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Thread: A Couple of Things ...

  1. #1

    A Couple of Things ...

    Hi,

    I posted a couple of things on e-sangha that I thought to post here too. The second was BANNED on e-sangha, and has since disappeared from public sight, so you know it must be good!

    The first is in answer to a question about whether our "Just Sitting" Shikantaza is a form of 'one pointed' samadhi:

    [Comment by Red_dust]I can say I have experienced bare awareness, through working breath/insight meditation and that is the closest I can come to what you describe in your Zazen method. I work in resting in this awareness 24/7. I am not very good at this, so this is where practice is for. There is a flow of data, data slows down and stops, so does breath, so does thoughts, nothing disturbs sense doors and sitting does not exist, there are no moments either during this time in meditation and there is this awareness, even if sitting goes on for hours.
    Hi Red,

    What you describe as "bare awareness" is not (if I am understanding you) what I was taught and teach as our manner of "Shikantaza" in Master Dogen's way (not too imply, of course, that our way is the only way to sit Zazen). As opposed to a 'one pointed' focus, ours is an "open and spacious" awareness focused on everything and nothing, here and everywhere and no place in particular. I would describe it as being fully present in this world, yet seeing though this world. Such one pointed states of Samadhi as you describe may and do come, but we do not try to force such states or stay there (in your own words) "24/7". In fact, it seems to us (if I may speak for myself ... other "Just Sitting" practitioners may have other views) that such a state as you describe removes one from the totality of reality into a narrow place where reality is stripped or removed of its variety ... Instead, we think that this real world, where we are, is the very place realization must be manifest. Otherwise, it is like an empty stage without a play, actors or theatre to bring it to life.

    On the other hand, what we experience in "Just Sitting" is (it seems to me) everything you describe too. How is that possible? Well, I would say that it is as if we are sitting with several seemingly very different perspectives at once (different but whole, harmonious and 'not two'). So, even while sitting in this world of time and space, sitting in the mud and dust, eyes not closed (we sit with eyes a bit open) and allowing thoughts to come and go like clouds through a clear, blue cloudless sky, amid thought and delusion ... simultaneously, without a gap ... we taste that without data, breath, thought, disturbance, sitting or not sitting, delusion, time's flow ... blue sky without a cloud or even thought of "sky" or "blue".

    You also write ...

    [Comment by Red_dust]Or thoughts are flowing, body may hurt, breath is boring, minutes drag on for hours and this awareness does not move, it's like a rock that the data from sense doors flows around. This is as far as I have been able to go.
    For us, it is true whether thoughts flow or do not flow, body hurts or is fully forgotten, breath is felt or dropped from mind, minutes drag on or time stands still, if we are a rock or if we are rolling ... it is all the same, each the immediate and wondrous manifestation of enlightenment.

    [Comment by Red_dust] I do not understand and have never heard of a moment of Zazen, as you describe. For me it does not make sense, a moment is a unit of something and limited in scope, unless you are talking about principles which are describing something that is not a thing, like the eternal moment called now. In my Buddhist studies reality as it is is not described this way.
    Yes, the "this moment" I describe is perfectly whole and complete unto itself, yet without borders and duration. It is not long or short. It contains all moments and no moments in "this one moment".
    [Comment by Red_dust] If I were to describe awakening per my limited understanding it would like like an eye in a hurricane.

    This awareness is like the eye of a storm, unmoving, no blinking...
    This is a very good analogy (being formally from Florida, and having sat Zazen during a couple of hurricanes, I can relate!!). We do sit at the "eye of the hurricane". We also sit at the outside of the hurricane, above and below the hurricane, in every raindrop and gust of wind, in the floods, broken buildings and broken hearts it brings. Nothing is to be rejected.

    Does that make it clearer?

    Anyway, that is my understanding.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ... and the second posting, the one that was banned due to heretical content, speaks for itself I think ...

    [Comment by Michael M]Soto Zen seems to give out the title "Buddhahood" so easily. It seems like Soto Zen considers anybody who reaches the 1st bhumi a "Buddha." Other schools are more hesitant to give out the title "Buddha." Like you said in the past, there is a qualitative degree between Zen practitioners with who have practiced for different lengths of time. This "qualitative degree" seems matter more outside of Zen. The higher bhumis involve very extreme qualities of wisdom and virtue. I don't think too many modern people could attain them all.
    Michael, these are in my view (and that is all it is) common perspectives of those who want to see their Buddhas as distant, perhaps in other worlds and realms and lifetimes, superhuman 'uncreatures' that have left their humanity and this world far behind on the departed shore. Such Buddhas were created (I believe) by Buddhist thinkers who could not see the profound truth of this world, and the transcendant teachings of a Buddha who was a man ... so dipped him in gold, created realms of countless Divas residing in diamond palaces floating on lotus clouds, and tried to describe a Buddha possessing every extreme, idealized, unrealistic and god-like characteristic that their creative little writer's hearts could dreamily imagine. (It is the very same process that occured in the hagiographical descriptions of ancient teachers and saints in other religions, where the 'ordinary' could not be seen for the true wonder it is). You are right when you say that you "don't think too many modern people could attain them all", and I have doubts that anyone ever attained to such idealized imaginings in the manner some think that they attained them (as I have described, we absolutely attain such things, but in a very different way from what most folks may think due to all the glossed fairy tales in the Buddhist story books created as the product of the Chinese and Indian imagination after Buddha's actual lifetime). (Again, just my opinion ... I make no claim to be right).

    So, these idealized, extreme, imaginative, unrealistic perspectives are, perhaps, a mischaracterization of Shakyamuni Buddha's teachings of enlightenment in this world and realm, right where we stand.

    On the other hand (and this is what many folks do not seem to get, in my opinion and suggestion ... that is all it is), being a "Buddha here and now" is only possible if we each learn to see ourselves, "here and now" and in this world (not two and not three things, by the way) correctly and perceptively. That takes time to realize, and even once realized, it takes time to incorporate into our lives.

    To give you a taste of this, I describe it --not-- as being a Buddha who is "flawless" and "perfect" beyond human conception ... but instead, I describe a Buddha who is "flawless" for being perfectly just as what she is and, thus, will live in a manner filled with Wisdom and Compassion, seeking not to harm in accord with the Precepts. It is not a Buddha who has escaped being human, but instead, a Buddha who is a true human being.

    Again, just one view on Buddha.

    Even if we all have Buddha-nature, I don't think we should trivialize the difficulty of reaching the exalted state that Shakyamuni Buddha achieved. The qualitative difference between his attainment and the attainment of most of us is huge.
    Yes, yet not a hair's breadth away.

    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #2

    Re: A Couple of Things ...

    I wasn't even aware it was removed. :shock: I read the thread yesterday and found it very informative. Would like to find out why deletions occur? One thing that I find surprising is how personalistic the discussion can get.

  3. #3

    Re: A Couple of Things ...

    Hi Erik,

    It is a very conservative organization, and I and many others of a more liberal and questioning bent have had difficulties there before. I was banned for a time for saying that I had doubts about an overly literal interpretation of reincarnation/rebirth. I also had trouble, and was suspended for a time, for protesting their interpretation of the status of clergy in Japan versus the status of clergy in China. Liberal clergy in every religion, all through history, have run up against conservative elements like this. Fortunately, it is not the SPANISH INQUISITION!

    You can read the whole, sad story here if you wish. Nothing to hide around here.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forum/viewtopic ... lit=banned

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forum/viewtopic ... lit=banned

    Gassho, Jundo

  4. #4

    Re: A Couple of Things ...

    Thanks Jundo.
    Good to read.

  5. #5

    Re: A Couple of Things ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Hi Erik,

    It is a very conservative organization, and I and many others of a more liberal and questioning bent have had difficulties there before.
    I gathered that much once I started to read regularly the posts. I hope we all at e-Sangha decided to respect our differences and rejoice at our common ground. But. C'est la vie.


    Fortunately, it is not the SPANISH INQUISITION!
    Of course not! They use pillows, Buddhists use zafus! :mrgreen:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSe38dzJYkY[/video]]


    I kid. I kid.

  6. #6

    Re: A Couple of Things ...

    Yes, unfortunately with E-Sangha, there is also the element of Tibetan and Mainland Asia Buddhist practitioners "putting down" Zen and other Japanese Buddhists as somehow not Kosher, as heretical or even as "non-Buddhists". It is so unfortunate, and is very similar in some ways to the whole 'Catholic/Protestant' divide about whose church is the 'True Church'. So very sad, given that the universe is certainly wide enough to hold all of us, and we are all brothers and sisters.

    Some other Zen clergy and myself are often in the position of needing to explain or "defend" Zen or related doctrines on E-Sangha, often from what looks like intentional disinformation campaigns. It is not that we care what anyone thinks about us particularly (we really don't), but because e-sangha is a major source of information for newcomers and others on Buddhism. If someone is writing, for example, that Zen is the equivalent of the Buddhist "Whore of Babylon", or that we practice human sacrifice, well, we feel we should gently but very firmly correct such statements.

    Fortunately, disagreeing Buddhists tend to resolve such issues with pillows and bows, rather than armies.

    A couple of times here at the Treeleaf Forum, this week, we have seen prejudiced and divisive thinking raise its ugly head. Such is the world in which we live, and it is an issue we must not ignore. Even Buddhists are prone to such things, although thankfully, usually in a non-violent way and not so often.

    Gassho, Jundo

  7. #7

    Re: A Couple of Things ...

    I applaud your "outreach" work Jundo :mrgreen:

    I wonder why they have the Zen forums there at all. I guess its good enough for them to flog their T-shirts and whatnot but not to take seriously as a path......

    http://www.cafepress.com/esangha
    Get with the true flock; enter the Zen Shop!

    The online store that knows the most about real oriental mysticism begins here.

    T-shirt designs that specialize in buddhism symbols and oriental crests; wear them on your chest and know that there is no contest!

    Rest assured that creations are original, and be confident that they are real in meaning, including great looking Chinese characters and emblems that are exact in translation. When you get hooked on one oriental theme, be sure that you could quickly begin to collect the same design on many other merchandise.

    Shopping in our store is safe and secure, and if you are not completely satisfied with your Zen Shop purchase you may return it for a full refund within 30 days of shipment.

    All proceeds will go to E-Sangha.
    I just about choked when I read that.

    Well anyway, thanks Jundo, your posts always encourage me to open my eyes once again to the profound all around.

    Skye

  8. #8

    Re: A Couple of Things ...

    Quote Originally Posted by chicanobudista
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Hi Erik,

    It is a very conservative organization, and I and many others of a more liberal and questioning bent have had difficulties there before.
    I gathered that much once I started to read regularly the posts. I hope we all at e-Sangha decided to respect our differences and rejoice at our common ground. But. C'est la vie.
    Hi Erik,

    I think it's unlikely that they will respect differences over there, and it's something that everyone who visits that site should always keep in mind. Basically you'll never get to read anything which doesn't agree with whatever ideas they may have about their 'Buddhism' over there, since it will be deleted very quickly. I was banned and my posts were deleted because I said that I would freely discuss issues pertaining to Soto Zen in the Soto Zen forum. :roll: Nevertheless I also admire Jundo's efforts there for sticking it out despite the E-Junta .

    Gassho
    Ken

  9. #9

    Re: A Couple of Things ...

    Just what would we do without E-Sangha and Brad Warner... :wink:

    Deep bows,
    Mensch

  10. #10

    Re: A Couple of Things ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mensch
    Just what would we do without E-Sangha and Brad Warner... :wink:

    Deep bows,
    Mensch
    Well, funny enough, without Brad Warner's books and then my Google search into Soto Zen leading me to E-Sangha, I would not have found The Treeleaf and THIS wonderful community! All paths can lead to enlightenment... or something deep like that.
    I'm impressed with your patience with e-sangha, Jundo. I stopped reading that forum a long time ago! it was just too divisive for me to get any use as a new Buddhist practitioner (?! wow! what a hoity toidy word! Guess Practicer isn't really a word, though)


    NNNNNNnnnnnnnnOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!
    Our chief weapon is surprise...
    surprise and fear...
    fear and surprise....
    Our two weapons are fear and surprise...
    and ruthless efficiency....
    Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...
    and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope....
    Our *four*...no...
    *Amongst* our weapons....
    Amongst our weaponry...a
    re such elements as fear, surprise....
    I'll come in again.

    gassho,
    Xander

  11. #11

    Re: A Couple of Things ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mensch
    Just what would we do without E-Sangha and Brad Warner... :wink:

    Deep bows,
    Mensch
    Ya know. Aside from the fact that I don't get his stint at SG**, I found both of his books informative.

    ** Which reminds of the Mexican joke about the Catholic priest and the house of ill repute...but that's another post. :mrgreen:

  12. #12

    Re: A Couple of Things ...

    Hey people!

    I think that the beatles say it best

    "Let it be, let it be.
    Let it be, yeah let it be.
    Whisper words of wisdom, let it be."

    Gassho

    Jarkko

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