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Thread: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: WHO OWNS THE KOANS?

  1. #51

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: WHO OWNS THE KOANS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi

    In Shikantaza, I find it more difficult to put the finger on what the focus point is if there is one. I'd like to say it's just open awareness of everything at once as one, but that is not often true, especially not when first sitting down on the Zafu. Instead, I consciously have to focus on the body, my crossed leg posture, letting the spine grow upwards, outwards, going through all muscles, relaxing them, releasing all tension, finding stability. Then, when I can trust the body to do its own thing, I sort of do the same with the mind, studying its contents, consciously watching thoughts and emotions arise and drift away, letting the search light steady itself and the wild monkey swinging from tree to tree calm down. If and when the mind settles down and I can leave it also to do it's own thing, then there can be open awareness without so much focus on the body and mind, without identifying so much with the body and mind. And here I feel Shikantaza begins. From here, there is the chance of dropping body and mind completely. It may happen and it may not and it's not something to look for. This is my current interpretation of Shikantaza. If it is way off, please correct me so no one is mislead.
    Hi,

    I would just like to drop a few words here about the strange doing-non-doing nature of our practice.

    What you describe is lovely, if ... hand-in-hand ... one simultaneously drops all thought or need for having to "find stability" "relax and relieve tension" "letting things steady themselves" "achieving open awareness" "dropping body-mind" and the like. Why?

    Hard to explain in the mad-sane practice of Shikantaza, but perhaps it is because the True Stability is something that swallows both the stable and unstable, True Peace is both peace and war. It is the small self which demands that one "relax" and "drop the small self" ... so, if one truly wants to "drop the small self, drop body-mind" one must (paradoxically) drop to the marrow any chasing after the need to "drop the small self, drop body-mind"! :shock:

    Perhaps a bit like walking a tightrope by ... giving up all effort and thought of trying to walk a tightrope, how far the ground is, how thin the rope, how near death, or any desire to cross ... just walking the tightrope!



    Don't think "I can only walk the tightrope when things are still and the wind stops blowing". Far from it, the true master walks the rope however the wind is blowing, and from whatever direction ... taking everything as it comes. That is true balance! True Sitting Zazen without need to sit zazen on a quiet, windless day.

    If one looks to find the Self by searching for the Self, it is much like one's nose searching outside for the nose! Trying to make the Zazen experience into "open spacious awareness" or what you think "open spacious awareness" should feel like ... trying to change the way things are ... actually brings one more distant from how things are, and "open spacious awareness". Nonetheless, we sit in "open spacious awareness" as you describe.

    This Practice is Wonderfully Strange like that!

    And, yes, this is a Koan!

    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #52

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: WHO OWNS THE KOANS?

    This "Beginners" talk is connected to the above ...

    viewtopic.php?f=20&t=2918&p=41799#p41799

  3. #53
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: WHO OWNS THE KOANS?

    Thanks everyone for a wonderful preface to koan practice. Like Chris said it's amazing what happens when you miss a few days!

  4. #54

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: WHO OWNS THE KOANS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    What you describe is lovely, if ... hand-in-hand ... one simultaneously drops all thought or need for having to "find stability" "relax and relieve tension" "letting things steady themselves" "achieving open awareness" "dropping body-mind" and the like. Why?

    Hard to explain in the mad-sane practice of Shikantaza, but perhaps it is because the True Stability is something that swallows both the stable and unstable, True Peace is both peace and war. It is the small self which demands that one "relax" and "drop the small self" ... so, if one truly wants to "drop the small self, drop body-mind" one must (paradoxically) drop to the marrow any chasing after the need to "drop the small self, drop body-mind"! :shock:

    Perhaps a bit like walking a tightrope by ... giving up all effort and thought of trying to walk a tightrope, how far the ground is, how thin the rope, how near death, or any desire to cross ... just walking the tightrope!

    Don't think "I can only walk the tightrope when things are still and the wind stops blowing". Far from it, the true master walks the rope however the wind is blowing, and from whatever direction ... taking everything as it comes. That is true balance! True Sitting Zazen without need to sit zazen on a quiet, windless day.

    If one looks to find the Self by searching for the Self, it is much like one's nose searching outside for the nose! Trying to make the Zazen experience into "open spacious awareness" or what you think "open spacious awareness" should feel like ... trying to change the way things are ... actually brings one more distant from how things are, and "open spacious awareness". Nonetheless, we sit in "open spacious awareness" as you describe.

    This Practice is Wonderfully Strange like that!

    And, yes, this is a Koan!
    Thank you Rev Jundo, wonderful!
    Shikantaza is a great Koan indeed!

    What I tried to describe in the post above I view as preparation for Shikantaza, before dropping thoughts and needs and just sitting. Just like folding the legs into the crossed legged sitting position in a certain manner, swaying from side to side to find the center of gravity and other such habits. Some people follow their breath or concentrate on their posture, as a means to dropping thoughts and needs. Sometimes, when feeling centered, balanced, I go through the process fast, almost unconsciously. Sometimes, when the mind is more chaotic, it takes a little longer, a little more attention. But maybe it's an unnecessary habit, that stems from an unconscious need to achieve..? After reading your post I'm thinking that maybe I should go straight for Shikantaza more often. As you say, in true stability there can be both stable and unstable. But when unbalanced in body and mind, dropping thoughts and needs doesn't come as naturally, and without dropping thoughts and needs, it is not Shikantaza... And when the wild monkey is jumping from tree to tree, there is also the risk of the dualistic mind turning the dropping of thoughts and the need to achieve into a need to achieve the dropping of thoughts and needs! :shock: :shock:

    Most times it's the small self that sits down on the Zafu, the faith in the big self deeply asleep. "OK, I have half an hour of free time, I need to hurry up and sit now, because Rev Jundo and Taigu say we should sit every day!" :lol: :wink:

    Dogen says in Fukanzazengi: "Think about this concrete state beyond thinking . How can the state beyond thinking be thought about? It is different from thinking. This is just the pivot of zazen." Small mind says: Thanks Zen Master Dogen, for the clear instruction! :roll: :lol:

    So how do we drop all thoughts, drop the need to do things right? I suspect that with continuing practice, we do Zazen so naturally that it becomes second nature (true nature!). Just as a master painter does not think about what he is doing, just letting the painting paint itself, when we slowly "master" the practice of Shikantaza (without feeling good about our practice!), the Shikantaza does itself, without thoughts or needs. I also believe we need to do what we can to live our lives in a balanced way. Then big mind may come more naturally. And with big mind, Shikantaza comes naturally, and with true Shikantaza, we may more easily find true balance in our life and practice, which will help big mind manifest, which will in the end save all sentient beings.

    Sorry for rambling once again.

    /Pontus

  5. #55

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: WHO OWNS THE KOANS?

    It seems I am not the only Soto teacher finger wagging at James Ford and Dosho on their Koan post ... our old friend Nonin and some others did some finger wagging as well:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wildfoxzen ... mment-3243

    Gassho, J

  6. #56

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: WHO OWNS THE KOANS?

    I had read Dosho's blog earlier today...but just reread the comments and had a good laugh at Nonin's comment...and Dosho's response.

    Gassho

    Shawn

  7. #57

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: WHO OWNS THE KOANS?

    PS - I just added this comment to Dosho too ...

    Hi,

    Oh, Dosho. Dosho wrote:

    In koan introspection, face-to-face presentation of the koan point, the truth happening point, is the point. …

    Now from the depths of your Pure Shikantaza you might well have seen through the koan but without the presentation of the koan in face-to-face meeting, who’s to know? Who’s to verify?


    In my view, when a student really really really REALLY ‘grocks’ a koan, it is not simply a matter of a moment’s phrase (or silence) in a room, a gesture, a shout, a facial expression, some wise written words … though it may be any and all of that. I salute anyone who wishes to express the Koans and their understanding this way … but I am really not so interested in a moment’s interaction in a small room (no matter how much it expresses what is beyond time or place or dimension).

    Rather, in my viewless view, what is much more vital (I am sure for you too, Dosho) is the “total” package of how the person seems to be applying, internalizing, externalizing and no-inside-outside-izing the Wisdom and Compassion of the Koan (and all Buddhist Teachings) where the “rubber meets the road” of their day to day life. If they “grocked” it … it is obvious they “grocked” it … through their words and actions.

    When the student understands the teacher (usually) knows … and moreover, when the student understands the student knows. Really really REALLY knows …beyond all thought of teacher vs. student. How does the teacher know? Much as a doctor just knows when his patient is healing and feeling right just by observing the student’s attitude to life, vigorous actions and healthy complexion (no blood test in Zen, I am afraid, but the doctor nonetheless knows what’s in the marrow). How does the student know? Much as a patient knows when he is cured of illness and returned to health, his fever broken. One knows.

    It is not a matter of the ways, methods and interpretations of any one school or lineage within a school.

    Gassho, Jundo

  8. #58

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: WHO OWNS THE KOANS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi

    Dogen says in Fukanzazengi: "Think about this concrete state beyond thinking . How can the state beyond thinking be thought about? It is different from thinking. This is just the pivot of zazen." Small mind says: Thanks Zen Master Dogen, for the clear instruction! :roll: :lol:
    "It is different from thinking"

    Other translations put IT this way ...

    Think not-thinking. How do you think not-thinking? Non-thinking. This in itself is the essential art of zazen

    Another has ...

    Think beyond thinking and unthinking.

    Dogen was referencing a famous Koan here ...

    Once, when the Great Master Hongdao of Yueshan was sitting [in Zazen], a monk asked him, "What are you thinking of (shiryô), [sitting there] so fixedly (gotsugotsuchi)?" The master answered, "I'm thinking of not thinking (fu shiryô tei)." The monk asked, "How do you think of not thinking?" The Master answered, "Nonthinking (hi shiryô)."
    Notice the difference between "fushiryo" (not thinking), "shiryo" (thinking) and something between-and-beyond that called "hishiryo" (non-thinking).

    And what is "non-thinking"?

    Frankly, IT's what 'Ol Jundo goes on and on and on about here, day in and day out, until my face turns as blue as the sky! Here is one I stumbled on yesterday while housekeeping at the "beginner's" series ...

    The clouds of thought and the clear blue are not two, are simultaneously functioning and whole … a single sky. This is our way in ‘Just Sitting’ Shikantaza Zazen. When you see the clouds, be as if you are thereby seeing the clouds as blue. When you see the blue, you may also see the blue as clouds. In fact, as you advance in this practice, you will find that the blue sky illuminates, shines through the clouds … is the enlightening lightness of the clouds themselves ... and we can come to experience both together… both thoughts and silence… as one.

    Master Dogen called that “thinking not thinking,” or “non-thinking.”

    viewtopic.php?f=20&t=2920
    and

    In doing so, a surprising thing happens …

    Though we do not reject our thoughts and emotions, do not try to change them, suppress them, judge them or push them away… “bad” thoughts will change, will be experienced quite differently, and sometimes fully drop away. To illustrate this process, I will talk about sitting with three common thoughts and emotions that may fill our heads during Zazen or at any moment of life: anger at someone, greed for something, and fear about the future.

    viewtopic.php?f=20&t=2918
    Gassho, J

    PS - I was recently reading a a history of Early Chan by the late John McRae. This "sky and clouds" analogy was one of the most popular analogies to describe Zazen among the early Chan teachers and in Mahayana Buddhism 1500 years ago. There was a tendency, though, for early teachers (even many modern teachers) to emphasize "clearing completely away all the clouds of thought and delusion" to experience in Zazen or other meditation only the pure, boundless, light, open, blue sky alone as "Enlightenment". The genius of Dogen (but not only him, because it is also found throughout Zen and the Mahayana) was the insight that one does not need to fully clear away the clouds, but rather, one can know the boundless, pure, light, open, blue sky that shines behind, between, right through-and-through and is the clouds themselves, thus changing the way the clouds are perceived (the clouds too become somehow changed or cleared ... boundless, pure, light, open even in their cloudiness and rain ... sometimes fully cleared away too ... ) ...

    ... and the Sky is Whole.

  9. #59
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: WHO OWNS THE KOANS?

    I'd comment on Dosho Port's views on this one........but he only lives a few miles from me :shock:
    Not to mention that he's a really big guy! :lol:

    Gassho,
    John

  10. #60
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: WHO OWNS THE KOANS?

    But does he know where you live? :lol:

  11. #61

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: WHO OWNS THE KOANS?

    Hi.

    Taigen Dan Leighton talks about koans in this dharma talk, well worth a listen.
    http://audio.ancientdragon.org/20110828 ... _berra.mp3

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

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