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The Great Awakening
(formerly Zen and Reality)
Published by Quest Books in 1981
Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2002
My first read of this book was in November 1983. This review is based on a quick re-reading of my highlighted portions of the text and my margin notes.
Powell acknowledges that his book is about Zen and Krishnamurti. Here's a quote from K.: "The mind is its own prison." If so, the only escape from such a prison must be "no-mind," the achieving of which state is the goal of Zen.
On page 34, Powell gives us a splendid verse by William Blake:
He who binds himself to a Joy,
Doth the winged life destroy
But he who kisses the Joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sunrise.
Powell says, "the self-realized man lives from the centre of his being -- and being, at once the source and its manifestation, he is free. He lives in a state of creativity, inspiration, love; it is this love Christians denote by the word agape'."
Here are miscellaneous thoughts and ideas that I received from this book that have become part of me over the past thirteen years:
- We can be both Christian and Buddhist. (page 48)
- I realize what I am: a psychological disturbance. (page 53)
- It is neither the flag or wind moving, but my mind. (page 69)
- The Ego is broken not in Victory, but in complete defeat. (page 85)
- Genius converts non-sense into common sense. (page 97)
- Knowledge about is always a relationship between Knower & Known. (page 101)
- Futility and despair are a result of a conditioning process in westernized man. (page 105)
- Apart from visible personal me, there is "something invisible which works in my favor in the dark." (Hubert Benoit) (page 120)
- Zen is like a thorn which removes another thorn from flesh, so that both can be thrown away. (page 120) [Note: this is the essence of G. Spencer Brown's Second Law of Form, = (where the resembles a thorn).]
- In science, "As in Zen, the final truth is not to be grasped for the reason that that which wants to grasp it is also part of that which is to be grasped." (page 127)
- Seeking for happiness causes unhappiness. (page 137)
- Science is not truth, but organized common sense. (page 153)
If any of these above ideas or concepts seem obscure or confusing or downright wrong to you, get hold of this book and let it get hold of you. You may not be convinced by the end of the book, but the act of reading is like putting the ingredients into the soup pot: let it cook for thirteen years and then, taste the soup. It will like "kissing the Joy as it flies, and you will live in eternity's sunrise."
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