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Thread: To Let Go

  1. #1

    To Let Go

    Here is an interesting article from a Korean Buddhist blog I think is somehow in the same spirit of our practice:


    “When you let go, you can truly live.”
    - Seon Master Daehaeng Sunim

    Therevadan Buddhism isn’t my path, but I’ve lived in Bangkok for most of the past ten years and there are certain teachers here and in this tradition I never miss seeing if I can help it. Foremost among them is Ajahn Brahm. Born in London in 1951, ordained in Wat Saket in 1974, disciple of Ajahn Chah for nine years at Wat Nong Pah Pong, and now Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia, he is rightly famous for the depth of his experience and knowledge and the wonderful way in which he is able to present the Dhamma.

    His teaching is seemingly simple, full of stories, warm anecdotes, and his famous, unashamedly oft-repeated, jokes, but his humour serves to present teachings of great depth. I’ve not always agreed with everything I’ve heard from him, but I have benefitted greatly from his wisdom and especially from his skillful instructions regarding practice. I mention all this because he was here again this week and during the workshops I attended he gave a short teaching so profound and eye-opening I just had to share it here.

    I don’t know which sutta it comes from, and it doesn’t matter even if it doesn’t, but Ajahn Brahm told a story of how Buddha was wandering along with Ananda when they came across a monk sitting under a tree in meditation. The monk was sat on the ground with a straight back, his hands were folded, and his head and neck at just the right angle. He was deep in meditation and had been for some time. The Buddha turned to Ananda and said “I’m worried about that monk.”

    A few minutes later they came across another monk sitting under a tree in meditation. He was on a comfy cushion, his back was bent forward and he’d fallen asleep. Every now and then he’d wake up only to nod off again. He was even snoring. The Buddha turned to Ananda and said “this monk I’m not worried about at all, he’s doing just fine.”

    The point, of course, is about letting go. With his perfect posture and iron will, the first monk had turned meditation into a competitive sport, even if the only person he was competing against was himself. He wasn’t abandoning the ego, he was building it. Ajahn Brahm talked about a friend of his in Wat Nong Pah Pong years ago who was admired for his diligence and discipline, sitting upright while others would be half asleep with heads almost on the floor. Eventually the friend disrobed, the whole experience of monkhood had been, he discovered, an exercise in ego, nothing but a constant struggle.

    The second monk, the one the Buddha wasn’t worried about, had the sense to relax. If he nodded off, then he nodded off, no big deal. He was able to let go, let go of his need for perfection, and let go of the struggle. Even more, he was able to trust that things would be just fine without his striving and without his perfection. It reminded me of Daehaeng Kun Sunim’s comments on practice. Specific regimens, she says, will come to a dead end, but ”if you keep letting go and entrusting, and experiencing the results of this, then the path that seemed narrow in the beginning will gradually widen, and in the end will become a great avenue and gateway to the truth.”

    Ajahn Brahm talks about trying to control your mind and thoughts, trying to control anything in fact, as being like a farmer holding onto a rope trying to control a buffalo as it runs away. The rope can get twisted round your fingers and what will happen next? The farmer will lose his fingers. Crazy farmer, all he gets is pain and suffering, and in any case buffalos never go far. If the farmer had just waited a few minutes he could have just walked up to the buffalo and led it wherever he wanted to go.

    “If you know how to let go and be at peace, you know everything you need to know about living in the world.”
    - Ajahn Brahm, ‘Practising In The World’.
    Patrick__________________________
    Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien. -Voltaire
    The better is the enemy of the good. -Voltaire

  2. #2
    Hello Tetsugakucha,

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Metta and Gassho,

    Saijun

  3. #3
    Thank you,
    Others may think differently, but I have found this to be very true. We worry far too much about doing things "correctly", and we always judge ourselves as not good enough. We are good enough. Let go and entrust has more and more become my practice.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
    you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
    now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
    the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

  4. #4
    Hi.

    Thx.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen
    Treeleaf Unsui
    Blog: http://fugenblog.blogspot.com/

  5. #5
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Yes, Pontus...It is the very core of what FM Alexander had to bring to this world, and because so many of us are too busy or opiniated, we just dismiss it. Sitting can be a complete different ball game once you really drop trying to do it right.

    Gassho


    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  6. #6
    There was a period when I first started sitting in a structured Zen environment, when the self-discipline got very ruthless. I wasn't ruthless toward anyone else, just this body and mind. There was so much pain at one point, it was like I was torturing myself into a corner. It would get to the point of imploding on the cushion... then the pain and the world would be alone, and there was no problem ....but then “I” came back.. and on it went. It was actually on a Forest Sangha retreat during this time ... just eating the midday meal, that I broke down completely and realized, as crazy as it sounds, that I had to forgive myself for being born. In a way I am still just learning to do that, and the gentle Zazen practiced here is helping a lot. I suspect this is not uncommon to some degree.

    Gassho,
    Kojip
    Last edited by Daizan; 09-09-2012 at 12:44 PM.
    大山

  7. #7
    When my practice of zazen becomes as hard as iron because I am too stiff, I break my practice.
    Kosen.

  8. #8
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing this Kojip...I must forgive myself for being born as well!

    Gassho,
    Dosho


    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    There was a period when I first started sitting in a structured Zen environment, when the self-discipline got very ruthless. I wasn't ruthless toward anyone else, just this body and mind. There was so much pain at one point, it was like I was torturing myself into a corner. It would get to the point of imploding on the cushion... then the pain and the world would be alone, and there was no problem ....but then “I” came back.. and on it went. It was actually on a Forest Sangha retreat during this time ... just eating the midday meal, that I broke down completely and realized, as crazy as it sounds, that I had to forgive myself for being born. In a way I am still just learning to do that, and the gentle Zazen practiced here is helping a lot. I suspect this is not uncommon to some degree.

    Gassho,
    Kojip
    Ordained Priest -In-Training & Shuso (Head Seat) for November - Ango 2014
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please take what I say with a grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma!

  9. #9
    Thank you Tetsugakucha.

    Gassho
    Michael
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  10. #10
    Some of the most uptight zen practitioner, and other spiritual practitioners I know, are the ones who are so un bendingly ridged about posture and rituals. To the point that they almost lose sight about what it is they are doing.
    Humbly,
    Seiryu

  11. #11
    Senior Member Koshin's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing, a good lesson for control-freaks like me

    Gassho
    ______________________________
    Kōshin / Leo



    P.S. Yup, I know, my English sucks

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