Dogen Sangha Blog

  by Gudo NISHIJIMA

Japanese / German

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The relying upon the Balance of the Autonomic Nervous System

We, Huma Beings, have the two kinds of Nervous System. The one is the Brain-Spinal Nervous System, and the other is the Autonomic Nervous System.
The Brain-Spinal Nervous System can be recognized by Human Brain, but in the case of the Autonomic Nervous System can never be recognized by the Human Brain.
However the function of the Human Autonomic Nervous System is even though it is impossble for Human Beings to recognize its existence, the function of the Human Autonomic Nervous System is much more powerful in its function comparing with the Brain-Spinal Nervous System. Therefore in the case of the Human Autonomic Nervous System might be almost impossible for Human Beings to recognize its real function exactly, and so it is almost impossible for Human Beings to recognize the real function of the Autonomic Nervous System really.

19 Comments:

Blogger Harry said...

Dear Roshi,

As you are aware, in modern Psychology there are various perspectives from which we can consider and discuss aspects of lived human experience (perspectives such as the behaviorist perspective, the humanist perspective, the psychodynamic/Freudian perspective, the cognitive perspective etc etc).

Using the ANS theory to explain Buddhist practice strikes me as being a particularly physiological way to explain it: While the theory offers a physiological basis and explanation of Buddhist practice it does not say much that is meaningful about our actual lived experience in terms of that experience. Do you feel that we can also explain Buddhism in the modern terms of human values and meaning from other perspectives such as a psychologist might approach it?

It seems that some people consider that zazen is 'beyond meaning' and 'beyond values' (sometimes people even get offended by our trying to explain it at all!), but, if it is, then can't this itself be said to be a meaning and a value that we can study and communicate?

Thanks & Regards,

Harry.

7:37 AM, September 21, 2010  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

Dear Ven Harry San,

The problem is related with the function of the Autonomic Nervous System, and so it is necessary for us to research the problem of the Autonomic Nervous System.

The problem occurs from the function of the Autonomic Nervous System, and so without touching the problem of the Autonomic Nervous System, the problem can never be solved.

But if we touch the problem of the Autonomic Nervous System, it is very clear that the problem has mainly related wih the Autonomic Nervous System.

By considering the function of the Autonomic Nervous System, we can find that the function of the Autonomiic Nervous System is just relying upon the cause of existing our fundamental functions to feel senses.

We, Human Beings, fortunately have the function to feel the orgin of our feeling pain, and so forth.

In other words we can guess the Autonomic Nervous System can have the fundamental function of feeling all kinds of feeling.

8:24 PM, September 21, 2010  
Blogger Harry said...

"The problem occurs from the function of the Autonomic Nervous System, and so without touching the problem of the Autonomic Nervous System, the problem can never be solved."

Thank-you, Roshi.

I agree with the real substance of what you are proposing, but at the same time I think the problem has been solved in the past by Gautama Buddha and many others without the ANS theoretical framework, and through employing different terms of reference.

If I think of the ANS theory in terms of Master Dogen's fourfold model from Shobogenzo Genjo-Koan it seems to me as if the ANS theory leans towards the objective/materialistic phase. To me the ANS theory alone seems to be an incomplete theory as it does not take our own experience of our own meaningful existence/actions into account as Master Dogen's fourfold system does.

Maybe the first subjective/idealistic phase may be included to represent how we (with real validity) interpret balanced action compared to unbalanced action?

The third stage of Action/Buddhist practice is clearly the balancing action itself.

While the last stage is the real, inclusive balanced situation?

Thanks & Regards,

Harry.

1:18 AM, September 22, 2010  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

Gudo says; the level of civilisations in the 19th Century and the level of civilisation in the 13th Century are a little different, and so it is necessary for us to take care of the difference between the levels of the two civilizations.

In 19th Century the Human Beings have found the Action at the present moment, a little generally, but in the 13th Century it was very rare to find for the people to notice the person, who knows the existence of Acts at the present moment.

I wander whether there is any concrete fact, which can exist as an imcomplete Action itself.

Therefore I never consider Action, which has been accomplished yet at all.

In conclusion, Action is just Real Facts at the present moment.

Therefore we can absolutely revere the Action itself. and so we can revere Zazen itself.

I think that every Action should be accomplished, and it is impossible for an Action to exsist, which are not accomplished yet. I wonder whether there was a kind of imperfect Action, or not.

I think that Zazen belongs to the different from idea, or perception, but Zazen belongs just to Action itself.

4:40 PM, September 22, 2010  
Blogger Harry said...

Dear Roshi,

Thank-you for this interesting discussion.

You wrote: "I think that every Action should be accomplished, and it is impossible for an Action to exist, which are not accomplished yet. I wonder whether there was a kind of imperfect Action, or not.

I think that Zazen belongs to the different from idea, or perception, but Zazen belongs just to Action itself."


It seems to me that often we must have some vague and, ultimately, unreal and inaccurate, idea of where we are going in order to point our self in some direction; hopefully in the right general direction.

Personally, it seems to me that, while zazen is certainly not just sitting and thinking, or sitting and perceiving, when we are sitting in a stable way then thinking and perception can come to be experienced and understood as not a problem, not inferior, and not imperfect.

Thanks & Regards,

Harry.

6:20 PM, September 22, 2010  
Blogger mtto said...

Dear Nishijima Roshi,

Thank you for your teaching, translations and commentaries.

Do you have a recommendation of a book on the Autonomic Nervous System?

Warm Regards,
John

2:30 PM, September 23, 2010  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

Gudo says that I would like to recommend two books to you, that is, the one is "A man against Himself," and the other is "Love agaist Hate", the both are written by Karl Menninger, M.D.

I revere the Doctor Karl Meninger so much, and I admire him well so much.

7:31 PM, September 23, 2010  
OpenID tool9988 said...

The ANS affects heart rate, digestion, respiration rate, salivation, perspiration, etc... but cannot we also consciously perceive and control these functions using our Human Brain nervous system?

My blog: http://www.theemotionmachine.com

BTW - I found it hard to find a correct OPENID to get my comment approved. Perhaps you can open up the options, or make us post under our own name?

5:57 AM, September 25, 2010  
Blogger Woochi said...

Roshi,

You stress the importance of balancing the ANS in order to achieve balance, and that this balance allows us to act without attachment or fear, but with compassionate action. You refer to this is the balanced human way.

Could you comment on how, as Buddhists, we can avoid attachment and the importance of this release from attachment?

Diogenes--the greek cynic--once said, “It is the privilege of the gods to want nothing, and of godlike men to want little”.

1:44 AM, September 26, 2010  
Blogger Regina said...

Dear all,

I have read the book "Love against Hate" recently and can strongly recommend it.
Best wishes to you, Nishijima Roshi, from Germany.

Regina

5:14 AM, September 26, 2010  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

Gudo says that the book called "Love against Hate" is a very nice book, and at the same time the book entitled "A man against Himself" by Kahl Meninger is also a very nice book.

5:55 PM, September 26, 2010  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

Gudo says:

Dear Ven Woochi San,

If you like to get the balanced state of Human Beings, it is necessary for you to keep your Autonomic Nervous System balanced.

If we, Buddhists, want to keep our Autonomic Nervous System balanced, it might be the Best Way for us to practice Zazen everyday, and it might be the easiest way for us to get the balanced state of the Autonomic Nervous System. And the best practice to get the balanced Autonomic Nervous System must be to practice Zazen everyday.

And when our Autonomic Nervous System has been balanced, we can always keep the balance of the Autonomic Nervous System for ever, if we do not stop our practice of Zazen everyday. And so it is possible for us to practice Zazen everyday, and we can keep our balanced states of the Autonomic Nervous System everyday.

When our Autonomic Nervous System has been balanced, if we continue our practice of Zazen everyday, it is impossible for us to lose the balanced state of the Autonomic Nervous System forever.


Dear Ven tool9988 San,

Our Autonomic Nervous System moves relying upon only our Autonomic Nervous System itself. Therefore our Brain-spinal Nervous System can never work reling upon the function of the Autonomic Nervous System.

7:41 PM, September 26, 2010  
Blogger Lone Wolf said...

Dear Nishijima Roshi,

Could you please explain what you mean by "Real Facts" when you say "Action is just Real Facts at the present moment." For example, I hear a dog barking outsite my window at the moment. Would Real Facts be me listening to the sound of the dog barking outside my window in the present moment? Or do you mean something else?

Also, what does the WILL TO THE TRUTH mean? Is this some kind of attitude one needs to cultivate in Buddhism or simply the effort to sit Zazen everyday?

I recently met and sat Zazen with your student Brad Warner. It was nice to do so. I'm happy and grateful to be able to communicate with you through this blog.

Thank you very much!

3:23 PM, September 29, 2010  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

Gudo says: In the case of Greco-Roman Civilization, there were two kinds of philosophical dimensions, that is, mind and body, but in the case of Buddhist Realism, it has the three kinds of dimensions, that is, mind, body, and Action.

And in Buddhist phylosopgies, there is an independent area, that is, the area of Action.

The area of Action is the main part of Buddhist philosophy. Because the area of Action is the very unique in Buddhism, and relying upon the area of Action, Buddhist Phylosophy has been established.

1:59 PM, October 02, 2010  
Blogger Daigu said...

So, Nishijima roshi sir, if I were to balance the brain-spinal and the autonomic nervous systems perfectly, could I then forget about the two nervous systems, and just sit?

Sincerly,

Daigu.

7:18 AM, October 10, 2010  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

Blogger Daigu said...

So, Nishijima roshi sir, if I were to balance the brain-spinal and the autonomic nervous systems perfectly, could I then forget about the two nervous systems, and just sit?

Sincerly,

Daigu.


Gudo says: The brain-spinal nervous system and the autonomic nervous system do not have any relations with each other, and so I think that it might be non-sense for us to think about the relation between Blogger Daigu said...

So, Nishijima roshi sir, if I were to balance the brain-spinal and the autonomic nervous systems perfectly, could I then forget about the two nervous systems, and just sit?

Sincerly,

Daigu.


Gudo says:The brain-spinal nervous system does not have any relation with the autonomic nervous system fundamentally.

8:44 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger Lone Wolf said...

Thanks Nishijima Roshi!

What does it mean to have the will to the truth?

4:14 PM, October 25, 2010  
Blogger skatemurai said...

Dear Roshi,

can we ever have same state of our nervous system in night (calm and peaceful) active in the same way in day?

Thanks for your answer
Tom

8:29 AM, October 28, 2010  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

Gudo says:

Dear Ven Lone Wolf,

Do you think that there is the Real Truth exists really?

And if you believe in the existence of the only one Truth, you are right. Because it is completely impossible for the Truth to exist more than One.

Therefore if we want to find the Truth, it must be always only One, and it is perfectly impossible for us to find the the Truth, which is much more than One, at all. Something, which is more than One, can never be the Truth.


Dear Ven skatemurai,

I think that the situations of the Autonomic Nervus System are actually miscellaneous, and so I think that it is impossible for us to decide the such kinds of different situations actually.

8:01 PM, October 30, 2010  

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