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Jundo
06-25-2016, 07:26 PM
Case 56 never ends, and so we carry off to Case 57, Genryo's One Thing ...

https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=WTU6AwAAQBAJ&dq=book+of+equanimity&q=fiddling+shadows#v=snippet&q=fiddling%20shadows&f=false

A love song or poem, no matter have well written and expressed, can never capture the actual experience of live romance and heartbreak. Yet, we do love our love songs.

No written description or movie, no matter the budget for special effects, can truly convey the emotions and sensations of getting on a rocket and riding into space. However, for most of us earth bound folks, that is as close as we can come.

Likewise, Zen Practice-Enlightenment is to be truly known in the bones and lived. It is to be known first hand and lived, not merely described. Saying that "all is one" does not cut it. Saying all is "not one not two" is missing the mark. Saying "it is so one beyond one that there is not even one ... yet there is and all the countless things" dances around it. One has to actually live this romance to understand, nonetheless the love songs are the best we have sometimes to share the experience.

Fortunately, while space travel and walking on the moon may be beyond most of us, and something few will know, the "Moon of Enlightenment" is open to all of us I believe with practice and realization. Suddenly, the meaning of the "love songs" of Zen will become clear in one's heart. Phrases such a "not one not two" actually start to make sense and, most importantly, the "proof is in the pudding" face of this Path is proven by its actual walking.

I love the image in the Preface of "raising your voice to quiet an echo", not realizing that the voice is the source of the echo. We ride an ox looking for an ox, like a dog chasing its own tail. Do we not realize that all we see is the ox as is the trail, rider and riding itself, that the dog is tail from head to foot, and that both silence and words and echo is the Buddha Preaching?

Gassho, J

SatToday

FaithMoon
06-25-2016, 11:28 PM
For anyone interested in Yamada Koun Roshi's Teisho on the Shoyoroku (Book of Equanimity), I recently found them here http://www.sanbo-zen.org/forum_e.html#09 (scroll down a page). It a wonderful resource.

FaithMoon
st

Jundo
06-26-2016, 12:05 AM
For anyone interested in Yamada Koun Roshi's Teisho on the Shoyoroku (Book of Equanimity), I recently found them here http://www.sanbo-zen.org/forum_e.html#09 (scroll down a page). It a wonderful resource.

FaithMoon
st

Thank you Faith.

I will also point folks back to my comment on the flavor of the Sambokyodan movement which Yamada Koun led (he was the successor to Yasutani Roshi), and the particular emphasis on Kensho is very much prevalent in many of those talks. Sambokyodan Lineages have been very wide-spread in the West for historical reasons (many many well know teachers such as Maezumi Roshi, Kapleau Roshi, Aitken Roshi and all their many students come from the Yasutani line), but not so much in Japan where it is a small group and the emphasis on "Kensho" is rather unusual.

Special reading - once born twice born zen
(part 1)
http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?6514-Special-reading-once-born-twice-born-zen-%28part-1%29
(part 2)
http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?6539-Special-reading-%28more%29-once-born-twice-born-zen

also

On "Kensho" in the Soto Way ...

http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?12770-Sudden-enlightenment&p=137789&viewfull=1#post137789

More on the Sanbokyodan/Yasutani way here, for those who really want to delve into the history of that flavor of Zen ...
http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/CriticalZen/sanbokyodan%20zen.pdf

I hope that is helpful. For that reason, I cannot recommend Yamada Sensei's talks, although much wisdom value there (I quote portions myself from time to time). In much of the Soto world, such a chase after Kensho experiences is considered misleading and, in the end, counterproductive. However, Zen comes in several wonderful flavors, all precisely the same even though sometimes very very different, frequently greatly different yet ultimately just the same.

Gassho, Jundo

SatToday

Jishin
06-26-2016, 07:40 AM
This case makes me think of this Koan:

One day, Zen Master Man Gong sat on the high rostrum and gave the speech to mark the end of the three month winter retreat. All winter long you monks practiced very hard. Thats wonderful! As for me, I had nothing to do, so I made a net. This net is made out of a special cord. It is very strong and can catch all Buddhas, Patriarchs and human beings. It catches everything. How do you get out of this net?

Some students shouted, KATZ! Others hit the floor or raised a fist. One said, The sky is blue, the grass is green. Another said, Already got out; how are you, great Zen Master? From the back of the room a monk shouted, Dont make net!

Many answers were given, but to each Man Gong only replied, Aha! Ive caught a BIG fish!


It's late. 1:30 AM. Lights out.

Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

FaithMoon
06-26-2016, 09:45 AM
Thank you Faith.

I should explain: I was given an English dharma name by my (Japanese-American) teacher. It's Faith-Moon.

Eishuu
06-26-2016, 11:34 AM
I really like this koan...it seems like really practical advice. The phrases 'throw it away' and 'carry it off' spoke to me as practical guidance on how to work with the two extremes of craving/grasping and aversion when it comes to meditation and thoughts: 'throw it away' being the medicine for grasping on to thoughts, concepts and experiences and 'carry it off' being the medicine for aversion to them.

I liked the phrase "As long as you think you're not bringing a single thing, that idea is itself vastly heavy."

Gassho
Lucy
Sat today

Jundo
06-26-2016, 02:42 PM
Someone wrote me for an example of what I meant in being cautious about Yamada Roshi's talks and others associated from Sambokyodan. The talk on the present Koan is actually a good example. There are some very powerful and helpful insights, such as these ...


Zen satori is realizing that all things are empty. Normally we make a division into subject and object, creating a dualistic world. This is true about today’s koan ... We are ceaselesslychasing shadows. To run after the phenomenal world is the same as chasing shadows. It is only when there is a body that a shadow is cast. But we mistake the shadow for the body and chase after it. So we end up chasing shadows, knowing nothing of the true entity. This is referred to here as playing with the shadow. This is our life as ordinary unenlightened creatures. So the Introduction says, “Without knowing that it is the original form that is the source of the shadow.” ... Jsh said, “If so, carry it around with you.” In other words, if it’s so important to you, then keep on carrying it. Do you know where Gon’yo’s error lies? If it is truly “not having a single thing,” then even that idea of not having a single thing is gone. Gon’yo is still clinging to and cherishing the idea of not having a single thing. As was just said in the Introduction, he is “seeking an ox while riding an ox.” The true body of “not having a single thing” is not one that can be reflected upon objectively. It is the fact itself. The minute he begins to talk about “not having a single thing,” he has already made it into a concept. Jsh takes him to task and tells him to throw that idea of emptiness away. But Gon’yo persists and Jsh says “in that case, keep carrying it.” If that idea of not having a single thing is so precious to you, keep on carrying it. To put it in other terms, the real “not having a single thing” is emptiness itself. But the idea of Gon’yo about “not having a single thing” is just views of emptiness. This is what Jsh is reprimanding. Ideas of emptiness are a major illness. If you become attached to views of emptiness, they must be done away with.

Lovely, and a very standard understanding of Zen Buddhist ways and this Koan.

The problem is that, mixed into his talks, are perspectives on Kensho, Koan Centered Zazen and misunderstandings of Shikantaza that are quite unfortunate. For example, in this talk:


Why do we practice Zen? There are the three great aims of Zen practice. The first is developing concentration of mind. It means nurturing your powers of mental
concentration. Such power of concentration is indispensable in carrying out any kind of work in society. The second aim is satori or self-realization. The third aim is personalization of that realization. Of these three the central focus in Mahayana Zen is satori. But what is satori and what do we realize? That’s the main question. There are many methods of clarifying who you are. One of them is shikantaza or just sitting. In former times everyone practiced in that way, including Shakyamuni Buddha and Dgen Zenji. The next approach is koan study. It takes considerable time with shikantaza to come to a breakthrough and is quite difficult. Thus, we include an approach that is somewhat artificial in giving people koans to practice with
http://www.sanbo-zen.org/shoyoroku_57.pdf

Many (not all, especially in later generations) folks from that Lineage have a very perverse, instrumentalist and misguided understanding of Shikantaza, which comes from their insisting that it takes a back seat to Koan Introspection Zazen or is itself a tool on the road to Kensho experience.

Gassho, Jundo

SatToday

Tairin
06-26-2016, 09:04 PM
I am still working on this koan but in the meantime I thought I should post my appreciation for Jundo's discussion here and in Case 56 on the difference between Soto (Treeleaf) and Sanbokyodan approach. I started with the local Sanbokyodan centre and have struggled a little with the differentiation between what was done there and here. Honestly the Three Pillars book nearly turned me off Zen completely. I realize different paths up the same mountain but that path just wasn't for me. Anyway I wasn't sure where to put this thought. Hopefully the tangent is ok.

Back to the koan!!!

Gassho
Warren
Sat today

TyZa
06-27-2016, 08:16 PM
This koan and the previous one really seem (to me at least) to support the Soto tradition view. I'm a very young student to Zen but I just don't see how one (whether from the Rinzai or Sanbokyodan traditions) read koans likes these and still more or less have a goal of achieving a Kensho experience. I don't see how seeking enlightenment experiences are any different from chasing the white rabbit in Case 56 or removing a wedge by using a wedge or Jinshin's example of the net above.

Maybe I don't know enough about Rinzai or Sanbokyodan, but to me, these last two Koans have been clear to have a goalless goal and that even not thinking is something that needs to be thrown/carried away. I really enjoyed this Koan and everyone's views and responses.

Gassho,
Tyler

SatToday

Roland
06-28-2016, 04:30 AM
'Then carry it off' - I first was completely puzzled by this. Now I feel it's really 'carrying' something you cannot let go right now, but eventually, like all things, it will disappear, go 'off'. So no reason to worry or to cling to it even more while trying to shout it away.

Gassho

Roland
#SatToday

Jundo
06-28-2016, 04:40 AM
'Then carry it off' - I first was completely puzzled by this. Now I feel it's really 'carrying' something you cannot let go right now, but eventually, like all things, it will disappear, go 'off'. So no reason to worry or to cling to it even more while trying to shout it away.

Gassho

Roland
#SatToday

I am also reminded of this other famous Koan ...

Basho said to his disciple: “When you have a staff, I will give it to you. If you have no staff, I will take it away from you.”

What is given but cannot and need not be given, what is used but cannot and need not be used?

Gassho, J

SatToday

TyZa
06-29-2016, 07:53 AM
This could be an obvious answer, but is the preface "You don't ride on a Ox to look for an Ox." a reference to the Oxhearding Pictures?

Gassho,
Tyler

SatToday

Jundo
06-29-2016, 08:09 AM
This could be an obvious answer, but is the preface "You don't ride on a Ox to look for an Ox." a reference to the Oxhearding Pictures?

Gassho,
Tyler

SatToday

Hi Tyler,

I would say kinda. The "riding an ox" image is common to Chinese Daoist and Buddhist imagery beyond just the ox herding pictures. In this case, I would say just take the most obvious meaning of something like "don't use the finger to point at where the finger is" or "don't ride a Harley to look for the Harley." :)

Gassho, J

SatToday

Kokuu
06-30-2016, 12:13 PM
The phrases 'throw it away' and 'carry it off' spoke to me as practical guidance on how to work with the two extremes of craving/grasping and aversion when it comes to meditation and thoughts: 'throw it away' being the medicine for grasping on to thoughts, concepts and experiences and 'carry it off' being the medicine for aversion to them.

Lovely! Thank you, Lucy.

gassho2

Toun
06-30-2016, 01:59 PM
After reading this koan I found myself going back to the very first sentence of the preface to the assembly; “Fiddling with shadows, toying with forms”.

I guess that maybe when sitting we sometimes find ourselves "fiddling and toying" with ideas, sensations, expectations and all sorts of other things that tend to be distractions on the path. In a somewhat personal way, it’s telling me to just let go and simply sit instead of trying to make sense of everything from an intellectual point of view. Ego will always try to replace thoughts with more thoughts just like using a wedge to remove a wedge and ultimately getting stuck in the process.

Just a my personal thoughts on this very insightful koan.

Gassho
Mike

Sat2day

Tairin
07-02-2016, 02:30 PM
Case 57 keeps invoking this story copied from "Zen Flesh, Zen Bones"

Muddy Road


Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling.

Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.

"Come on, girl" said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.

Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. "We monks don't go near females," he told Tanzan, "especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?"

"I left the girl there," said Tanzan. "Are you still carrying her?"

I frequently remind myself of this story when I find that I continue to carry something that has happened in the past into this moment.

Lucy's comment today in Insight Timer feels related. She said she woke up with "an unusually still and quiet mind" yet as she sat her mind couldn't resist making a commentary on how still and quiet it was. I can appreciate that comment. It is amazing how the mind insists on actively engaging.

Ekido couldn't put down the girl.
Genyo couldn't put down "not one thing".
Even with a still and quiet mind, we can't resist the internal commentary on our still and quiet mind.

Gassho
Warren
sat this morning


P.S. I hope Lucy doesn't mind my referring to her Insight Timer comment but if so I'll remove it.

Eishuu
07-02-2016, 04:35 PM
Not at all Warren. I really like the story about the girl. Thanks for sharing it.

Gassho
Lucy
Sat today

Toun
07-02-2016, 09:46 PM
Case 57 keeps invoking this story copied from "Zen Flesh, Zen Bones"

Muddy Road



I frequently remind myself of this story when I find that I continue to carry something that has happened in the past into this moment.

Lucy's comment today in Insight Timer feels related. She said she woke up with "an unusually still and quiet mind" yet as she sat her mind couldn't resist making a commentary on how still and quiet it was. I can appreciate that comment. It is amazing how the mind insists on actively engaging.

Ekido couldn't put down the girl.
Genyo couldn't put down "not one thing".
Even with a still and quiet mind, we can't resist the internal commentary on our still and quiet mind.

Gassho
Warren
sat this morning


P.S. I hope Lucy doesn't mind my referring to her Insight Timer comment but if so I'll remove it.

Thank you Warren for sharing this story with us.

Gassho
Mike

Sat2day

Risho
07-02-2016, 11:50 PM
Thank you all :). The Muddy Road story is one of my favorites.

I really like this koan; the more we go through these koans, I feel more and more humbled. I feel as if they just sort of beckon us and motivate us to practice.

Theres so much to say yet none of it can ever hit the mark; the difficulty and also beauty of this practice is being able to sit amongst all sorts of thoughts of ego inflation, ego crushing stuff, boredom, restlessness and stillness and being able to watch and not grasp or push away.

By seeing this stuff on the zafu its very interesting to see certain habitual reactions occur in daily life. For example I struggle with boredom, but zen has taught me, what struggle? Boredom is a gift, when bored be fully bored not worried about being bored.

I'm constantly humbled because I'm no good at this sitting; it takes practice, and so its really nice to have a sangha here to practice with. I think thats just another barrier to practice, sticking with it, and these koans and discussions we have really keep me going when I'd just rather do something else (that Id rather not really do but my ego tells me I want to do to avoid this boredom).

Although this practice seems like its letting go or throwing away, it fills me up in a way that I cannot explain. When I stop sitting sometimes, I'm reminded of why it is so important to me.

Gassho

Risho
-sattoday

AlanLa
07-05-2016, 01:09 PM
Very nice koan. It reminded me of the Heart sutra. It can be dangerous to hold on to ideas, though sometimes it is also certainly important. The commentary talks about how we like to define our ideas, how we like to be right. Is it right of me to not mind being wrong? I will gladly give up one idea for a better one. That's how I came to Zen in the first place. Now I practice letting it go, and I suck at it. So much holding on just in this paragraph. I will go sit now...