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Thread: Sit-a-Long with Jundo: Zazen for Beginners (Part XVI)

  1. #1

    Sit-a-Long with Jundo: Zazen for Beginners (Part XVI)

    We sit Zazen “dropping all thoughts of right and wrong, good and bad“… taking life just as it comes, without judgment

    But, gee, don’t some think that we Buddhists have no sense of “right and wrong.”

    WE MOST CERTAINLY DO!

    (If you are going to do this Zen thing, ya have to learn the art of experiencing life from seemingly incongruous perspectives: For example, all paths up life’s mountain go just where they go, are what they are, lead where they lead… But some lead right off a cliff!)

    I mean, we drop all resistance to life, drop all ideas of how life “should be” vs. “how it is” … yet, hand-in-hand (like the other side of a single coin), we also know that some ways of leading life do great harm, cause pain, bring suffering to us and to those around us.

    Thus, the Bodhisattva Precepts are at the heart of our Practice. NOT hard and fast laws or “Commandments from Heaven,” each precept is rather an arrow pointing out a good path — toward a life of peace, gentleness, balance, moderation, health, satisfaction. They guide us to avoid the taking of life, stealing, abusing others, abusing our bodies, engaging in anger, harsh speech, and wrong actions...

    All the Precepts basically come down to this: One is guided to seek, as one can, not to do harm… and to live in a way that is healthful and beneficial to oneself and others. (Oneself and others are not truly separate, by the way.) .

    Living by the Precepts supports and sustains the Practice of Zazen, because one simply cannot taste the sweet fruits of our Practice if filled with anger, violence, greed, and excess. (And in such a case, all of your life, and maybe the lives of those you impact, will likely be a mess too!) In turn, the Practice of Zazen supports and nurtures living by the Precepts.

    In fact, Zazen --is-- living by the Precepts, Living by the Precepts nothing besides Zazen.
    Early in one’s Buddhist Practice, one should begin to learn about each of the Buddhist Precepts and seek to take them to heart.

    CLICK HERE for today’s Sit-A-Long video.

    [youtube] [/youtube]

    Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 15 to 35 minutes is recommended.

  2. #2
    Junior Member Rezdogdad's Avatar
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    So is following the "arrows", ie. precepts, what is meant by "skillful means" (I've read it called "upaya")? Is it fair to think of behaviors as being as they are and accepting them as they are, but acknowledging that some are more skillful than others? And aren't the precepts situational - in other words, they don't represent absolute mandates but are more guidelines for skillfully negotiating life?

    Gassho,

    Eric

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Rezdogdad View Post
    So is following the "arrows", ie. precepts, what is meant by "skillful means" (I've read it called "upaya")? Is it fair to think of behaviors as being as they are and accepting them as they are, but acknowledging that some are more skillful than others? And aren't the precepts situational - in other words, they don't represent absolute mandates but are more guidelines for skillfully negotiating life?

    Gassho,

    Eric
    Hi Eric,

    "Skillful means" is usually taken to refer to doing any necessary thing or technique to skillfully get these Buddhist Teachings across ... such as crawling into a bathtub with a funny hat. Not sure if the bathtub was skillful or just all wet. A famous example is from the Lotus Sutra, a father who promises his children all kinds of imaginary goodies outside to lure them out of a burning house [a burning house of greed, anger and ignorance]. So, it refers more to teaching activities than the Precepts as such. More here ...

    http://www.ancientdragon.org/dharma/...skillful_means

    But as to you statement on the Precepts, yes, they involve living skillfully too. The Precepts, more than mandates or "Commandments" from on high, might be said to be guides or arrows pointing toward conduct that leads away from harm to self and others (not two by the way) ... and toward conduct which is healthful and beneficial. So, for example, like cows grazing in a wide pasture, there is no need for a fence until that point where they might wander off a cliff or into a road and be hit by a truck! They point to a way of living that seeks to free us from greed, anger and ignorance. Yes, there are Karmic effects from our harmful volitional conduct ... great suffering for ourselves and those around us (not two by the way).

    We have a Precepts study group in the fall looking forward to Jukai. However, you may also read and learn about the Precepts at any time.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forum...Y-SEWING-FORUM

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 02-06-2013 at 03:16 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    Junior Member Rezdogdad's Avatar
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    Thank you. This helps me a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Eric,

    "Skillful means" is usually taken to refer to doing any necessary thing or technique to skillfully get these Buddhist Teachings across ... such as crawling into a bathtub with a funny hat. Not sure if the bathtub was skillful or just all wet. A famous example is from the Lotus Sutra, a father who promises his children all kinds of imaginary goodies outside to lure them out of a burning house [a burning house of greed, anger and ignorance]. So, it refers more to teaching activities than the Precepts as such. More here ...

    http://www.ancientdragon.org/dharma/...skillful_means

    But as to you statement on the Precepts, yes, they involve living skillfully too. The Precepts, more than mandates or "Commandments" from on high, might be said to be guides or arrows pointing toward conduct that leads away from harm to self and others (not two by the way) ... and toward conduct which is healthful and beneficial. So, for example, like cows grazing in a wide pasture, there is no need for a fence until that point where they might wander off a cliff or into a road and be hit by a truck! They point to a way of living that seeks to free us from greed, anger and ignorance. Yes, there are Karmic effects from our harmful volitional conduct ... great suffering for ourselves and those around us (not two by the way).

    We have a Precepts study group in the fall looking forward to Jukai. However, you may also read and learn about the Precepts at any time.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forum...Y-SEWING-FORUM

    Gassho, Jundo

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    Senior Member Heion's Avatar
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    So in dropping all thoughts of 'right and wrong', 'good and bad', is it like letting go of the negative emotions tied with those attachments? Would it be like using judgement as an effective 'calculator' to know what to do and not to do while still being open and free from the negative emotions attached to such a conception?

    Gassho,
    Alex

  6. #6
    Hi Alex,

    No, we have a very good guide to "right" and "wrong" in the Precepts, which point us toward conduct avoiding harm to self and others (self and others are not two, by the way).

    At the same moment in our Practice, we know a way of experiencing which is beyond any one to harm or do harm. But in this world of Samsara, there is good and bad.

    Perhaps we should learn to drop and avoid excess or unjustified guilt and self-reproach, but I believe that a feeling of guilt and self-reproach is perfectly justified when we do something wrong that merits so (absent which, if we did not feel so, we may be sociopaths without a sense of guilt).

    So, do good, avoid harm.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #7
    "...how life “should be” vs. “how it is” --- Yes, I have this issue too as we all do! As a kid, I was told that adulthood would be a certain way and boy, was that wrong! I was told I had to go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, and constantly move up the ladder of life. Well, I did go to school, got many jobs, and found a wonderful wife. But is my life the ideal I dreamed about as a child? Nope. And that frustrated me a lot. A teacher once told me that life is not supposed to be a good life or a hard life....it is just a life. In noticing my life as it is, I am afforded some peace. Also, with reflection, I notice that things are not frozen either. The water constantly moves!!! That is the nature of life.

    Thanks,
    Anzan

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by anzan View Post
    "...how life “should be” vs. “how it is” --- Yes, I have this issue too as we all do! As a kid, I was told that adulthood would be a certain way and boy, was that wrong! I was told I had to go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, and constantly move up the ladder of life. Well, I did go to school, got many jobs, and found a wonderful wife. But is my life the ideal I dreamed about as a child? Nope. And that frustrated me a lot. A teacher once told me that life is not supposed to be a good life or a hard life....it is just a life. In noticing my life as it is, I am afforded some peace. Also, with reflection, I notice that things are not frozen either. The water constantly moves!!! That is the nature of life.

    Thanks,
    Anzan
    Hello Anzan,

    Your first part of your post reminded me of the song, "Working Class Hero" by John Lennon. I know what you mean ... when I was young, I wanted to be old. Now that I am old, I want to be young.



    The second part you nailed it ... "In noticing life as it is, I am afforded some peace". Like walking the path of the mountain ... life to has it's ups and downs, but without those ups and downs, we wouldn't be able to truly experience the path up the mountain.

    Gassho
    Shingen
    真 眼

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  9. #9
    Wonderful Shingen! And I have always loved this song.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Joyo's Avatar
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    Phew, Jundo, I have been worried that you are the modern day Moses, and after I take the precepts, you would be coming down a mountain, with a big keisaku to hit us all with when we did something wrong

    After watching this video, I can relax a bit more

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    Member Nandi's Avatar
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