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Thread: Opening the Hand of Thought - Chapter 8 Part 2

  1. #1

    Opening the Hand of Thought - Chapter 8 Part 2

    Dear All,

    We continue the final chapter "The Wayseeker", in three parts. This week, we will read Points of Practice 3 and 4, pausing at page 164. Here are some suggested questions.

    - When Uchiyama Roshi speaks of "gaining is delusion, losing in enlightenment", he says "it is important for us to leave our desires alone, without trying to fulfill them" and "For breaking the ego's grip, nothing is more effective than giving something up." Is this an important lesson for us in this consumer driven ... give me more more more ... world?

    - He speaks of "Original Self" and "Universal Self", saying, "When we open the hand of thought, what is there, in that moment, is our Original Face" and "if we open the hand of thought, such a conception [of a separate I] vanishes, and we realize 'I' as being one with everything". Does that mean anything to you, and do you have any feel what what he is pointing to? (And PLEASE, nobody tell the joke about the hot dog vendor again! )

    - He speaks about Vow and repentance at several points. Do the Bodhisattva Vows or other Vows play some part in your Practice? Do you agree regarding their important?


    I have no comment on tiny flea genitals however!

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-29-2016 at 02:56 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    This final chapter, along with the early sections of the book have been the most resonant for me this time round. Perhaps because of their more straight forward practical guidance.

    In the last few weeks I have taken to reciting the Bodhisattva vows each time I have finished sitting. I say them with deliberate care to try to help the meaning to sink home. As I rise from the cushion I try to carry them with me.

    I confess day to day tribulations tend to muffle their resonance, but hey, it's called practice right? Keep on keeping on.


    Gassho

    Bokusei

    SaT
    ToDaY

  3. #3
    Thank you Jundo ... this has been a wonderful read. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    s@today

  4. #4
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    Hi folks,

    So I wanted to touch on the original self/ Universal Self section. When I open the hand of thought (at least that's what I think is happening) I don't feel like I'm one with everything. In fact I don't really feel much of anything other than whats happening. So if I have an itch I feel the itch. As I'm writing this questions such as "who is feeling the itch?" arise. I don't notice myself feeling the itch just the itch followed by a sensation in my hand and an urge to scratch the itch. I'm not quite sure how this ties into Original Self but this is more or less what I feel.

    I'm hoping to return to this topic later but my lunch hour is just about over.


    Gassho
    Sattoday
    I-don't-know-who

  5. #5
    Greetings all,

    What a wonderful book! I have been following along as best I can, and while I've been behind for a while I've finally caught up. This section of chapter 8 along with the end of chapter 7 really impacted me and my way of "thinking". I agree with Bokusei in my appreciation of the practical guidance. I love Uchiyama's description of "one zazen, two practices, three minds", and will do my best to incorporate this into my personal self. Even the advice on marriage has made me reflect on how I interact (or how I should interact) with my wife. I can definitely agree with the points on Vow and Repentance, but I bet this is influenced by my upbringing and the culture I live in. I believe the Bodhisattva are similarly very important, particularly for daily life.

    I must admit I am still digesting what it means to "find" Original/Universal Self and what that might "feel" like in practice. I have really enjoyed Jundo's description of the Clear Blue Sky and letting thoughts go by like clouds in order to return. I feel like this Clear Blue Sky IS the Original Face Uchiyama speaks of, but I cannot be certain.

    Gassho,
    Jason
    SatThisDay

  6. #6
    - When Uchiyama Roshi speaks of "gaining is delusion, losing in enlightenment", he says "it is important for us to leave our desires alone, without trying to fulfill them" and "For breaking the ego's grip, nothing is more effective than giving something up." Is this an important lesson for us in this consumer driven ... give me more more more ... world?
    Absolutely. I think we are driven to consume to fill an underlying desire that can only be fulfilled by not fulfilling it. The same way zazen can only be sat by letting zazen sit us, and the same way Dogen says the ten thousand things meet us as opposed to us meeting them, and the way Uchiyama Roshi talks about opening the hand of thought.


    - He speaks of "Original Self" and "Universal Self", saying, "When we open the hand of thought, what is there, in that moment, is our Original Face" and "if we open the hand of thought, such a conception [of a separate I] vanishes, and we realize 'I' as being one with everything". Does that mean anything to you, and do you have any feel what what he is pointing to? (And PLEASE, nobody tell the joke about the hot dog vendor again! )
    Yes - this is something I can only feel though. Doing zazen trapped in thoughts, or doing zazen without thoughts are two sides of this no-sided, all-sided coin. Zazen and life lived as a self but within, as Universal self, is the Middle Way. Doing zazen or living life not being pulled around by thoughts but also using our thoughts is a way to live life, to be lived fully by life as opposed to clenching ourselves off away from it. Living with thought and all of what it means to be human but not necessarily believing in those thoughts; living by positing an argument but being open to see other perspectives...

    Our desires can never be met, but knowing and realizing that, we can engage that and bloom within that. We can live fully, despite the circumstances... There are just so many good things in my life, and I don't mean that arrogantly. When I don't buy stuff and appreciate what I already have, and regardless of material items, the sunshine, the moonlight, the cool or warm breeze, the tampa humidity -- these are amazing things.

    or we can just walk around being pissed all the time and only happy when things go "our" way. hahhah


    - He speaks about Vow and repentance at several points. Do the Bodhisattva Vows or other Vows play some part in your Practice? Do you agree regarding their important?
    Yes I chant these (Bodhisattva vows and the verse of atonement) daily to remind myself that although it's my responsibility to practice, I am not doing this for myself. I bring that attitude of vow into my daily life, to live more balanced. I repent because I can never uphold this vow, so I have to right myself back to that path. I'm reading "Don't Be a Jerk" and Shobogenzo Book 1 in parallel right now, and it amazes me that I have such easy access to this. Dogen can be so difficult but thanks to teachers like Nishijima, Warner, Jundo, Uchiyama, I mean these are literally at our fingertips - we just need to focus and apply ourselves. My practice sits on the shoulders of giants, of all the Buddha ancestors, practitioners and so on who have brought Zen to where it is now. This is a very serious thing, and it's easy to take for granted. But we don't take it for granted by actually sitting consistently.

    Still, this attitude is not always something I feel, and that's why atonement is just a reality with practice. For example, I sometimes get really pissy, or argumentative when I don't feel validated and/or appreciated. I can get intense. But this practice helps me step back and realize that my life is #$#^#%^#&$$ great, and just to be here is a miracle; that this whining is a slap in the face to everyone who has come before me, to all the circumstances that have brought me here, allow me to even write on the internet, to have even had the chance to practice, to have food, water. There literally is nothing to get so bent out of shape over (ok there are things but I mean the unimportant, petty bs that usually is the focus of my ranting). It's amazing how the chain of gratitude is never-ending. Now that's the sane me.

    This life is a gift, but I have to atone because I forget the gravity of what I've been given so often.

    Gassho,

    Risho
    -sattoday

  7. #7
    As for gaining and acquiring things, I am pretty much at a balance point where I am not so interested in acquiring more stuff and give away some stuff while replacing other stuff. And I am very conscious, or aware, of that process. So I am working fairly well on greed for things, but other forms of greed remain a problem that needs more practice, especially at work where I have been known to go on rants about what are in reality petty, first-world problems.

    I don't really feel one with everything when doing zazen, but I do feel I am part of everything. And that's something/nothing, right?

    I either say the 16 vows or the Heart sutra every time before zazen. The four Bodhisattva vows mean something a little different every time I say them because I am constantly trying to see how they apply to the current issues of my life. I fall short of the vows constantly, and the ones I am most currently falling short on are the ones I say first as I reflect on how I can do better. The vows are central to my practice, absolutely. I don't know what kind of bad shape my life would be in without them, seriously.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today

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