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Thread: FROM JUNDO: An Outstanding Article by Ezra Bayda

  1. #1

    FROM JUNDO: An Outstanding Article by Ezra Bayda

    Hi,

    I would like to encourage everyone to read, and take to heart, the following commentary by Zen Teacher Ezra Bayda from the current issue of Buddhadharma ...

    In reading it, you will notice that he often refers to our being "in the reality of the present moment" and "staying with the present moment" or the like. In understanding this, it may help to think of this being "in the present moment" as (in this case) not about the Zenny stereotype of "perfectly doing one activity at one time", e.g., "when eating, just eat" or "when walking, just walk". That is a perfectly good and sometimes appropriate practice, but the meaning is a bit other here.

    Instead, it may help to think of the meaning of this "being with the present moment" as experiencing "being at one with however one finds the present moment" without thought of how you think it "should be" "ideally could be" "if only I wish it would be" or other way to please you from how it is. That is, in this meaning, being "with the moment as the moment is" ... not separate from the conditions of the present moment in the least.

    http://www.thebuddhadharma.com/issues/2 ... entary.php

    Comments welcome.

    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #2

    Re: FROM JUNDO: An Outstanding Article by Ezra Bayda

    Hi,

    Lots of good stuff in there, thanks for pointing this out, Jundo.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ezra Bayda
    In the early phases of our spiritual practice we may find ourselves repeatedly turning away from the reality of the present moment. We take one detour after another in an effort to avoid what we don’t want to face within ourselves. Some of the detours are obvious, such as our addiction to control, our obsession with trying to figure everything out, and our attachment to the spinning mind as a way to avoid the discomfort of the unfamiliar. Just think about what we’re doing when we choose to get hooked into planning during meditation—aren’t we primarily trying to avoid the discomfort of disorder and chaos?
    Yes, I think he's right about this. And yet I think that it's not necessarily a bad thing to go through initially. It's something that we're so accustomed to doing that we really have to first take notice of what "repeatedly turning away from the reality of the present moment" actually is before we can truly appreciate what it's like not to do that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ezra Bayda
    Part of our practice is to observe ourselves with precision, watching our many attempts to detour away from the present moment, and uncovering the illusions that blind us. Eventually we may realize one of the great secrets of spiritual practice: that to connect with what’s real we don’t have to be some particular way, such as clear or spacious. Nor do we have to feel some particular way, such as calm or together. One of the hardest things to understand in practice is that we don’t have to fulfill our idealized pictures of how we’re supposed to be or what life is supposed to be. All we have to do is experience and work with what our life is right now. It doesn’t matter what arises. Nor does it matter how we feel about it. This may be hard to accept, but all that matters is whether we can honestly acknowledge what is going on and then stay with the present-moment reality of the experience.

    When we truly understand that we don’t need to feel or be any particular way, we come to realize that everything in life, including the detours, the false promises, and all the disappointments, are in fact the path itself. To truly understand that everything is the path is the beginning of the genuine life we seek.
    This is a lovely summary. I guess the only thing I would add to it is that understanding that "everything is the path" doesn't mean that we just bury our heads in the sand and take on an attitude of resignation. Someone once said something about "acceptance without acceptance", which I think hits the nail on the head.

    Gassho
    Bansho

  3. #3

    Re: FROM JUNDO: An Outstanding Article by Ezra Bayda

    Hi!
    Great read. I read a lot of things that have and are happening in my practice... not so much the promise of feeling better or being better by sitting as in Ill become a super-Buddha with light shining outta my @ss or a calm, wise and tranquil Zen master or both- but being detoured or derailed by my fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of losing control - funny i think im laid back but I keep proving myself wrong. I agree the detours are there for some and are par for the course. They are a part of practice for me that comes up and when/ if I catch myself I do not beat my self up over it. I just start again. One thing is for sure, in my limited experience thus far -This path never stops starting again. Now, I do not think all the rituals around my practice are a hindrance nor do i think that these rituals will pop open some safe full of enlightenment in my mind by chanting X perfectly and immediately after sitting 144 minutes while counting my breath and shouting quietly at my brain to STFU - That's just crazy talk . Although I do not place any magical mystical powers in any of the bowing, chanting, sitting etc as they are "magical" enough on there own.

    Gassho
    Shohei

  4. #4
    Myoshin
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    Re: FROM JUNDO: An Outstanding Article by Ezra Bayda

    Thanks for the link Jundo.

    Really good read. Like Shohei said, I noticed that much of what was in the article was at one point or still is in my practice. I remember when I started out I sat to relax, then I sat to achieve and now I try to sit to sit, but there are still times when I revert back but I try to be more mindful about it.

    Gassho,
    Kyle

  5. #5
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: FROM JUNDO: An Outstanding Article by Ezra Bayda

    "To truly understand that everything is the path is the beginning of the genuine life we seek."

    I think I enjoyed that quote the best. I still have some of the aforementioned "illusions".. But I try to let them slide. And say to myself..."It is what it is, I'll sit to find out."

    Earlier on in my spiritual practices ( going back close to 15 years) I can definitvely say alot of what was mentioned was definitely me. Now.. not as much. Still there to a degree. Just not as prevalent and I see it more as wishful thinking and know it to be a trap, even if sometimes I delight in the land of What If.

    Dave _/_

  6. #6

    Re: FROM JUNDO: An Outstanding Article by Ezra Bayda

    Dirk's said:
    ...or being better by sitting as in "I'll become a super-Buddha with light shining outta my @ss"
    Best. Visual. Ever.
    So: does Super-Buddha wear a cape? Does he have night vision goggles?
    No, wait. He doesn't need those because of the light shining out of his ass!
    Of course, if he's sitting, then how would you know if there's light coming out? :shock:
    (Somebody add that koan to the mumonkan...)

    Seriously, though. Ezra Bayda writes some good stuff. "Being Zen" and "At Home in Muddy Water" are good reads on the same grounds as Everyday Zen. Of course, that's not surprising since he's a Dharma heir of Joko Beck. Or at least he was.
    I read somewhere she "revoked" it. (Can you even do that?!)
    Yeah, here it is; from an interview with Barry Magid.
    http://www.sweepingzen.com/Barry_Magid_Interview.html

    Anyway, great article! Encourages you to continue to question your motivations in all aspects of your practice.
    As Taigu said on Monday in his talk "Primary Ignorance in Buddhism is saying 'I know'".
    (See, I WAS listening!) :mrgreen:

    _/_
    -K2

  7. #7
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: FROM JUNDO: An Outstanding Article by Ezra Bayda

    Hi all,

    Very good article; thank you Jundo. I see much of myself and my practice in what he writes and it's one of those "I thought I was the only one" moments. I often get caught up in what I used to refer to as "bad sittings" and still fall into the trap of wondering if this "bad" feeling will ever go away. As I have mentioned in several posts, I am beginning to notice these occurances, often even in long held fears since I can remember, and now think "Wait...myabe it doesn't have to be like this". I am not sure what "it" can be like and that matters very little actually, but it is a start and I guess it always starts again and again.

    The biggest thing I'm taking away from the article is how I distract myself even with "good" aspects of practice, realizing that when I feel good after a sitting and wonder if I might feel this good forever, that is exactly the same thing as a "bad" sitting when I worry that I will always feel terrible. Both place judgements on the sitting that was just completed. There is no difference; all is the path.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  8. #8

    Re: FROM JUNDO: An Outstanding Article by Ezra Bayda

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho

    The biggest thing I'm taking away from the article is how I distract myself even with "good" aspects of practice, realizing that when I feel good after a sitting and wonder if I might feel this good forever, that is exactly the same thing as a "bad" sitting when I worry that I will always feel terrible. Both place judgements on the sitting that was just completed. There is no difference; all is the path.
    Thank you Dosho, You just said exactly what I feel... but in a better English! :wink:
    Sometimes I judge everything so quickly, without being aware I'm categorizing... It's even scarry how quick I can "put things in a mental box" sometimes...

    And thanks to Jundo for the article!

    Gassho to you guys!

    Luis

  9. #9

    Re: FROM JUNDO: An Outstanding Article by Ezra Bayda

    Jundo

    Thanks for presenting this profound article for our study. I am going to read it daily during Ango. Perhaps, I will be able to see behind the words.
    Gassho Bill K

  10. #10

    Re: FROM JUNDO: An Outstanding Article by Ezra Bayda

    Hi Jundo,

    Thank you for this article. What a great read.

    Just think about what we’re doing when we choose to get hooked into planning during meditation—aren’t we primarily trying to avoid the discomfort of disorder and chaos?
    I think this applies to planning in our daily lives, too. I am a planner and organizer from way back, and found this quote to be one of those things that was precisely what I needed to hear when I heard it in order to generate a profound-ish realization. Thanks again.

    Gassho, Jean

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