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 32 of 32

Thread: Ice Cream is Served ...

  1. #1

    Ice Cream is Served ...

    Hi,

    Ice Cream is being served over at the "Sit-a-Long" ...

    Please have a taste ...

    http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2008/01 ... rs_24.html

    Gassho, Jundo the "Good Humor" Ice Cream Man




    (I think you maybe had to have been a kid in New York to get the reference)

  2. #2
    Zen Master Masquerading as Ice Cream Man: Here is you cone.
    Me: Vanilla? I asked for chocolate.
    Zen Master: Shut up and eat your ice cream.
    :lol:

    Good one today.

  3. #3
    Stephanie
    Guest
    Watched the video and enjoyed it. But I'm not sure the metaphor completely works for me, because if you just shut up and ate your ice cream every day, you wouldn't end up in a very good condition! Maybe if you just shut up and ate your Wheaties... :lol:

    In all seriousness, you present well the Zen teaching of truth as "just this." I am well acquainted with the "truth" of a cold wind or a warm bath. But yet I have an intense desire to know more, to know why... And why is that? Maybe if I could figure out why I want to know "why," it would tell me all I need to know, but it seems just as elusive to me. I think life as it is without any "big questions" answered is pretty good, so why I have such an intense hunger to know the answers to those questions is baffling at times.

    If I could just shut up and enjoy the ice cream... or Wheaties... or wheatgrass... :lol: I could live a fairly contented existence. But it would also kind of be a... blah existence. It makes me think of the descriptors of existence in the animal realm of the Six Realms. I mean, that's samsara, isn't it? Just going from one thing to the next without asking "why"? If this is our truth, why not just prostrate ourselves in front of our dogs and cats and ask them for their teachings?

    I mean, they seem to live pretty contented lives, but they also live at the mercy of those who "own" them, and there are lots of dogs and cats who end up in horrible situations. Seeing an animal suffering, and the way its entire being seems to express total confusion as to why what is happening is happening to it, is heartbreaking. An animal's life is only romantic if it has had the good fortune to end up in decent environs. I think "just eat the ice cream cone" is easier for people whose "ice cream cone" involves a decent place to live, a good job, loving relationships, wine with dinner, etc., than for those people whom life has handed a big plate of shit.

    I have a lot of "gut feelings" about what is important and what is a good way to live, to be happy. Following them, I've discovered a lot of joy and peace. But yet, I wonder where these feelings come from, and even more, I find it's not enough. Maybe that is just ignorance or neurosis... I don't know. But it's something I just can't shake. This feeling that there is something to know, and that I really want to know it. I've talked to a good many folks, including my father, who propose that this is just a byproduct of the way the human animal is wired neurologically, that this "why?" question is just a non-sequitur. Maybe that's true. But it's a non-sequitur that has me by the throat.

  4. #4
    Just sit.

    Gassho Will

  5. #5
    No matter whether you are feeling low or high, deluded or enlightened, happy or depressed, half-enlightened, half-deluded, three-quarters deluded, full of hope or despair - that is simply the way it is. Only YOU have the answers as to "why."

    You can want the world to align with your wants and desires, to provide you with all the answers to your questions - but it ain't gonna happen.

    I think "just eat the ice cream cone" is easier for people whose "ice cream cone" involves a decent place to live, a good job, loving relationships, wine with dinner, etc., than for those people whom life has handed a big plate of shit.
    Even living in a big "plate of shit" is living, no? It is life at least. How you perceive that life and what you make of it is entirely up to YOU.

    Having lived for a considerable time amongst the poor and needy, among people who live in cardboard boxes and rubbish piles often with nothing but what they are wearing and pieces of cardboard and plastic to keep them protected from the elements; I can say I've experienced what it is like to live in a "plate of shit."

    Quite often these people living this way are HAPPY! They are content! Why? Because they are ALIVE! They do not concern themselves with "why?"

    "Why" will not provide for you. Be content in LIFE, NOW, AS IT IS. Doesn't matter "why."

    To twist a line by the great master Yoda, "Do or do not, there is no why."

    gassho

  6. #6
    Stephanie
    Guest
    Thank you for the reply, Jun.

    As nice an idea as it is, people living in poverty aren't happier on average than those who do not. Areas of greater poverty and want are also subject to other signs of social unrest or distress, such as crime and violence.

    Of course, a country like Bhutan might have a stronger "Gross National Happiness" than a wealthier country, but I would argue it's not because people in that country don't ponder the question "why"--it's that they do, and they have answers to it!

    Victor Frankl proposed eloquently that what gets people through the worst conditions in life is a sense of meaning. To Frankl, this doesn't have to be meaning on a cosmic level, it can be something as simple as having a sense of "mission" or "purpose," something one wants to live for.

    As for me--I can certainly agree it would be easier if I could simply be content and let go of this "why" business. But it's not a matter of logic. It's something I've tried to resolve and let go of somehow countless times, but it keeps coming back to haunt me.

    I even have a sense of mission that gives my life meaning, things that I know I believe in regardless of what I do or don't know about the nature of the universe. I have a pretty decent life and a lot to work with. But for years, I've been compelled to focus most of my energy on this search for meaning, this search for the answer to "why."

    My father has told me that he went through the same thing I did, and ultimately came to the conclusion that "why" is a meaningless question. I know it is common that children follow in the footsteps of their parents, and so I might go through the same thing that he did. But I really don't feel like I will. His lifestyle choices would trouble my conscience, and my conscience is the strongest guiding light and source of happiness in my life. It would be a dismal existence if the light of my conscience went out.

    I know I can live a happy and fulfilled life if I live in tune with my conscience. But yet I am also bothered by a yearning to know where the wisdom and joy of the conscience comes from. How do we know what is right, and what is wrong? One response to such questions is to say conscience comes from God, but sticking that label on it does little for me. I want to know. Maybe that is impossible. But that wanting is there, like the libido, like hunger, like the urge to dance to a song with the right beat.

    Trust me, I do enjoy my life. I don't spend every waking moment wondering "why." But it always comes back, like the refrain to a classic song that just won't work its way out of consciousness.

  7. #7
    If your going to ask yourself any question, and it seems you must, ask "How" and don't forget to sit. Remember to that your answers for everything are in you Stephanie not looking or pondering the actions of others, but understanding your own actions. It seems that if you want to help anyone, you should first work with your own stuff. Now. Don't give me some long explanation. Just sit. Which I think I'm going to go do right now.

    Gassho Will

  8. #8
    Ah beat me to it Will I was just thinking the question you could be asking is 'How' . How can I become more accepting of .......?

    And before we talk nihilism as Jundo said to me about my situation and as Dogen says we can have 'acceptance sans acceptance' so we can accept life as it is but that doesnot preclude us from also being open to other options.

    In my experience asking 'why?' is a sign of feeling that things are done to me rather than accepting that things are as they are, but I have a choice as to how to re-act to them.

    We could not ask any question and just sit.

    Having opened my big mouth I'm away for the weekend away from the distracta-net, but I'll check in sunday .

    In gassho, Kev

  9. #9
    Hi Steph,

    "Why" is a funny question about some things.

    "Why" is a stone a stone? "Why" is a tree a tree? Whether there is a "reason" and purpose to it or not, the stone is still a stone.

    The best way for humans to know the ocean, perhaps, is not to ask "why" the ocean is the ocean. Nor is it to to discover and memorize every inch of its coast line, the place of every grain of sand on its beaches, the height of all its waves and the direction of each current. Instead, we can dive into the ocean that is right before us, feel its wetness and taste its salinity. We can intimately know the ocean that way. If one were born as a fish in such an ocean, the best course of action might not be to ask "why", but merely to swim swim (before some bigger fish catches you). That is the best possible way for us to know and experience the ocean, I think.

    We can take it a step further and ask "why" that ocean sometimes rises up in great waves that can kill hundreds of thousands of people in one swoop. Is there a reason or purpose to it or not? Whatever the answer, the wave still rises up and does its damage.

    Now, Stephanie, if you were to ask me for my opinion about "why" we are born, why that happened despite all the physical and biological factors necessary to go into it having worked out so nicely for us, why the universe is the way it is (both so amazingly life friendly to our existence on this "goldilocks" planet that is our home, yet sometimes so harsh and painful and apparently arbitrary), why "bad" things happen to seemingly innocent people ... well, I do have some suspicions (I am actually working on a book not unrelated to this that posits a couple of ideas). I do have a couple of theories in my head. But I do not try to profess those ideas or teach them as part of Zen Practice. And you may ask "why" I don't ...

    Because our Zen Practice says something like this: If there is a "god" or "grand unifying principle" or other "reason" for life, just live life. If there is no "god" and no "principle" and no "reason" for life, just live life.

    I have been studying hydroponic farming recently. If 100 seeds are planted, some will grow tall and healthy, some will never take root. Some will grow strong, only to later become food for pests or ruined by infection. That is just the way things are on a farm, the natural state. Not so different from the human condition, really, by which some of us thrive and some of us die young. That is the natural state of things, which might be as close as a human can come to grasping a "why".

    Heck, human beings ... just a tad smarter than a dog or cat ... might not even be able to grasp a greater "why" even if there is one.

    And anyway, maybe if we knew a "why" it would spoil the game, like knowing the last page of a mystery story spoils the book. The result might be a truly "blah" existence or, maybe, no existence at all.

    Now, like a cat ... I think I will go take a nap.

    Gassho, J

  10. #10
    I hope having all these men telling you what to do won't scare you off
    I prefer fellow human.

    G,W

  11. #11
    As nice an idea as it is, people living in poverty aren't happier on average than those who do not.
    That does depend on your definition of "happiness." Is happiness having all the possessions you want? Is it having everything you can afford? Or are we talking contentment, the happiness of just "being."

    I've been compelled to focus most of my energy on this search for meaning, this search for the answer to "why."
    Isn't that why man has invented his gods and religions, to help explain the "why" of life?

    I am also bothered by a yearning to know where the wisdom and joy of the conscience comes from.
    Ha!, now if anyone knew the answer to that one.

    How do we know what is right, and what is wrong? One response to such questions is to say conscience comes from God, but sticking that label on it does little for me.
    The origins of human ethics and righteous morals, now that is a tough one. What one culture considers right may be considered wrong in another. Morals and ethics are determined by many factors some of which are just plain common sense and some of which are cultural. Ethics and morals have also evolved over time. What was "right" 400 years ago may not be so today.

    I don't think attributing the origins of human characteristics and behaviours to a fictional fabricated god is at all helpful.

    I do believe our consciousness may be primarily the continuous story we tell ourselves, from moment to moment, about what we did and why we did it. Our consciousness is the only reason for thinking we exist.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by HezB

    I think we can pursue asking why AND just sit, just not at the same time (or rather you can do 'em both at the same time but that is no longer 'just sitting' in the Zazen/ shikantaza sense).
    Yes yes yes.

    And so many answers come when we drop the questions. That is not giving up the search, but a true answer finding.

    So many questions that human beings ask about the universe are much like asking "Are there pink flying elephants or red flying elephants?" "Is Rome the capital of France or the capital of England?" "How many eggs can a Rooster lay?" and other like Koan.

    In our Zen Practice, by quieting the mind, we experience first hand that the universe does not function solely by the "who, what, where, when and why" that the human brain imposes on it and in the manner that humans demand of it We try to recast and define the universe in our own mental images. Our usual ideas of time, place, identity and reason are partial, both absolutely true and completely false. You are not simply who you think you are, are not only where you think you are, it is not when you think it is and ...

    Try dropping the "why" during Zazen and perhaps you will discover the limits of the question, and also a first hand answer.

    "Why" did Bodhidharma come from the West? The cypress tree in the garden, of course!

    But my father, from Brooklyn, I think had the best answer for me when I would ask a silly "why" question. He would say, "Because if my aunt had nuts she'd be my uncle".

    Gassho, J


    PS- Dad would also say that seeing pink and red flying elephants means ya best cut back on the beer.

  13. #13
    Great metaphor, very simple and refreshing. But it also made me want to run down to the local Ben & Jerry's.

  14. #14
    Stephanie
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Now. Don't give me some long explanation. Just sit.
    I'll do what I damn well want to, will :wink: :lol:

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Remember to that your answers for everything are in you Stephanie not looking or pondering the actions of others, but understanding your own actions. It seems that if you want to help anyone, you should first work with your own stuff.
    In all seriousness, I appreciate the sentiment and content of what you are saying. And here is where I agree with Buddhist teaching, particularly Mahayana, 100%. Whatever the nature of things may be, that nature lies in radical subjectivity. Whatever you see, it all arises in mind, abides in mind, declines in mind. It's the funhouse-mirror, Indra's net quality of emptiness. Hofstadter's "strange loop." I get a sense of that quality a lot. But as mind-blowing as it is, it's also somewhat of an "empty" feeling (ha). I get tired of feeling "freaked out" like that all the time. :shock:

    How did I get off on that tangent? :lol: Anyway, it's always a helpful reminder that to know "what's going on" one needs to turn the light of awareness inward. Dogen's instructions in this vein were actually incredibly helpful on the solitary retreat I did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Longdog
    In my experience asking 'why?' is a sign of feeling that things are done to me rather than accepting that things are as they are, but I have a choice as to how to re-act to them.
    Interesting. Not quite the feeling I get. For me, "Why?" doesn't arise out of a sense of victimization, but out of bewilderment. It's a sense of the absurd that gets me. Though I suppose there's a connection because that sense of the absurd has to do with a feeling that my life is random or arbitrary, that in its details it just seems silly sometimes. Not bad or even something I want to change. It's kind of a bemused quality, like "Huh?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    "Why" is a stone a stone? "Why" is a tree a tree? Whether there is a "reason" and purpose to it or not, the stone is still a stone.
    Sure. And I like stones and trees, as they are, without explanation. I generally like human beings as we are, without explanation. I like this world in all its messy glory. But I still wonder why.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    We can take it a step further and ask "why" that ocean sometimes rises up in great waves that can kill hundreds of thousands of people in one swoop. Is there a reason or purpose to it or not? Whatever the answer, the wave still rises up and does its damage.
    The funny thing is that tragedy, disaster, suffering, and misery generally aren't what prompt the why-ing. It's pretty plain to me that violence is an inherent aspect of life on Earth, and yet the heroic side of human beings is their capacity to take a different path from violence. Disaster, suffering, it all feels "real" and "true" to me, that these are the moments where love and compassion come out. It's more the humdrum tedium of life that initiates the why response. It's not a tormented reaction to suffering, but more of a general refrain that haunts me whether I'm doing something I dislike or something I enjoy, something I've chosen to do or something unchosen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    ... well, I do have some suspicions (I am actually working on a book not unrelated to this that posits a couple of ideas). I do have a couple of theories in my head.
    Of course, I'd be curious to hear them. But of course, even if I did, it likely wouldn't resolve whatever existential issue I've had for about as long as I can remember. I've fallen in love with 1,000 ideas and theories, only to find some time later that it was just a phase. Whatever the direct hit of logos comes from, I know it's not from someone else's thoughts. Or even my own. The problem is that I'm losing my faith that it comes from anywhere, even sitting, even practice. I can't quite articulate it, but I feel like there's "something there," but that whatever it is I've been doing isn't connecting me to it, and either (a) "it" doesn't exist, or (b) the 1,000 spiritual paths I've been on are "wrong." Or maybe I've just had a lot of false starts. I've had so many experiences of "This is it!" But then that feeling fades, and whatever seemed so promising or right or true, even if it still feels promising and right and true, still plainly isn't "it." What the fuck is "it"? :lol: Doesn't Dogen have a chapter of the Shobogenzo titled that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    But I do not try to profess those ideas or teach them as part of Zen Practice. And you may ask "why" I don't ...
    Actually, no, I think you'd obviously be a "bad Zen teacher" if you did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Because our Zen Practice says something like this: If there is a "god" or "grand unifying principle" or other "reason" for life, just live life. If there is no "god" and no "principle" and no "reason" for life, just live life.
    Right, and this is what frustrates me. I have such confidence in what I have discovered about the sources of joy and fulfillment in this life, in what I know to be "right," that I would live the same way whether or not there was a god or a "essence precedes existence" sort of reason or an afterlife or rebirth, etc. So why is it I can't shake this fixation on "why"? It wouldn't change how I lived that much, if at all, I don't think. I'm basically happy with my life as it is. And yet... there's this feeling that something is missing, and it's this connection with whatever the "why" question is pointing me to. Again, I certainly find it plausible that this is just some sort of brain-hiccup, but it persists nonetheless.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    And anyway, maybe if we knew a "why" it would spoil the game, like knowing the last page of a mystery story spoils the book. The result might be a truly "blah" existence or, maybe, no existence at all.
    I like that. Gassho.

    Still... :lol:

    Quote Originally Posted by HezB
    I hope having all these men telling you what to do won't scare you off.
    If men telling me what to do scared me off, I would just have to move to a different planet... :lol:

    Sometimes telling other people what to do is where we get our LOGOS from! I'm not about to spoil anyone else's fun :wink:

    Quote Originally Posted by HezB
    I think we can pursue asking why AND just sit, just not at the same time (or rather you can do 'em both at the same time but that is no longer 'just sitting' in the Zazen/ shikantaza sense).
    Right, exactly. That's what I'm doing now. I have faith in zazen that it is one of the best things one can do with one's human being-ness. So I continue to sit, and watch all these stray thoughts swirl around. If anything, the more I sit, the more often I'm struck by this "WHY?" during the rest of the day, as if getting struck with one of Zeus's thunderbolts. There's a glimmer of hope that the whole matter will resolve itself eventually. As for now, I just feel IRRITATED! :lol:

    I just keep having these moments where I'm really struck by the truth of something... The heart opens, tears come, and I know I've finally found this long-lost truth. This happened last semester with social justice and Tolstoy. And I still am moved by the truth of his teaching that one of the supreme freedoms is knowing that no one can force you to act against your conscience. And then the notion that we can build "Jerusalem" (fill in your own term/metaphor if that one doesn't do it for you) here on earth... yes! But then, it fades. I still feel these things are TRUE, and important... But I still haven't found this elusive "it," the ultimate, final truth that will shut my mind the hell up! :lol:

    Quote Originally Posted by HezB
    If we just accept (but do not engage) our neurosis in Zazen we quickly see that it is as free and 'enlightened' as everything else by nature.
    Excellent. Yes. If this wasn't the case I think I might have thrown myself off a cliff by now out of sheer annoyance with my own mind...

  15. #15
    Here's something that you might find interesting Stephanie. Do all people sit down the way that we do day after day? It's quite a priviledge to have stumbled upon this practice in our lifetime.

    Gassho Will

  16. #16
    Hi Stephanie,

    I'm basically happy with my life as it is. And yet... there's this feeling that something is missing, and it's this connection with whatever the "why" question is pointing me to. Again, I certainly find it plausible that this is just some sort of brain-hiccup, but it persists nonetheless.
    It sounds like the question is your problem, not the answer, so why not just drop the question? Are you familiar with MN 63., the Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta? If not, it might be worth having a look at.
    http://www.mettanet.org/tipitaka/2Sutta ... ta-e2.html

    Gassho
    Ken

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Kenneth

    It sounds like the question is your problem, not the answer, so why not just drop the question? Are you familiar with MN 63., the Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta? If not, it might be worth having a look at.
    http://www.mettanet.org/tipitaka/2Sutta ... ta-e2.html

    Gassho
    Ken
    A very nice reference, Ken. One of my favorites. G, J

  18. #18
    Hi Steph! I never had a chance to welcome you.

    I really like everyone's responses in this thread and I totally agree.

    Thanks for bringing that over, Kenneth. It sums up what everyone is saying. I like what Shak says at the end:

    "And why are they undisclosed by me? Because they are not connected with the goal, are not fundamental to the holy life. They do not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calming, direct knowledge, self-awakening, Unbinding. That's why they are undisclosed by me.

    "And what is disclosed by me? 'This is stress,' is disclosed by me. 'This is the origination of stress,' is disclosed by me. 'This is the cessation of stress,' is disclosed by me. 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress,' is disclosed by me. And why are they disclosed by me? Because they are connected with the goal, are fundamental to the holy life. They lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calming, direct knowledge, self-awakening, Unbinding. That's why they are disclosed by me.

    "So, Malunkyaputta, remember what is undisclosed by me as undisclosed, and what is disclosed by me as disclosed."
    Personally, I find it hard to fathom that there is a "why". I can't imagine for a second that the Universe has an agenda. In fact, it doesn't even have an agenda to exist. Scientists are now suggesting that there are multiple universes and that universes likely existed for eternity.

    Even if there is a personal God, there may STILL be no "why". Maybe God ate a big pot of cosmic beans and the big bang is nothing but one of God's farts. Oops, here we are! Or God was bored and made a little universe to play with like my daughter makes villages outside in the mud. If you asked her "why", she wouldn't even be able to answer.

    Trying to force a human conception, such as "why", onto existence is fruitless. I'm pretty sure you know this, intellectually, Steph. Maybe your problem is that you don't FEEL this. Or maybe you feel it but it makes you uncomfortable.

    Regardless, I think zen is a way to either get to the point where you can say, "mu to why" or feel comfortable without the "why".

    One of my students made the mistake of telling me that she was in graduate school to get a PhD. Ooo, she got in trouble for that! She's in graduate school to learn how to do science. Once we see that she's a scientist, we award her a PhD. Likewise, I think we practice Zen not to find the meaning of life but to FEEL/KNOW/SEE that "we" (humans, universe(s), etc) simply are what we are. Myself? Sometimes I get little flashes of it. Mostly, I forget. So I practice, practice, practice..... :lol:

  19. #19
    I'm sorry but I'm inclined to go with Stephanie on this one. I ask too many questions too. That's why I left Christianity - I asked too many questions about issues like why the Bible was the 'word of God' etc. instead of just accepting it on faith like everyone else. I get a bit suspicious if I am told not to question what I'm taught, in any group. I start to wonder if I am in a cult. I thought the Buddha told us to test everything we are taught, not to just accept things blindly on faith?

    Of course, there are pointless questions we will never get an answer to using rational thought, (that seems the point of the poisoned arrow story to me) but I think it's the just the way we humans are. If we hadn't asked questions, came up with likely solutions and then tested them in practice, it's likely our species would have died out by now, or we would still be living in caves! In my opinion it's our questioning, enquiring, wondering nature that caused us to evolve to where we are now, like it or not. Other animals don't ask questions, that's the difference between them and us. And I thought that the purpose of any good education system should be to foster this active, enquiring, open, attitude to life. Not just give instructions for how to do things? And perhaps some of us naturally have more of this questioning temperament than others?

    Zen practice and zazen helps us to realise that there are other more intuitive ways to understand and handle life, but I think right understanding of a rational kind is necessary too. I hope I'm not upsetting anyone - it's just my point of view,

    Gassho,
    John

  20. #20
    Hi Stephanie,

    I relate to your quest for why (I am a scientist by nature and a librarian by profession so researching is second nature to me).

    But one realization I've had lately is that my search for "why" is an attempt to control my surroundings. But in truth, trying to control something that can't be controlled brings me pain. I don't know if this is the same for you.

    Sometimes we just need to learn to let go.

    Gassho

    Linda

  21. #21
    Stephanie
    Guest
    Thank you, John! I share your sentiments about the value of inquiry 100%. Without inquiry and analysis, we wouldn't have the Four Noble Truths, or Dogen's answer(s) to his personal koan, "Why practice if we are already perfect as we are...?"

    And not to be rude, but I get the sense that some of you are NOT LISTENING :lol:

    I've tried to let go of "Why?" a bazillion times. I've done it through finding "answers," only to find that even if they're good "answers" I still believe in (such as love and compassion being closely related to the truth of who and what we are), after some time, it's not enough and I start wondering again. I've done it through telling myself that "Why?" is just a thought and is ultimately meaningless. I've done it by practicing mindfulness and letting go of analysis. But it keeps coming back! What you all are telling me is nothing new!

    I've used "the Buddhist toolkit" to relinquish a lot of obsessions and thought patterns. I've found zazen and mindfulness especially useful for dealing with thoughts that contribute to or deepen depression. I've made a lot of peace with my life and found a lot of contentment through the freedom zazen has granted me in not having to believe my thoughts. I'm even-tempered in any number of stressful situations, and when I start to get annoyed, I can see those thoughts for what they are and let go, etc. When I start working myself into a funk over some loss or lack, I can catch it and see the comparing mind at work and ask, "But why should your life be like that? Why does it have to be like that for you to be happy?"

    But the logos question just does not respond to this sort of practice. It always comes back. But as annoying as it can sometimes be, I'm not sure I'd live a happier, wiser, more fulfilled life if I "accepted" the "truth" that we live in a meaningless universe and that "Why?" is just an irrelevant byproduct of human thought. Maybe it's true, but if so, why bother with religion or practice at all? Just to make oneself a little calmer or happier? Couldn't you just take a pill for that? Or get a weekly massage?

  22. #22
    Stephanie
    Guest
    Linda: Gassho-

    You make an interesting point, and I think "Why?" often does emerge in response to "control issues."

    However--it is not always that, and when it is, it is not just that. I wish I could succinctly sum up every nuance of mood that goes with it, the hunger and the longing, the loneliness, the feeling of "there being something 'there'" but yet in a way I can't quite touch or discern, the hope, the despair, the joy and the sorrow and the way they are intertwined... It's not just a rational/analysis thing. It feels more like poetry than prose.

    I'm not looking for an explanation, but an understanding that is more like a feeling of connection, of being at home in the universe. I'm not even sure what it is, really. But it puts everything else in my life "on hold." I get bored or restless even with the things I enjoy, because there is a deeper yearning that pervades every encounter. I go everywhere looking for "it," trying to find people who feel it too, and always, I come out of it alienated, in ways I can't quite explain, because I meet other "seekers" all the time.

    Sometimes I wish I wasn't so bothered and could just enjoy a "normal life," as this yearning has taken over so much, and driven me to solitude even when I have not found joy in it. But at the very least, I've realized that to wish I did not have this drive for whatever-it-is is like wishing I wasn't female, or blonde, or smart. The latter two might up and change some day but for now they're part of this "body-mind package" I've got. I've got to live with this question, and maybe the question is its own reason. But it is a harsh and demanding master, and as much as I want to sometimes, I can't get away from it.

    HezB, you're right, and when I'm on the cushion is one of the only times it doesn't bother me. I don't need to justify why I sit, as sitting justifies itself. But I can't sit on the cushion forever. And I'm not cut out for the monastic life. As for the question not needing to be "a source of discomfort," see the above. Being "on the 'why?' trail" has brought me a lot of success and joy and sometimes that "religious impulse" is the most wonderful, joyful thing in the world, but it's also brought a lot of loneliness and pain.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by John
    I get a bit suspicious if I am told not to question what I'm taught, in any group. I start to wonder if I am in a cult. I thought the Buddha told us to test everything we are taught, not to just accept things blindly on faith?
    Hi John,

    There is a little difference about our "not questioning" some things in Zen Buddhism, I think ...

    First, let me tell you to question 100% everything (especially anything I tell you, or you read in Uchiyama's book, or anywhere). Doubt it all. You may have to have trust in the practice for awhile but, unless you can eventually taste these things for yourself, reject them. Unless you can taste the ice cream for yourself, do not believe it. Personally, I am a skeptic's skeptic (I do not believe in flying saucers, Big Foot, guardian angels, Buddha's in the sky, the Loch Ness monster ... from your neighborhood). What I teach here is just new ways of looking at ourselves and the world, no more complex than those mirrors in the carnival funhouse that bend light differently so that reality appears quite otherwise .

    Second, often Zen and Buddhism says that we "don't know" because, honestly, humans don't and probably can't know. Is there a god named Fred or Tom? If so, live your life, fetch wood and carry water. Is there not a god named Fred or Tom? If so, live your life, fetch wood and carry water.

    As a matter of fact, one thing very special about Zen Buddhism, I think, is that we do not demand you believe in anything you cannot experience yourself and, further, we admit we do not know some stuff and don't claim any fairy tale story that we ask folks to believe in on "faith" to make up for it.

    HOWEVER, we do learn to give some questions "no nevermind" (to quote my grandmother). It is not that we "don't know", as much as we are content to watch the play without seeing backstage, content to watch the story without knowing the playwright's name (or if there is a playwright).

    I sometimes compare our attitude to that I witnessed with a new born baby in a crib. He may not know that the shadows hovering over him, placing food in his mouth now and then, are "mom & dad". He may not know much of anything. Yet, there is a feeling of trust in those shadows. I feel that we should trust in much the same way this world that keeps sticking food in our mouths ... even though it makes us cry sometimes.

    So, our Zen attitude, perhaps, is one of trust in a world we cannot understand, trust whether it has meaning or is meaningless ... in either case, we watch the play. Things will go where they get to.

    But, if you really want an answer more than that, I will tell you: God's name is "Fred".

    Gassho, Jundo

  24. #24
    Stephanie wrote:
    In all seriousness, you present well the Zen teaching of truth as "just this." I am well acquainted with the "truth" of a cold wind or a warm bath. But yet I have an intense desire to know more, to know why... And why is that? Maybe if I could figure out why I want to know "why," it would tell me all I need to know, but it seems just as elusive to me. I think life as it is without any "big questions" answered is pretty good, so why I have such an intense hunger to know the answers to those questions is baffling at times.
    I think some of these questions are entirely reasonable . . . but I believe you are wrong to expect Zen practice to answer them. I don't expect Zen to help me understand why music is such a captivating human endeavor. So, nothing wrong with questions, but you have to ask the right people if you want an answer that makes sense. Zen is not the answer to those kinds of questions, in my opinion.


    I'm not sure I'd live a happier, wiser, more fulfilled life if I "accepted" the "truth" that we live in a meaningless universe and that "Why?" is just an irrelevant byproduct of human thought. Maybe it's true, but if so, why bother with religion or practice at all? Just to make oneself a little calmer or happier? Couldn't you just take a pill for that? Or get a weekly massage?
    I may be wrong, but I don't remember Jundo or anyone else here suggesting that the universe is meaningless. Zen practice is about coming to terms with the universe as it is, not understanding the "meaning" of it. Nihilism is not a part of Zen as I understand it. The question of "why" is fine, but Zen won't answer it, I don't think. The practice is about learning to appreciate and accept the world that has been given to us, not about learning who gave it to us or why. Those are topics for another field.

    John wrote:
    In my opinion it's our questioning, enquiring, wondering nature that caused us to evolve to where we are now, like it or not. Other animals don't ask questions, that's the difference between them and us. And I thought that the purpose of any good education system should be to foster this active, enquiring, open, attitude to life. Not just give instructions for how to do things? And perhaps some of us naturally have more of this questioning temperament than others?

    Zen practice and zazen helps us to realise that there are other more intuitive ways to understand and handle life, but I think right understanding of a rational kind is necessary too. I hope I'm not upsetting anyone - it's just my point of view,
    Hi, John. I don't think anyone is suggesting that Stephanie shouldn't have questions or should accept advice without critical appraisal. I think the issue here is the appropriateness of her questions to Zen practice. No offense to Jundo, but I don't want to know his answers about physics. Likewise, I wouldn't expect a physics book to answer a question about 17th Century counterpoint. There are answers that simply are not in the Zen "book." How to be entirely present during the experience of eating ice-cream is a Zen question. Why humans enjoy the experience of eating ice-cream is a question for a different field of study, in my opinion (cognition/psychology/etc.). Zen cannot answer all of the "big questions" because it is not about content but process and action. From this perspective, what we know is not nearly as important as how we know.

    My confused 2,
    Bill

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by DontKnow
    No offense to Jundo, but I don't want to know his answers about physics.
    According to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a race of vast pan-dimensional hyper-intelligent beings constructed the second greatest computer in all of time and space, Deep Thought, to calculate The Ultimate Answer to The Great Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. ... After seven and a half million years of computing cycles, Deep Thought's answer is:

    .................................................. ... forty two.


    "I think the problem is that the question was too broadly based..."[1]

    "Forty two?!" yelled Loonquawl. "Is that all you've got to show for seven and a half million years' work?"

    "I checked it very thoroughly," said the computer, "and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you've never actually known what the question is."[2]


    After teaching Arthur Dent about Deep Thought, Slartibartfast muses:

    I always think that the chances of finding out what really is going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say hang the sense of it and just keep yourself occupied.... What does it matter? Science has achieved some wonderful things of course, but I'd far rather be happy than right any day ... [But I am not,] that's where it all falls down of course.[2]

  26. #26
    What question does your tongue ask? Or your toe?

    Where do you end and I begin? But really, what does your toe tell you?


    You know. Do "you" have a breath? Do "You" breathe? Things do what they do, but "we" are in no way doing any of it. "I" is just what (I've heard it referred to before) self-image thinks it is.

    There really truly is no I. Only is. Whether you feel happy or sad about that is only a reaction, but "You" are not that reaction. And you is no place at all.


    G,W

  27. #27
    Thanks, Jundo.

    I actually wouldn't mind hearing your views on physics, I was simply making a point about asking the right person when you need certain kinds of answers.

    I love the Douglas Adams stuff . . .

    Bill

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    First, let me tell you to question 100% everything (especially anything I tell you, or you read in Uchiyama's book, or anywhere). Doubt it all. You may have to have trust in the practice for awhile but, unless you can eventually taste these things for yourself, reject them. Unless you can taste the ice cream for yourself, do not believe it. Personally, I am a skeptic's skeptic (I do not believe in flying saucers, Big Foot, guardian angels, Buddha's in the sky, the Loch Ness monster ... from your neighborhood). What I teach here is just new ways of looking at ourselves and the world, no more complex than those mirrors in the carnival funhouse that bend light differently so that reality appears quite otherwise .
    Thanks Jundo. I certainly agree with that. Some of the posts here seem to be suggesting that if you ask questions that means you expect to get definitive answers that settle the matter for once and for all. Questioning, to me, is just part of the process of learning. I don't always expect to get answers, or, at least, answers that make any sense to me. Doesn't koan study show that asking questions can serve as a way of showing the inadequacy of rationally thought out responses and point to a direct experience of life instead?

    Gassho,
    John

  29. #29
    What is our role in the universe?

    Why here you go:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWVshkVF0SY[/video]]

    And what is the meaning of life?
    Well here it is too:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBArMmngVH4[/video]]

    And that's all I can say about that! ops:

  30. #30

  31. #31
    As nice an idea as it is, people living in poverty aren't happier on average than those who do not.

    My experience is the opposite. People around the world living in SERIOUS, abject poverty have something the rest of us don't, globally speaking. Even in the worst and most destitute of places, the REALLY poor may not have enough for themselves, but they ALWAYS find something to share with others.
    That's happiness.

  32. #32
    As nice an idea as it is, people living in poverty aren't happier on average than those who do not.

    My experience is the opposite. People around the world living in SERIOUS, abject poverty have something the rest of us don't, globally speaking. Even in the worst and most destitute of places, the REALLY poor may not have enough for themselves, but they ALWAYS find something to share with others.
    That's happiness.

Similar Threads

  1. Ice Cream is Served ...
    By Jundo in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 01-24-2008, 07:15 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

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