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Thread: When Shunryi Suzuki said...

  1. #1
    disastermouse
    Guest

    When Shunryi Suzuki said...

    When Suzuki said in 'ZM, Beginner's Mind' that actually, the Soto school was the 'sudden' school, it seemed at first that he was contradicting reality.

    In fact, he wasn't.

    Why is Soto the sudden school?

    Chet

  2. #2

    Re: When Shunryi Suzuki said...

    guessing here that im on the same page (lol which im probably not) -
    id say Soto is sudden school in the way that we are already enlightened, Buddhas, though we may practice for many years to find this out (if we ever do).
    Dunno if this is even close to what you were pointing at since I haven't read that book yet - and probably am out of context if not way out in left field.

    Gassho
    Shohei

  3. #3
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: When Shunryi Suzuki said...

    So much self-doubt.

    Wasn't really looking for a definitive answer - although I guess it does sound a bit like a Koan, doesn't it?

    Chet

  4. #4

    Re: When Shunryi Suzuki said...

    Yeah true!

    What were you thinking about when you wrote it out?

    Gassho
    Shohei

  5. #5
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: When Shunryi Suzuki said...

    I was thinking about girls in spandex...but that's pretty much an all-the-time thoughtform.

    Other than that?

    Shikantaza is the embodiment of enlightenment - therefore enlightenment is expressed 'immediately'.

    Chet

  6. #6

    Re: When Shunryi Suzuki said...

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    So much self-doubt.

    Wasn't really looking for a definitive answer - although I guess it does sound a bit like a Koan, doesn't it?

    Chet
    Well, I will take a stab anyway.

    Realization, Enlightenment is immediately experienced right this moment ... and this moment, and this. Sudden and instantaneous.

    Yet life consists of a string of moments followed by moments, and making this Practice our own does not happen overnight.

    Most teachers agree that all Zen Practice (both Rinzai and Soto, for example) are really sudden and gradual, gradual as sudden.

    My friend Nonin sometimes says, "A moment of Zazen is a moment of Buddha, 30 years of Zazen is 30 years of Buddha". Although there is "nothing to attain", a practitioner of 30 years is going to be "better at it" than a sitter on her first day. We do get better at this practice. We do have realizations upon realizations as the days tick away. Part of what we do realize, and get "better at", is a to-the-marrow understanding of the profound meaning of "nothing to attain". :shock:

    We must diligently practice until we "cross the finish line" of thoroughly realizing that fact of "ever crossing the finish line" by diligently living step by step, ever arriving at the "finish line" with each step in a life that never is finished. Ever arriving and complete ... all while continuing our training of embodying the Teachings and the Precepts step by step. Like a rough and scratched jewel that is "perfectly complete" before it is cut and polished (a "perfect rough jewel"), and "perfectly complete" after it is cut and polished ... yet we cut and polish. In fact, the constant action, moment by moment, of "cutting and polishing" is "perfectly complete", and the actualization of enlightenment itself!

    It reminds me of a recent thread we had on the 6th Patriarch's poetry slam in the "Platform Sutra" ...

    It is said that Shenxiu lost the contest with these lines ...

    The body is a Bodhi [Perfect Wisdom] tree,
    the mind a standing mirror bright.
    At all times polish it diligently,
    and let no dust alight.


    and that Huineng won the day with this little diddy ...

    Bodhi is no tree,
    nor is the mind a standing mirror bright.
    Since all is originally empty,
    where does the dust alight?


    But, really, it is not that Shenxiu was wrong (in fact, their Master, Hongren, praised each in its way) and both are truly right at once ... both two sides of a complete view.
    Something like that.

    Gassho, J

  7. #7
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: When Shunryi Suzuki said...

    But no input about girls in spandex? I'm disappointed!

    Chet

  8. #8

    Re: When Shunryi Suzuki said...

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    But no input about girls in spandex? I'm disappointed!

    Chet
    Actually, we have been speaking about that quite a bit ...

    viewtopic.php?p=29701#p29701

  9. #9
    Stephanie
    Guest

    Re: When Shunryi Suzuki said...

    Some of what I could never get about Rinzai or Rinzai-styled approaches to sitting and to practice in general were instructions such as, "Sit with such intensity you break a sweat." I wondered how one even did that--to strain like that on the cushion. How could one strain to let go? You can't manufacture curiosity or a will to the truth--I struggle with my own lackadaisical, ambivalent approach to practice--and these are the factors that generate a breakthrough. Not straining like you were on a toilet seat trying to--well, you know :lol:

    Soto, as I have learned, seems to be the most direct approach. It's true that the Rinzai approach pushes many students to breakthrough experiences (I'm currently reading Nine-Headed Dragon River by Peter Matthiessen, which is full of them), but what are these breakthroughs? In shikantaza, you are sitting looking directly at it, whether you have a breakthrough or not. Looking directly at your mind while it is in the business of mind-ing--all is revealed on the spot. You learn the knack of catching your mind as it creates reality, so that you're more likely to stop and notice it doing the same thing during day-to-day activity. Vast freedom in all directions.

    Soto is "sudden" because it is instantaneous. As soon as you sit and look at your mind, all is revealed. (It just may take a while for the dumb ox to learn to be able to see it.) There is nothing extra, whereas Rinzai has to add a lot of extra stuff in the hope it will break you down and bring you to what Soto immediately and directly plunges you into with shikantaza. Your mind, this moment. Generating space and time.

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: When Shunryi Suzuki said...

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie
    In shikantaza, you are sitting looking directly at it, whether you have a breakthrough or not. Looking directly at your mind while it is in the business of mind-ing--all is revealed on the spot. You learn the knack of catching your mind as it creates reality, so that you're more likely to stop and notice it doing the same thing during day-to-day activity. Vast freedom in all directions.
    I really like this and have absolutely nothing to add.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  11. #11
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: When Shunryi Suzuki said...

    Spot on thus far, yeah.

    Chet

  12. #12

    Re: When Shunryi Suzuki said...

    Maybe I am misspeaking, and I am very new to all of this, but it seems so interesting that I could tell another person, about the experience of meditating: I got it all at once, but then I had to keep doing it to keep getting it?

    I sometimes get an image of being on a road, and all the lights ahead are green as far as I can see, and I can go anywhere, but I don't have to go anywhere.

    Sometimes I also feel like I am one in a nested series of boxes, like Russian nesting dolls, each non-doing in their turn, and at the center (doll) there is nothing, which is everything. Layered containers like an onion skin, that don't actually exist but they do, doing as they do with no goal. Jupiter's orbit-- no goal. The movement of my mitcochondria in my cells-- no goal. At the center of all-- atoms full of nothing.

    And, of course, the opposite of this, and all the shades between the opposites.

    Like I said, new to this!

  13. #13

    Re: When Shunryi Suzuki said...

    Hi Manatee,

    Those are lovely images, and in reading them, they ring true. Free, open, limitless yet "always at home". That is good, and an important perspective in our practice.

    I sometimes get an image of being on a road, and all the lights ahead are green as far as I can see, and I can go anywhere, but I don't have to go anywhere.
    That is lovely, and I feel what you are expressing. From there, I would add this:

    Even with this "don't have to go anywhere", life means we do have places to get to constantly. We do not stand still. Not all of them are nice places. Can you find the harmony of "don't have to go anywhere, always at home" with "many places each day to get to, some pretty and some not"? Both at once, not two? That's really being "always at home"!


    And can you find that feeling of "the lights ahead are green ... and I can go anywhere" even when life throws many red lights, detours and potholes in your way? That is what we Practice, and is truly "can go anywhere"

    In other words, can you know both at once: Lights which are green when green, lights green even when red, red lights like ruby jewels in their pure redness?

    The meaning of our practice is, not just to sit still (although we practice sitting in stillness) ... but to get up from the Zafu, get on with the trip, a road that constantly winds and twists, changing scenery, bumps. Can we find the stillness and peace even on the wild trip of life's Greyhound Bus? (Heck, just wait till you get a look at the mess in the rest room on this old bus! :cry: )

    And if you forget that "I" a bit ... one will also find some unexpected meanings to "going" "coming" and "anywhere".

    So, savor that taste of "all the lights ahead are green as far as I can see, and I can go anywhere, but I don't have to go anywhere" ... for it is true and real and lovely. You are on to something very good. Know well that place, and how to return to there when you need, whenever you need. But it would also help to think of that as just the "Bus Station", and the real voyage comes as you choose which direction to head.

    Likewise ...

    Sometimes I also feel like I am one in a nested series of boxes, like Russian nesting dolls, each non-doing in their turn, and at the center (doll) there is nothing, which is everything. Layered containers like an onion skin, that don't actually exist but they do, doing as they do with no goal. Jupiter's orbit-- no goal. The movement of my mitcochondria in my cells-- no goal. At the center of all-- atoms full of nothing.
    I have seen descriptions like this before (I can't find the source) but, yes, I think it a lovely image conveying a taste of emptiness, interconnection, impermanence ... emptiness far from empty, full of life. Yes, our "self" is much like an onion (a "sentient onion", of course) searching for its "True Self" (its "True Onion"!! :lol: ) by peeling away layer upon layer, only to find as the last leaves are pulled away ... emptiness. Or, it may think that it is merely the sun, rain and soil (for it is just that too, all that made and supports it).

    All true! Yet, in doing so, let it not miss its own pungent beauty too. That's true too.

    Anyway, before I get lost in my own imagination ... let me say that this "russian doll" or "sentient onion" must now get up and live! An understanding of emptiness, as you describe, is very helpful. But now you must truly feel it in your marrow. Now you really need to probe it, really make it your own, and truly find out the effect of feeling that in your life.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manatee
    I got it all at once, but then I had to keep doing it to keep getting it?
    It is not about holding on to these views (they are very precious, but do not think of them as something to clutch), but now what you do with them on the trip ... and how you make them your own.

    The bus is leaving the station, the doll now must get up to dance ... Here is a line from a famous Zen poem (Song of the Jewel Mirror Awareness) ...

    Wondrously embraced within the absolute,
    drumming and singing go together.
    Penetrating the source and traveling the way;
    You cover the territory and embrace the road.
    Complications are auspicious;
    Do not resist them.
    What is natural and inconceivable,
    Belongs neither to delusion nor enlightenment.
    Causes and conditions at this moment
    Shine completely in the silence.
    So fine, it enters nowhere,
    So vast it exceeds all bounds.
    A hairsbreadth deviation
    And you are out of harmony.
    Through the teachings of sudden and gradual,
    Different methods have arisen.
    Even though you master such teachings,
    The truth keeps on escaping.
    Sitting still, yet inwardly moving,
    Like a tethered colt, a trapped rat.
    (Jundo Note: But try moving outwardly while still!)
    ====
    When the wooden man begins to sing,
    The stone woman [Jundo: or russian doll] gets up to dance.
    This does not come by knowing,
    Nor does it involve ideas.
    Gassho, J

  14. #14

    Re: When Shunryi Suzuki said...

    Thank you, Jundo, that was lovely and evocative.

    Gassho, Mandy

  15. #15

    Re: When Shunryi Suzuki said...

    Thank you Mandy, that was sweet and beautiful. It will take me another 40 years to just put into practice the teachings of the Song of the jewel Mirror Awareness...beginners rule, for sure!

    Gassho

    Taigu

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