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Thread: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 24

  1. #1

    BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 24

    Case 23 never ends, yet now comes ...

    Case 24: Seppo's Poison Snake

    Many Koans (each a tale of long dead and buried Zen Ancestors) speak of freedom from death. In the piercing of "no coming no going" one finds no death, and we are never really "born" either. Where can birth and death be found, from start to finish, when the mind stops measuring "starts" and "finishes"? Since one is never born, never dies ... one loses even that contrasting state called "life" as apart from "death".

    Such birthless-deathless can be (must be) realized even as this short lived life of birth and death. "No coming no going" comes and goes. Oh, in their Wisdom, the long dead Ancestors live even now!

    Dogen (also dead some 700 years) wrote in Shinjin Gakudo ...

    When we are born, is one speck of something added to us? At death, does one mote of something depart from us? Where are we to find this birth-and-death, along with our views about it? Up to the present, they have been just one moment of the mind and then a second moment of the mind. One moment of the mind and then a second moment of the mind is one great earth with its mountains and rivers and then [in another moment] a second great earth with its mountains and rivers. Since such things as the great earth with its mountains and rivers are beyond a matter of existing or not existing, they are beyond being large or small ... they do not change in accordance with our having awakened or not.
    In Shoji Dogen spoke of a further viewless view hand-in-hand with transcending life-death. It is a view running right into birth and death, of living that is thoroughly living, for one's life depends on it ... of dying or die trying, right to the death ...

    Living and dying is what nirvana is, for there is nothing to despise in living and dying, nor anything to be wished for in nirvana. ... In the time we call ‘living’, there is nothing except life, and in the time we call ‘dying’, there is nothing except death. Thus, when life comes, it is simply life, and when death comes, it is simply death. When facing up to them, do not say that you want to cling to the one or push away the other. This living and dying is precisely what the treasured life of a Buddha is. If we hate life and want to throw it away, that is just our attempt to throw away the treasured life of Buddha. And if we go no farther than this and clutch onto life and death, this too is our throwing away the treasured life of Buddha by limiting ourselves to the superficial appearance of Buddha. When there is nothing we hate and nothing we cling to, then, for the first time, we enter the Heart of Buddha.
    The Preface to the Koan seems to refer to several Now Dead Teachers who demonstrated the Deathless in various ways ... by barking as a dog or braying as a donkey. The carp can manifest a powerful dragon. They were great, but the Koan reminds us, one must get bit by this snake oneself. This poison does not kill one, for where is there for such a snake to bite?

    Questions: Did you ever experience a moment of the spark of life (such as a child's birth) or brink of death, yet taste something in the instant beyond such mental categories?

    Have you ever tasted something of Dogen's existential way of living and dying: when life comes live, when death comes die, do not cling to one or push away the other?


    Buddhists are not big for a soul or eternal spirit, by the way, but we do know something timeless and most intimate goes on and on ...

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-26-2013 at 02:16 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Jenell View Post
    Yes
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  3. #3
    Questions: Did you ever experience a moment of the spark of life (such as a child's birth) or brink of death, yet taste something in the instant beyond such mental categories?
    The first time was at around age nine crossing Taunton rd..(a fast country highway) on my bike and getting hit by a motorcycle at full spead. It pretzled the bike and threw me spinning into the ditch . I remember looking up and seeing the whole Adams family bent over me saying things like "is he dead?" (not the Addams family but a real family called Adams with 9 kids, all with biblical names). At that moment there was no life or death, no fear... just timeless space very crisp and clear, and curiosity. I didn't die and, doctor said it was a lucky turn.


    Have you ever tasted something of Dogen's existential way of living and dying: when life comes live, when death comes die, do not cling to one or push away the other?
    This is the every day practice... getting older, losing energy. The seniors who live with us getting sicker
    My father in-law is going on home dialysis soon (he is upset and scared), and I will be trained in the procedure There is cancer in the family. Our beloved pooch is having more seizures.

    Need reading glasses. Having a sex talk with the kid. The arc of life.


    Gassho. Daizan
    Last edited by Daizan; 01-25-2013 at 01:35 AM.
    大山

  4. #4
    I'll be 70 in May...easy come easy go. My practice is my refuge: I take daily refuge in the Buddha I take daily refuge in sangha I take daily refuge in the Dharma
    "Know that the practice of zazen is the complete path of buddha-dharma and nothing can be compared to it....it is not the practice of one or two buddhas but all the buddha ancestors practice this way."
    Dogen zenji in Bendowa






  5. #5
    some days the pops up:"Can I really and honestly accept all this life and death stuff?Can I really make peace with all is just fine as it is?"And by the force of old habit my mind searches for answers.Then I remember my practice and why I just sit everyday...and a line from Dogen's Death poem comes to my mind:"...I will just jump into the yellow springs"...or something like that. Just don't care much for the questions anymore.

    Gassho, Memo

  6. #6
    Said to be Dogen`s deathbed poem ...

    Fifty-four years lighting up the sky.
    A quivering leap smashes a billion worlds. Hah!
    Entire body looks for nothing.
    Living, I plunge into Yellow Springs.


    http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=m...prings&f=false


    That's by Tanahashi. Steven Heine has ...


    For fifty-four years
    Following the way of heaven,
    Now leaping beyond
    shattering every barrier.
    Amazing!
    To cast off all attachments
    While still alive!
    Plunging into the yellow spring!


    "Yellow springs" refers to the mythological Chinese realm of the dead called Huángquán (黄泉 or "Yellow Springs"), the underworld, the world of the dead, Hades.

    Awhile back, Taigu commented this on the poem (when my daughter was very sick in the hospital and we were worried) ...

    In this situation, no need to dress it up and make it cheerful. No need to flee and avoid the problem. We are all invited to participate with joy to this, because it is the very nature of life, fleeting, changing, fragile, the very nature of what is given to us, sooner or later taken back. In front of this, we invite the unknown, throwing body and mind into it, trusting a process beyond thoughts, feelings and fears. As Dogen says in what he left us as a death poem:

    ...

    What a remarkable way to live! Leaping into the unknown, life and death merged and both totally transcended. Every single moment is an opportunity for all of us to exactly do that, that this body of thirty, fourty, fifty years and a few days and throw it into the amazing unknown reality.

    ...

    Nothing left, no traces, no shadow. Just the taste of what is as it is. That's our way to live, far from the hopes and consolations found in so many religions and belief systems.
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...n-s-death-poem
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-25-2013 at 02:49 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  7. #7
    Did you ever experience a moment of the spark of life (such as a child's birth) or brink of death, yet taste something in the instant beyond such mental categories?

    I have witnessed a birth by cesarian section. The skilled OBGYN surgeon extracted a purple creature from a pregnant belly with a few quick motions of a scalpel. The creature cried and turned into a living and breathing baby. The experience was surreal, a tasteless taste until the first taste of such experience.

    Have you ever tasted something of Dogen's existential way of living and dying: when life comes live, when death comes die, do not cling to one or push away the other?

    I live in delusion, treating the past as real and the future as real. The past and future happen now, nowhere else. Life and death are not real just as past and future are not real. I try to taste just now, without clinging.

    Gassho, John
    治 Ji
    心​ Shin

  8. #8
    I do but its not happening this moment, this moment this moment, and so I work along, play along and do what needs done.

    To be frank I live with panic attacks and such and so dwelling on what is to come, well it sets me spinning, though with this practice we learn to let it die so we can truly live, over and over again - so I go through my day keeping in mind this is all changing, all fleeting. When the time comes, who knows, If I fall over after this post then what else could be done??

    I liked a another zen practitioners parting words from this world

    ... Oh wow, oh wow! -Steve Jobs - always a marketing man, right to the end.


    Gassho
    Shohei

  9. #9
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Without reading Wick's or Jundo's commentary here, the Preface and Main case both seem to be pointing to waking up, big Mind and Enlightenment await. Get out of your head (ego) and get in your body and feel, fully embrace what is real. Embody your Buddha nature, it totally encompasses your every breathe, how can it be ignored !?

    Seemingly the Preface is not about which animal or place (thats the game... of the ego; this is the gotcha of the opening for those who cannot see the big picture, so to speak), as it says 'they do not fall into common place'; also, 'they do not behave like animals' (only in phenomena/ego). It seems that when big Mind is more fully realized there is no separation between us and animals, or mountains and lakes. We already Are, in becoming the animal/mountains in every breath fully embodied. 'What is the conduct of such persons?', the Preface closes with. It seems to point to those of us who are still stuck in believing, buying into, the illusion that this self we trot out the door every day is real, that all the phenomena we face is real... who were you/we before our parents were born??

    Seemingly the same set-up is in the main case, the lesson being to try to draw us into seeing our shallowness in thinking this is all real. Does not the poison snake seem to be a metaphor for the poisoning of our minds with full ego control? In saying that there are many in the hall that have lost their lives, is it not bringing attention to how lost we are here in believing this is real and we relatively are all dead anyway if we cannot get a grip on big Mind? That seems to be the same intention when Gensha says 'Why bother using South Mountain' and not so much that that is where poisonous snakes are waiting to kill, but it seems to be saying throw the mountain (thoughts of) and the snake garbage out of your minds, the only poison is what we have let our ego fill us up with. Unmmon, in throwing down his staff seemed to be just more of the same game to show how ridiculous our game is. He is showing us our fear playing is our game, that is what the ego does, it keeps us locked up the its insecure game of fear, to much in our chattering spinning thoughts of ignorance, when all we have to do is breathe in that nature we were before our parents were born. A call to wake up and embody the roses, the animals and mountains, there is no separation between us and them. Who is doing the seeing?


    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Here's the thing, I've witnessed both the miracles of birth and death on more than two or three occasions. I'll been involved in both bus and car accidents where i came closed to cashing in. My mother taught me to say "if I should die before I wake, I pray the lord my soul to take"; something I have contemplated each night before sleep, something more than 26 thousand times and each morning for 15 years now sitting zazen. And yet, I still trust and hope that I have another 28 years to go to 103. Where is the non-delusion in that I ask.

    I was (still am) delighted by the philosophy expounded by a 95 yr old aunt who said, " My death will be one of the most beautiful experiences of my life; if not, what difference!" However, I grew to realize that mostly, she told people what she thought they wanted to hear; as I watched her live in fear of death for her last five years in a nursing home, to the ripe old age of 104.

    My grand father always fought a great fear he had of the month of November; guess when he died; at an age of 93.
    My father was a layreader in the Anglican Church and he often spoke of death as "giving up the ghost". The evening before he died, the resident in charge of his case told me he had discussed his prognosis with him and he seemed to have made a decision; next morning he suffered a massive stroke that took him from this visible world. I trully believe 99% of life is attitude, the other half is effort. You are only happy if you want to be.

    Friends, the poison snake of South Mountain does exist. Be careful of what you dream or dread.

    gassho, Shokai
    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.

  11. #11
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    So Dogen was 54 when he died.
    Hmm, I'm 54.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by galen View Post
    Without reading Wick's or Jundo's commentary here, the Preface and Main case both seem to be pointing to waking up, big Mind and Enlightenment await. Get out of your head (ego) and get in your body and feel, fully embrace what is real. Embody your Buddha nature, it totally encompasses your every breathe, how can it be ignored !?

    Seemingly the Preface is not about which animal or place (thats the game... of the ego; this is the gotcha of the opening for those who cannot see the big picture, so to speak), as it says 'they do not fall into common place'; also, 'they do not behave like animals' (only in phenomena/ego). It seems that when big Mind is more fully realized there is no separation between us and animals, or mountains and lakes. We already Are, in becoming the animal/mountains in every breath fully embodied. 'What is the conduct of such persons?', the Preface closes with. It seems to point to those of us who are still stuck in believing, buying into, the illusion that this self we trot out the door every day is real, that all the phenomena we face is real... who were you/we before our parents were born??

    Seemingly the same set-up is in the main case, the lesson being to try to draw us into seeing our shallowness in thinking this is all real. Does not the poison snake seem to be a metaphor for the poisoning of our minds with full ego control? In saying that there are many in the hall that have lost their lives, is it not bringing attention to how lost we are here in believing this is real and we relatively are all dead anyway if we cannot get a grip on big Mind? That seems to be the same intention when Gensha says 'Why bother using South Mountain' and not so much that that is where poisonous snakes are waiting to kill, but it seems to be saying throw the mountain (thoughts of) and the snake garbage out of your minds, the only poison is what we have let our ego fill us up with. Unmmon, in throwing down his staff seemed to be just more of the same game to show how ridiculous our game is. He is showing us our fear playing is our game, that is what the ego does, it keeps us locked up the its insecure game of fear, to much in our chattering spinning thoughts of ignorance, when all we have to do is breathe in that nature we were before our parents were born. A call to wake up and embody the roses, the animals and mountains, there is no separation between us and them. Who is doing the seeing?


    Gassho
    Thank you, Galen. Lovely.

    Yet we are just roses and animals and mountains.

    This snake can bite us with the poisons of greed, anger and ignorance ... or the biteless bite which brings freedom.

    The ass can be just an ass ... or kick away ego, braying Buddha Nature.

    The carp is just a smelly fish ... or may manifest a powerful dragon.

    I wonder if the "folks in the hall having lost their lives" was a put down of those who are lost ... or perhaps a compliment on what was found instead beyond death (and beyond one vs. many, Chokei and Gensha, in or out the hall) ... or maybe a bit of both.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-26-2013 at 02:17 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  13. #13
    I'm curious... what kind of snakes will one find on North Mountain?

  14. #14
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Thank you, Galen. Lovely.

    Yet we are just roses and animals and mountains.

    This snake can bite us with the poisons of greed, anger and ignorance ... or the biteless bite which brings freedom.

    The ass can be just an ass ... or kick away ego, braying Buddha Nature.

    The carp is just a smelly fish ... or may manifest a powerful dragon.

    I wonder if the "folks in the hall having lost their lives" was a put down of those who are lost ... or perhaps a compliment on what was found instead beyond death (and beyond one vs. many, Chokei and Gensha, in or out the hall) ... or maybe a bit of both.

    Gassho, Jundo


    Thank you Jundo...

    The dichotomy of seemingly still a bite, an ass (some bigger then others relatively) and what difference is there between a fish thats just smelly, manifested into the power of a dragon, and/or does it matter delusional`y? Move on!

    The dichotomy of supposed lost souls in the hall (us) or just the lessons of no birth-no death and probably a bit of both, because it seems delusions keep us stuck in that gap, so why in the hell don't we just sit and get over our selves? Big Mind awaits, what are waiting on, time? No one can do This for us. It seems there is no time when sitting, but its always time to sit, because is not everything else delusion, and if so, hows that going??

    Perhaps for the fish to manifest into the dragon, or the bite to be biteless, and oh what a huge ass delusion can be and ever so heavy until its not. Why can't we just stay in not, nothing; why all the painful reasoning and chatter, just sit on that ass and let all hell freeze over into lasting love.


    Gassho
    Last edited by galen; 01-26-2013 at 05:19 PM.
    Nothing Special

  15. #15
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff_u View Post
    I'm curious... what kind of snakes will one find on North Mountain?


    What kind are slithering around in your mind?

    Watch out for the poison of reason!


    Gassho


    Welcome Jeff!
    Nothing Special

  16. #16
    Sadly, this on utterly lost me. I read it several times. Maybe if I turn it upside down?
    _/\_
    Jigetsu

  17. #17
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jigetsu View Post
    Sadly, this on utterly lost me. I read it several times. Maybe if I turn it upside down?

    Jigetsu... seemingly, being lost can be a good thing. While there are those who feel they may be getting It, like myself, who get caught up in 'thinking' such, it can only entangle the small mind of my ego, and that is what could be called sad.

    Hang in there, your honestly reaching out here could open many enlightenment's. For me it seems to help to not be afraid to speak out on these threads, having no fear of looking or sounding foolish. I embrace being looked at like the fool, I have been many times over. It can be very rewarding with the feed back it draws back to you, me, us. Seemingly, just bring your 'heart of question' like here, it would be foolish not to. You seem to be on your Way, good luck and `sit on it much as you can!


    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  18. #18
    Have you ever tasted something of Dogen's existential way of living and dying: when life comes live, when death comes die, do not cling to one or push away the other?
    An experience I'd like to share: Some times I can make too big a deal of choices at hand. Especially when I can tell that there is just one choice to be made. I might be aware (or might not completely be aware) of which choice that would be.

    Instead tempted by the fantasy of the more unreal choice, I begin to weigh out the pros and cons and tie myself further to what is not. As Suzuki Roshi says in ZM,BM - the mind wanders on to create another time and space aside from what is real. Then we make a choice finally, the other one quietly fades away. In hindsight, some of these so-called 'difficult' choices feel obvious. Yes, some times there is regret too ('Why oh why didn't I take the blue pill' ).

    I have experienced death only indirectly. I can only imagine, but if I were frail, on my back, dying, there will be moments where a lot of thoughts of this and that will pop up in my head, you know 'I wish I had done so and so ...'. What after those thoughts, what after the panic? Is there a line when dying begins?

    The line that stood out - “Today in the hall there are many who have lost their lives.”

    Gassho,
    Santosh.
    Last edited by santosh; 02-02-2013 at 04:42 AM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    In trying to catch up to the rest of this koan by reading the appr. verse, Wick, Jundo's opening and the rest of the comments on this thread, I had trouble getting past the verse. Attempting to dig down into stuckness there, I am tempted to play the fool once again. Its seems to say, to point to, our flashes of momentary enlightenment bursting like bolts of lightening. Moments of big Mindedness, and then in those fleeting seconds fall back to small mindedness, again stuck in the chaos of our normal world. Does is not feel like Its always with us, just out of reach, but right 'there' and if only we could grab It and be forever saved !? "Among brilliant lightening flashes see the change?" "When its mine I can let go or call back. (subjective)" For most of us there isn't really a choice there, at least for now, it seems. "When its with him he grabs and releases (objective)." And then: "Whats that??" "Right now can you give it to someone?" Thats seems to be the key here... hell no, how can you give something you can yet fully attain, but can only grasp at in fleeting moments. How can you/we bring It to all sentinent (sp) beings if we have little to bring? This seems to be the direction Zen wants to take us as we stumble and bumble along in `life, such as it is in the `world. The more we seemingly can get the flashes and glimpses and have some realization that they are real and true and not the rest of our fantasies, the closer and closer we get to Home. But one of the biggest obstacles seems to be when we get some attainment or realization of what Is, we get somewhat puffed up and our little minded ego throws us back again. The challenge is not for the meek, but for those who seemingly can take the risk and throwing fear out the window, because we have to throw out most of the shit we think is life. Be a fool and go for It!!


    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by galen View Post
    ... Moments of big Mindedness, and then in those fleeting seconds fall back to small mindedness, again stuck in the chaos of our normal world. Does is not feel like Its always with us, just out of reach, but right 'there' and if only we could grab It and be forever saved !? ... the closer and closer we get to Home. ... Be a fool and go for It!!


    Gassho
    Why such dualistic thinking? "Moments of Big Mindedness, and then falling back" ... Falling back TO WHERE? Our chaotic normal world? Then that "Big Mind" was simply not "Big Mind Enough" if it fails to embody this so-called "chaotic normal world" which still seems in need of escape.

    Just out of reach? The closer and closer to get? Who puts it "there"? What "just out of reach" golden ring are you grabbing for on this merry-go-round? Don't be misguided. The merry-go-round you seek to leap off is a twirling Enso all along, is the golden ring. Yee-hah!

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-28-2013 at 06:42 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  21. #21
    Did you ever experience a moment of the spark of life (such as a child's birth) or brink of death, yet taste something in the instant beyond such mental categories?

    About 5 years ago I had an allergic reaction to Amoxicillin, something that I had taken many times prior. I had stopped by the doctor’s office before work to get something for my ongoing flu. I took the medication as I left and began losing my breath and vision as I drove down the road. Somehow I drove myself to the emergency room of the nearest hospital and stumbled in. I made it to the check-in of the ER and the voice from behind the glass told me to sign the sign-in sheet and go to the waiting area. I then preceded to collapse to the ground.

    I recall being highly stressed the entire time and filled with the expectation that someone would save me. For a brief instance before passing out I gave up on that expectation and experienced only what I can describe as a state of calm. Is that the taste of something beyond mental categories? I don’t know, but that is what comes to mind.

    Have you ever tasted something of Dogen's existential way of living and dying: when life comes live, when death comes die, do not cling to one or push away the other?

    I carry attachment and delusion in much of my moment-to-moment life. The attachment to life itself creates the greatest illusion of all, the illusion of permanence. I try to just sit and leave the illusion behind, but I don’t know that I have done that if even for a moment. I did experience a shower for the first time the other week. I was standing in the shower and realized I was enjoying the shower without my normal chattering mind creating illusions…I was doing nothing but taking a shower. Then my mind recognized the moment and I lost my shower. Maybe foolishly I feel a connection between this question of not clinging or pushing away life and death, and taking a shower. It feels like a step towards the existential way of living and dying…if I don’t create an attachment to the experience

    Gassho,

    Jeff

  22. #22
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Why such dualistic thinking? "Moments of Big Mindedness, and then falling back" ... Falling back TO WHERE? Our chaotic normal world? Then that "Big Mind" was simply not "Big Mind Enough" if it fails to embody this so-called "chaotic normal world" which still seems in need of escape.

    Just out of reach? The closer and closer to get? Who puts it "there"? What "just out of reach" golden ring are you grabbing for on this merry-go-round? Don't be misguided. The merry-go-round you seek to leap off is a twirling Enso all along, is the golden ring. Yee-hah!

    Gassho, Jundo


    Because I fall back, I am human. Falling back to my normal small mindedness, just like yourself. If I didn't or wasn't, I wouldn't need this web site. Of course it was not big enough and that was my insinuation here. I am grabbing the same so-called golden merry-go-round that you are on now, with your circling questions. Are you being fooled here yeeeeeeehaaaaaaa!!??

    One would have to believe this is some priestly sarcasm, for any hope.



    Gassho
    Last edited by galen; 01-28-2013 at 08:31 PM.
    Nothing Special

  23. #23
    I cannot recall any such experiences. Perhaps an uneventful life, or my mind is dull to memory. I have a good "fact" memory but a very poor "experience" memory. I just keep going.
    Gassho, Kaishin
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

  24. #24
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    Questions: Did you ever experience a moment of the spark of life (such as a child's birth) or brink of death, yet taste something in the instant beyond such mental categories?

    Have you ever tasted something of Dogen's existential way of living and dying:[I] when life comes live, when death comes die, do not cling to one or push away the other?
    Can I be open to just what's here in front of me? Can I accept it and not want it to be other? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.


    Shugen
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-29-2013 at 03:23 AM.
    As a priest in training, please take everything I say with a pinch of salt

    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by galen View Post
    Because I fall back, I am human. Falling back to my normal small mindedness, just like yourself. If I didn't or wasn't, I wouldn't need this web site. Of course it was not big enough and that was my insinuation here. I am grabbing the same so-called golden merry-go-round that you are on now, with your circling questions. Are you being fooled here yeeeeeeehaaaaaaa!!??

    One would have to believe this is some priestly sarcasm, for any hope.



    Gassho
    You will always be human (in this life anyway), so you will always fall back. To one degree or another, of course, because we do get better at this Practice with time. You will always fall back until you become a Perfect Golden Buddha anyway.

    But please see that there is no place to fall back to. The circling merry-go-round, the falling down and standing back up again is all practice-enlightenment, is all Buddha. Buddha is the merry-go-round, the standing and falling down again ... not some timeless unmoving state (not in this life anyway) where you stand up and never fall down again, or leap completely off the roundabout. It is not (in our neck of the Buddhist woods anyway), some final achievement in which you "got it" and that's that ... the ride is done.

    Of course, while riding, falling up and down, we can simultaneously know that timeless, unmoving state with no up and down. At once. It is an ultimate achievement, but never final (in this life anyway).

    Please be willing to hear. This is the ticket we carnies sell in this carnival.

    Gassho, Jundo


    Last edited by Jundo; 01-29-2013 at 05:01 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  26. #26
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Thank you Jundo, I hear you loud and clear. It seems my words of 'falling back', are as relative and to the same degree as 'falling down and getting back up'. It seems falling back (they are both falling somewhere to be saved once again, and again and again) is, as you say, practice-enlightenment, which is also my intent. Seemingly, if there is no place to fall back to, as you say, then it would seem to fit the same falling down in what is considered relative, there would be no place to fall down to. May it not just be word games, one no more meaningful then the other. Help me, I do not see a difference here, my intended post seems to have the same result, of always getting back up (with big Mind, in as much as possible in each of our own personal awareness at this point in `time), that is the practice 24/7.


    Gassho
    Last edited by galen; 01-29-2013 at 10:00 PM.
    Nothing Special

  27. #27
    Senior Member Jakudo's Avatar
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    "Questions: Did you ever experience a moment of the spark of life (such as a child's birth) or brink of death, yet taste something in the instant beyond such mental categories?

    Have you ever tasted something of Dogen's existential way of living and dying: when life comes live, when death comes die, do not cling to one or push away the other?"

    The only experiance that would come close would be a few years back when I fell from our roof onto the concrete driveway. While falling there was no fear, only the acknowledgement of it happening, When I landed (feet first) there wasent any fear but again, acknowledgement that the snap I heard was my legs. As I rolled onto my back and lifted my legs to see them dangling below my knees...still no fear, all pretty surreal really. I'm not implying it did not have a psychological effect on me, it certainly did, I've had panic attacks reliving that moment on and off since it happened as well as some physical limitations. I think I'm getting off topic...
    Gassho, Jakudo Hinton.
    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

  28. #28
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    wow, when I was akid a friend and Iused to jumped off the garage roof for kicks but, much younger, flexibl, etc Wouldn't want to experience it as an accident thol
    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.

  29. #29
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Fall down seven, get up eight
    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.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Questions: Did you ever experience a moment of the spark of life (such as a child's birth) or brink of death, yet taste something in the instant beyond such mental categories?

    Have you ever tasted something of Dogen's existential way of living and dying: when life comes live, when death comes die, do not cling to one or push away the other?
    The moment my child was born was beyond any description for me. It was somehow timeless. No word can describe this moment.

    Another moment was an incident involving electricity and a screwdriver... Luckily nothing happened - I was lucky. Strange thing is: I was not even scared or anything. I just witnessed everything almost impartially. Just a few moments later I realized how lucky I was. A person standing a few feet away was really a bit upset. And I marked that day on my calendar as a reminder of how fleeting life can be.
    no thing needs to be added

  31. #31
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Have you ever tasted something of Dogen's existential way of living and dying: when life comes live, when death comes die, do not cling to one or push away the other?

    I guess we all have had to face life changing moments in one way or another. For me it was to finally accept that the course I was trying to maintain in my life was not going to work for me. Walking away from cherished dreams and people was my biggest heart wrench... but in doing so it was in this letting go that a new way appeared, which did not depend on control or 'force'. No clinging or pushing but only opening and unfolding. My life changed as each day unfolds and the rhythm of the day became the rhythm of my heart and slowly the pain and damage dissolves and dissolved...until a new life way began to unfold into a family and career that was just me being me....Isn't this called growing up?
    Heisoku
    平 息

  32. #32
    About a decade ago I was on a flight from Tokyo to Honolulu when we hit some pretty bad, very unexpected turbulence. Without warning the plane must have dropped several hundred feet. At that moment the flight attendant was serving drinks and a little girl (maybe five or six) was in the aisle. Both flew to the ceiling and back, and up, and back. Amazingly the attendant had a keen presence of mind and grabbed the girl mid-air and was able to get into a ball and hold steady on the ground. That simple act still serves to remind me of how to be a hero. The turbulence lasted what felt like hours--it was probably less but time was still. During that time the plane was silent. Hands tightly gripped arm rests. Eyes were but gazes upon the mountain. However, I happened to have a Rubik's cube in my hand (I know... the eighties called, I didn't give it back). My friend and travel companion also happened to have one is his hand. We had been racing each other to see who could solve it faster. Over and over we just kept solving and restarting to pass the time. When the craziness hit we barely flinched. Focused, we kept spinning the sides of the cubes. For over an hour that's all we did. Later, when the bumps smoothed and the sun welcomed us to a beautiful Hawaii morning we began talking to the passengers around us. All of them mentioned that we projected a very calming equanimity. Our calmness pervaded those around us. The guy sitting next to me claimed we saved him from having a heart attack. Our calmness was his calmness. Of course, the irony is that in our minds we were afraid. Very afraid. I could feel the hormones going crazy--you know that drip, drip feeling you get down your neck when adrenaline is rushing? But, somehow having something to focus on allowed me to distance myself from the fear. It was there. It was strong. But I didn't identify with it; it was simply hormones and I had more pressing things to attend to.

    I'm not sure if what I felt during that experience was "losing my life" or finding refuge in North Mountain, or maybe Ummon's expression, but it was a taste of something.

  33. #33
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Jundo... just re-read our exchanges for the first time and will again, thanks for your patience.


    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by galen View Post
    Jundo... just re-read our exchanges for the first time and will again, thanks for your patience.


    Gassho
    Thank you for your patience, and may all this Sangha and all the world always be patient.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  35. #35
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Thank you for your patience, and may all this Sangha and all the world always be patient.

    Gassho, Jundo


    We can hope can't we... but. It seems to be another mix of what is relative, relatively speaking. One mans patience is another's impatience, time has a way of throwing things out of context, out of order, sometimes, as in 'timing is everything'.

    You do not, of course, have to reply to this Jundo, but today is the first time I have read Wick's view on this koan and your opening, and none of what I say even seems close (no shit popeye!?) but a lot of what I said does make sense at least to me (another big surprise) and even my take on koan opening cases. I must not have a clue about all this, obviously (everyone in this thread is laughing at that one), but it seems sometimes where we are coming from to make a point can have a certain amount of relevance also (doing my best to rationalize my case).

    I just had a posting in my mail box that Jenell posted, but do not see it out here.



    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  36. #36
    Consider, Galen, that like a song or poem ... there might not be one way to perceive such, not one right answer nor wrong answer ... and the "right way" may not even be a matter really of "right vs. wrong". It may depend on the light, the humidity, the angle of view ... like Tsukuba mountain out my window appears different every day depending on the season, weather and time of day.

    And like Tsukuba mountain, there is more than one path to climb it ... many good paths ... though many ways to which lead in circles, into poison ivy or off a cliff. Nonetheless, every step is all the mountain, and no place to trip and fall ... even when tripping and falling.

    Anyway, WHAT MOUNTAIN?

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  37. #37
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Backtracking the mountain path away from the cliffs and such is also Zen.
    Pausing at the forking path to consider the questions is also Zen.
    Once we start up this mountain there is no turning back.
    It's all the Path.
    What path?
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

  38. #38
    Can't pretend I would have made much sense of this Koan on my own - too many obscure references.
    There are a lot of binary opposites - the poisenous snake is not to be feared, the donkey's bray doesn't herald stupidity, to lose one's life is positive.

    I was reading Shoji last night (On Life and Death) - seeking comfort really. Contemplating my own death is not the same as contemplating the death of a loved one. Or perhaps in Zen it is?

    Holding on to a Dogenesque view of life and death is very hard when our thinking minds are constantly drawn to the relative. The mind simply kicks against the dissolution of categories like life and death. In the relative world we feel loss - when we feel loss a distinction arises.

    I've also been reading Thich Nhat Hanh's 'no death, no fear'. I can feel my mind working against what he writes - I want to believe that the flow of living and dying is a truth beyond the static categorising of life and death. Dogen writes that if we cling to life and hate death then we can not enter the heart of buddha because 'living and dying is what Nivarna is'.

    I've come close to actual death on several occasions, but these 'dramatic' situations are not what really touch me. Its the many smaller, more subtle deaths and births in a life's journey that seem to affect me. This in itself feels like a natural flow - closer to what Dogen means - what Hhan brings to life with his simple vignettes of clouds becoming rain and trees paper.

    Apologies if this is a long ramble away from the koan - but I think I've been up and down South Mountain several times over these past few weeks.


    Gassho


    Willow

  39. #39
    Yes my daughter, and now her son are the center of my universe. The Buddhist concept of Emptiness always hits a large obstacle when I think of losing my daughter. I can just about apply it to anything or anyone else, but with her it just stops cold and my daddy instincts kick in. That is why I have made it part of my practice to see 'who' is hanging on to 'whom.' Not an easy thing to do.
    Me and her, all of us, are really not essentially there, not the way we think, just that we come with huge karma, a tremendous sense of self-existence. I think. So the sense of reality is that big. That is a good, nescessary thing so we can get up in the morning and function, or not.
    The expression "interdependent co-arising" speaks of the ground from which we all spring and into which we all perish. Practice gives us the mind to develop faith in the interdependence of life and our place in it. It just takes wisdom/compassion to drop the relative view and rest in the absolute: I suspect that would be the "no coming no going" the deathless death Jundo mentions. We arise complete and perish the same, every instant. That is anoter difficult concept for me. I
    t works with zazen, a lot of zazen. That, for me, is the gate, the snake.
    The fear is with my attchment to daughter. That is where the proverbial rubber meets the road.
    In gassho, Ed B
    "Know that the practice of zazen is the complete path of buddha-dharma and nothing can be compared to it....it is not the practice of one or two buddhas but all the buddha ancestors practice this way."
    Dogen zenji in Bendowa






  40. #40
    It is what it is but pay attention, you wouldn't. Want to step on that poisonous snake.

  41. #41
    Awhile back, Taigu commented this on the poem (when my daughter was very sick in the hospital and we were worried) ... Jundo


    In this situation, no need to dress it up and make it cheerful. No need to flee and avoid the problem. We are all invited to participate with joy to this, because it is the very nature of life, fleeting, changing, fragile, the very nature of what is given to us, sooner or later taken back. In front of this, we invite the unknown, throwing body and mind into it, trusting a process beyond thoughts, feelings and fears. As Dogen says in what he left us as a death poem:

    ...

    What a remarkable way to live! Leaping into the unknown, life and death merged and both totally transcended. Every single moment is an opportunity for all of us to exactly do that, that this body of thirty, fourty, fifty years and a few days and throw it into the amazing unknown reality.

    ...

    Nothing left, no traces, no shadow. Just the taste of what is as it is. That's our way to live, far from the hopes and consolations found in so many religions and belief systems.

    This is beautiful. Gassho, Shogen

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Ed View Post
    Yes my daughter, and now her son are the center of my universe. The Buddhist concept of Emptiness always hits a large obstacle when I think of losing my daughter. I can just about apply it to anything or anyone else, but with her it just stops cold and my daddy instincts kick in. That is why I have made it part of my practice to see 'who' is hanging on to 'whom.' Not an easy thing to do.
    Me and her, all of us, are really not essentially there, not the way we think, just that we come with huge karma, a tremendous sense of self-existence. I think. So the sense of reality is that big. That is a good, nescessary thing so we can get up in the morning and function, or not.
    The expression "interdependent co-arising" speaks of the ground from which we all spring and into which we all perish. Practice gives us the mind to develop faith in the interdependence of life and our place in it. It just takes wisdom/compassion to drop the relative view and rest in the absolute: I suspect that would be the "no coming no going" the deathless death Jundo mentions. We arise complete and perish the same, every instant. That is anoter difficult concept for me. I
    t works with zazen, a lot of zazen. That, for me, is the gate, the snake.
    The fear is with my attchment to daughter. That is where the proverbial rubber meets the road.
    In gassho, Ed B
    Ed thank you - tonight - as every night since my daughter got sick - my mind spirals off into a dark space. Your words have helped me.

    Gassho

    Willow

  43. #43

  44. #44
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Best response for me yet. Yeah, got lost here. If only I'd looked there.
    Thnx
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

  45. #45
    Sometimes I experience this moment of just letting it go during Shikantaza or when I'm just absorbed in what I'm doing without thoughts of how I wish things were different or by just letting the thoughts of how I want things to be just be and not add any more drama to them. My family and I were able to be bedside while my mother in law passed. It was a very sad but also one of the best experiences of my life. I don't know how to explain it, but there we were all full of love and silence "with her" in her last moments. It's really nice to be "with" others not just there as a zombie but truly with people, with ourselves, here now, allowing ourselves to just be.

    Gassho,

    Risho

  46. #46
    Hi.

    I don't think it is an long ramble away from the koan, rather an pathway to it, thank you.

    And in my humble understanding, living and dying are two sides of teh same coin, can't have one without the other in some aspects.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

    Quote Originally Posted by willow View Post
    Can't pretend I would have made much sense of this Koan on my own - too many obscure references.
    There are a lot of binary opposites - the poisenous snake is not to be feared, the donkey's bray doesn't herald stupidity, to lose one's life is positive.

    I was reading Shoji last night (On Life and Death) - seeking comfort really. Contemplating my own death is not the same as contemplating the death of a loved one. Or perhaps in Zen it is?

    Holding on to a Dogenesque view of life and death is very hard when our thinking minds are constantly drawn to the relative. The mind simply kicks against the dissolution of categories like life and death. In the relative world we feel loss - when we feel loss a distinction arises.

    I've also been reading Thich Nhat Hanh's 'no death, no fear'. I can feel my mind working against what he writes - I want to believe that the flow of living and dying is a truth beyond the static categorising of life and death. Dogen writes that if we cling to life and hate death then we can not enter the heart of buddha because 'living and dying is what Nivarna is'.

    I've come close to actual death on several occasions, but these 'dramatic' situations are not what really touch me. Its the many smaller, more subtle deaths and births in a life's journey that seem to affect me. This in itself feels like a natural flow - closer to what Dogen means - what Hhan brings to life with his simple vignettes of clouds becoming rain and trees paper.

    Apologies if this is a long ramble away from the koan - but I think I've been up and down South Mountain several times over these past few weeks.


    Gassho


    Willow
    Treeleaf Unsui
    Blog: http://fugenblog.blogspot.com/

  47. #47
    Hi Willow. I just saw th is post. I t seems I am always late to posting here, no matter. Your words have made me feel good right back, glad to have helped specialliy accross distance.
    I was just reading SHAMBALA SUN the magazine, the last issue March '13. Norman Fisher, Zen teacher, disciple of Suzuki-roshi. He speaks of 6 boddhisattva practices which he places as slogans after an old practice which I won't bore you with; but they seem wonderful captions of path to follow when things are gods or not so good, makes no diff.

    TURN ALL MISHAPS INTO THE PATH.
    DRIVE ALL BLAMES INTO ONE.
    BE GRATEFUL TO EVERYONE.
    SEE CONFUSION AS BUDDHA AND PRACTICE EMPTINESS.
    DO GOOD, AVOID EVIL, APPRECIATE YOU LUNACY, AND PRAY FOR HELP.
    and
    WHATEVER YOU MEET IS THE PATH.

    I'm probably off topic, so please excuse....
    I do love the "appreciate your lunacy and pray for help" one. Sooo human.

    Anyway, Willow, look it up, can't hurt.

    In gassho and metta, I will offer incense (prayer) for you and my lunacy,
    in gassho,
    Ed B
    "Know that the practice of zazen is the complete path of buddha-dharma and nothing can be compared to it....it is not the practice of one or two buddhas but all the buddha ancestors practice this way."
    Dogen zenji in Bendowa






  48. #48
    So I am a Zen beginner but aren't we always beginner's . I droping in late to the book club but its better late then never. Also this is the first time ever doing anything with Koans. So here goes.
    Questions: Did you ever experience a moment of the spark of life (such as a child's birth) or brink of death, yet taste something in the instant beyond such mental categories?
    Yes when I got married and saw my wife come down the walk way and it seemed that everything stoped. I was really able to see and notice everything in a very slowed down movie.
    Have you ever tasted something of Dogen's existential way of living and dying: when life comes live, when death comes die, do not cling to one or push away the other?
    Working on this on everyday in my zazen practice.

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