Anyone reading my blogs should know I have a deep love for Philosophy, both Eastern and Western. In fact, my love for philosophy far outweighs my love for politics! Politics is only interesting for me because it is an application of philosophical findings. I think politics would be useless or even non-existent without philosophy itself, the mother of all invention (Science, Math, Politics, etc.).
Philosophy's my thing, and I've been reading, analyzing and discussing for years. Only currently have I started really digging into Eastern Philosophy, and Zen Buddhism is a doctrine I have come to deeply respect for its convention-shattering nature.
Zen Buddhists rejected the gradual steps of learning and gaining wisdom that Confucius put forth in his philosophy. They believed that enlightenment could happen at any moment, in or out of a meditative state, even doing something mundane or unrelated to wisdom. They found beauty in everything, from the simple to the complex, to no-thingness. Able to clear their mind and come to terms with what nothing actually means, the Zen Buddhists did not fear death, for what is death other than nothingness (or possible nothingness)? Death scares people because it is something we cannot relate to. We have no experience of thinking about the void, we have no experience of such complete and utter emptiness, and that's scary. The Zen Buddhists were fearless.
Rejecting the common Chinese philosophy of Confucius that had been the standard for years and years, the Zen Buddhists placed no stock in scriptural teachings or rituals. They believed anyone could become a Buddha, because Buddha-Nature was inherent in everyone and everything, which is also why enlightenment could strike during a trip to the latrine or while sweeping the floor. Instead of lecturing, questions could be posed to a Zen master, and his replies often bordered on the violent and absurd. The idea was that with a screaming response to a rational question, or a swatting with a walking cane in answer to an innocent query, the Zen master could shake a student to the point of abandoning his preconceived notions of what is real. To truly come to terms with what is undefinable through language, one must not even attempt to "rectify the name," or classify what is unclassifiable. You must know it on a more personal level, through means far more meaningful than dialectic or conversation.
The methods and ideas that the school of Zen Buddhism put forth were radically different than Confucianism, and even more distant from the oppressive totalitarian philosophy of Legalism. Zen monks built their philosophy on
thinking for yourself, abandoning the conventional, spontaneity, and challenging the common law of the day (anti-authoritarianism in the philosophical world at least). To me, they seem like Anarchists, and damn good ones!
With their willful disobedience to social norms and their rebellion concerning philosophy, the Zen Buddhists are another case of Anarchists existing before the principle was refined. They had their own Collectives (Monastic Temples), they farmed and supplied themselves without going to market, and they existed outside of the law of the Emperor. I'm going to implement a little Zen into my Anarchy, and I think you should too!