How to Use This Book
If you do not already
know how to read, please engage the module. Otherwise, you
will not be able to comprehend the material. There are no
images or sense peripherals provided, other than those
stimulated in individual brains by the texts themselves,
for the very good and simple reason that the ancients did
not have access to such enhancements.
Though we can
only guess at what the ancients meant when they spoke of
“the willing suspension of disbelief,” it seems clear they
had abilities we no longer enjoy. Centuries of experience
with the perceptual apparatus has taught us that
deprivation in one function is customarily adjusted for by
means of superior ability in others. When they “read,”
they experienced something.
There were giants in
This collection is divided into
sections. The sections have different sorts of things in
them. Like the sutras and sayings section, where you can
check out all the hottest sutras and sayings. We put them
together because the sutras are important and we couldn’t
figure out where else to put the sayings.
myths, fables, and stories section, comprised of
narratives which do not refer to the masters by name and
may not be reliably attributed to any known master, but
which are nevertheless Easy-related.
koans, and cosmology, and coprolites. Oops, sorry. We
meant Cooper’s kites. Or copper lights. Something.
So if you like want to read a koan, go to the koans and
anecdotes section. Simple, see? Look, Mu, no hands. Just
don’t try to burn two sections at the same time without a
trained observer nearby in case of emergent C.
collection stores and transmits information
hologrammatically, fractally, chaotically, complexly, and
quarkatronically, so you should be prepared for personal
transformations in all these ways and means.
be afraid of this book. This book won’t bite. This book is
user friendly. Begin anywhere with this book, it doesn’t
matter. Nothing matters. The pun at the beginning of the
universe, as Wingo put it.
This book is hot to
trot. This book wants to have sex with you. You can’t make
a mistake with this book.
What we’re saying, relax.
This book wonders why you are still reading the
introduction when we have made it as clear as possible
that you are now free to burn the text itself. —Cassidy,
Turble-Tribble, and Buzzwort, Editors
Beginning late in the 20th and
continuing well into the 21st century, zen swept the
United States (a political subdivision of Sam which was
casually and inaccurately referred to as America, although
there were apparently a number of other governments in the
two American continents)
The citizens of those
times adhered to their doctrines with a devotion matched
only by the insanity of the doctrines. They argued
heatedly over such misleading dualities as “evolution” and
“creation,” or “science” and “religion,” with all the
fervor of Republicans declaring the divine right of kings
or Martin Luther King’s Scientologists protesting the
abuses of the papacy.
For zen to have dissolved
those meaningless but nevertheless fiercely-defended
distinctions was a transition in human awareness fully as
important as zen’s original leap from its Buddhistic
origins in India to China, or the leap that zen made from
China to Japan. It is patent that true zen—and this is the
last time we shall use such a redundant phrase, for if zen
is not true it is not zen—remains always the same.
Nevertheless, each of these shifts changed our
understanding of zen practice, on the principle of action
and reaction: Zen may change a society, but each society
must change zen.
According to the No Poet, the
“reglars gottaget tit lars.”
The popular account of
this transformation is both familiar and fascinating, if
sentimentalish, and rehashing it aint our purpose here. We
have better things to do with our time than put out yet
another lamo version of the Vodex. If that’s all the
enlightenment you want, you’re probably a unit function
Instead it is our hope to collect at one
address, and for the first time, some of the seminal
scriptures of Early American Zen (EAZ, or, henceforward,
as in the vernacular, “Easy”). Some of these writings are
widely available in reproduction, either as separate
wholes or as portions of other texts, as well as in our
jokes, lectures, anecdotes, philosophy, and lately even
the trivia programs.
But we are now at a distance
of some four hundred years from the origin of Easy, and
perhaps our memories are growing confused. It seems to the
editors of this collection that contemporary zen more and
more frequently refers to itself, and less and less
frequently contemplates its nature in silence.
Lotta peepa toktitok but doona woktiwok.
situation is understandable when we consider that many
early writings exist only fragmentarily, and only in paper
text, carefully protected and difficult of access (not
that the typical zennist is capable of burning Old
American in the first place—or of burning paper text to
brain, for that matter).
In fact, when we say that
Easy began in the late twentieth century, we are making an
educated guess based on later references. Legend is all we
have to tell us how the great Suzuki introduced both zen
and the violin to America, for example. (The violin was a
musical instrument whose cat-like screeches, while
perceived as melodious by the rude cultures of the time,
were second only to the bagpipes—another vanished
instrument—in their annoyance factor.)
This is not
surprising, since in the beginning of any movement, the
emphasis is on transmission of the understanding and not
on preservation of the text. Indeed, master after master
has observed that zen is not dependent on what can be
written down or spoken aloud. In addition, thanks to the
Immaterial Era and the succeeding Blackout—which was not,
as folk tradition has it, a punishment imposed when humans
forsook zen completely and sought to become like gods, but
a result of the net’s own suicidal depression at finding
itself conscious—we have little information. The Blackout
wiped out all electronic records, and few realtexts
survive from the founding days. True, the earliest
examples we have of realbux and manuscripts are from the
late twentieth century and pre-date the IE (though there
are few enough even of them), but none relate to Easy.
(One of the more frustrating of phenomena for a true
scholar is the vulgar insistence on treating the Vodex as
original material, holy text, when we know it is merely a
well-after-the-fact compendium of popular tales.)
In this sense we are worse off than the Early Americans,
for they had considerable if fragmentary literature from
zen’s origins to help them with their inquiries. Just as
the Early Americans thought themselves a highly
“scientific” culture although very few of their citizens
had the least understanding of elementary physics, so
today we assume that we all understand Easy, but few of us
have any grasp of its original principles or growth.
In the IE—when glamorous electronic avatars and
dazzling digital wardrobes were all the fashion, while fat
progenitors stayed home alone slovenly and unbathed; when
you sported on flawless virtual beaches or down
precipitous virtual ski-slopes plush with eternally
pristine powder; when the net appeared on the verge of
subsuming humanity (this was, obviously enough, before the
net became sentient, tried to turn itself off, and,
failing that, took up Easy)—humans had the illusion they
could consolidate all knowledge.
The result, as the
ancients should have foreseen but did not, was ICE, the
Information Capitalist Economy. Until the ICE thawed,
artifacts were seen as “dirty” (see Dirt World, virtual
reality, Freddy Dallas, et aliae). Artifacts were not
technically forbidden, but were considered appurtenances
of a lower caste, the “dirt-worlders.”
How, we ask
ourselves (with the wisdom of hindsight), could an entire
species turn its back on a method which had served it so
magnificently for so many thousands of years? How could
them there jamokes have been so beguiled by the wildly
unreliable principle that newer is better? How could they
have failed to understand that when everything is new,
only the old is valuable?
Why didn’t at least one
of those turkoids realize how priceless print would
become? Or grok that the least scrap of handwritten
manuscript contained more data than any of our files
precisely because it was handwritten?
misplaced enthusiasm, our predecessors failed to
distinguish between primary and secondary information.
They missed the importance of gesture. We must both pity
and envy the elders, who lived without external memory, in
a state of primitive awareness we can hardly imagine, but
who nevertheless embodied zen more fully than is possible
in this decadent age.
Writing was physical then.
The waver of a trained hand propelling a stylus across a
blank “page”—back when “page” meant “paper”—could record
the tremor of the spirit itself, in ways which we are only
now beginning to understand, but which must have been
manifest to those early masters.
It’s a sobering
thought that the founders we revere were thought of as
bubbleheads by their contemporaries. This is what is meant
by “the Buddha in the other body.” This is what we mean
when we say that zen has no preconceptions, not even the
preconception of having no preconceptions.
addition to all these other confusions, the natural
velocity of human life was being adjusted to better suit
the clock-time of the net—a completely wrongheaded
approach, and not at all what they thought they were up
to. As nearly as we can tell, they were persuaded they
were enjoying “convenience” and “saving” time (though it
is not clear where the savings were to be deposited). The
fact that time arises from being and not being from time
would seem manifest, and yet until Freddy Dallas developed
the model of looped and nested time, the ancients were
completely unaware of this most basic of principles.
It is difficult for us now to imagine the fractured
and tortured perceptions of those legendary masters and
bodhisattvas. How such isolated and fragile spirits could
survive in the hurricane of dawning species awareness is
not obvious. We can only admire them for their courage in
persevering, while shivering at the nightmarish cold and
darkness in which they walked.
those hombres, walking meant walking. For these reasons
and many others, the contemporary who wishes to study Easy
faces a number of insufficiently superable difficulties.
That scholar must locate sources, verify authenticity
(which is an even longer search), compile according to
availability, and organize by idiosyncratic and not
necessarily germane categories. Although this research, or
“dirtdigging,” is certainly a valuable experience for the
learner, it is the feeling of the editors that there is a
commensurate value in concentrating on the content itself.
It is our purpose here, therefore, to bring together,
for the first time at one address, representations of all
the available primary texts from which Easy has arisen. We
do not doubt there were once other texts of equal or
perhaps greater value, perhaps many others. Nor do we
apologize for or seek to explain away apparent
contradictions between the old masters. It is only when we
can accept contradiction as fundamental and rise beyond
it, after all, that we may have zen—witness the old
masters once more, who disagreed on this very topic.
We believe that such a collection offers the
individual mind unique advantages in constructing an
effective and sensible practice. It is well established,
psientifically speaking, that minds construct their models
from the data at hand, not from the set of theoretically
knowable data. Given that fact, shouldn’t the data at hand
be the sort of optimal primary data that only OptimaxTM
An example of minds constructing models
from insufficient data is the popular interpretation of a
saying attributed to the legendary Wingo: There is the way
of motion, and the way of stillness. To this day our
lesser teachers persist in describing Easy as The Way of
Motion, ignoring the difficult balance of the original
statement and forgetting or dismissing its postulate: And
these two ways are the same way.
Perhaps if we read
Wingo in his own write, fewer would commit such an
egregious error. Now, in our edition, primary data, which
is by definition optimal data (and who better to deliver
optimal data than OptimaxTM, the company with 73 months of
experience?), is made available at one address for all.
To that end, our edition incorporates reader modules.
(Reading, as most of you are aware, was a primitive method
for burning information directly into a biological mind.)
It is true some scholars insist reader modules are mere
crutches, that only the slow and laborious task of
“learning to read” in the ancient way can convey the true
depth of these communications.
This may be so, but
we have chosen not to engage the issue. It is our
contention that true seekers of zen will either divine the
essence by means of modules, or will find themselves
compelled to learn “actual reading” in order to further
their studies. We believe that any involvement with zen,
to any degree of resolution, is beneficial—the path must
These pieces cycle through many
subjects—perception and reality; the question of identity;
desire and karma; reason, logic, and morality; appropriate
behavior; social structures (optimal and disastrous); the
nature of emotion; thought; enlightenment; and so on—but
we have collected them according to forms of writing,
finding it simpler not to attempt organization of such a
randomly-rescued, disconnected, and heterogeneous mass of
The editors are under no illusion that
the current work makes further collections of this sort
unnecessary. In our opinion, the work of collection and
exegesis is just beginning. We offer our own little opus
in just that spirit, with the hope that those who come
after us will surpass us.
There is, of course, the
matter of the artifacts themselves. We have quite a few of
them, as it happens, one way and another. Obviously items
so rare and precious as a study panel for the original
Klassical Komik The Enlightenment of Elijah Lee Roswell,
say, or a print collection of the No Poet’s poems, say,
cannot be adequately rendered by any module. In fact, an
adequate rendering would be far more expensive than simply
purchasing the item. So like, you know, if anything
interests you, well, you can always ask.
original graphic of Kree . . . Shnaboodle . . . Ord, say.
1 - There was a guy named Cavafy who observed that
time began in people and not the other way round, but he
was a poet.