"Besides contrasting Western Being with Eastern Nothingness, in his later writings Nishida also at times makes a broad distinction between a Western “logic of things” and an Eastern “logic of the heart-mind (kokoro).” While Western thought tends to begin with an objective logic of substances (be these physical or mental), he claims that in Buddhism one can find the germ of a logic of the heart-mind, even if traditionally this remained largely at the level of an expression of personal experience rather than being fully developed into a genuinely philosophical logic (see Nishida 1964, 356). (Scholars of Buddhism may want to argue that it was Nishida’s own knowledge of Buddhism that remained too much at the level of personal experience, rather than the sophisticated teachings of the Mâdhyamaka, Yogâchâra, Tiantai, and Huayan traditions of Mahâyâna philosophy.)”
Again, following on from this post, the above is an obviously simplified statement of a view I don’t wholly agree or disagree with. Zen Skin, Zen Marrow starts off with a discussion of Arthur Koestler’s The Lotus and the Robot, a fascinating and kind of terrible book in which a European intellectual (and a “controversial, side-changing” one at that) goes to India and Japan in the 1950s and makes some pretty strong criticisms based on his experience and reading. This description in Zen Skin, Zen Marrow is a good summary of the conflicting aspects:
"The sense of disillusionment and disgust in Koestler’s book, his only major work dealing with Zen, seems like a throwback to unrepentant Orientalists whose agenda it was to turn Asian religious thought into disreputable clichés. But at the same time, to his credit, Koestler presciently anticipated and articulated nearly all of the main rebuttals to TZN [the Traditional Zen Narrative, acronym used by the author] provided by HCC [Historical and Cultural Criticism] on the issues of language, ritualism and societal affairs"
I went back and read a couple of the chapters on Zen in The Lotus and the Robot and while the tone is not particularly pleasant, and the criticisms while robust also seem to contain something of a wilful blindness when seen from an appreciation of non-dualist philosophy (and as can be seen from the title of that book and others, Koestler loved using binary opposites) it’s not wholly unfair at base and depends really on negotiating between social and cultural values towards appreciating Zen in a lucid context. So yes, Zen can degenerate into irrational silliness that’s not particularly socially useful or even harmful, but (as he recognises with the symbiotic nature of its origin to Confucianism) those same qualities may have or have had their uses.
My personal attraction to Zen stems, I’m pretty sure, from a dissatisfaction with the incompleteness of intellectual pursuit in a (Western) framework of science and philosophy, and even the humanities and arts as a bridge between the two. There is no system which will answer all our questions, and perhaps similarly to the way one is - supposedly, traditionally - led to question capitalist economics, maybe that is because the whole nature of our ‘systems’ is flawed? Critical thinking, despite the exhortations of our educators and business leaders who tout its material ends, manifestly does not bring happiness and rather tends to decrease it whenever we face a failure to rationally reorganise our lives and the world. Art can be a solution for some, hedonism for others, but what for the intellectual depressive and innate conservative who just wants to break the chain of thought without breaking anything else?
All of which is to say, in a rather incomplete fashion, that when I see such a statement as “in Buddhism one can find the germ of a logic of the heart-mind, even if traditionally this remained largely at the level of an expression of personal experience rather than being fully developed into a genuinely philosophical logic” I am both sceptical of and drawn towards it. I’m sceptical of a notion such as ‘heart-mind’, to start with, because I’m still too rationalist; yet at the same time I don’t want to see the ideas of Zen “fully developed into a genuinely philosophical logic” - in large part I reckon because my personality, which to use the Myers-Brigg typology (itself an unscientific, effectively anti-rationalist but deeply appealing ‘system’ that I find pragmatically useful) begins with the introverted intuition of ideas, proceeds to an outward facing rationality, followed only then by (introverted) feelings and (extrovert) sensory logic - because I need to keep it outside that sphere, free from its chains.