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Thread: If Dogen worked for me......

  1. #1

    If Dogen worked for me......

    ...I'd likely fire him!

    But seriously, here's the question - How does Zazen equate with Enlightenment?

    I loved the allegory of the Golden Carp, so I am comfortable with the practice now and I am moving more easily in Zazen - however, this particular bit still leaves me utterly confused.

    How is just sitting the same as the Buddhas Enlightenment? He taught the end of suffering, how is Zazen just this?

    Thanks!

    Tony - Will be sitting later _/|\_
    Sat today

  2. #2
    Hello,

    'Just sitting' satisfies.

    ". . . end of suffering,"?

    Check!



    Gassho
    Myosha sat today
    Last edited by Myosha; 12-08-2015 at 09:28 PM.
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by dharmasponge View Post

    I loved the allegory of the Golden Carp
    Are you referring to this Koan from the Blue Cliff Record?

    Attention! San-cho asked Sep-po: "What (Why?) does a mysterious golden-scaled carp escaped from the fishing net cast? " Sep-po said, "I would like to wait for your coming out of the fishing net and then answer you."
    Maybe I should wait for you to slip out the net before addressing the rest?

    Quote Originally Posted by dharmasponge View Post

    But seriously, here's the question - How does Zazen equate with Enlightenment?

    ...

    How is just sitting the same as the Buddhas Enlightenment? He taught the end of suffering, how is Zazen just this?

    _
    Very simple really. One just sitting whole without lack or need for further ado, such is the Way of Zazen. As nothing lacks, where is there room for Dukkha?

    However, when the little self itself feels and itself judges "something lacks, I need something more" and goes hunting for it, well, as Dogen said,

    The Way is originally perfect and all-pervading. ... The true vehicle is self-sufficient. ... And yet, if there is a hairsbreadth deviation, it is like the gap between heaven and earth. If the least like or dislike arises, the mind is lost in confusion. (Fukanzazengi)
    Perhaps one might say that only the carp's own self-centered thoughts and judgments create a mental net and place it inside.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday

    PS "Tony - Will be sitting later _/|\_" - We do request you to sit before posting. Thank you.
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-08-2015 at 01:57 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by dharmasponge View Post
    ...I'd likely fire him!
    Who is I? Who is Dogen? Same or different?

    Quote Originally Posted by dharmasponge View Post
    How does Zazen equate with Enlightenment?
    Zazen and enlightenment. Same or different?

    Quote Originally Posted by dharmasponge View Post
    How is just sitting the same as the Buddhas Enlightenment?
    Just sitting and Buddhas Enlightenment. Same or different?

    Quote Originally Posted by dharmasponge View Post
    He taught the end of suffering, how is Zazen just this?
    End of suffering, Zazen and just this. Same or different?

    If you say same, you are attached to emptiness.

    If you say different, you are attached to form.

    What can you do?

    It's a beautiful day outside. I think I will have some tea, go for a walk and make a donation to my favorite charity. Don't you want to join me Tony?

    Gassho, Jishin, ST

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Who is I? Who is Dogen? Same or different?



    Zazen and enlightenment. Same or different?



    Just sitting and Buddhas Enlightenment. Same or different?
    These phrases can be easy for all of us to say and philosophize about. However, truly knowing so in the bones and getting on with life, that's not so easy.

    It's a beautiful day beyond measure.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Who is I? Who is Dogen? Same or different?

    Zazen and enlightenment. Same or different?

    Just sitting and Buddhas Enlightenment. Same or different?

    End of suffering, Zazen and just this. Same or different?

    If you say same, you are attached to .......
    Seung Sahn Sunim.... Different.

    I hit you 30 times before and after your walk!

    Whatever..........
    Sat today

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Are you referring to this Koan from the Blue Cliff Record?

    Maybe I should wait for you to slip out the net before addressing the rest?

    Very simple really. One just sitting whole without lack or need for further ado, such is the Way of Zazen. As nothing lacks, where is there room for Dukkha?

    However, when the little self itself feels and itself judges "something lacks, I need something more" and goes hunting for it, well, as Dogen said,

    Perhaps one might say that only the carp's own self-centered thoughts and judgments create a mental net and place it inside.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday

    PS "Tony - Will be sitting later _/|\_" - We do request you to sit before posting. Thank you.
    Thanks Jundo,

    Noted re Sat Today _/|\_

    The carp metaphor was something either you said or I read - can't recall. It was alluding to your hands being in a cool pool of water trying to attract a golden carp. If you beckon it, it will scare it and never come to you. If you remain still, if you're lucky (Karma?) it may just swim to you.

    I guess I am asking does Shikantaza ever bring about the Kensho experiences that I read about in The Korean and Rinzai traditions? I appreciate this isn't something we should anticipate though.

    Sat Today

    Tony...
    Last edited by dharmasponge; 12-08-2015 at 11:02 AM. Reason: Typo
    Sat today

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by dharmasponge View Post

    I hit you 30 times before and after your walk!
    You are attached to words.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  9. #9
    Hi Tony,

    I guess I am asking does Shikantaza ever bring about the Kensho experiences that I read about in The Korean and Rinzai traditions? I appreciate this isn't something we should anticipate though.
    In my experience - no. Shikantaza doesn't and shouldn't bring anything about.

    But then, if one would want to talk about such an overrated thing(?) as kensho, it is usually brought about by birds flying by, a bell in the distance, a cheap wooden bucket that has seen the last of it's days and more the like.

    Kensho is nice. Just like a bite of good chocolate or a cool beer on a hot day. Too much chocolate one gets fat. Too much beer one gets drunk.
    Have a sip, forget it, sit some more


    Gassho
    Ongen

    Sat Today
    Ongen (音源) - Sound Source

  10. #10
    First off, guys, please cut out the Zenny sounding banter. Stink of Zen and all that. I talk in weird ways sometimes because there are aspects of Zen Practice that push normal syntax and sentence structure to the extreme. But don't try to sound like old Chinese people.

    Reminds me of the opening scenes of this Stuart Davis episode (Rating: For Mature Audiences) ...



    Quote Originally Posted by dharmasponge View Post

    I guess I am asking does Shikantaza ever bring about the Kensho experiences that I read about in The Korean and Rinzai traditions? I appreciate this isn't something we should anticipate though.
    Yes. In Zazen, the borders of self and other soften and, sometimes, may fully drop away leaving a Great Interflowing, bodymind fully dropped away. Wisely (IMHO) such is not the be-all-end-all of what we are about here. Just read something about this by Buddhist historian Robert Sharf ...

    ... In fact, one searches in vain for a premodern Chinese or Japanese equivalent to the phenomenological notion of "experience." Nor is it legitimate to interpret such technical Zen terms as satori (to understand) or kensho (to
    see one's original nature) as denoting some species of unmediated experience in the sense of Nishida's junsui keiken [pure experience]. In traditional Chinese Buddhist literature such terms are used to denote the full comprehension
    and appreciation of central Buddhist tenets such as shunyata [Emptiness], Buddha-nature, or dependent origination. There are simply no a priori grounds to conceive of such moments of insight in phenomenological terms. Indeed, Chinese Buddhist commentators in general, and Ch'an exegetes in particular, tend to be antipathetic to any form of phenomenological reduction.

    It would appear that Nishida's interest in experience-unmediated or otherwise-is better traced to contemporary Western philosophical sources, particularly to the writings of the American philosopher William James, whose works were introduced to Nishida by D. T. Suzuki.
    http://r210mhcc.yolasite.com/resourc...ationalism.pdf
    Sharf goes on to speak of the overemphasis on these Kendo experiences in the West because of the influence of Sanbo-Kyodan Teachers ...

    Anyway, this emphasis on a single determinative experience has been very influential in Buddhism’s development in the West. For example, the Japanese Zen master Hakuun Yasutani [1885–1973] was a teacher to some of the most significant teachers in the West, including Philip Kapleau Roshi, Taizan Maezumi Roshi, Robert Aitken Roshi, and Eido Shimano Roshi. Yasutani was famous for his overriding emphasis on kensho, which means much the same thing as satori. In Japan he was a
    marginal figure, pretty much ignored by Soto and Rinzai masters. But in the West, largely because of the work of his disciples, his approach to Zen and his emphasis on kensho became pivotal.
    http://buddhiststudies.berkeley.edu/...0Interview.pdf
    The Soto approach to "Kensho" may be said to be unlimited, not bound by any one experience. I describe that here old post (pardon the length but this is important to understand) ...

    Gassho, Jundo


    =====================

    Dogen tended to speak of "Enlightenment" ... not as some momentary experience to attain ... but as "Practice-Enlightenment", emphasizing that how we make Buddha Wisdom and Compassion manifest in our actual words, thoughts and deeds in this life is the real "Kensho".

    These momentary Kensho [or other] experiences can be light and deep and beyond light or deep. This can be much more profound and enveloping than a sensation of "I" feeling oneness or awe. HOWEVER, that does not matter because, generally in Soto, we consider all such experiences as passing scenery ... just a visit to the wonders of the Grand Canyon. One cannot stay there, as lovely as it is. Nice and educational place to visit ... would not, should not, could not truly live there. One can even live perfectly well never having visited the vast Canyon at all. The most important thing is to get on the bus, get on with the trip, get on with life from there. In our Soto Way, the WHOLE TRIP is Enlightenment when realized as such (that is the True "Kensho"!) ... not some momentary stop or passing scene or some final destination .

    The following is important, so BOLDFACE and UNDERLINE ...

    Different folks approach and define all this in their own way. In our Soto View, some folks way way way overvalue an experience of timelessly momentary "Kensho" ... as the be all and end all (beyond being or ending) of "Enlightenment" ... and chase after it like some gold ring on the merry go round. For Soto folks, that is like missing the point of the trip. For Soto Folks, when we realize such ... every moment of the Buddha-Bus trip, the scenery out the windows (both what we encounter as beautiful and what appears ugly), the moments of good health and moments of passing illness, the highway, the seats and windows, all the other passengers on the Bus who appear to be riding with us, when we board and someday when we are let off ... the whole Trip ... is all the Buddha-Bus, all Enlightenment and Kensho, all the "destination" beyond "coming" or "going" or "getting there", when realized as such (Kensho). This ride is what we make it.

    In a nutshell, a wondrous and important experience perhaps, but in "Zen Enlightenment" one comes to realize that even this ordinary, dusty, confining, sometimes joyous and sometimes ugly world is just as miraculous, wondrous, and "holy" as anything like that. The "Grand Canyon" or "Top of Mt. Everest" is a wonderful place to visit, but wouldn't want to live there. Scratching one's nose, taking out the trash, feeding the baby ... when we come to perceive this world as such ... is all as much the "Buddhaland" as anything with rainbow colored trees and cotton candy castles in the sky. In fact, the canyon vistas and the mountain top are ever before your eyes even now ... in the trash, your nose, in the hungry baby [(even in Mara!)]... although maybe hard to see. The most "boring and ordinary, beautiful or ugly" of this world is Extraordinary and Beautiful when properly understood.

    In the violence, ugliness, anger, greed and clutching, divisive thoughts and frictions of the world, this fact can be hidden, so hard to see. Thus, a key aspect of our Practice is to see and live free of the violence, anger, greed, clutching and all the rest to see this fact more clearly ... and even to realize it was there all along, though so hidden by the storm.

    Most folks just don't pierce that fact and are lost in delusion about the Nature of the trip. Most sentient being "passengers" on this ride just don't realize that, feeling homesick, car sick, separated from all the other passengers, revolted or attracted to what they see ... filling the whole trip with thoughts of greed and anger, spoiling the journey, making a mess of the bus and harming themselves and the other riders, unhappy until they get to the "promised destination" somewhere down the road. They may even get to the Grand Canyon, snap a picture and buy a sovenier, then wonder "is that all it is"?

    I once wrote this on such Kensho (Seeing One's Nature) experiences ...

    For Kensho is, in fact, special as special ever has been or could be … a sacred jewel, key to the path, life’s vitality realized … nothing other than special!

    Yet Kensho is “nothing special” in that each and all facets of this life-world-self, bar none, are vital, sacred, a unique treasure – and every step of the path is central to the path. The “ordinary and mundane” is never ordinary. Every moment and any encounter, each breeze and blade of grass is special, sacred, a jewel in Indra’s Net. Thus, I do not mean to lower the import of Kensho in the least, but just to RAISE UP all of life, and every instant of practice, to one and the same par with Kensho, for such is the wholeness, intimacy, unity that is KENSHO’d in KENSHO.
    .
    Realizing that fact – that the most “ordinary” is sacred and whole and unbroken – is at the heart of Kensho! Failing to see Kensho as extraordinary insight into the extra-ordinariness and sacredness of both the sacred and ordinary is not to see “Kensho.”
    That is why many Soto folks, like Sawaki Roshi above, think "Kensho Schmensho" ... running after some timelessly momentary fireworky experience of "Kensho" is not True "Grocking the Nature" Buddha-Bus Kensho. He says ...

    You want to become a buddha? There’s no need to become a buddha! Now is simply now. You are simply you. And tell me, since you want to leave the place where you are,where is it exactly you want to go?
    Zazen means just sitting without even thinking of becoming buddha.
    We don’t achieve satori through practice: practice is satori. Each and every step is the goal.


    Something like that.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-06-2017 at 01:43 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  11. #11
    Hi Jundo,

    I think the following is mainly a meaning-of-the-word question:

    I always made a distinction between the word Kensho (that sudden onness-and-understanding-feeling that can come up 'unexpectedly' any time) and Samadhi (that tranquill, complete stillness of the mind and oneness in zazen). Is this distinction in meaning correct?

    Gassho

    Ongen
    Sat Today
    Ongen (音源) - Sound Source

  12. #12
    Thank you, Jundo. Always a good reminder.

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

  13. #13
    Words are just words.

    However, "Kensho" simply means to "see one's nature". It has become associated with those "opening" experiences, as Prof. Sharf discusses above. But is really any piercing of the self-other divide.

    Where the Soto and some Rinzai folks may disagree a bit is whether the "momentary timeless Kensho experience" (though nifty) is really that important and necessary, because (say the Soto folk) it is quite possible to have "Kensho" (grocking-piercing the subject-object divide) that powerfully, deeply, profoundly and thoroughly goes right to the marrow subtly and with less momentary notice. That is also "Kensho". It is sometimes compared to walking through a mist of dew which, in the end, will saturate one's sleeves as much as dipping them directly in a river. What is more, either way, the really vital part remains whether it is brought into the rest of your life or not. One can easily have some "timeless moment of deep and earthshaking Kensho" (or 100's of em) and still be a fool and failure at how one brings Wisdom and Compassion into the rest of life.

    Samadhi, in traditional Buddhist vocabulary, is a state of deep mental concentration, usually during meditation. However, our Dogen also had a bit of a twist on this meaning which he called "Zazen Samadhi". Taigen Dan Leighton gives a taste ..,

    This just sitting is not a meditation technique or practice, or any thing at all. ... Dogen describes this meditation as the samadhi of self-fulfillment (or enjoyment), and elaborates the inner meaning of this practice. Simply just sitting is expressed as concentration on the self in its most delightful wholeness, in total inclusive interconnection with all of phenomena. Dogen makes remarkably radical claims for this simple experience. "When one displays the buddha mudra with one's whole body and mind, sitting upright in this samadhi for even a short time, everything in the entire dharma world becomes buddha mudra, and all space in the universe completely becomes enlightenment."[13] Proclaiming that when one just sits all of space itself becomes enlightenment is an inconceivable statement, deeply challenging our usual sense of the nature of reality, whether we take Dogen's words literally or metaphorically. Dogen places this activity of just sitting far beyond our usual sense of personal self or agency. He goes on to say that, "Even if only one person sits for a short time, because this zazen is one with all existence and completely permeates all times, it performs everlasting buddha guidance" throughout space and time.[14] At least in Dogen's faith in the spiritual or "theological" implications of the activity of just sitting, this is clearly a dynamically liberating practice, not mere blissful serenity.
    http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/art-j...g/introduction
    This is not really a matter of "mental concentration" and is even wider than the states of concentration often thought of as "Samadhi", because it holds all the world and everything else, wholly and omitting nothing. I do not see anywhere in Dogen's writings an emphasis on attaining deep Samadhi states, and Dogen is more about "sitting with all phenomena in the universe as sacred, whole, and each the universe's 'total exertion' of Buddha in each grain of sand.

    Anyway .. just folks trying to use words to describe something hard to describe.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    I'm reading The Wholehearted Way right now, and a passage in that books speaks to this (though not directly to kensho) and may be helpful:

    "Having no thoughts is not necessarily good zazen. Thoughts are important as secretions from our brain. Secretion oozes out of life. Secretion is different from excretion of waste matter. In the same way that saliva in the mouth or gastric juice in the stomach is secreted, thoughts oozing out of our brain are an important function of life. But too much secretion of gastric juices causes an ulcer, or even cancer. Excessive secretion of thought is also dangerous for our life. Saliva, gastric juice, and thoughts should ooze in an appropriate amount for a natural condition. That is the most healthy condition for life."

    The same can be said for kensho. Like thoughts, it is a thing that has probably occurred to most of us in some way, though maybe we didn't know the word for it or know how to define it. Awe at the foot of some great mountain; an inexplicable stillness in the midst of a busy day where we want to bow to everyone around us; the sudden strangeness of sitting with a friend or a partner and talking with them, how really and truly weird that is, how strange we all are, how rare, and that feeling of gratefulness - those are, to this person who could be very wrong, those are kensho. The striking reality of life that we either have been avoiding or failing to see clearly. These experiences are great, but if I want to see the entire universe in the plate I have to wash every time I have to wash a plate, I'm going to be seriously frustrated. Trying to get rid of all thoughts while in zazen is attachment to emptiness, and it's just going to leave me frustrated. Wondering if zazen brings about kensho? Why even wonder? It's like wondering if I'll ever get to a perfect place where there are no thoughts. Instead, just as in zazen, thoughts come and go. Kensho comes and goes. Thoughts, kensho, shikantaza, like Shunryu Suzuki might say, nothing special, and in that, something special.

    Gassho,
    Alan
    sat today
    Last edited by alan.r; 12-08-2015 at 05:15 PM.
    Shōmon

  15. #15
    Lots to read here, for when I get home from work. Thanks everyone.

    Thanks Jundo re the 'Zen speak'. I hope it was clear I was being a tad facetious that type of talk may work for some, like Seung Sahns students but I'm afraid it goes right past me and means nothing.

    So plain speak please unless it's coming from someone who we know, knows his shit! 🏼🏼🏼


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Sat today

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by dharmasponge View Post
    Lots to read here, for when I get home from work. Thanks everyone.

    Thanks Jundo re the 'Zen speak'. I hope it was clear I was being a tad facetious that type of talk may work for some, like Seung Sahns students but I'm afraid it goes right past me and means nothing.

    So plain speak please unless it's coming from someone who we know, knows his shit! ������


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Zen is a crow with two faces,
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  17. #17



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Sat today

  18. #18
    Hi Tony,

    I don't know how to answer your questions in posts. I feel that you know the answer to your questions but you go ahead and ask the question anyway. It's very irritating. But this is just my opinion and an opportunity for practice on my part. Thank you.

    Gassho, Jishin, ST

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Hi Tony,

    I don't know how to answer your questions in posts. I feel that you know the answer to your questions but you go ahead and ask the question anyway. It's very irritating. But this is just my opinion and an opportunity for practice on my part. Thank you.

    Gassho, Jishin, ST
    I believe you Jishin.

    But you have to appreciate I really do NOT know the answer to the questions I am asking. In some dark as yet unexplored corner of my mind I may know - but I'm looking for some directions, guidance maybe that will help me see what you see.

    I do as instructed daily, as others do. Yet I still feel a fraud as if I am like an Elvis impersonator or one of those people who dress up like an Native Americans but come from Scotland (no offence meant ) - my point being it feels contrived and wholly inert.

    Yet still I sit....

    If my questions help others ground out their faith then my silly mind is by proxy helping so that's a good thing.

    Tony...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Sat today

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by dharmasponge View Post
    Yet I still feel a fraud as if I am like an Elvis impersonator or one of those people who dress up like an Native Americans but come from Scotland (no offence meant ) - my point being it feels contrived and wholly inert.
    Hi Tony.

    Why do you feel like a fraud? Can you explain that a little more? That feeling seems more important to me (of course, I could be wrong).

    Gassho,
    Alan
    sat today
    Shōmon

  21. #21

    If Dogen worked for me......

    Hi Alan,

    It's a little like a feeling that I'm deluding myself into believing that just sitting equates to something of value - let alone Enlightenment. I am after all, just sitting there.

    I can't see how the wish to reduce my delusions and the subsequent reduction in the Dukkha I experience is wrong to seek out.

    Do I guess the fraud is this. The feeling that sitting like this is no different than dressing up as a Jedi, or a Wizard, or a Zen monk....its hollow (speaking for myself of course) and there's nothing going on, on that cushion.

    Lot of waffle but thought it might work that way

    Tony...

    Sat today

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited by dharmasponge; 12-09-2015 at 09:19 AM.
    Sat today

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by dharmasponge View Post
    Hi Alan,

    It's a little like a feeling that I'm deluding myself into believing that just sitting equates to something of value - let alone Enlightenment. I am after all, just sitting there.

    I can't see how the wish to reduce my delusions and the subsequent reduction in the Dukkha I experience is wrong to seek out.

    Do I guess the fraud is this. The feeling that sitting like this is no different than dressing up as a Jedi, or a Wizard, or a Zen monk....its hollow (speaking for myself of course) and there's nothing going on, on that cushion.

    Lot of waffle but thought it might work that way

    Tony...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Hi Tony,

    Hmmm, well, I have several thoughts about this. Maybe others will, too.

    First, here's my zennie response: I don't think it's wrong to want to reduce your delusions or to reduce Dukkha. That's okay. We all wanted that at some point - it's why we turned to Buddhism most likely. At the same time, if we don't let that wanting/seeking go, then all we do is seek and seek and seek. Around and around. In other words, then I just seek and want and seek and want. We turn dharma and meditation into a game, we turn life into a play thing, a fantasy, where reality is not right here and right now, it's somewhere else we have to get. But reality is right now. Also, when we do this seeking and wanting and chasing, it becomes all about me. My suffering. My enlightenment. My realization. And that doesn't work - that makes us stuck - that sends us in circles. It can't be all about us. Life isn't just a play thing, though it's nice to play sometimes. So, we sit to let go of ourselves, to let go of our fantasies, our games. When we sit with that attitude, then there is something whole, something complete, something beyond our little self that was always there. Then we can do what we do, which is to be here with others, for others. I've been reading The Wholehearted Way, so right now I like to think about it in the terms of that book: the self settling into the self. The self living out its life as only the self. But the self isn't my individuality, it is everything. Settling into everything is zazen. Everything settled and revealing the self is zazen.

    Here's my a-little-less-zennie response: I would say that this feeling of being a fraud is worth investigating. Do you feel like you're a fraud when you eat dinner? Do you feel like a fraud at work? Many people feel they wear a mask in certain areas of their life. That means there is doubt there. We all have doubt. We're all with you. Many people don't feel at home in the world. I didn't for years. So, I would say, investigate this feeling. Other people feel this way too. Could you have compassion for them? I think you probably already do. Then have some compassion for yourself. You're not a fraud - you're just whatever you are right now, and sitting zazen opens that up, allows us to settle into what we are. I'll be sitting with you.

    Gassho,
    Alan
    sat today
    Last edited by alan.r; 12-09-2015 at 02:48 AM.
    Shōmon

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by dharmasponge View Post

    It's a little like a feeling that I'm deluding myself into believing that just sitting equates to something of value - let alone Enlightenment. I am after all, just sitting there.
    Ah, more easy softballs!

    You have this backwards. It is Buddhism 101 that this daily experience of the life-self-world by the self with its wants, judgments, feeling of incompleteness, frictions and fights, past present future, imposed demarcations of life and death, self-other (aka "Samsara") is the "self-delusion."

    So, how could sitting in the Total Immersion of Satisfaction as Just This, beyond judgment, within Completeness, dropping all frictions and fighting, not measuring time, without thought of "life vs. death" and all other mental categories and divisions. letting the hard borders between "self" and the rest of this life and world soften or fully drop away ...

    ... how could that be the "delusion"?

    To say otherwise is to call the state of disease as "health," and mistake the medicine for the disease.

    I can't see how the wish to reduce my delusions and the subsequent reduction in the Dukkha I experience is wrong to seek out.
    No, it is not wrong in the least. But as you know by now, Tony, some treasures are best found by giving up the hunt! One does not find what is right in hand (and is the hand too) by seeking over distant hills, pointing with the finger to someplace over there.

    Do I guess the fraud is this. The feeling that sitting like this is no different than dressing up as a Jedi, or a Wizard, or a Zen monk....its hollow (speaking for myself of course) and there's nothing going on, on that cushion.
    Our daily life in Samsara might be termed "dressing up" and getting on with the theater of comedy and tragedy and little dramas and self-delusion of this so called "reality show" which is just a sometimes beautiful but often ugly farce. This "reality show" is a total set up.

    Waking up is perhaps taking off the costume, turning on the stage lights, seeing off behind the curtain and beyond the hard borders to the Total Show. One does that simply by putting down the script, turning up the lights, and sitting in Silent Illumination which is All Broadway.

    Don't think the "Truth" is the fraud, and confuse the fraud for truth. Our way is sometimes to drop the "costume" of bodymind completely, but always to see the Truth that shines right through and know it as just this bit of "theatrical staging" even as we get on with life ... because not our time for final bows and curtain calls yet, so the "Show Must Go On". It may be a play, but continue to read your own lines even as one enjoys the acting watching from front row center.

    Sometimes the way to be free from the "fiction" of Dukkha may be to replace it with another "fiction" that is closer to Truth? There is an aspect of Zazen which is performative, an "enactment ritual" as some say, sitting as Buddha and thus realizing Buddha, the fakir "Faking It Until Making It" perhaps? Soto priest, Historian and Dogenologist Taigen Leighton speaks of Zazen as such an "enactment ritual" ...

    Zazen as Enactment Ritual
    http://www.ancientdragon.org/dharma/...actment_ritual

    This Emptiness is anything but hollow.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-09-2015 at 07:32 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  24. #24
    First, take what I say with a grain of salt. I don't know anything. I just try to put what I've experienced into words.

    If you read or listen about Shakyamuni Buddha's enlightenment you'll notice that his experience wasn't the path to ending dukkha. His enlightenment experience was how he saw the truth and the path. That being the 4 noble truths, and the Noble Eightfold Path. He also sat regularly for the rest of his life. A simplified version of the way I see this all fitting together in the way we practice would suggest that zazen is the expression of the eightfold path in it's purest form. Now, obviously, since we're practicing, we won't see all of that immediately, so we have some really nice guidelines to follow on our way to perfect wisdom, the precepts. Even after that perfect wisdom starts making it's way into view, the small self can overcome us with its percieved needs, and I think maybe that never stops, so you have to continue sitting to keep that clarity that allows you to comfort the little self. Another thing to keep in mind is the first thing Shakyamuni said after he awakened was something to the effect of "I, the Earth, and all beings awaken simultaneously." We are already enlightened. We just have to sit down, shut up, and pay attention until we see it, and then, we see we should keep right on sitting there, because we were doing the right thing all along.

    But, like I said, I'm not a Dharma teacher(at least not in the Zen master sense, everything is a dharma teacher if you're paying attention), so I could be talking out of my posterior region.

    Gassho,
    Carey sat today

  25. #25
    Just sitting its just sitting,
    Not question..

    Sattoday

  26. #26
    If Dogen worked for me......
    ...I'd likely fire him!
    I know you're joking, but here's someone who'd probably agree with you:




    "Zen is a pedagogical disaster... Dogen is one of the worst..."
    What a nice, good-humoured chap!

    step lightly... stay free...
    Jeremy
    st

  27. #27
    Thanks Jeremy,

    The professor has a strange understanding of the flow of Buddhist history from the simplicity of South Asia to increasing complexity of detail in the North, but he is not completely wrong.

    Goallessness (which is not really giving up and just being without goals) and Thinking-Non-Thinking are a bit tricky to get one's brain around. I suggest all Treeleafers quit and go home. Maybe study neuroscience like professor Hyarinen, which is a much simpler subject to master.

    And this did lead me to all of "Zenmonki's" videos, whom I had never heard of before. Apparently, a Zen performance artist connected to Antaiji perhaps? Hmmmmmm.



    Hmmmmmm.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-10-2015 at 04:13 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  28. #28
    Hello Jeremy,

    I have to say that I think the professor makes a good point. I've often wondered if I hadn't sat Vipassana first, if I would've as easily (though it wasn't necessarily "easy") made the switch to shikantaza. Of course, many zen teachings resonated even before I began earnestly sitting, so who knows. But there has been the intuitive feeling that learning shikantaza in a way that leads to it, rather than starts with it, could be of worth (I'm not critiquing anything, just sharing a thought). Learning first something like following breath, then learning something like vipassana or watching thoughts and feelings, and then shikantaza, which encompasses both and is also beyond - I think any student could begin to grasp the real implications of shikantaza in a fairly short period (not years, as he suggests: to use a well worn cliche, it'd be like someone learning to ride a bike: look, here are the peddles, that's where you feet go, here is the seat, these are the wheels, the brake, etc, but you don't have spend years figuring out how a bike works before you can ride one). Anyway, the reason for this feeling is because on the very, very rare occasions that people ask what type of meditation I practice, they are pretty baffled. It doesn't feel confusing to me anymore (well, sometimes it does), but to others, it's pretty outlandish stuff.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing.

    Gassho,
    Alan
    sat today
    Shōmon

  29. #29
    Yes, teaching people to give up the "more more more" chase after this and that is hard ... because that is what people (modern capitalist consumer society ones especially) do all day and night, running after the next shiny pair of tennis shoes, job promotion to pay for it, guru or self-help book.

    Very hard to teach people to just be Whole with no inner hole to fill, with no other place in need of going, nothing more in need of doing. Very hard to show folks the Silence and Illumination that naturally shines through all the noise and darkness of life.

    Worse, when they hear the message, they think it is preaching some inner passivity, quitting, resignation, acceptance of all our inner garbage just as it is.

    Very hard to teach them to fill "Wholeness" even as we grab a hammer and fix what needs to be repaired, Stillness even as there are places to go and people to see and a baby to feed, Silence which is heard right through society's noise (including all those tv commercials for new tennis shoes).

    Very hard. However, we must try. Some people hear, and some people just don't have the Karmic makeup to "get it". It has always been hard (probably why there are very few Buddhists left in India today, and why the whole population of China and Japan and Korea is not made of Enlightened Zen Masters).

    Actually, Alan, I think a lot of folks have come to Zen after spinning through other kinds of Buddhism or other religious or seeking or endless self-help books, yet still struggle with the difficulty of how subtly simple crazy-wise Shikantaza is.

    I am planning to undertake a couple of projects in the New Year to try to help things a little bit.

    I will be somewhat updating and reorganizing our "We're Always Beginners" introductory materials to slide people into Shikantaza Practice a bit more smoothly. Among other tweeks, I believe I will encourage several months of breath following for those really new to the Practice before throwing them into the boundless and bottomless "deep end" of the pool of Just Sitting. Maybe they need to learn to settle a bit more before learning that there is Big S "Settling" that is not a matter of settled or unsettled.

    I am also thinking to write a totally "not really Buddhist" Just Sitting Mindfulness book of the kind that Ken requested on another thread today. It will have most of the important lessons of this Way within it, but just perhaps in a more secular wrapping with so much over use of the "B" word. One reason I wish to write such a book is because I believe that most of the mindfulness courses out there now leave out too much of the important teachings in their effort to be secular. Also, they tend to be Vipassana based. While that is wonderful, it would also be good to offer a form of "Shikantaza" based "mindfulness meditation".

    But, otherwise, that Professor is talking out of his hat. So many things in life are hard ... practicing baseball, being a parent, going to cooking school. Some people become good ball players or parents or chefs ... some just dabble ... some don't have what it takes ... some quit ... some stay with it and have a knack, becoming great ball players or mothers or master chefs. That is just how it is through all of life ... folks with different talents and resonances for different things.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday (stink at baseball, good dad, can make spaghetti and omelettes).
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-11-2015 at 02:08 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  30. #30
    My take on the professor: I can't quite form an accurate picture of the impression of a total newbie. I may be rather new to Shikantaza, but I've studied other maps of the same territorry, and walked different roads that lead there. I can try to recall an image of what it was like at the start. I remember seeing all the talk of enlightenment, awakening, illumination, and true slves, true wills, and what-have-yous, and thiking "I gots ta get me some of that!" This is a patently absurd notion. This kind of practice requires letting go. You don't get anything. You give up everything. Striving to attan is the antithesis of the process. Now, would I have come to that conclusion had I not started with thoughts of a goal? I have no idea. I didn't come here on that road. So,the proff may be right, he may be wrong. I'd wager he's probably both. I imagine it depends on the person.

    On another note, Jundo, I tend to get a bit worried when people start talking about secular mindfulness. I know you mentioned other aspects of the teachings in your bit about a "totally" not Buddhist mindfulness manual, and I hope a formal system of ethics is among those other aspects. If that is not addressed, there is potential for negative results. I won't go into detal about that here, but, suffice it to say, that potential is what led me to the Buddhist path, and away from systems that were more pragmatic, or even ethically dubious.

    Gassho,
    Carey sat today.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by scareyw View Post

    On another note, Jundo, I tend to get a bit worried when people start talking about secular mindfulness. I know you mentioned other aspects of the teachings in your bit about a "totally" not Buddhist mindfulness manual, and I hope a formal system of ethics is among those other aspects. If that is not addressed, there is potential for negative results. I won't go into detal about that here, but, suffice it to say, that potential is what led me to the Buddhist path, and away from systems that were more pragmatic, or even ethically dubious.

    Gassho,
    Carey sat today.
    Ethics certainly must be a part not to be omitted. Basically, what I envision is a Path with all the content and Teachings of "Buddhism" but without the name "Buddhism" so that it is more acceptable to those in a civil, secular, areligious way. It would be parallel to what we undertake here with the robes, statues and Sutra chanting. The wisdom of the "Precepts" will be there, no matter whether one calls them "humanistic ethical principles" or any other name.

    Why?

    Just to be more acceptable to folks who would run from "Buddhism", and to places in society which cannot support a particular religious culture (for the same reason that they would not put up a Nativity Scene at their door).

    However, some basic content no matter the name and presentation.

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  32. #32
    Hi,

    Buddhist ethics can be taught without the "B" word by discussing environment/save the planet.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r View Post
    I have to say that I think the professor makes a good point. I've often wondered if I hadn't sat Vipassana first, if I would've as easily (though it wasn't necessarily "easy") made the switch to shikantaza.
    Hi Alan,

    I agree that Prof Hyvärinen makes some good points, and I like his sense of humour (-:

    There's a parallel with the point you make (about having sat Vipassana before shikantaza) in Sheng Yen's "Method of No Method", which teaches Chan Silent Illumination. The book is basically a Silent Illumination retreat in which Silent Illumination is broken down into a number of stages. In the introduction, Guo Gu explains that Sheng Yen used to teach Silent Illumination directly and that this worked because Sheng Yen was personally present to direct those on retreats whenever it was appropriate. Later on, when he wasn't able to be present at retreats so much, he developed a method which involves 3 stages, culminating in the practice of Silent Illumination. Through experience, Sheng Yen had found that learning Silent Illumination directly can be too difficult for a lot of people.

    step lightly... stay free...
    Jeremy
    st

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Ethics certainly must be a part not to be omitted. Basically, what I envision is a Path with all the content and Teachings of "Buddhism" but without the name "Buddhism" so that it is more acceptable to those in a civil, secular, areligious way. It would be parallel to what we undertake here with the robes, statues and Sutra chanting. The wisdom of the "Precepts" will be there, no matter whether one calls them "humanistic ethical principles" or any other name.

    Why?

    Just to be more acceptable to folks who would run from "Buddhism", and to places in society which cannot support a particular religious culture (for the same reason that they would not put up a Nativity Scene at their door).

    However, some basic content no matter the name and presentation.

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatToday

    I would support this direction.

    I think the more people that gain entry to a meditative practice, the better the world will be.

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

    https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
    Hi Alan,

    I agree that Prof Hyvärinen makes some good points, and I like his sense of humour (-:

    There's a parallel with the point you make (about having sat Vipassana before shikantaza) in Sheng Yen's "Method of No Method", which teaches Chan Silent Illumination. The book is basically a Silent Illumination retreat in which Silent Illumination is broken down into a number of stages. In the introduction, Guo Gu explains that Sheng Yen used to teach Silent Illumination directly and that this worked because Sheng Yen was personally present to direct those on retreats whenever it was appropriate. Later on, when he wasn't able to be present at retreats so much, he developed a method which involves 3 stages, culminating in the practice of Silent Illumination. Through experience, Sheng Yen had found that learning Silent Illumination directly can be too difficult for a lot of people.

    step lightly... stay free...
    Jeremy
    st
    Hi Jeremy,

    I have found that what Sheng Yen teaches as Silent Illumination is very different from Shikantaza. Different chefs, different ways to bake a cake. It takes the practice away from Just Sitting. It is a powerful practice, I am sure, but his interpretation has an emphasis on reaching very special states of deep dropping away that is far from Shikantaza. Here is a description of his "second stage" and "third stage"

    UNIFIED MIND
    When your discriminating mind diminishes, your narrow sense of self diminishes as well. Your field of awareness—which is at first the totality of the body—naturally opens up to include the external environment. Inside and outside become one. In the beginning, you may still notice that a sound is coming from a certain direction or that your mind follows distinct events within the environment, such as someone moving. But as you continue, these distinctions fade. You are aware of events around you, but they do not leave traces. You no longer feel that the environment is out there and you are in here. The environment poses no opposition or burden. It just is. If you are sitting, then the environment is you, sitting. If you have left your seat and are walking about, then the environment is still you, in all of your actions. This experience, the second stage of silent illumination, is called the oneness of self and others.

    Can you still hear sounds? Yes. Can you get up to have a drink of water or urinate? Of course. Is there mentation? Yes. You have thoughts as you need them to respond to the world, but they are not self-referential. Compassion naturally arises when it is needed; it has nothing to do with emotion. There is an intimacy with everything around you that is beyond words and descriptions. When you urinate, the body, urine, and toilet are not separate. Indeed, you all have a wonderful dialogue!

    ...

    There are progressively deeper states of this second stage. When you enter a state in which the environment is you sitting, the environment may become infinite and boundless, bringing about a state of oneness with the universe. The whole world is your body sitting there. Time passes quickly and space is limitless. You are not caught up in the particulars of the environment. There is just openness of mind, clarity, and a sense of the infinite. This is not yet the realization of no-self; it is the experience of great self.

    At this point, three subtler experiences may occur, all related to the sense of great self. The first is infinite light. The light is you, and you experience a sense of oneness, infinity, and clarity.

    The second experience is infinite sound. This is not the sound of cars, dogs, or something similar. Nor is it like music or anything else you have ever heard. It is a primordial, elemental sound that is one with the experience of vastness. It is harmonious in all places, without reference or attribution.

    The third experience is voidness. But this is not the emptiness of self-nature or of no-self that would constitute enlightenment. This is a spacious voidness in which there is nothing but the pure vastness of space. Although you do not experience a sense of self, a subtle form of self and object still exists.

    ...

    NO-SELF, NO-MIND
    The clarity of the second stage is like looking through a spotless window. You can see through it very well, almost as if the window were not there, but it is there. In the second stage, the self lies dormant but subtle self-grasping is present. In other words, seeing through a window, even a very clean one, is not the same as seeing through no window at all. Seeing through no window is one way of describing the state of enlightenment, which is the third stage. In utter clarity, the mind is unmoving. Why? Because there is no self-referential mind.

    http://www.lionsroar.com/you-are-already-enlightened/
    Sheng-yen was a wonderful Teacher, I am sure, as is Guo Gu. However, they are running after special and highly concentrated mind states which, while attainable and wonderful to experience, are not the Pointless Point of Shikantaza.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-11-2015 at 06:49 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  36. #36
    Hi Tony

    I love your questions as they force me to consider what is right at the heart of Zen practice and, as normal, a good discussion has ensued. It is also a challenge to put things in English rather than Zen speak. Zen speak can be helpful to some folk but it can also be a total turn-off.

    My take on shikantaza/enlightenment is that dukkha arises from wanting things to be different than they are, creating a split and emotional friction. By sitting with things just as they are and not judging that, dukkha falls away.

    However, an important 'but' is that if we take an attitude of achieving something onto the cushion we are saying we need things to be different so the split is already there at the beginning of practice. Charlotte Joko Beck noted that it is not uncommon for Buddhists to drop ideas of wanting a better job/car/relationship as the answer to their dissatisfaction but to replace those as answers with satori/enlightenment. Whenever we say that life cannot be good enough without enlightenment we are setting aside our happiness now for some unknown future and thereby creating dukkha.

    When we sit upright fully immersed in things as they are, eventually a smile comes from deep within and we think 'this, right here, right now, it is enough.' May not be as blinding as satori emerging from intense koan practice but dropping the striving mind brings a sense of peace and relief and allows us to engage fully with life in this very moment. As long as we are expecting something from practice, even this, rather than just paying attention to life, separation from life will remain. Expect nothing more than life as it is. Each practice, as each moment in life, is its own unique event, not a precursor to something else. Just as we enjoy music for its own sake rather than think of what we are achieving by listening to it, a similar attitude can be helpful in sitting.

    Hope that is plain speak enough.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    #sattoday (with my daughter and a guided meditation called 'Sitting Still Like a Frog'!)
    ------------------------------------
    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.

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    But, otherwise, that Professor is talking out of his hat. So many things in life are hard.
    Yes, I agree - and really the main idea of the professor's I agree with was what you explained more fully, that certain zen notions and shikantaza itself can be pretty difficult for anyone at first. And while that point makes sense to me (that teaching zen is difficult (which is all he's really saying, right, that it's a "pedagogical nightmare"?), after that he is sort of spinning his philosophical/theory wheels.

    And Jundo, I would be very happy to be an editor if you need one for the book you mentioned. I second Rich's thoughts about that: feels necessary.

    Gassho,
    Alan
    sat today
    Shōmon

  38. #38
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    St. John's Newfoundland, Canada.
    Hi folks,

    So I've read this thread and I've been doing some thinking about what was said and the video and I have a few thoughts I would like to share and if I'm wrong in my thinking perhaps someone would be able to set me straight. Two things that noticed in the thread is the value of Zazen and feeling like a phony or fake. I think Zazen might be a necessary but not sufficient condition for the life of a Bodhisattva. That is we need to do Zazen but if we then turn around and break the precepts frequently (for poor reasons) we're still leading lives that cause ourselves and others pain. I feel like here is where I should say what happens if we just follow the precepts without Zazen. I'm not sure because I'm not sure what Zazen does yet. But for me at this point in my practice, I think it helps me letting go of those things that tempt me to break the precepts. I don't want to go into detail but over the last few days there have been numerous times I wanted to discuss the faults of others (one person in particular) and I held back quite a bit (not completely.) At least that's where my heart-mind is right now.

    Feeling like a fake? I would chalk that up to doing something that's very new for you. Especially if you don't see people doing it regularly. I feel that way when I feel like I have to dance at a social function. As if dancing wasn't for me . In my own practice I recently started bowing to the toilet (during the weekend retreat but I'm still doing it.) Sometimes I feel silly but I've also been thinking about how important the modern toilet is for my life. I think those feelings are the result of moving outside ones comfort zone. We spend much of our lives trying to maintain stability in both our behaviors and environments. We also like novelty but its usually within the context of stability or a reworking of something familiar e.g. most stores have a beginning, middle and end etc... So that feeling of fake-ness can tell you a lot about how you see yourself. I once heard a man describe the mind as a prison for the body. I think it might be appropriate for this conversation.

    As for the Professor I don't know if hes giving Dogen a fair shake (perhaps he is.) Does anyone know who his audience was? Or why he wrote anything? These aren't retorical questions and if there is a brief outline of Dogen as a teacher someone could direct me to I would appreciate it.

    Anywho, just my thoughts.

    Gassho
    Adam
    Sattoday

  39. #39
    Hi Adam,

    The Precepts guide us to live freer from excess desire, anger, jealousy, divisive thinking and the like ... which nurtures our Zazen.

    Zazen helps us better live by the Precepts ... freer from excess desire, anger, jealousy, divisive thinking and the like.

    A mutually supportive circle ... Zazen is the Precepts, the Precepts just Zazen.

    As to the professor, I would not worry too much about his personal opinion on Zazen. Likewise, he does not need to heed my expert opinions on neuroscience. The first talk discusses how he himself struggled in meditation ...

    There is a whole series of discussions between him and the Zen performance artist beyond the above ... there are 4 parts including "Do Robots Meditate?" ...









    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-11-2015 at 06:48 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  40. #40
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    St. John's Newfoundland, Canada.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Adam,

    The Precepts guide us to live freer from excess desire, anger, jealousy, divisive thinking and the like ... which nurtures our Zazen.

    Zazen helps us better live by the Precepts ... freer from excess desire, anger, jealousy, divisive thinking and the like.

    A mutually supportive circle ... Zazen is the Precepts, the Precepts just Zazen.

    As to the professor, I would not worry to much about his personal opinion on Zazen. Likewise, he does not need to heed my expert opinions on neuroscience. The first talk discusses how he himself struggled in meditation ...

    There is a whole series of discussions between him and the Zen performance artist beyond the above ... there are 4 parts including "Do Robots Meditate?" ...

    ...

    Gassho, J

    SatToday

    Gassho

    Adam
    Sattoday
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-11-2015 at 06:58 PM.

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Buddhist ethics can be taught without the "B" word by discussing environment/save the planet.
    Yes, you can guide people without the "B" word. I don't think an environmental focus is necessarily the best way to go, however. First, because that "E" word can be just as controversial. It would be wise to not alienate a large number of people right out of the gate. Second, a single point of direction is bit too nebulous. There is a reason Buddhism employs a list of ethical precepts, whether it be 10 or 5, rather than just saying "Do no harm." The small self is a slippery critter; it can justify a lot of behaviors that could be harmful, if the harm is not directly apparent. A simple list, with a little bit of explanation for each point, can do a lot to direct a sound interpretation. Obviously there is still wiggle room, and that's necessary if you're trying to help people develop a dynamic, whole way of approaching life, rather than producing mindless drones that parrot concepts. You just don't want to leave their minds so open that their brains fall out.

    Back to Buddhism, and Soto Zen in particular. I draw attention to ethics because of our emphasis on Shikantaza. I agree whole-heartedly that sitting is mandatory for progress. It appears to me that this emphasis exists to contrast other approaches that neglect practice. Sitting teaches us the mindfulness and patience (among other things) that we need in our daily lives, so we can successfully apply the other teachings. I could be seeing narrowly here, but it appears to me that this emphasis can eclipse other aspects at times. I think the precepts play an absolutely equal role to sitting, and deserve the same level of emphasis. Aside from that, cultivation of metta is also, important, though may not require as much diect emphasis. It should not get swept under the rug. I feel like that happens at times.

    So, why do I bring this stuff up? The elephant that's standing in the room. Those enlightenment experiences that so many people like to get hung up on. They can happen. They do happen, for alot of people. When you go poking about, examining the nature of self, there is a real potential that you will see past it. The boundaries drop away, true reality is reflected in the awareness, just like the moon in the drop of water. It can be profound and life changing. It's also impermanent. That experience, like any experience can become a drug, something to chase and grasp at. It can be seductive, even if you've never had it. Our practice is letting go. Not grasping. These experiences are not a goal. They're scenery along the path. Why do I even bring it up? What do you suppose the outcome is, of realizing that your true nature is timeless infinity, and that all the form we experience is empty, if you don't have some sense of loving-kindness and a formal ethical guideline to keep you grounded in that vast formlessness. Those experiences do not magically give you perfect permanent wisdom. Without proper guidance, it can lead to nihilism, egocentrism, and in extreme circumstances, insanity. If you want an example of this, go find a biography or documantary about Aleister Crowley. I generally hesitate to talk abut this stuff, but I think people get caught up in sunshine and butterflies, and neglect to consider that this can be dangerous work, if the proper guides are not set in place.

    This is a lovely, powerful practice with huge potential to end dukkha, and Soto Zen is very gentle and responsible in it's methods, while being effective. That's why I'm here, and not in one of the other traditions, religions, or systems I've studied and practced. I just feel like (possibly erroneously) the emphasis on sitting can, sometimes generate a sense of priority over the precepts. If that priority makes it's way into a secular interpretation, there is real potential for disaster. I'm not saying anyone here lacks the wisdom to see that, especially Jundo (he has dharma transmisson after all, I don't think Nishijima Roshi was the type to hand out transmission like Halloween candy). I just percieve a spot may need attention. I'm under no delusion that my perception perfect. Neither am I under the delusion that anyone else's perception is perfect. Thus I put these words out there just in case there is a need for them. Not because I think I'm some kind of expert, I'm not. I say all of this in the spirit of reserved caution, and deep respect for Soto and all of you fine folks.

    Gassho,
    Carey sat today.

  42. #42
    Hi Carey,

    Well, our ongoing and every day and every choice in life study of the Precepts continues ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forum...yoki-Too%21%29

    .., we have a daily recommended Metta Practice too ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...Metta-PRACTICE

    All is Zazen, Zazen just All That.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  43. #43
    Oh, I know. I appreciate it too. Like I said, It's because I percieve a very strong emphasis on sitting. I'm not saying those elements are not here.

    Gassho,
    Cary ST

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Jeremy,

    I have found that what Sheng Yen teaches as Silent Illumination is very different from Shikantaza. Different chefs, different ways to bake a cake. It takes the practice away from Just Sitting. It is a powerful practice, I am sure, but his interpretation has an emphasis on reaching very special states of deep dropping away that is far from Shikantaza. Here is a description of his "second stage" and "third stage"



    Sheng-yen was a wonderful Teacher, I am sure, as is Guo Gu. However, they are running after special and highly concentrated mind states which, while attainable and wonderful to experience, are not the Pointless Point of Shikantaza.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Jundo Sensei, would you please critique what you quote of Shen Yen's description of his stages above and how they do not pertain to the pointless point of shikantaza? thank you, gassho, O

    sat today
    Last edited by Oheso; 12-12-2015 at 12:43 AM.
    and neither are they otherwise.


  45. #45
    This has been a very interesting read, though I did not understand it all! I find the science of ecology much easier, but have the strong sense they are the same

    But the question/feelings that began the discourse was very similar to my feelings for the half century of my on and off relationship to meditation. In the late 1960s TM was the thing where I was experiencing life.. I had expectations that I would achieve a constant state of bliss. That did not happen, but for reasons not fully understood I always felt I needed to return to meditation. I would, then I Would drift away....many, many excuses I would give to myself to justify that but I knew they were words without conviction. So, I would return. But like many here I had no teacher but a book, no sanghas were near. The last 15 years I have attended retreats and drop visited in a few sanghas as my career/life moved me around the country.

    i always questioned things, hence my love and life in the sciences. This also led me to try and understand Zen but I am not sure I am any further along in that understanding nor do I think I am way behind, I am just where I at trying to learn from all of you and others. However in recent years my drive to understand has waned. I then doubt myself, am I a quitter?

    I long ago stopped wondering of my origin, I am just here on this beautiful place and hope to just enjoy/experience more no matter what life throws at me. Not easy, not easy at all....but I see no other choice.

    With that said, Jundo's words below wrapped my feelings into words that helped me understand where my "feelings" reside at this time. Thank you for providing a platform for my thoughts I can build from.

    "The Precepts guide us to live freer from excess desire, anger, jealousy, divisive thinking and the like ... which nurtures our Zazen.


    Zazen helps us better live by the Precepts ... freer from excess desire, anger, jealousy, divisive thinking and the like.

    A mutually supportive circle ... Zazen is the Precepts, the Precepts just Zazen.

    So I strive to keep sitting, accepting, and understanding is not as important to me anymore. And like another has said here my understanding of zen talk is very limited....though I somewhat enjoy the puzzle it creates, even while feeling indequate...a fake as said earlier...which I just can not solve. I have not articulated that perspective out loud or even to myself before now. But is is where I think I am.

    Excuse my thinking out loud, I am trying to put things in perspective for me and do welcome thoughts to help clear the fog.

    Gassho


    Randy
    sattoday



  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Oheso View Post
    Jundo Sensei, would you please critique what you quote of Shen Yen's description of his stages above and how they do not pertain to the pointless point of shikantaza? thank you, gassho, O

    sat today
    Hi Oheso,

    Not a criticism, just a difference in approach.

    Many forms of meditation focus on reaching rather intense, extra-ordinary and highly concentrated mind states. So, for example, Ven. Sheng Yen and Guo Gu speak of:

    ... When you urinate, the body, urine, and toilet are not separate. Indeed, you all have a wonderful dialogue! ... [Then] There are progressively deeper states of this second stage. ... the environment may become infinite and boundless, bringing about a state of oneness with the universe. ... The second experience is infinite sound. This is not the sound of cars, dogs, or something similar. Nor is it like music or anything else you have ever heard. It is a primordial, elemental sound that is one with the experience of vastness. It is harmonious in all places, without reference or attribution. ... In utter clarity, the mind is unmoving. Why? Because there is no self-referential mind.
    Having such experiences is wonderful and powerful when they occur, and each can be a great insight into and piercing of the "self-other divide", "Emptiness" and impermanence, the underlying light, peace and harmony which can be found when the divisive mind is put aside. Koan centered Zazen with a heavy emphasis on reaching a radical "Kensho" is another way. In Shikantaza too, one may sometimes experience such perspectives (because subject-object is transcended, we can better call some of them "non-perspectives") as well, and they are important and to be cherished when they occur, but reaching so is not the emphasis or central point. My own view is that getting "hooked" into running after such states is like seeking an intense drug trip (and, truly, some narcotics might actually get one there faster and with more intensity than years of meditation).

    In Shikantaza, the great insight into and piercing of the "self-other divide", "Emptiness" and impermanence, the underlying light, peace and harmony etc. fills life and arises from our marrow in a more subtle way. The best analogy I have for this is my "bus trip to visit the Grand Canyon". I already posted the following once in this thread, but I will do so again here because I feel it that important.

    Through Shikantaza, one realizes that all the wonder has been present in this world, right before one's eyes (and one's eyes too) all along.

    =====================

    Dogen tended to speak of "Enlightenment" ... not as some momentary experience to attain ... but as "Practice-Enlightenment", emphasizing that how we make Buddha Wisdom and Compassion manifest in our actual words, thoughts and deeds in this life is the real "Kensho".

    These momentary Kensho [or other] experiences can be light and deep and beyond light or deep. This can be much more profound and enveloping than a sensation of "I" feeling oneness or awe. HOWEVER, that does not matter because, generally in Soto, we consider all such experiences as passing scenery ... just a visit to the wonders of the Grand Canyon. One cannot stay there, as lovely as it is. Nice and educational place to visit ... would not, should not, could not truly live there. One can even live perfectly well never having visited the vast Canyon at all. The most important thing is to get on the bus, get on with the trip, get on with life from there. In our Soto Way, the WHOLE TRIP is Enlightenment when realized as such (that is the True "Kensho"!) ... not some momentary stop or passing scene or some final destination .

    The following is important, so BOLDFACE and UNDERLINE ...

    Different folks approach and define all this in their own way. In our Soto View, some folks way way way overvalue an experience of timelessly momentary "Kensho" ... as the be all and end all (beyond being or ending) of "Enlightenment" ... and chase after it like some gold ring on the merry go round. For Soto folks, that is like missing the point of the trip. For Soto Folks, when we realize such ... every moment of the Buddha-Bus trip, the scenery out the windows (both what we encounter as beautiful and what appears ugly), the moments of good health and moments of passing illness, the highway, the seats and windows, all the other passengers on the Bus who appear to be riding with us, when we board and someday when we are let off ... the whole Trip ... is all the Buddha-Bus, all Enlightenment and Kensho, all the "destination" beyond "coming" or "going" or "getting there", when realized as such (Kensho). This ride is what we make it.

    In a nutshell, a wondrous and important experience perhaps, but in "Zen Enlightenment" one comes to realize that even this ordinary, dusty, confining, sometimes joyous and sometimes ugly world is just as miraculous, wondrous, and "holy" as anything like that. The "Grand Canyon" or "Top of Mt. Everest" is a wonderful place to visit, but wouldn't want to live there. Scratching one's nose, taking out the trash, feeding the baby ... when we come to perceive this world as such ... is all as much the "Buddhaland" as anything with rainbow colored trees and cotton candy castles in the sky. In fact, the canyon vistas and the mountain top are ever before your eyes even now ... in the trash, your nose, in the hungry baby [(even in Mara!)]... although maybe hard to see. The most "boring and ordinary, beautiful or ugly" of this world is Extraordinary and Beautiful when properly understood.

    In the violence, ugliness, anger, greed and clutching, divisive thoughts and frictions of the world, this fact can be hidden, so hard to see. Thus, a key aspect of our Practice is to see and live free of the violence, anger, greed, clutching and all the rest to see this fact more clearly ... and even to realize it was there all along, though so hidden by the storm.

    Most folks just don't pierce that fact and are lost in delusion about the Nature of the trip. Most sentient being "passengers" on this ride just don't realize that, feeling homesick, car sick, separated from all the other passengers, revolted or attracted to what they see ... filling the whole trip with thoughts of greed and anger, spoiling the journey, making a mess of the bus and harming themselves and the other riders, unhappy until they get to the "promised destination" somewhere down the road. They may even get to the Grand Canyon, snap a picture and buy a sovenier, then wonder "is that all it is"?

    I once wrote this on such Kensho (Seeing One's Nature) experiences ...

    For Kensho is, in fact, special as special ever has been or could be … a sacred jewel, key to the path, life’s vitality realized … nothing other than special!

    Yet Kensho is “nothing special” in that each and all facets of this life-world-self, bar none, are vital, sacred, a unique treasure – and every step of the path is central to the path. The “ordinary and mundane” is never ordinary. Every moment and any encounter, each breeze and blade of grass is special, sacred, a jewel in Indra’s Net. Thus, I do not mean to lower the import of Kensho in the least, but just to RAISE UP all of life, and every instant of practice, to one and the same par with Kensho, for such is the wholeness, intimacy, unity that is KENSHO’d in KENSHO.
    .
    Realizing that fact – that the most “ordinary” is sacred and whole and unbroken – is at the heart of Kensho! Failing to see Kensho as extraordinary insight into the extra-ordinariness and sacredness of both the sacred and ordinary is not to see “Kensho.”
    That is why many Soto folks, like Sawaki Roshi above, think "Kensho Schmensho" ... running after some timelessly momentary fireworky experience of "Kensho" is not True "Grocking the Nature" Buddha-Bus Kensho. He says ...

    You want to become a buddha? There’s no need to become a buddha! Now is simply now. You are simply you. And tell me, since you want to leave the place where you are,where is it exactly you want to go?
    Zazen means just sitting without even thinking of becoming buddha.
    We don’t achieve satori through practice: practice is satori. Each and every step is the goal.


    Something like that.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-06-2017 at 01:42 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  47. #47
    thank you Jundo. I understand now that Sheng Yen's Silent Illumination places more emphasis on the importance of the kensho/ satori/ enlightenment experience than does the Soto school. I understand the main issue to be the separation of practice from enlightenment, which Dogen equates, by making practice the means to attain enlightenment. correctamundo?

    much more than I need or am able to wrap it around to practice? thank you for this teaching. gassho, O, who, today

    sat

    ps. at least if I see that Beautiful Canyon where I can't live go past the window, I'll know I'm on the right bus, going in the direction I thought I was.
    (said the New Yorker)
    Last edited by Oheso; 12-13-2015 at 03:14 AM.
    and neither are they otherwise.


  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by dharmasponge View Post
    Do I guess the fraud is this. The feeling that sitting like this is no different than dressing up as a Jedi, or a Wizard, or a Zen monk....its hollow (speaking for myself of course) and there's nothing going on, on that cushion.

    Lot of waffle but thought it might work that way

    Tony...
    Just to add that for me, there is something going on. When I get an itch during Zazen, generally I don't scratch it. I doubt I've ever done this before.

    step lightly... stay free...
    Jeremy
    st

  49. #49
    I'm using this thread like a handbook! Thanks for a your replies....still wading through them.

    Jundo, I'm a CBT therapist working in the NHS here in the UK. I'm exposed almost daily to 'psychologies' take on mindfulness. I share your views and likely your concerns. I too was considering writing regarding this. Maybe we could make it a joint effort? I'd be more than happy to offer a view from a clinicians experience who also happens to be Buddhist. Please do PM me if you'd like to discuss this.

    Tony...

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    So, how could sitting in the Total Immersion of Satisfaction as Just This, beyond judgment, within Completeness, dropping all frictions and fighting, not measuring time, without thought of "life vs. death" and all other mental categories and divisions. letting the hard borders between "self" and the rest of this life and world soften or fully drop away ...

    ... how could that be the "delusion"?
    Thats my point though - 'HOW' do we do this...or how do we 'NOT' do this.

    '...sitting in the Total Immersion of Satisfaction...' doesn't just happen by just sitting. It happens (I'd posit) as a result, a consequence.

    Tony

    Sat Today
    Sat today

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