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Thread: 2 Dec - Zen Seeds, pgs 93-98

  1. #1
    Senior Member Shujin's Avatar
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    2 Dec - Zen Seeds, pgs 93-98

    High things in high places; low things in low places

    I'm not sure how one begins a narrative "I recall another story about sh*t-sticks.", but it made me laugh anyhow. I keyed in on Ms. Aoyama's words: "No matter how valuable sh*t-sticks may be, or how indispensable, we would certainly be in trouble if they were confused with chopsticks." I was reminded of a time in my life where I associated with a very selfish group of friends. They weren't bad people, but as a group we reinforced each others' egos. Fortunately, I left that group and was able to find friends who have taken me a bit away from my natural self-absorption.

    I think Ms. Aoyama is pointing to the true function of a thing. Beyond good and bad, I had confused self-gratification with friendship.

    Is there a time in your life when you confused sh*t-sticks with chopsticks? This is an area in which I constantly require practice.

    Savor Each Moment in Life

    Ms. Aoyama writes: "If we wonder where truth is hidden,or whether we can find worthwhile work, we will restlessly look beyond ourselves."

    Which compliments Hsueh-tou's verse: "Looking for the moon, it is here, in this wave and the next."

    In the story of the taxi driver, we are invited to confront the specter of self-aggrandizement. Presently, I am in the particular habit of constantly evaluating my history. Sometimes it's helpful, but mostly it leads to negative judgements about the past or future me. At the end of the day, sometimes I wonder "What if this is as far as I go?" As soon as the thought appears in my head, I feel horrible. I'm happy with what I have, and am disappointed in myself for wanting more, even on a subconscious level.

    If you knew that where you are today (regarding family, career, friends, etc) would never substantially change, how would that make you feel?

    Thank you for the opportunity to share. I'm looking forward to sitting with y'all for rohatsu.

    gassho,
    Shujin

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    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: 2 Dec - Zen Seeds, pgs 93-98

    Hi all,

    High things in high places; low things in low places

    The first time I read this chapter I believe I laughed out loud at that same line, "I recall another story about shit-sticks." and thinking, "Only in zen would such a phrase be used so casually." And then there is the basic premise, which I took to be, "Don't put shit in your mouth!" Again, only in zen would such a message be deemed necessary, but oh how it is necessary!

    Quote Originally Posted by Shujin
    Is there a time in your life when you confused sh*t-sticks with chopsticks? This is an area in which I constantly require practice.
    I think the idea of friends with whom we associated for our ego gratification is a very applicable example and I would have had trouble thinking of one on my own Shujin, so I thank you. I too used to associate with friends who did similar things but do not do so anymore. But even shit sticks have their "uses" and I would not be who I am today without those experiences, so I try to bow to shit sticks just as I would to chop sticks.

    Savor Each Moment in Life

    Again, we are presented with a lesson so simple that in modern life people are apt not to teach it or to practice with it. Each moment is important. Each person is important. All things are important because the represent one whole and, as a result, cannot be separated. If you pull one thread from the tapestry of life, the whole thing may come undone. But yest we still wonder if this is "it", if we are doing what we are meant to do, and we miss the understanding of our own importance as we seek to increase it. A balancing of our ego, not bashing what we have, but also not longing for that which we don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shujin
    If you knew that where you are today (regarding family, career, friends, etc) would never substantially change, how would that make you feel?
    6 years ago when I became a stay at home dad, I had the luxury of feeling that I had truly found my place in life. I had left behind a promising future career as a college professor that had left me a very sad graduate student and was very fortunate to find a calling. But that hasn't stopped me from looking ahead to when my kids are older and they won't need me quite so much, or at least not in the same way they had when they were infants, toddlers, or preschoolers. They'll be their own people and won't need me to baby them, so I tended (and still do I'll admit) to look ahead to what's next. But that always takes away from what I am doing now and out of the present moment. And that does me a disservice, my kids a disservice, and frankly everyone around me a disservice. My place is here...that is where I should be. And even when I'm doing something else some day, that is where I should be...not wondering what comes next.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  3. #3

    Re: 2 Dec - Zen Seeds, pgs 93-98

    Thank you Shujin,
    I like both chapters. The reminder to see the equal value of all we encounter. No worthless stuff, place, whatever.
    All has its place in the buddha dharma, its place and function, just as me. I also like your question

    If you knew that where you are today (regarding family, career, friends, etc) would never substantially change, how would that make you feel?
    Honestly, I dont know. I cant imagine no change. I know there will be no "improvement", as when all is perfect as it is, how could
    there be improvement ? But on a certain level, yes, my tiny company could run a bit better and I could have good sales, isnt that
    what I hope for ? I think I do, I'm just not aware most of the time. Well, i would like it, but if all stays as it is ... ? Thats fine!
    _()_
    peter

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    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: 2 Dec - Zen Seeds, pgs 93-98

    A lovely summary of both chapters Shujin. I have probably used shitsticks as chopsticks more often than I care to remember but eventually I have put them in their rightful place and moved on...not without the regret and shame though! I can only agree with Dosho that you wrote a good example which I can relate to!
    Savor Each Moment in Life
    The second question is one I have been thinking about recently and I have only gratitude for being where I am now with with those I am with now. I wouldn't change this place I am at and if I had to go along the wibbly wobbly path again, with all the wrong turns, mistakes and misuse of shitsticks just to be here again, I would!
    "Looking for the moon, it is here, in this wave and the next."
    It doesn't matter if the wave is large or small, sloppy or barrelling. It is what is right now.
    Gassho Shujin and all.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: 2 Dec - Zen Seeds, pgs 93-98

    If my life din't change from this point, it would't be bad... wouldn't be great either.

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