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Thread: Even in Zen, God agrees with us.

  1. #51

    Re: Even in Zen, God agrees with us.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eika
    "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -- Philo of Alexandria

    All styles. All types. All rubbing against one another. Polishing. THIS IS OUR PRACTICE! Right here. The crazy non-sequiturs, the anger, the kindness and caring. All human, all practice. Teachers loving, guiding, and caring for their pupils. Teachers tripping over the right thing to say/do. Students dutifully minding, students mindlessly following. All human, all practice. The moment we pretend to move beyond our everyday, normal, confused lives is the moment we miss the point, I think. But even missing the point is practice.
    It took me a while to realize it, but I love Chet's posts. I love them not because I agree or disagree with them, but because they are often so brutally and self-reflectively honest. I love the pile of contradictions that each of us here at Treeleaf bring to our interactions. I learn so much from all of you. But, I'll say it again, all of this, ALL of it, students and teachers, brilliant insights, stupid ramblings, kindness and hatred, warts and all, is our practice as near as I can tell. How else can we do this if we pretend, repress, pose, etc.?

    With respect and sincerity,
    Eika
    Let's just post the above three or four times, I think.

    Many thanks for these words,
    Alan

  2. #52

    Re: Even in Zen, God agrees with us.

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Ok. this has been running through my head this morning, so I'll guess I'll post it here:

    ther was a man who had a dog and ego was it's name o

    E-g E-g-o

    E-g E-g-o

    E-g E-g-o

    and ego was it's name O


    Gassho

    W
    More of the same, Will? I don't know if I've ever seen a genuinely revealing post in the entire time you've posted here. It's always so .... distant. You're always at arms length, always responding with a quip or something undecipherably zenny. Sometimes I wonder who's behind the quips and the too-zen-for-zen posts. Surely a decent guy, but I'll be damned if I ever met him.

    Chet
    I wasn't going to post that, but I decided to anyway. As I generally refrain from posting too much lately. I find it more productive to do my practice and refrain from babbling too much. That's my practice "Chet". What's yours?

    On another note:

    Why should I post like you want me to post? I'm not here for you. I couldn't give a shit whether you come or go. Is that what you wan to hear? Seriously though, do your practice and stop with the trying to try guy. I say what I say. If you don't like it then...

    I'll stop there as there's kids around.

    If you leave, I'll leave too. Sound good? We'll leave together. Infact, I think everyone should leave. Leave for the day or the week and forget about it.

    I'll leave with a quote:

    In a dharma talk, Dogen said,

    Even if you are speaking rationally 1 and another person says something unreasonable, it is wrong to defeat him by arguing logically. On the other hand, it is not good to give up hastily saying that you are wrong, even though you think that your opinion is reasonable.

    Neither defeats him, nor withdraw saying you are wrong. It is best to just leave the matter alone and stop arguing. If you act as if you have not heard and forget about the matter, he will forget too and will not get angry. This is a very important thing to bear in mind.
    As they say "arguing never solved anything."

    And please. Come back to your practice, and avoid the better than you , I did this you did that stuff. That goes for everyone including Taigu, Jundo, Chet, and Will, and who ever else feels like wasting their breathe on how they are "so" right.

    Gassho _/_

    W

  3. #53

    Re: Even in Zen, God agrees with us.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jen
    This thread seems so far away from the original question. Such an innocent question that I interpreted to mean "Do even our teachers bring their own delusions into their practice, and does this affect the teaching?" To which the answer should truthfully be a resounding yes! Are the delusions Zen? No, they are merely a result of the human condition. The Zen part is when we practice in spite of and to overcome those delusions.dering, as always~
    Jen
    Quote Originally Posted by Eika
    ... All human, all practice. Teachers loving, guiding, and caring for their pupils. Teachers tripping over the right thing to say/do. Students dutifully minding, students mindlessly following. All human, all practice. The moment we pretend to move beyond our everyday, normal, confused lives is the moment we miss the point, I think. But even missing the point is practice.
    So many wise comments in this thread. Jen has a point, and we did move away from the original question. So, "Do even our teachers bring their own delusions into their practice"?

    YES, OF COURSE! ... and NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT! 8)

    Let me explain a bit.

    I start with the Diamond Sutra, which makes this point: A Buddhist Teacher has no delusions to begin with, and no attributes at all. The Teacher is just Buddha, the Tathagata, without delusions head to toe. Seriously, no kidding.

    "Subhuti, what do you think? Can the Tathagata be seen by means of the possession of attributes?"

    Subhuti replied, "No, indeed, Bhavagan. As I understand the meaning of what Buddha says, the Tathagata cannot be seen by means of the possession of attributes."

    The Buddha said, Well done, Subhuti. Well done. So it is as you claim. The Tathagata cannot be seen by means of attributes. ...

    On that occasion the Buddha then spoke this gatha:

    "Who looks for me in form
    who seeks me in a voice
    indulges in waste effort
    such people see me not."

    Diamond Sutra (Chapter 26 - translated by Red Pine)
    So, Taigu and I are just Perfect Buddhas, without fault when seen with the discerning eye. We are also the embodiment of Kannon, Perfect Compassion, and all the other Great Bodhisattvas too!

    Of course, when seen with the same discerning eye, everyone from Pol Pot to Lady Gaga to the shoe salesman down the street are Perfect Buddhas without Attribute and all Bodhisattvas too .. thus saying that about Taigu and me and any other Buddhist Teacher really doesn't get one very far. Hopefully the Buddhist Teacher ... a bit more than Gaga or the shoe salesman (certainly more than Pol Pot) ... realizes their own Buddhahood and Compassion, and can help guide with skill other sentient beings to realize those persons' Buddhahood and Compassion too! (In fact, simply realizing one's original Buddhahood is not enough, as shown by the several Buddhist Teachers who have gone "off the rails" like Eido Roshi and others ... who apparently had a great handle on the "no attributes" part, but stunk at the Compassion part!) But then it is just a question of skill, like asking how many hits does a baseball batter get ... even if he strikes out sometimes, and does not hit every single pitch as a home run out of the park! Even Babe Ruth did not score every time at bat!

    You see, a "Buddhist Teacher" is just a guy or gal, like any person, who has to live in this complex world of flesh and blood. Yes, sure, they may fully realize (i.e., be aware of right in the bones) that they and all sentient beings are just Buddha and Kannon through and through ... but nonetheless Teachers are also just human fools like anyone, trying to live with their own personal histories, lives and mental baggage too (until we are dead, and folks start to write really exaggerated legends about us scrubbing up all the blemishes and having us walk on water and such).

    The question then becomes this: HOW WELL DO WE DO IT? HOW WELL DO WE MANAGE MOST DAYS TO COMBINE INTIMATELY OUR "BUDDHA AND KANNON" and OUR "HUMAN FOOLISHNESS" IN DAY TO DAY LIFE? What examples can we set for others in how we do that? How well can we guide others to live with one foot in Buddhahood and one foot on earth (not really two feet by the way, but that's another story)? It then becomes as simple as saying, "how well does Gaga sing even if some of her notes are sometimes flat?" or "how well does a salesman sell shoes even if not every shoe will fit and some will pinch the wearer from time to time?"

    I post the following a lot, and it applies here too as much as anywhere (the topic of the essay was the few priests who did really bad stuff, like Eido Roshi and his years of sexual harrassment of students, but it applies to any teacher with some rough edges). It applies to the Teachers from time to time, it applies too to some of our members in this Sangha who seem to be going through hard times and stumbling in their lives sometimes ...

    All human beings have the tendency to fall down from time to time, some more than others.

    It is a fallacy to think that Zen priests are ever completely free, during this life, from being human. In any large group of people ... whether Zen priests, other Buddhist, Christian or Jewish priests and clergy of all kinds ... there will always be examples of greed, anger and ignorance. Furthermore, in the lifetime of any one individual ... even among the best of us ... there are sure to be moments of greed, anger and ignorance.

    But our Practice does, more often than not, free us from the worst. It makes us better people. (In fact, most clergy I have met ... not just Buddhist clergy, but of all religions ... are good, caring, ethical people, the bad apples aside). Most of the Zen teachers I have met ... especially those with a few years and some maturity under their belt ... tend to be lovely, gentle, well rounded, self-actuated, moderate, compassionate, healthy people - balanced, living life with fullness and well.

    ...

    The question is whether the 95% that embodies Wisdom and Compassion is completely canceled and nullified by the 5% which is an ass and a human fool. Certainly, if the 5% is serious enough (child abuse as seen among some rabbis and priests is certainly an example, as are other acts of violence or truly malicious conduct), I say it does, certainly. (In fact, while recognizing that even the victimizer is too a victim of beginingless greed, anger, ignorance ... toss the worst of them in a cell, and throw away the key!). On the other hand, if what is seen is a relatively minor human weakness or failing ... I say it does not. What is more, it may make the teacher an even greater teacher because of his/her humanity.

    In other words, I would rather learn about some things from a fellow weak and fragile human being wrestling, right now, with Mara than from a stone Buddha statue, a Dharma machine, a Flawless Saint (although how many of those long dead saints and ancestors in religious hagiographic story books, their lives cleaned up and dipped in gold and set on a pedestal after their deaths, were truly so flawless during their flesh and blood lives?).

    ...

    But so long as we are human beings ... whether an 80 year old man or a child of age 3 ... we must also live in this ordinary realm of flesh and blood, its sometime desire ... a world where "you" and "me" are separate too, where we may feel lack and greed ... subject to anger, longing and times of despair. So long as we are in this world ... so-called "Zen Master" or not ... we cannot escape fully the realm of Samsara (even if, ultimately, there is no other to stumble into, no place we can fall).

    All human beings have the tendency to fall down from time to time. I guess it is just a matter of what the person does then ... picking themselves up, recovering balance, getting back on the trail, apologizing and learning from any damage caused. Like any great athlete, the point is not that we never get knocked around, never trip or stumble ... but how we handle the fall (as in the martial arts ... there is no training offered on how to never fall, but endless training on how to fall well). Show me the man or woman who falls down sometimes ... but who demonstrates how to fall well and recover one's footing ... and I will show you a great Zen teacher.

    viewtopic.php?p=29575#p29575
    Oh yeah, a Buddhist Teacher has delusions and we bring those delusions directly into teaching. The question then becomes whether we can see right through those delusions and, so seeing, what we do with the delusions and how we manage them so they cause little harm.

    If anybody wants "perfect Teachers" around here, I advise you to shop elsewhere. All one gets around here are Perfect Buddhas who are Perfect Fools ... trying not to be too foolish too often. :?

    Gassho, J

  4. #54
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Even in Zen, God agrees with us.

    I am late to the party, as usual, but I have to say that reading this thread was quite entertaining. Take a step back, everyone, and read through this whole thread again from that backward step position. You might see it, like I did, as a wave. It starts out with a little wind-driven ripple (Chet's opening inquisitive), and then it gains some inertia (people responding to Chet) because a body in motion tends to stay in motion, and then the wave begins to grow bigger and BIGGER as it is thrust up from the rocky shallows underneath (people's egos get involved), and the wave get so HUGE that spray starts blowing off the top (off-topic comments that people run with), until finally the wave crests (Jundo's post above) and the whole structure comes toppling down because the inertial energy has been exhausted, and finally the wave rolls harmlessly into shore (people eventually stop posting), a shore where there are a bunch of beach-goers (Treeleafers) looking out at the water (forum) for the next wave. I think this analogy holds true for all the threads here to some extent, but threads like this really embody it.

    So, here's the choice I see people as having: Are you going to get caught up in the wave and thrown around by it, possibly drowning in its turmoil, or are you going to surf it, ride it as long as you can until you get close to the shore? Maybe... probably... both. And that's OK. I would just say that I think it's important to be as mindful as possible regarding you and the wave: Are you getting tossed around in it or surfing on it? Are you moving from one state to the other? Which direction are you going? Hopefully, you are gaining balance and not losing it, though both states are impermanent. Anyway...

    As for me, I am sitting on the beach having a BBQ while watching people try to surf their rough waves 8)

    As for the content of this thread... eh, it's all waves, all surfing, all Zen :wink:

  5. #55
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: Even in Zen, God agrees with us.

    There certainly is a lot of noise in here. I guess I will add more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ekai
    I did not expect to see those images and if I knew what to expect, I would have made a choice to not view them. I am completely aware of violence in the world but I don't want to see actual footage. Viewing these horrific images does not add any insight to my practice in any way.
    Of course I support your right to the choice of viewing graphic images here, and this is an environment in which such things can easily be controlled.

    That said, some of the shocking things I have seen in my life, whether I was aware of their cause in this world or not, have greatly deepened my compassion. I do think that these things, horrible as they are, can provide insight. Without seeing some of the horrible things I have seen, I would not have such a strong aversion to harm and killing. I used to squash spiders, but no more. The idea of ending a life when I could just as easily let it go on makes me feel kind of ill deep inside. Of course, when I as much more naiive, I knew that killing was wrong. Now that I have seen killing, I really feel that killing is wrong. Now, I know that perhaps many people will feel that they are just as compassionate as they could be without encountering such things, and that may be true for them, but not for me. And if it is not for me, I know it is not for others either... unless I am a miracle anomaly.

    I have heard that graphic images shown of the consequences of the Vietnam War helped to bring about the strong opposition to that war. I have barely seen any of the carnage of our current wars, and people seem to go about their day thinking that no one is dying. We hear the numbers of casualties, but does that really sink it in? I wonder if the graphic images and stories of Vietnam really helped to stop that conflict. Today it seems we have perpetual warfare in which only the Middle East sees the consequences. How do numbers really convey what is happening over there? And when will it stop? It is not a video game-- the media used to do a lot more than keep score.

    We may be able to keep nasty images off of this website, but we can't keep these things out of true life, which is where our practice is. You never know when you will see or be involved in something horrible. These things cannot be controlled, but they provide lessons.

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Used to be I could post something and it wouldn't get bashed. Then I had a schism with the sangha, and since then, it's been all-bashing. See, there's a point in time where it starts and it has nothing to do with the quality of my posts. If anything, they're less reactive and more thoughtful than they've ever been.

    So yeah....you sorta need to know the history better.
    Maybe I don't know my history either, but I don't feel that you are now all-bashed.

    I have never felt that you were someone I often disagreed with or felt a need to oppose. Does that count for anything? Maybe not. I feel that you are a fiery person, but fiery to me does not lead to aversion. I am fiery myself, although I often do not express it here because some of the things I wish to say would often be unnecessary.

    I would not like it if you were gone.

  6. #56
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Even in Zen, God agrees with us.

    Excellent post Alanla.

    Gassho


    Taigu

  7. #57
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Even in Zen, God agrees with us.

    I feel that my comments on not wanting to view graphic images was highly misinterpreted. I believe it is very essential to our practice to sit with the difficult and horrific situations in life and to not run away from these things but face them head on. Awareness and paying attention to suffering that exists in the world without keeping our heads in the sand is important to feel a deeper compassion for those living in pain. Just because I am bothered by Faces of Death like images, does not mean I run away or afraid to face anything thats bad. I completely understand the practice more than beautiful pictures and life is not all honkey-dory. All of us have seen and been through horrific, painful situations, some worse than others, and will have more as life goes on.

    I guess feel a little fustrated at this point with this thread and it's time to take a break from posting.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  8. #58
    disastermouse
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    Re: Even in Zen, God agrees with us.

    Hey Will,

    I feel like I understand you more from that post than anything else I've seen you post. Not that some of your other posts weren't interesting or made me think of things differently - often they did - but in that last post, it felt like there was a person behind the writing.

    Alan (la),

    I used to think that floating serenely above the noise was the best way (although I sucked at it). It was useful then but now I'm not so sure.

    Ekai,

    I don't disagree with you and agree with Chugai. I just see some validity in both points of view (assuming his motivation for posting is what I think it was). There's an argument for keeping our minds innocent. There's an argument for meeting the horrors of life head-on. I actually tend toward keeping the mind innocent - some things cannot be unseen. But I think I at least understand the other argument and can't find it completely faulty.

    The mind craves novelty, and shocking or overstimulating sensations can actually numb the brain to more nuanced signals in the environment. Junk food and Internet porn are two examples of hyper-stimulating versions of natural drives that can actually become addictive.

    Chet

  9. #59

    Re: Even in Zen, God agrees with us.

    To return to the original post:

    Something I've been noticing lately is how we each define Zen through our individual identity. Brad is punk, therefore the best Zen is punk also. Jundo treasures balance, even-ness, and nice-ness - hence to him Zen is balanced, even, and nice. I do it too... of course.

    But this isn't really Zen, is it?

    No. It is not. Personality has nothing to do with your practice, or Zen. Zen is beyond you or me. That's why we gassho together, eat together, and shit together. Seriously though, there's books full of this stuff. Zen practice has nothing to do with you. That's why no one really cares who you are. Kodu sawaki said "Someone who thinks they know something is called a "Zen devil". Shunryu Suzuki said Beginners mind. Seung Sahn said don't know.

    When things clash it's ego. Me, me, me. I, I, I.

    W

  10. #60
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Even in Zen, God agrees with us.

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    To return to the original post:

    Something I've been noticing lately is how we each define Zen through our individual identity. Brad is punk, therefore the best Zen is punk also. Jundo treasures balance, even-ness, and nice-ness - hence to him Zen is balanced, even, and nice. I do it too... of course.

    But this isn't really Zen, is it?

    No. It is not. Personality has nothing to do with your practice, or Zen. Zen is beyond you or me. That's why we gassho together, eat together, and shit together. Seriously though, there's books full of this stuff. Zen practice has nothing to do with you. That's why no one really cares who you are. Kodu sawaki said "Someone who thinks they know something is called a "Zen devil". Shunryu Suzuki said Beginners mind. Seung Sahn said don't know.

    When things clash it's ego. Me, me, me. I, I, I.

    W
    Right Will. Exactly. Yet I also don't think it's wrong that there's a filter, just that we need to be aware of it and allow others their filters while making them aware of their own.

    Being part of a sangha means there are all sorts of different egos. Expecting anything else is unrealistic. It's not that different perspectives are wrong, it's mistaking a perspective with the perspective. Of course, this also doesn't mean all perspectives are equally valid.

    IMHO.

    Chet

  11. #61

    Re: Even in Zen, God agrees with us.

    Yeah. This just popped up:

    Brad and Jundo are doing their own thing with "zen". Take for example Bodhidharma, or someone like that, they are into seeing your true nature, then what you do with it is up to you. You choose your lifestyle according to how you want to use it. Around here, Jundo has said "if you don't like this style of teaching, then that fine. Do something else." (something like that.) I'd say that there's is more of a productive active Buddhism based here. I'm not really sure what Brad is trying to do. He just seems more like a guy doing what a normal person does day to day. I know that he writes a blog, and does books and all that, and tries to avoid any relation to the "teacher" status. I can understand his point. It's his choice to do what he wants. AS long as he doesn't wear the hat of "teacher", then he's fine to keep doing that. Perhaps, he is a teacher without being a teacher.

    Anyway, that just came up, and that's how I see it. It's all a choice to do what you want with what you know.

    Gassho

    W

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