You cannot? Yet, you somehow did!
You cannot? Yet, you somehow did!
An excellent explanation. I certainly understand what you say, and you say it well. Nevertheless, letting "this final desire go" is something that we do with motivation to do so; I don't think it can just happen as a result of someone sitting with no initial motivation. And even if it does happen, one cannot intellectually forget the initial intention. I think that if one reaches such a state, it is with full awareness of that intention, but that intention just no longer matters.
My point was simply to stress that the whole "no purpose" thing can be deceptive.
Yes, I've been going back to the source in my personal quest for understanding. If one accepts that Mahayana is built on the foundations of Therevada (actually, on the foundations of the Pali canon), then I think it can be very valuable to know what the bedrock of Buddhist thought is.PS: We appear to have the two great plates of the Mahayana and the Theravada rubbing up against each other here.
Myozan s sentence coins it :
This is it. The very pearl. What Dogen and all the other guys are talking about.This often appears as the ‘trick’ or ‘joke’ of zen: you achieve something by giving up the desire to achieve it (the end of suffering). And zen tradition revels in this apparent contradiction, often with great humour.
No intention and there it is. But...making non intention, carving non intention, dreaming non intention won t do...you-me-everybody has to drop the dropping itself, surrender the surrendering, cut the crap and crap the cut, until crap and cut are not two.
Entering the one river two bulls merge.
Can you even remember their names?
Golden week Taigu
You bet it can be forgotten... I mean, have you ever had the experience of planing to do something so much desired so much expected and ending up ina complete different place? Well, that is DHARMA.
Much love and deep bows
Chet, thank you for your presence here.
As for the differences among Buddhist traditions a joke I read recently:
How many Buddhists does it take to change a light bulb?
Theravada: "There's nothing about light bulbs in Pali Canon."
Tibetan: "Two. One gives the initiation one changes the light bulb."
Pure Land: "None. Buddha Amitabha will do it for anyone who asks him."
Rindzai: "Keep this koan in your teeth even if you sleep, eat or break light bulbs with your staff."
Soto: "Why change the light bulbs? When we sit zazen we shine throughout the whole universe in 10 directions."
thanks to all of you for your insightful questions and thanks to Myozan in particular for that last gem.
To this Unsui, the non-goal-seeking "drive" that still gets many of us to sit regularly has a lot to do with the inherent tendency of our awakened nature to realise itself.
Like a bent bow, straightening itself after an arrow was loosened.
Dropping body and mind, letting the arrow of dualistic thought and emotions fly, we naturally pursue our path towards further awakening. There is a dynamic there, no doubt (in my mind at least), and we might wonder at our-selves, why we are doing it. We are like the bow in between being crooked and straight. Yet even the fully bent bow is nothing but the bow.
Totally and radically allowing Bodaishin to take us where we never left, now that is what I call a wild ride. Bullseye every moment of the way.
Hans Chudo Mongen
This was an excellent clarifying statement, and that is part of the explanation I will now have at the ready when someone asks me why I sit Zazen. It comes to the same effect as trying to describe a goalless practice but more perfectly captures the inherent beauty and fluidity in the Zen tradition.Originally Posted by Hans
As a side note, is the Gakudo Yojin Shu the definite source to learn about Bodaishin or is there a thread on here that also touches on this subject?
Do not have any ready explanation to give, ( we are not into frozen and ready made stuff here) please,
And bodaisin is found anywhere not just in old dusty texts.
Gassho, Mr. Lou, something you might learn doing, it is fun, meaningful, free, thoughtless, pointless... Just perfectly imperfect.
Could you please clarify somehow what you mean by Further awakening?
Thank you fo this Taigu.Originally Posted by Taigu
Hans Chudo Mongen
Yeah. Good.Originally Posted by Myozan Kodo
Hello Taigu,Originally Posted by Taigu
I mean further in the sense that it is a continuous process. Every moment of practise fresh and moist from the mother of wisdom's ever pregnant womb. Although there is a deepening of one's practise throughout the years, this process isn't going anywhere....other than where we started. Always new, always the same.
But these are just my two Unsui cents...so please add a pinch of salt to my fox spittle.
Hans Chudo Mongen
There has been much well written in this thread and I can only add that whenever I question the reason for sitting, I know that I sit because I do not seek enlightenment. The only way enlightenment can be achieved is by not seeking it. Do I want to be enlightened? Sure, why not? But if I sit for a hundred years and do not achieve it, will that be a disappointment? No! Because the sitting was "the point", not enlightenment. I agree with Kirk that we all arrive here because we hope to cure what ails us, but those who stay and go deep into this practice are those that accept sitting for sitting's sake. Words are often difficult to find and I still struggle to define just what it is that I'm doing...and when I get to that point I take the one piece of advice I have found useful from Mr. Warner...I sit down and shut up.
It is only by sitting and seeking nothing from it that I have gained so much.
I really appreciated this post, and it seems to me to articulate the same spirit with which I now approach Zen and zazen. When I first began sitting regularly (almost 20 years ago), I sat only because I remembered a sense of profound sanity from sitting before. Nothing special, but very special indeed. I wasn't trying to cure or fix anything, but I remembered that I'd once seen that self-and-other were not always as I'd assumed they were. After a time, gaining ideas began to creep into my practice, making me totally neurotic. Then I broke away from daily zazen for a few years.Originally Posted by Dosho
Now I sit zazen without any idea of insight or gain - but I only do that because I've already experienced that sitting with a gaining idea takes away from the profound sanity of zazen in this moment.
Thank you for sharing Chet. I have also experienced this kind of conversation hence my reluctance to over-share.Originally Posted by disastermouse
I don't mind sharing with everyone. But does everyone want me to share?Originally Posted by mr.Lou
Point One: Have you ever been on the receiving end of an enthusiastic sharing by a religious person who's "oh so compassionate and loving" that he just has to share the GOOD NEWS with you whether you like it or not? :shock: Our practice balances compassion with wisdom. It is not enough to have good intentions. Those intentions need to be skillful as well. Our compassionate and enthusiastic religious guy has good intentions, but just how skillful is it, how wise is it to just share everything with everyone regardless of their views and whether or not they truly want to hear you out? I know people who have been unwillingly sucked into listening to a religious person as he proselytized the Good News to them - they were not interested and they were just too polite to say "no". Is that effective sharing? I don't see the wisdom in proselytizing the Dharma with someone unless there is a sincere inquiry made by that person. And it is not out of elitism but out of respect for that other person's religion or lack thereof that I don't just approach and share.
Point Two: But even if somebody were truly interested in what I have to say, I don't necessarily have the ability to explain things well. Also, trying to explain Buddhism - which as a religion has an entirely different structure from the Abrahamic religions' - to a Christian or someone who grew up in a predominantly Christian society is difficult because of the differences in structures. For example, I have been asked about Zen at a party in front of several other people. These were people who already had preconceived notions of Zen (one of them thought of it as a design style - she's an architect) and Buddhism. Add to that the belief-structure of Christianity that acts as a filter to whatever words I would say to them. Another time my former colleague asked me about reincarnation and karma and I struggled to explain to her that karma is not punishment from God. She was struggling to understand too - she had trouble understanding the idea that maybe there is no God who will dole out karma as punishment to the wicked.
The point is it's hard enough for me to explain Zen and deal with all these belief systems - for me to really share, someone has to be really interested. But even if someone is really interested I am not necessarily able to explain very well. My conversation with my colleague was an example of this. She really wanted to know, but I struggled to explain it to her well. And I walked away from that conversation wishing I said this and that... hell I could have pointed her to Treeleaf! Except at that time I didn't know Treeleaf existed. But I wish now that I told her to look in the Internet. Yes I know it's big. I didn't mean (and I apologize if it sounded like it) that I would tell someone to just dive into the great big digital ocean of information without so much as a list of links to informative and helpful websites.
Thank you so much Hans. By the way, it was really great to talk to you last time.
Both Chet and PinoyBuddhist have shared very thorough expressions of their personal feelings on the matter of sharing their understanding of Buddhism with other non-Buddhist. I appreciate you both taking the time to write such detailed responses. I have two follow up questions to what you have both said:Originally Posted by pinoybuddhist
1. Why do you hold yourselves so accountable for the actions, or rather potential actions, of others when they are completely beyond your control? We can neither control no predict how others will perceive things and it robs each of us of our individuality and the uniqueness of every encounter when we make blanket assumptions about people.
Which leads me to my second point
2. Both your statements confess that neither of you believes you posses the tact to share your beliefs with others in a non-overwhelming or threatening way, such as the way you have experienced from other religion's representatives. I agree we should not run around and beat people over the head with our beliefs, but an apprehension to share our beliefs is the other extreme. Is there not a middle way that we can follow between the extremes of fanaticism and abstinence? After all, aren't we purveyors and seekers of Truth?
I am profoundly happy that you are asking the questions you are asking. Without these questions, my attentions would never have been drawn to these things. I have on occassion seen close family suffer and have only wished that I could impart, in some small way, some sense of what I've found in the Buddhist path.
Remember, please, that even the Buddha himself is said to have almost forsaken teaching the Dharma at all. It's only because he remembered his former companions and others who had very little 'dust' to clear from their eyes that he taught at all. How much more humble must we all be as mere students of the Dharma?
Yes, I agree that it is easier to measure intention and action from afar as I am doing, but I do it so that I can grow closer to the Sangha through shared discussions of interest.Originally Posted by disastermouse
Your anecdote above reminds me of how even Lao Tzu did not wish to discuss his beliefs, and where would we be if he too had not been urged to write down his thoughts before vanishing. Thanks for seeing my intention in these words and sharing your opinions. It is most enlightening :wink:
I'll say it again here: it is a matter of respect for that other person's own path that I do not just "share". I operate on the basic assumption that whatever path someone is on, that is their path. It is not for me to say that it is not. If their path is Jesus, I will not say why don't you try the Buddha's path? If they do not come to me and ask about Buddhism, that is their path. If they come to me, then that is their path. Only then will I share what little I know. For those who are not interested enough to ask, it is enough for them to know that I am a Buddhist.Originally Posted by mr.Lou
I know you have a Christian background. So do I. I do not, and have never liked, being proselytized to. At least not in the manner that some Christian sects do. I suppose it works for some people. Not for me. And yes, I get that it is a blanket assumption, but I cannot help but feel a wall come up when people try to share their religion with me. Maybe it's my life experiences getting in the way. Having spent all my life in a predominantly Christian country, having had my share of Masses, Catholic retreats, Bible studies with Born Again Christians, prayer rallies, and just listening to proselytizers sell their beliefs on me and implying that THEIR WAY alone is THE WAY, etc. - these have all undoubtedly left me jaded. And it's not just me but my close friends and a lot of the people I interact with on a daily basis (who are all Christian, btw): there's this jadedness towards proselytizers despite the fact that they have such similar or even exactly the same beliefs. That's why I have this general policy of not pushing the Dharma on people unless they ask for it. Of course this is a general policy. It helps guide me as to when and when not to share.
Remember: Buddha was said to have taught many kinds of people - not just those who followed him but even those who had their own religions. And he was said to have taught these people in accordance with their particular path. How he did it I have no idea. But he probably had to listen very well to what these people were asking him before opening his mouth.
I do share, but it's on an individual case-by-case basis. What and how I share depends on the person I'm sharing to. My best friend for instance, is one very jaded person when it comes to religion. As far as she's concerned, she has heard it all: how her life would be so much better if she just had a closer relationship with Jesus, if only she would just read the Bible everyday, go to Mass, pray, etc. So I tread carefully here. I am careful not to "sell" the Dharma to her. By that, I mean I don't tell her "well you know your life will be much better if you simply have the right view, right intention, right..." Usually I wait for her to ask a question or say how she feels or how she sees the world. Then I tell her what I think, which is pretty much based on the Dharma. You see here? I don't talk about Buddhism even though what I do tell her is Buddhism.
I don't try to control that which is beyond my control; I try to control what is not beyond my control. I can't control how others receive my words; I can however control my words. Right Speech, remember? Just because I cannot control how others receive the Dharma doesn't mean I shouldn't care. How well someone understands me is beyond my control - nevertheless, I do have to put some effort to make him understand otherwise why bother talking?Originally Posted by mr.Lou
I shared in my previous post an example of how I shared without really sharing the Dharma to my friend. That was an example peculiar to that particular relationship. How I share with others will differ. But these are on an individual basis. In general, I stick to my policy of don't speak unless asked.Originally Posted by mr.Lou
I believe I have discovered the root of our misalignment. It seems that you equate proselytizing only with the verbal (e.g. Telling someone about my religion equates to a condemnation of the other person's beliefs) This is where our primary difference of opinion is.Originally Posted by pinoybuddhist
Proselytizing is defined as:
-Convert or attempt to convert (someone) from one religion, belief, or opinion to another.
-Advocate or promote (a belief or course of action).
You will notice that nothing in these definitions says it is limited to words. I assert that all Buddhist should be proselytizing at all times if they are truly living examples of their beliefs. Without having to tell people, your actions should be conspicuously Buddhist. Your lifestyle should be conspicuously Buddhist. You shouldn't need to tell people with words that you think your beliefs have helped you to accept the Dukkha. You shouldn't have to tell people simply with words that you believe you have found Truth.
So yes, we are in agreement that you shouldn't go around condemning people with your words describing what your beliefs are. Instead, your actions should be very explicitly sharing and reflecting your beliefs to all those that you encounter. I believe we should be striving to proselytize everyday to everyone by embodying the change we want to see in the world (to paraphrase Mahatma Gandi).
Appearances are a poor way to expound the dharma or one's understanding for one simple reason: No one else knows where you started from!
My brother is more violent and more frequently moody than I am. His temper can be very ferocious. I am also very moody, and have quite a temper - but neither is as bad (although they started that way). Over time, I have become gradually less so. Since we can't do a controlled study of myself both with Buddhism and without, he is the closest approximation of who I would be without the teachings.
But when you see me, you may only see a strange man with a terrible personality, poor speech, moodiness and impulsivity who can neither maintain a long-term romantic relationship nor keep any but very close friends for long.
In short, you would see a very flawed man and certainly no exemplar of Buddhist teachings. And yet Buddhist practice has and continues to contribute to my ability to function in the world. But you would never see that - you'd only see my continued sub-par functioning and might conclude that the Buddha's teachings were worthless.
Appearances are problematic for these reasons.
Ah! Finally we're getting somewhere. Well mr. Lou, I agree with your post somewhat. This is after all the method I use to my toddler. No point in verbalizing the Dharma to him, although he is now able to recognize and do gassho before a Buddha image. I also proselytize in a similar manner to my wife - she knows I chant and sit zazen every morning after all.
That being said, I also get somewhat where Chet is coming from. And I just want to add one thing: when you say "conspicuously Buddhist", what does that look like? :shock: Apart from shaved heads and outfits and rituals, does it look any different from conspicuously Christian/Jew/Muslim/atheist/Wiccan/etc.? If you say it looks like being compassionate, loving, and wise - then it would look no different from any other path.
What's the saying, "it's better to be a Buddha than a Buddhist..."
In other words, your actions are more important than your words.
Let's not make this into an either-or thing: there is Right Action and there is Right Speech in the path, after all. Sometimes Right Speech is speechless; other times brief; and still other times long-winded. What's the right way to proselytize? It depends. Sometimes words, sometimes actions, sometimes both.
Thank you for starting this topic mr. Lou.