Treeleaf Founder and Priest
We are Sisyphus.
Some folks think the point of this practice is to get to a place where we can put the stone down for good (perhaps by realizing that the stone is just a dream). Perhaps we might see Sisyphus's (?) pushing that boulder (of ignorance and delusion) as his practice, his striving, to finally be free of the boulder of delusion by reaching (attaining) that place where the boulder will rest at the top of the mountain permanently, his practice accomplished, Sisyphus free once and for all of the burden of delusion and need to practice.
(or if trying to fix the world ... to get to that place where all of the world's problems are solved once and for all, and Planet Earth becomes Candyland or the Garden of Eden)
It may be so for Perfect Buddha. However, so long as Sisyphus is a human being, we know that Sisyphus will likely never reach that stopping place ... perhaps not for countless lives, if ever ... The "Promised Pure Lotus Land" is very far away. I mean ... when we are dead, then we can put the rock down!
What is more, if Sis' gives up his efforts to push the boulder of ignorance up that hill (practice), he will be quickly crushed by ignorance and delusions which will roll over him ... so he cannot and must not stop practicing.
(and in trying to fix the world ... if we completely surrender and quit trying, this world will be a much worse place.)
What is Sisyphus to do? Or not do? A Koany dilemma!
Well, by realizing "Just This" total accomplishment in every step-by-step of effort he thus constantly arrives, is finally free of the boulder, attains that place of rest and ever and always accomplishes what there is to accomplish ... in the very act of constant practice with rocky delusion! "The earth where we stand is the Pure Lotus Land, and this very body the body of Buddha", to quote Hakuin.
What is more, as he keeps pushing that boulder, he actually gets better at it ... learns to handle it better, keep control better ... he loses control and suffers the boulder rolling over him less often (although maybe still sometimes, until he is a 'Perfect Buddha'). The Practice is truly less of a burden!
He finds that he is Buddha pushing Buddha up Buddha, that the very pushing is 'Buddha'.
BUT (AND THIS IS MY MAIN POINT) ... every second, he must keep pushing because, if he stops, he will be run over ... and every second he risks tripping up and being crushed by that boulder! Practice never ends during this life! There is no guaranty ... even if you have been doing a glorious 'smashing' job of pushing that boulder 30 years ... that you will not stumble in the next step and be smashed!
Still, the burden is not just "carrying a burden" ... but is the whole voyage of living life, and the "burdens" are our walking shoes!
And that was Master Dogen's point of Practice is Enlightenment Itself ...
(and in trying to save this world and its sentient beings ... step by step ... we might actually get something done!)
It all ... mountain and stone and rolling and roller ... just Perfect Buddha all along.
By the way ... I rather prefer this image of sisyphus as the rock as the mountain as sisyphus ... each causing and effecting the other in this thing we call "living" and "practice" ...
Last edited by Jundo; 01-28-2014 at 12:52 AM.