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Thread: TRUE SHIKANTAZA by Jundo

  1. #1

    TRUE SHIKANTAZA by Jundo

    I was inspired by the recent threads on just sitting a bit of Zazen to relax or better deal with problems in life.

    And that is all fine and good, very acceptable reasons to sit Zazen! Nothing at all wrong with that ...

    Yet ... do not halt there ...

    __________________________________________________ _________

    I was asked how Shikantaza Zazen is different from most other ways of meditation ... other styles of Zazen too ...

    If one is sitting Zazen with the intent -- in any way -- to discover some Truth, experience something special, change one's current life, attain some exotic state of mind or special wisdom, be happier or more peaceful, pierce some mystery or conundrum, solve some problem in life, understand "life and death" or the "meaning of time", taste "oneness", or accomplish some goal or purpose --in any manner, even but one of the foregoing -- ... then that is not true "Shikantaza" by definition.

    I think that one or more of the foregoing applies to most every style of meditation in some way. I think most styles of meditation pay lip service to dropping such goals and hopes ... but I think that most folks actually continue to hold such accomplishments as the "pay off" of Zazen in some manner.

    In the sitting of "Shikantaza"... one radically drops (and is dropped from) all thought of discovery, 'special' or not 'special', attainment, wish for change, opposites of happy/sad peaceful/disturbed, all desire to pierce a mystery, worry of "problems" to resolve, concepts of "life" and "death" or "time", idea of "oneness" ... all purpose to accomplish some goal. All of that is dropped clean through ... even the thought of "someone to achieve" some goal too. All fully discarded, not needed in any way.

    Of course, there's a lovely twist ... :wink:

    For in true "Shikantaza" ... living without need to discover some Truth -is precisely- Truth discovered. The foresaking of all desire for "something special" or to change one's life in some way -is- profoundly special, working a radical change in life. Giving up all hopes of attaining exotic states of mind or special wisdom ... manifests clear & illuminating states of mind ever flowing with life's changing kaleidoscope ... and thus a panoply of the Buddha's Wisdom in many shapes and colors.

    By foresaking all need for peace and happiness in one's day-to-day ... one finds the Happiness of one's day to day just-as-it-is, at home where one stands ... standing everyplace and no place in particular (a "Happiness" that does not even require one to feel "happy" all the time! ) ... and a Peace that washes away and holds all reactions to peace or disturbance (thus forsaking even the demand on life that it cause us to feel "peaceful" Now THAT's Peaceful!).

    Great mysteries are resolved when dropped from mind (like asking about "how many angels on the head of a pin"), "problems" are not "problems" when we simply stop thinking of each as "problems" (even when the "problems" still remain! ... That's very important: Zen practice won't cure your cancer, return lost loved ones or even fix a flat tire ... but may change how we refuse each). "Life" and "death" are not "life" and "death" when the human mind stops cutting "life" from "death" (same for "past" and "future", thus deconstructing "time").

    Many people run around (and around internet forums! ) claiming "enlightenment" because they have tasted, or can access, some feeling of "oneness". The seeker may have even seen for a time visions of "oneness beyond oneness beyond time or place" without even a separate see'r to do the seeing. They may know that that this world of "samsara" is like a dream. Such folks then proclaim themselves "enlightened" though they are "playing in the entranceway, still short of the vital path of emancipation. Such persons mistake "oneness" or "oneness beyond beyond" for truly being "at one" with this life of chaos, division, both beauty and ugliness, peace and war. The error is that they want this world of samsara to feel like enlightenment (or want to constantly see the multiplicity through the eyes of "oneness" or "oneness beyond oneness"), but do not know the non-enlightenment of just allowing samsara to be samsara.

    For by allowing samsara to be samsara, all conflicts are resolved, all thoughts and divisions of "how things must be" vanish. Instantly, samsara is not merely samsara ... for the chaos, divisions, weighing of beauty and ugliness vanish too. What presents is a Peace which is at "one piece" whether there is peace and war (not an excuse not to settle the war, by the way 8) ). The infinite complexity of life is -one- with the infinite complexity of life. Greed anger and ignorance dissipate as all tension, division, and need for reward drop away. Merely by letting the world be the world, a better world results.

    In that way, the "self" is put out of a job, loses its functions, is rendered mute. For the normal work of the "self" is desiring, complaining, contrasting & dividing, wishing, regretting, remembering, anticipating, fearing etc. etc. ... Simply remove from mind-body all thoughts of desire (via faith in completeness), complaint at "how things are", contrasts and divisions, wishes, regrets, thoughts of past and future, fear ... and the "self" loses its fire and goes out. POOF!

    Then, rising from where we are endlessly sitting, we can return to a world of desires, incompleteness, contrast and divisions, wishes, regrets, past and future, sometime fears. Yet, something is different about difference ... we taste the completeness of incompleteness, divisions undivided, wishes without fundamental care of attainment or not attainment ... resisted pain that is not "suffering" because we human beings embrace and allow human resistance to the painful state.

    One is not "one" with the universe or "enlightened" ... but "at one" with this crazy universe, just-as-it-is. Up down up down ... YIPPEE! :dance: The roller coaster is just us! Then, even thought of "the ride" and "someone riding" is just a convenience.

    True "Shikantaza" ... .

    Gassho, J

  2. #2
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: TRUE SHIKANTAZA by Jundo

    Gassho.

    How can one attend to this moment if one is always trying to attain something?

    I dreaded coming in to work today. I think I'm now getting to the point where I'm not trying to NOT dread coming to work - nor judging myself for dreading going to work. Not to resist even one's resistance - that seems appropriate.

    Chet

  3. #3

    Re: TRUE SHIKANTAZA by Jundo

    In that way, the "self" is put out of a job, loses its functions, is rendered mute. For the normal work of the "self" is desiring, complaining, contrasting & dividing, wishing, regretting, remembering, anticipating, fearing etc. etc. ...
    Is it not also the normal work of the self to love, create, contemplate, have compassion, enjoy, learn, etc... ? Do we lose a connection to those when the self goes POOF?

  4. #4
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: TRUE SHIKANTAZA by Jundo

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobiah
    In that way, the "self" is put out of a job, loses its functions, is rendered mute. For the normal work of the "self" is desiring, complaining, contrasting & dividing, wishing, regretting, remembering, anticipating, fearing etc. etc. ...
    Is it not also the normal work of the self to love, create, contemplate, have compassion, enjoy, learn, etc... ? Do we lose a connection to those when the self goes POOF?
    The self doesn't go 'poof' - in reality, it just never existed the way you thought it did. Nothing is lost, how could it be?

    Chet

  5. #5

    Re: TRUE SHIKANTAZA by Jundo

    There is no shikantaza...

    Confuse?

    Than back to your seat...

    For Jundo: nice posting :wink:

    Gassho, Mujo

  6. #6

    Re: TRUE SHIKANTAZA by Jundo

    Quote Originally Posted by Shui_Di
    There is no shikantaza...

    Confuse?

    Than back to your seat...

    For Jundo: nice posting :wink:

    Gassho, Mujo
    Shui Di! I am glad that posting brought you out of hiding! I miss you when you are not around.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobiah
    In that way, the "self" is put out of a job, loses its functions, is rendered mute. For the normal work of the "self" is desiring, complaining, contrasting & dividing, wishing, regretting, remembering, anticipating, fearing etc. etc. ...
    Is it not also the normal work of the self to love, create, contemplate, have compassion, enjoy, learn, etc... ? Do we lose a connection to those when the self goes POOF?
    Hi Tobiah,

    The wonderful thing about our Zen practice is that it is always a "have our cake and eat it too ... anyway, be 'at one' with the cake" practice.

    So, in this practice ... we keep our self, cherish our little self ... and lose it too. Depends on the time and place (or timelessness and placelessness). 8)

    In a nutshell ... keep and nurture the positive, healthful emotions and actions ... such as to love, create, contemplate, have compassion, enjoy, learn. Perhaps sometimes we should remember moderation even there ... for like oxygen and water, even good things can sometimes be harmful in excess. But, otherwise, live ... and dance, enjoy, love!

    On the other hand, do as you can to drop or temper the harmful thoughts, emotions, acts ... hate, greed, pettiness, jealousy, etc. etc.

    There are times we remember and nourish our little self ... times to see our self in other ways, as the grass and trees and stars. Back and forth, back and forth.

    How's that?

    Gassho, J

  7. #7

    Re: TRUE SHIKANTAZA by Jundo

    yeah, ok... why do I have to see the same advice over and over, and still not get it? :roll:

    (rhetorical)

    gassho

  8. #8

    Re: TRUE SHIKANTAZA by Jundo

    I greatly enjoyed this post, Jundo. Thanks.

    I love the bit about allowing samsara to be samsara -- because it seems to me samsara IS going to be samsara, whether I "allow" it or not. I might as well just recognize that and keep going.

    I like your advice about compassion and love and joy and all that, too. I have tried to explain to a friend that "losing the self" doesn't really mean falling into a hole and avoiding life, and that "non-attachment" does not mean not caring. (I don't prosletyze zen to my friends, by the way ... I just try to answer questions when asked). Anyway, the post that started this thread might help me answer such questions down the road.

    One thought non-attachment and being in love: I see "non-attachment" here as meaning I don't cling to some idealized version of my wife. I recognize she grows and changes, and she always will, and that she is not today the same girl I married (she's even better!) I also see "non-attachment" as meaning I don't try to make my wife the answer for everything, or somehow make her responsible for my actions or happiness or whatever. I'm happy to share my life with her and thrilled she wants to share hers with me, but I can't be so dependent on her that she becomes the "be all" of my life ... if that makes any sense.

    Sorry if I hijacked the thread a bit or strayed from the point. I just had these thoughts in response to Jundo's post.

  9. #9
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: TRUE SHIKANTAZA by Jundo

    Quote Originally Posted by ZenYen
    I love the bit about allowing samsara to be samsara -- because it seems to me samsara IS going to be samsara, whether I "allow" it or not. I might as well just recognize that and keep going.
    Is there anything more insane than saying 'no' to what is already happening?

    Chet

  10. #10

    Re: TRUE SHIKANTAZA by Jundo

    Is there anything more insane than saying 'no' to what is already happening?

    Chet
    According to an old colloquial definition, saying 'no' over an over and expecting a different result every time would be the most insane. :wink:

  11. #11

    Re: TRUE SHIKANTAZA by Jundo

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    By foresaking all need for peace and happiness in one's day-to-day ... one finds the Happiness of one's day to day just-as-it-is, at home where one stands ... standing everyplace and no place in particular (a "Happiness" that does not even require one to feel "happy" all the time! ) ... and a Peace that washes away and holds all reactions to peace or disturbance (thus forsaking even the demand on life that it cause us to feel "peaceful" Now THAT's Peaceful!).
    Bingo! We have a winner!


    Many thanks, Jundo. It seems that I can't be reminded of this basic stance often enough.


    Gassho,
    Bill

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