Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Conscious Behavior Modification in Zen

  1. #1

    Conscious Behavior Modification in Zen

    This topic is related to (but I think different from) the "Being Bad" thread currently under discussion. I perceive (incorrectly, I'm sure) an inconsistency within what I have heard/read/know about Zen. On one hand, it seems you are encouraged to practice zazen, still your mind, and let your "buddha nature" come through. You are discouraged from judging thoughts as good or bad, just letting those thoughts leave your mind and returning to "the clear blue sky". This will allow you (over time) to realize your buddha nature and will result in compassion for others (since you will realize "they" and "you" are one, not two). You will learn to recognize the stories of your discursive mind as the BS that they truly are and will not be deceived into acting on them, etc. In this way, you will "unconsciously" realize the precepts of Buddhism.

    This approach, it seems to me, DOES NOT INCLUDE consciously modifying your current behavior to conform to Buddhist ideals/precepts. In fact (again, it seems to me) that actively attempting to modify your behavior is actually counterproductive, much in the same way that judging your thoughts during zazen is counterproductive, and that changed behavior is a result of practice, NOT the result of conscious behavior modification.

    Anybody care to correct my understanding?

    Thanks,

    Craig

  2. #2

    Re: Conscious Behavior Modification in Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by CraigfromAz
    This topic is related to (but I think different from) the "Being Bad" thread currently under discussion. I perceive (incorrectly, I'm sure) an inconsistency within what I have heard/read/know about Zen. On one hand, it seems you are encouraged to practice zazen, still your mind, and let your "buddha nature" come through. You are discouraged from judging thoughts as good or bad, just letting those thoughts leave your mind and returning to "the clear blue sky". This will allow you (over time) to realize your buddha nature and will result in compassion for others (since you will realize "they" and "you" are one, not two). You will learn to recognize the stories of your discursive mind as the BS that they truly are and will not be deceived into acting on them, etc. In this way, you will "unconsciously" realize the precepts of Buddhism.

    This approach, it seems to me, DOES NOT INCLUDE consciously modifying your current behavior to conform to Buddhist ideals/precepts. In fact (again, it seems to me) that actively attempting to modify your behavior is actually counterproductive, much in the same way that judging your thoughts during zazen is counterproductive, and that changed behavior is a result of practice, NOT the result of conscious behavior modification.

    Anybody care to correct my understanding?

    Thanks,

    Craig
    I won't try to correct your understanding but I think that returning to "the clear blue sky" or to the clear mind is quite enough to do. But that doesn't mean that we can't think about things, make plans, try new actions/behaviors. If the place from which we act is the "the clear blue sky" then everything is just perfect. It's like an athlete in the moment who makes the perfect play -without thinking about it. Practice is everything - all the concepts and philosophy is just in support of that IMHO

    /Rich

  3. #3
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Conscious Behavior Modification in Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by CraigfromAz
    This topic is related to (but I think different from) the "Being Bad" thread currently under discussion. I perceive (incorrectly, I'm sure) an inconsistency within what I have heard/read/know about Zen. On one hand, it seems you are encouraged to practice zazen, still your mind, and let your "buddha nature" come through. You are discouraged from judging thoughts as good or bad, just letting those thoughts leave your mind and returning to "the clear blue sky". This will allow you (over time) to realize your buddha nature and will result in compassion for others (since you will realize "they" and "you" are one, not two). You will learn to recognize the stories of your discursive mind as the BS that they truly are and will not be deceived into acting on them, etc. In this way, you will "unconsciously" realize the precepts of Buddhism.

    This approach, it seems to me, DOES NOT INCLUDE consciously modifying your current behavior to conform to Buddhist ideals/precepts. In fact (again, it seems to me) that actively attempting to modify your behavior is actually counterproductive, much in the same way that judging your thoughts during zazen is counterproductive, and that changed behavior is a result of practice, NOT the result of conscious behavior modification.

    Anybody care to correct my understanding?

    Thanks,

    Craig
    Yes, modify - but be SMART about it. Direct resistance does not always work and produces some unintended consequences sometimes.

    Chet

  4. #4

    Re: Conscious Behavior Modification in Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by CraigfromAz
    This topic is related to (but I think different from) the "Being Bad" thread currently under discussion. I perceive (incorrectly, I'm sure) an inconsistency within what I have heard/read/know about Zen. On one hand, it seems you are encouraged to practice zazen, still your mind, and let your "buddha nature" come through. You are discouraged from judging thoughts as good or bad, just letting those thoughts leave your mind and returning to "the clear blue sky". This will allow you (over time) to realize your buddha nature and will result in compassion for others (since you will realize "they" and "you" are one, not two). You will learn to recognize the stories of your discursive mind as the BS that they truly are and will not be deceived into acting on them, etc. In this way, you will "unconsciously" realize the precepts of Buddhism.

    This approach, it seems to me, DOES NOT INCLUDE consciously modifying your current behavior to conform to Buddhist ideals/precepts. In fact (again, it seems to me) that actively attempting to modify your behavior is actually counterproductive, much in the same way that judging your thoughts during zazen is counterproductive, and that changed behavior is a result of practice, NOT the result of conscious behavior modification.

    Anybody care to correct my understanding?

    Thanks,

    Craig
    Hi Craig,

    I wrote about this on the other thread today, so no need to repeat it ...

    viewtopic.php?p=36908#p36908

    I will just add this. "Dropping all thought of good and bad" on the one hand does not mean we "drop all thought of good and bad" on the other ... not two! (a phrase I know you love, Craig!) 8) In other words ... both at once, like two sides of a single coin, both true at once without the least conflict ... both making the coin. There is no "good vs. bad" ... yet the Precepts guide us to healthful and balanced "good" ways to life ... away from harmful "bad" ways.

    In my view, talk like the following is right in theory ... but a little too optimistic and idealistic in the muddy world of Samsara ...

    This will allow you (over time) to realize your buddha nature and will result in compassion for others (since you will realize "they" and "you" are one, not two). ... In this way, you will "unconsciously" realize the precepts of Buddhism.
    Yes, this is true in theory. However, there is another hot discussion going on right today among dozens of noted Zen teachers I know (we have an association with its own discussion forum) about gifted Buddhist teachers of many years experience nonetheless "falling down" and getting burned ... and burning students ... by the fires of lust, anger, greed, etc. that it is not so simple. Fire is always dangerous, even to the most experienced camper or fireman. Please see my post above on "playing with fire".

    Sometimes we just have to remember to "consciously modify our behavior" and "follow the posted rules" in handling our camping fires ... all to prevent uncontrolled and destructive forest fires.

    Something like that.

    Gassho, J

  5. #5

    Re: Conscious Behavior Modification in Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Yes, this is true in theory. However, there is another hot discussion going on right today among dozens of noted Zen teachers I know (we have an association with its own discussion forum) about gifted Buddhist teachers of many years experience nonetheless "falling down" and getting burned ... and burning students ... by the fires of lust, anger, greed, etc. that it is not so simple. Fire is always dangerous, even to the most experienced camper or fireman. Please see my post above on "playing with fire".
    Hi everyone!
    I might be off the subject, but I always I've been more confident with teachers that seem human.
    I mean, as a lot of you I presume, I met very talented teachers that seem perfect saints... the teacher of my local Sangha is a kind of guy like that.
    But it is just... boring!
    I always felt better with a teacher that seem human! that fail from time to time ... and that's when it get interesting because that's is the time that they teach me a lot... dealing with their contradictions as every human being do!
    I like this kind of honesty because it is just a reflect of what their practice is. I mean, sometimes it feels great to be me, and sometimes it sucks! But they just show us that their is something more profound... it's just dealing with all that is. And then, just keeping their practice...
    Simply practicing zazen, samu, oryoki, and laughing when having a beer with dharma friends ...

    gassho,
    Jinyu

  6. #6

    Re: Conscious Behavior Modification in Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by Luis
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Yes, this is true in theory. However, there is another hot discussion going on right today among dozens of noted Zen teachers I know (we have an association with its own discussion forum) about gifted Buddhist teachers of many years experience nonetheless "falling down" and getting burned ... and burning students ... by the fires of lust, anger, greed, etc. that it is not so simple. Fire is always dangerous, even to the most experienced camper or fireman. Please see my post above on "playing with fire".
    Hi everyone!
    I might be off the subject, but I always I've been more confident with teachers that seem human.
    I mean, as a lot of you I presume, I met very talented teachers that seem perfect saints... the teacher of my local Sangha is a kind of guy like that.
    But it is just... boring!
    I always felt better with a teacher that seem human! that fail from time to time ... and that's when it get interesting because that's is the time that they teach me a lot... dealing with their contradictions as every human being do!
    I like this kind of honesty because it is just a reflect of what their practice is. I mean, sometimes it feels great to be me, and sometimes it sucks! But they just show us that their is something more profound... it's just dealing with all that is. And then, just keeping their practice...
    Simply practicing zazen, samu, oryoki, and laughing when having a beer with dharma friends ...

    gassho,
    Jinyu
    I agree Luis, wholeheartedly. The Zen sangha I visit from time to time practices in the Korean Seon tradtion where the koan is emphasized and it's an "enlightened once, enlightened forever" attitude. The teacher seems far off and distant and all the students try to do is ask questions as to what his mind is like with some lengthy response in return.

    I don't get it. I mean sure, the guy seems wise, but I always feel like I'm being spoken to instead of spoken with. That somehow the way I am is wrong and the way he is is right. Not the most productive way to allow others to practice IMHO but hey, he has a decent sangha.

    Gassho
    Taylor

Similar Threads

  1. 10/26 - Experiencing and Behavior p.90
    By Jundo in forum "BEYOND WORDS & LETTERS" BOOK CLUB
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 11-02-2007, 03:22 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •