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Thread: Great Doubt, or "The Question"

  1. #51
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    If Stephanie would like to come herself to join the conversation, she is welcome and should. However, we should stop putting words in her mouth about her meaning and thoughts.

    Gassho, J
    ^^
    What he said.

    Breathe in, breathe out...

    Raf

  2. #52
    Back to Great Doubt for a moment. I have been thinking. I think there is Great Doubt in many religions and philosophies. And again, thinking in resonse to Stephanie's post, I think this Great Doubt may come from the fact that there doesn't ever appear to be a final and once-and-for-all-eternity Answer. For example, in Christianity, even Christ, even at death, questioned: "Why has Thou forsaken me?"

    I once asked Dosho if he thought that, if you ever actually became enlightened, you could lose that enlightenment? His answer quoted another teacher who said, "Try it and see."

    I think maybe in Zen, we re-create the Answer every time we sit, so, thus, there is also always the Great Doubt--as a two sided coin, to borrow one of Jundo's similes. Gassho, Grace.

  3. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by Graceleejenkins View Post
    I think maybe in Zen, we re-create the Answer every time we sit, so, thus, there is also always the Great Doubt--as a two sided coin, to borrow one of Jundo's similes. Gassho, Grace.
    That's "Two sides of a no sided coin!"

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #54
    disastermouse
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    Speaking to the enlightenment question, Hagen likened an enlightened person to a pedestrian. When a person gets into a car or sits down, where did the 'pedestrian' go? That is: Enlightenment is really enlightenment activity (or non-activity).

    And yet, the Buddha talked about stream-entry, so surely that must reference an aspect of "I guess I'm well and truly fucked now, better try to get to the other shore!"

    Chet

  5. #55
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho View Post
    Chet,

    I agree that Stephanie is trying to draw attention to something she thinks we may be missing. When I came to Treeleaf, and you know this well, I believed I was broken, empty, and less than adequate to being a valuable person...I still think that way, plenty. But studying here at Treeleaf I am slowly learning, with your help, Stephanie's help, and everyone else here that nothing is broken, nothing is inadequate, and nothing is missing. Now, taken to an extreme that could lead to a very large ego and self centeredness...and a belief in mantras or a room full of frames we buy in a gift shop with inspirational quotes from the Buddha or Dogen. But I don't believe I'm likely to forget those feelings since they never really go away. And for folks like me, sitting with the idea that nothing is lacking offers a great freedom, but also a responsibility.

    Do not mistake our fellow sangha members saying that they do not agree with Stephanie to be dismissing what she has to say. It may be very profound and if it works for her I am most grateful! But I still see much of the cyclical thinking that Stephanie has always displayed, which she likes to call "Great Doubt", but I think is closer to the skeptical doubt she mentioned in her post. These questions will never end because they are designed to open packages, see what's inside, and move on to the next one. Again, and again, and again.

    I know you are unlikely to agree with what I have said and offer a defense of Stephanie's post, but I do believe she is well intentioned. But I think her attempt to diagnose what is wrong with Treeleaf blinds her to the fact that she is constantly trying to answer what is wrong with herself. We have gladly taken her in here and asked her several times to go through jukai and fully put herself into what is taught here and actually we have asked the same of you. I truly feel that, until you both do that (assuming there is still a part of you that wants to) you will both be drifting from experience to experience trying to uncover truths that were right in front of you for years.

    And, so you know, writing IMHO at the end of the post says to me that you think we don't trust your sincerity and need to create a shield from criticism. We trust you and know your are sincere...but sit, sew a rakusu with us, and take in what there is to be learned here. Many zen practioners go from one tradition to another as they mature...there's no reason you can't have a different way of looking at things. But until you immerse yourselves in that dissatisfaction you feel, I fear you will always be consumed by it.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

    When I first read here the suggestion of taking jukia, my sarcastic mind said hmmm, so this is what the practice in attaining jukia looks like, hmmm.
    Nothing Special

  6. #56
    Stephanie
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    Well, this is what I get for dropping a "bomb" like that post and not being able to come back to it for a week!

    First, I want to clarify a few key points:

    1) I do not feel like I have "got it" or like I am more spiritually advanced than others, etc. Far from it! One thing I yearn for is to find others with whom I can share my journey as it is still ongoing, and I find that there is a certain point where I cannot relate even with other Zen Buddhists, depending on their approach to practice. And that is okay! I truly do not believe there is "one true way" for everyone. But I do feel like there is an essential difference between my experience of practice and the one that is expressed by the majority here, and my first post in this thread is how I have learned to articulate that difference. The point is I actually do respect that people are sincerely practicing here - and I like the people here, for the most part. I just don't "fit" into the way of practice here. Again, I see that as okay. The way I see the rivalry between Soto and Rinzai is as a friendly rivalry (whether it was always truly friendly), a pushing back and forth that can benefit people on either side of the rivalry, as no one view or approach could ever completely exhaust or capture "it," whatever "it" is. This brings us to Point #2:

    2) I do not identify as a Rinzai Zen Buddhist, nor do I do formal koan practice. Chet hit the nail on the head with his first reply to this thread, that I am trying to drive at something deeper than a particular practice, an attitude or orientation that can infuse either. I find my practice, no matter what I experiment with, always comes back to shikantaza.

    3) I tried but do not believe I did an adequate job in my post of delineating between what I see as my own personality quirks and/or weaknesses and the attitude of The Question. Yes, I can obsess, and get angsty; a deep depressive streak has come down to me through the generations. And though I believe that a depressive disposition can lend itself to expressing The Question more freely, and while I embrace who I am without shame, I don't see this personality of mine as in any way essential to this matter. There is no need to be preoccupied with darkness for those who do not feel a natural calling to such. It is just one way of being in a world where there are many ways of being that are not better or worse than each other.

    Was I depressed at the time of my heaviest involvement here? I cannot say I was not. Was I in the danger Jundo feared? Not at all, and I would fault Jundo for assuming professional knowledge he does not have as far as all that went, but it is a gentle fault, a presumption with what I suspect was a mix of well-meaning and genuine fear behind it.

    But all that is past. What I would emphasize here is the distinction between the dark heart of the depressive in the midst of a depression and the uneasy fire of one consumed by The Question. At the time in question, I was both. And I do believe there is a relationship there, but not an essential one. You can be consumed by a question without any depressed quality to it at all. But there is... an uneasiness. And that is what I find a natural resistance to at Treeleaf - letting uneasiness sit with you for too long. Because, well, it's uncomfortable! But I do think there are virtues in doing so. One is the quality of aliveness, the opposite of "the Soto Zen mellow." While that mellow can be nice, it can also contribute to "blahs" or doldrums. The attitude of The Question is the attitude of the warrior - being invigorated by being in uneasy circumstances. It's like an ignition key.

    And I would say from experience that The Question is more of a feeling than anything else. It is not a thought or particular question. So yes, the mind can churn out a lot of garbage while the Question is active. I would never try to claim that every angsty thought that I expressed was profound or true. What I would distinguish is the attitude that carried me forth into my life circumstances, the big oppressive city I found myself in, the losses, the loneliness, the depression - the willingness to turn into all of this, to use it, instead of push it all away. The Question that can ask, "What is all of this?" and sit with it rather than come to a snap judgment that it is good or bad to be in such a place or state. Without the Question, we may flee from the forces amassed on the horizon, rather than charge ahead with our battle cry.

    For is that not the fundamental teaching here at Treeleaf - one I embrace and respect - that the field of practice is the field of our entire life and world, that the realm of sambhogakaya Buddhas is the same as the dirty streets of a city full of suffering? New York - and the mind and life circumstances that brought me there - challenged what I wanted to believe about life, people, and the world. It shook my spiritual convictions to the core, and I was left with the ashes of everything I once turned to for reassurance and comfort. And I am grateful I turned into it, looked deeply at it, sat with it, pushed none of it away. Again, the point is - you don't have to go to New York, geographically or metaphorically; what I am encouraging is this turning toward rather than turning away, with the attitude of pushing deeper into the jungles of The Question in whatever form it takes.

    4) Finally, I would encourage this turning toward rather than turning away not just in one's own life, but in regard to others. I do not blame people for taking a critical post and responding to it with criticism of me, and I can take the heat. But by pathologizing me, you are also pathologizing anyone else who finds him or herself in a similar place. And just as you are right to remind me I am not better than you, nor are you better or wiser than the person who is depressed or in darkness. We can all learn from each other, and I think we should be wary of judging others who may be in more difficult circumstances than us - internally, externally, or both - as being less than us, flawed, deserving of their circumstances because we see them as having brought those circumstances on themselves. I have to struggle with this almost every day as my job brings me in contact with people I almost instinctively judge - addicts still in the midst of their addiction, people who refuse to take responsibility for themselves, people who are violent, people who use others, and so on. And lately I am realizing - the problem isn't any particular kind of person, it's the human nature we all share. In every person who presents himself or herself in front of us, we see the presentation of something that is in us too. So we can either look more deeply at ourselves, or define what we see as "Other," seeing it as something to be fixed or thrown away. But you can't fix Reality. You can only turn toward it, or away from it.

  7. #57
    Thanks Stephanie. Very eloquent. One reason I participate with TreeLeaf is that it is a continuous learning experience from people like yourself. Like you said there is an uneasiness, something missing and we need to face it head on.
    _/_
    Rich

  8. #58
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Its seems the Great Doubt or The Question is nothing more then, something blown out of proportion by the small mind of an ego creation. It only seems real if we buy into this illusion all filled up with delusion. Seemingly its a lot about nothing, and nothing to great either. If there can be some softening of the arrogance and pettiness of our ego, giving more voice to the intuition, what question can exist...? it just Is. it may be dramatics, attention getting, for the need to control.

    Can’t everything be great, esp when capitalized, and 100,000 words follow to make it so? It could be the call for sitting on it, and not any explanation needed. Great Doubt, The Question, The Drama, the unending chasing of the tail !?
    Last edited by galen; 09-15-2012 at 10:58 PM.
    Nothing Special

  9. #59
    Great post, Stephanie. I apologize for my tone in my last post. In haste, I forgot that we all have built in tendencies that determine much of the way we communicate. My wishing that your posts be something other than what they are is my issue, not yours. I'm truly sorry for my attitude. It is rare for me to get huffy about posts, but I had a terrible day at work . . . Not an excuse, but an honest factor.

    My best to you.

    Eika (Bill)


    Sent from tapatalk
    [size=150:m8cet5u6]??[/size:m8cet5u6] We are involved in a life that passes understanding and our highest business is our daily life---John Cage

  10. #60
    Hellos to all posting here!
    I have been occupied with too many other things, and time constraints do not permit even a moderate/light participation. But I thought I'd drop by for a visit with long time friends in this practice. I came upon this post and it felt like I'd never left!

    One teacher of mine, Rev. Bob McNeil (Matsuoka Roshi, Soto Lineage) used to tell us that 'when the question goes away it is just as satisfying as getting an answer.'

    In my limited experience I have found this to be a wise observation. I have shoveled answers at questions, my own and others...it will only stave off the insatiable hunger of the question, the doubt, whatever we want to call it--for so long.

    On the other hand, this practice of sitting allows all that stuff percolating in the brain pan, and all that stuff bound in muscular tensions in various parts of the body to settle out somewhat, to settle down. Zazen allows me to 'put my burden down', even if, while sitting, I give it a few more Herculean hefty lifts.

    When sitting I observe my body, my mind. I relax the tense body parts as I come across them. I watch the thoughts and try to let the 'thought train' run on through, without 'getting on board the thought train.' Each time I sit there are varying degrees of success at this. Practice after all does mean 'practice.'

    Of all human activities I think zazen is a human being's closest cousin to a cat's purr.

    'At this very moment, what more need we seek? For this very land is the Land of Lotuses, and this very body is the Body of the Buddha'

    I usually just stop at the part of the quote 'At this very moment, what more need I seek?'

    Already that says it all to me.

    When my mind is unsettled, and won't settle, then it's a loud and jostling train I'm on--and even then, I still can ask 'at this very moment, what more need I seek?'

    Up in the threads somewhere Grace asked about enlightenment...I believe it was something to the effect 'does an enlightened person know they're enlightened?

    Another teacher (can't remember who just now) explained to us that the first casualty of 'enlightenment' is 'enlightenment' itself! (Now if that don't beat all...)

    Liberation, no self, emptiness, no attachment...we use a whole lotta words because we think we are on the outside looking in. My nose pressed against this glass I have handblown and installed myself--I see what look like ordinary people sweeping, taking out trash, hanging up laundry, drinking tea and washing their bowls.
    Indeed, when I am engaged in similar activities of daily life, I have joined them...has the questioner or the question disappeared? These two hands fish a wandering spider out of the sink with the dish towel and return from a green leafy world to the world of soap and water, white porcelain and Formica...these two hands rejoin the soapy water ...

    I am very grateful to have this practice in my life and to have sangha to share it with and senior practioners and teachers and newcomers. I don't know what I would have done without it, it is for life, for the rest of my life...
    Only my practice is my practice, no one else can do it for me...
    my practice suits me perfectly: it is tailor made for me--like my very own skin.

    Another teacher would say--'knowing is intimate, not knowing--more intimate still.'

    These days I am full of gratitude and my eyes find themselves full of tear, but not sad ones...

    I am ready to leave buddhism, to leave the rakusu, the mala, and all, but I cannot, others who are seeking blindly for something and finding this practice need these traces of things and other some such and so I assist weekly with a Ch'an meditation group, and that's where I've been spending my time....

    I like to keep answers short--25 words, double that maybe, but I am endulging myself and making up for lost time...as I can see here everyone is well and thriving--bueno! and gassho!

    In gratitude to all teachers past, present and future,
    keishin












    Last edited by Keishin; 09-15-2012 at 11:57 PM.

  11. #61
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    That's "Two sides of a no sided coin!"

    Gassho, J
    Gassho, Grace.

  12. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by Keishin View Post


    I usually just stop at the part of the quote 'At this very moment, what more need I seek?'

    Already that says it all to me.

    When my mind is unsettled, and won't settle, then it's a loud and jostling train I'm on--and even then, I still can ask 'at this very moment, what more need I seek?'












    The essence of the way-seeking mind, that mind that cultivates great care. Whether peaceful or uncomfortable, great care for all things. In defilement and also free from defilement.

    Thanks so much for this post, Keishin.

    Gassho,
    alan

  13. #63
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Keishin, it is always good to hear from you.

    Gassho


    Shugen
    Shugen
    明道 修眼

  14. #64
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie View Post
    New York - and the mind and life circumstances that brought me there - challenged what I wanted to believe about life, people, and the world. It shook my spiritual convictions to the core, and I was left with the ashes of everything I once turned to for reassurance and comfort.
    Stephanie, I cannot imagine a better description of Great Doubt than this. I hope you can bring your experiences to the forum once more and encourage others to share their unsettledness, too.

    Galen, before you dismiss Great Doubt, you may want to read more about the three pillars of Zen: great doubt, great faith, great determination.

  15. #65
    Keishin - thank you for this post.

    Gassho

    Willow

  16. #66
    Stephanie - it was good to read your post. I may not necessarily agree with everything
    you write but thoughts that make me reflect are always welcome.
    I would also agree that there is from time to time here a 'mixed' message regarding the degree of faith/doubt involved in practice.
    I still haven't worked out if this is specific to Soto Zen.
    I am learning and challenging my views on this all the time.

    And sometimes it's just good to 'sit' with all there is and not challenge at all.

    Gassho

    Willow
    Last edited by willow; 09-16-2012 at 09:30 AM.

  17. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie View Post
    The Question that can ask, "What is all of this?" and sit with it rather than come to a snap judgment that it is good or bad to be in such a place or state. Without the Question, we may flee from the forces amassed on the horizon, rather than charge ahead with our battle cry.
    Hi again Stephanie!

    I'm not trying to pathologize you, but I do believe that the reason for your feeling uneasy/uncomfortable is to be found inside your own mind, more than externally, as an inherent quality of Treeleaf. Like most things, Treeleaf is perfectly imperfect. So instead of finding faults with Treeleaf, I would look inside and ask myself where this feeling is coming from. In the part I quoted above you say ask, "What is all of this?" and sit with it rather than come to a snap judgment that it is good or bad to be in such a place or state. I wholeheartedly agree. Sometimes we may ride the jade elephant backwards, confidently adapting to life as it evolves.

    There are some practices at Treeleaf that don't particularly ring my bell and there have been things said and done that have sometimes disappointed me, but I honestly don't feel that uneasiness you're describing. It's your feeling, an emotion that should be taken seriously, but not a fact. I love this place, its teachers, members and the approach to practice. I'm very comfortable here and there's no place I'd rather be.

    I also don't think it's necessary to be consumed by the Question at all times, feeling as if your hair is on fire, like you have a red hot iron ball in your throat that you can't swallow or spit out. That's warrior Zen and I'm a farmer at heart!
    A simple awareness/mindfulness/unyielding curiosity of the Question is just as OK (and would probably lead to less stomach ulcers!) It doesn't mean you are taking practice less seriously. It could mean you take your self less seriously...

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    Last edited by Omoi Otoshi; 09-16-2012 at 11:42 AM.
    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

  18. #68
    disastermouse
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    Pontus, not only are you deflecting, but you're doing it very passive aggressively. No one is taking themselves so un-seriously as to refrain from comment, but your comments are as consumed with self-importance as any other thus far. Pretending otherwise seems curiously unconscious. Such unconsciousness, cute as it may sound in your head, disqualifies your comments from being seen in a genuine light. It's not that you don't have a legitimate point, it's the inability to drop that very legitimate point for long enough to consider another.

    All the most powerful lessons I've learned on this path have come when I've taken criticism to heart and have had to acknowledge those parts of it that I'd rather not see. I don't know if that's universal, but I know it makes it very hard for me to relate to your post.

    I think that a more proper description of what this Great Doubt looks like in practice might go further toward bridging the gap.


    Chet
    Last edited by disastermouse; 09-16-2012 at 02:15 PM.

  19. #69
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse View Post
    Pontus, not only are you deflecting, but you're doing it very passive aggressively.
    Hmm... OK. Just trying to be helpful. If it's not and I'm perceived as being passive aggressive, then I apologize. I sure don't feel any aggression towards Stephanie. And I have just as many faults as the next person.

    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

  20. #70
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse View Post
    your comments are as consumed with self-importance as any other thus far
    Anecdote:
    A couple of weeks before starting my job in anesthesiology and intensive care, I was sitting around a table with some of my old colleages and the wife of one of the anesthesiology guys. I told her I was going to work with her husband and she said: "So you're going to work with that cocky bastard (her husband) and the rest of the cocky bastards!". "Yes, so it's a good thing I'm not so cocky." I said. *silence* "I'm not, am I..?" I said and looked at my former colleages. *silence* (moment of insight).

    /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

  21. #71
    Quote Originally Posted by Keishin View Post
    Of all human activities I think zazen is a human being's closest cousin to a cat's purr.
    Hello Keishin! Good to see you!
    Thank you for this post, full of wisdom as always!

    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

  22. #72
    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    ... A simple awareness/mindfulness/unyielding curiosity of the Question is just as OK (and would probably lead to less stomach ulcers!) It doesn't mean you are taking practice less seriously. It could mean you take your self less seriously... ...
    Thank you Pontus, I too like this approach. This may be a bit of topic, but I will throw it out there. My brother loves golf and loves to play got with me ... me, I am not a huge golf fan, but love the fact I get to spend time with my brother. But funny creatures we are even though I am not a fan of the game and do not play it unless it is with my brother, I still get frustrated with it when I don't do well. Then I thought, "what am I doing"? Why am I getting frustrated? I don't play this game, so why would I be any good at it, or expect that I would be any good at it.

    I found doing this questioning from the mind of what Pontus calls the "Zen Farmer" and not the "Zen Warrior" ... this worked great as it allowed me not to be so SERIOUS, to see that I am perfectly imperfect and consistently inconsistent when it comes to the game of golf. Now with the game of golf, I can just be with my brother and enjoy the time ... as it it.

    Gassho
    Michael
    真 眼

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

  23. #73
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nindo View Post
    Stephanie, I cannot imagine a better description of Great Doubt than this. I hope you can bring your experiences to the forum once more and encourage others to share their unsettledness, too.

    Galen, before you dismiss Great Doubt, you may want to read more about the three pillars of Zen: great doubt, great faith, great determination.

    Thank you, Nindo. I have read it, tremendous read, and will again. With that said, it could also miss the point of my post.
    Nothing Special

  24. #74
    Quote Originally Posted by Nindo View Post
    Galen, before you dismiss Great Doubt, you may want to read more about the three pillars of Zen: great doubt, great faith, great determination.
    Hi Nindo,

    If you are referring to the book entitled "Three Pillars of Zen", I have written a few times that I do not particularly recommend it for us "Zen Farmers", although it might be good for the "warriors" . Here's what I usually say about the book ...

    ------------------------

    The book presented a view of "Kensho or Bust" that was very much present in corners of western Zen at one time, and has since come in for a large measure of criticism in many parts of the Zen world. I was recently reading a good book on the subject, and the culture surrounding the book in the 1960's. Here is a review of that other book, called "Zen Teaching, Zen Practice: Philip Kapleau and The Three Pillars of Zen" edited by Kenneth Kraft, a long time student of Kapleau Roshi ...

    Kraft points out that Kapleau’s book is “in large measure a book about kensho” (p.14) which in itself is problematic as for many, including some of the authors of the essays, this led to “inflated expectations… [and] [t]he discrepancy between anticipatory visions of enlightenment and actual experiences of insight”. (p.15) This disjuncture between what Kapleau wrote and the actual experiences of Zen students has led to some criticisms of The Three Pillars of Zen as a book that gives an unrealistic picture of what to expect from zazen. ...

    While this emphasis on and almost inevitability of kensho is, I think, a fair criticism of The Three Pillars of Zen, there is little doubt that Kapleau’s book brought many people to the study and practice of Zen Buddhism and for that we should be grateful. It is also necessary that we understand where and how Kapleau learned his Zen practice to better understand why he wrote and taught the way he did.
    http://www.thezensite.com/ZenBookRev...enpractice.htm
    ------------------------

    I am not being critical, and it is simply that our Soto way is different (same ... but different). I primarily provide this information because folks should know that there are very different approaches to Zen and Zazen, and not all "Zen" is of the same flavor (different ... but the same). Thus, folks go to the book store and pick up a "Zen" book, or listen to a talk, and wonder why the contents seem so different sometimes (same ... but different ) The following is an good background ...

    As I have mentioned a few times, there is a relatively recent line that popped up within Soto-shu that actually is a hybrid with Rinzai Zen (their priests are also Rinzai priests) and, more importantly, largely split off from both to form an organization called Sanbokyodan. Those within the lineage that did not split from Soto are rather a breed all their own within it. That line is much much more influential outside Japan than in Japan, because it happens to be the source of such lineages as the Diamond Sangha (Aitken Roshi), Rochester Zen Center (Kapleau Roshi) and the White Plum (Maezumi Roshi). While the Sanbokyodan portion left Soto-shu, some of their people stayed within Soto-shu in name (including the priest who established the two temples you mention (Toshoji and Kannonji).

    The Sanb˘ky˘dan (Three Treasures Association) is a contemporary Zen movement that was founded by Yasutani Hakuun (1885-1973) in 1954. The style of Zen propagated by Sanb˘ky˘dan teachers, noteworthy for its single-minded emphasis on the experience of kensh˘, diverges markedly from more traditional models found in S˘t˘, Rinzai, or Oobaku training halls. ... There is little in Kapleau's book to suggest that his teachers were anything but respected members of orthodox Zen monastic orders. Yet such was not the case, for in 1954 Yasutani Hakuun (1885-1973), the Zen priest whose teachings are featured in The Three Pillars of Zen, severed his formal ties to the S˘t˘ school in order to establish an independent Zen organization called the Sanb˘ky˘dan, or "Three Treasures Association." The influence exerted by this contemporary lay reform movement on American Zen is out of proportion to its relatively marginal status in Japan: modern Rinzai and S˘t˘ monks are generally unaware of, or indifferent to, the polemical attacks that Yasutani and his followers direct against the Zen priesthood. Orthodox priests are similarly unmoved by claims to the effect that the Sanb˘ky˘dan alone preserves the authentic teachings of Zen. ...

    The only acceptable "solution" to the mu k˘an in the Sanb˘ky˘dan is a credible report of a kensh˘ experience, and beginning students are subject to intense pressure during sesshin -- including the generous application of the "warning stick" (ky˘saku or keisaku) -- in order to expedite this experience. The unrelenting emphasis on kensh˘ and the vigorous tactics used to bring it about constitute the single most distinctive (and controversial) feature of the Sanb˘ky˘dan method. Eido Shimano, recalling Yasutani's first sesshin in Hawaii in 1962, writes:

    The night before sesshin started, Yasutani Roshi said to the participants, "To experience kensho is crucial, but we are so lazy. Therefore, during sesshin we have to set up a special atmosphere so that all participants can go straight ahead toward the goal. First, absolute silence should be observed. Second, you must not look around. Third, forget about the usual courtesies and etiquette" . . . He also told the participants, and later told me privately as well, of the need for frequent use of the keisaku. That five-day sesshin was as hysterical as it was historical. It ended with what Yasutani Roshi considered five kensh˘ experiences.
    (Nyogen et al. 1976, pp. 184-85)[28]

    While Yasutani's successors are considerably more reserved in their use of the ky˘saku, the emphasis on kensh˘ has not diminished, prompting one student of Yamada to refer to the San'un Zend˘ as a "kensh˘ machine" (Levine 1992, p. 72).
    Students who do succeed in passing mu, along with a number of k˘ans used specifically to test the veracity of the experience (such as the "sound of one hand"), are publicly recognized
    ...

    The r˘shi will remind the student, both in private interviews and in public talks, that kensh˘ is only the first small step along the path to full awakening. Be that as it may, the Sanb˘ky˘dan treats kensh˘ as a significant achievement. Upon attaining kensh˘ students are publicly lauded in the jahai ceremony, and encouraged to write a report of their experience for publication in Ky˘sh˘. The names of post-kensh˘ students are clearly marked with a circle on sesshin seating plans, and as mentioned above, a second zend˘ may be provided allowing the post-kensh˘ group to practice apart from the others. Finally, pre- and post-kensh˘ students are often listed separately in the sesshin reports that appear in Ky˘sh˘. (Note that each of these practices are Sanb˘ky˘dan innovations -- there are no public rites of passage marking the attainment of kensh˘ in S˘t˘ or Rinzai monasteries.)

    Following the teacher's authentication of kensh˘, Sanb˘ky˘dan students move through a program of 600 to 700 k˘ans following a format set by Harada based in part on traditional Rinzai models. The practitioner first tackles the "miscellaneous k˘ans," which consist of approximately twenty-two k˘ans in fifty-seven parts. He or she then moves through the Mumonkan, Hekiganroku, Sh˘y˘roku, and Denk˘roku [?MĂ] k˘ans, followed by T˘zan's five ranks (T˘zan goi), and three sets of precepts.[30]

    Whereas passage through mu requires nothing short of kensh˘, passage through the remaining k˘ans is relatively straightforward. After formally approaching and bowing to the r˘shi the Sanb˘ky˘dan student recites his or her k˘an, and then presents (or "demonstrates") his or her understanding. If the answer is deemed satisfactory, the teacher himself may supply a more "traditional" response. All of this is more-or-less typical of Rinzai practice today. However, Sanb˘ky˘dan teachers do not use jakugo (capping phrases) -- set phrases culled from classical Chinese literature used to test and refine a monk's understanding of a k˘an.[31] Moreover, unlike Rinzai monks, Sanb˘ky˘dan practitioners are not required to compose written expositions of the k˘ans in the latter stages of their training.[32] The Sanb˘ky˘dan has, in short, sharply curtailed the explicitly "literary" aspects of k˘an training.

    As a result, once they have passed mu Sanb˘ky˘dan students tend to move through the remaining k˘ans at a relatively rapid pace, often completing one k˘an per interview. With regular access to a teacher and frequent participation in sesshin, a practitioner can complete the entire course of post-kensh˘ k˘ans in approximately five years. At the same time, if the r˘shi feels that there are inadequacies in the student's training, he may reassign certain k˘ans in dokusan (including mu), and Yamada led periodic study groups (kenshukai) for advanced students in which he reviewed the k˘ans in a more seminar-like setting.

    Once the k˘ans are complete, students proceed through a series of higher certifications that allow them to teach and may eventually result in Dharma transmission. There is considerable ambiguity in this regard, however, in part because the Sanb˘ky˘dan draws simultaneously from S˘t˘ and Rinzai conceptions of transmission -- conceptions that are not always compatible with one another. This is responsible in part for the controversy over the teaching authority of Yamada's senior disciples that emerged following his death, an issue to which I will return below.


    http://buddhiststudies.berkeley.edu/...anbokyodan.pdf
    ---------------------

    Since the 1960's, I have the feeling (as an outsider) that they have generally softened or moved on from the "Kensho or Bust" and hard approach of the Harada-Yasutani tradition somewhat.

    In fact, for all traditions ... Soto, Rinzai and the hybrids ... awakening and "seeing one's True Nature" are vital, but all one aspect of an ongoing practice of polishing the timeless jewel that needs no polishing (i.e., it is not "Kensho and that's the end" ... rather, all is always just the beginning). In all traditions, no matter how much they emphasize or deemphasize the "push" for "timeless Kensho moments", the bottom line is ... See one's True Nature (Kensho), and move on.
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-16-2012 at 04:46 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  25. #75
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    On Kapleau, a local newspaper did an article about his center (Rochester Zen Center) which is near to where I live. It was mostly case studies of local buddhists and in the almost all of them the person had started at RZC and ended up moving to different type of practice after a few years. That isn't meant to indite Kapleau or his center, but the fact that RZC folks had spread out into the other buddhist centers and temples was interesting. It definitely wasn't the flavor for me and I was glad to find the approach he at Treeleaf which, obviously, resonates with me. Different roads up the mountain indeed.

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
    With your help and guidance from Jundo & Taigu
    I am learning, but please take what I say with a
    grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma.

  26. #76
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Jundo.... I thought before I had joined these forums to post, I was just observing at the time, that I had read something to this idea you did not approve of this book. I had been visiting the site www.zenguide.com (I no longer visit, Chon Tri has been gone for quite some time, last I checked, and it seems a little weird now) at the time, and even though I read much Buddhism over the years, was all of a sudden interested in Zen. So at the time I had asked Chon Tri on that site, what books would he recommend and he said ZMBM by Suzuki and TPZ by Kaplin. So when I had seen you post this none approval, I had not actually read TPZ yet, was just finishing ZMBM, but was some what taken back. So I sat on that for a while and then thought, well I will read it for myself and decide what it had for me. I have read many depth books over 40 some years, and maybe the timing hit me just right as Zen beginner, but it knocked my socks off, blew me away. I loved its historical sense of the two main Japanese Zen sects. It mentions Dogen a lot, Shikantaza throughout, but most of all I really enjoyed ‘real’ writing exchanges between Westerner Zen students and Yasutani-Roshi. And also the real letters exchanged between students and Bassui, and the enlightenment path of a long exchange by a bed ridden young women and Yaeko Iwasaki, brilliant!

    So after reading it and thinking it was pretty profound, and was confused why any student of Zen would not read it, esp if they were from the West, I could only come to one conclusion why this site is against such, and I think there is only a couple paragraphs that warn of newer Zen teachings and not to trust all Priests. But that did not stop me from being even more interested in Treeleaf instead of less, or any lesser of you or Taigu. I realize here you are making the case for its different case studies for Kensho and the more forceful way to enlightenment, as I like to characterize it, the path to enlightenment, or Kensho, done on steroids (its real cool for those who choose this very robust path, and cool to read and witness as a reader). But still do not get some of your fear about that for new students. You guys do a great job here, even if I have contested some, on making your case for this Dogenized Soto Zen. I feel that to take such a hard line against this book, when not leaving it to the reader as just a historical look on Zen tradition, and not letting things fall as they may, is an injustice, and still do not get your paranoia around this very insightful read, other then those couple paragraphs that could relate to you and this site of the chance of some charlatanism. If what you bring to fore stands up on its own to feet, then so be it. Your stance kind of reminds of the take Mormonism takes on their teachers, and thus students, at BYU; if read, write books and transcripts or stand for something outside their doctrine (no opens minds in this church, don’t go there) you are excommunicated or treated very harshly in public. That is fear and paranoia on steroids, and why many look at it as shallow cult.

    I apologize to all in this forum and this site, for my on going poor phrasing and sometimes poor spelling. My old shoolism. just missed most the english part !
    Last edited by galen; 09-16-2012 at 09:33 PM.
    Nothing Special

  27. #77
    Tricky thread.

    The whole subject of Great Doubt and Kensho, has changed a lot for me. I understood it as cornering your self absolutely, completely, until trapped in impossibility, you die, .....and that has happened on the cushion.. but then ...presto!, born again. Maybe that is not “great death” but I have yet to meet another human being who is not always being born again.

    Another way of looking at doubt involved realizing that the problem was not a fundamental existential question, or mystery.... “mystery” is a mcguffin. The problem is the basic feeling of incompleteness holding sway. Existential doubt and mystery are just a mental production of that basic feeling, and that is basically the First, Second and Third Noble Truths. Looking at Doubt means looking at the feeling, the very basic sense of incompleteness, being it unconditionally. Then the feeling , the doubt, the question, the answer, the mystery,... all of it .....is resolved. Not answered, just resolved, like a knot, in just sitting. Doubt is done...when reaching is done.

    Also , the “kapow!” one time Big Enlightenement idea is I believe a matter of framing. Practice has no end, and no final state, that much is clear to me. Practice goes on, and there are plenty of “Ah” moments, some big some small.

    This is my honest experience and view.
    Last edited by Daizan; 09-16-2012 at 08:06 PM.
    大山

  28. #78
    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    Another way of looking at doubt involved realizing that the problem was not a fundamental existential question, or mystery.... ômysteryö is a mcguffin. The problem is the basic feeling of incompleteness holding sway. Existential doubt and mystery are just a mental production of that basic feeling, and that is basically the First, Second and Third Noble Truths. Looking at Doubt means looking at the feeling, the very basic sense of incompleteness, being it unconditionally. Then the feeling , the doubt, the question, the answer, the mystery,... all of it .....is resolved. Not answered, just resolved, like a knot, in just sitting. Doubt is done...when reaching is done.
    Honest and insightful as always. Thank you Kojip, I loved reading that.

    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

  29. #79
    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    Honest and insightful as always. Thank you Kojip, I loved reading that.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    Me too. Right on, Kojip. Though, maybe not the mystery part. But everything else. I think mystery is kind of like awe, or, I don't know. I'll let Cormac say it:

    "Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery."

  30. #80
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    After searching 3PZ that Nindo referenced for `the question or great doubt, i went to their index, and their vocabulary and Buddhist doctrine section (which is very good) and all i could come up with (i am sure it appears else where, as Stephanie can point out) was The Great Question, referred to a priest student who was having trouble with kensho in using koan MO. As it appears here `the great question is used to get away from MO (when that is not working for the student) to a different context of asking the question Who am I, What am I, or What is it that hears (or who). It seems all these `great this and that, point to the Great Way or the Way of the Buddha..... or in easier and simpler terms, our true nature. It seems they wanted the student to stay totally in that realm in zazen 24/7 until this could be more resolved. I used some of these for some period of time and they are helpful keeping present and asking, who is present here (small mind or Big Mind), but most significant while sitting, and not, and sitting again and again..... It was helpful through out my day to keep me reminded where and who I `really Am, but i realize here that Jundo and Taigo would look at this as a goal and unnecessary and i can also understand that more and more.

    As Kojip seems to point to, its not some existential outer thing (of course) or some metaphysical concept needing to be grasped, its just our true nature/Buddha nature. So simple, but we seem to make it so hard with all the brain farts and letting the ego do its thing in its small mindedness that keeps us all stuck.
    Last edited by galen; 09-16-2012 at 10:04 PM.
    Nothing Special

  31. #81
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    much to learn you still have, young Padawan Great story bro.


    Raf

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    Anecdote:
    A couple of weeks before starting my job in anesthesiology and intensive care, I was sitting around a table with some of my old colleages and the wife of one of the anesthesiology guys. I told her I was going to work with her husband and she said: "So you're going to work with that cocky bastard (her husband) and the rest of the cocky bastards!". "Yes, so it's a good thing I'm not so cocky." I said. *silence* "I'm not, am I..?" I said and looked at my former colleages. *silence* (moment of insight).

    /Pontus

  32. #82
    Stephanie
    Guest
    Who said anything about doubt as a means to an end - spiritual TNT for permanently blasting something apart?

    And are there only the extremes of pressured, tense, explosive doubt and relaxed, mellow abiding?

    There is a difference between a steady fire and a sudden, passing combustion.

    Great Doubt has manifested in my life not in the form of some choreographed practice, but as a kind of energy, a humming wire, an unresolved chord... it is not an unpleasant angst, or a self-willed contraction. Quite the opposite... it is enlivening, a creative tension that keeps my practice going. Far from something that can be mastered, it, like love, is something that comes unbidden when the world has gone dark, when the trail has gone cold, to show me the way.

    If anything, I have less of it now than I did before, and I want it to come back as I look for renewed inspiration in my practice. The problem for me is that, precisely as some folks here have described, many of my old questions have been answered or have simply faded away. And I have realized: I cannot manufacture new questions. I cannot manufacture the buzzing energy that sent me along my way in my college years. But I can connect to the embers still smoldering in my heart. I can ask, What is this? I can even ask, What is the question? The point is that questions that capture the energy of this Doubt cannot be answered or resolved. They change your attention, they invigorate the drowsy mind, they quiet the noise in the mind of that which is not keyed in to the very heart of this existence. They are like a musical phrase that at once seems to indicate exactly what is going on and to make everything more unfamiliar and mysterious.

    Love and The Question connect me with what cannot die or be lost when the changes and losses of life leave a cold void in their wake. Just when I feel like my spirit has become frozen in ice, a Question comes along, or Love throws a line, and something stirs. When the path seems to have stopped, suddenly two trees appear with a gap between them, and there is a way to keep following.

    In the Soto way, in Dogen's way, there is no end point to practice, not even temporarily. The blue mountains are walking. How can you get to the top of a mountain that is moving? You can try to hold on, I suppose; try not to get swept away in the river of loss, try to shield the tree from the autumn wind so the leaves will not fall. Yes, there is a stillness that pervades even the most chaotic environment, but we cannot stay in it. Even if we could find a perfectly still, unchanging environment to sit in, our bodies would age and die right out from under us.

    So we must find a way to walk with the mountains and fall with the leaves, and it is not stillness. It is dynamic connection with and response to the world. We must keep walking down the path. And the question is, where do we walk? Do we walk where someone else has told us to walk? Or do we find our own way? And how do we do that? How do I trust myself, when I know how easily I can be fooled and swayed by the world, and my own thinking? It comes to light when a question comes, a real question, one that cannot be answered and won't go away, but that requires me to follow its contour and rhythm.

    This well-known quote from Rilke comes to mind:

    I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Donĺt search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

  33. #83
    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r View Post
    Me too. Right on, Kojip. Though, maybe not the mystery part. But everything else. I think mystery is kind of like awe, or, I don't know. I'll let Cormac say it:

    "Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery."
    Hi Alan. I guess the word “mystery” can mean different things. To me mystery is a reaching for hidden truth, born from reaching, made of reaching, and left hanging. With no reaching there is no dark corner, no behind, or hint of a behind , or a within, or a without, or a beyond. In negative language it is Cessation of Dukkha, in positive language I've always loved the term “Mahamudra” , which weirdly enough is no secret to painters..though not by that name. It is the body, mind, and world , of self-luminous self-same perfection, standing alone, with all shadow of mystery long long forgotten.

    But.. this is talk from a painter after a good studio session, rather than a humble Buddhist student. So please don't take it too seriously.
    大山

  34. #84
    Quote Originally Posted by galen View Post
    Your stance kind of reminds of the take Mormonism takes on their teachers, and thus students, at BYU; if read, write books and transcripts or stand for something outside their doctrine (no opens minds in this church, don’t go there) you are excommunicated or treated very harshly in public. That is fear and paranoia on steroids, and why many look at it as shallow cult.
    Hi Galen,

    I did underline in my posting ...

    I do not particularly recommend it for us "Zen Farmers", although it might be good for the "warriors" ...

    I am not being critical, and it is simply that our Soto way is different (same ... but different). I primarily provide this information because folks should know that there are very different approaches to Zen and Zazen, and not all "Zen" is of the same flavor (different ... but the same).


    If wishing to master Aikido, one should not set out to do so by learning and practicing Karate ... nor someone's invented hybrid "Airate". One may learn about Karate a bit as another great way ... but realize that it is not Aikido if one wishes to learn Aikido. That does not mean, however, that Aikido is the best way for all people, nor that Karate and Airate are not also wonderful for people mastering those. I know they are, and many paths up the non-mountain mountain.

    I haven't looked at the book for a couple of years, and will try to read it again.

    Kapleau Roshi/TPZ is further discussed in these threads ...

    SPECIAL READING - ONCE BORN TWICE BORN ZEN (Part 1)
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...N-%28Part-1%29

    SPECIAL READING - (MORE) ONCE BORN TWICE BORN ZEN
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...TWICE-BORN-ZEN

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post

    Another way of looking at doubt involved realizing that the problem was not a fundamental existential question, or mystery.... “mystery” is a mcguffin. The problem is the basic feeling of incompleteness holding sway. Existential doubt and mystery are just a mental production of that basic feeling, and that is basically the First, Second and Third Noble Truths. Looking at Doubt means looking at the feeling, the very basic sense of incompleteness, being it unconditionally. Then the feeling , the doubt, the question, the answer, the mystery,... all of it .....is resolved. Not answered, just resolved, like a knot, in just sitting. Doubt is done...when reaching is done.

    Also , the “kapow!” one time Big Enlightenement idea is I believe a matter of framing. Practice has no end, and no final state, that much is clear to me. Practice goes on, and there are plenty of “Ah” moments, some big some small.
    PLEASE, EVERYONE, READ THE ABOVE WORDS THREE TIMES, AND THREE TIMES AGAIN.

    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r View Post
    ... Though, maybe not the mystery part. But everything else. I think mystery is kind of like awe ...
    I think this is so too, at least for me. Great Awe.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-17-2012 at 11:26 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  35. #85
    Stephanie
    Guest
    Ah, I have a very different sense of what the word "mystery" refers to, kojip. For me, "mystery" is a quality in things or situations I encounter that points to something that my left brain could never define, but that connects with some quality of knowing that occurs in a different modality. I mean, sure, there is the "mystery" of a detective story that is an answer waiting to be found; but then there is the mystery of a David Lynch movie, full of "clues" that are empty signifiers, pointing to some dark reality that you can feel but can't fully explain. "The owls are not what they seem..."

  36. #86
    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie View Post

    In the Soto way, in Dogen's way, there is no end point to practice, not even temporarily. The blue mountains are walking. How can you get to the top of a mountain that is moving? You can try to hold on, I suppose; try not to get swept away in the river of loss, try to shield the tree from the autumn wind so the leaves will not fall. Yes, there is a stillness that pervades even the most chaotic environment, but we cannot stay in it. Even if we could find a perfectly still, unchanging environment to sit in, our bodies would age and die right out from under us.

    So we must find a way to walk with the mountains and fall with the leaves, and it is not stillness. It is dynamic connection with and response to the world. We must keep walking down the path.
    This is exactly right, Stephanie. Beautifully expressed. Our way of Stillness is both moving and still, rarely staying and standing still. It is the Peaceful that's so Full of Life that it need -not- always feel peaceful.

    And the question is, where do we walk? Do we walk where someone else has told us to walk? Or do we find our own way? And how do we do that? How do I trust myself, when I know how easily I can be fooled and swayed by the world, and my own thinking? It comes to light when a question comes, a real question, one that cannot be answered and won't go away, but that requires me to follow its contour and rhythm.
    If that feels right for you, then do that. You are the best and ultimate judge as to whether some way of being is fruitful or a dead end. Like a doctor prescribing medicines, if one cure does not work ... try a different medicine. If a dosage works, drink that.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-17-2012 at 11:26 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  37. #87
    disastermouse
    Guest
    This is such an interesting conversation! Pontus proves me completely wrong and finally there's a clarification that Great Doubt isn't the same as 'Kensho or Bust' pressure cooker sitting. I think of the proper attitude a bit like 'leaning into' the practice. Too much driving is suspicious. Too much relaxing is also suspicious.

    And this thread shows how great this community is!

    Chet

  38. #88
    disastermouse
    Guest
    Clarification: I'm hardly an expert or anything. When I say 'the proper attitude', I'm speaking only of my own practice.

    Chet

  39. #89
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse View Post
    I think of the proper attitude a bit like 'leaning into' the practice. Too much driving is suspicious. Too much relaxing is also suspicious.
    That sounds in tune to me. I often repeat the story of Buddha, Sona and the Lute Strings ...


    [The Buddha said], "Sona, you were a musician and you used to play the lute. Tell me, Sona, did you produce good music when the lute string was well tuned, neither too tight nor too loose?"

    "I was able to produce good music, Lord," replied Sona.

    "What happened when the strings were too tightly wound up?"

    "I could not produce any music, Lord," said Sona.

    "What happened when the strings were too slack?"

    "I could not produce any music at all, Lord," replied Sona

    "Sona ... You have been straining too hard in your meditation. Do it in a relaxed way, but without being slack. Try it again and you will experience the good result."

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  40. #90
    Brilliant thread - thanks for starting this discussion Stephanie.

    Gassho

    Willow

  41. #91
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    I should have put a disclaimer on my post - I was NOT referring to the Kapleau book, although I was aware that it has that title. I thought that other teachers have also used the expression of "pillars", although now I am not 100% sure. The first time I understood the 3 pillars was in Master Sheng-yen's "Getting the Buddha Mind", which is on the ZMM reading list.
    (There is a story of a Japanese master who understood the English words to be "pillows of zen" and gave a whole talk about it, I think it was Suzuki Roshi.)

    I totally agree that "Great Doubt isn't the same as 'Kensho or Bust' pressure cooker sitting". Again, Stephanie has expressed it beautifully. In my words it's when all your belief systems start to have holes or even completely collapse, and you want to find a quick answer that mends it all, but you know there isn't one, and you don't try to escape from that place.

  42. #92
    Quote Originally Posted by Nindo View Post
    In my words it's when all your belief systems start to have holes or even completely collapse, and you want to find a quick answer that mends it all, but you know there isn't one, and you don't try to escape from that place.
    Now that's a damn good description too!

    /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

  43. #93
    Quote Originally Posted by willow View Post
    Brilliant thread - thanks for starting this discussion Stephanie.

    Gassho

    Willow
    Maybe even Great Thread. And when I encounter Great Thread, like most I suspect, it is always the one Thread which shatters me, collapsing my little belief system and filling me with Great Awe (no doubt) for all the beings participating in Great Thread and their words there, and as much as my little mind might want answers as to why one particular Thread is Great, what makes it Great, I simply sit with Great Thread, live with Great Thread, even become one with Great Thread, realizing all threads and beings (even the tiniest thread with but nary a reply, and even those beings not participating in Great Thread) are all contained in that ever-ongoing-yet-completely-still Great Thread.

    Gassho
    alan

  44. #94
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r View Post
    Maybe even Great Thread. And when I encounter Great Thread, like most I suspect, it is always the one Thread which shatters me, collapsing my little belief system and filling me with Great Awe (no doubt) for all the beings participating in Great Thread and their words there, and as much as my little mind might want answers as to why one particular Thread is Great, what makes it Great, I simply sit with Great Thread, live with Great Thread, even become one with Great Thread, realizing all threads and beings (even the tiniest thread with but nary a reply, and even those beings not participating in Great Thread) are all contained in that ever-ongoing-yet-completely-still Great Thread.

    Gassho
    alan
    Awesome!

  45. #95
    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r View Post
    Maybe even Great Thread. And when I encounter Great Thread, like most I suspect, it is always the one Thread which shatters me, collapsing my little belief system and filling me with Great Awe (no doubt) for all the beings participating in Great Thread and their words there, and as much as my little mind might want answers as to why one particular Thread is Great, what makes it Great, I simply sit with Great Thread, live with Great Thread, even become one with Great Thread, realizing all threads and beings (even the tiniest thread with but nary a reply, and even those beings not participating in Great Thread) are all contained in that ever-ongoing-yet-completely-still Great Thread.

    Gassho
    alan
    Haha LOVELY!
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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