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Thread: LIVING by VOW: The Heart Sutra - pp 131 to 138

  1. #1
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
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    LIVING by VOW: The Heart Sutra - pp 131 to 138

    Hello all,

    We’ve had plenty of time to digest The Meal Chants so its time to jump back in with no danger of cramping!

    We begin this section with an introduction of the Heart Sutra and the meaning it has for Shohaku Okumura. He also provides his translation.

    Here is the translation we chant:


    HEART SUTRA (English)
    INO: The Heart of the Perfection of Great Wisdom Sutra ◎
    A/vo/lo/ki/tes/va/ra/ Bo/dhi/satt/va/, A/wa/kened/ One/ of/ Com/pas/sion/, In/ Praj/na/ Pa/ra/mi/ta/, the/Deep/ Prac/tice/ of/ Per/fect/ Wis/dom/ ◎ Per/ceived/ the/ emp/ti/ness/ of /all /ለve /con/di/tions/,
    And/ was/ free/ of/ suf/fer/ing/.
    O/ Sha/ri/pu/tra/, form/ is/ no/ o/ther/ than/ emp/ti/ness/,
    Emp/ti/ness/ no/ o/ther/ than/ form/;
    Form/ is/ pre/cise/ly/ emp/ti/ness/, emp/ti/ness/ pre/cise/ly/ form/.
    Sen/sa/tions/, per/cep/tions/, for/ma/tions/ and/ con/scious/ness/ are/ al/so/ like/ this/. O/ Sha/ri/pu/tra/, all/ things/ are/ ex/pres/sions/ of/ emp/ti/ness/,
    Not/ born/, not/ des/troyed/, not/ stained/, not/ pure/;
    Nei/ther/ wax/ing/ nor/ wan/ing/.
    Thus/ emp/ti/ness/ is/ not/ form/; not/ sen/sa/tion/ nor/ per/cep/tion/,
    Not/ for/ma/tion/ nor/ con/scious/ness/.
    No/ eye/, ear/, nose/, tongue/, bo/dy/, mind/;
    No/ sight/, sound/, smell/, taste/, touch/, nor/ ob/ject/ of/ mind/;
    No/ realm/ of/ sight/, no/ realm/ of/ con/scious/ness/;
    No/ ig/no/rance/, no/ end/ to/ ig/no/rance/;
    No/ old/ age/ and/ death/,
    No/ ces/sa/tion/ of/ old/ age/ and/ death/;
    No/ suf/fer/ing/, nor/ cause/ or/ end/ to/ suf/fer/ing/;
    No/ path/, no/ wis/dom/ and/ no/ gain/.
    No/ gain/ – thus/ Bod/dhi/satt/vas/ live/ this/ Praj/na/ Pa/ra/mi/ta/ ◎
    With/ no/ hin/drance/ of/ mind/ –
    No/ hin/drance/ there/fore/ no/ fear/.
    Far/ be/yond/ all/ de/lu/sion/, Nir/va/na/ is/ al/rea/dy/ here/.
    All/ past/, pre/sent/ and/ fu/ture/ Budd/has/
    Live/ this/ Praj/na/ Pa/ra/mi/ta/ ◎
    And/ re/al/ize/ su/preme/ and/ com/plete/ en/light/en/ment/.
    There/fore/ know/ that/ Praj/na/ Pa/ra/mi/ta/
    Is/ the/ sac/red/ man/tra/, the/ lu/min/ous/ man/tra/,
    the/ sup/reme/ man/tra/, the/ in/com/pa/ra/ble/ man/tra/
    by/ which/ all/ suf/fe/ring/ is/ clear/.
    This/ is/ no/ o/ther/ than/ Truth/.
    There/fore/ set/ forth/ the/ Praj/na/ Pa/ra/mi/ta/ man/tra/.
    Set/ forth/ this/ man/tra/ and/ pro/claim/: ◎

    Gate! Gate!
    Paragate!
    Parasamgate!
    Bodhi! Svaha!



    Do you think there is any significant difference between the two? (Other than the rhythm)

    Does the Heart Sutra have a particular importance and/or meaning to your practice as it does to Shohaku’s?

    What are your thoughts on the emphasis on prajna (wisdom)?

    Gassho,

    Shugen

    Sattoday/LAH
    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  2. #2
    Member Seishin's Avatar
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    Shugen

    Looking forward to this chapter, as I'm hoping to gain a better insight/understanding of The Two Truths or at least Shohaku’s interpretation. Thank you.

    SZIZTM


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  3. #3
    Wonderful, thank you Shugen. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH

  4. #4
    Eishuu
    Guest
    I noticed a few differences between the two translations which, for me, imply a slight difference of meaning. However, I don't understand the sutra enough to understand the implications of the different words or phrases chosen.

    For example, I feel like there is some subtle difference between (Treeleaf) “all things are expressions of emptiness” and (Okumura) “all dharmas are marked by emptiness” - one seems to say that all forms are manifestations of emptiness, whereas the other seems to talk about emptiness as a quality or defining characteristic (I'm not entirely sure what 'marked' by emptiness means). Maybe I'm splitting hairs, but I thought it was interesting.

    Another difference was (O) “And the mind is no hindrance” and (TL) “With no hindrance of mind”, which also seem subtly different.

    The difference that I felt had the most impact was (O) “the bodhisattva dwells in nirvana” and (TL) “Nirvana is already here”. I prefer the latter version as it always hits me in the gut when I hear it – it has more immediate emotional impact.

    I initially found Okumura's inclusion of “and so forth” a bit awkward, but when I realised that he was referring to all of the twelve nidana links I found it really useful. I had forgotten that this was what those lines referred to – the whole process of dependent origination. It made me realise that the Heart Sutra is the condensation of many other teachings. I feel it's important for me to go back and study what it is referring to as there is so much in it.


    In terms of the meaning of the Heart Sutra to my practice, I came across it in my early 20s when I started practising. I memorised it and remember feeling a lot of devotion reciting it. Eventually, I put it aside. It's only recently that I've started reciting it daily and studying it again. I've been reading Bernie Glassman's and Dogen's writing on it and started looking at the Japanese version. I have a sense that it's absolutely central to Zen practise. I feel fascinated by it and as though if I recite it enough something will trickle in to my subconscious and I'll understand it more. Sometimes I also feel very frustrated at my lack of understanding.


    On Prajna, I feel it's really important, along with compassion. But I was wondering, we cultivate compassion through metta practise and the precepts. How then do we cultivate wisdom or Prajna? Is Zazen and studying the Dharma how we cultivate it? Is it something we can cultivate or can we only create the conditions for it?

    The other question is, what is the difference between Prajna and emptiness? Are they different ways of talking about the same thing?

    Sorry for all the questions...I generally find the Heart Sutra difficult to understand so it's great to have this chance to study it with all of you.

    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH

  5. #5
    I read Living by Vows on my Kobo which doesn’t use the same page numbering. Just checking. Are we reading up to “THE SITUATION IN WHICH THE HEART SUTRA IS EXPOUNDED”?

    Gassho
    Warren
    Sat today

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by awarren View Post
    I read Living by Vows on my Kobo which doesn’t use the same page numbering. Just checking. Are we reading up to “THE SITUATION IN WHICH THE HEART SUTRA IS EXPOUNDED”?

    Gassho
    Warren
    Sat today
    Awarren,

    Yes that is the right spot.

    Gassho,

    Shoka
    sattoday
    香道 笑花
    Kodo Shoka

    Please don't take anything I say as anything more than just a normal person's thoughts on the topic. I'm just stumbling through life trying to be helpful, but really don't know much.

  7. #7
    The other question is, what is the difference between Prajna and emptiness?
    Hi Lucy

    In my understanding, prajna is wisdom. Part of wisdom, especially the perfection of wisdom (prajnaparamita) is understanding that all things are empty of inherent existence.

    The perfection of wisdom/prajnaparamita sutras spend a lot of time talking about sunyata/emptiness - it is their central focus - to move us away from believing that even the Buddhist teachings such as the four noble truths are something concrete and inherently existing.

    Red Pine's commentary is an interesting read in that it is suggested that the sutra arose in response to certain Buddhist traditions at the time who had taken to classifying different dharmas (elements of existence/experience) as the central part of their practice. The Heart Sutra was a way of cutting through all of that and reminding practitioners of the true nature of all things.

    However, it is important to remember that I am a novice monk and tend to get more things wrong than right, so best check with Jundo.

    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.

  8. #8
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
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    Hello,

    Kokuu expresses my understanding of things. But, remember, Shohaku did mention that there are at least 100 commentaries on the Heart Sutra so....

    Gassho,

    Shugen

    Sattoday


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  9. #9
    Lucy,

    Your comments on the translation and how they different is interesting to read. When I first started actively studying the Heart Sutra I read several different translations, Thich Nhat Hanh had just released a new translation, and it fascinated me. His translation varies greatly from Treeleafs, and others that I had heard. You can read it here if you want. (Also I believe there is a forum thread about it, if you want to search for that.)

    At that time I started reading Red Pine's Heart Sutra, which is a hard but fascinating read at least for me. Red Pine really goes into detail, I mean he will write an entire page on one word! Starting with the Chinese and backtracking to the Sanskrit that it was probably translated from, and the double meanings of the word at the time. It is amazingly dense. But it did give me a depth of understanding, in reading this and all sutra, that we have to remember that we are reading things which have been translated and translated and translated. Like a copy of a copy of a copy.... it's never as crisp and clean as the original. Each translation picked up a little of the author in it, the word choice (or kanji choice), trying to explain something in a new language that probably doesn't equate one for one.

    You study Japanese, so I'm sure you have started to see this. I know for me and Japanese there are just some things that can't translate well and can't be learned until you just feel it. I had a senior student tell me that about Japanese and I thought, wow he is hokey! But then it happened to me. For me the was ne and e at the end of sentences. Couldn't figure out for the life of me how to use them correctly, until one day it just clicked. I still can't translate it into English without it feeling strange, because there just isn't something that has the same feeling behind it. But I heading into the weeds.

    For myself studying the words is important and understanding where they come from and why. But the "words" themselves have such a great depth of meaning that I know there is no way to put them down on paper in a form that is chant-able. A tenzo at a retreat I went to said it like this, "You feel it in your bones." And I the more I study, the more I believe her. Chanting the Heart Sutra from memory has made me start to feel it more and more in my bones. The depth is there in each word.

    On the book, I'm really enjoying this commentary as it isn't as "into the words", but more gentle approach to the overall meaning and complexity of the Heart Sutra. I probably need to read this section again, as not much really jumped out at me. It was more like just a nice conversation.

    But please as with everything, don't take my word for it, I really don't know much at all. Read, study and determine for yourself.

    Gassho,

    Shoka
    sattoday

    PS. If you haven't heard Okumura speak, I would encourage anyone to listen to a talk by him. He has such a gentle manner that now as I read his words I can still hear his gentle speech, with little laughs and lots of smiling. It is really interesting how the book reads differently when you can start to hear it in the writes voice. (Or at least what I perceive as his voice.)
    香道 笑花
    Kodo Shoka

    Please don't take anything I say as anything more than just a normal person's thoughts on the topic. I'm just stumbling through life trying to be helpful, but really don't know much.

  10. #10
    Do you think there is any significant difference between the two? (Other than the rhythm)
    I think the two translations said the same things, but reading it said in different ways made me reflect more on the meaning.
    Does the Heart Sutra have a particular importance and/or meaning to your practice as it does to Shohaku’s?
    The greatest significance of the Heart Sutra to me is that my understanding is limited. I glimpse something when I hear, read or chant it, but I don't fully understand it.
    What are your thoughts on the emphasis on prajna (wisdom)?
    Prajna is a reminder to understand things in context, not to be mindless or mechanical in anything I do.

    Thank you all for the discussion, which I'm learning from.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    SatToday/LAH

  11. #11
    Originally posted by Shoka:
    ne and e at the end of sentences. Couldn't figure out for the life of me how to use them correctly, until one day it just clicked. I still can't translate it into English without it feeling strange,
    Something like the Canadian sentence endder "eh!" or "ne" in Kebeqois; you gotta live it and use it or lose it

    gassho,
    Shokai
    sat/LAH
    Last edited by Shokai; 10-10-2017 at 02:22 AM.
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    May we all grow together in our knowledge of the Dharma

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy View Post
    For example, I feel like there is some subtle difference between (Treeleaf) “all things are expressions of emptiness” and (Okumura) “all dharmas are marked by emptiness” - one seems to say that all forms are manifestations of emptiness, whereas the other seems to talk about emptiness as a quality or defining characteristic (I'm not entirely sure what 'marked' by emptiness means). Maybe I'm splitting hairs, but I thought it was interesting.
    Hi Lucy,

    I think that here you might be splitting hairs, yes. But the hairs are empty too! Perhaps we can tangle those hairs by saying that all is emptiness, is a manifestation of emptiness which is all its quality.

    And don't forget that, so that we don't fall into the habit of thinking of "Emptiness" itself as some frozen thing, but rather as the flowing interflowing process that it is, we even remember that "Even 'Emptiness' is Empty!"


    Another difference was (O) “And the mind is no hindrance” and (TL) “With no hindrance of mind”, which also seem subtly different.
    All our English Heart Sutra versions are merely translations from the Japanese-Chinese which was (kinda) a translation or summary of passages from the longer "Perfection of Wisdom" Sutras (because scholars now generally agree that the Heart Sutra itself was first written in China, but based on some passages in longer Sutras in Sanskrit.(

    But most important is to sit on the Zafu, beyond all the words and hairs, truly sitting as a "mind of no hindrance." Then, getting up from the Zafu and back to this world of problems and hindrances, perhaps this "mind of no hindrance" can remain in the heart. In that way, one can live a bit that the other shore of "nirvana is here" and we "bodhisattvas dwell" in it, right here in this mess of Samsara.

    On Prajna, I feel it's really important, along with compassion. But I was wondering, we cultivate compassion through metta practise and the precepts. How then do we cultivate wisdom or Prajna? Is Zazen and studying the Dharma how we cultivate it? Is it something we can cultivate or can we only create the conditions for it?
    Everything about our Practice, and all we undertake in this Sangha including reading about the Heart Sutra, is how we seek to cultivate Wisdom and Compassion. One thing to recall, though, is that Mahayana "Compassion" is a little more than the usual English meaning of "compassion." Mahayana "Compassion" is to help all the suffering sentient beings realize Emptiness, that in fact there are no "sentient beings" to "suffer" (although, of course, there are).

    The other question is, what is the difference between Prajna and emptiness? Are they different ways of talking about the same thing?
    I would say that Prajna (Wisdom) is a deep understanding of "Emptiness" and of Compassion, and some insight into how to bring that understanding to life here in Samsara. Again, defining "Prajna" in words is one thing, but actually living "Prajna" is our Practice.

    Shoka said ...

    But it did give me a depth of understanding, in reading this and all sutra, that we have to remember that we are reading things which have been translated and translated and translated. Like a copy of a copy of a copy.... it's never as crisp and clean as the original. Each translation picked up a little of the author in it, the word choice (or kanji choice), trying to explain something in a new language that probably doesn't equate one for one.
    I am not sure that it is quite like that. The Heart Sutra is more organic, growing generation by day, a garden which blooms anew generation by generation. There is always the same ground of Emptiness, the soil, yet the garden is what it is now in the hands of each gardener, and I don't believe that finding one single "original" is the point. The interpretation did change in subtle ways even over the centuries in China and Japan. It is helpful to learn the intended meaning as Shohaku is explaining, yet how we bring that into life is the key. That is like studying in books a bit about why roses are not tulips. Some ideas about flowers did change a bit through the centuries. Roses are roses, but it is the scent and not the name, and in each of our gardening hands the garden comes to life in new ways.

    As Shoka said, more than the words, one comes to "feel it in ones bones" and then get up to move those bones.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-10-2017 at 02:20 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  13. #13

    LIVING by VOW: The Heart Sutra - pp 131 to 138

    Hi,

    All sutras are expressions of emptiness...

    No eyes, ear, nose, tongue, body or mind to see, hear, smell, taste, touch or object of mind to perceive sutras...

    All the students of Buddha got attached to his teachings. Then the Heart Sutra came along to say “cut it out! Attachment to teachings leads to suffering!”. So the students thought that makes sense and worshiped the supreme wisdom, the Heart Sutra. But some students perceived the Heart Sutra to be empty and were free of suffering.

    Put down the Hear Sutra and go do something worthwhile.

    My worthless 2 cents

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_
    Last edited by Jishin; 10-10-2017 at 11:57 AM.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Shugen View Post
    Hello all,

    Does the Heart Sutra have a particular importance and/or meaning to your practice as it does to Shohaku’s?

    Gassho,

    Shugen

    Sattoday/LAH
    Well, honestly, it didn't until I read this chapter. I don't think I had a clear context to apply the Heart Sutra. But when Okumura says that the Heart Sutra is describing our zazen, it changed the whole thing for me.

    Dan
    Sat today

  15. #15
    All the students of Buddha got attached to his teachings. Then the Heart Sutra came along to say “cut it out! Attachment to teachings leads to suffering!”. So the students thought that makes sense and worshiped the supreme wisdom, the Heart Sutra. But some students perceived the Heart Sutra to be empty and were free of suffering.
    Wise words, Jishin. Although it contains much wisdom, The Heart Sutra is not exempt from its own message and should not be clung to.

    At least, that is my understanding.

    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.

  16. #16
    My Kung Fu is strong.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post

    Put down the Hear Sutra and go do something worthwhile.

    My worthless 2 cents

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

    This "Way Beyond Word & Letters" actually has a more subtle history. How many thousands of Zen books have been written about "Silence?" Even the story of the legendary so-called "illiterate" ancestor, Hui-Neng, is in the form of a complicated book!

    There is a time to read a book, there is a time to put it down and Just Sit. There is a time to burn the book and get on with life, there is a time to reconstitute the book from the ashes and read it again.

    But even when reading a Teaching as we are, always see through to Clarity. Never get tangled or become merely an armchair philosopher.

    Such Clarity is the message of the Heart Sutra.





    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  18. #18
    A compilation from Nancy Reagan “Just say no!” to drugs and the Koan “Does a dog have Buddha Nature? Mu! (No!) or (Does not apply!):

    Heart Sutra in a pinch: Mu! Mu! Mu!.....



    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  19. #19
    Eishuu
    Guest
    Thank you Kokuu, Shoka, and Jundo for your thoughtful responses to my questions.

    I've put Red Pine on my Amazon wishlist. It's good to be reminded about 'in the bones' knowing. I think I tend to get a bit stuck in my head.

    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH

  20. #20
    Member Seishin's Avatar
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    First off I'd like to thank Lucy for her post as it has generated some insightful and helpful responses. Anyway here's my 2 cents worth, which is based on just a year of practice primarily here a Treeleaf, so this was the first Heart Sutra variant I've encountered.

    Do you think there is any significant difference between the two? (Other than the rhythm)

    To me both seem to trying to get the same message across (I think) but the subtle differences and nuances make me uncertain at times. I guess all will be revealed.

    Does the Heart Sutra have a particular importance and/or meaning to your practice as it does to Shohaku’s?

    When i first started following the sutra during Zazenkai it little impact beyond being part of the ceremony. Having made a conscious effort to memorize it during Ango, its now become a constant companion and perhaps its lessening all that faking. I'm now pretty much chanting it daily and at least a few times. If I'm sitting for 30 minutes and fi d my mind is not settling, I'll silently chant on the zafu and this seems to ease the tension - I find it difficult to physically relax - sometimes I'll just bow sit chant then practice (yes all practice). Weather permitting I'll be out on the tractor mower this pm and it will be Samu with Heart Sutra. So I do think it aids my practice.

    What are your thoughts on the emphasis on prajna (wisdom)?

    I guess anything we do can be harmful unless applied with wisdom. But mine is so limited at present I know I have much to learn.

    My biggest concern is my struggle to understand the essence of emptiness and the absolute but hope this chapter clears some of the mist.

    SZIZTM / lah


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  21. #21
    The Heart Sutra is central to my practice. I recite it regularly. In one way I feel I get it, but at the same time I know i will never really understand it. I use it as guidance, a very succinct summary of my Zen practice to which I aspire. Strangely, I also use it as a lullaby. When I have trouble sleeping, reciting it always puts me right out, though sometimes it takes a couple of repetitions which is totally fine; the more the better, I figure.

    I have read Red Pine's book on it, which was a great intellectual exercise. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I have also read An Arrow to the Heart, which was a great abstract exercise. When I need a refresher, I go to the Arrow book. Life ain't logic, because I need the Heart Sutra on a more day-to-day basis than I need the its deep historical roots.

    The part of the section that hit the hardest was the the false idea that those who follow precepts (commandments) are friends and those who don't are going to hell is an example of group egocentrism Finally, a simple repudiation of my past religious upbringing, and I am so thankful to see this in print where it somehow reinforces views I have had since a young boy in the Lutheran confirmation process. The black/white and right/wrong crutch that people desperately cling to and that causes so much suffering is so sad. Living in the belt buckle of the Bible belt, I see it regularly, and their blindness to that suffering, that separation from the other on religious grounds, is heartbreaking. Just yesterday I had a conversation with a former pastor who is now in our counseling program and he was talking about how his White congregations were all about "building a wall" and couldn't see Jesus' teaching otherwise despite their adherence to Jesus' teachings.

    How Mahaya Buddhism emphasizes the six paramitas was very helpful. Being generous, having a right livelihood, and especially being patient are so essential to practice. I am lucky in that my job as an educator about people with disabilities fits in here nicely, and practicing patience applies everywhere in both my personal and professional my life, but the boundary of generosity is a struggle. Where is generosity helpful and not seems so subjective as to be impossible to ever clearly have a line drawn around it. A simple example is if my help for others harms myself, and what is the context of help that we are talking about? There is so much gray area in this paramita that makes it impossible, I think, to ever really fulfill. it I understand how the paramita of wisdom is so essential to the other two paramitas of diligence and meditation, but being wise and diligent in my practice is a daily process that will never end, and I skip zazen when I don't feel well*. I feel comfortable with how Okamura explains all these paramitas and ties them together. He does so in a clear and concise manner that is very helpful.

    *I just got diagnosed with hypothyroidism, which means I lately never feel well, at least not yet until it gets under control, which might be a while. Every day is filled with physical pain from my head on down, I have no energy, and I am depressed, among a bunch of other symptoms. When I have a temporary illness, I skip zazen until I feel better, but because this is a chronic condition I have been doing zazen every day (minus one) because this ain't something I can come back to later when I feel better. Doing zazen when you feel like shit means feeling all that SHIT, which is why I haven't done it when sick before. But chronic is different from acute; this is something I can no longer escape, so zazen is my time to accept it as best i can. It totally sucks, but I have a greater understanding now of how zazen does zazen, not me.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today

  22. #22
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
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    Thank you for your thought provoking posts.

    We will be moving on in a few more days.

    Gassho,

    Shugen

    Sattoday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  23. #23
    What has struck me here reading all of your interesting comments, is that how many of us, despite many readings of the Heart Sutra in all of its different incarnations, have the sense of not understanding it fully in the conventional sense, but an understanding of it on a different, more visceral level. This sense of knowing in a different way , what is that? How does it work? I've come to believe that there are truths beyond words and that there are some things beyond explanation, which is also why it's not a good idea to be overly attached to books, study and words and to be receptive to understanding on an experiential level. However I was really shaken up by Okumura's speech back in the summer at SFZC in which, as I understood it, he was saying that if we try hard enough it is possible to talk about anything - can that be true? I get into terrible knots trying to talk about the Heart Sutra, yet I feel that it contains everything we ever need to know. How can that be felt without understanding? Intuition? The heart-mind? As usual more questions than answers.
    I agree with you Shoka about Okumura's voice, he's wonderful to listen to and having heard him really has added something extra to reading this book. If anyone is interested, the talk I mentioned above can be downloaded here http://sfzc.org/dogens-cypress-tree

    Gassho
    Frankie,

    satwithyoualltoday/lah

  24. #24
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
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    Thank you for the link Frankie.

    Gassho,

    Shugen

    Sattoday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  25. #25
    I've read all of these posts, and I just disagree with them all. hahaha just kidding.

    I've finally caught up with the readings. lol This is a fascinating discussion; I agree with all of this. I personally prefer our version of the Heart Sutra; like, many others here, I chant it daily, so I'm very attached to it - which is sort of ironic. hahah

    I think, and Frankie expressed this so well, that these chants are understood on so many levels. On one level, the dharma must be lived. On another, and also equally valid level, it must be studied. I think they go hand in hand. Just like Jundo Roshi's picture above, that pretty much is where I'm at with the Dharma study; I love books; I have a pile of books on my lamp stand to the right of where I sit. They are overflowing with zen books; I love referencing through them. But that's because reading resonates with me; I enjoy it, so it deepens my practice.

    I feel that these readings are very encouraging and inspirational, but without sitting on the cushion it doesn't mean anything. Also to echo Frankie, the meaning is beyond the intellect as well. You feel it. Chanting this every day really gets it into your bones, it becomes natural.

    I think we are so ready to kill the Buddha here or burn our books. But to be able to kill the Buddha or to burn your books, you need to have had a lot of practice first; if you do it prematurely, I feel that it's really just meaningless. I can't remember his name, but before he burned his library he'd dedicated his whole life to the dharma. So while burning your books may make you feel cool or iconoclastic, that's still ego-attachment; Prajna (or wisdom) is much different; it leads to doing things that are revealed to be the correct course of action rather than committing shallow acts for the sake of being viewed in some manner like a rebel, or cool, etc.

    I mean I can't really state it better than what has already been said. But one thing I wanted to talk about is motivation. When we are motivated, it's easy to do things. When we lose that motivation, and our enthusiasm wanes, it's easy to give up. Enter Prajna. Motivation is not what we should rely on. I quit smoking 15 years ago. Motivation does not last long when you are an addict. You have to rely on something much deeper that just sticks to it when you no longer remember why you chose to do this. Zazen, nutrition, anything hard in life is the same exact thing.

    There is not one thing that will fix your problems. There are no 5 top things to change your life. You just have to keep going. You make a vow, you rely on that vow. That vow springs forth from wisdom, and consistency (the real deal ) comes from that. For all good things that we do, we must keep doing them, day in and day out. You show up every day. That's wisdom.

    That's also what zazen teaches us. We watch those thoughts of "I love this", "I hate this", "just this one time", doesn't matter. We watch them rise and fall, we stay on the path. Renunciation teaches us a lot about ourselves, which is why Ango is such a great revealer of wisdom. Some days, keeping our Ango commitments is easy, some days it's not, IT DOES NOT MATTER. We keep on going regardless of the shallow emotional state that either encourages or discourages us. That's wisdom.

    Anyway - thank you for your posts everyone - very good stuff to digest and practice with.

    Gassho,

    Risho
    -sattoday/LAH

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    ......

    There is not one thing that will fix your problems. There are no 5 top things to change your life. You just have to keep going. You make a vow, you rely on that vow. That vow springs forth from wisdom, and consistency (the real deal ) comes from that. For all good things that we do, we must keep doing them, day in and day out. You show up every day. That's wisdom.

    That's also what zazen teaches us. We watch those thoughts of "I love this", "I hate this", "just this one time", doesn't matter. We watch them rise and fall, we stay on the path. Renunciation teaches us a lot about ourselves, which is why Ango is such a great revealer of wisdom. Some days, keeping our Ango commitments is easy, some days it's not, IT DOES NOT MATTER. We keep on going regardless of the shallow emotional state that either encourages or discourages us. That's wisdom.

    Anyway - thank you for your posts everyone - very good stuff to digest and practice with.

    Gassho,

    Risho
    -sattoday/LAH


    Frankie
    satwithyoualltoday/lah

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