Enlightenment on a stick, Zen style.
(This week: page 499, "One year later, in the Hotel Claridge," to page 513, "Starting with Dorn, right here and right now.)
The connection between Buddhism and the Celine System seems to me to be key here, and I thank Dutch Discordian and scholar Christian Greer for his comment in the last entry that got me thinking along those lines.
Buddhism diagnoses "craving" or "thirst" as the source of suffering, and the object of the "Buddha's method," e.g., understanding the Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path is to achieve liberation by easing the craving.
Harry Coin gains a moment of sudden insight and peace when he give up the fear of death: "then, for the first time in his life, Harry Coin knew peace, as he relaxed into death," page 504. Compare with Robert Anton Wilson's well-known saying, "The fear of death is the beginning of slavery."
Attachment is described on page 506 as The Tar Baby Principle, with anarchism described as giving up attachment "to a god or a government, for direction or strength," much as James Joyce's alter ego gave up attachment to government ("non serviam") and to the Catholic Church in Portrait of the Artist and Ulysses.
On page 507, the Zen Master helps the student give up his attachment to theory about Buddhism by hitting him with a stick.
Being attached to being beaten to a stick seems like another form of attachment to me, but I have to admit that I'm no Zen expert.
"had started with two handicaps," page 506. Compare with the only "weapons" James Joyce allowed himself — the nonviolent weapons of "silence, exile and cunning."
A couple of notes:
Hotel Claridge, page 499, an old hotel in New York City mentioned in Midnight Cowboy; it's no longer there.
Calley, page 499. William Calley was the American officer blamed for the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam; hence his association in the text with Eichmann. "Don't take it too hard," Calley said. "We're only following orders." Page 499.
(Next week: "Hate, like molten lead, drips from the wounded sky," page 513, to page 523, "I'll take some more of the medicine when my mind starts crumbling.)