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Thread: LIVING by VOW: The Meal Chants - pp 119 to 129 (Verse of the Rinse Water to end of Ch

  1. #1
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
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    LIVING by VOW: The Meal Chants - pp 119 to 129 (Verse of the Rinse Water to end of Ch

    In our final section, we are again reminded that "food is dharma and dharma is food" and how connected we are to the natural world.

    Have you ever felt that connection to the natural world? If so, was it a place, a smell, a taste or something other?What do you feel caused the connection?

    Shohaku goes on to express our connection, our interdependence, through the concept of koku' (emptiness) using the image of the lotus. Our conditioned existence, our "abiding in muddy water" is how we have to live our lives. "Our individual perspective is empty, so we cannot use it as a yardstick to measure the value or meaning of things. But we do. This is our basic delusion, and we cannot live without it." pg 128

    We need our "yardsticks" to navigate our world. How do you hold on to just tightly enough? What makes you clench tightly? What makes you relax your grip? Which feels more "natural"?

    "Thus we bow to Buddha."

    Gassho,

    Shugen

    Sattoday/LAH
    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  2. #2
    Wonderful Shugen, thank you. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    SatToday/LAH

  3. #3
    Thank you, Shugen.

    I don't know if I've felt a connection to nature, but I have felt awestruck by beautiful mountain lake and forest scenes, or rivers or the ocean or the sky on a clear, dark night. They do make me feel something vast and beautiful, but they are also something foreign to me.

    There was a paragraph further later on page 128 that said that zazen is letting go of thought, therefore letting go of our yardstick, and that we need the yardstick, but should be aware of its limitations and relativity. That's probably a bad paraphrasing, but it explains the practice to loosen our grip on the yardstick. I clench tightly when I'm anxious. I loosen my grip when I hear someone else's stories and see other points of view. I think it's true that fiction builds empathy. So do history, memoirs, and many art forms.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    SatToday/LAH

  4. #4
    Thank you, Shugen. This section of the book has been particularly beautiful and instructive.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    ------------------------------------
    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.

  5. #5
    Eishuu
    Guest
    I really liked the page on yardsticks...it seemed really clear. Particularly, "Our individual perspective is empty, so we cannot use it as a yardstick to measure the value or meaning of things. But we do. This is our basic delusion, and we cannot live without it".

    I think the question 'How do you hold on just tightly enough?' is interesting. I think to a certain extent, being able to emotionally self-regulate involves some kind of yardstick...so if you find yourself in an abusive relationship or dangerous situation, you absolutely need to use your emotional and commonsense 'yardsticks' to protect yourself. Maybe with practice this can be done all the while holding them lightly, but they are still necessary I believe. Some yardsticks are more arbitrary - maybe values we have grown up with - whereas others may be hardwired survival instincts related to our animal nature... And also if you've grown up being somewhat out of touch with those emotional yardsticks maybe it's important to understand them and be able to function properly with them first before letting go (?)

    As Jundo mentioned the next book we are going to study, are we finishing here with this book?

    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH

  6. #6
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
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    Hi Lucy,

    I believe we are going to finish this book first.

    Gassho,

    Shugen

    Sattoday


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    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Shugen View Post
    Hi Lucy,

    I believe we are going to finish this book first.

    Gassho,

    Shugen

    Sattoday


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Hey Shugen ... isn't there a rule that says, whoever finishes a book first has to run around the Dharma Gates 1000 times? LOL

    Glad you are liking the read Lucy. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    SatToday/LAH

  8. #8
    I feel I am more muddy water than lotus, but I do appreciate the metaphor.
    Is my lotus as long as a yardstick?
    Why should I be measuring my lotus at all?
    My lotus is perfectly fine as it is, though it could use a little less muddiness.

    But seriously, finding my lotus and holding on to my yardstick juuusssst right is my Goldilocks practice.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Shingen View Post
    Hey Shugen ... isn't there a rule that says, whoever finishes a book first has to run around the Dharma Gates 1000 times? LOL
    LOL!

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    SatToday/LAH

  10. #10
    The yardstick metaphor is interesting. In my professional life I am paid to maintain my yardstick and defend it vigorously. In personal life, it somewhat depends on the individual and my relationship with them. In either case it must be done with respect.

    Sometimes it is tough to turn it off.

    Gassho
    Warren
    Sat today

  11. #11
    Letting go of thought is letting go of my yardstick. But this doesn't mean I should discard this yardstick, because it's all I can use. Letting go doesn't mean it disappears ; it is still there but we know that it is relative and limited..
    I regret that I have any kind of fixed yardstick and I accept that it is relative and absolutely so limited and I feel my path is to liberate that limitation as much as I can. I know when I'm holding on too tight, I can feel it physically, a knot in my diaphragm. And equally I can sense when I'm letting go because underneath a feeling of 'relief there's a nagging little bubble of fear from the ego saying 'But, but.....'
    And then letting go of one set of values seems to mean that they have to be replaced with another, because is it really possible to be able to live without any kind of view? I can only hope that by taking refuge in the precepts I am at least trying to stay aware of my limitations and keep some kind of right view in my sights.

    Gassho
    Frankie
    satwithyoualltoday/lah

  12. #12
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your thoughtful replies.

    Of course, you shouldn't over think it either.

    Gassho,

    Shugen

    Sattoday/LAH


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    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  13. #13
    Member Seishin's Avatar
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    Really enjoyed this last section especially the interpretations of emptiness.... see below.

    On the yardstick front I'm aware mine is very limited and often at odds with others. Less so now ive retired. For example I would say mine is a metric yardstick while wife's is feet and inches. What this has taught me is more about awareness and openness to the views of others. Recognizing that awareness will hopefully allow my grip to loosen.

    As to Emptiness. After sitting zazen the other morning and sitting in bed with a cup of tea, with my wife waiting for her meds to kick in, this internal dialogue cropped up.

    It was all related to the glass and the empty not empty space..... and this is where Shugen's comment about not over thinking come too late.

    So I occupy a space. All around other objects do the same. Between there is the non empty space. And collectively we are Emptiness (Jundo big E).

    If I am walking a short distance from A to B, I take my first step into emptiness and become that empty space. The space that was me becomes the non empty emptiness I've vacated.

    So, as the space that is me traverses the empty space, do I become that space?
    Does that space become me ?
    Do we become one ? Me and the space combined ?
    Does the space which is not empty pass around me ? Or does it become me or me it ?
    And was the space that was me before I started my journey and previously a non empty space before I arrived, go back to being just that empty but not empty space in the Emptiness ?
    Add infinitum until I reach my destination.

    We know these atomic and sub atomic particles that are you and i and everything fill the Universe and beyond. But do those in the emptiness fill us making us truly one?

    I'd like to think so.

    Better than an empty void created by my motion and filled by the non empty emptiness from the space that is now me.

    Discuss

    I'm off for a lay down.

    Stmiz

    Toby


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    Last edited by Seishin; 09-25-2017 at 09:56 AM.


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  14. #14
    I believe i said this in one of the earlier discussions on the Meal Chant section of this book but wanted to take this opportunity before we moved on to express how much I appreciate this topic. I think more than anything the discussion around food and our relationship to it has really helped me see the interconnectedness of all things

    Gassho
    Warren
    Sat today & LAH
    Last edited by Tairin; 09-28-2017 at 03:48 PM.

  15. #15
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by awarren View Post
    I believe i said this in one of the earlier discussions on the Meal Chant section of this book but wanted to take this opportunity before we moved on to express how much I appreciate this topic. I think more than anything the discussion around food and our relationship to it has really helped me see the interconnectedness of all things

    Gassho
    Warren
    Sat today & LAH
    For some reason, a lot of the time when I eat an apple, I get that feeling. Sometimes with other foods, but most frequently with an apple.

    Gassho,

    Shugen

    Sattoday/LAH


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    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

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