between philosophy as schoolmaster and torah as schoolmaster (Galatians)
The other direction that early christian theology took was the western view aptly summarized by Tertullian “What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem” (Prescriptions against the Heretics.
Of course, history shows that the western view became the official view of the church under the imperial protection of Constantine. But the decision meant the drafting of a canon and the exile, murder, etc. of all nonChristian views (among them the Logos view of Christ). Consider the first clause of the Athanasian Creed: “Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith; which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
The church returns to the same kind of dogmatic fear mongering that had been common in the era before the axial age as represented in the west by Orpheus (which I mentioned in an earlier post to Homunculus).
What I draw from all of this is that Christ, like oxygen, is a person among whom everyone of us ‘live and move and have our being” (Acts 17). There is no difference among any of us (atheist or non-atheist) except that some benefit from knowing certain things more particularly about the nature of, for example, oxygen (that you should not leave your ignition on in closed space, for example). The other side of this coin is that oxygen can be discovered by anyone though they may call it by different names. So Buddha called it dharma and Lao-Tzu called it tao. Alan Watts called it Zen. It has the same properties no matter what you call it and access to it will always have the same conditions (i.e. non-hate or moving out from behind the epistemic structures we are building).
There is a great quote on the tao from C.S. Lewis The Abolition of Man:
In the older systems both the kind of man the teachers wished to produce and their motives for producing him were prescribed by the Tao—a norm to which the teachers themselves were subject and from which they claimed no liberty to depart. They did not cut men to some pattern they had chosen. They handed on what they had received: they initiated the young neophyte into the mystery of humanity which over-arched him and them alike. It was but old birds teaching young birds to fly.
So, my experience is that we should jump off the cliff with bungee cord thoroughly checked. And, rather than being choked in the shallow water, we should learn to swim and what fun it can be to give oneself to the water.
For what its worth,