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Thread: SPLIT TOPIC: So, What Happens When Folks Die?

  1. #1

    SPLIT TOPIC: So, What Happens When Folks Die?

    'We die, and we do not die. This is right understanding. Some people may say that our mind or soul exists forever, and it is only our physical body which dies. But this is not exactly right, because both mind and body have their end. But it is also true that they exist eternally.'

    Hi Jundo (trying to take the wise advice to rest a little - things are improving this end) but the bit [from Suzuki Roshi] I've highlighted above continues to confuse me re, the Zen take on death. Is there anywhere I can look on Tree Leaf for further clarification as I'm sure it must have been discussed many times.

    Gassho

    Willow

    Note from Jundo: I have split the topic, and also added in parenthesis to make clear that the above quote is from Suzuki Shunryu Roshi.
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-05-2012 at 01:39 AM.

  2. #2
    Dear Willow,

    A chapter of shobogenzo called Shoiji, life-death, goes like this:

    "Because a buddha is in birth and death, there is no birth and death."

    It is also said, "Because a buddha is not in birth and death, a buddha is not deluded by birth and death."

    These statements are the essence of the words of the two Zen masters Jiashan and Dingshan. You should certainly not neglect them, because they are the words of those who attained the way.

    Those who want to be free from birth and death should understand the meaning of these words. If you search for a buddha outside birth and death, it will be like trying to go to the southern country of Yue with our spear heading towards the north, or like trying to see the Big Dipper while you are facing south; you will cause yourself to remain all the more in birth and death and lose the way of emancipation.

    Just understand that birth-and-death is itself nirvana. There is nothing such as birth and death to be avoided; there is nothing such as nirvana to be sought. Only when you realize this are you free from birth and death.


    It is a mistake to suppose that birth turns into death. Birth is a phase that is an entire period of itself, with its own past and future.

    For this reason, in buddha-dharma birth is understood as no-birth.*

    Death is a phase that is an entire period of itself, with its own past

    and future. For this reason, death is understood as no-death.*

    In birth there is nothing but birth and in death there is nothing but death. Accordinly, when birth comes, face and actualize birth, and when death comes, face and actualize death. Do not avoid them or desire them.

    Birth and death as the experience of nirvana.


    This birth and death is the life of buddha. If you try to exclude it you will lose the life of buddha. If you cling to it, trying to remain in it, you will also lose the life of buddha, and what remains will be the mere form of buddha. Only when you don’t dislike birth and death or long for them, do you enter buddha’s mind.

    However, do not analyze or speak about it. Just set aside your body and mind, forget about them, and throw them into the house of buddha; then all is done by buddha. When you follow this, you are free from birth and death and become a buddha without effort or calculation. Who then continues to think?



    There is a simple way to become buddha: When you refrain from unwholesome actions, are not attached to birth and death, and are compassionate toward all sentient beings, respectful to seniors and kind to juniors, not excluding or desiring anything, with no designing thoughts or worries, you will be called a buddha. Do not seek anything else.

    We don't have answers, ready made stories or ways to think about how it is going to be, why, where to...

    You see, Willow, we are staying with "I don't know", and allow other people what they want to think-believe-make.

    We are involved in undoing the self, not sustaining it, projecting it. Rather than eternal( a beautiful word by the way), we go for "timeless". Rather than "soul" we are looking at "suchness".

    But it is ok. Everything is ok. And you don't have to do something special or believe into...

    Just be, Willow is perfect as Willow, Willow is complete. And yet, just like any of us, Willow will wither and go. The action of going is not separated from life itself.

    it is life doing-undoing-yet-doing

    wood doesn 't turn into ashes...it took ages to my dull mind to get it, my heart knew it from day one.

    take care and sorry for being not able to really help


    gassho


    Taigu
    Last edited by Taigu; 10-04-2012 at 02:33 PM.
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by willow View Post
    'We die, and we do not die. This is right understanding. Some people may say that our mind or soul exists forever,amd it is only our physical body which dies. But this is not exactly right, because both mind and body have their end. But it is also true that they exist eternally.'

    Hi Jundo (trying to take the wise advice to rest a little - things are improving this end) but the bit I've highlighted above continues to confuse me re, the Zen take on death. Is there anywhere I can look on Tree Leaf for further clarification as I'm sure it must have been discussed many times.

    Gassho

    Willow
    Hi Willow,

    Well, the traditional Buddhist (including Zen Buddhist) idea was, and still is, rebirth. Technically, it is not "reincarnation" for the reasons discussed at the following link:

    The reason that this is said to be a system of "rebirth", and not "reincarnation", is based primarily on the very fine distinction that the Buddha denied an eternal "self" or "soul" that would pass on from life to life. Buddhist philosophers have struggled for generations, often bending over backwards, thus to explain how there can be a "you" which is reborn when there is no "you" ...
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...VI-%28Karma%29
    However, the Buddhists still traditionally have believed that "you" nonetheless might come back as a human, an animal, a spirit, a deity and such, in heavens or hells, based on your good and back volitional actions (Karma) in this and past lives. Although it is nice to think of being reborn, rebirth was --not-- generally thought of as a good thing by Buddhists, and the whole plan was to escape the cycle of rebirth via Nirvana.

    I personally am a skeptical, but open minded, agnostic on literal, mechanical models of rebirth. It is not vital to my practice. As I often say ...

    If there are future lives, heavens and hells ... live this life here and now, seek not to do harm, seek not to build "heavens" and "hells" in this world ... let what happens after "death" take care of itself.

    And if there are no future lives, no heavens or hells ... live this life here and now, seek not to do harm, seek not to build "heavens" and "hells" in this world ... let what happens after "death" take care of itself.


    Thus I do not much care if, in the next life, that "gentle way, avoiding harm" will buy me a ticket to heaven and keep me out of hell ... but I know for a fact that it will go far to do so in this life, today, where I see people create all manner of "heavens and hells" for themselves and those around them by their harmful words, thoughts and acts in this life.
    HOWEVER, even if doubting literal rebirth, me and many other modern Zen Teachers will affirm that the whole dichotomy of "birth/life" and "death" is rather an illusion, a fiction, which can be dropped away. So, death is not a problem because we were never born in the first place, and thus never die.

    I mean, birth/death, start/finish, this/that are divisions that the mind judges ... and when the mind stops judging and dividing, they rather vanish. The simplest analogy to give some image of this is the old "wave" on an ocean's surface.

    The wave (representing you or me) rises up from the ocean, and eventually merges back into the ocean, but really there was nothing there all along but the ocean. When the water rippled up, we say "there is a wave", and when the water falls back down we say "the wave is gone" ... but it was just the water, which was there before ... and is still there after, as wet as ever, going on and on.
    Well, you and I and everyone are waves momentarily rising and disappearing ... but we cannot so easily see that we are also the ocean all along. Since we are the ocean, in a sense we are also every wave on the ocean too (I am you and you are the other guy ... and every mountain, star and blade of grass too) ... even though we think we are just one small part of it. As being discussed on another thread today, you and I and everyone are the "True Self/small self, True Face, Dharmakhaya, Relative/Absolute, Mu, Emptiness, Shobogenzo, Big 'B' Buddha, Mirror Mind, Capital "M" Mind etc. " all along, although it is hard to see ourselves as such (without Practice!).

    In Mahayana Buddhism, Buddha often taught that, when you get "enlightened" you escape from the cycle of rebirth. How? Well, one interpretation that has been around for a long time is that you "escape" from it because ... it was never there, except as a creation of your own mind. I guess the simplest analogy is an ordinary dream when you are sleeping, in which you are convinced that you are going from life to life. But when the alarm rings and you 'wake up' ... you realize the dream was a dream all along (real in being a real dream, but not real). When you are dreaming, you think you are a wave. But then, when you wake up, you see you are just the sea! Something like that.

    That is my too simple explanation.

    Two more long winded threads on the subject here (one already linked to above) ...
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...VI-%28Karma%29
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...fter-Death-%29

    Gassho, J

    PS -

    A famous Koan ... (here's a clue: Alive and dead are human judgments and standards. Is the wave "dead" if the ocean all along, and the ocean goes on and on?)

    One day Master Zengen went with his teacher Master Dogo to visit a house where someone had recently died to express their condolences. When they were alone, Master Zengen patted the coffin and said to Master Dogo, “Is he alive or dead?”

    Master Dogo said, “I will not say alive or dead.”

    Master Zengen said, “Why won’t you say?”

    Master Dogo said, “I will never say. I will never say.”


    Another famous Zen story, not a Koan but something to it ...

    A young man asked Gasan what happened after death.
    “I do not know,” said Gasan.
    “But you are a Zen Master!” exclaimed the young man.
    “Yes,” replied Gasan, “but I am not a dead Zen master”.

    Last edited by Jundo; 10-05-2012 at 01:45 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    Yes, the section of Shoji (Birth & Death) that Taigu points too is powerful, and I have offered a couple of talks over the years ...

    Just understand that birth-and-death is itself nirvana. There is nothing such as birth and death to be avoided; there is nothing such as nirvana to be sought. Only when you realize this are you free from birth and death.

    It is a mistake to suppose that birth turns into death. Birth is a phase that is an entire period of itself, with its own past and future. For this reason, in buddha-dharma birth is understood as no-birth. Death is a phase that is an entire period of itself, with its own past and future. For this reason, death is understood as no-death. In birth there is nothing but birth and in death there is nothing but death. Accordinly, when birth comes, face and actualize birth, and when death comes, face and actualize death. Do not avoid them or desire them. Birth and death as the experience of nirvana.

    And he wrote in Shobogenzo Genjo Koan ...

    Birth is an expression complete this moment. Death is an expression complete this moment. They are like winter and spring. You do not call winter the beginning of spring, nor summer the end of spring.

    I might offer these as something like ...

    "When living, all is living, live fully cause your life depends on it ... when dying, die fully, die with all your heart ... pushing neither away ... Each is complete in itself, each and both are the whole of life".

    Something like that.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Just understand that birth-and-death is itself nirvana. There is nothing such as birth and death to be avoided; there is nothing such as nirvana to be sought. Only when you realize this are you free from birth and death. t.
    Hi Jundo. Once when I was really struggling to find stillness, a friend said "just move completely, 100%". Is this comparable to what you are saying here?

    Gassho.
    大山

  6. #6
    I also gave a silly butterfly analogy recently rather like the "wave/ocean" ... but I think it flies ...

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

    [I]magine 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 primarily 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. ... 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 ... 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 [after "you" die] 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; 10-05-2012 at 01:47 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    Hi Jundo. Once when I was really struggling to find stillness, a friend said "just move completely, 100%". Is this comparable to what you are saying here?

    Gassho.
    You mean what Dogen was saying? Sure!

    But we are always "100%", even when we don't feel like it! When we are living, we are always living 100% ... when we are dying, we are always dying 100% ... and we are always beyond life/death 100%. We are always 100% Stillness-Moving, whether moving or sitting still!

    It is only our ignorant choices and self-appraisals which make it seem less, make it seem 1/2 or 20%.

    I mean, some folks never are satisfied, never feel they have enough, never feel that they quite "measure up", never feel they got where they're going, never feel at home and living fully. But that's just there own self-judgment.

    Some folks are never satisfied even if they have checked off every box on the "bucket list" ... others are satisfied just by breathing and seeing a flower.

    Some folks can breath and view a flower as if each contains all time and space, nothing left out or lacking. Others might feel that something is lacking if they were made a present of all time and space! (which, by the way, we have been! )

    (It is in order to Practice living as the former, by the way, that we sit Shikantaza as expressing all time and space, nothing left out or lacking to achieve, in the sitting of Stillness-Moving).

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-05-2012 at 04:37 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    I don't know what happens when we die. I guess one day I'll get to know first hand.

    In the meantime I'll just go with I don't know... but I think it's wise to not hold on to finding an academic answer.

    All that matters is to live and do good. Sit.

    For life is precious and we only get one shot to get it right and be happy.

    Thank you for this thread.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  9. #9
    "What happens when folks die?"

    The answer to that question seems like it will only need to be considered the moment after one dies. Till then, what value is there in pondering it?.
    gassho
    -Lou

  10. #10
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    I too often use the imagery of the ocean and the waves because it's just such an easy tool for me to use - our country is made up of over 7000 islands so the ocean analogy is something generally easy to get. I remember the last time my wife and I had a discussion on life and death and I shared this image with her. I said something like, "if you think the wave reaches the shore and disappears, that is wrong. If you think no wave reaches the shore and disappears, that is also wrong. If you think the wave went back to the ocean that is also wrong. If you think there is no wave that went back to the ocean that is also wrong."

    Did the wave disappear? If all waves are just the ocean moving, then there is no individual wave to either appear or disappear, and nothing that reaches the shore and returns to the ocean (that would imply that the wave and the ocean were separated and now they will be reunited). So to say the wave disappears upon reaching the shore, or to say that it returns to the ocean, are both wrong. But it is also wrong to say that there is no wave that appears and disappears, no wave that reaches the shore and returns to the ocean. The waves and the ocean are just -^-^-^-^-^-^ (I can't exactly present you the ocean here so my illustration will have to do ).

    Something like that.

    These days, I might say something like "what happens to my fist when I open my hand?". (As an aside, I can't remember exactly where I read that one). Or simply, life and death are like our hands in gassho. More intimate than we think: not two, not one.


    Raf



    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    [SIZE=1]A famous Koan ... (here's a clue: Alive and dead are human judgments and standards. Is the wave "dead" if the ocean all along, and the ocean goes on and on?)

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by pinoybuddhist View Post
    These days, I might say something like "what happens to my fist when I open my hand?". (As an aside, I can't remember exactly where I read that one). Or simply, life and death are like our hands in gassho. More intimate than we think: not two, not one.
    Hello Rafael,

    I think that the fist/hand line is one of Rev. Fugen's. I've been stuck on that one for a while. I get it, but I haven't yet got it, y'know?

    In Gassho,

    Saijun
    To give up yourself without regret is the greatest charity. --RBB

  12. #12
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    I think it does fly. Interesting, I never would have thought of using that analogy.


    Raf

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I also gave a silly butterfly analogy recently rather like the "wave/ocean" ... but I think it flies ...

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

    [I]magine 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. ... 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 ... 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 [after "you" die] 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.

  13. #13
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    Well, I can't really say that I have it soaked down to the marrow of my bones and the nuclei of my cells either. But that's why we call it practice.



    Raf
    Quote Originally Posted by Saijun View Post
    Hello Rafael,

    I think that the fist/hand line is one of Rev. Fugen's. I've been stuck on that one for a while. I get it, but I haven't yet got it, y'know?

    In Gassho,

    Saijun

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    I don't know what happens when we die. I guess one day I'll get to know first hand.

    In the meantime I'll just go with I don't know... but I think it's wise to not hold on to finding an academic answer.

    All that matters is to live and do good. Sit.
    Quote Originally Posted by mr.Lou View Post
    "What happens when folks die?"

    The answer to that question seems like it will only need to be considered the moment after one dies. Till then, what value is there in pondering it?.
    Hi Guys,

    Well, I agree with you here ... what matters most is how we live in this life, in this moment.

    I also agree that we propably cannot know the real details ... and need not know the details ... of what (if anything) happens upon death, whether we are reborn in a "Buddhaland", meet St. Peter or the flames of hell, nothing, or something totally beyond our conception. It does not matter so long as we live our life in this moment.

    But I also disagree with you ... because if one does not transcend this whole matter of "life and death" ... if one fails to see through the "little self" and encounter one's True Face Before Even One's Mother & Father Were Born as the "True Self/small self, True Nature, Dharmakhaya, Relative/Absolute, Mu, Emptiness, Shobogenzo, Big 'B' Buddha, Mirror Mind, Capital "M" Mind etc. " ... then one is simply missing one of the central points (perhaps THE Central Point among the many good points) of all Mahayana Buddhist Practice, including Zen Buddhism. (This is being discussed on another thread too today http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...Eat-My-Zafu%21 ). One is simply coming to the "Non-Birthday Party" and leaving without eating any Non-Birthday Cake!

    The old adage that "Zen" is about "Becoming One With The Universe" is really not so far off the mark!

    What is more, I propose to you that this is really not so hard to see or understand (even for us with a modern, skeptical mind), although 'tis hard to really sink in and truly see (that is one reason for all this Sitting and Practice). And once seen, it is known as having always been there. In this way, such is very much like the old optical illusion of the young lady and the old crone. Can you see both? (Post here if you can't, and I will give a clue) ...



    Is it an old lady? Is it a young lady? Both at once? Yes, depends on being able to see things each way.

    Thus, for me ... a great skeptic, agnostic, "show me the evidence" guy who doubts UFO's, Big Foot and the Lock Ness Monster ... and who is skeptical of literal, mechanical rebirth as a rat or a ghost ... I can still sink my teeth into this view of "Non-Birth", that we were never quite born ... thus we never quite die. It is easy to see and pierce (through Practice), it is easy to grasp intellectually too. My own "Kensho" moments are much like actually having seen the world inside out and rightside up, without self/other separation, the all encompassing interpenetration of all things, where the young lady now is witnessed clearly as the crone through and through, without a drop of separation ... neither displacing or replacing the other. Through this Zen Practice, the hard borders between "my self" and "all the rest" soften, and sometimes fully drop away.

    Simply put, it is easy to understand: If you are you ... but you are also simultaneously just the "universe" or (better said) the reality underlying everything ... then, when "you" die you don't really quite die so long as that "reality" is still going, keeping it real. Same for being "born".

    Yes, it is a bit hard to fully fathom. But also as simple as child's play.

    For you and me and the other folks are simply star dust, made of the same stuff as all the planets, trees and bees. We are like these individual finger puppets, stuck in their unique and separate identities ... who cannot see (without Practice) that they are each simultaneously also just the whole hand, and maybe even the little child behind it.



    (What the hand or child is up to, if anything at all? Well, that's a whole 'nother question. Whatever, best to just play along! )

    Basic Mahayana Buddhism, Zen Buddhism 101.

    As is written on the wooden block calling folks to Zazen, and chanted each night in about every Zen monastery anywhere ...

    Let me respectfully remind you
    Life and death are of supreme importance, the Great Matter.
    Time passes swiftly and opportunity is lost.
    Let us awaken ...
    Awaken!
    Do not squander this life.


    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-05-2012 at 04:44 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    "What happens when folks die?"
    we tend to think of death as an experience of ever lasting non-existence. And, at least for me, that idea is scary. To experience my non-existence forever. But I don't think that is something that anyone can actually experience. And one of the things I find ever more interesting, is not that we will die, but why were we even born to begin with. In a sense, if one holds the view that death is just light outs, that's it. end of story period. Then essentially that's exactly how it was before we even came into being in the first place.

    We people die, other people are born.


    ramblings...don't know if I even had a point to this...and if I did...I forgot....
    Humbly,
    Seiryu

  16. #16
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    I remember reading something years back (sorry, I just can't remember my sources) likening the process of rebirth to using one lit candle to light another candle and blowing out the first candle's flame. Next time someone asks me about the difference between reincarnation and rebirth I'll try to remember that analogy.

    In Hardcore Zen, Brad Warner points out that if you really believe in reincarnation, then you already know what happens after death because you're living the afterlife of your previous life.
    Last edited by pinoybuddhist; 10-05-2012 at 08:40 AM.

  17. #17
    Thank you all - I will probably return to this thread many times.

    Jundo, Taigu - there is a beautiful mystery and sense of ease (for me) in holding to 'don't know'.

    ... and yet - as Seiryu alludes to - sometimes I experience a fleeting sense of what it might be to be in a place of 'ever-lasting non existance'. This is not an 'idea' a 'concept'. It is like a 'shiver' that quickly passes and I have felt it since being a child. Simply put - a fear of death.

    One of the first books I read on buddhism was Rahula's 'What the Buddhist Taught'. He writes about a person's life as a flame - that has continuity but is never the same flame from moment to moment. I remember thinking that his conclusion 'the question of life and death is not a great mystery, and a Buddhist is never worried about this problem' was not a state of mind I had reached and so I would probably never be able to be a Buddhist'.

    Of late, the interpenetration of all things, feels 'closer' (not sure how else to describe it) the 'shivers' less frequent.

    I don't know if I'm a Buddhist - it seems to matters less - to follow 'the way' matters more.

    Gassho

    Willow

  18. #18
    There is a film by Andrei Tarkovsky called "The sacrifice" that he made as he was dying of cancer. In the story there is about to be a nuclear war, the end of the world. An older man is with his family in a house on a cool grey coast, surrounded by grassy fields. In the house his family needs to sleep at the end of the day because they are exhausted, but they know it is the last night. At one point after the children are asleep, his partner melts down completely, and after calming and comforting her until she drifts into sleep and he is alone, he gets on his knees ( not a religious man at all but...) and begs mercy from God. He says he will give up anything, he will sacrifice everything...if God could only please just take away "this naked animal fear". It turns out the next morning that it may have all been dream or not, but there is no holocaust. Still he goes ahead and sacrifices everything, sets fire to his house and runs away into the fields. Anyway.. the part that impacted me was him begging God to take away "this naked animal fear". To me that fear is "death" .. what is "death" without that animal fear? To be fearless is to be free of the shadow of "death", which is nothing but a shadow of fear.

    That's my personal take on death. Gassho. Kojip
    Last edited by Daizan; 10-05-2012 at 12:01 PM.
    大山

  19. #19
    Senior Member ZenHarmony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinoybuddhist View Post
    Did the wave disappear? If all waves are just the ocean moving, then there is no individual wave to either appear or disappear, and nothing that reaches the shore and returns to the ocean (that would imply that the wave and the ocean were separated and now they will be reunited). So to say the wave disappears upon reaching the shore, or to say that it returns to the ocean, are both wrong. But it is also wrong to say that there is no wave that appears and disappears, no wave that reaches the shore and returns to the ocean. The waves and the ocean are just -^-^-^-^-^-^ (I can't exactly present you the ocean here so my illustration will have to do ).


    Lisa

  20. #20
    As is written on the wooden block calling folks to Zazen, and chanted each night in about every Zen monastery anywhere ...

    Let me respectfully remind you
    Life and death are of supreme importance, the Great Matter.
    Time passes swiftly and opportunity is lost.
    Let us awaken ...
    Awaken!
    Do not squander this life.


    Gassho, Jundo
    Any reason we don't chant this during our Zazenkai?

    Quote Originally Posted by pinoybuddhist
    In Hardcore Zen, Brad Warner points out that if you really believe in reincarnation, then you already know what happens after death because you're living the afterlife of your previous life.
    Damn he's right! Seems so obvious now :P
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

  21. #21
    The talk during tomorrow's monthly Zazenkai will be based on Master Dogen's Shobogenzo-Shoji (Life-&-Death) ....

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post86979

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin View Post

    Let me respectfully remind you
    Life and death are of supreme importance, the Great Matter.
    Time passes swiftly and opportunity is lost.
    Let us awaken ...
    Awaken!
    Do not squander this life.



    Any reason we don't chant this during our Zazenkai?
    No, except that our Zazenkai here is usually in the morning, not at night. This "Evening Gatha" is written on the wooden "han" block outside our Zendo door, so in a way, always recited. Here is one similar to ours.



    Sometimes I play with the words when I recite it ...

    No "me" no "you", no life or death.
    No time to pass, no opportunity lost.
    No "us" to strive, no goal or striving.
    Thus Awakended! AWAKENED!
    How could one squander this life?


    LIVE BOTH GATHA AT ONCE, AS ONE!

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-05-2012 at 03:28 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  22. #22
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
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    I've spent an hour without breath or a heartbeat, so I guess technically speaking, I was more or less dead. There is no memory of anything, there was, and then there wasn't, on and off. The experience is what basically brought me back to this practice and to Treeleaf.

    I'm sure there are plenty of others who will disagree with me on this, perhaps not here, but elsewhere, but I feel conclusively, that this is the life, the only life. Be with this life, every moment.

    Gassho.
    Chris

  23. #23
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Can it ALL be summed up in the totality of full immersion of presence, in and beyond time? Can It be that simple??
    Nothing Special

  24. #24
    Dogen said" it is custumary that such practice is not abandoned even after reaching buddhahood, so that it is still practiced by a buddha"

    Translating to myself, its the practice stupid.

  25. #25
    When a wave comes ashore, its form dissipates, but the water is not harmed at all. It simply returns to the sea from whence it came, and from which it never really left.
    May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind
    quickly be freed from their illnesses.
    May those frightened cease to be afraid
    and may those bound be free.
    May the powerless find power
    and may people think of befriending one another.

  26. #26
    Senior Member YuimaSLC's Avatar
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    Almost hesitated posting this....as it seems a bit pieced-together....but



    There is a human sense of continuity which we define as our life. "When I was seven years old, I pooped my pants on the first day of second grade. What an embarrassment with little solace that I had picked up a microbe in drinking water from camping out the Labor Day weekend before school began." And then, "when is was 16 I learned to drive a car" "when I was 28 my son was born" as so on.

    And that seems to be quite linear....as we choose to arrange it. When we use our brain cells designed to refresh memory/perception, we think of incidences of a multitude of
    things, piece them into a pattern, and believe them to be "my self"..... that's me......I've been changing, growing...but there's a "me" to all this.

    Yet, infinitesimal moment-by-moment, arising (not moment after moment)...there is what? arising and the simultaneous non-arising arising/non arising arising/non arising (but lacking linearity because though it acts, it stays right where it is)

    What is continuity, after all? Why does it manifest as pattern that leads up to construe it as a "thing"? There is wood. And there are ashes. Ashes do not become wood. Wood does not become ashes. Is there karma? Some posit that there is no true cause-and-effect, which presumes interplay of before-during-after. In the arising of moment of something we perceive as wood, does that "thing" ever surprisingly become a banana in the next instant? Doesnt seem so. I am carrying an armful of wood from the pile only to arrive in the house with an armful of bananas? Thus, what encourages continuity of phenomenon ?


    Thus, is rebirth continually going on as we experience it? The Richard I describe at age 7 was/is repeatedly reborn, changed from each moment thusly. There has always been birth/death constantly.
    That 7 year old boy is no more, not to be found for 52 years or more. Except as a current imprint of an instance of memory, as vague as it is, embedded in gray matter of a 59 year-old human.

    For me, these considerations cause me to question or doubt any existence of soul / atman (especially individual soul) and I also have an impossible time trying to grasp the buddhist sense of
    rebirth in terms of some transmigration of something (past lives, present lives) beyond the type of rebirth I've mentioned before. It's obvious that as the community of religion, many many Japanese, for example, observe the rituals of ancestor/family worship, believing them to be passing-on to other places (suggesting they accept their loved ones are "somewhere" in a spirit form, either in Tushita Heaven, the Western Paradise or....somewhere). Unfortunately, I come from a culture (the LDS Mormon religion)
    that is heavily steeped in beliefs of spirit bodies (pre-existence to Earth) coming to Earth and living this life, as if children attending elementary school, just waiting to be advanced onto their next level of development, a sort of succession of eternal development/perfecting.....but in definite, immutable, individual spirits. This was increasingly hard for me to stomach as I grew up and yet it makes for some of the most profound discussions when these "Christians" cannot fathom that I don't accept the existence of this immutable soul/personage. So, my mother has been dead for 12 years, and yet there is an angst from
    others who almost take it as me "killing her" again if I cannot accept her continued existence in a "better place". (as if my opinion is going to change those conditions anyway....but I suspect they feel I
    am so disrespectful of not "wanting" her to be happily residing somewhere after this Earthly existence.)

  27. #27
    Yuima - this is just a thought - but where other people's beliefs (especially family members!) are concerned it is maybe 'skilful' to tread lightly.

    If it causes genuine angst there is little point in making one's own case (what are we trying to prove - or are able to prove?)

    There is nothing intrinsically wrong with your relatives believing your mother has continued existence in a better place. Might it not be more harmonious to allow 'well, maybe so,' even though this is irksome for you.

    I understand the background - many of us here have this.



    Willow

  28. #28
    Senior Member YuimaSLC's Avatar
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    Hello Willow,

    Thank you for your thoughts. I suppose I am using skillful means and exercising respect inasmuch as I do not make efforts to "set others straight" as to what I think goes on in life/death. That would be a bit too dogmatic, and honestly, I don't know. Therefore, like many others, remain openly agnostic in terms of a religious flavor to a reality of both "permanent soul" and "life and resurrection" beyond this life. I am doubtful and therefore disinterested in spending much time worrying/pondering about the "payoff" or "payback" or "judgement" that imbues more historical/unveiling-drama religious traditions such as Christianity/Judaism/Islam.

    Yet, when asked to "join in", it feels disingenuous to not represent a personal belief/assessment, as fairly, honestly, compassionately as the situation calls for. No one need be soap boxing in such situations.
    In that sense, I am addressing a response to myself than I am to others. It ought to work for answering my own questions before I try to answer it for others.

    Thank you again.

    In gassho

    Richard

  29. #29
    Hi Richard - understand what you say - I was mainly responding to the angst you mentioned.

    Looking back I realise my parents were totally angst ridden at my rejection of their religious beliefs. It probably would have felt disingenuous not to speak my mind - but in these later years (my father died some time ago) I almost wish I had 'lied' a little to spare them angst. The one thing I backed down on was to have my children christened because I couldn't stand to see my father going out of his mind with worry that if anything were to happen to them they were somehow unprotected!


    Being agnostic I find it hard to imagine what it must be like to literally believe in hell realms, liminal states of limbo, the devil, etc, etc. But if a person really believes in this - has had it ingrained in their minds since childhood - and are afraid that this awaits loved family members because they are 'non-believers' - it must be very hard.


    I've found this a tricky situation - fortunately the buck stops here as I have made certain that the next generations (my children, grandchildren) are given the space and freedom to form their own beliefs - with no fear of consequences.

    Gassho

    Willow

  30. #30
    Senior Member YuimaSLC's Avatar
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    Hi Willow,

    Thanks again for your thoughts.

    Two of my three children received naming ceremonies at the Soto Zen Abbey in Mt. Shasta, CA; each within about a year of their birth. This ceremony puts them into the care of buddhas and ancestors until they can make their own decision as to where and how to pursue their own spiritual path.

    My oldest daughter, who was from my wife's previous relationship, was 4 when I adopted her. She too was given the opportunity for a naming ceremony, along with her new, younger brother, but interestingly, at Mt. Shasta, within the ceremonial hall, she whispered to us she didn't wish to have the ceremony. We took a minute with her to verify how she was feeling about it, and we let her decision
    stand without further discussion, coaxing or persuasion. And the officiating priests were fine with what was unfolding. A fruitful moment for me because it placed me square-on with a situation that was not in my control and yet I had to be 100% there to exercise patience and openness/understanding with my 5 year-old daughter while dealing with the peripheral waves of my own confusion. And, admittedly a tinge of embarrassment because things weren't going according to "my" plan, or the more traditional reaction of a parent or authority pressing to administer "what's good for you!" I suppose in this instance, the surprise was: "what's good for you" was mirrored back to me. Then, and even today, it makes me chuckle, to appreciate how we learn within our own practice.

    Gassho

    Richard

  31. #31
    We have had a few threads on how to speak of one's one beliefs to family, spouses and friends who may not fully approve. My typical response is the following. But I would go further ... join in all the family holidays, sing the Christmas songs, have the baby Baptised ... just nod and say "maybe so" ... if it makes your poor mom or dad happy. Why not? Buddha is everywhere and, if there is a God, She's everywhere too.

    I often say that we don't prosthelytize and rarely need to try to convince anyone of the worth of these things.

    Rather, just be a good son/daughter/husband/wife/parent/friend ... perhaps let the peace and gentleness show itself in our ordinary behavior and interactions with others as the years pass ... and many folks will slowly come to understand, even if they do not fully understand.
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post80019
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post47526

    For an image of traditional popular views of "Buddhist Hells" in Asian Buddhism, including "ordinary people's" Zen as it is practiced on the ground ... complete with pitchforks and brimstone ... look here. Not for the squeemish. I have seen similar images here and there at temples in China, Japan, Thailand and Korea ... images that would make any Fire & Brimstone preacher in the Bible Belt faint. Just like in the West, images of "hell" were often used by Buddhist preachers to get people to "be good". WARNING: 18 and OVER

    https://www.google.com/search?um=1&h....1.6kyHCwPWJ54

    For centuries in Japan, Zen Priests taught women of their inherent impurity via the "Blood Pool Sutra", and the need for purification ceremonies (usually for a fee, of course) ... In my understanding, the Blood Pool liturgy was only removed from the official Soto Shu scriptures in the 1980s, under pressure from Japanese feminists.

    The Ketsubonkyø, or the Blood-bowl Sutra, is a sutra composed in China around the end of the 12th century or the beginning of the 13th. It describes how Mokuren(Mu-lien, Maudgalyåyana), disciple of the Buddha famous for his supernatural or magical powers, descended to hell to save his mother. ... we find her sunk in hell submerged in an enormous pond, or lake, of menstrual and birth blood. She is in the company of a multitude of women there who suffer abuse at the hands of the hell wardens and are forced to drink the blood. They are punished like this, the sutra explains, because the blood produced by their bodies spills on the ground and offends the earth gods, or ends up in rivers from which the water to make tea for holy men is drawn.
    http://zendirtzendust.wordpress.com/...ol-hell-sutra/

    I am rather skeptical in my beliefs and the flavor of Buddhism I offer here at Treeleaf, but there is no need to feel that one's own ways or practice or understanding are superior (or inferior) to another. Many Buddhists enter and walk the Path through images of heavens, hells, literal rebirth and the like. Many Christians and others speak of heaven and hell. It may be so (and the skeptic's suppositions may be wrong) and, even more importantly, such "superstitious" Beliefs may be the Path and Doorway right for such person. To each their own Path.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-07-2012 at 03:09 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by YuimaSLC View Post

    Two of my three children received naming ceremonies at the Soto Zen Abbey in Mt. Shasta, CA; each within about a year of their birth.
    Just to mention, even "modern, western" Zen and Soto Zen comes in many flavors. For example, Jiyu Kennett Roshi of Shasta Abbey/Throsel Hole/the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives was herself prone to trances and visions at times which led her to a very mystical view of her past lives and various Buddhist realms and images. Her interpretation of these events ranged from the psychological to quite literal.

    Many of the visionary episodes provided her [Kennett Roshi] with an experience of, or an
    insight into, her past lives ...Each successive vision – of such things as giant lotus blossoms,
    towers, columns of light, fountains, heavenly Buddha Lands, Buddhas and
    lineage-Patriarchs – superimposed itself onto her immediate physical surroundings.
    She observed, moved, acted and interacted within the context of each
    unfolding vision – by climbing glass mountains, for example, or by travelling to
    different realms and conversing with celestial beings – but she remained awake
    and alert throughout, constantly ‘aware of things going on around me’
    (Kennett 1977b: 263).

    ...

    In particular, she experienced an awesome and holy being whom she variously described as ‘the
    Cosmic Buddha’, ‘the Lord of the House’ or simply ‘the Lord’, and to whom she
    related in a deeply reverential, penitential, humble, obedient and prayerful
    way. At other times, however, her presentation was ambivalent about the
    ontological status of the places and beings in her visions that, she explained,
    were themselves ‘empty’ or merely symbolic expressions of Buddhahood. This
    ambivalence is observed by both Rawlinson and Batchelor who describe
    Kennett’s Zen as ‘theistic’ or ‘quasi-theistic’ whilst acknowledging that she
    upholds ‘basic Buddhist teachings’ (Rawlinson 1997: 368) – like anatta (noself)
    and sunyata (emptiness) – and that the Christian associations are
    therefore ‘more apparent than real’ (Batchelor 1994: 136). Kennett’s experience,
    then, may best be understood as a combination of the numinous and the
    mystical.

    In the years following her kensho, Kennett herself drew a distinction between
    ‘imaginative visions’ and ‘intellectual visions’, and this helps us to understand
    ... According to Kennett’s typology, however, both imaginative and intellectual visions are
    understood as numinous experiences. Thus, even in an intellectual vision
    a person knows for certain that there is something greater than himself
    with him (or her). I have often had monks say to me: ‘I can feel the
    Lord of the House here. I know He is sitting with me. I haven’t seen
    Him – I just know’.

    [In her diary, How to Grow a Lotus Blossum] Kennett next experiences a number of her past lives (see Figure 6.1) so that
    she can ‘clean the impregnations that the karma of my past lives has left upon
    my skhandas [sic]’. Cleaning or ‘converting’ inherited karmic propensities is a
    prerequisite to becoming ‘one with the Eternal Lord’. The past-life images that
    flash before her here are also seen by her assistant disciple:
    He looks at me and for a fleeting moment sees a very old European
    Christian monk; he is very happy, he has left behind no unclean
    impregnations […] Further and further back I go […] Down the
    centuries I have been a monk so many times; fifteen times Christian,
    fourteen Buddhist, sometimes male, sometimes female.
    (Kennett 1977b: 51–53)

    Once her karma on the human plane of existence is dealt with, she goes on to
    purify ‘the karma from lives in the formless realms and from animal lives’. At
    this point she undergoes a key past-life experience, that of ‘a white tiger,
    captured whilst eating a heron, by a tribe of Indians whose religious cult was
    one of tiger worship’ (Kennett 1977b: 66). ...

    Having cleansed the karma of her past lives, Kennett finds herself in ‘the
    Buddha Land’ where she is ‘seated in a lotus blossom’ within an immense sea ‘full
    of lotus blossoms just like mine’, each representing the ‘flowering’ of Buddhist
    training. In a particularly striking vision, she witnesses Shakyamuni Buddha
    become absorbed into the great, golden Cosmic Buddha that I now see
    in the sky. He is taken into the Cosmic Buddha and yet is separate
    from Him. He is not the Cosmic Buddha but there is nothing in him
    that is not of the Cosmic Buddha; the two are inseparable and
    different.
    (Kennett 1977b: 93–94)

    http://elibrary.ibc.ac.th/files/priv...Adaptation.pdf
    By the way, as the book also notes, such beliefs in dreams and visions were also found among Zen folks of centuries past ... such as Keizan, much less in the case of Dogen.

    Within Asian cultures, dreams are widely regarded in a visionary sense as ‘channels of
    communication with the invisible world’ (Faure 1991: 213). [Zen Historian Bernard] Faure discovered
    that although the Zen tradition has in theory rejected dreams as illusory, in
    practice ‘the intermediary world of dreams’ has provided an important aspect of
    its metaphysics of presence and has often ‘played a significant role in the life of
    Chan/Zen communities’ (1991: 209).
    He outlines examples of masters experiencing
    ‘all kinds of dreams or visions’ during sleep and meditation, including
    premonitory and revelatory dreams, ‘dreams of ascent’ to celestial places, and
    visions of Arhats, Bodhisattvas and various deities. It is also important to recognise
    that dreams played a crucial role in the specific development of Soto Zen,
    the tradition within which Kennett received her training. Whilst Dogen’s
    ambivalent attitude towards dreams erred upon the side of orthodoxy, Keizan
    ‘lived his dreams’ or ‘dreamt his life’:


    Although upholding the Mahayana tenet of emptiness (sunyata),
    Keizan lived in a world impregnated with very real dreams.
    (Faure 1991: 221)
    If you are further interested in this topic, check out "Keizan's Dreams" from page 126 here ...

    http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=r...dreams&f=false

    That whole chapter, and much of the book in fact, is about dreams among those old Zen guys, especially Keizan. Dogen was a bit of a dreamer too, although rather more skeptical and conservative about dreams. Read from page 118 to 119 about Dogen.

    Me? I think all of life is kind of a dream.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-07-2012 at 03:54 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  33. #33
    Senior Member YuimaSLC's Avatar
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    Jundo,

    Interesting quick re-visit to my earlier roots with the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives under Rev. Master Houn Jiyu Peggy Kennett.

    This group, by the way, spent a goodly amount of focus on kensho and discerning the on-going kensho experiences as stages of development t'wards Buddhahood. Along with
    past-life experiences and helping to cleanse that karma.

    Some Zen groups in the West observed the "goings on" at O B C and wondered if their leader had become caught up in makyo visions....hallucinations resulting from ongoing illnesses that had plagued her since her training in Japan. That along with a rather strong control (some described it as heavy handed) over the O B C community later lead to allegations of an almost 'cult like' structure.

    "How to Grow A Lotus Blossom" was the significant work following "Zen is Eternal Life" and disclosed the entire period and stages in which these significant kensho events took place.

    It resulted in several senior monks leaving the Order in the mid/late 70s, resulting from disagreement/misunderstanding with what was going on.....depending upon your perspective.

    It wasn't a type of training meant for all Zen trainees. I chose to disassociate in the late 80's.

    I don't like to speak of it in ways that are either maligning or disrespectful. Many fine monks came from the O B C. Some left, some stayed. A couple who come to mind are Rev.James Ishmael Ford
    and Rev. Kyogen Carlson.

  34. #34
    Senior Member YuimaSLC's Avatar
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    and one clarification, least anyone comes to think from my above post.... I was not an ordained priest at the O B C. I was/am a lay buddhist.

    Gassho

    Richard

  35. #35

  36. #36
    I just came across three poems on life-and-death by Kosho Uchiyama Roshi (of "Opening The Hand of Thought", the heir of Kodo Sawaki Roshi who Taigu so beautifully quotes on other threads today). Uchiyama Roshi lived with tuberculosis for over 50 years, and finally succumbed to the disease, so faced all head on. These poems were written by Uchiyama when he was in his 70's ... are the very same non-perspective on life-and-death discussed in this Thread ...

    Life-and-Death
    Water isn't formed by being ladled into a bucket
    Simply the water of the whole Universe has been ladled into a bucket
    The water does not disappear because it has been scattered over the ground
    It is only that the water of the whole Universe has been emptied into the whole Universe
    Life is not born because a person is born
    The life of the whole Universe has been ladled into the hardened "idea" called "I"
    Life does not disappear because a person dies
    Simply, the life of the whole Universe has been poured out of this hardened "idea" of "I" back into the universe

    Just Live, Just Die
    The Reality prior to the division into two
    Thinking it to be so, or not thinking it to be so
    Believing it to be so, or not believing it to be so
    Existence-nonexistence, life-death
    Truth-falsehood, delusion-enlightenment
    Self-others, happiness-unhappiness
    We live and die within the profundity of Reality
    Whatever we encounter is buddha-life
    This present Reality is buddha-life
    Just living, just dying---within no life or death

    Samadhi of the Treasury of the Radiant Light
    Though poor, never poor
    Though sick, never sick,
    Though aging, never aging
    Though dying, never dying
    Reality prior to division---
    Herein lies unlimited depth
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-14-2012 at 12:29 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  37. #37
    Beautiful and clarifying ..... thank you Jundo.

    in gassho
    Nadi

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu View Post
    we tend to think of death as an experience of ever lasting non-existence. And, at least for me, that idea is scary. To experience my non-existence forever.
    Exactly.

    We tend to imagine death as a very passive, boring sort of existance, floating in some cold limbo with nothing to do, outside of the real world. Where's the fun in that?

    In Zazen we get used to dying. The ego dies over and over again on the Zafu. And we discover that what is prior to division, what is there when our individual self is no longer present, is not some cold and empty limbo. It is like coming home. So alive and in full activity. An ever lasting spring outside of time. Nothing in need of doing, no need for having fun, but as far from boring as could ever be. And then the whole world of relativity is born again. Time reappears. And everything is fresh, cleansed, vibrant, alive. Every time Zazen ends, I am reborn, everything is reborn. Not only then, but this is when it is apparent.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    Last edited by Omoi Otoshi; 10-14-2012 at 11:25 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

  39. #39
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    Beautiful. Thanks for sharing these.

    Raf
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I just came across three poems on life-and-death by Kosho Uchiyama Roshi (of "Opening The Hand of Thought", the heir of Kodo Sawaki Roshi who Taigu so beautifully quotes on other threads today). Uchiyama Roshi lived with tuberculosis for over 50 years, and finally succumbed to the disease, so faced all head on. These poems were written by Uchiyama when he was in his 70's ... are the very same non-perspective on life-and-death discussed in this Thread ...

    Life-and-Death
    Water isn't formed by being ladled into a bucket
    Simply the water of the whole Universe has been ladled into a bucket
    The water does not disappear because it has been scattered over the ground
    It is only that the water of the whole Universe has been emptied into the whole Universe
    Life is not born because a person is born
    The life of the whole Universe has been ladled into the hardened "idea" called "I"
    Life does not disappear because a person dies
    Simply, the life of the whole Universe has been poured out of this hardened "idea" of "I" back into the universe

    Just Live, Just Die
    The Reality prior to the division into two
    Thinking it to be so, or not thinking it to be so
    Believing it to be so, or not believing it to be so
    Existence-nonexistence, life-death
    Truth-falsehood, delusion-enlightenment
    Self-others, happiness-unhappiness
    We live and die within the profundity of Reality
    Whatever we encounter is buddha-life
    This present Reality is buddha-life
    Just living, just dying---within no life or death

    Samadhi of the Treasury of the Radiant Light
    Though poor, never poor
    Though sick, never sick,
    Though aging, never aging
    Though dying, never dying
    Reality prior to division---
    Herein lies unlimited depth

  40. #40
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    The passages about Jiyu Kennett Roshi were touching to me as well as the Willy Tea Taylor song. Que sera, sera. Thank you for posting, Jundo and Nadi. Gassho.
    迎 Geika

  41. #41
    Thanks everyone for an interesting discussion. I thought I'd share a poem on this subject, which I wrote years ago for the family of a young woman, who died of leukaemia on one of my night shifts:

    The shadow of a sad song descending,
    How long 'til death will tear us apart?
    But I promise you I won't be leaving,
    For the body is just a single part
    Of all that makes a human being.
    So when I die, love, don't despair,
    Think of me when the wind is blowing
    And I will run my fingers through your hair.

    _/\_
    Ade

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    The old adage that "Zen" is about "Becoming One With The Universe" is really not so far off the mark!

    What is more, I propose to you that this is really not so hard to see or understand (even for us with a modern, skeptical mind), although 'tis hard to really sink in and truly see (that is one reason for all this Sitting and Practice). And once seen, it is known as having always been there...

    Gassho, Jundo
    When I said I don't feel the need to ponder that question now, I think I was unclear in my response. I have sat with it for some time, and now I would like to clarify my point.

    By not contemplating this question in the present, some can assume that it is because I am unconcerned. This is only partly correct. Perhaps this analogy can better explain my thoughts here:

    [Next week, I know I will probably need to eat. I can't be 100% certain, but based on recent trends, I can guess with some fair probability. I do not know what I will eat. I do not know where the food will come from, who will prepare it, or how I will be changed by it. Those future-times and future-decisions are not necessary right now; I'm saving them for a future present when Right Action becomes needed. I could contemplate them if I wanted to, but it will all come down to the same end. If I plan or don't plan, I will still most probably end-up eating next week.]

    To me, this is what death is. It is something I know is certainly coming, and I could spend a lot of time planning and contemplating it. I could let thoughts of that future occupy my time now, but why? In the end, my death will be another event in a long line of events that have happened or will happen or didn't happen; as the universe has done long before I could think about it and I guess long after too. Thinking about it now only intrudes on the time I have allotted for spending in the ever fleeting present.
    gassho
    -Lou

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by mr.Lou View Post
    When I said I don't feel the need to ponder that question now, I think I was unclear in my response. I have sat with it for some time, and now I would like to clarify my point.

    By not contemplating this question in the present, some can assume that it is because I am unconcerned. This is only partly correct. Perhaps this analogy can better explain my thoughts here:

    [Next week, I know I will probably need to eat. I can't be 100% certain, but based on recent trends, I can guess with some fair probability. I do not know what I will eat. I do not know where the food will come from, who will prepare it, or how I will be changed by it. Those future-times and future-decisions are not necessary right now; I'm saving them for a future present when Right Action becomes needed. I could contemplate them if I wanted to, but it will all come down to the same end. If I plan or don't plan, I will still most probably end-up eating next week.]

    To me, this is what death is. It is something I know is certainly coming, and I could spend a lot of time planning and contemplating it. I could let thoughts of that future occupy my time now, but why? In the end, my death will be another event in a long line of events that have happened or will happen or didn't happen; as the universe has done long before I could think about it and I guess long after too. Thinking about it now only intrudes on the time I have allotted for spending in the ever fleeting present.
    Lovely Lou. I am with you on this. How you live now, for good or bad, is the pivot point, and the only place it matters.

    Of course, even if you don't think about it ... you had better plan a little for next week. If you don't eat, you will surely die!

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  44. #44
    There is a very interesting book about "Death" by Thich Nhat Hanh: "No Death, No Fear".
    His points are very reasonable, and you don't have to believe in the classical concept of rebirth/reincarnation.

    We are not born and we don't die. We just manifest as something different.

    If I may quote:
    Sooner or later the cloud will change into rain or snow or ice. If you look deeply into the rain, you can see the cloud. The cloud is not lost; it is transformed into rain, and the rain is transformed into grass and the grass into cows and then to milk and then into the ice cream you eat. Today if you eat an ice cream, give yourself time to look at the ice cream and say: “Hello, cloud! I recognize you.” By doing that, you have insight and understanding into the real nature of the ice cream and the cloud. You can also see the ocean, the river, the heat, the sun, the grass and the cow in the ice cream.

    Looking deeply, you do not see a real date of birth and you do not see a real date of death for the cloud. All that happens is that the cloud transforms into rain or snow.

    When everything is one interconnected whole - what is it that is supposed to die and/or be "reborn"?
    The common concept of birth/death does not make much sense then to me.

  45. #45
    Hi Seiryu,

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu View Post
    we tend to think of death as an experience of ever lasting non-existence. And, at least for me, that idea is scary. To experience my non-existence forever.

    However, if you don't exist you cannot experience anything. The prerequisite for perception is existence, and if you don't exist, you cannot perceive.

    Or as the Greek philosopher Epicurus put it: "When we exist death is not, and when death exists we are not."
    So even assuming a (philosophically) materialistic approach about death, we would not have to fear it.

    The thing I am afraid of is not death, but the way of dying. Not everyone dies peacefully in their sleep, if you know what I mean. (I've seen some bad/sad things in the last years...)

    Gassho,

    Timo

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