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Thread: Self-moralizing in Zen

  1. #1
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Self-moralizing in Zen

    I took Jukai over three years ago and ever since, if not before, I have incorporated the precepts into my daily practice, By that I mean not just the recitations, but an awareness of how I hold them, or how well, or not all, in my daily activities. I believe this has lead to significant and meaningful growth in my relationship to others and the world, and I will be forever grateful to Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha for support in that unattainable Path that I continue to maintain.

    But as my self-awareness grows I have noticed that I can self-moralize about my upholding of the precepts. I am finding I get stuck in "shoulds," as in I should NOT do that, that is bad, and if I violate that precept that way then I am bad, too, and this particularly happens with some old bad habits precepts. I am getting so much better with these old bad habits, but I don't give myself much, if any, credit for that progress on the Path. My guess is this sounds familiar.

    I understand that according to Buddhist philosophy I am perfect already, though I could use some improvement, but moralizing does not seem the way to improvement. While I feel confident that I have improved, I have found that continued moralization just leads to more suffering. It's like I pile dukka on top of pre-existing dukka, and I am just now beginning to dig my way out of the crap heap, some of it self-imposed. Then again, maybe I have dug my way out enough that I now see some daylight. Anyway, my guess is this sounds familiar and I don't recall this as a specific topic, so let's give it a go.
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  2. #2
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Alan,
    You are not alone - I have had a relationship with the precepts that has been full of "shoulds" and "need to" and all that stuff. Considering that the Buddha way is "unattainable" that has been in my case a setup for consistent disappointment.

    Two notions have helped me begin to enter a better relationship with the precepts. The first is living with vow and repentance. Uchiyama talks about this beautifully in the last chapter of "Opening the Hand of Thought." Inherent in this is the idea that we live by vow and practice repentance on a daily basis to restore balance and humility to our practice. I think they are inseparable - they also acknowledge that our practice is a constant ebb and flow.

    The second is the idea that the precepts have a positive as well as proscriptive, or limiting side. In the example of not using faulty speech - one aspect is not to gossip or use negative words; there is also a positive aspect that my own self limiting perspective had closed my mind to for years (I think we took the precepts in the same "class") - how can speech be used to heal, or promote understanding, or express happiness and gratitude? How can speech be used to console, or clarify misunderstanding? I also excel at misusing speech when it is directed toward myself. When I drop something or bang my toe for example I will call myself all sorts of names and become quite upset. I have to remind myself of the positive aspect of the use of speech and try laughing at myself for being in such a hurry, and counseling myself to slow down and take care. I'd like to start laughing at myself at lot more.

    The notion of a positive aspect to each precept has helped me let go of the negativity, self - imposed, and self -defeating limitations I had created for myself in interpreting the precepts.

    The precept against stealing can be interpreted to mean "don't waste someone else's time, or don't waste your own time" - the positive aspect to this can be "how do I live my life in the present and use each moment fully? How do I give the person I am with my full attention rather than "stealing" or taking for granted their commitment of time and attention? By viewing the precepts from their positive aspects I am able to reflect in how I might use them to live more happily, as compared to the world of guilt and self-shaming I had created for myself. I have built the walls and bars of my own prison. It's time to start tearing it down. Problem is I was in for a life sentence!

    Thank you for sharing this Alan.

    Gassho
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 06-23-2012 at 03:48 AM.
    Treeleaf Sangha Shuso Ango Head October 2014
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  3. #3
    disastermouse
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    Have you thought about approaching these aspects with a sense of curiosity more than rejection or self-chastisement?

  4. #4
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    I need to think about Yugen's response for a while, but I do approach the precepts with curiosity, as in awareness, and I think that has helped me progress, but it's that just out out awareness moralizing that I am talking about. It's sort of like, "oh, that's interesting... but bad. You gotta stop that." Way over simplified, of course.
    AL (Jigen) in:
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  5. #5
    disastermouse
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yugen View Post
    Alan,
    You are not alone - I have had a relationship with the precepts that has been full of "shoulds" and "need to" and all that stuff. Considering that the Buddha way is "unattainable" that has been in my case a setup for consistent disappointment.

    Two notions have helped me begin to enter a better relationship with the precepts. The first is living with vow and repentance. Uchiyama talks about this beautifully in the last chapter of "Opening the Hand of Thought." Inherent in this is the idea that we live by vow and practice repentance on a daily basis to restore balance and humility to our practice. I think they are inseparable - they also acknowledge that our practice is a constant ebb and flow.
    If I may ask a question: How is repentance even remotely valuable? Why must humility be restored to one's practice? Isn't self-abnegation two steps too far? How can you TRULY forget the self if the self is always being summoned in order to be negated? Wasn't this way more than one question?

    The second is the idea that the precepts have a positive as well as proscriptive, or limiting side. In the example of not using faulty speech - one aspect is not to gossip or use negative words; there is also a positive aspect that my own self limiting perspective had closed my mind to for years (I think we took the precepts in the same "class") - how can speech be used to heal, or promote understanding, or express happiness and gratitude? How can speech be used to console, or clarify misunderstanding? I also excel at misusing speech when it is directed toward myself. When I drop something or bang my toe for example I will call myself all sorts of names and become quite upset. I have to remind myself of the positive aspect of the use of speech and try laughing at myself for being in such a hurry, and counseling myself to slow down and take care. I'd like to start laughing at myself at lot more.
    Wouldn't an intense inquiry into just who is both feeling pain and is upset about it be more revealing? Did the Buddha express limitless dharma by seeking to express the positive pole of negative emotions, or were these emotions simply not expressed because they couldn't stick to someone who had truly 'stopped'? You can tug the wheel of the dharma this way and that, good and bad, but you're still 'driving', aren't you?

    The notion of a positive aspect to each precept has helped me let go of the negativity, self - imposed, and self -defeating limitations I had created for myself in interpreting the precepts.

    The precept against stealing can be interpreted to mean "don't waste someone else's time, or don't waste your own time" - the positive aspect to this can be "how do I live my life in the present and use each moment fully? How do I give the person I am with my full attention rather than "stealing" or taking for granted their commitment of time and attention? By viewing the precepts from their positive aspects I am able to reflect in how I might use them to live more happily, as compared to the world of guilt and self-shaming I had created for myself. I have built the walls and bars of my own prison. It's time to start tearing it down. Problem is I was in for a life sentence!

    Thank you for sharing this Alan.

    Gassho
    Yugen
    I suspect that if you stop building the walls, they would not maintain themselves. Taking onto yourself the momentous task of tearing down something is shockingly ego-centric. It also conveniently puts 'waking up' off for some other lifetime.

    Just some thoughts I had.

    Chet

  6. #6
    disastermouse
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa View Post
    I need to think about Yugen's response for a while, but I do approach the precepts with curiosity, as in awareness, and I think that has helped me progress, but it's that just out out awareness moralizing that I am talking about. It's sort of like, "oh, that's interesting... but bad. You gotta stop that." Way over simplified, of course.
    I don't think this has ever worked for anyone ever, Alan. I'm certainly not an expert, but any softening of my edges or kindness amplified in my heart has come about through a slow erosion of clinging and insisting that my views be honored, my whims be catered to, or my expectations fulfilled. Not because they don't 'deserve' to be fulfilled - that's hardly the point - but because they were based and are based on some fundamental errors in view on my part.

    Again, just this one's opinion.

    Chet

  7. #7
    Thank you Alan,

    I feel that we're on a path, in a flow, a constant change. We carry some Karma with us, so I feel all we can do is what we do, and if what we do looks like a good path to us, thats wonderful and all whats possible. Still we might fall into either self-compacency or self-criticism as you describe. But I believe thats just our mind, our opinions and views tricking us the one or other way. Just continue your way.

    Thats my view,
    Gassho
    Myoku

  8. #8
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    "Considering that the Buddha Way is 'unattainable' that has in my case been a set up for consistent disappointment."

    I have wondered about 'attainment' of the Way since I recite the four vows each day' and now think that 'attainable' is used in a different sense. We do not attain the Way since we are already part of it. We do not attain the Way as it is not a level of recognition or a qualification standard to be reached.
    However the precepts allow us to fall in synch with the Way to become ready to realise it and that realisation is a merging towards which we have to practice and let go of our judgements and conditioning. The precepts are a tool to evaluate ourselves and our actions which is kind of what most posts are saying but ultimately they help point us in the right direction in terms of the Noble Path towards a state of being which aligns with the Way and in one sense 'attain' realisation of it but still maintaining its non-attainability. Each precept is important but is not the be-all and end-all.
    Well I am of course wrong so it would be good to hear some more views on the matter. Gassho.
    Heisoku
    平 息

  9. #9
    Hi,

    I think this another place where it is vital two see Buddhism as "talking out of both sides of its no sided mouth".

    Thus, I see nothing wrong with having moral and ethical "shoulds" about our behavior, regrets for past misbehavior, promises to do better next time (attainable or not!), reflection on our actions, repentance and atonement. If we act badly, we carry that heavy Karma and should do what we can to wash it away.

    But, on the other "one hand" (), no shoulds, no regrets and no past, no next time and no future, just a clear mirror reflecting all without judgment or reproach ... "at-one-ment" rather than "atonement". All Karma washed clean from the start.

    All at once, as one.

    Sure, we should feel bad if we do bad. Sure, we should try not to do it again. However, the real "evil doer" is greed, anger and ignorance, and we should do what we can to be free of that (even though ... from the other side of the mouth ... we always have been! )

    Here is a little talk on the subject of "ATONEMENT" and "AT-ONE-MENT" ....

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...atonement+ment

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-23-2012 at 08:59 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  10. #10
    Alan et al,

    I hope you won't mind if I chip in with my two cents as informed by the Pali cannon (I'm just not yet knowledgeable enough yet with Zen scriptures). In the suttas the Buddha describes hiri-ottappa as the guardians of the world. In short, these two qualities of mind are shame over moral transgressions and fear of the results of wrongdoing. Ven. Bodhi expresses this much more clearly than I do here:

    The Buddha points to two mental qualities as the underlying safeguards of morality, thus as the protectors of both the individual and society as a whole. These two qualities are called in Pali hiri and ottappa. Hiri is an innate sense of shame over moral transgression; ottappa is moral dread, fear of the results of wrongdoing. The Buddha calls these two states the bright guardians of the world (sukka lokapala). He gives them this designation because as long as these two states prevail in people's hearts the moral standards of the world remain intact, while when their influence wanes the human world falls into unabashed promiscuity and violence, becoming almost indistinguishable from the animal realm (Itiv. 42).

    While moral shame and fear of wrongdoing are united in the common task of protecting the mind from moral defilement, they differ in their individual characteristics and modes of operation. Hiri, the sense of shame, has an internal reference; it is rooted in self-respect and induces us to shrink from wrongdoing out of a feeling of personal honor. Ottappa, fear of wrongdoing, has an external orientation. It is the voice of conscience that warns us of the dire consequences of moral transgression: blame and punishment by others, the painful kammic results of evil deeds, the impediment to our desire for liberation from suffering. Acariya Buddhaghosa illustrates the difference between the two with the simile of an iron rod smeared with excrement at one end and heated to a glow at the other end: hiri is like one's disgust at grabbing the rod in the place where it is smeared with excrement, ottappa is like one's fear of grabbing it in the place where it is red hot.

    In the present-day world, with its secularization of all values, such notions as shame and fear of wrong are bound to appear antiquated, relics from a puritanical past when superstition and dogma manacled our rights to uninhibited self-expression. Yet the Buddha's stress on the importance of hiri and ottappa was based on a deep insight into the different potentialities of human nature. He saw that the path to deliverance is a struggle against the current, and that if we are to unfold the mind's capacities for wisdom, purity and peace, then we need to keep the powderkeg of the defilements under the watchful eyes of diligent sentinels.
    Anyway, in preparation for jukai I have read both the Mind of Clover and am working my way Reb Anderson's Being Upright and find the same sentiment expressed in both although not quite as forcefully. In fact, the fifth chapter of Being Upright is devoted to the idea of confessing one's twisted karma in order to purify ones mind. Rev. Ansderson states that confession "entails elements of regret and remorse...[and] you feel that you have made a mistake, wish that you had not committed the action, and sincerely intend to refrain from doing so again." That, to me, seems to be exactly what the Buddha meant by hiri-ottappa and I think your self-evaluation, when done gently and mindfully may not be such a bad thing after all.

    Forgive me if I'm being too forward but I always fear people will throw out the baby with the bathwater when we attempt to dispense with the conventional level of truth too soon in favor of the ultimate. But, then again, maybe its just me. May you enjoy every good blessing! Mettaya.

    Gassho,

    Mike
    To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
    -Dhp. 183
    My Practice Blog

  11. #11
    Hi Mike,

    Thank you. I believe that what is expressed there is just common sense. There is nothing wrong ... and, as a matter of fact, society would quickly fall into chaos ... if we were completely freed of states such as shame, regret, guilt, moral dread. There would be raping, plundering, pillaging in the streets.

    The Mahayana may offer, though, a couple of additional takes, to wit, even as one may feel shame, regret, guilt, moral dread ... do not be a prisoner of such mind states to a degree undeserved. To give a quick example, my policeman friend mentioned on another thread does feel great sorrow, regret and responsibility for a killing by him in the line of duty, although fully justified. However, his Buddhist Practice might provide him with tools to not be trapped in the "mind theatre" of excess self-punishing. I mean, I think we all know people we meet every day who fall into and WALLOW in self-flagellation and guilt far far in excess of small bad acts they committed. This Practice lets us learn to recognize more and more "mind theatre" as it plays its games.

    Furthermore, the Mahayana offers yet another perspective ... simultaneously true, another side of the no sided coin ... free of all shame, regret, guilt, moral dread ... no "harm" possible from the first.

    In our Zen Practice, we learn to live seeing life out of all those ways of seeing ... separate and at once.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Mike,

    Thank you. I believe that what is expressed there is just common sense. There is nothing wrong ... and, as a matter of fact, society would quickly fall into chaos ... if we were completely freed of states such as shame, regret, guilt, moral dread. There would be raping, plundering, pillaging in the streets.

    The Mahayana may offer, though, a couple of additional takes, to wit, even as one may feel shame, regret, guilt, moral dread ... do not be a prisoner of such mind states to a degree undeserved. To give a quick example, my policeman friend mentioned on another thread does feel great sorrow, regret and responsibility for a killing by him in the line of duty, although fully justified. However, his Buddhist Practice might provide him with tools to not be trapped in the "mind theatre" of excess self-punishing. I mean, I think we all know people we meet every day who fall into and WALLOW in self-flagellation and guilt far far in excess of small bad acts they committed. This Practice lets us learn to recognize more and more "mind theatre" as it plays its games.

    Furthermore, the Mahayana offers yet another perspective ... simultaneously true, another side of the no sided coin ... free of all shame, regret, guilt, moral dread ... no "harm" possible from the first.

    In our Zen Practice, we learn to live seeing life out of all those ways of seeing ... separate and at once.

    Gassho, J
    Thank you Rev. Jundo.

    Gassho,

    __/\__Mike
    To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
    -Dhp. 183
    My Practice Blog

  13. #13
    Every spiritual practice has underlying precepts - as does secular societies. Without these pointers chaos unfolds. I haven't yet detected any difference between the Buddhist precepts and those I was brought up with within a Christain environment. But my children also have this code of ethics and they did not have a religious upbringing. Shame, regret,the desire to make amends, the desire to do better seem to be a natural part of evolving as caring human beings.
    I think we know when we hurt others by our behaviour and are much more likely to be able to change this if we understand the workings of our own minds - why we get upset, why we lash out, etc. Just trying to follow a code of practice won't necessarily change our behaviour - but will only intensify feelings of guilt/shame when we fail.
    I'm not sure the belief that we are already perfect helps with the above - but I think this is a separate topic - something I'm struggling with just now. I'll start a new thread on this when I've clarified my thoughts a bit more.
    On this topic - every day is a new day - try a little harder and don't get upset if we fall off the bike and have to get back on again. Bruised knees all the way - c'est la vie ....

    Gassho

    Willow

  14. #14
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Chet,
    The encouragement to approach the precepts, like our practice, with curiosity is wonderful. Thanks for raising this.

    Willow,
    A beautiful post. I am continually moved by your sensitivity and thoughtfulness. I always look forward to your posts. Thank you.

    Gassho
    Yugen
    Treeleaf Sangha Shuso Ango Head October 2014
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  15. #15
    I took the precepts in 1997.. with very serious intent. Then.. I fell on my face. It isn't that I cannot keep the precepts. I'm a better person. Some precepts are easy, like not misusing sexuality and not stealing, or killing, except mosquitoes (sorry). But others not so much.. like those little things people do involving impatient speech, sharp words, and a kind of fed-up retreat into selfishness from time to time.

    Over time my attitude toward these precepts have changed. In the same way the sharp corners of a bar of soap wear down and become smooth and rounded with use. It isn't a matter of giving license to my imperfections... just an awareness that greed hatred and delusion are as old as humanity.. and as Kant said .."Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made". There is some real compassion in that ... in forgiving myself and others over and over again.. while doing my best. I do not know what the equivalent of "conscience" is in Buddhism or if there is one, but my conscience is unerring, and will not let things slide. If there is a "gap" between conscience and conduct/speech "just being with that" won't do alone, it is time for hands on. IMHO.

    Now I will be taking the precepts again here at treeleaf.. a chance to begin again, renew. Maybe that renewal will help me be more skillful in minding the precepts.

    Gassho,kojip
    Last edited by Daizan; 06-23-2012 at 04:36 PM.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    I took the precepts in 1997.. with very serious intent. Then.. I fell on my face. It isn't that I cannot keep the precepts. I'm a better person. Some precepts are easy, like not misusing sexuality and not stealing, or killing, except mosquitoes (sorry). But others not so much.. like those little things people do involving impatient speech, sharp words, and a kind of fed-up retreat into selfishness from time to time.

    Over time my attitude toward these precepts have changed. In the same way the sharp corners of a bar of soap wear down and become smooth and rounded with use. It isn't a matter of giving license to my imperfections... just an awareness that greed hatred and delusion are as old as humanity.. and as Kant said .."Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made". There is some real compassion in that ... in forgiving myself and others over and over again.. while doing my best. I do not know what the equivalent of "conscience" is in Buddhism or if there is one, but my conscience is unerring, and will not let things slide. If there is a "gap" between conscience and conduct/speech "just being with that" won't do alone, it is time for hands on. IMHO.

    Now I will be taking the precepts again here at treeleaf.. a chance to begin again, renew. Maybe that renewal will help me be more skillful in minding the precepts.

    Gassho,kojip
    Sadhu!

    Gassho,

    __/\__Mike
    To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
    -Dhp. 183
    My Practice Blog

  17. #17
    Hi Mike. That's very kind... but I'd feel more comfortable reserving it for those who make the commitment of ordaining, in midst of a life of responsibilities. Now there is... Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!


    Gassho, kojip.

  18. #18
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Great thread and lovely and wiseposts here.

    If you don't mind my limited take on this:

    My mind was once poisoned by morality, the need to be good, the importance to act well and not do harm. I was living in a strange world that was tellng me : you are guilty, you are a sinner. People told me my body was wrong, they apprently told me lots of things that clashed with was I was simply feeling ( a major difference dear Willow between Budhism and Christianity, the original thing versus the original sin)

    The discovery of Buddhist practice at a very early age was the first step leading to a state where guilt and fury are dropped, where doing good arises naturally, not as a result of moral cultivation or intention.

    I don't give a f... About being good anymore ( once more, Chet's posts sound very close to my heart). Nobody asks me to help people and display compassion, if it is done, it is because there is no other way to live and die. We are all in the same boat.Anyway, I don't know if Compassion is doing a good job in my life, no time for navel contemplation, or looking back. Do I make mistakes? Plenty. Do I break the precepts? Often. Very humbling. Anyway, don't want to be a saint, don't want to be anything anymore. Just be.

    You see, the big circus of morality is still very much caught in the little games of self and others, of past and future. Sure we need this to function as a society, but again I don't kill because some big daddy tells me not to, because killing would be insanity, like killing myself.

    Being aware of the gaps but not shedding tears about them.

    Self- moralizing is extra. The best way is to get back on the bike and ride. Its all part ofthe fun, after all.

    Gassho

    T.
    Last edited by Taigu; 06-23-2012 at 10:23 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.

  19. #19
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Thanks Taigu. I have been reading this thread throughout the day and up until your post my take away was that I lacked compassion for my self, that my moralizing was me being merciless to myself, or something like that. But that didn't quite ring true. I get it, and there is some truth to that, but it's not quite on the mark. Dropping guilt, on the other hand, now that makes some sense, and I did get some of that also from the above posts, but your ever pleasing to me bluntness hit it (me) on the head. And who feels guilt? this non-existent self, just another sand castle to be kicked down, and guilt is just another thought-feather to be blown away in the breeze of awareness.

    I have faith and trust in the Path that I am on.
    I do my best to exhibit courage and love to others, and maybe I can do a better job on exhibiting it to my self, too,
    And as I become more aware I will continue to undertake more non-self actions.
    AL (Jigen) in:
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  20. #20
    disastermouse
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    Just a brief note about morality: Via Wilber (I know, I know...) I was introduced to Gilligan's concept of morality consisting of three levels (six stages): Pre-conventional (primary selfishness), Conventional (rule-based morality), Post-Conventional (universal condemnation of exploitation and hurt). The first is pure id, the second is the recognition that following rules is required for social acceptance, and the third extends the concept of 'we' and 'us' to everyone. Hence, if given the question about whether it's moral for a poor man to steal medicine he can't afford for his sick wife, someone in the first stage would say, "Yes. I do what what I want - fuck the rules." Someone in the second stage would say, "No. Rules are rules." Someone in the third would say, "Yes. The welfare of the wife transcends the rules of the market."

    And that had little to do with Buddhism, but I think it's an interesting light to shine on a question of morality.

    Chet

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    Great thread and lovely and wiseposts here.

    If you don't mind my limited take on this:

    My mind was once poisoned by morality, the need to be good, the importance to act well and not do harm. I was living in a strange world that was tellng me : you are guilty, you are a sinner. People told me my body was wrong, they apprently told me lots of things that clashed with was I was simply feeling ( a major difference dear Willow between Budhism and Christianity, the original thing versus the original sin)

    The discovery of Buddhist practice at a very early age was the first step leading to a state where guilt and fury are dropped, where doing good arises naturally, not as a result of moral cultivation or intention.

    I don't give a f... About being good anymore ( once more, Chet's posts sound very close to my heart). Nobody asks me to help people and display compassion, if it is done, it is because there is no other way to live and die. We are all in the same boat.Anyway, I don't know if Compassion is doing a good job in my life, no time for navel contemplation, or looking back. Do I make mistakes? Plenty. Do I break the precepts? Often. Very humbling. Anyway, don't want to be a saint, don't want to be anything anymore. Just be.

    You see, the big circus of morality is still very much caught in the little games of self and others, of past and future. Sure we need this to function as a society, but again I don't kill because some big daddy tells me not to, because killing would be insanity, like killing myself.

    Being aware of the gaps but not shedding tears about them.

    Self- moralizing is extra. The best way is to get back on the bike and ride. Its all part ofthe fun, after all.

    Gassho

    T.
    Taigu could you say a bit more about the difference between 'the original thing' and 'original sin'.

    Should just clarify - I'm not an advocate of the moralizing within Christianity (that can be so destructive) but there is an overlap
    between Christian and Buddhist ethics and no doubt the ethical mores of many other religions/belief systems aswell.

    The concept of original sin as opposed to the perfection within - that has always existed - is not something I've given a lot of thought to - but I'm pondering on it now.

    Thankyou for pointing this out

    Gassho

    Willow

  22. #22
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Yes Willow, there is clearly an overlap. We should ask my brother Kyrillos, Chritian monk, Buddhist priest and Hermit, he is a living evidence of this oneness. Yes, Kannon and Mary are just one. Yes, doing good is important in both traditions. My rambling was about this: in Christianity heaven has been given and then taken away by the giver as a punishment for this original sin in the Garden, in Buddhism, Buddha nature pervades the whole universe and cannot be taken away. It can be ignored, not expressed, and that is the extent of our responsability, it is up to us to express it. In Christianity the Father-Son-Spirit has to be reached, prayed to, in our tradition Buddha and Buddha nature are identical and exist here and now, there are you-me-others. Something like that. In essence both are one and the same, in activity and implications, kind of different. Two flavours for one reality. I happen to prefer the Buddha nature one, or should I say it in a different way, I see truth in it. The other path as I experienced, was painful and twisted, which does not mean it is always so, quite the opposite actually. Many Japanese Buddhists would tell you how twisted the Buddhist religion is in Japan, many Christians would tell you how liberating is their path and faith.

    gassho

    Taigu
    Last edited by Taigu; 06-24-2012 at 11:27 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.

  23. #23
    Hi Taigu. If the Judeo-Christian view is that we have fallen from grace, and the Buddhist view is there is nowhere to fall from, or to.... in the default scientific materialism I was raised in, we simply found ourselves fallen as "cold hard facts". Only this human patch of warmth, looking out at a cold and mysterious universe, like cold snow blowing across a pavement. It would have been a relief to think there was at least a God to fall from, but such belief was dismissed as absurd. It may have been an illusion, but the gut sense of something wrong, of exile, was real... the terrible bleakness. I know a lot of people who still inhabit that world.. it's rough.

    Just thinking out loud. Gassho, kojip
    Last edited by Daizan; 06-24-2012 at 11:14 PM.

  24. #24
    disastermouse
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    Yes, Kannon and Mary are just none.

    Taigu
    Fixed it for ya!

    (Not a serious critique, just a good-natured ribbing.)

    Chet

  25. #25
    disastermouse
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    Hi Taigu. If the Judeo-Christian view is that we have fallen from grace, and the Buddhist view is there is nowhere to fall from, or to.... in the default scientific materialism I was raised in, we simply found ourselves fallen as "cold hard facts". Only this human patch of warmth, looking out at a cold and mysterious universe, like cold snow blowing across a pavement. It would have been a relief to think there was at least a God to fall from, but such belief was dismissed as absurd. It may have been an illusion, but the gut sense of something wrong, of exile, was real... the terrible bleakness. I know a lot of people who still inhabit that world.. it's rough.

    Just thinking out loud. Gassho, kojip
    Materialism, like all mythologies, requires a great deal of abstract thinking unconnected with lived experience. Warmth is in the moment-to-moment living, and interjecting competing mythologies doesn't seem to help much - at least in my experience. Like Christians using computers that can't exist according to their metaphysics, Scientific Materialists falling in love much belie the contradictions between what they say they believe and how they live their lives.

    IMHO.

    Chet

  26. #26
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Thank you, i like it. You Chet it nicely, you chetting cheter!

    Gassho

    Taigu
    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.

  27. #27
    disastermouse
    Guest
    Taigu very much, Taigu!

    Taigu-Taigu,

    (Chet)

    (Vaguely reminiscent of 'Being John Malkovich')

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse View Post
    Materialism, like all mythologies, requires a great deal of abstract thinking unconnected with lived experience. Warmth is in the moment-to-moment living, and interjecting competing mythologies doesn't seem to help much - at least in my experience. Like Christians using computers that can't exist according to their metaphysics, Scientific Materialists falling in love much belie the contradictions between what they say they believe and how they live their lives.

    IMHO.

    Chet
    That's true, . but regardless of how mind made it is, or how utterly obvious it may be to the non-deluded, suffering is real, being effectively trapped is real... even when we make words at those who suffer like "who is there to be trapped?"

    Gassho,kojip

    ed. and for what it is worth, I won't pretend to be free of such delusion... much freer than at one time.. but.
    Last edited by Daizan; 06-25-2012 at 06:23 AM.

  29. #29
    Hello,

    I discovered this post far too late...and now I can just say thank you for all the inspiring comments.

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  30. #30
    disastermouse
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    That's true, . but regardless of how mind made it is, or how utterly obvious it may be to the non-deluded, suffering is real, being effectively trapped is real... even when we make words at those who suffer like "who is there to be trapped?"

    Gassho,kojip

    ed. and for what it is worth, I won't pretend to be free of such delusion... much freer than at one time.. but.
    Hey Kojip,

    I'm not advocating platitudes in place of compassionate action. The brute facts of the matter are that, other than matters of safety, hunger, and true deprivation, I don't see how the manipulation of conditions (so few of which are under our control) or adherence to philosophy will help.

    I'm only proposing curiosity in the face of suffering - specifically in cases like Alan presents - because it's the only response that isn't based in greed, repulsion, or ignorance. It also brings into question whether our guilt is even real. One has to ask oneself, "Do I even really believe this, or do I simply think I'm supposed to believe this?"

    I'm not saying, "You don't exist, so your suffering doesn't exist." I'm suggesting that when suffering arrises, we should look to its true causes and not use the precepts in such a way that they shut down the inquiry before it begins. Instead of mimicking the virtuous actions expounded in the dharma (which we can never do anyway as long as we cling to erroneous concepts of self), would it not be better to make real the awakened view through Right Contemplation and Right View?

    Chet

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    Yes Willow, there is clearly an overlap. We should ask my brother Kyrillos, Chritian monk, Buddhist priest and Hermit, he is a living evidence of this oneness. Yes, Kannon and Mary are just one. Yes, doing good is important in both traditions. My rambling was about this: in Christianity heaven has been given and then taken away by the giver as a punishment for this original sin in the Garden, in Buddhism, Buddha nature pervades the whole universe and cannot be taken away. It can be ignored, not expressed, and that is the extent of our responsability, it is up to us to express it. In Christianity the Father-Son-Spirit has to be reached, prayed to, in our tradition Buddha and Buddha nature are identical and exist here and now, there are you-me-others. Something like that. In essence both are one and the same, in activity and implications, kind of different. Two flavours for one reality. I happen to prefer the Buddha nature one, or should I say it in a different way, I see truth in it. The other path as I experienced, was painful and twisted, which does not mean it is always so, quite the opposite actually. Many Japanese Buddhists would tell you how twisted the Buddhist religion is in Japan, many Christians would tell you how liberating is their path and faith.

    gassho

    Taigu
    Thank you Taigu - I also prefer the Buddha nature route coming from a strange mix of Catholic/Methodist childhood - which had some complicated up and downs.

    However - as you say - all respect to what suits the individual, and as theology is now more open and hermenuetical in its endeavors there are many interpretations (even of the story of original sin) to choose from.

    I have just finished reading Uchiyama's 'Opening the Hand of Thought' and was struck by his comparing (and likening) egocentric thought to 'original sin' (pg 104). If we follow this analogy through it is as though Zazen is the state of grace that releases us from ego attachment.

    I have many (contradictory!) thoughts on this but don't want to make this thread too long.

    Briefly - I feel we use the term ego too much - it is just a topographical device dreamed up by Freud to provide a pseudo-scientific structure of the mind. I'm not sure what we use in its place, but it can become a weapon of self-flagellation, labelled as bad, bad, bad. The same has happened with the term narcissitic.

    I think - what I'm trying to say - very clumsily - is in this area of 'shame' - let's not replace one tyranny (the concept of original sin) with another (ego attachment).

    Does that make sense

    Thanks to all for the many interesting/thoughtful posts in this thread

    Gassho

    Willow

  32. #32
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    The phrase "You are perfect as you are, but you could use a little improvement" has a couple of slippery slopes from my experience. "You could use a little improvement" has the slippery slope of moralizing, which is where I was, where I think I am coming out of. it can turn into "You need to be better, better, better," which can easily turn into "You are bad, bad, bad" if not careful. On the other hand, "You are perfect as you are" can lead to the slippery slope of egotism, the feeling it doesn't matter what I do, which is where I need to be careful not to go because I can feel the pull of it already. The balance on that comma between the two phrases can be a bit tricky. To go back to Yugen's first reply, I can see how it is the balance between vow and repentance.

    I'm only proposing curiosity in the face of suffering - specifically in cases like Alan presents - because it's the only response that isn't based in greed, repulsion, or ignorance. It also brings into question whether our guilt is even real. One has to ask oneself, "Do I even really believe this, or do I simply think I'm supposed to believe this?" .... I'm suggesting that when suffering arrises, we should look to its true causes and not use the precepts in such a way that they shut down the inquiry before it begins.
    Thanks for this, Chet. And you and Taigu are acting like a couple of playful little puppies, which is a bit weird given your history, but very nice to see.
    Last edited by AlanLa; 06-25-2012 at 11:33 AM.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

  33. #33
    Yes; the vast majority of "the crap heap" is indeed self-imposed. I came to be interested in Buddhism when I realized that I no longer wanted to suffer; I came to want to be Buddhist when I realized that I no longer wanted to be the cause of suffering in others. I came to realize that this is a false dichotomy; the two are actually one, and quite inseparable. Speaking for myself, I don't see the Precepts as Abrahamaic "Thou Shalt Not" commandments, but as a guide; a reminder of how a Bodhisattva walks among other beings in a chaotic world. I do this or don't do that as a conscious choice to attempt to minimize or mitigate harm to myself and others, which can be a challenge in a society that irrationally views everything from getting to the next stop light to international relations as an all-out winner-take-all, gladiatorial competition starkly divided between winners and losers.

    I make many different things. Sometimes, I can execute what I have conceptualized in my head precisely as I had imagined it, and there is some satisfaction in that (Yeah; but the dynamic between attachment to outcomes and motivation is a tangent for another time). More often than not though, things don't go exactly as I had planned; adaptations and compromises have to be made, with results which don't quite meet my intentions. I may not have been as skillful as I had hoped in my choice and utilization of tools and materials, or my understanding of the forces and stresses involved. I find that this is how my life works. In my experience, self-condemnation for being "bad" or a "failure" has not proven to be particularly helpful. Rather, seeing my efforts as being more or less skillful seems to be a more useful way of looking at things. For me; this is life as a practice; a learning experience. I've heard that there's no such thing as a failed scientific experiment (as long as nothing catches fire, explodes, or kills anybody. Fortunately, my mistakes are generally much more benign; myself and everyone involved is still breathing, with 10 fingers and 10 toes. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that to maintain some sense of perspective). Yes; I deeply regret incidents where my less-than-skillful interactions with others bring them suffering, and I try to learn from such episodes with the sincere intent to be more skillful next time....but I try to keep the lesson to carry with me, and drop the regret by the side of the road. I have found that a regular practice of Fusatsu is helpful in this regard. All conditioned things involve chaos. Strive on with diligence.

    "Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."
    Ralph Waldo Emerson
    Last edited by Piobair; 06-25-2012 at 11:52 AM.
    May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind
    quickly be freed from their illnesses.
    May those frightened cease to be afraid
    and may those bound be free.
    May the powerless find power
    and may people think of befriending one another.

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse View Post
    Hey Kojip,

    I'm not advocating platitudes in place of compassionate action. The brute facts of the matter are that, other than matters of safety, hunger, and true deprivation, I don't see how the manipulation of conditions (so few of which are under our control) or adherence to philosophy will help.

    I'm only proposing curiosity in the face of suffering - specifically in cases like Alan presents - because it's the only response that isn't based in greed, repulsion, or ignorance. It also brings into question whether our guilt is even real. One has to ask oneself, "Do I even really believe this, or do I simply think I'm supposed to believe this?"

    I'm not saying, "You don't exist, so your suffering doesn't exist." I'm suggesting that when suffering arrises, we should look to its true causes and not use the precepts in such a way that they shut down the inquiry before it begins. Instead of mimicking the virtuous actions expounded in the dharma (which we can never do anyway as long as we cling to erroneous concepts of self), would it not be better to make real the awakened view through Right Contemplation and Right View?

    Chet
    Hi Chet... I wandered off topic back there into general world view. But, sure I agree, and was not criticizing, just reading and responding.... Ending being trapped in a view, being born into a world (so to speak)... a world of crystalized thought, starts with curiosity, and "Right view", but then gives-way to practice and "no view". That "No View" is unbound. No amount of Right View will unbind... only time on the cushion. Furthermore, it ain't a one time thing... realizing ineffable liberation on the cushion leavens into the realization that delusion runs deep, and practice/liberation, responsibility, runs just as deep, and is ongoing. At least that is my stubborn, unteachable, fumbling, experience.

    Gassho,kojip

  35. #35
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Willow,

    Of course it makes sense..This ego thing is so much misunderstood. And indeed many people swap a principle of self criticism for another one.
    The ego is about the illusion of an ego. Beccause there is no ego. That's the biggest illusion of all, that voice that says: I want, I crave, I...
    So to get rid of something that isn t here and now?
    Zazen cuts the chase. Straight into the open, opening the open. Nobody to be seen and yet.

    I am very impressed by your sweet and deep understanding of the path. It seems that all these years come to a fruitful bloom.
    You have nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to wabble about.
    Of course, like everybody else, bad health can be scary at times.
    Go with the flow.
    Trust Willow without Willow. The face and the name given before your parents were born.
    It is available right now, in joy and sorrow, it is YOU.

    gassho


    Taigu
    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.

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    Willow,

    That's the biggest illusion of all, that voice that says: I want, I crave, I...
    So to get rid of something that isn t here and now?
    Zazen cuts the chase. Straight into the open, opening the open. Nobody to be seen and yet.


    gassho


    Taigu
    Thanks. Can never hear this too much.
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  37. #37
    Taigu



    Willow

  38. #38
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Update: I clearly heard that little voice in my head last night say "bad" when the old habit returned. But I paid it no heed; I gave it no power. I was aware of it, clearly, and that's all. It was just another thought, and then I moved on as best I could, which today feels considerably better than yesterday and before. It has finally occurred to me that the real "bad habit" I referred to at the beginning of this thread was my labeling myself as bad.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

  39. #39
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Alan,
    A deep bow of gratitude for your teaching.

    Gassho
    Yugen
    Treeleaf Sangha Shuso Ango Head October 2014
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa View Post
    Update: I clearly heard that little voice in my head last night say "bad" when the old habit returned. But I paid it no heed; I gave it no power. I was aware of it, clearly, and that's all. It was just another thought, and then I moved on as best I could, which today feels considerably better than yesterday and before. It has finally occurred to me that the real "bad habit" I referred to at the beginning of this thread was my labeling myself as bad.
    To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
    -Dhp. 183
    My Practice Blog

  41. #41
    If I can say something here. I was cleaning the press pot of coffee grounds. The pot had stood for a couple of days as I had been a little lazy about cleaning it. I took it apart and noticed there was some residue covering the various parts after I had rinsed it out. I wiped away the residue. This thread came to mind. I remembered the lines:

    Shen Xui wrote on the wall:


    The body is a Bodhi tree,
    The mind a standing mirror bright.
    At all times polish it diligently,
    And let no dust alight.


    Hui Neng responded:


    Bodhi is fundamentally without any tree;
    The bright mirror is also not a stand.
    Fundamentally there is not a single thing —
    Where could any dust be attracted?


    As I was cleaning the pot I understood that the residue was not 'dirty', only my mind would add that 'attribute'. Nor was the pot 'clean' because all the residue was gone. The pot is just the pot, the grounds and residue just the grounds and residue (although the earth worms might take exception to that as they seem to be rather deeply attached to them). I thought about what Alan wrote about self-moralizing and thought "simply the residue, it is just residue, nothing more nothing less; it is the pot, just the pot, nothing more and nothing less." For myself I understood that self-moralizing is another form of attachment that 'I' use to give myself a sense of permanence, an enduring self separate from the world. A separate self that has the responsibility for the entire world and my failing to help the world be a better place is a 'stain', a residue that covers that pure self underneath...

    Sorry if I rambled.

    Alan,

    Gassho for the lesson.

    Charlie

  42. #42
    Hi,

    I am looking at some books to use this time for our annual Jukai (Undertaking the Precepts) time of reflection on the Precepts, and one of the books I am considering is "Being Upright" by Reb Anderson Roshi of San Francisco Zen Center. One short chapter of the book includes discussion of the Verse of Atonement (our version at Treeleaf begins "All harmful acts, words and thoughts, ever committed by me since of old ...) in which he says ...

    The realization of the full, liberating function of formal confession must entail elements of regret and remorse.

    I tend to be with Reb on this, and do not see any problem ... in fact, I feel it is a healthy thing ... to feel regret, remorse and a measure of self-chastisement (as opposed to self-disgust or loathing, as Reb contrasts) when we do wrong. What is so wrong with feeling bad for our bad and harmful actions? We don't have to beat and whip ourselves to extreme, but some balance of moderate regret and remorse seems fine, healthy ... even necessary to human morality. In Zen, we sometimes say that we don't call anyone (even ourselves) "bad people", but we do recognize that we sometimes commit bad acts through greed, anger and ignorance ... and I think we should not feel so good about doing so, and should feel the weight of our bad actions.

    But, as I said, I think we need to "atone" and "at one", meaning that we can also toss our past bad acts into the cleansing wash of emptiness. No past acts to regret ... in fact, no past acts. Moderate regret and no regret ... at once, as one.

    Please read the short chapter (5 Confession) and see how you feel.

    http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=E...page&q&f=false

    The jury is still out on the book, by the way.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-02-2012 at 10:55 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  43. #43
    disastermouse
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi,

    I am looking at some books to use this time for our annual Jukai (Undertaking the Precepts) time of reflection on the Precepts, and one of the books I am considering is "Being Upright" by Reb Anderson Roshi of San Francisco Zen Center. One short chapter of the book includes discussion of the Verse of Atonement (our version at Treeleaf begins "All harmful acts, words and thoughts, ever committed by me since of old ...) in which he says ...

    The realization of the full, liberating function of formal confession must entail elements of regret and remorse.

    I tend to be with Reb on this, and do not see any problem ... in fact, I feel it is a healthy thing ... to feel regret, remorse and a measure of self-chastisement (as opposed to self-disgust or loathing, as Reb contrasts) when we do wrong. What is so wrong with feeling bad for our bad and harmful actions? We don't have to beat and whip ourselves to extreme, but some balance of moderate regret and remorse seems fine, healthy ... even necessary to human morality. In Zen, we sometimes say that we don't call anyone (even ourselves) "bad people", but we do recognize that we sometimes commit bad acts through greed, anger and ignorance ... and I think we should not feel so good about doing so, and should feel the weight of our bad actions.

    But, as I said, I think we need to "atone" and "at one", meaning that we can also toss our past bad acts into the cleansing wash of emptiness. No past acts to regret ... in fact, no past acts. Moderate regret and no regret ... at once, as one.

    Please read the short chapter (5 Confession) and see how you feel.

    http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=E...page&q&f=false

    The jury is still out on the book, by the way.

    Gassho, Jundo
    I wanted to ask some questions about this because I genuinely am of mixed feelings about the very subject of morality - mostly in its functionality, not its propriety. I also don't think it works as a matter of effort or mimicry. Regret only truly works (in my experience) if it brings one to examine the cause of the behavior and address THAT. In my case, it typically has something to do with an error in thinking or clinging to a belief.

    Gassho

    Chet

  44. #44
    Thank you everybody for your thoughts on this topic ... there is lots to think about.

    Gassho,
    Michael

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi,

    I am looking at some books to use this time for our annual Jukai (Undertaking the Precepts) time of reflection on the Precepts, and one of the books I am considering is "Being Upright" by Reb Anderson Roshi of San Francisco Zen Center. One short chapter of the book includes discussion of the Verse of Atonement (our version at Treeleaf begins "All harmful acts, words and thoughts, ever committed by me since of old ...) in which he says ...

    The realization of the full, liberating function of formal confession must entail elements of regret and remorse.

    I tend to be with Reb on this, and do not see any problem ... in fact, I feel it is a healthy thing ... to feel regret, remorse and a measure of self-chastisement (as opposed to self-disgust or loathing, as Reb contrasts) when we do wrong. What is so wrong with feeling bad for our bad and harmful actions? We don't have to beat and whip ourselves to extreme, but some balance of moderate regret and remorse seems fine, healthy ... even necessary to human morality. In Zen, we sometimes say that we don't call anyone (even ourselves) "bad people", but we do recognize that we sometimes commit bad acts through greed, anger and ignorance ... and I think we should not feel so good about doing so, and should feel the weight of our bad actions.

    But, as I said, I think we need to "atone" and "at one", meaning that we can also toss our past bad acts into the cleansing wash of emptiness. No past acts to regret ... in fact, no past acts. Moderate regret and no regret ... at once, as one.

    Please read the short chapter (5 Confession) and see how you feel.

    http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=E...page&q&f=false

    The jury is still out on the book, by the way.

    Gassho, Jundo

    Thank you, good reading... There is , in my experience, always an self-centered quality to unwholesome action... unwholesome action comes from the sense of being an actor, being caught up in "me and my life". Formal confession brings this self-ing into awareness by diminishing "me"... which is uncomfortable, corrective, and "I" don't like it. Formless confession is dropping and forgetting... and that is a miracle of Zazen ... every day is a new day.

    So, stainless yet falling down over and over.... Already perfect(ly imperfect), yet becoming a more wholesome person.
    At least this is my take on it.. There were unwholesome things I would do years ago that would not even arise now, yet there is still an endless supply of unwholesome habit energy to work with.

    Gassho, kojip

  46. #46
    I've read most of his book, and it was good. I think atonement is necessary, but I think we feel bad for doing something immoral just by virtue of having a conscience, assuming we are not sociopathic.

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