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Thread: Study Buddism?

  1. #1

    Study Buddism?

    I would like to ask this question:
    Is it necessarily to do any further study in Buddhism if one practices Zazen? Al insights should arise naturally out of the sitting practice. To give a simple example, should one read in a book or hear in talk that all things are impermanent if that is not your own insight yet, it will merely be a concept. And when one gets this insight out of practice it is not necessary to hear that from others.
    I put it very simple here, but I hope you know what I mean.

  2. #2

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Just because something is a concept doesn’t make it good or bad or even problematic. Concepts only become problematic when we attach to them as being fundamentally real. This is the same when studying Buddhism. I think there is an immense richness in studying Buddhism across the traditions, for both the historical and the intellectual reasons as long as you keep in the mind that what you read in books or hear from teachers are not the truth, but merely pointers and guidepost pointing you in the right direction.

    You can sit in zazen by yourself and eventually realize all the realizations you can, just like you can walk from (where I am) NY to Florida using no maps or help at all. It will be difficult and long, and you might just give up. But by studying maps and asking for directions, the way to get there will get easier. It is not that the map, or the people you ask for directions that bring you there, they are just pointing you in the right direction. Same with our practice. The teachers do not bring us to realization, they just point to the way.

    Remember avoid all extremes. Not wanting to study Buddhism to avoid getting useless concepts is just the ego talking about how it wants to sit and not put any work into it. Only reading and studying without practice is bad as well, since you can learn from books all about how to swim, but none of that matters unless you jump into a pool and get wet.

    So to answer in a more straight forward way; when it is time to sit zazen, sit zazen. When it is time to study, study. Do not judge it as good, bad, helpful, or unhelpful, just completely engage yourself with whatever you are doing. In that way, anything you do will be zazen.

    Just some ideas….

    I wish you all the best

    Gassho

    Seiryu

  3. #3

    Re: Study Buddism?

    I can't help but echo the above post. Reading from a book will help you to hear things and see things from the perspective of others, and that shift in perspective can often link up with your current understanding of the way to help you along the path of realization. However, in my opinion, teachers and shikantaza are also necessary. Just as necessary as study. In study we learn the words and views of the ancients, and we adapt them to our age so that we may better understand their wisdom. But Zen is life itself, and without a teacher to help guide you on the Path, reading books is just reading dead words, there is no 'life' to it. Not to mention some concepts are complex at first, and teachers are necessary to ensure that you do not travel down the wrong path. In our tradition, it is quite easy to find oneself has reverted to nihilism instead of savoring the nature of life. The role of the teacher is to help you find your footing along the path. Shikantaza is the experience of that. It is the posture in which Shakyamuni realized enlightenment, and it is the calming of karma and action that allows the whirlwind of modern life to settle. It is the personification of our way.

    Not to mention, if study was not important, would so many Buddhist priests write books? Even Gudo Wafu Nishijima, our teacher's teacher, has written many books. All things in balance, do not attach yourself to your dharma texts, but don't burn them either until you no longer need their guidance.

  4. #4

    Re: Study Buddism?

    @Seiryu

    Your comparison of walking from NY to Florida without any help does not match with Zazen, because as I understood it there is no goal in Zazen. But you say the teachers point us the way to realization, so that is a goal. Could you explain what realization is and why someone would want to have that.

    What do you mean with putting work in sitting in relation to study Buddhism? If one follows the instructions properly what further work or study does one have to put in it?

    Don't get me wrong. I studied a lot of Buddhism but still have no idea what realization really means. Of course you would say because I never had that experience. But then again even on a dictionary level its hocus spocus to me.

    Maybe I'm a bit antagonizing but I really ask myself these questions and would like to go deeper in them.

    Gassho,

    Edward

  5. #5

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Hi Edward.

    Having an idea about realization is certainly not realization.
    Nobody needs that kind of idea, in many instances the idea or despair about having none are the very obstacles to unfolding Buddha nature.
    Sutras, koans, stories, poems, texts are beautiful flowers growing on the menure of practice. They can also be seen as menure coming out of disgested practice. Dogen would go one step furher and would invite you to eat the painted cake and show you that the teaching is the real thing too.
    A teacher of shikantaza will always invite people to study and read but not in a scholar sense, not as a university professor. The game is not about getting information, stringing facts and notions, making potions to quench the thirst of knowing. Reading in our tradition is to enter the I don't know , to be red rather than reading...
    I invite you to watch this clumsy vid on the subject of reading:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0FKQR21jiw[/video]]

    Going deeper is a nice way to put it. Going deeper in the question? In you? In the world? in going up? down? through? in not going anywhere? Not being anybody? with a pack of bicuits? Driving a car of having a nap?

    Take great care

    gassho


    Taigu

  6. #6

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Quote Originally Posted by edward
    Your comparison of walking from NY to Florida without any help does not match with Zazen, because as I understood it there is no goal in Zazen. But you say the teachers point us the way to realization, so that is a goal. Could you explain what realization is and why someone would want to have that.
    These are really good questions and I like that you are asking them! But I never said that realization is a goal. Nor do I think it is a goal. For me realization is just returning back to your essence, and allowing yourself to be, just as you are without being plagued with worry about the future or hung up on what happened in the past.

    Quote Originally Posted by edward
    .What do you mean with putting work in sitting in relation to study Buddhism? If one follows the instructions properly what further work or study does one have to put in it?
    If the goal was to be become enlightened and then live off the rest of our lives meditating in some cave, then what extra work is needed? Is this your practice?

    Quote Originally Posted by edward
    Don't get me wrong. I studied a lot of Buddhism but still have no idea what realization really means. Of course you would say because I never had that experience. But then again even on a dictionary level its hocus spocus to me.
    We can never understand what realization means, we can only experience it. But searching for the answer in the understanding is never gonna get you anywhere, because when engaged in the understanding we miss the only place where we can actualized realization. In the here and now. If we are always trying to figure it out in our heads, we miss what is right in front of us. At some point we have to stop trying to figure it all out and just let it all be. Then maybe…

    I asked myself similar questions as well....it is good to want to go deeper...but also question who is it that wants to go deeper? Answer: I have no clue

    Thank you for your questions

    Gassho

    Seiryu

  7. #7

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Hi.

    Reading about Buddhism is like reading about parenting.
    Reading about diaperchange, late nights worrying about the lateness of the teenager being out, the heartfelt laughter, the "aha"-moments is not the same as really experiencing them.
    And although i say that they are not the same they are both part of the studying, its good to get some background to it, but it's not the same as doing it.
    Or is it?

    Disclaimer: Although i have done both, i am an expert in neither, even though some might try and pin me to that title...

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  8. #8

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Hello,

    just another two cents from a novice in training.

    Keep in mind that we humans all have our individual histories and character traits that will influence how much we are inclined to gravitate towards scriptural study (for better or for worse). One person's hell is another person's heaven. It is an interesting fact, that the Zen tradition, which often claims to not rely on scriptures, has managed to "generate" more scriptures than a whole lot of other Buddhist schools put together. It is also a fact that one life is not enough to read and digest it all. Even if one wanted to, it'd be impossible to study all there is, which is why IMHO it is good to find a teacher who might keep one's over-intellectualism or intellectual laziness in balance.

    There is also the question of whether one wants to practice for oneself only, or if one feels called to teach others as well. If one doesn't do any research at all, one might be tempted to simply perpetuate some myths (like a pure lineage that entitles the lineage holders to behave any way they want to)....however reading some of Stuart Lachs's articles can prove very "enlightening" to those who were simply fed the folklore version of unbroken lineages and unfallible authoritiy.

    Most Zen masters of the past only "burned" their sutras after having mastered them to my knowledge. Although they are not without inconsistencies, a non-attached study of some key texts can open the door to appreciate the great commonalities between most mainstream Mahayana paths. Why would Dogen have included a sutra hall in his temple designs, if it was all completely unneccessary?

    "Theory without practice is empty. Practice without theory is blind." someone said once. Nevertheless, since we live in an age of information overload, I'd also suggest to take Taigu's approach of "inspirational study" with a strong focus on daily Zazen practice.

    Gassho,

    Hans

  9. #9

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Quote Originally Posted by edward
    @Seiryu

    Your comparison of walking from NY to Florida without any help does not match with Zazen, because as I understood it there is no goal in Zazen. But you say the teachers point us the way to realization, so that is a goal. Could you explain what realization is and why someone would want to have that.

    What do you mean with putting work in sitting in relation to study Buddhism? If one follows the instructions properly what further work or study does one have to put in it?

    Don't get me wrong. I studied a lot of Buddhism but still have no idea what realization really means. Of course you would say because I never had that experience. But then again even on a dictionary level its hocus spocus to me.

    Maybe I'm a bit antagonizing but I really ask myself these questions and would like to go deeper in them.

    Gassho,

    Edward
    I will attempt to answer this as best as I can, from my limited perspective and under the limitation of poor words.

    In Zen we often have what seems to be duality - for example a "goaless goal" and it only begins to make sense when you start to let go of the scholar in you and instead of reading or hearing the teachings, you experience the teachings and the teachings experience you. As for what realization is, I can't really help you with defining it. I don't know that I've had any realization, and if I have, I don't know whether I could explain it in words, and if I could, I don't know that I could do it in a way that would properly relate it to you. We say there is no goal in zazen, because we all possess Buddha nature already, everything we need we already have, so what is there left to be a goal? However, it is because of our attachments and our delusions that we aren't able to testify to that fact, and so in order to help clear them away and return to our Buddha Nature, we sit zazen-which is a goal. A goaless goal. As for work and study, this path is a path to freedom and liberation, but no one said it would be a walk in the park! We all have years of being taught that life and reality are one way, a way that reinforces our delusions and attachments, and we are trying to, for lack of a better word, "re-program" ourselves. It's like smoking. A non-smoker can look at a smoker trying to quit and say, "It should be easy, just don't buy cigaretts and don't smoke any." But the smoker deals with the addiction. It is hard for a smoker to quit because they are attached to it in many ways, much like we are with our concepts of self and our delusions.
    We practice to achieve liberation, and the practice is liberation itself, so we sit to achieve a goal that we've already achieved - a goaless goal.

  10. #10

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Quote Originally Posted by edward
    @Seiryu

    Your comparison of walking from NY to Florida without any help does not match with Zazen, because as I understood it there is no goal in Zazen. But you say the teachers point us the way to realization, so that is a goal.
    Hi Edward,

    I will just add some more words and letters to the many wise words by others in this thread. You may know:

    "A special transmission beyond Scriptures,
    Not depending on words or letters,
    But pointing directly to the Mind,
    Seeing into one's true Nature,
    And realizing one's own Enlightenment."


    This teaching attributed to Master Bodhidharma has an interesting history. Though there were some radicals in interpreting its meaning who truly abandoned all learning, most of the great masters were great Buddhist scholars too (like Dogen, who often strikes me as a walking encyclopedia of Buddhist texts) ... and the fellows who burned their books were usually seasoned teachers who had already read them all! What is vital is that we learn from the words ... but do not take this as an intellectual pursuit and get -caught- by the words. Something like the difference between reading a book about 'swimming' and jumping in the pool oneself! Feel the cool water on our own skin. )

    Please listen to this talk, a bit more on the subject (part of a series of talks on the Eightfold Path) ...

    viewtopic.php?f=21&t=2939

    Zazen without understanding the teachings of the Buddha and Ancestors is like formless clay. Study is necessary to properly mold the vessel being made. Yet, we see in/as/behind/through/with and without the words and letters, so it is called a teaching "beyond words and letters".

    Also, you say that Zazen is "goalless" and there is no place to get to! You are through and through correct! However, that does not mean that Zazen has no goal, and that we get nowhere! :shock:

    Please sit with these two talks, and the rest of our "beginner's" series (we're all, always beginners) on that point ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/sit-a-long/with ... art-v.html

    http://www.treeleaf.org/sit-a-long/with ... t-vii.html

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - THE FOLLOWING IS ADDED JUST FOR THE HISTORY BUFFS IN THE CROWD ...


    One of the best research papers on the famous saying A special transmission outside the scriptures .... is Albert Welter's

    http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/His ... ission.htm

    In a nutshell:

    Individually, the four slogans are found in works dating before the Sung, but they do not appear together as a four part series of expressions until well into the period when they are attributed to Bodhidharma in the Tsu-t'ing shih-yüan (Collection from the Garden of the Patriarchs) in 1108. Even then, their acceptance was not without controversy. Mu-an, the compiler of the Collection from the Garden of the Patriarchs, remarked contemptuously: "Many people mistake the meaning of 'do not establish words and letters.' They speak frequently of abandoning the scriptures and regard silent sitting as Ch'an. They are truly the dumb sheep of our school." In reality, three of the slogans- "do not establish words and letters"; "directly point to the human mind"; "see one's nature and become a Buddha"- were well established as normative Ch'an teaching by the beginning of the Sung. The status of the fourth slogan, "a special transmission outside the scriptures," as an interpretation of the true meaning of "do not establish words and letters" (pu li wen-tzu, literally "no establish words-letters") was the subject of continued controversy.
    ...

    The history of Ch'an and Zen is generally presented as denying Buddhist rationalism in favor of a mysticism that in principle transcends every context, including even the Buddhist one. The "orthodox" Ch'an position maintains that the phrase "do not establish words and letters" is consistent with "a special transmission outside the scriptures," treating the two slogans as a pair. In this interpretation, both phrases are said to point to the common principle that true enlightenment, as experienced by the Buddha and transmitted through the patriarchs, is independent of verbal explanations, including the record of the Buddha's teachings (i.e., scriptures) and later doctrinal elaborations. This interpretation was not acknowledged in Wu-yüeh Ch'an, which distinguished the phrase "do not establish words and letters" from the principle of an independent transmission apart from the scriptures, and treated the two as opposing ideas. Wu-yüeh Ch'an acknowledged the validity of Bodhidharma's warning against attachment to scriptures and doctrines, but did not accept that this warning amounted to a categorical denial. As Ch'an became established in the Sung, monks and officials rose to challenge the Wu-yüeh interpretation, and insist on an independent tradition apart from the scriptures.
    ...

  11. #11
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Study Buddism?

    Studying and reading about Buddhism from various sources can enrich and deepen your spiritual life as long as you practice what you have read. It is compared to taking your meditation practice and expanding it with you in every part of your life, not just on the meditation cushion. I think studying Buddhism and the actual practice in your daily life support each other. Whether you read a book, listen to podcasts or attend a Dharma talk with a live teacher, it very helpful to receive knowledge that will help you on your path to guide you in the right direction.

    Jodi

  12. #12

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    A teacher of shikantaza will always invite people to study and read but not in a scholar sense, not as a university professor. The game is not about getting information, stringing facts and notions, making potions to quench the thirst of knowing. Reading in our tradition is to enter the I don't know , to be red rather than reading...

    Taigu
    That makes sense to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu

    Going deeper is a nice way to put it. Going deeper in the question? In you? In the world? in going up? down? through? in not going anywhere? Not being anybody? with a pack of bicuits? Driving a car of having a nap?

    Taigu
    Is this meant cynically? Or do I just not understand the meaning?

    Anyway lots to read for me here in this tread, thank you all!

  13. #13
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: Study Buddism?

    Quote Originally Posted by jodi_heisz
    Studying and reading about Buddhism from various sources can enrich and deepen your spiritual life as long as you practice what you have read.
    Or not practice what you have read. There is also learning in finding out what is not right for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by jodi_heisz
    Whether you read a book, listen to podcasts or attend a Dharma talk with a live teacher, it very helpful to receive knowledge that will help you on your path to guide you in the right direction.
    What is the "right" direction?

  14. #14
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Study Buddism?

    What is the "right" direction?
    Simply just being present with your experience right here and now while letting go of all thoughts of whether it is the right direction or not. Being awake to the innate wisdom and compassion that lies within each of us and treating ourselves and others with these virtues.

    You may feel in your heart whether a teaching is right for you or not. Or feel a deep connection to you as if it is really speaking to you. Some teachings/readings will work better for you that it will for others and some teachings will work for you at certain stages of your life. A portion of it is trial and error, so in order to find out if a teaching or what you are reading is right for you, just try it and enjoy the process without any expectations or concerns whether it is right or not.

    Does that make sense?

    Jodi

  15. #15
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: Study Buddism?

    "A special transmission beyond Scriptures,
    Not depending on words or letters,
    But pointing directly to the Mind,
    Seeing into one's true Nature,
    And realizing one's own Enlightenment."

    I have always liked this quote. But if you are new to a subject particularly one like your own ind, let alone the MInd! Then you need teachings and in particular teachers to prevent your mind clouding the Mind.
    Places like Treeleaf allow us to explore mind, the Mind and realization, by the challenges and alternative perspectives we may have on these subjects.
    As Chris said;
    We all have years of being taught that life and reality are one way, a way that reinforces our delusions and attachments, and we are trying to, for lack of a better word, "re-program" ourselves.
    However we need the teachings to help us re- and de-conceptualise our encultured conscious experience and we need zazen to practice and test our understanding and experience of this being.
    I love the way this happens for me. .. kind of slow unfolding....'fragrant learning' is a description I heard Jundo call it somewhere.

    Buddhist study for me is the study of this constant being and what it is, not what I think it is or thought it was or what I think it might be.
    I don't know if that makes any sense?

  16. #16

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Quote Originally Posted by jodi_heisz
    Studying and reading about Buddhism from various sources can enrich and deepen your spiritual life as long as you practice what you have read.
    Is speaking about "a spiritual life" not a notion of duality? As if there is a spiritual life and also another life.
    The life of the body, so to speak.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Study Buddism?

    Edward,
    Is speaking about "a spiritual life" not a notion of duality? As if there is a spiritual life and also another life.
    The life of the body, so to speak.
    Our body and mind are unified and by cultivating our mindfulness to every part of our being and experiences, we become aware of our bodies and how the body responds to our inner and outer lives, to our thoughts, emotions, and our experiences. So "spiritual life" means our entire life and being one with our entire being & experience in this present moment. It is our connectedness with ourselves, others and the world. However, this is much easier said then done, of course. Which is why we study and practice and practice and let go and let go.

    Jodi

  18. #18

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia
    What is the "right" direction?
    Well some people go this way , others go both ways.

  19. #19

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R
    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia
    What is the "right" direction?
    Well some people go this way , others go both ways.
    Hi.

    ...and some take the SHORT CUT!

    [youtube] [/youtube]

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  20. #20

    Re: Study Buddism?

    When in Wonderland, stay away from vaguely marked bottles.


    May the Force be with you Fugen.

  21. #21

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Doesn't it simply seem that seeking the wisdom and knowledge of more experienced or knowledgable sources before engaging in something is simply smart?

  22. #22

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Quote Originally Posted by edward
    I would like to ask this question:
    Is it necessarily to do any further study in Buddhism if one practices Zazen? Al insights should arise naturally out of the sitting practice. To give a simple example, should one read in a book or hear in talk that all things are impermanent if that is not your own insight yet, it will merely be a concept. And when one gets this insight out of practice it is not necessary to hear that from others.
    I put it very simple here, but I hope you know what I mean.
    It might not be necessary for everyone but in my case my thinking was so contaminated that I needed some thinking that made more sense while i continue to practice. As others have pointed out the words and speech are just pointing you to your true nature. I would say study Buddhism when you feel like it, but practice whether you feel like it or not.

  23. #23

    Re: Study Buddism?

    I think teaching and learning are part of who we are as humans. I think we are driven by a want to know and understand things. To me, and to echo a lot of what others have said you need a balance of both theoretical and practical knowledge. The problem comes when we fall to one extreme but we need both. If there weren't writings about Buddhism I dont know if I would have found the path. To me study is a part of the path. I mean zazen is the core but you have to ask when is what you are doing not zazen? If it only takes place on the mat then is that real zazen? Ok Im rambling from my ipod but it seems that it starts on te cushion but then blossoms into all aspects of our lives including study eating using the bathroom etc

    Further i think labeling something as necessary or unnecessary may be limiting. Maybe the focus should not be so narrow? Its like in martial arts. Are roundhouse kicks to the head really necessary to learn to protect oneself? Probably not but its just fun to do them. Theres a richness in the art that can be lost if we toss away all but the necessaries. I prefer a practice w a lighter step if u know what I mean.

  24. #24

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Edward,

    Obviously, and that's OK, you are not familiar with shobogenzo. Dogen likes to throw questions like that. He does it very often. So nothing cynical. Not in my teaching anyway.

    take great care of yourself and of the ten thousand questions


    gassho


    Taigu

  25. #25
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Re: Study Buddism?

    To study the Dharma is just a vital part of our training. We need to learn theory and then practice, just like everything we learn in life.

    I have found a deep understanding and wisdom in the words of the Buddha that often hit me in the head like a falling anvil, but no right after I read, but when I'm going about my life and talking to people and observing the world.

    When we sit zazen we give the mind the room and air it needs to process all what we learn and see.

    Just like Taigu-san said in the video, in the case of Zen, the teachings find you, not the other way around. You read, you take notes, you read again. Then you go about your life. Whenever you less expect it the anvil will hit you.

    In the meantime, zazen is the way to go.

  26. #26

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Quote Originally Posted by edward
    I would like to ask this question:
    Is it necessarily to do any further study in Buddhism if one practices Zazen?
    How does one learn Zazen? When does one "finish" learning Zazen? Everything is Zazen. Everything is study! Everything informs everything. Don't be attached to knowledge. Don't be detached from knowledge. Read your books, then sit on them!


    Gassho,
    Matt

  27. #27

    Re: Study Buddism?

    i tend to think that sitting without the teachings is like telling a blind man what a dog is. the perfection of dog the blind man sees in his mind is there, but is it a dog?

  28. #28

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Hi all,

    Zazen is of course complete, nothing lacking, nothing to be added, perfect from the beginless begining and yet, it is always an unfinished journey, a way of constant unlearning, dropping ideas and thoughts about oursleves and the world, entering the stream of I don't know and seing how much still stick to our shoes, our skin, our bones...One could also see studying as a way to invite a beggar home, the activity of studying does empty the treasure chest and make a lot of space on the shelves. Things gradually vanish, thoughts, opinions, attachments and the rest of it... Once the poor guy wakes up because of the sheer cold ( the warm blanket was just stolen), the perfect-brightness-moon fills the whole space. But sure enough the story doesn't end there, he gets up, warms his hands to the flames of a fire and goes about thinking where and how he will sleep next night. Endless journey where even the full blown moon doesn't stop him. One should not dwell even on awakening.

    gassho


    Taigu

  29. #29

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Peter Schneider a zen-priest from Beginner's Mind Zen Center says about this subject:

    Just to sit is enough - part 2

    There aren’t many “magic bullets” in our lives, but zazen is one of them.
    “If you just sit,” Suzuki Roshi said, “everything changes.”
    He said people who knew Zen masters in their earlier lives couldn’t believe how they had changed.
    In fact they might have had problems when they were young.
    Sometimes I get asked what can be done to bring meditation into ordinary life and find myself having little to say about it.
    Then I remember that Suzuki Roshi said again and again that just sitting is enough.
    You might think that over time everything will change because you will get enlightened sometime down the road,
    and that this is what will change you.
    The fact is that whether you get enlightened does not matter in this.
    Enlightenment is not enough. It is practice that changes you.
    Suzuki Roshi mentioned that someone who has sat for three years or more may begin to worry about how nothing has changed, why their sitting is the same, why their problems are the same.
    In fact, we are unlikely to be the first to notice that we‘ve changed.
    Someone may comment on it and we may say to ourselves that it may be so.
    Those from other schools of Buddhism may advise that we should do this, or do that, but it is not necessary.
    Sitting will change us on its own.
    Indeed, if we try to change, we will generally find that we cannot.
    Our habits are very strong Suzuki Roshi said.
    The fact is that we cannot change what we were born as, our karma, as it were.
    We will be who we are throughout our lives.
    It is our dealings with our small self that changes us.
    For one thing we don’t take ourselves as seriously as before, and that gives us more space in our lives.
    We see ourselves more clearly, and so are deluded less.
    That isn’t to say that the Dharma is not necessary to face self-delusion.
    To meditate without sometimes hearing the truth does not work.
    For one thing we may be more likely to stop sitting without it.
    We like to have some reason to meditate, and the Dharma gives that to us.
    It also dampens our doubts.
    But the Dharma is more that just a carrot in front of the horse of our lives.
    In telling us what life will be like if we continue to practice, it is more a kind of medicine than a candy for our inner babies.
    The Dharma can even be comforting when it shows us how screwed up we are.
    Whether the Dharma says “It’s ok, it’s ok,” or says, “It’s not ok, it’s not ok,” the message is to be a little serious, and we won’t have to worry.
    Just starting to sit and continuing to sit is all that it takes.

    the 10/30/10 dharma talk transcript
    Gassho, Edward

  30. #30

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Quote Originally Posted by edward
    Peter Schneider a zen-priest from Beginner's Mind Zen Center says about this subject:

    Just to sit is enough - part 2

    There aren’t many “magic bullets” in our lives, but zazen is one of them.
    “If you just sit,” Suzuki Roshi said, “everything changes.”
    Sitting is all we need ... all that is ... sitting just sitting sitting. Everything changes, and nothing changes ... and Just Sitting works a revolution that was here all along. In Sitting, there is nothing else or that need be done.

    And yet ... we must also breathe, eat, care for our children, learn. Just Sitting is all there is, and all there is ... breathing, eating, children and study ... are Just Sitting too. ONLY seated Zazen is Zazen, and so we sit each day. Yet, all of life is Zazen. (A Koan). All "Things Just As It Is" (to quote Suzuki Roshi).

    Suzuki Roshi was also a learned man, very conversant with the philosophy of Buddhism and its traditions. Here is one of his books on the Sandokai, the Harmony of Relative and Absolute, that we read in our bookclub awhile back. An understanding of "Relative and Absolute" and other Teachings ... not only in the mind (but in the mind too), and in the eyes, skin, flesh, bones and marrow ... marrow's marrow ... is necessary for Practice to truly bear fruit.

    viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1409

    Gassho, J

  31. #31
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Study Buddism?

    Hi Edward,
    It is your studies in Buddhism which has brought you to this very passage you quote! Is there still no value in study?

    Gassho,
    John

  32. #32

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Hi Edward,
    It is your studies in Buddhism which has brought you to this very passage you quote! Is there still no value in study?
    I sincerely think there is a great value in study, and I certainly will keep on doing it besides sitting of course...
    I just wanted to take another perspective and investigate that.

    Gassho, Edward

  33. #33
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: Study Buddism?

    Just a thought....

    ...Do we study Buddhism or does Buddhism study us?

  34. #34

    Re: Study Buddism?

    A nice thought...

    It is actually really what I try to convey but somehow this doesn't generally reach most people. People want to express their opinions about this and that, bibs and bobs instead of really practising and listen.
    This is one of the issues of any forum.
    I often get the blues, baby. All teachers do. You repeat the same and very few are interested.

    In numerous occasions I wrote that we are the gate, we are the other shore. It fell almost flat at the time. A few days ago Pontus posted these womderful lyrics and it spoke to many people. Life is funny. My teachers taught me so much and I resisted so much, every inch of the way. It is part of human nature.

    gassho


    Taigu

  35. #35
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: Study Buddism?

    Hi Taigu

    I guess here is someone who has listened, tried to understand, tried not to understand then just sat.
    I am very grateful for all your posts, teachings and videos.

    With many thanks to you Taigu this old head doesn't feel so old any more!

  36. #36

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    I often get the blues, baby. All teachers do. You repeat the same and very few are interested.
    Well, people are just people and don't always do as we expect. That is life, and part of the teaching too.

    Gassho, Jundo

  37. #37

    Re: Study Buddism?

    And the blues is also part of the teaching. Moon Buddha.
    I am nothing but a human being.

    Thank you brother

    gassho

    Taigu

  38. #38

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Hi Nigel199,

    I dont doubt it one bit. You see, we generally end up with a few people, as many as the fingers of one hand. And that's great. I would like to reach so many...But let's face it, it is sooooo tricky.

    One week ago, the most amazing rakusu, a funzoe rakusu was dropped in my lap. Sewn by a guy that I am never heard of, a student of the nyohoe kesa who wanted to thank me for my empty vids and limited talks. This rakusu was made in Argentina. The sewing he did is something out of this world: when Shohei saw it, he could hardly believe it. Just incredible.

    But more important ( And I am sure he does too) are people willing to drop the rat-race mind , the I want to get it mind, and really sit their bum on a cushion. For nothing. Not for Buddha, daddy or mummy. Ten thousand people will come through the gate of Treeleaf, very few will stay and practice and transmit. That's very likely. And that's OK.

    So sometimes teachers are happy, sometimes unhappy. You should not pay too much attention to this ( many vids of Jundo feeling not up to it, same here). Teachers are human beings.

    Thank you so much anyway for your kindness and practice

    gassho

    Taigu

  39. #39

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    But more important ( And I am sure he does too) are people willing to drop the rat-race mind , the I want to get it mind, and really sit their bum on a cushion. For nothing. Not for Buddha, daddy or mummy. Ten thousand people will come through the gate of Treeleaf, very few will stay and practice and transmit. That's very likely. And that's OK.
    Having the opportunity to hear the teachings is not given to everyone... taking the time to practice them is yet something else. Rooting our life in Zazen, with no idea of good and bad is a wonderful thing. But beyond this fearless state, turning back to the direct simplicity of the here... what a challenge for our always wondering mind!

    I'm a bit of the subject again,
    Thanks to everyone for this thread!

    deep gassho,
    Jinyu

  40. #40

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Lots of good reading in this thread!
    I am a bit of a numbskull when it comes to learning in books and so many thanks and apologies to Taigu and all that make the effort!!.
    Though I read Burn the books and just sit, I had a gut instinct tell me that was out of sorts :lol:

    My useless 2 bits (which have been covered here many ways and many times better - hmmm yet still I go a head and post ) are like this, for now -

    When the words and actions are no longer words and actions and are our very flesh and bones (we are fresh and understand well our reference points) then we can toss the books and just sit... not even on the cushion... all is shikantaza, as it were! Reenter the "marketplace" as aware and compassionate Bodhisattvas. When would we need words and letters? Well we are these things by times, but to "get to there" and "being there", this not a final states, not something permanent. We will need to revisit these points by times and often we find teachings that alluded us or speak to us in a way that may never have before with out some time and experience.

    Today I may fully understand the key concepts and hold them in my heart and express them fully in my boring daily activities, to the best of my understanding, at that time.
    These teachings are time sensitive. The student and teacher (Zazen, human, book, birds or Whack on the noggin) may be perfect at that moment or maybe out of step a bit. For this reason I can never really toss the books (well maybe Free-cycle them?), stop sitting and stop listening to my teachers even after they are seemingly gone!!

    This is just my humble view on things and really there is always room for improvement in my understanding!

    Thank you all that have posted above for opening my eyes and reminding me to get off my hands!

    Gassho
    Shohei

  41. #41

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    But more important ( And I am sure he does too) are people willing to drop the rat-race mind , the I want to get it mind, and really sit their bum on a cushion. For nothing. Not for Buddha, daddy or mummy. Ten thousand people will come through the gate of Treeleaf, very few will stay and practice and transmit. That's very likely. And that's OK.
    Here is how I look at it.

    Ten thousand people may come, some to stay for a few days ... some for weeks ... some for months, some years. All are benefited from this practice in some way, nobody is left worse. (I can't really think of any way it might really do harm to someone). Almost everyone I know might benefit in some way from its lessons in stillness, wholeness, dropping so many games of the mind.

    And some will truly probe the depths and find the treasures.

    Perhaps we are not unlike a swimming school, where some just dip a toe in, some go up to their knees, some learn a few handy stokes ... and some lose themselves in the waters, swimming like fish without traces. I wish everyone could learn to do so. I wish I were a better teacher, so that every single person coming here could master such swimming.

    It has been like that for centuries and centuries, and that is how these traditions have continued and been passed on. Some folks stay for a few days, some for months ... but some will still be here 20 years from now, 50 years from now, maybe continuing for lifetimes. That is the way it has always been, since the Buddha's time.

    Gassho, J

  42. #42
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: Study Buddism?

    Taigu and Jundo you are keeping this 'thing' going.

    The thing is that in the end we have to make the difference in ourselves (a difficult concept for most).
    Treeleaf expands the number of views and perspectives available to interact with.
    As Shohei said, the teachings in the books are decontextualised from the situations in which they were given.
    Treeleaf keeps all these interactions alive, present, updated, re-energised.

    Still, in the end the work must and can only be done by ourselves within.

    The fantastic thing is we have the real deal, Taigu and Jundo, to keep 'things' on track.
    (And also Shohei, Fugen and Mongen! And soon Jinyu and Soen!!)

    Its spring, things are still to sprout!

  43. #43
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Study Buddism?

    Jundo wrote:
    Some folks stay for a few days, some for months ... but some will still be here 20 years from now, 50 years from now, maybe continuing for lifetimes. That is the way it has always been, since the Buddha's time.
    Jundo it's nice to see you are planning on living to(at least) 100 :shock:

    Hey if Ray Kurzweil(technological prophet and author of the book "The Singularity Is Near") is right we will all have our consciousness uploaded and will have attained a state of immortality! Treeleaf forever!

    Seriously though, this is reassuring and speaks of your comitment to Treeleaf.

    Gassho,
    John

  44. #44

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Jundo wrote:
    Some folks stay for a few days, some for months ... but some will still be here 20 years from now, 50 years from now, maybe continuing for lifetimes. That is the way it has always been, since the Buddha's time.
    Jundo it's nice to see you are planning on living to(at least) 100 :shock:

    Hey if Ray Kurzweil(technological prophet and author of the book "The Singularity Is Near") is right we will all have our consciousness uploaded and will have attained a state of immortality! Treeleaf forever!

    Seriously though, this is reassuring and speaks of your comitment to Treeleaf.

    Gassho,
    John
    Oh, I didn't say that I'd necessarily be here. But someone may keep the lights on.

  45. #45
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Study Buddism?

    Jundo wrote:
    Oh, I didn't say that I'd necessarily be here. But someone may keep the lights on.
    Hence the priests in training I would imagine. Japan has the Iemoto system so perhaps Leon will


    Gassho,
    John

  46. #46
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: Study Buddism?

    The reason we grow old is that we expect to.

    Was Karl Jung a Buddhist Sage or am i (sic) living as a butterfly? :? :shock:

  47. #47

    Re: Study Buddism?

    I find the last several responses a bit off-topic, if you don't mind me saying so.

    Edward

  48. #48
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: Study Buddism?

    Shit happens :roll:

  49. #49

    Re: Study Buddism?

    Indeed, things-as-it-is (or things-as-it are ?)

  50. #50
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: Study Buddism?

    You have it; now sit, before the plum blossoms scatter

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