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Thread: Suchness and Heart sutra

  1. #1
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Suchness and Heart sutra

    As a young sitter, in my teens, I used to think that the beyond expressed at the end of the Heart sutra meant some special treat or experience we could all look forward and expect. One day as a few of us were gathering around the camp fire outside the big Dojo of the Gendronniere in the winter retreat, it was just after Deshimaru roshi s death, in 1982, somebody said how much he was missed. In a solemn and strong voice I uttered something like...we all have to go beyond! An old monk looked at me and said Young fool, you don t have the faintest idea of what beyond means and ...he was right. I felt so small suddenly, my words crumbled to the ground, my hands, my eyes, my shivering skin... my pride vanished facing the big and huge vacant space of my own arrogance and vanity. At the same time, it was a very happy moment.

    Of course, the beyond is precisely where we start from. it is where we stand and sit. It is this reality . Raw and full. Ripe and juicy. No need to chase or seek. The treasure chest is alreaday opened, the light shines by itself, practising the great way is to get out of the way. Even if we carry on looking for God, Godo, Buddha, Krishna and co...suchness is always abundant. So Zazen is always sitting itself and sometimes, getting out of the way, not resisisting of chasing anymore, we allow zazen to sit us too. We don t sit to get it, but to let it be expressed and manifested. The words posted lately on various threads of this forum all remind us of this aspect of just sitting. Beginless start, endless path, we start where it all ends!

    gassho


    Taigu ...in between two trains and two classes, but always exactly home.

  2. #2

    Re: Suchness and Heart sutra

    Hi.

    As stated in a popoular swedish childrenshow "here is where you are"!

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  3. #3

    Re: Suchness and Heart sutra

    Hello,

    or to paraphrase (I dare not call it translate) Rumi:

    My home is placelessness,
    I come from no-place,
    for I know where places come from.

    Gassho, Mongen

  4. #4

    Re: Suchness and Heart sutra

    I just watched the sun rise from the ocean. Is that enlightenment or is that just the wheel turning?

  5. #5

    Re: Suchness and Heart sutra

    Hi Taigu
    Some years ago I hired a young lady to be a receptionist. One day she was sitting at her desk staring blankley into space. My daughter in-law walked in the office and asked her what she was doing and the receptionist replied, " oh just trying to find myself." My daughter in-law walked over and patted her on the shoulder and said, "well here you are now please get to work."
    It may be a word, a cherry pit, or even a morning star, but from that moment all things change forever. Today perhaps an article from a busy man between trains. Gassho Shogen

  6. #6

    Re: Suchness and Heart sutra

    Suchness has always been a difficult subject for me to grasp, because it seems to define itself. I think it means to be wholly there, wherever you are, at that time in that place, in your entirety. Any other thoughts?

  7. #7

    Re: Suchness and Heart sutra

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    Suchness has always been a difficult subject for me to grasp, because it seems to define itself. I think it means to be wholly there, wherever you are, at that time in that place, in your entirety. Any other thoughts?

    Too many "thoughts" might be the problem ... and it is more a knowing, a letting, an awareness, an allowing ... because one is wholly there always (where else and how else could one be?) ... and it is the "thoughts" that separate us from that fact. Thus, your "thinking" there is a "you" and "something in need of grasping" makes the division, instead of merely allowing and letting.

    Imagine for a moment that you are in a great pool, swimming swimming swimming with each stroke across the water, heading from somewhere to somewhere (yes, a metaphor for all of your life). The water supports you in your swimming-life, and you make the water come alive (otherwise all is just lifeless water ... something like that). In fact, we cannot say where you end and the pool starts, because it is really all one fluid, flowing thing, just 'water-stroke-you'.

    Got the image? Just a metaphor.

    It is your mind which asks such questions as "where is the water?" "am I wholly in the water?" By doing so, your mind creates the separation from the water-swimming. You are trying to "grasp" that water, grasp the swimming, grasp life. Instead, one might also experience that the mind can "shut up", and one can just swim ... just allow swimming ... there is just swimming ...

    The mind also asks lots of other questions that can take us away from just the beauty of swimming-life. In fact, you and the swimming and the water have just been 'one beyond one' all along, and when the mind "gets out of the way and just swims" one can experience that fact wholly. Something like that.

    (Of course, we need that complex, grasping and analyzing human mind, it is what the universe has wonderfully allowed us to make us us ... Do not think that thoughts and trying to grasp are always bad things. Instead, think of "thinking/analyzing" as limited in its ability to grasp some kinds of knowing, and appropriate only to certain kinds of understanding, not the only way to understand some understandings).

    Something like that.

    I jumped in as Taigu may have missed your post, but I am sure he will come make some splash soon.

    Gassho, J

  8. #8

    Re: Suchness and Heart sutra

    Thank you Taigu and Jundo for "such" a teaching!

    Gassho,
    Luis/Jinyu
    ps: was it funny ? :roll:

  9. #9

    Re: Suchness and Heart sutra

    Hi
    We are products of an evironment that is both acquisitive and exploitive and it seems so natural to seek that which we want. What an amazing transformation from seeking to letting in our practice.
    Gassho Shogen

  10. #10

    Re: Suchness and Heart sutra

    Quote Originally Posted by Al Coleman
    The funny thing is, we are that which seek. We are seeking zazen, and if we get out of the way zazen will show us that all we needed to do was, "shine the light inwards". Its funny how all those archaic comments have finally begun to make some sense.

    Gassho,

    Al
    But now just wash your bowls, drive your kid to school. Nothing special.

    Gassho, Jundo

  11. #11

    Re: Suchness and Heart sutra

    First, Jundo, let me say that the metaphore you used was awesome. It really provided me with a solid perspective. I can see how trying to define "suchness" or "peace" or "enlightenment" is actually accepting in my mind that there is a difference between the state I am in and those concepts. This is my mind "getting in the way" and creating a separation that isn't there. The question I have now is this: I know that I should just sit and practice shikantaza, and I do if not daily (schedule is kind of hectic, just look at the variance in the time stamps on my posts :shock: ) then most days out of the week. But from my other posts, I think it's safe to say that we can infer that I have a tendancy to overanalyze things. How do I calm my mind and just "allow"? Is it just continual practice of shikantaza that will eventually help my mind to fall into that state naturally?

    (Of course, we need that complex, grasping and analyzing human mind, it is what the universe has wonderfully allowed us to make us us ... Do not think that thoughts and trying to grasp are always bad things. Instead, think of "thinking/analyzing" as limited in its ability to grasp some kinds of knowing, and appropriate only to certain kinds of understanding, not the only way to understand some understandings).
    What can I do to differentiate between those times that a grasping and analytical mind is advantageous, and when it is damaging to my practice? I know I've just started sitting, and it will take some time, but I still find it difficult to let the thoughts that arise while sitting zazen, just pass through without grasping them. I've meditated for years, but usually on some consept or sutra, so perhaps the shift from that to just sitting is a speed bump for me.

  12. #12

    Re: Suchness and Heart sutra

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    The question I have now is this: I know that I should just sit and practice shikantaza, and I do if not daily (schedule is kind of hectic, just look at the variance in the time stamps on my posts :shock: ) then most days out of the week. But from my other posts, I think it's safe to say that we can infer that I have a tendancy to overanalyze things. How do I calm my mind and just "allow"? Is it just continual practice of shikantaza that will eventually help my mind to fall into that state naturally?
    Yes, just sit Shikantaza Zazen each day, allowing thoughts and emotions to drift gently from mind. When the quiet, still, boundless, unobstructed space between the clouds is encountered, it should be clear and obvious. Just catch yourself again and again if stirring up or getting tangled in changes of thought ... and release ...


    What can I do to differentiate between those times that a grasping and analytical mind is advantageous, and when it is damaging to my practice?
    Just trial and error, I would say, in one's life. There are times to think about things (when, for example, doing your homework in school) ... times not to think about things (when, for example, experiencing the breeze on your cheek, or in considering some questions about life best answered in much the way you experience the breeze on your cheek) ... times to do both at once ...

    I know I've just started sitting, and it will take some time, but I still find it difficult to let the thoughts that arise while sitting zazen, just pass through without grasping them. I've meditated for years, but usually on some consept or sutra, so perhaps the shift from that to just sitting is a speed bump for me.
    Yes, "just sitting", without a crutch or artificial object of focus ... without trying to achieve, and just trying to not try and not achieve ... yes, it takes doing some practice of non-doing. :shock: Give this time.

    Gassho, J

  13. #13

    Re: Suchness and Heart sutra

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Yes, just sit Shikantaza Zazen each day, allowing thoughts and emotions to drift gently from mind. When the quiet, still, boundless, unobstructed space between the clouds is encountered, it should be clear and obvious. Just catch yourself again and again if stirring up or getting tangled in changes of thought ... and release ...
    What I wrote, though, should not be misunderstood. I have to emphasize, and emphasize again, the following if not crystal clear:

    Obtaining or not obtaining some "quiet, still, boundless, unobstructed" space is --not-- the point of Zazen or "successful Zazen". Or, better said, the WHOLE TRIP is the point of Zazen, and sacred. In other words, --both-- obtaining some "quiet, still" space and --not-- obtaining some "quiet, still" space is Zazen ... just as the sky is both blue and clouds, sometimes more one or the other (always both really).

    It is not at all that Zazen is "good" only when there is one or the other. Zazen is --always-- good, right, sacred, complete. We seek clear and peaceful Zazen, yet some days are not clear and peaceful ...Nonetheless, ALL is wondrous, complete, perfect Zazen with not one thing to add to that, not one thing to take away.

    This is the real magic of this practice, in my opinion.

    Tomorrow, I will talk about this on the sit-along ... namely, we like "bright, clear" days, and do not care for rainy or cold days ... yet it is all the ever changing weather, reject none of it.

    Gassho, Jundo

  14. #14

    Re: Suchness and Heart sutra

    My 2 cents,

    Zazen is serious business, if you don't take it too seriously.

    Try, but not too hard.
    Relax, but not too much.
    Focus, but not on anything in particular.
    Do it everyday and it will change your life, but nothing much will change.

    Suchness is a word I've decided to stop thinking about. Chasing abstractions kept me from doing things the way they needed to be done. When I realized that, many of the concepts that I once fretted about stopped concerning me. I still don't know if I know what they mean, but that no longer disturbs me. I'll understand when (or if) I need to understand them.

    Gassho,
    Eika


    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Obtaining or not obtaining some "quiet, still, boundless, unobstructed" space is --not-- the point of Zazen or "successful Zazen". Or, better said, the WHOLE TRIP is the point of Zazen, and sacred. In other words, --both-- obtaining some "quiet, still" space and --not-- obtaining some "quiet, still" space is Zazen ... just as the sky is both blue and clouds, sometimes more one or the other (always both really).

    It is not at all that Zazen is "good" only when there is one or the other. Zazen is --always-- good, right, sacred, complete. We seek clear and peaceful Zazen, yet some days are not clear and peaceful ...Nonetheless, ALL is wondrous, complete, perfect Zazen with not one thing to add to that, not one thing to take away.

  15. #15

    Re: Suchness and Heart sutra

    Quote Originally Posted by Eika
    My 2 cents,

    Zazen is serious business, if you don't take it too seriously.

    Try, but not too hard.
    Relax, but not too much.
    Focus, but not on anything in particular.
    Do it everyday and it will change your life, but nothing much will change.
    Very good and well said, but in a "not good not bad" kind of way. 8)

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