....am I allowed back here in yet Jundo? ;-)
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New guy chiming in....
After reading through this thread I continued to find myself back in the "Zen Talks and Teachings" section of the Zendo. I am currently going through each of the teachings in the "Sit-a-long with Jundo: Zazen for Beginners" section and I wanted to quote Jundo from here.
Not sure if this helps with the original question about enlightenment, but I have found that this passage (along with the video) helps me to understand why we sit.Shikantaza “Just Sitting” is an unusual way of meditation, and might be compared to running a long distance foot race in a most unusual way. In most ordinary races, people run to win something, seeking to cross the finish line at the end of the course, far down the road and over distant hills. So the runners keep on pushing ahead, striving with all their might to get to that goal, the crossing of which will finally make them victors. In Zen, that distant goal is sometimes called “Enlightenment.”
And in Shikantaza too, we do not give up. We keep pushing ahead diligently with our practice, step by step and inch by inch, seeking the goal. However, the “goal” turns out not to be where we thought it was, and the way of its crossing not as first imagined.
For, in Shikantaza we must come to realize that the “goal” is not the crossing of some far off line. Instead, each step-by-step of the race itself IS the destination fully attained, the finish line is ever underfoot and constantly crossed with each inch. Each step is instantaneously a perfect arriving at the winner’s tape!
To know that there is no finish line to cross even as we run the race, no target to hit, is to perpetually arrive at the finish line with each stride, ever hitting the target, always arriving home. But despite the fact that the “trophy” was ours all along, we do not give up, do not sit down at the starting line, do not quit and jump out early from the race (of our practice, our life). We do not turn back or waste time. For that reason, some call our Practice a great, constant striving for the “Goalless goal.”
"The moment has priority". ~ Bon Haeng
I have wonderful news! I finally got it! Like for real this time! Actually, no, no one was there to get it. How horrifyingly stupid it all is! Amazing!
I feel like rolling in the mud, reclining on my back quite ready to pass into para nirvana over and over again for all eternity.
Thank you thank you everyone from the bottom of my heart!
good for you bro
Now, drop that too
and sit to shake it off.
Like numb legs and thoughts
Don't worry, it will pass
stich by stich....
Yes, do not get caught in any one place, no matter how pleasant, self-less or startling.
Imagine a garden with ever changing flowers, colors and seasons. Being wholly that, could one say "I finally got it! Like for real this time!"?
This place, where will it find you tomorrow or a year from now, ten years from now? As Enkyo advises ...
Now, drop that too
ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
I won't be bringing much to the topic at hand here but I would like to join in.
From my own personal exploration, I overthink things. I would just like to say that, a lot of times the sayings from Zen masters, priests, monks or what have you, confuse me as well. The past week I've been trying to analyze everything to find reasoning. Boy has it racked my brain. Just sitting here (haha) is what I am doing. I will sit with the sangha, be it here or nowhere or everywhere for two months straight to find if things click.
Like the Buddha said ( for a lack of exact knowledge I will not quote but paraphrase what he said), if something does not resonate with you, let it go and try another way.
P.S. I found a quote similar to what I was trying to say above.
P.P.S...."Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense"
Also, a view on you "getting it" (not to anybody in particular, just a quote that may or may not help).
I do not know if Siddhartha spoke this line of words but does it really matter?In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true"
Last edited by jslinjr; 12-30-2013 at 02:06 AM.
"Those who see worldly life as an obstacle to Dharma see no Dharma in everyday actions. They have not yet discovered that there are no everyday actions outside of Dharma."
- Dogen Zenji
By the way, when the Buddha said this ...
... he actually was saying "well, believe no one except me, and doubt all the teachers except me". But that's okay, because what he had to Teach was worth sticking with.Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense"
It is also a piss poor translation of the Kalama Sutra, because the Buddha taught that some things he Teaches go very much against our ordinary reason and common sense ... which can be quite deluded.
The actual quote is (again, the Buddha implying that his own Teachings pass the Test) ...
and ...“Now, Kalamas, don’t go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, ‘This contemplative is our teacher.’ When you know for yourselves that, ‘These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness’ — then you should enter & remain in them.One such "not so common sense" Teaching of Zen and the Mahayana is that, from one perspectiveless perspective, there is no "east west north or south" ... but at the same time, there is ... and good directions which will get you where you are heading, and other directions which will get one lost. All at once.In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true
Here is about the source of that quote, by the way ...
Last edited by Jundo; 12-30-2013 at 10:05 AM.
ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
What a neat thread. I don't really have anything to add about the mechanics of enlightenment, because I don't know much about it. To be honest, I'm also not very concerned about my not knowing. It seems to me that worrying about how enlightenment "works" or what enlightenment "means" would just gum up the works at this point in my practice.
To be honest I'm far more concerned about my actions and motivations right now than transcending anything. It's all I can manage trying to be kind, compassionate, and content in my duties. Of course, kindness, compassion, and contentment is not just the domain of zen practitioners. However, shikantaza (along with help from the sangha) is excellent for fostering these actions...for me at least.
At this point, if I never get enlightened, but I'm happy sweeping the floor and washing the dishes, sharing my meal with a homeless person, or smiling at the driver who just cut me off then I win. Maybe I'll get enlightened next go round
"Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes."-- Alan Watts
Been a while since I've been on here. Great thread. Raised a lot of questions that swirl around my head from time to time. I don't think just sitting neccesarily answers any of these things, it just make you comfortable with that space that keeps questioning.
Sometimes I might trick myself into thinking I have 'got' it only to find I have got myself tangled in a web of confusion I didn't realise I was in. So when I wake up from these moments I try to get up and stumble onwards without trying to worry too much as to whether I will achieve that spark that will magically change my life. Hope my ramblings make sense.
Well, to Dogen, shikantaza was the quest for the meaning of existence, and as it turned out, according to Hee Jin Kim's book, Dogen found that the search itself was enough. To walk the way was the end goal itself.
Anyway, keep sitting. I came here questioning everything, but now things settle in quite nicely. Maybe it's much too early to say I've settled in, however. But I don't think it should matter very much anyway.
Interestingly, Stephen Batchelor's reappraisal of the Pali Canon suggests something similar. Rather than leading to Nirvana, the end result of the eightfold path is the eightfold path itself. If this is correct, Shakyamuni and Dogen were very much on the same page:
Wonderful questions and answers.
For me, shikantanza is kind of like dipping myself in a pond. For the sit, I immerse myself in the water of nothing. Sometimes I get sprayed, sometimes wet, sometimes soaked. Then I get up and go about my life. Immersed in life, I find the water of the pond drying off; sometimes a light breeze, sometimes a towel, sometimes a blow dryer. The more and better I sit, the more of the pond I take with me. I think enlightenment must be like this. As long as we are IN the world, the forces of the world conspire to shake us out of that state constantly, so it is necessary to keep going back to the pond to renew.
I KNOW what it is like to hit a home run. I have yet to be able to hit one every time I get up to bat. Therefore, batting cage, even though I know Homerun.
But in fact, when are we ever out of the pond? In fact, when have you or can you be anything but the flowing pond itself ... whether one realizes so or not?? The Sufi poet Kabir wrote something like ... "All know that the drop merges into the waters, but few know that the waters merge into the drop."
We are like the fish raised in the waters ... so much so that we cannot even see the waters ... so much so that we cannot see that fish and water and breathing and swimming are Whole, One Great Activity. Dogen said (in the Genjo) ...
There is no need for the fish to constantly be aware of the water. Why would the fish need to do more than just swim?Fish swim the water and however much they swim, there is no end to the water. Birds fly the skies, and however much they fly, there is no end to the skies. Yet fish never once leave the water, birds never forsake the sky. When their need is great, there is great activity. When their need is small, there is small activity. In this way, none ever fails to exert itself to the full, and nowhere does any fail to move and turn freely. If a bird leaves the sky, it will soon die. If a fish leaves the water, it at once perishes. We should grasp that water means life [for the fish], and the sky means life [for the bird]. It must be that the bird means life [for the sky], and the fish means life [for the water]; that life is the bird, life is the fish. We could continue in this way even further, because practice-realization, and for all that is possessed of life, it is the same.
Even were there a bird or fish that desired to proceed further on after coming to the end of the sky or the water, it could make no way, could find no place, in either element. When that place is attained, when that way is achieved, all of one's everyday activities are immediately manifesting reality. Inasmuch as this way, this place, is neither large nor small, self nor other, does not exist from before, does not come into being now for the first time, it is just as it is.
So, sometimes it is good to become aware of all this, but do not worry about being constantly in the "state of water" or "out of the state of water" so much.
Most times, one can just be a fish and swim swim swim.
Last edited by Jundo; 01-09-2014 at 03:39 AM.
ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
as we sit, we discover for ourselves that "enlightenment" is not an experience, or an event.
The fundamental nature of all experiences and events, is that they pass. They do not last. But the 'you' who experienced it, the 'you' who didn't have it at one point. Has now had some wonderful experience, and has now had that experience fade is what?
This practice is pointing to whats already here. To whats always been here.