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Thread: Unpleasant Zen

  1. #1

    Unpleasant Zen

    Hello All,

    I wanted to share this talk from Eshu Martin at Zen West about commitment to practice. It seems particularly appropriate to the start of our Ango season. It's a short (15min) but very blunt, direct talk.

    http://livingzen.libsyn.com/unpleasa...y-june-23-2015

    -satToday

    p.s. Eshu teaches in a Rinzai lineage, but I think his message is applicable to practitioners in any lineage (or tradition, for that matter). He is also one of the (now ex-)members of AZTA who spoke out in support of Jundo.
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-08-2015 at 06:34 PM.
    Thanks,
    Kaishin (開心, Open Heart)
    Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

  2. #2
    Thanks Kaishin.

    I'll give it a listen as soon as I can.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  3. #3
    Hello,

    Thank you for the link.

    Listened twice. Wasn't aware Rinzai talks were so goal-oriented, mixed with insulting disciples lives. Definitely interesting and worth a listen.


    Gassho
    Myosha sat today
    Last edited by Myosha; 09-10-2015 at 07:30 PM.
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  4. #4
    Thank you Kaishin, very nice talk. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday

  5. #5
    I think when true words are spoken it's now bound to the lineage of the person who spoke them. Thanks for sharing this.

    Gassho
    James
    SatToday


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Thanks for the link Kaishin. This talk actually really resonates with me, mostly because when I first became interested in Zen, it was through reading Charlotte Joko Beck... I haven't read "Nothing Special" in at least 20 years, but phrases like "laying on the icy couch" and "walking on the razor's edge" stuck with me. That is how I always have thought of Zen, enlightenment through Giving Up All Hope, facing our worst fears and demons. It took me this long to get to the point where I am ready to try to completely let go of ego and embrace this way fully (although it is a way non-attainable).

    (Though I am certainly not going to complain about the gentler attitude here at Treeleaf)

    Gassho,
    Sierra
    SatToday

  7. #7
    By the way, I'll add that most of his talks I've listened to are the kinder, gentler type. That's why this one stood out! Sometimes a stern reminder is helpful, though. Jundo certainly gets some of that fire and brimstone going on occasion
    Thanks,
    Kaishin (開心, Open Heart)
    Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

  8. #8
    Hi Guys,

    Lovely talk.

    I usually compare the differences in approach between "hard" Rinzai and "gentler" Soto this way (although, in fact, Eshu is quite a pussycat for a Rinzai fellow, and some Soto teachers can be true growling tigers) to something like the hard approach of Karate which meets the opponent head on, and the gentle flowing of Ai-ki-do which allows the opponent to pass right though.

    Both ways, same in purpose but often different in approach, sometimes different but always precisely the same. Anyway, sometimes Karate is gentle and Ai-ki-do tough. Ultimately, what "opponent?"

    I believe that many flavors of meditation (not just in Zen) 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". Both the Rinzai and Soto paths seek to allow us to realize Reality, to live fully and face-embrace this life-world-self head on. 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 throw themselves very hard into the Koan all to realize ... such all along.

    There are many paths up the mountain ... including paths, not only within Buddhism, but encompassing paths of other religions and philosophies too. As the guide on this hike, I just recommend the path here as I have practiced it for nearing 30 years and believe it a great and effective path for most mountain climbers seeking the fruits of this practice. One realizes that, as one walks up the mountain, the mountain walks you ... all just the mountain mountaining mountain (and, ultimately, "what mountain!?" ).

    So it is with the so-called "Rinzai Kana (Koan) Zazen v. "Soto 'Just Sitting' Shikantaza" thingy ... Different strokes for different folks, and the hard Japanese Rinzai style might suit some personality types, Shikantaza other personality types. I know which way is right for me, and I have a suspicion that more people (especially Western lay people) benefit from Shikantaza than Koan Zazen Practice, so I teach that way. But that is just an opinion, and both the high road and the low road might get you to the Goalless Goal, and the Destination Never Left All Along.

    For folks who are new to Zen and Buddhism, I usually recommend the following essays on "how to read Zen and Buddhist books & essays" because teachers come in so many flavors, and folks seem to be preaching sometimes very different things all under the label "Zen". My one comment is that the essays paint with a very broad brush. The pussycat Eshu may not be like the "Three Pillars of Zen/Harada-Yasutani" approach discussed in the essays ... although even a pussycat has claws, a tiger will purr.

    Special reading - once born twice born zen (part 1)
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...n-%28part-1%29

    Special reading - (more) once born twice born zen
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...twice-born-zen

    Special reading - eight types of enlightenment
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-enlightenment

    Same but sometimes different, often different yet always the same.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday

    PS - We also have a couple of very general explanations of Zen and Buddhism for new folks in our recommended book list (Scroll down to "BEST BOOKS FOR BEGINNERS INTRODUCING BASIC ZEN/BUDDHISM IN GENERAL:") ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...REELEAF-SANGHA
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-09-2015 at 02:56 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    Hi,

    Eshu has no beard.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  10. #10
    Thank you for the links! Am learning so much from both the reading and the discussion in the threads. Having un-zen like thoughts of "wishing I found Treeleaf a long time ago", I've learned more here in 3 months than I did in two decades prior.
    Gassho,
    Sierra
    SatToday

  11. #11
    Member FaithMoon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Southern California
    Here's what I heard Eshu say: Some zen students only sit when times are tough, some are fair-weather students, and some sit through it all. Eshu wants us to sit through it all.

    sat today,
    Faith-Moon
    Last edited by FaithMoon; 09-09-2015 at 04:08 PM.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by FaithMoon View Post
    Here's what I heard Eshu say: Some zen students only sit when times are tough, some are fair-weather students, and some sit through it all. Eshu wants us to sit through it all.

    sat today,
    Faith-Moon
    I think that's a good synopsis!
    -satToday
    Thanks,
    Kaishin (開心, Open Heart)
    Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

  13. #13
    I really enjoyed his directness. Thank you for the pointer, Kaishin.

    Btw, has anyone ever seen Eshu and Sekishi in the same room?

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    #sattoday
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    some Soto teachers can be true growling tigers
    I'd say that for example the great Kodo Sawaki is one of those teachers...

    Gassho,
    Daiyo

    #SatToday
    Gassho,Walter

  15. #15
    It's a long time since I posted anything here. I listened to the talk and found it interesting. I liked the start of it. So many people I know use Zen and Mindfulness Meditation etc as 'analgesic' practices. And Zen practice does give us strength to accept unpleasant things in our lives. He seems to suggest that Zen is seeing ourselves as we really are and that will lead us to change away from 'bad' practices in our lives? However, that sounds a bit like a Christian ethos to me. And I don't think we can summon up the motivation to do this from thin air. It is either there or not. To me Zen practice is more of an outworking of a path we felt led to follow, a kind of confirmation of what we are already, not a way to improve 'ourselves' in any shape or form. Just my peculiar thoughts - interested to hear other perspectives.

  16. #16
    John! One of our original Treeleafers.

    So good to hear from you!

    (I was just thinking of you recently. I hope you are visiting with Myozan).

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  17. #17
    Treeleaf Unsui / Engineer Sekishi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Virginia, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    Btw, has anyone ever seen Eshu and Sekishi in the same room?


    Gassho,
    Sekishi
    sekishi
    石志

    He/him. As a novice priest-in-training, this is simply an expression of my opinion. Please take it with a grain of salt.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Hi,

    Eshu has no beard.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_


    I always like Eshu's talks.

    Thank you for this link Kaishin!

    Gassho,

    Ongen
    Sat Today
    Ongen (音源) - Sound Source

  19. #19
    Thank you Kaishin! I think its just human nature that brings us to practice when we experience something we do not like; suffering I think is a powerful motivator or tether, but when things seem to go the way we like it is easy to forget practice, whatever the practice is that we did ehen we were in "the shit". I think another important tether to practice is vow and sangha; frankly those are two powerful motivators to practice even when it appears it isnt "necessary".

    Gassho

    Risho
    -sattoday

  20. #20
    Thanks Jundo I haven't been able to attend RL Zen sesshins for 2 years now because of worsening disability so I lost interest in Zen a bit. I used to go to 2 per year. I still miss it a bit though I guess. Hope you are well.

  21. #21
    Hi John,

    Well, come Zen with us any time. We are always here, you are always here too, which is just where we are.

    May you be healthy, and at ease in all one's ills.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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