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Thread: LIVING by VOW: The Heart Sutra - pp 138 to 147 (Stopping at “Both Sides”)

  1. #1
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
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    LIVING by VOW: The Heart Sutra - pp 138 to 147 (Stopping at “Both Sides”)

    Moving along....

    The Heart Sutra takes place within the Buddha’s zazen. Not only is about the Buddha’s zazen, it is also about ours:

    “ This teaching in the Heart Sutra is not a philosophical discussion between the Buddha’s disciple Śāriputra and a bodhisattva about the philosophy of emptiness in Mahāyāna Buddhism. It is about our practice of zazen. “ p141

    Can you see the Heart Sutra as a description of your zazen? Why or why not? Has the meaning or relevance to your practice changed?

    Shohaku explains there are (at least) two different ways to translate Avalokiteśvara from Chinese - Kanzeon: “one who hears the sounds of the world” who is the more familiar embodiment of compassion. And, Kanjizai: “one who sees freely without obstruction “ the less known embodiment of Prajna. The translation of Avolkiteśvara in the Heart Sutra is Kanjizai.

    I don’t think you can separate the two. To me, the words of the Heart Sutra are compassion and wisdom.

    What do you think?



    Gassho,

    Shugen

    Sattoday/LAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-19-2017 at 02:53 PM.
    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  2. #2
    Member Seishin's Avatar
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    Thank you Shugen - I've been skipping ahead through some of this but went back to the start of this section this morning. So far I have it found very helpful but some things will need reading a few times.

    STMIZ


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  3. #3
    Hi Shugen

    Just a quick note to say I think you mean 138-147. Probably most people caught that though.

    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.

  4. #4
    Thank you Shugen.

    "I don’t think you can separate the two. To me, the words of the Heart Sutra are compassion and wisdom." Me too. Compassion without wisdom creates a sticky mess. There is a time to rescue others, and a time not to rescue others.

    [Complete change of subject. How does one quote part of a previous post without quoting the entire post? You're welcome to PM me rather than disrupting this thread. Thanks.]

    Gassho
    Meishin
    Sat Today LAH

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    Hi Shugen

    Just a quick note to say I think you mean 138-147. Probably most people caught that though.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    Thank you Shugen ... I was like wow, lots of homework tonight.

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Shingen View Post
    Thank you Shugen ... I was like wow, lots of homework tonight.

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    me fixed it.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    me fixed it.


    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH

  8. #8
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    me fixed it.
    Thanks boss!

    Shugen

    Sattoday/LAH
    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  9. #9
    Eishuu
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    I feel I need to apologise for my waffley questions. I hope they're not too annoying. But here's some more...

    This may be a bit off at a tangent, but part of this section connected with something I've been thinking about lately. If it's too off topic please feel free to put it in another thread.

    In the Edward Conze version of the sutra on p139 it says that the Buddha “entered into concentration”. Okumura says “'Concentration' means zazen or samadhi” and that he “started to sit zazen. This sutra takes place within the Buddha's zazen. This is a very important point.”

    Maybe I am being too literal, but I am confused. From what I've read, the Heart Sutra is dated to around 350CE which is a couple of hundred years earlier than the development of Zen Buddhism in 6th century CE and the practise of zazen. Also, when I studied Buddhism before, just before his Enlightenment the Buddha was described as passing through all the dhyanas and back to either access concentration or first dhyana and reaching Enlightenment from there. But in other accounts he is described as practising zazen. Are there lots of different versions depending on the school? Is this a Zen interpretation? Or am I getting the history wrong?

    What exactly does 'concentration' mean in the context of zazen, as it seems very different from what it means in the dhyanas and the samatha/vipassana approach? One of the readings on the misusing sexuality precept that we did mentioned 'concentration' being important for 'spiritual breakthrough[s]'. Is this a Zen approach?:

    “So don't worry. Don't stay up too late. Keep your nervous system healthy. Prevent anxiety. These kinds of practices cultivate the third source of energy. You need this source of energy to practice meditation well. A spiritual breakthrough requires the power of your spirit energy, which comes about through concentration and knowing how to preserve this source of energy. When you have strong spirit energy, you only have to focus it on an object, and you will have a breakthrough. If you don't have tha[t], the light of your concentration will not shine brightly, because the light emitted is very weak.” (Thich Nhat Hahn)

    When I practice Zazen, I find it that mostly it does not increase my concentration in the way that a practice like the mindfulness of breathing would. Sometimes my mind settles and quietens and I feel more present. Very occasionally I've done a bit of mindfulness meditation after zazen and my concentration is dreadful. Something I read recently talked about zazen being like the kind of concentration you need to drive a car – being aware of everything rather than a more focused concentration. I definitely feel I am lacking the latter (ie more focused concentration). Is it important too and something that should be cultivated or not?

    Thank you.

    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
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    Hi Lucy,

    I need to think on this a little before I reply more fully.

    But for now....

    Yes, I believe there are many variations on the story of the Buddha’s enlightenment. I don’t think we will ever know the whole story. To complicate matters even further, nothing was written down until many years after his death. And, we are also working with multiple languages and translations, with multiple opportunities for bias or error to creep in. I don’t think the literal truth is really all that important to my practice. The core teaching that is with us now, is.

    I’m not sure how to answer your question about concentration. My knee jerk reaction is to dislike the term. I feel like it was the closest English word they could come up with and it’s not such a great fit. To me, concentration implies a lot of mental effort. I don’t know if that’s how I would describe zazen.... There is focus and awareness but “concentration” feels like “I” is being thrown back into the equation....

    Thank you for your questions and please remember, I probably don’t know what I’m talking about!

    Gassho,

    Shugen

    Sattoday/LAH



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    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  11. #11
    Eishuu
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    Thanks Shugen. I think I am trying to understand the difference between the type of one-pointed concentration that can develop in mindfulness practise and develops into the meditative absorptions, and Zazen 'concentration'. I don't experience the former in Zazen really, it's more gentle and all-pervasive(-ish). Also, in the Thich Nhat Hahn quote he seemed to be emphasising the need for this more focused concentration to have 'spiritual breakthroughs', which confused me as I thought he was a Zen teacher and it didn't sound like a Zen approach.

    Because I'm coming from a background of having practised mindfulness meditation and occasionally dhyanas, there's often part of me wondering if I should be more concentrated in Zazen. I know in some Zen schools they practise following the breath first to build up some concentration before practising Zazen. Sometimes my concentration in Zazen feels a bit like a flat battery in comparison. I wondered if I am doing something wrong - should more focused concentration arise or is it not important?

    I appreciate your answers. I am sure you know what you are talking about a lot more than I do!

    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH

  12. #12
    Hi Lucy,

    See if the following is helpful a bit. (By the way, I just spotted that I pointed you to this before) ...

    In general, my understanding of the place of the Jhanas (in Sanskrit "Dhyāna") in Soto Zen Shikantaza is as follows: Our way is not to seek or run after Jhanas, highly concentrated Samadhi or extra-ordinary mental states or bliss ... although there will be times when such arises. If such arises, also let such go. Also, there was an interesting book a few years ago by a Western Theravada teacher that I summarize here. PERHAPS Shikantaza is very much resonant of the so-called "Fourth Jhana" (the one the Buddha recommended as the ultimate path in this world) as described in the old Suttas before the Commentaries modified their interpretation. I have written about this before.

    A book that should be mentioned is the recent "The Experience of Samadhi" by Richard Shankman, a survey of historical and modern Theravadan interpretations of Samadhi and Jhana. What is particularly interesting in reading the book is the extent of disagreement and widely varied interpretations from teacher to teacher, Sri Lankan vs. Burmese vs. Thai vs. Westerners, Lineage to Lineage even in that neck of the Buddhist world. Here is a Buddhistgeeks interview the author gave ... and as he discusses, there is little agreement, either currently or in centuries past, among the South Asian traditions either about "what the Buddha taught", or at least, how to interpret "what the Buddha taught" on the subject of Jhana. In the book, he interviews about two dozen teachers in South Asian traditions, and gets about two dozen, often very dissimilar interpretations.

    We continue our discussion with insight meditation teacher and author, Richard Shankman. In this episode we continue to dissect the different kinds of samadhi and their respective fruits--what in the Theravada tradition are called jhana (or "meditative absorption"). According to Shankman there are two ways of approaching the attainment of jhana, one as was taught in the original canonical texts of the Theravada, the Pali Suttas, and the other from the later commentaries on the Buddha's teachings, the Vishudimagga. As a result we get two different forms of jhana--one called Sutta jhana and the other called Vishudimagga jhana. ...

    http://personallifemedia.com/guests/...chard-shankman
    Richard Shankman's book makes one very interesting point that, perhaps, can be interpreted to mean that practices such as Shikantaza and the like actually cut right to the summit of Jhana practice. You see, it might perhaps be argued (from some interpretations presented in the book) that Shikantaza practice is very close to what is referred to as the "Fourth Jhana in the Suttas" ... as opposed to the highly concentrated, hyper-absorbed Visuddhimagga commentary version. The Fourth Jhana in the Pali Suttas was considered the 'summit' of Jhana practice (as the higher Jhana, No. 5 to 8, were not encouraged as a kind of otherworldly 'dead end') and appears to manifest (quoting the sutta descriptions in the book) "an abandoning of pleasure, pain, attractions/aversions, a dropping of both joy and grief", a dropping away of both rapture and bliss states, resulting in a "purity of mindfulness" and "equanimity". Combine this with the fact that, more than a "one pointed mind absorbed into a particular object", there is a "unification of mind" (described as a broader awareness around the object of meditation ... whereby the "mind itself becomes collected and unmoving, but not the objects of awareness, as mindfulness becomes lucid, effortless and unbroken" (See, for examples. pages 82-83 here))

    http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=l...page&q&f=false

    A bit of the discussion of the highest (in Buddhist Practice) "Fourth Jhana", and its emphasis on equanimity while present amid circumstances (and a dropping of bliss states), can be found on page 49.

    This is very close to a description of Shikantaza, for example, as dropping all aversions and attractions, finding unification of mind, collected and unmoving, effortless and unbroken, in/as/through/not removed from the life, circumstances, complexities which surround us and are us, sitting still with what is just as it is.
    In any case, all of Buddhism is precisely the same even when radically different, very different even though always the same. Much as different chefs cooking the Tofu in their way with various flavors.
    TNH, although a Vietnamese Thien (Rinzai Zen) teacher, is actually very much flavored by the Theravadan interpretations quite prevalent in that country and the rest of south-east Asia. Although some Zen teachers will emphasize building deep states of "one pointed" concentration, generally Shikantaza is more a gentle open awareness. Many meditation traditions are about building concentration to have some breakthrough, while Shikantaza is about what happens when one radically drops all seeking and hunt.

    Anyway, see if the above adds something, and then we might talk more.

    Someone asked yesterday on Facebook about the Buddha's Enlightenment. Opinions may vary as much as there are Buddhists, but I wrote this ...

    Personally, I believe that the Buddha discovered something Supremely Simple, Just This, The Wars Are Over, Nothing More Needed to Fill the Gap. He had tried extremes of mental and physical strain in his early search, and then saw the Morning Star and put down the search. Desire was satisfied, the small self seen through, and he then knew how to go with the flow of impermanence while living gently. Only later did centuries and centuries of Buddhist philosophers and commentators with too much time on their hands add amazing complexity and "distance of lifetimes" to reach Nirvana. The Zen Masters rediscovered the immediacy and simplicity of what has been here all along. Gassho, J
    At such moment, one might say that, by dropping the fight, Buddha and our Soto Ancestors slipped gently right past the barrier of the self/other subject/object divide. The war was over.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-23-2017 at 10:07 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  13. #13
    Eishuu
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    Thanks Jundo. Yes, I remember now that you directed me to that reading. Not sure why this theme keeps coming up for me.

    This is wonderful:

    "Personally, I believe that the Buddha discovered something Supremely Simple, Just This, The Wars Are Over, Nothing More Needed to Fill the Gap. He had tried extremes of mental and physical strain in his early search, and then saw the Morning Star and put down the search. Desire was satisfied, the small self seen through, and he then knew how to go with the flow of impermanence while living gently. Only later did centuries and centuries of Buddhist philosophers and commentators with too much time on their hands add amazing complexity and "distance of lifetimes" to reach Nirvana. The Zen Masters rediscovered the immediacy and simplicity of what has been here all along. Gassho, J

    At such moment, one might say that, by dropping the fight, Buddha and our Soto Ancestors slipped gently right past the barrier of the self/other subject/object divide. The war was over."



    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH

  14. #14
    I am familiar with the begining version of the Heart Sutra, but I don't recall ever hearing that it all took place in his head during his zazen. I am absolutely no Buddhist scholar, but frankly that idea makes no sense to practicing idiot. Because, if so, wow, was his head buzzing, making his mind more like than which is the point. For me, the Heart Sutra is more like a whirlpool, lots of tension in the beginning and then everything starts drops away, and then comes the stillness. I often recite it to still myself before zazen, like I will do after writing this.

    As for Kanzeon vs. Kanjizai, I was always the type of student who tried to rectify such disparities and come up with something like this: "Dude" is the one who hears the sounds of the world freely without obstruction and is thus able to do what's needed - that whole reaching for the pillow in the dark thing. I do appreciate dissecting semantic distinctions as a means of instruction (I am a professor), but I appreciate pragmatism in practice over excess intellectualizing (I try to not be that kind of professor).

    Finally, I find the Heart Sutra to be a great source of comfort. I grew up Christian with the Lord's Prayer, and it serves a similar function for me in my life, though not the same because it comes from and reaches different places, both because of religious and personal differences.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa View Post
    I am familiar with the begining version of the Heart Sutra, but I don't recall ever hearing that it all took place in his head during his zazen. I am absolutely no Buddhist scholar, but frankly that idea makes no sense to practicing idiot. Because, if so, wow, was his head buzzing, making his mind more like than which is the point. For me, the Heart Sutra is more like a whirlpool, lots of tension in the beginning and then everything starts drops away, and then comes the stillness. I often recite it to still myself before zazen, like I will do after writing this.
    I think you nailed the point! I really like the view of this being from the perspective of the Buddha's zazen.

    Gassho,

    Rish

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy View Post
    Thanks Shugen. I think I am trying to understand the difference between the type of one-pointed concentration that can develop in mindfulness practise and develops into the meditative absorptions, and Zazen 'concentration'. I don't experience the former in Zazen really, it's more gentle and all-pervasive(-ish). Also, in the Thich Nhat Hahn quote he seemed to be emphasising the need for this more focused concentration to have 'spiritual breakthroughs', which confused me as I thought he was a Zen teacher and it didn't sound like a Zen approach.

    Because I'm coming from a background of having practised mindfulness meditation and occasionally dhyanas, there's often part of me wondering if I should be more concentrated in Zazen. I know in some Zen schools they practise following the breath first to build up some concentration before practising Zazen. Sometimes my concentration in Zazen feels a bit like a flat battery in comparison. I wondered if I am doing something wrong - should more focused concentration arise or is it not important?

    I appreciate your answers. I am sure you know what you are talking about a lot more than I do!

    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH
    I have asked the same question about concentration in the past, Lucy so you are not alone. Jundo and others gave me similar answers, so I don't worry as much about the "flat battery" anymore, as long as it's not so flat that I am falling asleep or getting hooked into long trains of thought (shrug). I probably won't be able to do the Jedi mind trick or levitate any time soon, but I haven't seen anyone get kicked out of here for that yet...

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


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    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).

  17. #17
    Eishuu
    Guest
    Thanks Jakuden. I've been thinking, there's part of it that is me wanting particular experiences. Also, the day after I asked about this I had a really good night's sleep for the first time in ages and naturally got quite concentrated. I'm glad it's not just me who experiences days of flat battery mind...I like what you said about not worrying about it as long as not falling asleep or following trains of thoughts. It may be partly that flat battery brain isn't particularly pleasant so I'm experiencing some aversion to it as well.

    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH

  18. #18
    Can you see the Heart Sutra as a description of your zazen? Why or why not? Has the meaning or relevance to your practice changed?
    Absolutely - I never thought of it as taking place inside the Buddha's zazen - which means it is within our zazen as well. I really like that insight.

    When I first read the heart sutra, it was compelling, but I was trying to understand it intellectually. Honestly, the allure was that it was sort of a puzzle, and I love puzzles.

    Like most of you, I've read Red Pine's book on it, I've Thich Nhat Hanh's interpretation, both which are really good. I've read a lot on the forums here, Dogen's commentary, talks, etc, etc.

    But like with all the good stuff with zen, it just takes time and practice on and off the cushion; then unexpectedly the reason will come to you. This sort of relates to the Tenzo Kyokun. I mean getting to the real purpose and meaning of the words takes practice and will and time and energy, etc.

    Reiterating, and apologies for the tangent, I really like this interpretation. Not only is this symbolic to a sitting period, but it's also sort of a macrocosm of my practice as a whole. Early on in my practice, just getting to the cushion was an accomplishment. As time goes on, you just do it - it doesn't matter if you feel like it or not, you do it. Then your practice settles in on itself. The honeymoon period is over, you aren't necessarily trying to gain something, although those thoughts come up. I don't know how to articulate this - which is why I think Dogen is a genius. He's really articulating the practice of zazen, which is a very remarkable thing but can often come off as confusing because it's sort of like explaining 3 dimensions to someone who lives in 2 dimensions or explaining blue to a person who cannot see color.

    This is all experiential. I mean it's intellectual too, but this comes from our "heart" (no pun intended). We have to use whatever we have to practice - that means we study and we practice. That's why I think it's taken me a long time to start understanding where these teachings are pointing to; I'm more on the intellectual side of things. While important, that is only one component to a full practice, and I come to those limits. That's where I have to drop that and just practice, and there are no shortcuts to that. It's simply because unless I've had the experience, it doesn't resonate. Which is why it's so important not to give up with practice or reading Dogen especially - this stuff will make sense with time and effort; again, another pointer to "beginner's mind" . Basically I don't know shit - just keep sitting These teachings start to become clear just by virtue of 1. being exposed to them, 2. reading and studying in the face of having no comparable experience and 3. time practicing which will reveal the teachings experientially.


    Shohaku explains there are (at least) two different ways to translate Avalokiteśvara from Chinese - Kanzeon: “one who hears the sounds of the world” who is the more familiar embodiment of compassion. And, Kanjizai: “one who sees freely without obstruction “ the less known embodiment of Prajna. The translation of Avolkiteśvara in the Heart Sutra is Kanjizai.

    I don’t think you can separate the two. To me, the words of the Heart Sutra are compassion and wisdom.

    What do you think?
    Absolutely true, which is why the precepts are critical to this practice. Wisdom is not true wisdom without compassion, and compassion is not meaningful without being tempered by wisdom.

    I knew I "stole" this. This is what Daido Roshi has to say about it:
    Daido Roshi always taught on the unity of wisdom and compassion—that without true compassion there is no true wisdom, without true wisdom there cannot be true compassion. This is a basic Mahayana teaching. Wisdom and compassion are one. And at the same time, we can speak of them as two.
    Here's the koan that this talk starts from:

    True Dharma Eye, Case 47: Guishan’s Do Not Betray Others

    Main Case

    One day Guishan sat, and after sitting, he pointed at the straw sandals and said to Yangshan, “All hours of the day, we receive people’s support. Don’t betray them.”
    Guishan said, “That’s not enough. Say more.”
    Yangshan said, “When it is cold, to wear socks for others is not prohibited.”

    And part of the commentary:
    We should understand that “to wear socks for others” is a very personal matter. It is the seamless dharma activity that is the ten thousand hands and eyes of great compassion itself. It is the spiritual light of the four virtues of a bodhisattva manifesting in the ten directions. But tell me, right now, how do you manifest it in your life?
    Exactly - How do I manifest this? There are no right or wrong answers here. Well, there are Right Actions and unhelpful, harmful, etc, but I mean we have different ways to approach this - this is our life. We know these "answers" for ourselves. Again, I think with all the answers we have in Zen, we have more questions, and they are personal, we need to take these to our heart to become better and better at living a more helpful life. Each of us has been touched by this practice in different ways, but only each of us can live our own lives, so the answer to how we behave with wise compassion or compassionate wisdom is one of if not the key question we need to try to answer each and every day.

    We answer that by our study, by our sitting, by our chanting, by our work, by taking out the garbage, by waiting in line, by sitting in traffic, by stubbing our toe, etc.

    I feel stupid for typing this because these points come from Jundo and the Buddha Ancestors - really. But this is it. Nirvana exists here and now. It does, it really does.

    When you live your life in a manner of trying to always get things, it's a far cry from meeting things as they - letting them meet you. That is what our practice teaches us - if you can live like that stubbing your toe is an entirely different thing altogether.

    This is a life with meaning - and a life with meaning and purpose is absolutely a gift.

    It's funny because at the same time, this practice shows you "oh yeah, it's been like this all along".

    Gassho,

    Rish
    -sattoday/LAH
    Last edited by Risho; 11-02-2017 at 04:48 PM.

  19. #19

    LIVING by VOW: The Heart Sutra - pp 138 to 147 (Stopping at “Both Sides”)

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa View Post
    For me, the Heart Sutra is more like a whirlpool, lots of tension in the beginning and then everything starts drops away, and then comes the stillness.
    Reading this kind of blew my mind because it describes my Zazen sessions perfectly. Lots of tension and busy thoughts at the beginning and then my mind begins to settle and I experience the stillness. It is a layer of the Heart Sutra that I had not realized before.



    Sat2day
    Last edited by Troy; 11-04-2017 at 09:40 PM.

  20. #20

    LIVING by VOW: The Heart Sutra - pp 138 to 147 (Stopping at “Both Sides”)

    Thank you everyone for this discussion and the previous one about the Heart Sutra. Even though I have recited it before in Zazenkai, this is the first time I have ever really studied it (due to my Ango commitment). I apologize for jumping in here because I am not reading the book right now, but I found the discussion useful. gassho
    Last edited by Troy; 11-04-2017 at 09:39 PM.

  21. #21
    Member Seishin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shugen View Post
    Moving along....

    The Heart Sutra takes place within the Buddha’s zazen. Not only is about the Buddha’s zazen, it is also about ours:

    Can you see the Heart Sutra as a description of your zazen? Why or why not? Has the meaning or relevance to your practice changed?

    Shohaku explains there are (at least) two different ways to translate Avalokiteśvara.
    Well I had to read this section a few times before I could actually relate it to the questions Shugen asked at the start. But now its beginning to make sense but not surprising as I'm still very new to these Buddhist "scriptures".

    So for starters it was comforting to read that this discourse is the sutra takes place during the Buddha's zazen. To know he also suffered the affliction of monkey mind makes me realize his zazen is my zazen. And I guess we should be grateful he didn't just let these thoughts go.

    Despite reading the passage a number of times I couldn't get the correlation to zazen or at least my zazen. That was until this morning when listening to Jundo's Dharma talk, when he was referring to what Doyen was saying about the five conditions and how we to a degree ignore them while sitting - not quite accurate but I hope it makes sense - a bit like Jundo's reference to sensory deprivation. That's when it clicked. So yes now I see its presence.

    What has helped me is an understanding that the "mythical" Bodhisattvas are all reflections of the Buddha's qualities, virtues, character what have you and as such a reflection of the Buddha nature. My nature, in here somewhere slowly surfacing.

    What I do find as others have said, silently or quietly chanting The Heart Sutra at the start of zazen, helps settle and quieten the mind. Then that shaggy monkey starts rattling the cage ..............

    Just my empty thoughts.

    Sziztm


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

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