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Thread: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 38

  1. #1

    BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 38

    Case 37 never ends, yet now comes ...

    Case 38: Rinzai's Person of No Rank (True Man of No Rank)

    This case is the theme of the Dharma Talk for our Zazenkai this month ... please have a listen (from 1:48:00 here, the Talk and Q&A is about 30 minutes) ...


    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ur-ZAZENKAI%21

    The reading for the Talk are below in this thread.

    In the Preface, the references are simply to not seeing where the real treasure is to be found ... and yet even the thief, the servant, the broken ladle, the shit stick ... even in the divided world, the sacred and profane ... the Person of No Rank, Buddha.

    Sometimes Zen folks insult as an insult ... sometimes they insult as praise ... sometimes both with a single word! Here, Rinzai calls the deluded monk, looking in all the wrong places, a misguided "shit stick". And yet ...

    A monk asked Master Ummon, "What is Buddha?"
    Ummon said, "A dry shit-stick!


    QUESTIONS:

    - What was the Person of No Rank doing at 9:00 today?

    - How would the "Person of No Rank/Businessless Person" handle the most difficult problem you face in life recently (the "shit stick" in your life), as opposed to the "Rank Person/Businessperson"? ...

    - Can one live the "Person of No Rank" yet get the business done that needs doing too? Are they mutually exclusive?

    Gassho, Jundo



    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Rinzai said …

    Followers of the Way,
    mind is without form and pervades the ten directions:
    In the eye it is called seeing,
    in the ear it is called hearing.
    In the nose it smells odors,
    in the mouth it holds converse.
    In the hands it grasps and seizes,
    in the feet it runs and carries.
    Fundamentally, it is one pure radiance;
    divided, it becomes harmoniously united spheres of sense.
    Since the mind is nonexistent,
    wherever you go, you are free.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Thich Nhat Hanh has some nice writing on the “Person of No Rank”, which he calls the “Businessless Person”

    So to wake people up, Master Linji [Japanese, Rinzai] invented new terms and new ways of saying things that would respond to the needs of his time. For example, Master Linji invented the term “businessless person,” the person who has nowhere to go and nothing to do. This was his ideal example of what a person could be. In Theravada Buddhism, the ideal person was the arhat, someone who practiced to attain his own enlightenment. In Mahayana Buddhism, the ideal person was the bodhisattva, a compassionate being who, on the path of enlightenment, helped others.
    According to Master Linji, the businessless person is someone who doesn’t run after enlightenment or grasp at anything, even if that thing is the Buddha. This person has simply stopped. She is no longer caught by anything, even theories or teachings. The businessless person is the true person inside each one of us. This is the essential teaching of Master Linji.
    When we learn to stop and be truly alive in the present moment, we are in touch with what’s going on within and around us. We aren’t carried away by the past, the future, our thinking, ideas, emotions, and projects. Often we think that our ideas about things are the reality of that thing. Our notion of the Buddha may just be an idea and may be far from reality. Buddha is not a reality that exists outside of us, but is our own true nature. The Buddha outside ourselves was a human being who was born, lived, and died. For us to seek such a Buddha would be to seek a shadow, a ghost Buddha, and at some point our idea of Buddha would become an obstacle for us.
    Master Linji said that when we meet the ghost Buddha, we should cut off his head. Whether we’re looking inside our outside ourselves, we need to cut off the head of whatever we meet, and abandon the views and ideas we have about things, including our ideas about Buddhism and Buddhist teachings. Buddhist teachings are not exalted words and scriptures existing outside us on a high shelf in the temple, but are medicine for our ills. Buddhist teachings are skillful means to cure our ignorance, craving, and anger, as well as our habit of seeking things outside and not having confidence in ourselves.
    Insight can’t be found in sutras, commentaries, verbal expression, or —isms. Liberation and awakened understanding can’t be found by devoting ourselves to the study of the Buddhist scriptures. This is like trying to find fresh water in dry bones. Returning to the present moment, using our clear mind which exists right here and now, we can be in touch with liberation and enlightenment, as well as with the Buddha and the patriarchs as living realities right in this moment. The person who has nothing to do is sovereign unto herself. She doesn’t need to put on airs or leave any trace behind. The true person is an active participant, engaged in her environment while remaining unoppressed by it. Although all phenomena are going through the various appearances of birth, abiding, changing, and dying, the true person doesn’t become a victim of sadness, happiness, love, or hate. She lives in awareness as an ordinary person, whether standing, walking, lying down, or sitting. She doesn’t act a part, even the part of a great Zen master. This is what Master Linji means by “being sovereign wherever you are and using that place as your seat of awakening.”
    We may wonder, “If a person has no direction, isn’t yearning to realize an ideal, doesn’t have an aim in life, then who will help living beings be liberated, who will rescue those who are drowning in the ocean of suffering?” A Buddha is a person who has no more business to do and isn’t looking for anything. In doing nothing, in simply stopping, we can live freely and true to ourselves and our liberation will contribute to the liberation of all beings.

    From Nothing to Do, Nowhere to Go (2007) by Thich Nhat Hanh.
    Last edited by Jundo; 05-04-2014 at 01:23 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Wonderful !
    Thank you very much dear Jundo

    Gassho _/|\_

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    - What was the Person of No Rank doing at 9:00 today?

    - How would the "Person of No Rank/Businessless Person" handle the most difficult problem you face in life recently (the "shit stick" in your life), as opposed to the "Rank Person/Businessperson"? ...

    - Can one live the "Person of No Rank" yet get the business done that needs doing too? Are they mutually exclusive?


    The person of no rank is not other than the person of rank,
    is nothing but the person of rank, while remaining untouched by the person of rank.
    The person of no rank is not other than the intentions and actions of the person of rank, while having no intentions or actions. By having no intention or actions, the person of no rank is sovereign over intentions and actions. The person of no rank will not change how daily business is done, but is changing them anyway, ....the person of rank is less sticky, less reactive, less obstructed, less fearful. more easily corrected without residue. That is how the person of no rank appears this morning, after zazen, and heading off to a busy day.

    Gassho Daizan
    Last edited by Daizan; 05-05-2014 at 12:09 PM.
    大山

  4. #4
    - What was the Person of No Rank doing at 9:00 today?

    - How would the "Person of No Rank/Businessless Person" handle the most difficult problem you face in life recently (the "shit stick" in your life), as opposed to the "Rank Person/Businessperson"? ...

    - Can one live the "Person of No Rank" yet get the business done that needs doing too? Are they mutually exclusive?

    1. This morning the person of no rank was driving in rush hour


    2. The person of no rank doesn't know; instead of positing something, they come with questions. It opens a space. What happens if I relax into traffic? What happens if I treat the fellow drivers as they are all my best friends? What happens?

    3. Can one live the "Person of No Rank" yet get the business done that needs doing too? Are they mutually exclusive? That's what I'm finding out... actively exploring through practice. I trust you and the teachers that have handed this teaching to me. I use that trust as a foundation for my practice to keep exploring how to do this.

    Most of the time I fall to one side or the other; it's just my habits that come through. Either I'm struggling, or I'm completely passive. Neither is the Way, but it's something I know I have to go through.

    What is thinking non-thinking? I mean that is it... no one can tell me, I have to find out. Getting beyond dualities takes practice considering most of my years on this planet have been driven by a dualistic, attached approach to life. So instead of getting frustrated, I believe which is another trick of the ego to get me to give up practice, I have to smile at it, let it go and just keep sitting or doing whatever I'm doing.

    Once the Bodhi mind is raised, once I took Jukai, I made a commitment to myself and to this Sangha that even when I'm in the shit, I will practice not just for myself but for others... not two. I take that on faith.

    I'm not going to lie and tell you that I know and completely have realized myself. That would be a disservice to myself and my Sangha. I think it's important that especially in this day and age, where we think we are experts because we read an article on Wikipedia that we completely comprehend that this practice takes a lifetime.

    Look at Jundo and Taigu; if they are still practicing and learning, how much more do I have to dedicate myself and make sure I don't fall into the trap of thinking of having gotten something.

    I'm really glad that Taigu told us to stop pretending we are teachers. It's so easy to put on a facade of wisdom; but the truth is in the pudding, and that is a really good reminder out of compassion to stop bullshitting ourselves and others. You can't rush this process!!!! We've tried that all our lives, grasping and ranking things and saying I'm this and you are a fraud. That doesn't work. Go sit! We are in a world of crazyness, and no one will save us. We must really show that there is another way amid this, but we can't just accept that. We have to discover this and realize it. When you know something, no one can dissuade you because you have realized it for yourself. Don't run from this. We created this, we are the only ones who can help. But the trick is that we can't just run and save ourselves. The only way I've found to truly help is by helping others. That is it.

    Now I'm no calligrapher or poet. I'm a computer scientist, and I relate to that mode of thinking. I know in Zen calligraphy is commonly associated with it. I love it, and I'm not downplaying it, but I think Zen continues to grow and adapt in the cultures where it is practiced. And I think as there are the Zen arts, there is also the Zen computer sciences or medical sciences or what have you.

    What I'm saying is that my software program is my sutra. It is different from a poem, but it's also no different. It's a matter of perspective. But let me explain this in a language that is home to me.

    A lot of young coders, go out in the world wanting to make a name for themselves. They are very confident and think that they know better than the "veterans" out there. Maybe they have implemented SSL or understand how to secure cookies or sessions or they did some examples based on a tutorial on some site like Khan academy, and they think they are invincible now. Then after a time, they hit another "problem", they lose their confidence. They eventually figure it out, and then they feel invincible again.

    It's a common cycle in development; it's really a cycle of ups and down; it's samsara. I know because I feel that again and again. And after a few years of instrospection you notice those feelings, and instead of letting them control you, you just notice them. That suffering, that lack of confidence can dissuade you, or it can be the fuel from which a badass programmer is born. A programmer who admits that they don't know and truly understands that "problems" are truly awesome opportunities to feed your knowledge and learn about yourself.

    As you get more experienced you realize that just becuase you know how to code, does not make you a programmer or a software engineer. That comes with something that cannot be rushed. That comes with time and experience. That comes with a lot of failures and learning how to never give up or search for a solution elsewhere or take something as an answer without realizing it for yourself. And that means that just becuase you've read it on Wikipedia or stackoverflow, you better not take anything for granted; who knows, you may figure an even better more elegant way... it will be something you now know and have integrated. You've realized it for yourself.

    It also comes from something that has nothing to do with technical knowledge. Just like a painter or poet or writer, there is a trait with good developers that allow us to really sink our teeth into things and view how they work, not just on a technical level.. but intuitively. Anyone can learn how to code, but not many people can become developers without time and dedication, and there is a huge difference between making something work and knowing how to make it work, and the whys.



    Like the person of no rank, I know a good developer from an inexperienced one not based on how they get something to work, but:

    1. How do they handle errors? Have they ignored the possibility of some unforeseen circumstance making their code useless? Or do they anticipate errors and handle them so they provide useful information to allow an issue to be fixed?

    2. How do they handle changing requirements? Are they flustered, or can they adapt and modify their code, make it extensible and robust?

    3. Have they thought of performance? Sure it works under a single transaction, but how does it cope with thousands?

    4. Have they thought of security?

    5. Are they open to new ways of doing things in case there is a better more efficient way of doing something, even though they've been doing something one way for years?

    6. Do they ask questions when they don't know?

    These are just a few things. I've noticed something... the more you delve into a subject, the more you realize what you don't know... the more you realize it's a constant exploration. The more you grow and explore. It is the same as the person of no rank, and when you operate from that perspective, programming is a zen art. The more you delve into the depths of a subject, the more what seemed like a black and white science becomes an art. There is grey area; there are n number of ways to solve something; how do you want to do it? It's your choice.. it's art. But you have to throw it all into it; you cannot half-ass it.

    That is why development is my Sutra. It is an expression of everything I have. It's all my focus and dedication and knowledge at that point in time. I burn myself up in it. I give all of myself to my work, and I proceed with an empty mind. It's like the story of the butcher who never had to sharpen his knife; his cuts were so precise that it basically just cut itself. Or like in calligraphy where there is no separation... just open space, allowing IT to do its thing. That's how it is when I develop.

    Instead of forcing my agenda, I let it talk to me to see what needs to be done and do it.

    Now, I think that is samu as well. And it doesn't excuse the need for zazen of course. But my point is that just like true development, Zen takes time to flourish and grow; I'm not faking this.

    Gassho,

    Risho


    Edit -- I'll shut up after this. lol

    I've thought a lot about this -- how do I fulfill the 4 bodhisattva vows and the precepts even in the corporate world? I don't read a lot about Corporate employees in Zen stories. lol But I also know that this practice is valid everywhere.. not just in a hut on a mountain, and that Zen history is full of iconoclasts; not superficial iconoclasts but iconoclasts because these teachers applied the teachings in ways not done previously. So Zen doesn't just have to be performed in a stereotypical (or what we'd consider stereotypical -- ok maybe it's just my own bias. hahaha) By mentoring and helping other people when they are stressed. By sharing what I've learned instead of clutching onto it to increase my rank or status. By empowering others, I help myself. That's the mark of a true developer, and I'm thinking that's the mark of a true Bodhisattva... the person of no rank.

    Gassho,

    Risho
    Last edited by Risho; 05-05-2014 at 06:07 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Hello,

    "Question:

    -What. . .?

    -How. . .?

    -Can. . .?"

    Don't know.


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

  6. #6
    - What was the Person of No Rank doing at 9:00 today?

    - How would the "Person of No Rank/Businessless Person" handle the most difficult problem you face in life recently (the "shit stick" in your life), as opposed to the "Rank Person/Businessperson"? ...

    - Can one live the "Person of No Rank" yet get the business done that needs doing too? Are they mutually exclusive?
    1) I dont know, and this is no excuse

    2) One thing at a time, just I tend to forget this and do all at the same time, which actually IS the most difficult problem. The guy with Rank doesn't do better,

    3) Sure, ONLY he can, the other guy is busy with dreams.

    Thank you Jundo and everyone contributing (this is the person of no rank)
    Gassho
    Myoku

  7. #7
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    ( assuming I can post here without having the book)

    1. 9am The person of no rank is at work wondering if his stomach will settle enough to be able to eat something.

    2. My sister who is a very difficult person to deal with because of he very rigid religious views contacted me and is making a surprise visit. I haven't seen her in ten years. I don't want to see her. I don't want my kids to see her. I don't want to spend a weekend dealing with her and tip toeing around her views. The Person of Rank is all worried about hurting people's feelings, having things my way, being right, protecting my kids. The Person of No Rank is dropping all those agendas, wants and worries and dealing with the situation as it unfolds without attachment to results and holding a "don't know" attitude. Knowing regardless of the situation, there can be happiness BIG H, and acceptance big A without getting all embroiled in emotional turmoil.

    3.I don't they are mutually exclusive in the sense that you can still work towards achieving things in the world and still do so while fully being the person of no rank. However, I sense that as we awaken more to the person of no rank, the activities and goals and day to day DOINGs change dramatically to something else. Perhaps a shift in priorities, a ceasing of chasing or dropping of desires begins to change what the person of rank was thinking she had to do in the first place.

    Gassho
    C

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    QUESTIONS:

    - What was the Person of No Rank doing at 9:00 today?
    Sitting in front of a computer screen, fighting in a war, making love, sleeping in bed, going to school, holding a speech, working in the garden...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    - How would the "Person of No Rank/Businessless Person" handle the most difficult problem you face in life recently (the "shit stick" in your life), as opposed to the "Rank Person/Businessperson"? ...
    Be more relaxed and trust in the flow of life.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    - Can one live the "Person of No Rank" yet get the business done that needs doing too? Are they mutually exclusive?
    They are not mutually exclusive.
    Being oneself without any masks one we can get things (un)done.

    Gassho,

    Daitetsu
    no thing needs to be added

  9. #9
    Senior Member Matt's Avatar
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    - What was the Person of No Rank doing at 9:00 today?

    Sitting down at work, thinking of everything that needs to get done, unfortunately not in a terribly mindful way, as I reflect on it.

    - How would the "Person of No Rank/Businessless Person" handle the most difficult problem you face in life recently (the "shit stick" in your life), as opposed to the "Rank Person/Businessperson"? ...

    To use words, provisionally, I would say by responding from a place in which the ego drops off, abandoning all thoughts of mine/theirs/me/them.

    - Can one live the "Person of No Rank" yet get the business done that needs doing too? Are they mutually exclusive?

    I feel they are not mutually exclusive, that one can do so with the aid of this practice, again dropping dualistic thoughts and habits.

    Gassho,
    Matt J

  10. #10
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    At 9, the person of no rank was smiling.

    The person of no rank may not have used such foul language as I did with my coworker when I found him outside after hiding for half an hour.

    Of course the person of no rank can get things done. Sometimes that person is the only one truly working.
    迎 Geika

  11. #11
    Senior Member Kantai's Avatar
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    08:51 today the person of no rank is writing this.
    Gassho
    Kantai

  12. #12
    Senior Member Kantai's Avatar
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    - How would the "Person of No Rank/Businessless Person" handle the most difficult problem you face in life recently (the "shit stick" in your life), as opposed to the "Rank Person/Businessperson"? ...
    I think the person of no rank in me has a more direct way of handling my problem and donīt procrastinate as much as the rank person does. The true person of no rank in me also thinks about things in beforehand but not more than is needed and then take appropriate action.
    The rank person gets hindered by former failures and thinks all new efforts are hopeless.
    For instance in my struggle to lose weight, the person of no rank in me takes one moment in time and starts over again if I slip back to my old eating habits while the rank person in me gives up when slipping back and eats to much cookies because itīs hopeless anyway.

    But are the two really separated?
    If the person of no rank can be found in the person of rank then there is hope!

    - Can one live the "Person of No Rank" yet get the business done that needs doing too? Are they mutually exclusive?
    The person of no rank is the one who gets the job done while the person of rank is the one who calls the orders and wonders if it was the right thing to do and worries about the future...

    Really I donīt know...

    Gassho
    Kantai

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