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Thread: Holding the bowl: the practice of acceptance

  1. #1
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Holding the bowl: the practice of acceptance

    rice money rain mist mud
    everything comes
    in my begging bowl


    As I sat and also took some time to think, I reflected on the symbol of the bowl, and in particular what takes place with begging. In the old days and still now, the monk on the begging round accepts everything that is dropped in his bowl, he doesn't show his face, so cannot actually show content or discontent (it is hidden under a large straw hat) and has to also accept bad weather, insults, cooking smells, swearing words, teasing from kids, beautiful legs going by and the thoughts they trigger...everything.

    We don't have to beg in order to make this experience because everyday life serves us a big variety of happy, not so happy and sometimes really bad experiences and we have two options, not three: just two. We either resist what is painful and unpleasant (and generate far more pain and nasty feelings doing so) or we just take it and accept it, raw, plain, as it is. No pain killer, no hope or pretending. I am very bad at accepting things, like most people, I like to be in control, choose what I want when I want it, and that's exactly when the Dharma teaches the fool I am. It brings me everyday somehow in front my shortcomings and invites me to practice acceptance, to accept and feel gratitude for sun and rain, night and day, joy and sorrow. So I don't have to wear my straw sandals and my large hat and go hoping in the streets to entertain the local folks. I can do it when I commute, work, shop... name it....

    The bowl? This body-mind, wondrous and mysterious and f..... up two. The teaching? This, whatever, always coming unexpectedly, this gift or wound, but always a rare opportunity to practice as Fugen puts it :wink:


    If you come to Japan, I can share with you Takuhatsu, the begging practice. Exotic. Yeah. And (but) remember, you have the perfect environment to practice: this life, exactly where you are, exactly who you are with. Nothing else. Plenty. What better reality could you wish for?

    gassho




    Taigu

  2. #2

    Re: Holding the bowl: the practice of acceptance

    Hi.

    Yes, to quote an old fool, "its all good practice".

    Thank you.
    Deep bow.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  3. #3

    Re: Holding the bowl: the practice of acceptance

    Gassho

    Taylor

  4. #4
    Senior Member murasaki's Avatar
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    Re: Holding the bowl: the practice of acceptance

    Thank you for this, Taigu.

    I have been feeling lately like a lot of very unpleasant things have been tossed into my bowl, some of them purposefully (like from the teasing kids). I have increased my suffering quite a bit in rejecting them.

    I now notice that it's exhausting, this rejection thing, as well as painful.

    gassho
    Julia

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Holding the bowl: the practice of acceptance

    Quote Originally Posted by murasaki
    I now notice that it's exhausting, this rejection thing, as well as painful.
    Exactly! I understand that on an intellectual level, but for some reason I have trouble putting it into practice. I guess I'll just keep trying to stop trying.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  6. #6

    Re: Holding the bowl: the practice of acceptance

    Gassho!

    Shohei

  7. #7

    Re: Holding the bowl: the practice of acceptance

    This is something that I struggle with frequently - acceptance. My neighbor is a very wise old man (a retired Reverend - if they EVER retire!), and we have many discussions on this topic. He is forever reminding me that work is just work, a person is just a person, a table just a table. Nothing is intrinsically more important than anything else, but it's what we think about them that causes the problems. Sometimes we challenge ourselves to go through an entire 24 hours just accepting things as they are - no judgment at all. I've yet to make it 30 mins!

    Taigu, are you able to suggest any examples of how we might practice such things (other than sitting with it - wow, that almost sounds like something the Fonz would say!), some sort of trigger to remind us to get back on track?

    Thanks,
    -Jim

  8. #8

    Re: Holding the bowl: the practice of acceptance

    Hi!
    We are nothing but the bowls, accepting what may be given to us good or bad, sweet or sour...
    Like you said so many times, we just chew the situation, the feeling, ... without likes and dislikes!
    Thank you for sharing this practice, these moments of begging!

    humble gassho,
    Jinyu

  9. #9

    Re: Holding the bowl: the practice of acceptance

    Thank you, Taigu.

    Gassho,
    Eika

  10. #10

    Re: Holding the bowl: the practice of acceptance

    Hellos to all posting here!

    Takuhatsu, I have not formally participated in this practice. The day I left Japan, members of the temple group I had attended sesshin with were heading out in the rain, led by the roshi...

    Taigu describes one side of the bowl: the hands holding it. There are many sides to the bowl.
    The hat one wears on begging rounds--Taigu describes one side of the hat: the head wearing it. There are many sides to the hat.

    In dressing for Takuhatsu one is invisibly visible, one is visibly invisible. Giving is GIVING, it is not to you (a specific person). Receiving is RECEIVING, it is not from (a specific person). Just as givers cannot see the beggar's face, the person begging cannot see the giver's face.
    Opportunities of giving/receiving in this personal/impersonal way: roles interpenetrate: the giver and receiver postions reverse and reverse and reverse.

    Of course, my sense of this is limited to my extremely brief morning, watching those I had sat sesshin with, now visibly invisible, now leaving in the light rain, like a string of pelicans one following the other, beaks/gullets empty. It was very moving, seeing them leave out the temple gate.

    I would not be there when they returned from their rounds.

    Mine was a different direction.

  11. #11
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Holding the bowl: the practice of acceptance

    Very true Keishin,

    Thank you for these words about receiving and giving.

    I shall always remember that old man so humble who dropped a sen Yen banknote in my bowl and out of a sudden this flow of tears gushing out of my eyes and nose. His gesture was so perfectly detached, his gassho totally given and I had the thought that the piece of s.... I was did not deserve such respect. And then I realized it had nothing to do with him or me.

    And we takuhatsu with hands and hats...not with concepts and sides.

    Take care


    gassho


    Taigu

  12. #12
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Holding the bowl: the practice of acceptance

    Hi Jim,

    When a thought arise about this and that, look at it and it will vanish.

    gassho

    Taigu

  13. #13
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Re: Holding the bowl: the practice of acceptance

    Taigu,
    The bowl is a great image to help this understanding. It is perpetual potential, ready to receive and accept. Its attitude is the same, no matter what is placed within it.
    Thank you,
    Soen

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