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Thread: Effortless Effort in Zazen

  1. #1

    Effortless Effort in Zazen

    A discussion about Effortless Effort in Zazen. What Adyashanti calls "True Meditation" is essentially goalless sitting of shikantaza

    Effortless Effort:

  2. #2
    Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

    I am not a fan of Adyashanti, a well studied poser and double talker much of the time (including in lots of this particular talk). But not every word out of his mouth need be foolish.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-17-2013 at 03:23 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    I know you don't have a high opinion of him Jundo. I respect your views even though I fail to see any faults in him. I hope there is something I'm missing that you can see better.

    I feel it is impossible for someone to just study and speak so well and be so spontaneous unless it is experiential. His teachings are a bit of non-dual and zen mix and may be that's what makes you feel it to be a double talk.

    Coincidentally the way he teaches shikantaza and the way you/brad/nishijima teach are strikingly similar. And whenever I quoted him without using his name you really liked my quotes

    I feel he described shikantaza like no other teacher did. I understand it is better left un-described but his "True Meditation" book is the most wonderful description of shikantaza I ever found. Hope you have time to listen to the audio book format of it below and share your views on it. I think what I am sharing will benefit others. I think as practitioners/students it doesn't really harm. It is just like reading another book, use it or throw it.

  4. #4
    I have been reading and listening to his talks for years, and find him a charismatic, smooth-talkin' showman purveying fiddle-faddle with all the right spiritual buzzwords and "seems to be saying something deep" non-sequitors to wow his audience. As P.T. Barnum (another good showman) said, there's a fool born every minute. A spiritual "caveat emptor".

    I respect many Advaita folks for truly Teaching as they Teach. This Adya, however, is all hat no cattle.

    I would prefer that his nonsense not be posted here.

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - This is what I posted last time you introduced "Adya'going" here, and I stand by it ...

    ----------------------------

    I wrote this some years ago, and my opinion is about the same. I do not criticize easily, but sometimes my "spider senses" vibrate about some folks ...

    I first looked into Adyashanti's writings about 5 years ago, when he was heartily recommended by a friend. I read everything I could at the time, and listened or watched the recorded talks I could. What I thus say is based on my impression, my gut reaction and some of the claims he makes for himself. Since that time I have looked at or listened to other talks, and my opinion is about the same.

    In a nutshell, I see someone who is trying a bit hard (and succeeding) to make a career as a California style Guru. My conclusion is based in part on the persona, but also on the content of his talks. I find someone who is very charismatic, and may have had an experience here and there ... but he seems extremely well studied, as if he memorized every Tolle and 100 other books and is just regurgitating/reformulating/repackaging the contents under a new label. He throws around the same old, tired old, buzzwords of Eastern Wisdom, casting himself as one who has crossed over to the other side. He speaks with a very smooth tongue, but all does not ring true to me. In talks he gives, I often have picked up on sections which sound like pure New Age, cosmic double talk too. Out there in California, there are 1000 guys trying to make a career out of a funky name and a like persona, and this one does not ring true (though he is very gifted as someone playing the part he is).
    I will add this: I am not saying that everything he says is foolish (it isn't. There is some very nice sections and advice in what was posted above. Because he is repackaging standard advice picked up here and there, and common advice on "just sitting", there is some good stuff here and there). He is also better and smoother at the pitch over the years. I think he is a very charismatic individual (a kind of anti-charisma charisma).

    I once described him as marketing himself (yes, I will call it "marketing" by a very smooth talker like a good shoe salesman) as an "anti-guru" ... your guru who keeps telling you that he is "not a guru" (thus a great guru better than those who call themselves "guru") who offers enlightenment by saying it is "not enlightenment". That video is a good example. Some good, basic wisdom with much spiritual posing and double-talk.

    Just to make clear ... I do not think the Adyashanti is a nefarious evildoer, and there are certainly a lot worse out there ... I even think he may be well meaning at heart (seems like a gentle fellow), plus he has a relaxing voice and a very pleasant manner. I think he is extremely smooth and practiced in his presentation, very well read in the literature of other like teachers, and it is all soothing to the ear of people looking for that kind of thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by shikantazen View Post
    He is very popular and his retreats are always full and they have a lottery system for each retreat with a big waiting list. Even his weekend intensives also get full quickly and the only one I attended had about 700 people.
    Yes, the line at the drive-thru at McDonalds is sometimes very long too.

    Spiritual Buyer Beware.

    Deep-pockets Chopra is another fellow who gets my goat.

    Gassho, Jundo (in his "kids, get off my lawn" mood )
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-17-2013 at 07:42 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Thank you teacher.

    Happily, beings can 'wake-up' as they are ready.


    Gassho,
    Edward
    Practice with humility, respect all beings, avoid attachments, give rise to prajņa from your own awareness, put an end to delusions - Hui-neng

  6. #6
    Yes, unfortunately, I share Jundo s point of view. I have great respect for guys like Ponjaji but that guy always sound like a charismatic manipulator. He is picking up Zen words and concepts and adviata directions and turn everything into a tasty fusion mash. Not as dangerous and cynical as Adi Da but as intellectual and twisted. Another popular teacher with women (actually like many Advaita teachers who tend to play a lot on the guru- loving side of things)) is Mooji ( more on the Teddy bear side of things)who comes every so often with insightful talks yet, something tells me that it is not the real deal.

    Again. Avaita is Advaita and Zen is Zen. Mixing paths is a tasty but dangerous recipe for spiritual disaster and emotional įrash.

    jundo and I are not that popular with women seekers, and this for a good reason, we don t play the game of spiritual seduction and presents Zen as a living and boring tradition.

    Gassho

    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  7. #7
    And, shikantazen, as you are so interested to listen to this bloke, go ahead! Why don't you follow his teachings and meet him? After all, this would be a good experience to meet with an enlightened teacher who proclaims he is, self made man in enlightenment and business. As you know, it is going to cost you a lot, guru are not cheap, they are a bit of a luxury ( it is amazing to see how many expenses they have to run a simple and detached life...), the bigger cost will be emotional and very painful if you are not lucky.

    After I might be wrong. Go and have a peep!

    Here we simply don't charge for the teachings and I don't take from my students: I give. And work in the world to keep my feet grounded, food on my plate, a roof over my head and possibilities to be kind to others.

    i recently bumped into a great definition, as a close up magician I did find it very true: what is the different between a card cheat and a magician? The first one takes things from you ( money, trust) the other one through astonishement and wonder, gives you again and again.

    Up to you to see who is who.

    Gassho

    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  8. #8
    I have noticed a modern trend in Buddhism to present teachings that go beyond tradition such as Big Mind, Unlearning Meditation, True Meditation etc. By claiming to have gone further than the established tradition these individuals (and it does always seem to be individuals) accomplish two things:

    1. They cast doubt on the validity of the traditional teachings since their take has gone beyond that using wisdom that was unavailable to our ignorant forebears
    2. They set themselves apart from tradition, therefore not serving tradition or subject to its rules but able to call the shots based on their own thoughts rather than that which has been tried and tested over millennia.

    Of course, the Buddha himself was one such individual, as was Dogen, but those who have something new to offer seem few as opposed to those whose teachings dissolve when held up in the light into nothing more than the emperor's new clothes.

    Gassho
    Andy

  9. #9
    'jundo and I are not that popular with women seekers, and this for a good reason, we don t play the game of spiritual seduction and presents Zen as a living and boring tradition.'

    It's maybe more complex than that Taigu. Thich Nhat Hahn has many female followers - but I think it's more to do with his deep aura of compassion than 'spiritual seduction'.

    In the realm of spiritual seduction why would female seekers be more drawn in than male? I don't know the statistics but the numbers at these large followings seem to be pretty evenly split between male/female? The need to be spiritually seduced is not necessarily gender driven.

    I recently came across a Mooji talk (had not heard of him before) and he does present as endearing in some way. Another safe port in the storm for troubled seekers - male and female alike?

    We only ever really know by looking within ourselves whether we are being spiritually seduced. Even straight forward teaching can be received in a way that stems from a need within the receiver to be drawn in at a level that's askew in some way.

    As a female student I can confirm that don't feel spiritually seduced by the message or the messengers here


    Zen in all its simplicity, wonder and boredom is just simply presented at Tree Leaf - with nothing added and nothing taken away. I have a preference for this - even if, from time to time, I struggle with a directness of tone that might be misconstrued as a little harsh.

    Gassho

    Willow


    Last edited by willow; 08-17-2013 at 06:00 PM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Karasu View Post
    I have noticed a modern trend in Buddhism to present teachings that go beyond tradition such as Big Mind, Unlearning Meditation, True Meditation etc. By claiming to have gone further than the established tradition these individuals (and it does always seem to be individuals) accomplish two things:

    1. They cast doubt on the validity of the traditional teachings since their take has gone beyond that using wisdom that was unavailable to our ignorant forebears
    2. They set themselves apart from tradition, therefore not serving tradition or subject to its rules but able to call the shots based on their own thoughts rather than that which has been tried and tested over millennia.

    Of course, the Buddha himself was one such individual, as was Dogen, but those who have something new to offer seem few as opposed to those whose teachings dissolve when held up in the light into nothing more than the emperor's new clothes.

    Gassho
    Andy
    Hi Andy,

    I do not know if it is simply a matter of going "beyond tradition", because there are so many worthy attempts these days to adapt and re-express old Traditions to current times and culture. I include Taigu and me in that, and the great experiment here at Treeleaf. It is something that has been going on since the Buddha's time, as Hinayana birthed Mahayana, as Indian ways were adapted to China, Chinese ways to Japan ... and now to the 21st Century West.

    There are some Traditions to keep, some to adapt ... some perhaps to leave behind. There are "new Traditions" to invent, and new ways to present the Dharma. On the other hand, some things may throw out the Baby Buddha with the Bathwater.

    For me, it is not a matter of "new" or "old" ... but simply between "worthwhile" and not, between "healthy and good for you" and "fast food consumerist (even if tasty and attracting long lines) garbage", between "profound & authentic" and a "shallow rip-off".

    Which is which? Maybe only time will tell.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-17-2013 at 10:42 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  11. #11
    Hi Jundo

    I tend to differentiate between those which adapt traditions to modern times and those which throw the Buddha out with the bath water. I guess it can be hard to tell the difference.

    Like you say, it is not a case of new and old and tinkering with religious tradition as doubtless been going on as long as religion itself. As with making new recipes, only tasting the result can show whether it is successful or not, and not every taster will be of the same opinion.

    Gassho
    Andy

  12. #12
    Senior Member Oheso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post

    jundo and I are not that popular with women seekers, and this for a good reason, we don t play the game of spiritual seduction and presents Zen as a living and boring tradition.
    ladies?
    only saps buy vowels

  13. #13
    Hi Taigu,

    I did go to couple of his meetings/talks earlier and will be going to one in Los Angeles this coming saturday.

    I'm sure you guys see much beyond than me on whats wrong with Adyashanti. I have learnt lot from his books though and I see the same things being said in other Zen books too (Pema Chodron, Suzuki etc..). His "true meditation" is essentially the below things and I don't see it any different from how shikantaza taught by brad/jundo/nishijima is

    No-manipulation
    Sitting and allowing everything to be as it is
    don't make "allowing everything to be as it is" also a goal. there is no goal. It is not about trying to perfect a technique
    letting go of the control; letting go of the meditator or the one who is trying to do it right
    a silent prayer, a wordless surrender
    whatever you seek is already here (Similar to Zen: you are already awakened/buddha)
    Sitting with effortless effort (yet non-manipulative) so that you are not going into a dreamy/hazy mindset

    it is the best book i ever read about shikantaza.

    yes i find him charismatic. i find taigu too charismatic. i think the wisdom that flows from such teachers makes them charismatic to students. i don't think it is due to some intentional manipulation by the teachers.

    That said, I'll refrain from posting his links as you and Jundo think that can misguide other students. I'll be mindful not to mix teachings; for me Zen is doing the trick

    thank you all

  14. #14
    Well, I don't know what Taigu meant about popularity with the ladies, but he and I are not particularly attractive to men or anybody too. We are universally uncharismatic.

    Sam (aka Shikantazen), I like a lot of Pema Chodron too, and we are all Buddhists, but I would not call her a writer of "Zen Books" either. As I have said to you before, Sam, one reason I feel you have been so constantly all over this Forum (and other Buddhist fora on the internet too where I see you) trying to "nail down" Shikantaza is because you are not being very discerning. Baseball is not cricket, although both are played with ball and bat and share much the same lingo.

    What you say about Adyashanti's description of "true meditation" (No-manipulation, Sitting and allowing everything to be as it is, etc.) is very common advice, platitudes on meditation that many people will say. The above audio you posted is not the worst I have ever heard out of his mouth (believe me, I have heard and read much by him). But, Sam, since you seem to have such a good understanding of what Adya means, might I ask you to explain a couple of things to me in the audio you posted to help my understanding?

    Sam, what does he mean at 10:25 that "... the most important thing is your intention. You can do everything wrong, but if your intention is really right on, that's going to do it"? It sounds very good, and a lovely positive phrase, but please put it in other words for me.

    At 13:40 "to walk up to the microphone, you are using effortless effort ... if we get stuck on effort, we are striving too much. If we get attached to no effort, we are going way too unconscious." Can you help me understand better, especially "If we get attached to no effort, we are going way too unconscious."?

    Sorry to put you on the spot.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-17-2013 at 06:53 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Well, I don't know what Taigu meant about popularity with the ladies, but he and I are not particularly attractive to men or anybody too. We are universally uncharismatic.

    ....
    .....
    Sam, what does he mean at 10:25 that "... the most important thing is your intention. You can do everything wrong, but if your intention is really right on, that's going to do it"? It sounds very good, and a lovely positive phrase, but please put it in other words for me.

    At 13:40 "to walk up to the microphone, you are using effortless effort ... if we get stuck on effort, we are striving too much. If we get attached to no effort, we are going way too unconscious." Can you help me understand better, especially "If we get attached to no effort, we are going way too unconscious."?

    Sorry to put you on the spot.

    Gassho, J
    Just to clarify, when I said I find Adyashanti or Taigu to be charismatic, I don't mean in a being attracted way . I am just saying I am in-awe/inspired by their wisdom.

    Now to your questions...

    >> "... the most important thing is your intention. You can do everything wrong, but if your intention is really right on, that's going to do it"?

    I think he is trying clarify the idea that shikantaza is not about perfecting a technique or getting it right. It is same thing that zen teachers say: "there is no right/wrong zazen". You only screw it up by worrying. Now by intention he means the seriousness/sincerity with which we approach zazen. By seriousness it is the same thing when you said "That does not mean that just sitting any old way, like a bump on a log, twiddling one's thumbs or taking a nap is "Shikantaza".".

    >> At 13:40 "to walk up to the microphone, you are using effortless effort ... if we get stuck on effort, we are striving too much. If we get attached to no effort, we are going way too unconscious." Can you help me understand better, especially "If we get attached to no effort, we are going way too unconscious."?

    As Zazen is often described as "Zazen does zazen and don't worry about it", people can mistake it to be as requiring no effort at all. He is clarifying not to put too much effort and at the same time to not be attached to putting no effort at all. It is the same thing that all zen teachers talk about. even you talk about zazen not being a lazy sitting. it is the same thing

    Here is his description from the True Meditation book:
    "Meditating in an effortless way is not the same thing as being lazy. One of the profound instructions my teacher used to give when I talk to her about my meditation is this. "Is it Vivid? Is it alive?. This is a very good instruction. If we are simply making no effort in a way that's lazy, then our meditation gets dreamy and foggy. Effortless doesn't mean being lazy or falling into sleep; effortless means just enough effort to be vivid, present, to be here, to be now. To be bright. Too much effort and we get too tight; too little effort and we get dreamy. We each need to find out for ourselves what this means."

  16. #16
    Hi Sam,

    Maybe so. He might be the greatest spiritual teacher of our time, or just the well practiced and polished spiritual performer I see (he has now had 20 years of performance to work on his lines, and he has gotten better in his delivery) who has cobbled together common bits of "sage advice" from a variety of wisdom traditions.

    I would give the movie "Kumare" a good watch, except Adya's schtick is that he is an "I'm not a guru" guru, a guru without the hair and funny beads.

    He doesn't seem particularly dangerous however, and much good and time-tested timeless wisdom in some of the cobbled together "sage advice", so not a total time waste I suppose.



    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-18-2013 at 03:44 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  17. #17
    Is it possible for an insincere teacher to parrot wisdom in such a way that it is helpful nonetheless?
    I took an art class once in high school. I just could NOT draw that damn bicycle. Teacher told me, "Stop looking at the page. Look at the damn bicycle."

  18. #18
    Senior Member Oheso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordbd View Post
    Is it possible for an insincere teacher to parrot wisdom in such a way that it is helpful nonetheless?
    nothing in this life escapes "Practice Time".- Jundo Sensei


    if I understand what Jundo is saying, I'd guess the answer to be "yes". probability might be another matter? if the time is right, I think it
    happens. there's that word again.

    -Rob
    only saps buy vowels

  19. #19
    Andy,

    I'm new here, but with all do respect I would not throw Jason Siff's Unlearning Meditation into the lot of spiritual hucksters. Jason was monk in Sri Lanka and developed his approach based on the sutta's. It is certainly Buddist. Even Rev. Issho Fujita mentioned to me that he learned a lot from the book.

    Having said that, it's not for me. Uchiyama's works are where my resonance resides and is why I think I'll have much to learn here at Treeleaf.

    Gassho,

    Al

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by acss1 View Post
    Andy,

    I'm new here, but with all do respect I would not throw Jason Siff's Unlearning Meditation into the lot of spiritual hucksters. Jason was monk in Sri Lanka and developed his approach based on the sutta's. It is certainly Buddist. Even Rev. Issho Fujita mentioned to me that he learned a lot from the book.

    Having said that, it's not for me. Uchiyama's works are where my resonance resides and is why I think I'll have much to learn here at Treeleaf.

    Gassho,

    Al
    Thank you, Al, and you caused me to order Jason Siff's book.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  21. #21
    Senior Member Joyo's Avatar
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    Ah, well, I can only speak for myself here. I"m an atheist, don't have any attachment to any kind of spiritual seduction so I guess that's why I feel comfortable here. I prefer living and boring, which is more in touch with reality and more practical to my practice.

    edit...

    Oops, my mistake, I was responding to this post
    Originally Posted by Taigu

    jundo and I are not that popular with women seekers, and this for a good reason, we don t play the game of spiritual seduction and presents Zen as a living and boring tradition.




    ladies?
    Last edited by Joyo; 08-19-2013 at 08:26 PM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Joyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willow View Post
    'jundo and I are not that popular with women seekers, and this for a good reason, we don t play the game of spiritual seduction and presents Zen as a living and boring tradition.'

    It's maybe more complex than that Taigu. Thich Nhat Hahn has many female followers - but I think it's more to do with his deep aura of compassion than 'spiritual seduction'.

    In the realm of spiritual seduction why would female seekers be more drawn in than male? I don't know the statistics but the numbers at these large followings seem to be pretty evenly split between male/female? The need to be spiritually seduced is not necessarily gender driven.

    I recently came across a Mooji talk (had not heard of him before) and he does present as endearing in some way. Another safe port in the storm for troubled seekers - male and female alike?

    We only ever really know by looking within ourselves whether we are being spiritually seduced. Even straight forward teaching can be received in a way that stems from a need within the receiver to be drawn in at a level that's askew in some way.

    As a female student I can confirm that don't feel spiritually seduced by the message or the messengers here


    Zen in all its simplicity, wonder and boredom is just simply presented at Tree Leaf - with nothing added and nothing taken away. I have a preference for this - even if, from time to time, I struggle with a directness of tone that might be misconstrued as a little harsh.

    Gassho

    Willow


    As another lady here at Treeleaf, couldn't have said it any better myself, Willow!!

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Thank you, Al, and you caused me to order Jason Siff's book.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Will you let us know what you think when you have the chance?

    I've had some interest in the book after reading the introduction, but I keep avoiding it; I'm not sure why, just out of intuition. But I read that opening again and some of his ideas seem kind of appropriate. For instance, he mentions being flexible, etc, in our practice; he also mentions things that I've been feeling a lot lately: for instance, my shikantaza is not the same as someone else's shikantaza; and even if it is the same, there's no way to know that it's the same; Dogen's way of expressing himself is not the same as Shunryu Suzuki; you and Taigu teach the same and differently, and isn't sitting like that, too?

    I don't know, just rambling.

    Gassho
    Shōmon

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r View Post
    Will you let us know what you think when you have the chance?

    I've had some interest in the book after reading the introduction, but I keep avoiding it; I'm not sure why, just out of intuition. But I read that opening again and some of his ideas seem kind of appropriate. For instance, he mentions being flexible, etc, in our practice; he also mentions things that I've been feeling a lot lately: for instance, my shikantaza is not the same as someone else's shikantaza; and even if it is the same, there's no way to know that it's the same; Dogen's way of expressing himself is not the same as Shunryu Suzuki; you and Taigu teach the same and differently, and isn't sitting like that, too?

    I don't know, just rambling.

    Gassho
    All I have right now is an audio interview with Mr. Shiff.

    I am afraid that all I am is a one trick pony, going radically and profoundly into non-seeking. It is very different from any form of meditation in which one is looking to get some pay-off. (That does not mean that we don't have a Wondrous payoff-non-payoff in our Shikantaza way ... only that we "get it" by giving up the constant hunt because the "payoff" is to be free of lack and need and division). Since there is nothing to get in our Practice, there is no way anything can be lacking in it ... when it is done right! (Cause if you experience that there is something lacking in it, I am afraid your mind is still chasing things!) So very different from the rest of life ... even from so many Buddhist techniques ... where one is chasing, trying to achieve, trying to get, running after, analyzing.

    So, it is hard for me to comment on his various methods of Vipassana meditation and such, because ... while a wonderful path ... it is a tool and technique to get something, work some technique, analyze something. So, it is like asking a football coach (non-football in our case, because there is no GOAL! and we are all winners! ) about how to play tennis.

    All I can say is that any doubt, confusion, judging, comparing and such going on about Zazen (or any aspect of life) in someone's head is .... going on in the head. Don't fall into that trap. I do like what he says in the interview about letting the sitting be.

    http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2010/08...ng-meditation/

    Gassho, Jundo ... One Trick Pony
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-20-2013 at 02:38 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  25. #25
    Jundo,

    No problem. It certainly is controversial amongst hardcore Theravada Buddhist, but his approach is interesting none the less.

    Al

  26. #26
    Jundo,

    For sure it is go seeking, which is why it isn't my cup of tea. Rev. Fujita commented that he liked the fact that he wanted the sitting to sitting to the sitting in much the same you pointed out. I could take or leave the rest of it. I do like the chapter about drifting off in meditation.

    I just wanted to point out that he isn't a spiritual huckster, just radically reinterprets his tradition.

    BTW- Everyone should check out the latest issue of Dharma Eye with Rev. Fujita' article.

    Al

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Oheso View Post
    ladies?
    Yes, I was surprised to read that women are primarily interested in seduction. It as not something I expected to hear here.

    Gassho,
    Fugu

  28. #28
    OK, Oheso and Fugu :you will find out there a bunch of gurus interested in seduction, getting girls and boys in their beds. Here, we don t do that for three obvious reasons:

    1) Through the nature of our interaction through forum and internet.
    2) the fact that both teachers are here in a stable relationship.
    3) The importance of the precepts.

    Spiritual seduction exists, I have seen males attracted to female teachers, I have seen females attracted to male teachers. It does not make the seekers superficial, it is in the hands of the teacher, female or male, to help the student to change his attachment and go beyond, personnal love can indeed turn into universal compassion. it puts a lot of responsability n the hands of the teacher.

    now, sometimes people fall in love, and that s life.

    What do you want me to say?

    I am baffled by how stiff some of us can be when gender related topics are discussed.

    gassho


    T.
    Last edited by Taigu; 08-21-2013 at 08:34 AM.

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post

    1) Threw the nature of our interaction through forum and internet.
    2) the fact that both teachers are here in a stable relationship.
    3) The importance of the precepts.
    I would not put the order as 1,2,3 like so, and I don't think you meant to rank them. I would put it more 3,2,1 or, better, all are in top place. I don't particularly think that being centered on the internet would prevent a romantic relationship from developing in questionable situations, so we need care here too.

    We have Ethics Guidelines and a system for reporting abuses, just in case. As far as I know, we have never ever had any such case around here.

    Treeleaf Ethics Committee ( Complaint Box )
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...plaint-Box-%29

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  30. #30
    My intent was not to put them in any order.

    The real reason is shikantaza anyway. The source of all ethics.

    Gassho,

    T.
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    The real reason is shikantaza anyway. The source of all ethics.
    Thank you Taigu.

    Gassho
    Shingen
    真 眼

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

  32. #32
    Hi there - we seem to have a bit of a scramble with words and their meaning in this thread which probably wouldn't happen in a face to face conversation.

    In the original comment 'women seekers' could mean gurus who seek out vulnerable females - or it could mean women who are seekers who are vulnerable to seduction.

    Well, either way I think it was worth raising the point 'why particularly women' and Taigu clarified this by saying males aswell.

    But then we seem to be focused on spiritual seduction that becomes romantic/sexual seduction.

    Can't speak for Ohesu or Fugu but my comment was focussed on spiritual seduction and I think that's a very important topic because the internet, with all its diversions/charismatic speakers of many persuasions, is probably the biggest spiritual seducer of all.

    Tree Leaf is a compass in all of this with a magnetic pole fixed and true.

    That's all really,

    Gassho

    Willow
    Last edited by willow; 08-21-2013 at 09:06 AM.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    All I have right now is an audio interview with Mr. Shiff.

    I am afraid that all I am is a one trick pony, going radically and profoundly into non-seeking. It is very different from any form of meditation in which one is looking to get some pay-off. (That does not mean that we don't have a Wondrous payoff-non-payoff in our Shikantaza way ... only that we "get it" by giving up the constant hunt because the "payoff" is to be free of lack and need and division). Since there is nothing to get in our Practice, there is no way anything can be lacking in it ... when it is done right! (Cause if you experience that there is something lacking in it, I am afraid your mind is still chasing things!) So very different from the rest of life ... even from so many Buddhist techniques ... where one is chasing, trying to achieve, trying to get, running after, analyzing.

    So, it is hard for me to comment on his various methods of Vipassana meditation and such, because ... while a wonderful path ... it is a tool and technique to get something, work some technique, analyze something. So, it is like asking a football coach (non-football in our case, because there is no GOAL! and we are all winners! ) about how to play tennis.

    All I can say is that any doubt, confusion, judging, comparing and such going on about Zazen (or any aspect of life) in someone's head is .... going on in the head. Don't fall into that trap. I do like what he says in the interview about letting the sitting be.

    http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2010/08...ng-meditation/

    Gassho, Jundo ... One Trick Pony
    Oh, we know all about your one trick, but it's a trick that is a non-trick, since it always reveals all our own tricks of getting and wanting and avoiding, and even though I know (or think I know) your non-trick, since you mentioned you were going to read it, I like to hear your no-trick tricking us back again and again out of tricking ourselves.

    (that's my best attempt at a Jundo; it kind of pleasantly warped my mind a little)

    Gassho
    Shōmon

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r View Post
    Oh, we know all about your one trick, but it's a trick that is a non-trick, since it always reveals all our own tricks of getting and wanting and avoiding, and even though I know (or think I know) your non-trick, since you mentioned you were going to read it, I like to hear your no-trick tricking us back again and again out of tricking ourselves.

    (that's my best attempt at a Jundo; it kind of pleasantly warped my mind a little)

    Gassho
    Not bad.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  35. #35
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    Wow!
    That was a big gulp to swallow, and having paid my admission fee by digesting all that I feel I need to spit something back up. Fortunately, I have already begun learning about nurturing seeds practice, and have learned to chop a few limbs down. That being said I hope something I have to say is taken in the right light of not attacking anyone, but in the spirit of encouragement and guidance.

    I am not a Zen Master, but I have spent a good deal of time thinking about things spiritual, and I am all too familiar with the Self Appointed Guru scene. I spent 6 years living in what I used to call Sandy Ego, California. There is a HUGE market in the self promotion of all things spiritual there. To borrow a line from the rock band, Rush. "But glittering prizes and endless compromises shatter the illusion of integrity"

    I THINK that part of what Taigu and Jundo are trying to say, is that people like Deepak Chopra, Adyashanti (how come these people are never named Bob?) is that it isn't so much WHAT these people are teaching, as much as the context in which they are teaching it that becomes a problem. They are basically throwing a hodge podge of spiritual information together and then having workshops and book deals. Do they have anything valuable to say? Yes The thing is, they aren't really saying anything that hasn't already been said, they just put themselves out there as this charasmatic personality and MARKET themselves as the next big thing. For example I know someone who used to know Deepak personally but became very disillusioned with him when he went from where he started to driving around in a convertable sportscar with his trophy wife.

    To put this in another context, something from my own profession. There have been holistic health practitioners talking about the inter-relationship between the body mind spirit chakras for millenia, yet you take an MD who spends a little time learning about it, and next thing you know she has a whole industry based on her "discoveries". Well she's an MD, so now we know it's true right?

    Maybe another hypothetical situation. How about if we took someone outside the Catholic church who has a "relevation" from God. Next thing you know this person has a book deal about the methods of prayer and steps to avoid purgatory. You can go join his weekend workshops and be saved for the low price of 179.00 for the entire weekend. Hurry while seats are still open. Because you know we are only here to help the quick and the rich.

    The original posted video in this thread does have good information, BUT to me, the person asking the question is so typical of the more Westernized problem with Zen. "I am doing all the work properly, but what do I GET out of it. I am so desperate to loose ME, that I am willing to do any work and pay any price so that I can say with confidence that I have IT. Wheh another one off the bucket list, now I think I'll try Iron Man" Willow you talked about the sometimes "harsh" tenure of dialog in here. I am not sure if this is more of a Zen influence, a Japanese influence, or just Jundo tied of us messing up his lawn. I would rather have a million scoldings coming from compassion and integrity, than the kind of sanguine syrupy dialogue as exposed above. After all, we wouldn't want to scare away customers. I feel Treeleaf exhibits an exemplary level of integrity. Taigu doesn't even want me calling him teacher.

    So that being said with deepest compassion and integrity and well wishing I am going to BONK you on the head shikantazen! You say you are going to see him talk again and my question to you is WHY? The question isn't really about people like Adyashanti. The question is what about you feels the need to go see him live? As Jundo hinted at, what is it that you want to have further nailed down about this practice? What is it you cannot get from the books you already have?? What does he got that no one else does other than a huge following?

    Why not just find yourself involved with a good Zendo and sit! There are probably more seats open.
    Gassho
    C
    Last edited by Clark; 08-21-2013 at 07:12 PM.

  36. #36
    I agree with what you say Clark but would just like to point out that you haven't quite quoted me correctly. I wrote that the directness of tone might be sometimes misconstrued as a little harsh. I wasn't referring to the dialogue in this thread as I feel Jundo and Taigu have been very patient in this matter. It is clear what is being taught here and the tradition the teaching stems from and I agree there's nothing to be gained from adding more.

    Gassho

    Willow

  37. #37
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    Understood Willow. I did sort of misquote you, my apologies.
    Gassho C

  38. #38
    Hi Clark,

    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    So that being said with deepest compassion and integrity and well wishing I am going to BONK you on the head shikantazen! You say you are going to see him talk again and my question to you is WHY? The question isn't really about people like Adyashanti. The question is what about you feels the need to go see him live? As Jundo hinted at, what is it that you want to have further nailed down about this practice? What is it you cannot get from the books you already have?? What does he got that no one else does other than a huge following?
    I can't speak for Sam, but it might be possible that he has not decided for one path entirely (maybe even without knowing it).
    There are different paths out there, and I don't want to say that any one is better than the others. However, for some people a Soto approach is more appropriate, for others a Rinzai approach and again for others Adyashanti's way.
    AFAIK A. puts an emphasis on a big awakening, i.e. Satori. I remember an interview with him in which he kind of complained about a "low success rate in Zen".
    On the other hand Soto practice puts not a single big Satori in focus - however, it is not belittled or rejected either.
    Thus IMHO A.'s practice is actually closer to Rinzai than to Soto, but I might be wrong.

    I think it would be helpful for many people who come to Treeleaf to read "Once born, twice born Zen" as first lecture, since it can make clear for many which path is more suited to them personally. Alas, it is out of print (Jundo has posted some excerpts of it though in the past).

    Anyway, these are just assumptions, maybe Sam is commited to one path - I just wanted to mention this possibility.

    Gassho,

    Timo
    Last edited by Daitetsu; 08-22-2013 at 08:58 AM. Reason: Correction of silly typo
    no thing needs to be added

  39. #39
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    Greetings Timo

    I understand what you mean, and I am certainly NOT saying that this/my/any path is the RIGHT way.

    I guess I am more suggesting that perhaps a less "glittering" path might be a clearer one. Rather than becoming some kind of workshop or lecture junkie, sitting in a normal everyday Zendo ( of one's choice) and just going about the work of practicing might not be as entertaining, but would actually be more to the point.

    Gassho C

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    So that being said with deepest compassion and integrity and well wishing I am going to BONK you on the head shikantazen! You say you are going to see him talk again and my question to you is WHY? The question isn't really about people like Adyashanti. The question is what about you feels the need to go see him live? As Jundo hinted at, what is it that you want to have further nailed down about this practice? What is it you cannot get from the books you already have?? What does he got that no one else does other than a huge following?

    Why not just find yourself involved with a good Zendo and sit! There are probably more seats open.
    Gassho
    C
    Thanks for taking the freedom and giving a BONK Clark. I appreciate your concern. Good questions. Here are my answers.

    Honestly I am not convinced that Adyashanti is fake. I take what Jundo said about Adyashanti to be just his opinion. I have read his books and listened to his talks and everything about him seems to me to be very honest and truthful. Honestly I don't know how many here have read his "True Meditation". Without reading that whatever you say against him is baseless in my view.

    One thing I noticed though is this. I started a topic about Adyashanti few months back. I feel I care less about defending him now than before. Probably my sitting has made me less attached to my opinions.

    That is why sitting is my main thing. Everything else (Adyashanti, zen books, other books or talks etc..) is for fun.

    I often get this advice on this forum. Do they say in Zen not to attend to these kind of other teachings/talks? Does it affect one's practice? I'm kind of used to this kind of spiritual cross-browsing (I even read vipassana books occasionally) and I feel it won't affect my practice or dedication to zen in anyway. You or others here can help me understand this aspect.

    Thanks again


    Sam

  41. #41
    Hi Sam - this is just my personal opinion but to clarify a little further. I don't think there is anything intrinsically detrimental in spiritual cross-browsing and I'm sure we all read a diversity of material. Buddhism is a very wide subject.

    In 'Bendowa' Dogen writes,

    'Remember, among Buddhists we do not argue about superiority and inferiority of philosophies, or choose between shallowness and profundity in the Dharma; we need only know whether the practice is genuine or artificial.'

    I think we can only decide and sense within ourselves whether a teaching/teacher strikes one as authentic. 'Bendowa' does contain a kind of Socratic dialogue where the questioner broaches this subject.

    One of the reasons I gravitate towards Soto Zen and the teachings here is because they are clearly referenced and rooted in a tradition. Jundo and Taigu may have their own personal styles of presentation but they never claim to have 'invented' something new.

    I'm not saying Adyashanti does this - I haven't read anything he's written. I think it's more a case of our suggesting it's worth putting one's efforts whole heartedly into what is on offer here and giving it a chance to deepen and flower.

    I can understand that it might seem narrow minded to advice to just concentrate on one teaching for a while - but I feel the distraction in my own mind when I start going off on a tangent. I think it dilutes and confuses - but that's just me.

    I only mean this in relation to Zazen, which is deeply rooted in Dogen's teachings here. As the 'method' is so clearly set out it doesn't seem necessary to go outside of this - though it is inevitable that there will be parallels and resonances in other teachings elsewhere.

    I use Buddhist philosophy a lot in my art work - creativity is another matter - for that I take freely from everywhere

    Gassho

    Willow
    Last edited by willow; 08-23-2013 at 10:54 AM.

  42. #42
    Senior Member Oheso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willow View Post
    I use Buddhist philosophy a lot in my art work - creativity is another matter - for that I take freely from everywhere
    hi Willow, this has a lot of pertinence to me, as a meditating painter.

    it's curious to me when people say they perceive the "eastern influence" in my works of the last couple of years. although I view zen and art-making as 2 aspects of an aspectless practice, they are often strange bed-fellows, as the saying goes.

    there is a lot of communication between these 2 practices of mine and they're mostly mutually nourishing. still sometimes I view them each singly big enough to devour me in one gulp without batting a golden eye- I'm an Egyptian soldier in hot pursuit of Israel finding himself at once with 2 oceans coming together over his head, -I can see how I might perish.

    gassho -Robert

    Sam, I think you have a good questioning head on your shoulders
    Last edited by Oheso; 08-24-2013 at 12:19 AM. Reason: sun spots
    only saps buy vowels

  43. #43
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    I agree with all that Willow had to say

    I am no expert by any means Sam at any of this. I am certainly not suggesting that this path, this place is THE place for you. What I am suggesting is there is a danger in following people with questionable motives. You will have to find that out for yourself. There is also a tendency for some people to do what I call spiritual puddle jumping. A little wisdom here and a little knowledge there, but what ends up happening is that you can accumulate all of this and never put any ONE of them into deep practice. Some people THINK they are getting somewhere by learning from a variety of sources when actually they are just skimming the surface without doing any real work.

    I guess I am also saying it really doesn't have to be complicated, the whole essence of Zen is simplification. Why not keep it simple.

    Gassho
    C
    Last edited by Clark; 08-25-2013 at 04:17 AM.

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Well, I don't know what Taigu meant about popularity with the ladies, but he and I are not particularly attractive to men or anybody too. We are universally uncharismatic.
    Hi Jundo. I couldn't help but read this and smile with appreciation for you and Taigu. You show your humanity without any polishing at all. The teaching by example is so ordinary it seeps in slowly. Deep bows.


    Gassho Daizan
    大山

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    What do you want me to say?

    I am baffled by how stiff some of us can be when gender related topics are discussed.

    gassho


    T.
    Shenpa.

    Gassho,
    Fugu

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
    Shenpa.

    Gassho,
    Fugu
    I had to look that up. It is a Tibetan word which Pema Chodron describes this way:

    This is a teaching on a Tibetan word: shenpa. The usual translation of the word shenpa is attachment. If you were to look it up in a Tibetan dictionary, you would find that the definition was attachment. But the word "attachment" absolutely doesn't get at what it is. Dzigar Kongtrul said not to use that translation because it's incomplete, and it doesn't touch the magnitude of shenpa and the effect that it has on us.

    If I were translating shenpa it would be very hard to find a word, but I'm going to give you a few. One word might be hooked. How we get hooked.

    Another synonym for shenpa might be that sticky feeling. In terms of last night's analogy about having scabies, that itch that goes along with that and scratching it, shenpa is the itch and it's the urge to scratch. So, urge is another word. The urge to smoke that cigarette, the urge to overeat, the urge to have one more drink, or whatever it is where your addiction is.

    Here is an everyday example of shenpa. Somebody says a mean word to you and then something in you tightens— that's the shenpa. Then it starts to spiral into low self-esteem, or blaming them, or anger at them, denigrating yourself. And maybe if you have strong addictions, you just go right for your addiction to cover over the bad feeling that arose when that person said that mean word to you. This is a mean word that gets you, hooks you. Another mean word may not affect you but we're talking about where it touches that sore place— that's a shenpa. Someone criticizes you—they criticize your work, they criticize your appearance, they criticize your child— and, shenpa: almost co-arising.
    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  47. #47
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    Re: Shenpa

    Thanks Jundo you saved me the trouble

    Gassho
    C

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