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Thread: Different ways Shikantaza is taught

  1. #1

    Different ways Shikantaza is taught

    Over the last 1.5 years that I studied Zen, here are the main/popular ways "Shikantaza" was taught by different teachers/lineages

    Breath following Group: Focus your attention on "following the breath", usually at the hara. Count your breaths initially and then move onto following the breath without any counting. Finally sit shikantaza style
    Lineages: Suzuki Roshi (Sanfrancisco Zen Center), Mauzemi Roshi (Zen center of Los Angeles) and many others in the US and Japan. This is the most popular way it is being taught now.

    "Nothing but Sitting": This is same as what is mentioned in "Opening the hand of thought". This is definitely a method. There is no object though. If anything, the object is "your reality of sitting and facing the wall". You keep coming back to this, waking up from anything else that is happening other than this (distracted thinking, drowsiness etc).
    Lineages: Kodo Sawaki Lineage. Kosho Uchiyama and Okumura made this popular. Chan's methodless method also sounds very similar to this, except that the object is "being aware of your whole body sitting there". I think Jundo teaches this. Many other teachers that teach shikantaza style recommend this.

    "Simply Sit, let go of control": My favorite. You simply sit and let go of any conscious control of your meditation. Don't try to do anything to meditate better. This is also known as a practice of great faith. You sit with the trust/knowing that whatever happens is okay. That sitting sits itself. Doesn't need your intervention. You firmly believe sitting to be a useless practice and that it doesn't add anything to you. Tomorrow is not going to be any better than today. Nowhere to go. Nothing in need of change. To simplify, however you sit is fine, as long as there is no conscious activity or focus on an object or a method you are trying to follow.
    Teachers: Not many modern teachers recommend sitting this way. Few that I have personally met. Daigaku Rumme (Zenshuji of Los Angeles), Jyozen Anjyu (Kanzeonji buddhist temple, Los Angeles), Brad Warner, Kevin (another student of Nishijima from Los Angeles). Jundo too suggests this but he mixes this with "Nothing but Sitting". Some teachers asking students to sit without any instructions fall into this category i believe (Antaiji, Taigu sometimes). ofcourse Dogen

    Use of other objects: Use of sound as an object is pretty popular after breath. Many teachers recommend the use of some object before their students can sit shikantaza.

    Gassho,
    Sam

  2. #2
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Hello,

    Let's just sit.


    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

  3. #3
    Hi Sam,

    Sorry, I do not believe that your analysis is very precise. Every form of Shikantaza has to place the attention somewhere. There are many small variations in Shikantaza, teacher to teacher. One has to place and focus (and simultaneously not place/focus) the mind somewhere!

    So, for example, Uchiyama Roshi was a "bring your attention back to the posture" guy. Nishijima Roshi was a "focus on keeping the spine straight" fellow, and there are others who emphasize focusing on the breath or the Hara (also called the "Tanden", the traditional "center of gravity" of the body, and a center of Qi energy in traditional Chinese medicine) ...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dantian

    ...

    Dogen once advised to place the mind in the left palm. Some merely emphasize the wall or floor one may be facing. All are forms of Shikantaza ... so long as the objectless nature of sitting is maintained even if focused on an object.

    In fact, all forms of Shikantaza have an "object of meditation", a place to focus or place the mind to build a degree of concentration and quiet the thoughts (hopefully to soften the border and pass through "object" and "subject"), while dropping all effort to attain and releasing all judgments. At Treeleaf, ... as our central "objectless" object of meditation, I recommend open, spacious sitting centered on everything and nothing at all ... sitting with open, spacious awareness ... sitting with the whole world but without being lost in trains of thought (which I also sometimes describe as having the mind focused on "no place and everyplace at once"). That open stillness is our "object of concentration" (I emphasize such because it makes it clearer that Zazen is not a tool, and makes it easier to take our Practice off the cushion and into the rest of the world, than simply following the breath or focusing on a part of the body).

    Suzuki Shunryu Roshi encouraged placing the attention on the breath, but if you listen to him, he is really describing an objectless, goalless sitting too. Breath is not a tool. Zazen is not a method to get somewhere faster. Here he is explaining this ...



    I do not know anyone who teaches "simply sit, let go of control" as "anyway you sit is fine", as you say. Useless does not mean "useless" in the sense of killing time, "nothing in need of change" does not mean that there are not revolutionary changes ... for true realization of "nothing in need of change" is a radical change and addition to our lives. You misunderstand "sitting sits itself" as some kind of thumb twiddling. You are "fine the way you are" means that you are already Buddha and had better start acting like it, not merely "you are fine the way you are". "Whatever happens is okay" is true ... whatever happens IS OKAY! ... although, simultaneously, whatever happens is NOT OKAY if it means being lost and wallowing in thought, filled with greed, anger and ignorance etc.

    I would suggest that most of the good teachers are teaching far more than you describe and something far more radical. It is the method of dropping all methods, hitting the goal by vibrant, energetic sitting dropping all goals.

    On the other hand, some seem to teach what they call "Shikantaza" or breath counting\following as just some method to attain deep concentration, an adjunct to Koan Zazen or the like. We discussed that on another thread today, and that is unfortunate.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...l=1#post129492

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - If you think Zazen is a "method", then you are doing the method of Zazen wrong. If you think Zazen is about having a goal, and seek the fastest way to hit the goal ... you will miss the goal by a mile.

    Does that sound like a Koan? IT IS!
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-09-2014 at 05:45 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  4. #4
    Thanks Jundo. After talking to many teachers, I did get the impression that having an object is important. I currently sit with my mind/focus in the left palm.

    I did sit the "Simply Sit, letting go of control" way for about a few months and noticed the following changes

    - The same half an hour sits started to feel way longer during some sits
    - There were less things disturbing me. I became more accepting of the people at my work as well as personal life; When I stopped sitting this way for 15 days and had the first fight with my boss after a long time and started to find faults with my wife too
    - When writing something, I was pausing more and was waiting for "the next thing to write" to come out naturally.
    - When I read a zen book, I usually skip the "boring" parts and move to things more interesting to me. After I started to sit that way, there are no "boring" parts; every thing started to feel interesting I enjoyed reading what is being presented
    - All these stopped: when will i become enlightened? am i making progress? greedy sittings or wanting to sit more sittings to get more
    - Despite not using an object, I feel I was returning more number of times (like being kicked back to the present moment) compared to when I used an object like breath. When I sat in the way described in "Opening the hand of thought" it was much worse than breath, half an hour passed by much more quickly. Having a goal (of coming back to being aware) and not using an object felt to me more like a process of negation. Somehow didn't feel right. Left palm focus somehow seems different; the sittings feel longer the same way as just sitting despite having an object. May be because I cannot really focus hard in my left palm like I can do with other objects.

    Based on just my own personal experience, I won't be able to write off "Simply sitting" as thumb twiddling or passive sitting. I just don't have the faith or courage to pursue it when so many teachers are writing it off. Some that I mentioned in the above post support it too. Daigaku actually recommends to sit that way. I specifically also asked him "so it is okay if i just sit and keep getting lost in thoughts all the time". His answer was "yes thats okay".

    Gassho,
    Sam

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by shikantazen View Post

    Based on just my own personal experience, I won't be able to write off "Simply sitting" as thumb twiddling or passive sitting. I just don't have the faith or courage to pursue it when so many teachers are writing it off. Some that I mentioned in the above post support it too. Daigaku actually recommends to sit that way. I specifically also asked him "so it is okay if i just sit and keep getting lost in thoughts all the time". His answer was "yes thats okay".
    Hi Sam,

    From what I know of Daigaku Rumme, I would be very surprised if you understood him correctly. Perhaps he meant that "getting lost in thoughts" is okay so long as one drops all though of "lost" or "found" ... in which case one is not lost any more. Perhaps he meant that one gets lost in thoughts until they just drift away, and simply does not clutch on. If you think there is something to change ... then nothing will get changed. (Yes, more Koans!) Here he is ...



    I also find many ways in which Zazen has changed my life, and so I have continued with it for 30 years. Nonetheless, Zazen is not a tool to change one's life. If you think of it as a tool ... it will not be a good tool. (Another Koan).

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-09-2014 at 06:21 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  6. #6
    Yes he talked the same way about zazen as he spoke in the video; sit as if there is no separation; one with the activity. Their official written instruction was something similar to "Opening the hand of thought".

    In the dokusan with him, I told him that I don't like sitting with the aim of bringing back the mind and described exactly what I wrote above for "simply sit, letting go of control" and he approved what I said. He added something like this "bringing back the mind is just a technique only meant to help, if you don't find it helpful, no need to use it". I specifically then asked him about the question on thoughts just to make sure he understands what I meant. He confirmed that even if I get lost in thought the whole time and made no effort to do anything about it, it is fine. What I gathered from the whole conversation was, just presenting yourself there and sitting is enough.

    Gassho,
    Sam

  7. #7
    Unfortunately I don't have much to add besides a thank you to both shikantazen and Jundo for this discussion thus far. Very helpful because I'm still new to shikantaza and still figuring out what I don't know.

    Gassho,
    Andrew

  8. #8
    Hi Sam,

    If "getting lost in thought" means not grabbing on and (when finding that one has grabbed on to a train of thought) letting go and returning to "just sitting" and open spacious awareness (or whatever objectless object) ... I believe we are all on the same page, speaking the same. If one feels during sitting that one is filled with emotions (anger, fear or the like for example) ... just let them be as if one stops fanning hot coals. Open the hand of thought, let go ... and drop all thought, even thoughts of "lost" or "found". Let the emotions cool and burn down, like a fire after the fuel and fanning is removed. In such case, sitting "without aim to bring back the mind" and "letting go" sounds fine. One does not "aim" to let go of thoughts and emotions in Zazen ... one simply lets go (much like one does not "aim" to put down a hammer with which one is hitting oneself in the head ... but instead, one simply stops hitting, a non-acting, and opens the hand to let the hammer drop away).

    But if "getting lost in thought" means just allowing oneself to keep wallowing in thought and a stew of emotions, fanning the flames, sitting the whole time planning for one's tv viewing that evening or rehashing the fight with one's girlfriend or the political situation in Egypt ... no, such is not Shikantaza. I know that Daigaku Rumme did not mean that.

    (By the way, if one stops the chewing, hammering and fanning, on will find a Clarity and Illumination that shines right in/as/beyond and precisely as the tv, the fight and the war .... Illuminating All. But in order to find such Light, one must first do the above ... or "non-do" really, because it is a ceasing and letting go of all motive, methods and "doing" ... so we say "non-motive, non-method, non-doing")

    And I will add one more aspect to this (and which I have told you before), which unfortunately does not always get emphasized enough by some Soto Zen Teachers to beginners (although, if you listen carefully to what Suzuki and Daigaku are saying above, they are saying the same) ...

    One must sit with the attitude [felt in the marrow of the bones] that sitting itself is the Whole and Complete Act, the one thing to do ... the only thing in need of doing ... in that moment in all reality ... no other place to go, no other action in need of doing in such moment. Sitting is not an instrumentality or technique to the realizing of something ... and thus in dropping all thought of instrumentality toward realization, one realizes what can only be realized in such way. (Thus, Zazen is so much unlike our usual actions in daily life where we run to here and there, and need to "do and accomplish something" in order to fill some holes in our life that need filling. Zazen is the potholes of life Wholly Holey Holy filled by the flowing Dance of Wholeness ... a name I prefer to "Emptiness" ... all along beyond human standards of "complete vs. incomplete", "filled" or "empty" ... ).

    ...

    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 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".. 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.
    Why? There is a non-method to the madness! There is a goal in the goalless!

    Our small self, the body-mind, is always filled with countless desires ... the desire to be somewhere else, be getting somewhere, achieving some prize, some distant goal. Our body-mind is always judging this or that as somehow inadequate to what the body-mind wants, its likes and dislikes, needs, regrets and dreams.

    Thus, when there is sat an instant of Zazen as wholeness in just sitting, the only place to be and act to do in that instant, in all of reality, to fulfill life as life ... the Buddha and all the Ancestors just sitting in that instant of sitting, no other thing to attain or which ever can be attained ... no other place to go or in need of going ... all holes filled, whether full or empty or in between ... all lack and excess resolved in that one sitting, with not one thing to add or take away ... judgments dropped away, "likes and dislikes" put aside ... nothing missing from Zazen (even when we might feel that "something is missing", for one can be fully content with the feeling of lack!) ... the sitting of Zazen and all life experienced as complete and whole as just the sitting of Zazen ... the entire universe manifesting itself on the Zafu at that moment ...

    ... in other words, when the "little self" is thereby put out of a job by the experience of "just sitting" as whole and complete with nothing more to be desired or needed ... then the hard borders between the "little self" and the "not the self" (which is usually being judged and "bumped into" and divided into pieces) thus naturally soften, fully fade away ... only the wholeness of the dance remaining ...

    ... then "Zazen is in itself body-mind dropped off".


    Human beings simply do not know how to act an action pierced as naturally complete just by the act of the action itself, how to live life that is whole just by the act of living life.
    To sit such way ... and to let Zazen sit Zazen such way ... is vitally important.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-10-2014 at 05:40 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Sam,

    But if "getting lost in thought" means just allowing oneself to keep wallowing in thought and a stew of emotions, fanning the flames, sitting the whole time planning for one's tv viewing that evening or rehashing the fight with one's girlfriend or the political situation in Egypt ... no, such is not Shikantaza. I know that Daigaku Rumme did not mean that.

    Gassho, Jundo
    I definitely am NOT saying that we continue to indulge in thought or emotions once we realize we are caught up. We definitely are not trying to sit there and solve a problem or trying to think something on purpose. Having that on the instruction for Zazen though (e.g., keep waking up from trains of thought and come back) , I feel creates a goal oriented attitude and makes it the main thing. Shikantaza is not about any one thing. The instruction on waking up from thought should be subtle or even better left unsaid. Waking up from thought happens automatically;we are kicked back to the present moment. In fact trying to continue the same thought once we wake up, does indeed require some effort and some intention. As long as we are aware that we are not there to sit and indulge in our fantasies, I feel it is enough.

    I don't think anyone serious about the dharma and practice wants to sit there and purposefully indulge in their fantasies or thoughts. On the other hand most people serious about their spiritual life can screw it up by trying to control their meditation too much. Hence the instruction to sit with a non-manipulative attitude and to let go of control is more important than any other instruction. To let sitting sit and get out of the way and not expect anything from the practice. That is the unique thing about this practice, compared to all other buddhist and non-buddhist practices. Hence the need for emphasis. I know you do emphasize this a lot in your instruction.

    Gassho,
    Sam

  10. #10
    Sam ... after months and months of our going back and forth ...

    ... maybe just maybe we are now on the same page.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Sam ... after months and months of our going back and forth ...

    ... maybe just maybe we are now on the same page.

    Gassho, J
    ahh finally !

    Feels so relieved to hear that. Sorry for not explaining myself properly.

    Gassho,
    Sam

  12. #12
    Senior Member Heion's Avatar
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    Very interesting thread to read!

    Gassho,
    Heion

  13. #13
    Hi,

    Very helpful interchange. A koan.

    Gassho,
    John

  14. #14
    Hi Sam,

    You are a great teacher of mine.

    Jundo, you teach me nothing.

    Gassho, Jishin

  15. #15
    Someone wrote and said I could post his question ...

    Dear Jundo,

    I donīt want to post in the wrong thread.... So I post my question directly to you and you can post it - if you think it is worth.

    in the "Different ways Shikantaza is thought"-post you say:
    ... in other words, when the "little self" is thereby put out of a job by the experience of "just sitting" as whole and complete with nothing more to be desired or needed ... then the hard borders between the "little self" and the "not the self" (which is usually being judged and "bumped into" and divided into pieces) thus naturally soften, fully fade away ... only the wholeness of the dance remaining ...

    ... then "Zazen is in itself body-mind dropped off".
    excuse this "silly" question: after how many years will that "condition" be true (just a more or less-answer would be fine )

    What I would like to point out in this question is, that there is no evidence in the description. If somebody like me sits letīs say for 5 years and still is not just sitting as whole .... so the question is, if the description is good enough to know what is meant. The question comes from time to time here.

    thank you
    Hi,

    Suchness (Wholeness, Emptiness or however one call such) is true now and always, although you may not realize so. You are Whole now, and it is the mind that divides the world, categorizes and breaks reality into things that are lacking, loved and despised, and imposes all manner of other human measures.

    I do not think it is a matter of a particular time. Certainly it is -not- a matter of getting to such a state and staying in its realization forever. (It may be when we eventually become full time-timless Buddha, but not for us human folks. I think people have a tendency to think that those old timey Zen Ancestors would get "Enlightened" and just stay so. But, as the Insight Teacher Jack Kornfield says):

    It is as if deep down we all hope that some experience, some great realization, enough years of dedicated practice, might finally lift us beyond the touch of life, beyond the mundane struggles of the world. We cling to some hope that in spiritual life we can rise above the wounds of our human pain, never to have to suffer them again. We expect some experience to last. But permanence is not true freedom, not the sure heart's release. Every wise voyager learns that we cannot hold on to the last port of call, no matter how beautiful. To do so would be like holding our breath, creating a prison from our past.
    http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Budd...dWLY3qFhceE.99
    Rather, the Wholeness and Completeness will continue to peak through the clouds now and then, some days more than others. The hard borders between oneself and the world will soften, perhaps to the point of fully fading away from time to timeless-time. Sometimes, all is walls and traps. We are Buddha right now and always, though we may be better at realizing (knowing) and realizing (making real in our life) that fact sometimes more than others.

    This "no coming no going" comes and goes so long as we are in this human body. Thus it is called Practice. But (although there is nothing to gain, because here all along) ... we do get better at this with Practice!

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-12-2014 at 03:55 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  16. #16
    Thank you, Jundo. Very helpful.

    Gassho,
    John

  17. #17
    Yes, thank you. I cannot hear some of these points often enough.

    Gassho
    Andy

  18. #18
    Member Ernstguitar's Avatar
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    Dear Jundo,

    I thank you very much. This was the point I was looking at. The answer is very helpful and it sounds clear. There is a narcistic part in me, which looks exactly on the "escaping" thing:
    It is as if deep down we all hope that some experience, some great realization, enough years of dedicated practice, might finally lift us beyond the touch of life, beyond the mundane struggles of the world. We cling to some hope that in spiritual life we can rise above the wounds of our human pain, never to have to suffer them again. We expect some experience to last. But permanence is not true freedom, not the sure heart's release. Every wise voyager learns that we cannot hold on to the last port of call, no matter how beautiful. To do so would be like holding our breath, creating a prison from our past.
    But isnīt that the story of Dogen in the film, that his mother said: Find a way out of this suffering.
    Isnīt the circle of zen describing something like that? Is the fact, that we are whole also a possibility to realize it in this life?

    Just some questions for the brain. I know, that is not the important part. It is just a fact, that we suffer our whole life (even when our life is fine) becourse
    the leaving of our parents, frends and people in our world.

    gassho
    ernst

  19. #19
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Dear Ernst,

    The way out is the way in. The circle of Zen has nothing to do with a stable and constant peaceful state.
    Our path is to fully penetrate Samsara, to wholeheartedly dive in that sea of fire. This is the path of Bodhisattvas.
    To escape suffering generates more suffering. Resistance is pain inducing. You sit with guts and flesh an blood in the midst of life and death. This is our way. The realized universe is but this, ugly and beautiful and beyond both, "Beyond" means both dropped, here and now.

    Gassho,

    Taigu
    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.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Ernstguitar View Post

    But isnīt that the story of Dogen in the film, that his mother said: Find a way out of this suffering.
    Isnīt the circle of zen describing something like that? Is the fact, that we are whole also a possibility to realize it in this life?

    Just some questions for the brain. I know, that is not the important part. It is just a fact, that we suffer our whole life (even when our life is fine) becourse
    the leaving of our parents, frends and people in our world.
    Hi Ernst,

    I will say as Taigu, but in a little different words.

    OF COURSE, this Path provides TOTAL RELEASE and LIBERATION RIGHT IN THIS LIFE! Dogen's mom was not lying! Do not misunderstand my point earlier. Most importantly, do not think of this as an "either/or" matter ... for Zen Teachers speak out of both sides of their no-sided mouth!

    I would not be walking this Path so Contentedly after all these years if this Way did not Deliver! Liberation! YIPPEE! SVAHA! Total Release from birth and death, disease, aging, and all forms of dissatisfaction ("Dukkha" in Buddhist terms). One experiences Such, Wholeness, Emptiness, where there are not such things, no lack, no friction.

    But, so long as we are human in these bodies, we will not be free of birth and death, disease, aging and all forms of dissatisfaction! (As I said, we talk out of both sides of our Empty mouth!)

    Both at once ... somedays (depending on which side of the no sided bed I wake up on) ... a bit more one or the other, but always BOTH AS ONE!

    So, as I believe Taigu is saying ... one encounters freedom from Suffering right behind, beyond, in, right at the heart of, precisely as suffering itself ... death and deathless at once, aging and ageless as one! The result is, for example, that one might grieve and cry at the loss of someone we love (for this is human and part of life) AND simultaneously know the Buddha who knows No Loss, No Death, No Separation right in each tear, the Heart Never Broken as our broken heart.

    And with years of Practice ... we do get better and better at realizing such. (Realizing, although we say "nothing to realize" because such was here all along even though we were blind to the fact).

    Perhaps a traditional Buddhist image will help ... the Lotus flower that rises from the shit and muck. However, do not think that the Lotus need break free of the shit and muck to be the Lotus. Far from it, a Lotus without the soil and fertilizer would be lifeless. Furthermore, our Zen Practice allows us to realize that Lotus flower and shit, shit and Lotus flower are never two all along.



    Does that help? (Maybe not, because people say I am too hard to understand and I should be clearer).

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-13-2014 at 12:41 PM.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member Entai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    Dear Ernst,

    The way out is the way in. The circle of Zen has nothing to do with a stable and constant peaceful state.
    Our path is to fully penetrate Samsara, to wholeheartedly dive in that sea of fire. This is the path of Bodhisattvas.
    To escape suffering generates more suffering. Resistance is pain inducing. You sit with guts and flesh an blood in the midst of life and death. This is our way. The realized universe is but this, ugly and beautiful and beyond both, "Beyond" means both dropped, here and now.

    Gassho,

    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher,
    This hit me like a hammer.

    Deep bows,
    Entai

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    A bit more on the Lotus and Mud, another way of expressing the Blue Sky and Clouds ...

    Before Buddhist Practice, we may be all lost in the mud and muck ... greed, anger, divisive thoughts and judgments, dissatisfactions. We wish to escape the suffering.

    In many corners of Buddhism and other Eastern religions, the aim may be to nurture or grow some Lotus which would completely escape and break free of the mud and muck once and for all. The dirt of this birth and earth left far behind, never to return.

    But Zen and other corners of the Mahayana found that one can grow the Lotus, escape and break free & continue to be in this world of sometime mud and muck AT ONCE. Of course, when doing so ... the mud is not quite so muddy, and a certain Clarity shines right through and as the muck! Somehow, we live in a world of mud and muck where often we are splashed with both ... yet somehow are not so stained. We are less prone to muck raking and mud tossing at others. The earth also appears as a jewel, the dirt and disaster as diamonds, when the mud is wiped from our eyes.

    The Lotus grows amid-and-as the fertile dirt. A Lotus without the soil and fertilizer would be lifeless. Furthermore, our Zen Practice allows us to realize that Lotus flower and muck, muck and Lotus flower are never two all along.

    Nonetheless, while staying rooted in this world, the beautiful flower also rises up and is Liberated ... firmly rooted, yet Totally Free as One. Although One, with time and Practice, we learn to live more flowering and less lost in the bog.

    Many pictures depict a Buddha seated upon a Lotus Flower. I believe a better way is to see the Buddha and Lotus Flower as One and Whole, all firmly rooted on this earth below ... also one and whole ... a reflection of each as the other. The Buddha's reflection in the bog renders it as clear, still, embracing, peaceful as a fine mirror.


    The Lotus is always present even when unseen, when still just a seed buried within us. Perhaps our Buddhist Practice is a way to water that seed and let it grow, breaking above the water line and reaching the light.

    Of course, so long as we are human beings, the mud will rise and fall. Some days we may see more flower and less mud, some days less flower and more mud (even to the point of being lost for a time). Nonetheless, both are always present.

    Under the water, though hard for us to see sometimes, all the Lotus Flowers prove to be joined at a single branching root, and water, mud, air, shit and shoots, birds, sky, light, flowers and all the garden are One, Buddha.

    Perhaps our Zazen Practice is a way for us ... by clearing for a time some of the mud and muck in our heads ... to become a little more aware of the Lotus, less of the mud, for a time. It helps us come to see the Lotus in all of life.

    Something like that.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-14-2014 at 05:19 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  23. #23
    Taigu, Jundo, my gosh!
    This is like listening to Bird & Diz trading phrases.
    Crystalline, radiant, brilliant. I am so grateful for this teaching.


    Gassho
    Lisa

  24. #24
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    T.
    Last edited by Taigu; 06-14-2014 at 11:47 AM.
    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.

  25. #25
    Member Ernstguitar's Avatar
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    Hi Jundo,

    Does that help? (Maybe not, because people say I am too hard to understand and I should be clearer).
    yes, it was the right answer at the right time for me. And I do not want to decide, if you are too hard to understand or not. I think, it is hard to understand.
    It is unbelievable, what an answer you are giving to a question like that. Thank you.
    Is the Buddhist Practice reducibly to zazen?

    Gassho
    Ernst

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Ernstguitar View Post
    Is the Buddhist Practice reducibly to zazen[I]?
    Yes, Buddhist Practice is -only- Zazen. There is nothing else. All time and space is also only Zazen. When sitting Zazen, Zazen is the only place in the universe, the only action. Zazen is all there is, all that needs doing or can be done in that moment, the total completion and fruition of life, nothing to add or take away from sitting. Please sit so.

    No, Buddhist Practice is -not only- Zazen. Rising from the cushion, there may be some Buddhist book to read, some Chant, some Bow, some Precept to implement in a moral choice in life.

    -Only- sitting is Zazen ... when sitting, there is just seating Zazen. There is nothing else. In fact, one might say when sitting, Zazen sits Zazen.

    Zazen is -not only- sitting ... for, rising from the cushion, all of life is Zazen in its wider meaning. Changing the baby diaper is Zazen, work in the office is Zazen, cooking dinner is Zazen, going shopping is Zazen when perceived as such. When perceived as such, changing the baby diaper is the only action there is, all that needs doing or can be done in that moment, the total completion and fruition of life, nothing to add or take away

    Each of the above is true at once. Is that clear?

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-17-2014 at 11:28 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  27. #27
    Member Ernstguitar's Avatar
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    thank you, it is clear (right in that moment). Doesnīt mean, that it will be clear tomorrow
    When sitting and no struggling thoughts are here, just a meta-thought like hmmmm, is that already zazen in this understanding?
    I read an article, where they say: "Just when you are in this thinking the non thinking is zazen. The rest is training.

    I want also say thank you to Taigu. It is very helpful to have to kinds of "language".

    gassho
    ernst

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