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Thread: Buddhas

  1. #1

    Buddhas

    A bit of a long post today:

    Why do all those monks walk around bowing and chanting?

    Why did Suzuki Roshi emphasize religion?

    You see, when we drop all the guessing games, and realize a taste for something bigger than ourselves through out our body and mind, what do you do?

    Do you think that you will become radiant with wisdom on your own? This practice was not meant to be done by oneself. What happens when you think that you can realize Buddhadharma on your own? You become isolated. You mistake the teachings for some personal idea.

    It is not personal. The precepts are important part of practice. When we have a taste for emptiness, or realize that we are part of something bigger, we then have no choice. We must use this Body and Mind for good.

    What use is the Dharma if you are going to keep it to yourself. It is not that one should try hard to uphold something, but it is important to realize that one's actions do effect one's experience.

    I have no clue what someone may have realized. Perhaps they don't need to sit Zazen and they carry Zazen with them wherever they go. However, for us mortals it is a bit different in that Zazen is part of what we are after. It is a practice that sets the body and mind right. From this practice we go about our day, and perhaps realize how giving thanks is intertwined. Enjoying yourself, being kind, not holding yourself back. Being perfectly you. However, this perfectly you needs some direction.

    What's left after experiencing Buddha nature? The expression of it. The thankfulness of it. The importance of it and how it is integral to living this life well.

    What would happen if one stops sitting Zazen (on the bus or cushion)? We will be led down the same road that we've always been. Suffering. What does this "suffereing" mean? It means being greedy, and selfish. It means taking things too seriously. It means causing yourself and other so much trouble. However, one can not end suffering by just following the precepts and avoiding what one "thinks" is wrong. One must realize what suffering is through BodyMind, and experience. How does mind react to slouching, and overeating? How does it react to craving? What is craving? How does it arise? What is it that make one think they are not fine they way they are? Finding balance. Dropping. Studying the self.

    Here's an experience that somehow started and I don't know when or how:

    The forum. Posting on the forum.
    I would over think what I had posted on the forum. What I said, how it would be taken. "Should I change it?" All these overwhelming thoughts that followed me through out the day. would do that not only with the forum, but with my classes that I taught, and anything else that might come up. Holding on to my views and opinion, which would change from moment to moment. I dreaded shopping (which at the time was mostly craving.) Thinking about what I would by, and when I would get home, and everything was JUST OUT OF SYNC. I would become flustered, and agitated. Sometimes I would be very curt, and testy with people. I would raise my voice, and so on. Somehow through practice, and studying the self, I started to notice how I cling to thought, and just couldn't let it go. Somehow I just started to let it go. I would post something on the forum, and forget about it (move on) learning to drop. It really took out a lot of trouble that I had previously had in my life. How did that happen? My only answer is practice. Sitting Zazen, and studying the self, which you may find helps to drop the self.

    What you did is what you did. There is nothing that can take that back. The only thing that you can do is practice. Not to become better. To become balanced and more whole, and learn from our mistakes. Do we stop practicing and sitting Zazen? I can't say, but my guess is "no".

    Ok I should sit now.

    Gassho

  2. #2

    Re: Buddhas

    A wonderful post, Will. Thank you.

    Rings true as a wonderful "non-plan" for Practice and living life . Getting no place, and a great way to get there. As you say, "Not to become better. To become balanced and more whole, and learn from our mistakes. Do we stop practicing and sitting Zazen? I can't say, but my guess is "no"."

    Gassho, J

  3. #3
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Buddhas

    Zazen can become, like all things, appropriated by the ego and used against the shadow of ourselves that we wish to deny. It's the same with the precepts. It's the same with anything.

    Nonetheless, zazen is the most effective means by which I've ever experienced to study or forget the self.

    That quote I posted in the Adyashanti thread (the most recent quote) haunts me. Why, with so many practicing with so much earnest effort, do so few awaken?

    Chet

  4. #4

    Re: Buddhas

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse

    That quote I posted in the Adyashanti thread (the most recent quote) haunts me. Why, with so many practicing with so much earnest effort, do so few awaken?

    Chet
    I do not know anyone who's been following this path for many years, and sitting each day ... who has not tasted that which keeps them following this path for many years and sitting each day.

    If they had not found what makes that so, they would not be so ... day in day out, for so many years of Practice.

    'Tis a hike up a mountain. Almost anyone following the path for some time will come to realize that there is no place in need of getting to, that the mountain is always underfoot ... and, anyway, that there is no mountain, or path, or walker, but just the walking ... maybe not even that. Once in awhile, most will catch a glimpse through the trees, or reach a summit, where there is an amazing panorama ... or by which all drops away in all directions. Almost anyone walking this mountain, day in day out for several years, will experience just that.

    The wise ones will realize too that such scenery, though breathtaking, is not the real point of the walk. You will know them because of the way they walk ... no longer searching, merely walking forward ... step by step for many thousands of miles, sometimes smooth sometimes tripping, always arriving.

    So, I do not think that what you write is true.

    (Other folks, by the way, may need some other religious path to help them make sense of this world ... be it a god or savior or Buddha to pray to. Our path is not for everyone).


    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - Be cautious of anyone who says "too few awaken" unless you follow his path. That's like a guide who, for a fee, offers to run you up to the mountain scenic spots in a jeep, all to find a store selling souvenir trinkets. :wink: The truth is that those folks who will awaken will do so, and on many paths.

  5. #5
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Buddhas

    How many evangelical Christians awaken? Would someone need to be wary of me for pointing out that it's most likely very few?

    Chet

  6. #6

    Re: Buddhas

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    How many evangelical Christians awaken? Would someone need to be wary of me for pointing out that it's most likely very few?

    Chet
    Well, that may be like comparing football and baseball. In fact, they may "awaken" in their own way, appropriate for them ... I do not know or wish to say.

    I was just talking about the use of the word "awaken" in the little corner of religion with which I am involved.

    Gassho, J

  7. #7
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Buddhas

    Do you think it's problematic to try to continue to improve the methods whereby people realize truth?

    Chet

  8. #8

    Re: Buddhas

    Hi,

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    How many evangelical Christians awaken? Would someone need to be wary of me for pointing out that it's most likely very few?

    Chet
    Well, that may be like comparing football and baseball. In fact, they may "awaken" in their own way, appropriate for them ... I do not know or wish to say.

    I was just talking about the use of the word "awaken" in the little corner of religion with which I am involved.

    Gassho, J
    That's just the question, isn't it: what does one awaken to?

    If we cultivate the practice of the Buddha-Dharma, we will surely awaken to the existence of a Buddhist practitioner.

    Likewise, if we cultivate the practice of injecting heroin into our veins, we will surely awaken to the existence of a heroin junkie.

    It's our responsibility to decide what we want to do with our lives and to what we wish to awaken to. There's no escaping this and no one else can do it for us.

    Quote Originally Posted by "Majjhima Nikaya 57, [i
    Kukkuravatika Sutta[/i]":2xk8ut4w]Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was living in the Koliyan country: there is a town of the Koliyans called Haliddavasana.

    Then Punna, a son of the Koliyans and an ox-duty ascetic, and also Seniya a naked dog duty ascetic, went to the Blessed One, and Punna the ox duty ascetic paid homage to the Blessed One and sat down at one side, while Seniya the naked dog-duty ascetic exchanged greetings with the Blessed One, and when the courteous and amiable talk was finished, he too sat down at one side curled up like a dog. When Punna the ox-duty ascetic sat down, he asked the Blessed One: "Venerable sir, this naked dog-duty ascetic Seniya does what is hard to do: he eats his food when it is thrown on the ground. That dog duty has long been taken up and practiced by him. What will be his destination? What will be his future course?"

    "Enough, Punna, let that be. Do not ask me that."

    A second time... A third time Punna the ox-duty ascetic asked the Blessed One: "Venerable sir, this naked dog-duty ascetic Seniya does what is hard to do: he eats his food when it is thrown on the ground. That dog duty has long been taken up and practiced by him. What will be his destination? What will be his future course?"

    "Well, Punna, since I certainly cannot persuade you when I say 'Enough, Punna, let that be. Do not ask me that,' I shall therefore answer you.

    "Here, Punna, someone develops the dog duty fully and unstintingly, he develops the dog-habit fully and unstintingly, he develops the dog mind fully and unstintingly, he develops dog behavior fully and unstintingly. Having done that, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of dogs. But if his view is such as this: 'By this virtue or duty or asceticism or religious life I shall become a (great) god or some (lesser) god,' that is wrong view in his case. Now there are two destinations for one with wrong view, I say: hell or the animal womb. So, Punna, if his dog duty is perfected, it will lead him to the company of dogs; if it is not, it will lead him to hell."

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....057.nymo.html
    It's not necessary to interpret the portion regarding Punna's reappearance after death literally to understand the point of this discourse. If we "develop dog behavior fully and unstintingly", we don't have to wait. We will awaken to that very dog-existence - here and now.

    Gassho
    Bansho

  9. #9
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Buddhas

    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho
    Hi,

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    How many evangelical Christians awaken? Would someone need to be wary of me for pointing out that it's most likely very few?

    Chet
    Well, that may be like comparing football and baseball. In fact, they may "awaken" in their own way, appropriate for them ... I do not know or wish to say.

    I was just talking about the use of the word "awaken" in the little corner of religion with which I am involved.

    Gassho, J
    That's just the question, isn't it: what does one awaken to?

    If we cultivate the practice of the Buddha-Dharma, we will surely awaken to the existence of a Buddhist practitioner.

    Likewise, if we cultivate the practice of injecting heroin into our veins, we will surely awaken to the existence of a heroin junkie.

    It's our responsibility to decide what we want to do with our lives and to what we wish to awaken to. There's no escaping this and no one else can do it for us.

    Quote Originally Posted by "Majjhima Nikaya 57, [i
    Kukkuravatika Sutta[/i]":27wxyt4y]Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was living in the Koliyan country: there is a town of the Koliyans called Haliddavasana.

    Then Punna, a son of the Koliyans and an ox-duty ascetic, and also Seniya a naked dog duty ascetic, went to the Blessed One, and Punna the ox duty ascetic paid homage to the Blessed One and sat down at one side, while Seniya the naked dog-duty ascetic exchanged greetings with the Blessed One, and when the courteous and amiable talk was finished, he too sat down at one side curled up like a dog. When Punna the ox-duty ascetic sat down, he asked the Blessed One: "Venerable sir, this naked dog-duty ascetic Seniya does what is hard to do: he eats his food when it is thrown on the ground. That dog duty has long been taken up and practiced by him. What will be his destination? What will be his future course?"

    "Enough, Punna, let that be. Do not ask me that."

    A second time... A third time Punna the ox-duty ascetic asked the Blessed One: "Venerable sir, this naked dog-duty ascetic Seniya does what is hard to do: he eats his food when it is thrown on the ground. That dog duty has long been taken up and practiced by him. What will be his destination? What will be his future course?"

    "Well, Punna, since I certainly cannot persuade you when I say 'Enough, Punna, let that be. Do not ask me that,' I shall therefore answer you.

    "Here, Punna, someone develops the dog duty fully and unstintingly, he develops the dog-habit fully and unstintingly, he develops the dog mind fully and unstintingly, he develops dog behavior fully and unstintingly. Having done that, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of dogs. But if his view is such as this: 'By this virtue or duty or asceticism or religious life I shall become a (great) god or some (lesser) god,' that is wrong view in his case. Now there are two destinations for one with wrong view, I say: hell or the animal womb. So, Punna, if his dog duty is perfected, it will lead him to the company of dogs; if it is not, it will lead him to hell."

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....057.nymo.html
    It's not necessary to interpret the portion regarding Punna's reappearance after death literally to understand the point of this discourse. If we "develop dog behavior fully and unstintingly", we don't have to wait. We will awaken to that very dog-existence - here and now.

    Gassho
    Bansho
    Is it not more important to wake up to reality than to awaken to the reality only of a Buddhist practitioner? To only wake up to the reality of being a Buddhist practitioner is to wake up the state of being a shackled slave. The purpose of Buddhist practice is not to develop perfection as a Buddhist practitioner.

    It is to awaken to reality, which is not fundamentally 'Buddhist' in any way.

    Chet

    Chet

  10. #10

    Re: Buddhas

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Is it not more important to wake up to reality than to awaken to the reality only of a Buddhist practitioner? To only wake up to the reality of being a Buddhist practitioner is to wake up the state of being a shackled slave. The purpose of Buddhist practice is not to develop perfection as a Buddhist practitioner.

    It is to awaken to reality, which is not fundamentally 'Buddhist' in any way.
    Maybe there is no reality other than the way we lead our lives. It's just that some ways work better than others.

    :Charles

  11. #11

    Re: Buddhas

    Hi Chet,

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Is it not more important to wake up to reality than to awaken to the reality only of a Buddhist practitioner? To only wake up to the reality of being a Buddhist practitioner is to wake up the state of being a shackled slave. The purpose of Buddhist practice is not to develop perfection as a Buddhist practitioner.

    It is to awaken to reality, which is not fundamentally 'Buddhist' in any way.
    We always awaken to a reality of... something. Thinking otherwise is delusion. There is no 'independent' or 'objective' reality which exists apart from this which we can experience. This is what Dogen Zenji means when he says the following:

    Quote Originally Posted by "Shobogenzo, [i
    Genjo Koan[/i]":27wg5unm]When we use the whole body and mind to look at forms, and when we use the whole body and mind to listen to sounds, even though we are sensing them directly, it is not like a mirror’s reflection of an image, and not like water and the moon. While we are experiencing one side, we are blind to the other side. [My emphasis.]
    -- Nishijima & Cross
    That is the human condition and that is why our Zen ancestors are so adamant in telling us to stop seeking. There is no reality to be found apart from... this.

    Gassho
    Bansho

  12. #12
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Buddhas

    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho
    Hi Chet,

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Is it not more important to wake up to reality than to awaken to the reality only of a Buddhist practitioner? To only wake up to the reality of being a Buddhist practitioner is to wake up the state of being a shackled slave. The purpose of Buddhist practice is not to develop perfection as a Buddhist practitioner.

    It is to awaken to reality, which is not fundamentally 'Buddhist' in any way.
    We always awaken to a reality of... something. There is no 'independent' or 'objective' reality which exists apart from this which we can experience. This is what Dogen Zenji means when he says the following:

    Quote Originally Posted by "Shobogenzo, [i
    Genjo Koan[/i]":e4y346yt]When we use the whole body and mind to look at forms, and when we use the whole body and mind to listen to sounds, even though we are sensing them directly, it is not like a mirror’s reflection of an image, and not like water and the moon. While we are experiencing one side, we are blind to the other side. [My emphasis.]
    -- Nishijima & Cross
    Gassho
    Bansho
    If you keep talking like this, the pretty soon we'll be talking about 'your' truth and 'my' truth - and at that point, we might as well not talk at all.

    If you really think Dogen was being literal when he said 'two sides', well, I think you're still filtering your experience through thought.


    Everyone goes crazy with Nagarjuna's 'two realities' doctrine, but the reality of the matter is, there are not really two realities! One can approach from either of these two sides conceptually, but neither of these 'two sides' exists. If Dogen was adamantly claiming any 'reality' to either of these 'two sides' (dude, the duality is right there!), then he is, in fact, an idiot.

    I do not think Dogen was an idiot.

    Even when listening 'with the whole body', the mind leaps forward to greet the bodily sensations and in so doing constructs a conception! In reality, there are no 'gaps' - nothing to sense 'directly' or otherwise - and no one to sense it.

    That is the human condition and that is why our Zen ancestors are so adamant in telling us to stop seeking. There is no reality to be found apart from... this.
    You mistake resignation with realization! You really think this? Really?


    IMHO, IANAT

    Chet

  13. #13

    Re: Buddhas

    Hi Chet,

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    If you keep talking like this, the pretty soon we'll be talking about 'your' truth and 'my' truth - and at that point, we might as well not talk at all.
    Well, I certainly hope it doesn't come to that. I enjoy talking with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    If you really think Dogen was being literal when he said 'two sides', well, I think you're still filtering your experience through thought.

    Everyone goes crazy with Nagarjuna's 'two realities' doctrine, but the reality of the matter is, there are not really two realities! One can approach from either of these two sides conceptually, but neither of these 'two sides' exists. If Dogen was adamantly claiming any 'reality' to either of these 'two sides' (dude, the duality is right there!), then he is, in fact, an idiot.

    I do not think Dogen was an idiot.
    Neither do I, Chet. Which is why I think that he sincerely means what he says here. To stay in keeping with your reference to the Madhyamika doctrine of 'two realities': Dogen isn't contrasting conventional (Skt. samvrti) with absolute (Skt. paramartha) reality here. The 'sides' he's referring to here are both samvrti. However, each 'side' is, at the same time, an expression of ultimate reality, paramartha. This is why, as you correctly say, there are utimately no two realities. Both 'sides' are equivalent in their emptiness and, as such, are manifestations of ultimate reality, both are affirmed and neither is given preference over the other. This is why we needn't seek.

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    That is the human condition and that is why our Zen ancestors are so adamant in telling us to stop seeking. There is no reality to be found apart from... this.
    You mistake resignation with realization! You really think this? Really?
    Oh, quite the contrary. It's far from being resignation. It's neither chasing, nor running away. It's fully abiding in 'this' reality - which is ultimately no different, and certainly no better than - 'that' reality. We immerse ourselves in practice just where we are.

    Gassho
    Bansho

  14. #14
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Buddhas

    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho
    Hi Chet,

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    If you keep talking like this, the pretty soon we'll be talking about 'your' truth and 'my' truth - and at that point, we might as well not talk at all.
    Well, I certainly hope it doesn't come to that. I enjoy talking with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    If you really think Dogen was being literal when he said 'two sides', well, I think you're still filtering your experience through thought.

    Everyone goes crazy with Nagarjuna's 'two realities' doctrine, but the reality of the matter is, there are not really two realities! One can approach from either of these two sides conceptually, but neither of these 'two sides' exists. If Dogen was adamantly claiming any 'reality' to either of these 'two sides' (dude, the duality is right there!), then he is, in fact, an idiot.

    I do not think Dogen was an idiot.
    Neither do I, Chet. Which is why I think that he sincerely means what he says here. To stay in keeping with your reference to the Madhyamika doctrine of 'two realities': Dogen isn't contrasting conventional (Skt. samvrti) with absolute (Skt. paramartha) reality here. The 'sides' he's referring to here are both samvrti. However, each 'side' is, at the same time, an expression of ultimate reality, paramartha. This is why, as you correctly say, there are utimately no two realities. Both 'sides' are equivalent in their emptiness and, as such, are manifestations of ultimate reality, both are affirmed and neither is given preference over the other. This is why we needn't seek.
    Ah! Both illusion. Equally empty. I see. As long as you must at some point conceive - better to realize that your conceptions are empty. Is that what you're driving at?

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    That is the human condition and that is why our Zen ancestors are so adamant in telling us to stop seeking. There is no reality to be found apart from... this.
    You mistake resignation with realization! You really think this? Really?
    Oh, quite the contrary. It's far from being resignation. It's neither chasing, nor running away. It's fully abiding in 'this' reality - which is ultimately no different, and certainly no better than - 'that' reality. We immerse ourselves in practice just where we are.

    Gassho
    Bansho
    Indeed.

    Gassho

    Chet

  15. #15

    Re: Buddhas

    Bansho, thank you for a very elegant presentation.

    I sometimes present Dogen as a jazz musician, and our practice as hearing and playing jazz music. The "Truth" of the music is not to demand silence or a single harmonious tone, but is actually each note as a wonderful expression of Truth ... note by note, one by one and in groups, in all its syncopation and freedom. In such case, note and silence (the spaces between the notes) are not two ... ... each note is Truth, all the space between the notes is Truth, note-silence-note not even distinguishable as separate ... one great composition, the silence now music, the Truth of which is realized in the very playing!

    The Harmony is to be discovered in-&-as the very harmonies and disharmonies, cause silence alone is just empty and silent ... a dark stage. The music -is- the Truth!

    While the music is a kind of illusion, a dream within a dream, it is thus as real as real can be ... real hot jazz, vibrant sound, alive! Can you dig that sound?

    Some folks opine that only the "Silence", or the "Single Harmonious Tone" or "One Original Key" is Truth ... and the point of what we are seeking (but that's kinda dull to me!). They say the noise of the band gets in the way of Truth. Instead, I think Dogen is telling us to stop seeking ... and just LISTEN and PLAY with our whole body and mind ... body and mind dropped away. If you can't dig it in the sound, you will not find it in the silence.

    Anyway, I don't think that I am making this set any better by sitting in.

    Bansho, you take this solo.

    Gassho, Jundo

  16. #16

    Re: Buddhas

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho
    Hi Chet,

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    If you keep talking like this, the pretty soon we'll be talking about 'your' truth and 'my' truth - and at that point, we might as well not talk at all.
    Well, I certainly hope it doesn't come to that. I enjoy talking with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    If you really think Dogen was being literal when he said 'two sides', well, I think you're still filtering your experience through thought.

    Everyone goes crazy with Nagarjuna's 'two realities' doctrine, but the reality of the matter is, there are not really two realities! One can approach from either of these two sides conceptually, but neither of these 'two sides' exists. If Dogen was adamantly claiming any 'reality' to either of these 'two sides' (dude, the duality is right there!), then he is, in fact, an idiot.

    I do not think Dogen was an idiot.
    Neither do I, Chet. Which is why I think that he sincerely means what he says here. To stay in keeping with your reference to the Madhyamika doctrine of 'two realities': Dogen isn't contrasting conventional (Skt. samvrti) with absolute (Skt. paramartha) reality here. The 'sides' he's referring to here are both samvrti. However, each 'side' is, at the same time, an expression of ultimate reality, paramartha. This is why, as you correctly say, there are utimately no two realities. Both 'sides' are equivalent in their emptiness and, as such, are manifestations of ultimate reality, both are affirmed and neither is given preference over the other. This is why we needn't seek.
    Ah! Both illusion. Equally empty. I see. As long as you must at some point conceive - better to realize that your conceptions are empty. Is that what you're driving at?
    Yes! Both equally empty (but also not 'illusion' in a derogatory sense). As an aside, I suspect that Dogen Zenji was also thinking along these lines when he proclaimed that there was only one Buddha-Dharma, as this is precisely the point at which all sectarian differences collapse in emptiness. We can see by this that tolerance towards other sects, views, religions is not only a 'nice-to-have' in Buddhism, but rather directly results from the above as a necessary consequence.

    Gassho
    Bansho

  17. #17
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Buddhas

    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho

    Yes! Both equally empty (but also not 'illusion' in a derogatory sense). As an aside, I suspect that Dogen Zenji was also thinking along these lines when he proclaimed that there was only one Buddha-Dharma, as this is precisely the point at which all sectarian differences collapse in emptiness. We can see by this that tolerance towards other sects, views, religions is not only a 'nice-to-have' in Buddhism, but rather directly results from the above as a necessary consequence.

    Gassho
    Bansho
    I always think of it as a movie or a dream. It is real, but it is not what you think it is. There's no denying that a movie is real, it's just not what it depicts. In that way, even an 'illusion' is 'real'. It is a real illusion.

    Chet

  18. #18

    Re: Buddhas

    Ponder these words for a while, if you like:

    "Practice is enlightenment."

    Neither statement of fact nor fiction.

    W

  19. #19

    Re: Buddhas

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho

    Yes! Both equally empty (but also not 'illusion' in a derogatory sense). As an aside, I suspect that Dogen Zenji was also thinking along these lines when he proclaimed that there was only one Buddha-Dharma, as this is precisely the point at which all sectarian differences collapse in emptiness. We can see by this that tolerance towards other sects, views, religions is not only a 'nice-to-have' in Buddhism, but rather directly results from the above as a necessary consequence.

    Gassho
    Bansho
    I always think of it as a movie or a dream. It is real, but it is not what you think it is. There's no denying that a movie is real, it's just not what it depicts. In that way, even an 'illusion' is 'real'. It is a real illusion.

    Chet
    [NOTE FROM JUNDO]:

    I think that some of this is just Buddhist semantics, and some folks who disagree on the meaning of "real" and "illusion". But this also goes to the question of what is the ultimate point of practice.

    For Dogen (unlike for many in Eastern religions, including Buddhism), the light from the projector and the blank white screen of the theatre were not "Truth", in contrast to which the movie was an "illusion". Not in the least.

    Instead, the film is the theatre realized, the very meaning and fruition of the show. The light and screen are made "real" by the story, and find their true function in the performance, for otherwise they are but blank and empty and colorless. One might even say that one cannot separate one from the other without killing the whole thing! So, you cannot realize the "illusion" of the film, because there is nothing without the film ... only a cold, dead, meaningless room with empty seats. Thus, we can even forget about the white screen, forget that the actors are actors much or most of our day ... which may even be the best way to appreciate the spectacle!

    Now, that being said, in our practice we do need to realize that this "film" is, in whole or part, a creation of the mind ... so that: change the mind, change the film. Angry mind, angry film ... calm mind, calm film (I simplify here, because the epic story is more complicated than just that!). Resist the film (i.e., wish it were a different film, and that one were sitting in a different theatre), and it will be a rough experience to sit through it. Embrace and act out and fall into the film, and the viewer is "at one with the story" with all of body and mind.

    Now, Bansho, a question for you from me:

    I still feel that encouraging folks to practice with "mountains are mountains /mountains are not mountains / mountains are mountains again" and "relative and absolute" (as in our bookclub selection) still is very worthwhile. That's why I like to use the "jazz" analogy with Dogen, as I see him playing a beautiful variation on the original "classical" and structured theme. In other words, as opposed to some who teach that "one must learn to taste the absolute in the relative" (one must learn to see the movie as an "illusion"), Dogen was expressing that "one can only encounter that which is the absolutely alive right there" (savor the film, grab some popcorn and jump right in, for it is the reason and absolute expression of the whole show brought to life).

    Or, in the music analogy, don't listen for the silence behind the music, or think the music a fiction ... but realize that the music is the silence is the whole point of the gig! Man, grab a horn and start blowing!

    Practice is enlightenment. The playing of the music is enlightenment. The watching/acting of the film is enlightenment.
    (granted that how you play or act makes all the difference. As Bansho said, act like a heroin junkie ... that is your film and show. Act like a peaceful Buddhist ... that is your film and show)

    But before you get to the point where one can thoroughly appreciate the complicated existential Jazz of Dogen's variations on "samsara is nirvana", one should first start with the basic chords of "mountains are not mountains" and "there is an absolute, there is a relative". Like starting to learn the piano with black keys and white keys. Knowing that there is light and a white screen and actors doing a performance has some value too ... although perhaps not even the most important perspective in encountering the whole show.

    What do you think?

    (Bill too, any perspective on this as our in-house Jazz guy?)

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - Here is another analogy I like to use, if some folks don't see the point. Imagine a garden, in which some Eastern teachings teach that the "flowers and weeds" are an illusion, and the purpose is to "see the source" (see the naked soil) from which they arise. Or, slightly different , those that teach "always see the soil when viewing the flowers and weeds", because the soil must be seen.

    Well, to do so kills the garden! Seeing the "flowers and weeds" as an illusion like that, or always having to "see the soil when you see the flowers and weeds" kills the garden.

    Because the "flowers and weeds" are the whole reason and life of the garden, the garden (including the soil) brought to fruition. The soil is just dirt without that. You can even forget about the soil much or most of the time (although it is good to bring it back to mind from time to time ... when mulching and such! )

    So, appreciate and be "at one with" the garden, each flower and weed ... perfectly a jewel in its way. Such is Liberation!

    And that being said, nothing to stop us from also nurturing flowers and picking weeds! (Water the weeds, neglect the flowers = the "garden of the heroin junkie". Water the flower and pull the weeds = the "garden of the Buddhist practitioner").

  20. #20
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Buddhas

    From that I got: Do not demonize thought or form and do not idealize space or emptiness because they are the same thing.

    And come to think of it, preferring the nondual to dualism is a sort of dualism onto itself.


    Gassho!

    Chet

  21. #21

    Re: Buddhas

    Hi.
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    From that I got: Do not demonize thought or form and do not idealize space or emptiness because they are the same thing.
    An old quote comes to mind
    "Same, same. But different."
    Don't know where i got it though...

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    And come to think of it, preferring the nondual to dualism is a sort of dualism onto itself.
    Yes.

    Mtfbwy
    Tb

  22. #22

    Re: Buddhas

    Jundo, that description certainly shoots some color into the whole thing. Definitely contradicts any thoughts of nihilism in our practice (for me)

    gassho

  23. #23

    Re: Buddhas

    Hi Jundo,

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    I think that some of this is just Buddhist semantics, and some folks who disagree on the meaning of "real" and "illusion". But this also goes to the question of what is the ultimate point of practice.
    Yes, absolutely (relatively speaking ). As you often point out, we mustn't forget that when differences arise, these aren't necessarily to be attibuted to 'knowledge' of one person vs. 'ignorance' of another. Buddhist philosophy itself is full of ambiguities and contradictions amongst the various schools. For example, in the Madhyamika school, emptiness is negative, non-being. The Yogacarins, on the other hand, criticized this as being nihilistic. For them, emptiness was not only non-being, but rather the existence of non-being. Of course, the Madhyamikas criticized this in turn as being an idealistic misinterpretation...

    Just to be clear, though: I personally do not take the view that all of reality is illusion and something to be discarded in favor of something superior which lies beyond it. For me, the projector, the screen, the film and the audience all have their place. The screen is no more 'real' than the film. So gimme some of that popcorn, please!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Now, Bansho, a question for you from me:

    I still feel that encouraging folks to practice with "mountains are mountains /mountains are not mountains / mountains are mountains again" and "relative and absolute" (as in our bookclub selection) still is very worthwhile. That's why I like to use the "jazz" analogy with Dogen, as I see him playing a beautiful variation on the original "classical" and structured theme. In other words, as opposed to some who teach that "one must learn to taste the absolute in the relative" (one must learn to see the movie as an "illusion"), Dogen was expressing that "one can only encounter that which is the absolutely alive right there" (savor the film, grab some popcorn and jump right in, for it is the reason and absolute expression of the whole show brought to life).

    Or, in the music analogy, don't listen for the silence behind the music, or think the music a fiction ... but realize that the music is the silence is the whole point of the gig! Man, grab a horn and start blowing!

    Practice is enlightenment. The playing of the music is enlightenment. The watching/acting of the film is enlightenment.
    (granted that how you play or act makes all the difference. As Bansho said, act like a heroin junkie ... that is your film and show. Act like a peaceful Buddhist ... that is your film and show)

    But before you get to the point where one can thoroughly appreciate the complicated existential Jazz of Dogen's variations on "samsara is nirvana", one should first start with the basic chords of "mountains are not mountains" and "there is an absolute, there is a relative". Like starting to learn the piano with black keys and white keys. Knowing that there is light and a white screen and actors doing a performance has some value too ... although perhaps not even the most important perspective in encountering the whole show.

    What do you think?
    Yes, I agree with that. We all have to learn to walk before we can run. (I'm somewhere between crawling, propping myself up, stumbling and skinning my knees...). The Buddhadharma is big, very big. It would be a grave error to develop a superficial understanding and stop there, thinking we've seen all there is to see. Kinda like reading the last page of a good mystery novel and thinking we can do without the rest. We should start at the beginning, go slowly, and enjoy the story. And, even if we're on page 20 and have convinced ourselves that the butler did it, we should be prepared to abandon this conviction if the evidence on page 100 doesn't support that theory any more.

    So... how are we to handle this at Treeleaf? Some people are on page 10, some are on page 150, others are reading the book for the third time and still others haven't even ordered their copy yet. (Have I understood your question?) Well, it is something of a dilemma, but you can also look at it like one of those Pixar films ('Toy Story', 'Finding Nemo', 'The Incredibles', etc.). For those who may not be familiar with them, they are computer animated films which often appeal to both young and old. The kids find the action cool and the story easy enough to follow, and the adults find them to be full of subtle humor and references to things which the kids won't pick up on until they're older. So, the great thing about it is, we can all watch it together and everyone enjoys taking in what they're able to. Geez, I hope that makes some sense...

    Gassho
    Bansho

  24. #24

    Re: Buddhas

    I'd just like to step in here and put Sponge Bob on the list...

  25. #25

    Re: Buddhas

    Geez, I hope that makes some sense...
    In a way. Yes.

    Gassho

  26. #26

    Re: Buddhas

    Geez, I hope that makes some sense...
    I'm going to phrase what you said a bit differently:

    Each moment we are beginners. Sitting for 30 years gives you no more right to Dharma than sitting 3 days. A beginner is not really a beginner. Separating beginner and Buddha, although it is useful in a sense, is not at the heart of it. The big pie includes it all. Having attained nothing, a Buddha bows.

    Gassho

  27. #27

    Re: Buddhas

    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Now, Bansho, a question for you from me:

    I still feel that encouraging folks to practice with "mountains are mountains /mountains are not mountains / mountains are mountains again" and "relative and absolute" (as in our bookclub selection) still is very worthwhile. That's why I like to use the "jazz" analogy with Dogen, as I see him playing a beautiful variation on the original "classical" and structured theme.
    Yes, I agree with that. We all have to learn to walk before we can run. (I'm somewhere between crawling, propping myself up, stumbling and skinning my knees...). The Buddhadharma is big, very big. It would be a grave error to develop a superficial understanding and stop there, thinking we've seen all there is to see.
    Now (and what I am about to say may not please pure Dogen supporters), I am going to say clearly that I don't think Dogen's vibrant vision is "right", in contrast to which the more classical image of "mountains are not mountains / mountains are mountains again" and "relative and absolute" etc. are either "wrong" or somehow inferior. Not any more than one can say that the Jazz music of Miles Davis is superior to the classical music of Mozart, or even to the original "standard" tune that Miles based his wild compositions upon. It is not a matter of "right" or "wrong" or "superior/inferior" views so much.

    If you read any of the works by Hong-zhi or the other Silent Illumination teachers in China from whom Dogen sprang, they were the "classical" musicians (Here is a very very good article on the subject

    http://www.ancientdragon.org/dharma/art ... st_sitting

    and Taigen Leigton's whole book is worthwhile for anyone interested in the "roots" of this practice ...

    http://www.amazon.com/Cultivating-Empty ... 0804832404 )

    Anyway you look at it, Dogen was playing variations on these original themes (he "cubed" the '5 Ranks'), not in order to prove them "wrong" by any means, but to pull out new meaning and vibrancy ... the way Miles could pull new meaning and vibrancy out of "Somewhere over the Rainbow" by twisting it all up, reassembling the pieces in unexpected ways, making the harmonies into disharmonies and the disharmonies harmonious (same thing Picasso did to a picture of a guitar). Granted, in doing so, both Miles and Dogen found time and again beautiful sounds that were not in the original way of playing. But I do not think that he ever really rejected the classical, more structured way of looking at these things.

    What is more, if you read some of Dogen's other writings (from later periods, and even larger in page volume than Shobogenzo) such as Eihei Koroku, Dogen turns again into something of a "Zen Square" (at least as "square" as a Zen guy can get talking about Koans. But his style of speaking is pretty traditional, although with his special flourishes too).

    Personally, I find Dogen's way of seeing things kind of a "way of seeing things" or expressing things ... like Miles "expresses" and sees the music. But the classical view is also a useful and powerful way to express things, and we should not discard that. I kinda switch back and forth in looking at things, depending on which sound is more appropriate and useful to the circumstances.

    So, I a little disagree that Dogen is for "adults" while the others are for "beginners" ... although an appreciation for Dogen, like an appreciation for Jazz, usually only comes later in our life of practice. You really have to understood the roots of music, and the old standards, before you can appreciate his sound and intent.

    On the other hand, if you stay with just the basic tunes, and miss what Dogen was saying ... if you can't "dig" Dogen ... then I do think you are missing out on the richest face of this Practice. Dogen really 'got' some things that a lot missed ... the reason being that life and this universe is as wild and tangled and upside-down and convoluted as his tune ... and that power, vibrancy and "right here-ness" of life was not quite captured so well by the beautiful, yet more rigid structure of the Zen "Bachs" and "Mozarts".

    Quote Originally Posted by will

    Each moment we are beginners. Sitting for 30 years gives you no more right to Dharma than sitting 3 days. A beginner is not really a beginner. Separating beginner and Buddha, although it is useful in a sense, is not at the heart of it. The big pie includes it all. Having attained nothing, a Buddha bows.
    Oh, this is so right! Thank you for the reminder, Will.

    I am going to compare this process to gardening again: One can be a darn good gardener, with many seasons under one's belt, able to catch those weeds early and keep the flowers in bloom. However, there is always a new angle, a new flower, something new to see or grow or learn to do.

    And the new gardener, seeing the garden with fresh eyes, can always make the old gardener see things in the garden she never noticed.

    Gassho, J

    PS - My point does --not-- mean that every teacher and teaching are of equal worth. Some are Mozart, Beethoven, Miles and John Coltrane ... while others are Hannah Montana, the Jonas Brothers and Britney Spears. Others are in the middle, like Metallica and Bon Jovi and U2.

  28. #28

    Re: Buddhas

    Somebody just wrote me to ask how to know the "good" from the "not so good" teachers to listen to ...

    Well, definitely, the best teachers are the ones with the best hats ...


  29. #29

    Re: Buddhas

    Hi Jundo,

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    So, I a little disagree that Dogen is for "adults" while the others are for "beginners" ... although an appreciation for Dogen, like an appreciation for Jazz, usually only comes later in our life of practice. You really have to understood the roots of music, and the old standards, before you can appreciate his sound and intent.
    Indeed. Dogen Zenji himself also had to understand the roots and the old standards, without which none of his works as we know them would have been possible. We can be thankful that he had the 'unfair' advantage of being born in the 13th century and not a thousand years earlier.

    Gassho
    Bansho

  30. #30

    Re: Buddhas

    Hi.

    There's a story about a village, where they measure how good you are at fighting by the width of your belt.
    Some had normal belts, some had wide belts.
    Some had belts that went from the ankles up to the elbows.
    They could hardly walk, but they were VERY GOOD.

    One day a young man came along.
    He had only an rope to hold up his trousers.
    The people laughed at him who had such a small belt.
    He finally challenged the village to a fight, asking for their best fighter.
    The crowd parted, and their best fighter tiptoed out.
    His belt was so very broad, he could hardly move, but he was A VERY GOOD FIGHTER.

    The fight began and the young man ran behind the figther and gave him an gentle nudge.
    The fighter fell like an log, and couldn't move and had to give up the fight.
    It's not about the belt.

    Mtfbwy
    Tb

  31. #31

    Re: Buddhas

    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho
    Hi Jundo,

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    So, I a little disagree that Dogen is for "adults" while the others are for "beginners" ... although an appreciation for Dogen, like an appreciation for Jazz, usually only comes later in our life of practice. You really have to understood the roots of music, and the old standards, before you can appreciate his sound and intent.
    Indeed. Dogen Zenji himself also had to understand the roots and the old standards, without which none of his works as we know them would have been possible. We can be thankful that he had the 'unfair' advantage of being born in the 13th century and not a thousand years earlier.

    Gassho
    Bansho
    Hi.

    Or what about now?

    Mtfbwy
    Tb

  32. #32
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Buddhas

    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho
    Hi Jundo,

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    So, I a little disagree that Dogen is for "adults" while the others are for "beginners" ... although an appreciation for Dogen, like an appreciation for Jazz, usually only comes later in our life of practice. You really have to understood the roots of music, and the old standards, before you can appreciate his sound and intent.
    Indeed. Dogen Zenji himself also had to understand the roots and the old standards, without which none of his works as we know them would have been possible. We can be thankful that he had the 'unfair' advantage of being born in the 13th century and not a thousand years earlier.

    Gassho
    Bansho
    Hi.

    Or what about now?

    Mtfbwy
    Tb
    What's wrong with being born now?

    Chet

  33. #33

    Re: Buddhas

    Hi,

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    Hi.

    Or what about now?

    Mtfbwy
    Tb
    What's wrong with being born now?

    Chet
    Nothing at all. It may be even better.

    Gassho
    Bansho

  34. #34

    Re: Buddhas

    Indeed. Dogen Zenji himself also had to understand the roots and the old standards, without which none of his works as we know them would have been possible. We can be thankful that he had the 'unfair' advantage of being born in the 13th century and not a thousand years earlier.
    Fugen, Chet, I think you misunderstand what Bansho is saying. There's nothing wrong with now. Thankfully Dogen was born at a time and circumstances with access to teachings, that brought forth the Shobogenzo, Fukanzazengi, and so on. Today we might even have more of an advantage than Dogen in that we are surrounded by tons of literary works, and what not.

    Remember, when people went to study Zazen, they had to trek across miles, or take a boat etc..We're fortunate in that sense (or the Dharma is fortunate).

    W

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