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Thread: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - V (Love)

  1. #1

    Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - V (Love)

    Another lovely 'BIG' question today ...


    What place does love have in buddhism, if attachment is discouraged?
    Wow, good question!

    Of course, when we are talking about any emotion as powerful as "love" all neat formulas and theories can go right out the window in the face of a broken heart ... but let me try this anyway.

    A great insight of Zen philosophy is that we may live, all at once, from many different perspectives, seemingly opposing (but held without the least opposition), all true yet each different; conflicting views experienced simultaneously without the least conflict ... In our Buddhist Practice, we learn to hold each and all simultaneously. So many of the Koans are just about tasting that 'conflict free of all conflict'.

    So, we drop all attachments, let things be as they are, do not become emotionally bound to the people and events of the world, calm the emotions, accept that everything in this world is impermanent and will not last ... allowing all to be born when it is born, end when it ends without regret or resistance ...

    ... on one 'channel', while on another 'channel' ...

    ... we fall in love, deeply in love ... feel our emotions, do not run away from involvements and ties ... rejoice at birth and cry with grief at the end of a long relationship ...

    ... both 'channels' tasted at once without the least discord.

    The result is something like this: Being completely and passionately in love at this moment, yet willing to release it all when the time for endings has come. Being fully with your loved one when with them (yet somehow apart), being away when away (yet feeling an unbreakable bond that cannot be broken). We then cry with grief and loss for our lost love one, even as hand-in-hand, we also are tasting that which has not loss or gain, and by which no separation of 'us' from 'our loved one" is possible. All at once.

    Furthermore, we learn not to be a slave to our emotions, that all things must be kept in balance and moderation. One can know love, but should not be its prisoner. Cry with a broken heart, yet taste that which can never be broken.


    Gassho, Jundo


    PS - If later "Zen Buddhism" represents an improvement on the original "formula" of early Buddhism, one way is precisely in this. Namely, early Buddhist theory emphasized only the first part of the formula (dropping all attachments, breaking relationships, calming the emotions) but had not yet mastered how to do so effectively amid the relationships and emotions. That was a discovery of the Mahayana, and especially of Japanese sensibilities which never quite wanted to leave this world behind. Western Buddhism, with its increasing emphasis on lay practice, has further developed this way of tasting life. It is a formula that works.

  2. #2

    Re: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - V

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    PS - If later "Zen Buddhism" represents an improvement on the original "formula" of early Buddhism, one way is precisely in this. Namely, early Buddhist theory emphasized only the first part of the formula (dropping all attachments, breaking relationships, calming the emotions) but had not yet mastered how to do so effectively amid the relationships and emotions. That was a discovery of the Mahayana...
    Hi,

    Somebody wrote to ask if I might provide an example of this. Here is a good one from the Mahayana Sutra I mentioned last week, the Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra. It is intended as a back-handed criticism of the "early Buddhist/Hinayana" viewpoint, by emphasizing that the Bodhisattva practices amid this world of delusion, in this world yet not ...

    Then, the crown prince Manjusri said to the Licchavi Vimalakirti, "Noble sir, how does the bodhisattva follow the way to attain the qualities of the Buddha?"

    Vimalakirti replied, "Manjusri, when the bodhisattva follows the wrong way, he follows the way to attain the qualities of the Buddha."

    Manjusri continued, "How does the bodhisattva follow the wrong way [yet follows the right way to attain the qualities of the Buddha]?"

    ... "He may follow the ways of desire, yet he stays free of attachment to the enjoyments of desire. He may follow the ways of hatred, yet he feels no anger to any living being. He may follow the ways of folly, yet he is ever conscious with the wisdom of firm understanding.

    "He may follow the ways of avarice, yet he gives away all internal and external things without regard even for his own life. He may follow the ways of immorality, yet, seeing the horror of even the slightest transgressions, he lives by the ascetic practices and austerities. He may follow the ways of wickedness and anger, yet he remains utterly free of malice and lives by love. He may follow the ways of laziness, yet his efforts are uninterrupted as he strives in the cultivation of roots of virtue. He may follow the ways of sensuous distraction, yet, naturally concentrated, his contemplation is not dissipated. He may follow the ways of false wisdom, yet, having reached the transcendence of wisdom, he is expert in all mundane and transcendental sciences.

    "He may show the ways of sophistry and contention, yet he is always conscious of ultimate meanings and has perfected the use of liberative techniques. He may show the ways of pride, yet he serves as a bridge and a ladder for all people. He may show the ways of the passions, yet he is utterly dispassionate and naturally pure. He may follow the ways of the Maras, yet he does not really accept their authority in regard to his knowledge of the qualities of the Buddha. He may follow the ways of the disciples, yet he lets living beings hear the teaching they have not heard before. He may follow the ways of the solitary sages, yet he is inspired with great compassion in order to develop all living beings.

    "He may follow the ways of the poor, yet he holds in his hand a jewel of inexhaustible wealth. ....

    "He may manifest to living beings the ways of the sick and the unhappy, yet he has entirely conquered and transcended the fear of death.

    "He may follow the ways of the rich, yet he is without acquisitiveness and often reflects upon the notion of impermanence.

    He may show himself engaged in dancing with harem girls, yet he cleaves to solitude, having crossed the swamp of desire. ...

    "He follows the ways of the heterodox without ever becoming heterodox. He follows the ways of all the world, yet he reverses all states of existence. He follows the way of liberation without ever abandoning the progress of the world.

    "Manjusri, thus does the bodhisattva follow the wrong ways, thereby following the way to the qualities of the Buddha."

    ...

    Manjusri: Noble sir, one who stays in the fixed determination of the vision of the uncreated is not capable of conceiving the spirit of unexcelled perfect enlightenment. However, one who lives among created things, in the mines of passions, without seeing any truth, is indeed capable of conceiving the spirit of unexcelled perfect enlightenment.

    Noble sir, flowers like the blue lotus, the red lotus, the white lotus, the water lily, and the moon lily do not grow on the dry ground in the wilderness, but do grow in the swamps and mud banks. Just so, the Buddha-qualities do not grow in living beings certainly destined for the uncreated but do grow in those living beings who are like swamps and mud banks of passions. Likewise, as seeds do not grow in the sky but do grow in the earth, so the Buddha-qualities do not grow in those determined for the absolute but do grow in those who conceive the spirit of enlightenment, after having produced a Sumeru-like mountain of egoistic views.

  3. #3

    Re: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - V

    Then, the crown prince Manjusri said to the Licchavi Vimalakirti, "Noble sir, how does the bodhisattva follow the way to attain the qualities of the Buddha?"

    Vimalakirti replied, "Manjusri, when the bodhisattva follows the wrong way, he follows the way to attain the qualities of the Buddha."

    Manjusri continued, "How does the bodhisattva follow the wrong way [yet follows the right way to attain the qualities of the Buddha]?"

    ... "He may follow the ways of desire, yet he stays free of attachment to the enjoyments of desire. He may follow the ways of hatred, yet he feels no anger to any living being. He may follow the ways of folly, yet he is ever conscious with the wisdom of firm understanding.

    "He may follow the ways of avarice, yet he gives away all internal and external things without regard even for his own life. He may follow the ways of immorality, yet, seeing the horror of even the slightest transgressions, he lives by the ascetic practices and austerities. He may follow the ways of wickedness and anger, yet he remains utterly free of malice and lives by love. He may follow the ways of laziness, yet his efforts are uninterrupted as he strives in the cultivation of roots of virtue. He may follow the ways of sensuous distraction, yet, naturally concentrated, his contemplation is not dissipated. He may follow the ways of false wisdom, yet, having reached the transcendence of wisdom, he is expert in all mundane and transcendental sciences.

    "He may show the ways of sophistry and contention, yet he is always conscious of ultimate meanings and has perfected the use of liberative techniques. He may show the ways of pride, yet he serves as a bridge and a ladder for all people. He may show the ways of the passions, yet he is utterly dispassionate and naturally pure. He may follow the ways of the Maras, yet he does not really accept their authority in regard to his knowledge of the qualities of the Buddha. He may follow the ways of the disciples, yet he lets living beings hear the teaching they have not heard before. He may follow the ways of the solitary sages, yet he is inspired with great compassion in order to develop all living beings.

    "He may follow the ways of the poor, yet he holds in his hand a jewel of inexhaustible wealth. ....

    "He may manifest to living beings the ways of the sick and the unhappy, yet he has entirely conquered and transcended the fear of death.

    "He may follow the ways of the rich, yet he is without acquisitiveness and often reflects upon the notion of impermanence.

    He may show himself engaged in dancing with harem girls, yet he cleaves to solitude, having crossed the swamp of desire. ...

    "He follows the ways of the heterodox without ever becoming heterodox. He follows the ways of all the world, yet he reverses all states of existence. He follows the way of liberation without ever abandoning the progress of the world.

    "Manjusri, thus does the bodhisattva follow the wrong ways, thereby following the way to the qualities of the Buddha."

    ...

    Manjusri: Noble sir, one who stays in the fixed determination of the vision of the uncreated is not capable of conceiving the spirit of unexcelled perfect enlightenment. However, one who lives among created things, in the mines of passions, without seeing any truth, is indeed capable of conceiving the spirit of unexcelled perfect enlightenment.

    Noble sir, flowers like the blue lotus, the red lotus, the white lotus, the water lily, and the moon lily do not grow on the dry ground in the wilderness, but do grow in the swamps and mud banks. Just so, the Buddha-qualities do not grow in living beings certainly destined for the uncreated but do grow in those living beings who are like swamps and mud banks of passions. Likewise, as seeds do not grow in the sky but do grow in the earth, so the Buddha-qualities do not grow in those determined for the absolute but do grow in those who conceive the spirit of enlightenment, after having produced a Sumeru-like mountain of egoistic views.
    I'll add that perhaps this reflects the part of Zen Buddhism that does not try to push anything away, or hide from anything, accepting things as they are, letting go of enlightenment, and letting clarity arise naturally ie. The quote:

    When he saw Daoyi meditating he asked, “Why are you sitting in meditation?” Daoyi said, “To become a Buddha.” Master Huaizang took hold of a piece of tile and began rubbing it. Daoyi asked Huaizang “What are you rubbing the tile for master?” “I want to polish it into a mirror.” Huaizang answered. Daoyi felt puzzled. He asked, “How can you hope to polish a piece of tile into a mirror?” Huaizang replied, “Since a piece of tile can’t be polished into a mirror, how can simply practicing sitting meditation make you become a Buddha?”
    “What must I do then to attain Buddhahood?” Daoyi asked. But Huaizang countered with a question, “Take the case of an ox-cart. If the cart doesn’t move, do you whip the cart or do you whip the ox?” Daoyi didn’t know how to answer so he just kept quiet. Huaizang continued, “In learning sitting meditation, do you aspire to learn sitting Zen, or do you aspire to imitate the sitting Buddha? If the former, Zen doesn’t consist in sitting or lying down. If the latter you must know the Buddha has no fixed postures.” Huaizang kept talk to Daoyi, “The dharma goes on forever and never abides in anything. You most not therefore be attached to or abandon any particular phase of it. To sit with the purpose of becoming a Buddha is to kill the Buddha. To be attached to the sitting posture is to fail to comprehend the essential principle.” After listened to Huaizang, Daoyi realized that just practice sitting in meditation is a wrong way to reach enlightenment. This is because Buddhahood is the great clarity of enlightenment; it is not dependent on practicing physical postures.
    Gassho

  4. #4

    Re: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - V

    Hi Will,

    Where's that particular version of the Koan quoted from? Gassho, J

  5. #5

    Re: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - V

    Dear Jundo,
    I'm finding these 'Big Question' teachings very helpful. By times, after long tracking, some truth's seem to unfold in my awareness .... I don't always have trust that I am seeing clearly. Your tackling the biggies like this shines a light and gives confirmation and connection .... this helps me root deeper in practice. I feel regularly in awe of this wondrous happening I am somehow privileged to witness.
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom with such clarity.

    In gratitude
    Gassho, Nadi

  6. #6

    Re: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - V

    Hey Jundo,

    I copied it from a blog I came across while looking for the quote:

    http://www.damazen.com/blog/2007/07/30/ ... -a-mirror/

    W

  7. #7

    Re: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - V

    Thanks for asking this Big question, and thanks for Jundo's explainnation

    And other's responds

    It's really cool question.... :wink:

    Shuidi

  8. #8
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - V

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    PS - If later "Zen Buddhism" represents an improvement on the original "formula" of early Buddhism, one way is precisely in this. Namely, early Buddhist theory emphasized only the first part of the formula (dropping all attachments, breaking relationships, calming the emotions) but had not yet mastered how to do so effectively amid the relationships and emotions. That was a discovery of the Mahayana, and especially of Japanese sensibilities which never quite wanted to leave this world behind. Western Buddhism, with its increasing emphasis on lay practice, has further developed this way of tasting life. It is a formula that works.
    I'd say it 'sorta works'. Zen, especially in America, is rife with instances where this doesn't work very well. Maezumi, Suzuki, Baker, etc....the list is long and infamous.

    Hesitantly, I'd say it's possible. Unfortunately, sometimes what draws people to Zen are the very psychological issues that A) Zen doesn't address, and B ) can easily cause one to totally screw up a Sangha once in a teaching role. IMHO. YMMV. That said, I don't think the solution is to abandon all hope. Everyone is a scoundrel of some sort - but some teachers are especially adept or honest and say, 'Hey, guess what - keep your eyes open for MY bullshit too.'

    The Theravadin's look quite skeptically askance at the prospect of both 'tasting' and 'detaching' from something and I think it should be pointed out that the phenomenal failures of Zen teachers in America are a good reason to be skeptical.

  9. #9

    Re: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - V

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    I'd say it 'sorta works'. Zen, especially in America, is rife with instances where this doesn't work very well. Maezumi, Suzuki, Baker, etc....the list is long and infamous.
    ...

    The Theravadin's look quite skeptically askance at the prospect of both 'tasting' and 'detaching' from something and I think it should be pointed out that the phenomenal failures of Zen teachers in America are a good reason to be skeptical.
    Hi Chet,

    The scandals in the Buddhist, and specifically Zen, world were the subject of our Precepts study last week. I wrote this, and I will stick by it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Hi Robert,

    ...

    If I were to join [a random local Buddhist group], what is the probability the group dynamics would be healthy?
    Extremely high.

    Think of it like airplane travel: A very very few planes crash from time to time, but the vast vast majority land safely without incident. Of course, the ones that end up in a big fireball grab all the headlines (as they should), while nobody notices the thousands and thousands of flights where folks arrive pretty much on time to visit Grandma.

    I do not know any scandal in the Zen world that ever involved anything like serious physical violence, murder, child abuse, grand theft, embezzlement etc. etc. Like I wrote above, the situation at San Francisco Zen Center in the 70's was unusual. It was extreme (and even then didn't really involve physical violence, drugs or anything like that). You should visit the place now to see what a treasure they have turned it into over the subsequent 30 years.

    Gassho, Jundo

  10. #10
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - V

    My point wasn't really that all Zen centers are infected with these problems - merely that we may wish to examine these problems in light of Zen's attempt to both indulge the senses and detach from them.

    To balance this point though, raw suppression of certain impulses seems to have a bad track record as well.

  11. #11

    Re: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - V

    double post

  12. #12

    Re: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - V

    wikipedia

    Despite the ill repute connected to his resignation, Baker was instrumental in helping the San Francisco Zen Center to become one of the most successful Zen institutions in the United States.

    ....

    And Baker, for his part, is quoted as having said in a 1994 interview with Sugata Schneider:

    I said to a friend recently, 'Looking back, I can see that I was pretty much a complete asshole. Sometimes I think I didn't know what was going on at all.' He said, 'Well, that's not true, but there must be some things you didn't see-but then, how could you see everything?' I said, 'Okay, but still I had deep flaws which made me deeply inconsiderate of others. It wasn't my intention, that I know, but I was unwilling and unable to see my flaws too.'


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zentatsu_Richard_Baker
    W

  13. #13

    Re: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - V

    Hi.
    I do believe this one will be commented in brads upcoming book, dont you?

    http://www.amazon.com/Zen-Wrapped-Karma ... 507&sr=8-2

    May the force be with you
    Tb

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