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Thread: It always fits; What's up with that?

  1. #1
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    It always fits; What's up with that?

    Tough week, tough day, so I come home and open Zen Seeds (yeah, I gave up on the book club, but I still read it now and then) and I read passages about joyful mind and magnanimous mind and tenzo kyoken and shit sticks, and they all fit so perfectly. That is exactly what I needed in this time of trial. It's amazing to me how that happens, life beats us up and then we pick up some dharma and go "Oh, that is just what I needed to hear." What's up with that? How does that happen? Christians say the same thing about picking up the Bible, so we must bring something to it, right? How does that work? It's a rhetorical question, but I pose it anyway.

  2. #2

    It always fits; What's up with that?

    To me, some words work as a mirror for our mind, reading us just as much are we are reading the words, showing us what we could not see before, what we could not see ourselves, before looking into the mirror of the writted word.

    But I agree that it's incredible how often things seem to fit in perfectly. When we stumble over a certain passage from a Sutra, that was exactly the words we needed right then, to free us. When we need a teacher, a teacher appears. On the radio, the song that is played fits exactly with our mood.

    I think it's a combination of two things. One, our brain is designed to make things fit. When they fit perfectly, the reward center in the brain kicks in and we notice. And two, all things do actually fit together perfectly, like pieces of a puzzle, if we see it that way.

    We design our gardens, try to make sure all plants work well together, buy exotic plants from far away countries to make it more special, try to control it, get rid of all the weeds, make perfectly straight lines, pick up broken twigs and fallen leaves, tidying things up. Then we take a walk in the forest. And realize how it all fits, broken twigs, crooked tree trunks, dead leaves, beautiful flowers, green moss. That broken pine needle fits perfectly with everything else. No separation. Perfect order in the midst of chaos.

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  3. #3
    Senior Member Koshin's Avatar
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    Re: It always fits; What's up with that?

    Thank you _/_

  4. #4
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: It always fits; What's up with that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    We design our gardens, try to make sure all plants work well together, buy exotic plants from far away countries to make it more special, try to control it, get rid of all the weeds, make perfectly straight lines, pick up broken twigs and fallen leaves, tidying things up. Then we take a walk in the forest. And realize how it all fits, broken twigs, crooked tree trunks, dead leaves, beautiful flowers, green moss. That broken pine needle fits perfectly with everything else. No separation. Perfect order in the midst of chaos.
    Gassho,
    Pontus
    Ah very nice Pontus. Reminds me of this famous anecdote about Sen no Rikyu.
    Enjoy.....
    Rikyu was watching his son Shoan as he swept and watered the garden path, "Not clean enough," said Rikyu, when Shoan had finished his task, and bade him to try again.
    After an hour the weary son returned to Rikyu: "Father, there is nothing more to be done. The steps have been washed for the third time, the stone lanterns and the trees are well sprinkled with water, moss and lichens are shining with a fresh verdure; not a twig, not a leaf have I left on the ground."
    "Young fool," chided the tea master, "that is not the way a garden path should be swept." Saying this, Rikyu stepped into the garden, shook a tree and scattered over the garden gold and crimson leaves, scraps of the brocade of autumn!
    What Rikyu demanded was not cleanliness alone, but the beautiful and the natural also.
    Gassho,
    Hoyu

  5. #5

    Re: It always fits; What's up with that?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    That is exactly what I needed in this time of trial. It's amazing to me how that happens, life beats us up and then we pick up some dharma and go "Oh, that is just what I needed to hear." What's up with that? How does that happen? Christians say the same thing about picking up the Bible, so we must bring something to it, right? How does that work? It's a rhetorical question, but I pose it anyway.
    From a Christian perspective, I believe that the Light shines in the darkness. Grace is always available. Like Harry Potter, we always find exactly what we need at exactly the moment we need it. Never a moment before and never a moment late. (And yes, I'm a Harry Potter fan. I'm a dad and it kinda goes with the territory. :lol:

    From a Buddhist perspective, this Universe itself aids our awakening. It's as if the very stones and trees were cheering us on as we travel the path toward enlightenment. I don't think I found Treeleaf. I think Treeleaf found me. And oh what a state I was in at the time. There's something unique about a community that, instead of offering you a list of rules to follow in which to fit in and "be good enough," it instead offers you a place to sit, trusting that all good things will come to one who stops running and gives the dharma a chance to flower.

    Do we bring something to it? I think so. The fact that we are here, that we ask questions, that we sit, that we offer metta for ourselves and others, that you opened Zen Seeds in the first place (which you only did because you acknowledged that help was possible) all these things prove that we have brought the only thing we have to offer to this process: ourselves. Our very life. In exchange for our real life. Not a life that doesn't hurt anymore or get confused or drunk or angry or whatever. But a life that opens up to the perfection. Well, I think Pontus wrote a sutra about it:

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    We design our gardens, try to make sure all plants work well together, buy exotic plants from far away countries to make it more special, try to control it, get rid of all the weeds, make perfectly straight lines, pick up broken twigs and fallen leaves, tidying things up. Then we take a walk in the forest. And realize how it all fits, broken twigs, crooked tree trunks, dead leaves, beautiful flowers, green moss. That broken pine needle fits perfectly with everything else. No separation. Perfect order in the midst of chaos.
    Like that.

    Gassho
    Greg

  6. #6

    It always fits; What's up with that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghop
    this Universe itself aids our awakening. It's as if the very stones and trees were cheering us on as we travel the path toward enlightenment. I don't think I found Treeleaf. I think Treeleaf found me.
    It sure seems that way!
    It seems like the universe, the true Self, wants to be awake. Since there is no separation, everyone and everything wants you to be awake. If we only stop working against it, awakening takes place on its own, spontaneously, naturally.

    It seems like I can't deviate from this path for long, before the path finds me again. Sometimes I'm gently pulled back, sometimes, when I resist, I'm forcefully thrown back, landing once again on this path to nowhere, nose down on the mud!

    Is it Buddha nature (non-)working? The Universe taking its natural course? The dharma wheel turning? Is it some sort of affinity to the Way that all beings are born with, a memory of who we are that has been forgotten? Is the voice of our heart's innermost desires that finally makes itself heard? None of the above? All of the above?

    All I know is, there's no turning back. No use resisting. All there is to do is to confidently leap into the unknown with every step on this path.

    Thank you everybody for wonderful posts. Thank you Greg. Sometimes I just nod, nod, nod when I read your posts. Thank you Hoyu for your kind words and for sharing that lovely story.

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  7. #7
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: It always fits; What's up with that?

    Ah very nice Pontus. Reminds me of this famous anecdote about Sen no Rikyu.
    Enjoy.....
    Rikyu was watching this son Shoan as he swept and watered the garden path, "Not clean enough," said Rikyu, when Shoan had finished his task, and bade him to try again.
    After an hour the weary son returned to Rikyu: "Father, there is nothing more to be done. The steps have been washed for the third time, the stone lanterns and the trees are well sprinkled with water, moss and lichens are shining with a fresh verdure; not a twig, not a leaf have I left on the ground."
    "Young fool," chided the tea master, "that is not the way a garden path should be swept." Saying this, Rikyu stepped into the garden, shook a tree and scattered over the garden gold and crimson leaves, scraps of the brocade of autumn!
    What Rikyu demanded was not cleanliness alone, but the beautiful and the natural also.
    HaHa, what led me to such a tough day in the first place is almost exactly this. Just substitute garden sweeping etc. for administrative duties and the story is the same. Administration is never satisfied, but lurking not too far in the background of that frustrating day of dukka delivery was the mantra of "this is practice" and so from there it was quite a short step to Zen Seeds' message, timely as it was. So I primed the pump, as the saying goes, and that's what I brought to the reading.

  8. #8
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    Re: It always fits; What's up with that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    We design our gardens, try to make sure all plants work well together, buy exotic plants from far away countries to make it more special, try to control it, get rid of all the weeds, make perfectly straight lines, pick up broken twigs and fallen leaves, tidying things up. Then we take a walk in the forest. And realize how it all fits, broken twigs, crooked tree trunks, dead leaves, beautiful flowers, green moss. That broken pine needle fits perfectly with everything else. No separation. Perfect order in the midst of chaos.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    _/|_

  9. #9
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: It always fits; What's up with that?

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    Like Harry Potter, we always find exactly what we need at exactly the moment we need it. Never a moment before and never a moment late. (And yes, I'm a Harry Potter fan[...)]
    I agree and me too.

  10. #10

    Re: It always fits; What's up with that?

    I think what we really need to hear or know is already there. The dharma passages we read, the flower we look at, or the thrush outside our windows is just the broom sweeping the dirt away.

    Sometimes we just need to get out of our own way, and the teisho is the gentle hand on our shoulder and the "excuse me" in our ear.

  11. #11

    Re: It always fits; What's up with that?

    Christopher wrote

    I think what we really need to hear or know is already there.

    This is surely true - why is it that the heart constantly seeks out confirmation/reassurance?

    Gassho

    Willow

  12. #12
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: It always fits; What's up with that?

    What matters is what you do with the synchronicity instead of wondering why or how these occurrences happen. Depending on your background and/or beliefs some might say it's selective seeing or hearing resulting from a projection of our psyche, Christians would say it's God speaking to us and giving us His Love, New Ager's are likely to say the Universe is giving us signs for our spiritual journey. Who knows who or what view is right. It's how you respond to these seemingly strange coincidences that makes the difference in your life. Allowing the heart to be open with a quiet mind gives space for us to see and experience these occurrences more fully. Does it help you to see things from a fresh perspective, gain a deeper insight of yourself or cultivate a higher conscience of other sentient beings? Or is it simply just going with flow and allowing things to be in their natural state with our mind finally noticing.

    Everything "fits" when we go with the flow even if something is fitting too tight and feels uncomfortable. Events, people, words, actions lands right where it needs to be in it's own place, in it's own time. Letting go of our mental and emotional grips softens our view and we become open in seeing the pieces of life's puzzle are always fitting together.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  13. #13

    It always fits; What's up with that?

    _/_

    /Pontus

  14. #14

    Re: It always fits; What's up with that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ekai
    What matters is what you do with the synchronicity instead of wondering why or how these occurrences happen. Depending on your background and/or beliefs some might say it's selective seeing or hearing resulting from a projection of our psyche, Christians would say it's God speaking to us and giving us His Love, New Ager's are likely to say the Universe is giving us signs for our spiritual journey. Who knows who or what view is right. It's how you respond to these seemingly strange coincidences that makes the difference in your life. Allowing the heart to be open with a quiet mind gives space for us to see and experience these occurrences more fully. Does it help you to see things from a fresh perspective, gain a deeper insight of yourself or cultivate a higher conscience of other sentient beings? Or is it simply just going with flow and allowing things to be in their natural state with our mind finally noticing.

    Everything "fits" when we go with the flow even if something is fitting too tight and feels uncomfortable. Events, people, words, actions lands right where it needs to be in it's own place, in it's own time. Letting go of our mental and emotional grips softens our view and we become open in seeing the pieces of life's puzzle are always fitting together.

    Gassho,
    Ekai
    Well said! _/_

  15. #15
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: It always fits; What's up with that?

    Thanks Jodi, I only wish I could say things like that

  16. #16
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: It always fits; What's up with that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ekai
    What matters is what you do with the synchronicity instead of wondering why or how these occurrences happen. Depending on your background and/or beliefs some might say it's selective seeing or hearing resulting from a projection of our psyche, Christians would say it's God speaking to us and giving us His Love, New Ager's are likely to say the Universe is giving us signs for our spiritual journey. Who knows who or what view is right. It's how you respond to these seemingly strange coincidences that makes the difference in your life. Allowing the heart to be open with a quiet mind gives space for us to see and experience these occurrences more fully. Does it help you to see things from a fresh perspective, gain a deeper insight of yourself or cultivate a higher conscience of other sentient beings? Or is it simply just going with flow and allowing things to be in their natural state with our mind finally noticing.

    Everything "fits" when we go with the flow even if something is fitting too tight and feels uncomfortable. Events, people, words, actions lands right where it needs to be in it's own place, in it's own time. Letting go of our mental and emotional grips softens our view and we become open in seeing the pieces of life's puzzle are always fitting together.

    Gassho,
    Ekai
    Well said, but none of this happened, however, at least not after I started this thread.
    Sometimes the Path gets shown to you and you step off it for a while anyway.
    But it always comes back. yeah, blah, blah, blah...

  17. #17

    Re: It always fits; What's up with that?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    Quote Originally Posted by Ekai
    What matters is what you do with the synchronicity instead of wondering why or how these occurrences happen. Depending on your background and/or beliefs some might say it's selective seeing or hearing resulting from a projection of our psyche, Christians would say it's God speaking to us and giving us His Love, New Ager's are likely to say the Universe is giving us signs for our spiritual journey. Who knows who or what view is right. It's how you respond to these seemingly strange coincidences that makes the difference in your life. Allowing the heart to be open with a quiet mind gives space for us to see and experience these occurrences more fully. Does it help you to see things from a fresh perspective, gain a deeper insight of yourself or cultivate a higher conscience of other sentient beings? Or is it simply just going with flow and allowing things to be in their natural state with our mind finally noticing.

    Everything "fits" when we go with the flow even if something is fitting too tight and feels uncomfortable. Events, people, words, actions lands right where it needs to be in it's own place, in it's own time. Letting go of our mental and emotional grips softens our view and we become open in seeing the pieces of life's puzzle are always fitting together.

    Gassho,
    Ekai
    Well said, but none of this happened, however, at least not after I started this thread.
    Sometimes the Path gets shown to you and you step off it for a while anyway.
    But it always comes back. yeah, blah, blah, blah...
    Not to sound cliche' but that sounds like a pretty damned good way of articulating "the path". Why call "it" "the path", when "it" is just "it"... it's not an it.. this...that's all. sometimes it sucks, sometimes it's great, but it....

    Maybe it seems to fit when we're ready to listen.

    Gassho,

    Risho

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