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Thread: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

  1. #1

    Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    Hi,

    Over at a chat forum's "Zen Buddhism" section, folks regularly get into discussions on the nature of Zazen. Often people in other traditions, such as Tibetan Buddhism, will pop in with their views on what Shikantaza ("Just Sitting") is and is not. In response, I wrote the following that I would like to post here.

    The unique quality of Shikantaza, I think, is that we do not view Zazen as meditation to get from point A to point B (e.g., "getting 'enlightened' or 'becoming a Buddha'), or as a means to achieve something (even though, by realizing this profound "non-achieving", we are actually achieving something very profound!). That is, in our perspective, finding what was there all along! I may have expressed the reason for this most clearly here:

    [Failing to see Zazen as complete is] failing to see life as "complete", missing the completeness of life, looking fruitlessly down some "Path" for life's missing pieces.

    Failing to see Zazen as complete is precisely failing to see the universe as "complete", looking fruitlessly for what you believe was stolen from the universe and hidden away.

    But I ask you: What of life is missing from life? What can possibly be missing from the universe? What are you "chasing after"?

    Thus we know that nothing is lacking from Zazen itself, which --IS-- this life itself.
    So, over the next couple of days, I will post some excerpts of what I wrote there. Sometimes, I was very powerful in my language as I was attempting to counter some strong misunderstanding that many folks have about Zazen [words in boldface are assertions about Zen Buddhism and Shikantaza by others that I was responding to] ...

    Many of the superficial disagreements here can be easily resolved, and all questions about doctrine put aside ...

    QUOTE(AllinOne @ Apr 16 2008, 03:33 AM)
    ... do the Buddha's own accounts of life-to-life rebirth ... count [since you, Jundo, say that your Zen practice is most focused on this life, here and now, and not on "becoming a Buddha" in some future life]? And considering that it is said that this knowledge [by Buddha of his past lives] was specifically necessary for his liberation, via knowledge of pratyika samutpada (dependent co-arising), how does that affect the this whole Buddhism business?




    In a moment of Zazen, all lives are lived, each moment containing life-to-life, all Buddhas past present and future. Life-to-life is Zazen, Zazen-to-Zazen is life. The Truth of dependent co-arising is fully perceived, experienced, swallowed and spit out.



    QUOTE
    Perhaps my view of shikantaza is too limited, but if you study the suttas/sutras, you'll find that the Buddha developed very very high states of concentration, and yet realized enlightenment based on his direct perception of an infinitude of former lifetimes and other people's lifetimes. You can achieve and remain in very high dhyana for eons, but in this state the effluents are merely suppressed. At least this is my understanding.



    In a moment of Zazen, all suttas are studied, concentration high and low encompassed in one instant of true seeing, all lifetimes directly known whether for self or other. Sensuality, views, becoming, and ignorance fully drop away.



    QUOTE
    "And what is the origination of the world? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises eye-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. This is the origination of the world.



    In a moment of Zazen, eye and form, consciousness and contact, feeling, craving. clinging and becoming, birth, aging, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress and despair ... no longer bind, are dropped from mind as but a dream, the dream that is the world. In a moment of Zazen.



    QUOTE(AllinOne @ Apr 16 2008, 03:43 AM)
    Are you arguing for multiple co-occurring mind-streams in an individual?



    In a moment of Zazen, the mind-streams are one, many and one ... co-occurring yet each completely its own. The streams flow up, back, both up and back, yet stand perfectly still.


    QUOTE(AllinOne @ Apr 16 2008, 03:59 AM)
    ... Perhaps you are arguing for an 'all activity is Buddha' type of thing. If so, then I would retort that unless you are having direct perception into emptiness at the time of such activity, then you are still engaging in the act. And if you're having direct perception of emptiness at the time, chances are you wouldn't be doing that.

    Or, maybe you are arguing that there is no doer, just the activity. To that I would retort that this particular activity is still outside the 8-fold path as it does not lead to cessation.



    In a moment of Zazen, 'all activity is Buddha' 'Buddha is all activity' 'all activity is all activity' and 'Buddha is Buddha'. Emptiness is directly perceived, emptiness directly perceives, activity is without time, all time is all activity, acts engage in you engage in acts, engaging is acting you, act is youing engage.

    There is no doer, just the activity. There is no activity, just the doer. Cessation leads to the 8-fold path, and nothing can be left out. In a moment of Zazen.


    QUOTE(Butsu'in @ Apr 16 2008, 11:27 AM)
    ... As per the quote that I posted a bit ago... it fits quite perfectly with the Theravadan view that celibacy is a pre-requisite for Nibbana.

    If we are to go and say that some words in the suttas/sutras are not the words of the Buddha and some are... then where does that leave us? We might as well say that none of them were spoken by the Buddha.



    In a moment of Zazen, the universe's virginity is restored, for it can never be lost, Buddhas speak the Sutra's words, Sutra's words speak the Buddha. Sutras speak Sutras, Buddhas speak Buddhas. No Buddhas no words, no words no Buddha.


    QUOTE(Huifeng @ Apr 16 2008, 01:38 PM)
    [I think because the Buddha wished his listeners to remember what he said.
    He often states the progress of learning dharma something like this:

    approach a teacher,
    have faith in the teacher,
    lend ear to the teacher,
    remember what one has heard,
    consider what one has heard, (assumes memorized)
    ask questions about what one has heard, (assumes memorized)
    etc...



    In a moment of Zazen, teachers are approached, relied upon, heard, remembered and fully realized. Teachers hear teachers and student remember students.

    In a moment of Zazen.

    Gassho, Jundo
    and

    QUOTE(riv::: @ Apr 17 2008, 01:04 AM)
    Yeeeeeeeah.

    But once you get up off your cushion and sit down at the computer, or go to work, or talk to someone, complexities, disputes, dualistic thoughts and such are not vanquished so simply and easily...

    Not holding to views, at all, that does make a difference (seems to me).

    Can you do that, Jundo?



    Hi Riv,

    I will reiterate what I wrote yesterday:

    Realization need not be an "either/or" situation. The Buddha knew perfection, yet in an imperfect human body in an imperfect world. This is the perspective of Shikantaza ... we hold views even as all views are dropped.

    The Way of Shikantaza, especially as taught by Dogen, might be termed living life on several seemingly conflicting (to a non-Buddhist perhaps) channels or perspectives, at once, hand and hand without conflict. To give a couple of quick examples, we learn to drop all "likes" and "dislikes", goals and expectations on one channel ... EVEN AS we have to have many likes, dislikes, goals and expectations to live in the world (human beings cannot function in the world without some). The result is something like having goals that we can work hard to achieve and sometimes care about intensely while SIMULTANEOUSLY having complete equanimity about whether they are achieved or not! No conflict there.

    We can call this "life on two levels that are not even one"

    In a like way, we learn to live in time while, on another channel, we taste timelessness. We live in the world of life and death while dropping all thought of "life" and "death". There are many more twin visions like this, and we experience them all at once.

    So, we see the falsity of the senses, the fiction of the "self" ... even as we go through life as if the senses and the self are really real. So, we do not reject the self as much as "see through it" (like knowing that a theatre play is just a fiction, but watching it anyway ... that theatre play is our life, after all, so we might as well live it). We are not attached to sense objects EVEN AS we must experience them as human beings. Here but (on another level) not here. We consider this to be living in Samsara that is just Nirvana, Nirvana is just Samsara.

    And in living life, moderation, non-attachment to the sensual, balance and a harmless life, abiding by the Precepts are of central import.

    [Now, you ask about whether Buddhist practice will lead us to "perfect realization", whether the Buddha was "perfect", whether we can learn to always act "perfectly" in all situations ...]

    I believe that many Buddhists are stuck in the idea that "perfect" must mean (1) perfect by human standards of how we would wish the world and people to be ideally in our selfish judgments, our small ideas of what is best (2) something that is not "imperfect", also viewed through our eyes and little brains. A moment of Shikantaza contains and surpasses all such judgments and conflicts of view, making the Buddha's "Perfect Realization" something quite otherwise than most people think when they hear words such as "Perfect" or "Imperfect".

    Is a flower "perfect" or "imperfect"? Is a weed "perfect" or "imperfect" Is a garden of weeds and flowers "perfect" or "imperfect"? Humans may tend to see a garden overrun with weeds as "imperfect", yet does the garden have such standards for itself? Is "perfection" merely to pull all the weeds out of the garden, leaving flowers alone? Or is "perfection" to live perfectly knowing that sometimes there are flowers, sometimes there are weeds, and that is perfectly the way the world is.

    Yet, despite that, we live in moderation, abide by the Precepts, act gently as we can ... in other words, pulling those weeds that can be pulled.

    And through it all we sit Zazen. A moment of Zazen is all of this. Thus Zazen is perfect, Buddha is perfect, the garden is perfect.

    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #2

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    Hi Jundo,

    That's beautiful. I hope those folks at E-Sangha realize how fortunate they are to have you there.

    Gassho
    Ken

  3. #3

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    Agreed, thanks for shining some light over there.

    Theories of the mind are also constructions of the mind. The only way to avoid an infinite regress of subjectivity is leap beyond the many and the one, that's the power of it. But how do you explain it to people so blindly dependent on rationality?

    If zazen is the front door to the Buddha-realm, it is a large and heavy door, but once it is open, the inside and the outside are connected as one, yet still separate. Some other ways, to me, are like building a huge ladder one toothpick at a time to scale the city walls. Once it is built and get to the top of the wall, you might find its a long drop on the other side and get stuck up there. And besides you spent so much time building it.........

    Skye

  4. #4

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    I agree with Skye and Kenneth. Jundo is keeping the e-sangha folks aware of some of the diversity of Buddhist thought.

    My opinion is that the perspectives that Jundo shares here at treeleaf are in the closest accord with the way the world seems to work to me, but we, too, should not fall guilty of thinking we are the end-all of Buddhist viewpoints. Otherwise, we are guilty of the same myopia we are sensing at e-sangha.

    Some of the disagreement may be the epistemological gulf across which we stare at people from other cultures. It may not be possible for them to see the world in the way we see it. Likewise, we cannot understand their worldview either. We can communicate and learn things, but the way in which we make sense of the world is completely intertwined with our culture/race/socioeconomic status/gender/etc. It is my opinion that there is a "ground-state" that zazen is a direct channel to that is not victim to these conditionings, but it is beyond my capability to understand the roads that folks from other cultures must travel to reach that same state. Maybe they have to conceive things that way to reach the truth, I don't know.

    So, Jundo, keep preachin' bro . . . the rest of us should remember that the e-sangha discussions are based on many of the same disagreements that Buddhists have been arguing about for ages . . . And as we walk on our path, we should be careful not to congratulate ourselves too much about having found the best way lest we step on a fellow traveller who may be moving slightly slower than us (they may also be carrying more baggage, cultural and personal, than we are).

    I say this simply as a caution (which I know could be presumptuous), not as an accusation toward anyone here.

    Gassho,
    Bill

    BTW: I agree completely with Jundo's previous explanation of his primary beef. Folks from the Varjayana tradition probably should not be trying to educate folks about Zen and shikantaza. Jundo would not (I assume, anyway) try to teach about visualizing deities in Vajarayana meditation.

  5. #5

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    Some of the disagreement may be the epistemological gulf across which we stare at people from other cultures. It may not be possible for them to see the world in the way we see it.
    Being a teacher of Culture in China for some years, teaching thousands of students and a Zen practitioner, has proven this theory wrong. We are all pretty much on the same page. Being human. Culture, is just a by product of the usual ordinary mind and has absolutely nothing to do with practice. This is the reason why Zazen has survived for thousands of years. It is the simplest thing one can do. Where is your culture when you are sitting?

    G,W

  6. #6

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    Hi, Will. It is not a theory, just an opinion.

    It is my opinion that there is a "ground-state" that zazen is a direct channel to that is not victim to these conditionings, but it is beyond my capability to understand the roads that folks from other cultures must travel to reach that same state.


    Will wrote:
    Being a teacher of Culture in China for some years, teaching thousands of students and a Zazen practitioner, has proven this theory wrong.

    Your experiences prove things to you, but not to me. Be lamps unto ourselves and all that . . .

    Will wrote:
    Culture, is just a by product of the usual ordinary mind and has absolutely nothing to do with practice.
    Really?

    My understanding is that interdependence/emptiness suggests that there is nothing that can be separated from our practice. Are you suggesting that your practice is somehow not culturally situated? The lotus position, oryoki, gassho . . . those are not culturally created aspects of our practice? The food we eat is cultural . . . food affects body, body and mind are not-two. Life is practice, practice is life, I think.

    I agree that all people are fundamentally the same, but on top of that foundation there are myriad ways that life and the dharma manifests themselves. The informality with which we address one another here, or the way you call Jundo "Big J", or the way we can freely question teachings and teachers are all cultural. Not everyone does this. The clothes you wear, the songs you write, etc. are also cultural (I haven't heard any 17-note per octave scales, or doumbek rhythms, or classical voice-leading, etc. in your music). Some cultures allow wife beating and honor killings, with interdependence, these cultural factors affect everyone in those cultures. I agree that zazen is beyond this, but the world in which we walk around affects us in myriad and subtle ways. People born in countries not accustomed to questioning authority will have developed other ways to get to the truths that we in the West may be able to get at from a different angle. The fact that you cannot sit (neither can I ) in the full lotus to meditate and the amount of pain in your legs you deal during sitting with is partly due to being raised in a culture in which skateboards are the norm amongst young folks and the resulting injuries (plus a culture that doesn't equate flexibility with fitness as some cultures do).

    My primary point was simply that it seems counterproductive when we as a group begin the e-sangha stuff. They have their practice, we have ours. Jundo helps them understand shikantaza and Zen because they are outside that world and, therefore, make suppositions based on their
    cultural and religious backgrounds (which cannot be separated). I think he is correct to do that.

    Just a difference of opinion, I suppose.

    Gassho,
    Bill

  7. #7

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    Yes, we are all precisely the same but different, different but just the same.

    Gassho, Big J

  8. #8

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    Are you suggesting that your practice is somehow not culturally situated?

    Yep. We have things we prefer to eat, but really, we just eat when it's time to eat.

    The lotus position, oryoki, gassho . . . those are not culturally created aspects of our practice?
    Nope

    The clothes you wear, the songs you write, etc. are also cultural
    I wear clothes that I bought at a store. Whether I bought them in China or Afganastan. It's what's under the clothes around the clothes, through the clothes that counts. And I am not buying clothes at this moment and the clothes being bought is where? I can't see it.

    (I haven't heard any 17-note per octave scales, or doumbek rhythms, or classical voice-leading, etc. in your music
    You might. Who knows?

    People born in countries not accustomed to questioning authority will have developed other ways to get to the truths that we in the West may be able to get at from a different angle.
    Like what? Standing?

    The fact that you cannot sit (neither can I ) in the full lotus to meditate
    Are you sure about that?


    helps them understand shikantaza and Zen because they are outside that world
    Understanding what the "world" is, is the matter.

    One world. No world.

    Just a difference of opinion, I suppose
    Kodo Sawaki:

    "Everyone talks about their own point of view, but who really cares? It’d be better if you just kept your mouth shut!

    Some say, “Who do you think I am anyway?” An ordinary person, what else?
    Some are proud of their wealth, others of their name and position, still others of their satori. In this way they’re just showing off how ordinary they are – people these days are so stupid!

    You cry out, “Peace, peace!”, but if you would only be quiet, it would be so much more peaceful. You say, “In my opinion...”, but it’s precisely when opinions and theories come into the picture that the bickering starts.

    “Both you and me are just ordinary people.” [Prince Sh?toku, 17-Article Constitution]
    Since, in any case, it’s just ordinary people who wage war on each other, everybody is wrong, friend as much as foe. The winner and the loser are in any case just ordinary people.
    It’s so sad to watch the world’s conflicts. There’s such a lack of common sense. One hothead swings a sword, another"

    Gassho

  9. #9

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    Will, I'm not sure what that has to do with Bill's main point, which I agree with:

    My opinion is that the perspectives that Jundo shares here at Treeleaf are in the closest accord with the way the world seems to work to me, but we, too, should not fall guilty of thinking we are the end-all of Buddhist viewpoints. Otherwise, we are guilty of the same myopia we are sensing at e-sangha.
    Surely you're not saying Soto Zen is the "only true way".
    I don't want to see this devolve into an argument about social relativism!

    Skye

  10. #10

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    Okay, guys, let me put it another completely different way:

    No, we are all different but just the same, precisely the same but different. :roll:

    Gassho, Little J

  11. #11

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    :lol:

    Gassho

  12. #12

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    Once again, I found a quote from a Zen teacher who says things so much better than I. This is from Zoketsu Norman Fischer's Everyday Zen website:

    I have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as American Zen, just as there isn't and never was any such thing as Japanese Zen, Korean or Vietnamese Zen or Tibetan, Thai, or Burmese Buddhism. Japanese or American or Tibetan or Korean Buddhism only appear to exist from the outside. From the inside there is only the effort to practice as honestly and effectively as we can, given our conditions. This is what practitioners have always done throughout the centuries. The Chinese never tried to make Chinese Buddhism: they were just trying to practice. The Tibetans never tried to make Tibetan Buddhism: they just wanted to find happiness and liberation. I see now how much is involved in practicing, and in going on practicing. I see now how one thing leads to another and institutions and establishments are set up. This is something inevitable and useful. It is what happens when people want to practice and continue practicing "suffering and the end of suffering," which is neither Japanese nor Indonesian nor Irish."

    After reading this, my guess is that Will was making the point I colored blue and I was making the point I colored green. Does that seem right, Will?

    Gassho,
    Bill

  13. #13

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    Yep. I guess so. And the green leads to the blue.

    Thanks Bill

    Gassho Will

  14. #14

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    Hi,

    I will post another couple of items I wrote over at E-Sangha ...

    QUOTE(genkaku @ Apr 16 2008, 08:09 PM)
    Dear aebaxter -- If you believe we are imperfect, there will be a problem. If you believe we are perfect, there will be a problem. Just keep up with your good practice and what you believe will no longer be a problem.


    I concur in this. I do not teach that we are "perfect as we are". I say that we are perfectly what we are, perfectly imperfect, perfectly beyond all idea of "perfection" and "imperfection".

    Now, that being the case, lead your life so as not to do harm.

    Gassho, Jundo
    "Perfect" (samyak) is just a perfect and full Buddha (samyaksambuddha) who is omniscient with regard to all aspects of everything (sarvakarajnana), and perfectly free from all afflictions.

    That just does not happen with your Zazen. There is no reason it should. This does not impugn your Zazen, but holding that your Zazen is the equivalent with anuttarasamyaksambodhi, highest, perfect, full awakening, well, to be polite-- let's just say you are totally exaggerating.

    N


    Zazen is perfect: perfectly what it is, perfectly without defects, perfectly lacking nothing, perfectly complete.

    Thus is the Buddha's realization perfect and complete in that moment, and all afflictions perfectly resolved and defects cured. Perfect knowledge is attained.

    Need a mountain be made more a mountain? Is the 'Venus d'Milo' "imperfect" for her missing limbs? In gazing at a single blade of grass, do I not perfectly see the whole cosmos? In this way is life, you, Buddha, mountains and old Venus perfectly that ... all in a moment of Zazen.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Hi,

    I would like to address some misconceptions about Shikantaza that I see here that incorrectly color many of the statements made by non-Shikantaza folks ...

    To people who don't get the point, the Practice may seem completely illogical, as if I were describing "climbing a mountain by never getting out of bed". Obviously, that is impossible to do. We have to revolutionize how we see the world (climb the mountain) and that take lots of work (both on the Zafu and throughout our day to day lives).

    However, in Shikantaza, we have an unusual way to climb the mountain. It involves several seemingly conflicting (to non-Buddhists) viewpoints that we learn to hold within without the least conflict: (1) As we climb up the mountain, sweat pouring from our brow, we must come to realize that there is no where to go, no mountain to climb, no progress even as we proceed forward; (2) We further realize that each individual step is itself "climbing the mountain completely" and is a perfect and complete step in and of itself; (3) Further, we realize that the mountain is already climbed even before and while we climb it, that we have fully arrived before we even get there!!; (4) We realize that a mountain can never be fully climbed or perceived because, like life, the possible paths and changes in scenery, its stones and grass, are endless in number; (5) We realize that by truly perceiving even one blade of grass or a single stone, the entire mountain is fully perceived; (6) We realize that the mountain is actually climbing us; (7) We realize that the climbing is actually we-ing the mountain; (8) We realize that the path needs to be kept clear of weeds and brush if it is to be passable; (9) We realize that the path is just the path, weeds and brush just weeds and brush; (10) We realize that mountain climbing is sometimes fun and cool and pleasant, sometime dull and hot and unpleasant; (11) We learn that the mountain does not think "fun/cool/pleasant" or "dull/hot/unpleasant" (11) We realize that climbing a mountain takes a lot of time; (12) We realize that climbing the mountain --IS-- time and --IS-- 'We'; (13) We realize that climbing a mountain is timeless (14) {NO WORDS HERE} ... I could go on and on, as there are countless more like this. We learn to hold each and all simultaneously, without the slightest conflict.

    Together with all that, we keep trudging up the mountain step by step. Thus, "A single step upon the mountain is the mountain fully climbed", i.e., "A moment of Zazen is Enlightenment Itself"

    Unless you come to see Zazen (as Shikantaza) that way (as the entire New York Transit and Highway system, and not just a single avenue heading north from 'A' to 'B'), you will not get it. I think most Buddhists think that they are trying to get from A (delusion) to B (Enlightenment). All this talk about "ordinary beings" and the path to "becoming Buddha" is just their seeing the one road that goes from A to B. They do not see that "Enlightenment" is the City of New York itself, and "Delusion" (like the old movie title) trying to "Escape from New York".


    QUOTE(Namdrol)
    Not terribly effectively, all this cutting and cutting-- its like taking a machete to the Amazon.

    No matter how much one cuts, if it is not cut at the very root, it just grows back-- and that in the nutshell is the problem with your Zazen, and all meditation of ordinary people for that matter, whether sutra or tantra. You are just cutting the leaves and branches, and not getting to the root.


    I just came from the dentist, so let me answer this way:

    Some people treat so-called "Delusion" like a bad tooth to be pulled out (pulled out by the root, to use your image). That just creates an empty gap, though you believe that the gap will naturally be filled with a bright new tooth. Not by itself it will not.

    Instead the way to take care of one's teeth and smile is to tend to their care every day, brushing and flossing and seeing the dentist regularly, allowing the dirt and plaque to accumulate and repeatedly wiping it away. The important thing is to know that getting food and dirt in your teeth with every meal is natural, that there is nothing "wrong" with it even as we brush and floss, or that there is not even any true "dirt" (See the famous poem by the 6th Patriarch).

    You know, in my real garden I pull out lots of weeds by the roots. That is necessary. But, soon enough, other weeds grow back. That is just nature and cannot be completely avoided. I just have to accept the fact that a garden is both flowers and weeds ... even as I keep pulling weeds.

    In fact, I dare say that envisioning a garden that is always only flowers, and never weeds, is a dream. In fact, it would be an artificial, lifeless place, like a hothouse garden, a step short of planting plastic flowers. The trick, instead, is to tend to the weeds, and pull weeds, even as we allow the garden its true and wild nature. I think. To think otherwise may be a mistaken view of gardening, and of Buddhism, I think.

    (Question: Is that "sudden" "gradual" "both" or "neither"???)

    QUOTE(DustyZafu)
    There is little point in confusing a single conquered manifestation of the poisons with a total, permanent victory over them. Anyone who engages in introspection should be acutely aware that he is still prone to greed, hatred, and delusion... until the time when he isn't. Here we've seen temporary pacification (if we even assent that his practice accomplishes that, which isn't clear) explicitly confused with something it isn't.

    However, there is something to be said for an ordinary person changing his mental habits and we can accomplish this through meditation.

    QUOTE(DavidRinzai)
    If this was true about Zazen then one would be fully realised when Zazen is finished
    No one can sit on their bum all their life.
    If all the suttas/sutras were realised in one moment of Zazen, What happens about said realisation once Zazen is over?



    Zazen is never over, even when it is over for the day. (As well, Zazen is everything during the day: Washing the dishes is Zazen, going to the bathroom is Zazen). One is fully realized even when one does not realize that one is fully realized. It is vital that this be kept in mind.

    Weeds grow back even as we pull them from the garden by the roots. To fail to understand this is to fail to understand both gardens and Buddhism (imho). To demand that "only a garden completely without weeds = enlightenment" is dream Buddhism, and completely misunderstands the Buddha's message. This is so, even as we pull out weeds.

    Not to realize that one is originally enlightened is primordial delusion. To quote the Heart Sutra ...

    No ignorance, no end to ignorance;
    No old age and death; no cessation of old age and death
    No suffering, no cause or end to suffering,
    No path, no wisdom and no gain.
    No gain – thus Bodhisattvas live this Prajna Paramita
    With no hindrance of mind –
    No hindrance therefore no fear.
    Far beyond all such delusion, Nirvana is already here.


    Gassho, Jundo

  15. #15

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    Thank you for your wisdom, Jundo.

    Gassho,
    Skye

  16. #16

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    That was perfect Jundo! Beautifully written and a pleasure to read - Thank you!

    Gassho
    Dirk

  17. #17

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    Thanks, Jundo.

    Even if you are not getting through to those folks, your e-sangha posts are helpful teachings for me.

    Gassho,
    Bill

  18. #18

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    This whole thread is great. I've really learned quite a bit.

    So, Jundo is saying something I've read repeatedly in zen literature. If I understand it correctly, Zazen is simply a glimpse into the nature of satori, a state in which all delusions and judgments derived thereof are dropped. It is termed "a practice" because, practicing is a path to achieving true enlightenment. Also, since the vast majority of goals in our life are based on illusions, the quest for enlightenment should not be thought of in terms of these false goals. Nevertheless, we climb the mountain and practice, practice, practice.

    What I don't understand in some of the posts at e-sangha is why some people are assuming that shikantaza is the only practice in zen. The idea is to practice zazen in every thing you do. So why the comments about sitting on your duff all day? That comment was by a guy nicknamed DavidRinzai. I find it strange that he would interpret Jundo's posts in this way.

    Also, I am confused by Namdrol's post. I'm not being a smart alek here. I have serious questions. Is there a special sauce in certain Buddhist sects that can override various forms of meditation and mindfulness practice? I understand in Pureland that people are specifically entreating a higher being (is this right?). Is that what Namdrol is talking about? I guess he practices Vajrayana Buddhism, yes? Bill mentioned something about visualizing deities. So, like Pureland, are these deities the special ingredients missing in zen. So without the deities, you're hacking away at weeds and never getting anywhere?

  19. #19

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    Hi Tracy,

    Quote Originally Posted by TracyF

    So, Jundo is saying something I've read repeatedly in zen literature. If I understand it correctly, Zazen is simply a glimpse into the nature of satori, a state in which all delusions and judgments derived thereof are dropped. It is termed "a practice" because, practicing is a path to achieving true enlightenment. Also, since the vast majority of goals in our life are based on illusions, the quest for enlightenment should not be thought of in terms of these false goals. Nevertheless, we climb the mountain and practice, practice, practice.
    One has to be cautious in reading 'Zen' books (or other Buddhist books) because 'Zen' really comes in two somewhat different flavors. I have spoken about this before.

    On the one hand is the flavor of those Zen schools that teach that we are out to achieve something, usually called 'Satori' or 'Enlightenment', and this is done though Practice, primarily Zazen (and typically Zazen focused on 'solving Koans'). This perspective, to paint with a broad brush, is usually associated more with the 'Rinzai' school (or lineages that are 'Rinzai-Soto hybrids, like Maezumi Roshi's lineage and the Sanbokyodan) than traditional Soto school teachings.This 'Satori' clears away illusions and lets us realize our 'True Self before our mother and father were born'.

    On the other hand, the traditional Soto teaching (as represented by Dogen, for example) is that what we need to 'achieve' is the realization of radical non-achievement. We both see through life (seeing that all phenomena are impermanent, unsatisfactory and lack 'self-hood') AND that all phenomena and life in general are 'just what they are' with not a darn thing to change. This realization is illusions cleared away, our 'True Self', now and before our mother and father were born. The 'Koans' melt away and are resolved, WIsdom and Compassion manifest. We drop all judgments and categorizations about life, likes and dislikes, and just allow things to be even beyond ideas of "being" or "not being" (although, of course, we simultaneously require judgments, 'being/not being' and other ideas, catergorizations and likes-dislikes in order to live daily life, so we keep these on another 'channel' at the same time). The way we realize this is not by thinking that 'Practice" (such as Zazen) is to achieve 'enlightenment', but that Practice and all of life --is-- already enlightenment itself.

    The key to our approach is that giving up all idea of a revolution --IS-- a revolution achieved, for this is attaining non-attaining!

    The difference between the two approaches may be like, in the first case, running all over looking for your nose, and in the second case, finding your nose by going no place and realizing it was there all along and you did not need to do anything to 'find' it! I like to think that both approaches get you to the same place in the end (which is no place, and just your nose being where it belongs), but 'Zen' books can be misleading as they are phrased differently depending on the perspective, but don't often say that they are of one type or the other. One of the most radical examples of the first 'goal oriented' types is 'Three Pillars of Zen' (a book I do not recommend because of its radical insistence on an explosive, life changing 'Kensho' experience) and books by D.T,Suzuki, and of the second type, 'Opening the Hand of Thought' (which we are reading in the Book Club) and 'Zen Mind Beginners Mind' by Shunryu Suzuki (don't confuse your Suzukis!!).

    So around here I teach 'Just Sitting' Shikantaza, which means that we practice very very hard for no goal at all, in order to realize that there is nothing about life to add or take away, it all is what it is ... like a mountain is just a mountain, and the 'Venus d'Milo' is perfectly the 'Venus d'Milo' despite her missing limbs.


    What I don't understand in some of the posts at e-sangha is why some people are assuming that shikantaza is the only practice in zen. The idea is to practice zazen in every thing you do. So why the comments about sitting on your duff all day? That comment was by a guy nicknamed DavidRinzai. I find it strange that he would interpret Jundo's posts in this way.
    Maybe because he is David RINZAI??


    Also, I am confused by Namdrol's post. I'm not being a smart alek here. I have serious questions. Is there a special sauce in certain Buddhist sects that can override various forms of meditation and mindfulness practice? I understand in Pureland that people are specifically entreating a higher being (is this right?). Is that what Namdrol is talking about? I guess he practices Vajrayana Buddhism, yes? Bill mentioned something about visualizing deities. So, like Pureland, are these deities the special ingredients missing in zen. So without the deities, you're hacking away at weeds and never getting anywhere?
    Vajrayana and so-called 'Esoteric Buddhist' Practice is different from 'Just Sitting' in many ways, one being that we do not focus upon or call upon deities and such in our meditation. "Pureland is also different, and is more focused on "going to Buddha heaven" when we die, and has many aspects very similar to Christianity (substitute "Amida Buddha" for "Jesus" and the "Pureland" for "Heaven"). There are many other differences, and I prefer our simplicity and directness without the magic and mystery (most of it, I think, meaningless mystery). Perhaps, though, we all get to the same place in the end although different ways up the mountain.

    Gassho, Jundo

  20. #20

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    So many things on the menu. I just can't choose which one I want. Cherry Cheescake is great for the pallate, but not very nutritous, so I'm told. I haven't tried it. I think I'll just stick with the noodles for now. I did try the mocha almond fudge triple choco surprise, but it just left me bloated.

    G,W

  21. #21

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    So many things on the menu. I just can't choose which one I want. Cherry Cheescake is great for the pallate, but not very nutritous, so I'm told. I haven't tried it. I think I'll just stick with the noodles for now. I did try the mocha almond fudge triple choco surprise, but it just left me bloated.

    G,W
    You're making me hungry! :wink:

  22. #22

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    Thanks for the reply, Jundo. Yes, I understand that our goal is non-goal. What I didn't understand is why DavidRinzai was calling it just sitting on your duff because it is sitting on your duff... but, then again, it definitely isn't. But you're right, I just realized that he's thinking that without the koans, you're just sitting on your duff and even if you practice being in the present in everything you do, it's still like you're just doing nothing. That makes sense.

    Funny you mention DT Suzuki and Kapleau's books. Those were the first two books I tried to read about zen. I didn't finish either one. Not because they weren't interesting on an intellectual level but because they weren't working for me on a spiritual level (even though both stressed not to philosophize zen). Suzuki's book has a nice introduction to the history of zen. I appreciate that. Kapleau's book was actually quite nice at the beginning when he was talking about the basics and the middle when he discusses Bassui and presents examples of his dharma talks. Then he gets into the kensho-satori experiences and I was simply not connecting. To be honest, all the talk about grasping oxes and being chased by maras were just to dramatic for me. And people always got stuck on "mu" and then became enlightened. Definitely not working for me because it was waaaay too dramatic for my tastes.

    Yeah, a buffet is good. People should stick with what works for them. When I go to a buffet, I never have a hard time picking out what I want. I like a little TNH and a little Dogen. It's like putting chocolate in my peanut butter. Some people think that's disgusting but I think it's two great tastes that taste great together! :mrgreen: :wink:

  23. #23

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    Quote Originally Posted by TracyF
    Thanks for the reply, Jundo. Yes, I understand that our goal is non-goal. What I didn't understand is why DavidRinzai was calling it just sitting on your duff because it is sitting on your duff... but, then again, it definitely isn't. But you're right, I just realized that he's thinking that without the koans, you're just sitting on your duff and even if you practice being in the present in everything you do, it's still like you're just doing nothing. That makes sense.
    In "Just Sitting", our "doing nothing" is definately not "our doing nothing".

  24. #24

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    Well just to throw in my 2c, I found DT Suzuki's Introduction to Zen quite helpful when I was starting out. What stuck with me was the way he described Satori as "nothing special", nothing more or less than that feeling of being in the moment, doing whatever you're doing. The nonsensical stories of old Zen Masters I did not understand, but I felt it was OK not to understand, and that they would make more sense later.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    In "Just Sitting", our "doing nothing" is definately not "our doing nothing".
    What baffles me is how anyone that has read any of the living words by Zen Masters could ever mistake Zazen for a waste of time. I suppose to an outsider the difference being not-doing and non-doing is not obvious, but amongst all Buddhists I would expect an appreciation of emptiness on some level. And on top of that, a modicum of respect and trust for the old teachers' authenticity...

    Skye

  25. #25
    Senior Member Kent's Avatar
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    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    Jundo said it best when describing Shikantaza in relation to other practices, "There are many differences and i prefer our simplicity and directness without the magic and mystery". Gassho Kent

  26. #26

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    I think what the Jundo has said is right. I like his description of Shikantaza.

    In my oppinion, all is just enlightenment it self. This is the only words that I can say.
    Zen is not related to words and perceptions. So..... "Just Sit".

    Gassho, Shuidi

  27. #27

    Re: Jundo's Descriptions of Shikantaza

    Quote Originally Posted by zoukithustra
    Quote Originally Posted by TracyF
    Funny you mention DT Suzuki and Kapleau's books. Those were the first two books I tried to read about zen. I didn't finish either one. Not because they weren't interesting on an intellectual level but because they weren't working for me on a spiritual level (even though both stressed not to philosophize zen). Suzuki's book has a nice introduction to the history of zen. I appreciate that. Kapleau's book was actually quite nice at the beginning when he was talking about the basics and the middle when he discusses Bassui and presents examples of his dharma talks. Then he gets into the kensho-satori experiences and I was simply not connecting. To be honest, all the talk about grasping oxes and being chased by maras were just to dramatic for me. And people always got stuck on "mu" and then became enlightened. Definitely not working for me because it was waaaay too dramatic for my tastes.

    ... I like a little TNH and a little Dogen. It's like putting chocolate in my peanut butter. Some people think that's disgusting but I think it's two great tastes that taste great together! :mrgreen: :wink:
    Wow. If you are talking about Suzuki's Manual for Zen Buddhism and Kapleau's Three Pillars of Zen (did he write anything else, anyway?) then I have to say my experience has been EXACTLY like yours. I read a lot of the mu and satori accounts in Three Pillars, but felt like I couldn't apply them to my practice, especially since I am a beginner.

    I started off on TNH's books (nice abbreviation!), and I still like those, but I just picked up a collection of Dogen's writings called "Beyond Thinking," and I find it to be a great complement to my Thich Nhat Hanh books for practice! A lot of his writing does seem lofty and/or abstract, but to me Dogen writes in an inviting, almost "grandmotherly" tone, (as I've heard certain teaching styles referred to), especially in "Recommending Zazen to All People." It's nice to know someone who's had such similar experiences as me in trying to apply book-learning to practice!

    Gassho,

    Zouk
    Hey Zouk! The Suzuki book I read was "Essays in Zen Buddhism". Yeah, I do enough "book larnin'" for work. I wasn't looking for that with Buddhism. I prefer something more inspirational for now.
    Skye wrote:
    What baffles me is how anyone that has read any of the living words by Zen Masters could ever mistake Zazen for a waste of time.
    That's how I read DavidRinzai's post and was also baffled. Again, I guess he thinks it's waste of time without the koans but, still, I was under the impression that Rinzai also includes Shikantaza. Am I wrong about that?

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