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Thread: Same taste...

  1. #1

    Same taste...

    Hello everyone,

    Would it be fair to say that Shikantaza has the same outcome as other meditation focused schools of Buddhism? Please differentiate for a second between searching for goals and why we sit.

    For instance I was reading recently how awareness of the body drops away after a certain amount of time whilst practicing Vipassana (Goenka style). I find this is a natural occurrence when practicing Zazen.

    I know in Zen we don't look for results (I actually think it's the same in Theravada) but I suspect the Theravadins discuss the outcomes of practice more than Zen practitioners.

    I have just become more aware of boundaries fading of late.

    _/|\_

    Tony...
    Sat today

  2. #2
    Hello Tony,

    your question is pretty tricky, because if you ask perennialist oriented Buddhists, they will tell you that it's all the same mountain top. If you catch some really traditional fellows, they will show you scriptural evidence from their own lineages proving that the fruit of their particular practise is different from other lineages. If you spend time hopping from tradition to tradition, you might never get deep enough in your practise to compare them.

    What I am saying is that ultimately you must be the judge of your own experience, but of course there are similarities. We are all humans. So even some Sufi practises might be closer to a particular Buddhist practise than another Buddhist practise, but in theological terms it could still be miles away.

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Last edited by Hans; 10-09-2014 at 04:16 PM.

  3. #3
    Hi Troy,

    I believe that many flavors of meditation seek to soften, or fully drop away, the subject-object divide and hard frictions between the sense of "small self" and "rest of the world". I am now reading a collection of essays by Rinzai Zen Practitioners on the "MU" Koan ("Does a dog have Buddha Nature? MU!"), and they thrown themselves very hard into the Koan all to realize ... such all along.

    Shikantaza folks radically drop all seeking and judging, Vibrantly sitting as what is, as Wholeness, all to realize ... such all along.

    Perhaps one may sit Vipassana, all to realize ... such all along.

    One might Practice some other form of mystical meditation or chanting or Sufi Dancing and perhaps realize something which feels ... such all along.

    So, what is so special about Shikantaza then? Sometimes in Shikantaza too one may have an experience where the body-mind drops away, and one encounters "such all along". However, Shikantaza is better equipped than other forms of meditation, perhaps, to allow us to realize how "such all along" is just this most ordinary life, and divided self and world, all along too.

    How to explain?

    Last night we had a lunar eclipse here in Japan. Enlightenment is sometimes said to be like the moon. During the eclipse, the moon vanished in the shadows, and also behind some clouds. All was dark. But did that mean the moon truly vanished? No, because the moon is present all along even if we cannot experience seeing.

    So, some folks might think the purpose of meditation is to do some practice in which we need to clear away all the shadows and clouds of thought, and uncover the moon so it shines bright! That, they say, is Reality, or "Enlightenment", and all the clouds and shadows are delusion which obstruct our vision. Many forms of practice are geared toward driving away the shadows and clouds of thoughts and emotions which fill the mind.

    In fact, in Shikantaza as well, one will encounter momentless moments when the moon shines unencumbered in a clear, boundless sky ... the subject-object divisions and all frictions drop away, our separate self and the world fall away, and all that remains is the Great Bright Flowing Wholeness of Moon Traveling Across Sky! Yippee!

    Such moments and seeing are very important, and help us realize the moon all along. However, in Shikantaza, that is only a small aspect of Enlightenment. As the clouds and shadows return, we realize that they and the moon are unbroken, that there is no conflict or obstruction of clouds and moon, that all is the sky. The moon always shines through and as the clouds, illuminating all. Like the child's game of seeing shapes in the clouds ... soft rabbit clouds and scary tiger clouds, white clouds and dark clouds, gentle rain clouds and thunder-lighting clouds, the greatest hurricane clouds ... all are now realized as if moving mist. Seen or unseen, the moon is always present, and further, the shadows and clouds bring the moon to life! We find that moon-shadows-clouds are one-beyond-one, not two, are enlightenment itself! All Such All Along. The clouds are now illuminated with moonlight, and are not the dark and threatening clouds they were before ... but more like translucent gossamer. In turn, the clouds give form and shape to the moonlight, because rich and fertile life is not possible if only naked white light in a formless sky shining over a barren world. The eclipse shadows did not truly block out the moonlight, because the form could still be clearly seen shining like a ruby through the shadows because of the shadows ... and all together was like a Jewel!

    Got the point?

    Here is another analogy: Enlightenment in Shikantaza is like a clear, boundless mirror that holds and manifests, without resistance, all the beautiful and ugly things of the world that appear in its glass. Do not think that the purpose of meditation is just to experience the mirror without all the things of the world. Rather, experience that Clear Bright Boundless Mirror and all the things of this life and the world are one. All Such All Along.

    One more analogy: We imagine Practice as a trip to the Grand Canyon in which we want to drive out there, experience the wonders of the amazing vista, buy a post card and get back on the bus. But ...

    In our Soto Way, the WHOLE TRIP is Enlightenment when realized as such (that is the True "Kensho"!) ... not some momentary stop or passing scene or some final destination . ... In our Soto View, some folks way way way overvalue some experience or destination ... as the be all and end all (beyond being or ending) of "Enlightenment" ... and chase after it like some gold ring on the merry go round. For Soto folks, that is like missing the point of the trip. For Soto Folks, when we realize such ... every moment of the Buddha-Bus trip, the scenery out the windows (both what we encounter as beautiful and what appears ugly), the moments of good health and moments of passing illness, the highway, the seats and windows, all the other passengers on the Bus who appear to be riding with us, when we board and someday when we are let off ... the whole Trip ... is all the Buddha-Bus, all Practice-Enlightenment, all the "destination" beyond "coming" or "going" or "getting there", when realized as such. The Trip is what we make it.
    "Such All Along" proves not to be just the Grand Canyon (although, of course, so too!), but the whole wild ride!

    So, why is Shikantaza special? I do not know of another meditation form so wonderfully centered on radically dropping all running and chasing, Sitting as Vibrant Wholeness as what is here now and all along ... Sitting right as and through MoonCloudsLightShadowMoon, Boundless Mirror, the very best road to find "Such All Along All Along The Way".

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-10-2014 at 03:33 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    Wonderful, Jundo - thank you!


    Gassho,

    Daitetsu
    no thing needs to be added

  5. #5
    Thanks Jundo this is such a clear teaching. I am also reading MU and have enjoyed the chapter by Shen yen 'the experience of wu', which I think explains natural sitting.....'such all along'.
    Gassho Heisoku.
    Last edited by Heisoku; 10-10-2014 at 05:13 AM.
    Heisoku 平 息
    Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. (Basho)

  6. #6
    Thank you, Jundo. That was a necessary reminder for me at the moment. I think, from what you say, a thing that can be gleaned from what you say (and due to practicing Shikantaza) is that we don't get stuck in a blissed-out enlightenment-land, using our meditation as an escape, or merely selfish improvement, to get some great thing, but that we get up from the cushion engage with the difficult parts of life. It could be our jobs, it could be poverty, it could be some larger, political fight, it could be teaching in compassionate way, etc. So that those moments that are trying, when we feel the most separate, those are really the best practice places to be with things just as they are.

    Gassho
    Shōmon

  7. #7
    Lovely expression of this wonderful practice, thank you Jundo. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  8. #8
    Joyo
    Guest
    Thank you, Jundo. That was just a wonderful read!

    Gassho,
    Joyo

  9. #9
    Thanks Jundo - last paragraph was a real help...

    _/|\_
    Sat today

  10. #10
    I liked "The book of MU: Essential writings on Zen 's most important koan."

    Gassho, Jishin

  11. #11
    Hi all,

    How does one work with a koan?
    All that "became one with the koan" practice, what dows it mean?
    Can you point me to some Treeleaf thread or outside link?
    I'd like to taste the famous "MU" some time.


    Gassho,
    Walter.
    Gassho,Walter

  12. #12
    Hello,

    John Safran sure got to taste Koans in this old documentary:




    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen

  13. #13
    Thank you for this teaching, thank you Tony for asking

    Gassho
    ______________________________
    Kōshin / Leo



    P.S. Yup, I know, my English sucks

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by walter View Post
    Hi all,

    How does one work with a koan?
    All that "became one with the koan" practice, what dows it mean?
    Can you point me to some Treeleaf thread or outside link?
    I'd like to taste the famous "MU" some time.


    Gassho,
    Walter.
    One would have to work with a Rinzai Zen Teacher (or mixed Rinzai-Soto) in order to Practice Koan Centered Zazen. One really needs to work closely and have regular meetings with a Teacher, and cannot do it oneself. Also, if one is going to pursue that way, best to do it all out. I would not recommend mixing and matching with Shikantaza.

    Of course, we dance with Koans here to (and the Koans dance us) ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forum...TERS-BOOK-CLUB

    ... but that is not the same as Zazen centered on a Koan "Head Word" like MU! So. asking me is like asking a football coach how to play baseball. Anything I say will be as a semi-outsider and thus possibly misinformed.

    There are a couple of fellow attempting to Teach Koan Zazen online. I feel from knowing him that one may be good (a student of Sasaki Roshi who broke with him when the scandals erupted about Sasaki's wandering hands), but I suspect the other is not and seems to lack focus. (I do not want to say any names here).

    I could point you to a couple of books on the subject, but stay away from "Three Pillars of Zen". The book that has been referred to by some folks here, on MU!, seems like a reasonable introduction to Koan Centered Zazen with essays by many teachers who practice that way and with that Koan.

    http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/book-mu

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    Thanks Jundo.

    As I read here some folks did practice with koans, and also read from several Soto Teachers speaking about koans I wasn't sure it was quite a different thing.
    After reading "Taking the path of zen" I somehow got the idea of MU-ing, although I know Aitken Roshi was more a Rinzai teacher.

    I will keep practising shikantaza, I don't need to add more confusion to my already troubled zafu

    I am happy with this and prefer not to keep looking in a lot of directions, I have so much ahead to learn about this "just sitting"


    BTW, I had a quick look at "Three Pillars of Zen" and left it for later.


    Gassho,
    Walter.
    Gassho,Walter

  16. #16
    Thanks, Jundo. This thread has been really helpful. Part of the "Ploughing Clouds" poem by Dogen that you posted last winter.
    _/\_ Shinzan

  17. #17
    Jundo, you are quite the word-smith.

    Deep bows,
    Steven

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by walter View Post
    Thanks Jundo.

    As I read here some folks did practice with koans, and also read from several Soto Teachers speaking about koans I wasn't sure it was quite a different thing.
    After reading "Taking the path of zen" I somehow got the idea of MU-ing, although I know Aitken Roshi was more a Rinzai teacher.

    I will keep practising shikantaza, I don't need to add more confusion to my already troubled zafu

    I am happy with this and prefer not to keep looking in a lot of directions, I have so much ahead to learn about this "just sitting"


    BTW, I had a quick look at "Three Pillars of Zen" and left it for later.


    Gassho,
    Walter.
    I am slowly making my way through the "Book of Mu", and many of the essays are very hard hitting ... pouring all oneself into MU, as if a hot iron ball lodged in one's throat.

    And then I came across this wonderful essay by the editor himself, James Ford, that shows the softer way to allow MU to pour. Wonderful, and I believe shows James Ford's Soto flavor even in taking up a Koan (he is from a mixed Rinzai-Soto Lineage, which he combines with his simultaneous role as a Universal Unitarian Minister). I wrote him ...

    Just a cool breeze that knocks down walls and levels mountains. Thank you.

    The title of the essay says it all ...

    On the Utter, Complete, Total Ordinariness of Mu

    You can read it here ...

    http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=B...page&q&f=false

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-12-2014 at 12:08 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  19. #19
    Thank you very much Jundo.

    I'll read it today or tomorrow.
    Gassho,Walter

  20. #20
    Hello,

    Thank you for the link.


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

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I am slowly making my way through the "Book of Mu", and many of the essays are very hard hitting ... pouring all oneself into MU, as if a hot iron ball lodged in one's throat.

    And then I came across this wonderful essay by the editor himself, James Ford, that shows the softer way to allow MU to pour. Wonderful, and I believe shows James Ford's Soto flavor even in taking up a Koan (he is from a mixed Rinzai-Soto Lineage, which he combines with his simultaneous role as a Universal Unitarian Minister). I wrote him ...

    Just a cool breeze that knocks down walls and levels mountains. Thank you.

    The title of the essay says it all ...

    On the Utter, Complete, Total Ordinariness of Mu
    Thank you Jundo for a link to this beautiful and simple commentary.

    Gassho
    John

  22. #22
    Thanks everyone!

    Gassho
    ~ Please remember that I am very fallible.

    Gassho
    Meikyo

  23. #23
    Thank you all for this thread.

    Tons of Mu and full of stuff to think and non-think about.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  24. #24


    Gassho, John

  25. #25
    What a wonderful essay.
    I've read it and I discovered that once I felt like the person rowing but while walking in the City surrounded by beatiful buildings, and the noise of the cars.
    That moment, everything seemed to be perfect, in its place. Nothing to add or remove. All things were a perfect manifestation of life.
    It lasted a few seconds and went away, but I've never forgotten the experience, that feeling of wonder.

    Gasso,
    Walter.
    Gassho,Walter

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