Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: Gyoji, Dokan Taisen Deshimaru Roshi

  1. #1

    Gyoji, Dokan Taisen Deshimaru Roshi

    The full article is in the link at the bottom.

    Gassho

    In the Shobogenzo, Dogen wrote, "Do not practice the bad." In the same chapter, he also wrote, "In the beginning we should try to not commit bad actions. But ultimately, this effort prolongs the conflict." Last Sunday, in mondo, a woman said to me, "I want to put an end to my bonnos, but it's very difficult." That approach is useless, the mind carries along its own contradiction.

    In the end, even if you want to act badly, unconsciously, naturally, automatically, you cannot. At this moment, genjo, power appears in the practice. If you practice every day, it is no longer necessary to think about practice or to want to practice. Repetition is very important. Dokan, gyoji are very important. In the beginning, conscious will and effort are necessary. But if you repeat this action of practicing everyday for two or three years, it becomes dokan, gyoji. You can practice good things, unconsciously, naturally, automatically.

    Even if you want to plunge into the bad current, mingle with bad people, even if you submit to bad situations and a harmful environment; through the power of gyoji and dokan, you cannot commit bad actions. This is a very important point. Unconsciously, naturally, automatically, in spite of bad circumstances, we cannot practice the bad.

    Mushotoku, muga: this is the true Way, the Dharma; this is the authentic truth, saintliness. This is an essential point in Zen. Mushotoku doesn't exist in any other religion.
    http://www.nozt.org/teachings/tdgyojidokan.shtml

  2. #2
    Stephanie
    Guest
    :lol: :lol: :lol:

    Quite a few Zen teachers have proved that one ain't true.

  3. #3
    Sorry? What do you mean? Which one?

    Gassho

  4. #4
    From my understanding Gyo means deeds, actions, or conduct; and ji means observance of precepts. So gyoji means "Pure Conduct and Observance of Precepts."

    I think the point of the article is repetition is important in practice and after we keep practicing eventually the precepts come naturally. Gyoji I think refers to our conduct in each moment. ie. The Sodo No Gyoji (Practicing the Buddha Way-Clothing, Eating, and housing, Being in Harmony with the Dharma
    If you practice every day, it is no longer necessary to think about practice or to want to practice. Repetition is very important. Dokan, gyoji are very important. In the beginning, conscious will and effort are necessary. But if you repeat this action of practicing everyday for two or three years, it becomes dokan, gyoji. You can practice good things, unconsciously, naturally, automatically.
    Could you reference those Zen teachers please (if I understand you correctly) :roll:

    Gassho Will

  5. #5
    Stephanie
    Guest
    If I thought about it really hard, I could probably easily rattle off at least a dozen, if not more. But I'm not going to call people out like that; it wasn't my point. My point was that these nice idealistic fantasies about spiritual purity just don't seem to play out in 'the real world.'

    The beast in me
    Is caged by frail and fragile bonds
    Restless by day
    And by night, rants and rages at the stars

    God help, the beast in me

    The beast in me
    Has had to learn to live with pain
    And how to shelter from the rain
    And in the twinkling of an eye
    Might have to be restrained

    God help the beast in me


    -Nick Lowe

  6. #6
    My point was that these nice idealistic fantasies about spiritual purity just don't seem to play out in 'the real world.'
    Ok.




    Gassho Will

  7. #7
    Ok
    :lol:

    Will, thanks for the link.

    Stephanie, I understand what you're saying about beasts and so forth but I would appreciate it if you would also understand that not everyone has these beasts. Also, unrealistic purity was not really the point of the essay Will linked. Take home message was: if one practices zazen in everything they do, they will naturally be less self-centered and will be in more harmony with existence. Works for me.

  8. #8
    Hi Guys,

    Thank you, Will. I found this a beautiful article saying that we should make our Zazen a natural habit in our lives, a natural foundation to our lives. And we have to learn "non-resistance". That means that we have to learn that, on some days, we may not want to do Zazen ... we may resist. Yet, we should learn to drop that resistance.

    What is important here, I think, is that those days when we resist our Practice are as important as the days in which the wheels are turning smoothly and we run to the Zafu with glee! For example, I often HATE to do a retreat of Sesshin ... at least until I get there. It messes up my schedule, messes up my life. Sometimes, I truly wish the daily "Sit-a-long with Jundo" would go away and I could go forget all about it and Treeleaf that day. That is important Practice, because so much in life we have to do despite our resistance. So, I think Deshimaru Roshi is talking about that: We don't do it because someone is compelling us, or we feel "forced"to do it. Rather, we learn to do what we resist via dropping resistance.

    Some of the Japanese terms he uses explain that:

    Gyoji, although a very rich word, means Practice.

    Dokan means the "ring of the way", or endless Practice with all things connected

    Mushotoku (one of my favorite terms) means doing something without thought of profit, goal, objective, not running after or grasping.

    Muga ... no self, dropping self, without ego to bump into other selfs

    Mujo is impermanence and constant change.

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - If you read many articles by Deshimaru Roshi, he can come across as a bit hard edge for a Soto guy, rather like a marine drill sargent (Rinzai folks are more known for that). But I understand that he was a real fun guy and a pussycat at heart. He is Nishijima's "Dharma Brother", through our "Dharma Grandfather" Renpo Niwa Roshi. So, he is my Uncle Deshimaru!

  9. #9
    Stephanie
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by TracyF
    Stephanie, I understand what you're saying about beasts and so forth but I would appreciate it if you would also understand that not everyone has these beasts.
    Depends on how you define it. Everyone has an "id." Everyone is human. People tend to react to power in characteristic ways.

    Take home message was: if one practices zazen in everything they do, they will naturally be less self-centered and will be in more harmony with existence. Works for me.
    Works for me too. I don't find your statement objectionable at all. Here's what I was objecting to:

    In the end, even if you want to act badly, unconsciously, naturally, automatically, you cannot...

    Even if you want to plunge into the bad current, mingle with bad people, even if you submit to bad situations and a harmful environment; through the power of gyoji and dokan, you cannot commit bad actions. This is a very important point. Unconsciously, naturally, automatically, in spite of bad circumstances, we cannot practice the bad.
    This sort of thinking is dangerous, and in my experience thus far, unfounded. This is the crux of my current spiritual struggle and doubts. I spent a long time looking for the ideal. I wanted to believe stuff like the above. I think a lot of people do. And you can make yourself believe it for a while. It seems to fit in with all the nice things that arise from practice. You may even think you've "overcome" the capacity "to act badly." But my experience--in my own life and in what I've seen in others'--is that this other part of us is always there, waiting. And when we think it's "gone" or "conquered" is when things get really dangerous. Of course, the "worst" examples tend to come from people in positions of power that allow them to do the sorts of things that many of us could not do even if we consciously wanted to do them.

  10. #10
    Stephanie
    Guest
    And this is a concern for me not because I still am looking for ideal purity--I've dropped that--but because it calls into question the whole shebang. What is 'enlightenment' worth? What have all of these people driven to the spiritual search been doing with themselves for millennia? I've tended to think of spirituality as the 'highest endeavor' for a person, but now I wonder if it's just a disease, or even just a symptom. Sure, zazen promotes more harmonious functioning, but so does regular exercise and a good diet. Is there more to it than that? Sure, we can see certain things about how the mind works, and so doing reduce our suffering, but is that all?

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie

    This sort of thinking is dangerous, and in my experience thus far, unfounded. This is the crux of my current spiritual struggle and doubts. I spent a long time looking for the ideal. I wanted to believe stuff like the above. I think a lot of people do. And you can make yourself believe it for a while. It seems to fit in with all the nice things that arise from practice. You may even think you've "overcome" the capacity "to act badly." But my experience--in my own life and in what I've seen in others'--is that this other part of us is always there, waiting. And when we think it's "gone" or "conquered" is when things get really dangerous. Of course, the "worst" examples tend to come from people in positions of power that allow them to do the sorts of things that many of us could not do even if we consciously wanted to do them.
    I could not agree more. We can still act badly, fall into Mara at each moment. That is what freedom entails, the freedom to do or not do. That is what the Precepts are for.

    Someone asked me yesterday why so many experienced Zen folks, after years of Zen training, still seem to have "issues" they are wrestling with, be it anger or alcohol or sex or whatever. Well, the frank answer is that those folks (all of us in one way or another) probably had those issues before they came to Zen Practice. In fact, personal problems may be what led them to Zen Practice in the first place.

    For many people, even after years and years of Zen practice, they will still have many of those issues to one degree or another ... Zen does not cure all diseases, it will not fix your acne or cure cancer. It may help train your monkey mind but Bonzo the monkey will always remain.

    Hopefully, after long time Zen Practice, we can learn to ride the wild bull better, sail the sailboat of life better, keep our monkey from pooping and snarling around the house too often.

    But we never chain the monkey, anchor the boat or neuter the wild bull. So, the freedom remains.

    Does that make sense?

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS- Yes, even some Zen and other Buddhist teachers, from time to time, have fallen off the wild bull of alcohol, sex, etc. At least, the living ones while alive. The good ones know how to get back on the bull (or the wagon) after falling off.

  12. #12
    Stephanie
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    I could not agree more. We can still act badly, fall into Mara at each moment. That is what freedom entails, the freedom to do or not do. That is what the Precepts are for.

    Someone asked me yesterday why so many experienced Zen folks, after years of Zen training, still seem to have "issues" they are wrestling with, be it anger or alcohol or sex or whatever. Well, the frank answer is that those folks (all of us in one way or another) probably had those issues before they came to Zen Practice. In fact, personal problems may be what led them to Zen Practice in the first place.

    For many people, even after years and years of Zen practice, they will still have many of those issues to one degree or another ... Zen does not cure all diseases, it will not fix your acne or cure cancer. It may help train your monkey mind but Bonzo the monkey will always remain.

    Hopefully, after long time Zen Practice, we can learn to ride the wild bull better, sail the sailboat of life better, keep our monkey from pooping and snarling around the house too often.

    But we never chain the monkey, anchor the boat or neuter the wild bull. So, the freedom remains.

    Does that make sense?

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS- Yes, even some Zen and other Buddhist teachers, from time to time (even old Deshimaru), have fallen off the wild bull of alcohol, sex, etc. At least, the living ones while alive.
    Wonderfully and honestly written, Jundo. Thank you and gassho. It does make sense.

    And y'know, I'm kind of glad that even some of the greatest teachers "fall off the wild bull." I can't fully explain why without pondering aloud for 300 paragraphs :wink:, so less just say that I'm glad things are this way.

    But yet... it stirs up my doubt quite a bit. I wonder if finding peace is really the same as finding truth, or if it's just another delusion. Part of me thinks sometimes, "Well, that's not too bad of a delusion," but accepting spiritual practice just as a way of sedating oneself in a certain way feels to me like giving up. And there are still so many questions. I react strongly to a lot of the proposed "answers" because it seems to me I can see exactly the sort of thought process behind them, and I know it's just tricking oneself. Maybe that's delusion too. I don't know.

  13. #13
    Will said
    I think the point of the article is repetition is important in practice and after we keep practicing eventually the precepts come naturally
    There is a story about a Native American grandfather who said to his grandson, "There are two wolves inside me, one good and one bad. They are fighting." And the grandson asked "Who's winning?"

    "Whichever one I feed."

    So there are all these forces in us -- love and kindness, fear and greed. And depending on where we put our attention and what we do, we reinforce certain ways of being.

  14. #14
    "Giving up" on resolving the irrationality of life isn't the goal of practice though. It seems to me shikantazen points to a third way that is orthogonal to the strive-giveup dichotomy.

    While in Rinzai this takes the form of striving so hard against these problems that you wear yourself out or have a kind of existential crisis, in Soto it looks like you just don't go there in the first place, which presents its own challenge. I can see how the different approaches might suit different personality types better, but I believe they all end up at the same place. Perhaps in Rinzai, the danger is in quitting because it is such a huge mountain to climb, while in Soto the danger is apathy in the face of going nowhere, gaining nothing??

    Skye

  15. #15
    Stephanie
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Skye
    "Giving up" on resolving the irrationality of life isn't the goal of practice though. It seems to me shikantazen points to a third way that is orthogonal to the strive-giveup dichotomy.

    While in Rinzai this takes the form of striving so hard against these problems that you wear yourself out or have a kind of existential crisis, in Soto it looks like you just don't go there in the first place, which presents its own challenge. I can see how the different approaches might suit different personality types better, but I believe they all end up at the same place. Perhaps in Rinzai, the danger is in quitting because it is such a huge mountain to climb, while in Soto the danger is apathy in the face of going nowhere, gaining nothing??

    Skye
    Excellent analysis, Skye. Thank you. I found this very helpful.

    I sometimes wonder if I tend more toward the Rinzai end of the spectrum, for purely temperamental reasons.

  16. #16
    Hi Janice,

    um, Janice, do we share the same brain? :shock:

    I was going to post that exact same quote in this thread.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie

    I wonder if finding peace is really the same as finding truth, or if it's just another delusion. Part of me thinks sometimes, "Well, that's not too bad of a delusion," but accepting spiritual practice just as a way of sedating oneself in a certain way feels to me like giving up. And there are still so many questions.
    Shikantaza is not a way of sedating oneself. Far from it. I believe, in fact, that it leads to a self-actualized, creative, spontaneous, open to any challenge and optimistic way of living ... IF done correctly. The result is not valium, but more our being truly at home in life and actively living.

    The problem is that truly living and being free means that one can fall off the wild bull now and then. Life means living in a human body, and human bodies are sometimes prone to fall down. That's all. It is like bull riding at the rodeo: If you don't want to fall off the bull sometimes, and risk getting black and blue, you best stay curled up afraid in the corner. Zen folks don't curl up in the corner.

    Skye wrote:

    Perhaps in Rinzai, the danger is in quitting because it is such a huge mountain to climb, while in Soto the danger is apathy in the face of going nowhere, gaining nothing??
    I believe in Rinzai, sometimes, the danger is also that the fast charging train up the mountain will often derail, maybe fall down the mountain. You are playing with dynamite there, which can open a road or cause an avalanche. Takes work with a good teacher, like a good explosives expert, to bring about a good result.

    Soto Practice should never be allowed to become apathy. Someone's "just sitting around" doing nothing, going no where, eating one's fill, is not anyway the same as a "Just Sitting" wherein nothing need be done (like the Beatle's song, "no doing that can't be done"), no where that we can go or need go, already full and complete. See my description on the "self-actualized" Zen personality above.

    Anyway, I think so. We are not in the valium business around here.

    Gassho, Jundo

  18. #18
    God help the beast in me

    This was an interesting poem, but one sided. why must the beast be negative?
    I couldn't help thinking of the dog who lives in my house. He's a pretty happy beast. His name is One Eyed Willie the Wonderdog. He's a Husky/rottweiler.
    He lives a pretty happy life. He's in a nice, dry house with heat. Water and food magically appear out of the sky. When he's hungry, he eats. When he's interested he plays. Sometimes he sits. He listens to the sounds, barks when he feels like it, farts with total impunity in any social setting, will hang out with anyone who wants to, and could not care less about other peoples' ideas or plans. He's always happy to see me, loves unconditionally, and will go out of his way just for a chance to sit by me. Not bad, being a beast. He embraces every bit of his own essence but has no sense of self. We all exist just for him. We ARE him, in his head. He gives not a single thought to tomorrow, and is not shaped by yesterday. He clings to nothing and accepts anything. He doesn't own a thing, and the whole world exists only in his little doggy mind. Willie is the essence of Zen.
    So, in answer to Nick Lowe's words, I simply reply, "God help me become a better beast." Or, at least help me become the wonderful person Willie thinks I am.

  19. #19
    Stephanie
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by KvonNJ
    God help the beast in me

    This was an interesting poem, but one sided. why must the beast be negative?
    I couldn't help thinking of the dog who lives in my house. He's a pretty happy beast. His name is One Eyed Willie the Wonderdog. He's a Husky/rottweiler.
    He lives a pretty happy life. He's in a nice, dry house with heat. Water and food magically appear out of the sky. When he's hungry, he eats. When he's interested he plays. Sometimes he sits. He listens to the sounds, barks when he feels like it, farts with total impunity in any social setting, will hang out with anyone who wants to, and could not care less about other peoples' ideas or plans. He's always happy to see me, loves unconditionally, and will go out of his way just for a chance to sit by me. Not bad, being a beast. He embraces every bit of his own essence but has no sense of self. We all exist just for him. We ARE him, in his head. He gives not a single thought to tomorrow, and is not shaped by yesterday. He clings to nothing and accepts anything. He doesn't own a thing, and the whole world exists only in his little doggy mind. Willie is the essence of Zen.
    So, in answer to Nick Lowe's words, I simply reply, "God help me become a better beast." Or, at least help me become the wonderful person Willie thinks I am.
    A lovely paean to your dog, Kvon.

    "Beast" is just a word I use to refer to a certain subjective experience, and it seems Nick Lowe used it similarly. No need to worry about it if it does not apply to your own experience equally well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Shikantaza is not a way of sedating oneself. Far from it. I believe, in fact, that it leads to a self-actualized, creative, spontaneous, open to any challenge and optimistic way of living ... IF done correctly. The result is not valium, but more our being truly at home in life and actively living.
    Sure. I love to sit zazen before I do sensually enjoyable things; it certainly seems to open things up. It helps me do the work I want to do with more courage, humor, and equanimity. I just always end up haunted by that "not truly at home" feeling, and sometimes the calmness of zazen feels like a patina over it, not a resolution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    I believe in Rinzai, sometimes, the danger is also that the fast charging train up the mountain will often derail, maybe fall down the mountain. You are playing with dynamite there, which can open a road or cause an avalanche. Takes work with a good teacher, like a good explosives expert, to bring about a good result.
    I like it when the train derails. The times I seem to be most at peace in my life are the most miserable, barren, and otherwise screwed up times. And I think it's because they derail the train. When the gods are pressing your face into the dirt, you know your place. Pushing my mind to and over the brink helps bring me to that place.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie
    I like it when the train derails. The times I seem to be most at peace in my life are the most miserable, barren, and otherwise screwed up times. And I think it's because they derail the train. When the gods are pressing your face into the dirt, you know your place. Pushing my mind to and over the brink helps bring me to that place.
    like being in the eye of the storm?
    sitting there watching the ravaging wind all around you and feeling the calm.
    The question is though, do you actively seek it or does it happen to you anyway?

    May the force be with you
    Tb

Similar Threads

  1. DOKAN RETURNS!
    By Jundo in forum WEEKLY FRIDAY/SATURDAY ZAZENKAI NETCASTS
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 06-08-2012, 06:34 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
  •