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Thread: What happened to this place?

  1. #51

    Re: What happened to this place?

    Earlier, I got a new sutra from Rich.

    Rich wrote:
    even boredom is something you do, but at the same time absolutely nothing has happened to this place. So it must be all in your mind. The dog is whining to go out.

    This is my new sutra. [/quote]

    Now, I get a mantra from Jinyu.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jinyu
    "The only place you belong to... is the cemetery!
    So many buddhas in one forum! Chett...are you listening??? 8)

  2. #52

    Re: What happened to this place?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jinyu
    Quote Originally Posted by chicanobudista
    But we must also be aware that one day we will not belong here.
    I have an old Uncle who always lived with us and he used to says:
    "The only place you belong to... is the cemetery! You have a nice reserved spot just next to mine (in the family vault= still very important in Portugal). Believe it or not, it was one of his favorite jokes for years :lol: And more important ... it is true, all family members (untill now) have a reserved spot in the familial vault... traditions).

    gassho,
    Jinyu


    I'm kind of jealous of this actually. My 4 grandparents died when I was grown up. They were all 3000 miles away, on the other coast. It was not deemed necessary for me to fly out there for any one of the times. I don't know where any of them are now.

    It's not really important to my moment-to-moment, but every now and then a story like this gets me feeling wistful. Memories are good too, I guess. Since I didn't see them often due to distance, I kind of feel as close to them now as ever, and I feel close to y'all in a similar manner. I learned early that those far away are often as or more close and loving and real, than the guy next door.

    Off topic, sorry, but it just brought a lot of stuff to mind.

    Gassho, Ann

  3. #53

    Re: What happened to this place?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer G P
    Yeah, actually I feel a little weird about the birthdays because I don't really "know" some of the people and I can't decide if it would be odd to say "Happy Birthday!" or just ignore some people and not others (who wants to be ignored on their birthday?)

    Monthly might be a good idea.
    Happy Birthday Dosho, Happy Birthday Anista, Happy Birthday Jennifer, Happy Birthday Jon, Happy Birthday Chet, Happy Birthday Chessie, Happy Birthday Rich, Happy Birthday Greg, Happy Birthday Jinyu, Happy Birthday Taigu, Happy Birthday Shohei and Shards and Fugen and Chugai and Karl and Risho and Trevor and Keishin and Stephanie and Taylor and Pontus, Happy Birthday everyone ...


    (not you Erik :wink: )

  4. #54

    Re: What happened to this place?

    Chet,

    If you're still reading,

    I think at the very least your post revealed how human we all are...

    how vulnerable...

    how needy...

    how utterly human...

    while this forum is sometimes lacking in intellect

    it isn't lacking in heart...

    there are diamonds in the dust...

    you are one of them...

    hang around

    and warm yourself by the fire...

    or go

    and remember the warmth you've gathered

    and generated...

    gassho
    Greg

  5. #55
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: What happened to this place?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer G P
    Yeah, actually I feel a little weird about the birthdays because I don't really "know" some of the people and I can't decide if it would be odd to say "Happy Birthday!" or just ignore some people and not others (who wants to be ignored on their birthday?)

    Monthly might be a good idea.
    Happy Birthday Dosho, Happy Birthday Anista, Happy Birthday Jennifer, Happy Birthday Jon, Happy Birthday Chet, Happy Birthday Chessie, Happy Birthday Rich, Happy Birthday Greg, Happy Birthday Jinyu, Happy Birthday Taigu, Happy Birthday Shohei and Shards and Fugen and Chugai and Karl and Risho and Trevor and Keishin and Stephanie and Taylor and Pontus, Happy Birthday everyone ...


    (not you Erik :wink: )
    Jundo,

    If there's a joke here, I must have missed it. :?

    Although, my missing the joke is fairly common.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  6. #56

    Re: What happened to this place?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    (not you Erik :wink: )

    :mrgreen:

  7. #57
    Treeleaf Unsui Kyrillos's Avatar
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    Re: What happened to this place?

    I have to admit that I have missed a few of the Birthday announcements for whatever reason, and then felt a bit awkward going back to it after a few days; yet I do thank Shohei, and others who seem to be the ones on top of this. Anista, the birthday folks are always printed toward the bottom of the forum page, for those whose birthdays are listed in their profiles.

    Now I wish to mention why this has become more important to me of late. First of all, I realistically am aware that I will have fewer birthdays going forward than I have had looking backward. . Then, in the past 12 months I have lost two very dear "birthday partners". I used to have three delightful women with whom I shared the same birthdate, albeit the year was not the same. My great-aunt, who just passed away this week at 96; my aunt who passed away last April at 85 were two of the dearest women I have ever known. The other is an old college chum whose wedding I officiated at and whose sons I baptised and who, thankfully, is still here to co-celebrate.

    When one nears, or hovers in my age group there are fewer cards and calls when things like birthdays arrive. The Christmas card list gets shorter each year. So it is pleasant to have a dozen or so messages listed, even on a forum, when one's birthday rolls around. It is Metta, thank you Dosho for noting that. It is also an opportunity, at least for this old monk, to consider impermanence and especially so for me this year with two less cards that I shall being sending.

    Gassho,

    Seishin Kyrill

  8. #58
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    Re: What happened to this place?

    Seishin Kyrill--

    Thank you for that. And please accept my condolences for your losses.

    Gassho

    Jennifer

  9. #59

    Re: What happened to this place?

    Interesting conversations have their time and place, and I think that because the way our sangha speaks is through this forum, we sometimes feel that we have to say something. But, sometimes (and this is a lesson Iíve had to learn) these Teachings are best expressed through silence, a few lines of poetry, a smile and a bow.

    This post itched, literally. So I thank you for the discomfort, the boat needs to be rocked now and then to make sure people don't fall into complacency.
    Why does the boat need to be rocked? And if it needs to be rocked, wonít the river take care of that for us? Do we have to be the ones to rock the boat? When I get in a boat, I get in to go from here to there with as little rocking as possible. If the boat rocks, shouldnít we rock with it instead of against it? Rock the boat so we donít fall into complacency, but rock too hard and we all fall into the water. Rock the boat just to rock the boat, and folks will just wonder why you got into the boat in the first place.

  10. #60

    Re: What happened to this place?

    There's an interesting novel called Saints and Villains and it is a loose biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. If you are into biographies, it is a pretty interesting read even though it is truly meant to be a work of fiction (it spends a great deal of time speculating about certain aspects of his life. Anyway, the part that seems relevant here is that when Bonhoeffer arrives in NY to seminary, he is very frustrated by the professors and the students. His idea of school is based on his experiences in German institutions of learning. He is shocked by the looseness of the teacher-student relationship, he is uncomfortable with the lack of structure (at least apparent structure) in the curriculum, and, most importantly, he is confounded by what appears to him to be a lack of respect for serious critical examination of sacred texts (exegesis). What he later discovers is that the teaching was being administered more by osmosis than injection. Like the old image of walking through dense fog vs. walking in the rain . . . both will get you wet, but one does so without you noticing it.

    So, I think my answer is that nothing has happened to this place. What happened to Chet?

    We all bring expectations to Treeleaf. All of these expectations foiled to varying degrees. We all want something to happen, but there's nothing to happen, so we keep coming back. Soto is the slow way. If we are not having "serious" conversations often enough, maybe we should be OK with that because next month may be entirely different (or next year, or next decade). Or start one of those conversations (or revisit one). We are "long-haul" folks who, I hope, have abandoned any idealistic notions of having mind-blowing/enlightening conversations about rebirth, karma, death, etc. The way we learn such matters is to take a walk in the fog . . .
    Study and discussion is wonderful, and absolutely necessary as a portion for our practice, but it would be incorrect to make it the emphasis of our practice.

    Just my bit,
    Eika

    PS--I'm glad you are back, Chet. My advice is to quit trying so hard, it tightens the knots more.

  11. #61
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Re: What happened to this place?

    I have been following this thread and would like to thank Chet and all for offering their comments. The discussion here has really caused me to reflect on the nature of my practice and the extent to which I participate in online discussion threads (very little)... I tend to lurk, and refrain from commenting because one of my challenges and "learning goals" is to listen rather than broadcast. I used to teach at the university level and really loved the attention and the sound of my voice and realised how much I was missing out on the opportunity to be educated, and benefit from the experience and perspectives of my "students." It is not a popular thing in the academy (and a Tier One research institution) to walk into a classroom and tell your students that "we are all here to learn from one another - teacher included - and that the teacher/student demarcation is often an arbitrary one.

    So - a few observations from my perspective and based only upon my experience alone:

    - I am a firm believer in the "hand grenade rolling around on the floor" school of provocation - provocation in the sense of encouraging people to think out of the box by making statements that challenge one's comfort zone or way of viewing the world - of course this must be done within the bounds of decorum and propriety. In this sense I value and respect Chet's approach and presence. We need to be challenged and stirred from our comfort zones. On the flip side, a simple question comes to mind as a rule of thumb for me: [i]do I spend more time reading and commenting on posts than I do sitting?[/i] This is a personal statement that applies to me alone - your experience may be very different. For years I read all about Buddhist philosophy, history, etc. and sat very little by comparison. I was not practicing - I was posturing. In the last six-eight months my cushion time has increased exponentially, and my reading decreased by similar factors. One day I will stop oscillating and find balance.

    - No one else can practice for me and my practice is my own. Reading and commenting on discussion threads often helps illuminate / give perspective to my own journey and lessens the isolation I feel. Where however is the line between practice and the online sangha as an online social opportunity (sangha facebook?) that more resembles intellectual posturing or coffee house chatter? Further, at what point do those who post at length remind me of students and teachers like myself who love the sound of their own voices and skew the practice far too much in the direction of thinking instead of just sitting? Of course, if we "just sat" there would not be much in the way of lively discussion here. Obviously there is a matter of balance. And I do realize that there are many who struggle with sitting and come to this forum to find encouragement and support (I have been one of them). But posting is not sitting, and I wonder if it is practice. Is it ancillary to our practice?

    - To change direction a bit - I am a firm believer in challenging our teachers, just as they would challenge us. To blindly accept a hierarchical and non-questioning environment is not consistent with the direction where Western (and specifically American) Zen Buddhist practice is headed. I sat for a bit with a local sangha where the practice leader emphasized that we were all friends and colleagues practicing together but began making pronouncements more like a stern teacher. I stopped sitting with that group.

    I would argue that we all know what it is we each need. A lot of the discussion here in a general sense is directed towards self-affirmation and recognition. Don't get me wrong - I feel very close to many of you - we have never spoken, we have never met in person - at the end of some very tough days I "tune in" and listen to what you have to say and your voices are reassuring beacons. But let's do be very honest with ourselves about why we come here. Our practice would benefit immeasurably.

    A very deep Gassho,
    Alex

  12. #62

    Re: What happened to this place?

    I'm home with the one-year-old, so I can only sit when he's asleep, but I agree with what you say. Forums can be a distraction, something you use to keep your mind occupied, especially when you're trying following several forums and blogs at the same time. I have now finished reading all my easy-to-read books and had planned to dig into Mysterious Realist, Shobogenzo, the sutras etc, but with an active toddler to take care of, that just isn't realistic for the time being. So I was thinking, maybe I should just do what I'm supposed to do, spend time with and take care of the kid! :shock: :mrgreen:

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  13. #63

    Re: What happened to this place?

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    I'm home with the one-year-old, so I can only sit when he's asleep, but I agree with what you say. Forums can be a distraction, something you use to keep your mind occupied, especially when you're trying following several forums and blogs at the same time. I have now finished reading all my easy-to-read books and had planned to dig into Mysterious Realist, Shobogenzo, the sutras etc, but with an active toddler to take care of, that just isn't realistic for the time being. So I was thinking, maybe I should just do what I'm supposed to do, spend time with and take care of the kid! :shock: :mrgreen:

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    It is really quite simple ...

    The Middle Way, everything in moderation, discussing this and that in this place too. But just keep sitting.

    Gassho, J

  14. #64

    Re: What happened to this place?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    It is really quite simple ...

    The Middle Way, everything in moderation, discussing this and that in this place too. But just keep sitting.
    Thank you Jundo Sensei!
    Simple in theory, but it's hard to let go of old habits. I'm a person who has a tendency to to things wholeheartedly for a while, burn myself up completely in the effort and then quit. But I hope this is not the case with Zen practice. I have after all returned to practice after a long, long break and I feel the Way has actually found me this time. So yes, no matter what the rest of my practice looks like, I will continue to live by the precepts and sit Zazen. I will probably manage to read Mysterious Realist in the evenings when the son is asleep, albeit a little more slowly than I'm used to. I'm also playing with the idea of increasing my sitting to two times a day, but I will probably wait a bit longer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    the idea is that I met people who were doing everything so well and so diligently...just to stop a couple of years down the line. It is important to cultivate a very quiet, steady, ordinary way. To let practice make the ordinary shine and reveal the ground of this extraordinary practice as nothing special.
    Gassho,
    Pontus

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