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Thread: New Wanting to be Buddhist

  1. #1
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    New Wanting to be Buddhist

    I loved Sleeps original post about "Wanting to be a Buddhist" and am a bit sorry I didn't get to respond in time, because at this time he's retreated from posting, which is a serious concern, and by all means he is most welcome to join into what he has started. But in the mean time, I feel it important to continue in the spirit he started as best I can, which will in no way equal his intensions or intensity, so please accept this weak attempt.

    My impressions were not with the content of what he said, but rather the various motivations that brought him here. We've all been at various states of despair. It's never about those points of despair, and this is SO VERY hard to learn. The dharma teaches us that it's always about the emptiness of that despair, but it took me minutes here to even remember to type that answer. It's so obvious, yet not.

    My history is well-documented here if you look. By telling my HELLS I am finding my Buddha, present tense! And what I am learning is that the HELLS do not go away; I just learn to live with them better. And as I I hope I've pointed out, it hurts like HELL to reveal yourself, a HELL beyond words, a HELL beyond the original experience of HELL. To live it is one Hell, but to reveal it unearths a deeper HELL... gotta pause here.

    Sleep well, Sleeps. Come back and share when you are ready.
    We can't fix you; we can just listen.
    You, the buddha within you, can fix you, and maybe we can help you find him/you.

  2. #2
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Gassho.

  3. #3

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Hi folks!

    Thank you Alan for your post!
    I couldn't even read the original message Greg wrote... but he deleted so much things I just hope he is Ok!

    deep gassho,
    Jinyu

  4. #4
    Senior Member Koshin's Avatar
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    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    True indeed Alan....Gassho

  5. #5

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    My history is well-documented here if you look. By telling my HELLS I am finding my Buddha, present tense! And what I am learning is that the HELLS do not go away; I just learn to live with them better. And as I I hope I've pointed out, it hurts like HELL to reveal yourself, a HELL beyond words, a HELL beyond the original experience of HELL. To live it is one Hell, but to reveal it unearths a deeper HELL... gotta pause here.

    Sleep well, Sleeps. Come back and share when you are ready.
    We can't fix you; we can just listen.
    You, the buddha within you, can fix you, and maybe we can help you find him/you.
    Alan, thank you for your courage and inspiration and the truth.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Thanks Jigen. I too didn't get the chance to post this thought I had in response to what was going on over in the original post.

    Life sucks(and is simotaniously beautiful!) and everyone has problems!! Perhaps a healthy start is to not have a problem with having problems?

    Gassho,
    Hoyu

  7. #7
    Senior Member Marek's Avatar
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    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Thank you Alan for this post.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    We can't fix you; we can just listen.
    You, the buddha within you, can fix you, and maybe we can help you find him/you.
    _/_

  8. #8

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    You are right Alan. our hells dont fade away! but we do learn how to live with them. after reading the stories of many people here i must admit that my own experience is not so bad. but i did go through some shit that made me scared in certain areas. but with time through this practice (or not i can not say, although i would like to think its this practice) i have learned to live with my horrors, scars and hells. they do not hold much sway over me anymore. i have found new problems, new behaviors i need to correct. and in many cases i slip and fall on my face! but i just get up and keep trying. and im very thankful to my wife for accepting me and tolerating me when i lose my temper and fight with her. its the next thing i must work on not indulging in anger.
    but in the end it is only life and we are only human. we must know how to forgive others but also how to forgive ourselves.

    Gassho, Dojin.

  9. #9
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    The point I was trying to make at the start here (and may have done so rather poorly) was that it is really hard to write a post like Sleep's original thread, at least it is for me. When I do it, I may start with the idea that I am going to shed some demons by doing so, but what I find is that it just stirs up those demons instead. The result is that what started out as tough and scary gets tougher and scarier before it eventually settles down into something more manageable. I don't know if this is what happened to Sleeps or not. But if it is, then I get it, and he'll be back when things settle for him a bit. I hope.

    Edit: Of course I could be completely and totally wrong about about what was going on with Sleeps and his post, and this could all be self-indulgent presumption and projection. Right or wrong, pay it no mind.

  10. #10
    Senior Member murasaki's Avatar
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    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    I have heard various forms of the view that things like despair and pain are what bring us to various spiritual systems and practices (the choice depends on our circumstances and other things), and that it's a natural instinct for humans to do that, almost like a need.

    Nevertheless it's true that in Zen "It's not about that" as you said, Alan, and it really is jarring to learn that "you're not going to get the balance/peace/calm/relief you were looking for and now that you're here you'd better stop having that as a goal because we don't have goals here." It is hard to learn and quite unexpected because most other traditions take on the principal role of comforting and assuring...maybe that's why none of them worked for me, because it's all false comfort and after a while, you find there's almost no other point to it and you are back where you started.

    For me it was Chet that threw the cold water in my face about that, and he was a real hardass and it caused me to even leave Treeleaf for a while, but now I am grateful to him because I'm not sure what other way might have shown me. Well, there might have been and I would have preferred it happening differently, but that's how it went down and it's all good now.

    On the other hand, I heard a talk from Norman Fischer where he said that we all come to Zen looking for some kind of comfort, calm, peace of mind and whatnot, and even though that's not supplied by Zen what's important is that it brought us here so it's all fine in the end -- get here however, but just get here. That made me feel like I am not alone in having sought those things (and there's proof that it's a natural human instinct). So that's what kind of help me come back...I forgave myself for having a goal that isn't all that important and should be looked at as more of a "side effect" and that there are other way to address pain and despair. Not that I'm an expert at that now, but here/not here I am.


    Gasho
    Julia

  11. #11

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Hi Julia,

    I feel that what you say here is not really the Whole Picture ...

    Quote Originally Posted by murasaki
    Nevertheless it's true that in Zen "It's not about that" as you said, Alan, and it really is jarring to learn that "you're not going to get the balance/peace/calm/relief you were looking for and now that you're here you'd better stop having that as a goal because we don't have goals here."

    ...

    ... I heard a talk from Norman Fischer where he said that we all come to Zen looking for some kind of comfort, calm, peace of mind and whatnot, and even though that's not supplied by Zen what's important is that it brought us here so it's all fine in the end ...
    Well, that's right. Zen will not provide perpetual balance/peace/calm/relief because this life and world are sometimes hard, terrible ... chaotic, unbalanced, unsatisfying, violent, ugly. It is the the turbulent circumstance outside us and our disturbed inner reaction (so intimately connected that there really is no "inner" apart from "outer"). Zen practice will not change any of that. Like the old country song, "I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden." 8)

    Now, that being said ... we sit in such stillness amid the turmoil, "going with the flowing" at the eye of the storm, allowing at the heart of the 'unsatisfying', wholeness in a world of a million broken pieces .... without goals and demands amid a demanding, hussle-bussle life ... experiencing 'hells' as dreams though painful and burning hot ...

    ... that there is found a Timeless Balance/Peace/Calm/Relief that is the Heart of Lived-Practice.

    One must see the Beauty and Balance of the Whole Rose Garden, complete with both blossoms and thorns, flowers and weeds, sunshine and rain.

    Gassho, J

    I could promise you the moon ...

    [youtube] [/youtube]

  12. #12

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    For Me Zen was an escape at first. it was a way to overcome my own problems. to find that peace of mind and direction in life. at first it worked perfectly, i was happy calm and lived my life feeling that i have finally found some peace of mind and serenity. i was young and inexperienced then, but as i grew older and had to face life's challenges it became increasingly hard to keep the peace. there were a lot of things that happened i wont go in to details because each and everyone has had experiences of things like that, it is inevitable. with time i became stressed and confused, how is it that life is so hard even with my zen practice?! i should be calm and happy like a hindu cow! people expected me to be like that since it was their own mental idea of what a buddhists and zen practitioner should be... i was really lost but kept sitting felt it did no good at all, no harm either but not much good came of it. with time though i understood 1 simple thing. zen will not make me happy, peaceful, calm, at one, at two, or even at three with anything. and it is ALL RIGHT!!! with that realization i finally understood that all the words and preconceptions are meaningless. i can live with whatever happens and feel the way it is natural for me to feel. and i might hate it, want to run away from it, wish with all my heart that it wasnt so. but i could not change it. i can just let it be and live my life as best i can, not doing harm as much i can and being a good person. all the while knowing i will fail miserably! and when i do just get back up and keep on living and trying.

    sorry for the long rant, i think it was part of a realization that i had this realization during the writing.

    Gassho, Dojin (deep bows to all).

  13. #13
    Senior Member murasaki's Avatar
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    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    One must see the Beauty and Balance of the Whole Rose Garden, complete with both blossoms and thorns, flowers and weeds, sunshine and rain.
    Good to point that out...acceptance is something I am not terribly adept with yet. (But I guess that's ok! :lol: )

    By the way, I swear I remember seeing that original broadcast when I was a tiny tot playing in the living room while grandparents watched TV, it's funny you posted that and surprising my brain can still dig that deep :shock:

  14. #14

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by murasaki
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    One must see the Beauty and Balance of the Whole Rose Garden, complete with both blossoms and thorns, flowers and weeds, sunshine and rain.
    Good to point that out...acceptance is something I am not terribly adept with yet. (But I guess that's ok! :lol: )
    Today's Sit-a-Long is connected to all this. It is called, "WHAT's NEXT?" ....

    Almost each week, someone asks me, "What comes next in my practice? How do I deepen it? What should I do now? What book should I read with all the secrets? I feel like something is still missing and that I must do more."

    But how can I respond to such a question when the very heart of this Path is learning to live and be this life radically FREE OF THE NEED FOR 'WHAT'S NEXT, LIBERATED OF SOMETHING MORE THAT NEED BE DONE, FULFILLED OF 'ANYTHING MISSING'!

    ....

    And, though there is "nothing ever missing or in need of adding and doing" ... that does not mean that there are not things to lose, gain or do! Learning to be free of the "need for change" is a REVOLUTIONARY CHANGE ... a change helped along by things we need to do and change, such as learning to be less driven by GREED, ANGER and IGNORANCE! In this crazy-sane practice, we master how to live 'without need for change' by changing some things about us ... including the view that anything is ever in need of change ... thus bringing about an EARTHSHAKING CHANGE in how life is encountered! Oh, a CRAZY-SANE CATCH-22!

    However, the fundamental Heart of this Path must remain learning to be so intimately At Home, At One with life ... that there is no need for "what's next" ... no hole to fill as "something missing". Our way to do so is simply to sit Shikantaza, dropping all thought and desire for "what's next" ... all while welcoming and embracing whatever comes next.

    more here ...

    viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4745&p=70989#p70989

    Gassho, J

  15. #15

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    You'd be surprised how much crap suddenly disappears. Poof. Nothing like a balanced posture, and questioning "What is it?"

    Most of the time, when I am angry, impulsive, ranting, going on and on, my posture is crap, my eyes are focused, tense and so on. Causing back pain, neck pain and so on. Zazen is open, dropping likes and dislikes. It's not what you think it is. Study the self, drink water, and maintain your posture. Not much to say. We all have our little issues.

    What is it that comes thus?

    Gassho

    W

  16. #16

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    You'd be surprised how much crap suddenly disappears
    So true!

    But, If i may share something... ZEN AND ZAZEN IS NOT A PSYCHO THERAPY! :evil:
    It is something I knew intellectual but human beings being what they are I kept acting like it was the case ... but when something really happens in your life... sometimes you need help from others (a friend, a familiar or a specialist)...

    thanks to Taigu's help, a true slap-in-the-face to my "proudy EGO", as usual with him :lol: , I understood that I was sometimes acting like I didn't need anything ... being so proud of practicing Zazen/Buddhism/Zen, practicing "instant true realization" :? ... But Zazen is Zazen, our lifes are our lifes, and our lifes are also Zazen... tricky hey!? :roll:

    Anyway, I'm not very clear saying this, but we must take care and not be afraid of saying it when we need help! The scriptures, the practice, the Sangha are of a wonderfull help but we must share our needs with the right people at the right time... and sometimes these people are therapists, specialists, doctors...

    Sorry for this, a bit of the subject, message, :lol:

    Have a very nice day everyone!
    deep gassho,
    Jinyu

  17. #17

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Jinyu wrote

    'But, If i may share something... ZEN AND ZAZEN IS NOT A PSYCHO THERAPY!
    It is something I knew intellectual but human beings being what they are I kept acting like it was the case ... but when something really happens in your life... sometimes you need help from others (a friend, a familiar or a specialist)...

    Jinyu - I trained/worked as a psychotherapist. I so agree with what you say. There are big overlaps between buddhism/psychotherapy and the number of buddhist psychotherapists in on the increase. I do feel that is a productive combination - but there are major differences of emphasis between buddism and psychotherapy.

    However - the mixing of ideas is fertile ground - will be interesting to see how it all develops.

    Gassho

    Willow

  18. #18

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Hello. I am new to the TreeLeaf and Buddhism, but I am trying to steadily make my way through the forums by reading a thread a day. This happened to be the one I read today, and I want to share my uniformed perspective as part of my effort to actively participate in the sangha.

    I feel compassion for Sleeps, though I have never met or read his words, but it is tempered with a sense of objectivity. When I hear of people suffering, or in this particular case of an individual in distress, I do automatically have a desire to help or rescue. However, this is where my intellect and emotions are shaped by my experience. I was a first responder for years, and I learned to always evaluate situations before rushing in. When someone is suffering or in trouble, it is of no help to them if others rush to their aid only to be pulled down with them.

    For me and my life's struggles and pain, Buddhism helps me to find the strength and knowledge to look at it without sugar coating. I am learning to stop always wishing things were different or assuming that to be without pain is somehow better. My practice is helping me to accept what is. It is helping me to accept the truth of all situations without conditions, expectations or stipulations.

    To me, wanting to be Buddhist means wanting to posses the contentment that is most frequently associated with masters. For other religions, even other traditions of Buddhism, there is the promise of Nirvana or reward. From my beginner's mind, I believe Zen teaches that the reward is in recognizing and accepting the truths of life: sometimes it is beautiful and sometimes it hurts, but if it is authentic truth then it is always perfect. Life is not about alleviating our pain or the suffering of others. It's not about making the world into what we believe to be a utopia. It's not about fixing things. It just is. We do what we can, but in the grand scheme of things we really are no more than one set of butterfly wings flapping in a hurricane.

    I hope I have not overstepped my bounds here with my input, as I am brand new to TreeLeaf and am still learning the etiquette. Thank you for reading what I had to say and I hope it was received in the way it was intended.

  19. #19

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Lou Welcome to Treeleaf.
    your words are always accepted here. over the year i have found the people in treeleaf to be warmhearted and not judgmental. i hope you find your place here too.

    Gassho, Dojin.

  20. #20

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Thank you Lou - and welcome.

    Gassho

    Willow

  21. #21
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Lou,
    Your words are very appropriate and from your experience. I appreciate them. Welcome, and I look forward to practicing with you.

    Gassho,
    Yugen

  22. #22

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoyu
    Thanks Jigen. I too didn't get the chance to post this thought I had in response to what was going on over in the original post.

    Life sucks(and is simotaniously beautiful!) and everyone has problems!! Perhaps a healthy start is to not have a problem with having problems?

    Gassho,
    Hoyu
    Interesting you brought that up.. I've been reading a book by Steven Hagen Buddhism: Plain and Simple. And one of the points is just that. This is a wonderful, wonderful book!

    From pgs 16-17

    There is an old story about a man whoe came to see the Buddha because he had heard that the Buddha was a great teacher. Like all of us, he had some problems in his life, and he thought the Buddha might be able to help him straighten them out.

    He told the Buddha he was a farmer. "I like farming." he said, "but sometimes it doesn't rain enough, and my crops fail. Last year we nearly starved. And sometimes it rains too much, so my yields aren't what I'd like them to be."

    The Buddha patiently listened to the man.

    "I'm married, too," said the man. "She's a good wife... I love her, in fact. But sometimes she nags me too much. And sometimes Iget tired of her."

    The Buddha listened quietly.

    "I have kids," said the man. "Good kids, too... but sometimes they don't show me enough respect. And sometimes..."

    The man went on like this, laying out all his difficulties and worries. Finally he wound down and waited for the Buddha to say the words that would put everything right for him.

    Instead the Buddha said, "I can't help you."

    "What do you mean?" said the astonished man.

    "Everybody's got problems," said the Buddha. "In fact, we've all got eighty-three problems, each one of us. Eighty-three problems, and there's nothing you can do about it. If you work really hard on one of them, maybe you can fix it-- but if you do, another one will pop right into its place. For example, you're going lose your loved ones eventually. And you're going to die some day. Now there's a problem, and there's nothing you, or I, or anyone else can do about it."

    The man became furious. "I thought you were a great teacher!" he shouted. "I thought you could help me! What good is your teaching, then?"

    The Buddha said, "Well, maybe it will help you with the eighty-fourth problem."

    "The eighty-fourth problem?" said the man. "What's the eighty-fourth problem?"

    Said the Buddha, "You want to not have any problems."
    Gassho,

    Risho

  23. #23

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by mr.Lou
    Hello. I am new to the TreeLeaf and Buddhism, but I am trying to steadily make my way through the forums by reading a thread a day. This happened to be the one I read today, and I want to share my uniformed perspective as part of my effort to actively participate in the sangha.
    Welcome again, Lou.

    Better than a random "thread a day", be sure to work through the Beginner's Zazen Series ...

    viewforum.php?f=20

    Some other threads on "Basic Buddhism" in a nutshell ...

    viewforum.php?f=21

    Some pointers on Shikantaza ...

    viewforum.php?f=23

    And perhaps read some of the books suggested for Beginners with ** on this list ...

    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=889

    Perhaps also look at some other suggested Practices we encourage such as Metta, Nurturing Seeds and At Home Liturgy ... but only if they speak to your heart ...

    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3308
    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1199
    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1730

    ... and then, very carefully, pick threads here that are on themes which respond to questions you may have about your Zazen Practice. No need to read EVERYTHING! :shock:

    Also, feel free to jump into a conversation ... or start a thread ... at any time if something is unclear.

    We are now reorganizing and planning a redesign of Treeleaf, and hopefully in the future it will be easier for new folks to "find stuff".

    And speaking of new folks ... and "Beginner's Mind" ... it sometimes takes folks ages to realize just what you have already spoken here.

    ... I am learning to stop always wishing things were different or assuming that to be without pain is somehow better. My practice is helping me to accept what is. It is helping me to accept the truth of all situations without conditions, expectations or stipulations. ...

    From my beginner's mind, I believe Zen teaches that the reward is in recognizing and accepting the truths of life: sometimes it is beautiful and sometimes it hurts, but if it is authentic truth then it is always perfect. Life is not about alleviating our pain or the suffering of others. It's not about making the world into what we believe to be a utopia. It's not about fixing things. It just is.
    Yes. All Sacred too, each a Jewel of endless facets in its way ... even if hard for the eye to see. Beginners Mind.

    Now, just carve that into your heart and bones by Sitting, Practicing all through life.

    Gassho, Jundo

  24. #24
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Thanks for sharing this story Risho

    Just a little something interesting to note.
    Steven Hagen lives and teaches here in Minnesota at "Dharma Field Medidation and Learning Center". Though I haven't read any of his work, or met him, I do listen to the Dharma Field podcast.

    Gassho,
    Hoyu

  25. #25

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by mr.Lou
    Life is not about alleviating our pain or the suffering of others. It's not about making the world into what we believe to be a utopia. It's not about fixing things. It just is. We do what we can, but in the grand scheme of things we really are no more than one set of butterfly wings flapping in a hurricane.
    Hello Lou and welcome!

    Thank you very much for your post!

    While in the absolute sense of reality there may be no suffering to be alleviated, no world in need of change, nothing to be fixed, that may not be the whole truth. It may also be true that in the conventional, relative, samsaric reality, there are a lot of things that can and should be fixed. In Mahayana buddhism, a Bodhisattva vows to save all sentient beings. I think this vow, this mind-set, is very important to our practice. Our original mind, the Bodhi mind, is compassionate. When we are not so ego-centered, we see the suffering of others and we want to alleviate it. There is no real contradiction between accepting that right here, right now, the world is just the way it is, and trying our best to do good and avoid doing harm. In a strange way, when we see all problems for what they are, there is no problem. When we see suffering for what it is, there is no suffering. Or rather, the problems and the suffering don't disappear, but the perception of them is transformed. In the midst of the problems and suffering in the world, we become free from problems and suffering. And while the butterfly and the hurricane are not one, they are not two either. They are intimately interconnected, interdependant. When we do what we can, I believe it does matters in the grand scheme of things, since in a sense, we are the grand scheme of things! :lol:

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  26. #26

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Pontus,
    Great post,
    With gratitude,
    Gary

  27. #27

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    It is wonderful to see so much discussion on my first post. One correction I need to make is that I used the term "uniformed perspective" in the first part of my previous post, but that is a typo. I meant to write "uninformed perspective". I realize those may have significantly different connotations in this sort of written-word-oriented environment. Sorry for the error.

    Thank you Jundo for the guidance. I am making my way through the "zazen for beginners" thread and I have ordered one of Loori's books to help with weaving my life and my practice together into one fabric. In addition, I have been reading the threads randomly because all zen discussion appeals to me. I don't have the opportunity to talk to any other Buddhists from the Soto tradition outside this sangha, and so I am like a kid in a candy store here. I think the Treeleaf website is very accessible as it is, but if you say the revised one will be better than I look forward to seeing it.

    Pontus highlighted the practice of the Bodhisattvas from the Mahayana tradition and their commitment to reincarnation till all sentient beings can be directed to enlightenment. I initially believed that their actions were of the highest compassion, but my conversations with several Buddhist monks in Nepal gave me a different perspective.

    When a Bodhisattva "sews up his tent" and prepares for reincarnation, he must tell his followers how they will recognize him when he returns. The signs they choose to leave as markers can be literal signs like "I'm going to swallow this stone and when I am dead you look for the boy that has this stone in his belly," or implied signs like "This is my favorite song so look for a boy that loves this song." My point is that once the Bodhisattva dies, their disciples set out to find their reincarnated self, like how the 14th Dalai Lama was sought out based on visions the monks had received which directed them to the location of his reincarnated body. He was two years old when he was discovered and transferred to the monastery. For his entire life, he has been told that he chose to return to help all of humanity, but at no point in his life did he ever really choose. He has been taught that this is who he is, so that is who he is.

    The pledge of the Bodhisattva to return is a self-fulfilling statement that I think is begot not by intention but by training. The idea of the Bodhisattva may seem very compassionate, but I think the actual incarnation of a Bodhisattva contains no free-will of compassion. This is not to say that they are not caring and compassionate people, but the single most compassionate action that they are famed for doing is really just something they have been trained to accept since they were children. There is no choice for them. No Bodhisattva can declare that he is done being compassionate and wishes to go to Nirvana. To me, that is not the same level of acceptance of what is as I was implying earlier. Even the Bodhisattvas are powerless to change their direction in the winds of the world, so they too do only what they can and accepts the rest as it is.

    Please do not misinterpret what my point is here. I am not advocating some form of nihilism or saying that we should not exercise compassion when we see suffering. What I am saying is that compassion must be tempered with situational awareness. Pontos said, "When we do what we can, I believe it does matter in the grand scheme of things since in a sense, we are the grand scheme of things!" I only disagree with this statement because I do not see that there is a grand scheme beyond the now of universal connectedness, like one giant all encompassing blanket. How can we commit compassionate acts for others without ego if we are all as one and therefore our actions are ultimately self serving?

  28. #28

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Lou, please consider that this reincarnation may be happening moment to moment without a complete change in body form. As far as bodhisattva action imho that is spontaneous and in the moment (as Pontus says) and hence without ego. So if you forget the self you will be a bodhisattva but you still have to practice because of past karma and habits.

  29. #29
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Not One, Not Two

    No Self and no Other is true

    There is a Self and anOther is true

    Form is emptiness, emptiness form is true

    Form is form, emptiness emptiness is true

    As Jundo likes to say: "Multiple perspectives/realities/channels all AT ONCE!"

    _/|_

  30. #30

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Hi again mr Lou!

    It's great to have you here with your experience from many different buddhist traditions!

    Quote Originally Posted by mr.Lou
    Please do not misinterpret what my point is here. I am not advocating some form of nihilism or saying that we should not exercise compassion when we see suffering. What I am saying is that compassion must be tempered with situational awareness.
    Yes, I agree.
    When ambulance personnel arrive at a car wreck, they don't just rush in and start saving lives. It's important to first survey the area and make sure it's safe to go in. Otherwise one or two casualties may become three or four. And this is not just thinking of your own safety for egotistic reasons, it's also a responsability towards the injured. If you get over-zealous and hurt yourself, there's one more patient to take care of and one less care giver.

    Quote Originally Posted by mr.Lou
    Pontos said, "When we do what we can, I believe it does matter in the grand scheme of things since in a sense, we are the grand scheme of things!" I only disagree with this statement because I do not see that there is a grand scheme beyond the now of universal connectedness, like one giant all encompassing blanket. How can we commit compassionate acts for others without ego if we are all as one and therefore our actions are ultimately self serving?
    Yes, the universal connectedness is the grand scheme of things in my view. (Inter-)dependant (co-)arising/origination. Without ego there is no clinging, aversion or delusion. This is Bodhi mind, Original mind, Beginner's mind, the mind of true compassion. In this mind, there's no need to try be compassionate. Clinging transforms into compassion, aversion into action and delusion into wisdom. In this mind, compassionate action is completely natural. But most of us don't walk around in this Bodhi mind 24/7, so we need to constantly remind ourselves. Precepts in my view is such a reminder in our practice. When we start breaking precepts, it's a reminder that we need to look inside and check what's going on, what's causing these actions that are most probably born out of the three poisons. Study the self to forget the self. But, at least for me, Zazen is the main reminder. When I don't sit, I find that I easily get lost and that the ego slowly takes over more and more. So I sit, and I am instantly reminded, instantly enlightened. This direct pointing is what I find so wonderful with Zen buddhist practice.

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  31. #31
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by Risho
    Quote Originally Posted by Hoyu
    Thanks Jigen. I too didn't get the chance to post this thought I had in response to what was going on over in the original post.

    Life sucks(and is simotaniously beautiful!) and everyone has problems!! Perhaps a healthy start is to not have a problem with having problems?

    Gassho,
    Hoyu
    Interesting you brought that up.. I've been reading a book by Steven Hagen Buddhism: Plain and Simple. And one of the points is just that. This is a wonderful, wonderful book!

    From pgs 16-17

    There is an old story about a man whoe came to see the Buddha because he had heard that the Buddha was a great teacher. Like all of us, he had some problems in his life, and he thought the Buddha might be able to help him straighten them out.

    He told the Buddha he was a farmer. "I like farming." he said, "but sometimes it doesn't rain enough, and my crops fail. Last year we nearly starved. And sometimes it rains too much, so my yields aren't what I'd like them to be."

    The Buddha patiently listened to the man.

    "I'm married, too," said the man. "She's a good wife... I love her, in fact. But sometimes she nags me too much. And sometimes Iget tired of her."

    The Buddha listened quietly.

    "I have kids," said the man. "Good kids, too... but sometimes they don't show me enough respect. And sometimes..."

    The man went on like this, laying out all his difficulties and worries. Finally he wound down and waited for the Buddha to say the words that would put everything right for him.

    Instead the Buddha said, "I can't help you."

    "What do you mean?" said the astonished man.

    "Everybody's got problems," said the Buddha. "In fact, we've all got eighty-three problems, each one of us. Eighty-three problems, and there's nothing you can do about it. If you work really hard on one of them, maybe you can fix it-- but if you do, another one will pop right into its place. For example, you're going lose your loved ones eventually. And you're going to die some day. Now there's a problem, and there's nothing you, or I, or anyone else can do about it."

    The man became furious. "I thought you were a great teacher!" he shouted. "I thought you could help me! What good is your teaching, then?"

    The Buddha said, "Well, maybe it will help you with the eighty-fourth problem."

    "The eighty-fourth problem?" said the man. "What's the eighty-fourth problem?"

    Said the Buddha, "You want to not have any problems."
    Gassho,

    Risho
    This is one my favorite parts of BPaS, Risho!


    Chet

  32. #32
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Lou,

    In 'Ending the Pursuit of Happiness' Barry Magid asks a question - if your practice was guaranteed to never advance, could you still practice without distress? This is the action of the Bodhisattva. He or she doesn't continue to 'save sentient beings' because he or she is bound by it but because, finally, there is no other real meaningful action. It's always just this.

    IMHO

    Chet

  33. #33

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Chet wrote

    This is one my favorite parts of BPaS, Risho!

    I love that story !

    Gassho

    Willow

  34. #34

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Yes, the universal connectedness is the grand scheme of things in my view. (Inter-)dependant (co-)arising/origination. Without ego there is no clinging, aversion or delusion. This is Bodhi mind, Original mind, Beginner's mind, the mind of true compassion. In this mind, there's no need to try be compassionate. Clinging transforms into compassion, aversion into action and delusion into wisdom. In this mind, compassionate action is completely natural. But most of us don't walk around in this Bodhi mind 24/7, so we need to constantly remind ourselves. Precepts in my view is such a reminder in our practice. When we start breaking precepts, it's a reminder that we need to look inside and check what's going on, what's causing these actions that are most probably born out of the three poisons. Study the self to forget the self. But, at least for me, Zazen is the main reminder. When I don't sit, I find that I easily get lost and that the ego slowly takes over more and more. So I sit, and I am instantly reminded, instantly enlightened. This direct pointing is what I find so wonderful with Zen buddhist practice.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    Pontus, Yes, I completely agree with your explanation here and I see we are in actual agreement on that point. Thank you for the clarification. I especially like how you highlighted that If we transform ourselves into compassionate beings then we do not have to focus on not acting with ego in pursuit of compassionate acts because it will become our natural tendency without the requirement of purposeful thought to commit compassionate acts.

    Through zazen, I feel myself recharged and recovered from the chaos of worry over my daily mental baggage, so I think I understand what you are referring to when you write about your daily practice serving as a reminder. However, here is a curious question that reading this led me to: By emptying our minds through thinking the thought of no-thought during zazen, we open up space for our natural consciousness to flourish. However, does this then imply that when all the distractions of thought are removed that we are all compassionate beings? Is it our true nature to be compassionate?

    P.S. What are the three poisons?

  35. #35

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Lou,

    In 'Ending the Pursuit of Happiness' Barry Magid asks a question - if your practice was guaranteed to never advance, could you still practice without distress? This is the action of the Bodhisattva. He or she doesn't continue to 'save sentient beings' because he or she is bound by it but because, finally, there is no other real meaningful action. It's always just this.

    IMHO

    Chet
    I disagree with Barry Magid's implication here that practice without goals never advances. To imply no advancement is to imply a stagnant position, which would imply that all who practice are unchanged by there practice. If we are unchanged, then what would be the point in practicing: it would mean we were already perfect before we started practicing and therefore needed no practice in the first place.

    The idea that a Bodhisattva's actions to help other sentient beings is the result of no other meaningful options for action seems to portray that path as a passive one, which is less likened to the self-sacrificing nature I first assumed was implied by the decision to... this brings a question to my mind: If there is no life, no death, no salvation, no damnation, nothing but the reality of the moment, then where is the self sacrifice or compassion in a Bodhisattva's actions? I don't understand this nature. Don't take this as in anyway reflective of a derogatory attitude toward Bodhisattvas or their vows, but I do not see how there can be self sacrifice when there is nothing being sacrificed. In other traditions their denial to enter Nirvana or escape the Samsara, until all beings can, shows evidence of putting the needs of others first. How is that comparable to the self sacrifice of continuing to be reincarnated in each moment as one progresses to the end of their life in this form?

  36. #36

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by mr.Lou
    I do not see how there can be self sacrifice when there is nothing being sacrificed.
    Don't get mired in emptiness... mountains are not mountains, but they are still mountains. Mr. Lou isn't Mr. Lou*, but he still has a birth certificate and street address, and can still give his time and energy to help others.

    *in that Mr. Lou does not exist without all the causes and conditions and interactions of other people that give rise to what we call "Mr. Lou"

  37. #37

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin
    Quote Originally Posted by mr.Lou
    I do not see how there can be self sacrifice when there is nothing being sacrificed.
    Don't get mired in emptiness... mountains are not mountains, but they are still mountains. Mr. Lou isn't Mr. Lou*, but he still has a birth certificate and street address, and can still give his time and energy to help others.

    *in that Mr. Lou does not exist without all the causes and conditions and interactions of other people that give rise to what we call "Mr. Lou"
    Thank you for that. You are absolutely correct. Intellectualizing is fun, but it definitely can work one into some stick spots. I appreciate the helpful hand getting back up from the mire.

  38. #38
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by mr.Lou
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Lou,

    In 'Ending the Pursuit of Happiness' Barry Magid asks a question - if your practice was guaranteed to never advance, could you still practice without distress? This is the action of the Bodhisattva. He or she doesn't continue to 'save sentient beings' because he or she is bound by it but because, finally, there is no other real meaningful action. It's always just this.

    IMHO

    Chet
    I disagree with Barry Magid's implication here that practice without goals never advances. To imply no advancement is to imply a stagnant position, which would imply that all who practice are unchanged by there practice. If we are unchanged, then what would be the point in practicing: it would mean we were already perfect before we started practicing and therefore needed no practice in the first place.
    You misunderstand the implication, or I have poorly explained it. It isn't that one's practice never 'advances' (Although really, what does that mean? How is it judged?), it's that one must come to the cushion with the attitude of acceptance and without what he calls a 'secret practice'.

    Chet

  39. #39

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Learning, to the marrow, that there is no place to advance and no one to advance ... is a GREAT ADVANCE!

    Merely because there is nothing lacking, and nothing about you in need of change THAT DOES NOT MEAN that there is nothing about you lacking and in need of change! :shock:

    The Practice will change us in countless ways, as we advance down the Pathless Path.

    May I point folks to Sit-a-Long with Jundo: Zazen for Beginners (Part XIV) ...

    viewtopic.php?p=41795#p41795

    Gassho, J

  40. #40

    New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by mr.Lou
    However, here is a curious question that reading this led me to: By emptying our minds through thinking the thought of no-thought during zazen, we open up space for our natural consciousness to flourish. However, does this then imply that when all the distractions of thought are removed that we are all compassionate beings? Is it our true nature to be compassionate?

    P.S. What are the three poisons?
    It depends on what we mean by compassion. It can be an act of kindness, the effort to do good and no harm. Nothing wrong with that but it's often ego driven. True compassion is something else in my view. True compassion is the natural result of being aware of true nature. When we see clearly, there's no longer any self to put above anything else, no delusion, no need to do harm. Saving all sentient beings becomes completely natural, because there's no separation between you and all sentient beings. So to me, true compassion is the effortless expression of enlightenment. No trying, no effort, no direction, no expectation, no evaluation, no discrimination, no premeditation, just the natural functioning of Bodhi mind fully awakened. From this point of view, yes, I believe our nature is compassionate.

    To me, compassion is the core of Zen buddhist practice.

    Gassho,
    Pontus

    PS. Sorry, the three poisons are greed/craving, hate/anger/aversion and ignorance/delusion. DS.

  41. #41
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: New Wanting to be Buddhist

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    Quote Originally Posted by mr.Lou
    However, here is a curious question that reading this led me to: By emptying our minds through thinking the thought of no-thought during zazen, we open up space for our natural consciousness to flourish. However, does this then imply that when all the distractions of thought are removed that we are all compassionate beings? Is it our true nature to be compassionate?

    P.S. What are the three poisons?
    It depends on what we mean by compassion. It can be an act of kindness, the effort to do good and no harm. Nothing wrong with that but it's often ego driven. True compassion is something else in my view. True compassion is the natural result of being aware of true nature. When we see clearly, there's no longer any self to put above anything else, no delusion, no need to do harm. Saving all sentient beings becomes completely natural, because there's no separation between you and all sentient beings. So to me, true compassion is the effortless expression of enlightenment. No trying, no effort, no direction, no expectation, no evaluation, no discrimination, no premeditation, just the natural functioning of Bodhi mind fully awakened. From this point of view, yes, I believe our nature is compassionate.

    To me, compassion is the core of Zen buddhist practice.

    Gassho,
    Pontus


    PS. Sorry, the three poisons are greed/craving, hate/anger/aversion and ignorance/delusion. DS.
    Interesting that you think compassion is the core of Zen practice - not that I disagree with you - as it's the part I have the most difficulty with. Not that I don't want to practice kindness, but rather that I find it difficult to connect to people consistently. What is the core of the practice for you is the part that I have the most trouble with. How odd.

    Yes Jundo, effort with non-effort. I didn't mean to imply otherwise. If effort was not required, as Dogen asked, then why practice? Sometimes it takes a bit of self-prodding to get me to the cushion. Once I'm there, though - not much effort is required.

    Chet

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