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Thread: NEW BOOK - Opening the Hand of Thought - Chapter 1

  1. #51
    Have read the first chapter and everyone's post. Have nothing to add but did learn from the discussions I think I need to read it again and as Jundo suggest above, just sit. I also gravitated to Risho's summary to practice. Hopefully I too will ripen.


    Gassho
    Randy
    sattoday

  2. #52
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    Beautiiful book, I kept finding myself wanting to read more as I worked my way through.

    I have nothing to add apart from the idea of localised gravity effects, ie; the Mass of the Earth includes our own, and as matter can neither be create nor destroyed (only reconfigure from one configuration to the next) then from a certain perspective we are indistinguishable from every other living thing on this planet, and the planet Earth itself. I am you, you are me and we are all each other.

    Always makes me feel a little happier



    Gassho,
    Geoff.

    SatToday.
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  3. #53
    This is the present reality of life. It is the reality of that which can not be grasped,
    the reality about which nothing can be said. This very ungraspability is what is absolutely real
    about things.
    Excellent read! I enjoyed the first chapter very much.
    Thank you all for the comments.
    Now I'll have to hold it off until the paperback arrives
    in a couple of weeks or so.

    Gassho,
    Sergey
    sat-today

  4. #54
    Joyo
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Calm Heart View Post
    Have read the first chapter and everyone's post. Have nothing to add but did learn from the discussions I think I need to read it again and as Jundo suggest above, just sit. I also gravitated to Risho's summary to practice. Hopefully I too will ripen.


    Gassho
    Randy
    sattoday
    Me too, Randy. I may not have a lot to say in the book club, but the more I study and practice, the more I just sit.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

  5. #55
    Thank you for the opportunity to read this book together with you all. It's a little bit blurry for me from time to time. But I'll sort it out.

    Gassho
    Genki

  6. #56
    Member Getchi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joyo View Post
    Me too, Randy. I may not have a lot to say in the book club, but the more I study and practice, the more I just sit.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today
    I absolutely feel the same Joyo, the more iv'e been sitting (regardless of the sessions length) the less Iv'e found I need to talk. My wife says it's a minor miracle

    I am very grateful for it though, seems "just sit" has helped me a great deal.


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

  7. #57
    Joyo
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Getchi View Post
    I absolutely feel the same Joyo, the more iv'e been sitting (regardless of the sessions length) the less Iv'e found I need to talk. My wife says it's a minor miracle

    I am very grateful for it though, seems "just sit" has helped me a great deal.


    Geoff,
    SatToday.
    It's awesome when others share the same experience =) Although I still talk my husband's ear off, he gets tired of it lol!! Especially in the mornings, or when he is watching tv.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

  8. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by Joyo View Post
    Me too, Randy. I may not have a lot to say in the book club, but the more I study and practice, the more I just sit.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today
    Yes same here too... Interesting to hear I'm not the only one, even while studying the Precepts and the Mind of Clover, I found I had less and less to say. Wasn't sure if I was just becoming more boring or what. LOL

    Gassho,
    Sierra
    SatToday

  9. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by Dude View Post
    Hi Willow,


    I didn't read Uchiyama Roshi's writing as being about an absolute truth. I took to be more like Aristotle's accident/essence distinction (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accident_(philosophy)) in the context of a larger context. So the particulars of our life are accidental/contingent but the four seals point to undeniable/necessary parts of our lives. They are kind of absolutes but not in an unmoved mover or first principle kind of way. Its more like when one take a close look at our world, our lives, the lives of others most people can see these properties (3 marks of existence/ 3 seals.) They appear to be enduring properties of living things.

    As for big jiko. I just took that for Being being Being In all seriousness, the world is kind of a busy place with lots of comings and goings as well periods and places of quite and stillness. They are all part of larger happening that is the cosmos. Either way, I think these ideas are there to help guide (inform) our lives rather than be a kind of revelation of the truth. So they are more the support for a creeping vine rather than the answer to a question.

    At least those are the mental secretions I've had when thinking about and reading some of the posts. What do you think?

    Gassho
    Sat today
    Adam
    Hello Adam,

    thanks for that - I feel what you suggest is a clearer reading. Uchiyama Roshi's writing is about truth rather than 'absolute truth' in a first principle kind of way. I guess there is an 'absolute' in there in the sense that reality has 'an absolute or undeniable nature'. I prefer the term undeniable because it has a more human ring about it.

    Regarding philosophy - or philosophizing - despite not aiming -or wanting - to throw his life into 'a philosophical pursuit of the truth' - as with Dogen and many
    of our contemporary writers on Zen - the questioning is there between the lines. I feel Philosophy can also be a practice of the heart as well as the mind and can assist us as long as we are mindful of not getting too tied up with words.

    I think it's a shame if we become over conscious of our own stumbling attempts because eventually words of wisdom are surely built upon this? It may have taken Uchiyama forty years before he felt confident to set his thoughts down - but I'm sure during that time he thought deeply. explored, studied, and discussed with others.

    Anyway - enough words - sitting is of course of the essence.

    Gassho

    Willow

    sat today

  10. #60
    First off I'd like to thank everyone for this accidental happenstance where we’re all reading and talking about this wonderful book. This is my first post, so please be gentle. This is my first reading of this book, so I appreciate the discussion on its interpretation. This is a bit of a dense book in my humble opinion.

    It seems to me this chapter is a description of The Four Great Seals and their relevance to our life and practice (perhaps the same thing). Can we think of the seals as being Soto Zen’s condensation of the Four Noble Truths?

    I also find the concepts of “accidental” vs “undeniable” reality and the interplay of this with the notion of two selfs (ego vs. jiko?), as well as the use of pronouns to seemingly switch between these two selfs, both fascinating and perplexing. Who is the “I” and “me” in the sentence: “when I took my first breath, my world was born with me.”? Similarly, at one point we read, “ If you and I are sitting together, you may think that we are looking at the same cup in front of us, but it’s not true. You look at it from your angle and from your perspective and I view it from mine. Later we read,” image that you and I are sitting together talking. In talking to you, I’m not talking to some person who is other than myself. At first I wondered at how we we can have two separate perspectives if we are really the same self. How can we be both two egos with two separate, accidental, realities and yet be the same. Then I thought, “aha!” Perhaps that is the point. We are but different facets of the same self.

    Finally, I appreciate the focus on how our practice is for life. It is beautifully put to describe a prime point of this practice being to “wake up this self that is inclusive of everything.” Comparing zazen to prayer is poignant to me, coming from a Catholic background. I can only hope that my practice will lead to a wee bit of ripeness!

    One question I have. The Mahayana perspective is described as : “By accepting and properly understanding the true nature of both accidental and undeniable realities, and by living in accord with this understanding, the matter of living and dying will cease to be such a terrible problem.” Does this understanding boil down to the third undeniable reality? If there is nothing to hold to anyway (including the salty water bag of anxiety that is you) why worry so much about living and dying?

    Happy mental secretions!
    Jason

  11. #61
    The book is here, and so now I have two chapters to read--I've been busy with Jukai--thinking what this means to me, getting everything just so--learning a new name--Calm Poetry--so this is more of a direction, and when my wife says, "Why not try some hearts and flowers poetry?" I'm thinking it is time to put down time cudgel and participate in the Universe of Zen. The very basics of my universe are created when I write.

    Calm Poetry
    Elgwyn
    sat this morning
    Gassho
    To learn to say my name in Japanese
    ...Thought and action/ your life would never experience, (even before you were born), But he also being the Devine Cannot, He etched every moment of your existence, With His own hand... Haifiz

  12. #62
    Kyotai
    Guest
    "In order to truly see that using your thoughts as a standard is invalid, you simply have to practice. And to sustain your practice over time..."

    Lots of gems. This one spoke to me too.

    Gassho, Kyotai
    Sat today

  13. #63
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    St. John's Newfoundland, Canada.
    Quote Originally Posted by willow View Post
    Hello Adam,

    thanks for that - I feel what you suggest is a clearer reading. Uchiyama Roshi's writing is about truth rather than 'absolute truth' in a first principle kind of way. I guess there is an 'absolute' in there in the sense that reality has 'an absolute or undeniable nature'. I prefer the term undeniable because it has a more human ring about it.

    Regarding philosophy - or philosophizing - despite not aiming -or wanting - to throw his life into 'a philosophical pursuit of the truth' - as with Dogen and many
    of our contemporary writers on Zen - the questioning is there between the lines. I feel Philosophy can also be a practice of the heart as well as the mind and can assist us as long as we are mindful of not getting too tied up with words.

    I think it's a shame if we become over conscious of our own stumbling attempts because eventually words of wisdom are surely built upon this? It may have taken Uchiyama forty years before he felt confident to set his thoughts down - but I'm sure during that time he thought deeply. explored, studied, and discussed with others.

    Anyway - enough words - sitting is of course of the essence.

    Gassho

    Willow

    sat today
    Hi Willow,

    I agree with you about the value of a philosophizing. I believe Jundo said something to the effect that most of the Zen masters read the old texts before they threw them away But for someone like me philosophizing can become the whole enterprise. I end up trying to take refuge in an abstract concept(s). I think my weariness came through in my reading. As a side note, I enjoyed and continue to enjoy reading about certain philosophical issues and ideas. Reading Plato made me want to be a better person... its a work in progress

    Gassho
    Adam
    Sattoday

  14. #64
    Quote Originally Posted by Dude View Post
    ... But for someone like me philosophizing can become the whole enterprise. I end up trying to take refuge in an abstract concept(s). I think my weariness came through in my reading.
    Hi Dude,

    I believe that is the question. It is the difference between being tangled in abstract concepts and experiencing/living, being a Buddhist who sits in an armchair and one who sit on the Zafu then rises up to life. Uchiyama, Nishijima, Dogen, the 6th Ancestor ... I would call all great philosophers (Uchiyama was a student of Western Philosophy). The point is where to draw the line, and most importantly, how to see right through points and lines.

    The old expression "A Way Beyond Words And Letters" simply meant to see through and tread lightly on traditional Buddhist Doctrines and Perspectives (such as Non-Self, Impermanence, Emptiness many others), not get tangled in the complications of philosophy and see through the mere words. Yes, most of the old monks had read or were familiar with the general content and perspectives of the old books before they "burned them".

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #65
    Hi all,

    I just finished the first chapter. I got it in Spanish, so I might have lost something in translation.

    It really really spoke to me in some parts like how accepting death as part of our experience is liberating. I have found that accepting the fact that I will die someday has ended a lot of fears I grew up with.

    Roshi also speaks about how all ideas are just formations in our minds, like secretions. The mind will secrete thoughts because it's its job to do so. Realizing this helps us to let go of mental formations and just accept reality as it is, which is perfect.

    Lastly, what made my mind spin was his concept of time and space. Past and future are only a part of our present experience.

    Need to sit with all this a little bit more

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  16. #66
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Dude,

    I believe that is the question. It is the difference between being tangled in abstract concepts and experiencing/living, being a Buddhist who sits in an armchair and one who sit on the Zafu then rises up to life. Uchiyama, Nishijima, Dogen, the 6th Ancestor ... I would call all great philosophers (Uchiyama was a student of Western Philosophy). The point is where to draw the line, and most importantly, how to see right through points and lines.

    The old expression "A Way Beyond Words And Letters" simply meant to see through and tread lightly on traditional Buddhist Doctrines and Perspectives (such as Non-Self, Impermanence, Emptiness many others), not get tangled in the complications of philosophy and see through the mere words. Yes, most of the old monks had read or were familiar with the general content and perspectives of the old books before they "burned them".

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Gassho
    Adam
    Sat today


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  17. #67
    Excellent material.

    Gassho

    Nanto

    Sat2Day


    Sat2Day

  18. #68
    Grateful to read through this again and read through everyone's thoughts about it.

    When I read the part in this chapter about seeing the cup from different angles I was reminded of my own pondering as a child if we see the same colors for example. Turns out, we probably don't, at least as far as I understand from reading and talking to people in the neuroscience fields. That what we perceive as color doesn't necessarily really exist on the object but rather when the reflected light hits the cells in our eyes and the signal is sent to the brain, the brain builds a perception for us to relate to this sensory input. What you see as green might not be what I see is green but we can relay the consistency through labeling. So how complex and disjointed it must be when we move from objects in the field of vision to situations or events or whatever we talk about and fight about and agree upon. Messy! That's a pretty hacked description but it came to mind reading this chapter, that we have layers of perception and notions of things in our minds, and I wonder if that's the world he talks about in the areas discussed of "when I die, my world dies with me" and so forth. It's all in my head in one sense.

    I like the areas mentioned of the idea of letting go of our notions of things. And the fourth seal, first referred to as Nirvana, then mentioned as all things s they are, to let go of the artificial attachments.

    My challenge is although I might at least partially understand the concept, am I completely blind to my own attachments and notions, and continue to grasp them? I'm sure. What remains when I do let go of the layers of concept and perception that I have on top of situations or people or the things right in front of me?

    I feel I claim to want to meet the real dragon and too will faint when he peers down through my window. So I want to want to meet the real dragon haha

    Gassho
    Banto SatToday

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