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Thread: TED Lecture

  1. #1

    TED Lecture

    A nice lecture on TED about meditation

    http://www.ted.com/talks/andy_puddic...l_minutes.html

    Gassjo, Dojin.
    I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment
    - the Buddha

  2. #2
    Senior Member Sydney's Avatar
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    It's good to see the public being exposed to the idea of taking a 10 minute break from the cycle of crazy.
    Diligently attain nothing. Sort of. Best not to over-think it.
    http://gplus.to/sydneytinker

  3. #3
    Thank you, Dojin.

    It sounds lovely. I support the whole world taking a few minutes each day of letting thoughts go. I gave a listen to a guided meditation he teaches.



    But I might offer my small reservations about some forms of "mindfulness" mediation such as the above or by Jon Kabat Zinn. These are lovely ways to get people meditating who might no otherwise give it a go, or in setting (such as companies) where it would not otherwise be possible. However, if one strips Zazen or other meditation of some key Buddhist elements ... The Four Noble Truths, Non-self, Emptiness and the like ... then it becomes a bit like the sun without its light and heat, the ocean without the lively fish. Something is missing.

    Also, if the above meditation is any example, the emphasis can be too much on just "relaxing". Nothing wrong with that, but a valium or a back massage or a run might do better. Such is also small potatoes in the True Existential Freedom which this Way opens. It is sometimes called "Bompu Zen" (here is one teacher's take on the subject) ...

    Bompu zen, or "usual zen," means engaging in a meditation practice in order to procure the same kinds of things that one has always been looking for; that is to say health and happiness, some sense of well-being. (Zen practice without the motive or intention to liberation, for physical and mental well-being, relaxation, or stress management.) There is nothing wrong with wanting to develop a sense of health and well being. We are not saying that any of these approaches to practice are "wrong"; it is just that some of them are more limiting than others. To limit oneself when it is not necessary is like tying your own hands. ...

    ... [However], the fifth kind of Zen is saijojo zen which means "Great and Perfect Practice." It is great and perfect practice because it is not based on trying to realize anything. It is based on practising practice. It is based on sitting the sitting. It is based on seeing what you see, hearing what you hear, not looking for Buddha in any way but simply realizing one's own looking to be Buddha.
    http://www.wwzc.org/book/begin-here-five-styles-zen
    Taigu spoke something touching this in his talk ... on not using Zazen as just a way to get another cheap and temporary pay off and passing "feel good" in life ...

    The Dharma is utterly useless
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...tterly-useless

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-04-2013 at 03:42 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    Senior Member Sydney's Avatar
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    Interesting point, Jundo.

    I have been in the habit for a while of referring to stress relief and such as "side-effects" of the practice.
    Diligently attain nothing. Sort of. Best not to over-think it.
    http://gplus.to/sydneytinker

  5. #5
    Junior Member Ernstguitar's Avatar
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    Dear Jundo,

    I am new in this forum and I needed a lot of time to read all the very good postings in this forum. I also had a few questions, which brought me to your forum. The questions are partly answered, but now I had the feeling that somehow I did not get it yet. If there is no goal and no "what´s next..", if there is no satori, dharma or enlightnment as a orientation, if just sitting is the way and the goal......How can sitting be "wrong" or not so elegant. How can zazen be "not zazen", if I want to decrease stress. If I sit for 30 min two times a day and I do all your instructions.....that is zazen. Or did I miss something? And that leads me to my 2nd question: "Some people go to treatments or sesshins. Whatfore ist that?" I hope, I made clear, what is my point of view. I want to contribute in a positive way in this forum. So, this is a real question. If we are all beginners and there is just zazen or shikantaza, what is wrong with health as intention and what is the "master" doing or the leader of a treatment?

    Gassho, Ernst

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Ernstguitar View Post
    Dear Jundo,

    I am new in this forum and I needed a lot of time to read all the very good postings in this forum. I also had a few questions, which brought me to your forum. The questions are partly answered, but now I had the feeling that somehow I did not get it yet. If there is no goal and no "what´s next..", if there is no satori, dharma or enlightnment as a orientation, if just sitting is the way and the goal......How can sitting be "wrong" or not so elegant. How can zazen be "not zazen", if I want to decrease stress. If I sit for 30 min two times a day and I do all your instructions.....that is zazen. Or did I miss something? And that leads me to my 2nd question: "Some people go to treatments or sesshins. Whatfore ist that?" I hope, I made clear, what is my point of view. I want to contribute in a positive way in this forum. So, this is a real question. If we are all beginners and there is just zazen or shikantaza, what is wrong with health as intention and what is the "master" doing or the leader of a treatment?

    Gassho, Ernst
    Hi Ernst,

    I responded to you on another thread ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post96627

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #7
    TED really has some amazing stuff if you go back through the history of their speakers.
    Neika / Ian Adams

    寧 Nei - Peaceful/Courteous
    火 Ka - Fire

    Look for Buddha outside your own mind, and Buddha becomes the devil. --Dogen

  8. #8
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Also, if the above meditation is any example, the emphasis can be too much on just "relaxing". Nothing wrong with that, but a valium or a back massage or a run might do better.
    Sorry, Jundo, I disagree. The benefits I see in a program such as Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR by Kabat-Zinn) are

    1. The practitioner learns to "stand their own company", addressing such issues as self-worth, self created stress, lack of patience etc.
    2. The practitioner gains insight into mental patterns and habits, addressing destructive cycles of thoughts, self-talk, self-pity etc.

    I do not think that "valium or a back massage or a run" could provide the same, because they don't turn the practitioner towards the problem (their mental fabrications) but offer just another escape. Mental training stripped down of all buddhist trappings and beliefs is certainly not Buddhism or Zen anymore, but it does have its (proven) place in addressing mental and physical health issues.
    --- In every moment of our sitting all beings are receiving the ultimate help; they are all achieving perfect peace and perfect rest. --- Norman Fischer

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Nindo View Post
    Sorry, Jundo, I disagree. The benefits I see in a program such as Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR by Kabat-Zinn) are

    1. The practitioner learns to "stand their own company", addressing such issues as self-worth, self created stress, lack of patience etc.
    2. The practitioner gains insight into mental patterns and habits, addressing destructive cycles of thoughts, self-talk, self-pity etc.

    I do not think that "valium or a back massage or a run" could provide the same, because they don't turn the practitioner towards the problem (their mental fabrications) but offer just another escape. Mental training stripped down of all buddhist trappings and beliefs is certainly not Buddhism or Zen anymore, but it does have its (proven) place in addressing mental and physical health issues.
    Yes, I'm absolutely with you, Nindo. Many counselors, psychiatrists, mental health professionals use meditation techniques to the great benefit of their patients. It's not Buddhism, but it's not the same as going on a run, either (and certainly not a valium). There is someone very close to me, actually, who has benefited from such things. Without the four noble truths, non-self, emptiness, etc, something might seem to be missing for us Zen and Buddhist peoples, but for someone else, just coming face to face with certain things during meditation is most certainly a great something gained (while there is nothing ever to be missed nor anything to be gained, wink).

    I once heard a Theravada monk and the Dalai Lama say that the best thing for everyone on the planet would be to become monks, more and more becoming monks, and I have to say, that sounds just awful to this little mind. Even worse would be a bunch of zen assholes like me. There's a great danger in a culture consumed by soma (feel-good escaping from life) and we don't need more of that. But I'd say that in the light of our current culture, especially in America, which is one of absolutely consuming "feel good" culture, a culture of drug use and abuse, alcohol use and abuse, prescription drug use and abuse, entertainment mindlessness and abuse, consumer and materialistic abuse, all in the name of feeling good and being satisfied, etc, sitting down and being quiet for ten minutes is probably not a terrible proposition. And, I mean, I don't mean to be speculative or overly confident or just arrogant, but the Buddha did sit beneath a tree without any knowledge of the things he gave us - sometimes, perhaps fleetingly, I feel that things like no-self, emptiness, are so radically tied up with existence, with meditation itself, that it's possible for someone to get a taste without even the need of telling them what to taste. Not probable, but also not impossible. Okay, off high horse.

    Gassho
    Shōmon

  10. #10
    Senior Member ZenHarmony's Avatar
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    Well put, Shōmon, especially the part about Buddha sitting under the tree.

    Gassho,

    Lisa

  11. #11
    Senior Member ZenHarmony's Avatar
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    Oh, and in regards to Headspace, I like the guy, he has a soothing voice but after sitting zazen, I can't abide someone else's voice in my head during that time.

    Gassho,

    Lisa

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Nindo View Post
    Sorry, Jundo, I disagree. The benefits I see in a program such as Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR by Kabat-Zinn) are

    1. The practitioner learns to "stand their own company", addressing such issues as self-worth, self created stress, lack of patience etc.
    2. The practitioner gains insight into mental patterns and habits, addressing destructive cycles of thoughts, self-talk, self-pity etc.

    I do not think that "valium or a back massage or a run" could provide the same, because they don't turn the practitioner towards the problem (their mental fabrications) but offer just another escape. Mental training stripped down of all buddhist trappings and beliefs is certainly not Buddhism or Zen anymore, but it does have its (proven) place in addressing mental and physical health issues.
    Hi Nindo,

    Oh, this is a good point and you are right. All forms of Buddhism emphasize awareness of the "mind theatre" and getting past all the mind games we play. Here too, although we tend to do so "off the cushion" and not as part of Zazen "on the cushion" (as in Vipassana meditation).

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...Seeds-PRACTICE

    If a non-Buddhist "mindfulness" meditation program emphasizes that as well, then yes, it has more value than I described, although I still think that if certain vital Teachings are left out (such as "Non-self", Emptiness, Dukkha and the Four Noble Truths, etc.) then much of the real medicine that goes to the heart of the human condition is missing.

    I also would be cautious of any meditation program (whether Buddhist or not) that does emphasize simply attaining a feeling a peace and temporary pleasantness. In Shikantaza, I believe, we taste something much more profound ... a Peace of One Piece (capital "P") that holds all the broken life pieces of times which feel peaceful and times which are not peaceful at all, a Joy (big "J") that includes both times we feel joyful-happy and times we may feel sad or grieving, etc. That is something at the heart of Dukkha and the human condition of dissatisfaction.

    For some reason, I am reminded of the "Serenity Now" meditation from Seinfeld!



    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  13. #13
    Senior Member ZenHarmony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    ...I still think that if certain vital Teachings are left out (such as "Non-self", Emptiness, Dukkha and the Four Noble Truths, etc.) then much of the real medicine that goes to the heart of the human condition is missing.
    I feel this needs more discussion. Not to be disrespectful, but I think there are probably thousands of people out there who have come to realize these truths through mindfulness/meditation training and have never been exposed to the dharma - are their experiences any less valid than ours and who decides that? Personally, I went looking for the dharma when I started sitting seriously, but that's just me, I have a "need" to do things properly. But what of Buddha (the original one)? I know he was taught but did what he learn bring him to his awakening, or was it just sitting? By all accounts, he didn't suffer himself before leaving home but he was capable of feeling compassion for those who did. Did he have to learn compassion, or is it just part of our human-ness? And if you don't have to learn compassion, do you really have to learn dharma to be able to realize (awaken to) the truth?

    I encourage my online friends to try mindfulness/meditation because I'm a firm believer that knowing your own mind is the first step in having a better and much more fulfilling life. If that leads them to Buddhism, great, I'll be there cheering them on, no matter what flavour they choose to follow. If it doesn't bring them to Buddhism, that's great, too, because I know they are still going to get great benefit from it, even if they don't understand the whys behind it.

    Gassho,

    Lisa

    (Oh, and just to be absolutely clear, I know I get great benefit from it, even as I know there is nothing to expect, nothing to attain. And I am in no way dissing Zen at all. )

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by ZenHarmony View Post
    I feel this needs more discussion. Not to be disrespectful, but I think there are probably thousands of people out there who have come to realize these truths through mindfulness/meditation training and have never been exposed to the dharma - are their experiences any less valid than ours and who decides that?
    Hi Lisa,

    Oh, I don't care how people come to experience the Liberation of Non-self, Emptiness, Dukkha and the Four Noble Truths, etc. ... whether from formal "Buddhism" or some other meditation program. But I think that, if those are left out, the real medicine of this Way is not taken. Many secular meditation programs leave all that out, and thus are nothing more than a band-aid for the ills of the human condition.

    On the other hand, different strokes for different folks. Not everybody can handle and digest ... or may even need ... that particular medicine. It may be completely the wrong way for some, just as one medicine does not suit all patients.

    I'm a firm believer that knowing your own mind is the first step in having a better and much more fulfilling life.
    All Buddhists agree. Understanding, and not falling into the traps of the "mind theatre", is vital to all Buddhists of all flavors. If they can get that outside of Buddhism, fine too.

    But lacking "Non-Self", Emptiness and the rest ... they may not really get the full extent of the "mind theatre" show.


    And I am in no way dissing Zen at all. )
    But here we just practice Zazen. This is a way which is whole and complete for many folks. The following old essay that someone linked too explains why, and please have a look ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...please-read%29

    Other ways may be wonderful too. Flower Arranging or Karate are each wonderful arts too. However, we don't teach those here in our Zazen Dojo, and if wanting to learn flower arranging one should best seek out a teacher of flowers.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-06-2013 at 03:45 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    Senior Member ZenHarmony's Avatar
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    Yes, but we are not discussing flower arranging or karate, we are specifically discussing different ways of sitting, and the validness of such. I asked specifically, "are their experiences any less valid than ours and who decides that?" Also, can you please answer my question about Buddha:

    "But what of Buddha (the original one)? I know he was taught but did what he learn bring him to his awakening, or was it just sitting? By all accounts, he didn't suffer himself before leaving home but he was capable of feeling compassion for those who did. Did he have to learn compassion, or is it just part of our human-ness? And if you don't have to learn compassion, do you really have to learn dharma to be able to realize (awaken to) the truth?"

    I am asking questions in order to learn, will you teach? Or will you dismiss me and my observations with "if wanting to learn flower arranging one should best seek out a teacher of flowers."

    Gassho,

    Lisa

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by ZenHarmony View Post
    Yes, but we are not discussing flower arranging or karate, we are specifically discussing different ways of sitting, and the validness of such. I asked specifically, "are their experiences any less valid than ours and who decides that?"
    If you are talking about Vipassana meditation, I think it is a wondrous Buddhist Path suited to those to whom it is suited.

    If you are talking about non-Buddhist "mindfulness" meditation, I have already expressed my reservations about (and if) certain vital Teachings which are possibly left out of the mix.

    If the topic is meditation just to relax, yes, I think the experience is less valid to treat human ills.

    Am I missing something that you are asking?


    Also, can you please answer my question about Buddha:

    "But what of Buddha (the original one)? I know he was taught but did what he learn bring him to his awakening, or was it just sitting? By all accounts, he didn't suffer himself before leaving home but he was capable of feeling compassion for those who did. Did he have to learn compassion, or is it just part of our human-ness? And if you don't have to learn compassion, do you really have to learn dharma to be able to realize (awaken to) the truth?"
    The Buddha taught many different paths suited to different people. To each his own. The only Buddha I personally know is the one encountered when sitting on my own Zafu! His realization and his sitting brought him to awakening ... and that was his realization of Non-Self, Impermanence, Emptiness (in the Mahayana interpretation), Dukkha and the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path.

    I believe that most Buddhist would say that the Buddha did "suffer" (experience Dukkha) before he left home when he saw sickness, old age and death and the other dissatisfactions of life in the palace. Thus he left, seeking awakening.

    I think that "compassion" is part of our humanness ... and so is a tendency toward "greed, anger and ignorance" ... and we have to learn to nurture one and not the other. I think many people who do not practice Buddhism (and practice some other religion or philosophy or none at all) are compassionate. However、to awaken to the Truth, I believe one has to pierce Non-Self, Impermanence, Emptiness, Dukkha and the Four Noble Truths and the like. Without that, one may be awakening or learning something, even some truth, but not the Buddha's Profound Realization.


    I am asking questions in order to learn, will you teach? Or will you dismiss me and my observations with "if wanting to learn flower arranging one should best seek out a teacher of flowers."

    Gassho,

    Lisa
    Vipassana meditation is a wondrous path. Secular "Mindfulness" might be a wondrous path, I don't know. But here we Practice Shikantaza as the Path. If someone would be interested in practicing Vipassana or "Mindfulness", they should seek our Vipassana or Mindfulness teachers, as we do not Practice those here.

    Let me know if I missed responding to something you asked.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-06-2013 at 06:29 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  17. #17
    Senior Member Sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Vipassana meditation is a wondrous path. Secular "Mindfulness" might be a wondrous path, I don't know. But here we Practice Shikantaza as the Path. If someone would be interested in practicing Vipassana or "Mindfulness", they should seek our Vipassana or Mindfulness teachers, as we do not Practice those here.
    I have wondered on occasion how my own practice might have evolved differently if I had been exposed to just one of these approaches to putting my butt on a cushion. I learned the basics of vipassana before encountering shikantaza, but right from the start I was introduced to the idea of "just sitting with poise". So by the time I found myself in a zendo I already had some tools at my disposal to use (and then drop), but I can only guess whether this helped or not.

    Dusting off the old vipassana CDs lately has brought all this to mind. It's a bit like cross-training in a way, like working on my bicycling with a little supplementary hiking. But doing so for a few weeks gives me whole new respect for the people who seem to successfully do both long-term.

    I'm not sure I would have done any of it for very long just for a bit of relaxation, though. It has been decidedly more than that from the start.
    Diligently attain nothing. Sort of. Best not to over-think it.
    http://gplus.to/sydneytinker

  18. #18
    Hi Lisa - I have just started reading Jon Kabat-Zinn's 'Full Catastrophe Living' again after reading your post. I haven't read it for many years but 'am already struck by the opening pages as to the degree to which the writing is influenced by and exemplifes Zen. I think Zinn's work is more subtle than often realised (perhaps even by the health practitioners teaching it?) - and really this work has to be couched in secular terms as it's being rolled out in health clinics all over the UK.

    Like you - when it comes to my own practice - I'm a bit of a purist and want to understand every facet of Soto Zen - but I really take your point. I'm not so sure that something vital gets missed in other forms of practice/non-practice, and I would never judge another person's practice or way of being against my own. My husband is a hundred times nearer to practicing the dharma than me and he's an aetheist and has never picked up a book on Zen.

    I also appreciate Jundo's point of view - he teaches what he totally believes and practices here and that gives great clarity to the teaching.

    Gassho

    Willow

  19. #19
    Don't know where to begin, but I'll try:

    We "Zennies" take meditation/zazen as something normal/commonplace, because we practice it every day. I take it for granted myself.
    However, many people consider meditation something exotic or complicated or esoteric or relaxing. It's easy to forget this when you have practiced for some time.

    When I came to meditation it was just a relaxation technique I wanted to try out.
    I am still conviced that when you are physically and mentally relaxed it is much harder to feel tense.
    I practiced Self-Hypnosis which is still IMHO the most effective way to "just relax" - nothing beats it in this aspect. The only problem was that often I dozed off.

    So meditation was something new and someone recommended a book on meditation that only focused on the techniques - nothing Zenny, Taoist, etc., but just a pure scientific approach.
    The techniques were about focusing on breath, sound, body sensations, etc.
    However, at the end it featured a Loving-Kindness Meditation! I am convinced that many authors of these books leave out the "spiritual stuff" on purpose, because this is exactly what shies most people away. It would have scared me off! If I had read something about satori/kensho I would have thought, what kind of weird sect is this?

    However, thanks to these simple techniques I surprisingly had an "experience/realization" (don't know what it was precisely, but it does not matter anyway). Nothing spectacular, just a tiny experience of connectedness/oneness that lasted for about 1 - 2 minutes.
    This brought my attention to Zen - not because I wanted to have further experiences (I think a spectacular experience would have scared me off) - and without it Zen would have been a just a nice, exotic philosophy that emerged out of the marriage of Taoism/Buddhism. But then I thought there might be more to this.

    My point is: These meditation/mindfulness techniques are a valuable entry point for many people (like Jundo wrote above), and combined with other philosophies like Taoism, etc. they can be positively life changing, even an own path.
    For me it's just a matter of taste: I like this Soto way here most, it feels natural for me, I feel at home with it.
    The 4 Noble Truths and the 8th fold Path are a kind of "Manual for Life" IMHO, with Zazen holding it together.

    Anyway, sorry for my spontaneous rambling...

    Gassho,

    Timo
    no thing needs to be added

  20. #20
    Buddhism is Buddhism and is also not Buddhism. Buddhism is just a word. Zen is just a word. If we think we're practicing Zen, we're not. Buddhism, especially Zen, is filled with words for the conceptless, the living thing. Is non-self a concept, an idea, or a living reality? Is emptiness a concept, an idea, or a living reality? If it is a living reality, I say nothing to worry about - it exists, it is, therefore, some may enter directly into it (zen folk), some may not (non-zen folk), though there is no way to ever be away from it. And some who enter it directly corrupt it, use it and abuse it through use (to play on Taigu's latest vid), and some who have never heard of it embody it completely - how could it be otherwise, as long as we know that non-self, emptiness, four noble truths are living realities? How could it be otherwise?

    So mindfulness, zazen, secular meditation - it matters and doesn't matter. I mean to say: I've known people who are not buddhists at all who are so much more "zen," so much more "Buddhist" than me, than buddhists I know, that it's possible to define where zen ends and where it begins. Does it matter if they call it "zen?" No, just a word. No beginning no end.

    Still, I understand where Jundo is coming from, too: we practice sitting.
    Shōmon

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r View Post
    Is non-self a concept, an idea, or a living reality? Is emptiness a concept, an idea, or a living reality?
    I would say all of the above.

    There are definite Teachings, perspectives and ideas to be taught in this Buddhist and Zen way. Non-self and Emptiness, Dukkha and all the rest have to be explained to people in ways they can understand (we spend a lot of time and energy doing so around here). They are not just naturally realized by most people (there may be natural talents who are exceptions) without some prior understanding. (For example, you have to explain to most people a bit about what Emptiness is before they can set off to realize such in their lives).

    On the other hand, if one just stays in the arm chair, philosophizing about these things, one completely misses the point. They must be put into practice, realized-experienced. They are living realities that must be pierced and lived, not merely ideas. We do not merely read books about baseball ... but get out and play (though with some coaching).

    The Zen Masters of old did not typically realize and master this Way out of thin air. It is not true that one would suddenly have a "Moment of Satori" and understand much of this with no prior preparation. Far from it, almost all the monks of old were raised and trained in a Buddhist environment where they were told and explained, time and again, about the basic principles of Buddhism. They knew what they were on the hunt for before they realized it.

    Otherwise it is like asking a small child to bake a cake who has no concept of how to work an oven or mix batter. The uninitiated must be shown some basic things before they set to baking.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-06-2013 at 03:04 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    The Zen Masters of old did not typically realize and master this Way out of thin air. It is not true that one would suddenly have a "Moment of Satori" and understand much of this with no prior preparation. Far from it, almost all the monks of old were raised and trained in a Buddhist environment where they were told and explained, time and again, about the basic principles of Buddhism. They knew what they were on the hunt for before they realized it.
    I have the suspicion that there are lots of people out there who have certain "moments" (I am not talking about a big satori), but don't know what to make out of them.
    When I already was into this practice for some time I remembered such a "small moment" (it was while taking a photo) from the past, but I had not been able to understand it back then.
    So I agree with you, without a certain (Buddhist) environment, it is hard for someone to understand such things.

    I think nobody claimed that anyone realizes this Way out of thin air though. The methods of Zen are based on a fundament that was built over years.
    However, I think that many people that come to this practice already began their "spiritual journey" somewhere else. I daresay that the minority just starts right away with Zen. So there is always some kind of preparation somehow.

    In this way, I don't see "secular meditation" (couldn't come up with a better term) as a "competition" to Zen or other established practices.
    To the contrary: It gets people to meditate who would never have thought about it before.
    Those who feel there is more to all this meditating, automatically go traditions like Zen.
    And those who stay with "secular meditation" would neve have gone to these traditions anyway.

    Gassho,

    Timo
    no thing needs to be added

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I would say all of the above.

    There are definite Teachings, perspectives and ideas to be taught in this Buddhist and Zen way. Non-self and Emptiness, Dukkha and all the rest have to be explained to people in ways they can understand (we spend a lot of time and energy doing so around here). They are not just naturally realized by most people (there may be natural talents who are exceptions) without some prior understanding. (For example, you have to explain to most people a bit about what Emptiness is before they can set off to realize such in their lives).

    On the other hand, if one just stays in the arm chair, philosophizing about these things, one completely misses the point. They must be put into practice, realized-experienced. They are living realities that must be pierced and lived, not merely ideas. We do not merely read books about baseball ... but get out and play (though with some coaching).

    The Zen Masters of old did not typically realize and master this Way out of thin air. It is not true that one would suddenly have a "Moment of Satori" and understand much of this with no prior preparation. Far from it, almost all the monks of old were raised and trained in a Buddhist environment where they were told and explained, time and again, about the basic principles of Buddhism. They knew what they were on the hunt for before they realized it.

    Otherwise it is like asking a small child to bake a cake who has no concept of how to work an oven or mix batter. The uninitiated must be shown some basic things before they set to baking.

    Gassho, J
    I'm with you fully - absolutely, we need ideas and concepts. Though of course they aren't the most important thing. Only trying to suggest that baking a cake or making flan, I try not to be too worried about whether the cake baking is better than the flan making, and certainly not whether which technique is more beautiful or true or leads to the more free baker, which seem to me to be just concepts. Nothing important and just thoughts. I'm just trying to say I try not to discount anything is all and that there are possibilities beyond my understanding that I try to remain open to.

    Gassho
    Shōmon

  24. #24
    .

    Classical music following strict forms is beautiful music, Jazz is beautiful music. So is country, rock & roll whether heavy metal or punk or Elvis. I love Gospel. Easy listening music to chill in the dentist's waiting room sometimes is just right. I like kids banging on toy drums, even squirrels or cats who play the piano ...



    All great!

    Here, I like to think that we are not caught in the rigid forms of classical music (and before one of our classical musicians comments, I know that there is much freedom to be found even expressing those forms). We are also not in a garage band after learning to play a guitar just last Tuesday.We are not merely chilling to relax. We leave cats to cats.

    I like to think that we are vibrant, free and flowing like Jazz folks perhaps. Even a jazz musician who cannot read music can do it! On the other hand, even a Jazz musician needs endless hours of practice and training, and an understanding (even if just taught by another old Jazz hand off the books and with no sheet music) of syncopation and jazz chords, polyrhythms and such. That is their "Emptiness" and "Non-Self".

    Here we play Jazz. It has its own harmonies, even in the disharmonies and bent notes. Jazz musicians without the drugs. Even some classical musicians, and most rock & rollers and cats can't play it well.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-07-2013 at 04:03 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  25. #25
    Here is another JazzZen "Monk" ...



    Thelonious, by the way, started to read some music when he was 10, then trained with a classical teacher, before ditching all that to just play. Like many a Zen Monk in this "Way Beyond Words and Letters" ... he burned the books, but only after some awareness of what was in them!

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...ryId=122019275

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-07-2013 at 03:56 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  26. #26
    Speaking of silly music, I hope some folks sitting the Zazenkai this time are ready for ... the HEARTlem SHAKE! ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...m-SHAKE-%21%29
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  27. #27

  28. #28
    Senior Member Matt's Avatar
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    Interesting thread, which reminds me of the buddhism without beliefs thing of recent years. While I definitely understand and agree with some of the reasons for that, I think it misses something profound about the human experience, which is all part of the dharma. Gassho, Matt

  29. #29
    Senior Member ZenHarmony's Avatar
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    Thank you, Jundo, the Jazz analogy makes sense to me. I learned to read sheet music at 10 and could play quite a few songs by ear on quite a few instruments (including the piano) by the time I was 13. Could I sit down at a piano and play like Thelonious Monk? Heck, no. Like you said, you need to have that classical background to get to that point, to be able to "burn the books," as you say, and, even if I had continued on my own, I doubt I would have ever gotten to the point where my soul would have burst forth with song like his does! (Doesn't mean I can't appreciate it and feel my heart nearly burst with the genius of it all!)

    Gassho,

    Lisa

    ( I have lots more to say, but no matter how I want to say it, it doesn't want to come out right, so I give up.)

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