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Thread: Jundo's Multiple Mental Tracks

  1. #1

    Jundo's Multiple Mental Tracks

    In another thread, Jundo wrote:
    ...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.
    I don't "get this" yet (it seems to me that once I accept the house as it is, my motivation to fix the house becomes nearly zero. Sure, I can fix the stuff if I have a mild preference in that direction, but it's not likely to happen). Let me use a concrete example from my life: My wife and I have long thought about moving to the mountains once we no longer have to work. However, this seems SO MUCH less important after just a year of exploring Buddhism and what really is important in life. In fact, I begin to suspect that this desire to move to the mountains is just another "the grass is always greener" deluded desire that will only result in yet another dream/desire that will never be fulfilled once we get to the mountains. Which leaves me with very little motiviation to actually make that move.

    I can run this scenario with virtually every desire in my "samsara" life. This seems to fit in quite well with a quote from Linji:

    Followers of the Way, as I look at it, we're no different from Shakyamuni. In all our various activities each day, is there anything we lack? The wonderful light of the six senses has never for a moment ceased to shine. If you could just look at it this way, then you'e be the kind of person who has nothing to do for the rest of your life
    I understand this does not necessarily contradict Jundo's example above (the wife beating alchoholic), but assuming you are generally following the precepts, to me it does seem to imply that our motivation to do much but sit and enjoy is pretty small (NOT A BAD THING - unless your wife is not into Zen :mrgreen: )

    Comments? Experiences? God knows Jundo has to be tired of explaining this again and again and again...

  2. #2

    Re: Jundo's Multiple Mental Tracks

    Quote Originally Posted by CraigfromAz
    Comments? Experiences? God knows Jundo has to be tired of explaining this again and again and again...
    I will try again anyway! It really ain't rocket science ... (although neither is basketball or tight rope walking, whereby the simple often takes some practice to master).

    Have you ever had what some folks might consider really really really bad news ... yet were somehow fully okay with it? For example, if the doctor gave you a diagnosis of some serious condition, might you eventually come to abiding peace with it even as you take your medicine and treatments?

    Have you ever simply been caught in the rain on a day you wanted sunshine for your picnic ... and were fully fine with that, at peace with the raindrops falling and your "ruined" picnic? You might just let the raindrops pour over you, yet you might also just open an umbrella or go indoors while at peace with it all.

    Well, just do that about all of life ... Our Shikantaza practice is practice in that.

    Accept, embrace ... be totally 'one' with conditions as they are ... yet fix what needs to be fixed (like an old car that you love, yet which constantly breaks down ... we are at one with the fixing too).

    In most of life, we try to fix, get better, get somewhere but here.

    In Zen practice, we fix what needs fixing though there is nothing from the first to fix, "make better" though all is just as it is, come and go and "try to get places" yet are always right here wherever we are.

    So, if you move to the mountains ... be in the mountains, be where you are.

    So, if you do not move to the mountains ... be where you are. (Where else is there?)

    Piercing this is a Great Awakening.

    Gassho, J

  3. #3
    Treeleaf Unsui Shohei's Avatar
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    Re: Jundo's Multiple Mental Tracks

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by CraigfromAz
    Comments? Experiences? God knows Jundo has to be tired of explaining this again and again and again...
    I will try again anyway! It really ain't rocket science ... (although neither is basketball or tight rope walking, whereby the simple often takes some practice to master).

    Have you ever had what some folks might consider really really really bad news ... yet were somehow fully okay with it? For example, if the doctor gave you a diagnosis of some serious condition, might you eventually come to abiding peace with it even as you take your medicine and treatments?

    Have you ever simply been caught in the rain on a day you wanted sunshine for your picnic ... and were fully fine with that, at peace with the raindrops falling and your "ruined" picnic? You might just let the raindrops pour over you, yet you might also just open an umbrella or go indoors while at peace with it all.

    Well, just do that about all of life ... Our Shikantaza practice is practice in that.

    Accept, embrace ... be totally 'one' with conditions as they are ... yet fix what needs to be fixed (like an old car that you love, yet which constantly breaks down ... we are at one with the fixing too).

    In most of life, we try to fix, get better, get somewhere but here.

    In Zen practice, we fix what needs fixing though there is nothing from the first to fix, "get better" though all is just as it is, come and go and "try to get places" yet are always right here wherever we are.

    So, if you move to the mountains ... be in the mountains, be where you are.

    So, if you do not move to the mountains ... be where you are. (Where else is there?)

    Piercing this is a Great Awakening.

    Gassho, J

    Thank you again!

    Gassho
    Shohei

  4. #4
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    Re: Jundo's Multiple Mental Tracks

    I often find myself repeating Jundo's exhortations to think in "Multiple channels" like a mantra in my head. It's like confusion, confusion, confusion, then "MULTIPLE CHANNELS!" springs up and I go, "Oh yeah..."

  5. #5

    Re: Jundo's Multiple Mental Tracks

    it seems to me that once I accept the house as it is, my motivation to fix the house becomes nearly zero
    Paradoxically, in many fields of life, I do not find this to be true. Actually I have many experiences to the contrary, starting from my garden being in the best shape ever after I realized it does not really matter what I do there, as plants are each lovely in their own way anyway, and ending in finally finishing the first draft of my PhD after accepting that dropping out is a real possibility that I can choose if I like. Often it seems that what keeps us from fixing the house is our anxiousness over it not being in shape already, and once we accept it as it is it liberates us to do the fixes we might as well do. I guess it could be because accepting the house as it is right now does not mean that you cannot fix it in the future, but it means that fixing it or not become equally possible, and you are free from all sorts of guilts of not having done it already.

  6. #6

    Re: Jundo's Multiple Mental Tracks

    Ya know, it is not really "Jundo's multiple mental tracks" or some such.

    It is just the same ol' "absolute is the relative, the relative fully expressing the absolute" dressed up in slightly different clothes and words. The great Dogen scholar and Zen teacher Shohaku Okumura describes this in his introduction to Genjo Koan ...

    There are two ways of viewing this one reality. One is to see things as a whole, the other is to see things as independent. these two ways of seeing things are really important in understanding Mahayana Buddhist philosophy. In Mahayana Buddhist philosophy the two aspects of this one reality of our life is called "the two truths," one is absolute truth and another is conventional truth.

    For example, in the Heart Sutra emptiness is considered to be absolute truth, there's no eyes, no ear, no hand, no nose, no tongue, no anything because this reality is just working as one; emptiness. Yet, from the other side, each has form, eyes are eyes, nose is nose, tongue is tongue; this person, Shohaku is Shohaku; I'm not you and you are not me. Even when you eat delicious food my stomach is not filled or vice versa. So we are completely different individual people. And yet, as a whole, we are living the same life; as living beings, we are interconnected completely together with all beings. This whole universe is just one thing, as five fingers are just one hand.

    In Zen this reality is called sabetsu (distinction, inequality) and byodo (equality). Everything is different and independent on the one side, and everything is equal and interconnected on the other side. To see one reality from those two sides is the basic view of Mahayana Buddhism including Zen. As a form, everything is different. Everything has different form and yet those forms are empty; empty means no discrimination and separation. And yet this emptiness is form. We see one reality as an intersection or merging of equality and uniqueness.

    In Chinese Zen literature, such as the Sandokai (merging of difference and unity) composed by Zen master Sekito Kisen, it says these two sides are called difference and unity. this difference and unity should merge. In Sandokai, Sekito expresses this side of oneness or unity as dark, and the other side is light. When it's bright outside we can see things and different forms, different colors, different names and different functions; when it's completely dark all beings are there but we cannot distinguish them. As a whole, it's one darkness. These are two aspects of one reality. ...

    This is the basic way we see reality in Buddhism and Zen. It's important to understand this point to understand any Zen literature or Buddhist philosophy.

    In the case of Dogen, however, to see one reality from two sides is not enough. We should express both sides in one action. For example, in the Heart Sutra two sides are expressed as "form is emptiness and emptiness is form." But, Dogen Zenji said in Shobogenzo Makahannya-haramitsu, "Form is form. Emptiness is emptiness." When we say form is emptiness and emptiness is form, there is still separation of form and emptiness. If form is really emptiness and emptiness is really form, we can only say form is form and emptiness is emptiness. When we say form, emptiness is already there. And when we say emptiness, form is already there. If we understand this basic point we can understand the first three sentences (paragraphs) of Genjokoan.

    When we study and practice according to Dogen Zenji's teachings, it's important not only to understand with our intellect those two aspects; ...

    In the Genjo-koan, Dogen Zenji expresses individuality as " a drop of water," and universality is expressed as "moonlight," and he said that even in a small drop of water, the moonlight is reflected. This is the reality of our life. We are individual and yet universal. The vast, boundless moonlight is reflected in us like a drop of water. The point of our practice, according to Dogen's teaching in Genjo-koan, is how we can keep awakening to that reality of individuality and universality together. Through our practice, we try to actualize one reality which has two sides. We go to extremes when we cling to our thinking. Thinking comes out of our experience, that is our karma. Depending upon our past experiences, we have tendency to think that this side should be important, or the other side should be more important. And we lose sight of the reality as a whole.
    In our practice of zazen and also our practice in our daily lives, we awake to reality as a whole. We are free from either side and find the middle path. Both sides should be really there. This is the most vivid and healthy way of life.
    http://www.usm.maine.edu/~pauln/MainSit ... _Koan.html

  7. #7

    Re: Jundo's Multiple Mental Tracks

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    ... It really ain't rocket science ... (although neither is basketball or tight rope walking, whereby the simple often takes some practice to master).
    I think I continually make this harder than it really is, because intellectual understanding so easily slips away when you don't have the internal experience to go along with it. I did find the following quote from the excerpt you provided to be helpful:

    For example, in the Heart Sutra emptiness is considered to be absolute truth, there's no eyes, no ear, no hand, no nose, no tongue, no anything because this reality is just working as one; emptiness. Yet, from the other side, each has form, eyes are eyes, nose is nose, tongue is tongue; this person, Shohaku is Shohaku; I'm not you and you are not me. Even when you eat delicious food my stomach is not filled or vice versa. So we are completely different individual people. And yet, as a whole, we are living the same life; as living beings, we are interconnected completely together with all beings. This whole universe is just one thing, as five fingers are just one hand.

    In Zen this reality is called sabetsu (distinction, inequality) and byodo (equality). Everything is different and independent on the one side, and everything is equal and interconnected on the other side. To see one reality from those two sides is the basic view of Mahayana Buddhism including Zen.

    As a form, everything is different. Everything has different form and yet those forms are empty; empty means no discrimination and separation. And yet this emptiness is form. We see one reality as an intersection or merging of equality and uniqueness.
    I keep trying to see one way of looking at the world as "right" and the other way as "wrong". Instead, it is a merging of these two viewpoints that I need to cultivate (note I struggled with "light is BOTH a particle and a wave" for years while studying physics :lol: )

  8. #8

    Re: Jundo's Multiple Mental Tracks

    One more quote from the Genjokoan article referenced by Jundo:

    For example in traditional Japanese society, family or communities, as well as schools or companies, are more important than the individual persons. Countries are more important than the people. I think that is one extreme. That is called wholism. I think that it is really unhealthy. But if we only see our independence, and think "I can do whatever I want to do," we become really isolated and egoistic. These two are sicknesses caused by a misguided view of reality. We are actually living as independent, unique persons, and yet we are living as a part of the whole community. When we cling to only one aspect and put emphasis we become sick; either way, through wholism or through individualism. Actually both sides should be there. It is the most healthy way when we are living together and yet each person is independent. We have to live together, and in order to live together we have to, in a sense, put aside our uniqueness, otherwise we have to always fight against other people. I think the most important teaching of Buddha is to find the middle way. We need to avoid either extreme and practice the reality as a middle way. We have to create our own way because there's no certain fixed middle way. We have to see the whole situation and find the most healthy and joyful way of life for both each one of us and for the community as a whole. And we should do this with our own responsibility. I think this is the essential point of Buddha's and Dogen Zenji's teachings.
    Now this seems downright EASY to understand - community vs individual is a good ol' western concept that even I can grasp. The article implies that this is the meaning of "form is emptiness, emptiness is form, form is form, emptiness is emptiness" - and I haven't the faintest idea what that means. Does all this really just mean "you are an individual, and you are also part of the community/world/universe - you can't treat one separate from the other?" Intellectually, that is SOOOOO simple (although experiencing it and living it is a different story).

  9. #9

    Re: Jundo's Multiple Mental Tracks

    deleted.

  10. #10

    Re: Jundo's Multiple Mental Tracks

    I think that the important thing is that whatever the situation is, it is perfectly that. A house with a leaky roof is still a perfect house with a perfectly leaky roof. That doesn't mean one doesn't sit there and say, "Hmm, perhaps I will stop the leaks tomorrow." And get on the roof and repair the leaks. Once you are done, the house is still a perfect house with a perfectly repaired roof. The trick of it is not to be attached to it. If you sat there the whole night thinking, "Stupid roof....leaking, I can't believe it.....after all I paid.....now I'll have to fix it......probably fall off the roof and split my butt the other way.......man that agrivates me.....stupid roof." You've admitted an attachment and that attachment is causing your "self" to get all worked up and mad at the situation. You probably won't get a good night's sleep, or go and watch tv or enjoy time with your family, because wherever you are in the house, your mind is still staring up at that leaky roof. When you accept the leaky roof as a leaky roof,truly and wholey accept it, you can be at peace that it is what it is. Tomorrow, after not having given it a second thought, fully rested, and after having played with the kids and watched tv with the wife, you get out a ladder and repair the roof.

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