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Thread: New Buddhist Path - Nonattachment/Letting Go/Something Infinite - PP 47-61

  1. #1

    New Buddhist Path - Nonattachment/Letting Go/Something Infinite - PP 47-61

    Hey All Non-selfs,

    There is a lot in these sections. Many things might strike folks.

    Can some powerful and mindbending teachings of Buddhism remain relevant in modern times? Yes, says David Loy.

    Please pick out any sections of particular interest to you. I will just mention a few lines that I found interesting. He said (p. 49):

    [A]wakening does not involve transcending the world, nor accepting it as it normally seems, but experiencing it in a nongrasping and therefore non-dual way, which reveals that it is very different from the usual understanding.
    David Loy is a teacher in a Lineage which emphasizes Koan Introspection Zazen, and the Mu Koan. It is a bit different from the Shikantaza approach, but the focus on getting past the sense of hard separate self is the same.

    (p. 53-54) If one's usual sense of being separate from mountains and rivers is a delusion, then one's nonduality with them is not something that needs to be attained, just realized. And if the internal self is a construct, so is the external world, for if there is no inside (my mind), the the outside is no longer outside (of an inside). Instead, each and every phenomenon that occurs, including you and me, expresses an immeasurably vast network of interacting processes, one of the multifarious and impermanent ways in which all the causes and conditions of the cosmos come togethor. There is no other reality outside these processes, nor do we need anything else.
    (p. 59) The implication is that this [our world] is ultimate reality. If it transcends the way we usually experience the world, it is still this world. In Buddhist terms, the place we normally experience as a realm of suffering is not other than what we seek - nirvana itself, the Pure Land - when we see this place, right here, as it really is.
    Anything about these passages, or anything else so far, that you wish to comment on or question?

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Thank you Jundo. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    s@today
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  3. #3
    Thank you, Jundo.

    Most of this section struck me as interesting, especially p 48
    Awakening does not mean attaining some salvific wisdom - or, more precisely, the Tathagata's (Buddha's) wisdom is realizing that there is no such wisdom to be grasped. Instead, the mind does not fixate upon any particular forms, whether mental (e.g., ideologies, one's self-image, the Buddhadharma) or physical objects.
    Also, on page 49, the suggestion that "deluded beings are simply 'frozen' buddhas" is, to me, a useful metaphor.

    Those two quotes I find mind altering.

    I also was struck by p 57
    Time: Religions tend to be preoccupied with an afterlife - with helping us qualify for an eternity in heaven with God, for example. Traherne describes a different type of "everlasting," which is not about surviving death and becoming immortal but experiencing here-and-now in a different way: Dwlling in what is sometimes called an eternal present.
    Also, reminding me of the idea that deluded beings are frozen buddhas, on page 61
    Delusions collude with cravings to reify the sense of a self that feels separate from the world it is "in."
    I'm really getting into this book.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    SatToday

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    [A]wakening does not involve transcending the world, nor accepting it as it normally seems, but experiencing it in a nongrasping and therefore non-dual way, which reveals that it is very different from the usual understanding.
    Oh yes, I too can relate to this experience ... recently I started a new job and in that there is excitement and also fear (fear as in, "am I doing a good job"). Last week I had an experience where that fear came into play. Normally in the past the fear might have grabbed ahold and put thoughts in my head of this or that, but this practice of allowing life and its experiences to unfold just as they do opened me up to this non-duality, non-grasping of life. In doing such I saw that it was not anything that I did, but rather the fear came from the unknown, this new job, this new experience - once I saw that all the fear just fell away. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    s@today
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  5. #5
    I read the book back in January and found it inspiring and thought provoking. What appeals to me especially is the exploration of the relationship between personal transformation and social transformation.
    I am now slowly rereading the book and am just catching up with you so I'll jump in with this segment.
    I really like the quote by Nisargadatta Maharaj " When I look inside and see I am nothing, that's wisdom. When I look outside and see that I am everything, that's love."
    Loy : Wisdom and Compassion, the 2 wings of the Dharma. Spiritual liberation and a sense of responsibility for what is happening in the world are two sides of the same coin.(54)

    Gassho,
    Jyukatsu
    sat today
    柔 Jyū flexible
    活 Katsu energetic

  6. #6
    This is one of the most interesting sections of the book. Here Loy describes awakening, or at least his understanding of awakening, using a number of examples, mainly from Zen. My personal experience concords with his description; not that I'm in any way awakened, but I have had a number of moments where I got a glimpse of awakening, similar to that described by Thomas Traherne. As Dogen says, it's the dropping away of body and mind; except that there is no body nor mind, which is one of those great zen paradoxes.

    To just step back a few pages, I'm not convinced by Loy's suggestion that a sense of "lack" is inherent in the human condition. There is a sense of something unresolved, but I wouldn't call it lack; I'd call it mystery. We don't know what it is, and the only thing lacking is an explanation for what's missing, a label for it.

    I think the ice and water metaphor is quite interesting. We have everything it needs to be awakened, but what we have, what we are, simply needs to be transformed. There's nothing to add, nothing to take away; it's simply the molecules of our mind that need to be rearranged.

    An aside: he talks about the Mu koan. The way he describes the practice of meditating on it makes it sound like it's pretty much meditating on a mantra. Is that all it is?

    Gassho,

    Kirk

    Sat
    I know nothing.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc View Post
    To just step back a few pages, I'm not convinced by Loy's suggestion that a sense of "lack" is inherent in the human condition. There is a sense of something unresolved, but I wouldn't call it lack; I'd call it mystery. We don't know what it is, and the only thing lacking is an explanation for what's missing, a label for it.


    Sat

    Hi Kirk,

    I found that lack doesn't quite match up with my experience either. If I think of a human as a process related and supported by other processes (Indra's net and all that jazz)I think about the lack or unresolved-ness we have is a kind of sense of that change or motion of the process. The lack of stability of a human life. We are in flux and because of the regularity of cyclical patterns that take part in our being we experience the world in a regular way. What I'm thinking about is something like the replacement of cells. They die all the time but they are replaced with like cells that function like their predecessors. So have this sense of a lack of stability because we aren't stable and yet there is stability. So I think we all feel something like this but depending on the particularities of our lives (Karma) or we may experience it differently. I think early Heidegger might touch on this with throwness but I found Heidegger's work to be a tough nut to crack so I could be off.

    I think another way to look at it could be that we find ourselves with orientations towards things in the world (aversion/desire) and these orientations or dispositions lead to thoughts and feeling about various events or happenings. I'm going to stop writing on this here because I feel like I'm getting carried away and my lunch break is over .

    As a side note. I don't experience much lack for objects or fame or fortune (though I would like more money than I currently have ) I find that I run from what I find uncomfortable.



    Gassho

    Hoseki

    Sattoday

  8. #8
    ive had a few wonderful moments with Buddhism in my life. Sometimes it has been through books. Sometimes it has been through dialogue. Sometimes it has been through silence. Thanks y'all. That's been plenty realization for me.

    Gassho

    Sat Today

  9. #9
    But oh man, that Thomas Taherne passage was incredible. That dude had done some serious introspection. I loved how he was able to transcend time and space, describing an entire life and immeasurable lives at once.

    Loy does an excellent job at illustrating how we can maintain a healthy respect for religious pluralism. Not blindly accepting all beliefs, but really understanding the beauty in the infinite ways sincere spiritual humility can manifest itself. God stuff.

    Gassho

    Sat Today

  10. #10
    I've been waiting for this section where he finally pulls everything together. Maybe that was my "lack" or "mystery" or need for something to be resolved because of my delusion of duality

    But anyway, this part blew me away.

    When I look inside and see that I am nothing, that's wisdom. When I look outside and see that I am everything, that's love. Between these two my life turns. Wisdom and compassion: the two wings of the dharma.

    To realize that I am nothing (or better, no-thing) is to become free, because there is no longer an insecure self inside that can never feel secure enough. Realizing that I am everything gives rise to compassion for others who are not really separate from me. Wisdom lived is love.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa View Post
    I've been waiting for this section where he finally pulls everything together. Maybe that was my "lack" or "mystery" or need for something to be resolved because of my delusion of duality

    But anyway, this part blew me away.
    Funny I just got on here to post these same paragraphs! Thanks everyone for the discussion and insight. This section was timely as I have been feeling overwhelmed by various work and family stresses the past several weeks. Big sigh as it dissolves into nothingness and everythingness.
    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  12. #12
    “what does the “it” refer to when we say, “It’s raining”?”
    Nothing deep but my family had fun with this question last night at the supper table At first they thought I was trying to trick them into making foolish guesses but realized it isn't so simple a question. Try substituting "raining" with "cold", "humid", or "dark". Is it all the same "It"? The "It" could be "outside" but then why do we feel it is necessary to say "It is raining outside"? Does it rain inside? Hopefully not often.

    Anyway this book was a bit hit and miss with me. I don't struggle with the "transcendence" vs "eminence" question (not two) but my interest perked back up in this section of the book.

    There is a strong similarity between Loy's message in the Path section to Yuval Noah Harari's book "Sapiens" (https://www.amazon.ca/Sapiens-Humank.../dp/077103850X) which is not a Buddhist book although i understand that he does maintain a practise.

    Gassho
    Warren
    Sat today

  13. #13
    Hey all.

    Just a comment on the semantics of the word "lack".
    I hope everyone understands the implication here from Loy even if they take issue with his particular word choice.

    We are all constantly dealing with the unceasing insufficiency(ies) of life. Always.
    It is what drives us as a species to better our lot and at the same time it is this ambition which is the source of our suffering.
    It's been analyzed, described and reframed endless times by poets, musicians and priests.
    It's the basis behind all advertisements, diet plans, gym memberships, wrinkle creams and plastic surgeries.

    Call it the "endless ache of being" or the "hedonic treadmill".
    No matter what happens we are never 100% content and even when we are it's temporary.
    You can't get rid of it, it's always there.
    The alternative is nihilism. So we're caught between "there has to be more to life than this" and "to hell with it" from cradle to grave.

    I like how Loy calls this "symptoms of the actual problem, rather than the problem itself".

    My only other issue with this section is the analysis of Trahern's passage.
    This is beautiful prose and I don't mean to denigrate it in any way but it's just SO evocative that it seems (to me) to fan the flames of this "lack" rather than alleviate it.
    I remember reading this the first time and thinking how much my own experiences suck in comparison.
    I mean, I don't know about you but I've never been "transported and ravished" by trees!
    Everything was "luminous" and achingly beautiful and it's very tempting when reading this to suspect that we now have something else to truck off after; viz an experience akin to Trahern's passage.
    And I think that would be a huge mistake.

    It's important to understand that this is just one guy's poetic description of a profound moment in his life.
    The truth is I have had moments of intense absorption and even though I wouldn't describe it using the exact same words, well, we can just chalk that up to the fact that Trahern and I are two different people.
    We've all had moments of sublime joy. The key here is not to start comparing them with others like baseball cards.

    Getting back to reality it's important to remember what Jundo is always saying about recognizing that while there are these moments of sublime joy they aren't the "point" and not something else to go jonesing after. When being ravished by trees, just be ravished by trees. When having a root canal, just have the root canal.

    Gassho,
    Hoko
    #SatToday
    Last edited by Hoko; 03-27-2017 at 11:16 PM.
    法 Dharma
    口 Mouth

  14. #14
    Man, there are some really good points. I really really love this passage.

    Hoko - I think your points are good ones. "After the ecstasy, the laundry", to quote a book title by Jack Kornfield (good book by the way).

    I think that the search is our life. I think as you pointed out that we aren't supposed to sit on our asses complacent; at the same time, we shouldn't just get "hooked" by everything as Pema Chodron says.

    At first this book didn't really do much for me, but this chapter really kicks it into gear; I love this chapter. I love the passage from the Astasahasrika Sutra, the quote from the Vimalakirti Sutra. I've always loved Hakuin's Nirvana is right here. Dogen said something similar, which I also love, and I don't have my journal with me, so my sad paraphrasing is "Don't look for Mt <insert some mountain name that means heaven here> that Mountain is right here!" Or Buddha's you will always have problems. You have to be ok with having problems.

    It's not about grasping for some imaginary stillness or giving up and being complacent. It's being still and with what is in the middle of wherever we are; that's all we got. That's the only thing that is real. We should get better. But if we are trying to get better at something to be happy, that's where we run into problems. Get better while being with what is right now.

    I don't know how to articulate this. This to me is also common sense in a way; this is the way to be successful at anything.

    I've been doing software development for a long time, but after a few years of doing it, it turns into more of an art than a science. This is where the level of mastery starts coming into play; that is, the level of craftsmanship. When the basics are thoroughly mastered, you come to a point where you want to improve not because you want to get a job but because you want to improve.

    To be a good software developer, and I would posit if you want to be good at anything, you have to be able to get comfortable with not knowing. You need to live in the not-knowing dimension. It's the only way we grow as human beings. Otherwise, we stagnate. When I was younger, this was disconcerting, but this is where the rubber meets the road. It's the same for practice.

    We start out wanting something to cure our stress or boredom, or problems that don't even really exist. But as we practice, and we face our minds, we face our thoughts, we realize that our mind just thinks and these base level thoughts of want and boredom and anger, jealousy, etc just happen; we don't have to be controlled by them.

    But practice only works when we let it work, when we let sitting sit us. We only become craftsmen or craftswomen, when we let the process overtake us and not let fear or other derisive emotions us take hold of us.

    I think, and Kirk pointed this out with the previous chapter, that this is a fine line. It's not something we can write a step by step project plan for. At the same time, there is a template, there is a practice that we can follow. But it's up to us to follow it.

    I mean only we can find out what this practice means to us, and the Dharma talks and readings hopefully inspire us to stay on the path and give us insight into how to deepen our practice.

    That's what this is about. Zen isn't about having some secret wisdom that we can lord over others or, and I love the term, some "salvific" wisdom that suddenly fixes everything. Mastery is not about having an endpoint; it's about becoming comfortable with the unknown and learning how to more gracefully live our lives by not being so pulled around by what we think is happening but actually living with what is actually happening. I don't know if that makes sense, but it's sort of how I practice.

    Gassho,

    Risho
    -sattoday

  15. #15
    Hoko,

    Judging from posts you've made from time to time it appears that your experiences with Buddhism don't really "lack" anything that Traherne described. Y'all just have different styles. Jundo often emphasizes that we should enjoy and savor the little religious or spiritual experiences we may (or may not) have but we should not get attached to them or put unwarranted stock in what they mean. Some of us have a disposition towards creative expression. That's all. Thomas Traherne did in his own way for his time and place. I think you do too.

    Gassho

    Sat Today

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Byrne View Post
    Hoko,

    Judging from posts you've made from time to time it appears that your experiences with Buddhism don't really "lack" anything that Traherne described. Y'all just have different styles. Jundo often emphasizes that we should enjoy and savor the little religious or spiritual experiences we may (or may not) have but we should not get attached to them or put unwarranted stock in what they mean. Some of us have a disposition towards creative expression. That's all. Thomas Traherne did in his own way for his time and place. I think you do too.

    Gassho

    Sat Today
    Totally agree.
    I just wanted to point out that sometimes in our individual zeal to describe something we can create a false dichotomy that might lead another to think they're somehow "missing out". That's all. That's just an inherent problem with language. You can't describe "blue" to a person who's been blind since birth and it's virtually impossible to convey how much you love chocolate without using hyperbolic terms. And then, inevitably, someone wonders "do I somehow enjoy chocolate LESS that that guy? Because he REALLY seems to love chocolate!"
    I guess that's just the karma of words, right?
    Gassho,
    Hōkō
    #SatToday

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N920A using Tapatalk
    法 Dharma
    口 Mouth

  17. #17
    Another great section. I love those Chan/Zen stories like the one where Huang Po says "Where on earth do you keep your 'ordinary mind' and your 'Enlightened mind'?" They keep your feet on the ground.

    Jeremy
    Sattoday

  18. #18
    I understand the concept of noattachment ro the world AND to the self... Letting go is a humbling experience.

    Cassidy

  19. #19
    I can truly feel attachment to things slipping away, Bout time after 6.5 decades.

    Tai Shi
    std
    Gassho
    "We cannot enjoy life if we spend a lot of time worrying about what happened yesterday and what will happen tomorrow." Thich Nhat Hanh

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