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Thread: How to attain enlightenment ...

  1. #1

    How to attain enlightenment ...

    .
    ... by dropping all need and effort to attain enlightenment ...

    ... thus, enlightenment immediately attained!


    It is often said that our Shikantaza way is about "not seeking", being "goalless", abandoning the need and search for "enlightenment" ...

    It is also said sometimes that, in "just sitting," we best drop all desire to be peaceful ... happy ... and just allow the world "as it is" (which includes our quite often being anything but feeling peaceful and happy) ...

    But let me get on my soapbox and makes some things clear, set all straight:

    Who ever said that there is "nothing to find" in, through and as this practice of "not seeking", no place to "get", no treasure to snare at the end of the rainbow?

    Not me. I never would say such a thing. Then why pursue this path?

    Who ever said there is no "enlightenment" to be achieved? I never would say that. It would not be Buddhism in that case.

    What's more, this practice lets us be happy, joyful. Who said not? Not me.

    Ya really got to pay attention to what is being said. You see:

    Just because we are "not seeking" does not mean we are "not seeking" ... nor that there aren't wondrous marvels thus to find!

    Enlightenment!

    To the marrow sitting free of seeking ... is a dandy way thus to find that which can only be found by sitting radically free of seeking. Realizing that there is no where to "get to", and no place you can get or need get ... is finally getting somewhere that will revolutionize life, and put your "you" out of a job. One gets very far, one finally arrives ... by sitting still.

    Being the "Buddha" all along, and having not a thing about you that is in need of change ... DOES NOT mean you don't have some work to do to realize truly that you are the Buddha without need of change ... and quite of few bad habits to change in order to realize so. To realize that you are never, from the outset, in need of change is a VERY BIG CHANGE! There is absolutely nothing about you and the universe (not two) to add or take away, and tasting that there is "nothing to add" is an irreplaceably important addition! (Nonetheless, without washing away the muck of greed anger and divisive ignorance in our life, "Buddha" is obscured and we will fail to live wisely. So, even though there is nothing to change, that does not mean we must not change some things about us to realize so. )

    By being "goalless" we hit the goal ... a goal which is hit by being thoroughly goalless.

    In seeing the ordinary as sacred ... we find (as Hakuin Zenji wrote) "this earth where we stand is the Pure Lotus Land, and this very body the body of Buddha". This very life is it! However, in our usual way of living this life, we do not see so, and this life becomes anything but it!

    Yes, the key is "not me" ... because that "me" is a trouble maker of frictions with the "not me" world. But depriving the "me" of its fuel, dropping body-mind, the friction vanishes. The way to "drop body-mind" is to drop all thought of achievement of "dropping body-mind" and all other need for achievement ... which results in a very major achievement, namely, the "dropping of body-mind."

    And, yes, finally ... this practice makes me happy, joyful, deep down and pervading. It is an abiding happiness and joy at a life in which I do not need to, and will not, feel happy and joyful all or much of the time. And that makes me happy! It is a Peace which sweeps in all peace and war, is at home with all ... at peace in, as and with a life that is oftimes anything but peaceful, thus True Peace.

    See how that all works?

    For more details on this wacky, crazy, Koany, Zenny way of inside out, Alice through the looking glassness ... the BRILLIANCE of our path of silently-illuminated "Non-attaining" ...

    HEED CLOSELY THE FOLLOWING!

    "Shikantaza" Zen practice is a radical, to the marrow, dropping of the self's demands that something needs to be attained to make this world "right", that something must be added or removed from our lives to make life complete, that something is defective and needs to be changed., that we need to get some place to find our "True Home".

    HOWEVER, radically dropping, to the marrow all need to attain, add, remove, or change in order to make life right and complete --IS-- A WONDROUS ATTAINMENT, ADDITION and CHANGE TO LIFE! Dropping all need to "get somewhere" is truly finally GETTING SOMEWHERE! The True Home is here and everywhere! Abandoning all need in life's race to cross some finish line over a distant hill, is simply arriving at the finish line which is our every step!

    ALL THAT, even as we continue to move forward, make choices, have preferences ... LIVE! Moving forward, yet as still and unmoving as a mountain or a stone ... having choices and preferences while choices and preferences are fully dropped, and we drop all demands to get somewhere ... living passionately, yet not a prisoner of passions ... at once, the still mountains walking, the stone women dancing ...

    We fix what needs to be fixed .. in this world, in our life ... all without thought of something to repair. We clean what needs to be cleaned ... the messes and disasters and filthy oil spills, the greed anger and ignorance in our own lives that creates ugliness and harm to us and those around us ... yet there is no "clean" or "dirty".

    GOT HOW THAT WORKS?

    All the conflict and division is dropped from mind ... with other related clutter and clatter like thoughts of this and that, self and other ... and, in doing so, the body-mind of self (being out of a job) drops away too!

    ZAZEN ANSWERS GREAT QUESTIONS AND MYSTERIES

    You bet your sweet kind of non-existent ass it does!

    For the first time in our sentient lives ... perhaps since the womb ... life is without the division of "self" and "other". The intimate wholeness and interpenetration of all this life=self=world is just who we are. We are as whole and complete and unbroken as raindrops are falling rain, a breeze is just the gently moving air. All barriers and resistance tumbled away.

    Like all warm blooded animals, humans feel we must hunt, improve, capture life, attain goals and reach "success" ... yet, for the first time, this practice allows us to experience life as the stones and trees and stars and mountains. Do stones feel that they must get somewhere, achieve something to be more "stoney"? Does little Mt. Tsukuba feel some sense of lack and inferiority when it considers and compares its life to tall Mt. Everest? Is there a star in the sky that thinks "I do not belong in this universe, and this is not my place and time"? Do birds move through the sky leaving traces?

    Can we be more as the flowers and trees which, naturally sprouting from the ground, growing, reaching for the sun, seeding life generation to generation ... also toil not, have no goal or thought of achievement? Flowers achieve, yet without thought of achieving!

    Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

    And thus we sit Zazen ... as a sacred act, as natural whole holy ... as a flower reaching for the sun.

    In Zazen, we learn to see and manifest the deep interpentration and interbeing of all things, all time, all events, all beings. Phenomena on worlds countless light years away, and the dew on the nearest blade of grass are each as much "you" as the winking and blinking of your own eye.

    In that way ... the mystery of life and death is no mystery at all ... for the simple reason that there never was a separate self to be born, thus no separate self to die. Where is the air when the wind stops to blow? Where does the sea "go" when the single wave vanishes? We are as the little wave, looking for the water and afraid of what lies ahead when it crashes on the beach!

    The human mind imposes judgments on the life=self=world ... it is "good" it is "bad" ... it is "starting here" and "ending there" ... it is "originating in the past" and "rolling toward the future" ... etc. etc. Instead, our Zen practice gives rise to a reality without judgment, destination, here vs. there ... past future --or-- present (for by what measure is "now" without any other time to compare it to?). What remains is alive and very GOOD!

    For the first time perhaps we experience reality in what, to ordinary minds, is typically considered contradictory ways ... moving forward in actively living, yet always right here.

    It might even allow us a glimpse of the "non-origin" of all reality ... beyond small human ideas of "created vs. uncreated" "finite vs. infinite" "beginning vs. what was before the beginning?" "ending vs. what comes after the ending?" "purpose vs. no purpose". What is one's foundation, original face without all thought of source, here/there, coming and going?

    What remains when all that is dropped away? SPEAK! SPEAK!

    Yet the wind blows, the star shines, the flower reaches for the sun.


    Oh, sure, there are some mysteries that this practice won't tell you much about, such as God's favorite ice cream flavor, whether Big Foot really exists, whether Clapton or Santana or Page is the greater guitar player, whether a circle is just a round square.

    However, those other resolved and dissolved mysteries are enough.

    CAUTION: Of course, this must NOT be understood merely intellectually, and instead actually made the living practice of our life ... thus, all that Zazen! Chasing that which cannot be chased, attaining that which need not and cannot be attained.

    Now, someone has also rightly pointed out that Zen is not a solution to many of life's problems. Zazen is not a "self help tool". It will not let you avoid growing old, cure your cancer, repair your broken marriage, or even fix your flat tire. It will not add one thing to your life, nor make any improvement in it whatsoever.

    And realizing that is instantly a solution to all your problems ... because they are not problems when you do not resist them as problems, and when all separation of "me" from "them" drops away.

    ... body-mind is dropped away when all resistance to life is dropped away ... putting the self on the shelf ...

    Enlightenment.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-15-2014 at 06:26 AM.

  2. #2

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    Gassho is all I can say after that. Time to sit

  3. #3
    Senior Member Shujin's Avatar
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    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    Thank you for the above - my scatterbrained self needed a bit of focus.

    gassho,
    Chris

  4. #4

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    Thank you for this Jundo. It is time to go sit now.

    gassho,
    Corey

  5. #5
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    Ah yes,

    But sincerity is necessary too.

    Chet

  6. #6

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    Gassho,
    Janne

  7. #7

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    I have been sitting much more regularly, reading, and thinking on this path of Buddhism and enlightenment, non-attaining and so forth. The realization I have come to, thus far, which is far from perfect, is that the things that are attendant with seeking enlightenment and such are why we don’t get there. We say, “Drop all thought of attaining enlightenment” because when you think, “I must attain enlightenment” you are basically saying that where you are in life, understanding, your practice, etc. is not good enough. You think, “there must be something more, something else.” This thought literally creates the separation. This is the same mechanism that very rich people sometimes have, when they equate the fact that they have more money than other people to mean that they are BETTER than other people, as though you could have more value or worth as a sentient being because of how many pieces of green paper you can stack on top of one another. As Shakyamuni Buddha said in the Dhammapada, “With our thoughts, we make the world”. When you believe that there is something to search for, you search. Realizing that this life is perfectly “what-it-is” even (or especially) when it is anything but OUR IDEA of perfect, is enlightenment. Our practice is to realize when, how, and why delusion leads us away from true understanding. This is the work that we need to do to get to a point where we realize that the act of living free from these ideas is Nirvana. This is why we say that even though there is no attaining and nothing to attain, that we still need to work toward something, because we are working on ourselves to realize that our “selves” are standing in our way, blocking the view. When you can accept the perfection of a rainy day as effortlessly as a walk on a tropic beach, or when you can accept the sadness and emotional pain of the loss of a friend or loved one as completely as accepting that water is wet and the sun rises in the East, this is true enlightenment. We often times have this idea that we’ll sit and one day a clap of thunder will sound, and we’ll feel this pervading sense of peace and happiness at all times, signaling that we’ve finally made it to enlightenment, but I think that this is not the case (though, if I'm honest, I think I had something like this idea when I first started to practice). I think that when we sit zazen, and we find that the cat meowing is no longer a distraction, that we are no longer worrying about what we will do tomorrow, but simply sitting and embracing “this-moment-as-it-is” realizing that life is life and good, bad, happy, sad, mad, cold, hot, joyful, sorrowful or whatever, that is where you are right then, at this moment for as long as it takes for this moment to pass and become the next “this moment”, that is your home. I have been reflecting on a line from a poem that Dogen Zenji wrote where he says, “But do not ask me where I am going, in this limitless world, where every step I take is my home”

    I feel that this could be enlightenment. The though that no matter where I am (physically, emotionally, mentally, Zen-ally) that this is home, this is where I belong, because I could not possibly be anywhere else, the whole time I am continuing to walk, always moving forward in a direction that is both East and West, forward, backward, side-to-side, and always arriving Home. This is my practice, and I struggle with this concept often because my attachments still dog me at times, but I am constantly trying to improve in my practice, while always trying to being content where I am.

  8. #8

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    Thank you, Jundo!

    Deep Gassho,

    Adam

  9. #9

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    Wonderfully put Jundo

    Gassho

    Rich

  10. #10

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    Thank you Jundo for this wonderful post! It has given me much to think about.

    Gassho

    Bill

  11. #11
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    . . .

  12. #12

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    ... because when you think, “I must attain enlightenment” you are basically saying that where you are in life, understanding, your practice, etc. is not good enough. You think, “there must be something more, something else.” This thought literally creates the separation.
    That's a really, really good point. I'm reading Pema Chodron's "The Wisdom of No Escape" p. 14

    "This is not an improvement plan; it is not a situation in which you try to be better than you are now. If you have a bad temper and you feel that you harm yourself and others, you might think that sitting for a week or a month will make your bad temper to away-- you will be that sweet person that you always wanted to be. Never again will a harsh word leave your lily-white lips. The problem is that the desire to change is fundamentally a form of aggression toward yourself.""

  13. #13

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    Quote Originally Posted by cyril
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    ... because when you think, “I must attain enlightenment” you are basically saying that where you are in life, understanding, your practice, etc. is not good enough. You think, “there must be something more, something else.” This thought literally creates the separation.
    That's a really, really good point. I'm reading Pema Chodron's "The Wisdom of No Escape" p. 14

    "This is not an improvement plan; it is not a situation in which you try to be better than you are now. If you have a bad temper and you feel that you harm yourself and others, you might think that sitting for a week or a month will make your bad temper to away-- you will be that sweet person that you always wanted to be. Never again will a harsh word leave your lily-white lips. The problem is that the desire to change is fundamentally a form of aggression toward yourself.""
    Exactly. This is not to say that a person shouldn't work on their anger issue, however, but more of a wake up call to look at it in a different way. That passage seems to allude that the person being referenced is trying to use zazen as a cure or a way to fix the problem. Zazen is zazen. If, however, you try to understand where the anger is coming from, and view it through the Dharma, you might see that the person you are angry at is confused, or misguided and their attachments are causing them to do something that you get angry over, or that your own attachments to your own likes and dislikes are clouding your own view and you are becoming angry over the situation. This is why it is so important to overcome these delusions, because after enough time, they become real.

  14. #14

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    Exactly. This is not to say that a person shouldn't work on their anger issue, however, but more of a wake up call to look at it in a different way. That passage seems to allude that the person being referenced is trying to use zazen as a cure or a way to fix the problem. Zazen is zazen. If, however, you try to understand where the anger is coming from, and view it through the Dharma, you might see that the person you are angry at is confused, or misguided and their attachments are causing them to do something that you get angry over, or that your own attachments to your own likes and dislikes are clouding your own view and you are becoming angry over the situation. This is why it is so important to overcome these delusions, because after enough time, they become real.
    I feel that this is very well said, Chris, as are so many of the teachings you express these days. Thank you again.

    Becoming aware of the "mind theatre" ... recognizing early signs that anger is starting to arise in us, the triggers and seeds that set it off ... coming to see it as not fixed in stone, and learning to detach from harmful emotions ... are all helpful skills in catching it early and heading it off at the pass.

    In our corner of Buddhism, the goal is not to "put the fires of anger out" but, instead, to keep them at healthful and helpful levels ... and for constructive uses and directions ... like a camp fire for cooking a meal which, if raging out of control, can burn down the whole forest!

    viewtopic.php?p=36908#p36908

    Another take on "improving ourselves" hand in hand with seeing (and by seeing) that there is "no self to improve" is here ... I usually post this ... It is important that we develop this "multi channel vision" ...

    One can fix things with the attitude that there is nothing to fix ...

    Someone wrote to ask whether all this "self acceptance" and embracing ourselves "just as we are" means that, for example, a wife beater or alcoholic or thief should just accept themselves like that, not seek to change or live any other way.

    No. Please recall that, in our Zen Way, we live on several channels at once ... seemingly contradictory, yet not contradictory at all.

    I want to reach for Jundo's handy-dandy "acceptance without acceptance" formula here, and apply it to our personal natures:

    So, in our "Just Sitting" Shikantaza, we completely accept the universe, and all in it, just as it is. We drop all thoughts of likes and dislikes, dreams and regrets and need for change, hopes and fears. Yet simultaneously, hand in hand without the slightest deviation (on another mental "track", if you want to say that), we live our lives as human beings, and living life requires choices, goals, likes and dislikes, dreams and hopes.

    Thus, living our life is much like living in a house with a leaky roof, spiders and broken windows. In Master Dogen's way, we simply sit to drop all resistance to the house we have been living in all along, to realize that there is nowhere to 'go' in life, to cease all efforts to add to or take away from the structure, to let go of the ego's insisting on how things "should be" in order for the house to be "good" ... we ARE that house, our True Home! Then we find, in dropping that resistance, that the house we have always been in is "perfectly what it is", and we can be joyful right where we are. HOWEVER, we can be content with that house even as, hand in hand, there is still much serious repair work to do (an acceptance-without-acceptance of the leaky windows, spiders and creaky doors). There is nothing to prevent our fixing those, even as we accept their existence! We can accept and not accept simultaneously, repair what needs to be repaired.

    We have goals for repair even as, on the other "track", we drop all goals and thoughts of repair.

    So, even as we can accept that we are a wife beating alcoholic, we should immediately set to not be so! One simply cannot taste the fruits of Buddhist practice if one is so filled with anger, violence, pain and need that one is a violent, abusive alcoholic!

    And what guides us onto the smooth path for life?

    Yes, the Precepts.
    It is a lot easier to deal with personal anger issues when you accept that and everything else ... because the trigger to anger is usually the lack of an abilitity to accept things! So, by dropping resistance toward the flaw of anger and the rest of life ... we help lose the flaw of anger because anger is an excess resistance toward life.

    Funny how that works! :shock:

    Gassho, J

  15. #15

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    Thank you, Jundo, you’re going to make me blush. ops:

    If I may, though, I would like to use this comment to say something about the importance of having a teacher, for some of the newer members of the sangha. When I first started learning about Buddhism and practicing, some 6 or so years ago, I read lots of books and looked up lots of things on the internet. I learned about the 4 Noble Truths and the Eightfold Noble Path, no-self, compassion, etc. and I thought that I understood it well enough. I had read many things from many teachers that stressed the importance of the student teacher relationship, but I ignored it thinking that it was them patting themselves on the back, and that the teaching was the teaching whether it was in a book or spoken by the roshi. I thought that I understood the teaching, so there was no need for a teacher, and I even thought that some of the other attendant practices, like meditation, were not needed. Then, around 6 months ago, I Googled “jukai online” on a whim and found Treeleaf. I figured, what the heck, can’t lose anything by checking it out, and spoke with Jundo. I joined the sangha in January and started reading the posts by other members, asking questions, reading some of the books recommended by Jundo, and kept in email correspondence with him. Now I can see that my original understanding of the Dharma was, and still is, incomplete. There were holes in my understanding of the Dharma that I filled with whatever made sense to me at the time, and these “filler” thoughts were just shadows of my delusions and attachments. Now, through my study under Jundo and Taigu, as well as the many amazing posts by members like Chet and Stephanie, as well as some of the newer members (names sometimes escape me, sorry), I find that I am better able to connect the dots, as it were. The “filler” thoughts I had, I can see where they are incorrect and at opposition to true understanding, and the answers to the questions I have had, the responses to some of my posts and the posts of others here, now bridge that gap between the pieces that I learned from before, and the many new aspects of the Dharma that I continue to experience.

    So, what does this all mean? Basically, I’m saying that the student / teacher relationship is indispensable, from my own personal experience. A person may study the Dharma from a book, but I think that unless you are an exceptionally realized person, the likelihood is that you will have “filler” thoughts, and they will be barriers on the path. I believe that I can safely say that the only reason that I understand what little of the Dharma that I do now, is because of this sangha, its members, and Jundo and Taigu’s teachings.

  16. #16

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    I absolutely love this Sangha and its teachers. I'm so grateful to all that you've taught me and your patience and the time you personally take to correct me when I mis-quote or completely misunderstand stuff.

    With the point about accepting something as is and then fixing it, is it sort of saying "S%# or get off the pot?" I'm sorry for the vernacular, but is it sort of like you have to accept the state of things before you can truly take action on changing them? Sort of like quitting smoking or being out of shape or whatever. If you don't love yourself because your fat or an addict to something, changing that is not going to auto-magically fix anything. And the only way to take action is by focusing on the action. If you take energy to bitch and complain, it does nothing to change the situation.

    Is that kind of the same thing? I ask because I get hung up a lot on this idea of getting better, that I have to do or understand or whatever to get better.

  17. #17

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    Quote Originally Posted by cyril
    I absolutely love this Sangha and its teachers. I'm so grateful to all that you've taught me and your patience and the time you personally take to correct me when I mis-quote or completely misunderstand stuff.

    With the point about accepting something as is and then fixing it, is it sort of saying "S%# or get off the pot?" I'm sorry for the vernacular, but is it sort of like you have to accept the state of things before you can truly take action on changing them? Sort of like quitting smoking or being out of shape or whatever. If you don't love yourself because your fat or an addict to something, changing that is not going to auto-magically fix anything. And the only way to take action is by focusing on the action. If you take energy to bitch and complain, it does nothing to change the situation.

    Is that kind of the same thing? I ask because I get hung up a lot on this idea of getting better, that I have to do or understand or whatever to get better.
    Well, my personal take on it is like this. You are where you are. You might wish you were anywhere else, but you aren't, you are where you are. You can walk 15 feet to your left if you want, but the whole time you are doing that, you are where you are. Each and every step takes you home, to that place which you perfectly and naturally belong, because you ARE there. So accept it. Realize that you are where you are, and that you are COMPLETELY there. Let's take your example of quitting smoking. Say, Bob is a smoker, but wishes to quit. He can say, "I want to quit." and "I wish I wasn't addicted" but he hasn't quit, and he is addicted. He could be on the road to quitting and say, "I wish this road was over." or "I wish I was through this already." but it isn't over and he's not through it. Bob is living in a world that exists only in his mind. He's seeing what hasn't happend, or what he wishes would happen, and that is clouding his vision of what IS RIGHT NOW. If Bob, instead, were a smoker who wanted to quit and said, "I am not happy with this, I am going to quit." but was content with the world as it was at that moment and was at peace with Bob-at-this-moment, then he would be accepting things as they are, while still working toward a goal. In 3 weeks, when Bob has cut down to 1 cigarette per day instead of 10, he can say, "I am on the path to quitting smoking. I am not there yet, but that is ok. I am no less a person because I haven't quit completely, nor am I a "better" person for giving up a vice. I am simply Bob, who has cut down to 1 cigarette per day from 10, on this path of quitting smoking." He'll be able to say something similar once he no longer smokes. The world changes, and people move in whatever direction they choose. Accepting things as they are, but moving toward something is a difficult concept, because we have this understanding of a thing is either done, or not done, either complete or unfinished. We have trouble with the idea of walking on a path, planting every foot step like we were planting a tree, part of that place, time, and situation, completely there as though every action you had ever taken had come together with the express purpose of causing you to step EXACTLY there....... until the next foot step. And then, there is simply walking. When we walk, we barely even register the mechanism of walking, one foot in front of the other, we simply do it. Like the mandalas of some Buddhist sects. They work so hard on them, being completely in harmony with the mandala at every stage, from begining with the first grain of sand to the last, just being there and putting each grain of sand where it is, then washing it away in the stream. That is accepting things as they are, in my oppinion. Knowing that something is imperminant and is destined to disappear, while walking on the path because we are on the path and we must walk, living every step as though the world was still framed with each step, knowing full well that I am only a little peice of an unknowably large machine, and simply taking the next step.

  18. #18

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    Thank you

  19. #19
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    Quote Originally Posted by cyril
    I absolutely love this Sangha and its teachers. I'm so grateful to all that you've taught me and your patience and the time you personally take to correct me when I mis-quote or completely misunderstand stuff.

    With the point about accepting something as is and then fixing it, is it sort of saying "S%# or get off the pot?" I'm sorry for the vernacular, but is it sort of like you have to accept the state of things before you can truly take action on changing them? Sort of like quitting smoking or being out of shape or whatever. If you don't love yourself because your fat or an addict to something, changing that is not going to auto-magically fix anything. And the only way to take action is by focusing on the action. If you take energy to bitch and complain, it does nothing to change the situation.

    Is that kind of the same thing? I ask because I get hung up a lot on this idea of getting better, that I have to do or understand or whatever to get better.
    Well, my personal take on it is like this. You are where you are. You might wish you were anywhere else, but you aren't, you are where you are. You can walk 15 feet to your left if you want, but the whole time you are doing that, you are where you are. Each and every step takes you home, to that place which you perfectly and naturally belong, because you ARE there. So accept it. Realize that you are where you are, and that you are COMPLETELY there. Let's take your example of quitting smoking. Say, Bob is a smoker, but wishes to quit. He can say, "I want to quit." and "I wish I wasn't addicted" but he hasn't quit, and he is addicted. He could be on the road to quitting and say, "I wish this road was over." or "I wish I was through this already." but it isn't over and he's not through it. Bob is living in a world that exists only in his mind. He's seeing what hasn't happend, or what he wishes would happen, and that is clouding his vision of what IS RIGHT NOW. If Bob, instead, were a smoker who wanted to quit and said, "I am not happy with this, I am going to quit." but was content with the world as it was at that moment and was at peace with Bob-at-this-moment, then he would be accepting things as they are, while still working toward a goal. In 3 weeks, when Bob has cut down to 1 cigarette per day instead of 10, he can say, "I am on the path to quitting smoking. I am not there yet, but that is ok. I am no less a person because I haven't quit completely, nor am I a "better" person for giving up a vice. I am simply Bob, who has cut down to 1 cigarette per day from 10, on this path of quitting smoking." He'll be able to say something similar once he no longer smokes. The world changes, and people move in whatever direction they choose. Accepting things as they are, but moving toward something is a difficult concept, because we have this understanding of a thing is either done, or not done, either complete or unfinished. We have trouble with the idea of walking on a path, planting every foot step like we were planting a tree, part of that place, time, and situation, completely there as though every action you had ever taken had come together with the express purpose of causing you to step EXACTLY there....... until the next foot step. And then, there is simply walking. When we walk, we barely even register the mechanism of walking, one foot in front of the other, we simply do it. Like the mandalas of some Buddhist sects. They work so hard on them, being completely in harmony with the mandala at every stage, from begining with the first grain of sand to the last, just being there and putting each grain of sand where it is, then washing it away in the stream. That is accepting things as they are, in my oppinion. Knowing that something is imperminant and is destined to disappear, while walking on the path because we are on the path and we must walk, living every step as though the world was still framed with each step, knowing full well that I am only a little peice of an unknowably large machine, and simply taking the next step.
    Have you ever smoked?

    Chet

  20. #20

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    Yes. By the time I found out that my wife was pregnant with my oldest son, I was up to a pack a day of Camel lights. I had smoked for around 7 years or so by then (started early :? ) but when I learned she was pregnant, I quit. Of course I moved to chewing tobacco, but promised myself that I would stop "dipping" when I got out of the Corps. and I had my last dip on my last day in. It was tough, but I haven't picked up again, and that was 10 years ago, so I'm thankful.

  21. #21

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    Yes. By the time I found out that my wife was pregnant with my oldest son, I was up to a pack a day of Camel lights. I had smoked for around 7 years or so by then (started early :? ) but when I learned she was pregnant, I quit. Of course I moved to chewing tobacco, but promised myself that I would stop "dipping" when I got out of the Corps. and I had my last dip on my last day in. It was tough, but I haven't picked up again, and that was 10 years ago, so I'm thankful.
    Lovely.

    Two pack a day smoker Buddha is perfectly what he is.

    Trying to cut back to a few a day Buddha is perfectly what he is.

    Wearing the "nicotine patches" Buddha is perfectly just what he is, as are the patches.

    Going "Cold Turkey Buddha" (the way I quit 20 years ago ... and what I recommend to most folks together with the patches) is perfectly what he is.

    Searching the ashtrays and garbage can for half-smoked butts Buddha is perfectly what he is.

    Falling off the wagon and smoking that soggy butt Buddha is perfectly what he is.

    Getting back on the wagon Buddha is perfectly what he is.

    Being away from cigarettes for 20 years but still getting a craving once in awhile Buddha is perfectly what he is.

    Zazen will not assure you to quit smoking. In fact, one time I went to Sesshin at Soji-ji to quit smoking ... until I found that all the "smoker monks" were hanging out behind the Zendo between sittings!

    However, accepting life, accepting onself (not two, by the way) ... relaxing into it all, even relaxing into the struggle and ups and downs and struggle again ... SURE HELPS!

    The first two days are the hardest, then the first week, then the first month ... strong cravings will come.

    I usually advice people to "do Zazen" when a craving comes ... wherever they are, find Zazen mind ... and if they can stay like that for 20 minutes, biting their lip if need be ... the craving will usually pass.

    Craving comes again ... repeat, repeat.

    Gassho, J (20+ years without a smoke)

  22. #22

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    I love you all...now where did I put my cushion?


    Gassho,

    Adam

  23. #23

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    .

    Oh, sure, there are some mysteries that this practice won't tell you much about, such as God's favorite ice cream flavor, whether Big Foot really exists, whether Clapton or Santana or Page is the greater guitar player, whether a circle is just a round square.


    Gassho, Jundo
    hmmmm....
    still cant decide between Clapton and Page!

    but thank you Jundo it is nice to get a reminder once in a while.

    Gassho, Daniel.

  24. #24

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    Thanks, loosing the ego its not easy... Everytime that my mind is blank, and I feel at peace.. I start to think about it..

    Ola

  25. #25

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    Jundo,
    With joyful, tear-filled eyes I watch my fingers tap this meager response into the keys of my net-book.

    Thank you, for this talk. Thank you for opening my mind to the fact that by not-being me, I can allow myself to be ME.

    With renewed conviction and joy I can state, Zazen is my way.

    Gassho!

    _/_

    Bradley.

  26. #26

    Re: HOW TO ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT ...

    How to attain enlightenment: This topic fascinates me. Here are my two and a half cents

    An eager student walks into the Dokusan room scared and slightly nervous, being it will be his first time in front of the Teacher. He rehearsed his question again and again feeling his palms becoming moist with sweat. When the bell rings he quickly runs into the Dokusan room, quickly goes through the bows and faces the golden smiling face of his Teacher. The teacher, sitting in a silence that beckoned the student to speak, simply smiled. “Teacher", said the student in a low voice. "You have an index finger. No, you have two index fingers. You can point people in the right direction. What can I do to attain the Index finger that can point people in the right direction?” “It is impossible to attain the index finger that points people in the right direction” replied the teacher keeping his eyes fixed on his student. “Then what should I do?” “Simple, open your eyes and see that you already have what you seek.” With that, the teacher rang the bell singling the end of the Dokusan.

    Gassho and Happy New Year!!!!!

    Rafael

  27. #27
    We are like small waves at the sea ... they move in so fascinating ways, don't they?

    But it's so beautiful!

    Despite the impermanence, I hope this Sangha remain active for many years for the benefit of all.

    Gassho.

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