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Thread: Grass Hut - 28 - "Host and Guests"

  1. #1

    Grass Hut - 28 - "Host and Guests"

    Well, this week I have no particular question. The author seemed to play on a variety of meanings of "host" and "guest", and seems to be a bit bouncing around this time (my impression).

    He covers a "host" of topics, so you be my "guest" this time.

    Any impressions?

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-14-2015 at 12:57 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Hello,

    The poem contains two questions. Both questions at the end of a stanza. Both questions act as a humorous "punchline".

    "Will this hut perish or not?"

    "Who would . . . entice guests?" After all, "things are at rest" and "he no longer works".

    Shitou has a sense of humor. Or not.


    Gassho
    Myosha sat today
    Last edited by Myosha; 09-14-2015 at 11:02 AM.
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  3. #3
    I have a question:
    does "to entice" mean the same thing as to attract guests, or is it more like lure away from?

    This phrase sounds to me like Shitou creates a picture he himself finds ridiculous: Proudly preparing his little hut for guests, maybe important people, maybe students to come.
    Thinking like this would be a guest-idea, a thing he has no longer to work on to be free.

    But maybe it is also an invitation "Come, but take me as I am."
    Hermits like Ryokan depended upon their supporters, who gave them items they needed to survive but could not produce.
    Maybe Shitou had another way of trading in something, receiving gifts without playing the host.

    I know the poem is about Shikantaza, not how he got a new shaving knife.
    But as Shikantaza demands honesty with ourselves, this line maybe demands honesty in relationships.
    We all are guests.
    I will take the chipped tea cup to give you the honor, then let us sit as equals.

    Gassho,
    Danny
    #sattoday

  4. #4
    That's pretty interesting Danny.

    I like the point about how we try to "get" some point that we can nail down and solidify, like hey we have it; but then that is no longer alive, it's no longer real, it's something catalogued away. I think it's a good challenge, to stay with a question without expecting or necessarily searching for answers. This is hard for me because I want to know and get the point of something. But I think, in a way, that is the point of practice; in a way, there is no point... just keep sitting without expectation of reward or result. So that is the point - but there is no point.

    It reminds me of the Oscar Wilde quote "Each man kills the thing he loves". I'm not sure if he had that in mind with the quote, but it's like in our quest to grasp, to have, to conquer, which we think will satisfy us, it's like taking more and more drugs - it just perpetuates the cycle. So at some point, there is a realization that this is insanity -- just stop, just notice, just stay with this. Don't add, Don't subract, Don't push away or pull toward. Just be here with it.

    I don't have the book with me, so I will strike this from the record once I get home to verify; I like the part where he writes about there nothing to be wrong with trying to get a better position in a company so you can contribute more; it's a different take on promotion. Typically, we or I think about a promotion as more money so I can have more, feel more comfortable. But I like the approach of being able to contribute more, which is also a foundation for our practice.

    Gassho,

    Risho
    -sattoday
    Last edited by Risho; 09-17-2015 at 09:21 PM.

  5. #5
    I don't have the the book with me so I haven't read that chapter yet.
    This is one version of the guest / host metaphor.
    Thoughts come and go like guests. You are the host, you persist eternally. The host welcomes all thoughts good and bad knowing that they live and die . If you identity / attach to your thoughts then the host becomes a guest.

    With meditation you begin to see breaks in what seemed like continuous thinking. This is like seeing a little blue sky behind all the clouds.

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

    I may be wrong and not knowing is acceptable

  6. #6
    Joyo
    Guest
    I quite like this chapter. The host is always present, zazen most definitely helps one to see that. I can be sitting on the cushion with my "guests" entertaining themselves with this, that and the other--it's like my mental activity is having a party. It's not much different than when things get crazy at my house with trying to get to work and get my kids out the door for school and all this mental stuff is going on. Zazen helps one to be the host in the middle of all of this. There is a calm in the midst of a raging storm, instead of being tossed by all the waves.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

  7. #7
    The host/guest analogy really resonates with me. I have a neurological condition called complex motor stereotypy. When I get caught up in an intense thought or feeling my mind produces very vivid hallucinations around said thought and my arms and face contort. If someone calls my name or taps me on the shoulder I snap out of it immediately and the guest leaves. Wtapping my head around guests and host when applied to all thoughts helped deepen my practice and ha provided a nice anchor for my understanding of whatever it is I don't really understand.

    Gassho

    Sat Today

  8. #8
    The Way is unattainable, so it's a host. But trying to attain the way transforms it into a guest.
    I am a guest when I am stuck on "I." Being a host is letting that "I" go.
    My practice is about identifying guests so that they can be let go and "I" can be more of a host.

    For example, I have a very sweet dog named Holiday that spends her day outside where she has developed a social life with my neighbors in the little complex where I live. One of my new neighbors is a dog lover and oversteps her boundaries by setting out additional water bowls (yes, more than one) for Holiday despite the fact that I already have a water bowl out, as any decent dog owner would. My guest mind is very annoyed with my neighbor for this and feels it not only unnecessary but also intrusive. Holiday is well taken care of, but my guest mind is insulted by her additional care. Like the chapter says, I have been trying to investigate my feelings of annoyance and insult, stepping back from them to try and get a broader perspective through daily off-the-cushion practice. Yesterday it hit me that the source of my negativity is not my neighbor but my own insecurities. My neighbor is doing no harm and only acting out of kindness. In a bad way, I have turned rivers (water) into mountains (annoyance) . My guest mind has been making myself unhappy while Holiday and my neighbor seem quite satisfied. So now that I have located the guest maybe a more host-like attitude will develop as my practice continues.
    Last edited by AlanLa; 09-20-2015 at 02:15 PM.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today

  9. #9
    Hi All,

    Who would proudly arrange seats, trying to entice guests?
    There’s no need to entice guests, they will drop in when they’re in the neighborhood. Who is there to arrange the seats? There is no host without a guest, there is no guest without a host. Your efforts to be the host make you into a guest in your own home. Open the door, let them come and let them go; some will bring gifts, others will put a lampshade on their head and spill the wine. Oh look, I am the fool who’s lost in the coat-closet looking for the toilet, for even trying to pin it down in words!

    Risho makes a lot of sense here:

    I like the point about how we try to "get" some point that we can nail down and solidify, like hey we have it; but then that is no longer alive, it's no longer real, it's something catalogued away. I think it's a good challenge, to stay with a question without expecting or necessarily searching for answers. This is hard for me because I want to know and get the point of something. But I think, in a way, that is the point of practice; in a way, there is no point... just keep sitting without expectation of reward or result. So that is the point - but there is no point.
    Great point, and that seems to answer the question too.

    One of the most mindblowing things I have started to learn here at Treeleaf is that it’s possible to have the question without seeking an answer. Questions, answers, the seeker and what is sought are all the same. Maybe.

    Gassho
    Lisa
    sat today

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