National Library of Australia

You must be logged in to Tag Records
The design of enlightenment in koan Zen [microform]
Bib ID 3282860
Format MicroformMicroform, BookBook
Author
Tarrant, John Maxwell
 
Description 204 p. 
Summary

A map of Zen training and enlightenment is developed using systems design methods. Analogues between systems design and Zen are drawn. A design group for collaborative theory building was formed. Nine experienced Zen students, including the author, used consensus techniques to generate a description of enlightenment as a system. Additional material was drawn from literature and from the author's experience. Structures and processes of the Zen system are identified. Major structural features are: Student, koan, teacher, and sesshin. The Zen student concentrates on the koan to the exclusion of other concerns. The teacher holds the student to the koan. Important stages leading to enlightenment are: Existential doubt, which brings the student to Zen; deep concentration, in which the student is absorbed in the koan; a catalyst, an ordinary sense impression which breaks up the concentration; and enlightenment itself.

Enlightenment involves initiation into the depth of Zen and an encounter with the universe, the teacher and the tradition. A special language centered on the koan is developed. Enlightenment is operationally defined as the ability to respond to the teacher's koan questions. Other features include a sense of one's true identity and, paradoxically, of the ordinary nature of the insight. Readiness and expectations influence the emotional tone of the experience. Enlightenment is one event in a long journey of practice and development after enlightenment is seen in terms of the psychological concept of presence. More general theories of enlightenment are considered: psychological frame-breaking; altered states of consciousness; and the existential shift--this last providing the best description. Zen practice is then shown in relation to formal theories of discontinuous change, namely: Punctuated equilibrium; catastrophe; and dissipative structures.

These are viewed as particular cases within a general theory of design. In a dissipative structure a fluctuation from equilibrium is amplified and leads to an abrupt transformation, a symmetry break, followed by reorganization at a higher level. This provides an excellent model for Zen enlightenment. This theory may be useful further in linking Zen training and existential psychotherapy. Design is shown as a powerful method for inquiry into consciousness.

Notes

(UnM)AAI8811851

Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 49-04, Section: A, page: 0844.

Chair: Bela Banathy.

Thesis (Ph.D.)--Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center, 1987.

Reproduction Microfiche. Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms International. 
Subjects Religion, General.  |  Psychology, General.
Other authors/contributors Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center

Online

    In the Library

    Request this item to view in the Library's reading rooms using your library card. To learn more about how to request items watch this short online video Help Video.

    Details Collect From
    mc 252 88-11851 Newspapers/Microforms Reading Room

    Order a copy

    - Copyright or permission restrictions may apply. We will contact you if necessary.

    Help Video To learn more about Copies Direct watch this short online video Help Video.
    close Can I borrow items from the Library?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    close What can I get online?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    close Can I get copies of items from the Library?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    Members of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Maori communities are advised that this catalogue contains names and images of deceased people. All users of the catalogue should also be aware that certain words, terms or descriptions may be culturally sensitive and may be considered inappropriate today, but may have reflected the author's/creator's attitude or that of the period in which they were written.