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Thread: Letting Go Go?

  1. #1

    Letting Go Go?

    Hi there,

    first of all hello to everyone, this is my first post!

    I've been sitting for quite some years now but there's one thing I never really "got" and while sitting it actually doesn't really matter or bother me but when thinking about it logically this is a question I have and I wonder what you think about it.

    When we sit in Zazen we let go of thoughts, images, preferences etc...just letting this all go. So far so good...but at the end issn't this "letting go" also a preference, the preference/idea/thought to "let go"? In other words there's still "someone", a observer or whatever who notices stuff and then let's go of it...

    Shouldn't one also let go of that intention to let go? Otherwise you're still somehow "playing games in your head" right?

    But then if you do...you'd end up sitting there like a stone I guess. But still this contradiction for me seems to be a bit impure. Of course while sitting we let go of that idea that's it's impure shikantaza, too and voila!

    But still I'd be interested in your thoughts about this

    Greetings,

    Daniel

  2. #2

    Re: Letting Go Go?

    Quote Originally Posted by danny
    Hi there,

    first of all hello to everyone, this is my first post!

    I've been sitting for quite some years now but there's one thing I never really "got" and while sitting it actually doesn't really matter or bother me but when thinking about it logically this is a question I have and I wonder what you think about it.

    When we sit in Zazen we let go of thoughts, images, preferences etc...just letting this all go. So far so good...but at the end issn't this "letting go" also a preference, the preference/idea/thought to "let go"? In other words there's still "someone", a observer or whatever who notices stuff and then let's go of it...

    Shouldn't one also let go of that intention to let go? Otherwise you're still somehow "playing games in your head" right?

    But then if you do...you'd end up sitting there like a stone I guess. But still this contradiction for me seems to be a bit impure. Of course while sitting we let go of that idea that's it's impure shikantaza, too and voila!

    But still I'd be interested in your thoughts about this

    Greetings,

    Daniel
    Hi Daniel,

    Be sure to sit with our "Beginner's (We're All Beginners)" series of videos that may help with some of this "if a tree falls in the forest" type questioning.

    viewforum.php?f=20

    I sometimes compare sitting with a head full of turbulent thoughts and emotions, regrets and dreams, judgments of how things "should be" and "if only they would be" to ... the self hitting one's own self with a hammer.

    If someone asked me:

    "It sure feels right when I just put the hammer down and stop hitting my head with a hammer. However, I have been doing this awhile now and wonder whether, if I am am sitting seeking to not hit my head repeatedly with a hammer, isn't that "someone preferring" to not "hit the head", and thus isn't it still "hitting the head""?

    I would say:

    "Just sit and don't hit one's head with a hammer. Open the hand of thought, and let the hammer drop away."

    The real "hitting with a hammer" may be all those thoughts, emotions, suppositions and judgments about 'is someone doing it' and whether you can stop or not! Stop your 'self' hitting yourself with those too!

    Now, our way is not to stop all thoughts in the sense of "blanking out" or forcing the mind to be silent or dead of thoughts ... it might be described more as letting thoughts come and go without being attached to them or stirring them up, allowing the mind to settle on its own accord such that clarity and silence naturally present. Then, we find a certain "not hitting" that was there all along, a silence that shines between, behind and right through even those thoughts and emotions much as the sun shines between and right through clouds ... and is there all along even on cloudy days when not seen.

    Of course while sitting we let go of that idea that's it's impure shikantaza, too and voila!

    Ah, yes ... VOILA! That's it! Let go of that idea too, judgments of "pure vs. impure" ... and VIOLA!

    Also, so long as we are alive, we will have desires. In Shikantaza, we drop all desires and just sit ... the sitting being the fruition of all desires (there is no other place to be in all the world, nothing else that need be done, than to be on that cushion sitting and being sat in that moment!). However, once we get up from the Zafu ... we must have desires again (or else, we would not even bother to get out of bed each day). Here too, we seek not to be attached to desires, fall into harmful or excess desires, and ... this is a trick ... to know holding desires AND being free of all desire ALL AT ONCE!

    Anyway, watch the "Beginner's" series, and we can talk more. In the meantime, PUT THE HAMMER DOWN! 8)

    Gassho, J

  3. #3
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Letting Go Go?

    Not much to add to what uncle Jundo has written...
    Just this though: Daniel, funny to see how in your very question, the answer is seen: Voila!
    Start with voila then.
    In Zen we "start" the journey where it actually "ends"...(although there is nor beginning neither end)... We start from enlightenment itself. Everything else takes care of itself.

    gassho


    Taigu

  4. #4

    Re: Letting Go Go?

    Thanks a lot Jundo and Taigu for your replies!

    I watched the beginners videos btw. but still not sure if I really got it

    Well to put it a bit differently, is Shikantaza more like:

    A) Watch your mind and when you recognize a thought let it pass by. Continue with that while knowing that it's fine and good that thoughts come up but keep on watching what's going on.

    B) Don't watch your mind, don't interfere with what's going on at all. Really do "non-doing". But when you recognize that you're lost in a thought/feeling/emotion or in watching your mind or find yourself interfering in any way with the things happening, simply STOP IT. Do that for a while and sooner or later you'll kinda lose any "sense of self", there's just things going on like thoughts coming and going, you see and hear something, maybe have pain in your legs but you really have stopped interefering and so there's no center of recognition anymore. You also stopped watching your mind. First this feels very scary because it feels like you'd cease to exist but if you do the step or better said the step does itself because there's noone doing it...then it again feels like you're really relaxed for the first time in your life...

    Thanks for any input on this

    Greetings,

    Daniel

  5. #5

    Re: Letting Go Go?

    Quote Originally Posted by danny
    Thanks a lot Jundo and Taigu for your replies!

    I watched the beginners videos btw. but still not sure if I really got it

    Well to put it a bit differently, is Shikantaza more like:

    A) Watch your mind and when you recognize a thought let it pass by. Continue with that while knowing that it's fine and good that thoughts come up but keep on watching what's going on.

    B) Don't watch your mind, don't interfere with what's going on at all. Really do "non-doing". But when you recognize that you're lost in a thought/feeling/emotion or in watching your mind or find yourself interfering in any way with the things happening, simply STOP IT. Do that for a while and sooner or later you'll kinda lose any "sense of self", there's just things going on like thoughts coming and going, you see and hear something, maybe have pain in your legs but you really have stopped interefering and so there's no center of recognition anymore. You also stopped watching your mind. First this feels very scary because it feels like you'd cease to exist but if you do the step or better said the step does itself because there's noone doing it...then it again feels like you're really relaxed for the first time in your life...

    Thanks for any input on this

    Greetings,

    Daniel
    Hi Daniel,

    Sit as the only action to do in all of the world in that moment ... and the whole world, all the Buddhas and Ancestors sitting right there in that moment, the only place and time to be in that moment in all of space and time. Sit like there is not one thing to add to that moment to complete or fulfill the moment, not one thing to take away. There is no other place to go or where you should be ... not other place you can be (or where you are not). This is most vital.

    Then, let thoughts drift in and out of mind without catching them, playing with them or stirring them up. Taste the space between the thoughts too, and that shine through the thoughts (and light up the thoughts too).

    See if this helps, and we can talk more. I post this from time to time ...

    "Right" Zazen and "Wrong" Zazen

    viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2783

    this one too ...

    A Non-Self Fulfilling Prophesy

    viewtopic.php?p=20605#p20605

    As a matter of fact EVERYONE, make sure that you have read those. And even if you have read them 1000 times ... PLEASE READ THEM ONCE MORE AND TAKE THEM TO HEART!

    Gassho, J

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