THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ZEN TALK YOU WILL EVER HEAR. It will save Zen Students endless tail chasing and dead-ends, disappointments and wasted days. It will allow every Sitting to be Magnificent ... both the Sittings which are magnificent and those which are not. One will never be let down by one's Zen's Practice again ... nor by one's life, family and friends, nor this whole world ... both when fulfilling your every dream and when falling far short.

    In an old Koan from the Book of Serenity (Ganto's Bow and Shout) a Zen student of too little experience but too much self conceit (as is true of so many modern Zen Students) shows up at the doorway of a Sangha. He demands, full of opinions, "Is this place sacred or just common? Is it what I think I want from the Zen I picture? Is it 'real Zen' or just fake Zen, and are the Teachers enlightened as I want 'enlightened' to look and seem?"

    The Teacher in the Koan then demonstrates Dharma with a KATZU! Shout ... perhaps a GREAT Wordless Teaching or perhaps just a hackneyed cliche clunker. The student, moved, may decide to stay. Or, judgmental and dreaming, filled with golden expectations, the same Zen Student may feel disappointed with the Teachings offered (compared to how he thinks they "should" sound ... even if he is not quite sure how that is.). He leaves ... either right away or after some time ... thinking "there is no True Dharma here." He may judge based on having read too many Zen story books, where all the characters of the past have been cleaned up and dipped in gold (Although please read some of the old books such as the Vinaya, and you will find what a frustrating mess, with folks bumping noses, was Sangha even in the Buddha's day ). In either case, the foolish student fails to hear the TRUE SHOUT! ... the Great Wordless Teaching found both in the inspiring moment and the hack and cliche'd klunk.

    The student fails to realize that the Best Zen Sangha may be that which is sometimes inspiring and sometimes discouraging, and the Best Buddhist Teachers and Friends those who are frequently uplifting and sometimes frustrating and mostly in between ... the ones who sometimes meet your ideals, but sometimes don't.

    For what the Zen Student must find is Such which is Common-Holy, Specially Unspecial, fulfilling all desires ... both with what is wanted and what is not. The student most find freedom from the small human self ... filled with aversions and attractions, dreams and feelings of incompleteness and lack (the "I" in "I'm disappointed"). Can one know the Real that sweeps in and sweeps through 'real' or 'fake'? Can the Great Teaching be heard that shouts at the Unbreakable Heart of both the sparkling talks or thrilling moments and the dull or dumb, the Timeless both in the 'time well spent' and so-called 'waste of time'? Can one experience the Wholly Holy Whole, which fills all the high mountains climbed and barren holes one falls in. Can one find that True Way from which there is no way to "go away"? Even the frauds and fake Teachers, even the Teachers with weaknesses and failings, even the the greatest abusers and predators are Teaching to those with a Buddha's Eye to see.

    Is this a clarion call to complacency and mediocrity, acceptance of the ugly without attempt at repair? FAR FROM IT! Yet there are two kinds of Sangha or Teacher that, I feel, do a disservice to students. One is a place or person that is too lax, too careless, which fails to provide beneficial opportunities for Practice, or (in some fortunately very VERY few cases) where real abuse and other bad acts occur. But, counter-intuitive as it may seem, a Sangha or Teacher which meets all the student's expectations, golden dreams, ideals and desires too would be a disservice (not to mention unlikely to ever truly appear, at least for the long haul when the rose colored honeymoon is done. It would be as misleading as the world of 'Gods' in the Six Realms, where all is given that is desired). Why? Because as with all of this life, all this world, one must come to see through personal judgments of both "sacred" and "ordinary", good and bad, flashy or dull, entertaining or painful, satisfying and disatisfying, true vs. fake ... thus to find a Truth beyond selfish expectations, disappointments, dreams, ideals and failings to meet a mark, thus to find the Mark Always Met. The best Teacher or Community, as strange as it sounds, may be one that ... like the universe ... sometimes inspires and sometimes frustrates, sometimes energizes and sometimes bores, sometimes astounds and sometimes leaves cold ... all so that one might find Astounding Energetic Inspiration even right at the heart of the frustratingly dull or unbearably cold.

    This is not a call for complacency, resignation or merely "putting up with" ... but a call to PIERCE RIGHT THROUGH!

    Our Treeleaf Sangha is a wonderfully imperfect place, often beautiful and often filled with small frictions. Our Teachers here are well-meaning but mediocre clods and fools. Yet This Place, This Dharma, This Buddha, sits beyond all human weighing and rating.

    Here is a talk by me, the Best Zen Talk You Will Ever Hear, yet just middling and unspecial. Is it worth the time? Is it a waste of time?

    ........................... 'Tis Timeless whether worth or waste.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: The BEST Zen is SO DISAPPOINTING! started by Jundo View original post
    Comments 52 Comments
    1. Kyonin's Avatar
      Kyonin -
      Thank you, Jundo.


    1. jayjay's Avatar
      jayjay -

      The most worthwhile waste of time - Thank you


    1. Nengyo's Avatar
      Nengyo -
      Thank you Jundo. Another important life lesson/teaching/waste of time
    1. Ed's Avatar
      Ed -
      "Life is disappointing" Why is that the hardest lesson to remember?
    1. Matt's Avatar
      Matt -
      Thank you for this. Very helpful. Gassho, Matt
    1. Marla567's Avatar
      Marla567 -
      Thank you Jundo.
      Perhaps there is no way or need to avoid disappointments. Even if it is not a pleasant emotion....

      Bianca / Shinka
    1. Myoshin's Avatar
      Myoshin -
      Great Jundo.

      It has a similar taste with Taigu Video "no expectation", this idea of non jugement, something like that.I fell it like this

    1. Ed's Avatar
      Ed -
      The Precepts mark the path. Disappointments will surely come; having a practice and keeping precepts blances the inmpact, at seeing dukha coming you reset to breath, regret is minimized, then it happens again.
      The Preceps let you see regrets have no solidity, no need to add "a head over the head."
    1. Risho's Avatar
      Risho -
      Thank you Jundo. I have a hard time with disappointment which is what lead me to this practice. I want what I want so much, that anything else really hurts in a way; sometimes it can be crippling. I want success in my work for example and when something doesn't function as expected it just drives me nuts. It discourages me, I sometimes ask why am I doing this. Sometimes I wish that I didn't have the disappointment, but that is just running. Sitting really helps me face this and sometimes taste that freedom beyond satisfaction and disappointment in just allowing it to be. Facing it, being with it, is the only way I've found to be able to not cling to that so much. It is such a hard lesson that I am reminded of time and time again.

      Another thing I think about is the vow to save all beings. Surely, I'm not the only one who feels this disappointment, and if I can sit through it and face it instead of grasping at distractions or running away that is a way to save all sentient beings. That is a way to teach others by showing a way out of suffering, not by grasping or trying to ignore it. I really feel that you and Taigu do that wholeheartedly and really give me something to feel inspired about when I feel that disappointment. That is truly a great gift.


    1. Jundo's Avatar
      Jundo -
      Hi Risho,

      Here is a tumbnail definition of "Dukkha", the disease (or better, "dis-ease") for which Buddha offered a treatment and cure.


      So, what’s “Dukkha”? …and what does Dukkha do?

      No one English word captures the full depth and range of the Pali term, Dukkha. It is sometimes rendered as “suffering,” as in “life is suffering.” But perhaps it’s better expressed as “dissatisfaction,” “anxiety,” “disappointment,” “unease at perfection,” or “frustration” — terms that wonderfully convey a subtlety of meaning.

      In a nutshell, your “self” wishes this world to be X, yet this world is not X. The mental state that may result to the “self” from this disparity is Dukkha.
      Shakyamuni Buddha gave many examples: sickness (when we do not wish to be sick), old age (when we long for youth), death (if we cling to life), loss of a loved one (as we cannot let go), violated expectations, the failure of happy moments to last (though we wish them to last). Even joyous moments — such as happiness and good news, treasure or pleasant times — can be a source of suffering if we cling to them, if we are attached to those things.

    1. Myoshin's Avatar
      Myoshin -

      It reminds me when Dogen said that we feel alone only because of the illusion of a self, when we see that we are the 5 agregats and have no self, dukka vanishes. Something like that, I read it in in "Zen mind, beginner mind".

    1. Shugen's Avatar
      Shugen -
      Thank you.

    1. Gen01's Avatar
      Gen01 -
      Thank you very much!!


    1. Dainin's Avatar
      Dainin -
      Thank you for pointing me here, Jundo. As you know, ... well, you know...

    1. Myosha's Avatar
      Myosha -
      NOT disappointing!?! Well. . .THAT would be disappointing.^^

    1. Marcelo de Valnisio's Avatar
      Marcelo de Valnisio -
      Sometimes I want to see a big golden buddha flying through the clouds...so, I sit...and this nonsense disappears...is this dangerous, doctor?

    1. Jundo's Avatar
      Jundo -
      Sometimes I sit, not wanting anything at all, beyond all fear of danger ... and a golden flying Buddha appears.
    1. Marcelo de Valnisio's Avatar
      Marcelo de Valnisio -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
      Sometimes I sit, not wanting anything at all, beyond all fear of danger ... and a golden flying Buddha appears.

    1. Ishin's Avatar
      Ishin -
      Isn't it ironic how the letting go of wanting something special, is so profoundly special. I just posted this especially for.... who?

    1. Ricky Ramos's Avatar
      Ricky Ramos -
      Wonderful! It is in presicely in simplicity that we trully find the depth of wisdom.
  • Recent Forum Posts


    The Five Skandhas

    Hah! I have no idea, which itself is a teaching in emptiness and impermanence.

    Gassho, J


    Jundo Today, 04:53 PM Go to last post

    The Five Skandhas

    OK - I know it's nearly 10 years latter but (if possible) could you (Jundo) please repost the "thing you just wrote" (noted above) because the

    Wintergreen Today, 03:42 PM Go to last post

    Stories of Compassion and Kindness - GOJO BODHISATTVA

    Thus have I heard:

    A monk once asked Ummon, "What is the Buddha?" Ummon answered thus: "Waste on the restroom

    Gojo Today, 03:37 PM Go to last post


    Much Metta to you and your family.




    Sent from my iPhone using

    Shugen Today, 03:08 PM Go to last post


    Much Metta for your brother Shokai! I hope he makes a full recovery.


    Hoseki Today, 02:01 PM Go to last post