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Thread: ABBA* (not the Swedish Pop Group)

  1. #1

    ABBA* (not the Swedish Pop Group)

    Someone just wrote me with a very common question.

    Its been said that nirvana is samsara. There is no
    difference between suffering in samsara and bliss in
    nirvana. If this is the case, why do we need to
    meditate? Aren't we simply buddhas-to-be just the way we
    are? Because of this question, i sometimes neglect
    meditation. I was just wondering what your opinion is
    on this issue, on why we practice if we are in fact
    already enlightened.
    I wrote back this ...

    Hi,

    Car crashes into your car, you break your leg, you lose your job because
    of it. This is Samsara. (A)

    No car, no crashing, no leg and nothing ever broken, impossible to lose.
    This is Nirvana. (B)

    Now, experiencing A is a lot different when you simultaneously
    experience A as B as well.

    Before my Buddhist Practice, I used to experience A as just A. I used to
    be sad, angry, shake my fist at the world. My leg, my car, my job, my anger!!!!!!!!

    Now, if I can experience A as B, B as A ... well, my leg is still
    broken, my car in the shop, and my job still gone ... I may even be a
    bit pissed off and sad and afraid, which is a natural human reaction ... yet,
    yet, yet ...

    ... yet, yet, yet, it is not what was before. Not at all!! Even the sadness and
    loss cannot be experienced as they were before.

    It is worth saying that some folks think our Buddhist practice is all
    about B, only B, that we should only experience B, leaving A completely
    behind. In our "Just Sitting" Way, to leave A completely behind is not life, it is to escape
    from life. We were born in A, we should live in A. Fully and completely live in screwed up A!!!!!

    Our Zen Way is to live A in B, B in A (in fact, so intimately, we say
    "not even A not even B" "not one not two" ... that means something like
    ABBA (not to be confused with the Swedish pop group!))

    To realize this, we sit Shikantaza Zazen. To make it our life, well,
    that takes a lifetime of practice.

    All of Master Dogen's "simultaneously true"perspectives as we are discussing in Genjo Koan teach us new ways to see A and B (for example, we also come to see that our broken leg is perfectly our broken leg, with nothing to add or take away from that fact!)

    Does that help?

    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #2

    Re: ABBA* (not the Swedish Pop Group)

    Hi Jundo,

    This is very helpful, thank you.
    Yesterday I asked myself "why do we differentiate success from failure?". If I break my leg and lose my job, I just break my leg and lose my job. I don't necessarily need to call breaking my leg "failure". Of course I could have avoided breaking my leg, but why would I call that "success"?
    Breaking the leg or not breaking the leg, these are just two things that can happen. I don't need to grieve over "failing", I just broke my leg and lost my job. That's it. Sure, it hurts and I will no longer have a job, but this is reality, I just have to accept it that way.

    Doing one thing is not better and not worse than doing another thing, they are exactly the same. Whatever happens, I just have to accept that and move on, so that I don't get stuck thinking about how unfortunate that was for me to break my leg, or how lucky that was for me not to break my leg.

    Gassh?,
    Alef.

  3. #3
    Stephanie
    Guest

    Re: ABBA* (not the Swedish Pop Group)

    I found this helpful too.

    I'm having more problems with B than A at the moment. I don't want everything to be nothing, but that's all I seem to find if I look hard enough.

  4. #4

    Re: ABBA* (not the Swedish Pop Group)

    Now, experiencing A is a lot different when you simultaneously
    experience A as B as well.
    Thanks Jundo, I think that strikes right to the heart of practice!

    Somewhere in my readings on the Net I saw a diagram, about the concepts of white & black or maybe light & dark, where it had a little triangular graph where it showed how dark can't exist without the concepts of both light & dark, or something along those lines. I've really wanted to find it again. Anyone know what I'm talking about??

    Skye

  5. #5

    Re: ABBA* (not the Swedish Pop Group)

    Hi Jundo

    thanks for this & for the talk today - they both have resonance for me. I think that bad of A - helps inform and balances B, one can't exist without the other. I can except this on a personal level, but I do struggle on the impact upon loved ones. My teenage daughter has been very upset this weekend about my upcoming CT Scan - the odds improve each day for me, but its big, scary stuff when your thirteen.

    Best wishes

    Jools

  6. #6
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Re: ABBA* (not the Swedish Pop Group)

    Thanks Jundo, Skye, Alef and Jools for this discussion. Equanimity is something I am working on, as I have assigned disproportionate values to A and B for much of my life. The interrelationship, or non-dual duality of A and B is the meaning of equanimity for me....

    Jools, Thanks for letting us know of your upcoming CT scan. You will be in my thoughts.

    Alex

  7. #7

    Re: ABBA* (not the Swedish Pop Group)

    Alex, if you haven't read Moon in a Dewdrop or some of Dogen's other writings, I highly recommend getting a copy from your local library or bookstore. It is the most beautiful expression of leaping beyond differentiation AND equanimity I have ever read, really powerful stuff. The audiobook is available for iPod as well, although I find myself pausing after every sentence to really let it sink in.

    http://www.audible.com/adbl/site/produc ... Cookie=Yes

    Skye

  8. #8

    Re: ABBA* (not the Swedish Pop Group)

    Quote Originally Posted by Skye
    Now, experiencing A is a lot different when you simultaneously
    experience A as B as well.
    Thanks Jundo, I think that strikes right to the heart of practice!

    Somewhere in my readings on the Net I saw a diagram, about the concepts of white & black or maybe light & dark, where it had a little triangular graph where it showed how dark can't exist without the concepts of both light & dark, or something along those lines. I've really wanted to find it again. Anyone know what I'm talking about??

    Skye
    I know this one of course ...


  9. #9
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Re: ABBA* (not the Swedish Pop Group)

    Skye,
    Thank you very much for your recommendation. I do have the four volume Nishijima/Cross Shobogenzo translation - Dogen's writings are indeed magnificent and I can see this work will take a lifetime, if the maount of time I have spent on Genjokoan is any indicator!

    I have reviewed the table of contents of Moon in a Dewdrop and notice that it includes selected fascicles from the Shobogenzo. I will look for the book in the college library here in town. Often differences in translation yield interesting nuances and revelations!

    Alex

  10. #10

    Re: ABBA* (not the Swedish Pop Group)

    Wow, I would like to have the complete Shobogenzo someday too Never mind, I was just suggesting a cheaper alternative but you're already sorted.

  11. #11
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Re: ABBA* (not the Swedish Pop Group)

    Skye,
    If you go to Alibris.com, or other good similar second hand book sites, you can find the Nishijima/Cross translation of Shobogenzo for much less than the original price, and could put together the four-volume set for a very reasonable price, one volume at a time, or as a four-volume set. All I can say from my experience is that all four volumes are more than I could fit into this life... :lol: ! I would start with Volume one!

    Regards,
    Alex

  12. #12

    Positive thinking: friend or foe?

    Hello dear all,

    Gaijin, I have been asking myself the same question and noticed that a lot of that when I think of those things in terms of MY leg" and "MY job" etc. (Surely it doesn' t hurt as much when it is somebody else's), because I tend to think of those things in relation to the self. When I am in a B situation, there is more space for YOU and WE perspectives somehow.
    Does it mean the way to equanimity lies in dropping of the "my" and "mine"?

    I remember in the 80s there was a lot of talk about affirmation and how one could make one's mind believe what one wanted. Later it developed into the positive thinking attitude when one basically takes a B ("bad") situation and makes one's mind believe it is actually something "good". Is this a healthy approach? None of those are really facts, just opinions and changing an opinion maybe can make me feel better about myself (instead of saying "I am no good and nobody wants to hire me" I can keep repeating "I am a gifted person and attract an interesting job" would I not be fooling myself? On the other hand, I can understand that feeling good about something or oneself is a much more pleasant way to go and maybe helps people to build up their self-esteem.

    Still on the other hand :roll: how much this self-esteem is worth if one gets it by making one's mind believe something that maybe is not at all true but will make me feel better about myself.

    I wonder what you all think about that.

    Cheers,

    Irina

  13. #13

    Re: ABBA* (not the Swedish Pop Group)

    My apologies, in my previous post I mean to write A where I wrote B as an example of the "bad" situation (to be consistent with Jundo's example).

    Gossho,

    Irina

  14. #14

    Re: Positive thinking: friend or foe?

    Hi Irina,

    Welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by CinnamonGal
    I have been asking myself the same question and noticed that a lot of that when I think of those things in terms of MY leg" and "MY job" etc. (Surely it doesn' t hurt as much when it is somebody else's), because I tend to think of those things in relation to the self. When I am in a B situation, there is more space for YOU and WE perspectives somehow.
    Does it mean the way to equanimity lies in dropping of the "my" and "mine"?
    Yes, I think that's a big part of it. The Buddha never tired to repeat that, whatever object or phenomena we have in mind - "That is not mine, I am not that, that is not my self.". In other words, we put ourselves under a lot of needless stress by trying to protect that something which we consider to be 'mine', 'I' or 'the self'.
    For example, I've found that when I'm in the dentist's chair it makes a big difference to be clear on the fact that it's not my pain, but rather that there simply is pain, and like all phenomena, that pain is transient. We can never escape physical pain, but we can change the way we experience it, i.e. just physical pain as it is, stripped of unnecessary emotions which tend to magnify it.

    Quote Originally Posted by CinnamonGal
    I remember in the 80s there was a lot of talk about affirmation and how one could make one's mind believe what one wanted. Later it developed into the positive thinking attitude when one basically takes a B ("bad") situation and makes one's mind believe it is actually something "good". Is this a healthy approach? None of those are really facts, just opinions and changing an opinion maybe can make me feel better about myself (instead of saying "I am no good and nobody wants to hire me" I can keep repeating "I am a gifted person and attract an interesting job" would I not be fooling myself? On the other hand, I can understand that feeling good about something or oneself is a much more pleasant way to go and maybe helps people to build up their self-esteem.

    Still on the other hand :roll: how much this self-esteem is worth if one gets it by making one's mind believe something that maybe is not at all true but will make me feel better about myself.
    Whether our thoughts are 'positive' or 'negative', they're just fantasies which we create for ourselves, aren't they? I think (haha) it's better to drop either kind of thinking and just focus on the task at hand.

    Gassho
    Ken

  15. #15

    Re: ABBA* (not the Swedish Pop Group)

    Kenneth,,

    Thanks for the welcome and the input.

    I find it easier to see pain as pain and not as my pain than emotions or feelings. Emotions as anger are very strong and take over completely so it is easy at the actual moment of getting overwhelmed by them to associate myself with them. Somehow the emotions and feelings feel more like mine than whatever happens with the physical body. :shock:

    Well, I must admit I appreciate thinking ops: and it is thanks to the intellect we actually can understand its limitations . I would agree that thinking as such is overrated: one thing is to try to solve a problem at hand and another one when I keep on playing "my top 10" thoughts that in no way are helpful. Besides, this kind of thinking is very tiring.

    Cheers,
    Irina

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