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Thread: Human the Fallible (coming to a Zafu near you)

  1. #1

    Human the Fallible (coming to a Zafu near you)

    It seems I have a lot to say.

    There's no sense in punishing yourself. We may do something at one time or other, then reflect on it, and say "wow. I was a dick. What a terrible person I am." and so on. Maybe something like that . At one point or another you have to let it go. Letting it go, is the only way to open past it. There's nothing wrong with recognizing it, but I would imagine it would be better to recognize how it arises in the first place.

    A long time ago, maybe now, don't know. It was common practice for catholic priests to whip themselves. Mainly this was becasue the body was seen as "impure" and sinful. What a strange idea. I don't think we should be standing around whipping ourselves because we did something a moment ago. Eventually you have to let it go. You have to learn from it. You have to study it with both body and mind, and then drop it.
    Let's say for example you get into an arguement with someone, and then you reflect on the arguement and fail to let it go. You know you shouldn't be holding onto it, and so you are basically fighting with yourself about what's right, and how one should act, and how you are a failure because you don't live up to your (insert ideal here). Let it go. Don't react, and drop it, and things should go smoother. Don't make a big deal. It's called being human. We are fallible from the get go, but I think we can learn to not care so much, not grasp at things, learn from our mistakes, and open past them. Each moment born anew.

    Gassho

  2. #2

    Re: Human the Fallible (coming to a Zafu near you)

    Learn from the damage done, try to make amends to anyone hurt if you can, learn from the past in order to (hopefully) try not to repeat the mistake ... then let it go.

    Repeat if necessary.

    Gassho, J

  3. #3
    Treeleaf Unsui Kyrillos's Avatar
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    Re: Human the Fallible (coming to a Zafu near you)

    Funny,....just yesterday I happened to be looking for something and came across a website that was dedicated to those articles that will was referring to which some clergy and faithful of the Catholic Church have used, and apparently still use as a means of bodily discipline. There was even a discussion forum, I could not avoid reading to discover who these folks were and why they did this. I have to tell you some of what I read made me wince and shudder, to think that folks were actually doingf such things to themselves for the sake of what they felt was preserving virtue. It was straight out of the 17th Century; but it was something that at the time, and even today in certain Church circles, was not only condoned, but encouraged. All of it stems from the belief that the body is evil and contrary to disposition of the soul, which was the prevailing medieval theology until more modern thought began to take form.

    These ideas of course put the West on a collision with the East, with the perception that the East, with its colorful and voluptuous beauty was centered on the body and therefore anthethical to Christianity. We know that most of these impressions were surperficial and that some Chinese and Japanese masters could have been "card carrying" Calvinists in their philosophy!

    When the "old" church was seemingly retired after Vatican II, the pendulum swung way to the other side and most of the solo monastic pietist activities ceased in favor of more communal social agendas. What we are finding now is that there are many who having lived in that new church for 40+ years are hungry for something. Some of them are turning to other churches and religions for it, some are returning to older religious practices of their church for it. Some are seeking a balanced ground where what is of value in the old and new, West and East makes sense in one's individual practice and life. This is why Zazen is so important. It does not teach an extreme, it shows the balance.

    Gassho,

    Seishin Kyrill

  4. #4

    Re: Human the Fallible (coming to a Zafu near you)

    I'm not into physical whipping but when I make a big mistake that affects - say a group of people - its really hard to completely let it go even after making amends.. It keeps popping up so its kind of a mental whipping. Over time it becomes less and less of a problem. My question is do you easily forgive the trespasses of others? I think I do but I feel others don't always forgive me as easily - or am I just playing the victim?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Human the Fallible (coming to a Zafu near you)

    Our practice already takes our human fallibilIties into consideration.

    VERSE OF ATONEMENT:

    All harmful acts, words and thoughts, ever committed by me since of old,

    On account of beginningless greed, anger and ignorance,

    Born of my body, mouth and mind,

    Now I atone for them all
    What more can be said?!

    Gassho,
    John

  6. #6

    Re: Human the Fallible (coming to a Zafu near you)

    Oh that wonderful guilt. It's good to laugh at it sometimes. Especially when we are fretting the most.

    Thank you

    Gassho,
    Myoken

  7. #7

    Re: Human the Fallible (coming to a Zafu near you)

    Hi,

    If you read his early story, you know that Gautama Buddha (before he was the Buddha) went through a period of physical austerities ... starving the body in search of release ... often depicted in "skin and bones" images such as this:



    Upon Enlightenment, he rejected such extremes, encouraging a "Way of Moderation" and balance ... taking food, sleep, companionship, and the other needs of life in measures that the body-mind requires for health. (Some things, seen always as harmful, should never be taken however.)

    Such ascetic practices are still seem in India among Hindu Holy men ... such as this Sadhu who has kept his arm elevated until it has withered away ...



    While such practices punishing of the body are found in Buddhism too, and in some corners of Zen Buddhism, they are generally not accepted.

    Of course, the Buddha's idea of "moderation" would seem pretty "bare bones" to most "middle class, suburban" Buddhists ... with possessions limited to a few robes and tools, no food to be taken after the noon hour and the like. He did allow more wealth and possessions for those practicing at home, but still we must do as we can to not be attached to these possessions (or to even see them as "our possessions"), or to crave and hoard them. We must use our possessions for good in the world, not be selfish and refuse to share them with others in need.

    Still, in all religions, some may require a more austere and rule bound life, some may be free even out in the world and marketplace. Different medicines are required by different patients, in different doses. The Buddha also pointed out that some can be "free" in a mansion or palace, some can be prisoners of their self even in a monk's cell.

    However, I still have trouble with this image of "Buddha" ... who obviously is sneaking some candy bars after the noon hour ... :roll:



    I need to watch my own "Maitreya" love handles these days.

    Gassho, J

  8. #8

    Re: Human the Fallible (coming to a Zafu near you)

    A bit more on this topic ...

    Gautama Buddha felt that possessions and emotional ties were "fetters". He felt that lay practice is a harder road and home leaving is a piece of cake ... for example ...

    ‘Household life is crowded and dusty; life gone forth is wide open. It is not easy, while living in a home, to lead the holy life utterly perfect and pure as a polished shell.
    ...
    [But] So too, Aggivessana, as to those recluses and brahmins who live bodily and mentally withdrawn from sensual pleasures, but whose sensual desire, affection, infatuation, thirst, and fever for sensual pleasures has not been fully abandoned and suppressed internally ... they are incapable of knowledge and vision and supreme enlightenment.
    (Mahasaccaka Sutta)
    However, he never rejected lay practice ... or the benefits of practice to homestayers at home ...

    “There are not only one hundred... or five hundred, but far more lay followers, my disciples, clothed in white enjoying sensual pleasures, who carry out my instruction, respond to my advice, have gone beyond doubt, become free from perplexity, gained intrepidity, and become independent of others in the Teacher’s Dispensation. ... If only Master Gotama, bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, ... but no lay followers clothed in white enjoying sensual pleasures were accomplished, then this holy life would be deficient in that respect ...

    Just as the river Ganges inclines towards the sea, slopes towards the sea, flows towards the sea, and merges with the sea, so too Master Gotama’s assembly with its homeless ones and its householders inclines towards Nibbana, slopes towards Nibbana, flows towards Nibbana, and merges with Nibbana.”
    (Mahavacchagotta Sutta)
    In later centuries, lay followers, being busy as they were, were usually expected to spend their time working and making money, some of which they would donate to the monasteries to earn "merit". However, Zazen practice was never closed to those lay folks who had the time and inclination. What is more, with the development of the Mahayana, practice was always open to those with the time and basic education (which usually required some financial wealth to allow that) to pursue such training at home. Obviously, that was a minority of lay folks back in the middle ages, and peasants probably were a bit too busy just staying alive.

    And, now, as Buddhism comes to the west, and to more open societies, with better educational and social opportunities for lay folks ... more access to Buddhist resources, teachers and education in our towns and even over the internet! ... lay life is perhaps, arguably, more "wide open" than monastic life.

    Especially for householders, the Buddha preached a moderate lifestyle (more restrictive for monks, of course ... but even then, not unreasonably restrictive given the way peasants ... even nobles ... lived in centuries past. Being a monk was --not-- a perpetually uncomfortable lifestyle compared to how most people lived 200 or 2000 years ago. Monks had it pretty easy!) I believe that a good Zennist 'rule of thumb' is to live simply ... knowing what you truly need to feed and clothe and educate your family ... and not what the advertising agencies on the TV tell us we need. Stay as close to "truly needed for life' as possible ... for less is more, and quantity is not quality.

    We learn to appreciate too the free, simple, natural riches in life (we write endless poems about the mountains and the trees) ... just being with one's family more than buying things as a sign of one's love. Be willing to lose all of it, and just watch it blow away in the wind (although, as always in this practice, we can hold a perspective of "acceptance without acceptance" ... namely, close the barn door, feed the horse, even chase after him if he runs away, yet have total and complete equanimity to his staying or going (all at the same time, not two).

    Here is some of Guatama Buddha's advice to householders on this subject. He did not advice householders to abandon all their wealth and property ... just to use their assets wisely, in moderation, and know their real assets:


    Adiya Sutta: Benefits to be Obtained (from Wealth)
    AN 5.41
    PTS: A iii 45
    translated from the Pali by
    Thanissaro Bhikkhu



    Then Anathapindika the householder went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there the Blessed One said to him: "There are these five benefits that can be obtained from wealth. Which five?

    "There is the case where the disciple of the noble ones — using the wealth earned through his efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of his arm, and piled up through the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained — provides himself with pleasure & satisfaction, and maintains that pleasure rightly. He provides his mother & father with pleasure & satisfaction, and maintains that pleasure rightly. He provides his children, his wife, his slaves, servants, & assistants with pleasure & satisfaction, and maintains that pleasure rightly. This is the first benefit that can be obtained from wealth.

    "Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones — using the wealth earned through his efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of his arm, and piled up through the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained — provides his friends & associates with pleasure & satisfaction, and maintains that pleasure rightly. This is the second benefit that can be obtained from wealth.

    "Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones — using the wealth earned through his efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of his arm, and piled up through the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained — wards off from calamities coming from fire, flood, kings, thieves, or hateful heirs, and keeps himself safe. This is the third benefit that can be obtained from wealth.

    "Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones — using the wealth earned through his efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of his arm, and piled up through the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained — performs the five oblations: to relatives, guests, the dead, kings, & devas. This is the fourth benefit that can be obtained from wealth.

    "Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones — using the wealth earned through his efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of his arm, and piled up through the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained — institutes offerings of supreme aim, heavenly, resulting in happiness, leading to heaven, given to priests & contemplatives who abstain from intoxication & heedlessness, who endure all things with patience & humility, each taming himself, each restraining himself, each taking himself to Unbinding. This is the fifth benefit that can be obtained from wealth.

    "If it so happens that, when a disciple of the noble ones obtains these five benefits from wealth, his wealth goes to depletion, the thought occurs to him, 'Even though my wealth has gone to depletion, I have obtained the five benefits that can be obtained from wealth,' and he feels no remorse. If it so happens that, when a disciple of the noble ones obtains these five benefits from wealth, his wealth increases, the thought occurs to him, 'I have obtained the five benefits that can be obtained from wealth, and my wealth has increased,' and he feels no remorse. So he feels no remorse in either case."

    'My wealth has been enjoyed, my dependents supported, protected from calamities by me. I have given supreme offerings & performed the five oblations. I have provided for the virtuous, the restrained, followers of the holy life. For whatever aim a wise householder would desire wealth, that aim I have attained. I have done what will not lead to future distress.' When this is recollected by a mortal, a person established in the Dhamma of the Noble Ones, he is praised in this life and, after death, rejoices in heaven.
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

    Gassho, J

  9. #9

    Re: Human the Fallible (coming to a Zafu near you)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    The Buddha also pointed out that some can be "free" in a mansion or palace, some can be prisoners of their self even in a monk's cell.
    A point I needed to hear today . . .

    Gassho,
    Eika

  10. #10

    Re: Human the Fallible (coming to a Zafu near you)

    "Your words are excellent", as Shantideva advises us to say.
    Thank you, Will, for your post. It was a timely reminder for me.
    Gassho,

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