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Thread: Grateful

  1. #1


    I am very grateful for Treeleaf. I have forged important friendships here and found my practice guided along by pointers and teachings offered here almost against my will. I say "almost against my will" because I never considered this virtual community to be my "primary zendo." But even as I have continued to explore here and there with "realspace" sanghas, or perhaps a better term would be "gravitationally affected sanghas," I have found that my correspondence with Chet and my interactions here have had more of an impact on my practice.

    The primary way this has taken place has been in the slow drift in my practice toward an almost entirely "Soto perspective." I've experienced for myself over and over that willpower, and struggle, and fireworks hinder realization, not produce it. First, you can't "produce" realization. And becoming proficient in spiritual feats tends to do nothing but shore up the ego. Not that the ego is evil, or needs to be "destroyed." But it just can't "have" realization the way it wants to, or thinks it can. The ego isn't evil, it's just a little stupid. A little slow. The ego only knows how to do and to get, so it's not really good to have it in the driver's seat of practice. And yet it puts itself there, over and over again. Trying to forcibly push it off the driver's seat never worked for me. I just pushed one version of my ego off the seat for another to take its place. Putting a million heads on top of my head.

    I'm tough and can do a lot of "impressive" Zennie things like sit a long sesshin, sit through intense personal pain without flinching, do oryoki pretty accurately (after doing it wrong a hundred times :lol: ). I could probably get into doing kinhin barefoot in the snow at Mount Baldy. But not now. Because I realize the futility of all that. Nothing wrong with being tough and strong, but it's got nada to do with waking up to the truth. There are countless Zen egotists out there that do nothing but preen themselves and crow. Who impress other people just as deluded as they are. A more deluded fate than if they'd never set foot on the Zen path to begin with. Thank goodness I can throw all that out the window.

    Life is simple. Practice is simple. Just keep looking at what is actually here, over and over again. Look, and you might see. Or you might not. But either way, it's always there--the truth. Never anywhere else, never waiting at the end of an impressive obstacle course. I'm so grateful I have access to that knowledge now--that even if I still feel separated from my experience as if by a thick, murky glass wall, I know that no more searching or striving is required. Just to sit with this, with This, over and over again.

    I'm grateful to Jundo for his kindness and humility in being willing to work with me even after I was so difficult and abrasive, and so critical of him. For welcoming me back here when he didn't have to. I'm grateful to Taigu for his wonderful teachings. I'm grateful to everyone in the sangha for sharing their life experiences and thoughts and showing me how the Dharma can take root and blossom in such a wonderfully diverse array of lives. I truly do feel part of a community here. Of people who go out there every day and deal with their lives, their jobs, their relationships, their practice, and log on to Treeleaf to share it with others who are also trying to find their way.

    The personas we craft to represent ourselves online are as false as the personas we craft to deal with people at work or on the street (though in New York people don't generally bother with personas on the street :lol: ), but with Treeleaf, more than any other sangha I've been at, I get the sense that this is real life. Because everything is shared and reflected here. Not just the "Dharma personalities" most people don when they go to a Zen center. That strange form of straight-backed Zen piety. These messages here reflect the entire spectrum of life, as it is--its joys and sorrows, delusion and realization (and the identity of the two), the efforts to be kind and the failure in those efforts.

    The more "time" I spend here, the clearer it becomes to me that there is no dividing line between the "right" and the "wrong"--we all live our own lives, which shape the way the Dharma resonates forth from those lives. Some will sound like a piano, some like a trumpet, some like a Casio keyboard running low on battery power :lol: We might think that Dharma always sounds like a spare shakuhachi note hanging on the wind, but that's just our delusion. We think that realization has one sound that we have to learn how to hear or to make, and that delusion has many sounds. But it's really the other way around. Realization sounds like everything. It's our delusion that is limited. Limited by our concepts of what we expect or believe. Spending our time babbling on about who we think is wrong is like a donkey braying into a well. It disturbs the water but little else.

    I think I'll always have the desire to sit with others in local, gravitationally adhered sanghas. But I may actually find that for all the unique virtues of sitting next to another person (and non-virtues, such as when that person has uncontrollable gas) that no "place" will ever shape or help my practice as much as this place has, and does.

    Thank you.

  2. #2

    Re: Grateful

    Nice post, thank you for sharing.
    Gassho ~ Dave.

  3. #3

    Re: Grateful

    Thank you Stephanie...I really felt that.


    Kyrill Seishin

  4. #4

    Re: Grateful

    Thanks Steph!

    I am also greatful for Treeleaf.

    What started at me reading an ad in a Buddhist mag and me going "This is weird!"....has turned to a home where I can come back and learn, practice, learn, practice...... :wink:

    I [heart] Treeleaf.

  5. #5

    Re: Grateful

    Thank You!
    Beautifully said Steph!
    (also a ditto on grateful!!!)


  6. #6

    Re: Grateful


    Thank you.
    Beatifully said.
    Very grateful for all off this and all of you being here.


  7. #7

    Re: Grateful

    Very beautiful post Stephanie! Thank you! :roll:


  8. #8

    Re: Grateful

    Thank you, Stephanie, for reminding us how fortunate we are to have Treeleaf to help and support us in our practice.

  9. #9

    Re: Grateful

    Hello Stephanie,

    thank you for your voice.



  10. #10

    Re: Grateful

    Thank you, Stephanie. :wink:

    Without Treeleaf, my search with Buddhism would of probably never taken off like it has.


  11. #11

    Re: Grateful

    Hi Steph,

    Your post brought a smile to my face and a bit of a tear to my eye. I'm very glad you found some of what you were looking for and that the sangha could help you find it. Shall we all continue to practice on the path together?


  12. #12

    Re: Grateful

    Hi Stephanie
    Thank you for the excellent post. You certainly have a great gift of written expression. We are certainly very fortunate to have you at Treeleaf.
    Gassho Shogen

  13. #13
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Cincinnati Ohio Area (Northern Kentucky)

    Re: Grateful

    Thank you for the post Stephanie.


  14. #14

    Re: Grateful

    Great post Stephanie...

    From a casio running on low battery power :wink:

  15. #15

    Re: Grateful

    Grateful for Stephanie! :cry:



  16. #16

    Re: Grateful

    Hi all,

    Stephanie - Such a wonderful and heartfelt post. Thank you for your words! You paint such a true and lovely picture of the way things are here at Treeleaf and out in the world. Thank you for returning to us and for posting, and for just being all that you are!

    And thank you for you all at Treeleaf...



  17. #17

    Re: Grateful

    Hey Steph.
    I must admit your post touched me. i feel like i understand what you mean... i too have been looking for a great realization and after coming to treeleaf i have dropped the need for it and just started to practice without caring whether i ever have one or not.

    thank you for you post Stephanie. i am very glad you have found what you were looking for... even if its just that you never need to look for anything at all.

    Gassho, Dojin.

  18. #18

    Re: Grateful

    Quote Originally Posted by Dojin
    Hey Steph.
    I must admit your post touched me. i feel like i understand what you mean... i too have been looking for a great realization and after coming to treeleaf i have dropped the need for it and just started to practice without caring whether i ever have one or not.

    thank you for you post Stephanie. i am very glad you have found what you were looking for... even if its just that you never need to look for anything at all.

    Gassho, Dojin.
    This is your great realization, Dojin - just this, right here. What else is there?

    Enlightenment. You're soaking in it!


  19. #19

    Re: Grateful

    Chet... You're precious! Just Thank you!


  20. #20

    Re: Grateful

    I am so glad my post touched people in a heartfelt way, because it came from a heartfelt place. I am glad to be able to share this path and practice with you all. Thank you for your kind words.

    Deep bows to all Treeleaf sangha members.

  21. #21

    Re: Grateful

    thank you Stephanie for sharing and letting us share with you.

    Gassho, Daniel.

  22. #22

    Re: Grateful

    Thank you for sharing your own experience and observations with us. I am very grateful..


  23. #23

    Re: Grateful

    Sometimes in life you just know something, just feel it. Straight to the marrow of your bones. I felt that when I first read about Zen and Buddhism. It was like a giant bell that rang without sound deep inside me and at the same time all around me. Like falling in love. I just knew.

    Stephanie, your post was like that. Deep, impressive, profound, so simple and at the same time full of the complexity of true realization. Thank you so very much for sharing that.

  24. #24

    Re: Grateful

    I am deeply touched by your words, Christopher, thank you

  25. #25

    Re: Grateful

    great post and great replies...thanks so much to all. i was feeling this exact sentiment last time i was here - but i couldn't have articulated it all quite as you have. thanks again


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