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Jundo
10-25-2012, 07:26 AM
Case 17 never ends, yet now comes ...

Case 18 - Joshu's Dog

A fundamental Mahayana Teaching is that all sentient beings have (or, as Dogen sang, are) Buddha-nature ... even when hidden from us. That includes man's best friend, most Mahayana philosophers would traditionally agree.

So, when asked, "Does a dog have Buddha nature?" Joshu responded "Yes" ... yet when asked again, "No" (Mu). [scared]

Yet, this "Mu" is not merely some negative statement, the mirror image of "Yes". Nor is it some hesitancy or ambiguity, like "Yes, but also no too".

"MU!" is the Dance of Emptiness, the Dog's Bark and Bite, where all questions of "yes" or "no" and philosophical debating drop away in the resounding "YES! YES! YES!".

It is to stop search for one's Buddha Nature like a dog chasing its tail ...

http://www.whatsnextblog.com/dog_chase_tail.jpg

It is not the dog chasing the tail ... nor the tail chasing the dog ... but the very Circle that is Buddha, walking running sitting standing, both tail chasing or sitting still, barking or scratching fleas ... MU! nose to tail.

http://healthbeyonddanger.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/ensocopy1-300x298.png

When will you give up the chase, and find What's What all along? Dog backwards is God nature ... maybe also to be found in dropping "Yes" vs. "No"!

The Koan contains a couple of lines which may speak of intentionally living and remaining in this sometimes cuddly and beautiful, sometimes "bitch of a dog eat dog" world ... to live out our Bodhisattva Vow to Save All Sentient Beings. If we have "Buddha-Nature" all along, why lead this "dog of a life" in this "bag of skin"? The Koan references this as to "get into that bag of skin" as a lowly dog, because "knowingly he purposely offends". Even though embodying the purity of Buddha, the Boddhisattva chooses to remain alive in this world of sometime ignorance ... where we cannot help but to knowingly offend again and again, sometimes driven down to our animal nature ... in order to carry out the mission. Likewise, "Karmic Consiousness" traditionally did not have a positive meaning in Mahayana Buddhism, but was the divided, ignorant consciousness of self and our actions arising therefrom. However, "Mu!" exists right in and as this divided consciousness ... form is no other than emptiness, enlightenment is found no where but at the Heart of delusion.

In the "Preface to the Assembly" ... a floating gourd or diamond may have a "yes" side or a "no" side or facet. Yet which facet alone is the Whole Spinning Fruit, the Complete Jewel? Is it not the same for a "deluded" facet and an "enlightened" facet and all other categories?

Don't get "hooked" by words and categories ... yes or no, delusion vs. Buddhas. Thus, in the "Appreciatory verse", we catch this fish not with a hook, but an impossibly straight needle with no place to bite. Don't make debates and arguments ... about whether clouds hold water like a guest, or clouds rain down water, or clouds are water ... and so with debates about you and Buddha-nature. Let it Rain! Likewise, the reference to "King Shin and Shojo Rin" is from an old story about a Jewel that cannot be given away.

QUESTION:

What deep, personal issue or question in your life might be resolved not by "yes" ... not by "no" ... but by "MU!" or "YES! YES! YES!" that swallows whole both yes and no? It could be anything from the existence of God to being torn about whether to get married or change jobs and move to another town. HOWEVER, VERY IMPORTANT, I am not talking about merely resolving the question with some "well, yes on the one hand ... but no on the other". I am not talking about some shoulder shrugging "yes and no" or "I don't know" or making a list of "Pros and Cons".

I mean a total toss of the question into "MU! ... into Emptiness ... whereby all plays out and resolves with a resounding "YES! YES! YES!" that might be yes when yes ... and "YES! YES! YES!" even when no ... and "YES! YES! YES!" even when we don't have an answer or know what to do at all.

Gassho, J

https://youtu.be/qxfOjfM35dY

RichardH
10-25-2012, 08:36 AM
I mean a total toss of the question into "MU! ... into Emptiness ... whereby all plays out and resolves with a resounding "YES! YES! YES!" that might be yes when yes ... and "YES! YES! YES!" even when no ... and "YES! YES! YES!" even when we don't have an answer or know what to do at all.

The inexorable "offer that can't be refused" that comes when the compensations stop working, and there is no choice but to sit with it.

...and painting

Gassho,kojip

Jundo
10-25-2012, 08:47 AM
The inexorable "offer that can't be refused" that comes when the compensations stop working, and there is no choice but to sit with it.

...and painting

Gassho,kojip

Arf!

Gassho, J

Shokai
10-25-2012, 11:10 AM
Just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see
dust in the wind

"woof " [monk] gassho2

Omoi Otoshi
10-25-2012, 11:13 AM
Everything is Buddha nature. Everything is thus, just as is. Even ignorance is Buddha nature. Without ignorance, how could there be any awakening of the Bodhi mind?
Even the lowly dog is Buddha completely. The dog doesn't care about buddha nature. He doesn't need it. With or without it, he will keep barking out the Dharma everywhere he goes, for anyone who will listen.
The meaning of yes and no are both useful to analyze, in order to understand what Buddha nature is not. But not very helpful in determining what It is. Neither reply is the truth, just views. No refuge in yes. No refuge in no. Both can be Right View. Both can be true, for someone, in some situation. But not always so. A diamond in the sun has no fixed shade of color. Sometimes we need a yes, sometimes a no, sometimes we need to rephrase the question or drop it altogether. Sometimes we need someone to point at the oak tree in the garden.

I used to think a lot about Buddha nature and Mu. I kept returning to it for years. These days I mostly let it be.

When someone asks me if I believe in God, I'm tempted to reply Mu... For me, in a way, Mu clarified the existance of God. By resolving Mu for myself, I simultaneously resolved the question of God. When I'm asked if I believe in God, It feels wrong to deny God, so a simple no won't do. I don't buy the whole personal God in heaven concept, so yes doesn't seem entirely right either. Sometimes I say yes, sometimes no. It depends on who's asking and the purpose of asking the question. Sometimes I try to explain my view, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I just avoid the question. But I don't feel threatened by the question anymore.

Gassho,
Pontus

PS. Saying "I am God" may be misunderstood... :)
I haven't tried YES! YES! YES! ;) DS.

Shugen
10-26-2012, 12:02 AM
QUESTION:

What deep, personal issue or question in your life might be resolved not by "yes" ... not by "no" ... but by "MU!" or "YES! YES! YES!" that swallows whole both yes and no? It could be anything from the existence of God to being torn about whether to get married or change jobs and move to another town. HOWEVER, VERY IMPORTANT, I am not talking about merely resolving the question with some "well, yes on the one hand ... but no on the other". I am not talking about some shoulder shrugging "yes and no" or "I don't know" or making a list of "Pros and Cons".

I mean a total toss of the question into "MU! ... into Emptiness ... whereby all plays out and resolves with a resounding "YES! YES! YES!" that might be yes when yes ... and "YES! YES! YES!" even when no ... and "YES! YES! YES!" even when we don't have an answer or know what to do at all.

Gassho, J

The first thing that popped into my head upon hearing the question was parenting. That is probably because that is where I am right now.

Gassho




Shugen

Heisoku
10-28-2012, 11:09 AM
QUESTION:
What deep, personal issue or question in your life might be resolved not by "yes" ... not by "no" ... but by "MU!" or "YES! YES! YES!" that swallows whole both yes and no?

I am?

Omoi Otoshi
10-28-2012, 08:35 PM
I am?
You certainly are! :)

/Pontus

Jinyo
10-28-2012, 09:06 PM
This Koan makes me smile because it is a reminder of my propensity to want to understand everything.
When the subject of koans first came up (I had not heard of koan study before joining Treeleaf) I dutifully bought a book by Isshu Miura/Ruth Fuller Sasaki and attempted to swallow it whole.
'What' I demanded of Jundo ' are the Five Ranks?' Of course - my fragile liitle ego didn't want to get stuck on standard, beginners 'does a dog have buddha nature koan'.:D

Anyway - Jundo's answer was along the lines of 'Oh - don't bother with that - it's probably just some old fella re-arranging his koans'

On retrospect I reckon that answer (for me) was spot on [claps]

So - I put the book away (in a bit of a huff) and went back to thinking about 'does a dog have buddha nature?'

THINKING ABOUT IT - big mistake;)

Couldn't get anywhere with this koan - (more mental huffing and puffing).

Next step - I bought the book - 'the book of MU' by Ford and Blacker. Well - it's a pretty good book - but I realised that this was a half-hearted attempt on my part to get to grips with something that was eluding me. I put the book away.

A couple of weeks ago - while feeling very stressed about my mum, the title of the book caught my eye. The word MU is written in bright red letters on the spine. Something just seemed to click, to resonate. Maybe it was a YES, YES, YES moment - but I just suddenly felt so much better, MU, MU, MU to everything.

The word in itself meant nothing at all - and actually I can't really put what I felt into words.

To be honest - formal koan study doesn't appeal to me - I like the way we practice here.

Gassho

Willow

Heisoku
10-28-2012, 10:31 PM
You certainly are! :)

/Pontus

Oh no,yes, mu! [morehappy]

Geika
10-28-2012, 11:20 PM
I guess this would be my question: http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?10244-The-middle-way-between-hedonism-and-rigid-discipline

Myoku
10-29-2012, 08:34 AM
I feel the questions asked to Joshu are about ones Buddha Nature, its I think not so much about the dog after all. Do I have Buddha Nature, you, everyone, where is it and what ? If you go like this you just stir up thoughts in the brain which lead to nothing, or confusion at best. When I think about how I can get rid of the cold I just caught, that keeps me busy thinking, and eventually the cold is gone, thinking or not. Now getting some tea...
_()_
Myoku

Jundo
10-29-2012, 08:37 AM
I feel the questions asked to Joshu are about ones Buddha Nature, its I think not so much about the dog after all.

You and the dog and the Buddha, same or different? ARF!

Heisoku
10-29-2012, 08:49 AM
Buddha nature ....is the dog's nature, my nature and Buddha's nature. We can't be any other nature other than what we are. However this 'nature' is the nature of all things. So my nature is your nature in a flowing universal nature kind of way! MU!

Myoku
10-29-2012, 09:00 AM
You and the dog and the Buddha, same or different? ARF!

My mind is more deluded this morning ...
_()_
Myoku

Jundo
10-29-2012, 09:31 AM
Buddha nature ....is the dog's nature, my nature and Buddha's nature. We can't be any other nature other than what we are. However this 'nature' is the nature of all things. So my nature is your nature in a flowing universal nature kind of way! MU!

Don't think about it so much, don't turn it into a formula.

Are you and the dog and the Buddha, same or different? ARF!

Heisoku
10-29-2012, 02:21 PM
ME..OW! Gassho.gassho1

AlanLa
10-29-2012, 02:53 PM
Mu stumps me, so maybe I need to say "mu" to mu and move on from there.

Kaishin
10-29-2012, 04:22 PM
I we open our mouths and say "dog," we already create the animal world and the human world, buddha-nature and not-buddha-nature. There's nothing we can say without losing it.



What deep, personal issue or question in your life might be resolved not by "yes" ... not by "no" ... but by "MU!" or "YES! YES! YES!" that swallows whole both yes and no?

"Is there any point to all this Zen practice, any benefit--is it the 'right choice' ?!!?????" -- I used to try to define answers to these questions, put things into neat little boxes. I don't think that gets me anywhere, and--in any case--I don't have the time to grapple with them. My answer to these questions is just to sit and live the Bodhisattva way, throwing myself down the well whether or not there is water in the bottom or perhaps no bottom at all. What else can I do? (another question...)

Omoi Otoshi
10-29-2012, 06:51 PM
I we open our mouths and say "dog," we already create the animal world and the human world, buddha-nature and not-buddha-nature. There's nothing we can say without losing it.

You and the dog and the Buddha: Same, same, but different! :)

Originally there may be no dogs, no humans, only emptiness. But in the mirror of the mind, humans, dogs and Buddha appear alongside ten thousand other shapes, forms, dharmas. Arising as One. What can be said that would cause you to lose your Buddha nature?

Gassho,
Pontus

Kaishin
10-30-2012, 12:11 AM
My mind isn't a mirror--it's an abusive critic!

Shingen
10-30-2012, 03:19 AM
Bodhi and I both say, "Ruff". :)

Gassho
Michael

Daitetsu
10-30-2012, 02:54 PM
joshubuddhadogjundotimo

Gassho,

Timo

Daitetsu
10-31-2012, 12:30 AM
About the Question

What deep, personal issue or question in your life might be resolved not by "yes" ... not by "no" ... but by "MU!"

This reminds me of the "baby question"...
There was a time in which the question whether to have a child or not became more and more pressing.
Since I am a very logic thinking guy this posed a dilemma to me. I thought about reasons for having a child (or not).
I asked other fathers what they think. I wrote lists with pros and cons.
But then it finally dawned upon me that this "approach" was completely wrong, even ridiculous.
The decision for having a child has nothing to do with logic, with pros and cons. There are no arguments for or against this.
It is just about "Do I want it?" - nothing more, nothing less. So I kind of plunged into the question, and it really was a big Yes!
And now I am happy I made the right decision. :)

Gassho,

Timo

Onken
11-01-2012, 01:22 AM
Confused...I guess I'll just drop it.

AlanLa
11-01-2012, 03:22 PM
I really do prefer this version of the mu koan because it has the yes and no (wu and mu) component. Previously, all I've ever seen or heard on this is just mu, which leaves me lost, which I understand is a perfectly ok Zen place to be. But seeing the other side of the coin/koan is helpful, and Jundo's take on it also clears some things up for me because it feels very fresh (mu gets tiresome, I think many of you might agree). What I am trying to say is that it seems a whole lot more accessible when presented this way, and the result of that is I finally feel like I have something to take away from this koan, and that is:

Quit all the navel gazing and just BE something!
Quit with all the intellectualizing Q&A and just DO something!

It ain't much, but it's all I got.

galen
11-04-2012, 04:04 PM
The Preface seems to say... if you puncture a floating gourd it loses its balance, or way. The same could be said for a balloon, or ones ego. Suzuki seems to point to this when he says we should fine pleasure in our suffering (delusions of the ego), because this is the teaching (of Buddhism). This is what we fight, tooth and nail, in resisting the truth of the Way. "We should find the truth in this world, through our difficulties, through our suffering". Also, " we should find perfection in imperfection; or we should find perfect existence through imperfect existence".

The same with the sun exposing no 'fixed' shade of color in a diamond. Once again, this seems to point to exposing the ego for what it really is, nothing but delusion, a false small little self once brought out into full light, exposing it for what it really is... a sham!

'No-mindedness cannot understand'.... is that not a good thing !? That seems to leave it to the 'great question'... ie, 'the great answer'-no answer, by intellectualizing from the ego of our insecure little self.

The last sentence in the Preface seems to sum up all the above probing... 'is there any way to escape that?' That answer is seemingly is Hell NO. We can hide but we cannot run from our true selves; this is the Way of the masters, by using these beautiful paradoxical dialogs in these Koans.

Risho
11-04-2012, 05:16 PM
A moment of living, of true action is beyond "Yes" or "No". When we had to euthanize our dog a couple years ago, there were no clear cut answers. She may have had a blood cancer. THe day after Thanksgiving, she passed out. We at first thought it was a seizure, but it was from anemia. Her body was not producing red blood cells. No red blood cells, no oxygen. This sort of hit us out of nowhere. She was our middle dog, only 8 years old. It couldn't be her time yet. The truth is, it could be our "time" any time. We don't know.

We brought her to the vet, and they ran a lot of tests and determined it could be a blood disease or cancer. If it was cancer we'd have to start treatment immediately, which involved chemo and a lot of anti cancer drugs. The remission rate, at best, would give her 6 more months after a lot of suffering through the treatment. If it was a blood disease, then they would still use hte anti cancer meds, which would be much less painful to her.

We went with the latter route. They gave her a blood transfusion and anti cancer meds. After a week, she was back to being really sick again. It wasn't working. Do we treat for cancer or not? It wasn't an easy yes or no answer. We had to think for her... what was best for her.

There is no yes or no. The best answer came forth when we thought about her, without our selfish wants of keeping her around as long as possible. In the end, we euthanized her. I still question it to this day of course. It's my nature, but in terms of preventing more suffering it had to be done.

That just leads me to the larger answer to this beyond yes or no. My understanding and relationship to these koans will deepen over the years (if I'm lucky enough to have years) of practice. This happens naturally by sitting, chanting, reciting the Bodhisattva vows, participating with all of my Sangha here, living in the world... living intentionally in the world with an intention to wake up. With that said, life is not a problem to be resolved. Life is meant to be lived and, for those of us lucky enough to have found a practice, to have vows to break (I'm paraphrasing that), we can live with an intent towards being with things instead of possessing or controlling them.

That is beyond yes or no, just like how life is beyond yes or no.

Gassho,

Risho

P.S. My dogs certainly are buddhas. :) Well my younger one is a little nutty (so he's in training. hahaha), but my older one continuously teaches me what it means to live and not give up. She turned blind a few years ago, and she's as bullish and stubborn as ever at almost 13.

galen
11-04-2012, 05:19 PM
My deep personal issue, which seemingly dissolves most all issues, not only for myself but my fellow Zen brothers and sisters, is delusion, letting our/my ego run all over me and thus other. While, for the most part I seem to grasp most of Zen intellectually, but to embody other as my self, to meet them in that tiny tiny gap between the rubber and the highway, is still only in small doses and sometimes even a widening gap. But this realization of this issue, only makes me more steadfast to sit, reflect and breathing through my hara, all the while knowing this hara is a shared commodity, that just as well belongs to other, the hara of the Whole.

I find, probably like most, when I am in conversation personally by phone or in person, my mind is quite busy and for the most part, not totally vested in the others problem (mine) or what they are truly trying to say. I am already building an answer for them, as my ego is chattering up a storm to resolve 'their' issue, all the while when just staying in touch with my hara in these moments puts me closer to embodying what they are saying, and thus shutting down the chatter. My true nature is theirs, the more I can spend time in that realm the more I am realizing I am spending more time in theirs. No separation.

Very good opening, Jundo.

Gassho

galen
11-04-2012, 05:45 PM
Everything is Buddha nature. Everything is thus, just as is. Even ignorance is Buddha nature. Without ignorance, how could there be any awakening of the Bodhi mind?
Even the lowly dog is Buddha completely. The dog doesn't care about buddha nature. He doesn't need it. With or without it, he will keep barking out the Dharma everywhere he goes, for anyone who will listen.
The meaning of yes and no are both useful to analyze, in order to understand what Buddha nature is not. But not very helpful in determining what It is. Neither reply is the truth, just views. No refuge in yes. No refuge in no. Both can be Right View. Both can be true, for someone, in some situation. But not always so. A diamond in the sun has no fixed shade of color. Sometimes we need a yes, sometimes a no, sometimes we need to rephrase the question or drop it altogether. Sometimes we need someone to point at the oak tree in the garden.

I used to think a lot about Buddha nature and Mu. I kept returning to it for years. These days I mostly let it be.

When someone asks me if I believe in God, I'm tempted to reply Mu... For me, in a way, Mu clarified the existance of God. By resolving Mu for myself, I simultaneously resolved the question of God. When I'm asked if I believe in God, It feels wrong to deny God, so a simple no won't do. I don't buy the whole personal God in heaven concept, so yes doesn't seem entirely right either. Sometimes I say yes, sometimes no. It depends on who's asking and the purpose of asking the question. Sometimes I try to explain my view, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I just avoid the question. But I don't feel threatened by the question anymore.

Gassho,
Pontus

PS. Saying "I am God" may be misunderstood... :)
I haven't tried YES! YES! YES! ;) DS.



For me, when asked if I believe in God, my usual reply is, not the Christian god. It seems you make a very valid point to just answer with Mu. Why not, instead of just the temptation? Of course, like my answer, there might be some explanation needed, depending on the questioner, but I feel we need to come clean and absorb the consequences of where this leads the discussion, its a very valid question, and especially realizing there is no right or wrong, good or bad. Thanks for you thoughtful post.

Gassho

galen
11-04-2012, 05:59 PM
My mind isn't a mirror--it's an abusive critic!


That critical abuser, might be the mirror, Matt.

Gassho

galen
11-04-2012, 06:02 PM
Bodhi and I both say, "Ruff". :)

Gassho
Michael


So Michael, you know `the Bodhi on an intimate level :rolleyes:.

Gassho

Omoi Otoshi
11-04-2012, 07:26 PM
For me, when asked if I believe in God, my usual reply is, not the Christian god.

I know what you mean, but that paints the Christian God with too broad a brush in my opinion. Could it be that you have misunderstood the Christian God? Who is this Christian God?

I sometimes wonder if the direct experience of God, Dharmakaya and Atman is not the experience of the same undescribable underlying reality, what is there when you give up all ideas of self, other, God, Atman, Buddha. The problem is, when the self returns, it instantly changes the memory of the experience, so that it fits in better in the system of beliefs and ideas that we all carry around. And it's not true anymore.

Here's a passage from the Wikipedia article on Christian mysticism. Is it impossible that what the mysticist calls the presence of God, is what a Buddhist would call dhyana or blissful samadhi?

As described by scholar Bernard McGinn, Christian mysticism would be "that part, or element, of Christian belief and practice that concerns the preparation for, the consciousness of, and the effect of [...] a direct and transformative presence of [the Christian] God".[1] The idea of mystical realities has been widely held in Christianity since the second century AD, referring not simply to spiritual practices, but also to the belief that their rituals and even their scriptures have hidden ("mystical") meanings.[1]

McGinn raises several points about his choice of words: He argues that "presence" is more accurate than "union", since not all mystics spoke of union with God, and since many visions, miracles, etc., were not necessarily related to union. He also argues that we should speak of "consciousness" of God's presence, rather than of "experience", since mystical activity is not simply about the sensation of God as an external object, but more broadly about "new ways of knowing and loving based on states of awareness in which God becomes present in our inner acts". Related to this idea is his emphasis on the transformation that occurs through mystical activity: "This is why the only test that Christianity has known for determining the authenticity of a mystic and her or his message has been that of personal transformation, both on the mystic's part and—especially—on the part of those whom the mystic has affected."[1]


It seems you make a very valid point to just answer with Mu. Why not, instead of just the temptation?
They wouldn't understand, and I couldn't explain. It just doesn't seem skillful to me as it would only be confusing. Better to embody it, actualize it, be it, live it. And let the answer be determined by the moment.

Gassho,
Pontus

Omoi Otoshi
11-04-2012, 07:48 PM
Thank you Galen,
I love that you are not too self-conscious about throwing your understanding out there! You don't seem afraid of making a fool out of your self and I admire that. (Not that I think you're making a fool out of yourself, not at all! :))


The Preface seems to say... if you puncture a floating gourd it loses its balance, or way. The same could be said for a balloon, or ones ego.
I would say that when poked, the gourd is unaffected. It can never lose it's balance. The secret of its stability is its ability to turn freely, even when poked hard. When it's turned around, it doesn't see this as a defeat, loss of prestige or failure, it just continues on its path, always going straight, never caring which way, never losing its way.

Gassho,
Pontus

Omoi Otoshi
11-04-2012, 07:59 PM
My deep personal issue, which seemingly dissolves most all issues, not only for myself but my fellow Zen brothers and sisters, is delusion, letting our/my ego run all over me and thus other. While, for the most part I seem to grasp most of Zen intellectually, but to embody other as my self, to meet them in that tiny tiny gap between the rubber and the highway, is still only in small doses and sometimes even a widening gap. But this realization of this issue, only makes me more steadfast to sit, reflect and breathing through my hara, all the while knowing this hara is a shared commodity, that just as well belongs to other, the hara of the Whole.

Thank you for sharing Galen,
Well said. I enjoyed reading that.

Gassho,
Pontus

Omoi Otoshi
11-04-2012, 08:29 PM
The same with the sun exposing no 'fixed' shade of color in a diamond. Once again, this seems to point to exposing the ego for what it really is, nothing but delusion, a false small little self once brought out into full light, exposing it for what it really is... a sham!

In my opinion, when we have no fixed idea, no truth to cling to, we are the diamond that has no fixed shade of color. The color changes according to the circumstances. It doesn't need to make an effort to be brilliant. It just reflects everything differently, perfectly according to each given situation.

It would seem from your post that you don't like your ego, your small self, much! :) You would like to cut it off and then you would be free. But I'm not sure you can. You may have to accept it. It may be the only way to be free from it. It is you. Not all of you, but you. And in my view, it's Buddha nature.


'No-mindedness cannot understand'.... is that not a good thing !? That seems to leave it to the 'great question'... ie, 'the great answer'-no answer, by intellectualizing from the ego of our insecure little self.
The way I read it, what is meant is that no or yes kills the question. When you keep the question, live the question, you can explore more deeply.


The last sentence in the Preface seems to sum up all the above probing... 'is there any way to escape that?' That answer is seemingly is Hell NO. We can hide but we cannot run from our true selves; this is the Way of the masters, by using these beautiful paradoxical dialogs in these Koans.

Why resist being turned?

Gassho,
Pontus

galen
11-04-2012, 10:15 PM
I know what you mean, but that paints the Christian God with too broad a brush in my opinion. Could it be that you have misunderstood the Christian God? Who is this Christian God?

I sometimes wonder if the direct experience of God, Dharmakaya and Atman is not the experience of the same undescribable underlying reality, what is there when you give up all ideas of self, other, God, Atman, Buddha. The problem is, when the self returns, it instantly changes the memory of the experience, so that it fits in better in the system of beliefs and ideas that we all carry around. And it's not true anymore.

Here's a passage from the Wikipedia article on Christian mysticism. Is it impossible that what the mysticist calls the presence of God, is what a Buddhist would call dhyana or blissful samadhi?

As described by scholar Bernard McGinn, Christian mysticism would be "that part, or element, of Christian belief and practice that concerns the preparation for, the consciousness of, and the effect of [...] a direct and transformative presence of [the Christian] God".[1] The idea of mystical realities has been widely held in Christianity since the second century AD, referring not simply to spiritual practices, but also to the belief that their rituals and even their scriptures have hidden ("mystical") meanings.[1]

McGinn raises several points about his choice of words: He argues that "presence" is more accurate than "union", since not all mystics spoke of union with God, and since many visions, miracles, etc., were not necessarily related to union. He also argues that we should speak of "consciousness" of God's presence, rather than of "experience", since mystical activity is not simply about the sensation of God as an external object, but more broadly about "new ways of knowing and loving based on states of awareness in which God becomes present in our inner acts". Related to this idea is his emphasis on the transformation that occurs through mystical activity: "This is why the only test that Christianity has known for determining the authenticity of a mystic and her or his message has been that of personal transformation, both on the mystic's part and—especially—on the part of those whom the mystic has affected."[1]


They wouldn't understand, and I couldn't explain. It just doesn't seem skillful to me as it would only be confusing. Better to embody it, actualize it, be it, live it. And let the answer be determined by the moment.

Gassho,
Pontus



Your view here is well taken. I agree with most of the ancient Christian view, as very comparable to the ancients of the East (they of the monks and meditations). But how many people that ask you the question if you believe in god, come from that ancient belief? When asked that question, it can only be taken as the modern day christian view, and I am forth right in saying no. Modern day christain beliefs are about separation and ego, and some 'guy' up in the sky, having nothing to do with their personal self.

galen
11-04-2012, 10:37 PM
Thank you Galen,
I love that you are not too self-conscious about throwing your understanding out there! You don't seem afraid of making a fool out of your self and I admire that. (Not that I think you're making a fool out of yourself, not at all! :))


I would say that when poked, the gourd is unaffected. It can never lose it's balance. The secret of its stability is its ability to turn freely, even when poked hard. When it's turned around, it doesn't see this as a defeat, loss of prestige or failure, it just continues on its path, always going straight, never caring which way, never losing its way.

Gassho,
Pontus


[morehappy], and yes as you imply here about me throwing it out `there, foolery or not, come what may, and here you are. You seem to have gotten this from my post on just this explanation from a past post, almost word for word as to invite the discussion, and lessons learned from both sides, not necessarily wrong or right.

What if the gourd takes on water? How can it Not be effected, even if it does not take on water? So poked hard :), thats a good one, how hard is hard? How does your view here, that is not necessarily right or wrong, fit in with the rest of the Preface and the implication of it as a lesson?

galen
11-04-2012, 10:55 PM
[QUOTE=Omoi Otoshi;89099]

-It would seem from your post that you don't like your ego, your small self, much! :) You would like to cut it off and then you would be free. But I'm not sure you can. You may have to accept it. It may be the only way to be free from it. It is you. Not all of you, but you. And in my view, it's Buddha nature.

I am not sure if I imply totally cutting it off. It might come down to, what you or I call freeing, and not necessarily cutting as killing. For most, most all the time, there is very little freedom from it, but agree with most of your perception here.


-The way I read it, what is meant is that no or yes kills the question. When you keep the question, live the question, you can explore more deeply.

I am not sure I imply a yes or no here.

-Why resist being turned?

Not sure what you are implying here. Where is there resistance?


Gassho

AlanLa
11-05-2012, 01:46 AM
This is just to add to my post way up there.
If it has anything to do with what has been posted since is up to you.
http://i495.photobucket.com/albums/rr314/alwchair/navel-gazing.jpg
MU

BrianW
11-05-2012, 03:07 AM
Hello all,

Been out as the bottom has been falling out everywhere it seems. But to the question, which is connected ...I guess it is always relevant to what is going on right now.

"What deep, personal issue or question in your life might be resolved not by "yes" ... not by "no" ... but by "MU!" or "YES! YES! YES!" that swallows whole both yes and no?"

"To be or not to be...that is the great question " Or to go on or just give it all up....just spiral downward....sink to oblivion? MU! (And I mean MU in the most positive of ways!)

Gassho,
Jisen/BrianW

Omoi Otoshi
11-05-2012, 05:26 AM
I am not sure I imply a yes or no here.

No, you didn't! :)
Just sharing my take on it! Neither no-mindedness, nor yes-mindedness, flexiblemindedness! ;)



-Why resist being turned?
Not sure what you are implying here. Where is there resistance?

How can you avoid being turned? My answer is, there's no reason to avoid. With resist I meant avoid! :)

Thank you Galen,
Gassho,
Pontus

Shingen
11-05-2012, 03:00 PM
So Michael, you know `the Bodhi on an intimate level :rolleyes:.

Gassho

Hey Galen ... oh yes, Bodhi and I are well connected. :)

Gassho
Michael

galen
11-05-2012, 04:26 PM
No, you didn't! :)
Just sharing my take on it! Neither no-mindedness, nor yes-mindedness, flexiblemindedness! ;)



How can you avoid being turned? My answer is, there's no reason to avoid. With resist I meant avoid! :)

Thank you Galen,
Gassho,
Pontus



Thank you, Pontus... have enjoyed the navel gazing and Zen bla bla bla very much with you here and before! Some here like myself have to spread a little cheese through the threads, gum them up a little, if you will. For those it bothers, we/I can only hope to become as pure and as observant. For those who feel above the shit, they still do realize theirs stinks too, so its all good and sometimes even bad, thats life in relativity! Even our teachers here, have from time to time, stunk things up a little. After all, we are all teachers and students of this Great Practice.


Gassho

galen
11-05-2012, 04:29 PM
Hey Galen ... oh yes, Bodhi and I are well connected. :)

Gassho
Michael



Thanks, Michael. And what you say is so true, in actuality!



Gassho

Jundo
11-05-2012, 06:19 PM
A lot of words about MU. Best to avoid too much mental wheel spinning about MU.

MU is not thinking about is or is not, yes or no ... including is or is not, yes or no of MU.

Please resolve the question of MU not by "yes" ... not by "no" ... but by "MU!"

galen
11-05-2012, 06:39 PM
A lot of words about MU. Best to avoid too much mental wheel spinning about MU.

MU is not thinking about is or is not, yes or no ... including is or is not, yes or no of MU.

Please resolve the question of MU not by "yes" ... not by "no" ... but by "MU!"


MU

Thanks, Jundo.


Gassho

Rich
11-05-2012, 07:08 PM
When you don't know what to do, just do MU.

Risho
11-05-2012, 08:17 PM
Wow I'm confused. lol

Gassho,

Risho

Jundo
11-06-2012, 01:49 AM
I sometimes say that discussing MU is like two overly intelligent fish trying to debate, describe and compare their experiences of the swirling ocean.

One can try to describe wetness or saltiness or the force of currents philosophically, poetically, analytically, or as a mathematical formula, but nothing really captures the whole, vibrant, storming-calm, boundless ocean. One cannot even describe fully the taste of brine on one's own tongue. The ocean is real as real can be, though never contained only in words. As every drop holds the whole, and the whole is a single drop ... yet sometimes we miss its buoyancy even while basking (and sometimes drowning) in it!

Nothing quite describes the living ocean but the ocean. So, just jump in, swim swim swim!

In fact, fish do not and cannot jump into or out of this ocean ... and it is never entered or left ...

Fish --are-- the ocean, all is ocean, and the ocean is alive as every fish. A sea without sea-life would be cold and dead. Swim swim swim, taste the salt.




Something like that.




So, when I see fish discussing the properties of the ocean a little too much, a bucket of cold salty water must be thrown over their heads! (How does one throw a bucket of sea water over fish already swimming in the sea?) gassho2

... fish-sea swimming round and round and round ...

http://www.buddhachannel.tv/portail/local/cache-vignettes/L320xH240/enso3-6e28f.jpg
http://www.gensho.cz/fotky22577/fotos/gen320/gen__vyr_202Ryby-Koi---Ying-Yang-74x74cm-64x64cm--2700Kc.jpg

Omoi Otoshi
11-06-2012, 05:41 AM
It's a very good analogy! :)

Gassho,
Pontus

galen
11-08-2012, 04:39 PM
Wow I'm confused. lol

Gassho,

Risho


Risho.... From my limited and sometimes foolish perspective (hello my friend Pontus [morehappy]), from just re-reading a dozen pages or so from '3 pillars of Zen' on a commentary by Yasutoni, pages 82 to 94, on just the koan Mu, Mu is considered the top `dog of koans to break through to enlightenment threw the process of kensho. It can be done in a week of sesshins in a monastery, or years for some. Its that sudden burst of light to instantaneous enlightenment, at least the first levels of such(ness).

Mu is used as a barrier, much like the gateless-gate, where here in relativity only a barrier exists (our minds, our delusional egoic small self), where in `reality no barrier exists. Its breaking down the mental game of delusion, where the masters had to use this method for the teachings for attainment (and koans in general), against their Zen wills of conceptualizing and intellectualizing, the `great paradox. It seems to point to (again in my limited perspective) the concept that we all have Buddha nature intrinsically (like the delusional karmic dog), but to fully embody our `true nature and become totally immersed into full Buddha-hood is the goal(less)-goal. One can approach this through this harsher more direct method of attainment of the Rinzai sect, or through the more methodical Soto sect practiced here at Treeleaf.

I would post a link or paste the pages here, but could not easily find a download, lacking the great talent of Jundo.


Gassho

Daitetsu
11-08-2012, 05:10 PM
Hi galen,

I think this should be the part you talked about:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/75319384/Philiph-Kapleau-The-Three-Pillars-of-Zen-Practice-Entlightenment#page=83


Gassho,

Timo

Jundo
11-08-2012, 05:11 PM
Hi Galen,

Yasutani's way is not how we Practice here, or how we approach ... MU ...

... which cannot be approached or avoided.

Gassho, J

Daitetsu
11-08-2012, 05:16 PM
Yasutani's way is not how we Practice here, or how we approach ... MU ...

... which cannot be approached or avoided.


Yes, I wanted to add this as well. The Rinzai approach is different - and should not be undertaken alone and without an experienced master.
It is kind of a "brute force method" (don't know how to describe it better)...
Still I found "Three Pillars of Zen" very interesting, I must admit.

Gassho,

Timo

galen
11-08-2012, 05:27 PM
Hi Galen,

Yasutani's way is not how we Practice here, or how we approach ... MU ...

... which cannot be approached or avoided.

Gassho, J



Thank you Jundo,

I think by now we all understand that fear. Would not want one of those new students getting the wrong idea and go astray. With that being said, it is a tremendous book, and I have read many depth books the past 28 years, sometimes over and over with my little mind. If anything, the historical contrast and insight this books shows, only made me more comfortable being here. For the most part, we are adults and its our choice to be adulterated in concepts of our choice. Fear is the biggy with the ego, defending and sheltering, that only worrying brings, seemingly an un-Zen feature of the small self.


Gassho

galen
11-08-2012, 05:32 PM
Hi galen,

I think this should be the part you talked about:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/75319384/Philiph-Kapleau-The-Three-Pillars-of-Zen-Practice-Entlightenment#page=83


Gassho,

Timo



Thank you Timo.



Gassho

Jundo
11-08-2012, 06:17 PM
With that being said, it is a tremendous book

Hi Galen,

I think that, these days, many in the Zen world would consider it a book that did tremendous harm in causing tremendous misunderstandings about Zen Practice. Below is what I write when the topic arises.

On the other hand, to each there own ... and different medicines for what ails different patients. If someone finds something in that book or way of Practice helpful, that is very good for them. However, it is not as we practice here in this corner of the Zen woods.

-------------------------

Zen and all Buddhism come in so many flavors ... All ultimately the same at heart perhaps, but very different in viewpoints and approach. So, the person new to Buddhism and Zen is left very confused by all the different books claiming to be a "Guide to Zen" or "Introduction to Buddhism" recommending often very very different things! Even "Soto" and "Shikantaza" folks can be quite varied in approach among themselves ... everyone like a cook with her own personal recipe for chicken soup!

...

["Three Pillars of Zen"] had great influence because it was so early (one of the few books on the subject 50 years ago), but it presented a view on Zen Practice and 'Kensho' that is not usual even in Japan (not even in Rinzai Zen, in my understanding) and represents a group ... named "Sanbokyodan" ... that is tiny is Japan but has had a HUGE and disproportionate influence in the West through derived groups such as the White Plum and Diamond Sangha! Read more here.

http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/CriticalZen/sanbokyodan%20zen.pdf

...

The book presents a view of "Kensho" and "Enlightenment" that was very much present in corners of the Zen world at one time, especially in the west. I was recently reading a good book on the subject, a book about the culture surrounding "The Three Pillars of Zen" which presented to many such an extreme, misleading "Kensho or Bust" image of Zen practice. Here is a review of that book, called "Zen Teaching, Zen Practice: Philip Kapleau and The Three Pillars of Zen" edited by Kenneth Kraft, a long time student of Kapleau Roshi ...



Kraft points out that Kapleau’s book is “in large measure a book about kensho” (p.14) which in itself is problematic as for many, including some of the authors of the essays, this led to “inflated expectations… [and] [t]he discrepancy between anticipatory visions of enlightenment and actual experiences of insight”. (p.15) This disjuncture between what Kapleau wrote and the actual experiences of Zen students has led to some criticisms of The Three Pillars of Zen as a book that gives an unrealistic picture of what to expect from zazen. ...

While this emphasis on and almost inevitability of kensho is, I think, a fair criticism of The Three Pillars of Zen, there is little doubt that Kapleau’s book brought many people to the study and practice of Zen Buddhism and for that we should be grateful. It is also necessary that we understand where and how Kapleau learned his Zen practice to better understand why he wrote and taught the way he did.
http://www.thezensite.com/ZenBookReviews/ZenteachingZenpractice.htm


You can also read a bit more on Kapleau and Yasutani Roshis' approach here ...

http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?6514-SPECIAL-READING-ONCE-BORN-TWICE-BORN-ZEN-%28Part-1%29

Gassho, J

Risho
11-08-2012, 06:44 PM
My comment about being confused was just me being a smart*** with you and Pontus talking about your ideas of God. hahaah When I personally think of God or any concepts that can be larger than life, I easily become confused. It's like thinking about our position in the universe, here on Earth. If you start thinking from a larger perspective of the Universe.. what if there were an edge to the univers? Is that possible, then what would be outside of it... well anything outside of it would have to be the universe, I guess depending on your view of what the Universe means.

This whole thing can just get very confusing... there's no way to know (yet), but it's still fun to speculate. It's like Mu. No matter if someone gave you an answer to this koan and explained it to you, they might as well be giving you the answer to your life. It doesn't exist. It's life, you live it. We have to find it ourself, we have to live our lives for ourselves. To the best of our ability, meaning in keeping with the precepts, our values.. yadda yadda yadda. Sometimes the answer is clearly yes or no. But most of the time, you have to go beyond that and just do something the best way you know how.

In any case, when I first started practicing I read Three Pillars. I found some of it good, but I personally could not relate to breaking down in zazen or sweating intensely during Shikantaza. I just don't relate to that, and I don't believe that if you aren't sweating during Shikantaza you aren't doing it right. I don't know how to do it right. Not to be coy, but if I worry about how I'm doing something while I'm doing it, I'm not fully doing it. I'm not judging those practitioners or teachers in that book. Perhaps they were in a psychological position the resulted in that, in breaking down for some reason. I've cried during zazen when my dog died. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a robot. I agree with Jundo though. I think pushing for any sort of "enlightenment experience" is sort of crazy. Pushing for what?

In my limited life experience so far, anytime an urgent need to get something or get somewhere occurs, the best thing to do is to ask why. Of course realization is urgent, but not in the sense that I have to drop everything now to get "it". If I have to give up my family and friends to get something called "enlightenment", that is not real. This practice is about being immersed in our lives now as they are (while we still try to change them for the better, but not being so "graspy" towards the outcome). I'm probably oversimplifying things, but I'm sort of on the slow cooking side of things. Practice-enlightment is practice-enlightenment. What is not practice?

If I've learned anything here from the teachers, the sangha, and from my practice, which aren't separate, it's not that we should be striving for something during practice. We need to become at peace with what we are, where we are now... and work with that... not run from or toward. Anyway, I'm just getting more confused again. lol

Gassho,

Risho

galen
11-08-2012, 06:53 PM
Hi Galen,

I think that, these days, many in the Zen world would consider it a book that did tremendous harm in causing tremendous misunderstandings about Zen Practice. Below is what I write when the topic arises.

On the other hand, to each there own ... and different medicines for what ails different patients. If someone finds something in that book or way of Practice helpful, that is very good for them. However, it is not as we practice here in this corner of the Zen woods.

-------------------------

Zen and all Buddhism come in so many flavors ... All ultimately the same at heart perhaps, but very different in viewpoints and approach. So, the person new to Buddhism and Zen is left very confused by all the different books claiming to be a "Guide to Zen" or "Introduction to Buddhism" recommending often very very different things! Even "Soto" and "Shikantaza" folks can be quite varied in approach among themselves ... everyone like a cook with her own personal recipe for chicken soup!

...

["Three Pillars of Zen"] had great influence because it was so early (one of the few books on the subject 50 years ago), but it presented a view on Zen Practice and 'Kensho' that is not usual even in Japan (not even in Rinzai Zen, in my understanding) and represents a group ... named "Sanbokyodan" ... that is tiny is Japan but has had a HUGE and disproportionate influence in the West through derived groups such as the White Plum and Diamond Sangha! Read more here.

http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/CriticalZen/sanbokyodan%20zen.pdf

The book presents a view of "Kensho" and "Enlightenment" that was very much present in corners of the Zen world at one time, especially in the west. I was recently reading a good book on the subject, a book about the culture surrounding "The Three Pillars of Zen" which presented to many such an extreme, misleading "Kensho or Bust" image of Zen practice. Here is a review of that book, called "Zen Teaching, Zen Practice: Philip Kapleau and The Three Pillars of Zen" edited by Kenneth Kraft, a long time student of Kapleau Roshi ...



You can also read a bit more on Kapleau and Yasutani Roshis' approach here ...

http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?6514-SPECIAL-READING-ONCE-BORN-TWICE-BORN-ZEN-%28Part-1%29

Gassho, J



Thank you for this Jundo!

galen
11-08-2012, 07:07 PM
Risho.... glad the opportunity was made for your exalted explanation, and many chances to use the word I. Always enjoy your yadda yadda yadda, bla bla bla in such eloquence [morehappy]! You are soooooo coy and robotic :D, your post explains it `all. Enough tease from me, but always enjoy your smartase lols. And actually it seemed your lol may have been meant as you say here, in some context, but just the same it brought forth a whole bunch of yadda, hahahaha. Take care, and a BIG....



Gassho.... to you!

Omoi Otoshi
11-09-2012, 06:17 AM
Very nice post Risho! :)

Gassho,
Pontus

Geika
11-09-2012, 06:40 AM
...One can try to describe wetness or saltiness or the force of currents philosophically, poetically, analytically, or as a mathematical formula, but nothing really captures the whole, vibrant, storming-calm, boundless ocean... The ocean is real as real can be, though never contained only in words. As every drop holds the whole, and the whole is a single drop ... yet sometimes we miss its buoyancy even while basking (and sometimes drowning) in it!

gassho1

I tend to over-intellectualize and then at other times, I am swimming too freely. I don't really know what it feels like, yet, to wade in the middle.

Omoi Otoshi
11-09-2012, 08:20 AM
What is over-intellectualization? To me, it is when your thoughts become a trap, when chasing your own tail is causing you more and more Dukkha. But the intellect can also be a wonderful gift, it's not always an enemy. When you realize the nature of the trap, you can intellectualize and swim freely at the same time. Naturally swimming, using your intellect to its fullest potential, exploring the sea, your body-heart-mind, the whole body-heart-mind.

Gassho,
Pontus

Shingen
11-09-2012, 03:31 PM
What is over-intellectualization? To me, it is when your thoughts become a trap, when chasing your own tail is causing you more and more Dukkha. But the intellect can also be a wonderful gift, it's not always an enemy. When you realize the nature of the trap, you can intellectualize and swim freely at the same time. Naturally swimming, using your intellect to its fullest potential, exploring the sea, your body-heart-mind, the whole body-heart-mind.

Gassho,
Pontus

Nicely put Pontus. :)

Gassho
Michael

Geika
11-09-2012, 08:17 PM
What is over-intellectualization? To me, it is when your thoughts become a trap, when chasing your own tail is causing you more and more Dukkha. But the intellect can also be a wonderful gift, it's not always an enemy. When you realize the nature of the trap, you can intellectualize and swim freely at the same time. Naturally swimming, using your intellect to its fullest potential, exploring the sea, your body-heart-mind, the whole body-heart-mind...

Yes, all true and good, but easier said than done for me. [toomuch]

galen
11-09-2012, 09:15 PM
Yes, all true and good, but easier said than done for me. [toomuch]


And of course, Amelia, you are not a lone. Zazen/meditation will at one point quiet the mind with more patience and perseverance, and you will be richly rewarded, as will we all. I know this from many years ago, but by letting my guard down without realizing it, I had let go of meditation that was pretty deep into no-thought tranquility, that did help to quiet my awake stage... life.


Gassho

Geika
11-09-2012, 09:20 PM
And of course, Amelia, you are not a lone. Zazen/meditation will at one point quiet the mind with more patience and perseverance, and you will be richly rewarded, as will we all. I know this from many years ago, but by letting my guard down without realizing it, I had let go of meditation that was pretty deep into no-thought tranquility, that did help to quiet my awake stage... life...

Zazen is some of the only time in which I am not endlessly questioning, though it gets in there too. Practice, practice, practice. [gassholook]

galen
11-09-2012, 10:12 PM
Zazen is some of the only time in which I am not endlessly questioning, though it gets in there too. Practice, practice, practice. [gassholook]


Well done. It seems more time `periods, not so much length of, sitting and sitting, will lead to more quiet. From experience, the chatter will gradually subside giving way to more control `in-action, without all the necessary thinking, questioning, defending and trying to reason everything out till it becomes nothing but a pile of worthless shit. After all, most of said practice comes in our activity and not in sitting, that is where real practice counts the most is when we stand up and proceed with the world about us.

Jishin
11-10-2012, 02:08 AM
Jundo,

Thank you for Mu.

Gassho,

JC


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

galen
11-10-2012, 05:17 PM
gassho1

I tend to over-intellectualize and then at other times, I am swimming too freely. I don't really know what it feels like, yet, to wade in the middle.



Amelia....... your seeming dilemma here of course is not unusual or that much different then for most of us. Your recognition, and the courage to bring it forth seems to be the perfect lesson for all of us, and esp for you. It seems to show discomfort from your big Mind, otherwise no discomfort would be needed or be necessitated. Our egos game is noise, chatter and what could be called thinking or intellectualizing, when none is needed, its unnatural. It seems if our ego can keep us defending, over-analyzing and in fear, it wins and our Big mind is left wanting with a deep empty feeling.

Suzuki approaches this in the chap. called Naturalness, in ZMBM, like only he can do, with his 'down to earth' nothing special approach to phenomena, in his easy to comprehend eloquence. Jundo can post this directly, but some of it goes like this.. "to have nothing in your mind is naturalness"; "when you do something, you should be completely involved in it" [the embodiment of]; with that being said, he goes on... "then you have nothing [which is good]. So if there is no true emptiness in you activity, it is not natural" [over thinking, rehearsing, not really listening to other]. "When all you do comes out of nothingness, then you have everything" [naturally [morehappy]]. He approaches this from emptiness and nothingness... ie, no damn thinking, just go natural, naked if you will.

I take the time here to post this because I am selfish, this is about me and my incessant noise!



Gassho

Omoi Otoshi
11-10-2012, 06:40 PM
Thinking is a natural function of the human brain. Thoughts arise and pass away. Sometimes we cling to them, get deeply involved in them. Sometimes we try to chase them away because we don't like them. But we don't need to. We can just let them be. We don't always have to pay them so much attention. We don't have to let them build a prison around us to abide in. There's nothing saying you're less enlightened if you think. And suppressing thoughts is not an enlightened practice in my view. You can be free from thought in the midst of thought, as Huineng said.

I could write a long post about this, but I don't have the time and others have done it better.



I think Charles Muller says it pretty well here:
http://www.oocities.org/upakaascetic/innate.html

"THE MEANING OF NO-THOUGHT:

What has been described above is a basic motif found in all major Ch'an/Sôn/Zen canonical texts: the teaching of the method of avoidance of abiding in set thought patterns. Although this practice is commonly referred to as no mind or no-thought (wu-hsin, wu-nien), it is a serious mistake to understand Zen to refer merely to the "denial" or "cessation" of "conceptual thinking."8 Regardless of whether or not it can be proven than the pre-Buddhist Sanskrit etymology of the term dhyaana can be shown to have no-thought connotations, the main concern here is the semantic development undergone by the Chinese term ch'an in the course of the production of the Ch'an texts in East Asia.

For it is quite clear that in Ch'an Buddhism, no-mind, rather than referring to an absence of thought, refers to the condition of not being trapped in thoughts, not adhering to a certain conceptual habit or position.

The error of interpretation made by many scholars (and by Zen practitioners as well) lies precisely in taking the term "no-thought" to refer to some kind of permanent, or ongoing absence of thought. While this assumption is routinely made, it is impossible to corroborate it in the Ch'an canon. If we study the seminal texts carefully, we do find a description of the experience of an instantaneous severing of thought that occurs in the course of a thoroughgoing pursuit of a Buddhist meditative exercise.

Nowhere in the Platform Sutra, Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment, Diamond Sutra, or any other major Ch'an text, is the term "no-mind" explained to be a permanent incapacitation of the thinking faculty or the permanent cessation of all conceptual activity.

It is rather the case that the interruption of the discursive process at a sufficiently deep level allows for an experiential vision of a different aspect of the mind, a vision that allows for a change in the nature of the mental function. But it is not that thought no longer occurs--the conceptualizing faculty still functions quite well--in fact, even better than before, since, now, under the influence of the deeper dimension of the mind it no longer has to operate in a rigid, constricted, and clinging manner. It is now possible to see things more clearly, unfiltered by one's personal depository of presuppositions. This is what is meant by seeing the "suchness" of things.

When the Ch'an writers talk about no-thought, or no-mind, it is this state of non-clinging or freedom from mistaken conceptualization to which they are referring, rather than the permanent cessation of thinking that some imagine. The deeper, immeasurably more clear aspect of the mind that they experience in the course of this irruption of the discursive flow, they call "enlightenment." Realizing now, that this potential of the mind was always with them, they call it "innate."

The locus classicus for the concept of no-thought is the Platform Sutra, which says:

"No-thought" means "no-thought within thought." Non-abiding is man's original nature. Thoughts do not stop from moment to moment. The prior thought is succeeded in each moment by the subsequent thought, and thoughts continue one after another without cease. If, for one thought-moment, there is a break, the dharma-body separates from the physical body, and in the midst of successive thoughts there will be no attachment to any kind of matter. If, for one thought-moment, there is abiding, then there will be abiding in all successive thoughts, and this is called clinging. If, in regard to all matters there is no abiding from thought-moment to thought-moment, then there is no clinging. Non-abiding is the basis.9

As we can see, after the break in thought, successive thoughts continue to flow, but one no longer abides in, or clings to, these thoughts. Nowhere is there mention of any kind of disappearance of, or absence of thought. "No-thought" refers to nothing other than an absence of abiding, or clinging. Other seminal Ch'an texts, such as the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment, characterize no-thought in precisely the same manner.

Returning to the Sutra of the Perfect Enlightenment: the first passage cited above from that text is by no means some odd exception to an otherwise svabhaava-centric discourse. The pattern repeats itself over and over throughout the sutra: the initial reference to an intrinsic capacity for enlightenment based on a t'i-yung model, followed by an exercise in the practice of non-abiding in conceptions--a combination of basic Mahayana doctrinal grounding, which is further invariably followed with an effacement of provisionally-established conceptual structures--the practice of "no-thought." In a subsequent passage of the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment we read:


"Good sons, all bodhisattvas and sentient beings of the degenerate age should separate from all illusory and false realms. By firmly abiding in separation from thought, you also separate from the thought of 'illusion.' As this separation becomes illusion, you again separate from it. You again separate from this separation from separation from illusion, until you reach "nothing to be separated from," which is the removal of all illusion. It is like making a fire with two sticks. The fire blazes and the wood is consumed; the ashes fly away and the smoke vanishes. Using illusion to remedy illusion is exactly like this. Yet even though all illusions are extinguished, you do not enter into nothingness. Good sons, awareness of illusion is none other than freedom [from it], without devising expedient means. Freedom from illusion is none other than enlightenment, and there are no stages."10

Again, this is an instruction on, and a guided exercise through, the non-abiding in conceptual constructs, where the point is for the practitioner to learn that illusion is none other than the habit of adherence to reified thought constructs. The metaphor, as we can see, is pratiitya-samutpaada through and through. We can also see the author's distaste for attaching a baggage-laden name, such as "Enlightenment" to the resultant state. But he nonetheless wants to add a note of encouragement to make it clear that the resulting state is not a void. Where, from this kind of passage, do we get the message that the individual is henceforth incapable of thought? And where is enlightenment hypostasized?

Again, in a later chapter of the sutra:

"Good sons, since the illusory body of this sentient being vanishes, the illusory mind also vanishes. Since the illusory mind vanishes, illusory objects also vanish. Since illusory objects vanish, illusory vanishing also vanishes. Since illusory vanishing vanishes, non-illusion does not vanish. It is like polishing a mirror: when the filth is gone, its brightness naturally appears. Good sons, you should understand both body and mind to be illusory filth. When the defiled aspects are permanently extinguished, the entire universe becomes pure."11

Here we have a movement of negation that proceeds from the subjective body and mind, out to the objects. In terms of standard Mahayana doctrine, that is, in itself, a sufficient descriptive account of the Enlightened condition. However, the author is not content to offer only a doctrinal description. He also wants the reader to be repeatedly removed from the concept of vanishing. The result is an experiential condition of the mind of the practitioner unfettered by illusion. When defilement is extirpated, the purity of the entire universe is visible. Nowhere is it stated that the attainment of enlightenment implies the loss of the ability to think."

Gassho,
Pontus

galen
11-10-2012, 09:30 PM
Well done, Pontus.

And you say here you 'could' write a long post [smile].

I don't think anyone is insinuating to suppress thoughts. It just seems mostly about not over thinking and attachment to.

Are you over thinking here?



Gassho

Omoi Otoshi
11-10-2012, 09:45 PM
No accusations, no over-thinking! :)
It's just that this is an important point and I felt I needed to clarify some things. Many people misunderstand buddhism as anti-intellectual, anti-thoughts, anti-emotions etc, when it doesn't have to be. I used to have all sorts of misconceptions regarding these things. Sorry if I put words in anyone's mouth!

Gassho,
Pontus

Jundo
11-11-2012, 12:37 AM
I think Charles Muller says it pretty well here:
http://www.oocities.org/upakaascetic/innate.html

"THE MEANING OF NO-THOUGHT:

What has been described above is a basic motif found in all major Ch'an/Sôn/Zen canonical texts: the teaching of the method of avoidance of abiding in set thought patterns. Although this practice is commonly referred to as no mind or no-thought (wu-hsin, wu-nien), it is a serious mistake to understand Zen to refer merely to the "denial" or "cessation" of "conceptual thinking."8 Regardless of whether or not it can be proven than the pre-Buddhist Sanskrit etymology of the term dhyaana can be shown to have no-thought connotations, the main concern here is the semantic development undergone by the Chinese term ch'an in the course of the production of the Ch'an texts in East Asia.

For it is quite clear that in Ch'an Buddhism, no-mind, rather than referring to an absence of thought, refers to the condition of not being trapped in thoughts, not adhering to a certain conceptual habit or position.

The error of interpretation made by many scholars (and by Zen practitioners as well) lies precisely in taking the term "no-thought" to refer to some kind of permanent, or ongoing absence of thought.

I am with you'all and Prof. Muller on this. Thus, ancient teachers including Yaoshan and Dogen and so many wrote of "non-thinking", which is not simply "thinking" nor simply "not thinking" ...



思量箇不思量底。不思量底、如何思量、非思量、此乃坐禪之要術也。

... Think not-thinking. How do you think not-thinking (fu-shiryo)? Non-thinking (hi-shiryo). This in itself is the essential art of zazen.

(from Fukanzazengi)

The heavy, low, solid, sometimes dark and storming clouds of thoughts and emotions that fill one's mind may not totally vanish (sometimes they do), but they are illuminated, become translucent, are transformed, open up airy, are experienced as substanceless even in their sometime rain and fog and thunder ... even as we go about our daily business. As MU!, another "no" that is "YES YES YES!" gassho1

But now that we have had this lovely discussion thinking about "MU" and "non-thinking" ... let's not get too caught up in intellectual traps of thinking about 'em! :p

Gassho, J

galen
11-11-2012, 03:10 AM
I am with you'all and Prof. Muller on this. Thus, ancient teachers including Yaoshan and Dogen and so many wrote of "non-thinking", which is not simply "thinking" nor simply "not thinking" ...



The heavy, low, solid, sometimes dark and storming clouds of thoughts and emotions that fill one's mind may not totally vanish (sometimes they do), but they are illuminated, become translucent, are transformed, open up airy, are experienced as substanceless even in their sometime rain and fog and thunder ... even as we go about our daily business. As MU!, another "no" that is "YES YES YES!" gassho1

But now that we have had this lovely discussion thinking about "MU" and "non-thinking" ... let's not get too caught up in intellectual traps of thinking about 'em! :p

Gassho, J



good one~~ on `em.

galen
11-11-2012, 03:37 AM
No accusations, no over-thinking! :)
It's just that this is an important point and I felt I needed to clarify some things. Many people misunderstand buddhism as anti-intellectual, anti-thoughts, anti-emotions etc, when it doesn't have to be. I used to have all sorts of misconceptions regarding these things. Sorry if I put words in anyone's mouth!

Gassho,
Pontus




Its all good, man. We're one!


Gassho

Shogen
11-15-2012, 06:30 AM
" Does a dog have Buddha nature?"
" Dog. "
Form is emptiness; Emptiness is form. Walk the walk or talk the talk.
gassho, Shogen