Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Grass Hut - 35 - "Lay Down My Sword and Shield"

  1. #1

    Grass Hut - 35 - "Lay Down My Sword and Shield"

    Dear All,

    We come to Chapter 28, "Lay Down My Sword and Shield" ...

    Q. - Has this Practice helped you to lay down the sword, drop your armor, get out of the defensive or aggressive stance, open the hand and just walk more open and innocent though life and its various situations?

    Any examples?

    Gassho, J

  2. #2
    Yes it has. I no longer ride in an armored tank. I still carry a sling shot with me just in case though.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  3. #3
    Thank you Jundo,

    Yes! This practice over the years has helped me be more confident with who I am and to not worry so much about how/what people thought of me. When I was younger I lacked that confidence and was very shy ... seeing that I was perfect even with my imperfection. =)


  4. #4
    This part stood out for me:
    "If we lay down our weapons, open our hands, cultivate nonharming, we will find that all those things that we were afraid of, all those things we hated or drove us nuts, do not harm us any more."

    The skeptic in me says "Really?", which I recognise is a closed, defensive way of reading this! And then I laugh at myself (-:

    step lightly... stay free...
    sat today

  5. #5
    Member ForestDweller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Beltrami Island Forest in Minnesota
    Lay down my sword? Drop my armor? Are you kidding? Through trials and traumas, I developed some pretty awesome defenses, including becoming a ranked martial artist, and yes, I study Iaido, the Japanese art of the killing cut with the katana (long sword). There is absolutely nothing wrong with developing these kinds of skills; it's a matter of mindset and attitude when using them. I consider my years of study in the martial arts key to my development as a whole and healthy human being who knows abuse when she sees it and knows how to deal with it. (Mostly, for me personally, just leave it behind and walk away.) The word "samurai" means servant, and the codes that the samurai (not the foot soldier type, but rather the leaders) lived by were explicit about duty and honor and many other virtues. Nothing wrong with having a code like that either. Also, many samurai also practiced meditation, as do many of us in the martial arts. In short, the sword and armor have their place in a balanced practitioner's life. I say this both literally and metaphorically. Forest Dweller / CatherineS

  6. #6
    Trust in the way.

    SAT today
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  7. #7
    Yes Rich!
    All the Way.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Heisoku 平 息
    Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. (Basho)

  8. #8
    It's funny how much relaxation is an underlying theme of this poem, and of this practice, to echo the author. Without being relaxed into this here, without being able to be with, one, not separate, we have to relax, and in order to drop our defenses, we have to be very, very relaxed and confident and "trust without doubt" in our path.

    Just by virtue of doing practice, we lay down our sword and shield. By saying metta for those "others" who really piss us off, or by bowing, or by sitting, especially sitting when we'd rather be watching that new tv, or doing something else. By vowing to save all sentient beings, and really doing it in the face of impossibility requires that we throw away anything that is shielding us from giving it all. Of course, I shield a lot; I think this practice has a lot to do with peeling away those layers that have been built up over years and years of cultural and personal habits.

    As a concrete example of doing this, just the other day at work - work is really a great practice ground - someone came to me. The conversation was getting heated because they didn't want to delay their project, but I knew they were cutting corners and would introduce insecure code into the production (just a term for the live environment that everyone uses) environment. I'm a senior engineer, I've been doing this for years, it costs more money to fix problems that could have been prevented in the first place, even if it seems like it would make sense to cut corners. It never does.

    In any case, it was getting heated, and I could have aggressively spouted off that I'm this and that, and you know nothing, etc. But based on experience, which lends to relaxation. I've been coding for almost 20 years. You don't get relaxed by becoming a limp puppy. That's passive. Just like a master musician or anything, you become relaxed by facing the stresses, the challenges and fighting the fight or flight urge and just staying present. It's the same with zen. At first it's hard, it still is, but you learn as you sit more and more that these resistances to practice are mental and will all pass; there's nothing to worry about, it really is all good.

    Anyway, I'm rambling, I told the person, I know you are frustrated. I know how frustrating it is to learn these concepts and to correctly apply them. The fact of the matter is that a lot of it is trial by fire, research and trying and trying. These things are not well-documented. And that was that. I didn't feed the flame of frustration, I tried to empathize and put myself in that person's shoes. And it really is from this practice that I chose to do that. The project will be delayed, problems have to be solved, but they can be focused on now, without the added distraction and energy-drain of anger, etc.

    I'm convinced that this practice is one of the ways that we will survive as human beings. I think, especially now, as ideologies clash, that of course we need to defend ourselves, but we must always guard against vengeance. Anger is natural, and there's nothing wrong with it; what is wrong is when we add to it, and fuel it. I feel it, and it's very enticing. It can feel good to be angry; I think it's a mental addiction.

    These horrific attacks in Paris. The perpetrators must be brought to justice, and we must find ways to stop this mindless killing. The same thing with mass killings, or killing minorities by persons in power. To find the root to this means we need to not allow ourselves to destroy by anger. We must meet with these people; I'm sure some are mentally ill, and that's fine. We need to meet with each person at their level and find out what the best way to assist is, maybe that is mental treatment. But certainly, some of these are rational people who are making very irrational decisions. Perhaps they feel separated, isolated.

    Instead of "hunting" these people down. We do need to bring them to justice, let me re-emphasize, we need to get to the root of what is causing this without turning it into a witch hunt. If we categorically group a culture, etc of people as "other" or less than, then we will never have peace. Fear will always be fueled by separation and unnecessary paranoia.

    And I think that laying down of defenses takes a real effort and willingness - that is the continual ground of my practice. And to hearken back to a previous Ango practice; I think this is why "Every day is a good day", as Yunmen would say. Because we are alive and we can heal, we can fail and we can heal. Even if it's not all puppies and sunshine, it's ok. We are here, and even when we must go, someone else will be here practicing; there is always hope as long we are alive.



  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Dear All,

    We come to Chapter 28, "Lay Down My Sword and Shield" ...

    Q. - Has this Practice helped you to lay down the sword, drop your armor, get out of the defensive or aggressive stance, open the hand and just walk more open and innocent though life and its various situations?

    Any examples?

    Gassho, J


    To quote another master, yoda, "wars not make one great".
    When you realize and act on that notion you are no longer on the path to the dark side.

    An example is that quite recently a close friend of mine hurt myself and people around me.
    Instead of getting into a fight with him, causing maybe even more damage i, still, am just here with open arms doing the best i can to help, and heal, all involved.
    How it may turn out, noone knows, but i do what i can, as much as i can with open arms, open hand, open mind.

    Thank you for your practice.


    Life is our temple and its all good practice

  10. #10
    I love the premise of opening your hand, but the practice is just so damn hard. From the global issues relating to the Paris attacks to the personal affronts that we merely perceive as attacks, the volume of it all can be overwhelming. It's like a snowball rolling down a hill until it becomes an avalanche.

    And so we sit amongst the destruction, yes.
    And we open our hands to it all, yes.
    But to sit with it does not mean to sit sill.

    Open hands are useful hands. We need to act from a place of stillness, and that's what I think Connelly was describing. We need to find ways of connecting with others so different from ourselves if we are to heal all these wounds we open. My heart breaks when I think of it all. To hurt feels helpless, but opening your hand to other's hurt is a helpful path. How to do it off the cushion is a struggle for all of us in this practice.

    The force of an open hand in the martial arts is to be wielded mindfully. I am a pacifist to a strong degree, but not so strong to realize that force is needed at times. There is a place for force in this world and our lives, but how to exert in a mindful (relaxed?) way is beyond me, a practice I do not yet know. We all have a dark side, and opening our hand to it in such a way as to work with it and not against it, and others, is our very difficult practice at this difficult time. I can manage this in my practice, but I fear the politically unmindful reactions that will probably drive global actions beyond our control.

    Je suis Parisien!
    AL (Jigen) in:

    I sat today

  11. #11
    Al you have a penchant for articulating the inarticulable.



Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts