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Thread: Longing

  1. #1

    Longing

    For what? I don't know. From a very young age, I've had this thing about sunsets. I HAVE to stop whatever I'm doing and just stare.

    Tonight there was a beautiful sunset that I viewed while sweeping floors. I think everyone can relate to the physical beauty of a sunset, but what about beyond that? Does anyone else feel a pull, almost like gravity?
    Is this some type of attachment of mine? I don't know. When I view a sunset, even on a very happy day, there's something so...heartbreaking about it, like I'm watching someone I love very deeply walk away from me. But it's deeper than that. There's joy in it too, and a feeling of peace. It's basically a huge, mixed bag of longing and other stuff that I just don't understand.

    Is this something I need to let go of?

    Gassho,
    Dave

  2. #2
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Longing

    Quote Originally Posted by humblepie
    For what? I don't know. From a very young age, I've had this thing about sunsets. I HAVE to stop whatever I'm doing and just stare.

    Tonight there was a beautiful sunset that I viewed while sweeping floors. I think everyone can relate to the physical beauty of a sunset, but what about beyond that? Does anyone else feel a pull, almost like gravity?
    Is this some type of attachment of mine? I don't know. When I view a sunset, even on a very happy day, there's something so...heartbreaking about it, like I'm watching someone I love very deeply walk away from me. But it's deeper than that. There's joy in it too, and a feeling of peace. It's basically a huge, mixed bag of longing and other stuff that I just don't understand.

    Is this something I need to let go of?

    Gassho,
    Dave
    Why don't you just continue to be aware of it? People talk like they can just 'let go' of their emotions - but you can't. You can notice them, and sometimes if you can see the root of what is causing them, they will let go of YOU. Does your longing for the sunset cause any problems? Does it disrupt your life and cause fights? Longing for money or a sexy woman (or man, if you're into that), etc - these things automatically cause pain. Are you disappointed when cloud cover disrupts your sunset?

    Grizzly bears have been known to sit and watch the sunset. There is no harm in it that I can see. Do you remember that Siddhartha began sitting dyana because he had remembered doing it in childhood and had found it immensely pleasant and he could not find anything harmful in that pleasure? Watching a sunset may be similar.

    Chet

  3. #3

    Re: Longing

    Enjoy the sunset! Nothing to add or take away from the sunset! Allow the sunset.

    Of course, as Chet mentioned, it is still a wonderful sunset even if it is cloudy, rainy, with not a drop of sunlight visible.

    And all things are impermanent. Do not be attached to sunsets. When, about to set, when setting, when already pitch black of night ... just let that be. That is all the "sunset" too.

    I think such an attitude is as wondrous as a sunset which never ends!

  4. #4

    Re: Longing

    And as to sunsets and longing ...

    I am now reading a collection of Dogen's poems by Prof. Steve Heine (a friend, and one of the great Dogen scholars). This poem expresses longing and a sense of time passing upon gazing at the twilight ... so even Dogen shared what you feel in gazing at a sunset ...

    Yama fukami ----- Rising as the mountain
    Mine ni mo tani ni mo ----- Peaks and valleys deepen -
    Koe tatete ----- The twilight sound of the cicada
    Kyo mo kurenu to ----- Singing of a day
    Higurashi zo naku. ----- Already gone by.



    Zen teachers feel longing and poignancy at time's passing ... and so long as one is not strangled in longing and sorrow, a victim chained by longing and sorrow, unable to see through the theatre of one's longing and sorrow ... then LONG and CRY CRY CRY (don't forget to smile too)! Savor the taste of longing, and passing time, for it is but the human heart ... savor the emotions of the human heart, for that is what it means to be human. (Later Buddhism ... after coming to China ... developed a healthy place for the human emotions, which often were considered the "total enemy" in early Buddhism, something to be fully extinguished. And yes, some longings ... sunsets over jewels and fancy clothes ... are probably healthier than others).

    Also, come to taste that view of life by which nothing is longed for, for nothing is lacking ... there is no time to pass.

    Gassho, J

  5. #5

    Re: Longing

    i dont recall the name of the discourse but i remember one sutta where the buddha and ananda are enjoying a sunset or sunrise together...

    also there's the Mah?dhammasam?d?na Sutta which states:
    This way is pleasurable now, and will ripen as pleasure in the future. I will
    not avoid it; rather, I will cultivate it
    i think that it needs to be pointed out sometimes, so often we seen buddhists that think all pleasurable things need to be given up, or that there is no pleasure to be found in "good" things, but this is clearly not what the buddha taught.

  6. #6

    Re: Longing

    Thank you everyone, especially for the lovely poem, Jundo. You know how I am about poetry

    This isn't something that happens every day, and even when it does I don't lose much time doing whatever I'm doing. I only allow myself to watch for a few minutes, because I'm usually busy as all get-out. It was more the feeling that I experience when viewing sunsets, and sunrises too, sometimes. I can't quite put my finger on it exactly, but longing came to mind. I also don't feel anything particularly negative...no sorrow or regret, etc. Just something.

    I don't think I could ever stop enjoying the sun rising and setting, or anything else in nature for that matter. Thanks again, very, very much.

    Deep gassho,
    Dave

  7. #7

    Re: Longing

    Hey Dave.

    i know just what you mean... i sometimes like to stop and watch the sunset or the sunrise.
    the feeling you described i sometimes have when i see sunsets but sometimes i have it for other reasons, like watching outside the window and looking at anything.
    it is a very interesting feeling... bitter sweet in its nature. a longing to for something yet knowing there is nothing missing. the feeling like all is divine, magical, complete... perfectly what it is. it is a feeling of such perfect imperfection that nothing could make it more amazing.
    at that moment i sometimes want to break down and weep, not because im sad or even happy. but because its just perfect and i know it is just the whole world as it is and i feel amazed by every little trivial detail, seeing the whole perfect universe in it.
    it feels like i am so close to touching something, to understanding everything, and knowing what it is all about... yet being just a step away and understanding that i will never know and more importantly that i dont need to know.


    and yet it is just a feeling nothing more, and its all just what it is.

    Gassho, Dojin/Daniel/Dont know.

  8. #8

    Re: Longing

    Thanks for relating your own experiences, Dojin. The way you described it sounds more like what I feel...that it's all perfect, and in that moment, very powerful. As I said in another thread, I tend to be more drawn to audio stimulation, but there are visual moments that are so breathtaking, and you just know that you're part of something so much larger yet so incredibly simple.

    My most memorable sunsets were in the Hawaiian Islands, where my wife and I were married. I used to spend hours staring at the stars as a kid, and I still sometimes get dazzled by city lights, though I don't see them often anymore. I've never seen the aurora borealis, but if I did, people would probably have to pick me up and carry me away.

    Maybe I was a moth in a past life. :lol:

    Gassho,
    Dave

  9. #9

    Re: Longing

    i also love looking at stars sometimes although its quite rare now days with all of the electric pollution, you cant see any stars with the lights on everywhere in the cities now days.

    Gassho, Daniel.

  10. #10

    Re: Longing

    Hi Dave,

    Aurora borealis is amazing! I just have to go out and watch as long as I can (eventually you get could).

    Veera

  11. #11

    Re: Longing

    Quote Originally Posted by veera
    Hi Dave,

    Aurora borealis is amazing! I just have to go out and watch as long as I can (eventually you get could).

    Veera

    :mrgreen: Mindful of the ego being green with envy!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Martin's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
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    Re: Longing

    I've always longed to see the Northern Lights!

    There must be something about sunsets that makes people appreciate the mystery of the moment. Wordsworth wrote in Tintern Abbey of feeling:

    ".........................a sense sublime
    Of something far more deeply interfused,
    Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
    And the round ocean and the living air,
    And the blue sky, and in the mind of man".



    Gassho

    Martin

  13. #13

    Re: Longing

    I've heard some other traditions, possibly Buddhist, consider sunset to be the "dregs of the day," when the last chance for the day's karma is upon us. To me, that sounds so dismal...as if nothing good can possibly happen after dark.

    I find moonlight to be just as mesmerizing, especially a bright, full moon on snow. When my wife and I had gotten married, we were in the process of moving to our current location in the hills and I was unemployed. (What a time to be unemployed! Married, a mortgage, utility bills...) I moved up alone for a while so I could find work in the area while she stayed at her job down in Philly as long as she could. I found the greatest pleasure in sitting on our front porch with no lights on, in the middle of 10 acres of wilderness.

    This was in late January, and there was a sizable snow pack, so if the moon were bright enough it was almost like daylight...just a little duskier. Every crunch of snow made my heartbeat race, not knowing what was about.
    One particular night, I heard the shriek of a rabbit being killed, then crunching snow right beside the house. The house hadn't been occupied for a while, and apparently the critters weren't aware of human activity yet.
    As I sat, as patiently as my daughter or son would :wink: , the crunching got closer and closer, until finally the silhouette of a bobcat meandered across the yard.

    Although I take no pleasure in being in the vicinity of something getting killed, this is nature in all its rough glory, and it gave me the sense of being a part of a world that few get to experience these days...a world with no complications, egos or schedules, just life and death as it is.

    It's also an eye-opening experience to have a bear sneak up behind you, as you happen to be enjoying the sunset! :lol:

    Gassho,
    Dave

  14. #14

    Re: Longing

    We moved from suburbs to the country about 5 years ago. One of the most unexpected pleasures we found at the new place is 'Pink Sky'--we can see the sunrise and sunset frequently now, and never could before (due to buildings in the way of the sightline). I love pink skies! Today was the first day of spring that I drove into work watching the sunrise. Next week after the time changes, it will be black again, and then I'll have to wait a couple more months to drive into 'pink'. G, ann

  15. #15

    Re: Longing

    Ann dont forget to watch the road too
    Gassho,D.

  16. #16

    Re: Longing

    Quote Originally Posted by chessie
    We moved from suburbs to the country about 5 years ago. One of the most unexpected pleasures we found at the new place is 'Pink Sky'--we can see the sunrise and sunset frequently now, and never could before (due to buildings in the way of the sightline). I love pink skies! Today was the first day of spring that I drove into work watching the sunrise. Next week after the time changes, it will be black again, and then I'll have to wait a couple more months to drive into 'pink'. G, ann

    Pink is a very soothing color, sometimes used in rooms for violent criminals. I don't know from experience, by the way. :wink: Watched a show on violent criminals and the psychology used to deal with them.

    It's quite a change from what we're used to, isn't it Ann? I see pinks more often than purples, but not as often as oranges. Kinda sounds like a sherbet mix...

    Great. Now I'm hungry.

    Gassho,
    Dave

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