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Thread: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

  1. #1

    BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Case 3 never ends, yet now comes ...

    CASE 4 - The World-Honored One Points To The Earth

    A temple is built by a blade of grass, every grass-tip and every grain of dust holding all the earth, all the Buddha's body, all time and space ...

    Our theme here at Treeleaf is "All of Life is our Temple" ...

    Can we learn to see every bit of this life and world, every inch, as Sacred, one's Practice Place, the Temple?

    QUESTIONS: What place, action or person in your life could you come to see as Sacred, one's Practice Place, the Temple, though presently hard to see as such?

    In fact, what part of your life do you feel could never be Sacred, one's Practice Place, the Temple, no matter how much you try?

    Gassho, J

    PS - A couple of notes:

    - We've decided to close (lock) the discussion on older 'Book of Equanimity' threads after 2 or 3 weeks so that we all are together, and don't have a dozen conversations going on at once. Newcomers can just jump in where we are, and also read the Koans and discussion that came before.

    - Taigu and I think the hard schedule of posting a new Koan each Friday is a bit forced, so we will let the schedule be a bit more fluid and organic. In other words, we may let some threads go on for some days or longer ... until the moment is right to move on.

  2. #2

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Both locking the discussion and having a more relaxed schedule sound like a very good idea to me. Thank you Jundo and Taigu

    About case number 4, I have to admit that while other koans do resonate more in my mind, I found it difficult to make this one sing for me. It sounded more like a riddle and the solution is "of course, yeah, everything is sacred, sure, sure." and that was it.

    Soooo, I guess it's difficult to me to find this sacredness in all things. I tend to view things as very instrumental, tools to arrive to one goal and don't pay attention to the object, to the moment.

    Sometimes, if conditions are right, -alone in the woods, after plenty of zazen- I can feel it.

    I'd say, therefore, that what is sacred for me is the context surrounding me, and what can never be sacred is also the context surrounding me.

    Same happens with people. A person can be a gift from the gods one day and an insufrible bastard the next one. Plus it sounds pretty difficult to thing about myself, my Buddha nature as something sacred. It activates all the alarms against selfish pride and being a pretentious snob. I know that's not the right way to interpret it, but it's difficult to convince my mind that it's just this.

    I'll sit with that

    Big gassho to all of you sacred people

  3. #3
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    If there's anything I can't see as part of the temple, I haven't found it yet. *sweep, sweep*

  4. #4

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Sacredness is in the eye of the beholder.

    Gassho
    Gary

  5. #5

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Hello Jundo,

    you ask about parts of our lives.

    As long as there are still parts, we carve heaven and hell into the flesh of this realm. Letting parts and non parts be, temple pillars arise - made of manure and broken deams....and sacred texts turn into the toilet paper for the blessed ones who realise the Way.


    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen

  6. #6

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    In fact, what part of your life do you feel could never be Sacred, one's Practice Place, the Temple, no matter how much you try?
    I think this is an excellent question. It's where "the rubber meets the road" and the "real" practice begins for me. I shall sit with that.

  7. #7

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    This koan brings to mind the wonderful story where the Buddha, sitting under the Bodhi tree, is confronted by Mara who declares that he has attained True Awakening. He boasts about the highest Gods and Heroes he can call to witness... great heavenly beings, vast cosmic beings. He boasts about the world historic magnitude of his Great Enlightenment. Then he says to the Buddha “... and who do you call to witness?!” The Buddha just reaches down and touches the Earth.... the solid , sane, ordinary, ground. He feels the cool dewy grass on his finger tips, breaths out, and smiles.




    In fact, what part of your life do you feel could never be Sacred, one's Practice Place, the Temple, no matter how much you try?
    The selfish, stupid, parts. The parts where I clearly see that acting-out is unwise, but act-out anyway. I can't say they can never be sacred, but it is not easy.
    "Ultimately" it is all sacred. But just nodding to that won't do.




    Gassho, kojip.

  8. #8

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Not to get semantical, and this isn't really a response to the koan because I haven't delved into it yet. But on the point of everything being sacred. I've heard that before... But for something to be posited as either sacred or mundane it has to be compared to something. For something to be considered sacred isn't it considered sacred only because of what we consider to be mundane? So if everything is sacred, and nothing is mundane, then doesn't sacred loose its meaning? You might as well say everything is mundane. Don't you need one to have the other?

  9. #9

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Quote Originally Posted by Risho
    Not to get semantical, and this isn't really a response to the koan because I haven't delved into it yet. But on the point of everything being sacred. I've heard that before... But for something to be posited as either sacred or mundane it has to be compared to something. For something to be considered sacred isn't it considered sacred only because of what we consider to be mundane? So if everything is sacred, and nothing is mundane, then doesn't sacred loose its meaning? You might as well say everything is mundane. Don't you need one to have the other?

    ... I took "sacred" in this context to mean "suchness". All is emptiness/form .."just so"....at-once, including relative good and bad, sacred and mundane. The question for me has always been.. How to live both the perfection of everything "as such" including both "bad" and "good".. while honoring good as good and bad as bad? If you fall into Emptiness and negate conventional value.. there is a problem. If you fall into Form and absolutize conventional value .. you also have a problem. So.. both at-once is "sacred" in the context of this koan. .... or so it looks from here.

    Gassho, kojip

  10. #10
    Friend of Treeleaf Daido's Avatar
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    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Easy to become one sided. To have a definition of what is sacred and not

    Shinkai once wrote

    Emptying trashcans
    I vow with all beings
    to note how every item
    was vital once

    For a police officer it is often said that nothing is sacred so

    Standing on the brink of heaven and hell
    I vow with all beings
    To remember the infinite in my encounters
    Until they are no more

    Daido

  11. #11

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho
    Not to get semantical, and this isn't really a response to the koan because I haven't delved into it yet. But on the point of everything being sacred. I've heard that before... But for something to be posited as either sacred or mundane it has to be compared to something. For something to be considered sacred isn't it considered sacred only because of what we consider to be mundane? So if everything is sacred, and nothing is mundane, then doesn't sacred loose its meaning? You might as well say everything is mundane. Don't you need one to have the other?

    ... I took "sacred" in this context to mean "suchness". All is emptiness/form .."just so"....at-once, including relative good and bad, sacred and mundane. The question for me has always been.. How to live both the perfection of everything "as such" including both "bad" and "good".. while honoring good as good and bad as bad? If you fall into Emptiness and negate conventional value.. there is a problem. If you fall into Form and absolutize conventional value .. you also have a problem. So.. both at-once is "sacred" in the context of this koan. .... or so it looks from here.

    Gassho, kojip
    Thank you!

    Gassho,

    Risho

  12. #12

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Can we learn to see every bit of this life and world, every inch, as Sacred, one's Practice Place, the Temple?
    If we unlearn to see the world as this and that ... yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    QUESTIONS: What place, action or person in your life could you come to see as Sacred, one's Practice Place, the Temple, though presently hard to see as such?
    Not seeing the wonder everything can seem ugly, unworthy, not sacred, depending on my mood.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    In fact, what part of your life do you feel could never be Sacred, one's Practice Place, the Temple, no matter how much you try?
    I thought for a couple of minutes, but could not think of any. The more difficult life is, the more I actually feel it IS a place of practice. Not that I'm particularly good in dealing with difficulties, rather the opposite, but I see the chance of practice in every moment, sometimes only when the moment is over.

    On a final note: I think "life is our temple" is the most wonderful reminder, a reminder that our practice has to live, a reminder that the cushion is the start, and the center, but not the end.
    _()_
    Myoku

  13. #13

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    QUESTIONS: What place, action or person in your life could you come to see as Sacred, one's Practice Place, the Temple, though presently hard to see as such?

    In fact, what part of your life do you feel could never be Sacred, one's Practice Place, the Temple, no matter how much you try?

    Gassho, J
    Hi
    There are lots of times I forget, lots taken for granted and plenty of times I looked for something/someone/some time to be sacred.
    The kids and my family are one of the many practice places, same with my work(there, traveling to and from), and my coworkers and well there is nothing more or less sacred, nothing is beyond or below, all just this, and this.
    My practice place is not trying to make anything other than it was, and there is where I bump in to the sacred, the non-sacred.

    A place that I feel could never be sacred, a practice place or temple is in my self. That, is then, a great place to practice, to learn to let myself just be (while, of course realizing and doing the work that needs to be done!)

    Anyways I am not so eloquent and a bit rambling but this koan tickles me so.

    Gassho
    Shohei

    PS not to be nit picky but why are we doing the book club off the book club form (and feel free to whack me if this has been already discussed )

  14. #14

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    See the temple in everything. See the all in everything. See the one in everything.

    I also liked how Buddha’s faint smile indicates that he appreciated Indra bringing that thought to mind, maybe an inside joke.

    Gassho, Grace.

  15. #15
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Was not the blade of grass already a temple before it was pulled from the ground? If so, I think my response, had I been the Buddha, would have been to say, "Why did you just rip my temple out of the earth?"

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  16. #16
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Quote Originally Posted by Risho
    Not to get semantical, and this isn't really a response to the koan because I haven't delved into it yet. But on the point of everything being sacred. I've heard that before... But for something to be posited as either sacred or mundane it has to be compared to something. For something to be considered sacred isn't it considered sacred only because of what we consider to be mundane? So if everything is sacred, and nothing is mundane, then doesn't sacred loose its meaning? You might as well say everything is mundane. Don't you need one to have the other?
    _/_
    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    Was not the blade of grass already a temple before it was pulled from the ground? If so, I think my response, had I been the Buddha, would have been to say, "Why did you just rip my temple out of the earth?"

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    _/_ _/_ _/_

  17. #17
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    I have a hard time seeing "the sacred" in my work. I have an easier time seeing it in my family. But... It's all me and sometimes it's opposite.

    Ron


    Shugen

  18. #18
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Buddha points to earth.
    One temple is erected,
    One faint smile; not two.

  19. #19

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Just some non-thoughts to toss in the pot ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rimon
    Soooo, I guess it's difficult to me to find this sacredness in all things. I tend to view things as very instrumental, tools to arrive to one goal and don't pay attention to the object, to the moment.

    Sometimes, if conditions are right, -alone in the woods, after plenty of zazen- I can feel it.
    What does your feeling or not feeling have to do with it? Is the Sun no longer shining just because you can't see it, when it is nightime or hidden behind the clouds?

    Same happens with people. A person can be a gift from the gods one day and an insufrible bastard the next one. Plus it sounds pretty difficult to thing about myself, my Buddha nature as something sacred. It activates all the alarms against selfish pride and being a pretentious snob. I know that's not the right way to interpret it, but it's difficult to convince my mind that it's just this.
    Gift from the Heavens Buddha is Buddha. Insufferable Bastard Buddha is Buddha. Where does the Sun go when seen or not seen?

    And I would not feel like a proud snob about being Buddha. Master Yunmen said that Buddha is just a "dried shit stick". So, when you call yourself Buddha, also please call yourself just a "dried shit stick"!

    Of course, don't forget that "dried shit stick" is Sacred, a Temple, Buddha! 8)

    Quote Originally Posted by Risho
    Not to get semantical, and this isn't really a response to the koan because I haven't delved into it yet. But on the point of everything being sacred. I've heard that before... But for something to be posited as either sacred or mundane it has to be compared to something. For something to be considered sacred isn't it considered sacred only because of what we consider to be mundane? So if everything is sacred, and nothing is mundane, then doesn't sacred loose its meaning? You might as well say everything is mundane. Don't you need one to have the other?
    My Teacher sometimes said that, even though in Zazen we drop all small thought of "good" or "bad", Buddhism is yet somehow an optimistic, positive view of life which mysteriously finds a subtle Good (Big "G") in putting aside all small human judgments and views of life's "good" and "bad" (nonetheless, we try to do good and not do bad). I sometimes say that one finds a Wholly Holy Wholeness, a Peace of One Piece which holds all the world's wholes and holes, peace and war, all the broken pieces of life. A Diamond (Big "D") Buddha that is both the saints and the insufferable bastards, the diamonds and dried shit. A Purity (Big "P") found when sweeping aside and sweeping in both human views of the "pure" vs. "impure", "clean" and "unclean" (yet we clean nonetheless, because nobody wants to live in a polluted world, and make a mess out of life).

    Thus, "Sacred" (Big "S") may be encountered subtly right in/as/through-and-through both the human eye's images of what's "the sacred" and "the mundane".

    Something like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    Was not the blade of grass already a temple before it was pulled from the ground? If so, I think my response, had I been the Buddha, would have been to say, "Why did you just rip my temple out of the earth?"
    But how can this Wholeness be torn? Pulling grass, pulling weeds ... nothing ever pulled apart. But if you don't take some action to build the temple, it will never get built! :shock:

    If you leave the grass where it grows, that is the Temple. If you leave the weeds where they grow, that is the Temple. No need to do anything to make the Temple the Temple. Nonetheless, we do our best to pull life's weeds and nurture the rest, otherwise the Temple cannot be built. As Kojip said ...

    "Ultimately" it is all sacred. But just nodding to that won't do. ... How to live both the perfection of everything "as such" including both "bad" and "good".. while honoring good as good and bad as bad?

    Yes, EVERYTHING is the Temple, the Sun, Buddha, Sacred ... but yet we must build the Temple each day by our words, thoughts and actions.

    Just some non-thoughts to toss in the pot.

    Gassho, J

  20. #20

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    life is our temple - and it is a vast space. Is all of this space sacred?

    The difficulty I have is that the temple I experience is not an 'open' space - there are many rooms,
    long corridors, spaces filled with light and shade - and sometimes what seems like total darkness.

    We have been on holiday the past 2 weeks. Holidays are a mixed affair - odd trips out to the coast or into the
    lovely countryside here - with days of recouperation inbetween - as I can't physically sustain. I find this diffficult
    - a reminder that my life is very circumscribed by illness.

    Yesterday - we went in search of wild flowers - the fields and hegerows are amazing just now. One field looked as
    though it had been snowed upon - but it was the white tips of hundreds of white daisies about to bloom. It's easy to feel the sacred
    in these situations.

    But later - lying in my bedroom - feeling really sick - that's the challenge. Yet I know that this too is also sacred - not pretty, not nice -
    pretty shitty really, but part of the fabric of life.

    Later - an email from a friend whose father has died - and whose husband is battling cancer. Another room in the temple - where we learn empathy,
    consideration, care and concern.


    Gassho

    Willow

  21. #21
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    "....But yet we must build the temple each day with our words, thoughts and actions."

    'Who is this person who can be master in any place and meet the source in everything?'

    The only way is to be the way, to be pure presence, surely?
    That is harder! Leaving all traces of differentiation aside, just being, but not getting caught in the sacred or mundane... And I am still caught in this!

    Hixon writes in his Mother of the Buddhas," The enlightened and enlightening art of the bodhisattva is to move in the transparent sphere of conventional characteristics and harmoniously functioning causality, while remaining totally merged in the signless and causelessness of sheer Reality." p149.

    So the last words in case 4 are so encouraging for me!
    'Everywhere life is sufficient. Just be who you are, and don't restrict it.'

  22. #22
    Member Thane's Avatar
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    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Hi folks
    Just a quick observation Jundo this thread doesn't seem to appear under the book club tab so some people might miss it.

    I enjoyed this case and i am surprised at how much i am getting from these koans. Each one has a line or two that have really helped my practice. For me the koan points out that everywhere is our temple. I particularly like the line in the appreciatory verse 'where ever you are be content with your role'. This speaks to me as i can slip into thinking some roles are easier or more comfortable to practice in than otheres. The koan is a reminder that in every
    role we are in our temple.

    Jundo asks the question 'What place, action or person in your life could you come to see as Sacred, one's Practice Place, the Temple, though presently hard to see as such? For me the work situation is probably the place where i can find it hardest to recognise the temple. Certain colleagues can be difficult.

    Jundo i thought it was intetesting that the last sentence of the main case finished 'The World Honored One smiled faintly' Is there any significance in the Buddha only smiling faintly?

    Its been great to read everyones comments. They are all very helpful.

    In gassho

    Thane

  23. #23

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Quote Originally Posted by Thane
    Hi folks
    Just a quick observation Jundo this thread doesn't seem to appear under the book club tab so some people might miss it.

    Jundo i thought it was intetesting that the last sentence of the main case finished 'The World Honored One smiled faintly' Is there any significance in the Buddha only smiling faintly?
    Hi Thane,

    Thank you for noticing. Everything is just where it is, yet I moved this thread back where it should be. (Another Koan). 8)

    As to the Buddha's smile, yes there is Every Significance.



    Gassho, J

  24. #24

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Just some non-thoughts to toss in the pot ...


    What does your feeling or not feeling have to do with it? Is the Sun no longer shining just because you can't see it, when it is nightime or hidden behind the clouds?
    Great point Jundo. You just gave me a new perspective. I was paying too much attention to the "have to feel" stuff.



    And I would not feel like a proud snob about being Buddha. Master Yunmen said that Buddha is just a "dried shit stick". So, when you call yourself Buddha, also please call yourself just a "dried shit stick"!

    Of course, don't forget that "dried shit stick" is Sacred, a Temple, Buddha! 8)
    Diamonds and dried shit stick, all together. This morning I smiled while cleaning the toilet with the shit stick. I guess I'm in the right direction, whatever that is



    Yes, EVERYTHING is the Temple, the Sun, Buddha, Sacred ... but yet we must build the Temple each day by our words, thoughts and actions.
    Indeeeed!

    Gassho from my dried-diamond-shit-just-this-nature

    Rimon

  25. #25

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    This koan has me considering gratefulness. To me, to be present is to be grateful; when one is present, one is grateful; when one is present, one is in the temple (though never out of it, either). With practice, zazen, even in times of struggle, this gratefulness comes through. There are some sad things in my world right now, which I won't bore anyone with, but even in and among sadness there is a sense of gratefulness, just to be there with that sadness and with another who is also sad - it took me (and is still taking me) a long time to know that it's okay to feel bad and that I never leave the temple, and because of that, even difficult things, even ugly things, shine and are ultimately beautiful.

    _/_

    Alan

  26. #26

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    I have a co-worker I cannot stand, do not even want to be near. Exceedingly negative, bitter, rude, obnoxious... people describe him as a "psychic vampire."

    I must keep reminding myself that interactions with him are not to be avoided or internalized as irritation and negativity, but rather embraced as the very temple of practice. Very, very, very difficult practice.

  27. #27

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Worshiping in the blanket temple.
    http://<iframe class="restrain" titl...="0"></iframe>

  28. #28
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin
    I have a co-worker I cannot stand, do not even want to be near. Exceedingly negative, bitter, rude, obnoxious... people describe him as a "psychic vampire."
    People like this have often had a hard time, which causes them to create a really hard shell and zap energy from others. Thank you for choosing to be patient with him. Perhaps you will even shine some light on his behavior for him. You have a great opportunity for compassion there.

  29. #29
    Member Thane's Avatar
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    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Jundo i thought it was intetesting that the last sentence of the main case finished 'The World Honored One smiled faintly' Is there any significance in the Buddha only smiling faintly?
    Hi Thane,

    Thank you for noticing. Everything is just where it is, yet I moved this thread back where it should be. (Another Koan). 8)

    As to the Buddha's smile, yes there is Every Significance.

    Gassho, J
    Dear Jundo

    The Buddha smiling faintly could mean the following i think. The Buddha acknowledges Indra's action of erecting a temple from a blade of grass but smiles faintly as the blade of grass is no more a temple than the grass, earth, trees, people all around where He is standing. The faint smile acknowledges Indra's action with out marking it out as special?

    I wonder if the faint smile also signifies that Indra's action, although not wrong, was unecessary? The temple was there anyway without the blade of grass?

    Gassho

    Thane

  30. #30

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Quote Originally Posted by Thane

    Dear Jundo

    The Buddha smiling faintly could mean the following i think. The Buddha acknowledges Indra's action of erecting a temple from a blade of grass but smiles faintly as the blade of grass is no more a temple than the grass, earth, trees, people all around where He is standing. The faint smile acknowledges Indra's action with out marking it out as special?

    I wonder if the faint smile also signifies that Indra's action, although not wrong, was unecessary? The temple was there anyway without the blade of grass?

    Gassho

    Thane
    Hah! Makes on wonder why the Buddha's smile was even necessary, and why they Buddha bothered to request a temple be built!

    Gassho, J

  31. #31

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    This would be a good place to build a temple.

    "Who is this person who can be master in any place and meet the source in everything?"

    That would be you all.

  32. #32
    Member Thane's Avatar
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    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by Thane

    Dear Jundo

    The Buddha smiling faintly could mean the following i think. The Buddha acknowledges Indra's action of erecting a temple from a blade of grass but smiles faintly as the blade of grass is no more a temple than the grass, earth, trees, people all around where He is standing. The faint smile acknowledges Indra's action with out marking it out as special?

    I wonder if the faint smile also signifies that Indra's action, although not wrong, was unecessary? The temple was there anyway without the blade of grass?

    Gassho

    Thane
    Hah! Makes on wonder why the Buddha's smile was even necessary, and why they Buddha bothered to request a temple be built!

    Gassho, J
    Indeed! :shock:

    Gassho

    Thane

  33. #33

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Can we learn to see every bit of this life and world, every inch, as Sacred, one's Practice Place, the Temple?

    QUESTIONS: What place, action or person in your life could you come to see as Sacred, one's Practice Place, the Temple, though presently hard to see as such?

    In fact, what part of your life do you feel could never be Sacred, one's Practice Place, the Temple, no matter how much you try?
    To me, these questions all point to a duality in which we normally see the world from a logical point of view, and life and death are the ultimate duality.

    I'm not too old; I'm 36, but I sometimes ponder my death. When I hear the question of how do you incorporate something into your life as practice even though you would never consider it sacred, I think of my death.

    From one perspective, I've been habitually trained to treat myself as separate, independent and standing on my own in this world. And although I am an individual, nothing I do could ever come about without all the other things that came together to bring it about. Thich Nhat Hanh talks a lot about interdependence, and I'm approaching this in the same vein. As much as we are individual entities, that individuality only comes about through everything being inter-related.

    Death sometimes scares me. I will no longer exist one day. I mean when I honestly acknowledge that truth, it is very frightening. How the hell can death be sacred. But when I think of everyone here who supports me. When I think of all the other sentient beings who have already died. When I take off my horse blinders, and try to view the universe from a larger view, it seems less scary. When I think about that we are all in this together, it doesn't seem so "serious" anymore.

    Hell it makes me want to do my best because I'm here for a limited time. It makes me want to do what I do fully and completely, and no matter what life brings not to ignore part of it because it does not appeal to my "likes". So practice to me is allowing the experience of life to be experienced. To notice when I'm resisting or grasping, and not try to change it, but notice it and allow it to fade away of its own accord... but it isn't something that is mastered. Life is dynamic, so I practice it over and over again.

    I don't think that anything can be excluded from practice. Literally, I believe that if we separate practice from anything, that is not true practice. True practice is living this great and mysterious life. You think you have an answer to this? You are not living. Life is not dead and pre-planned. This is life.. again, again, new and again.

    Gassho,

    Risho

  34. #34

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Quote Originally Posted by Risho
    Thich Nhat Hanh talks a lot about interdependence, and I'm approaching this in the same vein. As much as we are individual entities, that individuality only comes about through everything being inter-related.

    Death sometimes scares me. I will no longer exist one day. I mean when I honestly acknowledge that truth, it is very frightening. How the hell can death be sacred. But when I think of everyone here who supports me. When I think of all the other sentient beings who have already died. When I take off my horse blinders, and try to view the universe from a larger view, it seems less scary.
    Yes, we are all inter-related. Thich Nhat Hanh uses a story about paper ...

    If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are. “Interbeing” is a word that is not in the dictionary yet, but if we combine the prefix “inter-” with the verb “to be,” we have a new verb, inter-be. Without a cloud and the sheet of paper inter-are.

    If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, the forest cannot grow. In fact, nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. The paper and the sunshine inter-are. And if we continue to look, we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper. And we see the wheat. We now the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. And the logger’s father and mother are in it too. When we look in this way, we see that without all of these things, this sheet of paper cannot exist.

    Looking even more deeply, we can see we are in it too. This is not difficult to see, because when we look at a sheet of paper, the sheet of paper is part of our perception. Your mind is in here and mine is also. So we can say that everything is in here with this sheet of paper. You cannot point out one thing that is not here-time, space, the earth, the rain, the minerals in the soil, the sunshine, the cloud, the river, the heat. Everything co-exists with this sheet of paper. That is why I think the word inter-be should be in the dictionary. “To be” is to inter-be. You cannot just be by yourself alone. You have to inter-be with every other thing. This sheet of paper is, because everything else is.

    Suppose we try to return one of the elements to its source. Suppose we return the sunshine to the sun. Do you think that this sheet of paper will be possible? No, without sunshine nothing can be. And if we return the logger to his mother, then we have no sheet of paper either. The fact is that this sheet of paper is made up only of “non-paper elements.” And if we return these non-paper elements to their sources, then there can be no paper at all. Without “non-paper elements,” like mind, logger, sunshine and so on, there will be no paper. As thin as this sheet of paper is, it contains everything in the universe in it.

    From: The Heart of Understanding: Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra
    However, even such images do not capture how intimate is our wholeness and inter-penetration with the grass and stars and trees and, most especially, every creature ... not only now, but that has ever or will ever live throughout time.

    I would say that Thich Nhat Hanh, like most Mahayana Buddhists, does not just speak of "interdependence" and "inter-relationships" (though there are those too) ... but also "Inter-being" (Thich Nhat Hanh's coined phrase) in the most whole, intimate and single sense ... whereby you are Risho and you are me and you are Thich Nhat Hanh and you are paper and you are sun and you are the rain and you are the logger and you are birth and you are death and you are the universe and you are the horse and you are the blinders too ...

    ... and you are also not you or Risho or me or "Thich Nhat Hanh" or birth or death or the universe or the horse or blind and all the rest ...

    ... and and thus are the Blade of Grass, and the Dust, and the Temple ...

    Gassho, J

  35. #35
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Thank you Risho and Jundo for pointing to that and sharing. _/_

  36. #36

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Quote Originally Posted by Risho
    Death sometimes scares me. I will no longer exist one day. I mean when I honestly acknowledge that truth, it is very frightening. How the hell can death be sacred. But when I think of everyone here who supports me. When I think of all the other sentient beings who have already died. When I take off my horse blinders, and try to view the universe from a larger view, it seems less scary. When I think about that we are all in this together, it doesn't seem so "serious" anymore.

    Hell it makes me want to do my best because I'm here for a limited time. It makes me want to do what I do fully and completely, and no matter what life brings not to ignore part of it because it does not appeal to my "likes". So practice to me is allowing the experience of life to be experienced. To notice when I'm resisting or grasping, and not try to change it, but notice it and allow it to fade away of its own accord... but it isn't something that is mastered. Life is dynamic, so I practice it over and over again.

    I don't think that anything can be excluded from practice. Literally, I believe that if we separate practice from anything, that is not true practice. True practice is living this great and mysterious life. You think you have an answer to this? You are not living. Life is not dead and pre-planned. This is life.. again, again, new and again.

    Gassho,

    Risho
    Death is often frightening! That moment is frightening, I think, because it is so unknown. What happens? I'm going to be gone? Me? And then there is that "me" trying to hold tight to itself. Realizing that, there is the moment, just the moment, just presence, just being. When we are in the moment, when we are the moment, completely present, I don't know where death goes. It's not here and I don't know what to be frightened about because there is nowhere else to be and that ego-I is a bit quieter. Like you say, not so serious. Jundo has already given a wonderful teaching from Thich Nhat Hanh and then added more beautiful words. I don't want to muck that up too much, but I must add that I love what Suzuki Roshi says about death/life: that we are like a stream that becomes a waterfall. When the stream falls over the edge and becomes a waterfall, individual droplets form. We are those individual droplets, existing for a moment, seemingly alone, isolated, yet there is never a moment when the waterfall is not the stream, when the droplet is not the stream, and eventually, the droplet lands and just goes back to what it was and what it is, the stream. When I think about death and suffering, which seems to be more and more often but not in a morbid way, I love everything, everyone, because we are all droplets, heading back to the stream, the stream which is not there at all to begin with yet goes on flowing.

    What a gift to be in this temple right now.

    Gassho,
    Alan

  37. #37

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Alan, thanks for sharing the stream story. I really like that. Remindes me of the question of where was I before I was born? In the stream ofcause.
    I'm thinking it would be nice if the spirit had. Some individual consciousness so dying would be more acceptable.
    The point I would like to make is that my views about life and death have changed a lot over a lifetime so holding them lightly seems like the best approach.

  38. #38

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Gassho is all I can say and all I can do. As always thank you for your thoughtful responses.

    Gassho,

    Risho

  39. #39

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    The point I would like to make is that my views about life and death have changed a lot over a lifetime so holding them lightly seems like the best approach.
    Yes to holding them lightly. And in zazen, to not holding them at all. :wink:

    (ps: that's the first smiley i've ever used; i've lost a long battle, but not the war).

    -a

  40. #40
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    For the most part, I see the sacred in the good and the bad, the darkness and the light. There is something to be learned in any situation or person even during difficult times. Painful and challenging events will always be a part of life but I try to choose how I relate to those times with mindfulness and compassion. Sometimes I choose to respond unwisely and other times I choose wisely. It comes and goes but I do the best I can. It's gets better with practice but there's lots of room for improvement (I am sure my husband would agree)!!

    The one thing that's most difficult for me as mother is when I see or hear about child being abused physically and mentally. It breaks my heart when children are in deep pain at the hands of someone's malicious actions. Especially if it's a person they trust and love. It's hard to understand how someone can intentionally hurt an innocent child. I just pray for loving kindness and healing for all beings involved to be free from suffering.

    Thanks for everyone's posts.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  41. #41
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    The one thing that's most difficult for me as mother is when I see or hear about child being abused physically and mentally. It breaks my heart when children are in deep pain at the hands of someone's malicious actions. Especially if it's a person they trust and love.
    I wholeheartedly agree Ekai and totally understand this as a father. As a teacher I see that it is often the damage done by ignorance that causes the most widespread trauma...ie: neglect and emotional abuse ......which is often unintentional but has its root in the childhood experience of the parents....so many schools end up looking after two sets of children, the one's in the classrooms and those collecting them.

    I just pray for loving kindness and healing for all beings involved to be free from suffering
    .

    May all beings be free from misery and suffering.

    Gassho.

  42. #42

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    One point that may seem a bit odd but for me it is easy to see the sacred in the dogs I have owned…loyal, affectionate, unconditional love.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin
    I have a co-worker I cannot stand, do not even want to be near. Exceedingly negative, bitter, rude, obnoxious... people describe him as a "psychic vampire."
    Sometimes a fine line between acting compassionate towards someone behaving in this way and standing up to this person, especially if he or she is harming others. That being said what I have trouble with seeing as sacred is when I find myself acting in such a negative way towards others.....that part of myself does not come out often, at least I hope not, but when it happens I have a great deal of difficulty dealing with it.

    Gassho,
    Jisen/BrianW

  43. #43

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    The " Choice " of action is sacred. Each action leaves our footprint which can never be sacred. gassho Shogen

  44. #44

    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Hi everyone,

    I was thinking of this koan and the "Ordination Tribulation" thread. So there's this letter from the SZBA that directly/indirectly has a reference to this sangha. Seeing that situation as a place of practice, or "sacred temple" is exactly what this koan is about for me. What our response should be? How can it be in such a way as not to promote mistrust and misunderstanding? Or to paraphrase rev. Wick "how can we erect a temple out of this letter from SZBA"? I don't have all the answers to those questions, btw, I just think it shows that we don't have to go far to "meet the source in everything" it's always right here.

  45. #45
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia
    If there's anything I can't see as part of the temple, I haven't found it yet. *sweep, sweep*
    Deep bow.

  46. #46
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 4

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    QUESTIONS: What place, action or person in your life could you come to see as Sacred, one's Practice Place, the Temple, though presently hard to see as such?

    In fact, what part of your life do you feel could never be Sacred, one's Practice Place, the Temple, no matter how much you try?
    In my small mind, I think reality is sacred. All people, even harmful ones, are our temple. The blade of grass, a bowl of rise, our actions, the universe.

    We live here, so we practice here.

    Even the past, no matter how hurtful it may be, is sacred and a lot of teachings can be gotten from it.

  47. #47
    Making an altar
    I vow with all beings
    to keep the Buddha in my pocket
    along with keys, pen, and knife

  48. #48
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    I humbly wish
    to give and not keep
    to be used and not use
    nyorai

    Welcome back, Shinkai, the okesa is waiting for you


    deep bows

    T.
    Last edited by Taigu; 06-14-2012 at 02:46 PM.
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  49. #49
    Friends of Treeleaf Dokan's Avatar
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    Mowing my lawn
    I cut down the temple
    Only to watch it grow again
    A millionth of a gap places a head upon my own.

    Gassho,

    Dokan
    We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
    ~Anaïs Nin

  50. #50
    Gassho Dokan. That really hit home.

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