It is 2:30AM and I can't sleep until I attempt to get this all out. I apologize ahead of time if this is long and appears as though it is the rantings of a madman, I am not positive as to where this is going to go, but anyway. You have been warned, close your browser now if you don't want opinions and the mess of chaos in my head. :twisted:
Alright, I want to talk about Practice. We talk a lot here at Tree Leaf and the vast majority of it is great, but I don't feel like we directly discuss practice enough, maybe we do and I am so stupid that I missed them. One thread that we touched on practice is Jundo's discussion of "Great Awakening -- Dropping Mind and Body" and it was great. I enjoyed it, but I want to discuss practice and this non-goal of awakening from a different angle. In the thread that Stephanie or Chet started some months back about a Shobogenzo Study Group (which is a topic I would like to re-open) Jundo posted a link to this article http://www.buddhistethics.org/7/zelinski001.html That article, as you probably already see, is entitled "Ceaseless Practice" and after I read it I felt as though I had a much greater understanding (although I probably do not) about what Dogen was on about. About what Satori experience may or may not be. Kensho, the big WOW!
There has been controversy here as of late about what Kensho is, whether or not it really even exists and if it does exist should we completely dismiss it. My answers are all Yeses. Yes. Kensho is. Yes, it is does. Yes, it does not. Yes, we should dismiss it. Yes, it is important. I'm sorry to bring this up again as it may appear that I am flogging the dead monk, but honestly I think we have gone at this from the wrong angle or maybe I have been reading from the wrong angle and in that case I apologize ahead of time, again.
Everyday since I began my practice just 4 years ago, while I was living in another Middle Eastern country, temporarily, I have seen direct results from my practice. Without having any goals, I can see every day some result. Even if that result is feeling as if I have not "progressed." It is a result and I am happy with the impermanence that I have experienced. This to me is a WOW moment. Even when I fail to sit and I feel it in my marrow that I should have. I am in awe of how such a small or trivial (by appearances) thing can have a dramatic impact on me moment to moment. Every day that I recognize that I had/have compassion for someone that maybe 3 days ago I might not have had. I smile and say WOW. Last night I sat and thought for awhile about Robert Aitken Roshi who died the other day. I have a connection to Diamond Sangha in Tucson, I sat with them once and they were all lovely people and when i am in AZ I sit with their "Sister" Sangha in the small artsy town of Bisbee, AZ. I thought about Aitken Roshi and his passing while listening to a band called Mogwai. I had a very heavy feeling in my chest and was saddened. I came to the realization that this is another perfect example of beautiful impermanence and was pleased with myself for feeling sadness for this man and his community. I recognized this and said WOW. You want more examples, you say?! Well ok, I have lots more. I stepped outside the doorway to my prison cell I call a room the other day. I looked out at the horizon with my eyes all squinty because it was bright and almost 100 degrees at not quite 9am. A good 1/4 of the sky all around me was a dense greyish brown smog not unlike LA. It was disgusting and is caused from all the dust in the air. A moment later I looked up and saw the most beautiful section of blue sky I had ever seen in my life. In contrast and comparison to the grey brown mess on the horizon it was bluer than any other patch of sky in the world. It was literally so amazing that I almost fell over. All I could say was WOW!
I have not in my opinion had a Kensho or Satori experience, I haven't because I honestly don't care for these words. I don't care for your definitions of anything that I have not seen, because they are meaningless to me. But at the same time, I find the subject interesting and worth discussing. As long as we don't fail to forget that this practice is ceaseless, no matter how many dead monks or blue skies we happen across that change our views on life as we know it. I say again I have not had Kensho. But, I practice every day and without goal or agenda strive to be a better person and live a life that has maybe just a little less suffering than the day before. Because of my experiences, because of my blue skies and because of dead people. Believe me there have been a lot of both in my life. The thing is this, it does lead to something, to somewhere. It isn't a goal, we are not attaining. But I want to hear from my teachers and from my peers about their experiences directly with practice. With those moments that bring them closer, that give them a taste of less suffering and a more fulfilling life. Because, Kensho is just a meaningless word. But moments are what this practice is about and it is why we are all here. I don't just sit on my ass, to just sit on my ass.
I apologize again if I haven't entirely made sense, believe me up here it makes sense (points to empty melon). Just because my mess of thoughts up here make sense to me, doesn't make them right. They are opinions and thoughts about my practice and where it will one day head/not head.
Thank you for reading, yours in practice,
Deep Gassho, and all that...
Still just Rob.