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Thread: A Dzogchen Teaching ...

  1. #1

    A Dzogchen Teaching ...

    Hi,

    Many Buddhist folks often compare the Tibetan Teachings of "Dzogchen" as resonating with "Shikantaza" and Chinese "Silent Illumination".

    Over the years, I have looked at many Dzogchen Teachings, and found that it depends somewhat on who the Teacher is and how they are flavoring the Teaching (likewise in the case of "Silent Illumination" meditation). To make a long story short, some Teachers of Dzogchen or Silent Illumination (such as Master Sheng Yen in some of his writings, although he he somewhat changed his emphasis over the years) seem to phrase each as a Practice emphasizing attaining deep or rarefied states of concentration, Samadhi, Jhana, deep Bliss states, other unusual states. That is fine, but rather a different flavor from Shikantaza.

    But many Dzogchen (and Silent Illumination) Teachers do seem to express their art in a way very much 'Shikantaza-y' (Shikantaza is Dogen's expression of the "Silent Illumination" Zazen he found in China after all).

    I came across one example catching up on a back issue of Buddhadharma magazine. Dzogchen Master Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche is discussing the Teachings of an older Dzogchen Master, Khenpo Gangshar, who lived during the early 20th Century. See if the way this is expressed sounds familiar ...

    In this teaching on the mind instructions of the Dzogchen master Khenpo Gangshar, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche explains how the veil of thoughts and emotions is lifted when we rest in the nature of mind as it is, without trying to alter it in any way.
    ...

    [In] the resting meditation of a kusulu, we do not go through a lot of effort to do the meditation. It is not examining anything thoroughly, it is not studying; we just rest simply in equipoise just as it is. This is extremely important.

    The reason is that the realization of the nature of the mind is not something we can find by searching for it from afar. It is present within the essence of the mind itself. If we do not alter or change that in any way, that is enough. It is not as if we were lacking something before so we need to make something new through our meditation. It is not as if we are bad and have to go through all sorts of efforts to make ourselves good. Goodness is something we all have. It has always been present within us, but we have just not looked for it or seen it yet, so we have become confused. Therefore all we need to do is to just rest within it without changing it. We see where it stays and rest there, so we are like a kusulu. This means that we rest free and easy with nothing to do, very simply. We do not need to think that we are making something good or that we need to meditate properly. It is enough just to know what we already have.

    Well then, what do we need to do? We just need to recognize the way our mind is as it is and then rest in equipoise within that, as it is.

    ...

    we do not analyze or examine too much, nor do we alter things at all. We simply rest in the nature of the mind as it is. That is what we call resting meditation. Resting here means we leave it alone. We don’t need to do a lot to it or alter it in any way. Just rest in equipoise within its essence, whatever that is like.

    let your mind and body become comfortable, soft, and relaxed. Do not think of anything, and rest naturally. The important point here is that we do not think of anything. Do not think about the past and do not think about the future. Do not think of anything at all. You should not do this by tightening or gripping, but instead by being loose, relaxed, and comfortable. Just let yourself rest naturally within this, without thinking. In the analytic meditation of the pandita, there is an examination of where the mind is, what it is like, what color it is, and so forth. But here there is no such examination: let your mind rest loosely and naturally. Just look at whatever feelings arise.

    ...

    Don’t pursue the past and don’t invite the future. Simply rest naturally in the naked ordinary mind of the immediate present without trying to correct it or “re-place” it. ... In order to know that, Khenpo Gangshar says, “Don’t pursue the past.” Often we remember things that happened in the past and think about them. We think, “Last year I went to that place. I had such and such a conversation. When I did this, it turned out really well. When I did that, it was bad.” These and many other thoughts come up, but we should not pursue them when we are meditating. We should just be loose and relaxed and not follow the past.

    Khenpo Gangshar also says, “Don’t invite the future.” Often we think to ourselves, “Next year I ought to do this. What should I do next month? I have to do that tomorrow. What should I do this evening?” These are all thoughts of the future. Normally we need to think about them, but not when we are meditating, so we should not welcome the future. We should put all thoughts of past or future aside.

    ...

    When we say “ordinary mind,” that means resting in the immediate present without trying to alter the mind in any way. Ordinary mind is not something bad that we need to make into something good. Nor is it something that is not empty that we need to make empty. That is not how it is. We do not need to take something that is not clear and make it clear. We should not try to change anything in any way. If you alter it, it is not ordinary. If you follow lots of thoughts, that is not what we mean by ordinary mind. Just rest in the nature of the mind as it is, without any thoughts that are virtuous, unvirtuous, or neutral. The way it is now is ordinary mind.

    ...

    We just rest directly in it as it is without trying to correct it or “re-place” it. We do not think, “Is this right? I need to make it right.” We do not worry, “My meditation is bad; I’ve got to make it good.” Without any hopes or worries, we do not try to correct it or make it right in any way. When Khenpo Gangshar says “re-place,” that means that we do not try one way to settle the mind and then another. We just let it be as it naturally is, resting easily in this naked, ordinary mind.
    http://bdtest1.squarespace.com/web-a...aked-mind.html

    Well, there are little tiny differences in manner of expression, some things I might emphasize a drop otherwise or that are a little different (that is what different chefs do in kibitzing how to cook the same tomato soup) ... but pretty darn close! Certainly both Walking the same Non-track!

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 02-11-2014 at 03:38 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    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

  3. #3
    Hello Jundo,

    thank you so much for sharing this. Right to the point.

    No matter how secretive Mahamudra and Dzogchen teachings still were only a few years ago, for better and worse it will all get spread around this globalised world due to modern media...both in authentic and inauthentic ways.

    And please note the notion of authenticity differs from the question of something being "traditional" or not.

    The good news is that less and less people will be able to hide behind BIG secrets and feudal hierarchies, because more and more people will have access to the general gist of things and will become more empowered to cut through
    the bullshit. At the end of the day we are all people, no matter whether one grew up in Himalayan caves or a suburb of Prague

    Gassho,

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

  4. #4
    HI Jundo,

    I was just reading T D Leighton's 'Cultivating the Empty Field' this morning ( this text has become an anchor point for me when I feel my practice is weakening).
    I had not thought of Silent Illumination as being any different to just sitting - but have maybe missed the point of its being an historical precursor to Soto Zen?

    Do you feel Dogen's approach would have been any different without this influence? Just curious.

    Gassho

    Willow

  5. #5
    Member Cooperix's Avatar
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    "[In] the resting meditation of a kusulu, we do not go through a lot of effort to do the meditation. It is not examining anything thoroughly, it is not studying; we just rest simply in equipoise just as it is. This is extremely important."

    Oh, the sweet clarity of this direction, and the simplicity.and the deep equanimity when I manage it.
    But how illusive it often is.

    Thank you for the reminder!
    Anne

  6. #6
    Senior Member Tiwala's Avatar
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    Jundo, if you don't mind, what would little things would you say differently?
    Gassho
    Ben

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by willow View Post
    HI Jundo,

    I was just reading T D Leighton's 'Cultivating the Empty Field' this morning ( this text has become an anchor point for me when I feel my practice is weakening).
    I had not thought of Silent Illumination as being any different to just sitting - but have maybe missed the point of its being an historical precursor to Soto Zen?

    Do you feel Dogen's approach would have been any different without this influence? Just curious.

    Gassho

    Willow
    Hi Willow,

    Yes, Taigen Dan Leighton's book, 'Cultivating the Empty Field', has the best discussion of Dogen, Shikantaza, Hongzhi and Silent Illumination. Here is a shorter essay by Taigen that summarizes the main points ...

    Hongzhi, Dogen and the Background of Shikantaza
    http://www.ancientdragon.org/dharma/...f_just_sitting

    Shikantaza is Dogen's expression of the "Silent Illumination" Zazen he encountered while in China. So, asking if Dogen's approach would have been different without that encounter is a bit like asking what would have happened if Picasso never picked up a paint brush! (Actually, Dogen had been a Tendai Buddhist student, then Practiced and received Dharma Transmission in a Rinzai Zen lineage before moving away from those when he encountered his Teacher, Jujing, at Hongzhi's old monastery in China).

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiwala View Post
    Jundo, if you don't mind, what would little things would you say differently?
    Small stuff. Things he says that can be misunderstood. Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche's use of phrases like "Do not think of anything" can easily be understood as "stop all thinking", and I am sure that is not what he means to say. It is more the "when thoughts come, and they will ... just do not jump on that train" that we talk about here.

    When he advises:

    Ordinary mind is not something bad that we need to make into something good. Nor is it something that is not empty that we need to make empty. That is not how it is. We do not need to take something that is not clear and make it clear. We should not try to change anything in any way.
    Well, that can also be misunderstood by students as a "green light" to just sit there, wallowing in whatever greed, anger and divisive thoughts come into mind. I do not believe he means that either. Our way (and I believe his real meaning too) is more like "well, we do not need to fix anything and there is nothing to change ... yet neither do we wallow in greed, anger and divisive thoughts".

    Finally, some of the descriptions like "there is nothing to do, just sit there" can easily be misunderstood as some advise to just sit there twiddling one's thumbs like a numb headed bump on a log" (what is traditionally described as sitting "like one is lost in the ghost cave"). I am sure he does not mean that either. (I know about these misunderstandings, because I get asked about them all the time by people confused by the meaning of "just sitting" and "nothing to change" and "goallessness"). It is for this reason that Dogen really hyper-amped up this "sacred, only place to be in all time and space in this moment ... a moment of Zazen is a moment of Buddha sitting Buddha" aspect of Shikantaza. One must really sit with the attitude that it something sacred with nothing lacking, a whole and complete action perfect in that moment. It is anything but being a "numb bump on a log", and I know this Dzogzhen Teacher is actually trying to express that too. As Taigen Leighton writes in that essay on Dogen's Shikantaza ...

    This just sitting is not a meditation technique or practice, or any thing at all. ... Dogen describes this meditation as the samadhi of self-fulfillment (or enjoyment), and elaborates the inner meaning of this practice. Simply just sitting is expressed as concentration on the self in its most delightful wholeness, in total inclusive interconnection with all of phenomena. Dogen makes remarkably radical claims for this simple experience. "When one displays the buddha mudra with one's whole body and mind, sitting upright in this samadhi for even a short time, everything in the entire dharma world becomes buddha mudra, and all space in the universe completely becomes enlightenment."[13] Proclaiming that when one just sits all of space itself becomes enlightenment is an inconceivable statement, deeply challenging our usual sense of the nature of reality, whether we take Dogen's words literally or metaphorically. Dogen places this activity of just sitting far beyond our usual sense of personal self or agency. He goes on to say that, "Even if only one person sits for a short time, because this zazen is one with all existence and completely permeates all times, it performs everlasting buddha guidance" throughout space and time.[14] At least in Dogen's faith in the spiritual or "theological" implications of the activity of just sitting, this is clearly a dynamically liberating practice, not mere blissful serenity.
    Does that help clarify things?

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 02-11-2014 at 02:02 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Does that help clarify things?

    Gassho, J
    For me it does.

    Thanks for posting this. I've read about Dzogchen and felt, almost immediately, that it sounded like shikantaza. Of course, I had no way of validating it, but it seemed radically similar. And this description you've posted reads to me kind of like an "advanced" shikantaza "talk" in that it doesn't try to explain that "not thinking" does not mean "stop thinking," etc. It also presumes what you and Taigu emphasize here: that the moment of zazen is a moment of Buddha sitting Buddha. The short description of Dzogchen seems to go at this in a quieter (though perhaps no less effective manner). For instance, there are phrases like "rest naturally" (repeated a few times) that may sound to a new student to be similar to taking a break on a cushion, but if we consider deeply, what does "rest naturally" really mean, or point toward? I would say the "Buddha sitting Buddha." Even the phrase, "rest within its essence" we could get all Zen about; it immediately reminded me of how we approach zazen, and that it is a sacred, complete, whole act, with nothing missing, nothing lacking, nothing to be gained - resting in the essence of the universe that we are, and that is us.

    Many thanks for sharing this.

    Gassho
    Shōmon

  9. #9
    Thank you for this Jundo. I studied Dzogchen teachings when I was with the local Bonpo ... I have to say I have enjoyed your clear perspective on it. =)

    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.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    Very clear. and for me that's saying something.. I agree it sounds like exactly the same INTENT that Dzogchen is trying to convey. With translations through time and languages these things can be tricky. For example what we in English define as " there is nothing to do, just sit there" might have a completely different intent in the original language it was spoken in. The Greeks have 14 words for "love", the Inuit have 40 words for "snow".

    Gassho
    C

  11. #11
    Thank you for the clarification Jundo,

    Gassho

    Willow

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Willow,

    ....
    .....
    ......

    Finally, some of the descriptions like "there is nothing to do, just sit there" can easily be misunderstood as some advise to just sit there twiddling one's thumbs like a numb headed bump on a log" (what is traditionally described as sitting "like one is lost in the ghost cave"). I am sure he does not mean that either. (I know about these misunderstandings, because I get asked about them all the time by people confused by the meaning of "just sitting" and "nothing to change" and "goallessness"). It is for this reason that Dogen really hyper-amped up this "sacred, only place to be in all time and space in this moment ... a moment of Zazen is a moment of Buddha sitting Buddha" aspect of Shikantaza. One must really sit with the attitude that it something sacred with nothing lacking, a whole and complete action perfect in that moment. It is anything but being a "numb bump on a log", and I know this Dzogzhen Teacher is actually trying to express that too. As Taigen Leighton writes in that essay on Dogen's Shikantaza ...
    I know we keep coming back to this

    When the mind doesn't have an object, how do we know whether we are lost or present? It is by that sudden sense of coming back to the present moment that you feel after you are a caught up in a stream of thoughts. It is also described as "falling off the edge of a dream (thoughts)". "Nothing to do, just sit there", I feel means allowing this falling off the edge to happen naturally. You keep getting kicked off back to the present moment (from getting caught up in thoughts) without doing anything or putting any effort into waking up from the thought. No strong intention to wake up (from thought) is necessary and definitely no effort needs be put in that direction. The process of sitting still in the posture (I like the comparison to "holding the cup still") settles the mind and brings a sense of stillness/calmness to the sitting. If we do anything with the mind, then it is letting it be okay with whatever happens (getting caught up etc...). Or just telling ourselves not to do anything to make the meditation better. In other words, simply do nothing and sit. Give up the control and let the beautiful mystery of just sitting do its magic.

    You can call this numb headed sitting like a log etc... but with all due respect, I strongly disagree. It doesn't feel that way at all. If there is a feeling of numbness or hazy feeling during sitting, you can always do an occasional "check the posture" or do something to put more energy into the sitting.

    Now let us add the goal of "not getting caught up" to the above sitting I described. I agree that the goal of zazen is not to sit and brood over something. But emphasizing this as one of the must do things I feel spoils the flavor of the zazen. You no longer just sit with complete allowance of your experience. Getting caught up is now wrong and is not zazen anymore. There is regret when you are caught up. Your mind is busy doing something (checking if it is caught up and letting go of thoughts), it is no longer doing nothing. Now there is nothing wrong with this as a technique but calling it shikantaza itself and asking students to also sit with all those beautiful attributes of shikantaza (goallessness, nothing to change, no manipulation) is confusing at best to a newbie. These two things just don't fit together. I understand that "Opening the hand of thought" recommends this coming back to posture or present moment but they just describe it as a technique to rigorously follow rather than also asking the students to sit with the shikantaza attributes in the mind/attitude.

    Gassho,
    Sam

  13. #13
    Senior Member Tiwala's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Willow,

    Yes, Taigen Dan Leighton's book, 'Cultivating the Empty Field', has the best discussion of Dogen, Shikantaza, Hongzhi and Silent Illumination. Here is a shorter essay by Taigen that summarizes the main points ...

    Hongzhi, Dogen and the Background of Shikantaza
    http://www.ancientdragon.org/dharma/...f_just_sitting

    Shikantaza is Dogen's expression of the "Silent Illumination" Zazen he encountered while in China. So, asking if Dogen's approach would have been different without that encounter is a bit like asking what would have happened if Picasso never picked up a paint brush! (Actually, Dogen had been a Tendai Buddhist student, then Practiced and received Dharma Transmission in a Rinzai Zen lineage before moving away from those when he encountered his Teacher, Jujing, at Hongzhi's old monastery in China).



    Small stuff. Things he says that can be misunderstood. Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche's use of phrases like "Do not think of anything" can easily be understood as "stop all thinking", and I am sure that is not what he means to say. It is more the "when thoughts come, and they will ... just do not jump on that train" that we talk about here.

    When he advises:



    Well, that can also be misunderstood by students as a "green light" to just sit there, wallowing in whatever greed, anger and divisive thoughts come into mind. I do not believe he means that either. Our way (and I believe his real meaning too) is more like "well, we do not need to fix anything and there is nothing to change ... yet neither do we wallow in greed, anger and divisive thoughts".

    Finally, some of the descriptions like "there is nothing to do, just sit there" can easily be misunderstood as some advise to just sit there twiddling one's thumbs like a numb headed bump on a log" (what is traditionally described as sitting "like one is lost in the ghost cave"). I am sure he does not mean that either. (I know about these misunderstandings, because I get asked about them all the time by people confused by the meaning of "just sitting" and "nothing to change" and "goallessness"). It is for this reason that Dogen really hyper-amped up this "sacred, only place to be in all time and space in this moment ... a moment of Zazen is a moment of Buddha sitting Buddha" aspect of Shikantaza. One must really sit with the attitude that it something sacred with nothing lacking, a whole and complete action perfect in that moment. It is anything but being a "numb bump on a log", and I know this Dzogzhen Teacher is actually trying to express that too. As Taigen Leighton writes in that essay on Dogen's Shikantaza ...



    Does that help clarify things?

    Gassho, J
    Yup. Thanks a bunch Jundo.

    As I understand it personally, we don't really understand what nothing to do really means unless we have some prior goal, which in the end isn't actually what a goal really is. So some effort is sometimes necessary. And not just at the start mostly, actually, but all throughout.

    Does that sound about right?



    Gassho, Ben
    Gassho
    Ben

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by shikantazen View Post
    I know we keep coming back to this

    When the mind doesn't have an object, how do we know whether we are lost or present? It is by that sudden sense of coming back to the present moment that you feel after you are a caught up in a stream of thoughts. It is also described as "falling off the edge of a dream (thoughts)". "Nothing to do, just sit there", I feel means allowing this falling off the edge to happen naturally. You keep getting kicked off back to the present moment (from getting caught up in thoughts) without doing anything or putting any effort into waking up from the thought. No strong intention to wake up (from thought) is necessary and definitely no effort needs be put in that direction. The process of sitting still in the posture (I like the comparison to "holding the cup still") settles the mind and brings a sense of stillness/calmness to the sitting. If we do anything with the mind, then it is letting it be okay with whatever happens (getting caught up etc...). Or just telling ourselves not to do anything to make the meditation better. In other words, simply do nothing and sit. Give up the control and let the beautiful mystery of just sitting do its magic.

    You can call this numb headed sitting like a log etc... but with all due respect, I strongly disagree. It doesn't feel that way at all. If there is a feeling of numbness or hazy feeling during sitting, you can always do an occasional "check the posture" or do something to put more energy into the sitting.

    Now let us add the goal of "not getting caught up" to the above sitting I described. I agree that the goal of zazen is not to sit and brood over something. But emphasizing this as one of the must do things I feel spoils the flavor of the zazen. You no longer just sit with complete allowance of your experience. Getting caught up is now wrong and is not zazen anymore. There is regret when you are caught up. Your mind is busy doing something (checking if it is caught up and letting go of thoughts), it is no longer doing nothing. Now there is nothing wrong with this as a technique but calling it shikantaza itself and asking students to also sit with all those beautiful attributes of shikantaza (goallessness, nothing to change, no manipulation) is confusing at best to a newbie. These two things just don't fit together. I understand that "Opening the hand of thought" recommends this coming back to posture or present moment but they just describe it as a technique to rigorously follow rather than also asking the students to sit with the shikantaza attributes in the mind/attitude.

    Gassho,
    Sam
    Hi Sam,

    Perhaps you are still viewing Shikantaza as a method, strategy or technique to lighten or empty the mind and get some feeling of stillness and calm, be in the present moment or have "energy" in your sitting and such ... rather than as Whole, Sacred, Perfect Sitting with not one thing to add, nothing to take away, no other place to go or thing in need of doing. Zazen is not a method or technique. It is the method of reaching a goal by dropping all need and attempt at "methods and goals".

    And that makes all the difference (and sameness) in the world!

    One Just Sits in the Wholeness & Perfection of the act of Sitting, allowing with equanimity just what is, whether perfect or imperfect to our little eyes ... not getting tangled up in trains of thought and emotion.

    (But, alas, I have told you all this before) ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiwala View Post
    As I understand it personally, we don't really understand what nothing to do really means unless we have some prior goal, which in the end isn't actually what a goal really is. So some effort is sometimes necessary. And not just at the start mostly, actually, but all throughout.

    Does that sound about right?

    Gassho, Ben
    Our goal is to get to the Zafu cushion each day, and upon the Zafu we proceed to drop all goals. Nothing more to attain. Zazen is Whole, Sacred, Perfect Sitting with not one thing to add, nothing to take away, no other place to go or thing in need of doing. One Just Sits in the Wholeness & Perfection of the act of Sitting, allowing in equanimity what is whether perfect or imperfect to our eyes ... not getting tangled up in trains of thought and emotion.

    Then rising from the Zafu cushion, we return to a world of things in need of doing and people to see, goals and projects, work and responsibilities, problems to solve, things in need of adding and taking away. It is a world that seems sometimes good and sometimes very bad, far from perfect to our eyes. We need aversions and attractions, thoughts and emotions to function in such a world.

    But can we learn to taste and see through both ways AT ONCE, AS ONE?

    Yes.

    And then that "nothing to attain, no place in need of going, all is at is is" tasted on the Zafu comes to perfume our way of experiencing this world of "things to do, things to attain, problems to deal with" off the cushion. Like walking upright and balanced, with a foot in each realm heading forward.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 02-12-2014 at 03:07 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    Senior Member Tiwala's Avatar
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    What I meant to say was that letting go is the goal. When thoughts, desires and so on come, one let's them go and sits with what is, tasting what reality is beyond AND among whatever clouds may be. Embracing all of the sky.The goal is to forget about running away, getting somewhere else etc. And that takes some effort? At least it does to me.

    Gassho, Ben
    Gassho
    Ben

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Tiwala View Post
    And that takes some effort? At least it does to me.

    Gassho, Ben
    The Chinese have a concept that had a tremendous impact on Buddhism as it came to China, and to Zen: Wu wei (無為, "mu-i" in Japanese) ... "non-doing", "non-effort" or "non-action". Or "Wei-wu-wei" which is "action-non-action" Here is a quick description from a Taoist perspective, as good as any ...

    The literal meaning of wu wei is "without action", "without effort", or "without control", and is often included in the paradox wei wu wei: "action without action" or "effortless doing". The practice of wu wei and the efficacy of wei wu wei are fundamental tenets in Chinese thought .... One cannot actively pursue wu wei. It is more a mere observation of one's behavior after they have accepted themselves for who they are and release conscious control over their lives to the Way.

    There is another sense of wu wei; "action that does not involve struggle or excessive effort". In this instance, wu means "without" and Wei means "effort". The concept of "effortless action" is a part of Taoist Internal martial arts such as T'ai chi ch'uan, Baguazhang and Xing Yi. It follows that wu wei complies with the main feature and distinguishing characteristic of Taoism, that of being natural. To apply wu wei to any situation is to take natural action.

    ...

    In the original Taoist texts, wu wei is often associated with water and its yielding nature. Although water is soft and weak, it has the capacity to erode solid stone and move mountains. Water is without will (that is, the will for a shape), though it may be understood to be opposing wood, stone, or any solid aggregated material that can be broken into pieces. Due to its nature and propensity, water may potentially fill any container, assume any shape; given the Water cycle water may potentially go "anywhere", even into the minutest holes, both metaphorical and actual. Droplets of water, when falling as rain, gather in watersheds, flowing into and forming rivers of water, joining the proverbial sea: this is the nature of water.
    For its place in Zen, read footnote 21 on page 284 by the great Zen scholar Masao Abe, here ...

    http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=O...%20zen&f=false

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 02-12-2014 at 06:46 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  17. #17
    Senior Member Tiwala's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    The Chinese have a concept that had a tremendous impact on Buddhism as it came to China, and to Zen: Wu wei (無為, "mu-i" in Japanese) ... "non-doing", "non-effort" or "non-action". Or "Wei-wu-wei" which is "action-non-action" Here is a quick description from a Taoist perspective, as good as any ...



    For its place in Zen, read footnote 21 on page 284 by the great Zen scholar Masao Abe, here ...

    http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=O...%20zen&f=false

    Gassho, J
    Yes, that's it. Sounds nice. Like cold fresh milk on a hot day. Mmmm.

    Thank you. I disappear in sitting in gratitude. Gassho, gassho.

    Gassho, Ben
    Gassho
    Ben

  18. #18
    Thanks a lot for sharing this, Jundo!

    Entire books have been written about Wu wei - it is a fascinating concept.
    For those interested I can very much recommend reading Do Nothing & Do Everything by Qiguang Zhao.
    Highly recommended!

    Just a few excerpts:

    Our daily life is part of the universe, as every small drop of ocean water reflects the enormous sun. If we cannot change the orbit of the sun, we cannot decide everything in our life either. Therefore, we should accept the pain, treasure the joy, and appreciate life now.
    Between your house and your shop, there are numerous little spots of happiness: a squirrel running away from you, a raindrop falling on you, and a stranger greeting you. Just acknowledge them. They always come to you. You do nothing, and nothing is left undone.
    In learning, we always pick up more. In Taoism, we drop things. Since our infancy, we have learned many things that separate us from the universe. We worry about trivial matters, like wealth and prestige. Now we want to return to our origins, to be more like a baby and forget these distractions. We want to do nothing. This is Wu Wei.By choosing nonaction, we choose to empty ourselves and go with the flow rather than fight the current. Nonaction does not mean not doing, stopping the natural progression of events; instead, nonaction means to follow nature’s course without fighting, striving, or resisting change. We are like water, like the empty vessel, formless and nameless; and in so being, we cannot act: we must accept what challenges the universe throws at us. At the same time, by fulfilling our purpose and allowing ourselves to be empty, we are doing all that we need to do. We do nothing and, in so doing, accomplish everything.


    Gassho,

    Daitetsu
    no thing needs to be added

  19. #19
    I like this quote on non-doing from Jon Kabat-Zinn

    Non-doing has nothing to do with being indolent or passive. Quite the contrary. It takes great courage and energy to cultivate non-doing, both in stillness and in activity. Nor is it easy to make a special time for non-doing and to keep at it in the face of everything in our lives which needs to be done.

    Gassho
    Kokuu

  20. #20
    Hello, Jundo:
    Just loved the sharing of such wirtings. reminds me thta, there was a time in my life when I saw meditation as a mind altering, secretive, outwordly practice. After learnig more abotu Buddhism and what meditation is all about, I know I can enjoy it by keeping things simple. As I have learned here, and you sharing those teaching, meditation should be seen as a very simple action of sitting ([In] the resting meditation of a kusulu, we do not go through a lot of effort to do the meditation. It is not examining anything thoroughly, it is not studying; we just rest simply in equipoise just as it is. This is extremely important.). So I am learning to keep things simple.

  21. #21

  22. #22
    Senior Member Matt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiwala View Post
    What I meant to say was that letting go is the goal. When thoughts, desires and so on come, one let's them go and sits with what is, tasting what reality is beyond AND among whatever clouds may be. Embracing all of the sky.The goal is to forget about running away, getting somewhere else etc. And that takes some effort? At least it does to me.

    Gassho, Ben
    Hi Ben,

    I, too, have often thought of 'letting go' as part of zazen. However, recently I've wondered if 'letting be' might be more accurate. This is a subtle distinction, and which pales in comparison to Jundo's description as "Whole, Sacred, Perfect Sitting with not one thing to add, nothing to take away, no other place to go or thing in need of doing."

    Gassho,
    Matt J

  23. #23
    Senior Member Tiwala's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
    Hi Ben,

    I, too, have often thought of 'letting go' as part of zazen. However, recently I've wondered if 'letting be' might be more accurate. This is a subtle distinction, and which pales in comparison to Jundo's description as "Whole, Sacred, Perfect Sitting with not one thing to add, nothing to take away, no other place to go or thing in need of doing."

    Gassho,
    Matt J
    Letting be sounds a lot better!

    Gassho, Ben
    Gassho
    Ben

  24. #24
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
    Hi Ben,

    I, too, have often thought of 'letting go' as part of zazen. However, recently I've wondered if 'letting be' might be more accurate. This is a subtle distinction, and which pales in comparison to Jundo's description as "Whole, Sacred, Perfect Sitting with not one thing to add, nothing to take away, no other place to go or thing in need of doing."

    Gassho,
    Matt J
    Letting Be.. very nice way to put it Matt

    Clark

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