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Thread: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 6

  1. #1

    BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 6

    Case 5 never ends, yet now comes ...

    CASE 6 - Baso's White and Black

    The Preface begins ...

    When the mouth cannot be opened, the tongueless person knows how to talk. Where a foot cannot be lifted, the legless person knows how to walk.

    Imagine that the young monk had asked Baso, Chizo and Kai, "How do I breathe, how do I walk?" Can anyone give adequate instructions in words? One must learn to breathe and walk by ... just like a newborn baby ... finding the power naturally arising within oneself. The most the parent or mid-wife, the Zen teacher, can do is provide a suitable environment and nutrition for the inner ability to naturally arise. The baby must do the work, and make the discovery, by herself!

    There are countless books of Buddhist scholarship, written through the centuries, on "how to breathe, how to walk". The "four propositions and hundred negations" are Buddhist philosophical points on causation and emptiness by Master Nagarjuna (e.g., 1. Everything that is, does not come out from itself. ... 4. Everything that is, does not come out from nothing.) that may have their place in knowledge of how the world works (much as a medical researcher in physiology might write a brilliant, learned research paper on how the involuntary muscles and nervous system work in walking and breathing) ... but such is not actual walking and breathing.

    One must simply shut up, stop thinking about how to walk and breathe ... and simply walk and breathe! (a sure way to trip and fall is to think too intently about walking while walking! ... a sure way to start to choke is to think too much about "how am I breathing" while breathing!)

    Just shut up, walk and breathe! Don't talk about it, don't overly think about it ... just walk and breathe the Buddhist Path! Learn to walk and talk and breathe for oneself, not dependent on the physiologist's analysis.

    So, the poems say ...

    When the mouth cannot be opened, the tongueless person know how to talk, when the foot cannot be lifted, the legless person knows how to walk. If you fall for someone (else's) words and are burdened by them, how can freedom be yours?

    Learn from the "medicine" of the teachings of the old Zen masters ... but do not become "hooked" on the medicine ...

    Medicine become a sickness - reflecting on saints of old

    leaping free of the addiction, one is truly free ... and you and Buddha (not two) become the true healer ...

    sickness becomes a doctor - who should he be?

    A couple of notes on symbolism:

    "Vaisali’s venerable old awl" may be a reference to the renowned Buddhist layman, Vimalikirti, who once remained silent when asked about the ultimate teaching of Buddha.

    There is some debate about the meaning of "head is white ... head is black". Some, like Rev. Wick, seem to take this as something like "Chizo got it in Chizo's way, Kai in Kai's way". But the reference may actually be to an old story in which a "black headed" thief was a better thief than a "white headed" thief, which would mean that Baso may actually have meant that "Kai" (his star student) got "walking and breathing" a bit better than Chizo, even though they seemed to say-not-say about the same words.

    QUESTIONS:

    - How is Zen Practice like "learning to breathe, learning to walk" in your life?

    - Even though walking and breathing are the most natural of activities ... does medical research on walking and breathing (Buddhist philosophy) and medicine/physicians (Zen teachers) have some important place?

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-26-2012 at 11:53 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  2. #2
    A good book on how to swim won't really teach you to swim, unless you jump yourself in the water and start swimming. However, once you've started it can help you to get a better technique.
    A good book on stories on swimming is very different from swimming, but reading about it can motivate you to throw yourself to the swimming pool and start swimming. And it can also motivate you to keep on practicing.

    But nothing can substitute a good swimming teacher and a community of fellow swimmers

    Thank you Treeleaf
    Rimon Barcelona, Spain
    "Practice and the goal of practice are identical." [i:auj57aui]John Daido Loori[/i:auj57aui]

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Just shut up, walk and breathe!
    Reading the Case before your full comment I came to a similar response: Stop moving it in your head, do it, be it. Somewhat these koans are strange, for example this one, it not looks any illogic to me. Koans which are not illogic do confuse me :-D This koan clearly demonstrates to the monk to stop to ponder this intellectually.

    I dont get your first question, Jundo, so I just say: Yes!

    About the place of medical research; yes, it has its place to help people who are ill; if you have no issue e.g. with breathing, any research on it has not much use for you. As a society its good too have people who work on theory to help others, even if there are only relatively few with issues. Buddhist philosophy and zen teachers however are particularly important (you may feel soft-soaped now), as they work on a cure for the majority of mankind.

    Gassho
    Myoku
    Last edited by Myoku; 06-26-2012 at 08:36 PM. Reason: slightly improved my broken english

  4. #4
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    How is Zen Practice like "learning to breathe, learning to walk" in your life?
    I am in complete agreement with Rimon's analogy... Gassho For this Rimon. I also feel that IMHO that we are continually being offered a life in a box..a kit for us to play and build with.. A kit that we have to buy into literally! To break from this and to see this takes some effort and a gauge to check how free we are truly becoming. Zen Practice provides a True Way that we can use as a path and gauge. Breathing freely without concern and walking in our own life is not a luxury or the dream of some lottery winner, but something we can truly access. Zen Practice shows us the gate....(getting through it requires the Swim team).
    Last edited by Heisoku; 06-26-2012 at 08:49 PM.
    Heisoku
    平 息

  5. #5
    Member Thane's Avatar
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    Hi Jundo and to everyone else.

    Thank you for your commentary on this koan. It was helpful to me and interesting to read your explanation of sentences that had confused me like 'head is black head is white'. These explanations help demystify the koans. I might have looked for some deep hidden meaning when in fact it is pointing to nothing special.

    How is zen practice like learning to breath, learning to walk in my life? I suppose it is continually trying to let go of my nested enclosures and over thinking. Letting the moment be as it is, just breathing and walking with out fixing it with my view.

    My answer to your second question. Do Buddhist scriptures and teachers have a special place? Special and non special. They are to be respected and i am grateful for them both but we have to walk and breath the path on our own. I agree with Rimon though that scriptures and teachers can offer support, guidance and motivation.

    So they are special but also just another part of life and we must not become hooked on their medicine.

    Gassho

    Thane

  6. #6
    Another line in the Preface that deserves mention ...

    When the four mountains close in, how can you pass free from them?

    Usually the "four mountains" refer to birth, aging, sickness, and death. In the Agon Sutra they are listed as the four mountains of aging, sickness, death and decrease.
    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  7. #7
    Also for more on the four mountains simile, do a net search for Pabbatopama Sutta (the simile of the mountains). Just happened to read this recently in a Pali anthology. It's a good text even for Zennies who otherwise aren't interested in Theravadin texts.

    As for my take on the koan...

    Study texts, but don't expect to find any answers. Seek the guidance of a teacher, but don't expect them to give you any answers. Be a part of a supportive Sangha, but don't expect them to give you any answers.

    Just sit as if your hair were on fire. Then get up and live NOW before the mountains crush you.

    Not easy.

    _/\_


    Gassho, Kaishin
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

  8. #8
    Be the mountain.
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  9. #9
    Friend of Treeleaf Daido's Avatar
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    How is Zen Practice like "learning to breathe, learning to walk" in your life?

    Zen Practice is like learning to breathe and walk when you do it. In my opinion Zen practice is not just ike learning to breathe and walk it is breathing. It is walking. They are not the same but cannot be separated. Mind and body cannot be separated unless we conceptually do it in our head.


    Even though walking and breathing are the most natural of activities ... does medical research on walking and breathing (Buddhist philosophy) and medicine/physicians (Zen teachers) have some important place?

    Research or study can be the starting point or a guide along the way to understanding. Like when learning a language vocabulary gives you the start to understanding and eventually fluency.

    I like what Rich said, "Be the mountain." In fact...Just....Mountain

    Just my opinion

    Daido
    Jiken Daido - Unsui at Treeleaf's Brother Sangha, the Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage.

    Do not just accept what I say. Decide for yourself if it rings true for you

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    One must simply shut up, stop thinking about how to walk and breathe ... and simply walk and breathe!
    So true ... sometimes it best just to do, nothing more.
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  11. #11
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    In interactions with other people, if I spend the time I should be listening thinking about what I'm going to say.... Zen practice has helped my "trust" myself - to "allow" instead of to try so hard to "force" an outcome.

    The sutras, books, discourses wear out my monkey mind to the point where I can "sit with it". The word "framework" is floating in here somewhere also.

    Ron
    As a priest in training, please take everything I say with a pinch of salt

    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  12. #12
    - How is Zen Practice like "learning to breathe, learning to walk" in your life?

    No matter how much we look at these basic activities, until we proceed in just doing, or allowing to be done by them, we miss the mark.

    While some instruction is needed we are almost always instructed to JUST SIT mean while. Countless times I have said "ya Im doing that but WHAT ELSE?" and turned to look outside my daily life for "real practice"... Just sitting showed me I had plenty of to do right here and there was no practice vs daily life.

    In this case, I have found myself on the other end of the spectrum with needing to do a bit more manual reading, to be honest .

    Practice helps us realize the instructions and the instructions help us back to our practice.

    - Even though walking and breathing are the most natural of activities ... does medical research on walking and breathing (Buddhist philosophy) and medicine/physicians (Zen teachers) have some important place?

    So in walking and breathing we must do this on our own and yes we are naturally driven to do so. However, understanding mechanics and how to care for our bodies do come in handy and help us to continue the practice.

    Myself, having a bad back, I know how to sit, but not paying attention to my posture (mental and physical) I often ache, the simplest reminder and instruction often helps alleviate that pain and I can return to just sitting, no need for discussion on the act (right now this applies as I lean on one elbow, twisted, and blaming the weather for the back pain /face-palm).

    Gassho
    Shohei
    Last edited by Shohei; 06-28-2012 at 12:23 AM.

  13. #13
    When the four mountains close in, how can you pass free from them?
    By being born, aging, getting sick, decreasing, and dying.

    Gassho, kojip.

  14. #14
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    When I began zen practice I was all about finding wondeful insights (Taigu discusses how valuable these are in a recent video post) and the meaning of life itself! These thoughts and searches are not completely meaningless because they helped us find our way to buddhism, to zen, to Treeleaf. But after awhile you have to taste for yourself what is right now. There will be lots of "But I..." moments, but nothing! This! Here! Now! I also hear Fugen's voice in my head telling me there is no try and he is right. Do! Succeed! Fail! But just don't think about thinking, think or do not. There is a time to just get on with THIS and although you might say, "That's for tomorrow." What is tomorrow? Just a creation of our minds trying to distracts us from now. Now, now, now!

    Now go sit!

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Ordained Priest -In-Training & Shuso (Head Seat) for November - Ango 2014
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please take what I say with a grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma!

  15. #15
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    "Attention!"

    This, for me, is the wake up wisdom core of this koan.

    Thank you all for your teachings.

    Gassho
    Myozan
    Myozan Kodo
    Ordained Soto Zen Priest in Training
    Dublin, Ireland

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.
    "Here the way unfolds."

  16. #16
    Senior Member Shujin's Avatar
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    "Why do we make it so complicated?" writes Shishin. In one moment, a heart is drowning in attachments. In the next, it can float atop a sea of delusion.

    Gassho,
    Shujin

  17. #17
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Usually the "four mountains" refer to birth, aging, sickness, and death. In the Agon Sutra they are listed as the four mountains of aging, sickness, death and decrease.
    Jundo wrote:
    When the four mountains close in, how can you pass free from them?
    Mountains? What mountains?! Knowing there is nothing to even pass free from in the first place...is exactly that which allows you to pass freely.


    Let me further expound on this by using excerpts from the heart sutra.


    Mountain #1(Birth):
    "Not born, not destroyed...."


    Mountain #2(Aging) & #4(Death):
    "No old age and death...."


    Mountain #3(Sickness):
    "No suffering, nor cause or end to suffering...."


    Thus we can see that it is impossible to be anything but free.....because in reality there was never anything to truly bind us in the first place!


    Something like that.
    Gassho,
    Hoyu
    Ho (Dharma)
    Yu (Hot Water)

  18. #18
    Ha, I love this one too. Give me the answers oh master please. Nope you have to learn how to think for yourself. It's like by a teacher not giving, is giving the ultimate gift.

    1. How is Zen Practice like learning to breathe, learning to walk. We have to do it ourselves, feel it out, fall and stumble and make mistakes so we can intimately become acquainted with what is legitimate practice and what is bullshit fluff. I've read stories about masters who seem infallible, but that has got to be bs. We are all human, and we all have flaws; I think flaws make us special in a way, make us perfectly human. Practice requires this learning how to balance, how to fall down 8 times, get up 9 times (I stole that quote, but I don't remember who said it). We have to learn the subtleties of our practice, our minds just like we did when we learned how to walk, by feeling how to balance as we shift our weight from one foot to the other.

    Practice is easy on "good days", how is it on "bad days"? Gotta sit, gotta practice.. just gotta stay consistent. Sometimes, I don't want to practice, but that's when my practice is most important. That's where having a teacher and sangha are truly inspirational. Sometimes I ask why am I reciting these vows, they are so esoteric? Why am I staring at a wall? It's all mind games. I want to make that clear really. I want to be honest. Sometimes I get discouraged with practice, while I'm sitting. I really do. But I think it's normal because I do that in other areas of my life as well. I think that's why Sangha is critical. I also think that's why the precepts and Bodhisattva vows are so fundamental; I made a vow, and I'm sticking to it; that's really what it is... not just to myself but all of you in this Sangha as well.

    I have something to admit. I'm not big on groups. I'm very individualistic, and I don't like rushing into things. Even here, I sometimes hold back because I don't want to lose myself to a group... not lose myself in a zen way, but lose myself in an "I want to make sure I don't give away my authority (who I am)"... not that I really could, but that is something that is important to me. I think it's really important to think for one's self... to really do for one's self... At the same time, we can only act as individuals by the support of a group, which is where this sangha is important. Instead of being a crutch, which it could become, if we truly practice, then instead of just taking we are supporting as well.... we are mutually giving and receiving.. Kojip posted on this recently, about supporting the Sangha.

    We all have the same questions. They don't have answers.. well I haven't found any. I mean come on, describe ultimate reality to me. hahah Anyway, if we come into practice just looking to get something, then we are of no use... no help to anyone else, but if we come here as equals, that we just don't know but we are going to practice anyway, I think the Sangha becomes a pretty damned cool place, which is how my experience is here.

    2. Are teachers still necessary? Yes, absolutely. They are like boxing instructors who teach the fundamentals of striking, body movement and footwork. They can point out what you need help on. But in order for a teacher to be a teacher there has to be a student to put those teachings into practice. You see this a lot in every field. Someone who is held in high regard says something or does something, and the followers come out like whatever the teacher did just was so perfect and special. That happens because I think they want to have what they perceive the teacher has. I think it's natural when we are on a path to something. But that's just bullshit. True teaching, to me (and I'm by far no authority), occurs when the teacher teaches, but the student digs in and applies those teachings.. takes the time to apply those teachings to their life to see how it fits with their practice.

    Gassho,

    Risho
    Last edited by Risho; 06-29-2012 at 06:16 AM.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    - Even though walking and breathing are the most natural of activities ... does medical research on walking and breathing (Buddhist philosophy) and medicine/physicians (Zen teachers) have some important place?
    Hi.

    In my humble opinion i would say yes, as there is different paths for different people (although we're non-different) and even different ways on traveling on them. Some might need the research bit to reach the end, some might just benefit from it, some don't need it at all...

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

    Ps the wisdom of an cheshirecat regarding ways to walk...

    Treeleaf Unsui
    Blog: http://fugenblog.blogspot.com/

  20. #20
    I find that this case resonates most for my life in relation to social anxiety disorder. At it's worst, I would be unable to go into the office next door or even send an email, because my head was full of thoughts of what people would be thinking of me & how I was bound to do or say something stupid. When I realised that these were just thoughts, which had no basis in reality, it was so freeing to just do what I was scared to do. Instead of rehearsing what I wanted to do over & over, the solution was simple: just do it!

    _/\_

    Ade

  21. #21
    - How is Zen Practice like "learning to breathe, learning to walk" in your life?
    This case reminds me of my favorite, Amban's Addition. Emphasis mine.

    Amban, a layman Zen student, said: "Mu-mon has just published forty-eight koans and called the book Gateless Gate. He criticizes the old patriarchs’ words and actions. I think he is very mischievous. He is like an old doughnut seller trying to catch a passerby to force his doughnuts down his mouth. The customer can neither swallow nor spit out the doughnuts, and this causes suffering. Mu-mon has annoyed everyone enough, so I think I shall add one more as a bargain. I wonder if he himself can eat this bargain. If he can, and digest it well, it will be fine, but if not, we will have to put it back into the frying pan with his forty-eight also and cook them again. Mu-mon, you eat first, before someone else does:

    "Buddha, according to a sutra, once said: 'Stop, stop. Do not speak. The ultimate truth is not even to think.'"

    Amban's comment: Where did that so-called teaching come from? How is it that one could not even think it? Suppose someone spoke about it then what became of it? Buddha himself was a great chatterbox and in this sutra spoke contrarily. Because of this, persons like Mu-mon appear afterwards in China and make useless doughnuts, annoying people. What shall we do after all? I will show you.

    Then Amban put his palms together, folded his hands, and said: "Stop, stop. Do not speak. The ultimate truth is not even to think. And now I will make a little circle on the sutra with my finger and add that five thousand other sutras and Vimalakirti's gateless gate all are here!"

    If anyone tells you fire is light,
    Pay no attention.
    When two thieves meet they need no introduction:
    They recognize each other without question.
    And...

    - Even though walking and breathing are the most natural of activities ... does medical research on walking and breathing (Buddhist philosophy) and medicine/physicians (Zen teachers) have some important place?
    Buddhist philosophy is glorious. But what happens when you choke on some makyo? Someone must be there, someone you trust.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Trust. And believing. The teachings that live in the mind need to be released to allow them to integrate into our life and being. Throw yourself into the deep waters to learn, grow and develop through experience with trust and believing in yourself. Sometimes it's ugly, other times it feels beautiful but either way we embark this journey in our unique way as we support each other through this never-ending, goalless process. Believing in ourselves is cultivated from within and the truth is felt in our hearts. Our teachers, fellow sangha members and the Buddha's teachings serve as guideposts but ultimately we must take it upon ourselves to travel the winding road with the courage to be our true selves.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  23. #23
    These are all wonderful responses. I didn't think I had anything to add and then this, when I was running in the 100 degree South Carolina heat: I used to be a runner, or, I still am one, but not so serious. In any case, when I was more serious, I trained, worked on form, did lots of reps, mile repeats, each mile lowering the time, long hard runs interspersed with sprints, running hills at the end of all workouts to increase stamina, even learned about striding correctly, ways to pump with the arms when really tired at the end of race, how to breathe properly and most effectively (in through nose out through mouth, each a two count), the proper shoes for my feet and stride, eating the right way, visualizing the race, how I planned on running it, the proper mindset before going into a race, calm but hungry, and all this the coach guiding me through, and me guiding myself some. But then, when the race comes, you forgot all this crap, you just drop it. Because, you know, maybe you visualized a hard kick at the end, letting your opponents wear themselves out, but then you find they're doing the same thing, so you have to be open, ready for anything, and all of sudden you're just doing the thing, it comes naturally, and you're both passive and acting, not forcing. And I mean, this is on the best day, because there are those days when you want to do your plan, your plan, your strategy, and you're tired and pushing and thinking "knees higher, knees higher, breathe more regularly, two in two out, you're getting passed" and thinking the entire time, trying to figure it out, instead of just running the thing.

    In any case, I thought of this and then thought of zazen and then thought of how we live. It seemed like it fit somehow. I don't know now.

  24. #24
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    - How is Zen Practice like "learning to breathe, learning to walk" in your life?
    Two days ago my wife and I became Great Grand Parents, While waiting to hear the news we sat in the birthing Waiting Room and watch a very young girl learning/practicing how to walk. At the time we commented on her drive to succeed. It wasn't until this morning when I reread case 6 that I felt the connection.

    - Even though walking and breathing are the most natural of activities ... does medical research on walking and breathing (Buddhist philosophy) and medicine/physicians (Zen teachers) have some important place?
    Of course they do. If one wants to live in this path, he/she should have a compass. When you are in the woods you can get very much turned around without one.

    Thank you Jundo for this teaching
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

  25. #25
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Congrats Triple-G (Great-Great-Grandpa)!

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Ordained Priest -In-Training & Shuso (Head Seat) for November - Ango 2014
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please take what I say with a grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma!

  26. #26
    Thats awesome news! Congratulations

  27. #27
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Yes! Congrats Shokai. Babies are so precious.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  28. #28
    That's such wonderful news. Congratulations Shokai!
    Gassho
    Jeff

  29. #29
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Stop thinking so hard! Just do it! Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to trust yourself. I see it in my counseling students all the time. I do tell them, "Stop thinking," just trust that because you are good people you will do good work. But they (we) have been trained to think much more than to trust ourselves, and they (we) struggle so hard against ourselves as a consequence of that conditioning.

    I find it funny that the monk is only satisfied once he gets the zennie response. But in his defense, I would not have recognized the other responses as answers either.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

  30. #30
    Mazeltov Shokai!

    Not only are you a Great Great Grandpa ... but you are a pretty great one!

    Let's sit this week for all new babies and their grandparents!

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  31. #31
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Congratulations Shokai!!
    Ho (Dharma)
    Yu (Hot Water)

  32. #32
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Great bows to GGG-P Shokai

    it occurs to me that my first post here wasn't all that personal. I mean, I addressed the case but it wasn't really about my experience. But part of my post from the Introduction that I also wrote today does address that, so I quote it here:
    When the announcement came out about koan study with this book, I thought about, thought about it, and thought about it some more. I decided that I wasn't interested, wasn't interested, and wasn't interested some more. I think enough as it is, too much and too often (Jundo and Taigu remind me from time to time about this), as just my thinking about the possibility of koan thinking aptly demonstrates. So I kept dismissing it, but it kept nagging at me. Then I happened to check one of the threads and it reminded me of the dharma transmission books we read, which I really liked and got a lot out of, so I changed my mind and here I am. Maybe I can learn to think differently, or maybe it will help my practice, or both, or neither. See, thinking too much already.
    Maybe if I was aware of this koan before I wasted all that time thinking about if i should do koans or not I would have been wise enough to say to myself, "Shut up and do it!"

    One more thing, I cannot let this legless walking issue go without comment. As a person who has never walked, this just does not ring my bell at all. I understand it as its own koan. Walking is a logic system almost entirely outside my own. I have done this strange activity with heavy braces and crutches as a child, but there was never anything natural about it at all. On the other hand, however, I have obviously been around people who walk all my life, so I know it, but more as an observer than one who participates. From countless conversations with those like me, this is true for us. Of course, back when these were koans written, we were pretty much outcasts from even them Zen folk. Yet there is no separation of them/us.
    Hmm, I just love koans within koans
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

  33. #33
    Congratulations Shokai! Does this mean you're now a Patriarch?

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa View Post
    One more thing, I cannot let this legless walking issue go without comment. As a person who has never walked, this just does not ring my bell at all. I understand it as its own koan. Walking is a logic system almost entirely outside my own. I have done this strange activity with heavy braces and crutches as a child, but there was never anything natural about it at all. On the other hand, however, I have obviously been around people who walk all my life, so I know it, but more as an observer than one who participates. From countless conversations with those like me, this is true for us. Of course, back when these were koans written, we were pretty much outcasts from even them Zen folk. Yet there is no separation of them/us.
    Hmm, I just love koans within koans
    Alan, you seem to feel that this is limited to walking with legs, or that one in a wheelchair all their life cannot walk across galaxies!

    Substitute talking, singing, going to the toilet, learning to roll in a wheelchair, sit Zazen ... all the same principle. This bird learning to fly does not require wings, fills the boundless sky and leaves no traces!

    In a Buddha's learning to walk, there is no need for legs ... and thus he takes 7 steps which cover the universe. Thus, the Buddha was said to be born walking and talking and pointing to the earth and heavens and himself ... before he sat down, shut up, and had to learn all over again as a baby!



    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-01-2012 at 08:54 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  35. #35
    Wow ... wonderful news Shokai, Congrats!

    Gassho,
    Michael

  36. #36
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Yeah, I know, I took the legless thing too literally. I couldn't help myself.

    On the other hand, there is this article about the hand that I think fits here somehow.
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/20...he-human-brain
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

  37. #37
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    Ah, that poor monk, bouncing from teacher to teacher, trying to get someone to tell him answers. I've been that guy. Actually, every time I buy a new Zen book I wonder if I still am that guy.

    QUESTIONS:

    - How is Zen Practice like "learning to breathe, learning to walk" in your life?

    - Even though walking and breathing are the most natural of activities ... does medical research on walking and breathing (Buddhist philosophy) and medicine/physicians (Zen teachers) have some important place?
    Are learning to breathe, learning to walk the most natural things in the world? Yes. Do we sometimes need that finger pointing at the moon? Yes.

    Do we need medical research on walking and breathing? Hell yes, but I may be slightly biased, as an asthmatic who has finally started to listen to the doctors and pursue better medical care, with good results. I'm being literal here, but yes, the guidance of Buddhist philosophers and Zen teachers IS important . . . although the real work is your own, just Doing, and allowing someone to give you instruction when needed.

    Gassho

    Jen
    Last edited by Nenka; 07-02-2012 at 04:29 PM.

  38. #38
    Zen practice is like learning to breathe and learning to walk in that at some point we simply must do it. Let go of concepts and preconceived ideas.

    Buddhist philosophy and Zen teachers do have a place. Keeping in mind my response above, our online discussion would be pretty empty, if we paid no attention to Buddhist philosophy or Zen teachers. Post-modernism at its best – hold two propositions that are logically incongruent at the same time. As Jundo has said many times Buddhism operates on many levels at the same time.

    Gassho,
    BrianW/Jisen

  39. #39
    Firstly - congratulations Shokai - lovely news !

    Jen - I so agree with you - sometimes - with each new book - I think I'm compulsively reaching for the same road map - over and over again.

    But there's definately a place for Buddhist philosophy and Zen teachers - at least until - like that stage in

    child development when the toddler eventually finds the courage and confidence to walk/explore on her own - we just get on with it.

    Gassho

    Willow

  40. #40
    Oh my forgot to mention ... Shokai congratulations!

    Gassho,
    Jisen/BrianW

  41. #41
    Senior Member Koshin's Avatar
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    Congratulations Shokai

    Howis Zen Practice like "learning to breathe, learning to walk" in yourlife?
    I think that while swimming or walking are things you learn naturally, over time we add unnecessary thought to these activities, so that we make them more complex than they really are ... so with the rest of our lifes, we need to un-learn, or better yet, discard our thinking and tagging about things, to appreciate them in their raw and beautiful "as it is-ness". Not easy, if you think about it

    Eventhough walking and breathing are the most natural of activities ... doesmedical research on walking and breathing (Buddhist philosophy) andmedicine/physicians (Zen teachers) have some important place?
    Of course, even the best swimming manual and swimming instructor are not by themselves our own swim, yet they can always serve as guides to keep us from drowning

    Gassho
    ______________________________
    Kōshin / Leo



    P.S. Yup, I know, my English sucks

  42. #42
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Seeker seeking answers

    Zen master

    All I could see was this...

    case-6.jpg
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

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