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Jundo
03-28-2015, 05:15 PM
Hi,

We move on to the first section of Chapter 2 (After Eating I Relax / The Middle Way) ...

A possible seed for discussion is "What is your 'Middle Way', and how is the 'Middle Way' important in your life?"

Also, can one live a life of "retreat without retreating?"

Gassho, Jundo

SatToday

Joyo
03-28-2015, 05:24 PM
Thank you, Jundo. And got it, second chapter, first section only [morehappy]

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Kyotai
03-29-2015, 11:22 PM
Going to the second question. "Can one retreat without retreating.."

I believe it is beneficial for one to take a formal retreat once or twice a year if one has the means to do so but I don't think it is necessary to your practice.

We sit zazen each day, and then go about our busy lives. Slowly learning that each moment is zazen, not just on the cushion, but waiting in line at the grocery store, putting the garbage on the curb or dropping kids off at school and daycare. Taking a few mindful breaths. I think each moment can be ones retreat. Though, the author does state "zen meditation retreats has opened up a realm of life and ease I did not realize was possible" Perhaps I should not discount formal retreats and check one out for myself..

The middle way for me has always been about not too much, not too little. Alcohol consumption, diet, sitting practice, or perhaps even my parenting. I think taking a balanced approached has always delivered the best outcome. I am not so good at taking a balanced approach when it comes to technology.

Gassho, Kyotai
sat today

Jundo
03-30-2015, 02:27 AM
Going to the second question. "Can one retreat without retreating.."

I believe it is beneficial for one to take a formal retreat once or twice a year if one has the means to do so but I don't think it is necessary to your practice.

We sit zazen each day, and then go about our busy lives. Slowly learning that each moment is zazen, not just on the cushion, but waiting in line at the grocery store, putting the garbage on the curb or dropping kids off at school and daycare. Taking a few mindful breaths. I think each moment can be ones retreat. Though, the author does state "zen meditation retreats has opened up a realm of life and ease I did not realize was possible" Perhaps I should not discount formal retreats and check one out for myself..



Much Wisdom in what you write here.

Just for reference for those new to our Community, here is my usual guidance on attending Sesshin/Retreats if one can:

=====================

While here we encourage daily sitting of but a few minutes a day (if meeting each instant of sitting as an expression of All-Time and Being) ...

http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?9281-Sit-a-Long-with-Jundo-Zazen-for-Beginners-%28Part-XXI%29

... we also request, if at all possible, that folks join in with a group one longer residential "Sesshin" per year of from 3 to 7 days eacy year.

Yes, there is a time to sit long, there is a time to sit short ... but most vital is to always sit beyond and right through "long vs short". Sit longly short, and shortly long ... softly hard and hardly soft.

For all folks (who can) or at some times, it is good to sit sometimes behind monastery walls away from the day to day. For all of us, one can sit day to day beyond all thought of "inside vs. out", "in or away" ... knocking down the walls between the ears. Long or short, here or there ... always sit free of "Gaining" mind.

Let me mention that I strongly encourage folks ... if you can find the time ... to go for retreats for a weekend, but better a few days or full Sesshin (even a full week or two if you can) at places, and "traditional" (i.e., very Japanese style) retreats and Sesshin are good experiences. There are several good places to experience that in North America and Europe, and it is good to be in a place where one can rub shoulders with others, living together for a few days. If someone can't go to a bricks and mortar location for such a retreat, we have our Annual "All Online" two-day Retreat too (each December, via live netcast) at Treeleaf Sangha ... traditional (yet "fully online" ... and available to sit any timeless, all year round) ...

http://www.treeleaf.org/sit-a-long/with-jundo-and-taigu/archives/2011/12/-welcome-toour-treeleafat.html

... but this is a case where it is actually good to go to a retreat center and practice with folks for a time (if at all possible ... which it ain't for everybody).

I strongly encourage folks to go for retreats for intensive sittings, Sesshin, of many days ... even a week or two or longer ... waking early in the morning, sitting late into the evening. All Zen Teachers that I know do. Why? I usually write this:


Now, someone might ask too, "if each moment is all time and space, and Zazen is 'good for nothing', what is the purpose of an intensive Sesshin?" Well, I often say that, sometimes, we need to practice a bit long and hard, morning to night ... sitting and wrestling with 'me, my self and I' ... all to achieve nothing to attain, and taste the good of 'good for nothing'! Going to Retreats, Sesshin and such is a powerful facet of this Practice and not to be missed.

At most Zen Sesshin I know, folks sit many times a day, for 30, 40 or 45 minutes at a time, two or three times back to back, in many sets each day. Most intersperse work periods, lecture periods, eating periods, break periods, sleep period, chanting periods ... but all are one, continuous flowing Zazen in its wider meaning. Most still have lots and lots of sitting on the Zafu sitting (especially in Soto Zen).

It is really not a matter of long or short, start or finish ... and thus it is very good to sometimes sit long. I truly recommend it as integral to this Practice. We sit long and hard sometimes because it truly is not a matter of quantity or the clock or anything to gain!

Strange, huh!? :)

It is also not a matter of place ... and we should "sit Zazen" too in the hospital bed, death bed, nursery room, grocery line, city bus. Nonetheless, we go to the Retreat at the Zen Center or temple or monastery to sit in a room on a Zafu, precisely because it is not a matter of "where" or "place."

Strange, huh!? :encouragement:

However, if people can't go to a Sesshin because of a physical limitation or other impossibility, that is okay too! If really it is not possible, sit right where one is (or if in that hospital bed, have one's sesshin reclining right there!)

Strange, huh!? [claps]

If one sits with greed and desire to attain, than it does not matter if it is 5 seconds or 50 hours or 5000 years ... a waste of time.

If one sits free of greed and desire to attain, than a second is a second of Buddha, 5000 years just 5000 years of Buddha.

This we sit each day ... beyond and right through-and-through the ticking clock. If done with greed, 50 minutes 14 times a day is much too long and much too short AT ONCE! ... what Sawaki Roshi called "sitting with a thief's mind".

Gassho, Jundo

SatToday

Daiyo
03-30-2015, 03:05 PM
Hi all,

Regarding the first question I'd say that I'm still discovering what is the Middle Way for me. I know I have changed a lot of things and reduced many of my "needs".
However I think I still have a lot to do, reduce even more the comsumption of meat and alcohol with which I keep being self indulgent.
About "living a life of retreat without retreating" I think it is possible, although very difficult because most of us live in environments and interact with people not interested or related in any way to our practice. So it is extremely difficult to be all day mindful, say gathas, etc. It's kind of separating from the "normal" way of life in our society.
That's why I think the experience of a retreat is very valuable. I had the will to participate in several opportunities, but one way or another, "common life" (working, parenting, family, volunteering, etc.) agenda got in the way.
I've made it one of my priorities for this year, but so far two sesshins have been held in the local zendo, and I couldn't attend. The same with our winter retreat.
Bad luck?

Gassho,
Daiyo

#SatToday

P.S.: Do you consider right putting others' needs above one's practice needs? I do, but perhaps I'm wrong and we should put practice (retreating, zazenkai, etc.) above everything else. What do you think?

Byrne
03-30-2015, 05:43 PM
The things I'm most afraid of. The things I desire the most that I don't have. Is there anything that cuts through the center of those two more effectively than life as is?

Gassho

Sat Today

Roland
03-30-2015, 07:01 PM
I have doubts about long retreats and monasteries. My fear is that one will end up very vulnerable to suggestion, living in a highly artificial situation. I think the boundaries between cults and 'good' practice are thin and can be crossed even unintentionally. Not crossing them is part of the Middle Way, I guess.

#SatToday
Roland

Kyotai
03-30-2015, 07:08 PM
"Artificial situation.." ?

Gassho, Kyotai
Sat today

Jundo
03-30-2015, 07:11 PM
I have doubts about long retreats and monasteries. My fear is that one will end up very vulnerable to suggestion, living in a highly artificial situation. I think the boundaries between cults and 'good' practice are thin and can be crossed even unintentionally. Not crossing them is part of the Middle Way, I guess.

#SatToday
Roland

Most Zen groups holding retreats and Sesshin and wholesome and good, no cult activity.

There are exceptions, like in anything (a couple of very bad groups in Europe for example), but the few bad apples are far outnumbered by the hundreds of sincere, good, dedicated folks. Unfortunately, the couple of real pieces of work capture most of the headlines.

Gassho, Jundo

Rich
03-30-2015, 07:23 PM
Roland, maybe you could start with a 1 day or 3 day retreat either online or at a Zen center. Just to experience it. I don't have a lot of retreat experience but sitting has never been like living an artificial experience. Quite the opposite, the more I sit the more real and natural it seems.

Sat today

Shingen
03-30-2015, 07:43 PM
Roland, maybe you could start with a 1 day or 3 day retreat either online or at a Zen center. Just to experience it.

Hello Roland,

I agree with Rich here ... that was the first exposure I had was a 1 day retreat on a Saturday. We sat, talked about a specific topic on the Dharma, had discussion ... was a very rewarding experience. Keep an open heart and mind and you will do just fine. =)

Gassho
Shingen

SatToday

Roland
03-30-2015, 07:56 PM
Thank you for the reaction and advice... I'll start with a more modest retreat (one or two days) and will do so with an open heart and mind.

Gassho

Roland

#SatToday

Jishin
03-31-2015, 10:39 AM
Hi,

When I am hitting on all cylinders my middle way is to be at ease expressing my all or nothing tendencies. 20 plus patients per day, being on call 24/7 since I work alone, go go go with kids play and discipline, not annoying my wife too much with my weirdness, play with animals (I have a hoard of them), a moderate neglect of house chores, etc. etc. This is my middle way. Smoking dope and ordering delivery pizzas all day long may be someones middle way as long as no one gets hurt (sounds like a cool middle way to me). :)

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Shoka
03-31-2015, 01:53 PM
Hi,

I agree with Ben on the idea of retreat. For me the purpose of retreating is to create a space where you can practice being at ease and acting the way you would hope to act all the time. The one example that he gives of stopping when you are mad and retreating to a walk is a great example. If we didn't take the moment to walk away from a fight, because we didn't want to retreat from "real life", then we won't be able to calm down and act the way we want when we come back to that conversation.

During longer retreats in monasteries or our own homes, I think you can realize things that you would have never seen during the course of a normal day. During last year's Rohatsu Retreat I was shocked by how much my mind talked. I had specifically set-up the weekend so I didn't have anything to worry about, no where to go and responsibilities taken care of ahead of time. That way I didn't need to plan or worry, I could just be for a couple days. But it was amazing how hard my mind worked to try to engage me in following all the crazy thoughts. I would like to think that through daily meditation I would have eventually come to the same conclusion; but the retreat allowed it to be stark and so apparent that it couldn't be ignored.

I believe that retreat is important to give us an opportunity to lift ourselves out of the mock for a while. It makes it easier to see through that same stuff when you are back in it. But if you were always just wading around in the mock you won't know it wasn't clear.

Gassho,

Shoka
sattoday

KellyRok
04-01-2015, 02:17 PM
Hello all,

My middle way, hmmm...it sounds odd, but my middle way involves having a schedule. A few parts from this section really resonated with me:

There is a discipline to ease; Shitou's having a nap.

and:

There is a day-to-day discipline of taking care of this body and a day-to-day discipline of getting to the cushion to meditate.

The best way for me have this discipline is to set an allotted time for things if I find I'm leaning toward too much of one thing or another. I must get so many things/tasks completed before I get on the computer. I must sit zazen before I crack open and get lost in that book. I must make sure I eat healthy meals and snacks for 4 days before I can cheat a little and have something sweet. These are just examples mind you, but I find it helps me.

But you must also be disciplined enough so that if something happens (sick child, car breaks down, or you have to move to a whole other part of the country) that it doesn't completely throw you off that carefully planned balance. You must be able to "be at ease" even when everything is out of your control. I'm still working toward this ;).

Can you retreat without retreating? Sure, you can! It is a matter of perspective and intent. You can have a truly amazing, peaceful, and illuminating retreat anytime and anywhere. I know that I've truly enjoyed our 2-day Rohatsu retreat. Sitting in my room or on the porch with the door open, yet still in silence and with reverence - can be just as powerful as sitting in a room with strangers. I haven't had the opportunity to go to a center and have an extended retreat with others in the same room. But that's okay for now.

Gassho,
Kelly/Jinmei
sattoday

Joyo
04-01-2015, 03:43 PM
Hi Jinmei, you know I've been wondering for several days now, what to comment on this particular part of the book, and have not been able to get the words out properly. And you came along and said just beautifully everything that I was thinking. Thank you for your lovely thoughts! And I am in agreement, discipline is the key, a routine is also the key, but not to be so inflexible that it causes unnecessary stress when life gets in the way.

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Jika
04-01-2015, 06:38 PM
I want to share an experience I had about two weeks ago, and how this lets me see the text.

Our supervisor talked to me, mainly about the complaint that I seem not to be taking sick leave when I should.
And that her team was getting very upset, not trusting my self-judgement, not trusting my professional judgement any more.
She said, she does not want me to go home sick for sneezing once, but to show that I am handling the situation in a responsible way, taking decisions myself.
"What is the middle way?", she asked.
I stared at her and asked, if she could wait a second for me to write that down.
(So, to overclarify maybe, using every excuse to go home and enjoy reading a nice book would be lying and indulging. Forcing myself to work when I feel really bad is like asceticism.)

On p. 24, Ben is writing about the old Zen saying.
Nobody else can tell you if and when you are hungry or tired.
It is your very own experience.

I have knowingly ignored being exhausted, being confused, unable to retrieve words, to look more "reliable", to contribute to work "normally", and it went wrong.

So to me, the Middle way means listening to my personal experience at that moment, and acting accordingly.
I am often struggling with that, because there is an immense load of how I would prefer things to be, or how I think others would prefer me to act.

That is the practice now.
Gassho,
Danny
#sattoday

Rich
04-01-2015, 09:27 PM
It's not always easy to relax in this world. There always seems to be something that needs to be done. I think our capitalist culture makes us feel guilty if we rest too much.

Sat today

Risho
04-01-2015, 09:47 PM
Jinmei/Rich,

You speak to my heart. I notice that I can't relax when I'm separate from the idea of relaxation. ok this sounds cliche, but I don't have better words for it. It's like sitting.. If I'm worried about sitting, not sitting enough, or I'm thinking too much, then I'm not really sitting. I'm worried about an idea of sitting... the same with living or doing whatever task it is. But it's better to just jump in and do it.. When just sitting (even with the clouds), or just doing, there is no separation.

Zen on the cushion, zen in life, zen during work, during laughing, cleaning up dog shit, is just doing those things without being somewhere else (not that you can't do multiple things, I mean where your heart and mind aren't wishing you aren't doing what you are doing, but even if that is happening just be there with it... almost like you are a parent and when you hear your mind chattering, instead of lashing out you sort of smile at this child that still has much to learn). This practice is a retreat, and I mean the practice even when we aren't explicitly on the cushion, although that cannot be skipped. It is retreat from the grasping and pushing, the push and pull of the likes and dislikes. It is a retreat because it forces us to retreat from our dreams and face and be with whatever it is or wherever we are. Where but here anyway? Well even if we are physically here, sometimes our mind is in the past, with the girlfriend that broke our heart, with the bills and the tasks. That's no way to live.. we all have "issues", but what if they were no longer issues or problems? What if they were us, and we thrust ourself into those tasks?

I hate expense reports. I had to submit one today, and I was crabby, but when I dropped that and focused on doing it properly, and got down to basics of a good expense report, I sort of just melted into it. I had to meet it and accept that this was happening to relax into it. I used to hate flying because I wasn't in control. But when I'm in the air, there's nothing I can do anyway; might as well relax and enjoy the ride.

This relaxing and zen remind me what it is to live one's life to the fullest. A lot of times, you read that you need to do some bucket list or go to exotic places. But what zen has taught me, and what I forget and have to remind myself time and time again, is that I can live a full life by fully submitting my expense report. That is part of life. I can live my life by giving my practice, by receiving the gifts of a smile, by holding a door for someone. This grasping bullshit of having to have certain things or be a certain weight before one can be happy is bullshit. I really think that that is our treasure right now... I think that zen gives us permission to be happy amidst the loss in this world, or the permission to be happy with who we are, that we are good enough now (despite what advertisements say to the contrary) and AT THE SAME TIME still pursue ways to better ourselves, but not bettering with some obsession to get something. Bettering to get better, while fully and completely enjoying the ride. I think relaxing into life is like that; if I can't enjoy a cup of coffee without worrying that I might lose my job, then I need to start there. The practice is available in the most (what may seem but really aren't) insignificant things that we do.

The Middle Way is hard for me when I try to bite off more than I can chew - which means it's not such a Middle Way anymore. I try to get better all the time, but mostly the grasping better in the sense that I'll be happy if I get that thing or if I'm thinner, etc. So I need to regroup, breath, come back.. adjust my middle way may be not eating fried foods, or not drinking more than a couple of beers on the weekend.. it's very personal. But also remember how much I have; how I'm just eternally grateful to be here... a gratitude that is so overwhelming. My Middle Way is definitely a sustained and consistent practice. But I know when I've been too ascetic or gotten too loose. It's something I practice with ( I was going to say struggle, but it's practice) every single day.

Gassho,

Risho
-sattoday

Shingen
04-01-2015, 09:51 PM
I think our capitalist culture makes us feel guilty if we rest too much.

Couldn't agree more, thank you Rich. =)

Gassho
Shingen

SatToday

Jishin
04-02-2015, 11:24 AM
Couldn't agree more, thank you Rich. =)

Gassho
Shingen

SatToday

Our Zen culture encourages us to sit on our asses and do nothing.

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Myosha
04-02-2015, 01:08 PM
Hello,

The Middle Way is no attachment, no non-attachment. It's importance is none of my business.



Gassho
Myosha sat today

Shingen
04-02-2015, 02:06 PM
Our Zen culture encourages us to sit on our asses and do nothing.

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Who says that when we sit on our asses we are doing nothing? In nothing is where we find everything. =)

Gassho
Shingen

SatToday

Jishin
04-02-2015, 02:17 PM
Who says that when we sit on our asses we are doing nothing? In nothing is where we find everything. =)

Gassho
Shingen

SatToday

In everything is where we find nothing. Get with the program man. :)

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Joyo
04-02-2015, 10:23 PM
It's not always easy to relax in this world. There always seems to be something that needs to be done. I think our capitalist culture makes us feel guilty if we rest too much.

Sat today

I also agree, Rich.

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

PaulinLondon
04-03-2015, 09:51 AM
Most Zen groups holding retreats and Sesshin and wholesome and good, no cult activity.

There are exceptions, like in anything (a couple of very bad groups in Europe for example), but the few bad apples are far outnumbered by the hundreds of sincere, good, dedicated folks. Unfortunately, the couple of real pieces of work capture most of the headlines.

Gassho, Jundo

Can anyone recommend some good retreats in Europe this summer? I'm in London and every summer it is hard to find somewhere that seems authentic. Jundo would you be able to private message me groups to avoid?

Gassho
Paul
Seat today

Joyo
04-03-2015, 02:16 PM
Our Zen culture encourages us to sit on our asses and do nothing.

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Where does it encourage this?

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Jishin
04-03-2015, 02:38 PM
Where does it encourage this?

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Sit=drop body-mind=expression of essential nature

Nothing=emptiness=everything

Gotta do lots of nothing sitting on my arse to get anywhere in this zen world. :)

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

- from Bendowa and the Heart Sutra

Joyo
04-03-2015, 02:46 PM
Sit=drop body-mind=expression of essential nature

Nothing=emptiness=everything

Gotta do lots of nothing sitting on my arse to get anywhere in this zen world. :)

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_


Hmmm, I'm trying to see where you are coming from, but I just don't see sitting on my ass as doing nothing. Many times sitting has been where I face my demons, the ones I've tried to hide from by finding distractions during the day.

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Jishin
04-03-2015, 02:47 PM
Hmmm, I'm trying to see where you are coming from, but I just don't see sitting on my ass as doing nothing. Many times sitting has been where I face my demons, the ones I've tried to hide from by finding distractions during the day.

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

I know Joyo. I am playing with words and being worthless as usual. :)

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_.

Joyo
04-03-2015, 02:56 PM
I know Joyo. I am playing with words and being worthless as usual. :)

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_.

lol!! :)

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Jundo
04-03-2015, 05:10 PM
Can anyone recommend some good retreats in Europe this summer? I'm in London and every summer it is hard to find somewhere that seems authentic. Jundo would you be able to private message me groups to avoid?

Gassho
Paul
Seat today

Hi Paul,

I am really not as "up" on the situation in Europe as I should be, and my impression is that troubled groups are really few and far between. However, if you identify some places, I will put you in contact with a couple of people who are familiar (such as Taigu).

Gassho, J

Rich
04-03-2015, 05:41 PM
Being a reactionary type non doing and patience has always been a problem . always a balancing act between that and real action. If we just relax with patience so many more possibilities unfold.

Joyo, sometimes my demons visit in my sleep so I may have to practice sleeping Zen 😊 -)

Sat today

Hogo
04-04-2015, 06:01 AM
The subject of The Middle Way has always had a lot of meaning for me, as well as presented conflict in my practice.

Back when I was first learning of Zen and basics it was the first phrase or idea that really grabbed hold of me and my attention. I think this is due to what I identify as one of my main "struggles" in this life which I see as the social extremes of the world around me. I always seem to be looking for a balance between caring too much about what is going on in the world, usually focusing on the negative since that seems to be what is thrust upon us, and just wanting to shut down and tune it all out.

I feel neither is a healthy or wise option, so I use the concept of the Middle Way to try to refocus my energy on what really matters, and the things I can affect in a positive way.
The pressures and anxiety of the world is still there, and often sneaks its way in, but I try to use what I have learned and make it all just another part of my path down the Middle Way of my practice. I do not know if that is the correct intent of The Middle Way, but it is my interpretation and a sort of guide post for when I need to reset my perspective.
It is not easy.
Gassho~ Hogo
Sat Today.

Anshu Bryson
04-06-2015, 07:14 AM
It seems to me that our own practice is very much a 'Middle Way' in itself. With 'sitting' itself largely being a monastic practice rather than a lay practice in Japan and the rest of Asia, in some ways we are 'less lay' than, for example, Japanese lay Zen Buddhists might be. At the same time, most of us are clearly not 'home-leavers'... A wonderful balance...

Gassho,

Anshu/Bryson

sat today

PS have been away a bit; trying to catch up to the threads...! :)

Byokan
04-06-2015, 08:47 AM
... A possible seed for discussion is "What is your 'Middle Way', and how is the 'Middle Way' important in your life?"

Also, can one live a life of "retreat without retreating?"

Hi All,

For me, it is retreat that makes engagement in the world possible. I don’t think at all of retreat as doing without; I am more than happy to set aside the phone, stop talking, let the choppy waves of movement, thought and action settle to ripples and, sometimes, to glassy stillness. The world often overwhelms me and exhausts me, seems to take all I have and then a little more. Daiyo asks if we should put other’s needs above one’s practice... I really feel I have more to give others when I give myself what I need first. The world will always clamor for attention, and there is no end to the demands and the to-do list. This year I’ve been noticing the difference between what seems urgent and what is important... they are often very different things.

There are really few days that I can’t take 30 minutes -- about 3% of the waking day -- to sit. Without this retreat I get pulled down into the whirlpool. Retreat allows me to find my center of gravity, float instead of splashing around, swim instead of sinking. Retreat can be anything from one fully mindful breath to a week in silent sitting. I have 2 jobs and live in the middle of nowhere, and I’ve never been to a proper sesshin, but I make retreat days, or half-days, at home whenever I can. Learning to set boundaries, and finding that the world will not end if I withdraw for a day or two, allows me to give more fully, more energetically, and more open-heartedly than just rushing endlessly forward, never saying no, always running on empty. This I guess is my middle way, knowing that making space for “my” practice allows me to engage more fully with life: my own issues, and the needs of others. It gives me concentration, calm, ease and a more willing and open heart to bring to situations and people.

Gassho
Lisa
sat today

Ed
04-06-2015, 01:00 PM
Do I exist or not? Does the Cartesian phrase "I think therefore I am" really expresses my reality, who I truly am?
Or am I a figment of my deluded mind and there is really no solid I, merely a convenient point of view, necessary to manage daily living on this samasaric plane, even if it grows in importance and attachments become crusty, painful misinterpreted entanglements obscuring Reality?
Atman, is Sanskrit for soul, the solid I, something that will transcend death.
Its opposite pole is Anatman, no soul.
One extreme has us worried about saving our immortal soul the other drives us to nihilism. The Middle Way of which Shakyamuni Buddha speaks is a way between these two poles. Buddhists call it emptiness, for lack of a better word.
Suniata, emptiness of self existence is something with no form, taste or any quality we can see or feel with our six senses, but that it's always ready to take on any form, or smell, o color, over and over in a continuum of wonderful awareness, of wondrous Reality.

Uchiyama roshi repeats many times that we should practice the Buddhadharma only for the sake of the Buddhadharma without wanting to achieve anything extra.
Personally, I find tremendous consolation in these word even as I can not grasp this wondrous reality with reason. Ben does us a great service by speaking of it in these simple terms even as many teachers stay away from even mentioning Buddhadharma...too complicated, they say, and I do defer to them. But others say gotta say something.
I was corrected by a teacher recently when I spoke of MY practice. He said no, not YOUR practice, just practice, the I is extra.

Sat2day

Joyo
04-06-2015, 02:40 PM
Uchiyama roshi repeats many times that we should practice the Buddhadharma only for the sake of the Buddhadharma without wanting to achieve anything extra.
Personally, I find tremendous consolation in these word even as I can not grasp this wondrous reality with reason. Ben does us a great service by speaking of it in these simple terms even as many teachers stay away from even mentioning Buddhadharma...too complicated, they say, and I do defer to them. But others say gotta say something.
I was corrected by a teacher recently when I spoke of MY practice. He said no, not YOUR practice, just practice, the I is extra.

Sat2day


This is brilliant, thank you for sharing!! I am not an easy going person, at least not naturally. So **my** practice can sometimes become rigid, or I become overly critical of myself, expecting way too much perfection. So today, dropping the my, and just practice, for no other reason. This is exactly what I needed to read today. Many thanks. [gassholook]

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Meishin
04-06-2015, 02:51 PM
gassho2

Gassho
Meishin
Sat today

Nindo
04-06-2015, 04:00 PM
Atman, is Sanskrit for soul, the solid I, something that will transcend death.
Its opposite pole is Anatman, no soul.
One extreme has us worried about saving our immortal soul the other drives us to nihilism. The Middle Way of which Shakyamuni Buddha speaks is a way between these two poles. Buddhists call it emptiness, for lack of a better word.

:confused:
From what I have studied, Shakyamuni Buddha was clearly on the anatman side of things, without being nihilistic.

Gassho
Nindo
sattoday

Nindo
04-06-2015, 04:03 PM
For me, it is retreat that makes engagement in the world possible. ... I really feel I have more to give others when I give myself what I need first. The world will always clamor for attention, and there is no end to the demands and the to-do list. This year I’ve been noticing the difference between what seems urgent and what is important... they are often very different things.

... Learning to set boundaries, and finding that the world will not end if I withdraw for a day or two, allows me to give more fully, more energetically, and more open-heartedly than just rushing endlessly forward, never saying no, always running on empty. This I guess is my middle way, knowing that making space for “my” practice allows me to engage more fully with life: my own issues, and the needs of others. It gives me concentration, calm, ease and a more willing and open heart to bring to situations and people.

Well said, Lisa! You truly seem to walk the middle way! [monk]

Gassho
Nindo
sattoday

Ed
04-06-2015, 05:00 PM
Joyo, read some ZEN MIND BEGINNER'S MIND of Suzuki-roshi.
I have the discs read by Peter Coyote. I keep them in my car. After literally years of listening to them off and on, I can tell you there is often something new, or something I had never heard before or in the same way.
Zazen is self-criticism but with a soft, detached hand. Expecitng/demanding things from our practice is useless; and yet in consistency of practice, things do happen, just not usually what we expected, but almost certainly what is needed.
:TL:

Rich
04-06-2015, 05:34 PM
Yes, the I is extra. Thanks for the reminder.

SAT today

Joyo
04-06-2015, 07:33 PM
Thank you, Ed. I have often listened to this book on youtube. It is wonderful, although somewhat overwhelming as I cannot remember all the good stuff that he says.

I put the teaching you posted by Uchiyama Roshi on my kitchen whiteboard as a good reminder throughout the day.

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Ed
04-08-2015, 12:53 PM
Nindo, yes, no nihilism in Buddhism, just an open field of liberation with no form, ready to take on any form.
Glad you pointed that out because it is a stumbling block. Once we hear no soul, we go 'ah no worries, everything goes.'
I was a hippy in the late '60's and early '70's and we did struggle witht the free-love, drop conventions trip.
The more free I thought I was the more crap I was accumulating, both materail and spiritual not to mention mental.
In gratitude,
Ed