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November 15, 1959 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 1959-11-15
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L J f

Dark A nidst the



F I WERE a philosopher, the
things I believe would mutually
adhere like atoms within a mole-
cule. But they don't, I know. If I
were a saint, I would express,
through my daily living, that sim-
ple blinding flash of direct appre-
hension of God I had experienced.
But, to my knowledge, no one has
yet nominated me for sainthood.
If I were the determined mission-
ary I would, through my or my
group's pressures, seek to make
others believe in my beliefs.
I will not enter into arguments
or intellectual discussions on reli-
gion or theology. I do not permit
others to tell me what I should be-
lieve; and, oddly enough, vice ver-
sa. (In its didactic and, often,
brutal bigotry of idealism this cen-
tury is a dead ringer for the sev-
enteenth.) It is curious the number
of people who, endlessly exercising
their right of free speech, are hurt
as only a five-year old child can
be when someone, in self-defense,
exercises his precisely coterminous
right of freely not listening. Only
because The Daily asked me to
write on this subject will I affirm
here some of my beliefs in this
essential area of human endeavor;
an area which I hold to be a pri-
vate one.
I am a New Englander. There
are ten generations of New Eng-
land pastors in my blood; of cop-
ing with winters, stones and
spring; revolutions, civil wars
and Transcendentalism; factories,
child-labor, universities and clip-
per ships; Puritans, covered wag-
ons, Indian massacres, and town
meetings; and, currently of "Route
218" out of Boston. In my own life
I am the daughter of a constitu-
tional lawyer, a social worker, an
R.N., a Ph.D. in English and Com-
parative Literatures. I have had
four years of direct war experi-
ence; ten years of large-scale ad-
ministration; fifteen years of
study, work and experience in psy-
chiatry; eighteen years of bedside
nursing; twenty-five years of
school study; thirty-five years of
jobs in many areas and kinds of
"social work;" and fifty years of
voracious reading. (Please do not
total these figures to ascertain
how old a Dean of Women may be;
some of the experiences, at least,
were concurrent.) This itemiza-
tion is to underline the meaning
behind the English nursery rhyme
"It's a very queer thing / Just asi

queer as can be; I How all that
Miss T. Eats, / Turns into Miss T."
A. I draw a deep distinction be-
tween the terms and, I believe,
the concepts of "religion" and
"church:" the same kind of dis-
tinction that is drawn between the
spirit and the letter of the law. I
recognize that these pairs are as
interdependent, as essentially
complementary to each other's ex-
istence as love and marriage: of
which the poet has well said "you
can't have one without the other;"
speaking more deeply than, at that
time and that place, he had in-
You cannot create a church
without saints; but, equally, you
cannot sustain it, beyond one gen-
eration, without bishops. Like oth-
er so-called dualities, the eventual
synthesis may be a matter of pro-
portion between thesis and anti-
thesis. Are Day and Night, Life and
Death, Good and Evil really oppo-
sites: or are we physically and
mentally so formed that we only
experience these parts of the
Whole, sequentially? Only in this
way can I even attempt to defend
my position towards my religion
and fay church.
B. I draw just as deep a distinc-
tion between "religion" and phil-
osophy" and / or "reason." The
only person I have read who flatly
and categorically states he rea-
soned, only, his way to religious
belief is C. S. Lewis. And I don't
believe him. In evidence, I call
against him everything he has;
written and all the major public
facts of his life. Throughout is ev-
idenced a sensitive, fiery, creative,,
poetic, loving, easily hurt, endless-
ly searching spirit. To this we add
a -brilliantly witty mind, trained,
over the years, in the techniques
of logic and reason to a point just
this side of casuistry. Such a per-
sonality is moved to seek God, be-
tween the ages of 15 and 21, solely,
by reason?
We have here (at least fora
twentieth century Americans) an-;
other set of complementary and7
quarreling Siamese twins: cona-
tion (the faculty of volition and
desire-N.E.D.) and cognition. As ,
a social worker, as an obstetric
nurse (and therefore a student of1
biology, anatomy, physiology,;
somewhat of genetics and of com-
parative anatomy) as a psychi-i

atric nurse, and as a student of
history and literature there is lit-
tle doubt in my mind as to which
is the cart and which, the horse
between conation and cognition.
For twentieth century intellectuals
(which almost everyone admitted
to The University of Michigan es-
sentially is, whatever his tran-
script subsequently may show) we
must somehow synthesize this par-
ticular thesis and anti-thesis boil-
ing in all of us.
Raphael noted in Adam a tend-
ency towards long drawn-out, ab-
stract discussions. Paradise Lost-
one half of Book V and all of
Books VI, VII and VIII; in sum,
2,760 lines of Miltonic epic are
absorbed by Adam's question-and-
answer period. By the time we get
well into Book VIII, the affable
Archangel (and indeed, he must
have been), has gone so far as to
suggest- to Adam to "be lowlie
wise." But nothing, nothing stops
the busy,' questioning, recalling
mind of our great parent. He is
equally fascinated (you can see
him taking notes) by Raphael's
description of the creation of the
Universe and by the archangel's
discussion of the comparative
merits of the Ptolemaic and Coper-
nican systems (both in the remote
future). What is is difficult to get
Adam interested in doing, is (to
use Voltaire's phrase) "il faut cul-
tiver notre jardin" -literally, in
this case!
Raphael noticed that Adam and
Eve usually got into trouble first,
through action under a high pres-
sure of steam of conation and
then, a second time, through their
somewhat faulty steps of cognition
explaining (to anyone who would.
listen) why they had done those'
things which they ought not to
have done.
I have developed this particular
point because I feel that menta-
tion as a goal in itself is the par-
ticular occupational disease to:
which intellectual Americans in
mid - twentieth century are ex-
posed. We need to say daily Amos'
adjuration: "What doth the Lord
require of thee but to do justly,
to love mercy and to walk humbly
with thy God." For us, with our
particular hubris, the operative:
word in that unanswerable sen-
tence should be 'humbly.' However,
should this teaching be too hard
or too spare for us, we may well.
turn to the 13th Chapter of First
Corinthians. There speaks one ex-
actly of our type, living in our
kind of world, familiar with our
ambivalencies. In Paul we find
combined the saint (nobody ever
said they were necessarily pleasant
people to live with) the bishop (if
Jesus created the religion, surely
Paul created the church which
survived to transmit it) and the
literary genius (as the lady said:
he really wrote English remark-
ably well, considering his back-

vention of large-scale, well-or-
ganized effective Social Welfare
either private or state) must ulti-
mately evolve, as our idealistic
young intellectuals already see,
into "the brotherhood of man." To
my nurse's eyes it remains ines-
capably true that the only thing
that makes men brothers is that
they are sons of the same parent..
No father (or mother, as many re-
ligions have seen it): no brothers.
To my mind also, this attempt to
give primacy to "the Brotherhood
of Man" is why, although the end-
ing of the original Job may be
unpalatable and difficult, the end-
ing of "J.B." is intellectually vapid.
When Jesus stated the two great
Commandments, I note the order
in which he placed them. His was
not a mind which thought con-
fusedly, nor phrased things slop-
pily. If he said First and then Sec-
ond, he meant it that way. "And"
is a conjunctive between sequential
phrases. That deplorable expedi-
ency of writing and/or had not.
come widely into vogue in the First
Century, and/or was not needed
in his language.
In our contemporary and ab-'
solutely first-rate Marching Band
o' efficiently organized, highly ef-
fective social welfare and brother-
hood, I remain convinced we have
orchestrated the piece with an
over-supply of sounding brass and
tinkling cymbals and are a little
short on still, small voices.
D. Very recently, I have been
ruminating over the traces of a

vague, huge outline. The outline
of this architecture is more to be
seen in irregular patterns across
the landscape of history, in piles
of rubble and wrecked equipment
scattered through jungles and
deserts rather than in connecting
walls or pillars. Little huddled
villages live, busy and unaware of
the great edifice beneathrand
around them. Only, a horse trough
in a backyard, or some outline of
indestructible beauty on a block
shoved in upside-down -behind a
hearth, may suddenly show what
once was, hasbeen lost, and yet
might be found again.
There are those who believe in
no god; those who believe in many
gods; those who believe in Matter,
only; those who believe in Powers
- not exactly spirit; and then,
there are those who believe in one
God and him, eternal, omnipotent
and loving of individual humans.
These peoples share the same Holy
City and the same documents
which they all refer to as ".'he
Is it humanly possible the Peo-
ple of "The Book," as Mohammed
recognized them all to be, may
yet rise up, like Ezekiel's dry bones,
seeing tgemselves as spiritual
brothers, sons of the same Father?
I am not holding my breath, wait-
ing for that great day. Look at
.Christianity, riven among Catho-
lics, Protestants, Copts and Greek
Orthodox; Protestantism, alone,
split for the four. hundred years
of its existence in over two-hun-
dred and fifty complicatedly
pleasant little internecine wars.
Or Judaism, frozen in its inter-
national, geographic and theologi-
cal ambivalencies. Or Moham-
medanism, presently, at least, un-
able to bridge at all the gap be-
tween the glory of its intellectual
past and today's intellectualisms;
split between Sunnite and Shiite;
infected with delayed and violent
cases of nationalism.
Nevertheless, there stands that
Book, on whose words, ideas and
deepest concepts thoseThree world
religions are firmly and inextrica-
bly founded. It holds an inner
consistency which has not failed
in 3,000 years those individuals
and groups who turned successive-
ly to it and back to it, again. It is
showing an outer consistency be-
fore which today's historians, ar-
chaeologists, economists, cultural
anthropologists, militarists and
psychologists stand with an in-
creasing amazement. How extra-
ordinary the medical and psycho-
logical insights of the parables
and miracles of Jesus - let alone
their ethical level! How curious
that the order of events in crea-
tion as described in Genesis is pre-
cisely the order of the appearance
and development of Matter as an-
nounced in today's sciences! Does
the phrase "and the evening and
the morning were the first day"
seem unclear to you? Possibly the
terms "Upper D e v o n i a n" or
"light-year" are more helpful? By
all means use them if they bring
the ultimate WHY of the Universe
(not the What, When or How)
any clearer into focus. Could it be
that there is A Great Consistency,
both in and out of this world,
other than mathematics? And if
so, where is it more strongly and
(for the English-speaking peoples)
more beautifully affirmed than in
The Book?
I DREAM of Catholics, Mo-
hammedans, Protestants, Jews
and Greek Orthodox living warmly
together on this torn' planet
through the shared heritage and
common goals of one Book --
why, you might as well think of
flying to the moon!
These four headings I feel to be
loosely clustered around the con-
cept of those religious beliefs with
which I try to throw a beam of
light outward toward the world
and the group. Four headings
which seem to me to swivel that
beam inward I place under the

headings of E, the soul; F, death;
G, sin; and H, eternity. But that's
another story; one for which, The
Daily'tells me, it has neither the
space nor the time, now - not to
mention the writer; or the reader.
;Deborah Bacon is the Uni-
versity Dean of Women.' This
article,"was written in-response
to a letter from The Daily ask-
ing for a personal definition of
LrI/ tA nJ 3I"A / kA AA'1A /7 I C

Zen Buddhism

Meditation Leads To Satori:
Gaining A New Perspective

"Wheh you understand, you be.
long to the family,
When you do not understand,
you are a stranger.
Those who do not understand
belong to the family,
And when they understand they
are strangers."
S o READS a Japanese Zen
Buddhism koan. The Zen mas-
ter gives such- paradoxical puzzlers
to his students who meditate on
-them and attempt to find the
right answer. But the answer to
a koan is not arrived at through
a logical, intellectual process, for
the purpose of meditation is pre-
cisely to grind down the rational
functioning of the mind.
The Zen masters say there is no
right answer to the koan, there
are many right answers to it; for
the only answer is one's whole
being. Meditating on a koan de-
velops control that stops word
drunkenness and mind wandering
by channeling all thought toward
one purpose.
When sufficient discipline is de-
veloped through koan meditation
it is possible for the Zen disciple
to experience satori. It is a mental
crisis which occurs in a flash and
where the .student's view of the
world shifts. He sees the same-
unsame world all new and this
sudden new perspective remains
with him.
The classic Zen image of the
liberated man is that of' a cork.
Lightly and easily he floats over
threatening waves that would
otherwise overcome him.
Zen Buddhism evolved from the
preachings and philosophy of In-
dia's Buddha. The religion, found-
ed in his name, traveled from
Himalaya to China where it splin-
tered into sects. One of them, the
Ch'an sect, developed a discipline
that has preserved it. A form of
this sect flourished in Japan where
Ch'an is translated "Zen"
ZEN WAS FIRST introduced to
the West in the twenties by
Dr. Daizetz Teitaro Suzuki, but
few people had heard of it before
1950. Then in the fall of '58, two
books came out: "Nature, Man
and Woman," by Allan Watts, and
The Dharma Bums, by Jack
Keruoac. They publicized and
popularized Zen; Time magazine
noted that it was growing more
and more 'chic.' j
Each book championed a differ-
ent faction of the philosophy:
Kerouac, the leader of the beat
generation, portrays the Beat Zen
faction, while the scholarly Watt's
book points the way to Square
Dharma is truth in Kerouac's
book. People chant at Zen assem-
blies, "The gates of Dharma are
.nanifold," and the main -charac-
ter decides, "I will take a vow to
enter them all."
Watt's book approaches the sub-
ject in a scholarly way, handling
a difficult subject in a lucid and
masterful manner.
There are many enthusiasts of
both Square and Beat Zen but
whether or not either American
importation of Zen is the real Mc-
Coy has been the subject of de-
bate for many written articles and
heated discussions. Zen is popular
and chic - is it also pseudo? And
how well does it travel?
WATT'S accuracy about Zen
and his familiarity with s-
tori indicates that he may well be
speaking from experience. Kerouac
seems to have the right- idea in
the richness of natural detail, the
Stephanie Roumell is a
Daily staff writer and a grad-
uating senior in the literary

Travel s

naivete, and the buoyancy of lan-
"It was like the first morning
in the world," he writes in Dharna
Bums, "with the sun streaming
in through a dense sea of leaves,
and birds and butterfies jumping
around, warm, sweet, the smell *of
heathers and flowers."
But many Beat Zenists who
think they are riding the waves
instead of fighting and striving
with the rest of the masses, are
not convincing corks, for they are
avoiding the larger, overwhelming
And many of - Watt's intellec-
tually curious audience may feel
they are becoming authorities on
the subject. But such a notion is
misleading, for -the scholarly, in-
tellectual approach to the mysti-
cal, nonrational philosophy of Zen
Buddhism provides, at best, only a
superficial idea of what it is all
so apparently Zen travels well
for some, not at all for others,
and any degree of success occurs
THERE ARE various possible
reasons for the wide response
to Zen here.
B u d d ha preached liberation
from suffering; the method was
non-attachment. The Zen sect of
Buddhism was publicized by
Kerouac and Watts in the West in
an age much preoccupied with
suffering -- therefore, enthusiasm
for it has caught on.
The liberated man sits light and
free and can ride easily over waves
that would otherwise overwhelm

him. The liberated man is also like
a clearhmirror. A seventeenth cen-
tury Zen master says, "The mirror
is- clear and reflects anything
which comes before it; yet no im-
age sticks in the. mirror." Zen,
then, clearly offers some hope in
a painful age.
Zen is a nature religion, and it
is booming at a time when we are,
less convinced and less enthusias-
tic about our victory over nature
thin before. It also is spreading
at a time in which man is getting
farther and , farther away from
nature. In fact, man's preoccupa-
tion with industry and mechani-
zation is threatening to make him
an- object of his own production
THE NATURE and philosophy of
the Zen religion offers hope for
those that find the hot-house at-
mosphere of the industrialized,
over-civilized West stifling. For
Zen -presents a cool, fresh morn-
ing; it represents aliveness, awak-
ening to the inmost, most human
self - not subordinating this in-
ner being to an overgrowth of
modern day civilization's artifices
and devices.
But to gain liberation through
satori and float ever after on the
waves .of life without becoming
overwhelmed no matter how
rough they may be, requires an
effort and discipline that is no
small undertaking. It often takes
years of meditation upon numer-
ous koans before satori, the en-
lightenment, occurs. The historic
Zen is very difficult and the
American Zenist going to Japan
finds the disciplining, in which
his blind natural process is meth-
odically crushed, and very painful.
So the recent popularity of Zen
seems to be more the result of the
happiness it brings, rather than
the happiness through enlighten-
ment it has already brought to
believers in Japan.

Buddha, portrayed above by artist
lived in India and originated the
From here, Buddhism traveled to t
it, Zen, evolved in Japan in the six
tieth century, this sect has travel
recently become popular.



Sos eeor complee
selection of
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SBroken lenses duplicated
" Frames replacedI
- Contact lens fluid sold
240 Nickels Arcade NO 2-9116 |
~~ --- - - - - - _---___ --4


... .. 7f."oi>


C. I BELIEVE that religion is
something other than Social
Welfare. I am convinced that the,
inherent weakness in today's
American religious revival consists
in that millions of us hope to sub
mit the secofld great Command- -,
ment as a reasonable facsimile for 4
the First. The almost American in-




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for your ideas!'
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