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Thread: 9/23 Zen Seeds: Pgs47-50

  1. #1
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    9/23 Zen Seeds: Pgs47-50

    Enjoyment Along the Way
    Aoyama writes:
    Being alive is wonderful. Because they live, beautiful flowers bloom and weeds grow. It is human selfishness that considers flowers good and weeds bad. It is not their fault. Zen Master Dogen said, "A flower falls, even though we love it; and a weed grows, even though we do not love it."
    For many years I worked as a volunteer in a local Japanese garden. Weeding was also one of my least favorite jobs. Not only because of the labor involved but also because I always felt a certian sadness for the poor weeds.
    But what exactly constitutes a weed?
    According to Merriam-Webster
    Weed: A plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth; especially one that tends to overgrow or choke out more desirable plants.
    So a plant's worth and resulting lifespan hangs in the balance as we go over a mental checklist to determine whether it is of value to us or not. Given our way of defining them, no plants are exempt from our discretions. Morning glories beware, for as long as you are growing on our fancy trellises you are a friend, yet should you find yourselves seeking nourishment from the sun or soil elsewhere you will quickly become the foe of man. What a bittersweet relationship indeed! They are used to heal us when we are ill, feed us when we hunger and used to adorn our graves after we have left this world. Yet we pay them little homage.

    All this being said I will close with this poem:
    Growing in the fields
    What splendor nature yields
    Flowers who know themselves not by name
    Bloom their beauty just the same
    While pondering Aoyama's essay my mind began to drift towards looking at the many other ways in which we use our preconceived ideas to pass ill judgements.
    Question:
    Can you think of anything else to which we pass judgement on based on our concepts of good/bad or worth/wothless?


    Purifying the Heart
    There is this quote of Shakespeare's regarding makeup which came to mind when I read this chapter. I don't remember his words verbatim but it went something like this...
    God has given you one face yet you paint yourself another
    What is beauty, Aoyama asks? Sure there is physical beauty but that is, as is often said, only in the eye of the beholder. The waves may be beautiful...but there is a whole ocean going on underneath. Are your waters shark infested or like that of a coral reef? True beauty, in my opinion, comes from that which isn't always seen with the eyes but rather felt with the heart. Anything less is surely a passing fancy.

    Gassho,
    John

  2. #2
    Friends of Treeleaf Dokan's Avatar
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    Re: 9/23 Zen Seeds: Pgs47-50

    I really enjoyed "Enjoyment Along the Way". While reading this and thinking about the analogy of the leaf too close to our eyes and missing the suchness of things. I realized that when I'm mired in distress over a subject, my face is planted against it. If it's something with work, my nose is against my keyboard/screen. I'm engulfed. Loosing full perspective, not only on the proverbial 'leaf' but all of reality. Wonderful teaching.

    As to your question...I literally laughed out loud. It's incessant! I am constantly judging everything up an down, left and right. Even myself for judging! It's such a slippery slope and one that requires a constant awareness.


    Purifying the Heart:

    Talk about being apt timing! This weekend all three of my daughters had birthdays (2 are 9 y/o twins and the youngest turned 3). For the twins, they had a 'Rock Star' party where they all dressed up and lip synced songs on YouTube while I recorded them. Was filled with makeup, hairspray, tattoos and 9 y/o drama. Maybe I should have sat them down and read this to them instead.



    As an aside, while trying to come up with a party theme this year, I had suggested a Zen party where all their friends came over and we sat zazen for a couple hours, then finished with vegan cake....they weren't interested. :twisted:

    Gassho,

    Shawn

  3. #3

    Re: 9/23 Zen Seeds: Pgs47-50

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Can you think of anything else to which we pass judgement on based on our concepts of good/bad or worth/wothless?
    Can anybody think of anything that we do not judge as good or bad ? Speaking for myself, I judge it all, all day, every moment. But as I become aware of that, its not bringing fruit anymore, I guess thats whats called nurturing seeds 8)

    Purifying the Heart

    I'm maybe not exactly in line with Shundo Aoyama here. I think beauty is just an abstract concept, a matter of taste. The one thinks this is beautiful, someone else finds something else beautiful, so how can I be beautiful ? My beauty, and yours, is in the eye and mind of the person watching you. No tree or stone will find someone beautiful. Beauty is some created ideal, created by idealistic expectations, and by money making people. Beauty is what people want to be, for so many different reasons. Wanting to be accepted, wanting to impress others, wanting to belong to a group, you name it.
    I agree that our lives are graved into our skin (but also all the rest of our bodies). So, to a certain extend, you see peoples lives in their faces, but this doesn't mean they are more or less beautiful, by whatever standard. If there is anything I would accept as beauty, than the fact itself that our lives are what made us to what we are. Just some silly thoughts of mine
    _()_
    Peter

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    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: 9/23 Zen Seeds: Pgs47-50

    Can you think of anything else to which we pass judgement on based on our concepts of good/bad or worth/wothless?
    Sure, Garbage pickers, hookers, druggies a long list; all of which deserve our metta.

    Beauty abounds;
    It is the acceptance of goodness over the rejection of evil
    It is the quality that stirs or comforts the soul
    It is the soulfull song of a lone wolf or the peircing cry of an eagle
    It is the radience of a sunrise or the tranquillity of a rainbow
    It is the gracefullness of balance or the irony of buffoonery
    It is the softness of a kitten or the ruggedness of a mountain path
    It is the stillness of a meadow pond or the clamour of a babbling brook
    It is the sweetness of honey or the tartness of a berry
    It is the mellowness of sweetgrass or the acrid aroma of vinegar
    It is a love of this planet; it is the zest for living
    If one reserves judgement beauty happens everywhere

    _/_

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    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: 9/23 Zen Seeds: Pgs47-50

    Can you think of anything else to which we pass judgement on based on our concepts of good/bad or worth/wothless?

    Yes..zazen!!! After what appeared like a period of dynamic calmness in my sitting I was slapped right into the middle of Jundo's blender and only after realising my disappointment was in judging the blending I then just sat to watch the blending subdue into a mild fizzing of thoughts and feelings.
    Funny how judging good and bad is sprung upon every situation before we have had time to become aware of it. Or is that just my age and the slowing of reactions?

    Beauty abounds;
    Thank you Shokai for your post on this..wonderful! ..oh dear another judgement...but truly meant!

  6. #6

    Re: 9/23 Zen Seeds: Pgs47-50

    Can you think of anything else to which we pass judgement on based on our concepts of good/bad or worth/wothless?
    Ourselves, constantly, every waking second. It's probably subconscious for most, but never ceases.


    The only thing I will say about beauty is... it disappoints me the extent to which physical beauty is championed in (at least) American society. But I don't think that will ever change on a large scale.

    Thank you for your commentary, John.

  7. #7

    Re: 9/23 Zen Seeds: Pgs47-50

    Can you think of anything else to which we pass judgement on based on our concepts of good/bad or worth/worthless?
    so many things; bottles, old newspapers etc.. We pass judgments on our practice. Is my sewing good or bad, is my sitting good or bad, is the Buddha good or bad?

    Beyond these dualities what lies?
    within these dualities what lies?
    are they the same?
    If beyond dualistic nature is different from within dualistic nature,
    isn't that just another form of duality?
    another form of our judging mind?
    What dualities exist from the perspective of the weed?
    Are we just the weeds ourselves...?

  8. #8

    Re: 9/23 Zen Seeds: Pgs47-50

    Question:
    Can you think of anything else to which we pass judgement on based on our concepts of good/bad or worth/wothless?

    I have to echo the sentiment; I do judge everything. I guess we will always judge, but we need not be attached by that judgement.

    I once read somewhere that all fear essentially boils down to the fear of death. I think it was in a book called Do Less Achieve More. In any case, I think our obsession with beauty and perfection, running away from suffering.. it's all the same. Trying to fiercely hold on to something. But that is the source of suffering because things always change. The older I get the more I respect my elders. Individuals who have lived longer and experienced more (I guess you don't have to live longer to experience more than me but anyway I digress) I tend to see in them a wisdom and calmness that comes with age. When I was younger I used to get so easily riled up; I don't know if it's age or practice or age coupled with practice, but it's nice to settle down. I'm not always settled, but it's definitely nice when it can happen.

    Gassho,

    Risho

    P.S.

    Seiryu, I get what you are saying now. Aren't we the weeds? The weeds are just the weeds, but our judgement on them turns just the weeds into those damned weeds that must be eradicated because they interfere with the way I want things to be.

  9. #9

    Re: 9/23 Zen Seeds: Pgs47-50

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Question:
    Can you think of anything else to which we pass judgement on based on our concepts of good/bad or worth/wothless?
    I believe it is necessary to judge. Our normal day to day life requires us, in our job or family, to make and act on judgements. Nevertheless, we should hold those judgements "lightly." It is a bit like insight into our practice...we need a conceptual framework to work with at times, but also need to be willing to give it up as our practice deepens.

    Gassho,
    Jisen/BrianW

  10. #10

    Re: 9/23 Zen Seeds: Pgs47-50

    That's a really great point. On the one side, we can drop everything and just hold onto emptiness. but then we can't function in the world and we become lifeless. On the other hand, we can hold on to form, but then we are clutching everything as solid and changeless. But in the middle way we recognize both functioning together. We need the judgements to live, but we need mental flexibility to change with the changing world.

    Gassho,

    Risho

  11. #11
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    Re: 9/23 Zen Seeds: Pgs47-50

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Question:
    Can you think of anything else to which we pass judgement on based on our concepts of good/bad or worth/wothless?
    YES. Coworkers.

    At my volunteer job, I move from division to division as needed, so I come into contact with a lot of different people and they all have something to say about each other, not always pleasant. It's the one thing that bothers me most--I'm not immune to it, and I sometimes catch myself passing on little comments I shouldn't be repeating. Some are called "idiots," some "incompetent," one "psycho" (she's schizophrenic and on medication). Not everybody knows everything that's going on, either . . . my supervisor told me she's going through a second round of cancer treatments now, but it's not common knowledge. So when I hear people bitching about her taking a week of sick leave during the busiest time of year, I have to keep my mouth shut.

    I don't know, they're just people who have their "good" and "bad" points. And as they all know much more about the place than I do, they have all been my teachers at one time or another. There are people whose job it is to judge their performance, but it's not me, and I make efforts to remember that.

    Gassho

    Jen

  12. #12

    Re: 9/23 Zen Seeds: Pgs47-50

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer G P
    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Question:
    Can you think of anything else to which we pass judgement on based on our concepts of good/bad or worth/wothless?
    YES. Coworkers.

    At my volunteer job, I move from division to division as needed, so I come into contact with a lot of different people and they all have something to say about each other, not always pleasant. It's the one thing that bothers me most--I'm not immune to it, and I sometimes catch myself passing on little comments I shouldn't be repeating. Some are called "idiots," some "incompetent," one "psycho" (she's schizophrenic and on medication). Not everybody knows everything that's going on, either . . . my supervisor told me she's going through a second round of cancer treatments now, but it's not common knowledge. So when I hear people bitching about her taking a week of sick leave during the busiest time of year, I have to keep my mouth shut.

    I don't know, they're just people who have their "good" and "bad" points. And as they all know much more about the place than I do, they have all been my teachers at one time or another. There are people whose job it is to judge their performance, but it's not me, and I make efforts to remember that.

    Gassho

    Jen
    Thanks for sharing. That's one of the things that bothers me most about working in an office... the endless politics, gossip, backstabbing, etc. I think you're right though, we just have to see them as our teachers.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: 9/23 Zen Seeds: Pgs47-50

    Matt wrote:
    That's one of the things that bothers me most about working in an office... the endless politics, gossip, backstabbing, etc.
    Unfortunately this behavior in people is not limited to offices alone but is a rather common occurrence in most workplaces.

    Gassho,
    John

  14. #14

    Re: 9/23 Zen Seeds: Pgs47-50

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Question:
    Can you think of anything else to which we pass judgement on based on our concepts of good/bad or worth/worthless?
    The speech of young children.

  15. #15
    Senior Member murasaki's Avatar
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    Re: 9/23 Zen Seeds: Pgs47-50

    Sometimes when I see poor performance in class from some of my students and I can pretty much tell what the origin of the problem is, I think, "Look how they are, their parents don't bother reading to them at home so they can't read. They don't value success in school, so they don't make their kids do homework. They care about the boys' success but not the girls. Even if these poor kids manage to get by in school, will they make it to college? Probably not. It's all because their parents don't even think about that and won't prepare them or support them or even let them know that that's an option."

    Then I get sad and frustrated to see more people with no chance to advance anywhere in life. And I imagine the prison systems getting more and more full and the crime rate getting higher. Or people just losing their souls and becoming cogs in the machine.

    I may be right about some of them...but maybe not. I know that parents in an underprivileged household are so busy and stressed with other issues that many haven't got time to read to their kids, and homework slips through the cracks. I know that there are some kids that just don't do what is desired of them even with supportive parents. And yes, I know that many of these families just don't figure college or career success into the picture. Does that mean I should step in and be the Values Police? No.

    Who am I to judge and decide the entire lives and futures of these kids? I don't know what will happen. I don't like to be judged for the challenges I face and the privileges I don't possess. I judge myself for making these judgments, too...there's judgment all around, in this atmosphere that tempts negative judgment.

    gassho
    Julia

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    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: 9/23 Zen Seeds: Pgs47-50

    Question:
    Can you think of anything else to which we pass judgement on based on our concepts of good/bad or worth/worthless?

    I am judgmental of myself more than to anyone else. If I make a mistake or don't get something right away, I am hard on myself. Yesterday I was driving down to Chicago to visit my Dad. He is recovering from back surgery in a nursing home so I had to take a different route than usual using Google directions. Well, I missed my turn and ended up having to take a different way. Missing my turn was no t the issue but my relation to it was. I thought to myself, "how good I miss my turn?" Then I thought, "well I am a Buddhist so I should be more mindful of where I was going and not miss my turn", "I guess I am not as mindful as a thought I was", blah, blah, blah. After a few miles, I remembered to just let it go and I did. And then after letting that go, I became judgmental of how I let it bother me in the first place. I thought, "I should have let it go sooner", "I clung to the thought of being unaware too much", blah, blah, blah. I drove a few more miles and I remembered to let it go again. Whew! I guess that is why it's called Practice. And really, it wasn't that far out of the way.

    Thanks,
    Jodi

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    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: 9/23 Zen Seeds: Pgs47-50

    Hi all,

    Enjoyment Along the Way

    As I have written elsewhere on the fourm, when my family moved into our current house 4 years ago I started treating the grass organically and found out a very interesting thing about weeds: They tell us a great deal about our soil! And of all the so-called "weeds", one stands out as particularly so: clover. Where clover grows, it tells us that there is a deficiency of nitrogen in the soil. And what does clover do? It takes nitrogen out of the air and puts it into the soil. If you cut the leaves of clover or its flowers? They both contain among the richest deposits of nitrogen to be found in any plant and it feeds the soil. Clover's pure function is to enrich our soil, but when you use weedkillers it destroys this wonderful source. How can you dislike a plant that, when alive, enriches the soil with a needed nutrient. And, when dead, does the exact same thing? For years, makers of weedkiller tried to find a way to create a weedkiller that would not kill clover because, in the days before "perfect" lawns, any good lawn care program included clover. And, it isn't just clover. All weeds tell us something about the conditions of our soil, whether it is lacking nutrient, has too much of a substance, or if the soil is compacted, too wet, etc. Weeds, like the people in our lives have so much to tell us if we are just willing to let them be and listen to what they have to say.

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Question: Can you think of anything else to which we pass judgement on based on our concepts of good/bad or worth/wothless?
    Like I just mentioned above, it's people. There are people who tell me how I should be and I listen far too much. And I'm sure there are others who could have taught me a great lesson, but I wasn't listening. We can gain first impressions of people that are very incorrect and can often base how much we listen to their opinions on such first impressions. I was guilty of this a lot in the past and still am, but I try to listen to my second, third, and nth impressions of people and vow to never assume what they have been in the past as being who they are now.


    Purifying the Heart

    The message here seems clear, but the only thing I did find odd in this chapter was the idea that if someone had lived for 40 years in pain and sorrow that such would be the end result upon their face for a lifetime. I'm not sure I think that is so, but perhaps it is the inner beauty that supersedes that and, as a result, it matters not what is seen on your face but is more about what is in your eyes and, as Aoyama says, the purification of your heart. And isn't the point of the next chapter that you are only as old as you feel and that changing our ways in this moment is all that is within our control? It was just funny that my response to this chapter is, to some degree, written by Aoyama herself in the next one!

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  18. #18

    Re: 9/23 Zen Seeds: Pgs47-50

    Enjoyment along the way

    We judge weeds, we judge people. Maybe not by their "worth" directly, but at least indirectly. How often does the thought of "If I do this, this person will probably do that for me" rather than "If I do this, this will be done." What worth do we place on others? Everyone is worthless, and thus everyone is precious. The same goes for weeds, taste dandelion greens or well cooked nettles if you don't believe me.

    Purifying the Heart
    You are beautiful whether you know it or not. Dandelion or rose, you are completely and utterly yourself and everyone around you. The trees, sky, stars, sun, p*ss, s**t, and garbage. Youmewe are everything and just ourselves. How could we not be beautiful?

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