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Jundo
04-12-2015, 01:52 AM
Dear All,

This week's garden work is Chapter 3, Unwithering Fertility, from page 31.

As a suggestion, perhaps we might discuss weeding life and weeding the mind in the way he describes, and what you feel about the book's description of weeding.

Gassho, J

SatToday

Jishin
04-12-2015, 05:06 AM
Hi,

I think weeding life, weeding mind and the book's description of weeding is what you make of it.

Gassho, Jishin

Myosha
04-12-2015, 03:16 PM
Hello,

My beloved brother is a voracious 'weeder' and has killed two fir trees not understanding the symbiosis of bird poop (which contains the weed-seed) and the nourishment of the tree. Distinction kills.


Gassho
Myosha sat today

RichardH
04-12-2015, 04:30 PM
Weeding every day is complete action. A standing wave is ever-tipping. A world of work is ever-reaching. Ever-tipping and ever-reaching are perfect stillness and consummation itself. Delusions are endless, I vow to uproot them.

Gassho
Daizan
Sat today

Troy
04-12-2015, 04:36 PM
I think this section is a good reminder to be gentle with ourselves and others. We can go along time without even realizing our weeds are there. Through meditation and mindfulness, we can see our weeds for what they are without judging them which in turn helps us let them go.

During meditation, the thoughts and emotions that rise and dissipate are fragments of the thoughts and emotions we carry through out the day. By gently letting go of the thoughts and emotions on the cushion, it helps us do the same off the cushion. Through practice the weeds of anger, envy, regret, greed, etc. dissipate faster. We learn to enjoy the flowers while they last and smile when they disappear.


..sat2day•

Risho
04-12-2015, 05:59 PM
Troy I agree. I like that description. What's cool about our weeds, observing our habits, is that sometimes it's hard for me because I can be a condescending a-hole. So it's hard to admit that and see that unfold in my mind sometimes, but it's also necessary. I think by granting ourselves a little compassion with our bad habits, we not only are able to overcome them by facing them, but we are also less harsh on others who also display similar habits. I work with some very difficult personalities. On calls, you can hear the negativity, the ego-ism, the bite of the words. But lately, I let it flow over me. I can't change that by meeting it with anger, that will make it worsen. Plus, it's easier to point out someone else's flaws and miss my own. So I'm sure just like that person to me, I annoy the crap out of a lot of people, completely based on bad habits a lot of the time. It's like that Buddhist analogy of a boat that bumps into you and you see that there's no one in it. That's what these bad habits are. So it's like this same method of practice we practice just extends. If we push or grasp, pick and choose, it doesn't bear fruit; it gets limited. I really like the description about that in the book about how we shouldn't limit it.

I think if we could apply, and I know I sound idealistic, this idea of letting people's harsh words pass over us (of course you know if you are not in physical danger and all that), and just return them with kindness, all sorts of crap could be averted.

I think practice is an art because it's a very personal thing we have to do. It's subtle to know when to pick, when to just be mindful. It's something I constantly practice with, for lack of a better term. It's actually a fun part of zen to me because it can be hard for me; it's where the rubber meets the road.

Gassho,

Risho
-sattoday

Ansan
04-13-2015, 05:08 AM
Hello,

My beloved brother is a voracious 'weeder' and has killed two fir trees not understanding the symbiosis of bird poop (which contains the weed-seed) and the nourishment of the tree. Distinction kills.


Gassho
Myosha sat today

Oh, thank you, Myosha, for this!! I wish had a clever way to say you have just weeded some of today's angst by replacing it with laughter...out loud laughing...LOL!

Gassho,
Ansan

#SatToday

Jishin
04-13-2015, 11:21 AM
Hi,

After getting married I lived in a tiny duplex with a small fenced back yard. My wife likes to make fun of me because I could not tell the difference between a weed and not a weed. She likes to tell friends that I watered weeds in my underwear in the mornings because I can't tell the difference. I am a little better about telling the difference now. We have a big lawn and the only way to get rid of some weeds is to pull them out. But if you do that it leaves ugly divots. It's pointless. So I just cut the grass real low and the weed remains but it's not as visible.

A weed is a weed only if it's a weed.

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Jika
04-13-2015, 02:59 PM
A weed is a weed only if it's a weed.

I like that a lot.

Gassho,
Danny
#sattoday

PS And a rose is a rose only if it's a rose, right?

Byrne
04-13-2015, 03:55 PM
We have a lot of weeds growing all around my father in law's farm in northeast Pennsylvania. We pick some and eat others. The wild spinach is especially good. We also have to pull rocks out of the soil. That's way worse than weeding. The rocks don't appear. They're just there. Lots of them. In the 200+ years that land has been farmed on we haven't plucked them all. We can't eat rocks.

Gassho

Sat Today

Roland
04-13-2015, 06:15 PM
The garden of my late parents once was beautiful. I was a child and to me the garden was huge, it was like the universe. When they passed away it was full of weeds. Nature took it back and covered it. I lacked the strength to fight the weeds and sold the house and garden to the village authorities. I went there the other day to have a look. The house, the garden, the weeds were all gone.
It's just a vacant plot. It seems so small now. The universe of the child I once was, is gone. Killing the weeds can kill a universe, not killing them can end up doing the same.

Gassho

Roland

#SatToday

Kyonin
04-13-2015, 06:35 PM
Hi Jundo!

I'll be reading and sitting with this a few days before posting.

Gassho,

Kyonin

ForestDweller
04-13-2015, 09:07 PM
Out here in the Forest, we are very careful what we call a weed because it just might be your next meal in a pinch. If one subscribes to Gary Snyder's Practice of the Wild, a plant is a weed only if one is trying to beat the wild out of the landscape. What this usually does is create a monoculture and drive out diversity. Perhaps the "weeds" of our mind could be looked at similarly. Our thoughts, like weeds, will be with us as long as we are alive, returning to the mental soil in persistent fashion. Thinking is what our brains very naturally do. But, like "weeds," are these thoughts really so unwanted? They are the natural activity of the brain, just as a body of water will always have waves. Couldn't we view our thought-weeds as welcome entry points to scanning our environment and then settling into a place of "just watching?" But "we want a different garden than the one that's here." This has to be an exercise in judging good and bad instead of accepting our thoughts just as they are, cultivating the thoughts we want to track, and simply letting the rest pass by.

ForestDweller
04-13-2015, 09:09 PM
Ooops! I'm not in the habit yet.
Sat today.
CatherineS

Jika
04-14-2015, 12:24 PM
"When it was completed, fresh weeds appeared."

I can relate to this situation: when I am at the point of completing something, there is rarely "seeing it is all good".
Rather, I'll get doubts if I could have done better, if it is really finished like that.

When sitting zazen, thoughts can appear in my mind that I urgently have to do something I have not been thinking about for weeks.
Sometimes this can be quite amusing.
So I agree, if I understand it right, that weeding as a big part of practice could be more limiting than liberating.

On the other hand, I experience thoughts in my mind that only a very uncaring gardener would not gently try to weed.
Letting them grow roots in my mind would be harmful to me or to my relationship with others.
I like how Ben describes this "small" practice as a very attentive one: sometimes accepting weeds, sometimes not watering them, sometimes pulling them up.
I do not get the impression that a "small" part of practice is an "unimportant" one.

Knowing when to accept, knowing honestly when to do better, and being alert when to avoid harmful thinking or behavioural patterns looks like very advanced practice to me.

Gassho,
Danny
#sattoday

Meishin
04-14-2015, 02:08 PM
I like that, Danny.

Gassho
Meishin
Sat today

Ansan
04-14-2015, 08:46 PM
Where I live in the desert, there are miles of open land. Weeds grow everywhere. Wild flowers attract people and insects. Desert wild life depends upon the nourishment and protection from the foliage, no matter if it is large or small. About 2 years ago, large equipment vehicles descended upon 1 acre near the freeway. This equipment plowed the entire acre until there was no foliage. No creosote bushes, no mesquite trees, no palo verdes, nothing but dirt. We thought perhaps they were planning a community, but they were only using that acre to test tractors. Every day, and every night, one or two tractors like groaning beasts would plow the acre giving rise to a brown cloud that spread, camouflaging the blue sky. The Javelinas were seen more frequently with their babies crossing the road, as were the fox. Coyotes too appeared more often looking for water and food.

Early this year, the tractors stopped. A little green haze could be seen emerging from that dusty acre. The "weeds" were growing again.

No matter how much we try to suppress weeds or whatever we call burgeoning growth of any kind, they will return. Vigilance will keep the desirable weeds and control the undesirable. Life as it is. Death of the land would cause natural devastation and no weeds. But while it is still alive, weeds happen. How much do we want to cultivate and how much do want to destroy? As an individual, as a country, as Earth. And especially as an individual who sits in daily Zazen to try to understand the process of weeding and cultivating. After the dust settles.

Gassho,
Ansan

SatToday

orangedice
04-15-2015, 02:56 AM
Fresh weeds appear, but often we meditators don't want the weeds, we want the cleared-out garden with just what we planted, we want a different garden than the one that's here.


When I'm feeling fine or good, it's easy for me to sit down and meditate. It's easy for me to see my thoughts come and go--and if I have feelings of frustration with myself or restlessness, I'm learning to just sit with it. But even so, sometimes I'll notice a thought is bothering me, or that my mind seems overly distracted, and I'll tell myself, "it's okay that I'm distracted." And to me, that seems like I'm not really SITTING with it because I'm reminding myself to be okay with it. Perhaps it comes with time?

And like I mentioned in the "going away but coming back" thread, when I'm depressed, I don't sit. I think I'm afraid that the dark thoughts will be like an avalanche that I won't be able to sit with non-judgmentally. That instead it'll fester and grow until the weeds overtake my mind and not even the good flowers or vegetables can push themselves through. That's a scary thought for me.

michaeljc
04-15-2015, 11:13 AM
I do not have the book but found the poem on the net. I am not dissatisfied as I feel these writings should speak for themselves. Rightly or wrongly I get irritated by editors explanations as I feel the message should be direct from author to reader. If I don't get it then its back to the cushion. Commonly editors commentaries in books on classic zen literature far exceed the word count of author. Something ain't right.

Whatever, to me the poem projects total surrender with total faith. What is a weed? S/he is far beyond discrimination

m

Sat2-day

orangedice
04-15-2015, 03:50 PM
That honestly seems very limiting. Hearing other people's interpretation, even if it takes more words than the original work, can be a breath of fresh air. Sometimes we get stuck thinking our own thoughts, seeing the world in our own eyes, that we forget that other people have other viewpoints. I see no harm in reading commentaries on poetry or literature. In fact, I think it does the opposite of harm.

Gassho,
June

#sattoday

Risho
04-15-2015, 05:06 PM
That's a good point June. Plus, think about all of the writings on other teachings like the Heart Sutra, the Bodhisattva vows, the Faith in Mind Sutra, Fukanzazengi, Tenzo Kyokun (by the way Jundo has an awesome video series on these) The number of words far outweigh the number of words in the source texts, but that doesn't invalidate them.

The teacher has a responsibility as does the student to bring these teachings to life in their own way. We each need to read them, practice and understand why they have meaning to us. Ben Connelly is doing that in his book. From the introduction, "This book is not an attempt to explain the 'Song of the Grass-Roof Hermitage.' Instead, I write in order to engage my understanding with the text - in order to engage with your understanding."

And he does a great job; I never really paid much attention to Shitou's poem, but Ben has opened my mind, and I really love it now. And the Sangha members here have opened my minds.

These commentaries aren't about telling us how things are; they are often times inviting us to expand our view of our practice, of life. You may agree or disagree, but it gets you thinking about how this still relates to you.

And that is a big part of practice. Sitting, dialogue with the Sangha. Like June said, others' interpretations grow us, grow our practice.

Gassho,

Risho
-sattoday

Byrne
04-15-2015, 08:27 PM
I read the poem before reading Connellys book and was really moved by it. It spoke to me directly. I was really excited to read Connelly's book and at first I honestly felt a little disappointed. It had nothing to do with the book. It was that I came to it with my own thoughts and feelings and was expecting to have those thoughts and feelings compounded on and possibly challenged. But that didn't happen. I was judging the book based on what it wasn't and not on what it was. I wanted to read an extension of me, but instead I got this other guy who took the time to write the book. I've taken to reading smaller portions at a time, not allowing myself to worry about what he isn't talking about and just letting his perspective fall alongside mine, alongside all y'all's. Without constant dialogue and re-interpretation what will happen to Buddhism?

Gassho

Sat Today

Gassho

Sat Today

michaeljc
04-15-2015, 09:21 PM
I am not suggesting that Jundo does this. He more invites discussion and contemplation

I will make a point of not reading any published commentaries until after the discussions here are completed. If and when I respond it will be in relation to those paragraphs referred to in the poem. At this point I am more inclined to take the story literally - a recluse who has surrendered to to the way, describing his/her mind-state. It is an example of how we/I should live if we/I had the courage

The contradiction, as I see it, is that we do need an introduction to this practice -yet- ultimately, cannot rely on other' s interpritations

I do appreciate Jundo introducing this work. It strikes a cord

JustSat

m

Joyo
04-15-2015, 11:44 PM
Little mind focused on controlling thoughts....big mind focused on mindfulness----what a wonderful thing to practice.

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Jundo
04-16-2015, 03:08 AM
It strikes a cord



I will say that it is a wonderful book, itself an "original" of what it is. It is not just a "commentary", but itself is a work of Wisdom for modern times.

One might also ask if Shitou was merely commenting himself on the mountain and weeds ... and What the mountain and weeds were themselves commenting on. :p

Gassho, J

SatToday

Ansan
04-16-2015, 08:24 PM
Where I live in the desert, there are miles of open land. Weeds grow everywhere. Wild flowers attract people and insects. Desert wild life depends upon the nourishment and protection from the foliage, no matter if it is large or small. About 2 years ago, large equipment vehicles descended upon 1 acre near the freeway. This equipment plowed the entire acre until there was no foliage. No creosote bushes, no mesquite trees, no palo verdes, nothing but dirt. We thought perhaps they were planning a community, but they were only using that acre to test tractors. Every day, and every night, one or two tractors like groaning beasts would plow the acre giving rise to a brown cloud that spread, camouflaging the blue sky. The Javelinas were seen more frequently with their babies crossing the road, as were the fox. Coyotes too appeared more often looking for water and food.

Early this year, the tractors stopped. A little green haze could be seen emerging from that dusty acre. The "weeds" were growing again.

No matter how much we try to suppress weeds or whatever we call burgeoning growth of any kind, they will return. Vigilance will keep the desirable weeds and control the undesirable. Life as it is. Death of the land would cause natural devastation and no weeds. But while it is still alive, weeds happen. How much do we want to cultivate and how much do want to destroy? As an individual, as a country, as Earth. And especially as an individual who sits in daily Zazen to try to understand the process of weeding and cultivating. After the dust settles.

Gassho,
Ansan

SatToday

I need to make a correction to my comment. And for my own edification. The area I speak of is not one acre but one mile or 640 acres. That poses another thought about the weeding. Does size make a difference with regard to destruction or weeding? Does it make a difference in meditation? Can weeding be more effective and easier to accomplish in doing Zazen in shorter periods, or over longer periods? As a new member of TreeLeaf and to Zen and to Zazen, I began with short periods, 15 minutes, which basically taught me how to sit physically. Now, I have increased it to 45 minutes and have started doing Zazenkai on the weekend. With the increase of time, I am becoming more aware of the importance of living in the present and doing a lot of weeding, which affects all things. Of course, there seems to be more weeds but that adds to my awareness. When I first heard about meditation a long time ago, the thought of trying to not think seemed impossible and mindless. I tried but had no idea what I was doing or why. My practice has begun and grown here on TreeLeaf. Because of Jundo and the Sangha, the more I learn and study and participate in these forums, the larger my understanding. As I look at my one mile, until the day that weeds no longer grow, I am weeding as it is.

Gassho
Ansan

SatToday

Rich
04-16-2015, 11:12 PM
A line in Shobogenzo, Genjokoan, says:

And though it is like this, it is plainly that flowers, while loved, fall and weeds while hated, flourish.

Sat today

Joyo
04-17-2015, 05:31 PM
Sometimes it is good to do some weed pulling, and the way to get rid of them is simple awareness that they are there.

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Shingen
04-17-2015, 06:02 PM
Each independent of the other
Like leaves that come from the same root.

And though leaves and root must go back to the Source
Both root and leaves have their own uses.

Snippet from the Relative and Absolute. =)

Gassho
Shingen

SatToday

michaeljc
04-17-2015, 06:55 PM
There is no word for weed in Nature's vocabulary

Byokan
04-17-2015, 09:41 PM
There is no word for weed in Nature's vocabulary

gassho2

Hi All,

Soo many great insights here.

“When it was completed, fresh weeds appeared.” Something appears (or appears to appear). Something grows from the soil of causation. There are definitely sprouts that are better off pulled out by the roots, and other sprouts to be carefully tended; we do what needs to be done. Hopefully we choose wisely, guided by the precepts and the 8fold path and compassion. Shitou doesn’t torture himself over the weeds, or hate the weeds, or feel guilty about the weeds, or burn down the hut in despair and start over. He lives peacefully inside the hut and goes about his business, doing what needs to be done, with a heart at ease. I imagine he would pull any weeds that were a problem. His well-worn path in and out of the door would keep the weeds from growing there. He doesn’t add suffering on top of the “weed problem”.

My philosophy gets simpler and simpler as time goes by. More and more I just ask myself of each thing that arises: does this increase suffering, or decrease it? And then try to act accordingly. The answer is not always clear. All we can do is give it our best effort.

Gassho
Lisa
sat today

Nindo
04-17-2015, 10:24 PM
There is no word for weed in Nature's vocabulary

True, but Nature also includes man-made changes ever since agriculture started. What would you say about invasive species - a big topic in NZ, trying to get rid of possums etc.

Gassho
Nindo
sattoday

Risho
04-17-2015, 11:39 PM
My philosophy gets simpler and simpler as time goes by. More and more I just ask myself of each thing that arises: does this increase suffering, or decrease it? And then try to act accordingly. The answer is not always clear. All we can do is give it our best effort.


That's pretty damned brilliant. gassho2

Gassho,

Risho
-sattoday

Joyo
04-18-2015, 02:37 AM
My philosophy gets simpler and simpler as time goes by. More and more I just ask myself of each thing that arises: does this increase suffering, or decrease it? And then try to act accordingly. The answer is not always clear. All we can do is give it our best effort.

Gassho
Lisa
sat today

Thank you, Lisa, for all that you said. But especially this. gassho1

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

michaeljc
04-18-2015, 09:01 AM
True, but Nature also includes man-made changes ever since agriculture started. What would you say about invasive species - a big topic in NZ, trying to get rid of possums etc.

Gassho
Nindo
sattoday

Hi Nindo. Thanks for the response. Having not read the book I instinctively lean towards a very literal interpretation of the poem. To me it reflects the life of someone who has truly jumped from the 100 ft pole. Should S/he have an infestation of 'weeds', Possums, or even rats, S/He judges none as undesirable. S/He no doubt realised that the most invasive species in Earth's history are in fact people. This does not mean that steps were not taken to protect food from rats.

Cheers

m

Sat2day