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Thread: Chasing

  1. #1
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Chasing

    As a kid I used to play the guitar, but I gave it up because I wasn't very good.
    As an adult I tinker with the harmonica, much simpler than the guitar, but I am still not very good, so it mostly sits in a drawer.
    I like women, but establishing intimate relationships with them has never worked out well, so I have stopped trying.
    I like to write stories, but my career as a short story or novel writer never took off because of all the rejections.
    There's probably something else, but I can't think of it right now.
    What do all these things have in common?
    Chasing.
    Being more clear, chasing and not catching.
    In other words, by establishing goals I set up the duality of reaching those goals, but didn't.
    OOPS.
    Sitting here tonight I realize that the goals were never the problem, it was the chasing.
    In other words, desire lead to dukka.
    To be clear, my dukka came from the chasing of those goals.
    Oh, that's just so strange, because I associate all those goals with pleasure, not displeasure.
    Hmm...
    Wow...
    Where is the duality?
    Where is the letting go of the duality?
    Such a life puzzle is this Path.

    What's your version of this story?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: Chasing

    I wanted to "be something" and go to college, but dropped out.

    I want to take Jukai, but I still harbor doubts.

    I want to be perfect and never forget things, so I draw lists that I hardly fulfill.

    As soon as Ango was over I started sitting every day.

    I have played flute for almost ten years, but now I hardly touch the thing and I keep having dreams about my old band friends and playing music again.

    I love to write and I do, but I can't share any of it because to me it looks like ego gratification.

    I want to be an artist, but I get in my own way and make comparisons.

    I keep catching myself wanting to be shit.

  3. #3

    Re: Chasing

    Is your chasing more to do with the end goal, what you are chasing, rather than the journey?
    Learning is the way to tavel, where is takes you might not be important.

    Gassho

    undo

  4. #4

    Re: Chasing

    recognizable :mrgreen:

    the harder we try, the harder it is too get
    if it comes natural it is way easier
    don't think about it, just do
    even if it is not that good,
    who cares,
    just have fun with it.
    otherwise try something else.


  5. #5

    Re: Chasing

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    As a kid I used to play the guitar, but I gave it up because I wasn't very good.
    As an adult I tinker with the harmonica, much simpler than the guitar, but I am still not very good, so it mostly sits in a drawer.
    I like women, but establishing intimate relationships with them has never worked out well, so I have stopped trying.
    I like to write stories, but my career as a short story or novel writer never took off because of all the rejections.
    There's probably something else, but I can't think of it right now.
    What do all these things have in common?
    Chasing.
    Being more clear, chasing and not catching.
    In other words, by establishing goals I set up the duality of reaching those goals, but didn't.
    OOPS.
    Sitting here tonight I realize that the goals were never the problem, it was the chasing.
    In other words, desire lead to dukka.
    To be clear, my dukka came from the chasing of those goals.
    Oh, that's just so strange, because I associate all those goals with pleasure, not displeasure.
    Hmm...
    Wow...
    Where is the duality?
    Where is the letting go of the duality?
    Such a life puzzle is this Path.

    What's your version of this story?
    Now that you have dropped "chasing", maybe time to take up that guitar or harmonica again ... this time, without chasing. Maybe find a nice lady too (or not) ... this time, without chasing.

    "Not Chasing" is not a matter of sitting still or moving forward. Please know the "Not Chasing" (Capitalized) found at the heart of both chasing and not chasing (small case).

    Gassho, J

  6. #6
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: Chasing

    I have a story. I've written it down in digital form and the few who have read it say it's good to go. But, I prefer to use it like a journal and make amendments to it; waiting for the right time to spring it on the world.
    I play one tune on the harmonica and two on the piano. They're not great but I enjoy them. Most folks disappear when I perform and the dog covers his ears.
    Some day I may do a bungee jump. Like Jiki, I'm having fun with it.

  7. #7
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Chasing

    Yes Jundo, exactly. I am reminded of the first metta verse: May you be free of suffering, may you be safe and still. To do those things without chasing them is a way to be still, which has nothing to do with movement in this sense.

  8. #8

    Re: Chasing

    I worked my ass off for decades to learn how to paint. At first I wasn't so good at it, then I got better, then having mastered the craft I was able to move with credibility in the profession. Was that years of chasing? Yes in a way, there was chasing for sure, but there was some else, there was aspiration and discipline, that is not mere chasing. I knew lots of painters who were "beat Zen" i.e. slackers, who never applied themselves enough to bring their craft to fruition. it is a shame IMO.


    Just an opinion. Kojip

  9. #9

    Re: Chasing

    I always heard "Practice makes perfect", but then someone told me no..."Perfect practice makes perfect". Is "perfect" an attainable state? I don't think so. Just be...

    Gassho,

    Matt

  10. #10

    Re: Chasing

    This is an interesting thread. Making an effort is part of being human, not an error. I see Zen folks applying at things they value, while not applying at things they don't value. Then they say the non-applying is about "Just being", while ignoring the applying. "Just be" can be very selective, yet it is apparently unavoidable, regardless. What volitional impulse, or thought, or view, is other than "just being" ?

    I'll settle for effort where needed.

  11. #11

    Re: Chasing

    This topic reminds me of those "gateless gates" or as Alan says dukka, that we create ourselves with our doubts and insecurities in our lives. "Should I do this?" "What if I suck at it and fail?"
    We can enter the "gate" right here, right where we stand or sit with Joshu's sandals (reference to Jundo's post viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4467&p=65738#p65738) on our heads.

  12. #12

    Re: Chasing

    Frankly, I am a very "goal oriented" fellow ... although I do not always succeed in those goals, and frequently lack the talent I need. To offer just a few examples, somehow in life I managed to learn a good bit of Japanese (although truly an endless road, and one can always be better), get through a tough law school, move to and build a life in Japan, build Treeleaf, make a good family with (as of this week) two lovely children. I am a pretty driven guy, though I could have done so much more. I also wish I had learned the violin or piano but, alas, I am tone deaf. I wish I could have been an astronaut but, alas, both my tendency to seasickness and the simple realities mean it will never happen. I think it too late for that Olympic medal too. Sometimes I succeed in my goals, sometimes I fall on my ass ... or make an ass of myself in the process! (Frankly, most Buddhist teachers of the past like Dogen ... and the Buddha himself ... were pretty ambitious guys in their way ... building monasteries and maintaining Sangha, teaching students, leaving great writings and all the rest a full time job! Alas, I wish I had their talents too.)

    30 years ago, before all this Zen stuff, I chewed myself up about success and failure, was completely stressed out ... insecure, feeling that I could never "measure up" ... depressed, smoking too much, drinking too much, keeping up with the Joneses, chasing after money and women too much in an effort to fill the huge painful hole within.

    30 years down this Pathless Path to the Goalless Goal ... a Success beyond success or failure ... and there is Nothing To Achieve!

    Now, there are times to sit on my lotus leaf and simply witness the sunrise with nothing to do, and times to get off my butt and work hard to realize some goals! Both have a place and time ... and placeless timelessness too. There are times of success and times of failure, yet nothing to win or lose! There are days of satisfaction and happiness, days of disappointment, frustration, loss and sadness ... yet nothing ever lacking and not the least disappointment with that, each sunny or rainy day Just What It Is! I still have lots of goals ... people to see, places to go ... things I still want to get done in this life (I am gonna grind out a book next year for sure ... or so I hope!). I certainly have not given up on plans, dreams and goals!

    Yet ... down this Pathless Path to the Goalless Goal ... one is free and nothing lacks. The empty hole within is filled with Wholeness, Oneness ... even when something lacks.

    Shikantaza is a powerful medicine for the Dukkha that ails us, the human condition. Learn the art of achieving without achieving, Stillness whether moving or still, no where in 'need of getting' even when standing or moving forward. Know the inherent Buddha Nature that is just this and us all along! Being "goalless" is not about having no goals ... having "no place to go" does not mean there are not places to go! :shock: Goals and goalless ... At Once, As One!

    There is no better way to live.

    The violin though ... well, still hopeless.

    Gassho, J

  13. #13

    Re: Chasing

    Thank you Jundo.
    the last post resonated a chord with me.
    i dont think i haven anything to say since you said it all.

    Gassho, Dojin.

  14. #14

    Re: Chasing

    Yes, Jundo said it well!
    I'm also a goal oriented fellow. In my life I have set my goals high and often achieved them. Were they the right ones? Were they empty? Deluded? I don't know, but when I look back I'm glad I set those goals, worked hard, experienced those paths, with their moments of joy and disappointment. If I had not, I wouldn't be the person I am today. I might have been a better person, who knows? But, at least to some degree, I have accepted who I am. For me Zen is about acceptance, but not becoming passive, stopping to do things, leaving things as they are, but instead accepting the way things are in this moment, while at the same time trying to live my life in its purest sense, freeing myself from my thoughts in the midst of my thoughts, opening my eyes to the world, experiencing the wonders of existance, choosing my own path, doing, being, forever striving, forever chasing and forever setting goals, but the right ones, for the right reasons and with the right mind, the Bodhi mind.

    /Pontus

  15. #15
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Chasing

    Yes, sometimes it is important to have a goal. I was told a couple of days ago, out of the blue ( as always for this kind of thing) that by april i will loose two thirds of my job ( big deal here if i want to survive). So now, cannot sit on my ar.. , I have to find something and work for it. No self pity, no real worry , even a bit of an excitement to have to dive into something I don t know.

    Take great care everybody

    Gassho


    Taigu

  16. #16

    Re: Chasing

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    ... In my life I have set my goals high and often achieved them. Were they the right ones? Were they empty? Deluded? I don't know, but when I look back I'm glad I set those goals, worked hard, experienced those paths, with their moments of joy and disappointment. If I had not, I wouldn't be the person I am today. I might have been a better person, who knows? But, at least to some degree, I have accepted who I am. For me Zen is about acceptance, but not becoming passive, stopping to do things, leaving things as they are, but instead accepting the way things are in this moment, while at the same time trying to live my life in its purest sense, freeing myself from my thoughts in the midst of my thoughts, opening my eyes to the world, experiencing the wonders of existance, choosing my own path, doing, being, forever striving, forever chasing and forever setting goals, but the right ones, for the right reasons and with the right mind, the Bodhi mind.

    /Pontus
    Hi Pontus,

    I feel that this point is very important.

    Buddhist Practice and the Precepts teach us that not all goals are cut of the same cloth. We should avoid goals driven by simple greed (excessive desire), anger, ignorance ... including jealousy, the need to prove our status or fueled by excess clutching. Learning to play the violin to make beautiful music or desiring to attain a medical degree to help folks and put needed food on the table is one thing ... desiring to play the violin in order to receive public applause and adulation. or to attain a medical degree in order to buy a Mercedes and golf club membership in order to impress the world (as well as one's siblings and oneself) with your permanency and importance ... not the same.

    Also, we may have goals ... and hold them passionately and strive hard ... but at the same time not be attached in the least and free of those same passions. Both, simultaneously. We should be committed and dedicated keeping them firmly in hand and eye, but be willing to let go. (It is much as we embrace the people we love in our life passionately and firmly with love and caring ... yet are willing to let go, free of the passions and holding lightly). All as One, at Once. As Taigu's message shows, all is impermanent, and any of it can be pulled from one at any time ... and even the world itself is just passing sand through the hour glass.

    We can be attached to our goals AND free of all attachment simultaneously ... as Once, as One. This is a lesson of Shikantaza ... a good, balanced, healthy way to live moving forward while allowing all.

    Gassho, J

  17. #17

    Re: Chasing

    Fulfilling my talents and destiny has always been the spice of life for me. I love projects, especially those that involve designing and building things. I have pretty much finished the wooden hull of a model boat. I drew up on a computer scaled plans from the lines of an actual craft. I guess I would have spent aound300 hours on it by now. Some friends and I built a full sized hull of a novel boat which we now have patented. A while back I spent around $2000 on a CAD program. Over former weeks I have been drawing up components in 3D and rendering. What wonderful fun! Scientific research has also held a special place. I do not feel a conflict with my practice. They are one.
    cheers
    m

  18. #18
    disastermouse
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    Re: Chasing

    "What I call liberation, the world calls resignation." - Some Smart Old Guy (Siddhartha)

    I really relate to your post, Alan.

  19. #19
    Friend of Treeleaf Daido's Avatar
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    Re: Chasing

    Yeah Alan great post. I learned from your comments and from those posted by others

  20. #20

    Chasing

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    No self pity, no real worry, even a bit of an excitement to have to dive into something I don t know.
    Taigu, like the wind bell
    Hanging in space
    Not caring which way the wind blows
    east, west, south or north
    All day long he speaks
    of Prajna Paramita for everyone

    You will always have your Sangha, your needle and thread, your Kesa, your hat and your bowl. You will always be Taigu and you will always be spreading the Dharma. I'm not worried.

    Sometimes, you can almost feel the wheel turning, can't you? I almost envy you.

    Take care,
    Pontus

  21. #21
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Re: Chasing

    Just as polishing a roofing tile will not make a mirror
    Sitting zazen will not a buddha make
    We sit without destination
    Without knowing where to go
    We sit
    Great faith, great doubt

    Thank you all for this post, and the opportunity to consider the goalless practice....

    Gassho,
    Yugen

  22. #22
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Chasing

    Goals are not a source of dukka in themselves, as has been aptly explained. Rather, it is how we relate to goals. To chase after them, meaning being ignorant and separate from them, is not so good. To be still with goals, meaning being mindful and diligent in our approach to them, is being on the Path. Still, you need to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.

  23. #23

    Chasing

    Yes, agreed. Chasing, but the way the river chases the sea. And not chasing our own tail in a daydream of suffering.

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