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Thread: How a Buddha Shovels Snow

  1. #1

    How a Buddha Shovels Snow

    Hi,

    At ZFI, I wrote an essay about Zen Practice in the Soto way, using a metaphor that someone put up about how Rinzai people and Soto People shovel snow, the importance of "Kensho" and some similar topics ...

    For those new to all this, and who may not get the snowy symbolism ... "snow" probably means "delusions" and obstructions, "a clean driveway" or "getting from the front door to the sidewalk" means "enlightenment" and "shoveling" means 'Practice".

    ______________________

    Hi,

    I would like to echo the wise words of Rev. Nonin ... for we are of one mind ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nonin
    Dogen's statement that practice and enlightenment are one and the same (shu sho ichi nyo) means that awakening (bodhi) is manifested through practice. By practicing the Buddha Way, we manifest the Buddha Way. If we don't manifest it, we are not living the awakened way.

    That is not to say that we don't have direct experiences of either clarity, emptiness, spaciousness, non-duality, no separation, etc., for by those experiences, we see into our true nature (kensho), and those who practice either Soto Zen, Rinzai, Seon, or Ch'an do have these experiences.
    Allow me to use Genkaku's "clearing snow" image ... as I do not think that story had the Soto perspective on shoveling quite right ... (What I am about to say is certainly not a matter of "Soto vs. Rinzai", but how some folks in and out of those schools, intentionally or unintentionally, misperceive or mischaracterize each) ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Genkaku
    One man -- let's call him Mr. Rinzai -- clears a shovel-width path from the street to the garage. He has attained his objective, but there remains the rest of the driveway to clear so he returns to the street and repeats the exercise.

    The other man -- Mr. Soto, perhaps -- clears his driveway from side to side. Back and forth and back and forth until he reaches the garage.
    I would phrase the "Mr. Soto" perspective as that there is much shoveling to be done, and we proceed ahead ... yet each scoop by scoop is the drive-way totally realized and clear. Oh, yes, there is much work to be done, and we must make a path from door to the street so that we can get out of our house, just like all our neighbors ... yet the point is not only some destination, but constant realization and perfect arriving with each step and scoop (neither view excluding the other ... forward step by step / constant arriving, no place to go). In fact, each swing of the shovel is a Buddha's fully exerted shoveling, and each shovel full of snow is a snow white Buddha's fullness! It is a dance, one great function, with shovel shoveling snow, snow snowing shovel ... only a Buddha's shoveling Buddhas.

    In fact, the driveway was clear all along under snow ... though the snow seemingly hides that fact. Truly, driveway and snow are never apart ... and when seen in such way, snow is not the obstruction we thought. In a way, it was melted before it even fell! Also, snow and driveway one beyond one, not two.

    What is more (these tastes are all simultaneously true, not exclusive of each other) ... there is nothing "wrong" with the snow of delusion even as we work so hard to clean and clear it away ... it is pure, white and pristine in its way, yet still it is best cleared and gotten out of our way. In this way ... shovel by shovel ... we clear snow.

    The snow is lovely dark and deep ... but we have promises to keep ... so, lovely or not, perfect "just as it is" or not ... GET SHOVELING AND CLEAR IT UP! It may keep snowing, by the way, and the weather forecast is for a season of constant snow ... and, so, we may never arrive (so long as we live) at a driveway perfectly free of the obstructions of snow. NO MATTER, for the very act of shoveling is Perfect Liberation!

    In fact, how would we have something to give us the honor of shoveling if there were no snow? We could not live without the snow, so we should be grateful to it ... for being a reason to shovel.

    Snow falling falling falling ... day after day ... so shovel shovel shovel, day after day. Repeat endlessly, so long as we are alive ... for that is life itself. Obstructions will never end in this life, so constant care is required to clean them away because they obstruct us, obstruct Budda's work ... and in this way, the obstructions are no obstruction and never were at all.

    Snow is ever always perfectly empty from the start ... so shoveling and constant clearing is emptiness realized.

    And from such perspective, we get our driveway clean as much as our neighbors ... get to the car and drive away.

    Now, this is not something we "only understand intellectually", but is instead truly pierced and made one's own in the real act of living. with our whole body and mind in the act of snow shoveling ... the true act of living is just shoveling snow. GET YOUR BOOTS ON AND GET OUT THERE, grab a shovel ... don't just read weather reports in the news!

    Does that give a feel from "practice-realization", "practice as a Buddha's practice, a Buddha's realization", "practice as enlightenment itself"?

    In a sense, we might almost say that "getting the driveway clear, and getting from front door to street" is now almost besides the point.
    Yet, we go on with our work.

    Those who would mislead, saying that "Soto Practice is merely to sit in one's house, pretending the snow is not there ... or pretending there is no work required ... or content and self-satisfied with the snow and staying indoors all winter" and otherwise seek to mischaracterize Shikantaza and "Just Sitting" as"just sitting around" ("Just Shoveling" as just shuffling) ... DO NOT, in their wildest imaginations, understand the true art of snow removal.

    What I describe is not "dead practice" ... but practice as vibrant life itself!

    In a sense there is no "destination" in this life of practice (life of shoveling) ... which may be the main difference between "Just Shoveling" and forms of Buddhism which overly focus on a place to get to. We do not gracefully engage in balanced diligent shoveling (graceful, balance, engaged, diligent life) in order to clear the driveway ... but because "graceful, balanced, engaged, diligent" living/practice is Buddha realized. We shovel because Buddhas shovel ... that is what Buddhas do (we live because we are living Buddhas). The snow will keep falling so long as we are alive, winter by winter ... and we must keep shoveling.

    Now, do not mistake my point ... there is a world of difference between "graceful, balanced, engaged, diligent" snow shoveling and "distracted, unbalanced, lazy, negligent, confused" snow shoveling ... and how we shovel makes all the difference in the world. Practice is realization, but how we practice realizes realization, makes realization real. This was also Master Dogen's point about snow shoveling ... one cannot be a negligent snow shoveler (just saying "since the snow and I are Buddha all along, no need to shovel ... or even perfectly okay to do a half-assed job). Far from it! (That is the Naturalist Heresy, in Dogen's eyes)

    Buddha shoveling Buddhas requires shoveling like a Buddha would shovel ... and Buddha's get off their Buddha-asses and get to work, doing a careful job, when there is work to do.

    Let me try to address some other very big misconceptions about all this ...

    Obviously Dogen stressed the importance of practice/realization, but it seems that in reading things with a Rinzai bent(On Zen Practice,etc..) there seems to be a slightly derogatory attitude towards pure Soto practice. The main criticism as I read it is that those who only practice Shikantaza without koan study never have any kind of experiential realization and that this leads to dead practice or a practice that has only intellectual understanding. The explanation is that to truly begin zen practice one must have "kensho" and only then does zen practice begin.
    We also have Ken-snow moments in our "Just Shoveling" in which shovel, boots, snow, drive, house and snow fully drop away ... and what is tasted is/are all interconnected or all fully dropped away, perhaps both at once or not even that.

    But seeing is not doing. Seeing the "True Reality of Snowness" is not getting the job done. Kensho alone (or as the main point of practice ... or even as anything more than a mere point of reference in our shoveling) is a snow job.

    Seeing that "ultimately there is only a driveway and no snow" ... or mistakenly thinking "I must clear all this snow to get to the driveway, experiencing and living out our True Pavement at each moment" (when I finally see in Kensho and live upon the True Pavement, the snow out of the way and out of my eyes, then there is finally where is found Truth and Liberation) ... is a very different perspective from our Soto way of snow shoveling (described above ... the Snow-to Way). One of the great misconceptions about practice (and this is not a matter of "Soto vs. Rinzai", because some Soto people are as guilty of this as others) is that "Seeing True Nature" for a moment is anything more than a point of reference for getting on with the key act of snow shoveling. "Seeing True Nature" does nothing more than let one know a bit about the situation and the lay of the land

    Some silly guys treat this practice as if a moment of "Seeing the Driveway and the True Snow" melts all the snow right there, getting the driveway clear. Other silly guys think that we shovel in order to have these experiences of enlightened seeing. They each think that the point is to clear the snow in order to see the driveway!

    No! We have these "experiences of seeing" in order to be more enlightened shovelers!


    Nor is the point to be constantly aware, constant in touch with, constant living from our "True Nature" as realized in Kensho ... because that is not life. Life is shoveling, which is our True Nature made real.

    Forget what you may have momentarily tasted of snow and driveway as one beyond one, even that forgotten ...instead, toss "Kensho" into the pile with all the other trash ... stop day dreaming, and get back to the work at hand!

    Even Soto (or earlier Silent Illumination) teachers who teach that getting in touch with our Original Face will thus sua sponte turn us instantly in Buddha-like snow shovelers ... always knowing the right thing to do, the right place to head in life, our every step out on the ice graceful and true ... are full of shovels of shit.

    So long as we are just human snow shovelers who happen to be Buddhas (as opposed to Golden Buddhas shoveling snow) we will have to wrestle that tension between "graceful, balanced, engaged, diligent" snow shoveling and "distracted, unbalanced, lazy, negligent, confused" snow shoveling. That is the human condition until we each turn into one of the perfect "Snow Shoveling" Buddhas in the Buddhist story books (no more real or relevant, perhaps, than Santa and his Reindeer ... and no less real either, Virginia).

    And that fact of endless Buddhas endlessly shoveling Buddhas is true until, one winter, we turn our last shovel of snow ... suffer a coronary and fall over dead on our still half snow covered front lawn (perhaps to come back for more snowing in a future winter ... who knows?).

    But enough chatter ... I have a driveway to clear today.

    Gassho, J

  2. #2

    Re: How a Buddha Shovels Snow

    Okay so when I shovel I make a clear lane from the garage to the street and then shovel side to side from that lane back up the drive to the garage. Does that make me Risoto???

    Gassho,

    Denis

  3. #3

    Re: How a Buddha Shovels Snow

    Gassho!!

  4. #4
    Stephanie
    Guest

    Re: How a Buddha Shovels Snow

    Beautiful post & essay, Jundo, gassho~

    I have become very intent on kensho as of late but I am aware that my desire to experience kensho is a new obstacle in the way of clear seeing. I have so many ideas of what it might be like, how could I ever recognize the real dragon, even if it's right in front of me?

    That said, from personal experience, I see and can appreciate the 'incompleteness' of an approach that elevates kensho and disregards the fullness of life before and after. I've known some folks who claimed kensho experiences who engaged in quite intricate delusions regardless. What I concluded was not that their claims were false, but that kensho can be meaningless if a person is not engaged deeply on the path of self-honesty before, during, and after, humble and open... For a while, then, as a result, I devalued kensho, believing it to be a worthless practice, if people could have such experiences and still be so deluded... but recent developments and experiences have illustrated for me the value of that direct experience of 'it,' and reawakened the old hunger... but I still hold all of that in the upturned palms of daily practice. Every single moment of this life is precious, even if one cannot even say what 'a moment' actually is. Even the deepest spiritual experiences do not necessarily mean that we have realized our lives...

  5. #5

    Re: How a Buddha Shovels Snow

    The thing that I love about my job is that every day is different.

    Denis, I am also a Risoto.

    Kensho, is that when birth and death becomes a non issue?

    I think I better go get my snow shovel ready. Snow is on the way.

    /Rich

  6. #6

    Re: How a Buddha Shovels Snow

    We had our first snow of the season today...perhaps this is why I feel less distress when shoveling.

    Thank you Jundo.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  7. #7

    Re: How a Buddha Shovels Snow

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    each scoop by scoop is the drive-way totally realized and clear.
    Yes!
    Oh, yes, there is much work to be done, and we must make a path from door to the street so that we can get out of our house
    Do we? :-)

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyrillos View Post
    Okay so when I shovel I make a clear lane from the garage to the street and then shovel side to side from that lane back up the drive to the garage. Does that make me Risoto???

    Gassho,

    Denis
    You really made ​​me laugh

    I wanted to do some study on Buddha this day, but had some work to do on the garden too.... I realized that the best way to study Buddha's Way was to actually do my garden's work with focus, attention... so I did for three or four hours in a small drizzle...then, a couple of hours later, my dobermann cub jumped a fence and made a mess in the garden, mud, broken plants and everything, all the morning's work lost....for some minutes, I got really upset... then, I realized: "This is life"...cleaned my dirty dog, smiled and gave her a cookie...tomorrow, more snow shoveling or, more precisely, mud shoveling

    Thank you Jundo, great post

    Gassho
    Last edited by Koshin; 06-17-2012 at 02:48 AM.
    ______________________________
    Kōshin / Leo



    P.S. Yup, I know, my English sucks

  9. #9
    Thank you for the post. Very soothing.

    Gassho,

    JC

  10. #10
    Thank you for this Jundo. Though it was a metaphor it was also very literal, and very appropriate right now too! Shoveled the mailbox out yesterday. Out there in the biting cold wind, inch by inch moving snow from a 5 ft. mountain to another 5 ft. mountain. The physical strain and freezing mustache... it wasn't bad haha. Just focused on the motion, accepted the wind and the strain as they are and let the "goal" just be the shoveling itself rather than getting the mailbox clear so that we can get the bills in.

    Gassho, John

  11. #11
    This is most interesting.

    When I first read Three Pillars of Zen, I got a bit stuck on the concept of Koan practice though I must admit the prospect of Kensho was alluring. I remember reading there and elsewhere this emphasis of Mu in everything. Eat Mu, drive Mu, sleep Mu, poop Mu. Every where a Mu, Mu. I probably misunderstood and am misunderstanding this practice but if this is the case, it seems to me that this is more like the snow stays on the driveway from the street to the garage during the swath but comes up in one long strip only at kensho. No driveway(or snow) visible whilst shoveling.

    In other words, if I'm all Mu - all the time, .... then I'm missing life, and things that come up like my daughter telling me about her day is met with resistance because of an effort to see her through and as Mu. Right? Which is odd in that this is this very issue that brought me to Zen to begin with. My 'auto pilot' driving home. When home, rehearsing conversations or arguing with people (in my head) from work (while at the dinner table perhaps) only to drive to work the next morning and long to be with my wife and daughters. Always missing what is in front of me. Shikantaza and the Shikantaza-way off of the mat (beyond the flight simulator, Cap'n) seems vastly different than 24/7 koan. I think I'll instead just shovel, side to side, and be content that this is it; all there is.

    Again I probably took it all wrong but when I found Soto and especially what is taught here, it sure made more sense to me. Being with just what is, as it is.
    Or, perhaps, I've slipped on some ice and cracked me head

    Thank you whoever posted this under Treeleaf in FB today.
    Rodney A. SatToday

  12. #12
    In fact, the driveway was clear all along under snow ... though the snow seemingly hides that fact. Truly, driveway and snow are never apart ... and when seen in such way, snow is not the obstruction we thought. In a way, it was melted before it even fell! Also, snow and driveway one beyond one, not two.

    What is more (these tastes are all simultaneously true, not exclusive of each other) ... there is nothing "wrong" with the snow of delusion even as we work so hard to clean and clear it away ... it is pure, white and pristine in its way, yet still it is best cleared and gotten out of our way. In this way ... shovel by shovel ... we clear snow.

    The snow is lovely dark and deep ... but we have promises to keep ... so, lovely or not, perfect "just as it is" or not ... GET SHOVELING AND CLEAR IT UP! It may keep snowing, by the way, and the weather forecast is for a season of constant snow ... and, so, we may never arrive (so long as we live) at a driveway perfectly free of the obstructions of snow. NO MATTER, for the very act of shoveling is Perfect Liberation!

    In fact, how would we have something to give us the honor of shoveling if there were no snow? We could not live without the snow, so we should be grateful to it ... for being a reason to shovel.
    Thank you for this.
    Thank you so much!!

    Gassho
    Elle

    Sat today

  13. #13
    Hi Rodney

    In my experience with koan practice, mu is life. Everything is mu. You do not need to make everything into mu as everything already is. There is no separation between you and mu, or you and life.

    The snow is mu, the shovel is mu, you shovelling the snow is mu.

    In Soto, we tend to drop the mu bit and just see everything as life itself. It is kinda simpler that way! (although no offence at all to the wonderful Rinzai folk and what works for them).

    Gassho
    Kokuu (a beginner of the way who may have totally missed the essence)
    #sattoday

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    One of the great misconceptions about practice (and this is not a matter of "Soto vs. Rinzai", because some Soto people are as guilty of this as others) is that "Seeing True Nature" for a moment is anything more than a point of reference for getting on with the key act of snow shoveling.
    Thank you for this teaching. This is very helpful.

    Deep bows,
    Matt
    #SatToday

  15. #15
    Thanks Kokuu. Not sure I get the koan practice... But appreciate the life itself simplicity you refer to with Soto.
    Rodney. SatToday


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
    This is most interesting.

    When I first read Three Pillars of Zen, I got a bit stuck on the concept of Koan practice though I must admit the prospect of Kensho was alluring. I remember reading there and elsewhere this emphasis of Mu in everything. Eat Mu, drive Mu, sleep Mu, poop Mu. Every where a Mu, Mu. I probably misunderstood and am misunderstanding this practice but if this is the case, it seems to me that this is more like the snow stays on the driveway from the street to the garage during the swath but comes up in one long strip only at kensho. No driveway(or snow) visible whilst shoveling.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    In my experience with koan practice, mu is life. Everything is mu. You do not need to make everything into mu as everything already is. There is no separation between you and mu, or you and life.
    Yes, all things are ultimately "MU" in the sense of "MU" as the flowing Wholeness of what is often called "Emptiness".

    But if you mean "MU" in the sense of of a specific phrase from a Koan that one is to hold in mind and pierce during Zazen in order to attain some sudden "melting of the snow"., then, yes, our way is rather different (same at heart, different in approach) from the forms of Zazen found in most Rinzai and mixed Soto-Rinzai Lineages (such as those one might read about it the "Three Pillars of Zen", or many Sangha in the Harada-Yasutani-Sambokyodan line such as all Maezumi Roshi's students, Aitken Roshi and the like).

    Here are a couple of old threads which might help in understanding the same-differences:

    Special reading - once born twice born zen
    (part 1)
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...n-%28part-1%29
    (part 2)
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...twice-born-zen

    also

    On "Kensho" in the Soto Way ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...l=1#post137789

    More on the Sanbokyodan/Yasutani way here, for those who really want to delve into the history of that flavor of Zen ...
    http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/...odan%20zen.pdf


    I hope that is helpful. Zen comes in several wonderful flavors, all precisely the same even though sometimes very very different, frequently different while just the same as MU.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  17. #17

    How a Buddha Shovels Snow

    Hi,

    I use Mu sometimes as a thought substitution device while not in Zazen when I have disturbing thoughts during the day that interfere with with my day to day activities. It's kind of like giving myself OCD with the word MU to wipe out the bothersome thought when paying attention to what I am doing or following my breath do not work. For that matter, repeating any word would work too. It's just that in my case the word Mu is more neutral than others. Others may pray particular prayers from their faith when distressed. This Soto business can be quite difficult of letting clouds come and letting clouds go and me being a mountain as Jundo illustrates in one of his videos. Anyway, I don't think that when I Muuuuuuuuu I Muuuuuuuuu the way a Rinzai dude would Muuuuuuuuu. I am not Muuiuuuing my way into kensho or something like that.

    Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_
    Last edited by Jishin; 02-13-2015 at 12:20 PM.
    治 Ji
    心​ Shin

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Anyway, I don't think that when I Muuuuuuuuu I Muuuuuuuuu the way a Rinzai dude would Muuuuuuuuu. I am not Muuiuuuing my way into kensho or something like that.

    gassho,

    O, how I sat today!
    upon investigation, the Buddha's enlightenment is all around.

    -Dogen Zenji, Fukanzazenji



  19. #19
    Thank you all. Jundo, I've read through those links and found them all very interesting and informative. I think I will read back through again for additional clarity. These forums are just amazing. I think I might soon go back to the earliest topics and posts on the site and read them slowly, forward, as you all have covered so much over time. Invaluable.

    I'm still a little stuck wondering how one asks "what is Mu?" or "Who am I?" while walking through daily life and still be present with what is. Mu seems to be a 3rd party, ... when walking in no separation with everything. Unless you're supposed to be "one" with what's in front of you and Mu too at the same time. It seems their prescription of koan practice is to be consumed with the "who?" "what's Mu?" all the time, which sounded to me like missing life during that. But how you all have describe it (mu-ing) here is different than I read or that I was thinking I read about that practice. Which tells me I was reading the books errantly

    Kokuu's, "In Soto, we tend to drop the mu bit and just see everything as life itself" resonates so much more clearly with me than the mu-ing from TPZ.

    Gassho
    Rodney who SatToday

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
    Thank you all. Jundo, I've read through those links and found them all very interesting and informative. I think I will read back through again for additional clarity. These forums are just amazing. I think I might soon go back to the earliest topics and posts on the site and read them slowly, forward, as you all have covered so much over time. Invaluable.
    Well, the bad news is that this forum has been here for 7 or 8 years. That would take awhile!

    The good news is that, for all that time, the message has been the same, endlessly repeated and is always right before your nose (the very breath, and just your nose too).

    Nothing to "catch up" on, but simply realization of what is right here and right here. One can jump right into the sea anywhere and taste the same salty brine (and anyway, that one has oneself always been the sea. Now, swim swim swim.)

    I'm still a little stuck wondering how one asks "what is Mu?" or "Who am I?" while walking through daily life and still be present with what is. Mu seems to be a 3rd party, ... when walking in no separation with everything. Unless you're supposed to be "one" with what's in front of you and Mu too at the same time. It seems their prescription of koan practice is to be consumed with the "who?" "what's Mu?" all the time, which sounded to me like missing life during that. But how you all have describe it (mu-ing) here is different than I read or that I was thinking I read about that practice. Which tells me I was reading the books errantly
    Well, I am not a teacher of Koan Introspection Zazen, so anything I say may be wrong or misleading as an outsider. But, ultimately, there is no outside or inside.

    In the Rinzai way, a phrase such as "MU" is held in mind in order to merge with such and eventually encounter an experience of the Great Flowing Whole Interpenetration which is Emptiness (so flowing, you and I are just the flowing too). Their way is to pursue, often very hard in search of great Kensho, all while not pursuing for ultimately nothing to pursue. The MU helps them finally pursue so hard that they discover this "nothing to pursue,for right here all along and always so". They non-pursue pursue.

    In the Soto Way, Just Sitting, we also experience the the Great Flowing Whole Interpenetration which is Emptiness (so flowing, you and I are just the flowing too). Our way, however, is to radically not pursue for ultimately nothing to pursue, Kensho in each instant, and that is how we pursue it. We pursue-non-pursuing. This non-pursuing allows us to discover this "nothing to pursue, for right here all along and always so". MU.

    In other words, two sides of a no sided coin. No we or they. Two paths to reach same Buddha mountain (and, anyway, we are standing on the mountain ... we are the mountain ... already all along). That being said, don't just sit on your rump, get walking ... because life's trip is this step and the next.

    We are walking up the mountain, the mountain is walking down us ... just mountain mountaining mountain in each breath.

    Something like that.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 02-15-2015 at 02:43 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  21. #21
    Appreciate this thread when it floats about each year during the snowy months.

    Gassho, John
    Sat Today

  22. #22
    Nothing to pursue, no where to go. Tasting the salty brine as I swim and content in the snow shoveling.
    And mountaining.
    Thank you Jundo!
    Gassho
    Rodney SatToday

  23. #23
    Thank you for this teaching Jundo. I have much snow to shovel!

    Gassho,

    Simon.

    Sat today.

  24. #24
    Elgwyn--here--no snow today, but berr, sub-zero temps tonight--when I write, I just write----Thank you for time! I have time to be free.

    Elgwyn (Chuck)
    sat today
    Gassho
    _/\_

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Well, the bad news is that this forum has been here for 7 or 8 years. That would take awhile!

    The good news is that, for all that time, the message has been the same, endlessly repeated and is always right before your nose (the very breath, and just your nose too).

    Nothing to "catch up" on, but simply realization of what is right here and right here. One can jump right into the sea anywhere and taste the same salty brine (and anyway, that one has oneself always been the sea. Now, swim swim swim.)



    Well, I am not a teacher of Koan Introspection Zazen, so anything I say may be wrong or misleading as an outsider. But, ultimately, there is no outside or inside.

    In the Rinzai way, a phrase such as "MU" is held in mind in order to merge with such and eventually encounter an experience of the Great Flowing Whole Interpenetration which is Emptiness (so flowing, you and I are just the flowing too). Their way is to pursue, often very hard in search of great Kensho, all while not pursuing for ultimately nothing to pursue. The MU helps them finally pursue so hard that they discover this "nothing to pursue,for right here all along and always so". They non-pursue pursue.

    In the Soto Way, Just Sitting, we also experience the the Great Flowing Whole Interpenetration which is Emptiness (so flowing, you and I are just the flowing too). Our way, however, is to radically not pursue for ultimately nothing to pursue, Kensho in each instant, and that is how we pursue it. We pursue-non-pursuing. This non-pursuing allows us to discover this "nothing to pursue, for right here all along and always so". MU.

    In other words, two sides of a no sided coin. No we or they. Two paths to reach same Buddha mountain (and, anyway, we are standing on the mountain ... we are the mountain ... already all along). That being said, don't just sit on your rump, get walking ... because life's trip is this step and the next.

    We are walking up the mountain, the mountain is walking down us ... just mountain mountaining mountain in each breath.

    Something like that.

    Gassho, J
    Thank you, Jundo, for this thread and the posts! It kinda-sorta clears up some concepts that have popped up in reading and studying various books on Zen, both Soto and Rinzai, specifically "Sitting with Koans." I understand that John Daido Loori is of both the Rinzai and Soto lineage. I did not know this was possible. My ignorance is due to my newness to Buddhism and especially Zen and I am just beginning to understand the differences. I try to read as much as I can get out of the public library, using those from the suggested reading list when I can find them but also books that I am curious about. Namely, MU and Koans but continue to be confused. It might be getting a little clearer than severely muddy. Before sitting, my husband and I read these books together. This I suppose replaces the teachings we could get if we were to attend "live" dharma talks. For now, this is the best we can do in our situation of being very remote with very poor internet transmission and connection.

    I also find Jundo's discussion utilizing "clearing snow" as an analogy to practice to be very helpful. In my case, however, out here in Arizona, snow is a rarity on the desert floor (the mountain tops, of course, do get an admirable smattering of snow at times). I guess I can substitute "dust" and the prevalent dust storms for "snow". We clear our "brown snow" differently here...we sweep incessantly and use a dust pan inside and a spade outside to clear driveways and repack holes after a dust devil attack or rain storm. We are not trying to get to our car (and if we do, we have to clean the dust off the windshield) just to be able to breathe and see through the haze. But there is always a large gust of wind to bring in more dust either on the driveway, the porch or to get rid of the grit off the tables and floors just to live. This thread makes me aware and grateful for the dust and dirt and the "snow"...we can't live without it! I will certainly keep Jundo's comments in mind when I sometimes curse the dust that covers dishes when we are awaiting dinner guests. I realize I sound like I am taking this literally. But it helps to put things in my own perspective corner. I will get back to work sweeping. Thank you Jundo!

    Gassho
    Ansan

    SatToday on a Dusty Cushion
    Last edited by Jundo; 02-22-2015 at 02:15 PM.

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