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Thread: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 18

  1. #1

    BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 18

    Case 17 never ends, yet now comes ...

    Case 18 - Joshu's Dog

    A fundamental Mahayana Teaching is that all sentient beings have (or, as Dogen sang, are) Buddha-nature ... even when hidden from us. That includes man's best friend, most Mahayana philosophers would traditionally agree.

    So, when asked, "Does a dog have Buddha nature?" Joshu responded "Yes" ... yet when asked again, "No" (Mu).

    Yet, this "Mu" is not merely some negative statement, the mirror image of "Yes". Nor is it some hesitancy or ambiguity, like "Yes, but also no too".

    "MU!" is the Dance of Emptiness, the Dog's Bark and Bite, where all questions of "yes" or "no" and philosophical debating drop away in the resounding "YES! YES! YES!".

    It is to stop search for one's Buddha Nature like a dog chasing its tail ...



    It is not the dog chasing the tail ... nor the tail chasing the dog ... but the very Circle that is Buddha, walking running sitting standing, both tail chasing or sitting still, barking or scratching fleas ... MU! nose to tail.



    When will you give up the chase, and find What's What all along? Dog backwards is God nature ... maybe also to be found in dropping "Yes" vs. "No"!

    The Koan contains a couple of lines which may speak of intentionally living and remaining in this sometimes cuddly and beautiful, sometimes "bitch of a dog eat dog" world ... to live out our Bodhisattva Vow to Save All Sentient Beings. If we have "Buddha-Nature" all along, why lead this "dog of a life" in this "bag of skin"? The Koan references this as to "get into that bag of skin" as a lowly dog, because "knowingly he purposely offends". Even though embodying the purity of Buddha, the Boddhisattva chooses to remain alive in this world of sometime ignorance ... where we cannot help but to knowingly offend again and again, sometimes driven down to our animal nature ... in order to carry out the mission. Likewise, "Karmic Consiousness" traditionally did not have a positive meaning in Mahayana Buddhism, but was the divided, ignorant consciousness of self and our actions arising therefrom. However, "Mu!" exists right in and as this divided consciousness ... form is no other than emptiness, enlightenment is found no where but at the Heart of delusion.

    In the "Preface to the Assembly" ... a floating gourd or diamond may have a "yes" side or a "no" side or facet. Yet which facet alone is the Whole Spinning Fruit, the Complete Jewel? Is it not the same for a "deluded" facet and an "enlightened" facet and all other categories?

    Don't get "hooked" by words and categories ... yes or no, delusion vs. Buddhas. Thus, in the "Appreciatory verse", we catch this fish not with a hook, but an impossibly straight needle with no place to bite. Don't make debates and arguments ... about whether clouds hold water like a guest, or clouds rain down water, or clouds are water ... and so with debates about you and Buddha-nature. Let it Rain! Likewise, the reference to "King Shin and Shojo Rin" is from an old story about a Jewel that cannot be given away.

    QUESTION:

    What deep, personal issue or question in your life might be resolved not by "yes" ... not by "no" ... but by "MU!" or "YES! YES! YES!" that swallows whole both yes and no? It could be anything from the existence of God to being torn about whether to get married or change jobs and move to another town. HOWEVER, VERY IMPORTANT, I am not talking about merely resolving the question with some "well, yes on the one hand ... but no on the other". I am not talking about some shoulder shrugging "yes and no" or "I don't know" or making a list of "Pros and Cons".

    I mean a total toss of the question into "MU! ... into Emptiness ... whereby all plays out and resolves with a resounding "YES! YES! YES!" that might be yes when yes ... and "YES! YES! YES!" even when no ... and "YES! YES! YES!" even when we don't have an answer or know what to do at all.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-25-2012 at 09:56 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    I mean a total toss of the question into "MU! ... into Emptiness ... whereby all plays out and resolves with a resounding "YES! YES! YES!" that might be yes when yes ... and "YES! YES! YES!" even when no ... and "YES! YES! YES!" even when we don't have an answer or know what to do at all.
    The inexorable "offer that can't be refused" that comes when the compensations stop working, and there is no choice but to sit with it.

    ...and painting

    Gassho,kojip
    大山

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    The inexorable "offer that can't be refused" that comes when the compensations stop working, and there is no choice but to sit with it.

    ...and painting

    Gassho,kojip
    Arf!

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Just a drop of water in an endless sea
    All we do crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see
    dust in the wind
    "woof "
    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.

  5. #5
    Everything is Buddha nature. Everything is thus, just as is. Even ignorance is Buddha nature. Without ignorance, how could there be any awakening of the Bodhi mind?
    Even the lowly dog is Buddha completely. The dog doesn't care about buddha nature. He doesn't need it. With or without it, he will keep barking out the Dharma everywhere he goes, for anyone who will listen.
    The meaning of yes and no are both useful to analyze, in order to understand what Buddha nature is not. But not very helpful in determining what It is. Neither reply is the truth, just views. No refuge in yes. No refuge in no. Both can be Right View. Both can be true, for someone, in some situation. But not always so. A diamond in the sun has no fixed shade of color. Sometimes we need a yes, sometimes a no, sometimes we need to rephrase the question or drop it altogether. Sometimes we need someone to point at the oak tree in the garden.

    I used to think a lot about Buddha nature and Mu. I kept returning to it for years. These days I mostly let it be.

    When someone asks me if I believe in God, I'm tempted to reply Mu... For me, in a way, Mu clarified the existance of God. By resolving Mu for myself, I simultaneously resolved the question of God. When I'm asked if I believe in God, It feels wrong to deny God, so a simple no won't do. I don't buy the whole personal God in heaven concept, so yes doesn't seem entirely right either. Sometimes I say yes, sometimes no. It depends on who's asking and the purpose of asking the question. Sometimes I try to explain my view, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I just avoid the question. But I don't feel threatened by the question anymore.

    Gassho,
    Pontus

    PS. Saying "I am God" may be misunderstood...
    I haven't tried YES! YES! YES! DS.
    Last edited by Omoi Otoshi; 10-25-2012 at 11:30 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

  6. #6
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    QUESTION:

    What deep, personal issue or question in your life might be resolved not by "yes" ... not by "no" ... but by "MU!" or "YES! YES! YES!" that swallows whole both yes and no? It could be anything from the existence of God to being torn about whether to get married or change jobs and move to another town. HOWEVER, VERY IMPORTANT, I am not talking about merely resolving the question with some "well, yes on the one hand ... but no on the other". I am not talking about some shoulder shrugging "yes and no" or "I don't know" or making a list of "Pros and Cons".

    I mean a total toss of the question into "MU! ... into Emptiness ... whereby all plays out and resolves with a resounding "YES! YES! YES!" that might be yes when yes ... and "YES! YES! YES!" even when no ... and "YES! YES! YES!" even when we don't have an answer or know what to do at all.

    Gassho, J
    The first thing that popped into my head upon hearing the question was parenting. That is probably because that is where I am right now.

    Gassho




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

    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  7. #7
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    QUESTION:
    What deep, personal issue or question in your life might be resolved not by "yes" ... not by "no" ... but by "MU!" or "YES! YES! YES!" that swallows whole both yes and no?

    I am?
    Heisoku
    平 息

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Heisoku View Post
    I am?
    You certainly are!

    /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

  9. #9
    This Koan makes me smile because it is a reminder of my propensity to want to understand everything.
    When the subject of koans first came up (I had not heard of koan study before joining Treeleaf) I dutifully bought a book by Isshu Miura/Ruth Fuller Sasaki and attempted to swallow it whole.
    'What' I demanded of Jundo ' are the Five Ranks?' Of course - my fragile liitle ego didn't want to get stuck on standard, beginners 'does a dog have buddha nature koan'.

    Anyway - Jundo's answer was along the lines of 'Oh - don't bother with that - it's probably just some old fella re-arranging his koans'

    On retrospect I reckon that answer (for me) was spot on

    So - I put the book away (in a bit of a huff) and went back to thinking about 'does a dog have buddha nature?'

    THINKING ABOUT IT - big mistake

    Couldn't get anywhere with this koan - (more mental huffing and puffing).

    Next step - I bought the book - 'the book of MU' by Ford and Blacker. Well - it's a pretty good book - but I realised that this was a half-hearted attempt on my part to get to grips with something that was eluding me. I put the book away.

    A couple of weeks ago - while feeling very stressed about my mum, the title of the book caught my eye. The word MU is written in bright red letters on the spine. Something just seemed to click, to resonate. Maybe it was a YES, YES, YES moment - but I just suddenly felt so much better, MU, MU, MU to everything.

    The word in itself meant nothing at all - and actually I can't really put what I felt into words.

    To be honest - formal koan study doesn't appeal to me - I like the way we practice here.

    Gassho

    Willow
    Last edited by willow; 10-28-2012 at 09:08 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    You certainly are!

    /Pontus
    Oh no,yes, mu!
    Heisoku
    平 息

  11. #11
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    I guess this would be my question: http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...gid-discipline
    迎 Geika

  12. #12
    I feel the questions asked to Joshu are about ones Buddha Nature, its I think not so much about the dog after all. Do I have Buddha Nature, you, everyone, where is it and what ? If you go like this you just stir up thoughts in the brain which lead to nothing, or confusion at best. When I think about how I can get rid of the cold I just caught, that keeps me busy thinking, and eventually the cold is gone, thinking or not. Now getting some tea...
    _()_
    Myoku

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Myoku View Post
    I feel the questions asked to Joshu are about ones Buddha Nature, its I think not so much about the dog after all.
    You and the dog and the Buddha, same or different? ARF!
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Buddha nature ....is the dog's nature, my nature and Buddha's nature. We can't be any other nature other than what we are. However this 'nature' is the nature of all things. So my nature is your nature in a flowing universal nature kind of way! MU!
    Heisoku
    平 息

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    You and the dog and the Buddha, same or different? ARF!
    My mind is more deluded this morning ...
    _()_
    Myoku

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Heisoku View Post
    Buddha nature ....is the dog's nature, my nature and Buddha's nature. We can't be any other nature other than what we are. However this 'nature' is the nature of all things. So my nature is your nature in a flowing universal nature kind of way! MU!
    Don't think about it so much, don't turn it into a formula.

    Are you and the dog and the Buddha, same or different? ARF!
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  17. #17
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    ME..OW! Gassho.
    Heisoku
    平 息

  18. #18
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Mu stumps me, so maybe I need to say "mu" to mu and move on from there.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

  19. #19
    I we open our mouths and say "dog," we already create the animal world and the human world, buddha-nature and not-buddha-nature. There's nothing we can say without losing it.

    What deep, personal issue or question in your life might be resolved not by "yes" ... not by "no" ... but by "MU!" or "YES! YES! YES!" that swallows whole both yes and no?
    "Is there any point to all this Zen practice, any benefit--is it the 'right choice' ?!!?????" -- I used to try to define answers to these questions, put things into neat little boxes. I don't think that gets me anywhere, and--in any case--I don't have the time to grapple with them. My answer to these questions is just to sit and live the Bodhisattva way, throwing myself down the well whether or not there is water in the bottom or perhaps no bottom at all. What else can I do? (another question...)
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin View Post
    I we open our mouths and say "dog," we already create the animal world and the human world, buddha-nature and not-buddha-nature. There's nothing we can say without losing it.
    You and the dog and the Buddha: Same, same, but different!

    Originally there may be no dogs, no humans, only emptiness. But in the mirror of the mind, humans, dogs and Buddha appear alongside ten thousand other shapes, forms, dharmas. Arising as One. What can be said that would cause you to lose your Buddha nature?

    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

  21. #21
    My mind isn't a mirror--it's an abusive critic!
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

  22. #22
    Bodhi and I both say, "Ruff".

    Gassho
    Michael
    真 眼

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

  23. #23
    joshubuddhadogjundotimo

    Gassho,

    Timo

  24. #24
    About the Question
    What deep, personal issue or question in your life might be resolved not by "yes" ... not by "no" ... but by "MU!"
    This reminds me of the "baby question"...
    There was a time in which the question whether to have a child or not became more and more pressing.
    Since I am a very logic thinking guy this posed a dilemma to me. I thought about reasons for having a child (or not).
    I asked other fathers what they think. I wrote lists with pros and cons.
    But then it finally dawned upon me that this "approach" was completely wrong, even ridiculous.
    The decision for having a child has nothing to do with logic, with pros and cons. There are no arguments for or against this.
    It is just about "Do I want it?" - nothing more, nothing less. So I kind of plunged into the question, and it really was a big Yes!
    And now I am happy I made the right decision.

    Gassho,

    Timo

  25. #25
    Confused...I guess I'll just drop it.
    Gassho,
    Onken

  26. #26
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    I really do prefer this version of the mu koan because it has the yes and no (wu and mu) component. Previously, all I've ever seen or heard on this is just mu, which leaves me lost, which I understand is a perfectly ok Zen place to be. But seeing the other side of the coin/koan is helpful, and Jundo's take on it also clears some things up for me because it feels very fresh (mu gets tiresome, I think many of you might agree). What I am trying to say is that it seems a whole lot more accessible when presented this way, and the result of that is I finally feel like I have something to take away from this koan, and that is:

    Quit all the navel gazing and just BE something!
    Quit with all the intellectualizing Q&A and just DO something!

    It ain't much, but it's all I got.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

  27. #27
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    The Preface seems to say... if you puncture a floating gourd it loses its balance, or way. The same could be said for a balloon, or ones ego. Suzuki seems to point to this when he says we should fine pleasure in our suffering (delusions of the ego), because this is the teaching (of Buddhism). This is what we fight, tooth and nail, in resisting the truth of the Way. "We should find the truth in this world, through our difficulties, through our suffering". Also, " we should find perfection in imperfection; or we should find perfect existence through imperfect existence".

    The same with the sun exposing no 'fixed' shade of color in a diamond. Once again, this seems to point to exposing the ego for what it really is, nothing but delusion, a false small little self once brought out into full light, exposing it for what it really is... a sham!

    'No-mindedness cannot understand'.... is that not a good thing !? That seems to leave it to the 'great question'... ie, 'the great answer'-no answer, by intellectualizing from the ego of our insecure little self.

    The last sentence in the Preface seems to sum up all the above probing... 'is there any way to escape that?' That answer is seemingly is Hell NO. We can hide but we cannot run from our true selves; this is the Way of the masters, by using these beautiful paradoxical dialogs in these Koans.
    Nothing Special

  28. #28
    A moment of living, of true action is beyond "Yes" or "No". When we had to euthanize our dog a couple years ago, there were no clear cut answers. She may have had a blood cancer. THe day after Thanksgiving, she passed out. We at first thought it was a seizure, but it was from anemia. Her body was not producing red blood cells. No red blood cells, no oxygen. This sort of hit us out of nowhere. She was our middle dog, only 8 years old. It couldn't be her time yet. The truth is, it could be our "time" any time. We don't know.

    We brought her to the vet, and they ran a lot of tests and determined it could be a blood disease or cancer. If it was cancer we'd have to start treatment immediately, which involved chemo and a lot of anti cancer drugs. The remission rate, at best, would give her 6 more months after a lot of suffering through the treatment. If it was a blood disease, then they would still use hte anti cancer meds, which would be much less painful to her.

    We went with the latter route. They gave her a blood transfusion and anti cancer meds. After a week, she was back to being really sick again. It wasn't working. Do we treat for cancer or not? It wasn't an easy yes or no answer. We had to think for her... what was best for her.

    There is no yes or no. The best answer came forth when we thought about her, without our selfish wants of keeping her around as long as possible. In the end, we euthanized her. I still question it to this day of course. It's my nature, but in terms of preventing more suffering it had to be done.

    That just leads me to the larger answer to this beyond yes or no. My understanding and relationship to these koans will deepen over the years (if I'm lucky enough to have years) of practice. This happens naturally by sitting, chanting, reciting the Bodhisattva vows, participating with all of my Sangha here, living in the world... living intentionally in the world with an intention to wake up. With that said, life is not a problem to be resolved. Life is meant to be lived and, for those of us lucky enough to have found a practice, to have vows to break (I'm paraphrasing that), we can live with an intent towards being with things instead of possessing or controlling them.

    That is beyond yes or no, just like how life is beyond yes or no.

    Gassho,

    Risho

    P.S. My dogs certainly are buddhas. Well my younger one is a little nutty (so he's in training. hahaha), but my older one continuously teaches me what it means to live and not give up. She turned blind a few years ago, and she's as bullish and stubborn as ever at almost 13.

  29. #29
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    My deep personal issue, which seemingly dissolves most all issues, not only for myself but my fellow Zen brothers and sisters, is delusion, letting our/my ego run all over me and thus other. While, for the most part I seem to grasp most of Zen intellectually, but to embody other as my self, to meet them in that tiny tiny gap between the rubber and the highway, is still only in small doses and sometimes even a widening gap. But this realization of this issue, only makes me more steadfast to sit, reflect and breathing through my hara, all the while knowing this hara is a shared commodity, that just as well belongs to other, the hara of the Whole.

    I find, probably like most, when I am in conversation personally by phone or in person, my mind is quite busy and for the most part, not totally vested in the others problem (mine) or what they are truly trying to say. I am already building an answer for them, as my ego is chattering up a storm to resolve 'their' issue, all the while when just staying in touch with my hara in these moments puts me closer to embodying what they are saying, and thus shutting down the chatter. My true nature is theirs, the more I can spend time in that realm the more I am realizing I am spending more time in theirs. No separation.

    Very good opening, Jundo.

    Gassho
    Last edited by galen; 11-04-2012 at 06:08 PM.
    Nothing Special

  30. #30
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    Everything is Buddha nature. Everything is thus, just as is. Even ignorance is Buddha nature. Without ignorance, how could there be any awakening of the Bodhi mind?
    Even the lowly dog is Buddha completely. The dog doesn't care about buddha nature. He doesn't need it. With or without it, he will keep barking out the Dharma everywhere he goes, for anyone who will listen.
    The meaning of yes and no are both useful to analyze, in order to understand what Buddha nature is not. But not very helpful in determining what It is. Neither reply is the truth, just views. No refuge in yes. No refuge in no. Both can be Right View. Both can be true, for someone, in some situation. But not always so. A diamond in the sun has no fixed shade of color. Sometimes we need a yes, sometimes a no, sometimes we need to rephrase the question or drop it altogether. Sometimes we need someone to point at the oak tree in the garden.

    I used to think a lot about Buddha nature and Mu. I kept returning to it for years. These days I mostly let it be.

    When someone asks me if I believe in God, I'm tempted to reply Mu... For me, in a way, Mu clarified the existance of God. By resolving Mu for myself, I simultaneously resolved the question of God. When I'm asked if I believe in God, It feels wrong to deny God, so a simple no won't do. I don't buy the whole personal God in heaven concept, so yes doesn't seem entirely right either. Sometimes I say yes, sometimes no. It depends on who's asking and the purpose of asking the question. Sometimes I try to explain my view, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I just avoid the question. But I don't feel threatened by the question anymore.

    Gassho,
    Pontus

    PS. Saying "I am God" may be misunderstood...
    I haven't tried YES! YES! YES! DS.


    For me, when asked if I believe in God, my usual reply is, not the Christian god. It seems you make a very valid point to just answer with Mu. Why not, instead of just the temptation? Of course, like my answer, there might be some explanation needed, depending on the questioner, but I feel we need to come clean and absorb the consequences of where this leads the discussion, its a very valid question, and especially realizing there is no right or wrong, good or bad. Thanks for you thoughtful post.

    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  31. #31
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin View Post
    My mind isn't a mirror--it's an abusive critic!

    That critical abuser, might be the mirror, Matt.

    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  32. #32
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecoist View Post
    Bodhi and I both say, "Ruff".

    Gassho
    Michael

    So Michael, you know `the Bodhi on an intimate level .

    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by galen View Post
    For me, when asked if I believe in God, my usual reply is, not the Christian god.
    I know what you mean, but that paints the Christian God with too broad a brush in my opinion. Could it be that you have misunderstood the Christian God? Who is this Christian God?

    I sometimes wonder if the direct experience of God, Dharmakaya and Atman is not the experience of the same undescribable underlying reality, what is there when you give up all ideas of self, other, God, Atman, Buddha. The problem is, when the self returns, it instantly changes the memory of the experience, so that it fits in better in the system of beliefs and ideas that we all carry around. And it's not true anymore.

    Here's a passage from the Wikipedia article on Christian mysticism. Is it impossible that what the mysticist calls the presence of God, is what a Buddhist would call dhyana or blissful samadhi?

    As described by scholar Bernard McGinn, Christian mysticism would be "that part, or element, of Christian belief and practice that concerns the preparation for, the consciousness of, and the effect of a direct and transformative presence of [the Christian] God".[1] The idea of mystical realities has been widely held in Christianity since the second century AD, referring not simply to spiritual practices, but also to the belief that their rituals and even their scriptures have hidden ("mystical") meanings.[1]

    McGinn raises several points about his choice of words: He argues that "presence" is more accurate than "union", since not all mystics spoke of union with God, and since many visions, miracles, etc., were not necessarily related to union. He also argues that we should speak of "consciousness" of God's presence, rather than of "experience", since mystical activity is not simply about the sensation of God as an external object, but more broadly about "new ways of knowing and loving based on states of awareness in which God becomes present in our inner acts". Related to this idea is his emphasis on the transformation that occurs through mystical activity: "This is why the only test that Christianity has known for determining the authenticity of a mystic and her or his message has been that of personal transformation, both on the mystic's part and—especially—on the part of those whom the mystic has affected."[1]


    It seems you make a very valid point to just answer with Mu. Why not, instead of just the temptation?
    They wouldn't understand, and I couldn't explain. It just doesn't seem skillful to me as it would only be confusing. Better to embody it, actualize it, be it, live it. And let the answer be determined by the moment.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    Last edited by Omoi Otoshi; 11-04-2012 at 06:29 PM.
    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

  34. #34
    Thank you Galen,
    I love that you are not too self-conscious about throwing your understanding out there! You don't seem afraid of making a fool out of your self and I admire that. (Not that I think you're making a fool out of yourself, not at all! )

    Quote Originally Posted by galen View Post
    The Preface seems to say... if you puncture a floating gourd it loses its balance, or way. The same could be said for a balloon, or ones ego.
    I would say that when poked, the gourd is unaffected. It can never lose it's balance. The secret of its stability is its ability to turn freely, even when poked hard. When it's turned around, it doesn't see this as a defeat, loss of prestige or failure, it just continues on its path, always going straight, never caring which way, never losing its way.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    Last edited by Omoi Otoshi; 11-04-2012 at 06:53 PM.
    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

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by galen View Post
    My deep personal issue, which seemingly dissolves most all issues, not only for myself but my fellow Zen brothers and sisters, is delusion, letting our/my ego run all over me and thus other. While, for the most part I seem to grasp most of Zen intellectually, but to embody other as my self, to meet them in that tiny tiny gap between the rubber and the highway, is still only in small doses and sometimes even a widening gap. But this realization of this issue, only makes me more steadfast to sit, reflect and breathing through my hara, all the while knowing this hara is a shared commodity, that just as well belongs to other, the hara of the Whole.
    Thank you for sharing Galen,
    Well said. I enjoyed reading that.

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

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by galen View Post
    The same with the sun exposing no 'fixed' shade of color in a diamond. Once again, this seems to point to exposing the ego for what it really is, nothing but delusion, a false small little self once brought out into full light, exposing it for what it really is... a sham!
    In my opinion, when we have no fixed idea, no truth to cling to, we are the diamond that has no fixed shade of color. The color changes according to the circumstances. It doesn't need to make an effort to be brilliant. It just reflects everything differently, perfectly according to each given situation.

    It would seem from your post that you don't like your ego, your small self, much! You would like to cut it off and then you would be free. But I'm not sure you can. You may have to accept it. It may be the only way to be free from it. It is you. Not all of you, but you. And in my view, it's Buddha nature.

    'No-mindedness cannot understand'.... is that not a good thing !? That seems to leave it to the 'great question'... ie, 'the great answer'-no answer, by intellectualizing from the ego of our insecure little self.
    The way I read it, what is meant is that no or yes kills the question. When you keep the question, live the question, you can explore more deeply.

    The last sentence in the Preface seems to sum up all the above probing... 'is there any way to escape that?' That answer is seemingly is Hell NO. We can hide but we cannot run from our true selves; this is the Way of the masters, by using these beautiful paradoxical dialogs in these Koans.
    Why resist being turned?

    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

  37. #37
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    I know what you mean, but that paints the Christian God with too broad a brush in my opinion. Could it be that you have misunderstood the Christian God? Who is this Christian God?

    I sometimes wonder if the direct experience of God, Dharmakaya and Atman is not the experience of the same undescribable underlying reality, what is there when you give up all ideas of self, other, God, Atman, Buddha. The problem is, when the self returns, it instantly changes the memory of the experience, so that it fits in better in the system of beliefs and ideas that we all carry around. And it's not true anymore.

    Here's a passage from the Wikipedia article on Christian mysticism. Is it impossible that what the mysticist calls the presence of God, is what a Buddhist would call dhyana or blissful samadhi?

    As described by scholar Bernard McGinn, Christian mysticism would be "that part, or element, of Christian belief and practice that concerns the preparation for, the consciousness of, and the effect of a direct and transformative presence of [the Christian] God".[1] The idea of mystical realities has been widely held in Christianity since the second century AD, referring not simply to spiritual practices, but also to the belief that their rituals and even their scriptures have hidden ("mystical") meanings.[1]

    McGinn raises several points about his choice of words: He argues that "presence" is more accurate than "union", since not all mystics spoke of union with God, and since many visions, miracles, etc., were not necessarily related to union. He also argues that we should speak of "consciousness" of God's presence, rather than of "experience", since mystical activity is not simply about the sensation of God as an external object, but more broadly about "new ways of knowing and loving based on states of awareness in which God becomes present in our inner acts". Related to this idea is his emphasis on the transformation that occurs through mystical activity: "This is why the only test that Christianity has known for determining the authenticity of a mystic and her or his message has been that of personal transformation, both on the mystic's part and—especially—on the part of those whom the mystic has affected."[1]



    They wouldn't understand, and I couldn't explain. It just doesn't seem skillful to me as it would only be confusing. Better to embody it, actualize it, be it, live it. And let the answer be determined by the moment.

    Gassho,
    Pontus


    Your view here is well taken. I agree with most of the ancient Christian view, as very comparable to the ancients of the East (they of the monks and meditations). But how many people that ask you the question if you believe in god, come from that ancient belief? When asked that question, it can only be taken as the modern day christian view, and I am forth right in saying no. Modern day christain beliefs are about separation and ego, and some 'guy' up in the sky, having nothing to do with their personal self.
    Nothing Special

  38. #38
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    Thank you Galen,
    I love that you are not too self-conscious about throwing your understanding out there! You don't seem afraid of making a fool out of your self and I admire that. (Not that I think you're making a fool out of yourself, not at all! )


    I would say that when poked, the gourd is unaffected. It can never lose it's balance. The secret of its stability is its ability to turn freely, even when poked hard. When it's turned around, it doesn't see this as a defeat, loss of prestige or failure, it just continues on its path, always going straight, never caring which way, never losing its way.

    Gassho,
    Pontus

    , and yes as you imply here about me throwing it out `there, foolery or not, come what may, and here you are. You seem to have gotten this from my post on just this explanation from a past post, almost word for word as to invite the discussion, and lessons learned from both sides, not necessarily wrong or right.

    What if the gourd takes on water? How can it Not be effected, even if it does not take on water? So poked hard , thats a good one, how hard is hard? How does your view here, that is not necessarily right or wrong, fit in with the rest of the Preface and the implication of it as a lesson?
    Nothing Special

  39. #39
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Omoi Otoshi;89099]

    -It would seem from your post that you don't like your ego, your small self, much! You would like to cut it off and then you would be free. But I'm not sure you can. You may have to accept it. It may be the only way to be free from it. It is you. Not all of you, but you. And in my view, it's Buddha nature.

    I am not sure if I imply totally cutting it off. It might come down to, what you or I call freeing, and not necessarily cutting as killing. For most, most all the time, there is very little freedom from it, but agree with most of your perception here.


    -The way I read it, what is meant is that no or yes kills the question. When you keep the question, live the question, you can explore more deeply.

    I am not sure I imply a yes or no here.

    -Why resist being turned?

    Not sure what you are implying here. Where is there resistance?


    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  40. #40
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    This is just to add to my post way up there.
    If it has anything to do with what has been posted since is up to you.

    MU
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

  41. #41
    Hello all,

    Been out as the bottom has been falling out everywhere it seems. But to the question, which is connected ...I guess it is always relevant to what is going on right now.

    "What deep, personal issue or question in your life might be resolved not by "yes" ... not by "no" ... but by "MU!" or "YES! YES! YES!" that swallows whole both yes and no?"

    "To be or not to be...that is the great question " Or to go on or just give it all up....just spiral downward....sink to oblivion? MU! (And I mean MU in the most positive of ways!)

    Gassho,
    Jisen/BrianW

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by galen View Post
    I am not sure I imply a yes or no here.
    No, you didn't!
    Just sharing my take on it! Neither no-mindedness, nor yes-mindedness, flexiblemindedness!

    -Why resist being turned?
    Not sure what you are implying here. Where is there resistance?
    How can you avoid being turned? My answer is, there's no reason to avoid. With resist I meant avoid!

    Thank you Galen,
    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

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by galen View Post
    So Michael, you know `the Bodhi on an intimate level .

    Gassho
    Hey Galen ... oh yes, Bodhi and I are well connected.

    Gassho
    Michael
    真 眼

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

  44. #44
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    No, you didn't!
    Just sharing my take on it! Neither no-mindedness, nor yes-mindedness, flexiblemindedness!



    How can you avoid being turned? My answer is, there's no reason to avoid. With resist I meant avoid!

    Thank you Galen,
    Gassho,
    Pontus


    Thank you, Pontus... have enjoyed the navel gazing and Zen bla bla bla very much with you here and before! Some here like myself have to spread a little cheese through the threads, gum them up a little, if you will. For those it bothers, we/I can only hope to become as pure and as observant. For those who feel above the shit, they still do realize theirs stinks too, so its all good and sometimes even bad, thats life in relativity! Even our teachers here, have from time to time, stunk things up a little. After all, we are all teachers and students of this Great Practice.


    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  45. #45
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecoist View Post
    Hey Galen ... oh yes, Bodhi and I are well connected.

    Gassho
    Michael


    Thanks, Michael. And what you say is so true, in actuality!



    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  46. #46
    A lot of words about MU. Best to avoid too much mental wheel spinning about MU.

    MU is not thinking about is or is not, yes or no ... including is or is not, yes or no of MU.

    Please resolve the question of MU not by "yes" ... not by "no" ... but by "MU!"
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  47. #47
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    A lot of words about MU. Best to avoid too much mental wheel spinning about MU.

    MU is not thinking about is or is not, yes or no ... including is or is not, yes or no of MU.

    Please resolve the question of MU not by "yes" ... not by "no" ... but by "MU!"

    MU

    Thanks, Jundo.


    Gassho
    Last edited by galen; 11-05-2012 at 05:54 PM.
    Nothing Special

  48. #48
    When you don't know what to do, just do MU.
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  49. #49
    Wow I'm confused. lol

    Gassho,

    Risho

  50. #50
    I sometimes say that discussing MU is like two overly intelligent fish trying to debate, describe and compare their experiences of the swirling ocean.

    One can try to describe wetness or saltiness or the force of currents philosophically, poetically, analytically, or as a mathematical formula, but nothing really captures the whole, vibrant, storming-calm, boundless ocean. One cannot even describe fully the taste of brine on one's own tongue. The ocean is real as real can be, though never contained only in words. As every drop holds the whole, and the whole is a single drop ... yet sometimes we miss its buoyancy even while basking (and sometimes drowning) in it!

    Nothing quite describes the living ocean but the ocean. So, just jump in, swim swim swim!

    In fact, fish do not and cannot jump into or out of this ocean ... and it is never entered or left ...

    Fish --are-- the ocean, all is ocean, and the ocean is alive as every fish. A sea without sea-life would be cold and dead. Swim swim swim, taste the salt.




    Something like that.




    So, when I see fish discussing the properties of the ocean a little too much, a bucket of cold salty water must be thrown over their heads! (How does one throw a bucket of sea water over fish already swimming in the sea?)

    ... fish-sea swimming round and round and round ...


    Last edited by Jundo; 11-06-2012 at 06:12 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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