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Thread: Being a Buddhist

  1. #1

    Being a Buddhist

    If being a Buddhist means believing and reading what every Sutra says , instead of finding out for one's self through Zazen, and life, then you can count me out. I am not a Buddhist in that sense.

    The Four Noble Truths, and Zazen seem to be enough for me (at the moment). Along with the Sangha, and life.

    Gassho

  2. #2

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    interesting.

    i think a balance is good. many of the masters i have read all place primary importance on the practice, but also getting the practice right. so in that sense a moderate (haha, what a buddhist word) amount of reading as well a sangha or good teacher would be very beneficial.

    actually, remembering back, ajahn mun - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajahn_Mun was asked this question, because he didn't have a teacher himself. His response was that finding a teacher and by that extension reading is good because had he himself had a teacher he could have saved him a lot of time and effort.

    each to their own obviously.

    mettha.

  3. #3

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Hello!

    I'll try to write this post for a second time, since the last one (which was originally intended for the ignorance is bliss thread) got swallowed by some digital asura during my posting it This is a rather longish posting due to my quoting extensively from two essays, so if you're in a hurry, just skip all this.

    My favourite definition of whether one is or is not a Buddhist comes down to the four seals (the following is taken from an essay by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche called Buddhism in a nutshell):

    "So what is the particular view that Buddhists try to get used to? Buddhism is distinguished by four characteristics, or “seals.” Actually, if all these four seals are found in a path or a philosophy, it doesn’t matter whether you call it Buddhist or not. You can call it what you like; the words “Buddhist” or “Buddhism” are not important. The point is that if this path contains these four seals, it can be considered the path of the Buddha.

    Therefore, these four characteristics are called “the Four Seals of Dharma.” They are:

    All compounded things are impermanent.

    All emotions are painful. This is something that only Buddhists would talk about. Many religions worship things like love with celebration and songs. Buddhists think, “This is all suffering.”

    All phenomena are empty; they are without inherent existence. This is actually the ultimate view of Buddhism; the other three are grounded on this third seal.

    The fourth seal is that nirvana is beyond extremes.

    Without these four seals, the Buddhist path would become theistic, religious dogma, and its whole purpose would be lost. On the other hand, you could have a surfer giving you teachings on how to sit on a beach watching a sunset: if what he says contains all these four seals, it would be Buddhism. The Tibetans, the Chinese, or the Japanese might not like it, but teaching doesn’t have to be in a “traditional” form. The four seals are quite interrelated, as you will see."

    Now whether we agree with Rinpoche's view or not, one should in my opinion take into account what 95% (a guess) of all self- or other-proclaimed buddhists think and what ended up in the dictionary to be frank. Otherwise we'll have a million people running around all pretending to be Buddhists according to their own definition. In the same way I am e.g. not interested what "true Islam" (or any other religion for that matter) is, if it hides in a cave 23 miles to the west of Babylon. We need generally accepted terms, or else any kind of communication becomes meaningless.

    Gassho, Hans

  4. #4
    Senior Member Martin's Avatar
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    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Well, Hans, I'd struggle with "all emotions are painful". All emotions are transient, devoid of self, not to be clung to, not to be hankered after, are just what they are, I could accept all of that. But I just don't understand "all emotions are painful". Joy, be definition, is not painful. Chasing joy, hankering after it, may be suffering, but joy is just joy. Happiness is just happiness. Pain is just pain, too.

    There again, perhaps I'm not a Buddhist, and if that's so then that wouldn't trouble me greatly. I don't suppose the Buddha was a Buddhist either.

    Gassho

    Martin

  5. #5

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Hello Martin!

    That particular Rinpoche wrote a book called "Why you're not a buddhist" or something...I just read some excerpts, and from what I understand, the "painful" in "all emotions are painful" refers to what you yourself wrote, meaning the transiency of feelings and emotions. No joy ever lasts....thus they call it "painful" emotions.

    Gassho,

    Hans

  6. #6

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin
    Well, Hans, I'd struggle with "all emotions are painful".
    No real problem here. Unsure abut a proper source I still think that emotions in buddhism are generally regarded a bodily reaction to intellectual judgments and preferences which are the causes of any kind of suffering. Secondly neither dread nor bliss equal that state of mind which I – for lack of better words*– call just "peace". The total collapse of any kind of conflict. Egoistic happiness – as opposed to contentment – is an expression of need, hence it's inherently painful.

    Just my two cents.

    Mensch

  7. #7
    Senior Member Martin's Avatar
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    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Thanks Harry

    And now you mention it, I've actually got that book! But much easier just to post the first thing that comes into my head here, rather than go and read the book first! I'll have a look at it tonight!

    Gassho

    Martin

  8. #8

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Hi Guys,

    In my view, "Zazen" without Buddhist philosophy, reading the Sutras and such, is raw clay that lacks sculpting hands.

    And Buddhist books and philosophy without Zazen are just dead words on a page.

    One must also, of course, recall that the Buddhist books, including all the Sutras, were written by hundreds and hundreds of human authors (even the Sutras were written down by men long centuries after the death of the Buddha), and they are all over the place. More variety of teachings than the grocery store has varieties of ice cream flavors. Even Zen Buddhist teachings, as we have often discussed, come in many flavors with subtle differences in focus and interpretation.

    It's hard, but you just have to find a teacher you trust, a teachings you trust!

    Martin: Even happiness and joy can be "suffering" if we are attached to them, cling to them, run after them, crave them and are afraid to seem them come and go. That is what is meant.

    I agree with Hans on the Four Seals, but just yesterday we had a discussion in the forum about how (in the particular Buddhist books I use ) there is a particular flavor to the Four Seals:

    Uchiyama Roshi (one of the great Soto Zen Masters whose book we are just reading in the book club) phrased the "Four Seals" a bit differently, especially No. 4:

    "Nirvana is peace", but also this can be phrased in Mahayana Buddhism as "all things are themselves ultimate reality, or all things are as they are ... everything is truth in itself" Thus, we believe that "all phenomena are empty and without inherent identity" ... yet not, and each is absolutely real and complete unto itself. Guatami is 100% Gautami, with not a darn thing that can be done to make her more or less "Guatami than she is (even as, of course, from another perspective ... there's no "Guatami" !!)

    So, one way to "peace" is to see Nirvana, that there is no "self" to bump into other "selfs". Another is that Nirvana is just each "self" as perfectly just what it is, perfectly imperfectly just itself. This is also peace.

    And also No. 2., Everything is suffering. People sometimes think that "life is suffering" because it contains such things as sickness, old age and death, but that is not (in our view) what the Buddha meant. He meant that "sickness, old age and death" are suffering when we resist the natural reality of "sickness, old age and death." If you are, for example, at peace with being ill, growing old and eventually dying .... where's the problem? In fact the Buddha eventually got old, sick and died. He never found an escape from that reality!

    This ties in with what we said above: sickness is just what it is, and absolutely true ... old age and death the same. That was the subject of my talk today on the Leaf "sit-a-long" ...

    http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2008/08 ... a-xvi.html

    So, live this life ... and though there may be "pain" "tears" as well as "joys" and "pleasures", be at peace with each ... and keep it all in good balance and moderation too! It is all "real" and your life!

    That is our take on the "Four Seals".

    Gassho, Jundo

    viewtopic.php?p=14416#p14416

  9. #9

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    In my view, "Zazen" without Buddhist philosophy, reading the Sutras and such, is raw clay that lacks sculpting hands.

    And Buddhist books and philosophy without Zazen are just dead words on a page.
    Hey Jundo,

    I don't expect that I will (or will ever really want to) read all (or even most) of the Suttas that are out there. I agree with Will's original post. I'm at a place in my practice right now that it consists of Zazen, Precepts, 4 Noble Truths/8-fold Path. That's enough for me right now. I actually think that's probably enough for a lifetime. Being a reader, I do engage in reading more Buddhist stuff than that, but presently with my practice, I can really only handle Zazen, Precepts, 4 Noble Truths/8-fold Path. Are you suggesting that that's not (for lack of a better word) "enough"?

    Addendum: Okay, I see that, considering the many and divergent Suttas, you wrote that this is a good reason to have a good teacher.

    Thanks,
    Keith

  10. #10

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    "...to much light can make you blind, to much voice can make you deaf..." (Tao Te Ching)

    well, words or Buddhist scripture just like fire. it can give you a light, but to much fire can burn your house. It depends on how wise we use it. so... be careful... :wink:

    (seeing that word is bad, and no word is good, is just another kind of discrimination thinking)

    Gassho, Shuidi.

  11. #11

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Hi Keith,

    It is physically impossible to read all the pages of Buddhist Sutras, Commentaries, Commentaries on Commentaries (most never translated).

    And if you did read lots of that, you would find a conflicting and tangled maze of "Buddhisms" ... countless flavors.

    Take your reading in small doses, lightly and well chosen. Everything in moderation, even Buddhist reading.

    Even this forum: I have heard folks say that the quantity of words on this forum can be overwhelming. Well, remember, folks, on this forum we are just a "bunch of guys sitting around a barbershop talkin' sports (or talking the "universe")". Don't take it all too seriously. Jump in and out, take what is helpful and leave the rest.

    Gassho, J

  12. #12

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Take your reading in small doses, lightly and well chosen. Everything in moderation, even Buddhist reading.

    Even this forum: I have heard folks say that the quantity of words on this forum can be overwhelming. Well, remember, folks, on this forum we are just a "bunch of guys sitting around a barbershop talkin' sports (or talking the "universe")". Don't take it all too seriously. Jump in and out, take what is helpful and leave the rest.
    Excellent reminders!

    Thank you,
    Keith

  13. #13

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    The map is not the territory.
    A map is useful when it is understood for what it is.

    I started to write a lot more, but really this is unnecessary, just really consider maps and how they are made

  14. #14

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by Keishin
    The map is not the territory.
    A map is useful when it is understood for what it is.
    Another great reminder.

    Thanks,
    Keith

  15. #15
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Unityspirit, if you already know the truth, why do you ask us for validation? If there is really no self, why do care?

    You are very full of ideas and you want to defend them - but don't be hurt if we don't want to fight with you about it.

    Chet

  16. #16

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by Keishin
    The map is not the territory.
    A map is useful when it is understood for what it is.

    I started to write a lot more, but really this is unnecessary, just really consider maps and how they are made
    Thank you Keishin for such an elegant post.

    gassho,
    rowan
    who thanks you again for your lovely PM

  17. #17

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    If being a Buddhist means believing and reading what every Sutra says , instead of finding out for one's self through Zazen, and life, then you can count me out. I am not a Buddhist in that sense.

    The Four Noble Truths, and Zazen seem to be enough for me (at the moment). Along with the Sangha, and life.

    Gassho
    Hi Will,

    All the Chan/Zen buddhist lit (medieval) I have read says "there is no teaching that can be taught" and that teaching words are only little sticks to prod us to find out for ourselves. But I haven't read any pre-Chan (Indian, early buddhist lit). From the little I have heard, I think maybe early buddhism is a very different buddhism to chan/son/zen buddhism. So I am very confused with this talk of conformity to some ideology

    For me, the four vows are the most central thing (aside from the experience of sitting).

    A while back I came up with what i call the "4 Hard Truths". Hard as in hard science. All phenomena are connected, all phenomena are impermanent, there is only this place, there is only this moment. And the 5th is lemonade (which is the only thing to do).

    thank you for your time,
    as always thank you for your wonderful posts,
    gassho,
    rowan
    still fox, still seeking ox

  18. #18

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith
    but presently with my practice, I can really only handle Zazen, Precepts, 4 Noble Truths/8-fold Path.

    Thanks,
    Keith
    Hi Keith,

    First a general note, thank you for the many insightful things you have written on the forum that I have read recently.

    But more specific to the above, I get tired just thinking of doing more than what you have listed above !

    I am reminded of zen story where a zen teacher is asked by someone "what is the essence of zen buddhism" and the teacher says, "do no harm, do good, do good for others". And the questioner says "that's simple! A child of six could understand that!" And the zen teacher says "yes, but a person of eighty couldn't DO that". So I suppose for me it's all in the doing (trying not to beat myself up when I fail).

    thank you for your time,
    rowan

  19. #19

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin
    Well, Hans, I'd struggle with "all emotions are painful". All emotions are transient, devoid of self, not to be clung to, not to be hankered after, are just what they are, I could accept all of that. But I just don't understand "all emotions are painful". Joy, be definition, is not painful. Chasing joy, hankering after it, may be suffering, but joy is just joy. Happiness is just happiness. Pain is just pain, too.

    There again, perhaps I'm not a Buddhist, and if that's so then that wouldn't trouble me greatly. I don't suppose the Buddha was a Buddhist either.

    Gassho

    Martin
    Hi Martin,

    (OK, so each time I read a post from you I think of the National - and Simon Russell Russell Beale is opening next month in a Pinter!!!!!!!!!!)

    I'm ok now, really. I definitely agree with what you say, and have decided that I think that a far more useful translation of "dukka" is "delusion" (rather than the usual one of "suffering").

    Sorry for the horrendous grammar,
    gassho ,
    rowan

  20. #20

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Hi everyone. I should probably say that I am not agianst reading and study (although my post came across that way). Let's leave discriminatory mind out of it for a sec. I am just at a point in my practice where sitting Zazen seems to be enough at the moment. I don't discourage anyone from reading and study.

    In fact Shui di summed it up well:

    seeing that word is bad, and no word is good, is just another kind of discrimination thinking)
    The thing that made me post this originally was a discussion I had. The person seemed a bit like:

    "Well, this Sutra says this, so if this sutra say this, then it must be true. " Is the feeling I got.

    So I had a little self righteous tantrum and wrote this post. My "Is that so?" moment was wasted.

    Indeed, I do read, and indeed discrimination can be left out of a large majority of discussion and study.

    Perhaps one moment I may pick up a Sutra of sorts like I have done in the past. However, I'm not sweating it. I prefer the cushion, and the day to day at the moment, casually reading what I come across related to Zen practice.

    Gassho and thank you for the replies

    Will

  21. #21

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by ros
    I am reminded of zen story where a zen teacher is asked by someone "what is the essence of zen buddhism" and the teacher says, "do no harm, do good, do good for others". And the questioner says "that's simple! A child of six could understand that!" And the zen teacher says "yes, but a person of eighty couldn't DO that". So I suppose for me it's all in the doing (trying not to beat myself up when I fail).
    Hi Rowan,

    Thank you for the nice words. Yes, I love that story as well. Yesterday I had a discussion with my 6th graders about "The Golden Rule," and they said how easy it is to understand but so hard to actually put into practice.

    Thank you,
    Keith

  22. #22
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith
    Quote Originally Posted by ros
    I am reminded of zen story where a zen teacher is asked by someone "what is the essence of zen buddhism" and the teacher says, "do no harm, do good, do good for others". And the questioner says "that's simple! A child of six could understand that!" And the zen teacher says "yes, but a person of eighty couldn't DO that". So I suppose for me it's all in the doing (trying not to beat myself up when I fail).
    Hi Rowan,

    Thank you for the nice words. Yes, I love that story as well. Yesterday I had a discussion with my 6th graders about "The Golden Rule," and they said how easy it is to understand but so hard to actually put into practice.

    Thank you,
    Keith
    Steve Hagen did a talk about the inverse of the Golden Rule (as it's not prescriptive - like so many Buddhist teachings, it is 'negative'.)

  23. #23

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by HezB
    Hi Rowan,

    Entirely up to you of course, but don't you think that it is practical to differentiate between delusion and the percieved effect of delusion?

    Regards to you,

    Harry.
    Hi Harry,

    I am not understanding your (above) above sentence. maybe some elucidation or example could help me?

    thanks,
    rowan

  24. #24

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    A while back I came up with what i call the "4 Hard Truths". Hard as in hard science. All phenomena are connected, all phenomena are impermanent, there is only this place, there is only this moment. And the 5th is lemonade (which is the only thing to do).
    This is awesome. I don't give a turd if I or anybody else thinks I am buddhist or not, and who cares if Dude and Buddy are real buddhists or just call themselves that. I just want to drink some of that lemonade (it already contains the 4 hard truths)

  25. #25
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by HezB
    Well... when we don't act on a deluded thought (such as "I want to kill that £%$*er!") then it is not 'suffering', its not harmful when its just left as it is... so its not dukka in that case. It doesn't cause suffering and it isn't suffering, anxiety, stress etc etc.

    In fact delusion is nothing other than enlightenment in practice where we can see 'it' just come and go without acting on it. We realise it. It realises us: 'Buddhas greatly realise delusion' as Dogen said and all that.

    The suffering comes when we act on delusion and so I think this is a good case for having separate terms for 'delusion' and 'suffering'. Delsuion and 'dukka', or whatever.

    Regards,

    Harry.
    Delusion causes suffering whether we act on it or not. In fact, on cannot have a deluded thought and not act on it as long as one thinks it's really true. You may not perform a killing action, but your dislike will have karmic consequences causing suffering. Furthermore, one's dislike is also caused by delusion.

  26. #26

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Hi Harry,

    Thanks for your reply, I think I am a bit clearer on what you were saying.

    gassho,
    rowan

  27. #27
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by HezB
    DM,

    A karmic inclination is caused by a previous act of will on our part; where we have initiated or reinforced an inclination through an act of body, speech or mind in response to a (usually unrealistic) appraisal of an event in our life.

    Just allowing a thought/feeling such as "I want to get one up on that guy" to pass by interrupts the process which would have us make real on that karmic inclination and so we are not as likely to do it again in future.
    Unless one unconsciously propagates the thought, causing more frequent, similar thoughts. Repressing action based on thoughts we fully believe are real, in my experience, multiplies the thought. It may disappear for a bit, but it comes back, sometimes with more power.

    Thoughts are not real, but yes, we can manipulate our thoughts alone in ways that initiate harmful results (brooding on some percieved personal slight for example), but this takes conscious effort, it takes an act of conscious will.
    Are you familiar with the conditions of your thought? You think you can control your thoughts? You may as well think you can control the weather. Acting on thoughts you fully think are true does not require that much consciousness - I would argue that all it requires is being UN-conscious. That is, it takes far more effort to suspend brooding (if you are predisposed to brooding) than it does to continue to brood.

    Interupting our habitual 'follow-through' by not committing to our thoughts/feelings of harming is greatly promoted by practicing zazen where we come to see all such mental stuff just coming and going. Zazen creates a little 'space' where we realize that we are free to act in the moment regardless of our unreal thoughts/feelings; 'the pivot of the moment' as Dogen called it (or something like that).
    This would seem to me to be either a temporary, or a very willful and energetically exhaustive approach. Unless one can notice that the thought is essentially untrue, it will continue to assert itself in your mind. In fact, the more you 'fight' it, the harder it will assert itself, in my experience.

    Our sub-conscious, and coscious, inclinations are 'freed-up' in Zazen I believe. I think it is a very positive thing to do, especially when we are feeling down and mightn't feel inclined to do it.

    Regards,

    Harry.
    Zazen by itself seems to take the energy out of emotions and persistent thoughts - but unless one dismantles the assumptions upon which the thought or emotion is based, it will continue to return.

    I guess I agree with you that the approach you outlined will work for small thoughts and emotions - at the cost of a great deal of energy. And I'm not even arguing that creating such a space is not vitally necessary - I guess I'm just saying that merely creating a space is insufficient to truly strike such thoughts or feelings at the root. In my experience, only realization strikes at the heart of the 'truth' of the thought or feeling and allows you to more permanently dis-indentify with it.

    I say this not to be argumentative. Because of my BPD, I'm subject to powerfully delusive thoughts about the reality of my situation and simply disengaging from them is impractical - I need to see or be shown that they ARE NOT TRUE - otherwise I get swept away and I act on what I firmly believe is accurate information.

  28. #28

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    I say this not to be argumentative. Because of my BPD, I'm subject to powerfully delusive thoughts about the reality of my situation and simply disengaging from them is impractical - I need to see or be shown that they ARE NOT TRUE - otherwise I get swept away and I act on what I firmly believe is accurate information.
    disastermouse
    Yes. I was the same way. Although, I didn't have a name for it.

    The more that we learn to open up and pay attention to something else other than our thoughts, the more we see that they are just thoughts and we have the choice to act on them or just let them come and go. Decerning our egocentric abusive thoughts from more productive ones. That is why it is called practice.

    Now. I had tried everything one possibly could to deal with these thoughts. I tried all kinds of techniques. My head would feel like a vice was squeezing my temples day in and day out. But the only thing I really needed to do was find a quiet place, and pay attention to what I was hearing, and seeing, feeling, and keep doing that day after day. Eventually (when exactly it happened I don't know), the thoughts just come and go and I am more awake to what is really going on around me.

    All I can say Chet is just keep practicing and you'll understand what Harry means.

    Anyway, I'm glad you are working with your experience. The Sangha really helps.

    Later Gator
    Gassho Will

  29. #29
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by HezB
    Hi Chet,

    'Conscious' and 'sub-conscious' are relative to our perceptions. While sitting Zazen we become aware of thoughts which, in the normal course of the day ('non Zazen time') we wouldn't be aware of. To an extent (to what extent I don't know) Zazen makes the sub-conscious conscious... it broadens and deepens the perception whose usual function implies 'conscious' and 'sub-conscious'.

    Repressing is not the way to go, or maybe it is in the case of an action causing more harm if you don't repress it.

    I don't think its a question of 'suspending' or repressing brooding (to continue our example), merely to realise the nature of the thoughts allowing them to unfold as they will without attachment or resistance. We do this by not committing intent with an action of mind. This is not a neurotic 'waiting for things to go wrong' but is just a natural effect of our sitting Zazen as it starts to pervade our life. It relies on Zazen. Of course, certain things slip through the 'net'...often.... nobody's perfect! ops:

    Yes, I am fairly familiar with the conditions of my thought. Unfortunately, re your suggestion, I can't be un-conscious for longer than the average person because I have a family and I have to live and operate in the real world. I don't believe that, while we are alive, we are ever really unconscious... it may just seem like that.

    Yes, Dogen's 'not committing' to thoughts or whatever requires us to practice realizing our thoughts as 'not true', 'not objectively real'. That requires the practice of zazen and I think it would be very hard to do outside of having established the practice a bit.

    "In fact, the more you 'fight' it, the harder it will assert itself, in my experience."

    This is why I think it essential that we 'just sit' with an attitude of non-gaining, no end in sight, nothing to do, no mental goal, no fight to win, just the physical point of continuously maintaining the posture. I believe this will inform our attitude to our thoughts in a very positive way as the practice begins to pervade our life.

    Regards,

    Harry.
    I waded through that and all I got was that you don't believe that you're ever unconscious because you 'can't afford it' and a re-emphasis that just sitting zazen will cause harmful thoughts to decrease over time.

    To say that my own experience is vastly different would be quite an understatement. I had quite a long sustained practice of shikantaza and it did not cause harmful thoughts to decrease over time....not that this was the goal of sitting in the first place. Yes, it did sap the power of some destructive thoughts, and it did cause a substantial shift in my relationship to them - but often more important was the shift caused by realization that directly stemmed from sitting, although once again, such realizations were not sought out.

    You have to face your life after you get off the cushion, and if you think that unconsciousness never creeps back in, well - I believe you may be deceiving yourself.

    Chet

  30. #30

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Unless one unconsciously propagates the thought, causing more frequent, similar thoughts. Repressing action based on thoughts we fully believe are real, in my experience, multiplies the thought. It may disappear for a bit, but it comes back, sometimes with more power.
    Ain't that the truth! As Harry said in one of the posts in this thread, repression may be the thing to do when it's necessary to stop something immediately harmful, but yeah, it really comes back to bite in the long run.

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Unless one can notice that the thought is essentially untrue, it will continue to assert itself in your mind. In fact, the more you 'fight' it, the harder it will assert itself, in my experience.

    ...

    Zazen by itself seems to take the energy out of emotions and persistent thoughts - but unless one dismantles the assumptions upon which the thought or emotion is based, it will continue to return.

    I guess I agree with you that the approach you outlined will work for small thoughts and emotions - at the cost of a great deal of energy. And I'm not even arguing that creating such a space is not vitally necessary - I guess I'm just saying that merely creating a space is insufficient to truly strike such thoughts or feelings at the root. In my experience, only realization strikes at the heart of the 'truth' of the thought or feeling and allows you to more permanently dis-indentify with it.
    I don't know that this will be helpful for your situation, I'm just throwing it out there because what you wrote brought it to mind. It's been said in several discussions on these forums that zazen, and the precepts, and (some say) the study of Buddhist philosophy are needed for a full, balanced practice. Maybe that's because they complement each other in ways that help to deal with the issues that you raise. Maybe zazen and the precepts give us the space, and the practical experience, to really see and hear what we study, when we read things that suggest the delusive nature of many thoughts. That is, these practices come together to produce the realization you're talking about. I'm not married to the idea, but it seems interesting to me.

    --Charles

  31. #31
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    I can relate to some of what you say, Unity...

    For a VERY long time, I resisted even buying a zafu. I was very resistant to having any statues or anything either. But eventually, I realized you can try WAY too hard not to 'look Buddhist'. What's wrong with 'looking Buddhist'?

    I have two statues now, given me by my Catholic mother - and they remind me and inspire me. I bought a zafu about two months before I stopped sitting regularly, but I have a bench now.

    About the 'Buddhist identity'....it helps you to find like-minded people. Much of Buddhism is counter-cultural to consumerist society, and when you meet someone else who is Buddhist, or Zen Buddhist, you know a few things about them that are similar to your intentions. Zen is a religion for 'losers' in that it doesn't teach you how to get better at life. It doesn't offer comfort for the part of us that doesn't want to die. It doesn't allow us to practice consumerism without also forcing us to recognize that, deep down, we already KNOW that no lasting comfort comes from accumulation. Soto especially doesn't even offer you ANY 'payoff' if practiced correctly. It does not promise enlightenment. It does not promise that it will 'perfect' you or even make you a better person.

    To say that this is a very unique religion is a monumental understatement! It is not just contrary to Western culture, it's contrary to what religion has been attempting to offer since its inception. When you say, 'I am a Soto Zen Buddhist' you are signaling that you are a friendly compatriot in group that has a very unique intention.

    I'm paraphrasing here, but once Ananda said that good friends were half of the practice. The Buddha corrected him and said, "Ananda, don't say that. Good Friends are the whole of the practice. Without good friends, you would have no hope." It is why the Sangha is one of the three jewels.

  32. #32
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    2,902

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Keishin wrote:"The map is not the territory.
    A map is useful when it is understood for what it is.

    I started to write a lot more, but really this is unnecessary, just really consider maps and how they are made"

    In a way, here there is the map and there the territory, here the word and there the real thing, here the painted cake and there the real one. Once you stop operating in this dualistic way, it seems to me that you cannot say that anymore. You can also taste a painted cake, make a real Buddha with your body-mind, have a walk on the map...And yet, map is map, land is land. It rings the heart sutra bell in a way, doesn t it? Just a thought...really.

    Taigu

  33. #33

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Hi everyone,

    I've puzzled over this issue too, and my sense right now is that there are pros and cons. As Chet suggested, self-description has practical, shorthand value. By naming yourself "x" you identify yourself as sharing a set of concerns and values, and this can be helpful in community-building -- when you meet other "x-ers", you will probably be more or less on the same page. Also, calling oneself a Buddhist could be a way of declaring serious commitment to a practice and way of life. And it can also be a subtle, non-invasive form of promoting interest in Buddhism -- people are naturally interested and may investigate further. All this seems valuable to me.

    On the other hand, there's the risk of self-aggrandizing, "bumper sticker" behavior, which too easily meshes with the values and practices of consumer society.
    Also, having declared oneself a Buddhist, one may feel the need to shore up that identity and exclude things that seem to conflict with it.

    I'd imagine the key here is awareness...isn't it always?

    Just my ha'penny's worth...

    Rob

  34. #34

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by UnitySpirit
    Ok well Im gonna call it an end. I cant handle the negative responses im getting in the forum. I deal with eneugh in my life as it is. I was hoping for fellowship in a sangha not ridicule. so can someone tell me how to remove my nickname and delete me from this ? I want nothing to do with this forum . I will still watch occasionally the archieves but I realize I dont need a religion or do I need anyones teachings. Im gonna go practice what I know in my heart and let the rest fall where it will. you guy seek enlightenment Im gonna go bask in the light myself. Im tired of seeking. blessing .. om.. I go in peace
    Hi Unity,

    I am very sorry you feel that way.

    You are welcome back any time. (I thought some folks challenged each other's beliefs, but I didn't think at the time anyone was being too aggressive in doing so. It is a fine line. I am sorry if the line was crossed).

    Here is practiced what is practiced here. I am sorry that it did not meet your hopes and needs. Be well, and keep on! Keep on basking in the light.

    Gassho, Jundo

  35. #35

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    ppls been digging into unityspirit too much.

    u this.......u that.

    as the rabbi in fiddle on the roof says

    "Rabbi, say something.
    I say...
    I say, let's sit down.
    Yes, yes.
    We all heard the words of the rabbi.
    Let's sit down!"

  36. #36

    Re: Being a Buddhist

    Is that so?

    Let them talk. Let them preach. Let them call you a liar. Continue chopping wood.

    All the best

    Hands palm to palm

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