Gerlach is German and rhymes with bear-lock. I was born and raised in the Haight Ashbury of San Francisco, moved to Berkeley for college and grad school, with an MA in History of Religion from the Graduate Theological Union of Berkeley, and now teach Philosophy and the history of human thought at Berkeley City College. I have taught Intro Philosophy, Ethics, Logic, Asian Philosophy, Greek Philosophy, Modern European Philosophy and Social & Political Philosophy there for the past several years, and it has been a joy.
December 7, 2020 at 4:14 am
It’s alive, it’s alive!!
Excellent stuff. I listened to the last few videos over the week – hopefully my comments pertain to the correct videos.
I enjoyed your comments on our ‘original face’ – we’ve all seen with the same eyes throughout our existence. I think it’s significant that that when it comes to the “Self”/”Self Nature” Zen Masters (as far as I can recall) never say anything about understanding or knowing it, but instead, say that Zen is about *seeing* it!
This focus on ‘seeing’ is so great, and can be explored in so many exciting ways. Weirdly such a rich idea and although there is plenty of talk about ‘awareness’ nowadays, Zen Master’s just hit it so differently!
I have actually started reading through the Platform Sutra recently by Red Pine (only about hundred pages in), and something that my peers and I have noted is the use “Good Friend” throughout. Many times it replaces where “Master” could fit in, and I think in many ways it’s superior to the honorific. It seems to fit better. How many times does a student get hit for treating a Master as a ‘Master’ instead of just a ‘Good Friend’. Good friends know how to be a host and a guest, as in the case when Zen Master meet.
It also appears in the Lanka once or twice in a very similar way to the Platform sutra.
Anyway, I like to think Zen masters imagine life as quite the level field. Of course, I may be just reading into it – though if I remember well enough, I think you made some similar comments about the significance of “platform”.
Also, interesting to know the famous poems about the mirror on the stand is quoting Daoism yet again… I have quite the shrewd bunch of peers, but the more I’ve watched your lectures the more significant the influence seems. I will continue to make problems for them. At any rate, Hui-Neng’s poem being a balance rather than a, what would you call it? “Slam Dunk”? on the poem before it is something I hadn’t considered.
December 9, 2020 at 12:15 am
Thanks again for listening to my stuff. I think that Buddhism, like Wittgenstein, emphasizes how many together make one, so seeing is one dominant aspect, but not the only one, which is like the self, or concept, or feeling of pride, or mask, etc. You are right, thus, that it can be explored endlessly, as can smell, getting smacked… That is also like the master, as opposed to everyone else, the level field, as you say. I am particularly into words, emotoins, sight and sound, and how they all form parts of the whole in concrete situations, like the koan cases.
The Linji is next, and I will take my time, and make many more connections to the language of Daoism and the Zhuangzi.