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Thread: What happens when it feels good?

  1. #1

    What happens when it feels good?

    Sometimes when I sit I get a very pleasant almost sensual experience of openness and spaciousness. I'm reminded of the Jhanas in the Theravadin tradition - though I think it would be arrogant to suggest it's that.

    Question is do we dismiss or allow this feeling like any other or is it a useful signpost (like the Jhanas)?

    Haha! I'm. Paranoid about using phrases like 'the path' and 'signpost' as I don't want to invite 'there is no path' stuff.....you get my gist anyway

    _/|\_
    Sat today

  2. #2
    Hello !

    In my experience, to just let it be as it is is the "best" way. If you grasp it and begin to try to feel it again (as i did, obviously), you might end up with the contrary effect. Just sit with whatever is there would be my approach on this. Hope to hear Jundo about this !

    Gassho,
    Ugrok

  3. #3
    Hi!

    Yes, zazen feels fantastic sometimes. So good that you might want to actually chase that feeling again. Don't, because not zazen not always is nice and fluffy. It is what it is and that's it.

    Just be contempt with that and move on with your life.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  4. #4

  5. #5
    Hi.

    What the other guys said. Also though it reminds me of something Brad Warner said. It goes something like:
    Be especially careful when zazen feels good. Because then you risk clinging onto a concept of what (za)Zen ought to be like. On the other hand if you feel like "that was the worst zazen like ever" You will most likely resolve to do better and there's less clinging there. It's also probably a tad more realistic too than the (wanting of the) blissful state. See things as they are y'know.

    Bonus:

    Wise words from Oogway Roshi



    ---
    Be well and good sitting

    Gassho
    Aske
    ~ Please remember that I am very fallible.

    Gassho
    Meikyo

  6. #6
    What all those guys said! And in this way one attains a Big P Pleasant that sweeps in and through small human times of "pleasant" and "unpleasant" and in between.

    Gassho, J

    PS - By the way, I have this little notion that the equanimity of Shikantaza is the equanimity of the 4th Jhana. However, well, it don't matter if it is or ain't, and is just a topic for Buddhist history wonks. Apparently, I mentioned this pet theory to you awhile back ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...l=1#post128353

    Richard Shankman's book makes one very interesting point that, perhaps, can be interpreted to mean that practices such as Shikantaza and the like actually cut right to the summit of Jhana practice. You see, it might perhaps be argued (from some interpretations presented in the book) that Shikantaza practice is very close to what is referred to as the "Fourth Jhana in the Suttas" ... as opposed to the highly concentrated, hyper-absorbed Visuddhimagga commentary version. The Fourth Jhana in the Pali Suttas was considered the 'summit' of Jhana practice (as the higher Jhana, No. 5 to 8, were not encouraged as a kind of otherworldly 'dead end') and appears to manifest (quoting the sutta descriptions in the book) "an abandoning of pleasure, pain, attractions/aversions, a dropping of both joy and grief", a dropping away of both rapture and bliss states, resulting in a "purity of mindfulness" and "equanimity". Combine this with the fact that, more than a "one pointed mind absorbed into a particular object", there is a "unification of mind" (described as a broader awareness around the object of meditation ... whereby the "mind itself becomes collected and unmoving, but not the objects of awareness, as mindfulness becomes lucid, effortless and unbroken" (See, for examples. pages 82-83 here))

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

    A bit of the discussion of the highest (in Buddhist Practice) "Fourth Jhana", and its emphasis on equanimity while present amid circumstances (and a dropping of bliss states), can be found on page 49.

    This is very close to a description of Shikantaza, for example, as dropping all aversions and attractions, finding unification of mind, collected and unmoving, effortless and unbroken, in/as/through/not removed from the life, circumstances, complexities which surround us and are us, sitting still with what is just as it is.
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-24-2014 at 04:19 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #7
    Mp
    Guest
    Sometimes zazen is nice, sometimes zazen is not so nice ... either way, I sit zazen. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    PS - By the way, I have this little notion that the equanimity of Shikantaza is the equanimity of the 4th Jhana. However, well, it don't matter if it is or ain't, and is just a topic for Buddhist history wonks. Apparently, I mentioned this pet theory to you awhile back ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...l=1#post128353
    Now that pricks up my ears.... will read again this evening

    Gassho
    Daizan

  9. #9
    So when you smile, did the smile make you feel good or did you feel good and then smiled about it ? I don't care about a blissful state but dogen did talk about the joy and ease of just sitting.

    Kind regards. /\
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

  10. #10
    Allowing it to be as it is, yummy and crummy.

    (Love that Oogway roshi)
    _/\_ Shinzan

  11. #11
    Mp
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Shinzan View Post
    Allowing it to be as it is, yummy and crummy.

    (Love that Oogway roshi)
    _/\_ Shinzan
    =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

  12. #12
    A student went to his meditation teacher and said, "My meditation is horrible! I feel so distracted, or my legs ache, or I'm constantly falling asleep. It's just horrible!" "It will pass," the teacher said matter-of-factly. A week later, the student came back to his teacher. "My meditation is wonderful! I feel so aware, so peaceful, so alive! It's just wonderful!" "It will pass," the teacher replied matter-of-factly.

    Gassho
    Lisa

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by raindrop View Post
    A student went to his meditation teacher and said, "My meditation is horrible! I feel so distracted, or my legs ache, or I'm constantly falling asleep. It's just horrible!" "It will pass," the teacher said matter-of-factly. A week later, the student came back to his teacher. "My meditation is wonderful! I feel so aware, so peaceful, so alive! It's just wonderful!" "It will pass," the teacher replied matter-of-factly.

    Gassho
    Lisa
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    Lisa, Spot On! "This too shall pass."
    Last edited by Shinzan; 10-30-2014 at 06:01 PM.

  15. #15
    Sometimes I have monkey mind and sometimes I feel good meditating, Just depends, and no way of knowing, and I think with practice comes deeper meditation but not always, Jundo actually said feeling good is not the point, but when it happens I feel grateful.
    Kind Ubasoku, calm poetry, I seek to support; not supportive.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Elgwyn View Post
    Jundo actually said feeling good is not the point, but when it happens I feel grateful.
    Hmmm. I usually say that there is a certain Felling Good (Big "FG") that transcends and holds all the small human moments of feeling good and not feeling good. Believe it or not, we come to Feel Good even about and when not always feeling good all the time! And such is realized in Shikantaza.

    Gassho, J (written after coming from the dentist, which did not feel so good).

    Sat Today!
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  17. #17
    Hi all,

    I would rather say that Shikantaza allows you to Feel. I guess it goes beyond good or bad.

    Or at least that's in my point of view.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  18. #18
    Hello,

    " . . . come to Feel Good even about and when not always feeling good all the time! . . . realized in Shikantaza." - Jundo



    Thank you acceptance and education.


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

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    Hi all,

    I would rather say that Shikantaza allows you to Feel. I guess it goes beyond good or bad.

    Or at least that's in my point of view.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin



    _|sat2today|_

  20. #20
    Okay, does that mean that meditation can make me feel good and it usually does or I wouldn't do. What a great day. I have found a group of like minded people who really like what I do. The Dhali Lama says he is a simple monk, and that's what I want to do. I want to follow the first precept, do good, do good for others, and I want to simplify my relationship with other people. I would like to have a few Friends who really care when I die. I am 63, and I get to choose, and I feel honored to be a real part of this Zendo thank you. Elgwyn Gassho I sat today.
    Kind Ubasoku, calm poetry, I seek to support; not supportive.

  21. #21
    Lovely to have you here too, Elgwyn,

    Speaking about the Dalai Lama, we have had a couple of discussion in the past about what it means when the Dalai Lama and some other popular Tibetan teachers write books on "The Art of Happiness" and such. Turns out that it may be about what we are speaking of here.

    I like to be happy! Nothing wrong with happy! YIPPEE!

    But crazy fellow that I am, I also kinda like now to be sad. Sad is life too. Nothing wrong with sad sometimes (although sometimes it is really hard, and not as much fun as happy). YIPPEE!

    ================

    The Tibetans tend to speak of "Happiness" quite a bit in their books and talks ... but when looked at closely, it is much the same as the subtle Joy and Peace that we speak of in the Zen corner of the woods ... a Joy that holds comfortably the happy times and sad times, a Peace that is wholly all life's many pieces.

    Frankly, if somebody just wanted to be "happy happy happy", I think there are pharmaceuticals that will do the job faster and deeper than any meditation ... at least for a short time.

    I sometimes think that the Tibetans writers chose the word "Happiness" in their literature to impress Westerners. The problem is that some folks may hear that and think that they are going to find the key to 24/7 "laughing gas" happiness ... and are a bit disappointed when in fact what is delivered is something much more subtle (though fathomlessly richer). I once wrote ...

    Even in Tibetan Buddhism's emphasis on "happiness" ... such words might disguise the real teaching of the Dalai Lama and most Tibetan Teachers I know (same message as here at Treeleaf, in fact) that the point of this Practice is not the attaining of a happy happy ha ha happy happiness all the time (I have never met such a constantly giddy Tibetan teacher, and who would want such a state ... like only watching the comedy movies and never the drama!), but of a certain subtle Happiness (big "H") that transcends AND yet fully contains both the happy times and the sad, smiles and tears, the rainy days and sunny days, as judged by small human eyes in this life of Samsara. I do not think they are teaching people to feel happy that their mother died or tickled that there is a war somewhere in the world ... but a Boundless Joy and Buddha's Smile that shines through all that life can dish out.

    A Buddha's Happiness transcends and holds small human "happy and sad".



    Gassho, J

    Sat Today!
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-11-2014 at 04:02 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  22. #22
    Hi Jundo,

    Could it be that Tibetan Buddhism depends too much on adding new adepts? Speaking about happiness and well being is much more attractive to people than actually slap them hard with the reality that death and sadness are also important part of life.

    In my experience with them I can say that yes, they put a lot of effort in making people feel good all the time. It's in advanced studies when they really start hitting subjects a bit more harsh.

    Happiness sells, I guess.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    Hi Jundo,

    Could it be that Tibetan Buddhism depends too much on adding new adepts?
    Hi Kyonin,

    Well, I would not say so, but I have never been a practitioner with a Tibetan school. Talking to some folks, my understanding is that speaking about "Happiness" is better for a book title, and more attractive to the eye (especially for westerners standing in book stores), than a word for the more subtle (and thus radically profound) lessons actually being offered of peace, transcendence, wisdom, gratitude, allowance, oneness, celebration and equanimity not dependent on a life that has its happy and sad times like any life.

    Gassho, J

    Sat Today!
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-12-2014 at 08:53 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  24. #24
    Hello guys !

    When you read people like Trungpa or Pema Chodron, who are from a tibetan lineage, it is very clear that happiness for them is not about feeling good all the time. They both wrote about a transcending happiness, that you can find through fear, loss and despair. They don't seem "dishonest" to me, on the contrary, they deal with the most difficult situations of human life, as show the titles of their books ("Wisdom of no escape", "When things fall apart", "Smile at fear", etc.) !

    Gassho,
    Ugrok,
    Sat Today.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Ugrok View Post
    Hello guys !

    When you read people like Trungpa or Pema Chodron, who are from a tibetan lineage, it is very clear that happiness for them is not about feeling good all the time. They both wrote about a transcending happiness, that you can find through fear, loss and despair. They don't seem "dishonest" to me, on the contrary, they deal with the most difficult situations of human life, as show the titles of their books ("Wisdom of no escape", "When things fall apart", "Smile at fear", etc.) !

    Gassho,
    Ugrok,
    Sat Today.
    Thank you Ugrok. That is my impression too.

    Gassho, Jundo

    Sat Today!
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    Could it be that Tibetan Buddhism depends too much on adding new adepts? Speaking about happiness and well being is much more attractive to people than actually slap them hard with the reality that death and sadness are also important part of life.

    I think that's a touch harsh against Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama. It's hardly like he needs to recruit adepts.
    I've practised in the tradition for a number of years, and have been at teachings by the Dalai Lama, where he has openly cried. He also speaks often about the suffering of Tibetans at the hands of the Chinese regime.


    I think some books, like 'The Art of Happiness' are geared towards a non-Buddhist or more mainstream audience. They're an attempt to make some of the basic Buddhist teachings accessible to the average person. Even that book has chapters on 'finding meaning in pain and suffering', and 'dealing with anger and hatred'.

    All of the traditional Tibetan Gelug (the Dalai Lama's own lineage) teachings start out with the contemplation of the inevitability of death, the uncertainty of when it will occur, and on the impermanence of all existence. The happiness mentioned in some of the more mainstream books is not about generating some kind of hysterical always 'up' state of being, but more about that sense of well-being that comes from facing reality and ourselves squarely and with compassion. Which includes the ability to sit with and not be overwhelmed by or attached to pain, suffering, bliss, grief, joy, excitement, etc.

  27. #27
    Hi again.

    Thanks everyone for a nice thread.

    I have no doubt that the essential truths of the different Buddhist schools are the same as many already have pointed out. Thus I'm not fundamentally worried in any way whether they use this word or that word. I sometimes wonder however if they don't get a little bit too obsessed with the own symbolism and imagery. All the robes, pseudo-deities, tantric empowerments, esoteric spells and hereditary spiritual progress (lamas, tulkus etc.).

    Surely it attracts lots curious western folks eager for eschatological (great word ain't it?) answers and oriental trappings. But the important question for me is if the Tibetan Buddhist modus operandi is in the long run obscuring the real purpose of the Buddhas Teachings rather than furthering it. Right on the face of it I certainly think so. But I'm not qualified to rule on that. All I can say is that for myself I find Tibetan Buddhism unhelpful and suspiciously "un-Here". I stick to the zafu.

    On the other hand I have great respect for all those learned traditional fellows who deticate their life Dharma as monks and whatnot. I'm just not so sure they're as right and as needed as they themselves seem to think they are at this time.

    Gassho
    Aske
    ~ Please remember that I am very fallible.

    Gassho
    Meikyo

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    But crazy fellow that I am, I also kinda like now to be sad. Sad is life too. Nothing wrong with sad sometimes (although sometimes it is really hard, and not as much fun as happy). YIPPEE!
    You know I kind of know what you mean. When we put our dog to sleep a couple months back, I felt like practice allowed me to directly face the grief and to cry my heart out unreservedly. Although I was very sad, it was also just what it was.

    Also in terms of the Tibetan side of things, whenever I read or listen to Pema Chodron, I really learn a lot. She's a very good teacher in my personal opinion. I favor Zen to Tibetan Buddhism obviously, but there is much to learn from any teacher, even if they have different ways to conveying wisdom and, I think, whichever path feels right is the one someone should go down.

    Gassho,

    Risho
    -sat today

  29. #29
    Let's not forget that the Dalai Lama has agendas that are not all to do with Buddhism. He is after all a political figurehead too. I'm neither for nor against His Holiness, I just think it's important to remember there are two sides to every coin.
    Sat today

  30. #30
    I recognize pleasurable feelings and anxieties as they arise. They both like to drag me away.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    Also in terms of the Tibetan side of things, whenever I read or listen to Pema Chodron, I really learn a lot. She's a very good teacher in my personal opinion.
    Seconding this. She is really great. Reading a book by Pema Chodron just eases any difficult experience. You feel that what you are going through, whatever it is, she's been through, and that it's no problem ; even more, it is a way to progress. Her texts are really "right speech", and they are not about easy stuff nor do they propose an "easy" way out, or a way out at all. It's honest and to the point. I love what she writes.

    Gassho,
    Ugrok, sat today

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Aske View Post

    ... I sometimes wonder however if they don't get a little bit too obsessed with the own symbolism and imagery. All the robes, pseudo-deities, tantric empowerments, esoteric spells and hereditary spiritual progress (lamas, tulkus etc.).

    Surely it attracts lots curious western folks eager for eschatological (great word ain't it?) answers and oriental trappings. But the important question for me is if the Tibetan Buddhist modus operandi is in the long run obscuring the real purpose of the Buddhas Teachings rather than furthering it. Right on the face of it I certainly think so. But I'm not qualified to rule on that. All I can say is that for myself I find Tibetan Buddhism unhelpful and suspiciously "un-Here". I stick to the zafu.
    Hi Aske,

    I do not believe it a matter of right or wrong, and I very much hesitate to criticize another's ways. When the meaning and effect of each of those Practices are studied, they each hold great significance and much to teach. Each are doorways of the Dharma. Zen may prefer a less ornate and simpler way (although, if one ever visits a Zen temple in Japan, China or Korea, one may be surprised to find that Zen folks traditionally have their own share of robes, deities, empowerments and esoteric spells!). Moreover, each may be helpful to someone, even if not for everyone .... and so it is for Zen practice too, which may not be right for those who need the art and powerful imagery.

    I often say that French cooking is delicious and nutritious, Chinese cooking is delicious and nutritious, the relatively subtle and simple tastes of Japanese cooking is delicious and nutritious ... yet suited to different tastes.

    Gassho, J

    Sat Today!

    PS - If one travels to Japan, one will find many elements of Mikkyo (Esoteric) ritual in Zen temples, with it beauty, tradition and power on a symbolic or psychological level. One can see these practices (e.g., the "reading" of the Sutra by twirling much like a Tibetan prayer wheel, the Vajra, the hidden Mudra, the Dharani incantation) in the below video of a Zen ceremony. Some folks might be surprised that these rituals are so central to Zen practice in China and Japan ... arguably more central, more widely practiced by numbers of priests and time, than Zazen. These are not Practices I pursue and encourage (I tend to not include them in our ritual here), but they are mainstream in Zen practice in Asia.

    Last edited by Jundo; 11-13-2014 at 03:31 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  33. #33
    Dear Jundo

    Of course you're right! My post only reflects my personal reservations toward the Vajrayāna school and thus is very much less than half the story. Truly I'm not up to snuff on Buddhist merits against a genuine and devout Vajrayāna-fellow. I think many folks could learn many things from one another. Buddhists included. I don't like their food and I'm not going to lie about it. But I'm still waiting for their chefs to wow me - because I know that they can - and it's gonna be awesome!



    Gassho
    Aske
    #Sat Today!
    ~ Please remember that I am very fallible.

    Gassho
    Meikyo

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Aske View Post
    I sometimes wonder however if they don't get a little bit too obsessed with the own symbolism and imagery. All the robes, pseudo-deities, tantric empowerments, esoteric spells and hereditary spiritual progress (lamas, tulkus etc.).

    ...
    But the important question for me is if the Tibetan Buddhist modus operandi is in the long run obscuring the real purpose of the Buddhas Teachings rather than furthering it.
    Just thought I'd give the perspective of someone who has been involved in Tibetan Vajrayana.


    I remember the first time I visited a Tibetan temple, before I ever started meditating, I couldn't get out of there fast enough. Undoubtedly from the outside, Tibetan Buddhism has a vast array of stuff, which can seem baffling. But at its heart is the bodhicitta vow. All of the practices that seem strange have a meaning that relates to developing wisdom and compassion- everything is symbolic of one or both of those two qualities. All of the 'deities' are ultimately seen as nothing other than oneself, expressions of our own intrinsic enlightened nature. So in many respects there's a lot of similarity to Zen.


    One of the things that drew me to Tibetan Buddhism was the overt emphasis on the cultivation of compassion. At the time, I found that lacking in Zen. (I've since come to understand that has more to do with the one particular Zen group I was familiar with at that time). The Tibetan traditions all study the core teachings of Buddhism, from the Pali canon to Mahayana texts, and then incorporate the Vajrayana approach.


    Some of the Tibetan traditions, particularly Dzogchen and Kagyu, place a lot of emphasis on objectless meditation, very much akin to shikantaza. The difference is that typically emphasis is placed on studying general Buddhist texts and on doing other practices before moving onto the formless practices.


    I think with any tradition, there's a risk of attaching to its external forms, and missing its heart. But they all have validity I believe, or as Jundo says, different tastes for different people.


    I like the way Dogen puts it:


    I say: Remember, among Buddhists we do not argue about superiority and inferiority of philosophies, or choose between shallowness and profundity in the Dharma; we need only know whether the practice is genuine or artificial.

  35. #35
    "I say: Remember, among Buddhists we do not argue about superiority and inferiority of philosophies, or choose between shallowness and profundity in the Dharma; we need only know whether the practice is genuine or artificial."

    Thank you very much for input. I genuinely like Dogen's perspective.

    Gassho
    Aske
    #SAT TODAY!
    ~ Please remember that I am very fallible.

    Gassho
    Meikyo

  36. #36
    That is a good quote from Dogen and it really is up to us to verify our practice.
    In Tibetan mahamudra there are four yogas which are echoed in zen; one pointedness, limitlessness of mind, one taste and non meditation where there is no difference between meditation and post meditation mind.
    These are just signposts so it is a benefit to have a place and teacher to test understanding.

    Good or bad... only one taste!
    Gassho Heisoku
    Sat today.
    Last edited by Heisoku; 11-18-2014 at 10:08 PM.
    Heisoku 平 息
    Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. (Basho)

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