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Thread: Ploughing clouds

  1. #1

    Ploughing clouds

    image.jpgDogen wrote:


    I have passed on the Way

    of the Western Ancestor

    to the East



    Catching the moon,

    ploughing the clouds,

    yearning for the Ancient.



    Tonight no worldly dust

    whirls with the snow

    to my mountain hut of straw




    Ploughing clouds, one of the pet sentences to calligraphy of Sogaku Taizen.
    One of my favorites too.

    What does it mean? Clouds represent thoughts, natural mind activity. Whatever you do, thoughts arise, good, bad, nice, not so nice, nasty, holy, sexy, boring, lots of thoughts. Thoughts is what comes up. Bubbles up. Beginning of a retreat, many. End of a retreat, less. Nothing wrong here. It shows you are alive. Mushin, no mind, does not mean no thoughts. It means no attachment to thoughts. Monkey mind, Gorilla mind, you should not mind. If you look at the poem above in which moon, means Dharma essence, original clarity, awaken activity and clouds stand for confusion, illusions, delusions, desires and the likes...one cannot be without the other. The ploughing will upset and stir lots of stuff and that stuff shows you intimately what the Dharma is about. Without thoughts, no Dharma.

    First common misunderstanding : nothing wrong with monkey mind.

    You want to be in control? You want to calm down the beast? Get less involved in mental rubbish? Well, welcome to the followers of the first yana as Chogyam Trungpa puts it: you may now get yourself as a wonder Arhat, a spiritual champion, an athlete of the mind, a solitary impeccable and detached sitter. An emaciated ascetic drunk with visions and promises. Totally stunned with the ideas of good versus bad. Well done, a few drinks, the company of a nice looking sexy boy or a great lady in your arms, and your twenty years of sitting in the forest are in the gutter, down the drain. Welcome to the party!!!


    Needless to say that as soon as you realize the second yana, Mahayana, the field of confusion, the screaming hords of Mara are instantly embraced by the power of compassion. At the third yana, Tantrayana, they are turned into clarity right on the spot.

    Second problem here , you might be stuck in the first step, first yana, seeking for calm and equanimity, using Dharma as a good medecine. And yet Dharma is here to really make a big mess, put the fire to your house of beliefs, totally put things upside down.

    So ploughing clouds...digging the dirt as peter Gabriel would say. And realizing that this is really The Dharma field, and dirt is another form of light.


    The gorilla i am is going to share a very personal story with you. i was young, young in the dharma, maybe two or three years old ( years after Tokudo). I was sitting in the evening with a local Sangha and the whole show never looked more messy, thoughts, whirling pictures and movies, physical pain, willing to get out of this, out of this mess asap, asap...and just, cutting through all, clarity. Nothing disappeared, the pain, the emotions, the thoughts and all of show was there, and yet everything was OK. In the center of the wheel, resting place in the midst of confusion, not separated from it as many belief systems sell you ( get out and you ll find Heaven), RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF CONFUSION MONKEY BUSINESS was the real place.

    So when we have people loosing their time measuring the monkey mind levels...


    Gassho


    Taigu


    PS: check this old gorilla prose and words, if you have the time: http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=16874
    Last edited by Taigu; 01-02-2014 at 10:11 AM.
    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.

  2. #2
    Thank you for this post Taigu.

    I had not read the poem but looked it up yesterday because receiving the line 'ploughing the clouds' was like striking gold.
    I understand the poem better now from your explanation because I was unclear about 'catching the moon'.

    'Without thoughts, no Dharma' - this is so concise and gives great clarity.

    Thank you again,



    Willow

  3. #3
    Thank you so much, Taigu!

    Gassho,

    Timo
    no thing needs to be added

  4. #4
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Thank you Taigu for this teaching.

    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

  5. #5
    Senior Member Shawn's Avatar
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    Thank you

    Gassho

    Shawn

    Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk
    I am relatively new to zen. Please keep that in mind and take what I say with a truck load of salt.

  6. #6
    Treeleaf Unsui Daido's Avatar
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    Thanks Taigu

    Gassho,

    Daido


  7. #7
    Lovely expression Taigu. Thank you.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    Beautiful Taigu, thank you! =)

    Gassho
    Shingen
    真 眼

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

  9. #9
    Thank you!

    Gassho
    Shohei

  10. #10
    Senior Member Joyo's Avatar
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    Thank you, Taigu, beautiful!!!

    Gassho,
    Treena

  11. #11
    Thank You

    Gassho
    Bobby

  12. #12
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    My King Kong Mind often overwhelms me. But I just sit with it. I watch it throwing stuff at me.

    I don't move. I just sit.

    Thank you for this, Taigu.

    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

  13. #13
    Junior Member jslinjr's Avatar
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    First common misunderstanding : nothing wrong with monkey mind.

    You want to be in control? You want to calm down the beast? Get less involved in mental rubbish? Well, welcome to the followers of the first yana as Chogyam Trungpa puts it: you may now get yourself as a wonder Arhat, a spiritual champion, an athlete of the mind, a solitary impeccable and detached sitter. An emaciated ascetic drunk with visions and promises. Totally stunned with the ideas of good versus bad. Well done, a few drinks, the company of a nice looking sexy boy or a great lady in your arms, and your twenty years of sitting in the forest are in the gutter, down the drain. Welcome to the party!!!


    Needless to say that as soon as you realize the second yana, Mahayana, the field of confusion, the screaming hords of Mara are instantly embraced by the power of compassion. At the third yana, Tantrayana, they are turned into clarity right on the spot.
    I may be a little lost in my morning fog, but what are you referring to when you speak of the three yanas, Taigu?


    Gassho,
    Jeff
    "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

  14. #14
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Thank you.


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

  15. #15
    Treeleaf Unsui Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Gassho, with thanks.
    Myozan
    Myozan Kodo
    Ordained Soto Zen Priest in Training
    Dublin, Ireland

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

  16. #16
    Senior Member Shujin's Avatar
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    Thank you, Taigu; gassho.

  17. #17
    Hi Jeff,

    From an historical perspective, the three yana refer to the three stages through which Buddhism evolved and changed, from the way of the Elders, Theravada, based on discipline and morality, sticking to the original teachings of Shakyamuni.
    The second is Mahayana, the so called Great vehicle, based on the Bodhisattva ideal and eventually, esoteric Buddhism, Tantrayana, also called Vajrayana, based on a strong Guru practice and complex rituals transforming poisons into awakening.
    In Trungpa terminology, it refers to three styles of practice, three ways to deal with negative emotions for instance, you might get rid of them (first yana), embrace them (second one)or thransform them (third one).
    A word of caution though, each yana contains the two other yana. In Mahayana, the kind of Buddhism we practice here, we have a strong Theravada element ( look at the precepts for instance) as well as a Tantrayana flavor ( teachings of the kesa, recitation of certain chants and mantra, also the idea to make use of everything, not to reject anything to accomplish the way).

    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.

  18. #18
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Thank you so much, Taigu!
    Awesome teaching

    Gassho,

    Shokai
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

  19. #19
    Deep thanks.
    Silent bow.

    Nadi

  20. #20
    Thank you Taigu.

    Gassho,
    Neika
    Neika / Ian Adams

    寧 Nei - Peaceful/Courteous
    火 Ka - Fire

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

  21. #21
    Junior Member jslinjr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    Hi Jeff,

    From an historical perspective, the three yana refer to the three stages through which Buddhism evolved and changed, from the way of the Elders, Theravada, based on discipline and morality, sticking to the original teachings of Shakyamuni.
    The second is Mahayana, the so called Great vehicle, based on the Bodhisattva ideal and eventually, esoteric Buddhism, Tantrayana, also called Vajrayana, based on a strong Guru practice and complex rituals transforming poisons into awakening.
    In Trungpa terminology, it refers to three styles of practice, three ways to deal with negative emotions for instance, you might get rid of them (first yana), embrace them (second one)or thransform them (third one).
    A word of caution though, each yana contains the two other yana. In Mahayana, the kind of Buddhism we practice here, we have a strong Theravada element ( look at the precepts for instance) as well as a Tantrayana flavor ( teachings of the kesa, recitation of certain chants and mantra, also the idea to make use of everything, not to reject anything to accomplish the way).

    Gassho

    Taigu
    That is what I had guessed. I just wanted to make sure it was in that context. I will not take this thread off topic but I am going to send you a private message with my question.

    Gassho,
    Jeff
    "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

  22. #22
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Dharma is here to really make a big mess, put the fire to your house of beliefs, totally put things upside down.
    Thank you Taigu. I have been ploughing and not cultivating recently: this has helped show me that it is exactly what was needed. Gassho.
    Heisoku
    平 息

  23. #23
    You want to be in control? You want to calm down the beast? Get less involved in mental rubbish? Well, welcome to the followers of the first yana as Chogyam Trungpa puts it: you may now get yourself as a wonder Arhat, a spiritual champion, an athlete of the mind, a solitary impeccable and detached sitter. An emaciated ascetic drunk with visions and promises. Totally stunned with the ideas of good versus bad. Well done, a few drinks, the company of a nice looking sexy boy or a great lady in your arms, and your twenty years of sitting in the forest are in the gutter, down the drain. Welcome to the party!!!


    Needless to say that as soon as you realize the second yana, Mahayana, the field of confusion, the screaming hords of Mara are instantly embraced by the power of compassion. At the third yana, Tantrayana, they are turned into clarity right on the spot.

    Second problem here , you might be stuck in the first step, first yana, seeking for calm and equanimity, using Dharma as a good medecine. And yet Dharma is here to really make a big mess, put the fire to your house of beliefs, totally put things upside down.

    So ploughing clouds...digging the dirt as peter Gabriel would say. And realizing that this is really The Dharma field, and dirt is another form of light.
    Yes, yes! This monkey mind has spent countless hours on the cushion trying to put the cloud back together, smooth it over and turn it into icing on the moon! This mind has only scuffed the surface of the cloud so as not to stir it up too much, to keep the illusion of order in its life. What it has really needed, though, is deep digging, turning it over and over and over again. Ice is smoother than crashing waves but hurts like hell when you whack your head against it over and over again. Crashing waves may knock you over and take you to where you do not choose to go but such is their nature. Moon, clouds, ice, waves...existence.

    Thank you, Taigu, for sharing.

    Peace and blessings to all,
    Richard

  24. #24
    Sweeeeeeet! Just the turn of phrase I needed to hear.
    Shinzan

  25. #25
    Thank you for going into the symbolism - what's interesting is that even without understanding of the symbolism, the heart of the matter is still there, can be intuited; as though the images are somehow beyond concepts and contain something of reality - I can't explain and am making a mess of it; just something felt.

    Thank you Taigu.

    Gassho
    Shōmon

  26. #26

  27. #27
    Senior Member Joyo's Avatar
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    Taigu, I just re-read this post. I've had quite the week, dealing with some very painful things right now. This teaching, the dharma, it has helped me so much. The clouds are there, yes, and sometimes they hurt so bad I don't know what to do or where to turn to get rid of them, and Mara is screaming!!! However, I am learning to not turn anywhere, but inside, to the Buddha within, and then, there is the moon, beyond the clouds. And I am learning that the dharma is so much more than calming the mind!!

    Gassho,
    Treena

  28. #28
    With my deepest gratitude, I thank you for this.

    I have been stuck in clouds, turned to fog for many months now. Reading this, and having others who understand how hard it can be to tell that "Gorilla" to stop thundering around has quieted some of the rushing in my soul.

    A few tears came reading this, but they were cleansing and washed the dirt off my soul.

    Gassho,

    Chelsea

  29. #29
    Senior Member Troy's Avatar
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    I did not know about the different yanas. Admittedly, I find myself focused on the first yana most of the time. You have challenged me, thank you Taigu

  30. #30
    Thank you Taigu,

    I too often seem to be stuck in the first stage, having a go at myself for my mind not being calm. I guess I am subtly trying to grasp at something else when what I should be doing is waking up to life in front of my eyes.

    Gassho,

    Simon.

  31. #31
    Senior Member Jakudo's Avatar
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    Thanks Taigu, I did not know of the yanas either. Always teaching, always learning.
    Gassho, Jakudo.

    Sent from my GT-N8010 using Tapatalk
    Gassho, Shawn Jakudo Hinton
    It all begins when we say, I. Everything that follows is illusion.
    "Even to speak the word Buddha is dragging in the mud soaking wet; Even to say the word Zen is a total embarrassment."
    寂道

  32. #32
    Yes!

    Deep bows,

    MyoHo

  33. #33
    Senior Member Entai's Avatar
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    Thank you, Taigu.

    Deep bows,
    Entai / Bill

    Entai (Bill)
    "Be kind - for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle" - Plato

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