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Thread: Grass Hut - 22 - "Light on the Mountain"

  1. #1

    Grass Hut - 22 - "Light on the Mountain"

    Hi,

    On to Chapter 17 .. "LIGHT ON THE MOUNTAIN / A SHINING WINDOW BELOW THE GREEN PINES" ...

    The author does such a lovely job of capturing the power of nature on the heart. His image of a hiker amid the vastness of it all ... lovely. It is said that Zen Temples are traditionally built near mountains and flowing waters just because of this.

    - How important is it for you to get out into nature from time to time?

    In the very last paragraph of the chapter, the author hints at how we must learn to find these same lessons anywhere ... in the inner city. Is it possible? Is it important that we do so?

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Thank you for this Jundo. For me nature is a supportive pillar to my practice and my practice a supportive pillar to my experience in nature. Nature, like Shikantaza, allows me to just be present, open, and grateful with each step, each moment.

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday

  3. #3
    Joyo
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    - How important is it for you to get out into nature from time to time?

    Gassho, J
    Shingen already said everything so well, to which I wholeheartedly agree. I would just add that getting out in nature is almost as important to me as breathing. I spend as much time as I can outdoors, just practicing living in the moment, soaking it all in, watching the impermanence of life and how nature slowly just is.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

  4. #4
    Member ForestDweller's Avatar
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    Mar 2015
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    Beltrami Island Forest in Minnesota
    My heart goes out to those who must settle for "getting out in nature" rather than living amidst it which anyone who has read my past posts will already know I am privileged to do. If you don't remember, I live in a remote corner of NW Minnesota in an 800 sqft very rustic log cabin in the middle of a grand old boreal Forest. I capitalize Forest because to me it is a proper name, the name by which I call a familiar entity that I live with. Is it important to me? (And to my husband) Yes, so important that we literally gave up everything (not really "giving up." rather unloading) that city life means to live "in the middle of nowhere. And yes, again, living this way makes it more possible to carry the serenity and wisdom of Forest-living into any environment. The beauty is that once establishing a life in nature, the doo-dads of town and city living seem superfluous and can be seen for what they are -- extraneous possessions. And no, we have no "toys" like 4-wheelers or snowmobiles. We have also invested a lot of creativity into being able to work from our Forest home, thanks to the internet age. That means we have to leave here less and less. Does that mean we are isolated? On the contrary, we are finding that people seek us out more than ever because they are drawn to the lives we live and they want to experience it even if for only a few hours. Can anybody do it? I'll answer in the words of Fool's Crow, a native medicine man: "Anyone can life the life I live, if they are willing to do the things I've done." ^^Forest-Sat-Today^^ -- CatherineS
    Last edited by ForestDweller; 08-02-2015 at 07:42 PM. Reason: Forgot to sign

  5. #5

    Grass Hut - 22 - "Light on the Mountain"

    Hi,

    I grew up in a jungle in Brazil called So Paulo, one the largest cities in the world. There were high rise buildings every direction I looked as a child. The entrance to my 25 stories mountain opened to Avenida Paulista, an eight lane avenue where pedestrians were run over on occasion. As a child I got to witness outcomes of two suicides of people who jumped from my high rise. I also got to see people jump to their death from the high rise across my own when it caught on fire.

    In spite of it all, I had a most wonderful time growing up in Brazil. Folks were extremely friendly and happy with trash tied with a string in the shape of a soccer ball. It's what you make of it. Wherever you are.

    A jungle is a jungle. A mountain a mountain. A city a city.

    It pisses me off when I perceive Zennies placing some special value in being with nature. My nature is where I am. Right here. Right now. The tiger around the corner ready to ponce on me is a figment of my imagination. The tiger is present here in my luxurious home, in my vacation home in the mountains, in my death bed or never.

    But this is just my opinion.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    It pisses me off when I perceive Zennies placing some special value in being with nature.
    Without nature, we do not exist. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Shingen View Post
    Without nature, we do not exist. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday
    Nature does not exist without me.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Nature does not exist without me.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_
    How do you exist without the oxygen nature provides? =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Shingen View Post
    How do you exist without the oxygen nature provides? =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday
    Oxygen does not exist without the carbon dioxide I create.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  10. #10
    I live in the suburbs not in a forest or in the mountains, but this is absolutely still nature. Theres a quote from Daido Loori Roshi that I really like and I think it applies here: "The spider web and The Brooklyn Bridge are both works of nature. We must learn how the delicate dynamics of this unlikely relationship work. The Earth's heart is big enough to hold both. The question is, 'how big is the heart we manifest?'"

    Gassho

    Risho
    -sattoday

  11. #11
    Hello,

    "How important is it for you to get out into nature from time to time?"

    Don't know. Can't distinguish getting out/getting into an eternal presence.


    With gratitude,
    Gassho
    Myosha sat today
    Last edited by Myosha; 08-09-2015 at 11:58 AM.
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  12. #12
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    - How important is it for you to get out into nature from time to time?

    In the very last paragraph of the chapter, the author hints at how we must learn to find these same lessons anywhere ... in the inner city. Is it possible? Is it important that we do so?

    I think it is absolutly vital to try to feel these lessons wherever we may be - city, work, mountains etc. I think we all recognise the pain of being alienated from your environment, and I dont know of anybody who lived in the mountains/forests but kept a holiday house in the city.

    People always travel to rural nature to reconnect or just de-stress, never the other way around. I know my practice only really started becoming personal after I moved from the inner city to the greener suburbs. When my wife first got sick, we decided it was time to move further - we now live in what we think is paradise and our stress levels have plummeted and my practice has strengthened. We will be buying a plot of land soon and building a small straw bale cottage which we can expand as we need to. The local Yuin people call this area "The Place of Many Waters", and it is rich in wildlife and happy people. All around we see the mountain ridge, and Gulaga the sacred mountain is taller then all the others. She demands a certain respect and returns a certainty of our sacred place in this world. Not much money, but heaps of culture, happines and meaning. And hippies lol.

    No matter where or how we live, I do believe it is beneficial for us to at least consider teh wider scope of "nature". How do we fit in our local enironment? Where would we want to be if we could be anywhere? And if it supports our practice then we are already lucky.

    Can we connect to nature like this in the city? I know people who say we can, but for me it just doesnt work well outside the sitting time. When I first came here, I feared a tiger, but just me alone under the stars in the dark i realise that tiger is hungry, lazy and very very happy to be left behind.


    Gassho
    Geoff.
    SatToday.
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  13. #13
    A self-quote.

    "Here" was/is the sea.

    I think it differs from person to person where we can experience this offer to open up, to really see the richness of life, of each moment being special and a gift to us, which is a very humbling experience.
    Some see it in mountains, others at the sea shore, others in cities bustling like ant hills.

    I notice more red squirrels and birds and bumblebees in this dusty town this year.
    I do not think it's a "Zennie" thing, I just seem more curious.
    But my attitude has changed - while a seagull was "beautiful", a city pidgeon was "only a pidgeon".
    That probably is a Zennie thing, but I don't mind

    Gassho,
    Danny
    #sattoday

  14. #14
    I find that getting outside of my comfort zone is the best place to go.

    Nature is nice. Trees are great. Wildlife is wonderful. I just planted my feet on a farm in North Eastern Pennsylvania. It's remote. its scenic and beautiful. The ground is being fracked for natural gas. I live there now.

    Gassho

    Sat Today

  15. #15
    Kyotai
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Shingen View Post
    Thank you for this Jundo. For me nature is a supportive pillar to my practice and my practice a supportive pillar to my experience in nature. Nature, like Shikantaza, allows me to just be present, open, and grateful with each step, each moment.

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday
    Opening the window after zazen tonight, the crickets and coyote calls remind me to be present, here and now.

    I can also hear the 401, the busiest highway in North America 700 meters away...

    Both are as they are. In fact, as it was written " it's good to be reminded that all things are related"

    But for me, there is nothing like paddling a canoe down a quiet river, or hiking through a park. Our friend Shingen says it well.

    Gassho, Kyotai
    Sat today

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Byrne View Post
    I find that getting outside of my comfort zone is the best place to go.

    Nature is nice. Trees are great. Wildlife is wonderful. I just planted my feet on a farm in North Eastern Pennsylvania. It's remote. its scenic and beautiful. The ground is being fracked for natural gas. I live there now.

    Gassho

    Sat Today
    Don't worry about it man, that land is there for the taking; what could be the worst that could happen? Once we get Trump into office, he'll spearhead an Earth-initiative basically by threatening the Earth, calling it weak and telling it to cool off. lol

    Of course I'm being sarcastic

    There is something special about being out in "nature". When we visit New Mexico it's just gorgeous. There's plenty to see here in FL as well; I'm just thinking of the desert mountains. Very majestic. The vista is surreal. It's like looking at a large aircraft, a large building, the night sky undistorted by lights -- it's awe-inducing.

    Gassho,

    Risho
    -sattoday
    Last edited by Risho; 08-04-2015 at 06:58 PM.

  17. #17
    'being in nature' implies you can be outside of it. the internet and a skyscraper is as 'natural' as a mountain. I don't get the whole thing about 'natural' food even, there is healthier and less healthier food but just because something is manmade, it isn't less natural, might be more or less caustic to the individual or interbeing, but 'nonmanmade natural' doesn't make something more special and 'good, spiritual, natural'. people are part of nature and as is their output, if their output, products, actions come only from a view of isolated selfness, never seeing how caustic actions, 'making a war' (which is natural too), or dumping toxic waste into the stream will effect them negatively immediately or downstream, then that's where the 'problem' starts..it's when you want to get into a forest or climb up a mountain..you're aware there are less hyper caustic problems there just because there are less people, less blind causes of mutual gross suffering.

    I think it's important to be accepting of the harm so we are not overwhelmed by it and willing to change it..It's already there, the doomsday clock is inching closer to midnight again, we're having a hard time as a society making certain resources free not seeing that automation is actually a good thing that we should be happy happened, accept that there will be less human work from now and into the future and as many or more humans doing jobs for a diminishing return since rate of return is so low that many things should be reassigned as a free public service, as granted as air.

    Going into a forest or such is a good time to regroup, sit perhaps, and be at ease since there are far fewer distractions but staying there isn't a good idea either, it's good to accept the world as it is, accept that enviormental and militaristic self destruction is there and may or may not be stoppable but it's also important to try to slow it down somehow, we're still here after all, and the reality that we can make the world a more tender ways in big or small ways is here to accept and try because it just is possible to still do.

    If we don't, 'nature' in the woods and up the mountain will be seamlessly affected in increasingly detrimental by the nature in the cities we are trying to 'go away' from.

    That said, I really enjoy my time camping and hiking.

    SatToday

    Metta,
    Greg

    Sent from my ALCATEL ONETOUCH P310A using Tapatalk
    A fine line separates the weary recluse from the fearful hermit. Finer still is the line between hermit and bitter misanthrope. - Dean Koontz

  18. #18
    In my younger days I used to go camping in the Cascade mountains. I would find the most remote place I could access, miles from anyone or anywhere, and it was wonderful. I no longer live there and no longer have access to that type of wilderness and no longer have the physical ability to do that kind of camping even if I did have a place to do it. This was all before I was a practicing Buddhist, but I still very much experienced what Connelly talks about in this chapter.

    These days I live pretty much building to building, air conditioning to air conditioning in the summer, heat to heat in the winter, with nature only in the brief interlude. This chapter makes me want to get out more. But more importantly, it makes me want to bring the great outdoors to my practice.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today

  19. #19
    Member Roland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Brussels and Antwerp, Belgium

    Grass Hut - 22 - "Light on the Mountain"

    I live in cities and I totally enjoy living in these old European places. I also live in this strange cyberspace which seems to transcend distance and even time. I feel less at ease in really wild outdoor places as I lack the skills to survive there on my own - but as long as one has an internet connection, Google can teach a lot. This being said, I feel one can experience living in a grass hut in the midst of a city.

    Gassho
    #SatToday
    Roland

  20. #20
    Hello all,

    This topic definitely raises my curiosity about what certain buddhist masters decided they needed to go on long personal retreats. What drove Bodhidharma to spend all those years meditating in a cave? Why did Tsongkhapa of the vajrayana lineages decide he must go into a cave and chant for all those years? Is there a quality to this kind of personal retreat that isn't captured well in media or elsewhere?

    Before I really got into Buddhism fully, I was in the camp that thought zen teachers, buddhist teachers in general would be speaking in weird riddles and other baffling 'profound' discourse that was impossible to ever understand because it was just too profound. In retrospect it is profound but properly presentable, does reveal itself, slowly, but it's clearly not a impossible arcane philosophy.

    I wonder what kind of ignorance I hold to the function of these seeming escapes. You have plenty of hermits in the woods but their reasons are diverse for being there, why did the historical masters do it? What did they see in their practice that necessitated such a activity?

    Metta,
    Greg

    SatToday

    Sent from my ALCATEL ONETOUCH P310A using Tapatalk
    A fine line separates the weary recluse from the fearful hermit. Finer still is the line between hermit and bitter misanthrope. - Dean Koontz

  21. #21
    One story is that after being refused entry to the shaolin monastery he sat in a nearby cave for nine years. Maybe this is part of a legend created to motivate people to sit more instead of just reading and studying sutras.

    SAT today
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    I may be wrong and not knowing is acceptable

  22. #22
    How important is it for you to get out into nature from time to time
    It is my Mother, my Father, my Soul. It is right outside my door. I sit with it each day on my deck. Only a wet, driving northerly can drive me inside. When I first sit I know that I have drifted away. It comes back, simply through listening. There are 25 species of local birds here and another 10 seasonal migrants. Right now the Shining Cuckoo is arriving after their annual 3000 km flight from the Solomon Islands. Welcome, friends.

    Then there is the sound of wind, of rain. They all play their own beautiful music

    m

    Sat 2-day
    Last edited by michaeljc; 08-08-2015 at 08:48 AM.

  23. #23
    Hi All,

    Being with trees, water, sky, clouds, is very important to me. When I enter a natural environment, I always feel an inner releasing, a deep spiritual exhale. I feel a strong sense of kinship with rocks, growing things, animals, earth. I feel that I belong here, that this is home, and I’ve returned. I spent a lot of time in the woods, growing up in Alaska. So it’s kind of my default setting. I also learned to fear and respect nature; it’s not all beautiful sunsets and rainbows. Nature actually does not care about me at all, and will be perfectly happy to let me die a slow death in a snowy ravine with a broken leg, or be chewed-on by a bear for a couple days while he decides whether to eat me or not. Still, I don’t take this personally, and feel most easily at home in natural places.

    But when I lived in the city, I loved that too. The Man-made places have a beauty of their own, an awesomeness, a majesty. I felt a kinship there as well, a connection with all the faces and food smells and round-the-clock noise, the sounds of different languages, the creativity and innovation and industry and culture. I learned to fear and respect the city too; it’s not all bright lights and the symphony. The city didn’t care about me, and I could have ended up drug-addicted and living in an alley, or murdered for the money in my pocket, if life’s circumstances had led me that way.

    I’m no Zen scholar, but I’m guessing maybe the reason so much of the Buddhist literature references the natural world is because that was the world they lived in at the time. There was nothing exotic or zenny back then about a mountain or a river, it was what you saw when you looked up from your work. The point maybe was to find the dharma in the normal, common, daily surroundings. I could be wrong about that. But I think the dharma can be expressed just as well in modern metaphors and koans about skyscrapers, or slums, or suburbia, or prisons, or the internet... and it will be, in times to come.

    I think we can find our home wherever we are, find a sense of connection, and a sense of our place in the larger landscape. Yes to Jundo’s question: I do think it’s important to do so. Ben writes about being in nature:

    “We touch something vast and real, we see how small we are, our senses carefully attune to conditions.”

    It seems to me that we can do this anywhere we are, if we slow down, take a careful moment, and look deeply. Put aside our preferences and preconceived notions and allow ourselves to be at home, in our true nature, however that nature manifests.

    Gassho
    Lisa
    sat today

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