Tugas Gunadarma Gunadarma Tutorial VB.NET Download OST Anime Soundtrack Anime Opening Anime Ending Anime OST Anime Japan Download Lagu Anime Jepang
Results 1 to 36 of 36

Thread: Zen and the brain

  1. #1

    Zen and the brain

    Jundo made some very interesting points when talking about the neuroscience stuff. In fact, he hit on something that to me is essential.

    I have a vascular malformation in my brainstem, which causes a variety of symptoms because of blood, following a bleed, that doesn't get reabsorbed, and is an irritant. This led me, about a year and a half ago, to get back into meditation, after a long hiatus, and, at the same time, to try and learn more about the brain. I noticed, for example, that when meditating long enough, some of my physical symptoms would fade away. I knew this was not that I had ignored them, because they are physical symptoms, not merely mental constructions that lead to physical sensations.

    So I looked into this (notably with this astounding, though dense, book, Zen and the Brain - ). It turns out that meditation can affect levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, and that GABA is the main inhibiting neurotransmitter. Interestingly, the medication I take attempts to stimulate GABA production or enhance GABA neuroreceptors. That's the principal of most anti-epileptic or anti-convulsant medication. It slows you down a bit, but that slowing down prevents the brain from going into overdrive. (Obviously, that's not the only brain chemical affected by meditation.)

    So why is this important? It showed me that meditation is not about faith or religion; that meditation is, or should be, first and foremost looked at as a "technique". I hesitate to say a "self-improvement" technique, because of the connotations of that term, but it allows me to look at meditation without "spirituality", which often suggests superstition. This fits with much of what Jundo says, such as how the Buddha was "just an ordinary guy", and all that, and it reassures me, because I'm not looking for faith - a blind acceptance of something - but rather experience.

    Interestingly, I came across this article in today's science news, about how yoga increases GABA:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 145516.htm

    They're looking at medical applications there, but I think the point remains that meditation does things, not just in the mind, but in the brain as well.

    Kirk

  2. #2
    Hello Kirk!

    All these scientific approaches to meditation and related subjects are very interesting indeed, but that's all about it really, it's interesting....judged from my personal point of view. The trouble with mechanistic approaches to internal processes is simply that certain tools will only ever give you certain answers.

    For example: Arguably someone with a double Phd in Biology and Medicine from Oxford University sounds like a person who should know just about everything regarding the ways in which our bodies work...yet at the same time who do people actually turn to when it comes to making some kind of sense of all this "matter"?....we as humans turn to poets, philosophers, psychologists and religious leaders (in the broadest sense).

    You can list all the molecules, enzymes, hormones etc.that play a part in creating the feeling we might label "love". Does that tell you anything about it or help you deal with a person you feel drawn to? No.

    As far as describing second hand reality goes, poets etc. come closest to "it". And still you have to experience "it" yourself, to really know what's happening. If we as Zen practitioners conect our practice too closely to scientific discoveries, we're giving away the key to judging things ourselves and will be slaves to whatever science will discover next.

    I'd rather like to say: "Based on my own expriences, I have verified the core teachings of the Buddha."

    than

    "I am practicing a "technique" that the current scientific status quo (that tends to change drastically every couple of decades) seems to support."

    Really a lot of this "Tao of physics" stuff is also down to wishful thinking...

    Don't get me wrong, a peer-reviewed scientist employing reason, Occam's razor and the body of actual evidence rather than a religous belief system is in my eyes a much more trustworthy source of information than let's say someone who just "channeled" the will of the Gods during his lunchbreak.

    I am pro science, pro reason and pro evidence, but against placing too much emphasis on scientific notions coming from the outside dealing with things that happen inside, just because it may make me feel good (in the sense of: "science supports my religious practice....but not yours!")

    It is very interesting nevertheless

    Gassho,

    Hans

  3. #3
    Kirk +Hans


    I don't think it matters how things (in this case meditation and it's benefits) are described or by who. It's just words dividing the world again, whatever is happening during meditation, just let it happen. If it works it works.

    mOng.

  4. #4
    Hello Kirk and Hans,
    Have a look at this attempt to set out the psychology that Zen uses to allow us access to peace-of-mind:
    The Problem
    People today believe that they must keep their minds occupied at all times otherwise they fear they will become bored. They solve life-sustaining problems and then invent others in order to keep themselves busy. They allow a constant stream of random and habitual thoughts to parade continuously through their minds. This builds a permanent mood of dissatisfaction, frustration and lack of fulfilment. They never get their just and proper mental rewards for their successful actions. They are never truly happy. They suffer under the tyranny of obsessive thinking. (Dukkha)


    The solution
    1/ We have problems to solve and appetites to satisfy and the tool we use to do that is our intellect – (conscious mental activity - CMA). CMA is the collection accumulation recall and association of data and the direction of action. It is the entire panoply of actions accessible to our awareness.)


    2/ Consider a single appetite or problem isolated from all others. Once that appetite is satisfied or problem is solved , we ideally abstain from further efforts to satisfy it - we abstain from further CMA regarding it. CMA has fulfilled it essential role.
    3/ Simultaneously, once an appetite is satisfied or a problem is solved we feel a degree of fulfilment, contentment and peace-of-mind – that kind of happiness (Bliss).
    4/ So: there is a direct relationship between the degree of happiness we feel and a reduction in the level of CMA we have employed in satisfying that appetite.
    5/ Extrapolating this last statement to its extreme case, it follows that we will experience perfect happiness when we abstain from all conscious mental activity.
    Result
    Once we understand this relationship we can practice abstaining from CMA – recognising that although it has an invaluable role to play in satisfying our appetites and solving out problems it has no part to play in our being happy. We can do this in our daily lives by pausing occasionally to stare into the heart of a rose or the smiling face of a young child and concentrate on how we feel. Don’t think about it – just become aware of the experience that arises. Or we can sit quietly in a room as free of distractions as possible with our back unsupported and allow CMA to melt away – to burn itself out. Have no thoughts for or against it. Try to remain detached from them. Neither encourage nor discourage whatever CMA that arises. Have patience – the experience will arise when you are ready

    Should we succeed in this we will experience extreme degrees of contentment – fulfilment and peace-of-mind. Eventually, the effects of success will change the condition of your mind. The random and habitual thought that permeated the untrained mind will fade away. Every waking moment will be underpinned by peace-of-mind - happiness.

    Colin
    Last edited by chankin; 07-13-2015 at 01:24 PM. Reason: Eliminating errors

  5. #5
    Hi Colin,

    Boy, you have revived an old thread (8 years!) from the past.

    When you joined Treeleaf a few days ago, you said that you had been practicing for 60 (!) years, and wanted to run this theory by.

    I don't know, but I do not believe that humans beings can function as human beings over the long term without "conscious mental activity". While it is good to sit for a spell reducing "CMA" for the wholeness and clarity which results (Shikantaza certainly does so), we must soon get on with life which involves a whole lot of "CMA". So, I believe it is actually possible to experience that same wholeness and clarity at many times in life ... CMA or not. I believe that this is what Master Dogen was referring to as "thinking-non-thinking". Even during Shikantaza, thoughts come and go, we simply do not get tangled, and one finds a certain light which shines right thru both "thoughts" or "no thoughts. One can think and be free of thoughts at once, knowing the silence in the noise, the stillness in the movements of the mind.

    One also encounters a certain "Big H" Happiness that is not dependent upon, and shines right thru, both times of ordinary human happiness and sadness. It is hard to express, but it is not a "Happiness" that is even dependent on our feeling "happy" at any particular moment, and might be described as a wise "being happy even to be sad sometimes, for all is life". The bright moon of enlightenment shines both when seen and even when unseen behind clouds ... and this Practice allows one to find the moon not dependent on clouds of thought or their absence.

    Nor do I feel that the purpose of this Practice is to maximize bliss. Oh, there surely are times of bliss, but best not to get hung up on that (morphine does a much more effective job on blissing, and we all know where that gets one).

    However, if you have been sitting for 60 years, and believe you have found a good path for yourself ... do that. Go you way which feels right for you. Why teach this old dog new tricks now?

    As to the old question by Kirk from long ago: I do not know enough about the particular physiological effect of meditation which Kirk mentions, so I have no opinion. However, I will say that a recent meta-study on all the research to date on the "effects of meditation" shows that the field is a mess! Studies on meditation have been plagued with poor methodology, small samples, mishandling of control groups, failure to clearly define criteria, extreme interpretations not clearly founded upon the results, etc. etc.

    The report concluded, "Scientific research on meditation practices does not appear to have a common theoretical perspective and is characterized by poor methodological quality. Firm conclusions on the effects of meditation practices in healthcare cannot be drawn based on the available evidence. Future research on meditation practices must be more rigorous in the design and execution of studies and in the analysis and reporting of results." ... "Most clinical trials on meditation practices are generally characterized by poor methodological quality with significant threats to validity in every major quality domain assessed".
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17764203
    Gassho, Jundo

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-14-2015 at 06:51 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  6. #6
    Hi Colin,

    This psychology is interesting and clearly much earnest work has gone into formulating it. I think there’s a lot of truth here. I am nodding and agreeing up to number 3, then my experience veers off and differs in a few ways.

    The momentary satisfaction we can feel after an appetite is satisfied or a problem is solved, while temporarily freeing, is not --in my experience -- true peace of mind. Dukkha soon rears its lovely head again in another itch, another dissatisfactoriness, another desire. Focusing on the after-effect of problem-solving... less CMA... as the pathway to happiness is, I think, getting one’s feet tangled in the rigging. The perfect happiness you speak of -- freedom from Dukkha, right? -- is arrived at by setting your sail in the proper direction. This will vary according to the prevailing winds and conditions. Ok, help, someone get me out of this sailing metaphor!

    What I’m saying is that it’s not the thoughts themselves (CMA) that are the problem. Thought is the natural activity of the human brain. It is, as you put it, the ‘tyranny’ of the thoughts, that enslaves us. Freedom exists, not in having fewer thoughts, or ‘purer’ thoughts, but in freeing ourselves from the enslavement to thoughts; the way we are fooled by them, drawn in, carried away from direct experience. The joke of it is, we are the ones holding the chain that keeps us captive! To me, real freedom is when all that CMA is running on, but you are not tyrannized or fooled by it. The trained mind utilizes CMA when it is needed, for problem-solving in day-to-day life. At the same time there is an expanded awareness that contains CMA and all the nonsense and bliss and suffering of this world, yet is not enslaved. A clear understanding and abiding with the true nature of things, an apprehension of wholeness, that makes the distinction between thought/no-thought irrelevant. Freedom from notions of duality. Even bliss/no-bliss is transcended. No need to chase happiness. Every waking moment already contains it. And suffering too, all at once.

    My current understanding/experience, and please do take it in the spirit of not-knowing in which it is offered (pass the salt):

    The point is not to wrestle CMA to the ground, or burn it away, so we can then be happy. Shikantaza is not a thought-management system. Nor is it a method to transform suffering to bliss. It is a doorway, a window, a mirror, a path, a rocketship to freedom where all such distinction and striving falls away. We abide in our true and natural state with our actions arising accordingly.

    Of course, this is only my subjective experience, and though it differs from yours a little, I’m not saying your experience is mistaken. I love it when people share their own understanding of buddhism and shikantaza, it is so helpful and interesting, and I bow to yours and thank you for sharing it.

    Gassho
    Lisa
    sat today
    Last edited by raindrop; 07-13-2015 at 07:39 PM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by raindrop View Post

    The momentary satisfaction we can feel after an appetite is satisfied or a problem is solved, while temporarily freeing, is not --in my experience -- true peace of mind. Dukkha soon rears its lovely head again in another itch, another dissatisfactoriness, another desire. Focusing on the after-effect of problem-solving... less CMA... as the pathway to happiness is, I think, getting one’s feet tangled in the rigging. ... Thought is the natural activity of the human brain. It is, as you put it, the ‘tyranny’ of the thoughts, that enslaves us. Freedom exists, not in having fewer thoughts, or ‘purer’ thoughts, but in freeing ourselves from the enslavement to thoughts; the way we are fooled by them, drawn in, carried away from direct experience. The joke of it is, we are the ones holding the chain that keeps us captive! To me, real freedom is when all that CMA is running on, but you are not tyrannized or fooled by it. .... At the same time there is an expanded awareness that contains CMA and all the nonsense and bliss and suffering of this world, yet is not enslaved. A clear understanding and abiding with the true nature of things, an apprehension of wholeness, that makes the distinction between thought/no-thought irrelevant. Freedom from notions of duality. Even bliss/no-bliss is transcended. No need to chase happiness. Every waking moment already contains it. And suffering too, all at once. ...

    The point is not to wrestle CMA to the ground, or burn it away, so we can then be happy. Shikantaza is not a thought-management system. Nor is it a method to transform suffering to bliss. It is a doorway, a window, a mirror, a path, a rocketship to freedom where all such distinction and striving falls away. We abide in our true and natural state with our actions arising accordingly.

    Of course, this is only my subjective experience, and though it differs from yours a little, I’m not saying your experience is mistaken.
    I couldn't have said it better myself!

    In fact, I didn't!

    Lovely.

    Would Master Dogen speak of "CMA-NON-CMA"? The light which shines when both CMA and the absence of CMA are dropped away, and re-emerge to dance?

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  8. #8

    Zen and the brain

    Quote Originally Posted by chankin View Post
    The Problem
    Hi,

    There is a problem only if there is a problem. I don't see a problem. Do you? If you see a problem you just owned a problem. Do you really want to own another problem? Why would you want to do that? That sounds like a much more interesting problem to own if you are looking for problems.

    To state it differently, form is emptiness and emptiness if form. Form is exactly emptiness and emptiness exactly form. Why extract form (problem) out of problem-noproblem (emptiness)?

    Just saying...

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_
    Last edited by Jishin; 07-14-2015 at 11:35 AM.
    治 Ji
    心​ Shin

  9. #9
    Jishin, stop making problems!

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  10. #10


    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_
    治 Ji
    心​ Shin

  11. #11
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    Interesting ideas, thankyou all!.

    2/ Consider a single appetite or problem isolated from all others.


    This is where you lost me. Who is considering? How are these "things" isolated in reality? Isnt it just another mental abstraction? Like is talked about above, the human fetish for mental compartmentalisation is the main topic of practice, no?

    Forgive me, I am old and tired and small stones in my path worry me more then before


    Gassho
    Geoff.
    Sat2day.
    I fought the wall, and the wall won.

    Nothing to do? Why not sit?
    http://freerice.com

  12. #12
    Hi all,

    I understand thinking-non-thinking as being aware of the fact that the mind is producing thoughts and throws them our way, and not clinging to, comment or judge any of them.

    For me this has been a good practice because more often than not, I'm capable to identify thoughts for what they are: stories my mind makes up. And as such, I can let go of them.

    While not on the zafu, say in the market place, if I notice I am grabbing into a critical thought or a judgement of someone with a funky outfit, I am able to let it go and see I'm being judgmental.

    So, even if know nothing about psychology, all I can say is that by doing this, I can accept things as they are and be contempt with them. This brings peace to my heart even in the hardest times.

    Not sure if that makes sense. If not, please discard this message.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  13. #13
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    Kyonin that was a beautiful description of what I try to do as well. Im sometimes angry at myself for having the thought to begin with, then have to make room to just be human and let them be funky


    Gassho,
    SatToday.
    I fought the wall, and the wall won.

    Nothing to do? Why not sit?
    http://freerice.com

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    Hi all,

    I understand thinking-non-thinking as being aware of the fact that the mind is producing thoughts and throws them our way, and not clinging to, comment or judge any of them.
    And also "thinking-non-thinking" is to know and be the Light which shines right thru.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  15. #15
    Lisa,



    Gassho


    Ongen
    Sat Today
    Ongen (音源) - Sound Source

  16. #16
    Thanks Jundo for pointing our my mistake. I'm a bit of a bumbler where computers are concerned.


    Hello Jundo, Raindrop, Ohesho and Jishin,
    And thank your for your posts, I appreciate the time you have taken to criticise them and I will now try to address those criticisms.
    First, I am keen to assert the usefulness, no , the absolute necessity of using CMA in our daily lives. We would never have left the stone age without it. The main point I tried to make was that the untrained mind overuses it. CMA is the tool we use to satisfy our appetites and solve our problems but it plays no part in our being happy. Once we bring this realisation into our daily lives, not theoretically but practically (through meditation), the nature of our everyday experiences change. Every waking moment is underpinned by feelings of contentment and peace-of-mind. That is the great "treasure" of Zen.


    Ma-tsu (died 788) said: "Only let a man exhaust all his thinking and imagining; he then holds the unparalled treasure."

    I was also very impressed by this quote:
    Hsi Yun (a Zen Master who lived about 840 A.D.) had this advice to give:


    " ...To make use of the mind to think (in the ordinary sense of the word) is to leave the substance and attach yourself to forms.... The pure mind, the source of everything, shines on with all the brilliance of its own perfection, but the people of the world do not awake to it, regarding only that which sees, hears, feels and knows as mind. Because their understanding is veiled by their own sight, hearing, feeling and knowledge, they do not understand the spiritual brilliance of the original substance. If they could only eliminate all analytical

    thinking in a flash, that original substance would manifest itself like the sun ascending through the void and illuminating the whole universe without hindrance or bounds.... Neither hold to them (sight, hearing, etc.), abandon them, dwell in them nor cleave to them, but exist independently of all that is above, below

    or around you...."


    But the article I posted (the psychology of happiness) is mainly intended to ground Zen in an everyday experience we are all familiar with - happiness. Practising zazen enhances ordinary feelings of happiness, giving us access to extremes of it. Humanity thinks that CMA is an end in itself. It is not . It is merely a means to an end. We have to learn how to be happy in much the same way as we have to learn how to walk and talk. It is not intuitive.

    Meditators can of course pass through the "blissful zone" and experience states of mind that are totally dissociated from the useful functions accessible to awareness. They can enter the void.(Dogen's "dropping body and mind") I am not sure this is at all useful. It can be frightening and debilitating if such contact is prolonged (as a friend of mine found out!). Its far better just to confine CMA to it's proper role and get our just and proper rewards for successful actions.
    I hope this clears up a few points.
    Colin


  17. #17

    Zen and the brain

    Hi Colin,

    This CMA business is too much Blah, Blah, Blah for me. I like to sit to get rid (be ok with) of the Blah, Blah, Blah.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_
    Last edited by Jishin; 07-15-2015 at 01:32 PM.
    治 Ji
    心​ Shin

  18. #18
    Hi,

    It's fun to chew on words. But in moderation and small bites.

    Just my opinion.

    Gassho
    Meishin
    sat today

  19. #19
    Hi Colin,

    I am curious ...

    Every waking moment is underpinned by feelings of contentment and peace-of-mind.
    Is your every waking moment so? Are you saying that you are now always, 24/7, feeling happy in the conventional sense of that word? Always in bliss? I am not sure if that is what you are saying.

    Yes, we sometimes reduce the "CMA", just as you describe. That aspect of what you say seem right on! Zazen is so, But I feel wonderfully content and at peace with my "CMA", although simply not bound by it, by seeing thru it. How do you explain that? CMA has a certain light and stillness which shines right through.

    I actually will say that I am always content and at peace in my life now ... but, strange as it sounds, it is a "content" and "peace" which is content in not needing to always feel content, and a "peace" that need not always be peaceful. Kind of an overriding, "meta-Peace" or "Big C" Contentment that sweeps in all of life's twists and turns. Very much like saying that, now, I am Big "J" Joyous to sometimes be heart broken when my cat dies, Big "C" Content even when scared out of my wits that the doctor will find the "big c" cancer next check-up, etc. It is a certain "Big J" Joy which shines like a light, and is felt simultaneously, as I hand-in-hand feel small human joys and sadnesses.

    It is perfectly content and at peace with "CMA".

    How do you explain that?

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-16-2015 at 02:25 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  20. #20
    Hello Jundo.
    I don't think there is much difference between how you feel and how I feel. I explain it this way: In the untrained mind there is an undercurrent of random and habitual CMA. That is what it is and it produces feelings of dissatisfaction, and discontentment. In the well practised meditator (you) that undercurrent has gone. In its place there is an undercurrent of peace-of-mind because that is what a reduction in CMA actually produces. This does not inhibit problem solving (CMA). In fact, I think it makes it easier. The change in our daily experiences is so radical I am convinced that this is the "enlightenment" the Buddha talked about. To me, at least, it makes sense. The burden of dukkha (for that is what I personally believe this tyranny of thought is) has been lifted. I can't for the life of me think of what else it could be. What is your opinion?

    BTW. I read, in another forum, criticism that Treeleaf and it teachers had no authority because they had not been sanctioned by persons in the direct lineage. This is nonsense. You have proved in your posts that you know how to meditate and I feel sure your colleagues do as well. No other qualification is necessary. What I had hoped to add to that in my posts is a knowledge of why meditation works.
    Keep up the good work.
    Colin

    I sit an hour each night.

  21. #21
    Hi Colin,

    I believe that what you are doing is offering a fancy-schmancy way of saying something like "thinking-non-thinking". If so, we are on the same page. In fact, more than my opinion, if such works and is right for you ... it is. This truly is a 'proof is in the pudding' practice. We do not argue so much over recipes for pudding. Rather, one tastes ... yum.

    BTW, not that is matters ... where did you hear we had no direct lineage? My Dharma Grandpa, Nishijima's Teacher, Niwa Zenji, was the Abbot of Eiheiji, the Pope of all Soto-Shu in Japan. It don't get much more Kosher than that.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rempo_Niwa_Zenji

    And it is in Wikipedia, so you know it must be true. Anyway, Lineage, and a $1, will get you a small coffee at McDonalds.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/articles/Tre...heLineage.html

    But beside that, do you know that all the Zen Lineages are "made up" in one way or another, and are ahistorical? It's true. Somewhere down the line, all Buddhist Lineages are stuck together with duct tape.

    http://www.office.usp.ac.jp/~klinger...0of%20Chan.pdf

    No problem, because somebody, somewhere kept this thing going through the Centuries. We celebrate that, even if a little fuzzy on their exact names.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday

    PS - Niwa Zenji in his fancy duds ... and eyebrows to die for ...

    Last edited by Jundo; 07-16-2015 at 03:17 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by chankin View Post
    I read, in another forum, criticism that Treeleaf and it teachers had no authority because they had not been sanctioned by persons in the direct lineage. This is nonsense. You have proved in your posts that you know how to meditate and I feel sure your colleagues do as well. No other qualification is necessary.
    The great Jishin serves as the sanctioning body deciding who has proper qualifications to teach (him).

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_
    治 Ji
    心​ Shin

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    The great Jishin serves as the sanctioning body deciding who has proper qualifications to teach (him).

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_
    And who can argue with that?

    What a blessing to be.

    Make babies, today!^^


    Gassho
    Myosha sat today
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  24. #24
    Hello Jundo,
    Regarding lineage – I read a very critical post on line by some prejudiced zealot from another forum. In mentioning it I was taking the opportunity to say that I am firmly convinced that lineage doesn’t matter. If you can do the job, then obviously you are qualified. From what I have read, you can.

    Nit picking - As to “thinking non-thinking”, that sounds a bit too much like an “activity” to me.
    I (pedantically) prefer “being aware of non-thinking” because the ultimate reality in zazen is the experience of unpredicated awareness. Why this is called “seeing ones true nature” I cannot fathom, because one’s true nature (in the untrained mind) is to overthink. Surely that is the “disease” Zen sets out to cure.
    Colin

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by chankin View Post
    I read a very critical post on line by some prejudiced zealot from another forum.
    Hi Colin,

    Food for thought:

    If you like to think (I don't anymore), I find that when people are critical or prejudiced it is because of fear. The interesting question is why?

    Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_
    治 Ji
    心​ Shin

  26. #26
    I understand thinking-non-thinking as being aware of the fact that the mind is producing thoughts and throws them our way, and not clinging to, comment or judge any of them.
    Hello Kyonin,
    Thatís good practice on the zafu.

    While not on the zafu, say in the market place, if I notice I am grabbing into a critical thought or a judgement of someone with a funky outfit, I am able to let it go and see I'm being judgmental.

    But if you see someone running towards you with a bloodstained axe, I think its wise to be very judgemental.

    The point I am trying to make is just because we abstain from thinking on the zafu does not mean it has no part to play in our lives off the zafu. It can be very useful there.

    So, even if know nothing about psychology, all I can say is that by doing this, I can accept things as they are and be contempt with them. This brings peace to my heart even in the hardest times.
    In meditation we are using psychology all the time, whether we realise it or not. If it brings peace to your heart, you are using it effectively.
    Colin

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by chankin View Post
    Nit picking - As to “thinking non-thinking”, that sounds a bit too much like an “activity” to me.
    I (pedantically) prefer “being aware of non-thinking” because the ultimate reality in zazen is the experience of unpredicated awareness. Why this is called “seeing ones true nature” I cannot fathom, because one’s true nature (in the untrained mind) is to overthink. Surely that is the “disease” Zen sets out to cure.
    Hi Colin,

    I like your questioning! I was hoping someone who thinks they know what they're talking about would respond, but as they haven't, I'll take it up....

    It strikes me that either you or Zen have got things back-to-front. What you call the "untrained mind" is the mind that hasn't been trained by meditation. What Zen would call the "untrained mind" is the unconditioned mind; the mind that hasn't picked up a whole load of delusional baggage; the mind that hasn't been trained by living a life. (I know those definitions aren't right - they work for the present purposes, though).

    For you, the purpose of meditation is to train the mind to work in a different way from normal.

    In Zen, Zazen is not "training" the mind. If anything, it's "untraining" the mind by a process of letting go, rather than training the mind to do something different.

    I used quotes in "untraining" because Mr Zen is very quarrelsome when it comes to talking about Zazen. He doesn't like it when you say anything concrete about Zazen or hint that it has a purpose. In his unhelpful way, Mr Zen would say that Zazen is neither training nor untraining but beyond training and untraining. Zazen is neither back-to-front nor front-to-back, but beyond back-to-front and front-to-back. Zazen is Zazen. Why would Mr Zen be so unhelpful?

    As for the question "How do you think not-thinking?", I've seen a few answers:
    "non-thinking"
    "beyond thinking"
    "before thinking"
    There's something to be said for each of these and none of them are particularly helpful. At present, I like "before thinking". Perhaps in time, I'll find out from the inside, as it were.

    - This is just some verbalized thoughts with the odd rhetorical question thrown in. I don't think anyone's right or wrong on this.

    Gassho
    Jeremy
    SatToday
    Last edited by Jeremy; 07-21-2015 at 11:58 AM.

  28. #28
    Hi,

    Mr. Zen teaches the middle way.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_
    治 Ji
    心​ Shin

  29. #29
    This is a response to an impression of this thread, and some of the words that have popped out. Thinking-not- thinking is anyway anyhow already, but somehow a stilling and ceasing helps. That ceasing just happens.

    But still I have to train the mind in an ordinary way to change habits. There is no "problem" but what good is the happiness of no problem if I am socially obtuse, or ignore the suffering caused by my acting out. ...and who is beyond doing that. Happiness comes and goes, sadness comes and goes. Feeling clingy and bunged-up comes and goes, and feeling Enlightened also comes and goes.

    We got a new toaster that burns everything. The taste of peanut butter and charred toast. There are kids playing in a neighbor's pool *splash splash* , an eye strain headache is subsiding. Maybe a fifteen minute nap. There is someone who needs hugging in the next room, Someone down the street who needs to be told "good job" .

    Please take this riff with a grain of salt.

    Gassho
    Daizan
    Sat today

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post

    In Zen, Zazen is not "training" the mind. If anything, it's "untraining" the mind by a process of letting go, rather than training the mind to do something different.

    I used quotes in "untraining" because Mr Zen is very quarrelsome when it comes to talking about Zazen. He doesn't like it when you say anything concrete about Zazen or hint that it has a purpose. In his unhelpful way, Mr Zen would say that Zazen is neither training nor untraining but beyond training and untraining. Zazen is neither back-to-front nor front-to-back, but beyond back-to-front and front-to-back. Zazen is Zazen. Why would Mr Zen be so unhelpful?
    I'm not sure what 'Mr Zen' might say, but I believe Zazen has aspects of both training and untraining. We do need to develop the ability to drop or (for what cannot be dropped) see through and not be bound by much of the mental baggage of greed, anger and divisive ignorance we are prone to. That takes some practice and discipline to do so, i.e., training.

    Simultaneously, something basic is sensed which is beyond and right thru all dualities, including "training" and "untraining" or "not training". Such is simultaneously beyond all that, yet also simultaneously precisely each. It is training when training, untraining when untraining, not training when not training.

    Each and all of the above are true at once.

    Now, any Zen Teacher who says that the point of this Zen enterprise is merely to attain a purely unconditioned mind, attain Kensho, or reach some state "before thinking" is a fool who misleads students. Why? It is merely reaching the blank canvas and having the paints, but never painting the picture. The 'unconditioned mind' is like seeing the white light emanating from a film projector, but never seeing the film. The 'unconditioned mind' alone is not a source of much guidance in how to function in life, despite extreme claims about it to the contrary.

    Better is to find the "unconditioned mind" that is simultaneously the "conditioned mind" (thus seeing thru and no longer being a hostage of the "conditioned mind" even as we human beings need our "conditioned mind" to function and live). Thus, there is that which is beyond thinking right at the heart of, and as, thinking. We become wiser and better painters of life's painting now that we realize that it is a creation greatly in our hands, we become better film directors and actors now that we are not so suckered in by the comedy and drama of the story.

    Something like that.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-21-2015 at 06:45 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I'm not sure what 'Mr Zen' might say, but I believe Zazen has aspects of both training and untraining. We do need to develop the ability to drop or (for what cannot be dropped) see through and not be bound by much of the mental baggage of greed, anger and divisive ignorance we are prone to. That takes some practice and discipline to do so, i.e., training.

    Simultaneously, something basic is sensed which is beyond and right thru all dualities, including "training" and "untraining" or "not training". Such is simultaneously beyond all that, yet also simultaneously precisely each. It is training when training, untraining when untraining, not training when not training.

    Each and all of the above are true at once.

    Now, any Zen Teacher who says that the point of this Zen enterprise is merely to attain a purely unconditioned mind, attain Kensho, or reach some state "before thinking" is a fool who misleads students. Why? It is merely reaching the blank canvas and having the paints, but never painting the picture. The 'unconditioned mind' is like seeing the white light emanating from a film projector, but never seeing the film. The 'unconditioned mind' alone is not a source of much guidance in how to function in life, despite extreme claims about it to the contrary.

    Better is to find the "unconditioned mind" that is simultaneously the "conditioned mind" (thus seeing thru and no longer being a hostage of the "conditioned mind" even as we human beings need our "conditioned mind" to function and live). Thus, there is that which is beyond thinking right at the heart of, and as, thinking. We become wiser and better painters of life's painting now that we realize that it is a creation greatly in our hands, we become better film directors and actors now that we are not so suckered in by the comedy and drama of the story.

    Something like that.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Thank you Jundo. So grateful for your teaching.

    Gassho
    Lisa
    sat today

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    . . . something basic is sensed which is beyond and right thru all dualities, including "training" and "untraining" or "not training". Such is simultaneously beyond all that, yet also simultaneously precisely each. It is training when training, untraining when untraining, not training when not training.

    Each and all of the above are true at once.


    Better is to find the "unconditioned mind" that is simultaneously the "conditioned mind" (thus seeing thru and no longer being a hostage of the "conditioned mind" even as we human beings need our "conditioned mind" to function and live). Thus, there is that which is beyond thinking right at the heart of, and as, thinking. We become wiser and better painters of life's painting now that we realize that it is a creation greatly in our hands, we become better film directors and actors now that we are not so suckered in by the comedy and drama of the story.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Hello,

    Some good common, not-common, neither common nor not-common sense.

    Thank you.


    Gassho
    Myosha sat today
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Simultaneously, something basic is sensed which is beyond and right thru all dualities, including "training" and "untraining" or "not training". Such is simultaneously beyond all that, yet also simultaneously precisely each. It is training when training, untraining when untraining, not training when not training.

    Each and all of the above are true at once.
    Thanks for that - it makes an uncommon kind of sense!
    ('uncommon' - http://www.thefreedictionary.com/uncommon)

    Gassho
    Jeremy
    WillSitLater
    Last edited by Jeremy; 07-22-2015 at 01:06 PM.

  34. #34
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    Thankyou Jundo!

    "Some people manage to be kind, even without human morality" is a quote ive had bouncing around for a while now, is it kind of like the painters in your post?

    Gassho,
    Geoff.
    SatToday.
    I fought the wall, and the wall won.

    Nothing to do? Why not sit?
    http://freerice.com

  35. #35
    Jundo wrote:
    Now, any Zen Teacher who says that the point of this Zen enterprise is merely to attain a purely unconditioned mind, attain Kensho, or reach some state "before thinking" is a fool who misleads students. Why? It is merely reaching the blank canvas and having the paints, but never painting the picture. The 'unconditioned mind' is like seeing the white light emanating from a film projector, but never seeing the film. The 'unconditioned mind' alone is not a source of much guidance in how to function in life, despite extreme claims about it to the contrary. .
    Hello Jundo,
    Never a truer word! The great treasure of Zen is the elimination of that undercurrent of random and habitual thinking that plagues the untrained mind. (By "untrained" mind I mean the person who has never heard of Zen and still labours under the tyranny of thought. I gather it has a different meaning here. Apologies.) In time, with practice and proper guidance, Zazen replaces that debilitating undercurrent with one of contentment - peace of mind. It drastically improves the quality of our lives. Kensho is achievable but, as you say, it has no value. It is merely mental gymnastics - but Dogen's teacher accepted it as a kind of finishing line you had to cross to qualify as a Master. I would hope that a better yard stick would be this advice at the end of the Surangama Sutra:“The yogin must be philosophically trained with all his experiences and intuitions to have a clear, logical, penetrating understanding of the Essence. When this is properly directed, he will have no more confused ideas introduced by misguided philosophers.”
    Colin

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by chankin View Post
    (By "untrained" mind I mean the person who has never heard of Zen and still labours under the tyranny of thought. I gather it has a different meaning here. Apologies.)
    Hi Colin,

    Please ignore my comments about trained and untrained minds. They are just my ramblings from having read too many conflicting accounts of what is meant by phrases like "one's true nature".

    Gassho
    Jeremy
    SatToday

Similar Threads

  1. Brain Music in zazen
    By kliffkapus in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 08-17-2009, 09:13 PM
  2. Music and its affects on the mind/brain
    By Aswini in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 07-31-2008, 05:53 PM
  3. Left Brain/Right Brain and practice
    By Aswini in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-27-2008, 10:41 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •