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Jundo
03-22-2015, 12:26 AM
Hi,

Nothing of Value in this week's section. [monk]

A mind content with just a warm place to sit and the birds singing, all things equal. We learn a way of being which drops valuations, valuing everything equally.

Of course, Ben reminds us, that dropping all judgments in this way is not simply about dropping all judgments. "We can experience the sparkling dust completely and take care of our hungry baby wholeheartedly too".

Shitou has "invited you into this simple place to give you a space to let go of wanting -- wanting things, wanting spiritual achievements, wanting peace of mind -- to let go of the endless separation of yourself from this infinitely unfolding shapeshiftingness by relinquishing picking and choosing."

Gassho, J

SatToday

Christopher
03-22-2015, 12:49 AM
I like backwards logic, but don't get this one...
The contents of this hut are nothing of value, which is to say, not valuing things is not of value.
What am I missing?

Gassho
Christopher
sat2day

Risho
03-22-2015, 06:46 AM
Nothing to reply on this one yet; i just wanted to say a very cool practice that I've been doing. My wife has no interest in zen, but she's been listening to me read each of the chapters out loud. Its a bit different to read it that way and its a cool way to share this wonderful book! And its a treat that she actually enjoys it.

Gassho

Risho
-sattoday

Kokuu
03-22-2015, 12:33 PM
Dear all

I really like this chapter.

When I was young, I never saw the point of cleaning, cutting the grass, sweeping up leaves and other activities. However much I cleaned, tidied or swept, there always seemed to be more to do. Why not just leave it as it was? My kids have much the same attitude to tidying their room.

A similar case could be made for easing the suffering of others. However much we do it, there is always more suffering. Why should we bother at all? More weeds, more suffering, however hard we try. Nothing we do is of value. Yet, there is no value in anything else.

Right effort is practice enlightenment in and of itself. Like the hand reaching back in the night to plump the pillow and Kannon offering a hand to those in need, it is just what we do, because we are human and others are in need.

Even bears do it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJ_3BN0m7S8

Gassho
Kokuu
#sattoday

Jika
03-22-2015, 02:12 PM
Thank you all.

Kokuu, a very appropriate video.
May there always be a bear at your side gassho2.

Risho, you made me smile: I have to read the text aloud, otherwise I don't understand anything.
I hope my pot plants like it, will observe them.
Great to hear you two are sharing the book that way.

Christopher, I find the following rest of the chapter helpful as an explanation (please correct me).
When you are not valuing, you give up picking and choosing.
Nothing is picked. So there is no treasure to be displayed.
Without the mental process of wanting, picking and choosing, one can't end up with anything of value.
(See the exercise on p. 21 "Do you value everything equally?")

Very interesting question, thank you!
Gassho,
Danny
#sattoday

Kyotai
03-23-2015, 12:44 AM
"Sometimes this austerity seems difficult and we feel deprived, at other times we realize the total freedom it offers." p 20

I don't have many words to share, but I enjoyed this chapter very much.

Gassho, Kyotai
sat today :)

Byrne
03-23-2015, 01:21 AM
A few things or many things inside the hut, still nothing of value. As much as we all fetishize living with few things, how many of us truly do? Not just our material possessions, but also the parts of the world we live in and the privileges that go along with it that aid in living our lives.Those things too. Still, nothing of value. Buddha is no more inside no things than inside many things. Nothing of value regardless of quantity.

Gassho

Sat Today

Shoka
03-23-2015, 11:21 PM
This chapter confused me a little bit. The first analogy of his friend who likes to pull weeds and work in the garden was working for me. I had a whole another post ready about pulling weeds even through more would come. But then I re-read the line from the poem and realized I didn’t think it was really talking about pulling weeds, or about right effort (like the chapter goes on to say). There is nothing in that line that talks about doing anything about the weeds, the dweller wasn't upset, didn't tear the hut down…. He just realized they are there.

For me this line speaks more to the fact that things change and “weeds” come. For me the weeds are symbolic of the suffering in life, the things we don’t want to have around; but they just are. Shitou doesn’t offer a judgment about the weeds; he just says they are here. Very gently reminding us that these things will come, they will be around.

But maybe I’m missing something. We are reading chapter 3 right?

Gassho,

Shoka
sattoday

Kyotai
03-23-2015, 11:23 PM
I thought we were on topic 3 of chapter 1 "nothing of value" which is on pages 20-22.

Sat today :)

Byokan
03-23-2015, 11:51 PM
Yes, chapter 1, third section, "Nothing of Value". :reading:

Gassho
Lisa
sat today

Joyo
03-24-2015, 02:57 AM
Yes, chapter 1, third section, "Nothing of Value". :reading:

Gassho
Lisa
sat today

I thought we were on to chapter 3, third week-third chapter. So I am wrong, we are only on pages 20-22 nothing of value?

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Jundo
03-24-2015, 03:18 AM
Hi Guys,

Yes, no where to get ahead to ... we are "only" on pages 20-22, nothing of value. :)

I thought to take the book in small bits, no rush and at a pace befitting nothing to do in a grass hut, letting go of wanting to get ahead ... but we might speed up at some point.

Even a small bit holds the whole world. [monk]

Gassho, Jundo

SatToday

Joyo
03-24-2015, 03:33 AM
Oh geesh, I'm embarrassed now lol!! Ok, I will re-read Nothing of Value. Thank you, Jundo and all for pointing this out :)

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Jika
03-24-2015, 05:47 AM
My potplants (no weed) are voting for slow speed... (see above)
Or a middle way.

Gassho,
Danny
#sattoday

Kokuu
03-24-2015, 08:25 AM
Hi all

Oops, I was replying to the first part of chapter 3. Sorry. Even then I have missed the point by only taking in the first part. At the moment my concentration is poor and I am finding myself getting a slanted view both in reading and in posts here.

Shoka is right about it being about weeds just being there.

But, anyway, rewind back to the first chapter. Have been getting ahead of myself (and everyone else)

Gassho
Kokuu
#sattoday

Byokan
03-24-2015, 08:42 AM
Hahaha! And I was thinking, gosh, everyone else's understanding is so deep, they're pulling out subtle meanings I didn't even see! :D

Gassho
Lisa
sat today

(p.s. but no haha's about those weeds, Kokuu -- may you be well and at ease.)

Tai Shi
03-24-2015, 11:19 AM
Hello Jundo and all,

I now have the book on my Kindle and this afternoon I can get busy with the reading. I viewed the last Zazenkai and was able to enjoy the discussion of the book. I'm a little behind and I'll be caught up by this evening. I'm glad you are taking the book in "small bites." Thank you.

Elgwyn
sat today
Gassho_/\_

Shoka
03-24-2015, 01:35 PM
Oh geesh, I'm embarrassed now lol!! Ok, I will re-read Nothing of Value. Thank you, Jundo and all for pointing this out :)

Joyo, I'm glad I wasn't the only one confused.

Typical for me, hurry up just to find I'm behind.

Gassho,
Shoka

Sattoday

Risho
03-24-2015, 02:52 PM
hahahaha thank you for clarifying

Gassho,

Risho
-sattoday

Shingen
03-24-2015, 02:57 PM
Oh geesh, I'm embarrassed now lol!! Ok, I will re-read Nothing of Value. Thank you, Jundo and all for pointing this out :)

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

I know what yah mean ... with such a jewel of a book, it is hard not to gobble it down. =)

Gassho
Shingen

SatToday

Joyo
03-24-2015, 04:04 PM
I know what yah mean ... with such a jewel of a book, it is hard not to gobble it down. =)

Gassho
Shingen

SatToday

Oh no, I must confess I totally agree and now I am making this book something of great value. :D

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Kaishin
03-25-2015, 03:32 PM
Slow is good! 🐌
Thanks,
Matt

Rich
03-25-2015, 09:49 PM
Yes, I was way ahead too and somewhat not relating to the discussion 😊
But the great thing about this book is you can go back and enjoy it even more.
Accepting this invitation to be present is so right.

Sat today

Risho
03-26-2015, 12:18 AM
I think this point is such the crux of Zen that I can't say anything about it without missing the mark, but I'm still going to. lol I feel this in my bones during practice, and I know this in my heart of hearts in the world. I often habitually react quite differently, but I know the sunlight behind the clouds, with the clouds, is the clouds. Sun is sun, clouds are clouds. Sun is clouds, clouds are sun. What cloud, what sun, what self anyway? What self is reading this if no self? What self is reading this if no self!

Judgements help us take care of ourselves. That's fine, but judgments that separate us are added jewelry that isn't necessary. I think Dr. Martin Luther King was such a Bodhisattva in this way; in the face of oppression, he realized that non-violence was the path despite the fact that it would still result in more harm to himself. Non-violence is the way to connection and peace because it is a peaceful act. It's an expression of how things can be, an example to others. Practice is an example to ourselves and to each other. In that way it's such a wonderful gift of unity and peace.

Gassho,

Risho
-sattoday

Byrne
03-26-2015, 03:23 AM
...an expression of how things can be...

Risho,

Those words really popped out at me. Thank you.

Gassho

Sat Today

Jishin
03-26-2015, 10:39 AM
Hi,

Two patients arrive at the emergency room in critical condition. There are resources to treat only one patient at a time and whoever goes first lives. The doctor is about to flip a coin to see who goes first but then he learns that the injuries are a result of a shoot out between a good guy and a bad guy. Who should be treated first? The good or the bad guy? Whose life has more value?

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Jika
03-26-2015, 11:32 AM
"the patiens (plural) and the bad guy are the ones involved" ??
How many are there, and who's who, and who will be who in future?
You Jishin my brain.

Judging and picking should die.
The doc's self-importance to see the truth should.
I'm all for the coin; or an evidance based triage system.

Gassho,
Danny
#sattoday

Jishin
03-26-2015, 12:21 PM
YOU are the doctor and you took an oath to never hurt a patient. Who lives, the good or the bad guy?

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Jika
03-26-2015, 01:28 PM
Unnecessary information.
Maybe the cop has a damaged brain due to hypoxemia (like me) and will be a bad guy in future.
Maybe the bad guy (accepting this label for now, but what makes him bad?) will, after he's rescued, be a real saint.
No one in that ER is of value.
And I'd do where I see the greatest chances of the equipment and my little knowledge be of help.
Being aware of the limitations. And probably very sad, once I have time to think.

Gassho,
Danny
#sattoday

Jishin
03-26-2015, 02:10 PM
YOU are the bad guy and you tell the doctor your life has no value and he should treat the good guy first. What does the doctor do then?

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Joyo
03-26-2015, 03:15 PM
YOU are the doctor and you took an oath to never hurt a patient. Who lives, the good or the bad guy?

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_


Hmm, I think it's easy to say in this situation that both have value, both deserve care, flip a coin, as they are equal. But if I got shot, and went to the ER, with limited resources to only treat one person at a time, and the dr started working on the person who shot me, I'd be seriously pissed. I got shot, and now you are giving the one who shot me the best medical care. Sorry, in that situation I would go with the victim. Yes, the "bad" guy may end up being good, the "good" guy may end up being bad. But in this situation, with limited resources and time, you've got to go with what you know, not with what you don't know. Nobody deserves to innocently get shot, then have the perpetrator get treated first.

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Jika
03-26-2015, 03:40 PM
I am all three.
Well, I'll never make it a cop, but I hope I have done not only bad things in life.
So, I'm all and noone, some of this will survive.
The original master is present.

I relate to your very natural feelings, Joyo: that's why we practice, isn't it?

Gassho,
Danny
whomustshutupnow

Joyo
03-26-2015, 04:45 PM
I am all three.
Well, I'll never make it a cop, but I hope I have done not only bad things in life.
So, I'm all and noone, some of this will survive.
The original master is present.

I relate to your very natural feelings, Joyo: that's why we practice, isn't it?

Gassho,
Danny
whomustshutupnow

Hello, I guess I would say this has something to do with why we practice. But by practicing I would still have the same reaction, if I were ever in such a situation. To me, this scenario that Jishin has given us is not about someone having more value. Both people have value. HOwever, due to circumstances it is a moral obligation to treat the person that has been victimized. Would I do all that I can do to help the criminal as well? Absolutely I would. But this criminal has created this karma, and he/she would have to pay the price for it. Innocent victim comes first, and at the same time, I would do all I can do to help both people.

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Jundo
03-26-2015, 05:04 PM
Hi,

Two patients arrive at the emergency room in critical condition. There are resources to treat only one patient at a time and whoever goes first lives. The doctor is about to flip a coin to see who goes first but then he learns that the injuries are a result of a shoot out between a good guy and a bad guy. Who should be treated first? The good or the bad guy? Whose life has more value?

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

There are no "bad people" in the typical Buddhist perspective ... only victims of greed, anger and ignorance who act badly. All are victims of greed, anger and ignorance.

That being said, under the scenario you propose ... if one stretcher held a bad person (might as well make it "Hitler") and one a good person ("Schindler" of the List), I would save the good person.

Please recall that, when Ben speaks in the book of "nothing of value" he is simultaneously saying that EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY in the whole wide world has unlimited Value, each a shining jewel in its way, both the beautiful and ugly, the good and the bad as a Treasure.

Nonetheless, in this human world, there are things of relative value. If forced to make a choice, I would save the good or seemingly innocent victim.

Gassho, J

Joyo
03-26-2015, 05:17 PM
There are no "bad people" in the typical Buddhist perspective ... only victims of greed, anger and ignorance who act badly. All are victims of greed, anger and ignorance.

That being said, under the scenario you propose ... if one stretcher held a bad person (might as well make it "Hitler") and one a good person ("Schindler" of the List), I would save the good person.

Please recall that, when Ben speaks in the book of "nothing of value" he is simultaneously saying that EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY in the whole wide world has unlimited Value, each a shining jewel in its way, both the beautiful and ugly, the good and the bad as a Treasure.

Nonetheless, in this human world, there are things of relative value. If forced to make a choice, I would save the good or seemingly innocent victim.

Gassho, J

Thank you for the explanation, Jundo.

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Jishin
03-26-2015, 05:18 PM
Please recall that, when Ben speaks in the book of "nothing of value" he is simultaneously saying that EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY in the whole wide world has unlimited Value, each a shining jewel in its way, both the beautiful and ugly, the good and the bad as a Treasure.

Nonetheless, in this human world, there are things of relative value. If forced to make a choice, I would save the good or seemingly innocent victim.

Gassho, J

gassho2

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Jishin
03-26-2015, 06:36 PM
... if one stretcher held a bad person (might as well make it "Hitler") and one a good person ("Schindler" of the List), I would save the good person.

There are a lot of examples out there that that could have been used in this teaching. But I think this example is a good example of skillful means by our teacher (even more so for someone with my background whose grandparents lived in Berlin about the time of WWII)

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Kyonin
03-26-2015, 10:45 PM
Hi guys.

This is another topic that really hit the spot in me. Especially today when I was chanting the Heart Sutra.

Emptiness is no other than form...

Objects in the universe are there. They exist and are part of a huge system that we can't even begin to understand. It us, in our eternal need of relating to and learning about what surrounds us, who create labels and qualities for everything.

All things are naturally empty of meaning. But when we create values, then things get an identity and we can relate to them.

But what if we let go of values and just be part of the system? For a few moments that's what happens while sitting zazen. We drop values, labels and mental crap we usually add to things.

This morning I sat with that and I felt liberated. Free if only for an instant.

Now I have no idea if it all makes sense... Need to sit more with this :)

Gassho,

Kyonin
#SatToday

Kaishin
03-28-2015, 12:22 AM
Thank you, Risho as always. Your mention of MLK Jr reminded me of one of my favorite quotes of his. It still gives me chills every time I read it. And I think its message of courage in the midst of death is very apropos to our practice:

"Deep down in our non-violent creed is the conviction there are some things so dear, some things so precious, some things so eternally true, that they're worth dying for. And if a man happens to be 36-years-old, as I happen to be, some great truth stands before the door of his life--some great opportunity to stand up for that which is right.
A man might be afraid his home will get bombed, or he's afraid that he will lose his job, or he's afraid that he will get shot, or beat down by state troopers, and he may go on and live until he's 80. He's just as dead at 36 as he would be at 80, and the cessation of breathing in his life is merely the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit. He died... A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.
So we're going to stand up amid horses. We're going to stand up right here in Alabama, amid the billy-clubs. We're going to stand up right here in Alabama amid police dogs, if they have them. We're going to stand up amid tear gas!
We're going to stand up amid anything they can muster up, letting the world know that we are determined to be free!"

You can do what's right and live your life fully with courage, or you might as well be a walking ghost.

I think I'm still more ghost than human sometimes. Maybe that's why I practice.
Thanks,
Matt

Ansan
03-29-2015, 09:21 PM
In Shitou's grass hut, he says there is nothing of value. In reading this, I asked myself if there really isn't anything of value.

There is a relative value of most things that we consider important in our lives. Certainly our own life is primarily of value. Without that, there is nothing, if we are existentialists. But while alive, there is one thing that has the highest value, because without it, there is nothing of value. That one thing is the mind.

While reading an article in the latest issue of the New Yorker, I realized how very important meditation, specifically Zazen, is. The article is about a woman who suffers from Encephalitis. The article strikes home for me especially because I am an artist too as she is. Once a professional illustrator, she no longer creates but continues to draw but they are meaningless graphs and patterns that she produces in proliferation daily. She remembers nothing. After brushing her teeth, she asks if it is time to brush her teeth again.

Our mind has value of the highest order, and is the most essential element in our lives. If our bodies are destroyed, we are dead. If our minds are gone, we are essentially dead. The mindless body is like my computer that is very squirrelly. While it is still functioning (like a body), it cannot complete tasks that, in its perfect (this can be qualified) condition performs as it should. But without certain capabilities (such the equivalence of a computer brain), it does not function reliably. My computer is just about useless to me as it is. Its value is relatively nil.

The mind, in its normal, healthy state of cognition, is of prime value to the individual (priceless, if we would consider talking about its monetary value). But that mind needs a rest, as does the body, in order to function properly. In Zazen, we rest the mind. Living in the present tense, we rest the mind. It regains its balance. And this increases its value.

I realize this is not what Shitou is referring to in the Grass Hut. The mind IS the grass hut. And metaphorically, nothing else is of value to the mind that is the mind. The mind at rest.

Gassho,
Ansan

#SatToday

AlanLa
04-02-2015, 03:26 PM
I am late getting in here, but I have to tell you an unfinished story that I think totally fits with the grass hut metaphor.

Scene 1: I met a girl. We have been in a sort of bumpy orbit for about two years, as in we keep bumping into each other. During all this time, it turns out we were very aware of each other, but we only just actually met in a real sense very recently. It was a very powerful meeting. There is a very clear connection between us, and we both see it. She is very outgoing and dynamic with a physical beauty and personal magnetism about her that attracts lots of activity, adventure, and relationships. I, being the lonely, not beautiful, and getting too old to be adventurous sort, to be very self-deprecating about it, do not attract the kinds of activity that she does. But there is clearly something there for us.

Scene 2: My Buddhist practice has clearly permeated my life to the point that from the moment we met I knew she was impermanent. Circumstances in our lives prohibit that, and I am perfectly fine with that. I even encourage her moving on because of my practice perspective. We have only a small window of time to explore this connection we share, and she seems willing to explore it with me. BUT because I am the lonely sort, I immediately created a grass hut with her in it, and then I got very attached to this idea of her and I in this grass hut. Sure, our hut will go away, but at least we will have this time together. Such was my delusion that I sat with, and it was terrible.

Scene 3: It occurs to me during zazen that we haven't even grown any grass yet to make a hut. There are seeds, and they seem to be sprouting, but the future of our grass is very unknown at this point. Will there ever even be a hut? Who knows? On this sunny day here I realize that our grass needs time and fertilizer, and patience is part of my practice.

My point is you need grass to make a hut, and practice is what grows your grass.
Thank you for listening gassho2

Nindo
04-02-2015, 03:52 PM
There's always grass Alan. Bring a blanket and have a picnic. Enjoy the company. Forget the hut. Forget the labels and dualities.
Wishing you good times together.

Gassho
Nindo
sattoday

AlanLa
04-02-2015, 04:50 PM
Thank you. She is practice. She is a teacher.
As is all the grass that we grow with time and fertilizing practice.
BTW, the way I see it, Shitou's hut was made out of practicing grass.
gassho1

Jinyo
04-03-2015, 09:25 AM
Love the first line of the poem. It's like the breathing in and out of a gentle meditative breath.

'I've built a grass hut- - in breath .... where's there's nothing of value.' - out breath.

Even if we've just read the whole poem through once - that first line naturally equates to the mind. I don't tend to think on 'where's there's nothing of value' as primarily equating to
material objects.

But sometimes we do confuse our minds as a material object that we attach great value to - after all it's full of our attachments and desires and aversions. We want to greedily hold onto it!

Shitou offers us another possibility. Build a place of no value - where the heart can be open. If the heart is open to compassion 'good' judgements, ethics, naturally emerge. We don't have to
lay down our ability to prioritize.

I find just reciting the first line of the poem gives me an anchor and returns me to base.

Gassho

Willow

sat today

Jika
04-03-2015, 10:29 AM
But sometimes we do confuse our minds as a material object that we attach great value to
gassho2

Gassho,
Danny
#sattoday

Troy
04-03-2015, 02:52 PM
I was thinking today how much I value my practice. I give it a lot of credit for helping me recover from drug addiction and learning to manage my bipolar. As I have mentioned before on here, I almost lost everything because of my misguided behavior. My practices helps me maintain an even keel and gives me a hard to describe peace in my life.

So, is there a danger in valuing my practice?


..sat2day•

Jika
04-03-2015, 05:34 PM
Troy, helpful question, thank you.

How could your practice be taken away from you?

All things separate from us that we value, all things we confuse to be an object of treasure, are impermanent.

If practice needs a zafu, and the zafu is gone, practice will be in danger.

If practicing the precepts in this body and life (as they are) is the practice, how are they ever separate from us?

So, I'd say being thankful for the practice without being afraid that everything will break down if we can't practice in the way we are used to is my answer to your question. Enjoy the Grass Hut, but allow the grass to be flexible and changing.

I am very happy that you have found so much help in this practice, and personally I see no problem with your feeling of gratitude. gassho1
The Buddha was a good Teacher and good Doctor.

Gassho,
Danny
#sattoday

Troy
04-04-2015, 02:48 AM
Troy, helpful question, thank you.

How could your practice be taken away from you?

All things separate from us that we value, all things we confuse to be an object of treasure, are impermanent.

If practice needs a zafu, and the zafu is gone, practice will be in danger.

If practicing the precepts in this body and life (as they are) is the practice, how are they ever separate from us?

So, I'd say being thankful for the practice without being afraid that everything will break down if we can't practice in the way we are used to is my answer to your question. Enjoy the Grass Hut, but allow the grass to be flexible and changing.

I am very happy that you have found so much help in this practice, and personally I see no problem with your feeling of gratitude. gassho1
The Buddha was a good Teacher and good Doctor.

Gassho,
Danny
#sattoday

I like your answer very much, thank you :)


..sat2day•