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Thread: Way of the Snowball?

  1. #1

    Way of the Snowball?

    Hello people, This is my first post here after watching several of the intro videos....and I will probably have more questions after viewing all of them.

    I dont have any experience or education aside from inheriting dozens of books on Buddhism and other traditions from my grandfather. This happened in a bizarre way I wont get into right now, but there is a book with a very bland cover called 'Dogen's Manuals of Zen Meditation' (University of California Press 1988) which has become the one I read most often.

    My other interest aside from zazen is bodybuilding. This might seem like an odd combination but I think it helps. When you do core exercises the torso becomes like a tree trunk...very solid and much less prone to slumping.

    Usually this works out as 30 minutes of sitting with a kitchen timer, followed by 15 minutes of deadlifts, squats, curls....then another 30 minutes of sitting. I feels good to have all that blood rushing through the legs when crossed.

    I've been thinking about how to make the sitting sessions longer and food analogies came up with a vengeance.

    1. Personally I think avocados are quite horrid. I know they are good for me, but its a struggle to eat one...and this is often what its like trying to sit still. I'm not a still person even waiting for a bus...always pacing back and forth like a caged tiger.

    2. Wonderbread tastes like nothing to me. Its not disagreeable, nor is it delicious...and zazen is like that too, sometimes.

    3. A good cupcake is a scintillating wonder and pleasurable to partake...you often read stories about rare events in meditation when outbursts of laughter or tears of extreme joy rise up and overpower the solemn propriety of the temple.

    4. Finally there is the business of consuming oxygen itself...not very
    interesting, but absolutely critical to life. And I wonder if zazen is like this too in some cases...cases where the monk feels like he cant live without it???

    Does this happen in sequence...the more time spent in zazen the less difficult it becomes, the more pleasant it becomes, and finally the more essential it becomes?

    This could also be imagined as a snowball rolling down a hill. At first its so small that pushing is required to get it started, gradually it has enough momentum to keep rolling on its own, faster and faster, larger and larger until no one can stop it. People start running for cover, friends and family are deserted, until it smashes into the ski chalet at the bottom of the hill...killing everyone inside!

    Just kidding... -Eric.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Does this happen in sequence...the more time spent in zazen the less difficult it becomes, the more pleasant it becomes, and finally the more essential it becomes?
    Hi.

    Well, to be honest it will go up and down like an rollercoaster.
    Sometimes difficult, sometimes easy.
    Sometimes a good feeling, sometimes a bad feeling.
    Sometimes necessary, sometimes not so necessary.
    But in the end it's all good practice.

    Thank you for your practice.

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

  3. #3
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    I dont have any experience or education aside from inheriting dozens of books on Buddhism and other traditions from my grandfather.
    I started the same way

    My other interest aside from zazen is bodybuilding. This might seem like an odd combination but I think it helps.
    Not that odd of a combination. I just had a question on the ethics of bulking:
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...d-squirrels%29

    When you do core exercises the torso becomes like a tree trunk...very solid and much less prone to slumping.
    True in the long run perhaps, but for me sitting after right after deadlifts is a wholly unpleasant experience. I still do it on occasion when I have to, but it isn't "fun" for me in any way.

    Finally, in regards to your analogy, Fugen hit the nail on the head, so I will simply back up his observations. Unlike bodybuilding, there is no goal in sitting. There are no "extra points" for sitting longer and no points deducted for squeezing in a shorter sit when you have to. Most importantly, I've only been sitting for about two years, but in that time there have been huge ups and downs. There are also ups and downs lifting, but with lifting you have a goal and a log book so you keep tinkering with things to move forward in your training. In sitting there is nothing to tinker with, nothing to track "progress," and no progress to make. This makes it wholly different than most other endeavours. So, to repeat the advice I was given, Just sit. Sit without regard to it becoming easier or harder, to it being good or bad for you, or any other such thoughts. Just sit.

    Oddly enough, If anything motivates me to sit on rough days now it is the Sangha here. Knowing that others whose lives are just as full of work, kids, plans, and school are going to sit today and that we all sit together is oddly motivating. More so than my original motivation, which was, "Damn I'm going to be good at this meditation stuff!" As always, take my advice with a grain of salt. There are people here with more experience sitting than I have being alive. Good luck!
    "You yourself must strive. The Buddhas only point the way." - Shakyamuni Buddha

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by catfish View Post

    Finally, in regards to your analogy, Fugen hit the nail on the head, so I will simply back up his observations. Unlike bodybuilding, there is no goal in sitting. There are no "extra points" for sitting longer and no points deducted for squeezing in a shorter sit when you have to. Most importantly, I've only been sitting for about two years, but in that time there have been huge ups and downs. There are also ups and downs lifting, but with lifting you have a goal and a log book so you keep tinkering with things to move forward in your training. In sitting there is nothing to tinker with, nothing to track "progress," and no progress to make. This makes it wholly different than most other endeavours. So, to repeat the advice I was given, Just sit. Sit without regard to it becoming easier or harder, to it being good or bad for you, or any other such thoughts. Just sit.
    Now, that's a Solid Core!

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post

    1. Personally I think avocados are quite horrid. I know they are good for me, but its a struggle to eat one...

    2. Wonderbread tastes like nothing to me. Its not disagreeable, nor is it delicious...

    3. A good cupcake is a scintillating wonder and pleasurable to partake...

    4. Finally there is the business of consuming oxygen itself...
    The Buddha's monks would make daily begging rounds, taking whatever was placed in their bowl without discrimination. Here, we learn to sit ... to live ... with all of Life's banquet, the bitter and sweet, the tasty and the despised. There is a Sweetness that holds all of life's bitter and sweet days.

    Oh, the Buddha knew how to avoid the real poisons ... greed, anger and ignorance. But, apart from that, we sit with whatever is ... the gains and losses ... knowing Suchness without need of gain or loss. Gain and loss ... yet nothing to gain or lose ... At Once.

    I offered one of the "Always Beginner's" talks on running ... but it would apply to the gym as well ... Training for nothing for attain, thus Attaining All.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...s-%28Part-V%29

    Some days are easy, some days are hard (my experience in the gym too! ) ... and we simply keep sitting on through easy and hard ... benching the Universe which weighs everything and nothing at all. Attaining to the marrow "Nothing In Need of Attaining" is the Great Attainment.

    Something like that.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-24-2013 at 01:21 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    all this
    is but a dream
    live the dream, live it and everything that goes with it
    our way
    is about...
    begging I get jokes and laughs
    working I get so little , enjoy giving so much
    sometimes I am given and it is too much
    whatever
    whatever
    This is my home
    sad or happy
    my home
    homeless home
    one foot after another
    one foot after
    one foor
    one

    ...T
    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.

  7. #7
    Hi Catfish,

    Quote Originally Posted by catfish View Post
    Not that odd of a combination. I just had a question on the ethics of bulking:
    I'm on a completely grain-free diet at the moment, and have been for a little less than three months, so its all goat milk, nuts, vegetables and fruits for me. This reduces the overall volume of food required, but it is expensive. I decided to do this after watching William Davis's excellent presentation on the history and clinical effects of modern wheat strains.



    Eating more without lifting more just makes people fatter, not stronger.


    True in the long run perhaps, but for me sitting after right after deadlifts is a wholly unpleasant experience.
    After lots of experimentation I've found the best exercise so far to improve sitting posture aside from stretching is 'weighted hip extensions'.

    This means I lie on my back with knees bent, place a 50 pound barbell over the hip joints and lift it with the back muscles to form a bridge position...repeat.


    Unlike bodybuilding, there is no goal in sitting. There are no "extra points" for sitting longer and no points deducted for squeezing in a shorter sit when you have to.
    When approaching Buddhism I think its useful to always look for the consensus among the diversity of traditions evolving out of the original teaching of the founder.

    And the consensus is clearly that this zazen gig is something one has to spend a lot of time with.

    If it matters not whether I sit 30 minutes or 15 minutes...why would it matter if I sit only 5 minutes, or 60 seconds? -Eric.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    I'm on a completely grain-free diet at the moment, and have been for a little less than three months, so its all goat milk, nuts, vegetables and fruits for me.
    My wife eats gluten free and I usually join her, but it is hard to get a better cheaper insulin response than some post workout pasta or bread.

    After lots of experimentation I've found the best exercise so far to improve sitting posture aside from stretching is 'weighted hip extensions'.
    At my gym we call them the glute bridge. I used to do them often, but now I do high rep kettlebell swings after deadlifts for the posterior chain.

    And the consensus is clearly that this zazen gig is something one has to spend a lot of time with.
    If it matters not whether I sit 30 minutes or 15 minutes...why would it matter if I sit only 5 minutes, or 60 seconds? -Eric.
    Once again, I'm sure Jundo and Taigu will have much more substantial answers than I do, but if I understand this game correctly all of life is zazen. I have sat for 5 minutes, 60 seconds, and two hours. I have sat while changing diapers and while waiting for traffic to move.

    I am reminded of this koan:

    One day when Nangaku came to Baso’s hut, Baso stood up to receive him. Nangaku asked him, “What have you been doing recently?”

    Baso replied, “Recently I have been doing the practice of seated meditation exclusively.”

    Nangaku asked, “And what is the aim of your seated meditation?”

    Baso replied, “The aim of my seated meditation is to achieve Buddhahood.”

    Thereupon, Nangaku took a roof tile and began rubbing it on a rock near Baso’s hut.

    Baso, upon seeing this, asked him, “Reverend monk, what are you doing?”

    Nangaku replied, “I am polishing a roof tile.”

    Baso then asked, “What are you going to make by polishing a roof tile?”

    Nangaku replied, “I am polishing it to make a mirror.”

    Baso said, “How can you possibly make a mirror by rubbing a tile?”

    Nangaku replied, “How can you possibly make yourself into a Buddha by doing seated meditation?”


    However, I am just a beginner, so please do not take this as a lesson. It is just the ramblings of a somewhat crazy powerlifter.

    In gassho,
    Nengyo
    "You yourself must strive. The Buddhas only point the way." - Shakyamuni Buddha

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post

    When approaching Buddhism I think its useful to always look for the consensus among the diversity of traditions evolving out of the original teaching of the founder.

    And the consensus is clearly that this zazen gig is something one has to spend a lot of time with.

    If it matters not whether I sit 30 minutes or 15 minutes...why would it matter if I sit only 5 minutes, or 60 seconds? -Eric.
    (Can't comment on lifting) but what you say on sitting time is right ... Zazen is Timeless, a moment of sitting holding all moments. So how could it be a matter of long or short, start or finish, 1 minute or 1 day?

    On the other hand, we ask everyone to sit for a certain time each day ... because it takes some time to realize "timeless"! It requires a certain "sitting time" for "sitting a time as all time and timeless".

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...%28Part-XXI%29

    As to finding the consensus of a diversity of traditions, that is often good ... and each way of Buddhism may be a powerful path ... yet sometimes things do not mix and match. All the many flavors of Buddhism, and even among Zen schools, can be very different ... even though perfectly identical at heart. All is precisely one ... although frequently not the same at all. A Koan.

    Bowling is a wonderful sport, and so is tennis ... and both use a ball. Yet, I would hesitate to play tennis with a bowling ball.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    This may also be a good time to repost links to "Readings on How to Read Zen/Buddhist" books, discussing how Buddhist books ... and Zen books in particular ... come in many lovely flavors (same but often very different different, different but just the same). Some of these readings sometime paint with too broad a brush, and are not completely accurate, but still useful to Zen readers who may pick up a book on "Zen" or "Buddhism" and not realize that the authors are often coming from quite different perspectives and approaches on "Zen" etc. (many roads up the non-mountain mountain).

    SPECIAL READING - EIGHT TYPES OF ENLIGHTENMENT
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-enlightenment

    SPECIAL READING - ONCE BORN TWICE BORN ZEN
    https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&p...jI0NmUyZTRlZDI
    and
    https://sites.google.com/site/jundot...edirects=0&d=1


    Perhaps the best book on all the many lineages and flavors of Zen in the West (although the book is already a few years dated and too limited to the USA) is James Ford's Zen Master Who? (Look for Jundo Cohen on page 140, pre-Treeleaf days! plug plug ) ...

    http://www.amazon.com/Zen-Master-Who...zen+master+who

    SweepingZen webpage has become the best source of biographies and interviews with Zen teachers in the West in all their many flavors ...

    www.sweepingzen.com

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  10. #10
    Many moons ago I lifted weights. When lifting I had to be fully present, fully focused on the weights, the muscles, the movements and so forth so as not to get hurt and to maximize gains from lifting. In between sets of exercises I would sit on a bench, breathing, preparing for the next set. When I lifted, I lifted and when I rested I rested. Time evaporated between walking in and out of the gym. I think athletes call this the zone. About as zen you can get. Whatever that means.

    Gassho, John

  11. #11
    Senior Member Jakudo's Avatar
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    I remember someone telling me that humans ability to focus or concentrate has a 20 minute cycle and that is the reason that 30 minute Zazen is the "standard" length of time. Has anyone else heard this, or did I dream it while practising sleepy zazen...?
    Gassho, Jakudo.
    Gassho, Shawn Jakudo Hinton
    It all begins when we say, I. Everything that follows is illusion.
    "Even to speak the word Buddha is dragging in the mud soaking wet; Even to say the word Zen is a total embarrassment."
    寂道

  12. #12
    Not sure how the teachers would view this,... but when first learning meditation , it involved focus and concentration on an object. That was because there was a goal of absorption and stillness as a basis for further practice. It involved a subject focusing on an object. With Zazen it is different. There is no concentration or focus because there is no object to concentrate or focus on. It is just sitting in/as a basic effortless space, no subject or object.


    Gassho Daizan.. sleepyish and about to go sit.
    Last edited by Daizan; 01-25-2013 at 11:17 AM.
    大山

  13. #13
    Same here Daizan ... When I first started meditating the teacher talked about the two types of meditating. One being Calm Abiding (meditation with an attribute/object) and the other being Insight (without attribute/object).

    I found it hard to meditate with an attribute/object as it made my mind just as busy and I never really felt that my mind had let go ... Busy in life, now busy in my meditation.

    When I found Shikantaza, I truly found my practice ... Just being there, just sitting, not searching or clinging.

    Gassho
    Shingen



    If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?
    ~ Dogen Zenji

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Daizan View Post
    Not sure how the teachers would view this,... but when first learning meditation , it involved focus and concentration on an object. That was because there was a goal of absorption and stillness as a basis for further practice. It involved a subject focusing on an object. With Zazen it is different. There is no concentration or focus because there is no object to concentrate or focus on. It is just sitting in/as a basic effortless space, no subject or object.


    Gassho Daizan.. sleepyish and about to go sit.
    Hi,

    You probably should say Shikantaza Zazen, as Koan Introspection Zazen of certain flavors would be focused on an object, the Koan or phrase of a Koan.

    And in fact, some flavors of what is called "Shikantaza" as taught by some folks might emphasize attaining absorption and profound stillness, perhaps by focus on the breath or the like. (I would say, however, that such is not really "Shikantaza" due to the emphasis on attaining some such state, but not everyone would agree). Zazen, and even "Shikantaza", comes in several flavors.

    However, in ALL flavors ... no less the flavor here (influenced by Uchiyama and Sawaki Roshis and the like) ... the central point is to soften and/or drop the subject/object barrier, the friction and divisions of "me " vs. "everything not me". That is true for Koan Zazen, every flavor of Shikantaza, and many other Buddhist meditation methods of other schools. Other schools may focus on an object ... a Koan, an image of Buddha or the like ... but all as means seeking to soften or drop the separation and divide.

    I usually say this ...

    There are many small variations in Shikantaza, teacher to teacher. One has to place and focus (and simultaneously not place/focus) the mind somewhere!

    So, for example, Uchiyama Roshi was a "bring your attention back to the posture" guy. Nishijima Roshi is a "focus on keeping the spine straight" fellow, and there are others who emphasize focusing on the breath or the Hara (also called the "Tanden", the traditional "center of gravity" of the body, and a center of Qi energy in traditional Chinese medicine) ...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dantian

    ...

    All are forms of Shikantaza ... so long as the objectless nature of sitting is maintained even if focused on an object.

    In fact, all forms of Shikantaza have an "object of meditation", a place to focus or place the mind to build concentration and quiet the thoughts (hopefully to soften the border and pass through "object" and "subject"), while dropping all effort to attain and releasing all judgments. At Treeleaf, ... as our central "objectless" object of meditation, I recommend open, spacious sitting centered on everything and nothing at all ... sitting with open, spacious awareness ... sitting with the whole world but without being lost in trains of thought (which I also sometimes describe as having the mind focused on "no place and everyplace at once"). That open stillness is our "object of concentration". [Jundo Note: In my view, our practice is not so much about keeping "one's mind on the here and now", but rather, about fully allowing the "here and now" so that the barriers of separation with the "here and now" drop away.] Another reason for that is that I believe it makes it a bit easier to take this practice off the Zafu and out into the world.
    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-25-2013 at 02:12 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    Thank you for clarifying that, Jundo. I should not assume that Zazen is Shikantaza, and that all Shikantaza is the the same.


    Quote Originally Posted by Shingen View Post
    Same here Daizan ... When I first started meditating the teacher talked about the two types of meditating. One being Calm Abiding (meditation with an attribute/object) and the other being Insight (without attribute/object).

    I found it hard to meditate with an attribute/object as it made my mind just as busy and I never really felt that my mind had let go ... Busy in life, now busy in my meditation.

    When I found Shikantaza, I truly found my practice ... Just being there, just sitting, not searching or clinging.

    Gassho,


    Shingen
    I feel the same, Shingen. It is home. I was taught "choiceless awareness" by a Forest Sangha Teacher years ago. It was similar to Shikantaza but not quite. It did ring a bell. I had spent many hours focusing at the tip of my nose and struggling. There was calm abiding and some subtle absorption, but it was a withdrawl, not an opening to things as they are. He pointed me this direction , pushed. An awake inclusive kind of attention came also through painting.

    Gassho Daizan
    Last edited by Daizan; 01-25-2013 at 10:17 PM.
    大山

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    As to finding the consensus of a diversity of traditions, that is often good ... and each way of Buddhism may be a powerful path ... yet sometimes things do not mix and match.
    By 'consensus' I mean that all sects of Buddhism should at least have a few essential points in common...otherwise there's no reason to call them all Buddhism.

    To describe the overall mood of each major sect I would have to use three words...morbid, magnificent and mundane.

    Theravada is morbid, gloomy and nihilistic. Its a brooding over dry bones, negating everything in sight, lets all get the hell out of here and never come back...kind of culture. They are often accused of being selfish about all this morbidity, but I dont see that. The older monks assist the younger generation as they do everywhere else.

    Interestingly, the Rinzai master Hakuin wrote that the earliest generations of Theravada masters were far more advanced in their path than most of Hakuin's Zen contemporaries. A very generous open minded statement.

    Indian Mahayana is magnificent, spectacular and dramatic. There's lots of fireworks going on, ecstatic dancing deities, fiery demons flourishing their fangs, jewel trees and flowers falling from the sky.
    Every time I see pictures of India it occurs to me that the beauty of nature there is almost completely ignored...because their art and architecture is so exclusively anthropomorphic.

    The Zen sect has inherited some of Mahayana's magnificence...but the primary mood is mundane and subtle...although wonderfully mundane. Notice how Zen art renders very ordinary objects, plants and animals as if they were sacred...as if glowing with some mysterious intimate meaning?

    Subtlety is important also in human relations. When two professors of philosophy meet to discuss Buddhism the precision of words is critically important. But when two Zen masters meet they look for subtle signs of understanding...aside from the words exchanged.

  17. #17
    Treeleaf Unsui Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Hi all,
    I keep learning from listening in on these great discussions. Thank you.
    Gassho
    Myozan
    Myozan Kodo
    Ordained Soto Zen Priest in Training
    Dublin, Ireland

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

  18. #18
    Senior Member Jakudo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myozan Kodo View Post
    Hi all,
    I keep learning from listening in on these great discussions. Thank you.
    Gassho
    Myozan
    What a wonderful tradition we are part of being able to always be learning...unlearning. I was taught Shikantaza initially then was taught Vipassana meditation. I tried Vipassana....really tried, but always felt Shikantaza was my true form of meditation.
    Gassho, Jakudo.
    Gassho, Shawn Jakudo Hinton
    It all begins when we say, I. Everything that follows is illusion.
    "Even to speak the word Buddha is dragging in the mud soaking wet; Even to say the word Zen is a total embarrassment."
    寂道

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post

    Theravada is morbid, gloomy and nihilistic. Its a brooding over dry bones, negating everything in sight, lets all get the hell out of here and never come back...kind of culture. They are often accused of being selfish about all this morbidity, but I dont see that. The older monks assist the younger generation as they do everywhere else.

    Interestingly, the Rinzai master Hakuin wrote that the earliest generations of Theravada masters were far more advanced in their path than most of Hakuin's Zen contemporaries. A very generous open minded statement.

    Indian Mahayana is magnificent, spectacular and dramatic. There's lots of fireworks going on, ecstatic dancing deities, fiery demons flourishing their fangs, jewel trees and flowers falling from the sky.
    Every time I see pictures of India it occurs to me that the beauty of nature there is almost completely ignored...because their art and architecture is so exclusively anthropomorphic.

    The Zen sect has inherited some of Mahayana's magnificence...but the primary mood is mundane and subtle...although wonderfully mundane. Notice how Zen art renders very ordinary objects, plants and animals as if they were sacred...as if glowing with some mysterious intimate meaning?
    Hi Eric,

    I feel you paint with too broad a brush, engage in some tremendously imprecise stereotypes, some rather pejorative.

    The diverse picture of Buddhism is far from so simple.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-26-2013 at 03:20 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    On the other hand, we ask everyone to sit for a certain time each day...because it takes some time to realize "timeless"!
    When you stand up out of your sitting position...does this realization disappear?

  21. #21
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    When you stand up out of your sitting position...does this realization disappear?
    It rapidly sinks towards my socks, where it all collects for the day making them very holy socks... hahaha

    For me it disappears immediately, and it fades away slowly, and at the same time it can't possibly disappear at all. If that doesn't make sense, rejoice, little about the universe makes sense to anyone. I just keep sitting and maybe it will all come together (although, if I wanted to be really serious about it, I would cut off my eyelids and sit all day and night like bodidharma. Damn, why do I waste that time deadlifting?)

    So, what about you? Where does your zazen go when you stand up?
    "You yourself must strive. The Buddhas only point the way." - Shakyamuni Buddha

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by catfish View Post
    I am reminded of this koan:

    One day when Nangaku came to Baso’s hut, Baso stood up to receive him. Nangaku asked him, “What have you been doing recently?”

    Baso replied, “Recently I have been doing the practice of seated meditation exclusively.”

    Nangaku asked, “And what is the aim of your seated meditation?”

    Baso replied, “The aim of my seated meditation is to achieve Buddhahood.”

    Thereupon, Nangaku took a roof tile and began rubbing it on a rock near Baso’s hut.

    Baso, upon seeing this, asked him, “Reverend monk, what are you doing?”

    Nangaku replied, “I am polishing a roof tile.”

    Baso then asked, “What are you going to make by polishing a roof tile?”

    Nangaku replied, “I am polishing it to make a mirror.”

    Baso said, “How can you possibly make a mirror by rubbing a tile?”

    Nangaku replied, “How can you possibly make yourself into a Buddha by doing seated meditation?”
    Yeah, how bout that?

    If Nangaku had been a royal adviser in the palace of Sadhattha Gotama he might have been able to convince the young prince to stay home...instead of wasting his life sitting under a fig tree!

    He could have spent the rest of his life eating mangos, and hob-nobbing with the hob-nobs...consorting with the consorts.

    Well...any time we have 2000+ years of writings on ANY subject we are bound to find some statements that dont seem to fit the jig-saw puzzle. And we have to ask...should we follow the exceptions or the consensus?

    Some of those exceptions might even be mis-translations. The other day I was reading about the origin of the word 'katsu' which in Chinese apparently just means 'to shout'...as opposed to being a word that is shouted.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    As to finding the consensus of a diversity of traditions, that is often good...
    If all the world's Buddhist teachers gathered to come up with three points of doctrine they all have in common, and not shared by non-Buddhist traditions...

    Just three...what would they be?
    Last edited by Eric; 01-27-2013 at 02:45 AM.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Buddha, Dharma, Sangha!!!!
    Heisoku
    平 息

  25. #25
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    If Nangaku had been a royal adviser in the palace of Sadhattha Gotama he might have been able to convince the young prince to stay home...instead of wasting his life sitting under a fig tree!
    Did his enlightenment fall from the tree? Is that where zazen goes when we stand up? Maybe it's all about the fig trees... or perhaps the hob-nobbing and mangos are the answer. Or even who has the most words in a forum post. I have no clue.

    I'm sure we could spend a thousand years discussing ancient pali writings and the optimum length that one should sit between lifting sessions, but tell me what words could I say to make you see my path? What could I say to show you my zazen, my timelessness? I've sat for two years now and I could barely tell you a word. I want to point at the moon and you would see only my finger. They may be the same, but I don't think either of us feel as if it is so yet. Good luck in your endeavors.

    With much metta,
    Charles
    "You yourself must strive. The Buddhas only point the way." - Shakyamuni Buddha

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by John C. View Post
    Many moons ago I lifted weights. When lifting I had to be fully present, fully focused on the weights, the muscles, the movements and so forth so as not to get hurt and to maximize gains from lifting.
    Thats right John...esp with a barbell on your back, one must remain mindful.

    And this is true in many other areas as well...dentistry comes to mind.

    I dont know why some people are able to concentrate their attention on one thing for long periods while others are not.

    Apparently, an early sign of schizophrenia is the loss of the ability to track an object moving slowly across one's field of vision...this can be tested clinically with a special computer program.
    Last edited by Eric; 01-27-2013 at 02:44 AM.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Nangaku replied, “How can you possibly make yourself into a Buddha by doing seated meditation?”

    If Nangaku had been a royal adviser in the palace of Sadhattha Gotama he might have been able to convince the young prince to stay home...instead of wasting his life sitting under a fig tree!

    He could have spent the rest of his life eating mangos, and hob-nobbing with the hob-nobs...consorting with the consorts.
    Dogen, our inspiration around the Soto neck of the Zen woods, did not take this Koan to mean that one need not sit because it was useless in making a Buddha. Rather, there is no Buddha who can or need be made, thus we sit to realize (grock) and realize (bring to life) such non-making. The very practice of polishing this tarnished life is Buddha realized in each swipe. Taigen Leighton discusses Dogen's presentation of this Koan ...

    In one of his two verse comments (in Eihei Koryoku), Dogen inverts Nanyue's action by saying, "How can people plan to take a mirror and make it a tile?"[15], implying that such effort denigrates the Buddha already present. In "Zazenshin," commenting after Nanyue says, "How can you make a Buddha through zazen?" Dogen declares, "There is a principle that seated meditation does not await making a Buddha; there is nothing obscure about the essential message that making a Buddha is not connected with seated meditation."[16] For Dogen zazen is adamantly not merely a means to achieve buddhahood. But after commenting in detail on this story, Dogen says, "It is the seated Buddha that Buddha after Buddha and Patriarch after Patriarch have taken as their essential activity. Those who are Buddhas and Patriarchs have employed this essential activity, . . . for it is the essential function."[17] Although it is not an instrumental activity for gaining awakening, zazen is still the fundamental activity of buddhas for Dogen.

    "Zazenshin" concludes with Dogen commenting on and writing his own version of a poem about the function of zazen by Chinese master Hongzhi Zhengjue (1091-1157: Wanshi Shogaku in Japanese), the most important Soto (Caodong in Chinese) teacher in the century before Dogen, and who was a primary source and inspiration for Dogen. For the purpose of this article, the main point in Dogen's discussion is that both verses begin with the proposition that zazen is "the essential function of all the Buddhas." Dogen comments that, "the essential function that is realized [by buddhas] is seated meditation."[18] Again, he sees zazen as the expression and function of buddhas, rather than buddhahood being a function, or consequence, of zazen.


    http://www.ancientdragon.org/dharma/...actment_ritual

    Can one sit polishing tiles into tiles, mirrors into mirrors, Buddhas into tiles and mirrors, little broken you into Buddhas into tiles? Can one sit Buddhaing polish into polish? Dogen wrote in Kokyo (The Ancient Mirror) ...

    We should truly comprehend that when the polished tile became a mirror, Baso became Buddha. And when Baso became Buddha, Baso immediately became the real Baso. And when Baso became the real Baso, his sitting in meditation immediately became real seated meditation. This is why the saying ‘polishing a tile to make a mirror’ has been preserved in the Bones and Marrow of former Buddhas.

    Thus it is that the Ancient Mirror was made from a roof tile. Even though the mirror was being polished, it was already without blemish in its unpolished state. The tile was not something that was dirty; it was polished simply because it was a tile. ... If a tile could not become a Mirror, people could not become Buddha. If we belittle tiles as being lumps of clay, we will also belittle people as being lumps of clay. If people have a Heart, then tiles too will have a Heart. Who can recognize that there is a Mirror in which, when a tile comes, the Tile appears? And who can recognize that there is a Mirror in which, when a mirror comes, the Mirror appears?


    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-27-2013 at 02:09 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Heisoku View Post
    Buddha, Dharma, Sangha!!!!
    I meant three points of Dharma or doctrine...sorry I should have been more specific.

    The Buddha was just a man with some profound awakening who created a dharma based on that awakening. It could have been anybody with the same profound awakening and the dharma would still have the same value.

    Even if the manuscript was found under some bushes next to the Ganges it would still have the same value regardless of how it got there.

    Come to think of it, some Buddhist schools trace their origins not to Gotama but to Vairocana the primordial Buddha. Because mortality seems too mundane I guess...just like a story was fabricated about Yeshua being born of a virgin, to get around the banality of sex. Makes for better marketing.

    Sanghas are common to many non-buddhists traditions, although they are not called that specific word.
    Last edited by Eric; 01-27-2013 at 02:43 AM.

  29. #29
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    If all the world's Buddhist teachers gathered to come up with three points of doctrine they all have in common, and not shared by non-Buddhist traditions...

    Just three...what would they be?
    What if we we just had one point of doctrine to agree on or exactly five? Is three the magic number of inter-denominational dharma concordance?
    "You yourself must strive. The Buddhas only point the way." - Shakyamuni Buddha

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    I meant three points of Dharma or doctrine...sorry I should have been more specific.
    Almost all Buddhists of any flavor teach the Three Marks of Existence ... the state of Dukkha (Suffering), Annica (Impermanence) and Annata (Non-Self)

    http://buddhism.about.com/od/basicbu...threemarks.htm

    Our little place is no exception ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...y-Dooby-Dukkha
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ngs-Are-Change
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-No-Problem%21

    Of course, within that framework, much point for difference in interpretation among the many flavors and Teachers of Buddhism.

    Eric, please post a photo in your profile, and an introduction of yourself to the other selfs (provisional or not) in our Greetings thread ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-%28January%29

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-27-2013 at 08:38 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  31. #31
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the posts Eric, I was going to reply similar to Jundo but I was going to refer to the Four Noble Truths.
    These postings made me think back to what actually got me going down the Buddha Way. It was a line in Conze's book, Buddhist Scriptures in a section on the Paranibbana, 'Be a light unto yourself', which I took a bit too literally. This led me down many twisted thought roads. In the end you need reference points, and for me that is zazen and good teachers. Here we have those in spades thanks to the Sangha, and to both Jundo and Taigu.
    Gassho.
    Last edited by Heisoku; 01-27-2013 at 09:59 AM.
    Heisoku
    平 息

  32. #32
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    Almost all Buddhists of any flavor teach the Three Marks of Existence ... the state of Dukkha (Suffering), Annica (Impermanence) and Annata (Non-Self)
    Apparently three IS the magic number of inter-denominational dharma concordance! hahaha I was thinking; four noble truths, eightfold path, and emptiness being form, but I have little clue where most of the other branches sit on things.
    "You yourself must strive. The Buddhas only point the way." - Shakyamuni Buddha

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by catfish View Post
    So, what about you? Where does your zazen go when you stand up?
    Well thats a different question isnt it...than the one I offered Jundo. I asked whether the realization of 'timeless' disappears when standing up.

    Zazen refers to sitting in stillness.

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Eric, please post a photo in your profile, and an introduction of yourself to the other selfs (provisional or not) in our Greetings thread
    I didnt know we had a special intro thread. I'll post a little something this evening.

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Well thats a different question isnt it...than the one I offered Jundo. I asked whether the realization of 'timeless' disappears when standing up.

    Zazen refers to sitting in stillness.
    Well, the standard Zenny response is that 'timeless' does not disappear or appear, is not limited to sitting or standing up or any position in time and space. Also, 'timeless' appears, disappears, sits and stands, runs and flies and is every second of time.

    We sit to realize that (which cannot be realized).

    If you came to a Zen Sangha but without intention to sit, it is very much like coming to a Karate Dojo but staying off the mat.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  36. #36
    The answer of all answers is no answer, I think.

    Gassho,

    John

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Well, the standard Zenny response is that 'timeless' does not disappear or appear, is not limited to sitting or standing up or any position in time and space.
    Do you mean this realization of 'timeless' is dependant on sitting in stillness BEFORE it happens...but not AFTER it happens?

    Also, is this realization like a volume knob with a spectrum of depth...or is it an on/off switch?

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Do you mean this realization of 'timeless' is dependant on sitting in stillness BEFORE it happens...but not AFTER it happens?

    Also, is this realization like a volume knob with a spectrum of depth...or is it an on/off switch?
    Oye! I guess this is the time of the old Zen Teacher cop-out-non-cop-out, "Just Sit, find out for 'your so-called self'".

    Timeless is not dependent on anything, thus it is timeless. There is no before or now or after, and yet timeless is tick tocking before now and after. Timeless is 5:32 pm. In fact, 5:32pm embodies all time and timeless.

    Timeless is not here or there ... thus it is here, there, on Mars and in New Jersey.

    Timeless is not a matter of realization, and cannot be realized. One sits to realize such non-realization.

    Timeless is not a matter of shallow or deep, yet is found at the bottom of the sea or a spoonful of water. Sometimes it is found boundlessly, sometimes to one degree or another.

    Very Zenny, huh!?

    Eric, are you sitting each day ... dropping all thought of time or timeless, deep or shallow, before now and after? Please sit each day in such way, for a time in your sitting place.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  39. #39
    Hi Eric,

    Please don't get this wrong, but you sound like someone who knows Zen only from an "outside view", just from books/talks. I may be wrong, so please don't take this as an offense.
    Of course, your questions are justified (I am also someone who is full of questions), but many of them (if not most) become clear when you sit every day - even if it's just 15 mins.
    I'd recommend watching one Trealeaf Beginner's Video a day, always sitting afterwards (the most important point). When you are through with them I am convinced many of your questions will have been solved.
    Give it a shot, it cannot hurt.

    Gassho,

    Timo
    no thing needs to be added

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Almost all Buddhists of any flavor teach the Three Marks of Existence ... the state of Dukkha (Suffering), Annica (Impermanence) and Annata (Non-Self)

    http://buddhism.about.com/od/basicbu...threemarks.htm

    Of course, within that framework, much point for difference in interpretation among the many flavors and Teachers of Buddhism.
    Question is...how much can an original principle be re-cast or re-interpreted before its meaning has changed enough to break the consensus?

    Imagine an alcoholic wakes up with a hangover on Saturday morning, stands up and says..."Ok, thats it...I'm done!".

    He starts walking around his apartment and catches his reflection in a mirror..."No really...I'm serious this time...I'm never going to drink again!!!"

    He sits down and waits for bedtime...concentrating on 'not drinking'.
    And all day he thinks of nothing else but this absence of drinking, watching the clock ticking away.

    This would be a rather morbid desperate approach methinks...and not very fruitful.

    You dont change by 'not doing' something...but by doing something else as a replacement. It doesnt even have to be some other (less harmful) form of addiction. It could be something more wholesome...like lawn darts...or playing with a rubber tire on a chain! Nevermind...its a old Woody Allen joke.

    The same is true with a tradition like Buddhism. The three marks of existence listed above are simply omissions or negations. Everything is impermanent, unsatisfactory and without an intrinsic self.

    Of course this is dependant on the definition of 'thing'...but this is for physicists to figure out, not people sitting on zafus guessing based on subjective feeling.

    If someone asks me what is Buddhism and I answer..."Well, its not this, and its not that, and hey, its not the other thing either!"

    All I have done is create an empty zero...a vacuum with no basis for any structure of rightness or meaning.

    Even the term 'sentient being' is contradicted by the principle of 'annata'. The charge of vicarious liability asserts itself...while the ethical theory of karma is thus thrown overboard. -Eric.
    Last edited by Eric; 01-28-2013 at 11:57 PM.

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by LimoLama View Post
    Of course, your questions are justified (I am also someone who is full of questions), but many of them (if not most) become clear when you sit every day.
    Does this mean zazen didnt work in your own case...seeing as you are still full of questions?

    I realize all verbal explanations are imperfect...but this is no justification for abandoning all attempts to make sense of the Dharma. To do so would be the ultimate disrespect to all those who sacrificed their lives to preserve it.

  42. #42
    Eric,

    Thank you for your teachings.

    Take great care.

    Gassho,

    John

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Question is...how much can an original principle be re-cast or re-interpreted before its meaning has changed enough to break the consensus?

    Imagine an alcoholic wakes up with a hangover on Saturday morning, stands up and says..."Ok, thats it...I'm done!".

    He starts walking around his apartment and catches his reflection in a mirror..."No really...I'm serious this time...I'm never going to drink again!!!"

    He sits down and waits for bedtime...concentrating on 'not drinking'.
    And all day he thinks of nothing else but this absence of drinking, watching the clock ticking away.

    This would be a rather morbid desperate approach methinks...and not very fruitful.

    You dont change by 'not doing' something...but by doing something else as a replacement. It doesnt even have to be some other (less harmful) form of addiction.
    Have you sat with this talk for "All Beginners" yet? It might address some of this. Saying there is no "you" to change ... and nothing to change ... does not mean there is no you and much else in need of change.

    Saying that there is “no place to go, no destination” does not mean that there are not good and bad paths to get there! Saying “there is nothing that need be done” does—not—mean there is nothing to do. Saying that “nothing is in need of change” does—not—mean that “nothing is in need of change.”

    Saying “we are already Buddha” is not enough if we don’t realize that, act like that!

    Simple, exaggerated example …

    Perhaps a fellow sits down to Zazen for the first time who is a violent man, a thief and alcoholic. He hears that “all is Buddha just as it is“, so thinks that Zen practice means “all is a jewel just as it is, so thus maybe I can simply stay that way, just drink and beat my wife and rob strangers“. Well, no, because while a thief and wife-beater is just that …
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...%28Part-XIV%29

    As to "needing to replace" one thing by another, I once used the analogy of a hammer. Our "self" beating ourself in the head with categories, divisions, frictions, aversions and attractions is a lot like our beating ourself over the head with a hammer. You might say that simply stopping to do so is "replacing one action with another", or simply to stop an action and replace it with stillness ... but I say to simply STOP one way or another. Put the hammer down. Call it what you will.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-%28Part-II%29

    Eric, you remind me a bit of this old Zen story ...

    A university professor went to visit a Japanese Zen teacher. While the teacher quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen, the philosophy of Zen, his opinions about why Zen was this or that, about the need to replace one thing with another, about how much an original principle might be re-cast or re-interpreted before its meaning has changed enough to break the consensus. The teacher poured the visitor's cup to the brim, and then kept pouring.

    The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself.

    "It's overfull! No more will go in!" the professor blurted.

    "You are like this cup," the teacher replied, "How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup."


    There is a difference between asking some questions ... and having one's head filled with wrestling debates and preconceptions.

    Are you sitting each day, dropping all thought of replacing or not replacing, doing or not doing, casting or not recasting, self or no self, physicists or no physicists?

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-29-2013 at 02:53 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  44. #44
    Eric,

    Humbly, in your presentation, everything spot on, but most things coming from the wrong place. Cut this. Cut~nurture this. How to?
    As you walk through this gate with your mouth open, I see nothing but saliva and useless foaming. That would certainly fill a book. In life, hopeless.
    How do you gassho? How do you walk to work? How do you eat and sleep and kiss?
    You are trapped in the "why~world".

    with a because~world not far away...

    Zen start when whys are dropped.

    hungry ghost like myself a lot of the time, wake up!

    gassho


    Taigu
    Last edited by Taigu; 01-29-2013 at 01:22 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.

  45. #45
    Hi Eric,

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Does this mean zazen didnt work in your own case...seeing as you are still full of questions?
    Sorry, you misunderstood me or I didn't explain it clearly enough.
    I wanted to say that I am a very, very (very) curious person per se, and as a result when I came to this practice, I had also so many questions.
    However, when you sit regularly (it needn't be for long periods, but best every day), lots of your questions will disappear and you'll understand better. Things will come natural.
    BTW: IMHO zazen is not something that works or not - it is just something you do.
    Almost anything we do in life has a purpose: we watch movies to be entertained, we read a book to learn something, etc. However, when we do Shikantaza Zazen we just are. Nothing added. No extras. We don't do it to become peaceful, to become relaxed, etc. We just do it to do it. In this way it is the most straightforward, honest thing you can do in life: just naked being, not doing anything to attain something.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    I realize all verbal explanations are imperfect...but this is no justification for abandoning all attempts to make sense of the Dharma. To do so would be the ultimate disrespect to all those who sacrificed their lives to preserve it.
    I fully agree. I would be the last person to say you shouldn't question things. It's quite the contrary: question everything, doubt everything!

    However, it is practice that makes things clearer. Books are fine - in fact, I am one of the worst bookworms you can find -, but practice will answer most of your questions far more effectively than any book can.
    How would you explain to someone who does not know what riding a bicycle means how to ride a bicycle? You only learn riding a bicycle through practice. No book in the world can actually teach it.
    (I don't know if this is a good analogy...)

    Don't stop reading, don't stop questioning - but put more emphasis on the actual practice.
    That's at least what I found to be helpful.

    Gassho,

    Timo
    no thing needs to be added

  46. #46
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Question is...how much can an original principle be re-cast or re-interpreted before its meaning has changed enough to break the consensus?

    Imagine an alcoholic wakes up with a hangover on Saturday morning, stands up and says..."Ok, thats it...I'm done!".

    He starts walking around his apartment and catches his reflection in a mirror..."No really...I'm serious this time...I'm never going to drink again!!!"

    He sits down and waits for bedtime...concentrating on 'not drinking'.
    And all day he thinks of nothing else but this absence of drinking, watching the clock ticking away.

    This would be a rather morbid desperate approach methinks...and not very fruitful.
    I think you are correct. Sitting around thinking "don't drink" would be a horrible anti-alcoholic technique. In fact trying to not do anything by sitting around thinking "don't do it" would probably be doomed to failure. My problem is that I don't see what this has to do with zazen, buddhism, or anything else except for people trying to quit stuff via pure thinking of "don't do it"

    You dont change by 'not doing' something...but by doing something else as a replacement. It doesnt even have to be some other (less harmful) form of addiction. It could be something more wholesome...like lawn darts...or playing with a rubber tire on a chain! Nevermind...its a old Woody Allen joke.
    What makes something wholesome? What makes something less addictive? What is the difference between "not doing" something and "replacing" something with another thing? I am thouroghly confused. Couldn't the alcoholic sit and think "don't do it" for some of the time, do other things other times, and sit and not do or think anything at other times? More troubling, is that I have no clue what the hell this analogy is supposed to represent. I know I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but if the alcoholic represents people on the zen path then I'm lost by what the comparison is about. Can you make it more clear?

    The same is true with a tradition like Buddhism. The three marks of existence listed above are simply omissions or negations. Everything is impermanent, unsatisfactory and without an intrinsic self.

    Of course this is dependant on the definition of 'thing'...but this is for physicists to figure out, not people sitting on zafus guessing based on subjective feeling.
    The three marks are not ommissions or negations unless you have redefined those words. They are a list of ATTRIBUTES that the teachings of the Buddha have. You calling them negations does not make it so, and trying to prove that they are would take a philosophical discussion that would exceed the bandwith and storage of this forum. Furthermore, Physicist do not define words. That is a philosophers job. Physicist construct models of reality and test them to see if they comport to reality. A physicist will not define a thing he will describe a phenomena (usually mathematically) that may correspond to a "thing" but things and thingyness are in the realm of philosophy (this is a nit pick, but I do love my science)

    If someone asks me what is Buddhism and I answer..."Well, its not this, and its not that, and hey, its not the other thing either!"

    All I have done is create an empty zero...a vacuum with no basis for any structure of rightness or meaning.
    What if someone ask you what ice cream is? Do you suffer an existential break down or just go to the freezer? Different people may define Buddhism (or Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) differently, but that does not mean you have created an empty zero (whatever that means) with that definition. Unless all things evade definition, which is a debate about the nature of reality and the difference between concepts and reality, you can define Buddhism in spite of any ambiguity.

    Even the term 'sentient being' is contradicted by the principle of 'annata'. The charge of vicarious liability asserts itself...while the ethical theory of karma is thus thrown overboard. -Eric.
    The concept of sentient being is in no way contradicted by the principle of annata. Annata means no soul if I'm not mistaken. Please explain how that negates anything other than an everlasting soul? Also I'm not sure why karma gets thrown overboard. Maybe it has, but you certainly haven't made a case for it other than a priori assertions.

    Also, it is my understanding that Zen was formed precisely to avoid this kind of nonsense... just sit, or not. Either way words won't make it so.
    Last edited by Nengyo; 01-29-2013 at 09:00 PM.
    "You yourself must strive. The Buddhas only point the way." - Shakyamuni Buddha

  47. #47
    Just to wrap up my inquiry into the Soto teaching I'd like to touch on two more points I think are fascinating.

    There was a saying among the Rabbis of medieval Spain...

    "Always the last form of pride to be surrendered by a teacher is the desire to be famous for his humility."

    LOL! The quickest way to go down in the history of Buddhist teachers is to invent something new...change the Dharma or add something new to it.

    In that sense, Buddhist history becomes like the snowball I mentioned in the opening post, rolling down a hill, picking up all kinds of distortions and cultural baggage along the way. That perfect sphere you once held in your hands might end up at the bottom as a very large ovoid...with some odd bits sticking out here and there!

    Most of the time, whatever you hear from a contemporary teacher is just what is recited from his/her sect...which may be no more significant than a pimple on an elephant, relative to the consensus among all Buddhist teachings that have ever existed. That's what...thirty thousand volumes or so?

    This is what I see in the current Soto incarnation, which revolves around a few lines of text in Dogen's writings...which are contradicted by dozens of other statements in his works that crush it like an eggshell.

    I'm referring to the synonymising of practise and enlightenment.

    You ask any of the thousands of great teachers who have lived over the past 2000+ years whether these principles are synonyms and they will say..."Of course not...duh?"


    Another interesting observation is how sitting meditation is thought by almost all schools to lead directly to their own particular teaching by an intuition that requires no words.


    How many times have we heard a teacher say...

    "I know my garbled convoluted logic doesnt make any sense...but if you will just shut up and sit still for a few years every word will eventually be revealed as a perfect truth...as if it had just fallen down from heaven!"

    Problem is, this isnt borne out by the testimony of history. Literally dozens of traditions engage sitting meditation, and yet they all come out in the wash with very different doctrinal conclusions, whether they are called Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, or Daoist.

    So, next time you hear this rap...remember its not the teacher's fault. Its your fault for not bringing this nonsense to a screeching halt!

    I wish everyone the best outcome in their endeavours...even if they dont call it that! Happy trails y'all! -Eric.

  48. #48
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Just to wrap up my inquiry into the Soto teaching I'd like to touch on two more points I think are fascinating.
    You didn't really inquire into anything. Nor did you teach anything. In fact you didn't even troll. I'm seriously confused about what you think you accomplished.

    There was a saying among the Rabbis of medieval Spain...

    "Always the last form of pride to be surrendered by a teacher is the desire to be famous for his humility."
    Can you quote the source. I can't find any such quote on my school search engine.


    LOL! The quickest way to go down in the history of Buddhist teachers is to invent something new...change the Dharma or add something new to it.

    In that sense, Buddhist history becomes like the snowball I mentioned in the opening post, rolling down a hill, picking up all kinds of distortions and cultural baggage along the way. That perfect sphere you once held in your hands might end up at the bottom as a very large ovoid...with some odd bits sticking out here and there!
    So are you striving for a permanent, unchanging Buddhism that one can really be attached to?

    Most of the time, whatever you hear from a contemporary teacher is just what is recited from his/her sect...which may be no more significant than a pimple on an elephant, relative to the consensus among all Buddhist teachings that have ever existed. That's what...thirty thousand volumes or so?

    This is what I see in the current Soto incarnation, which revolves around a few lines of text in Dogen's writings...which are contradicted by dozens of other statements in his works that crush it like an eggshell.

    I'm referring to the synonymising of practise and enlightenment.

    You ask any of the thousands of great teachers who have lived over the past 2000+ years whether these principles are synonyms and they will say..."Of course not...duh?"
    How do you know what the thousands of great teachers would say in regards to any question, much less the one you propose?


    Another interesting observation is how sitting meditation is thought by almost all schools to lead directly to their own particular teaching by an intuition that requires no words.


    How many times have we heard a teacher say...

    "I know my garbled convoluted logic doesnt make any sense...but if you will just shut up and sit still for a few years every word will eventually be revealed as a perfect truth...as if it had just fallen down from heaven!"

    Problem is, this isnt borne out by the testimony of history. Literally dozens of traditions engage sitting meditation, and yet they all come out in the wash with very different doctrinal conclusions, whether they are called Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, or Daoist.

    So, next time you hear this rap...remember its not the teacher's fault. Its your fault for not bringing this nonsense to a screeching halt!

    I wish everyone the best outcome in their endeavours...even if they dont call it that! Happy trails y'all! -Eric.
    I'm pretty sure that all intrinsic meditative practices admit that they don't capture the full truth with words, concepts, or traditions. What is your point?

    I would like to thank you for something, but I have read all your post at least twice now and I have no clue what you are trying to do, say, imply, prove, or convince me of. As a scientist who loves to dabble in philosophy I really wanted to be wowed. I wasn't. I'm confused.

    I wish you nothing but the best in your practice. I hope whatever path you are on leads you to the truth. If you wish to try to clarify your points feel free to PM me.

    Metta,
    Nengyo
    "You yourself must strive. The Buddhas only point the way." - Shakyamuni Buddha

  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Just to wrap up my inquiry into the Soto teaching I'd like to touch on two more points I think are fascinating.
    Alas, you should not confuse honest inquiry with bringing in own prejudices, seeking for clues to "confirm" them and discarding the rest that does not fit.
    Interesting thing that most here concluded from your words that you don't practice zazen regularly or at all.

    So long, and thanks for all the fish,

    Timo
    no thing needs to be added

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post

    In that sense, Buddhist history becomes like the snowball I mentioned in the opening post, rolling down a hill, picking up all kinds of distortions and cultural baggage along the way. That perfect sphere you once held in your hands might end up at the bottom as a very large ovoid...with some odd bits sticking out here and there!

    Most of the time, whatever you hear from a contemporary teacher is just what is recited from his/her sect...which may be no more significant than a pimple on an elephant, relative to the consensus among all Buddhist teachings that have ever existed. That's what...thirty thousand volumes or so?

    This is what I see in the current Soto incarnation, which revolves around a few lines of text in Dogen's writings...which are contradicted by dozens of other statements in his works that crush it like an eggshell.
    Hi Eric,

    Well, rolling on and changing is also how evolution, progress and adaptation to new circumstances happen. It has been that way in Buddhism for 2500 years, with some aspects of this Way thoroughly Formless and Timeless ... and some forms moving on from India to China to Japan or Korea and on, through very different centuries and cultures and ways of interpreting Buddhist Teachings. Sure, some changes may be for the worse and are to be avoided ... yet some may be improvements, or more effective or suitable interpretations, on old forms.

    The reasons on has "thirty thousand volumes" is because rarely were folks in agreement except on the Heart of the Matter (and even then, little in agreement on how to express that Heart sometimes), so thus thousands of volumes all asserting something often very different approaches to the same thing-non-thing.

    Not sure which "few lines of Dogen" are contradicted, or what you mean.

    However, I will say this: If the way of a certain Practice or Teachers or place does not suit you, one might find another place or Practice or Teachers. I do not feel you gave Shikantaza much of a chance, however, before jumping to preset conclusions.

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - Here is a talk from today that is very much related to evolution ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-Get-the-Blues
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-30-2013 at 04:26 AM.
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