View Full Version : 11/9 Zen Seeds: Pgs 34-42

09-11-2011, 05:52 PM

P.34- 39 A rough experience

P. 39- 40 Burning ourselves

P. 40-42 The blue bird

It's a rough experience burning ourselves and the blue bird.

Plz discuss.


09-11-2011, 10:49 PM
The Rough Experience chapter resonated with me, because it was a time of turmoil that sparked the search that brought me here to Treeleaf. I wasn't suicidal, but I was shellshocked, disoriented, and strained beyond reason over a long period of time (a very bad divorce situation).

I had to lean on a lot of people -- friends, family. I know I was a burden to some of them, but even if some were tired because of it, they were doing Kannon's work.

One time, I was going back to my car in an attended parking lot after a frustratingly unsuccessful search for sliding-fee legal aid that left me despairing and wanting to break down crying right there. The attendant at the parking lot was sitting there in her security uniform, humming to herself. She looked nice. As I walked past her, she saw me looking so awful, and said, "Are you alright, Miss?" I answered to her meekly, "Please tell me things are going to be okay." She said unhesitatingly, "Things sure are going to be okay!" And then she hugged me.

Kannon Boddhisattva in a run down inner city parking lot.

I could not have gone through the things I did without that borrowed strength -- I didn't have it myself. But now that I have more, maybe I can pass it on to someone that needs it, because it doesn't belong to me. It's borrowed.

So far, no one has really asked or looked like they wanted it from me...but I've got it for next time.


09-12-2011, 01:21 PM
your short intro is a nice contrast to the long chapter. I read these chapters last weekend, and especially the metaphor of the candle makes sense to me. I think its a nice picture of how, when practice matures, the focus enlarges from ourselves to embrace all those around us (not two, you know). I guess when the candle is really freezing in cold winter, its so eager to get lit. And once its lit, it keeps burning by itself. Until its strong enough to warm others, and light more candles.

09-12-2011, 08:44 PM
That's an inspiring recount Julia.
I like your description of borrowed strength....you'll be there when you're needed.
Many thanks for sharing.

09-15-2011, 02:52 AM
Kannon Boddhisattva in a run down inner city parking lot.

Very touching, Julia.

You've just been the embodiment of Kannon Boddhisattva for me. You reminded me that it does not matter what we look at. What matters is what we see.

Thanks a lot.

09-15-2011, 08:16 PM
1) "If people do not meet with sadness or suffering, they will never seek for the true way of life" -- This is a profound statement, but I think that even sometimes those who suffer most haven't the strength the seek the true way. There is so much suicide here in the States. Twice as many each year as homicides (and there are a lot of those too). So much suffering. We really do need the strength of everyone to hold us up.

2) I need a lot of re-lighting! I burn on my own for a bit, but the fire starts to fade. Then Jundo or Taigu or a sangha member comes along to toss some fuel on the fire and I am roasting once again

3) You will never find happiness if you go looking for it. And you will never recognize it if you do find it. Just sit.

09-16-2011, 06:09 AM
Buddhism was only an intellectual curiosity to me, until it dawned on me the paradox of searching for trivial, mundane pleasures. No matter how much you accomplish, it rapidly turned out to be "normal", so you just need more. That's why we never have enough money. The more things and power you obtain, it just leads you to more power. You have a new house, then you need a better car that fits your beautiful house. With such a lovely car, you'll need a holiday house. Then you need to find extra work to be able to pay for all that. When I was able to experience that, suddenly meditation turned into something vital, something I needed to scape that paradox.
On burning ourselves. This concept first hit me when I was reading "how to cook your life" and I found the blunt sentence "you can't even exchange a fart with someone else." It is obvious, of course, but so obvious and it never occurred to me before. Before I tend to let other people live my life, as well as trying to live some other people's life too. But of course, this is completely nonsensical. You can only live your live. Like the text states, we have to burn ourselves, nobody else will do it for us.
Fortunately, there are Kannons there helping us to live our own lives giving us confort and help. Thanks for sharing the story of the Boddhisatva at the parking lot, Julia. It was very moving



09-18-2011, 11:35 PM
Burning ourselves brought to mind how Jundo and Taigu have started many candles here at Treeleaf. Especially noteworthy are our priests in training…Shohei, Fugen, and Hans. Also, our discussions of Zen Seeds have brought out many great teachers, leading discussions on the book. (Seiryu, Chessie, Al, Disastermouse, Dosho, and Jodi….hope I didn’t forget anyone.) The point is that it is inspiring to see so many here instructing others in our practice.


09-20-2011, 12:43 AM
A Rough Experience

Found it inspiring how when the blood needed to be cleaned up, she cleaned up the blood.

Blue Bird

I always find it challenging to accept promises of happiness. Not saying that we cannot be happy, but by simply seeking contentment it helps balance the highs and lows of life.



09-20-2011, 09:31 PM
Blue Bird
At the end of a very old b&w silent movie of the Thief of Bagdad (I haven't been able to source it! but it had captions throughout) the final caption before the end read 'Happiness must be earned'. I have since used this as a personal reminder to expect nothing but to work for everything.
Sometimes you glimpse the Bluebird, but it never alights for long!

09-21-2011, 02:39 PM
Thanks for sharing that hug Julia :D


09-23-2011, 02:14 AM
A Rough Time

Well what can I say? I, myself, experienced panic attacks last summer; because of that experience I feel that I am bonded to Treeleaf not because somehow "Zazen fixed me", but that zazen allowed myself to see myself and see others as we truly are. Life is rough, but somehow we keep living if we let ourselves, isn't it beautiful?

Burning Ourselves:

This goes splendidly with the previous entry. Yes, we may have all the support in the world from other people but unless we, ourselves, manage to get of bed on our own volition, nothing will happen.

The Blue Bird:

"If you can't find truth where you are, where do you expect to find it?" I think "contentment" could just as easily replace "truth". Thanks Dogen.