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Thread: Old Article by Aitken Roshi

  1. #1

    Old Article by Aitken Roshi

    Last night, I was looking through the summer issue of Buddhadharma, The Practitioner's Quarterly, when I came across an excerpt of an old (1962) article by Robert Aitken Roshi. The first two short paragraphs were excellent reminders for me of the teachings of Jundo and Taigu, so I will share them here:

    "let us not mistake the radical nature of Buddhist method. It is destructive of culture and history, as some creatures die in order to bring forth their young. We cannot put Buddhism on like a new hat.

    Buddhism requires forgetting, rather than remembering; tearing down, rather than building; simplifying, rather than complicating. This may sound drastic, dangerous to our conventional way of life, but our conventional way of life has dangers too, it seems."

    For me, this is a vivid reminder that even though we call our practice "just sitting," it is really so much more than that. Our practice is vital and dynamic. For me, this is Taigu telling us to "throw it all away."

    Last edited by Juki; 06-04-2014 at 05:55 PM.
    "First you have to give up." Tyler Durden

  2. #2
    Hi Juki,

    Thank you very much for this.


  3. #3
    Thank you.

    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  4. #4


    Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Thank you for this Juki
    I must read some more Aitken Roshi


  6. #6
    Thank you Juki for the share. =)


  7. #7
    Aitken Roshi, the former Japanese Prisoner of War (that is where is got his first introduction to Zen Practice), Peacenik and all around tough old bird had a great way of expressing things. His Practice, in the Harada-Yasutani Lineage, was heavily influenced by a powerful "Sit Until Ya Drop" hard Koan Introspection Zazen style, which may come across in the flavor of these quotes. However, yes, they apply to our Shikantaza way too, which fully embodies yet transcends "tough" and "gentle" at once.

    Yes, ours is a radical method of no-method, destructive and constructive of all time and space beyond change. We die and are brought forth at once ... yet what birth what death?

    Buddhism is remembering our True Self which is usually forgotten, builds us up when we are torn down and lost (though nothing was ever lacking). It is the Simple (Big "S") right at the heart of all life's "simple" vs. "complicated" ... the Safety Net that holds us through all life's dangers.

    Zazen is all such too.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-05-2014 at 03:13 AM.

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