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Thread: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 15

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  1. #1

    BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 15

    Case 14 never ends, yet now comes ...

    CASE 15 - Kyozan Plants His Mattock (Axe) In The Ground

    So many of the Koans sing of the relative and the absolute, separate things & people as the Dance of Emptiness.

    Thus, the question "where did you come from?"

    The response: "I came to up here from down over there" ... even as a sharp blade edge pierces "Just This".

    A follow-up question: "How many were in the field down there with you?"

    One being stands silently and tall (The Buddha said: I alone am the world honored one) ... then heads back down to work with the others in their labors.

    So, which is it? Here, there, now or then, up or down? One or many? Or Thus which dances all of that?   

    I say ... YES!

    In the Preface to the Assembly ...

    The silent utterance before a word is spoken speaks all the books in the library! The darkness where all separate forms vanish is also, at the flip of a switch, the light were the separate people and things suddenly appear! (A famous poem, "The Identity of Relative and Absolute" sings: "The dark makes all words one; the brightness distinguishes good and bad phrases") One monk bows, and the whole temple springs into activity! In deep wholeness and interbeing, when there is dancing in the courtyard, a head nods to the beat in the backyard (another famous Koan is "When Tom catches cold, Mary Sneezes" **).

    ** And don't think that Mary sneezes simply because she caught Tom's germs and now has a cold of her own too. There is that, but It is much more intimate ... for Tom's cold is precisely Mary sneezing. The courtyard sweeps in the backyard, and a single monk is the whole Buddha temple.

    Questions:

    - Tell a real story from your life exemplifying how you came up from the field of some hard labors, and headed back down to "get 'er done" ... yet all is "Just This"?

    - Can you express your understanding of how your own individual "bowing/dancing/catching cold" ... is precisely and intimately others & the whole world "springing into action/nodding/sneezing"?


    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-25-2012 at 03:17 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Here is a mattock in the ground, by the way ...



    It is a cutting and digging agricultural tool similar to an axe or pick. Some translations say that Kyozan planted a "Hoe", but the Chinese/Japanese is "鍬子 Kuwa", which may be something more like this ...

    Last edited by Jundo; 09-25-2012 at 03:18 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    Empty-handed, I hold a hoe.
    Walking on foot, I ride a buffalo.
    Passing over a bridge, I see
    The bridge flow, but not the water.
    -Bodhisattva Shan-hui

    To me, these are the words of someone enjoying the view from the mountain top while working the field at the same time, mindful of the source, the woes of the world not forgotten.

    Tell a real story from your life exemplifying how you came up from the field of some hard labors, and headed back down to "get 'er done" ... yet all is "Just This"?
    As some of you know, my first son was born with no pulse or breathing, blue and limp in the middle of the night, by emergency cesarean section. Through the fear and anxiety, there was the clear cry of the cuckoo that I hadn't heard for many years, melancholic, beautiful, comforting, calling me home. I had been sitting before, but not regularly. Now I sat daily and in the search for a teacher and sangha, I found Treeleaf. These past wonderful years, there has been a lot of focus on exploring the absolute in my practice. From the field, I have been climbing the mountain, in search for the sky. Then one day, the day my second son was born, I was thrown down the mountain, fearing that my wife and our unborn child was going to die. I found myself back in the field, sky all around me. There was work to be done, so many things and people to take care of, so pulling the hoe out of the ground without thinking, I set to it. I'm still doing hard work, sometimes empty handed, most times not. Sometimes with the help of the ox, most times walking alone. Occasionally glancing upwards, to see that the sky is still there.

    Thank you for working the empty field with me,

    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
    Perhaps nothing more can be whispered of this Koan than that. Gassho to you are your family, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-26-2012 at 02:24 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    Empty-handed, I hold a hoe.
    Walking on foot, I ride a buffalo.
    Passing over a bridge, I see
    The bridge flow, but not the water.
    -Bodhisattva Shan-hui

    To me, these are the words of someone enjoying the view from the mountain top while working the field at the same time, mindful of the source, the woes of the world not forgotten.



    As some of you know, my first son was born with no pulse or breathing, blue and limp in the middle of the night, by emergency cesarean section. Through the fear and anxiety, there was the clear cry of the cuckoo that I hadn't heard for many years, melancholic, beautiful, comforting, calling me home. I had been sitting before, but not regularly. Now I sat daily and in the search for a teacher and sangha, I found Treeleaf. These past wonderful years, there has been a lot of focus on exploring the absolute in my practice. From the field, I have been climbing the mountain, in search for the sky. Then one day, the day my second son was born, I was thrown down the mountain, fearing that my wife and our unborn child was going to die. I found myself back in the field, sky all around me. There was work to be done, so many things and people to take care of, so pulling the hoe out of the ground without thinking, I set to it. I'm still doing hard work, sometimes empty handed, most times not. Sometimes with the help of the ox, most times walking alone. Occasionally glancing upwards, to see that the sky is still there.

    Thank you for working the empty field with me,

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    This is wonderful Pontus, thank you for sharing. In a way I can relate, when my daughter was 3 months old she all of a sudden started suffering from Infantile Myoclonic Seizures ... I tell you, the most scariest experience in my life. Up and down the mountainless mountain I go, but one day when all has found its place, I sit with my daughter in the field, sky all around us, happy and healthy.

    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.

  6. #6
    Thank you Jundo,
    somehow I cannot do much with Jundo's questions, so forgive me when I just say how much I enjoyed this Koan. Not that I understood it when first reading, by far not. But the explanation of Gerry Shishin meant a lot to me. Wisdom and Compassion, stillness and action.
    Gassho
    Myoku

  7. #7
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Thank you, Jundo.

    And a special thanks to you, Pontus.

    I agree with Myoku, totally. This koan seemed to follow a pretty straight path, and pretty easy to understand for a change . Down and up, relative absolute, the dance of two worlds being one, when.... `realized and once embodied; and the ever so slow narrowing of the space between the two hall ways.... get off that damn Ox, for gods sake !!
    Nothing Special

  8. #8
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    Questions:

    - Tell a real story from your life exemplifying how you came up from the field of some hard labors, and headed back down to "get 'er done" ... yet all is "Just This"?

    - Can you express your understanding of how your own individual "bowing/dancing/catching cold" ... is precisely and intimately others & the whole world "springing into action/nodding/sneezing"?
    There are nights/days when it is "time to sit" - my wife doesn't say or do anything - but I know it's time to stay with her, talk or what ever it is that is going on at that moment. And, it's still sitting.

    I'm "the boss" at work. But, without my employees, customers and so many others? If I frown instead of smile in the morning - what influence on those around me? If the first customer of the day is frowning instead of smiling, what influence on me?

    Gassho




    Shugen
    As a priest in training, please take everything I say with a pinch of salt

    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  9. #9
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rculver View Post
    There are nights/days when it is "time to sit" - my wife doesn't say or do anything - but I know it's time to stay with her, talk or what ever it is that is going on at that moment. And, it's still sitting.
    I understand and have done this too Shugen. Sometimes the moment of sitting is sorting a problem for someone or just saying you'll do the shopping now. A moment to take away a moment of someone else's anxiety or stress.

    Can you express your understanding of how your own individual "bowing/dancing/catching cold" ... is precisely and intimately others & the whole world "springing into action/nodding/sneezing"?

    When my bowing/dancing/catching cold is only my bowing/dancing/catching cold, then there is no other and the whole world 'springing into action'. I don't like those moments - they are usually some stress or delusion I've got into. If I sit then they pass... In the positive when there is wholly, whole, wholeness then there is only action and and my day is one part of the whole day world. It's easy to see this in a school where there is nothing but action until 3.05pm!
    Heisoku
    平 息

  10. #10
    - Tell a real story from your life exemplifying how you came up from the field of some hard labors, and headed back down to "get 'er done" ... yet all is "Just This"?

    Well, I can't say I've ever dwelled in the clear path of the absolute for more than a fleeting moment. So I'm not sure I've ever had to "come back down the mountain." Most of the time I'm mired in the relative. Settling down to zazen is hard labor. Getting up from zazen is hard labor.

    - Can you express your understanding of how your own individual "bowing/dancing/catching cold" ... is precisely and intimately others & the whole world "springing into action/nodding/sneezing"?

    Reb Anderson once said that we are all 100% responsible for everything that happens in this world. The thought is a bit difficult to accept, but sometimes seeing the "butterfly effect" of even the most seemingly trivial events is revealing. As Saijun said recently, turning one jewel in the Net of Indra turns them all.
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin View Post
    Reb Anderson once said that we are all 100% responsible for everything that happens in this world. The thought is a bit difficult to accept, but sometimes seeing the "butterfly effect" of even the most seemingly trivial events is revealing. As Saijun said recently, turning one jewel in the Net of Indra turns them all.
    Ah, the "butterfly effect" ... where a butterfly flapping it's wings in Australia might, under right conditions, start wind currents to trigger a hurricane days later in Florida.

    But the "butterfly effect" we are discussing here is something much more intimate ... for imagine that all time and space, each atom and galaxy, is held as a single, flapping monarch butterfly that is everything, fluttering its wings amid empty space. Nothing else. Oh, sure, I may sometimes see myself here as a hair on the left wing, and you there as a bump on the back of the tail ... but left right back or front, just butterfly all around, butterfly through and through (who can even judge which is the left or right or up and down of a butterfly in space, cause that is just where one stands and how one looks at things. How can we even judge here or there as there is nothing but butterfly?). Same for near or far, this or that ... the butterfly is never ever anywhere else. Yes, it is all of us individually working to keep our butterfly afloat, from flapping wings and guiding tail to all of it. Yet, simultaneously, sometimes we can see ourselves as 100% butterfly in the most radical sense. When we truly see ourselves, you are just the butterfly and I am just the butterfly, and there is just butterfly looking at butterfly. For a moment, forget your little self ... do not think of yourself as just part of the wing or leg or tail ... and be the Whole Butterfly! Not simply parts of butterfly, but Buddha-Butterfly through and through ... "you" are butterfly as much as "butterfly" is butterfly (in such case, who can even say what is "big" or "small" or not vital to the whole?). What is not completely butterfly? There is nothing else but butterfly (what else can there be in this butterfly-only world?), and every inch of butterfly is butterfly. Before you were "born", there was butterfly ... after you "die" there will be butterfly flying on ... and since the butterfly is you, there is simply flying flying on.

    So, what to do, Buddha-Butterfly?

    Flutter flutter flutter. Flap flap flap.

    Where is it flying to? To where a monarch butterfly flies on great migration.

    Buddhism is really not so complicated as people sometimes make it.

    Last edited by Jundo; 09-30-2012 at 07:38 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Ah, the "butterfly effect" ... where a butterfly flapping it's wings in Australia might, under right conditions, start wind currents to trigger a hurricane days later in Florida.

    But the "butterfly effect" we are discussing here is something much more intimate ... for imagine that all time and space, each atom and galaxy, is just held as a single, flapping monarch butterfly that is everything, fluttering its wings amid empty space. Nothing else. Oh, sure, I may sometimes see myself here as a hair on the left wing, and you as a bump on the back of the tail ... but left right back or front, just butterfly all around, butterfly through and through (who can even judge which is the left or right or up and down of a butterfly in space, cause that is just where one stands and how one looks at things). Same for near or far, this or that ... the butterfly is never ever anywhere else. Yes, it is all of us individually working to keep our butterfly afloat, from flapping wings and guiding tail to all of it. Yet, simultaneously, sometimes we can see ourselves as 100% butterfly in the most radical sense. When we truly see ourselves, you are just the butterfly and I am just the butterfly, and there is just butterfly looking at butterfly. For a moment, forget your little self ... do not think of yourself as just part of the wing or behind ... and be the Whole Butterfly! Not simply parts of butterfly, but Buddha-Butterfly through and through ... "you" are butterfly as much as "butterfly" is butterfly (in such case, who can even say what is "big" or "small" or not vital to the whole?). What is not completely butterfly? There is nothing else but butterfly (what else can there be in this butterfly-only world?), and every inch of butterfly is butterfly. Before you were "born", there was butterfly ... after you "die" there will be butterfly flying on ... and since the butterfly is you, there is simply flying flying on.

    So, what to do, Buddha-Butterfly?

    Flutter flutter flutter. Flap flap flap.

    Where is it flying to? To where a monarch butterflies flies on great migration.

    Buddhism is really not so complicated as people sometimes make it.

    Ahhh, this is wonderful Jundo, thank you for this clear explanation.

    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.

  13. #13
    Thank you, Jundo. That is a very clear and helpful metaphor. I shall henceforth remember this as "the butterfly sermon"
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

  14. #14

  15. #15
    Friend of Treeleaf Daido's Avatar
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    Thanks Jundo

    Gassho,

    Daido
    Jiken Daido - Unsui at Treeleaf's Brother Sangha, the Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage.

    Do not just accept what I say. Decide for yourself if it rings true for you

  16. #16
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Back in 1985 a huge earthquake devastated Mexico City. I was 14 by then and living about 1.5 hour from ground zero. About 6000 lives were lost. You could imagine how bad the situation was.

    So I was a teenager in high school when the quake happened. We were evacuated but a lot of people weren't that lucky. When I got home I learned that some friends and cousins were dead. It was all like a terrible terrible dream.

    The government was trying to do everything it could to help, but how can a city can ever be prepared for this kind of situation?

    That night my dad, who was unemployed by then, grabbed some of the family's last money and went to the supermarket to buy tons of bread, ham and mayonnaise. He got home saying that survivors would be hungry by then. He organized the family and we were all making sandwiches. We filled a couple of big boxes and went to ground zero to give them away.

    When we got there, we opened up the van and started giving food away. People accepted it with tears in their eyes. While we were at it my dad was crying.

    We finished and went back to our town. Got to the supermarket again, bought stuff again and went back home to keep on making sandwiches.

    At home all the neighbors were waiting for my dad to organize them all... And this is how my house became a meal factory for a couple of weeks.

    I had gotten back from the field and went back to keep on working. For 2 weeks we never even thought about us. It was all being one with our suffering countrymen and women.

    Wow... memories. This koan is very special.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Last edited by Kyonin; 09-30-2012 at 07:51 PM.
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

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  17. #17
    Thanks for sharing Kyonin,

    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

  18. #18
    - Tell a real story from your life exemplifying how you came up from the field of some hard labors, and headed back down to "get 'er done" ... yet all is "Just This"?

    .. first job, this was in rural Ontario. We were quite transient always moving but lived for two years in farm country. I was 9 or 10 and there was word that a local farmer was hiring potato pickers. I was underage but it was all done in cash and an extra body was welcome. It was piece work and didn't pay more than $20 a day, but for me it wasn't the money.. it was a chance to just do something. There was a huge field that covered the side of a hill. Along the top of the hill was a windbreak of old trees. The job was to move on our knees along the rows that had been turned by a plow, pull up the potatoes,and collect them in a basket which is dragged along. There were flatbeds place at intervals to receive the full baskets and hand out an empty one. It could take a whole afternoon to complete one row. That was it. Bright summer light, cicadas buzzing along the windbreak, moving cloud shadows, picking potatoes. The days were long but timeless. Solitary. Just picking potatoes.

    Gassho, kojip
    大山

  19. #19
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Thank you, Jundo, for the butterfly effect!
    Nothing Special

  20. #20
    The butterfly is just another finger pointing at the moon ... or butterfly in the moonlight.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  21. #21
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    The butterfly is just another finger pointing at the moon ... or butterfly in the moonlight.

    Gassho, J

    Thank you. Put that in lay terms .
    Nothing Special

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by galen View Post
    Thank you. Put that in lay terms .
    The moon is a classic symbol of Reality/Enlightenment, and descriptions such as poetic images are said just to be fingers pointing to "it". These are just little mental models and poetic images to help get across the Teachings ... images of Reality, not Reality itself (although Dogen often professed that well turned words are thoroughly Reality itself). We are talking about some other more classic images on another thread ...

    almost every Zen Master of old, from Bodhidharma to Huineng to Dogen to Honzhi to Hakuin to everyone in between spoke of "True Self/small self, True Face, Dharmakhaya, Relative/Absolute, Mu, Emptiness, Shobogenzo, Big 'B' Buddha, Mirror Mind, Capital "M" Mind etc. etc." ... although each as "fingers pointing to the moon" (the "moon", by the way, yet another metaphorical finger pointing at the moon of Enlightenment"). This has to be unpierced, realized (made real in living) through sitting and all Practice.

    However, though "fingers pointing at the moon", that does not take away the central point of their teachings of Zen Practice was not ... to a man ... anything but the need to realize (grock and bring to life) and and break free of the self/other, the Relative/Absolute. ... Even Dogen was about that through his jazzed up, vibrant vision of how the relative and absolute interpenetrate and totally exert as each other.
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...10182-The-fire
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-01-2012 at 04:37 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  23. #23
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    The moon is a classic symbol of Reality/Enlightenment, and descriptions such as poetic images are said just to be fingers pointing to "it". These are just little mental models and poetic images to help get across the Teachings ... images of Reality, not Reality itself (although Dogen often professed that well turned words are thoroughly Reality itself). We are talking about some other more classic images on another thread ...


    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...10182-The-fire
    Wow, you are fast, Dude! Thanks, I will visit the link. Very well done, that helps. I had read of this before and got most of the intent, but sometimes it takes a while for `this to sink in, not that it has as of yet .
    Nothing Special

  24. #24
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    It seems the point>>>>> of one pointedness being... there is no Mt top, there is no Valley, not two... that is the Way.
    Nothing Special

  25. #25
    That's only half true! From one you can proceed to two!

    0 (emptiness) = 1 (whole) = 2 (relative) = 10000 (myriad things)

    All is empty, all is whole, all is relative, all is a myriad things, all is just what it is, suchness.

    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

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    That's only half true! From one you can proceed to two!

    0 (emptiness) = 1 (whole) = 2 (relative) = 10000 (myriad things)

    All is empty, all is whole, all is relative, all is a myriad things, all is just what it is, suchness.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    Pontus, the above is just another model, another "help us understand" finger ... but exactly right. Thus Masters talk of the "10,000 things" as there way of saying "all the individual things of the universe". Thank you.

    I would not, however, say that "emptiness = 0". Rather, "emptiness" is 1, 2, 10,000, 0, and everything before, after and in between, all dancing as one dance.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  27. #27
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    That's only half true! From one you can proceed to two!

    0 (emptiness) = 1 (whole) = 2 (relative) = 10000 (myriad things)

    All is empty, all is whole, all is relative, all is a myriad things, all is just what it is, suchness.

    Gassho,
    Pontus


    So by Jundos perception of what Is here, there and everywhere, you were only half right and left, but keep pointing and dancing in the light of the moon. .

    Pontus, had to attempt to one up ya, with two, not one, a twist of the mouth.
    Nothing Special

  28. #28
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    My story of hard labors is that I am alive at all. That story is posted in my history on here and I don't feel compelled to repeat it. The going back into the fields is the passionate performance of my job (life calling) educating others about disability.

    I am a bit stumped on the second question, specifically the "precisely and intimately" part. I feel I understand interconnectedness, but rarely if ever does it feel precise or intimate. Too much ego in the way, I suppose.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

  29. #29
    Dancing in the moonlight!
    I like that!

    /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

  30. #30
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    Dancing in the moonlight!
    I like that!

    /Pontus


    Your dance seems quite fine, as in darkness you see the light>>>> of only the perception of those two being one.
    Nothing Special

  31. #31
    I have been avoiding this one; I just don't have any answers to this one that satisfy me.

    Questions:

    - Tell a real story from your life exemplifying how you came up from the field of some hard labors, and headed back down to "get 'er done" ... yet all is "Just This"? Most recently, I've been facing some challenges at work; at one point during zazen yesterday I almost felt like I couldn't take it because of the stress. It happens from time to time. I stress myself out a lot; I feel like I have to know everything. But when I calmed down and settled into sitting, the wave of the moment finally gone... just peace. Then I felt "ok". That is a dangerous part of zen for me; it's like whatever I've been thinking all day is suddenly magnified during sitting because I don't have anything distracting me. This could be anything from what I was listening to on the radio, rambling over old conversations are listening to the stressful talk I"m going through in my head. Being able to pay attention to all that stuff and not give up, get up or run away is my hard labor at times. Sitting is easy when my mind is at ease, but it's not always at ease. I get taken in by my thoughts, emotions, fear that I'm lacking and so forth. By being able to sit and face that, I also find I can apply that to life off of the cushion.

    - Can you express your understanding of how your own individual "bowing/dancing/catching cold" ... is precisely and intimately others & the whole world "springing into action/nodding/sneezing"?

    How I act or react to certain events, hold myself illustrates a general feeling of the world as it is now. How I let emotions make me their captor can be a prison. And if I let things take my mind from peace, it directly affects the environment around me. We directly impact each others lives, so this contributes to others feelings as well. I'm not saying I should pretend to be upbeat.. If I'm down I'm down, or when happy I'm happy. But by not getting so (I don't know a better term) caught by those feelings.. just riding them out, I think it can help. Although I usually delude myself, I'm not the only person in the universe or the most important. I may intellectualize that but most times I don't act like it. I try to smile at people as I pass them, or let people in, during traffic. By not adding to the fire or to the already stressful situations of life, we can help ease things a bit. I don't know how much it eases, and it doesn't matter, but I think my smile makes others smile and my letting others into the lane in front of me on the highway shows others that it's ok, it's not a race. We are all in this together, none of us better or more deserving of happiness than anyone else. Not to take from a Steve Hagen book, but I'm in a Hagen frame of mind. lol There's an image in Buddhism: Plain and Simple (and I"m going to ruin this because I don't have the book with me. lol) of a banquet. And the people are starving. You cannot feed yourself. The only way to get nourished is by feeding others and let them feed you. In most cases, I'd starve. haahah But by giving without the thought of giving we end up saving ourselves.

    I'm not sure if I answered that last question... these are hard ones for me.

    Gassho,

    Risho

  32. #32
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    I have not had a chance to sit on your post here, Risho, but in your last words, its seems you of anyone on these threads, always seem to step up and take on what is seemingly hard. You open yourself Way up here in these forums, far more then me and most others. I can only hope to embrace your self honesty as such.
    Nothing Special

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    ... it's like whatever I've been thinking all day is suddenly magnified during sitting because I don't have anything distracting me. This could be anything from what I was listening to on the radio, rambling over old conversations are listening to the stressful talk I"m going through in my head. Being able to pay attention to all that stuff and not give up, get up or run away is my hard labor at times. Sitting is easy when my mind is at ease, but it's not always at ease. I get taken in by my thoughts, emotions, fear that I'm lacking and so forth. By being able to sit and face that, I also find I can apply that to life off of the cushion.
    The "sensory deprivation tank" of Zazen ... turning down or off distractions and other noise to pull our attention away ... does often cause some things to seem magnified, other things "well up" from the subconscious in the space created. Part of this Practice is to recognize when our mind is playing such "mind games" ... and to recognize them as such, as "the mind playing with my head" ... and not get suckered in to it. This is an important part of the Practice. For example, in the past, when (pardon my French**) I used to "feel like shit" about something in life, I used to think "life is shit". Now, I tend to react with, "In my thoughts, I momentarily feel like shit right now ... and while it feels like shit, a bit later I will surely feel something else".

    I can also more easily encounter Buddha shining in/as/through and through even the worst shit, even if it still feels as shit.

    Gassho, Jundo

    ** For our actual French speakers, this expression "pardon my French" is an English colloquial expression which means (for some reason) "pardon my use of the following 'dirty word'". If it were actually, literally "pardon my French", I would say instead "pardonnez ma merde".
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  34. #34
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    The "sensory deprivation tank" of Zazen ... turning down or off distractions and other noise to pull our attention away ... does often cause some things to seem magnified, other things "well up" from the subconscious in the space created. Part of this Practice is to recognize when our mind is playing such "mind games" ... and to recognize them as such, as "the mind playing with my head" ... and not get suckered in to it. This is an important part of the Practice. For example, in the past, when (pardon my French**) I used to "feel like shit" about something in life, I used to think "life is shit". Now, I tend to react with, "In my thoughts, I momentarily feel like shit right now ... and while it feels like shit, a bit later I will surely feel something else".

    I can also more easily encounter Buddha shining in/as/through and through even the worst shit, even if it still feels as shit.

    Gassho, Jundo

    ** For our actual French speakers, this expression "pardon my French" is an English colloquial expression which means (for some reason) "pardon my use of the following 'dirty word'". If it were actually, literally "pardon my French", I would say instead "pardonnez ma merde".

    Well expressed, Jundo, on your shit, thanks.

    And deep bows to Risho, who in his own Way teaches a lot, from my perspective.
    Nothing Special

  35. #35
    Ditto to what Galen said. Anyone who would yield to me in traffic is a true bodhisattva- -)

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Ditto to what Galen said. Anyone who would yield to me in traffic is a true bodhisattva- -)
    Double ditto! I always enjoy your input, Risho!

    Quote Originally Posted by Risho
    I feel like I have to know everything
    I know the feeling... I used to stress the hell out of myself, especially in my 20s, trying to JUST KNOW EVERYTHING! In the past couple of years, and I attribute this mostly to Zen, I've just started to let that crazy need go. It's kind of liberating being dumb lol. I'm certain I'm dumber than I was ten years ago, and that's OK. It never really got me anything except a damn headache anyway!

    _/\_
    Last edited by Kaishin; 10-03-2012 at 05:19 PM. Reason: typo
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

  37. #37
    Thank you Galen.

    Rich, I meant I would yield to everyone else except you. hahhahhhaha just kidding

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Part of this Practice is to recognize when our mind is playing such "mind games" ... and to recognize them as such, as "the mind playing with my head" ... and not get suckered in to it. This is an important part of the Practice. For example, in the past, when (pardon my French**) I used to "feel like shit" about something in life, I used to think "life is shit". Now, I tend to react with, "In my thoughts, I momentarily feel like shit right now ... and while it feels like shit, a bit later I will surely feel something else".
    Nicely put Jundo, I like this very much.

    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.

  39. #39

  40. #40
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    You're ok, Risho.

    Now, as for that second question. It is easy to make a case for how we are is how we act, which in turn affects others quite directly. In other words, as others have already stated, when I am happy I smile,and that leads others ti smile, or if I am angry and scowling others will behave warily, and so on. But - and I am probably over thinking this - once I take out all the flowery language about bowing, dancing and springing forth (sorry Jundo), I read the question as simply this: How am I others? Now that's a koan.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

  41. #41
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Slept with it.
    Sat with it.
    How am I others?
    How are others me?
    Through empathy and compassion.
    As i/others feel, others/i also feel.
    When i/others need something, others/i provide it.
    For an example of this look no further than members' responses to Risho above.
    (Not mine, however, as it was quite weak.)
    He bowed, and others sprang forth.
    Or was it the other way around?
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

  42. #42
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa View Post
    Slept with it.
    Sat with it.
    How am I others?
    How are others me?
    Through empathy and compassion.
    As i/others feel, others/i also feel.
    When i/others need something, others/i provide it.
    For an example of this look no further than members' responses to Risho above.
    (Not mine, however, as it was quite weak.)
    He bowed, and others sprang forth.
    Or was it the other way around?

    Its nice when you come out to play... now and again .
    Nothing Special

  43. #43
    hahahah thank you Alan, a lightbulb went off while reading your poem... I see "One monk bows, and the whole temple springs into activity!" We post and the entire congregation comes to life. I cannot do this by myself (anything). It's when I try to, that I delude myself; it's the same grasping in the chain of causation leading to dukkha. When one of us does something, it resonates with everyone, like the hairs on a caterpillar reacting to the breeze... or the tips of the grass reacting to the rain... the dewdrops reflecting the moonlight. There's nothing to be done or rationalized, that's how it is. That's just what happens in this inter-dependent universe. Not nothing to be done as in I throw my hands up, not going to do anything to help... that is the selfishness, self-centeredness. It's the nothing to be done but what needs to be done... the helping of someone because they need the help without the thoughts of grasping of I'm doing this because I'm such a great person.

    Very, very deep bows and thanks to you all,

    Risho


    Speaking of this koan, something happened last night and I wasn't sure where I was going to post it, but I wanted to share it with everyone here. And I think it directly relates to this koan.

    My wife and I have 2 dogs. One is a little over 3 years old. The other is 12.5 years old. The older one's name is Sakura. I love my dogs. This is my wife and my first dog. We got her when we were dating back in 99. She was born on 12/23/99; a puppy of my friend's other dog who was apparently a real neighborhood hussy. lol Anyway, she's all black; she's part Rott and Lab, so she has the body of a Rott but the face of a lab. My friend named her; I wish I were that clever to think of Sakura.

    In any case, we were roommates with my friend when we had her, and I happened to lose my job when she was 6 months old. We had to move in with my parents. So I thought I had to find her another home, which was so hard. My parents are animal lovers too, so they agreed to let us bring her. Shortly after we moved in we got her her puppy shots. It was a little late at 6 months, but I forgot that they needed them earlier. As a reaction to her vaccinations, she got parvo. I had no idea what it was; parvo is such a violent virus, it destroys the inner lining of the stomach and can be fatal, especially to labs. We took her to the emergency vet, and we had to hospitalize her. I cashed out my retirement. I was only 24, and I only had a couple years invested, so I did it without flinching. I couldn't let her die so young.

    In any case, after 2 weeks, she made it! We got married in 2001 and eventually found our own place in 2002. We adopted another dog, named Lexy. We had to put lexy to sleep in 2010 for a rare blood disease... ugh In any case, Sakura was so mothering and took care of Lexy as a pup, showing her the doggy ropes. Eventually we moved to Florida in 2005. In 2006, she got a weird sickness that we never figured out. She had to be put on some very strong antibiotics and she eventually recovered. In 2007 or 2008, she became blind. She had a case of SARD (Sudden Acute Retinal something or other). The eyes still work but the brain no longer interprets the stimuli. She didn't have any brain tumors. I noticed before she became blind she would repeatedly walk around the house and the perimeter of the yard (we were renting a house at that time). I later realized she was studying it; after she became blind, she had no problem navigating. Ok she bumps into things, but she is just incredible. She went blind, goes through all this stuff and never gives up. There is never a thought of "I quit".

    When we got our 3rd dog in 2009, Sakura took to her role of mothering again. Now, yesterday..

    After we got home from picking up dinner, I was going to take the dogs out. I started watching her walk. All 4 legs were bent and she was weirdly walking. I thought, "what is going on?". Suddenly, she squats and pees. So I yell at her, grab her leash and take her to the door. She falls down. I pick her up, we get outside and she falls down again. Now the falling down can be normal; she's 12.5 and she has hip dysplasia and severe arthritis; maybe she might lose her balance, but not 3 times in a row after peeing in the house; she is the perfect indoor dog, when she pees in the house something is wrong. She also has a chronic UTI; we should have named her lucky. lol But we have her on joint supplements and anti-arthritic pain meds... So she is not suffering. In any case, she starts peeing as she's laying down outside. Then she poops. While this is happening, her eyes are going up and down. I thought she was stroking, and thought she might be dying right before me. I just kept thinking about her, then I got stern with myself to bring myself back to her... just to hold her and do whatever I could to just get out of the way and "BE" with her there for her... to do whatever I could to keep her from panicking.

    We got her to the emergency vet; I thought we would have to euthanize her. It turns out that yet again, this magic dog has escaped to live another day. She has IVD (Idiopathic Vestibular Disease) . It's a balance disorder that older dogs get. They gave her an anti-vomiting med and dramamine for the dizziness. THey said it could take a week or more to get better. But she's almost completely normal today. Fortunately, I can work from home and help her walk. The vet asked us if we could do what needed to be done to take care of her. Of course! She's not heavy she's my sister.... And just like this koan, when one monk bows, the whole temple springs into activity.

    This practice is about doing what needs to be done; to do that we need to get out of our own way and do it without worrying about crazy outcomes that will likely never come true. In the midst of the chaos, or what may seem like chaos, I just dropped negative or positive thoughts, was with my dog and did what had to be done.

    It made me think of this koan, and the question, specifically about hard labors. From one perspective the labors are hard, at the same time, there is no hard and soft or labor at all when all that is being done is what needs to be done in the moment. It's like this practice, observing the precepts, drinking when we are thirsty, sleeping when we are tired. It is like as Master Dogen said, "groping for a pillow in the dark". When there is no separation at all, when there is no "I" or "labor" or "hard labor" that results from comparing this from that, all that occurs is the laboring itself, the being together, the loving of others who need love, the helping across the street the people that need to be helped across the street, and the knowing when not to interfere.

    Gassho,

    Risho
    Last edited by Risho; 10-04-2012 at 08:59 PM.

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    When one of us does something, it resonates with everyone, like the hairs on a caterpillar reacting to the breeze...
    This is absolutely true.

    Just do not fail to also see that we ... you, me, dogs and all things ... are all fully the caterpillar through and through, not merely caterpillar hairs. (For further details, take "butterfly" story above and substitute "caterpillar").

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    This is absolutely true.

    Just do not fail to also see that we ... you, me, dogs and all things ... are all fully the caterpillar through and through, not merely caterpillar hairs. (For further details, take "butterfly" story above and substitute "caterpillar").

    Gassho, J
    Yep that's the tricky part. hahahahah Thought I had it all figured out yesterday, feeling puffed up about my great answer... Here I am again, caught in emotion. lol Thank goodness it's called practice; because we just have to keep practicing, practicing, practicing.

    Gasso,

    Risho

  46. #46
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Thanks, Alan, well done.

    And thanks also for giving Risho the fire to flame out the dog koan .

    Risho, I galen, immediately promote you to a full priest!
    Nothing Special

  47. #47
    Thank you Risho,
    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

  48. #48
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    Thank you Risho,
    Pontus


    Hey Pontus.... why did you not show up on the other thread about 'not-two' ?? Actually I understand, man, you did not need the supposed mess I created, but had to kid you here.
    Nothing Special

  49. #49
    Hi Galen,
    I have been busy and it's in the middle of the night here!

    /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

  50. #50
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    Hi Galen,
    I have been busy and it's in the middle of the night here!

    /Pontus

    Its 4:34 here, as we speak. I think you are in the wet, beautiful and cold Scandinavian area, but middle of the night !? But i do understand, just have to rib you for your answer here, as in.... sure .... later, see you out there.
    Nothing Special

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