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Thread: 3/13 - Branching Streams: 5th Talk - Today We May Be Happy

  1. #1

    3/13 - Branching Streams: 5th Talk - Today We May Be Happy

    Today's Chapter is just like last week's, which is just like the week before ... except that it is completely different and unique.

    Anyway, it is very bad, a terrible chapter, and you will hate it.

    So, please despise the FIFTH TALK in Suzuki Roshi's talks on the Sandokai ... "TODAY WE MAY BE VERY HAPPY and THE NEXT DAY WE DON'T KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO US", pages 75 to 81.

    You may also enjoy (unless you hate them too) a couple of short talks by Sojun Mel Weitsman, a long time student of Suzuki Roshi and Abbot of the Berkeley Zen Center (as well as former co-Abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center).

    http://www.berkeleyzencenter.org/Lectur ... 2000.shtml

    and

    http://www.berkeleyzencenter.org/Lectures/feb2002.shtml

    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #2

    Re: 3/13 - Branching Streams: 5th Talk - Today We May Be Happy

    Hiyas
    Another GLORIOUS and Amazing chapter in this volume of Suzuki's Roshi's Enlightened talk on the Sandokai
    lol

    In darkness there are no good or bad things. In the light of form there is good and bad, hot and cold, here and there. In this light we do the separation. We have to or else we wouldt make it much past our youth. At the same time this holds us back in many other ways. We fear tomorrow because to day was just awful. Hard to be in okay with your grief/sadness/fear when you cannot see the situation or fear its going to be even worse(dont I know it!! lol PTSD taught me that very well. and also taught me to say BAH... ill be fine or i wont. find out later).

    To say this all is of course fine and dandy but in the midst of grief anger or other "Bad" feelings its hard to remember they are just passing through and so my goals sitting has a goal. To be able to be with my grief fully or be with my anger fully with out letting it take over.

    "When you suffer you should suffer. When you feel good you should feel good."
    Sometimes you should be a crying buddha. And sometimes you should be a very happy buddha.
    Be a hot buddha be a cold buddha.
    Easy right? lol

    I still get disturbed and ecstatic and a lot of various dualistic highs and lows, no doubt there! But in practicing Zazen im finding that very subtly and very gradually in the short time I have been practicing that there is underlying current that keeps things in the middle. I mostly know this from direct experience and its most evident to me when im NOT practicing regularly. :roll:

    Words can help when you are very dualistic... Well awesome i must be fully enlightened since words can often have the opposite effect for me :lol:
    In seriousness I get it. Having to read and read to find out WHY we must sit. How we must Sit Who are we? the question and answers we seek we think will turn up in a book or a sutra or something but in the end for each of us we just have to sit and find out. One thing i have learned here is that equally and not different we MUST read the sutras and study and continue to learn in that way.

    FWIW i was Simultaneously a Happy Buddha/Sad Buddha/Ecstatic Buddha/Scarred Shitless Buddha/Crying Buddha too in the Delivery room all while remaining perfectly in tune with what was going on and staying a very Calm Buddha too. Great practice in there.

    more practice to come!

    Gassho, Shohei

  3. #3

    Re: 3/13 - Branching Streams: 5th Talk - Today We May Be Happy

    The part of this talk that really rang my bell was the getting out of bed talk in the Q&A section. I know that selfishness was one of Suzuki Roshi's recurring subjects. It is also one of the things I realize about myself so often. Just getting out of bed when it is time to get out of bed is hard for me sometimes. It is selfish to seek that "few more minutes" of coziness, instead of getting on with all of the obligations (especially the big one to the universe) of the day. It doesn't depress me to realize this, but I'm not proud of it. I see so many things thoughts and actions that could be viewed as a manifestation of my selfishness. My desire for achievement and recognition as a prof/teacher, my desire to "do zazen right" (although that one has mostly drifted away). I imagine it would be difficult to actually be one of those folks who are recognized as a Zen teacher because it would be so easy for it to be a big ego-trip and turn into a selfish venture. I know that the doctorate in academia can have that effect on some folks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk
    the question and answers we seek we think will turn up in a book or a sutra or something but in the end for each of us we just have to sit and find out. One thing i have learned here is that equally and not different we MUST read the sutras and study and continue to learn in that way.
    I couldn't agree more, Dirk. Study is a boost to practice, practice is the realization of study.

    p. 79: "When you practice zazen without seeking for enlightenment or seeking for anything, then there is true enlightenment."

    This seems easy for me during zazen. This seems hard for me in the rest of the day. :?:

    Gassho,
    Bill

  4. #4

    Re: 3/13 - Branching Streams: 5th Talk - Today We May Be Happy

    That's a toughy, actually staying in bed a bit longer is good. Getting up straight away and getting on with what must be done is bad.

    What is selfish or selfless?

    If I stay in bed a bit longer I ease myself into the world, if I jump out bed, I'm grumpy and upset people.

    Is that a good excuse or what?

    Cheers,

    Paul

  5. #5

    Re: 3/13 - Branching Streams: 5th Talk - Today We May Be Happy

    Quote Originally Posted by prg5001
    That's a toughy, actually staying in bed a bit longer is good. Getting up straight away and getting on with what must be done is bad.

    What is selfish or selfless?

    If I stay in bed a bit longer I ease myself into the world, if I jump out bed, I'm grumpy and upset people.

    Is that a good excuse or what?

    Cheers,

    Paul
    That's my reasoning too!
    Only problem is too long and im driving like a maniac to make it on time or im just flat out late for work and I still end up grumpy and have upset people :C
    Its a fine balance there for sure

    Gassho, Shohei

  6. #6

    Re: 3/13 - Branching Streams: 5th Talk - Today We May Be Happy

    Hi,

    Some notes on talk 5:

    * we suffer because we are attached to the things we like and are bothered by things we dislike
    * dark - no differentiation, non-dualistic, no good or bad things in themselves
    * light - differentiation, dualistic
    * Zen teaching - punishment or praise - same understanding with different expression
    * composure - hot, cold, happy or suffering - we should live in the present moment

    * Sekito ~750 - Sandokai
    * Tozan ~850 - word games about light, dark, middle
    * Dogen ~1200 - complete involvement in the moment (without thinking), attainment through practice, not words.
    * Suzuki 1999 - "But if you are too interested in talking about these things, you will lose your way." (same message as Sengcan in my signature..)

    Norman Fischer:
    * San - there's always judgement - even to distinguish things involves judgement
    * in dark, there's no multiplicity, we cannot make judgements or distinctions
    * in light, we form distinctions, likes/dislikes
    * Buddhists see both dark and light simultaneously (like Jundo's example of viewing two channels at once)
    * we live in the world of San but realise that it's not the complete truth
    * concepts/perceptions/judgements have a basis that's beyond concepts - don't get stuck in them
    * group discussion exercise - are there times when you can trust, accept and completely give yourself to the moment, is it possible?
    * homework - stop at moments during the day and focus on the breath.

    JohnH

  7. #7

    Re: 3/13 - Branching Streams: 5th Talk - Today We May Be Happy

    Hi John H
    Very good post! One thing you said, "Composure-hot,cold,happy,or suffering we should live in the present moment" caused me to have the following thought. We do live in the present moment and of this we have no choice. If we just have this realization it can make all the difference. If we think we are not in this moment completely is this not delusion? What do you think? Gassho Zak

  8. #8

    Re: 3/13 - Branching Streams: 5th Talk - Today We May Be Happy

    Quote Originally Posted by zak
    One thing you said, "Composure-hot,cold,happy,or suffering we should live in the present moment" caused me to have the following thought. We do live in the present moment and of this we have no choice. If we just have this realization it can make all the difference. If we think we are not in this moment completely is this not delusion? What do you think?
    Hi Zak,

    To be fully in the present moment means full acceptance without judgement, "nothing to add or take away" as Jundo says or have "composure" as Norman Fischer mentioned in his talk. I agree we have no choice but to be in the present but often we're wishing for something bigger, better or brighter. I find it takes some effort to be fully in the moment. Like Norman Fischer's homework exercise, I have to tell myself to stop, watch the breath and focus the thoughts. I'm fairly sure I'm not completely in the moment for most of the time.

    JohnH

  9. #9

    Re: 3/13 - Branching Streams: 5th Talk - Today We May Be Happy

    Hi John H
    After reading your response I think what I was trying to say was, stop the grasping or wishing for something other than this moment and there it is just this moment. I guess it's the same destination with different approaches. Anyway, thanks for your posts they are always insightful. Gassho Zak

  10. #10

    Re: 3/13 - Branching Streams: 5th Talk - Today We May Be Happy

    Is another way of putting it - "being the experience and not the experiencer"? When being the experience of whatever is happening in each changing moment through our senses without adding our own
    programming to it? If we are the experiencer on the other hand, we create a subject and an object.
    I find it so difficult to do, but as Toni Packer would say, it is "the work of the moment".
    Jenny

  11. #11

    Re: 3/13 - Branching Streams: 5th Talk - Today We May Be Happy

    Hi Jenny
    Yes! Another nice way of putting it into words. Thanks Gassho Zak

  12. #12

    Re: 3/13 - Branching Streams: 5th Talk - Today We May Be Happy

    My notes on talk five.

    Everything has its own nature and form and when you hear a voice it is either agreeable or disagreeable ....It is our attachment to them that causes suffering...Things in themselves have no good or bad nature
    I take this to meant that there is always discrimination, good and bad, agreeable and disagreeable, but once we realize that there is inherently no discrimination in things, that it is something we create ourselves, even though it is an inherent part of our existence, then we don't suffer so much.

    Sometimes you should be a suffering Buddha. Sometimes you should be a crying Buddha. Sometimes you should be a very happy Buddha.
    Zazen doesn't take you to a place where it is neither cold nor hot, where there is no pleasure or suffering. It doesn't remove your feelings and emotions.

    They have a true joy that will always be with them.The basic tone of life remains the same, and in it there are some happy melodies and some sad melodies
    But regardless of what happens buddhas have a true joy that will always be with them. Is this like having a fundamental trust in the nature of things? That things can never throw the buddha person completely into a black hole of despair because they have this faith in the nature of the absolute which sustains them (or they have a sense of the absolute all of the time).

    You do this not by studying a lecture but through your practice.
    Suzuki several times mentions the importance of practice compared to study.

    Words can help your understanding of things. When you are very dualistic, when you are getting confused, they can help you. But if you are too interested in talking about these things, you will lose your way. We should be interested in actual zazen, not in these words, and we should practice actual zazen.
    It sometimes seems to me that there are too many words, not enough practice. Books, websites, forums, too much opportunity to obsess over words and conceptual thought, and not enough getting down to actual practice. Zen seems to attract people who like to intellectualize what they are doing. Does that call for more scolding from the teacher? :-)


    Dogen Zenji's way is to find the meaning in each thing - like a grain of rice or a cup of water
    Instead of seeing things in just a dualistic way, things just to be used for your benefit like a grain of rice or a cup of water, you can also seem them as the absolute if you pay full respect to them.

    When you live completely involved in the dualistic world, you have the absolute world in its true sense. When you practice zazen without seeking for enlightenment or seeking for anything, then there is true enlightenment
    In every moment of your day-to-life the absolute is present, and the way to learn this is to practice zazen without seeking for anything. You already have it.

  13. #13

    Re: 3/13 - Branching Streams: 5th Talk - Today We May Be Happy

    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesC
    It sometimes seems to me that there are too many words, not enough practice. Books, websites, forums, too much opportunity to obsess over words and conceptual thought, and not enough getting down to actual practice. Zen seems to attract people who like to intellectualize what they are doing. [/quote

    Suzuki Roshi also says]“Later, in Tozan’s time (three generations after Sekito) people got stuck in word games about brightness and darkness. They liked talking about the bright side, the dark side, and the middle way, but they lost the point of how to obtain real freedom.”
    [/quote]

    Seems like we can see a bit of this happening in present day Buddhism as well. As Jundo says “Zazen is all you need!” Of course conceptual understanding is important and as Jundo also says zazen is a bit like clay and one needs some type of framework or what I would call a “cognitive set.” Can be a bit of a razor’s edge to get it just right.

  14. #14

    Re: 3/13 - Branching Streams: 5th Talk - Today We May Be Happy

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenny
    Is another way of putting it - "being the experience and not the experiencer"? When being the experience of whatever is happening in each changing moment through our senses without adding our own
    programming to it?
    I agree Jenny. But as you say, it's so hard to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fischer
    "The poem begins, 'the mind of the great sage of India.' That is Buddha's big mind that includes everything. The mind we have when we practice is we're not bothered. That's zazen, whatever happens to us, we're not bothered. This is the stage you have to reach, the stage of not being bothered, whatever happens. "It is something happening in the vast sky. Whatver kind of bird flies through it, it doesn't care. This is the mind that is transmitted from Buddha to us."
    And maybe it is not just not caring about what happens, but as Jenny says, not adding a lot of evaluations and judgements about how things and people should be and should behave. But why can't I do that? I SHOULD be able to do it

    Gassho,
    Doshin

  15. #15

    Re: 3/13 - Branching Streams: 5th Talk - Today We May Be Happy

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianW
    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesC
    It sometimes seems to me that there are too many words, not enough practice. Books, websites, forums, too much opportunity to obsess over words and conceptual thought, and not enough getting down to actual practice. Zen seems to attract people who like to intellectualize what they are doing. [/quote

    Suzuki Roshi also says]“Later, in Tozan’s time (three generations after Sekito) people got stuck in word games about brightness and darkness. They liked talking about the bright side, the dark side, and the middle way, but they lost the point of how to obtain real freedom.”
    Seems like we can see a bit of this happening in present day Buddhism as well. As Jundo says “Zazen is all you need!” Of course conceptual understanding is important and as Jundo also says zazen is a bit like clay and one needs some type of framework or what I would call a “cognitive set.” Can be a bit of a razor’s edge to get it just right.[/quote]

    I just added some words on another thread where it was argued that maybe we should intellectualize more. Please have a look ...

    viewtopic.php?p=21239#p21239

    Yes, dry words without Zazen ... just dry words. In fact, by Zazen ... some words become useless. Too many words, or the wrongs words at the wrong place and time, may even become obstacles.

    But Zazen without words of guidance by some wise, experienced teachers ... adrift, lost.

  16. #16

    Re: 3/13 - Branching Streams: 5th Talk - Today We May Be Happy

    Quote Originally Posted by Suzuki
    ....when you are sad you should be completely involved in being hot or being sad, without caring for happiness.....
    In normal life that is a bit impractical though? When someone says 'How are you?' you can't say 'I am really sad today', can you? We just trot out the usual platitudes - 'I'm fine, how are you?' Maybe we should try to have the courage to show our true feelings?

    Gassho,
    Doshin

  17. #17

    Re: 3/13 - Branching Streams: 5th Talk - Today We May Be Happy

    I read somewhere that the Spanish are very good at going around with long faces if they are not feeling
    very happy -this of course may not be true. However if we did it here there would be a few people we know
    crossing to the other side of the street. "Cry, and you cry alone", as the saying goes. However maybe
    Susuki Roshi means us to do just that and not inflict our misery on all around us. :cry:

    Jenny

  18. #18
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    Re: 3/13 - Branching Streams: 5th Talk - Today We May Be Happy

    Hi all,

    I continue to be surprised (if not downright shocked) at how much suffering I have caused myself, but the fact that I can type that without a feeling of panic surprises me even more. Because it doesn't matter what came before...there is now and it always will be so.

    Gassho,
    Scott

  19. #19

    Re: 3/13 - Branching Streams: 5th Talk - Today We May Be Happy

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    Hi all,

    I continue to be surprised (if not downright shocked) at how much suffering I have caused myself, but the fact that I can type that without a feeling of panic surprises me even more. Because it doesn't matter what came before...there is now and it always will be so.

    Gassho,
    Scott
    Hi.

    First step to doing something is to recognize it...

    Mtfbwy
    Tb

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