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Thread: Stillness

  1. #1

    Stillness

    When sitting and doing Zazen for awhile most thoughts settle down and the mind becomes quieter. Random ideas still "show up" but they just come and go. For a few moments there is just silence and pure stillness. Yet it seems to me that that stillness is very much alive and it is not just nothing. What is that stillness? Awareness? Consciousness? Is that what we are all trying the get more familiar with while doing Zazen to better "understand" ourselves? I would love to hear what your thoughts are.

    Thanks,

    A.

  2. #2
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    There is a space in the mind it is still and quiet. We do not see it often, but sometimes we get glimpses of it. Let it drop away, just like your thoughts, because it's really nothing special. But remember that it's there; always there, behind the thoughts.

    Gassho,
    Kirk


    (Posted from my iPhone; please excuse any typos or brevity.)
    -----

    I know nothing.

  3. #3
    Hi Andrea

    Stillness is stillness :-) Sometimes it is there in zazen, sometimes there are thoughts, sounds and sensations. Each comes, each goes.

    For me, zazen is about becoming familiar with whatever is happening, whether it is stillness, noise or the smell of coffee coming through the window. I certainly agree that when the stillness comes, it is very much not a dead thing and totally alive, just as a blank canvas invites all kinds of possibilities.

    As a wise person once said 'To study the Buddha way is to study the self, to study the self is to forget the self.'

    I would just enjoy the stillness when it is there but neither try to cling to it nor analyse it.

    Gassho
    Andy

  4. #4
    Thanks for your comments!

    >We do not see it often....But remember that it's there
    >For me, zazen is about becoming familiar...I certainly agree that when the stillness comes...

    Who is the one that sees, remembers, becomes familiar, and agrees? I cannot find it but it is there! Is IT that awareness that in a moment of stillness (e.g. when sitting) seems to be able to observe everything that is going on around IT?

  5. #5
    Who is the one that sees, remembers, becomes familiar, and agrees?
    This is the paradox. Awareness is there yet when we look for the one who is aware, there is no one to be found, just an endless stream of experience.

    Why try to find something other than that?

    Gassho
    Andy

  6. #6
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    This is the paradox. Awareness is there yet when we look for the one who is aware, there is no one to be found, just an endless stream of experience.

    Why try to find something other than that?

    Gassho
    Andy
    Perhaps we try to find something OTHER than self, to re-establish self? Very great advice here from Kokuu and Kirk. I agree with Andy in that the best thing to do is drop that too. Don't analyze anything just be with whatever comes up. I think ultimately if we could define all of this there would no need to sit. We could just read about it. Some things just defy linear explanation, and yet it isn't supernatural, it just IS.

    Gassho
    C

  7. #7
    I think ultimately if we could define all of this there would no need to sit.
    Clark, I think I see what you mean by this, but disagree somewhat. Although sitting can enable us to see 'deeper' truths about the nature of self and experience, ultimately we sit just to sit. Even after his awakening, the Buddha still sat, so did Dogen.

    Gassho
    Andy

  8. #8
    >Why try to find something other than that [endless stream of experience]?

    That is a great point! Yet, when Andrea breaks a leg he is the one crying, while Andy and Clark feels just fine How is it possible that I cannot clearly find a self while there are obviously (well...maybe it is not that obvious) differences between individuals and there respective experiences? I have been tempted to assume that that "stillness", that "awareness", that "observer" that I was describing before is indeed my real self.

    Thanks again for your input guys!

    A.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea1974 View Post
    What is that stillness? Awareness? Consciousness? Is that what we are all trying the get more familiar with while doing Zazen to better "understand" ourselves?

    A.
    What is stillness? Stillness.
    What is Awareness? Awareness.
    What is Consciousness? Consciousness.

    Just this. That is what we are trying to get more familiar with while doing Zazen IMHO.

    Gassho, Jishin

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    What is stillness? Stillness.
    What is Awareness? Awareness.
    What is Consciousness? Consciousness.
    Nice! =)

    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 Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    Clark, I think I see what you mean by this, but disagree somewhat. Although sitting can enable us to see 'deeper' truths about the nature of self and experience, ultimately we sit just to sit. Even after his awakening, the Buddha still sat, so did Dogen.

    Gassho
    Andy
    Agreed Andy. I guess I was more commenting on the practice of sitting versus some other way of realization. Though for me to say that there is no "reason" we sit seems to be a bit of an oxymoron. I know that we are not sitting in an effort to "gain" anything. And yet, is not this practice, Zazen and otherwise, an effort to end suffering? I agree that the practice of sitting itself is sitting to just sit. But realistically it seems to me there is a purpose to the practice as a whole.

    Not arguing with anyone here, just tyring to make sure I understand it.. lol

    anyone?

    Gassho
    C
    Last edited by Clark; 03-08-2014 at 07:08 PM.

  12. #12
    I agree Clark (yet, I do not disagree with Andy). It seems to me that what it is gained while sitting is a gradual loss of most delusions. Purposeless purpose I guess...

    A.

  13. #13
    >>I know that we are not sitting in an effort to "gain" anything<<

    I thought we were sitting to lose something......

    Gassho,

    Lee

  14. #14
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    If you don't mind the old fool jumping in like a noisy French frog...
    Well, remember and practice and forget that this sitting is useless. USELESS.

    Nothing to gain, fix, repair, loose, agree or disgree with or anything of the kind.

    Holidays , timeless holidays from all the agendas, hidden or shown.

    Take great care of your Original Self.

    Gassho

    T.
    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.

  15. #15
    Perhaps the hardest thing for folks to get into their heads is that Zen is a finding by radically giving up the search (much as the eye finds the eye by ceasing to search around the scene for the eye, thus does Buddha "find" Buddha), a resolution of questions by abandoning many questions (much as one finds the "answer" to whether "unicorns are hollow or filled with gold" by transcending the silly questions). So it is with our way of attaining and endless pursuit of our small self and "who am I?"

    One of the most famous Zen Koans ...

    Hui Ko asked Bodhidharma to accept him as a disciple, but was refused. Hui Ko waited outside the door in a snowy day. After a long time, the snow was so heavy that it came up to the waist of Hui Ko. Bodhidharma saw that he was really sincere in the pursuit of the Buddhist way. Then he asked Hui Ko, "What have you come for?"

    "My mind is not pacified. Please help me in pacifying my mind." Hui Ko replied.

    "Bring me your mind, and I'll pacify it for you" shouted Bodhidharma.

    "But I cannot find my mind." Hui Ko said.

    "I have pacified your mind for you already!" said Bodhidharma.
    Andrea wrote ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea1974 View Post
    When sitting and doing Zazen for awhile most thoughts settle down and the mind becomes quieter. Random ideas still "show up" but they just come and go. For a few moments there is just silence and pure stillness. Yet it seems to me that that stillness is very much alive and it is not just nothing. What is that stillness? Awareness? Consciousness? Is that what we are all trying the get more familiar with while doing Zazen to better "understand" ourselves? I would love to hear what your thoughts are.
    So hard for us to realize that this is Buddha, that is Buddha, quiet is Buddha, noise is Buddha, coming is Buddha, going is Buddha, thoughts are Buddha, absence of thoughts are Buddha, peace is Buddha, anger is Buddha, stillness is Buddha, movement is Buddha, alive is Buddha, dead is Buddha. Buddha is not simply silence and stillness. We simply sit because, in the day to day clutter and confusion of our minds, a space for a bit of silence and stillness may help us better realize such fact when we drop all the cutter and confusion for a time. But the point is not that the silence and stillness of sitting is "where its at", because our way is to "non-find" (because always present in the bones even though rarely seen) a Silence and Stillness (Big "S") that --is-- and always has been the clutter and silence and peace and chaos and confusion and stillness. Both peace and anger are Buddha, but anger blinds us to such fact because so divisive! As well, peace can hide Buddha too if we think that is the only place Buddha is to be found.

    The eye and everything the eye sees is Eye all along. True Peace is peace and tumult and all the round and sharp pieces of life.

    There is a Flowing Wholeness of so-called "Emptiness" (a very misleading term because such is a Fullness that is both full and empty and all in between). Would you like to call it "Awareness" or "Buddha" or "Stanley" or "The Great Pumpkin"? How about don't call it, and just Flow Whole As The Whole Flowing?

    More later ... the wife just called me out for Sunday pancakes with the kids. That is Silent Noisy Stillness Chaos Whole Flowing Stanley Great Pumpkin too.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-09-2014 at 05:08 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea1974 View Post

    Yet, when Andrea breaks a leg he is the one crying, while Andy and Clark feels just fine How is it possible that I cannot clearly find a self while there are obviously (well...maybe it is not that obvious) differences between individuals and there respective experiences? I have been tempted to assume that that "stillness", that "awareness", that "observer" that I was describing before is indeed my real self.
    There is another old Zen Koan ... When Andrea catches a cold, Andy sneezes!

    Of course, in our ordinary view of life, when Andrea catches cold, that does not cause Andy to sneeze on the other side of the world.

    Yet one encounters views in our Way whereby Andrea is just Andrea and there is no Andy ... Andy is Andy and there is no Andrea ... Andrea is precisely Andy and all the mountains and stars and empty space as well ... each star is precisely Andrea and Andy. Thus, when Andy catches cold the stars and mountains and empty space sneeze! All is empty space, all is the mountain.

    There is also a Viewless so Whole and Flowing that one has no need for separate names like Andy, Andrea, Mountains, Stars and Space. Who is there to catch cold? Yet, the Flowing Wholeness needs to flow as Andy and Mountains, Stars and Space and you too. You, right now as you are, are just so. Ahhhhchoooo!

    So, which is the so-called "Real You"?

    Why ALL OF SUCH, OF COURSE! Don't think it is only some quiet peace still place where Andy and Andrea are washed away.

    You are the "Real You" now ... although your own fears and delusions, greed and anger and other divisive thoughts, judgments, aversions and attractions, make you feel somehow inadequate or lacking or "less than real".

    Your screwed up, confused, angry greedy self is Buddha, you Real Self right now. Just hard to realize when one is screwed up, confused angry and greedy!

    Gassho, J

    PS - Pancakes were delicious.
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-09-2014 at 05:09 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hui Ko asked Bodhidharma to accept him as a disciple, but was refused. Hui Ko waited outside the door in a snowy day. After a long time, the snow was so heavy that it came up to the waist of Hui Ko. Bodhidharma saw that he was really sincere in the pursuit of the Buddhist way. Then he asked Hui Ko, "What have you come for?"

    "My mind is not pacified. Please help me in pacifying my mind." Hui Ko replied.

    "Bring me your mind, and I'll pacify it for you" shouted Bodhidharma.

    "But I cannot find my mind." Hui Ko said.

    "I have pacified your mind for you already!" said Bodhidharma.
    Wonderful, thank you Jundo. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    PS ... glad you enjoyed the pancakes, always a great treat! =)
    倫道 真現

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

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    There is another old Zen Koan ... When Andrea catches a cold, Andy sneezes!

    .
    Love this. 😄

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

  19. #19
    'Take great care of your Original Self.'

    Taigu - thank you



    Willow





  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    So hard for us to realize that this is Buddha, that is Buddha, quiet is Buddha, noise is Buddha, coming is Buddha, going is Buddha, thoughts are Buddha, absence of thoughts are Buddha, peace is Buddha, anger is Buddha, stillness is Buddha, movement is Buddha, alive is Buddha, dead is Buddha. Buddha is not simply silence and stillness. We simply sit because, in the day to day clutter and confusion of our minds, a space for a bit of silence and stillness may help us better realize such fact when we drop all the cutter and confusion for a time. But the point is not that the silence and stillness of sitting is "where its at", because our way is to "non-find" (because always present in the bones even though rarely seen) a Silence and Stillness (Big "S") that --is-- and always has been the clutter and silence and peace and chaos and confusion and stillness. Both peace and anger are Buddha, but anger blinds us to such fact because so divisive! As well, peace can hide Buddha too if we think that is the only place Buddha is to be found.
    Many thanks for this. Gassho
    Shōmon

  21. #21
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    Hi all

    Just wanted to say this was a very helpful thread, pancakes, French frogs, Andrea's cold, and mine. Achoooo!
    Gassho
    C

  22. #22
    Thank you Jundo and Taigu...awesome comments!!! BTW, I have decided to replaced the word "awareness" with "great pumpkin" in my vocabulary

    >How about don't call it, and just Flow Whole As The Whole Flowing

    Beautifully said Jundo. It reminds me of...

    “The mystique of rock climbing is climbing; you get to the top of a rock glad it’s over but really wish it would go on forever. The justification of climbing is climbing, like the justification of poetry is writing; you don’t conquer anything except things in yourself…. The act of writing justifies poetry. Climbing is the same: recognizing that you are a flow. The purpose of the flow is to keep on flowing, not looking for a peak or utopia but staying in the flow. It is not a moving up but a continuous flowing; you move up to keep the flow going. There is no possible reason for climbing except the climbing itself; it is a self-communication.”

    Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow

  23. #23
    Hi Andrea,

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea1974 View Post
    Yet, when Andrea breaks a leg he is the one crying, while Andy and Clark feels just fine How is it possible that I cannot clearly find a self while there are obviously (well...maybe it is not that obvious) differences between individuals and there respective experiences?
    When you cut off one of your fingers, does your foot hurt?

    Gassho,

    Daitetsu
    no thing needs to be added

  24. #24
    It is the moment you are in.
    Stillness is the appreciation of that moment
    Breathe it, live it, enjoy it, let go of it.

    Deepest bows,
    Chelsea

  25. #25
    Senior Member Tiwala's Avatar
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    Just chop water and carry wood.
    Gassho
    Ben

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