Results 1 to 19 of 19

Thread: 8/13 Zen Seeds: Pages 20, 23

  1. #1
    disastermouse
    Guest

    8/13 Zen Seeds: Pages 20, 23

    Alright folks, sorry for the delay:

    'Monks Make Excellent Friends':

    This refers to the importance of the Sangha and others on the path - the first part of this passage refers to one of my favorite Buddhist stories wherein Ananda remarks that 'good friends are half of the practice'. The Buddha admonishes him and says that good friends are the whole of the practice, and without them, there can be no path.

    In my own life, I have seen the importance of the sangha and teachers to pry me away from delusion - time and again. It will probably continue to happen - so brace yourself, friends!

    Also, this is happening when friendship and relationships have come into focus in my own life. After the accident, it was only with the help of friends that I was able to recover. Similarly, my closest friend just got out of jail and has nowhere to sleep nor any job prospects (It's hard to find a job with no address and no reliable phone number or internet access). When he first called me, he only wanted some money to catch up on his storage fees so the storage place didn't toss out his stuff. That was no problem - it was only about $130 or so. At the time, I told him that because I'm at a bit of a financial crisis myself (not working will do that to ya), I could not give him enough money to get his own place, but I told him that if he needed to, he could get a Greyhound and crash at my place and get back on his feet here. Well, it's been three weeks and he's out of options, so I just (literally 20 mins ago) got him a Greyhound ticket from Salt Lake City to here. He has no one else upon which to rely right now, and I'm a bit overjoyed that even with my seriously crimped finances, I can still offer him enough to keep him off the street.

    'Follow The Flow of The Stream' (dammit!):

    Why to we take obstacles so personally?. It's our self-centered ego that creates them as obstacles in the first place, and then goes on to think we're the only ones who are beset with problems. This may (not) come as a shock to some of you, but I can be a bit of a complainer. My mother is the perfect opposite of this. I was lucky enough to have my mother and sister visit last week. First, the second leg of their incoming flight was cancelled, so they rented a car one way (expensive!), then the car they rented was accidentally double-rented, so they had to start over. Then they got lost trying to get here...but they finally arrived about 8 hours after they were originally going to. The whole time, my mom says, 'It's not the end of the world!'. Then we went for a 3 hour hike to a waterfall, except I forgot to tell them how long the hike was and...um...that they shouldn't wear flip-flops. Once again, my mom just smiled and said, 'It's not the end of the world!'. Lastly, the first leg of their return flight was late so they missed the connecting flight and had to wait about 8 hours for another one. 'It's not the end of the world!'

    Seriously. It's not. And even if it is, hey, no more problems are possible after that, right?

    Chet

  2. #2

    Re: 8/13: Pages 20, 23

    Chet, your Mom sounds like a wonderful person!

    It is hard to see obstacles from other than one’s own viewpoint, and take them “as enriching our lives.” I don’t seem to be able to see them that way in my business, probably because I don’t seem to be able to overcome them. But your Mom is right, "It's not the end of the world." Gassho, Grace.

  3. #3

    Re: 8/13: Pages 20, 23

    'Monks Make Excellent Friends'

    Yep. Right. Though a voice inside me says "hey, Peter, you can do it all alone, you dont need anybody else",
    funny, eh? I guess thats the lonesome cowboy speaking :-D But seriously, the unwrapping of our true nature
    isn't that easy, I'm pretty sure its a collective task, something that can be done only in a group, like us.

    'Follow The Flow of The Stream'

    This metaphor is so overused that for me its hard to take it serious, but it is! In its core it is exactly what currently
    I do talk over and over again with my 8 year old boy. He's often not accepting what cant be changed and is very
    sad about it. I can literally see how he thinks of how something could be, wanting it to be and fighting against
    how it in reality is. Its a major teaching about suffering he's giving me.

    _()_
    Peter

  4. #4

    Re: 8/13: Pages 20, 23

    Hello everyone, hello Chet!

    The "it's not the end of the world" quote was great ! Reading it in connection with the whole "following the stream" notion somehow reminded me of the beginning of Reinhold Niebuhr's Serenity prayer (though I do not believe in a personal God the beginning resonates strongly with me):

    "God, give us grace to accept with serenity
    the things that cannot be changed,
    Courage to change the things
    which should be changed,
    and the Wisdom to distinguish
    the one from the other.

    Living one day at a time,
    Enjoying one moment at a time,
    Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace...."

    Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.....that's powerful stuff right there...streams can be deep and fast - following is not always easy, though it might sound easy.


    Gassho,

    Hans

  5. #5

    Re: 8/13: Pages 20, 23

    Hi, Chet.

    Beautiful comments. I love the way you used very intimate examples to illustrate them.

    Thank you for being so open.

    Alex.

  6. #6
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Sarnia, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    2,053
    Blog Entries
    119

    Re: 8/13: Pages 20, 23

    Hans;
    Thanks for reminding us of the serenity prayer;

    'I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.'
    - A.Einstein
    Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be
    - Desiderata
    Regardless of who or what you believe god to be, the use of a prayer is internal talk with
    the universe; of which you are the closest representative at any given moment :shock:

  7. #7
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    2,024

    Re: 8/13: Pages 20, 23

    Monks Make Excellent Friends:
    Many hands make light work!

    Gassho,
    John

  8. #8
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Rochester, NY, USA
    Posts
    4,697

    Re: 8/13: Pages 20, 23

    Hi all,

    Monks Make Excellent Friends

    Can any happiness surpass that afforded by this way of life?
    That quote, and indeed the entire section, touched me very deeply and I can honestly answer that question with a resounding, "Yes!"

    You see, I have had many people call themselves my friends in my life and the vast majority of them are now nowhere to be found. Some found me a naive young man who could easily be manipulated. Others found me to be broken and discarded me like a used tissue. And still others do not come around for reasons I still do not understand. It has been very difficult at times and I have spent much of my life feeling used, unlikable, and useless. Over the years, through my practice here, I have found that I am neither used or new, good or bad, light or dark. I am me. I am you. I am all. As are you. And from those lessons I have come a long way towards realizing there was never anywhere to go. But still, when I look back on the people I used to confide my deepest feelings to and see them gone from my life it makes me truly sad. And I don't think there is a person on this planet having gone through that who doesn't at times wonder if anyone will truly be my friend through thick and thin. Of course I am surrounded by friends here at Treeleaf, so I don't mean to diminish anyone here who has shown me kindness or offered me happiness in their company. I merely wish to say that if I call you my friend, it is something very special I am offering to you and that I hope you take it as it is intended. There are moments when I hold myself back, afraid that I will be hurt again, but that happens less and less the more Treeleaf truly becomes a part of me. And I thank all of you for making this place what it is. It is a debt I can never repay, but I shall try and herein commit to doing so.

    Follow the Flow of the Stream

    My thoughts on this section can probably be best summed up from this clip from the movie Apollo 13, which just happened to be on last night before I headed to bed:

    [youtube] [/youtube]

    Thank you friends.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  9. #9

    Re: 8/13: Pages 20, 23

    Monks Make Excellent Friends:

    This section is summed up for me in a post I made back on June 9th in the Kesa sewing forum:


    Quote Originally Posted by shards
    Once again, thank you Dosho.

    I was reading Zen Seeds tonight and I came across a chapter that made me reflect upon this conversation. If you have the book please go take at look at it. Here is a key snip of it..

    Monks Make Excellent Friends

    The Buddha said, "Having excellent friends and keeping good company is not half the sacred Way; it is the very Way itself."

    Once again I am thankful for our friendship and our practicing together.

    Gassho,
    Shawn
    When I read it again this time, it still rings true to me. There are several people here who have shown me honesty, compassion and humour...very thank for you all.

    Follow the Flow of the Stream:

    When I had read this section, it was after a discussion my wife and I had about the emotions that are evoked within a romantic relationship. My contribution at the time was that it's not the emotion that is the problem, it's the desire of or resistance to the emotion. To paraphrase something I heard from one of Taigu's teachings; When you are happy, just be happy, when sad, sad, when angry, angry.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Shujin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Northeast Georgia
    Posts
    578

    Re: 8/13: Pages 20, 23

    I am fortunate at this point in my life to have friends who are something of a mirror. Their honestly helps me to see aspects of my self that I am reluctant or unable to observe. My friends are also in the habit of saving me from some of my more ridiculous ideas, for which I am forever grateful.

    I can identify a bit with Dosho's post. Growing up in a military family, one develops this sort of utilitarian version of friendship. It's great while you have it, but you realize that it's going to fade away after a set period of time. As I transitioned out of that world and into adulthood, I thought that my friendships would be more lasting. Of course I discovered that this wasn't necessarily the case. At the present moment, I'm working to accept that I can't hold things together with sheer force of will. Sometimes things just fall apart.

    Therefore flowers fall even though we love them; weeds grow even though we dislike them. Conveying oneself toward all things to carry out practice-enlightenment is delusion. All things coming and carrying out practice-enlightenment through the self is realization. - Genjokoan

    Can't add anything to Follow the Flow that hasn't already been said. Well done, Chet.

    gassho,
    Shujin

  11. #11

    Re: 8/13: Pages 20, 23

    What needs to be said has been said.

    From me? Silence and gratitude.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Southeastern Wisconsin
    Posts
    570

    Re: 8/13: Pages 20, 23

    Monks Makes Excellent Friends:
    Before Treeleaf I mainly practiced on my own which was fine. I have been with Treeleaf for just a few months, but I have learned so much during this time, more than if I kept practicing alone. The dedication to the Buddhist practice with the support and compassion for others I see in this Sangha is a great inspiration. Here we are located all around the world living in different cultures, but we are together our Buddhist path experiencing it in our own unique and personal way. It truly is a remarkable and beautiful thing. I never felt such a connection with people in different countries or other parts of my own country until I came here. I am very grateful to be a part of this Sangha, and I hope to get to know everyone more.


    Follow the Flow of the Stream:
    There are two things that are happening in the present. What is happening in the present moment and how we relate to what is happening. In our life we will always have painful experiences but we can choose how to relate to it. By accepting things as they are and letting go our concepts and judgements, we can cultivate our mindfulness to respond with choice that creates the door to space and peace.

    Thanks,
    Jodi

  13. #13

    Re: 8/13: Pages 20, 23

    Hi.

    Monks make excellent friends-
    One thing missed here is "Zazen is not a form of competition."
    Don't miss that, you're not racing anywhere, and we don't compete against anybody except, maybe , ourselves.
    Our practice has sometimes been described as an selfstudy of ourselves.
    Thats it.
    No rush.
    And its all good practice.
    Don't miss it in your race.


    Follow the flow of the stream-


    The main thing in our practice, as we bump into things in our life is not to get hooked by them.
    We can't avoiding bumping into them, its part of life, but we can minimize the hookingpart, at least thats what people tell me...

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  14. #14

    Re: 8/13: Pages 20, 23

    Monks make excellent friends

    Like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), rehab or actually the common sense that you are who you hang out with. That is the quality of people you associate with in your life is pretty much how you see yourself. In any case, practice can be difficult at times and having a group of individuals, also on the path, makes it easier. Of course we need to stand on our own 2 feet as well, but the support structure is paramount. Funny, I thought about the importance of this when quitting an addiction but never from this perspective of the Sangha, but I guess that is like fighting an addiction to fixed ideas of ourselves and how we want things to be.

    Follow the flow of the stream

    The Faith in Mind Sutra comes to mind here. Things are difficult when they don't go our way, and they rarely go our way for long. But if we give up that attachment and not be hooked (as Fugen said), we can just flow with things as they are.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    2,024

    Re: 8/13: Pages 20, 23

    Quote Originally Posted by jodi_h
    Monks Makes Excellent Friends:
    Before Treeleaf I mainly practiced on my own which was fine. I have been with Treeleaf for just a few months, but I have learned so much during this time, more than if I kept practicing alone. The dedication to the Buddhist practice with the support and compassion for others I see in this Sangha is a great inspiration. Here we are located all around the world living in different cultures, but we are together our Buddhist path experiencing it in our own unique and personal way. It truly is a remarkable and beautiful thing. I never felt such a connection with people in different countries or other parts of my own country until I came here. I am very grateful to be a part of this Sangha, and I hope to get to know everyone more.
    _/_

  16. #16
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    San Marcos, California
    Posts
    1,472

    Re: 8/13: Pages 20, 23

    Quote Originally Posted by Shokai
    Regardless of who or what you believe god to be, the use of a prayer is internal talk with
    the universe; of which you are the closest representative at any given moment :shock:
    I agree. :mrgreen:

  17. #17
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Plymouth, Devon, UK
    Posts
    1,178

    Re: 8/13 Zen Seeds: Pages 20, 23

    Excellent friends
    As you get older your friendships get fewer but your relationships increase with diversity and depth. I guess we all face attrition of childhood, school and college 'friends' but this allows new faces, backgrounds and cultures to enrich our lives.
    I have benefitted much from the kindness of relative strangers and sufferred at the hands of those I considered as friends. But all these experiences have helped me to view all as fellow travellers in this life's journey and to understand that we only need to do what is needed when it is needed to be a compassionate friend.

    Follow the flow
    Truly, what else can you do?

  18. #18

    Re: 8/13 Zen Seeds: Pages 20, 23

    Monks Make Excellent Friends

    Yes they do, but they can be annoying at times! But that's a good thing! I can have a tendency to just want to go off on my own and sort of make stuff up by myself. Then I find myself falling off a cliff. Relationships are so important in practice because they help us break our delusions.


    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    In my own life, I have seen the importance of the sangha and teachers to pry me away from delusion - time and again. It will probably continue to happen - so brace yourself, friends!
    Well stated...Pretty much sums up my experience as well.

    'Follow The Flow of The Stream'

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Lin
    This metaphor is so overused that for me its hard to take it serious, but it is
    Agreed but, for me its because I often do not want to take it seriously at times. I really enjoyed the passage....putting into practice takes some effort in non doing.

    Gassho,
    Jisen/BrianW

  19. #19

    Re: 8/13 Zen Seeds: Pages 20, 23

    'Monks Make Excellent Friends':

    I practiced, sitting on my own, for about a year before I discovered Treeleaf. I think I would have abandoned the practice had I not found support here. The Whole Way indeed.

    'Follow The Flow of The Stream':

    Maybe it's just getting older, or now being a parent, but I'm starting to realize that obstacles are not obstacles at all. They are not hurdles to leap over so that one can cross the finish line. In fact, there is no finish line. There's just a big moebius loop with nothing but hurdles! Obstacles are life itself. Not that I don't get frustrated constantly by them, but I must remind myself that breaking down a barrier reveals another.

Similar Threads

  1. 2/20/12 Zen Seeds pgs. 158
    By Risho in forum "BEYOND WORDS & LETTERS" BOOK CLUB
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 03-07-2012, 05:38 AM
  2. 11/12 Zen Seeds Pages 81-82
    By Seiryu in forum "BEYOND WORDS & LETTERS" BOOK CLUB
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 11-18-2011, 07:57 PM
  3. 21/10 Zen Seeds Pages 64-66
    By Myoku in forum "BEYOND WORDS & LETTERS" BOOK CLUB
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-31-2011, 03:44 AM
  4. 14/10 Zen Seeds pages 61 - 64
    By Heisoku in forum "BEYOND WORDS & LETTERS" BOOK CLUB
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 10-26-2011, 12:38 PM
  5. 10/7 Zen Seeds: Pages 57,58
    By Daido in forum "BEYOND WORDS & LETTERS" BOOK CLUB
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 10-14-2011, 10:06 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •