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Thread: Fresh Start

  1. #1
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Fresh Start

    Hey again to Sangha old and new. So in the last few years I have been through hell and back ( ill spare the personal details). but one thing that has been nagging me more and more as time goes on is to get back to more engaged living of The Way. I want to start fresh, go back to the very beginning. forget I ever learned or deluded myself into learning and just...start over ( not hard to do as I was new to begin with).

    Something that I feel will help me in this endeavor, and the main reason why I am posting this thread, is..well.. I want to completely destroy my rakusu. I made it, it's done ( I can save the inka ). But I feel like destroying it, not because of it's imperfections, lovely as they are and trust me there are alot of flaws to love. But more as an outward expression to help ME feel like a fresh beginning. to go back and start all over from the first outline to the first chanted stitch.

    I appreciate what the rakusu is and I definitely appreciate the experience in making it. that's something that just can't be lost. but, I don't know if it is considered wrong or a big no no to do so. so before following my intuition in it being the right decision for me personally ( and not something I can really verbalize) I wanted to take a moment to ask if that is something that is acceptable. For whatever reason, I do truly feel this would in some way be cathartic for me and help me on my first steps to my own self-imposed and much needed Ango of sorts .

    Thanks for any and all responses,
    Dave _/\_

  2. #2
    Hi Dave,

    I will begin again today too, always a fresh start. We sometimes fall down, though no place to fall (Koan).

    The Rakusu cannot be destroyed. It cannot be created either. Oh, you can burn it, cut it or the like ... but that destroys nothing. (Yes, a Koan).

    But rather than destroy the old one, just put it aside. Sew another perhaps (a Rakusu cannot be made ... but you can make one. Another Koan). Then, maybe someday you can wear both beyond one or two (one more Koan!).

    Welcome back to where you never left (yes ... Koan).

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-26-2013 at 04:20 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    Hello Dave,

    First, I am sorry to hear that you are facing some struggles ... Just know that we are here to help if you need it.

    Second, as for starting over the only guidance I can give is, just start. This starting begins in your heart first! If you feel it symbolic, then give your rakusu to someone who maybe in need ... This too is a new start and a start from generosity and compassion.

    Just my two cents ... Hope it helps.

    Gassho
    Shingen
    真 眼

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

  4. #4
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice Jundo and Shingen. For the record, I never stopped practicing its on my mind regularly I just wasn't throwing myself into it like I was and should be. I think time away from here has made me lose support in the practice, have it drift more by the wayside. I used to chant the meal gatha every meal without fail. sometimes another one or two times. Was a regular daily thing. Then I noticed lately it just slips my mind..and it's the same with regular sitting I go in spurts. Practice zazen while at work . but that too as time goes on seems to fade. Except I know I made a solid choice in undertaking Jukai. I WANT to rededicate myself. Whether that makes me a regular sangha member or not who knows. but getting deeper into the practice is currently a must for my person.
    Dave _/\_

  5. #5
    Hi Dave - I'm sorry that you've been having a rough time - really empathize.

    I feel what Jundo says is true - the rakusa - whatever it now represents for you - can't really be destroyed. I think - if I were in your position - I might try to love that Rakusa - with all that it represents - and then (as Jundo says) simply put it aside. In years to come you may feel very differently about it.

    I think we probably all feel that we have to rededicate every new day - it's part of the process - sometimes the commitment is strong - at other times weak.

    Go easy on yourself,

    Gassho

    Willow

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Shonin View Post
    I WANT to rededicate myself. Whether that makes me a regular sangha member or not who knows. but getting deeper into the practice is currently a must for my person.
    Dave _/\_
    This sounds lovely Dave. The whole trip is always underfoot, this step and this step and this ....

    We all want to help you along.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #7
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Don't destroy. Create.

    The rakusu has always been there. And you too.

    Welcome back

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  8. #8
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    I can't really offer any advice, as Jundo and the others are far more experienced at this situation than I am. What I can tell you is that I've felt the same way before. I felt this way about sitting, about school, about work, about exercising, and even hanging out with my kid (once magical walks in the woods can become chores when distracted by "life") I think it is human nature to slip into complacency, to fall into easier routines, and to let the extraordinary become ordinary. So, I feel your pain and frustration. On the upside, it usually doesn't take much to shake things up once you realize what is going on. Good luck shaking things up and better luck realizing there was nothing to shake up at all!

    Please excuse me now as I also plan to wake up from my recent complacency with a day of sitting, walking, mindful eating, gathas, and saying metta for all those sentient beings without the day off!
    Try not to be a jerk-- one of the Buddhas

  9. #9
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    This is a wonderful thread. Dave, thank you for helping me with practice today. Recommit every day. The practice is underfoot. Thank you all. Boy, I can relate to Charles' remark about walks in the woods with my kids. A great reminder to be present, no matter what presents.

    Have a great day everyone.

    Deep bows
    Yugen
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  10. #10
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Thanks for the support everyone. It's deeply appreciated. For the record it's not a negative view of the rakusu I made(consciously). I still look at it fondly and often. It just feels free to get rid of it and start all over. but you're all far wiser than me so I'll listen and keep it.

    Shonin _/\_

  11. #11
    Hi Dave
    I am glad to see that you made the decision to keep the rakusu. I think you would have suffered a real loss if it was set aside. I had a similar experience with my first rakusu.
    Several years ago when I was sewing my first rakusu I was a physical and mental mess due to a bout with cancer. I had come up with all the excuses in the world as to why I could not complete it. With Jundo’s encouragement and Taigu’s clear instructions I finally put the excuses aside and made the sewing part of my daily practice. It was a crude effort, made out of an old hand dyed bed sheet, the stitching was crooked, the fabric was scorched, and in short it was perfectly a mess. I set it aside and started again and this one had tight stitching, constructed in a heavy fabric of a muted color and no scorch marks. It was “great” but you know what, I have never worn it.
    The rakusu that I originally set aside in what I thought was “starting over” is the one I have worn for the last four years. The one that had so many lessons as it was created. Accepting its imperfections as I learned to accept the imperfections of my body caused by the cancer and its treatment. It would have been a mistake, no a tragedy if I had discarded it in an effort to “start over”.
    While your motives are different contemplating destroying the old rakusu, you know it is still part of your practice and will always hold lessons learned during its creation and use. So you may decide to start over with a new rakusu, but like me you may find that the old one holds the most valuable lessons for your moving forward in your life

    Take care

    Jim (Shozan)
    Last edited by lorax; 04-27-2013 at 03:08 AM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    I like to play "The Sims 2." It's one of my favorite games. I've gotten really good at it. Sometimes, I won't play it for several months and I'll forget where I left off with the families and become extremely overwhelmed by the mess. Usually what I'll do in this situation is delete all of the families and start fresh.

    Every time I do this I realize that it really doesn't change anything, and usually I end up wishing I hadn't deleted them so I wouldn't have to start all over, because I know this game. I may have gotten off the horse, but that doesn't mean I can't remember how to play. There's no reason to start over, from now on, I'll just pick up where I left off, if I can.
    迎 Geika

  13. #13
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Jim, beautiful story thanks for sharing. I hope you're feeling better nowadays. I haven't been through cancer , but.. well starting right before Jukai that year I started with leaving my wife , to employment woes, to a family member becoming schizophrenic with my task being to chase my little sister through the parking deck of the ER she escaped from. Other family health issues and nearly dying from a gangrenous gall bladder last Oct. As well as getting ready to file for Bankruptcy.Even today, I got so pissed off at my blatant mistreatment and harassment ( set off further by being accused of stealing a juice box...I do not tolerate being accused of stealing at allll) by the kitchen manager who has ruined my joy of that job for over a year and a half. Chronic back pain causing me to go back on meds.and i'm sure there is some totally screwed event I lost track of. I'm sure you can see why some slip through the cracks.
    But things are actually on an upswing as of late. And for the first time ever, my employer called and asked me to come in and talk to him about why I walked out instead of not giving a rat's ass like everywhere else I have worked in 20 years of slinging food.. The kitchen manager will have a stern talking to and I go back to work on Mon. The kitchen manager is going to have a stern talking to and much to my amazement because I am not used to this. I honestly didn't feel i'd be missed by anyone really(long story).As I walked in the door for the meeting every server that worked the morning shift and knew I walked out was happy to see me and sad I was quitting then thrilled I would be back on Mon. . That in and of itself was amazingly heartwarming. Sad as it is to say, i'm not used to that at all. Putting the final touches on my college application and FAFSA to go to school (dropped out and never went to college) in the Fall. Have recovered enough from the surgery and back pain to be able to exercise again. And Am already off one medication and about to be done with another.
    As I read your story I realized exactly what I would lose by destroying that Rakusu. It really opened my eyes. I still want to make a second one. I always wanted to anyways but now I feel almost silly for wanting to give up the Rakusu that's only slightly less imperfect than yours hahaha.

    Amelia,*hangs head* I do that with sims 3 and practically every other game I play. Been forever, enthusiasm wanes. Forget what I was even working on . Delete toon X . But , I am hugely fond of character creators. I'm sure ya know what I mean about making toons that matter, pixels with personality. Names must all be perfect to fit that "style" . Gaming tangents aside. You get to join the club of everyone else who is right .

    Im still gonna wipe my toons as needed, nothing is permanent

    It seems as the posts continue i'm more firm in keeping my dirty , dark blue mini-robe of liberation.

    Thanks all, for your support , understanding and really making me look at things in a totally different perspective.

    Dave _/\_

    P.S. One thing that never waned has been missing the multitudes of Hells out of this Sangha. I have stated before my intent to be back as an active member. Then life had other plans. So i'm not gonna make that statement and fail again. But you buddhas will always be missed when i'm not around. Hopefully this time around I really can stay regularly

  14. #14
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Welcome again Dave. The compassionate wisdom in this thread is truly inspiring. Dave I hope all will settle again into life's natural rhythms for you. Thank you for sharing this, you have been very brave. Gassho and much metta.
    Heisoku
    平 息

  15. #15
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    bahh whining isn't bravery but thanks and yeah the whole thing is inspiring. i'm not embarrassed about blurting my stuff. I just wasn't planning on subjecting you all to it hahaha.

  16. #16
    Dave,

    It sounds as if you have been through many little worldly hells, and also encountered some grace and friendship and Wisdom along the way. Sometime it seems as if all hits the fan at once. I would like to say that this is your Karma which you are burning through (or perhaps just one of those runs of life and bad luck, no matter), and you will come through this stronger, wiser ... free.

    One can either fall in, trapped and wallowing, or see through and step beyond. It sounds as if you are now on the better course. Take it easy, step by step. We are all here to support you.

    Zazen and Buddhist Practice, like sailing a boat, is easy on sunny days ... but the stormy days hone and prove the real master sailors.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  17. #17
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Yeah I sense what you are saying but like what Jundo said this is your karma and in my book facing it down, burning it and in the end accepting it takes a fair amount of courage and guts at times. I know it and seen it in others and I have also seen what happens when this is not the case.
    By the way I find it easier to sit in hard times rather than good!?! Dunno why?

    Gassho
    Heisoku
    平 息

  18. #18
    Senior Member Koshin's Avatar
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    Thank you for this thread Dave.... the hard times on our practice are the ones that teach us the most.... it reminds me a thread from Jigetsu talking about wanting to start over, like "rebooting" the Practice..... in any case, I have the feeling in my gut that those times when we don't sit, when Karma strikes with it's ugliest face, when we want to throw in the towel (or the Rakusu ), that is EXACTLY how our practice has to be in that moment, that is how we sit without sitting, practice without noticing it..... until we realize (generally with the help of our Dharma brothers) what we can learn from this....so, thank you very much

    Glad things are going better now, take great care of you and your Rakusu

    Gassho
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    P.S. Yup, I know, my English sucks

  19. #19
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Jundo, I was definitely the former. Bu I dunno something just clicked and hopefully i'm starting the latter now.

    Thanks again Heisoku and Koshin. Much appreciated. _/\_

  20. #20
    Senior Member YuimaSLC's Avatar
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    I am exactly where I am at. Starting over might be construed as wiping-the-slate-clean or some other kind of atonement. So, starting now without the idea that the house needs to be cleaned, first, is more realistic and ultimately more helpful. As my daughter says to her 4-year old (and I think sometimes it's more appropriate to myself), "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit".
    May you be at peace, embracing all of life's conditions.
    Please, keep the rakusu. It's not the past. It's present as much as you.

    with kindness

    Richard

  21. #21
    This too shall pass.

    Gassho, John.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    Shonin, I'd keep the rakusu, if only to question the ideas you have built around it. Would destroying it really be a fresh start? I say this as someone who often throws things out when times are not so great. Then I wonder why I did it.

    I also say this because I had a hard time sort of accepting my rakusu when I was done making it. I didn't see that coming, it's just that I'd take it out of the bag sometimes and think, why did I make this . . . religious garment? I had some kind of idea about it that I had to sit through for a long time to really understand. Kind of a koan, like Jundo says. My feelings about it have changed over the past year. It now symbolizes an important path I've started, and all the sangha members who are there with me. And I like that Jundo signed the back panel and sent it to me. I mean, I know that's the procedure and all, but it's still really nice that I have a teacher who took the time and did that. I suppose my feelings may change again and again as time goes on. But if I were to intentionally destroy it . . . really, would that destroy whatever idea I had attached to it?

    Besides, if we all started over making a new rakusu every time we fell away from the practice . . .

    My best to you in hard times. Hope things keep getting better.

    Gassho,

    Jen
    The result is not the point; it is the effort to improve ourselves that is valuable. There is no end to this practice. --Shunryu Suzuki

  23. #23
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Shonin,

    Like was said above, don't destroy: create!

    It's good to hear from you here on the forum, although I have kept tabs on you via Facebook. Always great to see a familiar face return (although you never really left).

    Come, sit with us.

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
    With your help and guidance from Jundo & Taigu
    I am learning, but please take what I say with a
    grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Dosho, yeah I have been blessed with some folks friended on FB.

    For the few that have missed it ( and that's totally cool ) I did decide to keep the Rakusu and honestly feel differently about it now. Thanks once more for the awesome advice ,metta and wisdom. I really am appreciative.

    Dave _/\_

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Shonin View Post
    Dosho, yeah I have been blessed with some folks friended on FB.

    For the few that have missed it ( and that's totally cool ) I did decide to keep the Rakusu and honestly feel differently about it now. Thanks once more for the awesome advice ,metta and wisdom. I really am appreciative.

    Dave _/\_
    Nice to hear Shonin in.

    Gassho
    Shingen
    真 眼

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

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