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Thread: Things I've learned

  1. #1

    Things I've learned

    You know, if someone were to ask me what Zen practice is I would say "I don't know."

    I have had so many moments in this practice where I have been so sure that this is it, only to have them turn around. We're talking thousands of, not realizations, but self assurances, affirmations of "I get it." A chance to get it. However, even now I can't say I was wrong or missed the point. In doing so I might be neglecting something important.


    All I can say at this moment is this:

    It seems that Zazen or Zen is studying the self, but not academically. It seems that we are just biding time until there is a moment where body and mind balance out, we let go of trying and are in this moment.

    You know, I used to think the moment was beyond the typical. That it was all colors, cherry blossoms in Spring, reflections on a window, "seeing beyond". And perhaps it is. However, right now it seems very ordinary. Just this. Body and mind is balanced, there's no tension there, no torpor, and no out of control thoughts. Just this. Very ordinary. Perhaps from this ordinariness practice flourishes, but I can't know for sure. Yes, I do understand my self better, and see how I can be caught up in thinking or delusion, mistaking the finger for the moon. Anyway, things go on, and we can't linger.

    What I also have a better understanding of is the sentence "If there's the slightest grasping or naming it, Heaven and Earth are ripped apart".

    Notice that. Life goes on when were not worrying about it.

    Gassho

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Things I've learned (my most important post ever)

    Thank you Will.

  3. #3

    Re: Things I've learned (my most important post ever)

    Quote Originally Posted by will

    I have had so many moments in this practice where I have been so sure that this is it, only to have them turn around.


    However, right now it seems very ordinary. Just this. Body and mind is balanced, there's no tension there, no torpor, and no out of control thoughts. Just this. Very ordinary.

    Gassho
    I agree on both counts.

    Gassho,
    Bill

  4. #4

    Re: Things I've learned (my most important post ever)

    Thank you for sharing, Will. I feel the same way and have come to the same conclusion...I don't know.
    An important lesson for me, though, is realizing that there is no such thing as ordinary. We place that label on moments that appear to be the same as moments before, yet no moment is the same.

    In fact, any moment that we assume is "ordinary" is a moment of extraordinary discovery that's lost. And, on the other side of the coin, a moment we expect will be extraordinary is filled with "ordinariness."

    Gassho,
    Dave

  5. #5

    Re: Things I've learned (my most important post ever)

    Just an addition to my previous post, moments of extraordinary discovery can often be cloaked in sadness, fear, doubt, regret, shame, guilt and anger as well as joy. Discovery simply is a shaft of light in darkness that can pierce or illuminate. Discovery is both the light and darkness.

    Gassho,
    Dave

  6. #6

    Re: Things I've learned (my most important post ever)

    Well said Dave.

    I think one of Dogen's most important teachings, is to study the self.

    Gassho

  7. #7

    Re: Things I've learned (my most important post ever)

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Well said Dave.

    I think one of Dogen's most important teachings, is to study the self.

    Gassho
    Hi Will,

    Of course to study the self is not the end. But the question for me is what does it mean "to forget the self". Many people have said it is jsut getting so absorbed in somethign that one becomes unaware of one's self, but I have a suspicion that this "forgetting" is a much bigger experience. And then, of course, one becomes enlightened by all things

    (FYI - the entire quote from Dogen's Genjokoan is "to study the Way is to study the self, to study the self is to forget the self, to forget the self is to be enlightened by all things".

    gassho,
    rowan

  8. #8

    Re: Things I've learned (my most important post ever)

    Greetings,

    Perhaps ordinary and extraordinary are just emotions, like love, hate, boredom, happy, sad, tired, etc.

    They are certainly something added on. But This makes me think that zennies often demonize the added on bits. Which is probably adding a further head (on top of a head on top of a head).

    cheers,
    Jinho
    who is MUCH calmer since she was just reassured that her living situation is not going poof in two months

  9. #9

    Re: Things I've learned (my most important post ever)

    Of course to study the self is not the end. But the question for me is what does it mean "to forget the self".
    Hi Rowan. I'm aware of the entire quote. I've been carrying it with me for a long time.

    That's it though isn't it? If there's the slightest separation, it's as if Heaven and Earth were ripped apart? Are we aware of our own enlightenment? Do we really give damn?

    Forgetting the self is also an important teaching. Although, the two are not separate I think, but I try not to guess.

    Gassho

    Will

  10. #10

    Re: Things I've learned (my most important post ever)

    Edit:

    What I meant by "Study yourself is an important teaching." Is that we might throw the baby out with the bath water, or try to ignore certain aspects of ourselves or experience.

    You know, these guys were talking about the movie "the Crow" on another thread. Now, that's a cool movie. Should I try to be a stone and say "I have relinquished all emotion, and nothing penetrates this thick hide I have covered myself in" and refuse to acknowledge that I like that movie? I don't think it's about that.

    However, we are capable of being in this moment and doing what needs to be done. When someone falls we pick them up. If we are sick, we allow others to pick us up.

    You know, all these very human things come up: like compassion, joy, sadness and others.

    I used this experience before, but I'll write it again.

    I was walking along the street and there was an older woman in a wheel chair that was stuck. Two people were trying to get it up on a curb. i just happened to be walking by, and there was no decision to help. I just did. The wheel chair became unstuck. They said thanks and I went on my way to do whatever I was going to do. It was just that. No questions asked.

    Gassho

  11. #11

    Re: Things I've learned (my most important post ever)

    You did much more than get a wheel unstuck, Will, and you did it without self. Perhaps the woman in the wheelchair was Buddha, and the now unstuck wheel was you. :wink:

    Gassho,
    Dave

  12. #12

    Re: Things I've learned (my most important post ever)

    Will thank you.

    I must say that what you wrote i beautiful.
    and it probebly is the best thing you ever wrote hear in that i had the pleasure of reading.

    Thank you for this moment.

    Gassho, Daniel.

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