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Thread: God and Zen

  1. #1

    God and Zen

    No gods, no epic heroes nor clouded view of the world.

    Reality is what we must learn to see, even if it's hurtful and at the same time beautiful.

    That's why I am in Zen.
    Gassho,

    Morelos Ky?nin (Choco)
    I have always been a spiritual person and always wanted to know if there was a god or not. In Zen, there doesn’t seem to be much mention one way or the other. There are, to be sure, some references to “Gods and Buddhas” and some of the Indian deities like Indra, but no real sense of abiding faith in the existence or lack of existence of a Creator Being.

    In looking at things, I have to believe in the existence of some form of “god”. And I mean study on things from Intelligent Design to the historicity of Jesus and such, all the way to the theory of the Big Bang and how the universe, matter and anti-matter were formed. I mean, how could everything in this world function in such complete synchronicity without a “plan” or “design” of some sort? There’s too much that is in complete and perfect harmony to say, “eh, simple chance.”

    Personally, and I’d like to hear from others, I do believe in a God, but more in line with the Sikh version of Waheguru (interesting that the most profound and equitable religions have come from the area around India) as a being far beyond my ken and understanding. Now the Sikh’s are extremely devout and I don’t know that that type of all consuming faith should be the reason or modality of life – why give us free will and the ability to make choices and decisions if all we were supposed to do was live every second in abject worship?

    But in the end, God or No God, there should be no difference in my mind, in my practice. I don’t sit for God or Buddha or myself or you. I sit for the you that is me and the god that is Buddha and the Buddha that is us all. I think that such is a good view.

    So, do you suppose that the lack of a God-head in our Way is the result of a lack of belief that there could be a supreme being? Or do you think that it is because the greatest of our teachers said, “God, no-God, heaven, hell. Practice, drink your tea, wash your cup, and save the many beings. Live life, be in every moment, and experience this world through a clarity that does not require God to be, does not refute in God’s existence, and is in accord with the Precepts. God or No-God, who could find fault in that?”

  2. #2

    Re: God and Zen

    One of the things that drew me to Buddhism, and then to Zen was how wonderfully agnostic it could be. Sure there are schools that focus on the Gods and the more speculative. But I've found that so far as I can tell, the question of God is left to silence. If God exists, if God doesn't exist, it doesn't seem to make much difference on a practical level, if God exists, I will still need to go to work today, if he doesn't, I will still have to go to work today. I am comfortable just leaving it alone, I know others are not and the seems to be okay as well. Just my thoughts on it.

    Gassho,

    Jeff

  3. #3

    Re: God and Zen

    Hi. I think you've pretty much answered this question yourself in those last two paragraphs.

    Another way of putting it: God is often a distraction for some people, worrying about what he thinks, etc.

    Another way of putting it: God is often the accountability guy. When we humans do something wrong, we like to go, "Oh, that was wrong, terribly wrong, but I'm only human. I feel bad now, God will forgive me." In Buddhism, there is 100 percent accountability. Nobody is going to forgive you except You. You're not only human; you are, but You're not.

    Also, lastly, the idea of God is often just a comfort. Our discriminating mind likes to look at the world and go: Hey, where did all this stuff come from, it can't simply Be (we often say, like you said, It can't just be a matter of chance?), right? But this is just small mind trying to figure stuff out. To me, it's not about the idea that our teachers said, "Just be, don't worry about God or Not, just be in the present moment." I mean, that's all good, but I'm not sitting because I'm the universal You, Buddha, God or because a teacher told me to. I'm sitting because everything is sitting. Being because everything is being. If being is Being what is left to chance or God?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: God and Zen

    To me God is the Dharma with being awake to reality and the way things are. It's exists in the air we breath, the ground we stand on and is alive in every moment in our hearts and mind with interconnectedness between all beings that flows through each and everyone of us. We see God, Dharma, the Universe when we let go of the ego and see our true innate nature that embodies our compassion and lovingkindness towards all sentient being with an understanding that all things in life are ever-changing and impermanent. It exists in the here and the now, past, present and future, in the good and the bad and is in on the earth and in the cosmos.

    I look at the grass and trees, I see God/Dharma right there

    I look at the sunny blue sky, I see God/Dharma right there

    I look at the stars and moon, I see God/Dharma right there

    I look at the my child, I see God/Dharma right there

    I look at the grocery store clerk, I see God/Dharma right there

    I look at the homeless man, I see God/Dharma right there

    I look at the dying, I see God/Dharma right there

    I put my hand on my heart, I see and feel God/Dharma is always right here

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: God and Zen

    Hi Chris,

    Can't be of much help here because I don't think very much about whether or not there is a God. I do think it is a big issue for many who have come from other religions to buddhism because of their disatisfaction. Disatisfaction, we can deal with here, but questions of God I don't think are all that important. But I didn't grow up with any particular religion and didn't think much about the topic at all until I hit my 30s. I once told somene who was a devout christian that if Jesus showed up tomorrow and said that God had indeed created us, I would be grateful...but I would not become his servant for teh very reason you stated...I have free will and can choose. And if there is a God that was the greatest gift of all.

    So, I carry water and chop wood whether there is a second coming or not.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  6. #6

    Re: God and Zen

    I used to be an agnostic, but after sitting regularly I'm not so agnostic anymore! :lol:
    It's not that I have started to believe in and worship a personal God, but I have much more understanding for people who do. If I had a different upbringing/background, I would probably say that in moments of blissful unity with everything, God was present. But God is just a word, just as Dharmakaya is just a word. There are many such words in buddhism, for what we can't describe and define.

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  7. #7

    Re: God and Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by jefftos
    In Buddhism, there is 100 percent accountability. Nobody is going to forgive you except You. You're not only human; you are, but You're not.

    Also, lastly, the idea of God is often just a comfort. Our discriminating mind likes to look at the world and go: Hey, where did all this stuff come from, it can't simply Be (we often say, like you said, It can't just be a matter of chance?), right? But this is just small mind trying to figure stuff out. To me, it's not about the idea that our teachers said, "Just be, don't worry about God or Not, just be in the present moment." I mean, that's all good, but I'm not sitting because I'm the universal You, Buddha, God or because a teacher told me to. I'm sitting because everything is sitting. Being because everything is being. If being is Being what is left to chance or God?
    I like this answer. It's true that religion has been called the "opiate of the masses", and that people do tend to lay it all on God's shoulders. But I've met people who said they were Buddhist and claim that athiest ideals are what Buddhism is all about. That I don't agree with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    I do think it is a big issue for many who have come from other religions to buddhism because of their disatisfaction. Disatisfaction, we can deal with here, but questions of God I don't think are all that important.
    This, I find interesting. The dissatisfaction, I think, is really disillusionment. It isn't that a God or a lack of God has caused people to be come dissatisfied with a religion, but that the dogma of that religion (the rules and regulations made by man) cannot be explained or related in a way that creates a deep and abiding answer. Thus the illusion of understanding is broken.

    The accountability factor of Zen buddhism does, however, put it all on you. It says that we should be aware of the world, aware of our responsibility to our fellows and thereby ourselves, the world in general, and each member of our sangha - be they a monk in Japan, a school teacher in San Diego, or a bodhi tree in India. Our Way teaches, I feel, that we should be aware, and accept our responsibility for how we act and the karma it creates. But I also feel that our Way leaves room for the unexplained, for the presence of divinity. Simply put, we say "If there is a God, sit. If there is no God, sit." As was said above, everything is sitting. This is not a denial of the existence of God, however; this is an acceptance of the co-dependant existence of God and practice, holy and nothing holy, the statues of the Buddha and firewood for the temple. God, whether there or not, sits with us - realized and actualized with every thought we have to save the many beings, every bow at the zendo door.

    I suppose that might have been my point - though I often take the "scenic route" to get there. Zen, in my mind, does not deny the existence of God, and so as Buddhists, neither should we; however Zen does not teach us to slough off the robe of the Bodhisattva. Zen teaches us that God, real or otherwise, is not our karma, is not our practice, is not a stick to be held above our heads waiting to fall should we falter, but should be included as a member of our sangha, none the less.

  8. #8

    Re: God and Zen

    Hello,

    I find that five people mean ten different things when they say/write the word God, which is why I find these kinds of discussions both very rewarding but also difficult, because a lot of time is inevitably spent on talking past one another (just my experience).

    Even within the vast expanse of just one religious current like Hinduism you will find every conceivable degree of believing/not believing in a personalised God...or in Gods that are supposed to be living aspects of reality that might experience themselves as persons but are no more existentially real than human beings...right down to something very close to atheism.

    One's own experiences and gut feelings cannot easily be explained logically due to their complex genesis , but these are IMHO ultimately what decides these questions on a personal level - this and the strength of the cultural indoctrination one had to endure.

    If a part of oneself needs a personal god, then one is likely to hold onto that belief, no matter how illogical or indeed true/untrue it might be.

    I think it was Miyamoto Musashi who once said that one should respect the Gods and Buddhas, but at the same time one shouldn't rely on them. That's where I stand. Now...who knows what my life will lead me to given enough time.

    We all have to find out for ourselves it seems. This humble Unsui currently believes however, that to truly face what is, one has to be prepared to accept any kind and taste of suchness...not just the one that one is hoping for. To truly face this great show we have to abandon even this lovely fantasy called hope in an ultimate sense.


    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen

  9. #9

    Re: God and Zen

    Hello Chris,

    just a little P.S. to my last post. No one will decide the existence or non-existence of a personl God through an internet discussion, but a sentence like

    "...Zen, in my mind, does not deny the existence of God, and so as Buddhists, neither should we;..."

    has to be put into a bit of a historical perspective for those individuals new to Zen and the Buddhadharma I feel.

    It is absolutely true in normal doctrinal terms of almost all streams of Mahayana Buddhist tradition that the practise itself should not be about wasting time on actively affirming or denying anything...but that includes your idea of God as much as the idea of the many tentacled Cthulhu or the Spaghetti monster.

    We have to be careful that we don't follow our own dislikes or likes too much (no matter how subtle and convincing they might seem). If we are in the process of truly waking up, we do not get to choose what we are waking up to. Put another way round one could also say that as long as we still choose, we do not wake up properly.

    Just a few unsui cents to be taken with a pinch of salt.

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen

  10. #10

    Re: God and Zen

    Christopher wrote

    I have always been a spiritual person and always wanted to know if there was a god or not. In Zen, there doesn’t seem to be much mention one way or the other

    I seem to be having the opposite experience in that the word/concept God is refered to quite a lot in some of the texts I'm reading. Much to my surprise I would say there is definately a God-conception in Buddhism (including Zen).

    At first I felt uncomfortable with this because of past associations with a concept of God that I'm not comfortable with (traditional view) - but now I feel Zen has returned me 'home' to a much freer view and connection with 'the absolute'.
    - which in Buddhism is conceived as a 'principle of higher unity'.

    I feel if we take this principle on board (and experience rare glimpses of it in practice) we may connect with a spirituality that is truly immanent (not requiring us to get bogged down overtly philosophizing about transcendence - if there is an afterlife, etc, etc).

    I don't think there can ever be an adequate answer to the question 'is there a god'? Spirituality seems to be about 'relationship' - our relationships with others, our 'selves' and the universe. When we're at peace with all of that something 'just is' - (the 'suchness' - or 'being such' ). If recognising this, feeling this - is to recognise God - then even as an agnostic - forever tottering on the fence - I'm comfortable with this expression of faith/belief.

    Gassho

    Willow

  11. #11
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: God and Zen

    Put another way round one could also say that as long as we still choose, we do not wake up properly.
    So, red pills all round?

  12. #12
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: God and Zen

    Spirituality seems to be about 'relationship' - our relationships with others, our 'selves' and the universe. When we're at peace with all of that something 'just is' - (the 'suchness' - or 'being such' ).
    Wholeheartedly agree Willow.
    We (generalising of course :wink: ) have used the word God in the past as an expression for this 'absolute suchness', but I think we now use the word God without this relationship. I think developing our 'relationships with others, our 'selves' and the universe' is something I have found in zazen through opening the hand of thought. Just my deluded point of view.
    Thanks for this thread Chris and the host of really useful views from you all.

  13. #13
    Friend of Treeleaf Daido's Avatar
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    Re: God and Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by Ekai
    To me God is the Dharma with being awake to reality and the way things are. It's exists in the air we breath, the ground we stand on and is alive in every moment in our hearts and mind with interconnectedness between all beings that flows through each and everyone of us. We see God, Dharma, the Universe when we let go of the ego and see our true innate nature that embodies our compassion and lovingkindness towards all sentient being with an understanding that all things in life are ever-changing and impermanent. It exists in the here and the now, past, present and future, in the good and the bad and is in on the earth and in the cosmos.

    I look at the grass and trees, I see God/Dharma right there

    I look at the sunny blue sky, I see God/Dharma right there

    I look at the stars and moon, I see God/Dharma right there

    I look at the my child, I see God/Dharma right there

    I look at the grocery store clerk, I see God/Dharma right there

    I look at the homeless man, I see God/Dharma right there

    I look at the dying, I see God/Dharma right there

    I put my hand on my heart, I see and feel God/Dharma is always right here

    Gassho,
    Ekai

    Im with Ekai on this one. I try not to attach to the concepts or God or the word or what the word means to me. I see the things Ekai sees and try not to attach.

    Shunryu suzuki said, “If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything. In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few. ”


    Endless. Just my opinion. Interesting post.

    Daido

  14. #14

    Re: God and Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans
    Hello,

    I find that five people mean ten different things when they say/write the word God, which is why I find these kinds of discussions both very rewarding but also difficult, because a lot of time is inevitably spent on talking past one another (just my experience).
    Yes, I agree. How would the answers change if we posed it thusly: "Do you believe in God defined as a being, like a man or a woman, but not either, a sole diety, who is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent (yet also existing outside of time), and omnibenovelent, the eternal creator of the universe?"

    I think many of us might say: No. And then the thread would just be lame. To be honest, this how I approached the question because it's how I imagine most conceive of god.

    Part of what is interesting here is that with God one typically needs to "believe." One doesn't typically experience God, one believes in the dude. Ekai's conception is neat because there's not really a "belief" factor there.

    I like all the answers here, but at some point "defining" God does feel like words filling in for other words. Again, Ekai's poem is lovely, and yet I feel like many other words could be put in there with some other slashes. Tao would work. For instance:

    Look, and it can't be seen.
    Listen, and it can't be heard.
    Reach, and it can't be grasped.

    Above, it isn't bright.
    Below, it isn't dark.
    Seamless, unnamable,
    it returns to the realm of nothing.
    Form that includes all forms,
    image without an image,
    subtle, beyond all conception.

    Approach it and there is no beginning;
    follow it and there is no end.
    You can't know it, but you can be it,
    at ease in your own life.

    -Section 14 of the Tao Te Ching.


    Anyway, a fun game and good sharing this.

    Alan

  15. #15
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: God and Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by Morelos Ky?nin (Choco)
    No gods, no epic heroes nor clouded view of the world.
    Sometimes I wonder if what is meant by "God" or "gods" in many writings is strictly the idea of a personified, humanoid being in the sky, and I feel that there is an alternate version of the old fable that might have some basis in reality-- but I am no saint or scientist, so all I can do is speculate based on my intuition and various things I read, Life After Life by Dr. Moody being one of those texts, along with the Dao De Jing. All I know is that the idea of a huge, loving intelligence plays a major role in my life, and is a question that I am naturally urged to explore. I have found prayer and even folk magic very useful at times-- there have been results that have caused me to undoubtedly believe at times, but still I have made no decisions, because it seems like once I feel I've pinned down "God," some other aspect that I had not even dreamed of may become present in my questioning. Maybe it's all just a part of my wiring, and the concept is something in my biology...

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    I mean, how could everything in this world function in such complete synchronicity without a “plan” or “design” of some sort?
    Though I am inclined to believe that there is an intelligence to it all, perhaps the plan, synchronicity, and design are only perceived based on the way our brains work... or this branch of the universe just got lucky.

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    There’s too much that is in complete and perfect harmony to say, “eh, simple chance.”
    Maybe it is not chance, and maybe it is not design either... how can we know? Everything that we know, see, and feel is based on how we function. Perhaps there are levels to existence that we can't even fathom in our imagination because we have no concept of it. I'm thinking of Plato's cave.

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    ...“God, no-God, heaven, hell. Practice, drink your tea, wash your cup, and save the many beings. Live life, be in every moment, and experience this world through a clarity that does not require God to be, does not refute in God’s existence, and is in accord with the Precepts. God or No-God, who could find fault in that?”
    _/_

    Quote Originally Posted by Ekai
    To me God is the Dharma with being awake to reality and the way things are. It's exists in the air we breath, the ground we stand on and is alive in every moment in our hearts and mind with interconnectedness between all beings that flows through each and everyone of us.
    _/_

  16. #16

    Re: God and Zen

    I wonder why, when Johnson quoted something I wrote, it says he quoted Jefftos. Man, I think God's messing with me again.

  17. #17

    Re: God and Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r
    I wonder why, when Johnson quoted something I wrote, it says he quoted Jefftos. Man, I think God's messing with me again.
    Sorry to disappoint; just me hitting the button wrong....somehow

  18. #18

    Re: God and Zen

    In looking at things, I have to believe in the existence of some form of “god”. And I mean study on things from Intelligent Design to the historicity of Jesus and such, all the way to the theory of the Big Bang and how the universe, matter and anti-matter were formed. I mean, how could everything in this world function in such complete synchronicity without a “plan” or “design” of some sort? There’s too much that is in complete and perfect harmony to say, “eh, simple chance.”
    Neil de Grasse Tyson, one of our greatest modern physicists, has a few things to say about this notion of intelligent design from a purely physical perspective!

    [youtube] [/youtube]

    Me, I don't really think about it anymore.

  19. #19

    Re: God and Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r
    I wonder why, when Johnson quoted something I wrote, it says he quoted Jefftos. Man, I think God's messing with me again.
    Sorry to disappoint; just me hitting the button wrong....somehow
    Not at all. Just an attempt at a God joke. If he does exist, let's hope he's got better ones.

  20. #20
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    Re: God and Zen

    :lol:
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin
    Neil de Grasse Tyson, one of our greatest modern physicists, has a few things to say about this notion of intelligent design from a purely physical perspective!

    [youtube] [/youtube]

    Me, I don't really think about it anymore.

  21. #21
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    Re: God and Zen

    When I first started out on this path, the concept of "God" was something I was unwilling to let go of. Then later, like a pendulum, I found myself in the other extreme of atheism. Now I am... I don't know. Personal God? A Supreme Being? A God that's synonymous with Universe/Tao/etc.? No God? Don't know. Can't really say I don't care, I just don't know. I am leaning towards God/Universe/Tao/Buddhanature and away from both Personal Supreme God and No GOd, but that's just me leaning. And for now, that's the best answer I can come up with: me leaning in one direction.

    Hmmm... I'd rather practice sitting than leaning.

    _/|_
    Raffy

  22. #22
    disastermouse
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    Re: God and Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by Heisoku
    Put another way round one could also say that as long as we still choose, we do not wake up properly.
    So, red pills all round?

  23. #23
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    Re: God and Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Quote Originally Posted by Heisoku
    Put another way round one could also say that as long as we still choose, we do not wake up properly.
    So, red pills all round?
    "I know what you're thinking, 'cause right now I'm thinking the same thing. Actually, I've been thinking it ever since I got here: Why oh why didn't I take the BLUE pill?"

    Attached files

  24. #24
    disastermouse
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    Re: God and Zen

    Don't believe in God, know God in this moment.

    Don't disbelieve in God, disbelieve in self, from which issues all rigid and intractable views.

    In zazen, we set aside firm views of this or that. Uncrossing our legs, we pick them back up, but less firmly than before.

    The ego wants this issue solved, but it resists being solved. The more immediately pressing and experienced question, however, is 'Who or what exactly is asking this question?'

    IMHO, no offense intended.

    Chet

  25. #25
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: God and Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by chugai
    This thread is awash with concepts.

    My dog barks some.

    http://youtu.be/H9SrbPkpQHA[/video]]
    Concepts are bad in and of themselves? Should we be Rinzai and alternate between shouts and 'Noble Silence'?

    "Wanting to get rid of one and grab the other
    is merely realizing a scene of stupidity."

    Chet

  26. #26

    Re: God and Zen

    GOD is DOG spelled backwards

  27. #27

    Re: God and Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by chugai
    This thread is awash with concepts.

    My dog barks some.

    http://youtu.be/H9SrbPkpQHA[/video]]
    When dogs laugh some say they're barking.

  28. #28
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: God and Zen

    Buddha-thought
    God-thought
    are not true


    Buddha without Buddha
    God without God
    a good start

    neither God nor Buddha
    much better

    This
    Suchness

    nothing more
    needed



    gassho



    T.

  29. #29
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: God and Zen

    come back to the cushion!

  30. #30
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: God and Zen

    Only God can/would know if God exists or not. The rest of us.....we can only theorize!

  31. #31

    Re: God and Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoyu
    Only God can/would know if God exists or not. The rest of us.....we can only theorize!
    Good point. I forgot where I heard this, but our concept of God(s) change with our economy and agriculture. In other words, the way we view God (even if we believe or don't believe) is usually driven by cultural undertones that we may or may not even be aware of. But to know whether or not someone exists; that's just not provable. But I wonder if it even matters. To me beliefs matter more in how they affect how one lives one's life. But then again, that's a belief to. I mean what is not belief?

    Now that I'm more confused than ever, I concur with Taigu sensei

    Gassho,

    Risho

  32. #32
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: God and Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by chugai
    When you ride in a boat and watch the shore, you might assume that the shore is moving.
    But when you keep your eyes closely on the boat, you can see that it is the boat that moves. -- Dogen
    I thought it was the mind that is moving! :wink:

    Quote Originally Posted by Run_CMD
    GOD is DOG spelled backwards
    Does God have a Buddha nature? :P

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    come back to the cushion!
    _/_

  33. #33

    Re: God and Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by chugai
    Thinking keeps one awash in concepts.
    hHmmm, saying that a thread about God is awash in concepts is like walking into a forest and saying it is full of trees. What's wrong with the trees again?

    The concepts aren't problematic. Our clinging to them, believing them, is.

    To Taigu and his poem, thank you, thank you.

    My little, silly, humble addition:

    wanting Truth
    creates
    God-thought

    dropping Buddha
    is never possible
    from the start

    much better,
    the lie of Enlightenment

    Here
    Now

    never off
    the cushion


    Deep bow

    alan

  34. #34

    Re: God and Zen

    I believe god or no god, people still smile, leaves still fall, and the world still turns (in the metaphorical sense). Knowing that there is a god doesn't help with back aches or enjoying things as they are. If we say "this is god, then we are still looking at the finger pointing at the moon. All god, no god. God does not clean my room, and if he does, then he's doing a pretty crappy job of it lately. God does not prevent my bones from aging, nor my breathe from moving in and out. Zen is more about enjoying things as they are, whether there is a god involved or not. I would think it's more relevant to enjoy the movement of a snowflake "now", as apposed to the origins of the universe "then".

    Gassho

    W

  35. #35

    Re: God and Zen

    No one can answer these questions for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    I don’t sit for God or Buddha or myself or you.
    When I pray, (bear with me, I'm Christian...I really am, just don't check my report card :twisted: ) I can tell the difference between when I'm treating God like some big Santa Claus in the sky and when I'm really inspired by the Holy Spirit to pray for others, etc. When I sit zazen, I can tell the difference between those times I use effort in my sitting by trying to "get enlightenment" and when zazen is actually sitting me. To sit zazen is to enter a stream that has been flowing forever. We don't actually sit zazen. We just enter that stream and merge with it. Same with prayer. So, whether you believe in God or don't believe in God, you are here. You are real. You are living the reality of who you are moment by moment, whether you worship God or Buddha or a carved stone. By it's very nature, a tree worships God by being a tree. By being what God meant it to be it is obeying him. It consents to his creative love. It is expressing an idea which is in God. It imitates God by being a tree. So do yo and I. We should just be the best human being we can be. Don't worry so much about all those thoughts about this stuff. That's not important. Just sit. Just stand. Just walk. Just love. If you feel led to believe or disbelieve in anything, just do it with all your heart. Become that. Don't separate yourself from it with too much thinking. Be who you are. That way, even if you don't believe in God, in a way you are affirming him. You are imitating God by being the best human being you can be. I don't think Buddha would argue with such a definition. Actually, he'd probably just hold up a flower and smile.

    gassho
    Greg

  36. #36

    Re: God and Zen

    Oh, Bro. Taigu says (and non-says) it better than I ever could! Amen!

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Buddha-thought
    God-thought
    are not true


    Buddha without Buddha
    God without God
    a good start

    neither God nor Buddha
    much better

    This
    Suchness

    nothing more
    needed



    gassho



    T.
    Also, so many other Wise words in this thread. Thank you.

    I will just drop this in, what I usually say on the topic ...

    If there is a Jesus, Allah, Jehovah or Amida Buddha in his Pure Land, Thor or something else completely beyond our ken ... fetch water and chop wood, try to live avoiding doing harm.

    And if there is no Jesus, Allah, Jehovah, no Amida Buddha or Pure Land, Thor or no anything else ... fetch water and chop wood, try to live avoiding doing harm.

    In Shikantaza, we sit with-and-as what is, whatever is. If there is a Jesus, Pure Land etc., we sit with/as that. If there is no Jesus, Pure Land etc., we sit with/as that.


    Gassho, J

    PS - One comment on the Neil de Grasse Tyson video, though. Maybe I should not, but it is a topic of personal interest. The inside of my oven or of the sun are also so hot that they would kill a human being in a moment ... yet the one cooks my dinner, and the other is necessary to all our lives. My car is also imperfect, sometimes breaks down, burns gas inefficiently, gets into crashes from time to time, eventually rusts and needs to be replaced ... but what a wonderful design of genius that (for all its faults) usually gets us where we're going! 8)

    So, I do not think the case quite so closed, or the universe as hostile to life as Neil says. In fact, every indication to the contrary. Neil de Grasse Tyson is, after all, the fellow who also had this to say in another talk ...

    [youtube] [/youtube]

  37. #37

    God and Zen

    To me, it doesn't matter if you call it your face before your mother was born, buddha nature, true nature or God. Even Suchness can be turned into a concept, a refuge, an idol to worship. If you meet a Buddha, kill the Buddha. If you meet God, kill that conceptual idea you have created about God. There is no refuge, no truth. Sometimes we feel the need to share our experiences and we try to communicate them with words. But the words are not the same as the experience. If two people say they experienced God, they may have had very similar experiences, but they could also mean completely different things. We can say things like true nature is emptiness, the impermanent nature of all dharmas, and sort of understand that intellectually and/or intuitively. But before emptiness is directly experienced, it's just words. When emptiness is directly experienced, it may not feel so empty at all.

    We are all familiar with the three poisons. Greed is when we desire something we don't have. When we grasp for meaning, for truth, for refuge, for something eternal and stable in an everchanging world, we may grasp for God. But there is also the poison of hatred, which can be understood as aversion. Refusing to accept what we do have, what is there. Denying God can easily become an expression of hatred/aversion. Last, there is ignorance. Not seeing reality, true nature. When the poisons drop away, what remains? Nothing? Is Nirvana nothing? Is Suchness nothing? I wouldn't mind if someone called it God.

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  38. #38
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: God and Zen

    Listen, friend!
    My beloved Master lives inside.
    -Kabir
    The following is an excerpt from the work of Peter Russell ( http://www.peterrussell.com/SG/Ch9A.php ):

    We live in an era dominated by science and reason. For new ideas to be accepted, they need to satisfy our rational mind and be testable. It is not enough that they should resonate with our intuition; they must also make sense within the contemporary worldview.

    For several hundred years our dominant worldview has been based on the assumption that the real world is the world of space, time and matter. This materialistic model has successfully accounted for most worldly phenomena and explained many mysteries–so well that it often appears to have ruled out the existence of God. The Universe seems to work perfectly well without divine assistance.

    Thirty years ago I had sympathy for such arguments. Today, I realize that the notion of God that science–and I–rejected was naive and old-fashioned. If we want to find God we have to look within, into deep mind–a realm that Western science has yet to explore. I believe that when we delve as fully into the nature of mind as we have into the nature of space, time, and matter, we will find consciousness to be the long-awaited bridge between science and spirit. In expanding our worldview to include consciousness as fundamental to the cosmos, this new model of reality not only accounts for the anomaly of consciousness; it also re validates the spiritual wisdom of the ages in contemporary terms.

    If this new worldview becomes a personal experience–a shift in the way we perceive reality rather than just a new understanding of reality–our world would change in ways that we can hardly imagine. Five hundred years ago, Copernicus could not have foreseen the full impact of his new model of the universe. Today, we can have little appreciation of how the world might be when generations have been brought up knowing that consciousness is primary, and that each and every one of us is holy. When we realize the errors in our thinking, let go of our attachments, transcend our limited sense of self, and discover the true nature of our being, then darkness gives way to light. We find the salvation we’ve been seeking, and our hearts are at peace.

  39. #39

    Re: God and Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by Shokai
    Listen, friend!
    My beloved Master lives inside.
    -Kabir

    ....If we want to find God we have to look within....
    If you search for God, you will find yourself.
    If you search for yourself, you will find God

  40. #40

    Re: God and Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    But there is also the poison of hatred, which can be understood as aversion. Refusing to accept what we do have, what is there. Denying God can easily become an expression of hatred/aversion. Last, there is ignorance. Not seeing reality, true nature. When the poisons drop away, what remains? Nothing? Is Nirvana nothing? Is Suchness nothing? I wouldn't mind if someone called it God.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    If there is a Jesus, Allah, Jehovah or Amida Buddha in his Pure Land, Thor or something else completely beyond our ken ... fetch water and chop wood, try to live avoiding doing harm.

    And if there is no Jesus, Allah, Jehovah, no Amida Buddha or Pure Land, Thor or no anything else ... fetch water and chop wood, try to live avoiding doing harm.
    True wisdom. Gassho, gassho, gassho.

    Whether God exists as a concept, a corporeal being sitting on a lotus throne in space, a vision of a serene mountain lake, or a flying spaghetti monster (Thanks Hans, I forgot about that.... :mrgreen: ). Don't deny. Don't assume, don't believe because it's what you were taught, or what your priest says, don't disbelieve because what the priest said didn't jive with your concept of "correct" or "incorrect", "right" or "wrong".

    What I wanted to say by all of this is that, I have seen and heard in our Way the denial of God's existance in many different ways, and what Pontus said is deeply true. The denial of the existance of a God is just as much a "concept", or discrimination as the blind acceptance of the existance of God. Our grasping at one concept or the other is equally dangerous. Bodhidharma once told an emperor "don't know" when asked who was standing before him. And that, I feel is the best of answers. He didn't say, "Bodhidharma, you bloody dolt!" nor did he say, "well, certainly NOT Bodhidharma". He answered in a way that said, "Just a guy, who is well known by himself, and certainly by you, while at the same time, totally unknowable because there is no concrete "me" and there is no static "you". Given that, how can either of us know?"

    Is there a God.....don't know. As Jundo said, fetch water, chop wood, avoid doing harm.

  41. #41
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: God and Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by chugai
    Thinking keeps one awash in concepts.
    Not thinking keeps one awash in avoidable problems.

  42. #42
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Re: God and Zen

    Eyes look.
    Tongues taste.
    Ears listen.
    Anuses deficate.
    Noses smell.
    Brains think.

  43. #43

    Re: God and Zen

    To get closer to God, just sit.
    To drop all ideas and concepts of God, just sit.

  44. #44
    Senior Member Daijo's Avatar
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    Re: God and Zen

    The Big Bang, and manifestation of the earth, life, etc. has little to do with "chance", IMO. All things are subject to the same laws of conditions. Exactly what those conditions are, who, what, where, when, how, are limitless and beyond comprehension. To over analyze any event with such questions is a distraction from the truth.

    We are here. That's enough, because if we're not careful, we will miss it. Let's not waste any of today on yesterday.

  45. #45

    Re: God and Zen

    Shokai wrote

    Listen, friend!
    My beloved Master lives inside.
    -Kabir
    The following is an excerpt from the work of Peter Russell ( http://www.peterrussell.com/SG/Ch9A.php ):


    Yes - it involves conceptual thought - but Peter Russell's work on the new paradigm ('Consciousness is more fundamental than space,time and matter') is compelling.

    Thanks Shokai - I watched Peter Russel's lecture on video.google a few days ago and have been chewing it over ever since - it just seemed to click with something within me.

    Gassho

    Willow

  46. #46

    Re: God and Zen

    Good points, but everything, EVERYTHING is based on belief in some way or the other. What you think you know is based on a primary assumption.

  47. #47
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: God and Zen

    As is what you think you don't know.

  48. #48

    Re: God and Zen

    hahahahaha I just thought about that. :mrgreen:

  49. #49
    Senior Member Marek's Avatar
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    Re: God and Zen

    A thread about ,,GOD" !.

    I feel I should say something here.

    So:
    .............................................
    ..............................................
    ..............................................
    ............................................
    ............................................
    ............................................
    .............................................
    ............................................

    Yep, this is probably all that I know about this...

    _/_

  50. #50

    Re: God and Zen

    Although Venerable Taigu has hit the nail on the head, I'll post an excerpt from Sunryu Suzuki Roshi:

    (Edit: I couldn't find the quote I was looking for, so will just post this):

    http://www.shunryusuzuki.com/suzuki/ind ... ?seemore=y

    -----

    “In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few”

    Gassho

    W

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