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Thread: point 3 on the 4 points of zazen

  1. #1
    Senior Member bayamo's Avatar
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    point 3 on the 4 points of zazen

    i would like to get some opinions on point 3, shin-jin-datsu-raku, dropping off the body and the mind..
    the way i read it, isee it as a type of "acting without thinking", just doing what the moment calls for without too much time spent on "what" you should do, rather "do what needs to be done"..
    gassho..

  2. #2

    Re: point 3 on the 4 points of zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by bayamo
    i would like to get some opinions on point 3, shin-jin-datsu-raku, dropping off the body and the mind..
    the way i read it, isee it as a type of "acting without thinking", just doing what the moment calls for without too much time spent on "what" you should do, rather "do what needs to be done"..
    gassho..
    Hi Bayamo,

    Before I offer something on this, from where is your list of "4 points of Zazen" and what is included in the list?

    Gassho, Jundo

  3. #3
    Senior Member bayamo's Avatar
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    Re: point 3 on the 4 points of zazen

    sit down and shut up..
    i dont have it with me here, but i believe it has sitting upright, making the body right, and just sitting (4).. i cant remember the other one off the top of my head..
    gassho

  4. #4

    Re: point 3 on the 4 points of zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by bayamo
    sit down and shut up..
    i dont have it with me here, but i believe it has sitting upright, making the body right, and just sitting (4).. i cant remember the other one off the top of my head..
    gassho
    Well, I just happen to have my copy right here ... Let's take a look ... hmmm.

    Okay, let me say this ... this is a subject where various Zen teachers all fundamentally agree ... but also disagree a little in how they express this.

    Let me tell you what I believe the phrase means ... and what some other folks sometimes say it means .

    "Dropping body and mind" ... Everyone agrees that this is really "dropping the small self" (because the body-mind is the small self ... when the body is feeling, and the mind is thinking, the "self" appears). Reverse the process, and the "small self" disappears.

    Let me give you an example of "dropping body" first. This "dropping body" happens when the body is not a concern, forgotten, not hanging in mind. For example, right now (until I mention it) your "back of the left knee" is surely there ... but also is "not there" because you were not thinking about it, it was forgotten, it was "dropped from mind". The moment I mention "back of knee", it pops into mind, your attention goes there ... and there it is! Like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat ...there it is!

    Well, same for the entire body ... when you stop thinking about it ... it vanishes. That is the main reason that balanced, relaxed yet resilient sitting posture is so important because it lets us forget about the body.

    Now, what about "dropping mind"??

    Okay, what does the mind do? It thinks and has emotions. It has likes and dislikes, judgments of all sorts (good, bad, beautiful, ugly, tall, short), creates divisions (me, you, the other), time (past, present, future ... start and finish ... birth and death) feels all kinds of emotions (fearful, happy, sad, bored, excited) ... That is the mind's job ... thinking and feeling emotions.

    Reverse the process .... the mind is out of a job ... "small self" has no basis ... "small self" goes poof! ... rabbit vanishes back into the hat.

    Thus, we sit Shikanataza dropping thoughts of this and that, likes and dislikes, categories and divisions ... etc. etc. ... "small self" out of work!

    What remains then is not "nothing" ... but more a taste of the boundless, free, timeless, unobstructed, spacious, whole, all pervading, un-selfish, undivided ... well, find out for yourself (by dropping self)!

    Now Nishijima Roshi, who used to run track and field, says that one can get into a very similar Zone of "dropping body-mind" (notice I say "body-mind", because really they are not two) when running. Musicians like Brad say there is something similar sometimes when playing music, losing oneself in the music. I think that is so.

    But I also do not think that the only way it manifests is when one has a very focused, one pointed mind like a musician or athlete running. (That is one form of "dropping body-mind") It is also sometimes a wide, open, spacious unified mind which can be whole and at one in many situations and with all conditions, on or off the Zafu (one reason I encourage folks to do Jundo's Patented "Insta-Zazens" at all those little annoying and troubled moments of life ... in the slow postal line, in the dental chair, when work is hectic, when the baby is crying). One can "drop thoughts and emotions" in all those cases ... and let the hard border and resistance between your "self" and those annoying, troubled circumstance soften or fully drop away.

    Next, I think "dropping body-mind" can come at various depths, and we will experience all of them in Zazen. Sometimes, our mind and body quiet so much, that we may have a true "one beyond one with the universe" ... Big Kensho!!! Sure. But, in our way, the most beautiful "dropping body-mind" is when you learn to be in your body-mind and not ... at the same time.

    And that is what we are really practicing with "Shikantaza" ... because that is the kind of "dropping body-mind" that lets us get up from the Zafu and live life well (hard to do in the middle of Big Kensho!!)

    Finally, I think the concept is a bit over-romanticized and idealized that "acting without thinking" is always good and the point of Zen. Likewise, I do not think that "dropping body-mind" automatically lets your heart know (as you say) what the moment calls for without too much time spent on "what" you should do, rather "do what needs to be done"...

    That's an idea that some Zen folks like to say, but I do not think it is so realistic. Let me explain ...

    There are CERTAINLY times to "act without thinking" .... when dancing, wielding a samurai sword, a calligrapher's brush, driving a car skidding on the ice. But we do not go through life like that ... and most of life, well, even a Zen monk has to think and plan. So, for that reason, we practice "thinking not thinking" (one of the other 4 points of Zazen).

    Next, I have seen no evidence that Zazen will automatically tell your heart in all situations "what is the right choice" or "what you should do". Baloney. Now, it WILL simplify your cluttered mind, settled down your angry or fearful heart, let you touch some Wisdom and Compassion ... and THAT WILL help in much decision making. So, there is some truth to it. However, it is not going to answer whether you should have soup or a sandwich for lunch, whether you should marry Mary or Louse, whether you should become a nurse or a football player (although it may settle down your mind enough to make the decision wisely).

    Okay? I am not sure how well I explained this so late in my night.

    Gassho, Jundo

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui Kyrillos's Avatar
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    Re: point 3 on the 4 points of zazen

    Thanks for this Jundo. Perhaps this response ought to become a "Sticky" that we all can pull up and read from time to time when we begin to get ourselves wrapped up in the mythos of Zen, so we can come back to earth and real life. It sure made sense to me.

    Gassho,

    Denis

  6. #6

    Re: point 3 on the 4 points of zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    There are CERTAINLY times to "act without thinking" .... when dancing, wielding a samurai sword, a calligrapher's brush, driving a car skidding on the ice. But we do not go through life like that ... and most of life, well, even a Zen monk has to think and plan. So, for that reason, we practice "thinking not thinking" (one of the other 4 points of Zazen).

    Next, I have seen no evidence that Zazen will automatically tell your heart in all situations "what is the right choice" or "what you should do". Baloney. Now, it WILL simplify your cluttered mind, settled down your angry or fearful heart, let you touch some Wisdom and Compassion ... and THAT WILL help in much decision making. So, there is some truth to it. However, it is not going to answer whether you should have soup or a sandwich for lunch, whether you should marry Mary or Louse, whether you should become a nurse or a football player (although it may settle down your mind enough to make the decision wisely).

    Okay? I am not sure how well I explained this so late in my night.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Let me quickly mention that book "Blink" ... (before I think about it too much and decide not to!) :wink:

    Amazon.com Review
    Blink is about the first two seconds of looking--the decisive glance that knows in an instant. Gladwell, the best-selling author of The Tipping Point, campaigns for snap judgments and mind reading with a gift for translating research into splendid storytelling. Building his case with scenes from a marriage, heart attack triage, speed dating, choking on the golf course, selling cars, and military maneuvers, he persuades readers to think small and focus on the meaning of "thin slices" of behavior. The key is to rely on our "adaptive unconscious"--a 24/7 mental valet--that provides us with instant and sophisticated information to warn of danger, read a stranger, or react to a new idea.

    Gladwell includes caveats about leaping to conclusions: marketers can manipulate our first impressions, high arousal moments make us "mind blind," focusing on the wrong cue leaves us vulnerable to "the Warren Harding Effect" (i.e., voting for a handsome but hapless president). In a provocative chapter that exposes the "dark side of blink," he illuminates the failure of rapid cognition in the tragic stakeout and murder of Amadou Diallo in the Bronx. He underlines studies about autism, facial reading and cardio uptick to urge training that enhances high-stakes decision-making. In this brilliant, cage-rattling book, one can only wish for a thicker slice of Gladwell's ideas about what Blink Camp might look like.
    http://www.amazon.com/Blink-Power-Think ... 989&sr=1-1

    I think Zen training may make us more sensitive in the way the book describes, able to pick up some clues better, able to read people's faces and real intentions better (I think Buddhism has led me to understand people's "self based" motives and inner mind better ... and let me read their faces better). Zen training may make us more sensitive to small clues and situations that other people might miss. As I mentioned, being free of fear, calm in mind and emotions, "clear eyed" etc., may make for much better decision making.

    But, as the book says, snap decisions can often go wrong as well as right ... and much of it is simple street smarts, being perceptive and having been around the block in life. I do not think that there is anything miraculous about being in touch with "one's face before mother and father were born" that will let one know for sure if they should "take that new job", "marry that guy", or "bet on that horse in the 3rd race at Santa Anita".

  7. #7
    Senior Member bayamo's Avatar
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    Re: point 3 on the 4 points of zazen

    GASSHO for the reply..

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    "bet on that horse in the 3rd race at Santa Anita".
    did it come in?

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