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Thread: Rebirth

  1. #51
    Hi Folks!


    I will write something (hopefully) more substantial tonight, since I am currently at work. Just a quick note to let you know that I am REALLY enjoying this discussion, because it means having to deal with some extremely important issues. So many questions being raised....when is Buddhism still Buddhism....how far to trust other people's testimonies (if at all) etc. etc.

    Gassho,

    Hans

    P.S. Sorry to see you go Bruce! All the Best to you!

  2. #52
    Hey Bruce,

    Quote Originally Posted by BruceS
    Maybe we want different flavours of Buddhism and that's fine. We should all hang out where we feel comfortable. So, I'll take my leave now. I wish you all the best.
    Sorry to see you go. :cry: Perhaps you'll pop in again for a visit some day? Never say never... In any case, I wish you all the best too. Bye for now.

    Gassho
    Kenneth

  3. #53
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Bruce (if you're reading this),

    I don't think it's about picking and choosing, but rather trying to cull the Buddhist teachings to a more original form. You have said you're familiar with the Tibetan tradition; you surely know that much of the esoteric elements of that tradition have nothing to do with Buddhism, but come from Bön, the previous tradition in Tibet. So if you can remove that layer, you'll get a lot closer to something "original", and have less of a Buddhism that was "created" to please and attract the people living in Tibet at the time it was imported.

    Kirk

  4. #54
    hmm, i was thinking. what is the point making diffrences about buddhism or any type of "religions". I dont know much about teachings, but i feel that every religion has the same goal and most people are missing it because of they cant "read between the lines". Books (Bible, Koran etc.) are just allegory, trying to catch the essence of truth. It is mystics because you have to feel it and not just read it and learn it. So i dont think there is nothing purer or better ways than live trough heart and mind following the way of Jesus, Boddhisatva, Mohammed or what ever you feel. In the end everything is same, the truth with heavens and hells.

    Dont know makes this any sense to you, learning english anyhow

    Deep Gassho to every living

    Jarkko

  5. #55
    Hi, Jarkko.
    Your English is good . . . I agree with the spirit of your post. The danger for some people is that they never settle on one particular spiritual practice. No one person or religion has a monopoly on the truth, but, in my opinion, that doesn't mean one can bounce back and forth too much. I see it as being like crossing a stream. You can take a boat, or swim, or tunnel under the river, or pole vault, or fly in a plane to get to the other side. Some of those are easier than others depending on one's particular strengths, or lack thereof. All of the methods work, but one cannot stop in mid pole-vault and decide to take a boat without first backing up and starting all over again. Backing up too often makes for a long, frustrating trip. I like Zen because from my perspective on the side of the river, it seems to be the most direct trip to the other side (here is where my analogy breaks down because I know I'm not really going anywhere).
    In general I am skeptical of "religion." Organized ideologies often take a beautiful belief system and turn it into a rigid hierarchy that does a better job of supporting agendas of power and dominance than assisting believers' realizations. I'm sure Zen has its problems too but I feel it is so 'stripped-down' that agendas would be easier to spot. I recognize that I may be a bit naive on this point.

    Later,
    Bill

  6. #56
    The thing is, if it's just sitting here and now, why bother with ceremonies and formalities?
    If it's just sitting, and now I mean only sitting, then the practice comes down to nothing else than a meditation practice, basically no different from any other meditation practice. Nothing wrong in that, but why bow to the Buddha statue and the pillow etc if it's only a meditation practice?

  7. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Walker
    The thing is, if it's just sitting here and now, why bother with ceremonies and formalities?
    If it's just sitting, and now I mean only sitting, then the practice comes down to nothing else than a meditation practice, basically no different from any other meditation practice. Nothing wrong in that, but why bow to the Buddha statue and the pillow etc if it's only a meditation practice?
    Hi Mr. W.,

    I was reading a recent Tricycle magazine today, explaining the importance of ceremonies as builders of community in a Sangha. I think of them as celebrations. Thus, our Jukai (Upholding the Precepts) ceremony will not, in my view, have any special power or magical effect in some esoteric meaning (I mean, it might, but I think not. I care not). It is, instead, a celebration of living, moment by moment, so as not to harm. If you are already living in such way, then you are already 'Jukai' ... the ceremony merely commemorates that fact.

    Over the centuries, Buddhist ceremonies have come to be seen as possessing magical properties ... to bring about health, wealth, good crops, a decent rebirth for a late loved one. Seeing ceremonies as working some mysterious magic, of course, is found in all religions. It is still a good business for Priests, as many people are willing to pay for this (please see this recent "Purification" that my wife arranged for the Treeleaf Zendo):

    http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2007/08 ... -gods.html

    Over the the centuries, "Buddha" was turned from a very wise teacher, a human teacher, into a golden statue dipped in gold. In our ceremonies for retreats, I often remove the "Buddha Statue" from the Altar, and replace it with anything and everything ... a stone, a dirty diaper, a roller skate, a nail, a garbage can, a flower. What is not sacred, what is not this universe, what is not the "Buddha"? We bow to each and all of those, as well as to the other people in the room and in the world, and to ourselves ... knowing that all are just one.

    Again, I believe in "magic". I consider myself a mystic who views this world and life as sacred. Please do not misunderstand. But the "magic" I emphasize at Treeleaf is the magic of our being alive in this universe to put on our shoes and socks, change a tire (what I did today), play with children. Those are miracles. It is the mystical wonder of the ordinary.

    'Just Sitting' is never just sitting. It is, instead, a sacred act, a celebration, a piercing of reality, just being human ... While we seek nothing, do not think that nothing is found.

    Gassho, Jundo

  8. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Again, I believe in "magic". I consider myself a mystic who views this world and life as sacred. Please do not misunderstand. But the "magic" I emphasize at Treeleaf is the magic of our being alive in this universe to put on our shoes and socks, change a tire (what I did today), play with children. Those are miracles. It is the mystical wonder of the ordinary.
    so a pragmystic view then? :lol:

    R

  9. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R
    so a pragmystic view then? :lol:

    R
    Hi Rev,

    Gee, may I copyright that term too! That and Will's "Let the Sitting do the Talking"

    Speaking of pragmysticism ... this video is worth a quick look. Gee, mystical powers beyond human understanding. I don't suppose that it could have the slightest thing to do with the wooden pole running from the fellow down to the ground!

    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22 ... om=mostpop

    Gassho, Jundo

    (By the way, if you cannot figure out the trick, the staff actually is the column of a platform on which the "levitator" is sitting)

  10. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R
    so a pragmystic view then? :lol:

    R
    Hi Rev,

    Gee, may I copyright that term too?! That and Will's "Let the Sitting do the Talking"

    Speaking of pragmysticism ... this video is worth a quick look. Wow, mystical powers beyond human understanding. I don't suppose that it could have the slightest thing to do with the wooden pole running from the fellow down to the ground!??!

    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22 ... om=mostpop

    Gassho, Jundo

    (By the way, if you cannot figure out the trick, the staff actually is the column of a platform on which the "levitator" is sitting. Here is another image of the same trick):

    http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl= ... n%26sa%3DN

  11. #61
    Hey Jundo,

    If you like it, it's yours. Use it well.

    Rob the shaman would have loved that vid. We used to call that type of thing "Zen Terrorism".

    R

  12. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by DontKnow
    The danger for some people is that they never settle on one particular spiritual practice.
    Hi Bill
    what you said i find it true to myself. That thing has been problem for me sometimes. Maybe it is because i have been a goal thinker and searched answers outside of me. Many thing is different nowadays.

    My point was that people shouldnt look things through "religious" and idealistic goggles which is great problem in our world.

    Dont know much about ceremonies but i have found that bowing thing has been very usefull in my daily life. Sometimes i find myself putting peoples and things in different levels and then i need knock in my head. I bow sometimes just mentally.

    :lol:

    Gassho
    Jarkko

  13. #63
    Senior Member Martin's Avatar
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    Bruce

    I don't suppose you'll read this but on the off chance....

    I "missed" your "departure" as we were away for a long weekend walking / youth hostelling in the North Yorkshire Moors. But I wanted to say how much I've enjoyed your posts and how sorry I am to see you "go".

    I don't for a moment understand why you feel you have to go, but obviously for you it's important. May you be well. And "here" or "there" I suspect you'll be in the same place when you sit. And probably when you're not sitting too.

    Gassho

    Martin


    PS. Jundo, I loved "pragmystic" and the idea of putting something that isn't a Buddha statue on the altar. "Everything that lives is holy, life delights in life" (William Blake).

  14. #64

    rebirth

    Hello/goodby Bruce!

    I am sorry to be arriving at the discussion on this thread so late. I would have liked to have joined in. Kind of moot at this point.

    Bruce, it is perfectly fine to 'not know' about a lot of things. "Keep This Don't Know Mind, Only Don't Know" was something Korean Zen Master Seung Sahn Soen Sa Nim would say to his students.
    So as far as rebirth and other issues go don't know until you do know.

    You wrote:

    The last thing I ever thought I'd be doing is debating what to pick and choose out of Buddhism on a Buddhist forum, and it's just not how I want to spend my time.


    I don't think there is a single relgion where people don't 'pick and choose' in the practice of their religions. There are infinite discussions between practitioners as to whether doing certain things or not doing others means that you are no longer 'one of the fold.'
    In the end, we are a lamp unto ourselves--we light our own way. Practice hones a sense of direction.

    You also said:
    Maybe we want different flavours of Buddhism and that's fine. We should all hang out where we feel comfortable. So, I'll take my leave now. I wish you all the best.


    Even if it were the exact same flavor of Buddhism, we all don't have the same taste buds--and everything is just like that: uniqueness, you-neekness.

    I agree we should all hang out where we feel comfortable. I also know it has been of benefit to me to hang out where I don't feel comfortable (I'm not talking about unsafe places, just I'd rather not places. It has been instructive to me--a workout, to be sure.)
    Part of what I think to be interesting at this cyber sangha is the opportunity for all kinds of people exposed to all kinds of backgrounds, buddhist and non- to engage in these wide varieties of topics and discussions.
    Anyone can pick up a discussion and breathe new life into it and refer to comments made by those who may no longer be active participants at the Treeleaf--similarly what you have said here, now, would still have impact for others with these issues.

    Bruce, I also wish you the best.

    gassho
    keishin

  15. #65
    Hi Keishin,
    I think you're right. Sometimes I can be a real fool. After a couple of weeks of thinking through all of this, I still don't know what I believe, but what I think I do know is that it probably doesn't matter.

    Despite all of the reading I had done in the past I don't think I was ever aware of the Zen position on these things. If I had read it, it must've gone right over my head and I just went on assuming that Zen shared the same basic beliefs as the Tibetans (minus all the esoteric stuff). So I guess the topic caught me off guard and really took me back.

    What I'm ashamed of is my fundamentalist reaction. That's just so NOT what I want to be. I've had, and am still having a difficult time forgetting all the stuff that was ground into my head before. I guess I feel like a former Catholic, still carrying a lot of guilt around. Actually, I do still carry some guilt from giving up being a monk.

    I've really been struggling with my practice the past couple of weeks. I think I do need to forget everything and get beginner's mind again. Anyway, thanks for pointing out that sometimes it's best to be uncomfortable. That was very wise.

    Gassho,
    Bruce

  16. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by BruceS
    That was very wise.

    Gassho,
    Bruce
    Hi Bruce,

    So nice to hear from you. Talk about reincarnation, it was nice to hear from you! :-)

    The only thing I want to say is that there is no "official" Zen position on reincarnation (as a form of life after death), some esoteric practices and the like. So, please do not think that all of Zen agrees on all points. Some uphold a traditional view of reincarnation, an increasing number these days (maybe most in the West) do not. But please do not think I am saying that there is no life after death, be it reincarnation, heaven/hell, or the Buddha's Pure Land. I am just saying that I do not know, I strongly doubt based on what I see (based on what any human being can see from here I think), and it is not central to my Practice anyway.

    Continue your hard searching and doubting. We had a nice little thread here recently about 'long dark nights of the soul'. They may even be a necessary part of what we do. There is much about our practice that is "not knowing". The point of "not knowing" is that some things we can truly 'know' only when we give up trying to know them in the usual way (that is the point of Shikantaza, in which we radically give up all searching), but other things we just cannot know with human eyes. I think.

    Gassho, Jundo

  17. #67
    I'm so glad to see you again, Bruce!

    I've met a fair number of Zen students and teachers so far, and their opinions on rebirth have been pretty well all over the map. From pretty much literal transmigration of a 'spirit' to "when we die, we turn into compost!"

    I personally think that it's a bit extreme to claim that rebirth is a Brahmanistic holdover that has nothing at all to do with Buddhism. However, I've also yet to hear a very compelling argument for any type of 'life after death' (I think that 'evidence' like birthmarks in the shape of knife wounds/ bullet holes is kind of goofy).

    I'm happy enough to sit on the fence on this one. But it does seem an issue that stirs up passions. :?

  18. #68
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Bruce,

    Glad to see you back, and glad to see that you got some little enlightenment from this whole thing! :-)

    Kirk

  19. #69

    rebirth

    I just lost my post!!!!

    I'm slow these days to catch up with all the goings on.
    Hello Bruce!
    Very nice to see you back, and I look forward to sharing more experiences with you here on this path!

    Taking a break is good--helps with the indigest-zen, I always find....

    gassho
    keishin

  20. #70
    A lot has been said since the original post of reincarnation and I haven't been around in a long time. It's great to read such a wonderful discussion/dialogue with many so many issues being brought up.

    Something that struck me, from early in the post, was that Buddha and Dogen were/are in fact fallible. What a revelation! I can honestly say that I've never really been very critical of either Buddha's or Dogen's ideas. I kind of took them at face value. In fact, this revelation will change the way that I practice Buddhism.

    Thanks for the whack to the head Jundo!

    still smarting,
    Eric

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