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

  1. #1

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

    Every moment of Zazen is complete, sacred, a perfect action, with not one thing to add, not one thing to take away. When we sit Zazen, we are a Buddha sitting.

    And all of this life and world can be known too as sacred, a jewel, with not one thing to add, not one thing to take away. Perfectly just-what-it-is.

    But we have to be very cautious here, not misunderstand … Saying that there is “no place to go, no destination” does not mean that there are not good and bad paths to get there! Saying “there is nothing that need be done” does—not—mean there is nothing to do. Saying that “nothing is in need of change” does—not—mean that “nothing is in need of change.”

    Saying “we are already Buddha” is not enough if we don’t realize that, act like so!

    Simple, exaggerated example …

    Perhaps a fellow sits down to Zazen for the first time who is a violent man, a thief and alcoholic. He hears that “all is Buddha just as it is“, so thinks that Zen practice means “all is a jewel just as it is, so thus maybe I can simply stay that way, just drink and beat my wife and rob strangers“. Well, no, because while a thief and wife-beater is just that … a thief and wife-beater, yet a Buddha nonetheless … still, someone filled with such anger and greed and empty holes to fill in their psyche is not really “at peace with how things are” (or he would not beat and steal and need to self-medicate). In other words, he takes and craves and acts out anger and frustration because he does not truly understand “peace with this life as it is” … because if he did, he would not need to be those violent, punishing ways.

    If the angry, violent fellow truly knew “completeness“, truly had “no hole in need of filling“, “nothing lacking” everything “complete just as it is” … well, he simply would not have need to do violence, steal and take drugs to cover his inner pain.

    You see … kind of a non-self-fulfilling Catch-22.

    Thus, our “goalless sitting” in Zazen is –not– merely sitting on our butts, self-satisfied, feeling that we “just have to sit here and we are Buddha“. Far from it. It is, instead, to-the-marrow dropping of all need and lack. That is very different. Someone’s “just sitting around” doing nothing, going no where, complacent or resigned, giving up, killing time, is not in any way the same as “Just Sitting” practice wherein nothing need be done, with no where that we can go or need go. For all is faced ‘head on’ and energetically as already whole and complete … even while we realize that the choices we make in life have consequences, that how we choose to walk the walk in this life, and the directions we choose to go, do make a difference!

    For this reason, through our Zazen practice, we can taste that each second of life is a perfect arriving, there is no place to go or to which we need go. Yet, we have to know that, despite having ever and always already arrived, we keep living nonetheless, and how we do that is very important. The choices we make have consequences. So, if someone were to think I am saying, “All you need to do in Zazen is sit down on one’s hindquarters, and that’s enough … just twiddle your thumbs in the ‘Cosmic Mudra’ and you are Buddha” then, respectfully, I believe they do not get my point. But if they understand, “There is absolutely no place to be, where one needs to be or elsewhere where one can be, than on that Zafu in that moment, and that moment itself is all complete, all-encompassing, always at home, the total doing of All Life, Time and Space fully realized” … they are closer to the flavor.

    Then, if they rise up from the Zafu … sensing that they are “Buddha” … and thus try to act in life a bit more how a Buddha would act, they get the point.

    Zazen seeks no change, needs no change, is complete and whole … and that realization works a revolutionary change.

    But saying “there is nothing in need of change, we are always whole and completely who we are” … does not mean that there is not much about us in need of change to allow us to live well! (Zen teachers talk out of both sides of a no sided mouth! ) We can live seeing life from both angles… as complete, yet sometimes with much perhaps to repair … as all paths the same, but with some that lead off a cliff … at once.

    Does that make sense … in a Zenny way?

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



    Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 15 to 35 minutes is recommended.
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-07-2013 at 02:45 AM.

  2. #2

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

    Zazen... appears to be another form of paradox, a statement that truly is contradictory and yet follows logically from other
    statements that do not seem open to objection. If someone says, “I am lying,” for example, and we assume that his
    statement is true, it must be false. The paradox is that the statement “I am lying” is false if it is true.
    - American Heritage Dictionary

  3. #3
    Thanks for explaining this so well and with examples. This has really been confusing for me and now the fog is gently lifting.

  4. #4
    One thing I loved I read in a Open hand of thought, "Zazen is the self doing itself by itself."
    Let me know if I am understanding this or way off mark. We Sit Zazen letting the clear blue sky shine wether it is stormy or cloudy, the sky is still blue as we just sit. Being in this moment of what ever is going on,the sky is still perfect. Then when we are "not sitting" zazen is where we have to act more like Buddha following the precepts and being awake in every moment and living a compassionate life. Even though we are Buddha but we get caught up in the storm forgetting about the clear blue sky. I hope this makes as much sense as it does in my head.
    Gassho,
    Lee
    Last edited by dharma7154; 02-06-2013 at 06:58 PM.

  5. #5
    As I'm letting this video settle in as well as thought I am realizing that its all thoughts that are just passing.

  6. #6
    Hi Jundo, I have a question.

    When applying non judging during Zazen and carrying this attitude throughout our daily lives, we are still allowed make judgments, but ones that arise out of the state of Zazen (rather than our own ego). Is that correct? Is that what you mean by judging non judging?

    Gassho,

    Simon

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by simon View Post
    Hi Jundo, I have a question.

    When applying non judging during Zazen and carrying this attitude throughout our daily lives, we are still allowed make judgments, but ones that arise out of the state of Zazen (rather than our own ego). Is that correct? Is that what you mean by judging non judging?

    Gassho,

    Simon
    Hi Simon,

    Oh, a very big question!

    Let me put it this way:

    We need to make endless judgments to live ... from who to marry to which shirt to wear in the morning to what career to have to what to eat for breakfast. We have likes and dislikes that accompany those.

    In Shikantaza, we encounter a realm in which there is nothing that needs to be chosen, free of likes and dislikes, all complete from the start. Perhaps it is a great "Going with the Flowing" in which there is not even an "us" or a "place to go" ... just the flowing!

    And somehow, through this practice we encounter that it is possible, more and more, to experience both ways of encountering life at once, as one. Almost on a "sliding scale" too, in which sometimes a bit more "liking and disliking" ... sometime a bit more chooosing! But, under it all ... there is the "nothing in need of going or choosing".

    So long as we are human beings, I think we need to have our "ego", and be thinking in terms of "things I like and things I don't", thinks I want and things I don't. I still like vanilla better than strawberry, George Clooney as an actor over Kevin Costner, when my work is busy instead of when the work does not come, healthy days more than sick days. However, we also find that we are less a prisoner of all that, less driven by our needs, less dependent on getting "what I want" for our peace and satisfaction and happiness. Oh, even the Buddha needed food in his bowl each day and a safe place to sleep, plus the companionship of his "family" (his Sangha) ... but beyond that, more and more, we find we can be content and whole with our life "just as it is" ... even when it hands us strawberry or sickness and such.

    I hope my response above is satisfactory.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-17-2013 at 07:46 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  8. #8
    Hi Jundo,

    Thanks for your response. I think I get what you're saying but I can't put it into words (if that makes any sense at all) . I'm so used to thinking that things should be one way or the other that the concept is hard to get my head around. I'm probably just over analysing things. I think I just need to go and sit some more.

    Gassho,

    Simon

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by simon View Post
    Hi Jundo,

    Thanks for your response. I think I get what you're saying but I can't put it into words (if that makes any sense at all) . I'm so used to thinking that things should be one way or the other that the concept is hard to get my head around. I'm probably just over analysing things. I think I just need to go and sit some more.

    Gassho,

    Simon
    Yes, sit and sit more ... and live and live more (not two, by the way). This is something for practice, practice-enlightenment. The dance needs to be danced to be embodied and brought to life.

    I might add that this Path also changes the choices we will tend to make, much as a compass which points us into directions less clutching, less feeling desires as holes in need of filling, more content and peaceful, less angry, greedy and divisive in mind. So long as we live in this world, we remain human beings capable of good and bad, for better or worse ... but Buddha shines through our choices and actions more and more.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  10. #10
    Hi Jundo,
    Thank you so much for this teaching.
    Gassho,
    Fredrik

  11. #11
    Senior Member Joyo's Avatar
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    It makes perfect sense, thank you for this teaching.

  12. #12
    Thanks Jundo. Being at peace with how things are, with nothing lacking is a wonderful realization. Understanding that there is nothing to add adds a lot!

  13. #13
    Can we say that, when the “completeness” arrives, the precepts are the natural expression of it?

    Gassho.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcelo de Valnisio View Post
    Can we say that, when the “completeness” arrives, the precepts are the natural expression of it?

    Gassho.
    Yes. Yes. No. No. Yes.

    Yes. In the absolute, thus there is no separate one to do harm, no separate self to be harmed, no harm possible. There is no self to do killing, no other to be killed, no birth or death or killing. There is no way to break a Precept, no Precept to break, no one piece or two pieces to break.

    Yes. In the heart which truly embodies wholeness, free of lack ... what is there to crave, to need, to be jealous of, to hate? In Wholeness of Buddha, a moment of Zazen, it is impossible to break a Precept.

    No, for in this messy world of Samsara, there are selves and others to clash, desires to be filled, constant crossroads. The Precepts point us in directions generally healthful, gentle, harm avoiding for self and others.

    No, for even for someone who has had a taste of the wholeness of Buddha, a sense of Kensho, it is too easy to fall into amorality, nihilism, that one is now beyond right and wrong. Thus too many Zen and other Buddhist folks who have twisted the Buddhist Way into an excuse for greed, violence and other kinds of harm under the impression that all Karma washes away in the Absolute. They live in the Absolute but lost in ignorance at once.

    Yes, because in our Zen Way, one can live guided by the Precepts (avoiding the harms of greed, anger and ignorance) AND SIMULTANEOUSLY experiencing this no separate one to do harm, no separate self to be harmed, no harm possible. There is no self to do killing, no other to be killed, no birth or death or killing ... yet we seek guided by the Precept to avoid killing as we can. There is no way to break a Precept, no Precept to break, no one piece or two piece to break, yet we seek as we can to abide by the Precepts. One can live by the Precepts and free of the Precepts, in the Absolute and free of ignorance amid ignorance, AS ONE, AT ONCE.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-22-2013 at 11:47 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  15. #15
    Thank you, Jundo.

    Gassho.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Nandi's Avatar
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    " … in a Zenny way?"


  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Yes. Yes. No. No. Yes.

    Yes. In the absolute, thus there is no separate one to do harm, no separate self to be harmed, no harm possible. There is no self to do killing, no other to be killed, no birth or death or killing. There is no way to break a Precept, no Precept to break, no one piece or two pieces to break.

    Yes. In the heart which truly embodies wholeness, free of lack ... what is there to crave, to need, to be jealous of, to hate? In Wholeness of Buddha, a moment of Zazen, it is impossible to break a Precept.

    No, for in this messy world of Samsara, there are selves and others to clash, desires to be filled, constant crossroads. The Precepts point us in directions generally healthful, gentle, harm avoiding for self and others.

    No, for even for someone who has had a taste of the wholeness of Buddha, a sense of Kensho, it is too easy to fall into amorality, nihilism, that one is now beyond right and wrong. Thus too many Zen and other Buddhist folks who have twisted the Buddhist Way into an excuse for greed, violence and other kinds of harm under the impression that all Karma washes away in the Absolute. They live in the Absolute but lost in ignorance at once.

    Yes, because in our Zen Way, one can live guided by the Precepts (avoiding the harms of greed, anger and ignorance) AND SIMULTANEOUSLY experiencing this no separate one to do harm, no separate self to be harmed, no harm possible. There is no self to do killing, no other to be killed, no birth or death or killing ... yet we seek guided by the Precept to avoid killing as we can. There is no way to break a Precept, no Precept to break, no one piece or two piece to break, yet we seek as we can to abide by the Precepts. One can live by the Precepts and free of the Precepts, in the Absolute and free of ignorance amid ignorance, AS ONE, AT ONCE.

    Gassho, J
    Thank you Jundo for this wonderful teaching. A question to help in my understanding, particularly since I do counseling. In a marriage in which one partner is physically abusive, it's not difficult to see how the other partner would leave the relationship. In another marriage where the stakes are not as high -- say it's a matter of they're being on different paths (and not in the sense that one is denying the other the right to be on that path) -- does one just see that this is the way things are, and accept it? Stay in the marriage? Or do they separate, and if so how does this relate to the teaching that there are sunny days and there are rainy days? I know this is not easy to answer in the abstract. The question was occasioned by reading of a Zen teacher who divorced, and the circumstances appear to be similar to the second of these scenarios.

    Gassho,
    John

  18. #18
    Hi John,

    Every situation is unique. So it's hard to say. :-)

    Gassho, Jishin
    治 Ji
    心​ Shin

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by John H View Post
    Thank you Jundo for this wonderful teaching. A question to help in my understanding, particularly since I do counseling. In a marriage in which one partner is physically abusive, it's not difficult to see how the other partner would leave the relationship. In another marriage where the stakes are not as high -- say it's a matter of they're being on different paths (and not in the sense that one is denying the other the right to be on that path) -- does one just see that this is the way things are, and accept it? Stay in the marriage? Or do they separate, and if so how does this relate to the teaching that there are sunny days and there are rainy days? I know this is not easy to answer in the abstract. The question was occasioned by reading of a Zen teacher who divorced, and the circumstances appear to be similar to the second of these scenarios.

    Gassho,
    John
    Hi John,

    Yes, some situations may be clearer than others ... such as leaving a truly violent and abusive relationship. For other crossroads in life, as Jishin says, life is rarely black and white (I just faced such a time in my own life this week).

    So here are my own steps to making a decision at a crossroads ... some of it Zen Practice, some just common sense ...

    People sometimes ask me if it is always wise to follow one's heart and intuition, whether Zazen will help one listen to one's heart better, and whether doing so will always lead us to the "right way to go".

    Well, certainly. in sitting quietly ... the storm of thoughts and emotions settled and still ... we may hear our heart better, come to resolution on a choice.

    However, sometimes even our heart can't predict everything! So, personally, when possible for a 'big decision' (an example of such a time was when my family and I were considering whether to live in Japan or in the US, but it could be any big life decision), I first like to gather as much information and options as possible, ask some expert or experienced folks for opinions, list up the "pros" and "cons" ... then sit with it on the Zafu dropping all thoughts and emotions in Shikantaza ... then think about it some more later in the day ...

    ... AND THEN JUMP ONE WAY OR THE OTHER!

    In the end, there comes a time when one can start to over-think the situation, think up endless variables and "what if's", and the mind cannot make a choice. At that time, the best course after doing all the "information gathering and weighing of pros and cons" above is ... stick one's finger in the wind to see which way the wind blows, drop the thinking and further analyzing in a "Shikantaza" way, find a bit of quiet and spaciousness within ... (then maybe rise from the cushion and think about it a little more!) ... but then finally once and for all, throw a finger in the air and make a choice ... follow one's heart and JUMP! (Or, follow one's heart and stay where one is, also an option ).

    And in doing so ... more times than not ... it turns out okay or much better than okay. Not always though.

    So, will following intuition ... and sitting all the Zazen in the world ... always lead you to the "Right Choice"? YES! .... EXCEPT WHEN IT DOES NOT!

    But, that is when Zen Practice also offers a very wise bit of Wisdom:

    When coming to a crossroads, TAKE IT! Go right or left (unless staying put ). Then, just be there and move on. If one ended up taking a bumpy road instead of the smooth road intended ... just be there and move on. At the next crossroads, which is ever right underfoot ... repeat above process! One may discover that one made the right choice or the wrong, got to one's objective or got lost. You will probably find you end up where never expected. However, it is always the RIGHT CHOICE ... for it is the RIGHT WHERE ONE NOW IS CHOICE. Move on from here.
    And let us sit and offer Metta for all folks facing rocky marriages and relationships!

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 05-28-2014 at 04:08 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  20. #20
    Thank you, Jishin and Jundo. Many rocky relationships with difficult choices that affect so many.

    Gassho,
    John

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