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Thread: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 16

  1. #1

    BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 16

    Hello All
    I have been asked to present this koan - Mayoku Thumps His Staff

    Attention! Mayoku arrived at Shokei's place holding his staff.

    He walked three times around the meditation seat of Shokei and thumped his staff once. Shokei said, "Right! Right!"

    Mayoku afterward went to Nansen's, walked three times around the meditation seat of Nansen and thumped his staff once.

    Nansen remarked "Wrong! Wrong!" Mayoku said, "Shokei said 'Right!' Why do you say, 'Wrong'?"

    Nansen said, "For Shokei, it is right. For you it is wrong.

    What comes from the power of the wind in the end becomes broken and crumbled."
    The first time around, this dance with Mayoku and Shokei, Shokei says Right! Mayoku is then set off still dancing though the music stopped and his partner has sat down!

    Mayoku's ego caught this wind in its sail, and moves him on to show off his new moves with with Nansen and he gets shut down and with Wrong!

    Right and wrong, we are warned to be wary of the trap here.

    Who is to say that Right! was positive? May it have been a polite way to acknowledge Mayoku and dismiss the pest in the zendo with two 'kind' words?

    After the last Right! from Shokei was uttered it was all over, but Mayoku forgot to let go of the moment. Nansen set him free again, harsh on an ego as it is, this is a compassionate move and reminds us all things are "time sensitive"!

    Mayoku reminds me of my kids with a new knock knock joke.
    First time its Funny! and we all have a laugh.
    second time we smile...
    the thirtieth time (not irritated at all of course ) we set them straight.
    Not right or wrong just all ready gone!

    We have all been here (and may still be!!) can you share a time you "had it" only to realize it was long gone and how did you come realize it?

    How do you handle a staff thumping visitor in your life?


    Gassho
    Shohei

  2. #2
    Hello Shohei,

    thank you for your questions.

    I imagine that my way of handling your average staff thumping visitor is very different from how I'd do things in a teacher and/or student position. Since things always keep turning and developing, I'd try to be polite without being judgemental , most of the time....however in order to non-maliciously teach someone a lesson, or in order to tickle someone into giving me a lesson somehow, I'd be prepared to be much more rude in order to get the ball out of the comfort zone and into the juicy flesh of things.

    Keeping a static fantasy of things and persons as my reference point seems easier than to authentically engage with them every time anew....the freshness of beginner's mind comes to mind....and I remember having been very disappointed with a friend of mine not too long ago...only to find that the real disappointment lay in my holding on to ideas in my head about who that person was, instead og just fully engaging with the moment at hand. I thought I had had "it", but actually I had only created a convenient short cut leading not even nowhere.

    Thank you for this Koan, Shohei.


    Gassho,

    Hans Christian Stucken
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  3. #3
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Am I saying yes because I mean yes or because I don't want to deal with the outcome if I say no? Am I saying no because it's the "right" answer or because "I" don't want to?

    Sometimes all you can do with a "cane thumping visitor" is listen - not agree or disagree. "I understand."



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

    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  4. #4
    Hi.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shohei View Post

    How do you handle a staff thumping visitor in your life?
    Gently.

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

  5. #5
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    How do you handle a staff thumping visitor in your life?

    My mother-in-law gets up and puts a broom behind the door (a Brazilian old wives tale to get ride of unwelcome guests, that I have seen work once, only once!), whereas I have responded by:
    - telling them what they want to hear;
    - being casual and facetious,
    - ignoring them,
    or by responding by actually listening to what they are trying to say and perhaps help them clarify whatever it is they are trying to express to facilitate some coherent discussion.
    Depends on how they thump the staff. If they have their mind open and are ready to listen too!
    Heisoku
    平 息

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Shohei View Post
    How do you handle a staff thumping visitor in your life?
    Hmmm, good question! I know for myself that I can take things to personal even when it is not, so I try to be open and accepting of the thump (not always that easy) and look at if after ... did I deserve the thump, or was the thumper just thump happy? If it is the former, I do my best to learn from it, but if it is the latter, I try just let it go.

    Gassho
    Michael
    真 眼

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

  7. #7
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen View Post
    Hi.



    Gently.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen
    迎 Geika

  8. #8
    Treeleaf Unsui Daido's Avatar
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    If you think you can have it you can lose it. As far as the thumping guy I just let him thump a while. They usually get tired or answer their own question

    Gassho,

    Daido


  9. #9
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    I usually listen
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

  10. #10
    I'm interpreting the staff thumper as the knock knock joker who doesn't know when to quit. First of all I am frequently a staff thumper.... and being a staff thumper is like running in a little itchy scratchy circle.. so I aught to be patient and gentle with others. I am sometimes.. all ears, with no agenda, skillful, and helpful. But most of the time I am absorbed in my own agenda ( what I feel like doing right now) and sell everything that is not that short. Then another staff thumper is met with grumpy impatience.


    Gassho, kojip
    大山

  11. #11
    We have all been here (and may still be!!) can you share a time you "had it" only to realize it was long gone and how did you come realize it?

    How do you handle a staff thumping visitor in your life?
    This happens on a daily basis... although in most cases I am BOTH the staff wielder and the guy being circumnavigated.
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen View Post
    Gently.
    You teach in subtle ways my friend!
    Gently.
    Thank you,

    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

  13. #13
    And I'm a staff thumping visitor in my life. I deal with myself gently.

    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

  14. #14
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    "Staff thumper" - funny!

    Mayoku reminds me of the old adage that if you give someone a hammer everything becomes a nail. That's totally unfair to him, of course, but it did remind me of how we can all be staff thumpers just like him. When I finally discover that I am a staff thumper (I am going to type that term as often as I can, lol), it is usually because I realize I have made a fool of myself.

    As a youth, I did not suffer fools at all, and I would consider a "fool" to be an extreme version of a staff thumper. As a more mature adult, I am much more patient than I used to be, but it is still a struggle. I run into the more moderate version of a staff thumper all the time, the person that figured out one way to answer a question so they just keep using that same way only to get it wrong because the world is more complicated than any one way. I try to treat these staff thumpers as teachers of patience. But to be honest, that's usually upon reflection after the initial staff thumping. My initial reaction is to challenge and correct. In other words, I say "wrong" just like Nansen, a lot.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

  15. #15
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Met a 'staff thumper' today going on about how they spend a lot of time organising things for people and actually driving them around, and then my son says, 'OK now dad'.
    Heisoku
    平 息

  16. #16
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Preface to the Assembly...

    Seemingly, all the perceptions, ideas, opinions and comparisons, are what samadhi is not. They represent different concepts and notions of what is this and that, in the `world of relativity, but not the emptiness in which samadhi dwells. That seems to be the lesson here, and why the question is raised.
    Nothing Special

  17. #17
    Right! Right!
    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
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    Right! Right!

    Good one!

    You know Pontus, you are sticking your neck out there>>>>>>>>>>>>> quite a ways to seemingly support a post of mine .
    Nothing Special

  19. #19
    I'm not the best judge of these things, but I think you nailed the meaning of the preface.

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

  20. #20
    The staff thumper is all of us. The need for approval is so deeply ingrained in our genes. There was a time when the worst punishment was ostracism- being banned from the group, the community. Our interdependence was a life and death matter. While buddhas asceticism was self imposed and he hung with other ascetics it was an extreme self non approval. After his awakening approval came from the earth and others could see this and be willing to listen to him. The need to be right, the need to be approved is something to notice and pay attention to.

  21. #21
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Right/wrong, up/down, are the traps set by relativity in phenomena.

    If there is a need to be right, or what could be called the best, that is being stuck in the sickness of the `world. That is why we look too Buddha, in hopes of being more able to relate to our own true nature, and by that enlightenment, reach what is True, Ultimately.
    Nothing Special

  22. #22
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    I'm not the best judge of these things, but I think you nailed the meaning of the preface.

    /Pontus

    Thanks, man.

    As it seems there is no good or bad judgement, isn't it better to step up to the plate and take a swing, and in this case there is no striking out, thats all in relativity. So nothing to lose and nothing to gain, but do our best to try not to over conceptualize or analyze, and attempt to embody it by speaking through our truest feelings from our intuitively Big self, but only by hopefully softening the loud noise from our ego of the small mind. I am sure I make a fool out of myself on many of my posts on a daily basis, but that is taking a swing by not striking out. Its my way and/or process of throwing it out to the assembled. If its to far off or troublesome, others will correct, and that opens up a conversation, often for both me and the `other to hopefully glean something from this. I do not care what others think in some negative way about what I say, unless I am seemingly mean or hurtful. If someone has a problem with me, voice it, I want to hear about that projection, and the lessons ensues.
    Nothing Special

  23. #23
    Approval.. we all seek it whether we admit it or not. At some point, seeking validation is natural and normal. But approval on the path of Zen is sort of a shaky proposition. At some point, we can understand the basics, but from another perspective how is my practice? Am I consistent? Am I practicing with my entire being or just going through the motions? Am I trying to live by the precepts, the bodhisattva vows (even though I know they are impossible to live up to)? Am I sitting just for the sake of sitting?

    Even if someone approves me.. validates a post I make here, which I just absolutely love. lol My ego just craves that attention. But even if they do, it doesn't matter. In the end there is no fixed thing that I can grasp on this path to claim as my own. So even if I post something clever, only I know how I'm doing in my practice. In the end only I can approve myself. (Although I'm not discounting the role of a guide or teacher, I think in the end we are our own authority). I catch myself all the time holding to positions, or posting in a position of authority, thinking I'm right... to time and time again getting knocked off of that soapbox to realize all of the other perspectives here.

    Practice is continual, never ending.. although we may "get" minor things here and there, and some of us may get transmission to teach, it never ends. We support each other but we are all responsible for our own practice; it is our personal practice afterall.

    Gassho,

    Risho

  24. #24
    Hi All,
    thank you Shoheir for presenting it with some very helpful additional words on this case. Thank you everyone for your views. I feel there are two important teachings for me in this chapter, first: take care not to depend on the judgement of others. Second: listen carefully to the judgement of others. Both has its function, just its up to us to find the right usage.
    _()_
    Myoku

  25. #25
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    Approval.. we all seek it whether we admit it or not. At some point, seeking validation is natural and normal. But approval on the path of Zen is sort of a shaky proposition. At some point, we can understand the basics, but from another perspective how is my practice? Am I consistent? Am I practicing with my entire being or just going through the motions? Am I trying to live by the precepts, the bodhisattva vows (even though I know they are impossible to live up to)? Am I sitting just for the sake of sitting?

    Even if someone approves me.. validates a post I make here, which I just absolutely love. lol My ego just craves that attention. But even if they do, it doesn't matter. In the end there is no fixed thing that I can grasp on this path to claim as my own. So even if I post something clever, only I know how I'm doing in my practice. In the end only I can approve myself. (Although I'm not discounting the role of a guide or teacher, I think in the end we are our own authority). I catch myself all the time holding to positions, or posting in a position of authority, thinking I'm right... to time and time again getting knocked off of that soapbox to realize all of the other perspectives here.

    Practice is continual, never ending.. although we may "get" minor things here and there, and some of us may get transmission to teach, it never ends. We support each other but we are all responsible for our own practice; it is our personal practice afterall.

    Gassho,

    Risho


    Thank you, Risho... on taking and holding positions on some of our postings, I attempt to put it out `there, with using words or phrases as... its seems, seemingly, it could be, it may be, hopefully or as I used here, attempt. With this, its seems to leave an opening to my perspective that I am not preaching or thinking I have really got It. As I do want to here others views of my own, and not necessarily hoping or wishing to get confirmation, but more just to learn, and/or share.

    I try to use the word 'I' as little as possible and attempt to come from feelings of the whole>>>>> seemingly , and speak from that perspective and not so much from my smaller I`ness or small mind.... but don't we all .
    Nothing Special

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by galen View Post
    I try to use the word 'I' as little as possible ...
    Yep, same here, however, our language seems to have a built-in-not-oneness thats hard to overcome, at least for me. Moreover, not using me, I, mine, to me sounds often as I would try to teach some universal truth, which is not the case (dont want to teach and whatever I express cannot be universal but only subjective)
    _()_
    Myoku

  27. #27
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myoku View Post
    Yep, same here, however, our language seems to have a built-in-not-oneness thats hard to overcome, at least for me. Moreover, not using me, I, mine, to me sounds often as I would try to teach some universal truth, which is not the case (dont want to teach and whatever I express cannot be universal but only subjective)
    _()_
    Myoku


    Enjoyed both your perspectives here, Myoku. Well done.


    And I also owe a hat-tip to Shoheir, here. Thank you, its not an easy thing to do, and it seems even more so as a priest-in-training, unless of course the koan comes through loud and clear. There would seem to be a little more pressure on you, and why some here that are in training even post a disclaimer that they do not know it all, and are just doing the best they can at the level they have attained so far (the seeming insinuation), and yes you all are human.
    Nothing Special

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Shohei View Post
    Hello All
    I have been asked to present this koan - Mayoku Thumps His Staff



    The first time around, this dance with Mayoku and Shokei, Shokei says Right! Mayoku is then set off still dancing though the music stopped and his partner has sat down!

    Mayoku's ego caught this wind in its sail, and moves him on to show off his new moves with with Nansen and he gets shut down and with Wrong!

    Right and wrong, we are warned to be wary of the trap here.

    Who is to say that Right! was positive? May it have been a polite way to acknowledge Mayoku and dismiss the pest in the zendo with two 'kind' words?

    After the last Right! from Shokei was uttered it was all over, but Mayoku forgot to let go of the moment. Nansen set him free again, harsh on an ego as it is, this is a compassionate move and reminds us all things are "time sensitive"!

    Mayoku reminds me of my kids with a new knock knock joke.
    First time its Funny! and we all have a laugh.
    second time we smile...
    the thirtieth time (not irritated at all of course ) we set them straight.
    Not right or wrong just all ready gone!

    We have all been here (and may still be!!) can you share a time you "had it" only to realize it was long gone and how did you come realize it?

    How do you handle a staff thumping visitor in your life?


    Gassho
    Shohei
    Mayoku had me at "THUMP" and then came right and wrong. Mayoku just another thumper come and gone. bows, Shogen

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