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Thread: 10/5 - Love p.71

  1. #1

    10/5 - Love p.71

    Yikes ... almost forgot to post this!

    Love, Jundo

  2. #2

    Love

    Hellos all:
    I really like the places Joko takes me. I'm glad we are continuing with this book.
    Love. I really don't know what this word means. I used to. That is I used to think I knew what it meant.

    I now conclude (conclusions are a constantly evolving thing), that unhappy people are dangerous people. An unhappy person likes when others are also unhappy
    (maybe this is where that 'misery loves company' came from). An unhappy person especially likes it when those they are jealous of 'get taken down a peg or two,' or are downright made miserable. This unhappiness that feels better, maybe even 'rejoices' when others are unhappy or ruined--this comes from the small stoney place called a heart.

    What has this got to do with love? Well, I've come to believe that love starts with me, with each one of us. I express my love for myself by caring for myself--when I take care of myself, then I know where the source of my happiness comes--not from a person, place or thing. Really, the most important thing I can do is to look unblinkingly into the places that aren't pretty (that would be my heart) -- where am I discontent, unsatisfied? This discontentedness can only come from a mental fiction: facts don't cause discontentedness.
    So where does love come from?
    I used to think I knew. I used to think it came from my heart, but now I'm not sure about that at all. I don't trust my heart. My heart is a selfish place. Parts of it quite calloused and hardened. My heart seeks revenge. My heart loves some and excludes others. My heart is a self-interested place--because my heart is constantly drawing a line--and my heart's love only extends to what falls within that line. So what kind of 'love' is that, I want to know.
    Where does love come from? For me, it's like air--it's all around. I can't go anywhere where love is not present. All I have to do is step outside my heart.
    To love, really love, I have to go beyond my heart, to all existence itself, all of it wanting to live, all of it creating more of itself, all of it having to get along, and find ways of getting along to continue.
    To me, that is love-- the process of everything freely allowing the functioning of everything else. I don't have a clue where this love comes from, it is just present. When I say I love, it's because I've put my heart aside for the moment and can feel from this big place called existence which is constantly re-arranging itself and in which things appear and disappear but are never lost.
    Can I love? Yes, if I put my heart aside. Then I'm letting love, love everything.


    I'm drawing from my own experiences here--this isn't just a fun tossed salad of words--I have
    been able to act out of love when my heart was sincerely opposed and every part of it wanted to say 'sorry, can't help you.' But this on an emotional level was similar to the experience of wanting to jump up from zazen when I still have 10 minutes by the clock to go--I mean, no one will see me get up, right? So why not just give in? No one would know if I didn't do the loving act, heck, no one will see that loving act, not even the person I extended it to--too young to know the depth of the act--but it doesn't matter I know, I know, and I know that my heart had nothing to do with it except step down, and let love, love.

    It is intriguing to me how the impersonal and personal function, intimacy is both.

    It is also interesting to me--how my heart finds all kinds of ways to justify it's narrowness. It is a very vindictive, retaliatory place, it tallies wounds and keeps records of grievances, it makes note of perceived slights and injustices. To put this heart to one side with regard to 'love' feels similar to letting all the puffy clouds of thought arise in the air and pass--so too, these emotions seep up and recede, seep up higher and pool, once in a while a wave of emotion will break right over me! Sometimes I get caught up in these emotions, much like getting caught up in thought, when I notice this happening, I return to sitting. Emotions sneak up on me, like thoughts but when they are just bubbling up and receding and the thoughts are rising up and drifting off and I'm 'just sitting'--I'm telling you, those few seconds are worth it!

    To love, for me, means ridding myself of every weed and its root of unhappiness within me I can. When that happens (and weeding, like washing dishes is a recurring activity), there is a person (me) whose contentment and satisfaction pervades throughout space and time albeit ever so briefly. During that brief time, love moves freely, and the heart I've set to the side, experiences no end of gratitude.

    In the blink of an "I", the pettiness returns. This is what humility is made of: accepting each moment, each experience just as it is, not pushing the one away as undesirable, not grasping and clutching to hold on to another deemed more worthy boy, does it ever feel truly humbling,
    all this stumbling and bumbling about!

    gassho
    keishin

  3. #3
    Keshin,

    That was butiful, Thank you for your efforts.

    Gassho,
    Jordan

  4. #4
    Did we skip a chapter? 'No Hope' p66-70?

    I find myself sometimes getting irked by Joko's dangling carrots in front of my face - the bit about practice allowing a person to go from being caught in emotion-thought 95% of the time to 5% of the time. It sounds kind of self-congratulatory.

    I find I'm still confused by a lot of the Buddhist references to 'love' - the more widely-used translations of the Pali terms (ie "loving-kindness," "sympathetic joy") remain obtuse to me. Or maybe I'm the one who's obtuse!

    And there's other references like When hate and love donít block the mind,
    Stretch out both legs and then lie down.
    from the Platform Sutra. I was suggested to read 'desire' for 'love' in this case.

    I don't think these comments really hang together very well, but I can't think of anything else to say about this chapter so far.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by paige
    I find I'm still confused by a lot of the Buddhist references to 'love' - the more widely-used translations of the Pali terms (ie "loving-kindness," "sympathetic joy") remain obtuse to me. Or maybe I'm the one who's obtuse!
    Me too. I'm not clear about this 'melting of emotion-thought' idea either. I know we become less thrown around or controlled by our emotions the longer we practice - is this the Zen-like calm they talk about? But does that mean emotions are bad of themselves? I remember Joko saying somewhere in this book that vipassana-type practice made her become rather impersonal and impassive. We don't want to get like that, do we? I suppose there is a middle way here somewhere.

  6. #6
    Hi Paige,

    I thought the same thing about "No Hope." It seems we skipped a chapter. Is there "Hope" of going back? :wink:

    Hi John,

    Quote Originally Posted by John
    I'm not clear about this 'melting of emotion-thought' idea either. I know we become less thrown around or controlled by our emotions the longer we practice - is this the Zen-like calm they talk about?
    I am a bit unclear about the "melting of emotion-thought" as well. I'm just not sure I'd put it that way. However, my understanding about the "Zen-like calm" isn't really that. It's more of being with whatever comes up, noticing it, feeling it, accepting it, not getting pulled by it, and letting it go when appropriate. And that doesn't always equal feeing calm. Perhaps you mean the same thing, but when I imagine "Zen-like calm" I think of some blissed-out, unrealistic put-on and not living a fully-human-everyday-nothing-special-kind-of-life.

    That said, I found this short chapter really packed with useful insights. I read it a few weeks ago, but had to reread it last night (I actually read it and discussed it with my wife). Joko writes about having these expectations that others will fulfill some idealized picture of ourselves, and when this doesn't happen, suffering occurs. Man, that's exactly what I am dealing with in my relationships, especially with my wife. And we discussed this together last night. She, of course, agreed with me. Basically, it's when situations do not transpire the way that I expected (read: idealized) before the situations actually occurred. She is not what I expected, I'm not what I expected, others around me are not what I expected, and my job is not what I expected. I suppose it's part of truly growing up when you realize what a bunch of bullshit and how potentially damaging these thoughts can be. These thoughts are probably the cause of many broken marriages and other relationships. So, I realize all this about myself; what's next?

    Joko talks about having to practice with this for the rest of our lives. And basically it's nonverbal. I kind of like that, because, while the discussion I had with my wife was useful, many times when I open my big, fat mouth about this stuff, it ultimately causes more suffering. So, I am VERY slowly learning to accept that NOTHING will live up to my idealized, unrealistic thoughts that I've carried around my whole life. Itís taking a damn long time to see this because I am extremely thick-skulled. I just need to shut my big, fat mouth, and just sit my big, fat ass down. And I must always remind myself that this has absolutely nothing to do with Buddha statues, rakusus, chants, bells, wrist malas, incense, or any other frigginí Buddhist accoutrements.

    Gassho,
    Keith

  7. #7
    At first the whole "melting of emotiion thoughts" thing seemed a little weird to me. . . but after doing some sitting, I think I can see where Joko is at with this.

    It this goes hand in hand with something Brad Warner said about emotions just being thoughts or feelings blown out of proportion --- Not that I'm advocating the Zen robot approach. . . but I think emotions can be a slippery slope and its helpful whenever we can look into them and understand what's going on. In doing Zazen I find myself sort of letting go, doing and thinking nothing. . . In this way Joko is accurtate in describing the melting of emotion-thoughts, I think it's a skillfull frame of referance.

    Of course it's also important not to look at our Zen practice as a coping mechanism or self help technique it goes deeper than that,
    but don't ask me to put into words lest I end up speaking in cliches . . .

  8. #8
    I am not sure what happened to "No Hope". It has vanished. But, we may talk of "No Hope" here too.

    Gassho, Hopeless

  9. #9

    love

    Hello everyone--

    I already put in my thoughts regarding hope in the section 'Pandora's Box'
    Joko didn't mention hope in that chapter and it's the first thing I think of when I hear the words 'pandora's box.'

    I appreciate something Joko said in an earlier chapter (I think it's the one we just covered prior to "Love"), and that is there isn't a dharma talk she's given that she hasn't hated. That when it comes down to it, words fail.
    So as I re-read what I wrote on the topic of love, while I still agree with it, I'd describe it differently--it's not so much setting the heart to one side as it is setting self to one side, I guess. I don't know, words fail. They sure were making sense at the time, ( and no, I wasn't at the bar with Ikkyu just prior to writing it).
    I don't want to leave you folks with any lopsided impressions about me--others would describe me as thoughtful, kind, considerate, caring--some have even called me serene!
    The dark parts of me need my friendship. I can tell when I'm not facing my dark parts: it shows up in being very judgemental of others (of course I can justify it too!!)
    But I don't like to endulge that justifier part of me. What can I do? Make friends with the parts of me I despise in others: where there is judgement, dislike, negative opinions of others--there (I find) is my own self-hatred. Inevitably, where I have judgement, it's a part of myself I've banished from my own view.
    Well, this is a work in progress.
    Like the wonderful title of a book of Lillian Hellman's, An Unfinished Woman--that would be me (the unfinished part, not the Lillian Hellman part!).

  10. #10
    Hi all,

    A few weeks ago I was interested in watching something on TV which I had previously recorded. My wife agreed, but wanted to do something else beforehand and said she'd come down to the living room in a little while. Well, that 'little while' ended up being more of a 'long while', and I started getting aggravated. It got to the point where I realized that we wouldn't have enough time to finish watching it before bedtime, so there was no point in starting with it anymore. I was feeling quite annoyed -- and then something happened. I just thought, OK, so what. There's no reason why we have to watch it tonight. It was like someone slapped me in the face. I just recognized how attached I had become to the idea of wanting to do something. All of a sudden I wasn't annoyed anymore, but rather felt foolish for having such ridiculous thoughts. Perhaps Joko meant something like that by the 'melting of emotion-thought'? Anyway, after coming to my senses I ended up having a very pleasant evening with my wife (even without TV :wink: ).

    Gassho
    Kenneth

  11. #11
    Hi Keishin,

    Your previous post didn't give me a negative impression of your character at all.

    I don't think anyone can really be unselfish in personal relationships. When we love someone (partner, friend, child, whomever), we also want them to love us back. Of course we do.

    I remember, in one of Kurt Vonnegut's books (I think it was Slapstick), one of the characters complaining that she didn't like it when her twin said "I love you." It's like he's holding a gun to her head, because she can't respond except by saying "I love you too."

    Not that I think it's wrong to say "I love you!"

  12. #12
    The trouble with talking about 'love' is that the word itself is vague and has so many different meanings. What we have been conditioned to think of as romantic love in modern societies is a pretty squishy, sentimental thing that has been built up and glorified in movies and novels but is based on lust and physical attraction that fades over time and needs to be supplemented with attachment to keep a relationship going. Or am I being too hard and cynical here?

    A lot of these feelings seem to be mostly mental constructions (notice how quickly they can change). We can see through them more quickly and hence have a more realistic view of them due to our Buddhist practice, and thereby avoid a lot of pain.

    The idea of love in Buddhism seems to me more akin to the Christian 'agape' type of unconditional love based on compassion and interdependent sharing.

  13. #13
    John,

    Quote Originally Posted by John
    The trouble with talking about 'love' is that the word itself is vague and has so many different meanings. What we have been conditioned to think of as romantic love in modern societies is a pretty squishy, sentimental thing that has been built up and glorified in movies and novels but is based on lust and physical attraction that fades over time and needs to be supplemented with attachment to keep a relationship going. Or am I being too hard and cynical here?
    Very well said. I couldn't agree with you more. Lust and physical attraction are great and necassary (and sometimes really fun); not many of us would be here without them, but it's good to keep things in perspective. I don't think that's being cynical at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by John
    The idea of love in Buddhism seems to me more akin to the Christian 'agape' type of unconditional love based on compassion and interdependent sharing.
    I have often thought how the Buddhist concept of metta and the Christian concept of agape seem pretty much the same with the same outcomes. Again, very well said.

    Gassho,
    Keith

  14. #14
    John wrote:
    The idea of love in Buddhism seems to me more akin to the Christian 'agape' type of unconditional love based on compassion and interdependent sharing.
    I'll echo Keith: very well said.

    I've been reading The Heart of Being: Moral & Ethical Teachings of Zen Buddhism, and in it Loori suggests that love is "the sort of compassionate action that arises spontaneously out of no-self."

    Gassho.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by John
    The trouble with talking about 'love' is that the word itself is vague and has so many different meanings.
    Like the old cliche - Person A accuses Person B: "You don't even know what love is!" Well, does anyone?

    I've known a few people who grew up in abusive homes. They've nearly all said, at some point both "I hate Christmas." and "I don't believe in 'love.'" In both cases, I think that painful memories are made even worse in comparison to an impossible ideal.

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