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Thread: 8/24 - The Reward of Practice p.42

  1. #1

    8/24 - The Reward of Practice p.42

    I will give you a clue ... the "Reward of Practice" is probably not $10,000 cash.

  2. #2

    the reward of practice

    practice is it's own reward

  3. #3
    the whole "unhappiness to happiness" thing was confusing to me, and continues to be mildly so. i think i understand it as you have to come from a place of reasonable contentedness to find your way into a more fulfilling practice, or something like that...

    but the lines i appreciated were
    we begin to see our desire, our needs, our ego drives, and we begin to realize that these patterns, these desires, these addictions are what we call the self. As our practice continues and we begin to understand the emptiness and impermanence of these patterns, we find we can abandon them. We don't have to try to abandon them,...
    yep. i think this is where that whole becoming-a-better-person-without-trying sort of thing comes in - as we realize how destructive our behaviors are they become fairly easy to walk away from. sometimes i get a sniffle or something and people ask me if i'm starting to get a cold (or flu or whatever) and i say, "no, i'm too lazy to be sick. it's just so much energy."

    and although i can't say that always works with sickness, it frequently does with anger, desire, and some of the "negative emotions". i really just can't be bothered to be angry because something didn't go according to plan. then i can't be bothered to have much of a plan - just a general direction of travel or effort, since i know it'll have to change anyhow.

  4. #4
    This chapter is simply a real gem. What is not to love about Joko now?
    First she kindly points to self and how Zazen shines the light of awareness on it and then she wipes away any clinging as she points to no-self and no-beginning. The patterns she is refers to below, she earlier states as being our addictions, our desires, our needs, and our ego drives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joko
    As our practice continues and we begin to understand the emptiness and impermanence of these patterns we find we can abandon them. We don't have to try to abandon them, they just slowly wither away - for when he light of awareness plays on anything, it diminishes the false and encourages the true - and nothing brightens that light as much as intelligent zazen, done daily and in sesshin.
    I find this helpful in the ordinary sense. Practical and no different than Shakyamuni's admonition to be a light unto ourselves or Dogen's turn the light and shine it inward or Bodhidharma's sitting facing the wall for 9 years.

    The Joko switches and speaks from the Absolute...

    Quote Originally Posted by At the end of the chapter, Joko
    The practice of nonattachment, the growth of no-self, is the key to understanding. Finally we realize that there is no path, no way, no solution; because from the very beginning our nature is the path, right here and right now. Because there is no path our practice is to follow this no-path endlessly - and for no reward. Because no-self is everything it needs no reward: from the no-beginning it is itself complete fulfillment.
    So wonderful and so kind. Nothing hidden, right here, right now. Thank you Joko.

  5. #5
    the whole "unhappiness to happiness" thing. . . .
    - cdshrack

    I have not read the chapter yet. But, I'd like to share my own reaction to this concept.

    Maybe in order to achieve the real and lasting happiness that can be achieved through Buddhist practice we need to start from suffering. My turn to Buddhism came from looking at my own unhappiness and trying to find a way out of it. Without having been desperately unhappy and dissatisfied with my own life, I would never have come to the place of contentment that I am in now.

    take care,


  6. #6
    "and any practice that stops with the attempted adjustment of the self is ultimately unsatisfying"

    This sounds a lot like what my pre-Buddhist religious view resulted in - I stopped with a self that was mostly content, happy, but ultimately relying on wishful thinking and circumstances. The difference between that and true Zazen as a pursuit to meet the truth of reality head on, feels like the difference between mowing the lawn as opposed to pulling out the roots.



  7. #7

    I think if people try to become relatively happy as a prerequisite for realizing non-self, they may spend the rest of their lives trying to achieve that. On the other hand, if people are already relatively happy, they may become complacent and not feel the need to practice. So what's the answer? Forget about happiness/unhappiness and just sit!


  8. #8

    Good point ultimately the goal is not about happiness. Its not something we can chase after or find anywhere else but from within. However, from the Four Noble Truths we know that Buddhist practice begins with duhkha (unsatisfactoryness, suffering); so I think in order to begin to study and practice Buddhism seriously we all start from that place. I'm speaking purely from my own experience but, it seems applicable even to the Buddha's life.

    But, enough chitter chatter out of me about duhkha, blah, Four Noble Truths, yak yak. . . .

    Time for me to just go and sit.

    Take care,


  9. #9
    Hi Greg,

    Quote Originally Posted by Gregor
    However, from the Four Noble Truths we know that Buddhist practice begins with duhkha (unsatisfactoryness, suffering); so I think in order to begin to study and practice Buddhism seriously we all start from that place.
    Absolutely, no question about that. If it doesn't itch, why bother to scratch? :wink:


  10. #10
    Alright, so I reread that section about "unhappiness to happiness" and see now that she is actually saying the same things you all are - which i agree with - about having the impetus. Realizing your own suffering is the first Noble Truth, it makes sense to start there.

    I think the thing that threw me off the during the first reading was the "intelligent therapy" line - which read (in my head) approximately that if you're starting Zen practice you need therapy. Or at least a lot of us do. Heheheh. Probably.


  11. #11

    Your right, I needed some big-time therapy before I turned to Buddhism. I hate to admit this because it sounds so skewed, like I'm saying that I was "saved" or something like that, but my life was very out of balance, I was depressed, totally unhappy, and in a very dark place in my life. Slowly I started to move in a healthier direction, which eventually led me to the Dharma and the change in myself both in general happiness and actions is real.

    I'm only just realizing how much I've changed in the last two years. Not to say that things are perfect and I don't have any work left to do! And, its been due to a lot of hard work, ups and downs. Its like Joko talks about in the chapter. . . going up and down the scale from 9 to 2, before moving ahead for good.

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