Chew and spit or swallow
I take refuge in the Buddha.
I take refuge in the dharma.
I take refuge in the sangha.
I am no Buddhist scholar. I have a lousy memory for quotes, so I can never remember what anyone said or who said it; whatever, I generally donít care. I do have a pretty good mind for abstract concepts, but my mind finds its limits where Zen Buddhism is concerned, and thatís a good thing because understanding Zen as reality is hard. Thatís roughly where my practice lies, making those abstract Zen concepts real absent all those quotes by whomever.
I have been pretty busy lately fetching and chopping wood, drinking water, resting where I can here and there, and doing zazen almost every morning. When I can I scan this forum, and that distance from the forum has given me a new perspective on it I thought I might share.
It has occurred to me that the forum is our sanghaís collective mind. It is both one of us and all of us at the same time. This forum does not exist without the sangha and the sangha also exists because of this forum. Those who read this and what you are now reading coexist. We (text, reader, group of readers) are one in the same. But we are also clearly not the same, clearly we are also separate, so what I say here I say for myself.
Sometimes during zazen my mind goes down rabbit holes and I chase thoughts, but I always come back to the source. This forum also chases rabbits, but those threads eventually die off and I always come back to the source. Every time I log on to this forum I am at the source, and then I go chasing rabbit threads because that is part of my nature, but I always at some point let those threads go and come back to the source, the sangha, because that is closer to my TRUE nature.
Sometimes those rabbit threads are contentious and I get caught up in them.
Sometimes those rabbit threads get ugly and I get caught up in them.
Sometimes those rabbit threads are beautiful and I get caught up in them.
Sometimes those rabbit threads are supportive and I get caught up in them.
Sometimes those rabbit threads are ________ and I get caught up in them.
Such is life. Such is zazen
And then I drop it and move on with life the better for having both been caught up in the messiness of it all AND the dropping of it all, knowing I will do it some more as I make my way down the path. Because thatís what Bodhisattvas do.
Please chew on this and feel free to spit it out or swallow as you see fit. Either way, you/we/life and Buddha/dharma/sangha/etc. goes on.
Re: Chew and spit or swallow
Hey Alan! Glad to see you posting again.
True nature. I'm chewing on that term a little. What is 'closer to my TRUE nature'? What does that mean?
Originally Posted by AlanLa
Even when you chase rabbit threads, is your 'true nature' not there? I think there's an insidious dualism at work when we try to separate our deluded self from our 'true nature'. And at the same time, we sit....we come back to 'right here', even though in a way, right here is always right here. I think that after a while, you get to a point where you realize that you're going to have to stop battling your mind. You can't stop battling your mind as an act of will, as that is just more 'battling the mind'. Setting up a 'true nature' against 'the rabbit threads'....that's more battle.
When you drop it, is it an act of will, or do you just let it 'drop you', so to speak? The wheel of delusion isn't something you have to stop or drop. Trying to stop it or drop it just keeps it turning. In a way, stopping the wheel of delusion is merely a matter of stopping the addition of energy to it. How are we turning it? It's a matter of the light of recognition, and rather than get discouraged that you keep catching yourself turning it, you could be encouraged that you keep catching yourself turning it. Many people never even realize what they are doing at all. Each waking from each rabbit thread is like a little enlightenment.
I think that my main point is that we should hold everything a little loosely. There's a tendency to prefer a so-called 'true nature' over a so-called 'deluded nature'. The energy of this preference can very much be a part of what causes the delusion in the first place. I think enlightenment is a bit like the matter of a car slowly rolling to a stop. You don't heavily apply the brakes (because unlike this analogy, the brake is really just the gas pedal in disguise), you simply stop hitting the gas. That's enlightenment in practice. A kensho or satori experience is more like the first realization that, 'Holy shit! I'm really laying on the gas! Where is it I think I'm going?' It often results in a brief and immediate laying off the gas, but enlightenment in practice is to wake up again and again and again. In a way, it's sort of frustrating that because of unresolved conditioning, our foot (sometimes both feet, LOL - ever fallen in love?) - our mind - keeps finding it's way to the gas pedal....but at least now we catch ourselves with the foot on the gas! That's encouraging!
If that's what you feel you are doing, carry on! Just remember that enlightenment is also daydreaming sometimes. Trying to always be on the razor's edge of now is a violent act that causes it's own defeat more often than not. Keep your determination loose and realize that this is often a very long journey to absolutely nowhere - to absolutely here.
Re: Chew and spit or swallow
I just realized that my analogy breaks down a little bit, in that the idea may not be to even stop the car completely, but to actually drive it.
Re: Chew and spit or swallow
Stop chewing so hard, Chet. You're practically grinding your teeth on this little light dish I have served here. Spit or swallow and let it go.