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Thread: A Zen Talk: Silence Mind and Disturbance Mind

  1. #1

    A Zen Talk: Silence Mind and Disturbance Mind

    An article on Zen practice:

    "Silence mind" is not Zen. If we abide in silence mind, it soon breaks. Trying to stay in this mind of silence can be a source of confusion or disturbance. When we do Zen, the appearance is that we are supposed to be silent. Zen is the mind where both silence and disturbance is cut off. So from the outside it might look like silence but on the inside of someone doing Zen, its not silence either. We have to know this in order to practice correctly.

    Because when we do Zen we sit quietly, some imagine we are supposed to be silent inside too. For most people, because they begin their Zen practice with this misunderstanding, they find the practice difficult. But for someone who understands the practice correctly, they don't get caught in silence or disturbance; so they just go directly to their awakened nature. This Zen nature is referred to as "miraculous awareness".
    http://www.zenhall.org/Pages/silence.html


    Gassho

    W

  2. #2

    Re: A Zen Talk: Silence Mind and Disturbance Mind

    I tried something the other day that I hadn't before, and I think maybe it was closer to shikantaza than I had ever been: I recognized the flow of past-oriented thoughts and future-oriented thoughts wandering through my mind, and gently stepped off that track and began to pay closer attention to the sound a particular bird made, with emphasis on new and focused attention to each new bird call. There were several other sounds that took their places in the chain of 'now-sounds', and I tried, without putting too much emphasis or effort on it, to just pay attention to the sound that was occurring in each moment.

    What I was doing, with too much effort and not enough spontaneity, was, I think, living in the moment. For a brief time- maybe five minutes- I did not give attention to thoughts of past and future. It was subtle. It opened up the possibility of doing that with all my senses, not just the ears. I have since tried to do this while performing a manipulative task with my hands (not during zazen) and found I could maintain it for short periods.

    It is probable that all that means nothing.

    gassho
    tobiishi

  3. #3

    Re: A Zen Talk: Silence Mind and Disturbance Mind

    Thanks for the link, Will.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobiishi
    There were several other sounds that took their places in the chain of 'now-sounds', and I tried, without putting too much emphasis or effort on it, to just pay attention to the sound that was occurring in each moment.
    I agree. To me the ears and hearing have always pointed more clearly to the present than sight does. Just my two cents.

    Peace,
    Bill

  4. #4

    Re: A Zen Talk: Silence Mind and Disturbance Mind

    Quote Originally Posted by Eika
    Thanks for the link, Will.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobiishi
    There were several other sounds that took their places in the chain of 'now-sounds', and I tried, without putting too much emphasis or effort on it, to just pay attention to the sound that was occurring in each moment.
    I agree. I think the ears and hearing have always pointed more clearly to the present than sight does. Just my two cents.

    Peace,
    Bill

    I agree with you, Bill, that is a good link. Thanks, Will

    With regard to hearing as compared to sight, though, I feel differently. One day a few years back I was archery hunting for deer (no longer a practice, though I still like target practice only), I had already put my gear away and was walking back to the cabin with my bow slung over my shoulder. Suddenly I heard the sound of something running towards me, but the woods were so thick that I couldn't see what it was until the deer was almost on top of me. When I finally did see it, I stepped to the side and put a tree between the deer and I, but in a flash it changed direction and ran away.

    Hearing can be deceived sometimes even more easily than sight, unless a person has their ability to pinpoint direction, distance and estimation of the source of sound well developed. When amidst the social scene, how many of us tune out what we don't want to hear? Sight can be distorted and deceived just as easily, though. I believe there is more to our senses than is typically described and accepted, with the most accurate of senses being just "knowing." Last Tuesday my father passed away, and in discussions with my two sisters, we discovered that each of us "knew" something was happening with him at that time, before any of us got phone calls.

    This type of sense transcends sight, sound, touch, taste and smell, and strikes me as more of an accurate association with the present moment.

    Tobiishi, enjoy the sounds of the birds. The woods are a wonderful place to be this time of year, especially as the birds arise just at first light.

    Gassho,
    Dave

  5. #5

    Re: A Zen Talk: Silence Mind and Disturbance Mind

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobiishi
    I tried something the other day that I hadn't before, and I think maybe it was closer to shikantaza than I had ever been: I recognized the flow of past-oriented thoughts and future-oriented thoughts wandering through my mind, and gently stepped off that track and began to pay closer attention to the sound a particular bird made, with emphasis on new and focused attention to each new bird call.
    That is good Shikantaza, and a wonderful lesson of practice ... but with the proviso, of course, that one cannot get "closer to shikantaza than I have ever been". (I bet you knew I was going to say that. 8) ) Shikantaza, like the weather, is actually many constantly changing experiences and lessons ... my point being, do not get caught up in any one taste or perspective or experience as "right Shikantaza" as opposed to "wrong Shikantaza". My feeling is that the very value of Shikantaza is its constantly changing nature (with something on the tip of the tongue unchanging amid that change).

    So, savor that way of penetrating bird cries ... and all else. No need to stay there.

    I often compare Shikantaza to hiking in the mountains. We see various scenery, panoramas where the horizon is vast or fully drops away, single blades of grass that seem to hold the whole world, bird cries that sing as if we are the song itself. There is no us, grass, trees or birds ... only the mountain. And from another view, what mountain?

    Each step by step is the walking and the arriving simultaneously, do not feel that one need remain in any place, insight or state of mind. Many insights.

    Something like that.

    Gassho, Jundo

  6. #6
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: A Zen Talk: Silence Mind and Disturbance Mind

    Thank you all.To phrase it in a different way. Appreciation of weeds is Zen mind, appreciation of noise and disturbances and coming back, coming back...Silence mind doesn't exist. Mind noticing, observing and moving on is silence itself.

    gassho

    taigu

  7. #7

    Re: A Zen Talk: Silence Mind and Disturbance Mind

    Shikantaza, like the weather, is actually many constantly changing experiences and lessons
    That's a truth.

    Gassho

    W

  8. #8

    Re: A Zen Talk: Silence Mind and Disturbance Mind

    Nice discussion. thanks everyone. The sounds of nature can take you away from your thinking and you realize there is so much life out there. It's incredible how much you breath and your heart beats. And then I get hungry and eat again. Accepting the silence and disturbance takes practice.

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