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Jundo
04-04-2015, 05:04 PM
Dear All,

I hope you enjoyed this week's section ... Enjoyment. :)

A couple of possible discussion seeds:

- Has Zen Practice aided you ability to enjoy moments in life?

- Can one richly and deeply enjoy without being overly attached to enjoyment?

Gassho, J

Jishin
04-04-2015, 05:32 PM
Hi,

Yes

Yes

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Nindo
04-05-2015, 02:29 AM
Of course.

I know this glass is already broken (http://www.writingourwayhome.com/the-glass-is-already-broken/), therefore I enjoy it immensely.

Gassho
Nindo
sattoday

Joyo
04-05-2015, 03:04 AM
Nindo, yes so true. One of the most profound teachings I have come across. Also one of the most difficult things to accept.

I look forward to this week's reading. I find that reading it over several times during the week really helps for it all to sink right in.

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Shingen
04-05-2015, 03:37 AM
Hello everyone,

Yes, as this life is my practice and my practice is my life.

Yes, by richly and deeply enjoying each enjoyment for what it is and not what I want it to be. =)

Gassho
Shingen

SatToday

Jundo
04-05-2015, 05:18 AM
Hi,

Yes

Yes

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Yes, well, I meant that folks might actually discuss should they wish. Thank you for the literal answer ... I enjoyed it! :)

Gassho, J

Myosha
04-05-2015, 05:21 AM
Hello,

Yep.

'Nuff said.


Gassho
Myosha sat today

Meishin
04-05-2015, 02:51 PM
Hi,

I can describe my experience best by writing about photography. With Zen, I shoot (photos) without as much analysis as before. That is, I may be shooting birds with a friend, and what I notice now is that I don't look at the LCD screen to evaluate a shot as much as my friend does. I shoot faster and am better focused on what might happen next (now). So there may be a shot I get that he/she won't because he/she is evaluating the previous shot (moment). I used to do that too, but now I'm better at "what now?" That seems to involve enjoying each moment more fully.

That also speaks to the second question. It's dropping an experience that may have been wonderful, not attaching to it. The moment (photograph) may have been great, but attaching to it is a mistake.

Now if I could do that with experiences that are not pleasant, that would be nice.

Here's a shot that would not have happened if I'd been attached to a (previous) good moment.

2426

Gassho
Meishin
Sat today

Kyotai
04-05-2015, 04:46 PM
Thank you Jundo,

Im going to borrow a quote from this section because it sums it up for me.

"Regularly practicing meditation and mindfulness cause the categories of what you enjoy to expand and the separation from your life caused by ceaseless mental activity to fade." Pg 28.

Sort of like that for me I think. The slow fading away of intrusive thoughts, and settling in to the experience here, here and here. I feel less and less interested in trying to seek outside myself enjoyment and realizing enjoyment can be found in this moment regardless of the situation I find my life in.

I like the example Ben gives from his own life, where he is doing some household chores and some family members are arguing in the background...sweeping with the chaos while feeling love and joy in that moment.

So...Yes.. and YES! :)

Gassho, Kyotai
sat today :)

Byrne
04-06-2015, 04:33 AM
Meishin,

That is an exceptional photo you took. But you aren't finished yet. I cropped it several ways and each one is very interesting. Many decisions to make.

Seriously cool shot. Well done.

i am finding that my saddest times are becoming very quiet and peaceful. I am finding my most pleasurable times to be exactly the same as they've always been. Very enjoyable but nothing new to discover.

Gassho

Sat Today

Anshu Bryson
04-06-2015, 07:19 AM
I think that Ben has put it well when he says: "A balance exists between accidently cultivating attachment by being present to life and denying oneself the enjoyment of your moments as a means to letgo of attachment; it is a Middle Way between realizingimpermanence and realizing the present moment..."

Gassho,

Anshu/Bryson

sat today

Troy
04-06-2015, 05:31 PM
Of course.

I know this glass is already broken (http://www.writingourwayhome.com/the-glass-is-already-broken/), therefore I enjoy it immensely.

Gassho
Nindo
sattoday

Thank you!


..sat2day•

Tb
04-07-2015, 06:22 AM
Hi.

Yes and yes.

Why?
The smile.
Have you ever seen the smile sort of Always lingering at the side of the mouth of a practitioner of the way?
Thats why.
That one tells the whole story.

Mtfbwy
Fugen

Kyonin
04-07-2015, 11:54 AM
Hi all!

- Has Zen Practice aided you ability to enjoy moments in life?
Yes. And I have changed a lot over the years actually. I remember 5 years ago that I was able to enjoy things for what they were. I always looked to stuff with a nice and fat layer of ego. Like movies, for instance. I was one of those movie-critics-wann-be that wasn't able to simply sit and enjoy a film without finding the bad in it. Hell I even had a podcast about how much I hated movies!

And I had that behavior pretty much with everything. Music, games, books, movies and people.

In contrast, I was overly enthusiastic and passionate about the things I liked. This prevented me from seeing other options or even more important stuff. I found that being like that was as bad as hating stuff.

But the more I sat, the more I let go of that.

I'm not saying I'm perfect or the portrait of equanimity, but I can now relax and enjoy something like Sharkando or a nice quiet sunset with the same kind of joy. It's all part of the experience and everything has a moment to be.


- Can one richly and deeply enjoy without being overly attached to enjoyment?

Yes. One can enjoy everything, even hard times, without being attached. Not in a masochistic way, but in a beginners mind way. That is to say that even hardships in life have a lot of learning and dharma for us to discover.

I still enjoy movies and computer games, but now I don't get to the point of being passionate or blind about them. I just sit, enjoy, have a great time and that's it.

These days I have been enjoying this book a lot. Tons of learning and a lot of parallels with how I lead my life.

I am actually very happy with what there is, despite hardships and challenges I face everyday.

And I am a happy man because there is a ripe mango in the fridge which I'll have for breakfast. Doesn't get any better than that.

Gassho,

Kyonin
#SatToday

Troy
04-07-2015, 06:10 PM
- Has Zen Practice aided your ability to enjoy moments in life?

I use to think my life was miserable, but then I figured out it was just my misguided perception of reality. Thank you Zen.

- Can one richly and deeply enjoy without being overly attached to enjoyment?

Yes. The opposite is called addiction which in my case was drugs. Pick your poison it is the same thing.





..sat2day•

Risho
04-07-2015, 09:25 PM
- Has Zen Practice aided you ability to enjoy moments in life? Yes it really has. I feel more relaxed. I still have times where I get angry and burst out at frustration, but I listen a lot more. I also take others opinions into account now. I used to be more a 'wait to talk' instead of listen person; I also used to be quick to anger. My boss also used to really piss me off. Sure he does sometimes still, but I feel like practice has opened up a space to allow me to let more in.. if that makes sense. And in that way, life is much more enjoyable. Sometimes during zazen though, a sad thought comes up, e.g. I was just thinking of a couple of my dogs who passed (1 in 2010, and 1 last year), and I just started crying. But I think that is enjoyable in a way; I feel like zazen has opened my heart a lot, and I just catch myself smiling at times.

We just got a new puppy, she pees in the house. A few years ago, I would have gotten angry, but I don't know.. .I really enjoy the puppy years. I just love dogs.

- Can one richly and deeply enjoy without being overly attached to enjoyment?

Yes I believe so, but I have to really practice this one, especially with eating bad and drinking. I'm really trying to focus on eating more slowly and drinking alcohol more slowly to truly savor it as opposed to grasping and consuming to just get drunk. For eating, I'm really trying to be aware of why I eat bad; I know it has a lot to do with coping with stress and boredom... but practice has helped me just sit and feel those feelings. In a way that's enjoyment because it allows me to be with instead of push away from those feelings.

I've lost weight in the past, and I've gained it back; I've never gotten to the root of the problem which is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with me. I don't need to lose all the weight today... just little, consistent changes. But also enjoy where I am now.. be where I am now. This never passes by again. I remember when I was 25 thinking wow, I with I was in shape like when I was 21. Now I look back at the pictures of 25, and I wish i had hair. hahahah Seriously, the older I get, the faster it goes by. What I love about practice is this ability to be here.. to learn to be present with all of it... bad, good.. and to experience it all.

I don't know what it is, but lately I've been feeling overwhelmed. Not overwhelmed in a bad way, just overwhelmed with how lucky I am to be here, now, to have my family, my dogs, my friends, food... just this overwhelming gratitude. I don't know-it's a good feeling. I really think practice brings about... but that being said, I don't want to use practice to get that feeling because then practice is just another tool I use to grasp, to control, etc.

Gassho,

Risho
-sattoday

Joyo
04-08-2015, 03:40 AM
Has Zen Practice aided you ability to enjoy moments in life?

Yes, by clearing away all the junk in my monkey mind, I am able to look at life more for what it is, and not what I wish it to be. When I do struggle with wanting things to be different (dukkha) Zen brings me back to what is, and therefore, I can be intimate with things as they are. Sometimes in my darkest, loneliest moments, there is still peace, for life is just what it is, and there is beauty in it all.

Can one richly and deeply enjoy without being overly attached to enjoyment?

Yes, I think awareness is the key. I've had moments that I've clung too as they were very wonderful and then I desperately wish for them back. Through practice, I have learned that is useless. I walk my dog by a creek. The water is always flowing, neither fighting nor clinging, but moving as it was meant to.

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Josan
04-08-2015, 09:43 AM
Has Zen Practice aided you ability to enjoy moments in life? Can one richly and deeply enjoy without being overly attached to enjoyment?
I'll be honest - I don't really know [scared]. It certainly has changed me (for the better I'm told) and I am more aware of the present, less irritable and grumpy. But as someone put it so well in another thread, this practice is a marathon not a sprint - so maybe ask me in a couple of years time gassho2
Gassho,
David

sattoday

Roland
04-08-2015, 11:00 AM
I used to be a workaholic - I really felt guilty and depressed during weekends or brief holidays when I was not blogging or analyzing the news. Zen helps me to enjoy the here and now, to give it all my attention.
I am very attached to some people and I deeply enjoy being with them,. Losing them would cause deep suffering, but I consider that an important part of being human. I guess the original buddhist tradition would suggest to avoid such attachment, but that's not my way of life. What frightens me about Shitou is that he is so alone in his hut.

Shoka
04-08-2015, 01:08 PM
I hate to be the Debbie downer, while I agree that most of the time practice makes me more able to enjoy the moment and to let things go much quicker and more easily, I also find that there are times when it makes life much harder. There are times when I'm much more irritatble and frustrated with people. The petty needless brickering at work, the guy who drives to fast and changes lanes constantly putting so many people in danger. The tragetic news stories, and the people talking so badly of someone who was suffering so much that they hurt others.

I think this is linked to the second question of attachment. There are days when I get attached to the wonderful morning I have had. Typically I get up, have some coffee, read the forums, watch a talk, do zazen; maybe some yoga. Then I start getting ready for work, Everything is nice and simple, calm, at ease. But the moment I leave my house I feel that is constantly under attack. If I'm too at ease at work people don't think I care about my job; because you should be stressed and constantly worried about everything that is going wrong. Friends think I'm aloof when I don't feed into gossip.

So while I can say in the theoritical sense, yes and yes.... when the practice hits the road it is often a different story.

Gassho,

Shoka
sattoday

Joyo
04-08-2015, 03:00 PM
I am very attached to some people and I deeply enjoy being with them,. Losing them would cause deep suffering, but I consider that an important part of being human. I guess the original buddhist tradition would suggest to avoid such attachment, but that's not my way of life. What frightens me about Shitou is that he is so alone in his hut.

Ah yes, I agree. I am very attached to a few people. Although I'm a introvert, and even I'd say a loner, the thought of losing these few scares me a lot. I just try to enjoy each moment as best as I can, without the fear gripping and wrecking the present moment. But it is not easy.

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

RichardH
04-08-2015, 03:39 PM
- Has Zen Practice aided you ability to enjoy moments in life?

Zen practice opened life to a Joy that was always there but covered over with confusion. I am always at home... even when things suck. That means happy times aren't haunted by a shadow, and tough times don't overwhelm so easily.


- Can one richly and deeply enjoy without being overly attached to enjoyment?

Enjoyments come and go... but there is that background ok-ness that is the thing.

The Dharma has taught me that everything I love is impermanent and cannot be held onto. But I still love my son without reservation, knowing the price is grief, and I accept that price completely. It is a beautiful thing and points to a deeper equanimity that is a mystery.

Gassho
Daizan

sat today

Byokan
04-09-2015, 08:42 AM
- Can one richly and deeply enjoy without being overly attached to enjoyment?

Hi All,

I think my answer to this is yes, and the key is not some great self-control or limiting of enjoyment; it is surrendering to impermanence.

Ben Connolly writes:

“A balance exists between accidentally cultivating attachment by being present to life and denying oneself the enjoyment of your moments as a means to let go of attachment; it is a Middle Way between realizing impermanence and realizing the present moment.”


I have to take this apart a little bit. I don’t see it so much as a balance between the two ways, as if one were walking a tightrope in between. Isn’t it more that the surrender to, and acceptance of, impermanence leads us into fully realizing the present moment? Ben later says:



“...in that full offering of himself to impermanence he enjoys being at rest.”
And this rings true to me. This is the only way to truly rest, to be at rest from the endless struggling and striving for or against whatever is happening. A full acceptance of impermanence places us immediately in the present moment; it is all there is, and there’s no point at all in grasping at it or pushing it away. In this surrender there’s not even effort to allow or to release. If enjoyment arises, we can richly and deeply enjoy. Pain arises, we can richly and deeply feel the pain. No need to attach-to or resist or identify with anything. Just resting in the present moment with ease. This is true freedom.

Gassho
Lisa
sat today

ForestDweller
04-09-2015, 07:40 PM
No, Zen alone has not given me the ability to enjoy, and neither has it helped me to enjoy without being "overly attached." However, it sure has helped. In addition, I must credit a steady diet of the Pali Canon. Reading and studying the "Buddha's words" in the suttas is deeply nourishing and supports my daily, everyday practice intentions: "meditation and active kindness." I must also add that the narrative of my own life's embodied experiences have, themselves, taught me a great deal about how to enjoy and how to avoid being overly attached. So, I can also thank myself for having enough courage to meet life and not shy away.

In the spirit of founder, Eihei Dogen, Zen has grounded me in a middle way between silent practice and staying engaged in life as it actually arises. Perhaps most of all, both Zen and the Pali Canon have informed me of the nature of reality (e.g., impermanence, the nature of self) and with that knowledge, I am at ease. The big questions of my life are answered for the most part. With this foundation, I am able to be "open to what is."

The author has hit on an important theme running through our book: "an invitation to be at ease." When we are in this space, attachment is not so attractive, and enjoyment is easier. Isn't it truly wonderful that what Dogen Zenji calls "the Dharma gate of joy and ease" is actually available to us whenever we choose it?

Kaishin
04-10-2015, 01:19 AM
Ability to detach and enjoy things more now? I think so. But is that from Zen practice, or just getting older? Both?
Thanks,
Matt

Risho
04-10-2015, 01:26 AM
Something came to me during Doggy Kinhin today (aka walking the dog :) ) but seriously, there is something nourishing when doing anything with zazen mind -- walking the dog is a very, very cool practice.

But this enjoyment; sure it's great to be able to relax into life and enjoy it, stop and smell the roses. But I think it's deeper than that, much deeper beyond words. We can use zazen to become more productive, to be less stressful, to have better focus. But that is not zen. That is like picking up a rose, when we could have the entire garden, but we don't even see the garden.

But if we sit zazen as it is useless, we give ourselves fully to it without expectation. If we do that, then very naturally and organically things happen that we could never conceive of because we don't pidgeonhole the practice. I think we become better in the sense that we can become more helpful. Maybe that means being less stressful, or maybe it means being able to know when to help, and just helping when needed.. being more in tune. But it's like if you try to focus your zen to become more in tune, then you move away from it. It must be practiced fully as something useless. These are not new ideas, they are not my ideas, but the more I practice, the more I feel this is true.

And what does this have to do with enjoyment? Well ENJOYMENT is what we should really be talking about; we can't have ENJOYMENt, I can't have it if I know you are having a shitty time of things. So to have ENJOYMENT is also a practice. It's a practice of service. When you can fully serve without expectation, that is zazen mind in the world. That is the brilliance of this practice.

What's really cool about being a lay practitioner is that we are all really astute at work practice, because that's what we do. So I write about this a lot -- I think about it a lot. The last thing I want to do personally, and if possible, is to just collect a paycheck. I want to be of value. Now there's an egotistical way of being of value of making sure you get credit; credit is important, I mean emptiness is form too and you have to build a resume, but it should not be in a manner of grandstanding.

But what I mean is being of value -- being of service in the workplace. Holding a door, saying a joke, smiling, listening instead of waiting to speak, considering others' opinions and letting them have their say, letting them do things their way if it's still effective and even if you don't agree, letting people have things if it's important to them, easing their stress... and here is a big one for me.. never saying I'm too busy to listen to someone. To me that is a zazen work, that is a bodhisattva in the workplace, that is full ENJOYMENT, that is a full life, and living passionately.

That is how my practice is -- I slip, I'm human, but that is how I see my practice. Giving myself fully. Helping out where I can, refraining from unsolicited help or when that would cause more harm than good.. just showing up, being there, trying to lighten things up.

What I do isn't that great of importance, but what I do technically is to me second in line to the priority of taking care of my colleagues at work.

I'm talking about work, but this is zazen mind. This same attitude can be applied to everywhere. Walking the dog, taking out the trash.. those things are enjoyable when they are no longer tasks but living one's life fully as an act of giving and receiving without needing a pat on the back... as Dogen says, "like grasping for a pillow in the dark." It's done because it's needed to be done. Your done eating, wash your bowl. You are starting zazen, bow.

I must take care of my practice, but it isn't for me. That grasping is what causes me to experience fleeting happiness instead of the underlying ocean of joy.

Gassho,

Risho
-sattoday

Ansan
04-13-2015, 05:01 AM
Hi,

I can describe my experience best by writing about photography. With Zen, I shoot (photos) without as much analysis as before. That is, I may be shooting birds with a friend, and what I notice now is that I don't look at the LCD screen to evaluate a shot as much as my friend does. I shoot faster and am better focused on what might happen next (now). So there may be a shot I get that he/she won't because he/she is evaluating the previous shot (moment). I used to do that too, but now I'm better at "what now?" That seems to involve enjoying each moment more fully.

That also speaks to the second question. It's dropping an experience that may have been wonderful, not attaching to it. The moment (photograph) may have been great, but attaching to it is a mistake.

Now if I could do that with experiences that are not pleasant, that would be nice.

Here's a shot that would not have happened if I'd been attached to a (previous) good moment.

2426

Gassho
Meishin
Sat today

Meishen, since this discussion is about enjoyment, I find this photograph brings me great joy. It speaks beyond words of what life is. Thank you for sharing it with us.

In answer to Jundo's questions: Each day, I learn something new because of Zen. Enjoyment comes from awareness, which for me is heightened when I realize that I have made a choice that has improved my life. Before I began practicing, I was beginning to mourn the loss of youth, my involvement in a network of artists along with so many friends and loved ones. I lost the desire to do any artwork, because I believed that I had nothing to say anymore. Because of Zen, I accept the impermanence of all life, whether mine or loved ones or even any ones. My feeling for doing art has returned, even fuller than before. More rewarding and different than before. I like to think it is maturity, but I know better. Could I let that feeling and love go? Yes, because, even if I lost my tools and the use of my hands and eyes, I would still be me. That is enjoyment, knowing that I am still me. Wrinkles, creaky knees, having to wear 300+ lens to draw and all the blessings of aging.

Gassho,
Ansan

#SatToday

orangedice
04-15-2015, 02:45 AM
Feels good to be back on the forums and taking part in the book discussion.



Has Zen Practice aided you ability to enjoy moments in life?


Yes, definitely. This section from the book describes how I feel very well:


Regularly practicing meditation and mindfulness cause the categories of what you enjoy to expand and the separation from your life caused by ceaseless mental activity to fade.


In particular, I was taking part in a lovingkindness online... seminar? where it was suggested that as we drive (or in my case, bike), we send thoughts of metta to the other people on the road. This mindfulness that everybody else is also living their life, trying to get to wherever they're going, helped me appreciate that we're all in this together. It made my usually stress-filled, angry bike ride more pleasant, and I had a better chance to relax and look around, enjoy the scenery, and not be angry that the @#$% almost cut me off. [scared] I never thought that mindfulness could allow me to expand what I considered enjoyable, but it has.

In non-bike-related mindfulness, I walked home today from work. Parts of it were through beautiful Balboa Park, but other parts were on urban streets which aren't traditionally beautiful in the forest-y sense. But as I looked at the cracks in the street, listened to the hustle and bustle of cars driving by, and other urban sights and sounds, I felt a sense of enjoyment and peace. Life is going on around me, and at that moment, it seemed beautiful.



Can one richly and deeply enjoy without being overly attached to enjoyment?


In theory, yes, but I don't think I've yet to be unattached. :P But going back to my earlier walk, I think I was enjoying the scenery without wishing for more of that... attuned-ness. But now as I think about it, I do hope that I can continue to be more aware and mindful in the future, and that seems like a form of attachment to me.

Gassho,

June