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Thread: Leap of Faith

  1. #1

    Leap of Faith

    Hi everyone, hope you're all well.

    I often hear the Heart Sutra quoted which we know is a concise but clear exposition of Emptiness. This is often accompanied with statements that confirm others understanding of the nature of things - ie. they're empty and have no essence etc...

    This intellectual understanding seems to be completely left behind were Zazen is concerned. I could do with a little help in understanding why?

    Seems like there is a conceptual or intellectual grasp that the way things appear is not how they exist - which is by any stretch of the imagination MASSIVELY important to discover. Then its left behind to the realms of conceptual thought and doesn't seem to be of any real relevance were 'enlightenment' is concerned. The Tibetans for example strive to have a non-conceptual experience by deepening the understanding into experience when sitting - I think the implication is that the intellectual understanding reveals the experience, after which no more intellectualizing is required as all concepts are dropped. little like the two sticks used to light the fire are ultimately consumed too - but crucial to the 'process'.

    Like the song says, "...if two men say they're Jesus, one of them has to be wrong..."



    Didn't sit this morning....slept right through the alarm!!
    Sat today

  2. #2
    Hi Tony,

    I don't agree that we forsake an intellectual understanding, but ultimately Zazen is about experiencing. Both are needed, complement the other. It is rather like an intellectual understanding of sailing, a book about sailing ... and sailing, as sailor becomes one with sea, ship and sail..

    A large part of what we talk about here is "Emptiness", non-Self, the transcendence of the small self, impermanence of all constructs, the way the mind creates images of a rather fixed "self" with all the accompanying selfish thoughts and emotions that go with it ...

    ... but then one gets on the cushion (and takes such off the cushion) where the rubber meets the non-dual road. The two-not-two go "one hand clapping" hand in hand.

    Here, by the way, is my best effort at conveying "Emptiness" (although I much prefer "Fullness" and "Wholeness") in words and images ....

    Buddha-Basics (Part XVII) — The Dance of Emptiness

    We have also had a "Sit-A-Long" series or two on the Heart Sutra, but can't find them now. Maybe time for another.

    Gassho, J


  3. #3
    Thanks Jundo,

    Tedious metaphor alert!!!

    Imagine someone came and said:

    "Hey, over that hill is a massive UFO with loads of aliens walking round just like they describe, greys with big eyes. The have all sorts of trippy stuff going on. Lights and sounds all over the place with worm holes and anti-gravity stuff......"

    Then you saw me shrug my shoulders and say ""

    Would my reaction not evoke some questioning in you as to whether I had actually assimilated the importance of the event described?

    So, to me anyway, Emptiness is a description of the fundamental misapprehension we have of reality. Everything we know is fundamentally wrong!

    To take the metaphor further (sorry)...once you understand (intellectual understanding) and believe whats over the hill (faith) don't you want to see it and experience it for yourself (non-conceptual experience of Emptiness)

    Good grief they're the worst metaphors I have ever come up with HAHA!

    Sat today

  4. #4
    Hi Tony,

    Been over the hill, and it is way cool. It is also on this side of the hill, and further, the hill is empty. What hill?

    Gassho, J

    SatToday (Tony, please sit before posting).

  5. #5
    What the hill...?



  6. #6
    Hi Tony,

    I have spent literally at least 15 years studying and chanting the Heart Sutra and I have found that the more I tried to grasp onto the notion of emptiness, the further it was from me. I don't think it's about taking a leap of faith. It might be more about just sitting and dropping everything.

    Everything we know is not wrong. It's just a representation of reality we build in our heads for ourselves. Things exist and are there dancing the dance of Impermanence and Dependent Origination. It's us, when we create a relationship with an object, that we create value and judgments. But the object is what is.

    But I could be wrong.


    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  7. #7
    Just burn all your books! (but only after you study them for a lifetime).

    Kaishin (開心, Open Heart)
    Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

  8. #8
    Hello, please take my opinion with a grain of salt as I am a lay Buddhist with only 3 years of practice. But I've been thinking about your post all day, and I keep coming back to this quote by Helen Keller...."The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart."

    sat today

  9. #9
    Hi Toni,

    I think zen woks better if thought of as a cookbook. A set of directions are put in front of you and it's up to you to cook a meal. It's hard to intellectualize and explain the actual taste. Words never suffice. The taste is for you and you alone.

    Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Hi Toni,

    I think zen woks better if thought of as a cookbook. A set of directions are put in front of you and it's up to you to cook a meal. It's hard to intellectualize and explain the actual taste. Words never suffice. The taste is for you and you alone.

    Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

    Thanks Jishin,

    I can see that. I love the typo re 'Zen Woks' ..... I see what you did there, stir (frying) it up a bit!

    Sat Today
    Sat today

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