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Thread: 'That'll do pig

  1. #1

    'That'll do pig

    Just coming back over here to Treeleaf has brought something to mind. Pontus made a great joke in the Koan study thread about wanting a gold star for getting it "right"... and ... man if that isn't true to some degree. I posted something in "Taigu's Bulls".. and Taigu reponded positively. That positive response from a teacher...it means a lot to me, yet I squirm when I get it.

    .. There is a moment at the end of the movie "Babe" when the little pig competes with the sheep dogs at the county fair... and gets a ribbon. Then he runs over to the farmer and looks up at him beaming.. The tall farmer looks down at the little piggy, smiles, and says .. "That'll do pig". My wife and I watched that not long ago, and we both got choked up, before laughing about being that little pig. There has always been this good wise boy/ bad unwise boy thing when it comes to Dharma teachers. It is silly, and I know better... but still there is this kid that wants the teacher to say.. "That'll do pig". It has resulted in alot of running away and coming back over the years.

    ...can anyone relate?

  2. #2
    Friends of Treeleaf Dokan's Avatar
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    Re: 'That'll do pig

    Every few months I seem to find myself re-listening to Taigu's talks on the 10 Oxherding pictures...

    After I had read your thread, I had just started to listen to the Introduction and thought it may be worthwhile to re-share.

    viewtopic.php?f=25&t=3052

    Maybe it should be required listening for the book club members. :idea:

    Gassho,

    Dokan

  3. #3

    'That'll do pig"

    I'm glad you took it the right way!
    I think most (if not all) of us are little kids collecting gold stars and ribbons, at least on some level.

    /Pontus

  4. #4

    'That'll do pig"

    The ten ox herding pictures are one of Taigu's master pieces in my opinion.

    Definately deserve a gold star!

    Gassho,
    /Pontus

  5. #5

    Re: 'That'll do pig

    Can definately relate Kojip (nice to see you back here).

    .... but my dread of getting a rap on the knuckles is stronger than the desire of wanting to get things right.

    I hate it even more if I think someone else is being put straight in an unkind manner
    and sometimes I'm relieved just to be ignored !!! ops:

    Gassho

    Willow

  6. #6
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: 'That'll do pig

    We're all susceptible to praise and blame. Without it, we'd be harder to train - probably.

    Jundo and Taigu are my first even remotely longish-term, action-and-response Zen teachers. I don't crave praise much - mostly because the Borderline doesn't really let me acknowledge it - but I am hyper-sensitive to criticism and rejection (they did a study that showed that Borderlines can detect signs of rejection and disapproval before the person doing the rejecting is even consciously aware of it). But because of my disorder, I also court criticism on a regular basis. Looking at my history here, I'd have to say that no matter how much I may fight against it or wish to avoid it, it's been the accurate criticism that has helped me the most, though.

    From an identity perspective, I'm realizing that I try harder 'not to lose' than I do to 'win'. Maybe I should try to change that.

    But not here. Not with the Zen teachers.

    Chet

  7. #7

    Re: 'That'll do pig

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    We're all susceptible to praise and blame. Without it, we'd be harder to train - probably.
    I agree with that. I think we have an inherent need for validation. Now when that gets out of hand and turns narcissistic, there are problems.

    But I don't really care what you all think; I've brokered a deal to be allowed to hold the gold star 2 out of 7 days of the week. (kidding) :mrgreen:

  8. #8
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: 'That'll do pig

    Quote Originally Posted by Risho
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    We're all susceptible to praise and blame. Without it, we'd be harder to train - probably.
    I agree with that. I think we have an inherent need for validation. Now when that gets out of hand and turns narcissistic, there are problems.

    But I don't really care what you all think; I've brokered a deal to be allowed to hold the gold star 2 out of 7 days of the week. (kidding) :mrgreen:
    Narcissism isn't truly a sense of superiority or self-satisfaction. It's the projected shell that protects an incredibly insecure and unacknowledged self-image.

    Chet

  9. #9

    Re: 'That'll do pig

    I can absolutely relate.

    This has been a huge part of my life for years and years, and I appreciate that you bring it up here and am interested in what others think about his. In American life, things basically run this way: win the game, make the play, get the grade, etc. It's how we're brought up (most of us), and so we're constantly looking for that praise (some of us, as Chet suggests, are possibly looking for criticism): in either case, some kind of recognition. As someone who was/is trying to be a writer (and am pretty competitive), I sent and still do send out lots of fiction, to journals all over the country, hoping to "win". If things went well (got some publications) happy-verision-of-me; if things went poorly (rejection-upon-rejection), exceedingly-depressed-version-of-me (not too nice to be around).

    This was extremely difficult but it was only difficult because I didn't know how to look at my own mind: when I got a bunch of rejections in a row, I'd think, "I'm a failure, utterly failing at this writing thing." When I say 'writing,' I don't mean, you know, whipping up a story and sending it off, either. I mean months, sometimes years of work on a particular piece, and then sending it out, along with maybe five or six other pieces, also worked on for years, and then over the course of a year, receiving somewhere around 100 rejection letters; like having a baby come back and someone going, no, this one isn't any good. And things would spiral from there: "I'm not supporting my wife, I have a crappy job, I'm not being a good husband or partner or even friend, and I'm selfish, working on my own shit day and night which no one cares about and neglecting friends and family" - well, don't want to bore. You get it. There were times I was desperate, absolutely desperate with want, want for some recognition, something, but even if a story got picked up, it wasn't good enough, I wanted more, needed more recognition, and sometimes, the praise was even worse, etc. It really bled into my entire life.

    Anyway, I can't say how much sitting has "helped." I remember when I first began, the first few weeks even, my wife said to me, Where's all the stress, all the anger, the depression? I had made other changes already, but this was different, and I didn't know how to answer, and said, I don't know, I don't know! I still get little bummed with a rejection, still a little happy, a little fearful with a publication, but now I can see the mental drama, the wanting before it even starts, and try not to cling, attach to these things. Doesn't work all days, but to the best of my ability, I drop the rejection, drop the praise, too. Maybe just a little smile when each come. It's been a great teacher.

    I don't know, has me thinking of the second noble truth, really. I've got to stop rambling on Treeleaf. In any case, again, and the point of this and probably what I should've just said: I know what you mean.

    Gassho,
    Alan

  10. #10
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: 'That'll do pig

    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r
    I can absolutely relate.

    This has been a huge part of my life for years and years, and I appreciate that you bring it up here and am interested in what others think about his. In American life, things basically run this way: win the game, make the play, get the grade, etc. It's how we're brought up (most of us), and so we're constantly looking for that praise (some of us, as Chet suggests, are possibly looking for criticism): in either case, some kind of recognition. As someone who was/is trying to be a writer (and am pretty competitive), I sent and still do send out lots of fiction, to journals all over the country, hoping to "win". If things went well (got some publications) happy-verision-of-me; if things went poorly (rejection-upon-rejection), exceedingly-depressed-version-of-me (not too nice to be around).

    This was extremely difficult but it was only difficult because I didn't know how to look at my own mind: when I got a bunch of rejections in a row, I'd think, "I'm a failure, utterly failing at this writing thing." When I say 'writing,' I don't mean, you know, whipping up a story and sending it off, either. I mean months, sometimes years of work on a particular piece, and then sending it out, along with maybe five or six other pieces, also worked on for years, and then over the course of a year, receiving somewhere around 100 rejection letters; like having a baby come back and someone going, no, this one isn't any good. And things would spiral from there: "I'm not supporting my wife, I have a crappy job, I'm not being a good husband or partner or even friend, and I'm selfish, working on my own shit day and night which no one cares about and neglecting friends and family" - well, don't want to bore. You get it. There were times I was desperate, absolutely desperate with want, want for some recognition, something, but even if a story got picked up, it wasn't good enough, I wanted more, needed more recognition, and sometimes, the praise was even worse, etc. It really bled into my entire life.

    Anyway, I can't say how much sitting has "helped." I remember when I first began, the first few weeks even, my wife said to me, Where's all the stress, all the anger, the depression? I had made other changes already, but this was different, and I didn't know how to answer, and said, I don't know, I don't know! I still get little bummed with a rejection, still a little happy, a little fearful with a publication, but now I can see the mental drama, the wanting before it even starts, and try not to cling, attach to these things. Doesn't work all days, but to the best of my ability, I drop the rejection, drop the praise, too. Maybe just a little smile when each come. It's been a great teacher.

    I don't know, has me thinking of the second noble truth, really. I've got to stop rambling on Treeleaf. In any case, again, and the point of this and probably what I should've just said: I know what you mean.

    Gassho,
    Alan
    Hey Alan,

    Your post really hit home. As someone who's aspiring to a creative career, all the pitfalls you bring up are terrifying. I used to paint (a lot) and have written some short stories...and there were two fears I experienced - rejection, and 'losing the muse'....that mystifying place where the ideas and inspiration come from - that part that feels like you have no business laying a claim on it. The criticism feels personal because it feels like you're being told that you didn't do right by whatever it was that came through you, that you muddled it up or got in the way or were simply not a suitable conduit for whatever the hell that 'it' is.

    IMHO.

    Chet

  11. #11

    Re: 'That'll do pig

    Alan,Chet - I don't know if my thoughts on this will help or hinder but here goes.

    I'll be 60 next birthday and I've been writing (hoping for publication) since my 20's. Sometimes I feel upset that my work isn't recognised
    on some global level, but I've learnt to appreciate the positive feedback of a small audience. Gradually I've come to recognise that the process
    of creative endeavor is as important as the end result - though I'm always working towards some state of near perfection.
    I do recognise that the situation is not so straight forward if a living has to be made from one's creativity.

    But on my web site I happily describe myself as a writer (and artist) because that is how I spend my days now (illness permitting), that is my life blood
    and I strive to resist the deep need of somebody else's approbation (by way of financial reward or recognition) in order to allow
    myself to make such a statement.

    To make a living as a writer/artist is extremely hard - it takes a strong creative drive and an element of good luck. The world is full of incredibly
    talented, creative individuals - the good luck is scarce. Because of this I try to celebrate the talent and good luck of others - wishing it also for myself - but
    not wanting envy to destroy the pleasure I take from the creative process. Sometimes I fail to reach a magnaminous state of mind and it just makes me miserable.

    Two years ago I self-published my third novel. To do this is even easier now with Kindle download on Amazon. I would advice any aspiring writer not to
    wait on the slim hope of finding a publisher - the rejection slips just pile up - along with the loss of self esteem. It is very empowering to do one's own thing.
    And who knows - good luck might kick in as well.

    It has to be better than feeling you have a voice that isn't heard at all.

    Anyway - just a few thoughts.

    Gassho

    Willow

  12. #12

    Re: 'That'll do pig

    Quote Originally Posted by Dokan
    Every few months I seem to find myself re-listening to Taigu's talks on the 10 Oxherding pictures...

    After I had read your thread, I had just started to listen to the Introduction and thought it may be worthwhile to re-share.

    viewtopic.php?f=25&t=3052

    Maybe it should be required listening for the book club members. :idea:

    Gassho,

    Dokan
    Thanks for posting the link to that; I haven't listened to those talks in a while. The introduction seems very relevant to our study of "The Book of Equanimity". Letting Zen questions ring us or letting the readings read us... sounds like realizing the Dharma King's Dharma is just as is. Not adding or taking away, we just let it be and live through us.

    Gassho,

    Risho

  13. #13

    Re: 'That'll do pig

    Quote Originally Posted by Dokan
    Every few months I seem to find myself re-listening to Taigu's talks on the 10 Oxherding pictures...

    After I had read your thread, I had just started to listen to the Introduction and thought it may be worthwhile to re-share.

    viewtopic.php?f=25&t=3052

    Maybe it should be required listening for the book club members. :idea:

    Gassho,

    Dokan
    Thank you, Dokan. I just listened to the series of talks. That is the first time the ox herding pictures have actually been in my life, and not behind a Zen veil.... Thank you for those talks, Taigu.


    .....and the kid needing approval... like Pontus says.. he'll always be around I suppose.. little earnest pig.

    Gassho. Kojip.

  14. #14

    Re: 'That'll do pig

    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r
    I can absolutely relate.

    This has been a huge part of my life for years and years, and I appreciate that you bring it up here and am interested in what others think about his. In American life, things basically run this way: win the game, make the play, get the grade, etc. It's how we're brought up (most of us), and so we're constantly looking for that praise (some of us, as Chet suggests, are possibly looking for criticism): in either case, some kind of recognition. As someone who was/is trying to be a writer (and am pretty competitive), I sent and still do send out lots of fiction, to journals all over the country, hoping to "win". If things went well (got some publications) happy-verision-of-me; if things went poorly (rejection-upon-rejection), exceedingly-depressed-version-of-me (not too nice to be around).

    This was extremely difficult but it was only difficult because I didn't know how to look at my own mind: when I got a bunch of rejections in a row, I'd think, "I'm a failure, utterly failing at this writing thing." When I say 'writing,' I don't mean, you know, whipping up a story and sending it off, either. I mean months, sometimes years of work on a particular piece, and then sending it out, along with maybe five or six other pieces, also worked on for years, and then over the course of a year, receiving somewhere around 100 rejection letters; like having a baby come back and someone going, no, this one isn't any good. And things would spiral from there: "I'm not supporting my wife, I have a crappy job, I'm not being a good husband or partner or even friend, and I'm selfish, working on my own shit day and night which no one cares about and neglecting friends and family" - well, don't want to bore. You get it. There were times I was desperate, absolutely desperate with want, want for some recognition, something, but even if a story got picked up, it wasn't good enough, I wanted more, needed more recognition, and sometimes, the praise was even worse, etc. It really bled into my entire life.

    Anyway, I can't say how much sitting has "helped." I remember when I first began, the first few weeks even, my wife said to me, Where's all the stress, all the anger, the depression? I had made other changes already, but this was different, and I didn't know how to answer, and said, I don't know, I don't know! I still get little bummed with a rejection, still a little happy, a little fearful with a publication, but now I can see the mental drama, the wanting before it even starts, and try not to cling, attach to these things. Doesn't work all days, but to the best of my ability, I drop the rejection, drop the praise, too. Maybe just a little smile when each come. It's been a great teacher.

    I don't know, has me thinking of the second noble truth, really. I've got to stop rambling on Treeleaf. In any case, again, and the point of this and probably what I should've just said: I know what you mean.

    Gassho,
    Alan
    When it comes to praise and blame "out in the world"... career and so forth... I have enjoyed good fortune, and there is little need for approval... unless income is hanging on it. This is, for me, a Sangha thing. Maybe in part because I practiced for a long time in a tradition with a two tier Sangha.. The monastics (the real deal).. and the laity (the wannabes) . The ordained Sangha were always deferred to.. and the laity tended to be a bit clueless when they were not around.. huddling together for warmth.

  15. #15

    Re: 'That'll do pig

    Bow to all of you, you already said it all, so just count me in to be in the same boat
    _()_
    Peter Myoku

  16. #16

    Re: 'That'll do pig

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip
    When it comes to praise and blame "out in the world"... career and so forth... I have enjoyed good fortune, and there is little need for approval... unless income is hanging on it. This is, for me, a Sangha thing. Maybe in part because I practiced for a long time in a tradition with a two tier Sangha.. The monastics (the real deal).. and the laity (the wannabes) . The ordained Sangha were always deferred to.. and the laity tended to be a bit clueless when they were not around.. huddling together for warmth.
    Not sure I see a clear division between being 'out in the world' and The Sangha. Two tiered Sangha or two tirered world it's all practice - thinking about what that gold star really represents.

    Gassho

    Willow

  17. #17

    Re: 'That'll do pig

    Quote Originally Posted by willow
    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip
    When it comes to praise and blame "out in the world"... career and so forth... I have enjoyed good fortune, and there is little need for approval... unless income is hanging on it. This is, for me, a Sangha thing. Maybe in part because I practiced for a long time in a tradition with a two tier Sangha.. The monastics (the real deal).. and the laity (the wannabes) . The ordained Sangha were always deferred to.. and the laity tended to be a bit clueless when they were not around.. huddling together for warmth.
    Not sure I see a clear division between being 'out in the world' and The Sangha. Two tiered Sangha or two tirered world it's all practice - thinking about what that gold star really represents.

    Gassho

    Willow
    It is all practice.... but praise has a different effect depending on who is praising and what is being praised. If the mailman says... "I like your shoes", I'd just say "thanks", without being particularly moved. If a teacher I respect says ... "That was well spoken", it means much more.


    It isn't a big deal... but there are times when that does come up. I imagine it is fairly common.

  18. #18

    Re: 'That'll do pig

    Hi Willow.. “Two tier” sangha was referring to Theravada Buddhism , where according to tradition. (and some say the suttas) only a monastic can fully realize the Dharma. That realization is defined quite differently than in Zen... and is also gradualist. Lay people could cultivate virtuous qualities and wisdom... and realize “Nibbana (Nirvana) with remainder” a kind of consolation Nirvana, while only the monastics could realize the final Nirvana of Arahants, which was beyond the ken of the laity. This “Nirvana without remainder”.. is not the Bodhisattva way. So it is a different kind of tradition.. and a very different Sangha dynamic. It trains a certain kind of deference to the ordained sangha.... and ordinary lay people, sadly, sell themselves short. It is structural. This is talking from experience.

    Gassho.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    Re: 'That'll do pig

    Ha! Gold stars. I'm still the kid who says she doesn't give a shit about gold stars . . . until she stops getting them. :roll:

    Gassho

    Jen

  20. #20

    Re: 'That'll do pig

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    there were two fears I experienced - rejection, and 'losing the muse'....that mystifying place where the ideas and inspiration come from - that part that feels like you have no business laying a claim on it. The criticism feels personal because it feels like you're being told that you didn't do right by whatever it was that came through you, that you muddled it up or got in the way or were simply not a suitable conduit for whatever the hell that 'it' is.
    Chet, that. Exactly.

    Willow, thanks for the comment and the advice. You're right about luck being a big part of the process (and connections, I often think). Right now I'm in a place of let-go, just write. Fine being there too after years of fighting, and like Chet says, muddling up and getting in the way of the 'thing'. Can I buy your book through amazon?

    Kojip, oh, I guess I didn't realize it was a Sangha thing alone. I can relate regardless. Still though, for me writing is Zen. And teachers don't always have to wear robes, though I see what you mean. I also practiced in the Theravada tradition before coming here.

    Gassho,
    Alan

  21. #21

    Re: 'That'll do pig

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip
    Hi Willow.. “Two tier” sangha was referring to Theravada Buddhism , where according to tradition. (and some say the suttas) only a monastic can fully realize the Dharma. That realization is defined quite differently than in Zen... and is also gradualist. Lay people could cultivate virtuous qualities and wisdom... and realize “Nibbana (Nirvana) with remainder” a kind of consolation Nirvana, while only the monastics could realize the final Nirvana of Arahants, which was beyond the ken of the laity. This “Nirvana without remainder”.. is not the Bodhisattva way. So it is a different kind of tradition.. and a very different Sangha dynamic. It trains a certain kind of deference to the ordained sangha.... and ordinary lay people, sadly, sell themselves short. It is structural. This is talking from experience.

    Gassho.
    Hi,

    The above is an interpretation of Buddhism. As Buddhism became the Mahayana, the vision moved toward enlightenment as open to anyone ... male or female, monastic or householder (although monastic life was seen as the easier road, it was not the exclusive road), and immediately realizable in this life and world. Of course, even Mahayanists disagreed on how available to the householder, but the popularity of the Vimalakirti Sutra, Queen Srimala, characters like the lay 6th Patriarch Hui-Neng, Layman Peng and others taught the complete availablity of Liberation to lay people.

    The Mahayana folks tended to write off Theravadan teachings (and even other Mahayana teachings that seemed to convey a different message) as "lesser" Teachings that the Buddha was preaching to people who needed that particular medicine, and who were not ready for the heavy-weight Teachings.

    Of course, the reality is that ... for thousands of years since Gautama Buddha's time ... most lay folks did not have the time, leisure, access to teachers and Teachings of the monastics, so were at a definite disadvantage. Things are no longer quite so, and monastery walls are tumbling.

    viewtopic.php?p=56193#p56193

    However, yes, for thousands of years ... even though many Buddhists preached a doctrine of the fruits of this Path being available to anyone, the reality was that the lay folks were largely relegated to earning "merit" by donating and supporting financially the monastics. Monastics tended (and still tend) to emphasize the primacy of monastic practice ... and to relegate lay folks to a secondary role. So, mixed signals exist on this question even within the Mahayana.

    To paraphrase Orwell ... "All Pigs Are Equal, But Some Pigs Are More Equal Than Others".

    Oink oink Gassho, J

  22. #22
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: 'That'll do pig

    I Soooooooooooo want to be the pig that is MORE equal than the other pig.
    But wait, if wanting to be more equal makes me LESS equal than that other pig....
    Hmmm, never mind.
    I'll just sit with that.
    .
    .
    .
    Unless maybe Buddha has... you know....
    .
    .
    .
    a preference
    .
    .
    .
    not that I care
    .
    .
    .
    because I don't
    .
    .
    .
    really....
    .
    .
    .
    I mean it
    .
    .
    .
    OK, whatever!

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