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Thread: 11/2 - Relationships Don't Work p.93

  1. #1

    11/2 - Relationships Don't Work p.93

    (Love stinks)
    Love stinks yeah yeah
    (Love stinks)
    Love stinks yeah yeah
    (Love stinks)
    Love stinks yeah yeah
    (Love stinks)
    Love stinks yeah yeah

    J.Gyles Band ...

    Is that the point here? Perhaps not.

    By the way, I am thinking of switching at the start of the New Year from this book to Uchiyama Kosho Roshi's "Opening the Hand of Thought" ... I know it is a favorite of many of you. What do you think?

    Gassho, J

  2. #2
    Dearest Jundo,

    I am most in favor of your proposition. For I have desired to read that particular text myself.

    Regards,

    Gregorious

  3. #3
    Hi guys,

    I second the motion. Not that I have anything against the current book, but Opening the Hand of Thought is also one of my favorites.

    Gassho
    Kenneth

  4. #4
    It's OK with me too . . . I'll finish the Beck book on my own if we move on to another book before finishing it.

    Bill

  5. #5
    Word to the wise. . . .

    I'd recommend that everyone order their copy of "Opening the Hand of Thought"
    soon.

    I just finished ordering the book from Amazon, and they won't ship it for three weeks, must be a hard book to get a hold of. The wait is no big deal since we wont need it for a few months, but I thought I'd warn those that need to acquire it for January.

    I also ordered the complete collection of Poetry by Thomas Merton!!!

  6. #6
    Hi Greg,

    Thanks for the tip, and I am glad everyone so far seems to like the idea. I was going to use the recently issued edition. I do not think it matters if someone has an old edition around, as I imagine the content is largely the same (I haven't looked to compare, however).

    Gassho, Jundo

  7. #7
    I would like to take part in the with the new book in the new year. I amm probably a bit late to start on the current book, I was going to order it on monday but i will look into the Opening the Hand of Thought first and pick up and read the other on my own.

    Gassho
    _/_
    dirk

  8. #8

    Re: 11/2 - Relationships Don't Work p.93

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    By the way, I am thinking of switching at the start of the New Year from this book to Uchiyama Kosho Roshi's "Opening the Hand of Thought" ... I know it is a favorite of many of you. What do you think?
    WOOT :!: :!:

    Gassho,
    Jordan

  9. #9
    Good idea. I've read three of his books - the one on the Bendowa and the one about 'cooking your life' as well as ' The Hand of Thought'. I think I read too much. I like Uchiyama's simplicity, openness and frankness.

  10. #10
    Just joining the Me Too chorus! This was one of the first books I read when I began exploring Buddhism and it's really lovely. I'd welcome the chance to share it with others.

    In Gassho~

    *Lynn

  11. #11
    I've not read Opening the Hand of Thought before - have just ordered a copy off Amazon.

    I'm still keeping up with the reading for Everyday Zen, but haven't been able to think of much to say for the past several weeks.

    In other words, another 'aye' for changing books in the new year.

  12. #12
    on p.93 Charlotte Joko Beck wrote:
    In a way life can work—but not coming from the standpoint that we are going to do something that will make it work. p.93
    I liked this a lot. It was another way of saying that our resistance to the way life really is creates our problems (relationship or otherwise). Life can work when we adjust our way of seeing it. My wife and I have been married for 13 years and I know that the smoothest periods have been when I have not been trying to bend the dynamic between us in my favor.

    p. 95
    There is nothing wrong with wanting it {comfort}, unless it is at variance with that which is more important than comfort, my primary orientation in life.

    Then later:
    If something doesn't emerge from practice that is more than just what I want, what would make me life more pleasant, then it's not practice.
    I liked this paragraph because she helped me with a trap I get in sometimes. Comfort is not to be avoided (ours is not an ascetic path) unless it is in conflict with our practice, BUT I must also avoid complacency—practice is not about making my life more comfortable.

    Jundo, Beck mentions the labeling-type meditation. Is that common in Soto or simply an peculiarity of her's?
    That's it for now,
    Bill

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by DontKnow
    Jundo, Beck mentions the labeling-type meditation. Is that common in Soto or simply an peculiarity of her's?
    That's it for now,
    Bill
    Hi Bill,

    This came up in an earlier chapter. It is not standard Soto practice, which is 'just sitting' Shikantaza. When this came up in an earlier chapter, I guessed it might be something that she had picked up from Vipassana practice, although Joko confuses me a bit in this chapter as she seems critical of such practices.

    I will tell you that I also advocate the practice of labeling, just not --during-- Zazen itself (when we are not to be doing anything). Labeling is, however, a very important part of learning to observe our mind's workings. So, for example, instead of just feeling angry, greedy or tired, and instead of just saying to ourselves even "I am feeling angry/greedy/tired now), we should learn to say to ourselves such things as "this is my mind now temporarily feeling angry/greedy/tired during present conditions". When we learn to do that, experiencing the emotions of the mind becomes just watching a bit of theatre.

    All that is good, just not a practice for "during" Zazen, when we observe everything and nothing.

    Gassho, Jundo

  14. #14

  15. #15
    p. 95
    There is nothing wrong with wanting it {comfort}, unless it is at variance with that which is more important than comfort, my primary orientation in life.
    What does she mean by 'primary orientation in life'? Maybe it's an American expression? Is it one's job or career vocation or what one should mainly do with their time in order to help others? I heard or read somewhere lately that most of what we do is pretty pointless anyway. Maybe it was Jundo in connection with the Samu exercise of polishing coins.

    I am getting a bit confused about the idea of doing things with no goal in mind and having no thought of attaining anything. It is so alien to our ordinary way of living our lives. Or is it that it's alright to attain things for others but not selfishly for ourselves? Or perhaps it's just that the calculating, thinking, goal-seeking part falls away and we then know naturally what is the next most appropriate action? Reminds me of the koan 'Wash Your Bowl'. Sorry for rambling on but writing this has helped clarify this a little for me!

    Gassho,
    John

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by John

    I am getting a bit confused about the idea of doing things with no goal in mind and having no thought of attaining anything. It is so alien to our ordinary way of living our lives. Or is it that it's alright to attain things for others but not selfishly for ourselves? Or perhaps it's just that the calculating, thinking, goal-seeking part falls away and we then know naturally what is the next most appropriate action? Reminds me of the koan 'Wash Your Bowl'. Sorry for rambling on but writing this has helped clarify this a little for me!
    Hi John,

    All I want to say is that it may not be just one way to live at one time. Part of our Zen Practice is learning to live from seemingly conflicting ways of perceiving life ... all at the same time. Thus, we go forward, making choices as life requires (some for ourselves, some for others, some for both), setting the goals that life calls for (sometimes knowing the "right" action, sometimes just taking a shot in the dark) ... all the way (on another 'channel') knowing that there is no place we can go from here, that there are perspectives on life beyond choices and goals.

    All of this like two (or more) sides of a single coin, not one not two. Simultaneously going and going no place. Does that help? Do not think that you have to find the "one right formula", because it may be a whole cabinet of formulas, plus the cabinet itself!

    Gassho, Jundo

  17. #17
    Thanks Jundo. I guess it boils down to living in the present moment, taking life as it comes and only making provisional plans for the future,

    Gassho,
    John

  18. #18
    I've never tried any Vipassana-style practices, but what I've heard sounds very intimidating and complicated.

    So I'm kind of leery about this 'labeling' approach.

    Then again, koans have a reputation for being complicated, but I didn't have too much trouble with koan work. *shrug*

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by paige

    Then again, koans have a reputation for being complicated, but I didn't have too much trouble with koan work. *shrug*
    I do have difficulty with them. I studied a lot of philosophy and maybe that's why I find it hard to get away from trying to reason everything out instead of learning to trust in direct experience.

    I'm working through the Mumonkan at the moment and trying not to think too hard about the koans - just letting them sink in slowly like (in an analogy I read somewhere) mist on a mountain wets you after walking through it for a while,

    Gassho,
    John

  20. #20

    relationships don't work

    "Relationships don't work" Yeah, Joko, you're telling me!
    Turns out 'relationship' is more to/with this thing she calls 'primary orientation,' which, if practice is genuine practice, then 'primary orientation' emerges from it. I like the way Joko warns that each kind of practice has strengths and drawbacks, to be aware when practice is used as an escape from life, and gives the example that Vipassana-type practice can lead to someone who is rather impersonal.

    I very much appreciate her description of life seeking channels for life: life seeks to further itself. That which can't withstand life, is too weak to hold up to life, falls away.
    This is actually quite wonderful.
    I used to think it was them, and I used to think it was me, but living with another just never lasted very long. I finally met the love of my life. Our personalities were such, we could never have lived together unless it was a huge house. As it turned out, he moved away and met a woman who could have been my sister--she was so similar. They married. I was very happy for him, for them, (and for me--I didn't have to look for 'the love of my life' any more--I knew who he was, where he was).
    I wanted things to go well for him, I wanted the best for him. I love him as fiercely as I love my son.
    My heart was finally broken open--and like a geode--all beauty was now fully exposed. I became very content. I didn't take a stand 'ok, now I am content', contentment just found me--I wasn't trying or looking.
    I don't experience my heart as an enclosed space--I think I expressed those thoughts in a previous chapter discussion here, at least love no longer comes from an enclosed space I used to call my heart.

    I like it that Joko says "practice is not a trimming on your life." To me this one phrase alone is worth the whole of the book.
    She is really very good at cutting through illusory views in a scant few words.

    In my experience, it is very difficult to have a relationship with a 'zennie.' When I was a beginning 'zennie' I met a man who had been practicing for a number of years--'he' would disappear when I wanted something solid to push against, and 'he' would be immovably solid when I least expected.
    Years later, I got to experience this from 'his' perspective, in a relationship with a non-zennie, who was flummuxed by my behaviors -- now very accepting, easy going, now holding firm, not backing down. I've written about this too, elsewhere in the forum--I believe in a comment on another chapter--that there seems to be something 'wrong' with a 'zennie'--it's their birthday and they are happy if you baked their favorite cake, they are happy if you bought a cake they don't particularly care for, they are happy if there is no cake and you completely forgot.
    Things you do for them/don't do for them don't make them happier or less happy.
    This is very disconcerting for someone who expects when they do something for another to at least earn some points, but with 'zennies' there aren't any 'points' to earn in that sense.
    To go back to my younger days--I moved about freely without concern toward my partner, because nothing I did seemed to phase him, and WHAM just when I thought nothing mattered, something would and did--I couldn't figure it out--the response would seem so arbitrary.
    Years later, experiencing 'his' perspective, I got to find this openness, this immovability for myself, there was nothing arbitrary about it at all. These were just facts, just the way it was.

    We meet who we meet when we meet them. I like to think that that which doesn't form a strong union, acts as a perfect agent for lopping off sharp edges and corners. Life like a rock tumbler--let's us come up against each other and round each other off.
    Over time we get to move about each other more and more easily, smoothly.
    Why not? One bright pearl.

    I've really been enjoying the book. I think Joko is absolutely brilliant.
    I recently heard something which made me all the more grateful for her work and her life as a teacher.

    gassho
    keishin

  21. #21
    Hello all,

    I've never been in a relationship with a fellow Zen student. My practice, I suppose, is living with and loving someone for whom the misdirection of Anger is a major issue. I try to not-do the whole "spontaneously arising compassion" thing, and it usually makes for a harmonious time, but I often find myself wondering if our/any relationship would be easier with a partner who was equally devoted to a practice like this one. I suppose this sort of "wondering" is fruitless, any idea I have of what such a Zen Relationship might be like is ultimately an illusion.

    All of this like two (or more) sides of a single coin, not one not two. Simultaneously going and going no place. Does that help? Do not think that you have to find the "one right formula", because it may be a whole cabinet of formulas, plus the cabinet itself!
    This spoke to me, Jundo. Thank you.

    Gassho to all. (even to Brad Warner!)

  22. #22
    I wonder if you have all seen this video of Joko? It is a Dutch website and you need Real Player to open it.


    http://www.buddhistmedia.com/uitzending ... ntityId=81

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by John
    I wonder if you have all seen this video of Joko? It is a Dutch website and you need Real Player to open it.


    http://www.buddhistmedia.com/uitzending ... ntityId=81
    Dear John,

    Thank you for posting that. It is such a good portrait of Joko, I think. I was particularly interested in her comments of how she has moved from many of the traditional teachings (in her case, a rather traditional, Japanese flavored Koan centered meditation originally designed for monastics wishing to leave the home and the world behind) to bring practice down to earth, into the home and into the streets. I am trying to do much the same around here, as you may have already guessed.

    Gassho, J

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