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Thread: When we take Buddhism out of Zen

  1. #51
    Quote Originally Posted by Tiwala View Post
    Hey Tim! I have ADD too, and some other people here.

    Shikantaza isn't really about taming the mind... nor is it really secular or sacred (in my current understanding) many times I still frolick around like a madman in my head and all thoughts are violently asserting themselves, but they're just thoughts. . . Whole and complete, even when they drop away like my brain is shedding skin 900000 times a second.

    Nevertheless, it has personally helped me learn how to let go of thoughts, and not be enslaved by them as much. I learned that I don't really need to react to my thoughts, that I don't need to believe them all the time (or at all sometimes)... most of all that they never last forever...and thus not -me-

    So, who am I, really?

    Gassho, Ben
    As the driver of the bus, let me just ADD this point ...

    Zen folks have a lovely way of talking out of both sides of our no sided mouth. So, for example, when we sit Zazen, we sit beyond and right through all human preferences and thoughts of "hot and cold" ... yet Dogen advised that we should sit in a room that is neither too hot nor too cold when we can. We sit beyond and right through "clean vs. dirty", yet best to sit in a clean room with clean clothes. A quite room is best, although we sit with an inner stillness that transcends all noise or silence.

    Of course, if one needs to sit in a cold, dirty and noisy place with no escape ... one sits right there, finding the Warmth, Silence and Purity that transcends all small human judgments of opposites. Such is Shikantaza. There is no "bad Zazen" ... even the days of really "bad Zazen".

    So, your advice as follows is lovely, wise counsel ... Beautiful! ...

    many times I still frolick around like a madman in my head and all thoughts are violently asserting themselves, but they're just thoughts. . . Whole and complete, even when they drop away like my brain is shedding skin 900000 times a second.
    But let me just add that, when the thoughts and emotions get really really really out of control and wild, there is a middle way here. There are some steps that one can take to bring things within some balance.

    Last time, I spoke about how there is no “bad” Zazen, even on those days when the mind is very cloudy with thoughts and emotions. But in fact, there are a couple of things we can do to settle down when the mind is really, really, really, stirred up with tangled thoughts, wild emotions and confusion.

    We can count the breaths, for example, counting from 1 to 10 at each inhalation and exhalation, then coming back to one and starting all over when we reach ten (which we rarely do) or lose track. Or we can simply follow the breath without counting, for example, observing effortlessly as it enters and exits the nose. These are excellent practices, and will calm the mind (itself a form of Shikantaza that some people pursue, even for a lifetime!). HOWEVER, for reasons I will discuss, I recommend such practices only as temporary measures for true beginners with no experience of how to let the mind calm at all, or others on those sometime days when the mind really, really, really is upset and disturbed. AS SOON AS the mind settles a bit, I advise the we return our attention to “the clear, blue, spacious sky that holds all“, letting clouds of thought and emotion drift from mind, focused on what can be called “everything, and nothing at all” or “no place and everyplace at once.” I will explain why in today’s talk.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-%28Part-XI%29
    Usually, we sit still and dry in our boat at the center of the storming waves, the eye of the hurricane ... but sometimes we need a bit of an anchor. Master Keizan, Dogen's Dharma-Grandson in the 14th century, had this to advice as temporary measures when the mind gets too crazy ...

    If your mind is disturbed, rest it on the tip of the nose or below the navel and count your inhaled and exhaled breath. If your mind still is not calm, take a Koan and concentrate on it. For example consider these non-taste stories: Who is this that thus comes? (Hui-neng); Does a dog have Buddha nature? (Chao-chou); Yun men's Mt Sumeru and Chao-chou's oak tree in the garden. These are available applications. If your mind is still disturbed, sit and concentrate on the moment your breath has stopped and both eyes have closed forever, or on the unborn state in your mother's womb or before one thought arises. If you do this, the two Sunyatas (non-ego) will emerge, and the disturbed mind will be put at rests.

    http://www.zenki.com/index.php?lang=en&page=Keizan01
    The reference to concentrating on a Koan temporarily or on some state of Oneness or Non-birth is a temporary measure to get the mind to some workable degree of balance and concentration when the "monkees" of the monkey mind really are going on a rampage! Usually, we let monkeys just be monkeys, "paying them no nevermind", letting them do their swinging in the vines ... but sometimes we try to quiet the rampage.



    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-21-2014 at 02:21 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #52
    Senior Member Tiwala's Avatar
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    Whoa! Did not know we could concentrate on a koan for a truly disturbed mind! No wonder I had been feeling that the huatou is a verbal shikantaza. Well, at least it was to me... then again... what is shikantaza and huatou anyway?

    Is koan concentration to still the mind ever still used in some Japanese Soto monasteries/temples?


    Gassho, Ben
    Gassho
    Ben

  3. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by Tiwala View Post

    Is koan concentration to still the mind ever still used in some Japanese Soto monasteries/temples?

    Gassho, Ben
    Mu. :-)

    Gassho, Jishin
    治 Ji (Healing)
    心​ Shin (Heart-Mind)

  4. #54
    What is a more profound koan than shikantaza itself.

    "to study the Buddha way is to study the self..."

    not in the head, but in the heart.

    Just sitting. Letting go of all thoughts of gain and loss. How can we do this? Can it be done? Who is there to do it?

    When we allow ourselves to just settle into where we already are, we are face to face, eyeball to eyeball with the most direct and profound of all koans.
    Life.
    Our self.
    Yourself.
    Just. This. Right. Now.

    Nothing added. Nothing removed.
    Humbly,
    Seiryu

  5. #55
    Senior Member Kantai's Avatar
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    Koancentration...😂
    I'm sorry..

    Gassho
    Kantai

  6. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by Tiwala View Post
    Whoa! Did not know we could concentrate on a koan for a truly disturbed mind! No wonder I had been feeling that the huatou is a verbal shikantaza. Well, at least it was to me... then again... what is shikantaza and huatou anyway?

    Is koan concentration to still the mind ever still used in some Japanese Soto monasteries/temples?


    Gassho, Ben
    It may be, but really the point is not different in Keizan's recommendation from following the breadth, reciting a mantra, focusing on one's belly button or the tip of the nose, focusing on some target ... just an anchor to use temporarily to center the mind and let things settle a bit. After things settle a bit, then one returns to open, spacious sitting. It is not the typical "Koan Introspection Zazen" meant to pierce the Koan in the Rinzai way, but just a handle to let one get a quick grip.

    In the usual poetic way these old guys had of expressing things, Keizan says earlier in the essay about "no right or wrong" Zazen when done "right" ...

    Although Zen talks about training, it is the training of no-action. The body does nothing except zazen. The mouth does not utter the Dharani, the mind does not work at conceptual thinking; the six sense organs are naturally pure and have no defilement. ... Nothing is done except zazen, and this zazen is called the Buddha's conduct. The trainee just dwells comfortably in the self-joyous meditation of the Buddhas ...

    ...

    There is neither right and wrong nor good and evil. What is there to suppress and to stop? This is the formless virtue of Buddha nature. Usually zazen means concentrating the mind and eliminating extraneous thoughts. But in this zazen, we free ourselves from dualism of body and mind and of delusion and enlightenment. Neither the body nor mind changes, moves, acts, or worries.

    Like a rock, like a stake, like a mountain, like an ocean, the two forms of movement and rest do not arise. This is meditation without the form of meditation. Because there is no form of meditation, it is called just meditation. But in this zazen we naturally destroy the obstacle of knowledge (ignorance), forget the delusive activity of the mind; our entire body becomes the eye of wisdom; there is no discrimination and recognition. We clearly see the Buddha nature and are inherently not deluded. We cut the delusive root of the mind and the light of the Buddha mind shines through suddenly.

    ...

    Drop mind, intellect and consciousness, leave memory, thinking, and observing alone. Don't try to fabricate Buddha. Don't be concerned with how well or how poorly you think you are doing; just understand that time is as precious as if you were putting out a fire in your hair. ... Nyojo [Dogen's Teacher] always said that you can obtain your goal for the first time by merely sitting - without burning incense, giving salutation, saying the Nembutsu, practicing austerity, chanting the sutra, or performing various duties. ... Then you should sit like an immovable mountain. In this position try to think not thinking. How do you think not thinking? By nonthing, going beyond both thinking and not thinking. This is the key to zazen. You should cut off your delusions immediately and enlighten the way suddenly.
    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-21-2014 at 01:45 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #57
    Hi Ben,

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiwala View Post

    Is koan concentration to still the mind ever still used in some Japanese Soto monasteries/temples?
    AFAIK the Koan Zazen of the Rinzai sect is not there to still the mind, but to open the dharma eye. The koan stays with you even when you don't sit, until it "dissolves".
    But perhaps it can also be used to give your mind something to focus on. Just wanted to add the original purpose according to what I have read.

    Gassho,

    Daitetsu
    Last edited by Daitetsu; 01-21-2014 at 02:19 PM.
    no thing needs to be added

  8. #58
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Hello,

    Thank you.


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

  9. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by Daitetsu View Post
    Hi Ben,



    AFAIK the Koan Zazen of the Rinzai sect is not there to still the mind, but to open the dharma eye. The koan stays with you even when you don't sit, until it "dissolves".
    But perhaps it can also be used to give your mind something to focus on.

    Gassho,

    Daitetsu
    I swallowed Mu one time until I passed it in a bowel movement. Too much work. I prefer Shikantaza. Sometimes I use Mu briefly now days just to still the mind enough for Shikantaza the same way I would as counting the breath or focusing the breath. Its Joshu's Dog, Case 18 in "The Book of Equanimity: Illuminating Classic Koans" that we covered in the "Beyond Words and Letters Book Club" studies that we are doing right now.

    Gassho, Jishin

  10. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    I swallowed Mu one time until I passed it in a bowel movement.
    Nice!
    You have a beard.

    Gassho,

    Daitetsu
    no thing needs to be added

  11. #61
    Quote Originally Posted by Daitetsu View Post
    Nice!
    You have a beard.
    Not a red one, just gray and black.

    Gassho, Jishin

  12. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Not a red one, just gray and black.
    Hehe, then it's good we are not attached to color.

    Gassho,

    Daitetsu
    no thing needs to be added

  13. #63
    Senior Member Tiwala's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    It may be, but really the point is not different in Keizan's recommendation from following the breadth, reciting a mantra, focusing on one's belly button or the tip of the nose, focusing on some target ... just an anchor to use temporarily to center the mind and let things settle a bit. After things settle a bit, then one returns to open, spacious sitting. It is not the typical "Koan Introspection Zazen" meant to pierce the Koan in the Rinzai way, but just a handle to let one get a quick grip.

    In the usual poetic way these old guys had of expressing things, Keizan says earlier in the essay about "no right or wrong" Zazen when done "right" ...



    Gassho, Jundo
    Actually, from what I READ, at least (never actually studied under a Chinese or Korean teacher), the way they usually use a koan or huatou isn't meant to answer a question, but to deepen samadhi using doubt as a tool. In other words, they do not seek to pierce or even answer a koan/huatou. I think this is why in most of these traditions, they continue to practice huatou even after proverbial enlightenment, just as in Japanese Soto to practice shikantaza forever. There's a story about it in Xu Yun's teachings about Dragon Pants man who kept the huatou even after he was 'enlightened'.

    Gassho, Ben
    Gassho
    Ben

  14. #64
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    This thread is pure Treeleaf! Gassho.
    Heisoku
    平 息

  15. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by Tiwala View Post
    Actually, from what I READ, at least (never actually studied under a Chinese or Korean teacher), the way they usually use a koan or huatou isn't meant to answer a question, but to deepen samadhi using doubt as a tool. In other words, they do not seek to pierce or even answer a koan/huatou. I think this is why in most of these traditions, they continue to practice huatou even after proverbial enlightenment, just as in Japanese Soto to practice shikantaza forever. There's a story about it in Xu Yun's teachings about Dragon Pants man who kept the huatou even after he was 'enlightened'.

    Gassho, Ben
    Actually from what I've practiced and seen, during my time with both the Kwan Um school and with a Korean Zen teacher separate from KUSZ, you are very much expected to be able to present an answer to your koan (Kung-an -Korean) or hwadu. If you had had a deep meditation experience or some insights, the idea is these answers should come out spontaneously. Dharma transmission in these traditions is given to those who can "pass" the most difficult of koans.

    My Korean zen teacher once ask me about the Soto school. "If they do not use koans, how does the teacher know where the student is at?"
    So, you are expected to answer. at least from what I've seen.
    Humbly,
    Seiryu

  16. #66
    Senior Member Tiwala's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu View Post
    Actually from what I've practiced and seen, during my time with both the Kwan Um school and with a Korean Zen teacher separate from KUSZ, you are very much expected to be able to present an answer to your koan (Kung-an -Korean) or hwadu. If you had had a deep meditation experience or some insights, the idea is these answers should come out spontaneously. Dharma transmission in these traditions is given to those who can "pass" the most difficult of koans.

    My Korean zen teacher once ask me about the Soto school. "If they do not use koans, how does the teacher know where the student is at?"
    So, you are expected to answer. at least from what I've seen.
    Ahh, I see, I see. My primary source is actually from popular Chinese teachers. For example, Sheng Yen's huatou isn't answered, but the doubt is used to 'summon' some kensho experience. Nevertheless, I suppose it's all just hypotheses on my part since I never trained under any Chinese teachers.

    There's actually a Chan temple here in Metro Manila, but getting there is not the most convenient thing for me. Never gone there yet.

    Gassho, Ben
    Gassho
    Ben

  17. #67
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    I've been following this thread with interest. Today, I was thinking: can you take the "buddhism" out of "zen?" If zazen is studying the self, as Dogen says:

    "To study the Buddha Way is to study the self, to study the self is to forget the self, and to forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things."

    then we don't need any isms. The Buddha didn't need buddhism when he was sitting.

    Gassho,

    Kirk

  18. #68
    Hello,

    it all comes down to the question whom we allow to be the definite voice in the end.

    A question of authority. Whom we give it to.

    For some, only the traditional Pali based traditions are allowed to represent real Buddhism, for others a non-dual experience is essential to making Zen what it is (even maybe encompassing other religions). There are many shades in between these two positions, but in the end Sawaki Kodo might agree that it is about US and our lives.

    Some arguments for what makes Zen Zen, or Buddhism Buddhism are pretty convincing, others are not, but nevertheless each single one of us has to grow up one of these days. When the shit hits the fan in our lives, the posturing and arguments have to cease. What is left then?

    That's when push comes to shove. Let's hope we all find our non-positions in a wise and mutually supportive way.

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  19. #69
    Senior Member Tiwala's Avatar
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    Wow, brillianty said and written, Hans.

    Gassho, gassho

    Gassho, Ben
    Gassho
    Ben

  20. #70
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    Boy this" trend" sure has a long track record. Maybe Christianity is the new trend.

    Gassho
    C

  21. #71
    Senior Member TimF's Avatar
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    I find that the more I adhere to following the Eight-Fold path, the less of a "monkey mind" I have when I sit zazen. I for one have a hard time seeing how the teaching of the Buddha could be separate from Zen. For example: If I were not following Right Action, such as not keeping relationships healthful or acting compassionately, then I will in turn have more "weight" on my mind. If I have spoken ill of a co-worker, then I will most likely (I'm about my own experience here) have intense thoughts about what I said carry over to the zafu.

    Gassho,
    Tim
    "The moment has priority". ~ Bon Haeng

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