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Thread: I want more... I think..

  1. #1

    I want more... I think..

    Hi there all, and merry Christmas to you! I have been a member of the sangha for a while now and I thinks it is working great. Thanks for being out there. I sit for att least 20 minutes per day, often more, If I can find the time. I have a couple of children.. My question is how do I deepen my practice. I feel a need for it. Perhaps there is no need.. If it is working fine, but still I want to learn more.
    One more thing I am a hunter.. Is that ok?

    Gassho
    /Ola

  2. #2

    Re: I want more... I think..

    Quote Originally Posted by Ola Nelsson
    Hi there all, and merry Christmas to you! I have been a member of the sangha for a while now and I thinks it is working great. Thanks for being out there. I sit for att least 20 minutes per day, often more, If I can find the time. I have a couple of children.. My question is how do I deepen my practice. I feel a need for it. Perhaps there is no need.. If it is working fine, but still I want to learn more.
    One more thing I am a hunter.. Is that ok?

    Gassho
    /Ola
    A merry Christmas to you as well!

    My question to your question is: How can your practice be shallow? How deep is deep? Do we touch the bottom of the ocean and say "Ok! Deep enough!" or do we dig even further towards to Earth's core? Even then, we only touch our planet. This moment greets you with open arms, the entire world says "Here I am! This is it!" So what do you do?

    Children, college, raucous holiday parties, friends, enemies. What more can you have than this moment? It would be arrogant of me and my 19 years to say that I understand life, but I'm working on greeting it at the door a much as I can.

    As for hunting, there are several topics on such matters (namely on the Jukai thread in the sub topic on refraining from taking life).

    Gassho,
    Taylor

  3. #3

    Re: I want more... I think..

    Quote Originally Posted by Ola Nelsson
    Hi there all, and merry Christmas to you! I have been a member of the sangha for a while now and I thinks it is working great. Thanks for being out there. I sit for att least 20 minutes per day, often more, If I can find the time. I have a couple of children.. My question is how do I deepen my practice. I feel a need for it. Perhaps there is no need.. If it is working fine, but still I want to learn more.
    One more thing I am a hunter.. Is that ok?

    Gassho
    /Ola
    Hi Ola,

    A couple of people have written me today with the same question. Perhaps the end of the year brings such ideas of "resolutions" to mind.

    I will respond on a few levels, not apart.

    One, I will repeat what Taylor wisely spoke ...

    My question to your question is: How can your practice be shallow? How deep is deep? Do we touch the bottom of the ocean and say "Ok! Deep enough!" or do we dig even further towards to Earth's core? Even then, we only touch our planet. This moment greets you with open arms, the entire world says "Here I am! This is it!" So what do you do?

    Children, college, raucous holiday parties, friends, enemies. What more can you have than this moment? It would be arrogant of me and my 19 years to say that I understand life, but I'm working on greeting it at the door a much as I can.
    On the one hand, always want the "more" that is knowing that there can never be more nor less than the wholeness and sacredness of this moment. The deeper or higher up a mountain one travels, the more it is this step and this step and this ...

    And, yes, our Practice is with children, friends, the people around us, society. We also realize our practice by realizing our parenthood, friendship, right livelihood in the workplace, citizenship in the community and ... put this Practice into practice where life's rubber meets the road.

    As well, some other ways to "deepen" one's practice were listed by another Sangha member recently (and I will add a couple of things) ... practical suggestions to a "deepening" beyond measure ...


    - look after the little things, such as making sure that my sitting is consistent
    - read some of the suggested books on the Treeleaf booklist
    - attend the weekly / monthly Zazenkai (even if it's later, recorded version), or another retreat or Zen meeting in one's community
    - Engage in volunteer work in one's community, and put into practice Samu and Dana.
    - take part in the next rakusu sewing and take the Precepts. In any case, study the Precepts and put them into practice in one's life, as one can.

    That's a "practical approach" to "Practice"~

    Gassho, Jundo

  4. #4

    Re: I want more... I think..

    How about 20+ minutes morning and evening. This is a life and death matter and in that context you will determine right hunting and wrong hunting.
    Just thinking.

  5. #5

    Re: I want more... I think..

    Oh, and on the question of hunting ...

    Yes, please make careful study of our Precept on Preserving Life.

    viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2969

    Personally, my gut reaction is that I feel it is rather hard to defend as within the Precept, especially if for sport. I do realize that eating meat (I do), killed on a farm, is not really better ... especially for humane hunting.

    I also confess to being a gun control proponent (one reason I enjoy living in Japan, where one can actually leave the windows open at night and the door unlocked, though they do have lots of guns for hunting here actually) and no hunter myself. There are many Buddhist stories about hunting, usually about earlier incarnations of the Buddha ... in which he was the poor deer or other animal hunted (not the hunter). For example ...

    A hunter pursuing a deer falls from his horse and is trapped in a deep ravine. Seeing the hunter’s plight, the deer risks his own life to carry him to safety. Astounded, the hunter respects the deer’s wish that all forest creatures be safe from his arrows and resolves to become their protector.

    http://www.thebuddhistsociety.org/resou ... _deer.html

    So, I want to give a clear "thou shalt not hunt" ... but I am hesitating.

    Gassho, J

  6. #6

    Re: I want more... I think..

    I should NOT have read this before morning Shikantaza. I couldn't stop thinking about my response. hahhah But I'm glad I did sit with this; it helped me clarify my feelings on kililng.

    This is sort of a koan, and by answering the hunting question I will also answer the other question. How we practice off and on the cushion is all zazen, or "it's all good practice" as Fugen says

    In any case, there is always a dichotomy of responses when eating meat or hunting comes up. The thing is, I don't see much difference in hunting and eating meat. On one hand, the hunter is doing the killing. On the other, the recipient of the meat isn't hunting but they are indirectly responsible for that animal's death.

    But before I go on, none of this is a judgmental or self-righteous response. I think that's another trap that pro's and con's of meat eating fall into. This has nothing to do with my ego or making myself look good. I'm responding from the heart, meaning I'm responding in a way about how I feel about the topic without trying to elevate myself in any way.

    So, first of all, I eat meat. However, I am very conscious of where that meat comes from. The big farming corporations in this country see animals as pure commodities. Therefore, more and bigger is better, and how those animals are treated is a direct result of that philosophy.

    After becoming aware of that (from watching a movie called Food Inc.) my wife and I only buy meat that is free range, anti-biotic free, treated humanely and so forth. We typically buy from Whole Foods.

    So although I don't hunt, I am definitely involved and responsible for the killing of animals I eat.

    Now, in terms of hunting, I think (unless you are hunting for sport like big game hunting) if you are hunting for sustenance, I don't think it's any more ethically questionable than buying meat at a store.

    In fact, this can be a good source of practice I think. You know where the food is coming from. You can enter into the process of respecting it and taking care of it.

    I've been studying Jundo's sit-a-longs about Master Dogen's "Instructions to the Cook"

    viewtopic.php?f=19&t=3084

    (which is all about deepening practice), and I find section XV particularly relevant:

    "Lifting a single piece of vegetable, make [yourself into] a six-foot body [i.e. a buddha] and ask that six-foot body to prepare a single piece of vegetable."

    I mean these corporate farms are really no good. Animals are mistreated. And you might ask, "Well who cares? The end result is that they are dead in both cases." But i think it makes all the difference. We kill all the time, consciously and unconsciously. Walking down the street we kill tons of creatures, ants, insects, etc. That type of killing is different from intentionally lighting ants on fire, for instance.

    Our following The Way becomes clearer and clearer as we turn our awareness onto how we effect others. It's like turning from self-centeredness to turning our attention to how our actions impact everything around us. This to me is really a central tenet of practice.

    When we care for our food, how it is treated before it comes to us I think this is in accord with The Way. These animals that we kill (if we consume meat, or even if we don't; we kill vegetables, tiny micro-organisms, etc) are part of our sustenance. They are sacred, and they should be treated that way. They should be respected, and we should be thankful for receiving that gift. (by the way, the Treeleaf Meal Chant is a good thing to incorporate into daily practice. It's like saying a prayer before a meal to bring attentiveness to the importance of receiving a gift of food).

    Like everyone else has iterated, Shikantaza is the core. I also think (as Jundo stated) that bringing zazen in our daily practice (off the cushion) by adhering to the precepts will really deepen the practice. In my limited experience I find the more that I practice zazen on the cushion, the more I surprise myself by the way I view the world, and I think practice will deepen naturally.

    Gassho,

    Cyril

  7. #7

    Re: I want more... I think..

    I dont hunt for sport, I hunt because I eat meat. And if I eat meat, is it not right to hunt it? And the weapon control is very hard here in Sweden. It is not easy to get a license for weapon.
    I realize it is wrong to kill.. But still I dont live were one can grow food.. And if I buy it its imported from a warmer country. And that means more CO 2 in the atmosphere.. And that is not good either. If i buy meat its probably a animal that has breed for just a single purpose, to be food and that in a place that more and more look like a food factory, than in a farm.. Please help me in this matter because I dont know.. Just to say that killing is wrong is not enough. Because there a more sides to it.
    Gassho
    Ola

  8. #8

    Re: I want more... I think..

    Quote Originally Posted by Ola Nelsson
    I dont hunt for sport, I hunt because I eat meat. And if I eat meat, is it not right to hunt it? And the weapon control is very hard here in Sweden. It is not easy to get a license for weapon.
    I realize it is wrong to kill.. But still I dont live were one can grow food.. And if I buy it its imported from a warmer country. And that means more CO 2 in the atmosphere.. And that is not good either. If i buy meat its probably a animal that has breed for just a single purpose, to be food and that in a place that more and more look like a food factory, than in a farm.. Please help me in this matter because I dont know.. Just to say that killing is wrong is not enough. Because there a more sides to it.
    Gassho
    Ola
    Sorry Ola, but I think like with everything important you need to answer this question for yourself

    But unless you are going to eat all meat (which isn't really a good idea for the longterm), I assume you are going to have to rely on imports :mrgreen:

    But that CO2 argument is interesting. In Food Inc that came up.. transporting out of season fruits and vegetables... But hold the phone, it isn't just food that is imported. I mean tv's, appliances, clothing, etc. How did the film and the dvd's get to the theater or local supermarket (so you could watch the film) get transported? I mean this stuff can be taken to extremes methinks.

    In any case, in the end, like I said above I think it's better to just be aware of your choices. You don't want to get too obsessive and die starving while you contemplate theoretics

    P.S. I'm part Swedish. We usually go home for the holidays and my parents make Potato Sausage. We have Pickled Herring, Limpa bread and Bond ost (my spelling is questionable). We aren't able to make it this year.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    Re: I want more... I think..

    Don't have time to really talk about this right now (at home with family for Christmas ) but this is a very interesting subject, and something I've been thinking about for a while. Cyril, thanks for your long and thoughtful posts on meat and factory farming.

    Ola, I don't know what to tell ya because I think it is something you have to decide for yourself. Personally, I'd rather see an animal hunted and killed humanely and eaten than go through what factory farm animals go through. And I'm no vegetarian (anymore; I did it for four years).

    This reminds me of a conversation I had with a co-worker years ago. She was in love with this guy, but upset that he was a hunter. Over lunch one day she asked if she was being unreasonable in not wanting him to hunt anymore. Apparently he was a good, experienced hunter. I wanted to tell her that what he did was probably more humane than what the chicken sandwich she was eating probably went through . . .but I didn't say anything.

  10. #10

    Re: I want more... I think..

    There is always a big question with hunting. My only question to you is, if there is nothing wrong with it, would you be asking "Is anything wrong with hunting?"?

  11. #11

    Re: I want more... I think..

    Quote Originally Posted by cyril
    Sorry Ola, but I think like with everything important you need to answer this question for yourself
    Hi Ola,

    I read this thread this morning and have been meditating on it today and have to say that I come the same opinion that Cyril wrote. This is a matter that you have to come to terms with yourself. The Precept on Preserving Life seems to have some grey area. I am a vegan because of the Precept, but I also understand that it is not for everyone. I am the son of a butcher and so grew up at kill floors/slaughter houses and worked at my dad's butcher shop. I ate meat almost with every meal growing up. However, a few years after I started studying Buddhism I felt a great compassion for the animals I ate and decided to just stop. Others feel ok to be eating meat on occasion or even all the time. (Dalai Lama I understand eats it every other day.). While I think every Buddhist would have a hard time justifying hunting for sport, if you are eating the meat after killing the animal then maybe you are just cutting out the middle-man? Again, for you to meditate on and decide.

    Hope you find your answer in yourself,

    Gassho,

    Shawn

  12. #12

    Re: I want more... I think..

    Hi Ola,

    It sounds that you are hunting for a very good reason: you need to eat and feed your family. As long as you only kill when it is necessary, I don't see why you should call yourself a non-buddhist. I love fish and meat and I don't have the guts or the skill to hunt or fish myself. I leave it to others. I am certainly not in a position where I can tell you that you should not be doing what you are doing. And, there is more dignity for the animal and in the procedures of hunting than in the industrial slaughter. I come from a family of hunters and I made the choice to stop because I could do it but when one lives in the wilderness, when there is very little food supply, killing is just what needs to be done. Back to the food chain so to speak.
    Take great care of yourself.
    And thank you for being who you are.

    gassho

    Taigu

  13. #13

    Re: I want more... I think..

    Thank you for all your answers. It means a lot to me that you have taken the time to write down you think.

    /Ola

  14. #14

    Re: I want more... I think..

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Hi Ola,

    It sounds that you are hunting for a very good reason: you need to eat and feed your family. As long as you only kill when it is necessary, I don't see why you should call yourself a non-buddhist. I love fish and meat and I don't have the guts or the skill to hunt or fish myself. I leave it to others. I am certainly not in a position where I can tell you that you should not be doing what you are doing. And, there is more dignity for the animal and in the procedures of hunting than in the industrial slaughter. I come from a family of hunters and I made the choice to stop because I could do it but when one lives in the wilderness, when there is very little food supply, killing is just what needs to be done. Back to the food chain so to speak.
    Take great care of yourself.
    And thank you for being who you are.

    gassho

    Taigu
    Exactly that^^
    I started early on to write and said, only in a longer winded version exactly the above (similar but different background ).

    Gassho
    Shohei

  15. #15

    Re: I want more... I think..

    Quote Originally Posted by Shohei
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Hi Ola,

    It sounds that you are hunting for a very good reason: you need to eat and feed your family. As long as you only kill when it is necessary, I don't see why you should call yourself a non-buddhist. I love fish and meat and I don't have the guts or the skill to hunt or fish myself. I leave it to others. I am certainly not in a position where I can tell you that you should not be doing what you are doing. And, there is more dignity for the animal and in the procedures of hunting than in the industrial slaughter. I come from a family of hunters and I made the choice to stop because I could do it but when one lives in the wilderness, when there is very little food supply, killing is just what needs to be done. Back to the food chain so to speak.
    Take great care of yourself.
    And thank you for being who you are.

    gassho

    Taigu
    Exactly that^^
    I started early on to write and said, only in a longer winded version exactly the above (similar but different background ).

    Gassho
    Shohei

    Kind of the same take I have on it. If you are asking if there is anything wrong with hunting, it is usually because you feel that there is possibly something wrong with it. If that is the case, you need to examine it and determine if it is wrong for you to be the one who takes the animal's life, or to be the recipient of someone else having done it. I personally eat meat, however I do not kill animals. I have the ability and the means to walk to my local grocery store (ok, drive there) and so to me, this means that I do not need to be the one to take the animal's life. However, if I lived out in the woods and needed to feed my family and there were no supermarkets within a reasonable distance and my only other option was to hunt the animal myself for food, would I do it? You bet. I firmly believe that our bodies were made to eat meat, if not, we wouldn't be able to eat meat. Case in point, we can't eat rocks (well maybe once) because we are not supposed to be able to eat rocks. But, if I did hunt an animal, and killed it for food, I would feel remorse at the animal's death and also a profound thankfulness for its sacrifice, which I would honor as best as I could by never hunting for sport, never taking more than what I would need for the survival of my family and myself, and leaving what I could not take or keep without spoiling for the other animals in the woods who eat meat.

  16. #16

    Re: I want more... I think..

    I've been reading the Gates of Chan, and there is a section in it where Bodhidharma gives four instructions to his two disciples, Hui Ke and Dao Yu.

    1. Act in such a way as to pacify the mind.
    2. Act in such a way as to behave properly.
    3. Act in such a way as to be congenial to others.
    4. Act in such a way as to be natural.

    Some of the interpretations given to these simple instructions don't make a whole lot of sense. For instance, number 3 is interpreted as meaning 'don't cause doubt in others,' and "natural" in 4 has been interpreted to mean 'free of all attachments.' These instructions were probably taoist instructions originally, and were adapted to Buddhism. But really, all you need is right there.

    1. Shikantaza.
    2. Precepts.
    3. Treat others with respect (and not just human others).
    4. Act according to your own true nature.
    a. Is hunting for sport in your true nature (if you're hunting for sport).

  17. #17

    Re: I want more... I think..

    I've been hunting all my life. In all times, humans have hunted animals for their meat and skins. Our eyes are not set on either side of our head as they are on prey animals, to watch out for predators. Instead they're set more to the front so they can see in the same direction and better judge distance, like on a hunting animal. There's a lot of other biological evidence that evolution meant us to be hunters.

    It's true that we as humans have a choice. We can choose not not eat meat. And maybe more of us should be vegetarians, for several reasons. But most of us still eat meat and feel we can be good Buddhists anyway. Not many Zen masters that I've heard of are vegetarians. In my opinion, if you are going to eat meat with as clear a conscience as possible, you should kill the animal yourself. That way you know the truth of what the meat is and where it comes from, without the risk of deluding yourself by buying it sliced and neatly covered in plastic from the super market and not thinking about what it is you're buying. You know where that deer lived, what it fed on, how long it had lived there and that it died without any fear, mistreatment and prolonged pain. I don't feel like a killer and a criminal when I pull that trigger. Instead I feel like I'm part of nature, part of the food chain, part of the circle of life, part of the reality of life. I can enjoy the beauty of the animal, see its buddha nature, feel a strong connection with it, respect it. Does the wolf feel he might get bad karma because he killed that hare? No, of course not. It's in his nature to kill and eat it. Should we kill even a worm for fun? No, I don't think so. Should we kill for food? As long as we don't go against our nature and our heart, I don't see why not.

    One day I hope I can again find the time to hunt all the meat I need for myself and my family. I know that if I could, I would feel more peaceful of mind, more properly behaved, more congenial to others and more natural, as Bodhidharma puts it.

  18. #18

    Re: I want more... I think..

    I think Nishijima Roshi says it well:

    "This precept of ‘Do not destroy life’ is not a precept forbidding the taking of all life whatsoever, but rather is a precept asking us to seek to avoid the taking of life wastefully, without reason. This is the precept of our being mindful and reverential of all life, of our seeking not to be violent nor to kill as best we can."

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