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Thread: Why get up?

  1. #1

    Why get up?

    It accord to me last night driving home from work that saying Zazen is first enlightenment is spot on. I came to meditation before I came to Buddhism. Buddhism I find is the truest attempt to explain all that comes from meditation, or Zazen. But the essence is the just sitting.

    So if Zazen is first enlightenment, why get up?

    The only rational I could think of is what I called second enlightenments, which would be doing the dishes, making breakfast, going for a walk, dealing and or talking with people. All the things that come with life being honestly experienced for what they are.

    Prior to meditation I can say that everything wasn't as "high-definition" as it has all become since I took up the practice. I wouldn't have experienced all these secondary "enlightenments" if I hadn't practiced the first enlightenment.

    I'm curious how others see this question of "why get up?" Or if people see zazen as enlightenment, or first enlightenment or what not?

    Thank you all for your time
    Hope this finds you well.

    Chris.

  2. #2

    Re: Why get up?

    Hello Chris,


    just my novice-in-training two cents here (always to be taken with a pinch of salt).

    Having any kind of enlightenment-experience might or might not have its benefits in some way, but far more important is the fact that practise and realisation need to be enacted and expressed through our daily lives (whether that is the daily life of a secret agent or of an accountant in a dusty office doesn't matter).

    No getting up also means no real (or real-ised) awakening...just the memory of some spiritual notion maybe...awakening is a never ending process of awakened action.

    As to first and second enlightenment...well, once one becomes aware of the uncountable times that our world is changing at every moment, numbers like one or two, or first or second tend to lose a bit of their importance in the overall panorama of things. Instead the dishes you wash, the lawn you mow, the girl you kiss...all of that happens exactly when you awaken to the nature of that moment. Past, present and future....too often we turn these into artificial realms of hope and/or regret. Awaken to what you are doing now again and again and the rest might just take care of itself.

    No getting up, no waking up


    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen (who will now rather reluctantly do some weeding his tiny garden : ) )

  3. #3
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Why get up?

    Chris wrote:
    I'm curious how others see this question of "why get up?" Or if people see zazen as enlightenment, or first enlightenment or what not?
    Well, here is my opinion(and if I'm heading in the wrong direction I'm sure our teachers will set me straight. Kyosaku with words kind of thing!)

    So if Zazen is first enlightenment, why get up?
    There is nothing special about Zazen, and that's exactly what makes it special! If you can commit to a practice with your whole heart and being, as "stripped down" as just sitting and in front of a plain wall is, where can you go from there? If you can make a mountain out of a mole hill then why stop there? Cannot every word, thought, action, and everything else in-between, also then become a mountain as well?!
    It's cyclical. First take something as seemingly insignificant as just sitting. Give it all the significance in the world. Embody that significance and extend it to everything else. Return to the origin of sitting practice with a new realization. Sitting and walking, one and the same. Sitting and stubbing your toe, one and the same. Sitting and dying, one and the same. Sitting and everything, one and the same!

    Something like that :wink:
    Gassho,
    John

  4. #4

    Re: Why get up?

    I wrote this note on facebook and I think it touches the issue here...

    forgive me if it sucks... ops:

    n Zen they say: Before you meditate rivers are rivers, mountains are mountains; when you meditate rivers are no longer rivers, mountains are no longer mountains; and when the meditation is completed, when you have attained it, rivers are again rivers, mountains are again mountains.~

    To this statement I received the response; “then, what is the point?”

    After contemplating for a while I realized that there is no point. That’s the beauty of it, that there is no point. Our whole lives we are brought up to look for the point in things, to constantly look for some future moment instead of looking at what is in front of us now. Normally we look at mountains and rivers and think “how beautiful” or “nah, the mountains over there are prettier” we occupy ourselves with thoughts such as these. The practice of Zen lets us see mountains and rivers for what they are, outside of any thoughts of past and future. To see the mountains and rivers of the present moment is to truly see mountains and rivers. To see the present, to see the now, is to truly see the world we live in, not the world we think we live in.

    The great Zen master Daido Roshi once said; “Words and ideas are a description of reality, silence is a negation of reality. What is the reality itself?” You cannot reach it merely by thinking about it anymore than you can think your way to truly tasting an apple. To see it, you have to experience it. By experiencing it, it is no longer an idea, a belief, it becomes real, it becomes true. To live and breathe fully in the present moment, is to see the world through the eyes of the divine. It is to see the world through the eyes of your true self.

    If want to see the mountains and rivers of the present moment, you must first drop your ideas of mountain, and no mountain. Drop the idea, and let yourself fully embrace the moment. Then you will be able to see unobstructed and clearly. Then you will see mountain, river, self and other as part of this whole we call the universe...
    _/_

    Seiryu

  5. #5
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Why get up?

    Without getting up how could you, even in a dream, sit down?


    gassho


    Taigu

  6. #6
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Why get up?

    Mongen and John,


    deep bows


    Taigu

  7. #7

    Re: Why get up?

    I appreciate all the responses. They've given my mind something to chew on and digest.

    Many thanks.

  8. #8

    Re: Why get up?

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    First take something as seemingly insignificant as just sitting. Give it all the significance in the world. Embody that significance and extend it to everything else. Return to the origin of sitting practice with a new realization. Sitting and walking, one and the same. Sitting and stubbing your toe, one and the same. Sitting and dying, one and the same. Sitting and everything, one and the same!

    Something like that :wink:
    Gassho!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Re: Why get up?

    Because my knees hurt, that's why!
    (Sit a sesshin and you'll know.)

  10. #10

    Re: Why get up?

    Quote Originally Posted by 6yx
    So if Zazen is first enlightenment, why get up?
    If life just ends in death, why not jump off a cliff now?

  11. #11

    Re: Why get up?

    Zazen might be first enlightenment, but enlightenment - if we wish to use that label - cannot be different from practice. Practice cannot be just sitting, though just sitting is the vital point in our practice. Practice has to be whole day and night, thus getting up and living in this world.
    _()_
    Peter

  12. #12

    Re: Why get up?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matto
    Quote Originally Posted by 6yx
    So if Zazen is first enlightenment, why get up?
    If life just ends in death, why not jump off a cliff now?
    That got me laughing hard!!

  13. #13

    Re: Why get up?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu
    I wrote this note on facebook and I think it touches the issue here...

    forgive me if it sucks... ops:

    n Zen they say: Before you meditate rivers are rivers, mountains are mountains; when you meditate rivers are no longer rivers, mountains are no longer mountains; and when the meditation is completed, when you have attained it, rivers are again rivers, mountains are again mountains.~

    To this statement I received the response; “then, what is the point?”

    After contemplating for a while I realized that there is no point. That’s the beauty of it, that there is no point. Our whole lives we are brought up to look for the point in things, to constantly look for some future moment instead of looking at what is in front of us now. Normally we look at mountains and rivers and think “how beautiful” or “nah, the mountains over there are prettier” we occupy ourselves with thoughts such as these. The practice of Zen lets us see mountains and rivers for what they are, outside of any thoughts of past and future. To see the mountains and rivers of the present moment is to truly see mountains and rivers. To see the present, to see the now, is to truly see the world we live in, not the world we think we live in.

    The great Zen master Daido Roshi once said; “Words and ideas are a description of reality, silence is a negation of reality. What is the reality itself?” You cannot reach it merely by thinking about it anymore than you can think your way to truly tasting an apple. To see it, you have to experience it. By experiencing it, it is no longer an idea, a belief, it becomes real, it becomes true. To live and breathe fully in the present moment, is to see the world through the eyes of the divine. It is to see the world through the eyes of your true self.

    If want to see the mountains and rivers of the present moment, you must first drop your ideas of mountain, and no mountain. Drop the idea, and let yourself fully embrace the moment. Then you will be able to see unobstructed and clearly. Then you will see mountain, river, self and other as part of this whole we call the universe...
    _/_

    Seiryu

    Gassho.

    I used to hear something similar when I practiced martial arts years ago.

    "Before we practice the art, a punch is just a punch, a kick is just a kick.
    While we practice the art, a punch is not a punch, a kick is not a kick.
    After we master the art, a punch is just a punch, a kick is just a kick."

    I remember Daido Roshi talking about how practice was like this spiral moving in space. Learning, practice and then realization, over and over. I believe this is describing just that. It's how we, as human beings, discover, learn and then integrate something we learn into our lives.

    After throwing 1000's and 1000's of kicks and punches, those are just kicks and punches. But when learning new and countless ways to apply those, then they are no longer just kicks and punches. Then, once it becomes effortless to apply those things spontaneously, those are just kicks and punches. Until we learn a new facet to the art. Then it starts over.

    Gassho,

    Risho

  14. #14
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Why get up?

    I once heard Steve Hagen say in a dharma talk that a bodhisattva exists the way a pedestrian exists. When a pedestrian arrives at his destination or gets in a car, he is no longer a pedestrian. Where does the pedestrian go?

    Buddhas are also like this.

    Chet

  15. #15

    Re: Why get up?

    I think that pedestrian comparison (from Buddhism Is Not What You Think) is pretty apt.

  16. #16

    Re: Why get up?

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    I once heard Steve Hagen say in a dharma talk that a bodhisattva exists the way a pedestrian exists. When a pedestrian arrives at his destination or gets in a car, he is no longer a pedestrian. Where does the pedestrian go?

    Buddhas are also like this.

    Chet
    I can be dense sometimes So are you saying, or is Hagen saying that we are what we do?

  17. #17

    Re: Why get up?

    IIRC, Hagen's comparison is about flux. Buddha is, like pedestrian, an impermanent, provisional state. You don't "become" a Buddha or a pedestrian permanently; you don't suddenly cross from one side of non-Buddha to Buddha and stay there, nor do people suddenly turn into pedestrians and cease being persons.

  18. #18

    Re: Why get up?

    Thanks Chris!

  19. #19

    Re: Why get up?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA
    IIRC, Hagen's comparison is about flux. Buddha is, like pedestrian, an impermanent, provisional state. You don't "become" a Buddha or a pedestrian permanently; you don't suddenly cross from one side of non-Buddha to Buddha and stay there, nor do people suddenly turn into pedestrians and cease being persons.
    Just a thought... you can be all of those things (a buddha, a pedestrian, a father and a son etc.) at the same time...just a label really.

  20. #20

    Re: Why get up?

    Aren't those labels only applicable when you are doing the things relative to the label? e.g. aren't you only a pedestrian when you are walking? And really like you said it's just a label; just a word describing what your primary visible action is at the time.

    But beyond semantics it seems the point is that we aren't points :mrgreen: . We are changing, but we are not those labels.. simply those descriptions of a limited view of what we are doing at that point.

  21. #21

    Re: Why get up?

    Quote Originally Posted by Risho
    But beyond semantics it seems the point is that we aren't points :mrgreen: . We are changing, but we are not those labels.. simply those descriptions of a limited view of what we are doing at that point.
    Right, there's nothing that exists by itself i.e. without a reference point.

  22. #22

    Re: Why get up?

    Quote Originally Posted by andyZ
    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA
    IIRC, Hagen's comparison is about flux. Buddha is, like pedestrian, an impermanent, provisional state. You don't "become" a Buddha or a pedestrian permanently; you don't suddenly cross from one side of non-Buddha to Buddha and stay there, nor do people suddenly turn into pedestrians and cease being persons.
    Just a thought... you can be all of those things (a buddha, a pedestrian, a father and a son etc.) at the same time...just a label really.
    Yes, that's also how I read Hagen on the matter: all or them, none of them, some of them, provisionally, always in flux -- including and quite importantly the label of "person."

    He (along with roshis Suzuki & Katagiri, among others) are reacting, I think, to the attainment-based descriptions/translations of breaking through to satori that have floated around Western practice since the Zen raft started across the ocean in the first place. To that end, it's a reminder that dharma itself is also always in flux.

    ETA: Hi, andyZ!

  23. #23

    Re: Why get up?

    Quote Originally Posted by andyZ
    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA
    IIRC, Hagen's comparison is about flux. Buddha is, like pedestrian, an impermanent, provisional state. You don't "become" a Buddha or a pedestrian permanently; you don't suddenly cross from one side of non-Buddha to Buddha and stay there, nor do people suddenly turn into pedestrians and cease being persons.
    Just a thought... you can be all of those things (a buddha, a pedestrian, a father and a son etc.) at the same time...just a label really.
    Hello friends,

    Just a thought:

    How can you be "Buddha" when still caught up in notions of "Buddha?" Likewise, how can you fully "be" anything if one labels it? Labeling causes distinction, and "the slightest distinction splits heaven and earth."

    "I'm this. I'm that. I'm both. I'm neither, I'm both both and neither."

    Each one misses the mark.

    Who is "I"? What is "this?"

    Metta and Gassho,

    Saijun

  24. #24

    Re: Why get up?

    Well, sure! But I think that we're teasing out a slightly different point here.

    Increasingly, it's my sense that many teachers in the post-WWII West got tired of people going on about wanting to reach Nirvana, and therefore created dharma talks that responded to those attempts at grasping. Since their students wanted to "break on through to the other side" and then stay there, they emphasized that "the other side" was just as impermanent as anything else, and not a new address across the tracks in paradise.

    As such, the dharma talks to which I'm referring sought to use the language, labels, differentiation, and so on to respond to the needs of their students. These "intentional mistakes" seem to me to be a perfectly legitimate dharma raft on which one could travel a ways, and, like any raft, you'd want to dispense with it after it had served its purpose, if (inevitably) imperfectly.

    I daresay that Hagen, Katagiri, or Suzuki, even if they agreed with my characterizations of their pedagogy, would never say or encourage anyone to say, "I'm this. I'm that. I'm both. I'm neither, I'm both both and neither" as definitive declarations of Truth. However, they all signed their names as Hagen, Katagiri, and Suzuki -- labels, all, just like "you," friends," and "Saijun," Saijun.

    Gassho for this discussion!

  25. #25

    Re: Why get up?

    One last thing along these lines. This discussion got me thinking about a Katagiri quotation I've been carrying around and (re)tweeted this morning: "It might seem to be good to be infatuated by some wonderful, spiritual experience, but it's not so good." He uses the language of "good" and "not so good" not to assert the importance of such binary oppositions but to focus on this infatuation, itself a form of grasping, that he's seeing in his students.

    Of course, to make his point, he has (and we have) to use language, an imperfect raft if ever there was one! As he wrote, you have to say something, and language, especially English language, is going to keep sending us back to those labels and dualisms every time. Indeed, perhaps Katagiri's title is a possible answer to "why get up?" Because "you have to say something."

  26. #26

    Re: Why get up?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA
    Well, sure! But I think that we're teasing out a slightly different point here.

    Increasingly, it's my sense that many teachers in the post-WWII West got tired of people going on about wanting to reach Nirvana, and therefore created dharma talks that responded to those attempts at grasping. Since their students wanted to "break on through to the other side" and then stay there, they emphasized that "the other side" was just as impermanent as anything else, and not a new address across the tracks in paradise.

    As such, the dharma talks to which I'm referring sought to use the language, labels, differentiation, and so on to respond to the needs of their students. These "intentional mistakes" seem to me to be a perfectly legitimate dharma raft on which one could travel a ways, and, like any raft, you'd want to dispense with it after it had served its purpose, if (inevitably) imperfectly.

    I daresay that Hagen, Katagiri, or Suzuki, even if they agreed with my characterizations of their pedagogy, would never say or encourage anyone to say, "I'm this. I'm that. I'm both. I'm neither, I'm both both and neither" as definitive declarations of Truth. However, they all signed their names as Hagen, Katagiri, and Suzuki -- labels, all, just like "you," friends," and "Saijun," Saijun.

    Gassho for this discussion!
    Hi,

    I am very much in accord with Chris' view of recent Buddhist/Zen history (it is true no less on the Koan-Zazen side, as many teachers come to emphasize "Kensho" and "passing the Koans" as a more continuous, fluid process and not a final station reached in this life).

    I believe that there is some effort by some teachers to counter the "get Satori and done!" or "become Buddha and done!" view of this Path. Well, me may ... in some future life ... attain Buddhahood and be "done!" ... but not as Bodhisattvas alive and living in this life/world. As well, we are all "Buddhas from the start" so ... nothing ever to "get started" ... nothing even to be "done!". But, still, in this life ... we will have moments of acting or being very much as a Buddha ... also moments of being very much caught by Mara (the Buddhist devil of greed, anger and ignorance).

    (all the above views can be true at once, by the way, folks!)

    And as was said, we can all be parent-Buddha, friend-Buddha, factory worker-Buddha, citizen-Buddha (and, I suppose unfortunately, parent-Mara, friend-Mara etc. too).

    Yet as was said too ... let's not get caught in labels, or see any of this as but the wonderful dance it is. Life is not frozen, and while "Buddha" this moment ... we can become "Mara" the next.

    I just realized that my "sit-a-long" talk yesterday is very much of this same school ... that "Great doubt leads to Great Awakening in which the is No Doubt" ... but also "Great Doubt and No Doubt" can come at various times in life, at various moments in a single Zazen sitting ... and truly piercing the meaning of that is all Great Awakening!

    viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4099

    Gassho, J

    ** Wonderful recommended book by Stephen Batchelor on the Buddha dancing with Mara ... LIVING WITH THE DEVIL.

    http://www.amazon.com/Living-Devil-Step ... 1594480877

Bookmarks

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