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Thread: Ongoing Motivation

  1. #1

    Ongoing Motivation

    Dear all

    I enjoyed this article at Sweeping Zen, especially since I am experiencing motivation problems myself at the moment - mostly due to pain and tiredness but probably some other stuff mixed in there for good measure. Anyway, I guess there is a good reason for effort/persistence being one of the six paramitas...

    http://sweepingzen.com/ongoing-motivation-to-practice/

    Gassho
    Kokuu

  2. #2
    Senior Member Entai's Avatar
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    "Straightforward bravery".
    What a wonderful phrase! Kokuu, I really appreciate this link.

    Gassho,
    Entai / Bill

  3. #3
    Senior Member Genshin's Avatar
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    Nice article. Thanks for the share, Kokuu.

    Gassho,
    Genshin

  4. #4
    A lovely article, and wise words ...

    So often when we are in an uncomfortable mind state it feels permanent. And yet even five minutes later we could be in a totally different mind state. Have faith that it will pass—things are always changing! The other side of that is that even the happy times will pass as well—and not to go chasing after them because that only brings on suffering, too. Be curious! What might unfold next? It could actually be quite interesting! Enjoy what’s there in the moment, and as it passes, allow it to move away, to dissolve, to disappear—and be open to what comes next. In a word, become one with each moment. If your position in life is dissolving, that can be especially painful—if we are attached to that status. But if we’re not attached to a particular role in life, then where is the problem? Zen practice can bring reveal that ability to be profoundly ok no matter what is going on.

    ...

    And of course, as you already know, that’s not the end. What is necessary then is work to integrate what you have realized so that your behavior manifests that realization, so that you don’t just keep indulging in habit patterns but your behavior becomes enlightened behavior, in line with what you’ve understood. Part of this also is to work for the benefit of all beings and to share that understanding and the way to reach it, so that everyone may ultimately become free. This is why we were born.
    Perhaps the hardest task is to realize that this is not a race, not a short sprint, but a mountain hike to right here, and right here and right here ...

    Every moment is the total arrival and the destination ... from the bottom of the mountain to the top ... from packing one's bag and tying one's shoes in the morning, to all the vistas and wide open spaces ... to the peaks and in the green valley ... even the mud and poison ivy that seems to block and hinder our way. Buddha is Buddha-climbing Buddha-mountain to realize Buddha.

    Yet, one cannot quit, stay in the car at the base of the mountain ... but must keep on going, step by step, with sincerity. Oh, there are times to sit still and enjoy the scenery, and times to move on ... yet that is not the same as just sitting in complacency, not bothering with the climb. Also, although there is ultimately "no place to fall" (Buddha just falls into Buddha, and even the thorns and itchy plants are Buddha) ... we do as we can not to fall in the mud, go in circles, stay on a good path without wandering off a cliff ... avoiding the nettles and poison ivy as best we can.

    I guess my own attempt to express the sometime frustration of students with this "keep on going, no where to go" path was this ...

    SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: WHAT's NEXT!?!

    Almost each week someone asks me, "What comes next in my practice? How do I deepen it? What should I do now? What book should I read with all the secrets? I feel like something is still missing and that I must do more."

    But how can I respond to such a question when the very heart of this Path is learning to live and be this life radically FREE OF THE NEED FOR 'WHAT'S NEXT', LIBERATED OF 'SOMETHING MORE THAT NEED BE DONE', FULFILLED OF 'ANYTHING MISSING'!

    ...

    I sometimes hear other teachers speak of flavors of Buddhism that promise to liberate us from this world, to encounter states of mind-and-body free of time and space! Many promise to take us from this world or ordinary being to another world or state of being. They seek for such states as "what needs to be done" and (hopefully, if the practice works out) "what's next". I don't much care for such Buddhism.

    That's because this Way of Shikantaza, if properly mastered, liberates us from this world right in this world. Time and space are fully realized, dropped away and found again, in each instant of time and inch of space. Our way takes us from this world of ordinary being ... and leaves us squarely right back in this world of ordinary being ... NOW REVEALED AS ANYTHING BUT 'ORDINARY' ALL ALONG.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-s-NEXT%21-%21
    Gassho, J

    PS - Just to mention, especially for folks new to the various flavors of Zen Practice, that the author of the article linked to, Mitra Bishop, and her Teacher, Kapleau Roshi, represent a flavor of Zen Practice which tends to put rather more emphasis on working for the peak experiences of Kensho than in Shikantaza Practice. That might come through in some of the wording she uses in her writing. We value Kensho too in our Shikantaza way ... but I like to say that we value the whole Path, and raise every grain of sand and high and low to the sacred ...

    Different folks approach and define all this in their own way. In our Soto View, some folks way way way overvalue an experience of timelessly momentary "Kensho" ... as the be all and end all (beyond being or ending) of "Enlightenment" ... and chase after it like some gold ring on the merry go round. For Soto folks, that is like missing the point of the trip.

    ...

    Furthermore, both of the major Zen Schools (Soto and Rinzai) are in accord that a timeless moment of deep and earthshaking "Kensho" (in which the you/me/this/that/here/there/now/then instantly radically drops away, while the Flowing Dance of Wholeness-Emptiness manifests) is pretty nifty, a treasure. However (both schools agree) such a momentary seeing is not itself enough, not compared to the work that follows in which "Kensho" gets into the bones, gets legs and starts walking, breathing and living your life in this divided, mixed up, complex world of you/me/this/that/here/there/now/then. In other words, the "grocking" is not enough without putting it into action and bringing it into daily life.
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post94905
    and
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post94950
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-24-2014 at 04:01 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  5. #5
    Thank you, Jundo. You are right, there is no next thing to do or book to read. I often find myself getting caught in that trap.

    Gassho
    Kokuu

  6. #6
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Hello!

    Beautiful text indeed. Motivation is hard to find whenever the mind engages in tasty morsels of distraction. The mind loves to go catch bits of the news, to-do lists, memories, plans and fantasies.

    But practice takes effort and discipline. And that's when the mind revels and goes into tantrum mode.

    That's why I practice. To show myself it is possible to be at peace. Sometimes it works, sometimes I fail. Thing is, I keep at it because it feels right.

    Thank you for the article.

    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

  7. #7
    Senior Member Shujin's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing, Kokuu; I certainly found myself in some parts of the article. I didn't start out viewing zazen as an act of faith, but it has grown into it over time. Whether the conditions of our lives are upright, sideways, upside down, or directionless, we still sit.

    To paraphrase one of my favorite memories of the What's Next!?! talk:

    Student: Okay, I've learned to ride the bicycle, what's next!?!

    Teacher: Ride the bicycle.

    Gassho,
    Shujin

  8. #8
    Friend of Treeleaf Daido's Avatar
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    To paraphrase one of my favorite memories of the What's Next!?! talk:

    Student: Okay, I've learned to ride the bicycle, what's next!?!

    Teacher: Ride the bicycle.

    Awesome

    Gassho,

    Daido
    Jiken Daido - Unsui at Treeleaf's Brother Sangha, the Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage.

    Do not just accept what I say. Decide for yourself if it rings true for you

  9. #9
    Senior Member Entai's Avatar
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    I started to get the "what next?" thinking immediately after Jukai. As if it were the ending or beginning of something. So I'm reminding myself to "wash my bowl" and "just sit". Nothing else really makes sense.

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

  10. #10
    Wonder read ... I truly enjoyed that, thank you Kokuu. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

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

  11. #11
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Hello,

    Personally, it helps sitting for the first time. Sitting every day is always both a first experience and a last experience. There is no doing it again, so who can get tired of it?


    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

  12. #12
    Senior Member Shawn's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing this.

    Gassho

    Shawn

  13. #13
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing Kokuu. It was Jundo's response that made me look up shikantaza and find those PDFs. I was feeling a little stuck. But with just a bit more effort just sitting: then just sitting is just that!
    Gassho.
    Heisoku
    平 息

  14. #14
    I enjoyed this and feel inspired by it, which I suppose is its intention. However, I sometimes dislike how some teachers talk about practice, as if it is only a concrete thing - like, "Hey, stop thinking and pay attention to washing your hands." This is fine, and it's sort of revelatory when one first really does it, when one first begins to pay attention to how often the "physical" moment is pushed aside for some dreaming/thinking/etc, but I think that there are different ways to do the "wash the hands in the moment" thing. Or, it's less narrow than that - for instance, I'm typing this "right now" and paying great attention to what I'm writing (I feel "in the moment") - but, see, because I'm paying great attention to what I'm thinking and writing, I'm not really noticing other stuff, until I stop typing (there's a dog barking outside, right now, and there's a siren, too).

    What I mean is, there's often this insistence in these "live in the moment" parts of articles that suggest that living in the moment is purely about physical, concrete reality, and placing our awareness there. There sometimes seems to be a kind of one-to-one correlation that I find a little troubling: just this = concrete reality. I think that we can be "in the now" when thinking thoughts, when writing our thoughts out (as now), and etc. Jundo has often said that when you're daydreaming be fully aware and into that - that is the now, too.

    I wonder if others have felt this way. In any case, just some thoughts, and thanks for sharing.

    Gassho
    Shōmon

  15. #15
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    That's a good point Shomon. I feel sometimes that zazen is quite a physical activity and other times a mind/mental activity. It's like a pendulum swinging between the two sometimes. I can't say that my body and mind have ever dropped away because I know it hasn't ...but there are moments that point to something 'other'..but then I start thinking about it! Doh!
    Gassho.
    Heisoku
    平 息

  16. #16
    Senior Member Joyo's Avatar
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    Thank you, Jundo

    Gassho,
    Joyo

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r View Post
    I enjoyed this and feel inspired by it, which I suppose is its intention. However, I sometimes dislike how some teachers talk about practice, as if it is only a concrete thing - like, "Hey, stop thinking and pay attention to washing your hands." This is fine, and it's sort of revelatory when one first really does it, when one first begins to pay attention to how often the "physical" moment is pushed aside for some dreaming/thinking/etc, but I think that there are different ways to do the "wash the hands in the moment" thing. Or, it's less narrow than that - for instance, I'm typing this "right now" and paying great attention to what I'm writing (I feel "in the moment") - but, see, because I'm paying great attention to what I'm thinking and writing, I'm not really noticing other stuff, until I stop typing (there's a dog barking outside, right now, and there's a siren, too).

    What I mean is, there's often this insistence in these "live in the moment" parts of articles that suggest that living in the moment is purely about physical, concrete reality, and placing our awareness there. There sometimes seems to be a kind of one-to-one correlation that I find a little troubling: just this = concrete reality. I think that we can be "in the now" when thinking thoughts, when writing our thoughts out (as now), and etc. Jundo has often said that when you're daydreaming be fully aware and into that - that is the now, too.

    I wonder if others have felt this way. In any case, just some thoughts, and thanks for sharing.

    Gassho
    Hmmm. Once, hiking down Mt. Tsukuba, I was so content and focues on how "in the moment" I was being, that I failed to notice a rock, stumbled and fell right on my ass into the mud! So, sitting in the mudhole, I was just mindful of the mud.

    Yes, sometimes we are "just in the moment" more with the body (such as, when drinking tea, just drink tea), and sometimes we may be "in the moment" more with the mind (when reading a poem, just read and feel the poem) and usually it is really both (because body-mind are not two). In sports, martial arts, dancing or Oryoki eating (as we are practicing here: http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forum...ractice-Circle ) we can encounter those moments when the mind drops away because the body just takes over. Wonderful! Zazen too can have such an effect when we just throw our self into the physical act of sitting, allowing the posture to just do all.

    However, I say that there is a bit too much emphasis these days in Buddhism on "being in the moment" or "doing one thing at one time". That is one powerful skill that our Practice allows us, but not for most moments of the day (we could not function really if we were like that most of the time. I think overemphasis on always "being in the moment" is a misunderstanding (PAY ATTENTION TO THE FOLLOWING SMALL CHANGE IN LANGUAGE) of the more vital skill of "being one with the moment, and just allowing and fully being the moment, whatever it contains".

    Yes, I believe that there are times to be "mindful" ... and there are times not. Sometimes when I eat, I just eat ... when I sip tea, I just sip tea ... when bowing, just bowing ... fully absorbed in that action. A wonderful, insightful practice. When doing one thing, just do one thing with all one's body-and-mind.

    At other times, I just grab a sandwich and a coke while reading the newspaper and thinking about the job I have to do. That's life too. Nothing wrong with it.

    ...

    In my view, the heart of this Practice is merely "being at one" with this self-life-world just as it is ... dropping the resistance, barriers, separation between our "self" and all the circumstances in which that "self" imagines it finds itself in ... until even the walls between "self" and "life-world" (or self and itself) soften or even fully drop away ...

    So, for example, when drinking tea, just do that and fully allow that. When grabbing a sandwich while reading the paper and thinking about your annoying co-worker in the office, just do that and fully allow that (and fully allow the craziness in the newspaper and your annoying co-worker too).** When your kid plops in your lap during tea drinking and the cup spills all over the table, just do and allow that. ... When suffering with old age and sickness of ourself or someone we love, even death, just do that and fully allow that.

    In my view, all of the above together is truly balanced, "mindful" living. That is "being the moment".
    A little more here ...
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ful-of-mindful
    and here ...
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post74133

    Now, forget all that. Go wash you bowls.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-28-2014 at 04:11 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  18. #18
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    Now, forget all that. Go wash you bowls.

    Gassho, J
    About to wash coffee cup right now. Gassho.
    Shōmon

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