Why chase Buddha?
Why not just Zazen, eat when its time to eat, work when its time to work, be with family when with family and sleep when sleep? I feel that I create duality when I look for Buddha by talking about Zen or Buddhism. Words cannot describe reality. Buddha is within us. There is nothing to talk about.
Hmmm. There were some great Zen Masters who agreed with you over the centuries. Unfortunately, we don't know who they are because they never said anything to anybody! :p
Actually, if one goes to the "Zen" Section of a library or book store (while they still exist), one will find shelves and shelves of books on "Zen" by "Zen Teachers". And so it has been through the centuries. Why?
To truly savor the fruits of this Way, one must have some understanding ... and pierce ... some basic fundamental Buddhist perspectives and philosophies, and make those ways of seeing a natural part of one’s life. The Four Noble Truths, The Eightfold Path, The Precepts, Impermanence, the Middle Way, Non-existence of the “self,” Cause and Effect, Dependent Co-Origination, Buddhist views on time, life and death, the workings of the senses and mind… the words and insights of the Buddha and later Teachers (such as that Dogen fellow) … the list goes on… Our Zazen Practice brings life to these doctrines, while each doctrine helps give shape and meaning to our Zazen. Otherwise, Sitting and the Practice of "No Goal" and "Nothing to Attain" may simply turn into an aimless, meaningless, formless (not in a good way) mush. So, most of the Zen Teachers of old (and today) were talking and expressing just such Teachings.
But “Zen” is also said to be “a special transmission outside the scriptures, not dependent on words and letters,” with legends of old Zen masters burning their Buddhist philosophy books. So: which view of “right view” is right?
Even the Zen Masters of the past who were "beyond words and letters" usually were so once they had already become quite familiar with the "words and letters" (although some radicals did burn the books even before reading them). Bodhidharma said it, then taught the Lankavatara Sutra. The Sixth Patriarch said it, then lectured on the Diamond Sutra. For most of the old Teachers, saying that we are a "special transmission outside the scriptures, not bound by words and letters" meant that we sometimes burn our sutra books, and do completely without the "words". Other times, we do not "read" the scriptures and philosophize about them in our armchairs, so much as try to "see through them" to their meaning as revealed by the insights of Zazen. Most vitally, we must realize them and bring each word and letter to life. We must not be imprisoned by the words, but enlivened and enlightened by them ... and them us, in a dance. As well, sometimes we pick up our books and discuss them and chew them over, other times we put our books down and feel the simple breeze blowing across one's cheek.
So, there is a time to just eat when we eat, sleep when we sleep, smile at a flower, Sit the Sit. That is Buddha.
There is a time to go to the ball game, eat a sandwich and watch TV. That is Buddha.
And there is a time to brush up on some Basic Buddhist History and Doctrines. That is Buddha too. No duality in any of such when clearly perceived.
Gassho, Jundo (tossing some more words at the problem).
It may be worth a few words here noting that Ol' Dogen was not all about "silence" and "beyond words", as some may envision this "Way Beyond Words and Letters". Rather, he felt that well turned words are "Beyond Words", and sound and silence is "Silent" ... a language through and through All Language.
Dogen ... the master wordsmith and walking encyclopedia of arcane Buddhist stories and Sutra Passages ... held well expressed language to be the very essence of Buddhist Truths. For Dogen, suchness was not a matter of rejecting or embracing silence or speaking (there are right moments for each) ... but of how what is said, the well turned and turning phrase (that turns our hearts and the world). The right words and Buddhist ideas do not simply describe Truth, but dance Truth itself, are Truth Dancing.
Properly Illuminated words are not simply 'the finger pointing at the moon which cannot be described in words'. Enlightened words are the Very Moonlight.
Open any page of Shobogenzo, sentence by rich sentence, and one realizes that Dogen did not see words as an obstruction ... but only words of ignorance as obstructing, and Wise Words As Realization Realizing!
Thanks for your input Jundo.
Yes, Buddha is in you ... out you ... no you ... no in or out you ... no Buddha. (You need a little of that Buddhist Philosophy to figure out why a sentence like that makes sense to us! :encouragement:)
What you said about just sitting Zazen, just eating, just feeling the breeze on one's cheek is not wrong at all. Nothing more is needed, yet the Buddhist Teachings flesh it out.
We don't try to "grasp Buddha". In fact, we best "grasp Buddha" by dropping all grasping.
Doc, I know you made it through medical school from the degrees behind you in the picture. I am certainly not talking about putting you through study like that again! gassho2
Again, thank you for for your input. gassho2
This is where I stand in regard to my practice:
I Zazen 40 minutes in the morning and then some watching the breath when going to sleep. I Zazen with friends on Monday night. I try as much as possible to focus on what I do during the day, to be present.
I read Zen books and listen to Zen/Eastern Philosophy/Buddhism while driving in the car.
I am an addict by nature and my addiction for the past 2 years has been Zen. This is why I am here, to get me some more Zen.
I like the 'Everyday Zen'/'Nothing Special' by Joko Beck and 'Beginers Mind' that seem to say Zazen and everything else falls into place. I also like Alan Watts who provides very good insights regarding eastern philosophy.
You are very kind taking the time to educate me on Zen.
There is a lot of good information at this site and I will try to further my studies with the material provided and also hopefully get a chance to do some group sitting. gassho2
PS. Sorry about creating this post in the FAQ section, don't exactly know what I am doing yet regarding creating topics for discussion.
Personally I appreciate what says Jundo here, but maybe we can add this: when the brain is used well in the brain work, without seizing but with the care of being attentive, the words are used but the brain work as during meditation. I know somebody who works in a bank, all day looking figures and pages on a computer, and his practice is to look at figures and pages on the computer.
Buddha is beyond any idea of Buddha, beyond and yet living in this .Our way is not to mind about Buddha but let Buddha take care of our life-sitting- being. As to getting more of Zen, i would rather advise you not to pick up this heavy burden. The reality lived fully as is is what goes by the name Zen, Zen as a product-drug-stuff is empty of any content. A mere tag.
A flashy nonsense.
This discussion recurs. That is a good thing, I think, as is the spirit of repetition.
I sit, wear the Okesa and shave my head. I respect the forms and tradition. I study quietly too and write poems as best I can. I also like to cook, walk, be with my wife and kids and this week I'm enjoying watching the World Series. All this is my life, with no exception or distinctions. I don't know if that's "Zen". In fact, it's just experiencing reality in each moment.
Thanks John C, Jundo and Taigu.
I feel talking or being silent is not the point. Doing what the moment requires is the point ... Without a self-conscious philosophy.
Gassho, with a pinch of sea salt,
PS: sometimes the moment requires us to sit; while the next moment it is good to study the sutras.
Thank you to all that provided input and advice in this post. I live in a part of the world where few have an interest in Zen. It is refreshing to talk to others of like mind.gassho2
good exchange, I much value John's initial post and self-reflection,
sometimes my opinions are very similar. Not much to say ...
We sit, there is nothing else needed. All is there, all thus ... the Alpha and Omega. No need to crack one book.
Likewise with a breeze on the cheek, or a Buddha's holding up a flower. Nothing else, no need to pour on words.
But if one does not learn from the Wisdom contained in some old books ... one may not come to realize correctly the above.
Likewise, do not fall into the words and books or one's armchair and become their prisoner.
Alan Watts tells a story about himself during his lectures on eastern philosophy that goes something like this: He has a good friend who is a Zen master and his friend asks Alan Watts as to why not become his student? Alan Watts replies with 'who was Buddha's teacher?' The Zen master then gives Mr. Watts a strange look, smiles and gives him a clover leaf.
I like this story because it points to the fact I have Buddha in me, but..., I am not Alan Watts.:)
I need to continue my daily Zazen and readings. gassho2
Buddha had many teachers, the greatest teachers of his time.
I made a new topic of # 13 above in a new thread 'who was Buddha's teacher?'
Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi