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Zen Talk: Zen is a Struggle Against Schema

To set up what you like against what you don’t like — this is the disease of the mind.
Sheng-ts’an

Though defining certain things as those you don’t like is flush with problems, I think the real issue here is the division less than the “like.” The moment we start dividing things into different categories in our minds we only think of them within those categories. The “is” and the “is not” – the blue and the red – the good and the bad – the like and the dislike.

Zen Buddhism is a struggle against what psychology calls “schema,” the convenient categorizing element in our brains that develops in our youth and allows us to recognize the difference between four legged animals and calling some dogs and others cats – and eventually some poodles and others dachshunds.

By breaking down the divisions that we’ve created in our minds to define things – particularly likes and dislikes – Zen allows us to start conceptualizing the world differently …. or not at all, as the case may be.

What does this quote make you think about?

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