And not to diverge from Jundo
Just sit to sit.
Just scratch to scratch.
See, I have an issue with this. If there's no itch to scratch, why scratch then? If the dishes were clean, why would you wash them? This meme that I see a lot of Zen teachers promoting that "We don't wash the dishes to get them clean, we wash the dishes to wash the dishes," seems like an empty-headed Hallmark Zen sentiment to me. If there's nothing to do, why do it? And if there is something to do, why pretend that there isn't, that we're mowing the lawn just because we felt like mowing the lawn, instead of mowing the lawn because the grass needed to be cut?Originally Posted by will
That's never been my understanding of what Zen teachers were saying, because pretending to change our motivation would add an extra layer of thought to what we are doing. My interpretation of these kinds of teachings were that when something needs doing, we simply do it. No extra baggage brought along. We wash the dishes to clean the dishes, but while we are washing them, we are only washing them (no energy spent on any other task like thinking, planning, judging our technique), pure action. We mow the grass when it needs mowing, dropping everything else (including comparing our lawn to the one next door that always looks SOOOOO much better than mine).Stephanie wrote:
And if there is something to do, why pretend that there isn't, that we're mowing the lawn just because we felt like mowing the lawn, instead of mowing the lawn because the grass needed to be cut?
Once again, I'm probably voicing my ignorance more than anything, but I have come to see that one key element of Zen is simplicity or efficiency. It is not efficient to add layers of thought to everyday tasks (see the mindfulness thread). It is efficient to drop all thinking beyond the thought necessary to complete whatever task is needed at the time. Drive the car to the grocery to get groceries, but when driving, just attend to driving (not being attentive to thinking about driving, etc.).
Probably makes little sense . . .
Not at all, I find your response quite articulate and clear. That's how I see things too, so of course I agree :wink: I do get annoyed though with some of these Zen cliches that have become meaningless statement, and sometimes I just want to shout, "Get Real, people!" Anyway... :lol:Originally Posted by DontKnow
I do get annoyed though with some of these Zen cliches that have become meaningless statement, and sometimes I just want to shout, "Get Real, people!"
Perhaps my writing was both meaningful and meaningless. What are you helping when you say stuff like this? Will this help your practice? Will this help anyones practice. What I recommend is that you ask questions and look into yourself instead of putting down, getting annoyed, and getting real with others.
It's a very simple thing. The fact is, it is about as "real" as one can be.
So let me blow something up your pipe. Who cares whether or not you get annoyed with whatever? I'm pretty sure your the only one that cares whether "YOU" get annoyed.
A cliche is only a cliche, if you make it a cliche.
So again for fun:
Be before thinking.
Sit to sit.
Scratch to scratch.
Have a nice day and enjoy yourself entirely.
Will,Originally Posted by will
I think that's really unfair. It was a good question. It doesn't go without saying that the meaning of statements like "Just scratch to scratch" is clear. Real questions do come up, like: If I'm scratching just to scratch, why don't I scratch my left ear, even though my right ear is itching? We don't scratch just to scratch. If we weren't itching, we wouldn't scratch at all. There's a paradox there, and what it means is important to practice. Dogen wouldn't have written hundreds of pages about things like this if it were so easy to come to terms with.
Also -- and I may be operating according to some non-Buddhist, heretical view of compassion -- I think that caring about what other people feel has something to do with being compassionate. Stephanie is not the only person who cares when she gets annoyed. Not liking her response doesn't mean her viewpoint has no validity. We're all in this together.
It's all there - Bravo, and Thank You!Originally Posted by Stephanie
Hey, Will, try being a bit more polite perhaps. Enough of the "Zenner than thou" attitude. What about compassion here?Originally Posted by will
Indeed. Thank you.Hey, Will, try being a bit more polite perhaps. Enough of the "Zenner than thou" attitude. What about compassion here?
I wish everyone a good practice.
It has all been said here, just a little comment.
Stephanie, thanks for bringing up the question. I am pretty sure I would have had the same "issue" had I not already been explained the idea behind just-scratch-to-scratch types of statements. Once you know what they actually mean - CharlesC and Bill oulined it - it becomes very clear. I guess it is the very stripped language of those statements that make us Westerners confused (they do sound ambivalent for our ear). This is why I was so glad to find the place like TreeLeaf where one could bring one's problems and hopefully get some help figuring it out on some level.
Just wash the dishes is a hard one especially if I have a pile of those and after a while it can get monotonous and the mind wants to be some place else. :lol: