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Thread: Mechanics of Enlightenment

  1. #51
    I recently think I got it myself. Actually, right now, I feel like I don't, again. So you're not alone, but we signed up around the same time. So we can be Soto-style Zen beginner buddies. Hahaha.

    I think shikantaza, theoretically, requires faith or great understanding. For complicated minds like mine, understanding is crucial. I think for Rinzai folks, they think the same way... requiring various kenshos and a final satori before they settle in shikantaza. The readings about Once Born Twice Born Zen thing kind of struck me. Hakuin hated silent illumination because he couldn't get it, he couldn't settle the great matter. I honestly dunno how Soto settle the great matter. Not thinking about it seems like an escapism.

    For example, this morning, my mom was telling me about a bus that fell over a skyway recently, killing at least 18 people. She asked me rhetorically why this had to happen to those innocent people and why so close to Christmas, perhaps expressing her disappointment, the dukkha of life. To me, living in the third world, dukkha feels so very very real. I feel as though it's not just something you can easily ignore like the boogey man. To do so would make me callous, apathetic. I can't seem to just not think of it because it's almost always right in front of me. So to sit in perfect contentment while faced with so much suffering is extremely difficult.

    I mean, so many people came to Buddhism because they found that samsara was unbearable. You're born, you age, you get sick, you die. Even the intro in the Dogen movie moves me... seeing a little boy watching his own mother dying... telling him he must find a way to escape this dreadful existence. I sometimes get the feel that what's happening is that the great matter is being gently sweeped under the carpet, pretending it's not there. I probably misunderstand, everyone here seems like they have found relative peace. Moreover, Soto Zen appealed to the masses in Japan, usually the target of so much suffering. But to me, suffering seems so very real. And some things just totally unacceptable to accept.

    Gassho
    Ben
    Last edited by Tiwala; 12-17-2013 at 12:38 PM.
    Gassho
    Ben

  2. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by dharmasponge View Post
    Now I am starting to conclude that 'Just Sitting' means developing a refined and philosophically impressive apathy.


    A bit more regarding the above ...

    I happened to listen to this Dharma Talk today on Master Hongzhi and Silent Illumination, the root of Shikantaza and inspiration for Dogen. The talk touches on the vibrancy of sitting in such way. It quotes from some of the writings of Glassman Roshi on engagement with the ugly in the world, and how sitting is not some "black cave" passivity but instead a vibrant act.

    Some lovely poetry in there too from Hongzhi which wonderfully expresses the power of sitting.

    http://www.upaya.org/2013/11/brian-b...aster-hongzhi/

    Probably worth a listen for Tony.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-18-2013 at 01:37 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  3. #53
    And P.S. ...

    To me, living in the third world, dukkha feels so very very real. I feel as though it's not just something you can easily ignore like the boogey man.
    Dukkha is front and center for us, as it should be for all Buddhists. We do not ignore it, look the other way, just accept it. Better said, we "accept it" in that way a doctor needs to accept disease if he is going to have the energy and focus to combat it. We say "Yes" to this world even as we say "No" and fight the good fight. A care giver, doctor, charitable worker or the like who cannot do so risks fast disillusionment and burnout!

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  4. #54
    Now I am starting to conclude that 'Just Sitting' means developing a refined and philosophically impressive apathy.
    I guess that is one way of looking at it.

    I prefer to think it is standing up to that part of the brain we usually indulge that always wants to know why and instead listening to the quiet voice inside that says 'Just be. It is enough.'

    Until we let the concepts and questions run their course, just sitting will rarely feel enough.

    Gassho
    Andy

  5. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by Tiwala View Post
    I sometimes get the feel that what's happening is that the great matter is being gently sweeped under the carpet, pretending it's not there. I probably misunderstand, everyone here seems like they have found relative peace. Moreover, Soto Zen appealed to the masses in Japan, usually the target of so much suffering. But to me, suffering seems so very real. And some things just totally unacceptable to accept.

    Gassho
    Ben
    Not to speak for anyone else, but I have not found relative peace. Also though, I'm not always searching for peace anymore. When sad, sad. When depressed, depressed - no fighting. When happy, happy. When thinking and overanalyzing and searching, thinking and overanalyzing and searching. When confused (a lot), confused. Only difference now is not getting too carried away by any of these things, including trying to find peace, avoid suffering, or being consumed by how awful the world is, all the suffering, and trying to fix it.

    Gassho
    Shōmon

  6. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by dharmasponge View Post
    Thanks Timo...all good stuff!

    I think there is a lot of faith required here too - what do you think? An intellectual appreciation that in the grand scheme of things all is equal in the eyes of Emptiness has never really cut the cloth for me. I have had moments, in my Tibetan years, of real breakthroughs in my understanding of Emptiness and found that its made a palpable difference in my everyday life. Maybe that's why I find just sitting so difficult to grasp. Like in your quote of the old Zen saying. I can see impermanence of phenomena, I get the illusory nature of appearance. But these are merely intellectual experiences. Only when I have sat and gone looking have I 'experienced' the lack of self-hood of whatever the object of meditation might be.

    Again, I am sure that I have missed something fundamental regarding Shikantaza as you guys all seem to have 'got it'. I am still in 'this won't get the rice cooked' mode

    _/|\_
    I don't have it. None of us has it. There is no "us" who have "it" and "you" who don't have "it" and I don't mean that in any zennie philosophical way - you have it just as much as any of us, and none of us, no alan, no timo, no willow, none of these little selves, has it. There's a great video by Taigu where he says, When you're sitting and you think, I've got it, well, you don't have it. I don't remember what video it is.

    Also, this: about these experiences and breakthroughs concerning emptiness and how they made a palpable difference in your everyday life - that's great, I guess, but it's also just normal. The same goes for someone who smokes weed in the morning; there's definitely a palpable difference to their everyday life. Or someone who doesn't have time to make the usual cup of coffee - a palpable difference. I don't mean for my tone to be dismissive of these experiences, and I don't mean to denigrate great Buddhist ideas, but experiencing a lack of selfhood - special in idea only; otherwise, just normal, just what is, and beautiful for its ordinariness.

    The goalless attitude doesn't arise by trying to goallesly let thoughts ago. The goalless, complete, whole thing arises naturally of itself, of its own accord - you do nothing. It blooms through you, normally, non-specially. You won't even experience it b/c you will be it, unwatching, for once - you may look back and go, oh, there it was, but you'll have already lost it, though you can't lose it.

    Also: amazing thread. Really enjoyed reading it. Great posts, Timo.

    Gassho
    Shōmon

  7. #57
    Hi Tony,

    Sorry for the late reply - have been busy today...

    Quote Originally Posted by dharmasponge View Post
    I think there is a lot of faith required here too - what do you think? An intellectual appreciation that in the grand scheme of things all is equal in the eyes of Emptiness has never really cut the cloth for me.

    I can understand that.

    However, it is not about faith for everyone, i.e. there is at least a chance to get a tiny taste of it (or more). I don't know if one can force this - in the Rinzai way probably.
    But in the end, it does not matter at all!

    The more you wish to experience something, the further you'll move away - at least that is my opinion.
    The more indifferent you are to have an experience (call it what you will), the better. You won't get attached, you won't put yourself under pressure.

    You should ask yourself (this is personal, just delve into this in private):
    Why do you practice?

    There must be a reason. I guess you don't do it just for kicks.
    And when you know it, just try this stupid shikantaza thing out. It's crazy, too simple to be true.
    Just sit - e v e r y d a y. No excuse. At least once a day for 20 mins. (Better a bit every day than a single marathon session at the weekend).
    Drop all questions whether this makes sense or not - Jundo and Taigu will both tell you that this practice is useless. They have been saying it countless times, so you can drop this question as well.
    Give it time.
    And only when this time has passed you should ask yourself:
    Is this good for you? Has something changed in your life?
    This is something only you can answer.

    And if it turns out that things have changed in a positive way, to hell whether you need faith or had a "proof".
    If it does you good, then do it.
    If not, look for another practice that suits you better.
    But you really should give it a chance. Two months, better more.

    And here is another paradox:
    There is even a chance you'll forget why you started to practice in the first place, but keep on practicing. It will have become an integral part of your life.

    Don't get attached to those enlightenment stories you read everywhere - that's why I made some jokes about it in my first post here.
    Because after all - you are in this dream, so let's make the best out of it.



    Quote Originally Posted by dharmasponge View Post
    Again, I am sure that I have missed something fundamental regarding Shikantaza as you guys all seem to have 'got it'.
    There is nothing to get - there is just practice.

    Gassho,

    Timo



    PS: Just want to add this: I am no teacher, so you should always, always refer to the advice from Jundo or Taigu!
    Last edited by Daitetsu; 12-17-2013 at 05:56 PM.
    no thing needs to be added

  8. #58
    Thanks Timo,

    Great advice again. All taken on board.

    However....

    "There is nothing to get, just practice"

    Felt like screaming the house down! If there's nothing to get, why oh why bother?

    I have asked others this and been told "practice for practices sake" which means absolutely nothing to me at all.

    Why not stay in the warm bed with my wife and not get up in the cold to sit if there is nothing to get? Practice implies working towards something, to be fulfilled at some point. Practice implies fruits and the rewards of practice - doesn't it?

    I am really struggling with this though I understand (I think) Just Sitting, with no expectations. But no goal? I toy mischievously with the idea that Zennies say there is no goal but secretly are gagging for the cessation that the Four Noble Truths speak of. :-)

    I guess it might help me understand more if I could see what the differences are between Silent Illumination and Shikantaza?

    Tony...





    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Sat today

  9. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by dharmasponge View Post
    Thanks Timo,

    Great advice again. All taken on board.

    However....

    "There is nothing to get, just practice"

    Felt like screaming the house down! If there's nothing to get, why oh why bother?
    Because you have to get that there's nothing to get, and that's getting something great, but you can't get it by wanting to get it, you already are it, and practicing is the expression of that.

    That being said, I have no idea what I'm talking about. These words, ech. (and this coming from a "writer"). Also, don't know anything about silent illumination. This can be frustrating stuff, I realize.

    Why bother? You don't have to bother. No one is making you bother. But, just simplify, don't you want to sit? If so, just sit. Listen, why do some people run marathons? You know, most people I know that run marathons don't run marathons because they want to be the best runner in the world. They maybe want to prove something to themselves; they maybe want something special in their life; they might want some great challenge - so, they have to fight, and will it, and work hard, and practice. And then, eventually, over time, they one day just are gone, lost in the run, the run is them, no difference, no more fighting, willing, or practicing, now, just running. Same with sitting.

    Gassho
    Shōmon

  10. #60