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Thread: 3/27 - Branching Streams: 7th Talk - Without Any Idea

  1. #1

    3/27 - Branching Streams: 7th Talk - Without Any Idea

    Hi,

    I think it is enough this week if we just look at the main reading, "Without Any Idea Of Attainment Just To Sit Is Our Way", pp 97 - 107

    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #2

    Re: 3/27 - Branching Streams: 7th Talk - Without Any Idea

    ... let me add, however, for folks who were not part of the Precepts study for our Jukai last year ...

    ... that you might want to look back to the materials and discussion on the Precept on Avoiding the Taking of Life, if you have the time and inclination.

    viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1175&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

    There were very fine essays by prominent teachers including Aitken Roshi ...

    (a excerpt of Aitken Roshi can be read here if you search the phrase "precepts are negatively framed" and then "all this can change) ...

    http://www.amazon.com/reader/0865471584 ... eader-link

    ... Ven. Thich Nhat Hahn and Taitaku Pat Phelan, and a good discussion among Treeleaf Sangha Members (which you can still join in this thread or there).

    We will cover this Precept again for our next Jukai, so there is no need to do the reading unless you have the time and interest.

  3. #3

    Re: 3/27 - Branching Streams: 7th Talk - Without Any Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by Shunryu Suzuki
    If there is no form and nothing to see, eyes are not eyes anymore. Because there is something to see, eyes become eyes.
    This is another aspect that I have always found confusing, that the object creates the subject. But, now I think I see it. We're sitting here in the perfect wholeness of this moment. "No-thing" exists because all is one whole, with no discrimination being applied to create the different concepts that we mistakenly see as separate entitites. Then, for whatever reason, we decide to apply a concept, to decribe the computer screen that I'm looking at. All of a sudden, without affecting in any way the perfect wholeness, a computer screen is formed and, with it, eyes to perceive that computer screen. Or, the eyes form and then the screen forms (which is how we might normally perceive it, I suppose). Either way it doesn't matter, because "subject and object are one, but they are also two".

    Our own volition and expectations play a role in this creation, too.

    Even though there is a boat, it will not be a boat. Because there is a river, the boat can become a boat.
    Our expectations create the boat, but our expectations are dependent on the existence, if only as a concept in our minds, of a river (or a lake or a very large sink). Without the concept of the something upon which the boat would act, how can the boat be a boat? Yet, as always, it is still just what it is, regardless of our conceptualizations of it. Just so, "cake becomes cake because we want to eat it. So we make a cake." We create a "we" with a desire for a sensation of "sweetness" (a desire and a distinction we have also created, or that has created us). So, we break a bit of the whole into something we can call a "cake" and then "we" "eat" the cake (when all along it was us and we it).

    The same applies to death.

    Actually, earwigs and human beings are one. They are not different. It is impossible to kill an earwig. Even though we think we have killed it, we have not. Even though you squash the earwig, it is still alive. That momentary form may vanish, but as long as the whole world, including us, exists, we cannot kill an earwig.
    This one is a little harder, but I think the same principle is at work. There is no distinction between us and the earwig until we make that distinction. And, the whole exists as long as the whole exists, regardless of the transience of forms within that whole. Forms arise from the whole, and forms dissolve back into the whole. Where in this is the earwig killed? Where in this is the earwig alive?

    It strikes me also, in reading this, that time works the same way. Of course, we all recognize that one minute is an arbitrary division of... something... into what we call a minute. But, the concept of time itself is an arbitrary attempt to define something in a way that we can understand with our dualistic minds. We create the concept of time out of the whole (and then time creates us, our often harried "selves" trying to keep up!). So, in the whole, time does not exist. The whole is not only formless but timeless. Wow.

    Sorry for the long post. I'm thinking out loud hoping someone will correct me where I've gone astray...

    Gassho,

    Kevin

  4. #4

    Re: 3/27 - Branching Streams: 7th Talk - Without Any Idea

    Kevin,
    your post helped me quite a big with this chapter. I admit that this chapter has kicked my rear. :shock: I was hanging on with the previous chapters but have gotten lost in Roshi's writing. But, when I break it down to what I think are some of the central messages (our expectations/the result of our expectactions, independence and interdepence) I don't feel quite as lost.

    Jeff (hanging on by his fingernails!) :lol:

    Jundo: the postings on taking life have been very helpful.

  5. #5

    Re: 3/27 - Branching Streams: 7th Talk - Without Any Idea

    Kevin,

    I couldn't have said it any better. Not that that means a lot...

    Also, space is a concept as well, so reality is also spaceless as well as timeless. But we create space and time so we don't get knocked down by a bus as we cross the road.

    Cheers,

    Paul

  6. #6

    Re: 3/27 - Branching Streams: 7th Talk - Without Any Idea

    Hi,

    I've fallen off my zen cloud this week (not the first time). Some thoughts on talk#7.

    Northern, southern, Rinzai, Soto - each has its own approach, each equally valid.
    I wonder if we can extend that further to Pure Land, Chan, Tibetan or Theravadin? Is it fair to say that each has its own approach and each is equally valid?

    No river means no boat (p 98) - not really! I suppose you could say that a boat isn't fully realised until it's in the water. An aeroplane on the ground is still an aeroplane. A boat on a trailer is still a boat.

    I've re-read the talk and the above posts and am still confused by:
    * earwigs and human beings are one - they are not different (p 99)
    * not to eat meat is to eat meat (p 101).

    A small insight on dualism. S Suzuki expresses it in this way:
    Quote Originally Posted by S Suzuki
    But when you see something, if you see it in its true sense there is nothing to be seen and no one to see it.
    The small (fraction of a second) insight occurred while going to work in the train. Looking out the window, the initial view lacks separation, things just are. A fraction of a second later, thought and analysis kick in and the scene resolves itself into subject and object.

    and the final thought...

    The words are confusing. Don't get caught by the words! That's what I keep telling myself.

    JohnH

  7. #7

    Re: 3/27 - Branching Streams: 7th Talk - Without Any Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by jrh001

    Northern, southern, Rinzai, Soto - each has its own approach, each equally valid.
    I wonder if we can extend that further to Pure Land, Chan, Tibetan or Theravadin? Is it fair to say that each has its own approach and each is equally valid?
    I would say yes, if people follow the Buddha's teaching then how can they go wrong? Even if they don't even know they are following the Buddha's teaching.

    Quote Originally Posted by jrh001

    No river means no boat (p 98) - not really! I suppose you could say that a boat isn't fully realised until it's in the water. An aeroplane on the ground is still an aeroplane. A boat on a trailer is still a boat.
    Yes, a boat on a trailer is a potential boat but not really a boat until floating in the water. If the 'boat' on the trailer was a mock up made of tissue paper which looked real but turned into a soggy mess in water, would you still call it a boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by jrh001

    I've re-read the talk and the above posts and am still confused by:
    * earwigs and human beings are one - they are not different (p 99)
    * not to eat meat is to eat meat (p 101).
    From the absolute, non-dualistic perspective how can there even be an earwig or a human being to have a difference?
    From the absolute, non-dualistic perspective how can there even be meat or any eating?

    Quote Originally Posted by jrh001

    Looking out the window, the initial view lacks separation, things just are. A fraction of a second later, thought and analysis kick in and the scene resolves itself into subject and object.
    I think that sums it up about the absolute view - non-seperation. IMHO

    Cheers,

    Paul

  8. #8

    Re: 3/27 - Branching Streams: 7th Talk - Without Any Idea

    Hi,

    Quote Originally Posted by Suzuki Roshi
    Actually, earwigs and human beings are one. They are not different. It is impossible to kill an earwig. Even though we think we have killed it, we have not. Even though you squash the earwig, it is still alive. That momentary form may vanish, but as long as the whole world, including us, exists, we cannot kill an earwig. When we come to this understanding, we can keep our precepts completely.
    This, of course, is the viewpoint of 'absolute' or 'ultimate' truth. What we mustn't forget, however, is that it's not a matter of 'absolute' versus 'relative' or 'ultimate' versus 'conventional' truth, but 'absolute' and 'relative', 'ultimate' and 'conventional'. The two go hand in hand, mutually penetrating each other and co-existing. One isn't to be favored over the other. "Though not identical, they are not different, though not different, they are not one, though not one, they are not many." (Shobogenzo, "Zenki"). Taken alone, 'ultimate' truth degenerates into a dangerous ideology. It is wisdom without compassion. Of course, Suzuki Roshi wasn't ignorant of this, which is why he goes on to say:

    Quote Originally Posted by Suzuki Roshi
    But even so, we should not kill anything without a reason, or we should not kill by making up some convenient reason. "Because earwigs eat vegetables I must kill them." "There is nothing wrong with killing animals, so I am killing earwigs." To kill an animal, excusing your action through some reasoning, is not our way.
    Kevin, you said very nicely:

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin
    Of course, we all recognize that one minute is an arbitrary division of... something... into what we call a minute. But, the concept of time itself is an arbitrary attempt to define something in a way that we can understand with our dualistic minds. We create the concept of time out of the whole (and then time creates us, our often harried "selves" trying to keep up!). So, in the whole, time does not exist.
    While it's true that time cannot be measured, it's also true that the very act of measuring is time.

    Gassho
    Bansho

  9. #9

    Re: 3/27 - Branching Streams: 7th Talk - Without Any Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin
    Of course, we all recognize that one minute is an arbitrary division of... something... into what we call a minute. But, the concept of time itself is an arbitrary attempt to define something in a way that we can understand with our dualistic minds. We create the concept of time out of the whole (and then time creates us, our often harried "selves" trying to keep up!). So, in the whole, time does not exist.
    While it's true that time cannot be measured, it's also true that the very act of measuring is time.

    Gassho
    Bansho
    Hi.
    Good.
    Now have a banana.
    Use it to measure time.

    Mtfbwy
    Tb

  10. #10

    Re: 3/27 - Branching Streams: 7th Talk - Without Any Idea

    Howdys all
    Okay so lots stuck out and made sense and alot of you have touched on the very thing i would have quoted so to spare you all the duplicates

    Here is a "for me" example that I ll share.

    I was a vegan and now, I am now eating a vegetarian diet. Its still kinda strict by some standards but Ive resolved to say that i do not eat meat often rather than saying I DON'T EAT MEAT! when thinking of it or discussing it with anyone.

    I came to the same conclusion discussed in the book. Not that i think it is okay for me to just eat a hamburger from a fast food joint outta pure convenience with out a thought, but to cling to the notion that its wrong to ever do so, and wrong for me meant wrong for all to do so because its a precept (or prior to practice, a self imposed rule based on my own moral guidelines), was going against precepts too (Buddhist or otherwise).

    Vehemently clinging to the idea that one must NEVER take a life is not Buddhist practice. Okaying away the killing of a being is also not A -O-K. We take all sorts of beings lives simply by sustain ourselves or even existing. We must try our best to avoid the taking of life and i think be compassionate and aware of the life we do take. doing so is, as I understand it, keeping with the precepts.

    Anywho, par for the course - I really do enjoy reading Suzuki Roshi's witting and teaching here. Im ashamed to say I have never read or knew much of him before this but his style of teaching or perhaps just the way the ideas are presented really click for me.

    Gassho, Shohei

  11. #11

    Re: 3/27 - Branching Streams: 7th Talk - Without Any Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho
    Suzuki Roshi wrote:Actually, earwigs and human beings are one. They are not different. It is impossible to kill an earwig. Even though we think we have killed it, we have not. Even though you squash the earwig, it is still alive. That momentary form may vanish, but as long as the whole world, including us, exists, we cannot kill an earwig. When we come to this understanding, we can keep our precepts completely.
    This quote got me to thinking about if there is no difference between the earwig and myself (in an absolute sense) then there is no difference between the earwig’s suffering and my suffering. Relating this to what Dirk stated, the eating of meat is something my daughter and I have been trying to reduce, but not eliminate from our diet. The awareness one gets from seeing reality from this absolute perspective sensitizes one to the suffering of other sentient beings. Thus, in the eating of meat I personally am more concerned about the treatment of animals than in the past. Even the consumption of eggs can be a problem as, it is my understanding, many agribusiness treat chickens in a very inhumane manner. Sorry for this meandering post, but my main point would be that the above quote by Suzuki Roshi does seem to me to be saying that from an absolute perspective we can never kill the earwig, but it also creates an awareness of the inseparable nature of myself and the earwig.
    Gassho,
    BrianW

  12. #12

    Re: 3/27 - Branching Streams: 7th Talk - Without Any Idea

    Remember that, in this Zen biz, we are seeing the world from many perspectives at once, some seemingly contradictory, some against what we take to be our "day to day common sense" ...

    ... yet all true at once. You are the earwig absolutely, the earwig is just the earwig and you absolutely are not, etc. etc.

  13. #13
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    Re: 3/27 - Branching Streams: 7th Talk - Without Any Idea

    Hi all,

    I haven't posted in a couple weeks, but I have been reading the chapters and the posts. I keep thinking that I don't have anything profound to say but that's probably more the result of thinking my opinion isn't that important. So, that doesn't seem like a good thing to do, now does it?

    I suppose someone could read this chapter and think that zen folks can justify just about anything and I know someone well who believes that very strongly. It is ironic that by holding such a fixed view this person seems to be missing the whole point...but it isn't something I can easily put into words myself. So, I doubt I would ever be able to convince this person to change their view...nor should I try.

    I think the idea here is never to allow one to fall into a fixed way of thinking about anything because to hold a firm view of any thing is to injure only yourself. I think about philosophy majors who would have a complete meltdown if they read this chapter and I'd hear the word "reason" quite a few times. But to me the point has always been not to get caught up in particular notions of an idea or an object or a person (not that any of these things are different from each other and yet they are).

    I can relate very well in one respect to Shohei's discussion of being a vegan or a vegitarian because I have known many people who wear such distinctions as badges of honor that apparently elevate them above the rest. It is a noble thing to seek a life that is completely without killing but to do so obsessively is not following the precepts. I do eat meat quite regularly (immediate thought: I'm a bad person) and over the last few months I have thought more and more about the effects of doing so (eventual conclusion: No I'm not).

    The person I referred to earlier might argue that I can justify anything with Suzuki Roshi's words. All I am saying is that as much as not eating meat doesn't make you a saint I'm not evil because I eat meat. To be stuck in an either or world would be the ultimate suffering and each day I learn more and more where I fall along this spectrum. The only thing I know for sure is that if I resolved tomorrow to never eat meat again or "else" I would surely fail....beyond that I really have no idea what I'm talking about.

    Gassho,
    Scott

  14. #14

    Re: 3/27 - Branching Streams: 7th Talk - Without Any Idea

    Hi,

    After 10 months in my current project, just yesterday it occurred to one of my colleagues with whom I go to lunch with every work-day that I might not eat meat. After I confirmed this and answered the question as to whether I also don't eat fish, the next question was: Isn't that difficult? Well, yes, sometimes it is. Sometimes it puts me in an uncomfortable situation, sometimes it puts others in an uncomfortable situation. But is that really reason enough not to do it? Is it just about being comfortable? Just a few thoughts.

    Gassho
    Bansho

  15. #15

    Re: 3/27 - Branching Streams: 7th Talk - Without Any Idea

    I am following the chapters and finding the teaching profound, but I find I can't think of much to say about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Suzuki
    But when you see something, if you see it in it's true sense there is nothing to be seen and no one to see it
    I was in a meeting in Second Life recently and the teacher asked us to look around the room and try to see the objects in it without immediately sticking labels on them. Perhaps this is a good daily practice? To just see things in their 'isness.'

    Gassho,
    Doshin

  16. #16

    Re: 3/27 - Branching Streams: 7th Talk - Without Any Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by John
    I was in a meeting in Second Life recently and the teacher asked us to look around the room and try to see the objects in it without immediately sticking labels on them. Perhaps this is a good daily practice? To just see things in their 'isness.'

    Gassho,
    Doshin
    Taizan Maezumi said "not knowing is the most intimate". (I really love that)

    gassho,
    jinho

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