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Thread: LIVING by Vow: The Heart Sutra pp 156 - 194 (Stop at Emptiness in Practice)

  1. #1
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
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    LIVING by Vow: The Heart Sutra pp 156 - 164 (Stop at Emptiness in Practice)

    Hello again,

    It looks like we are going to have to get philosophical!

    Shohaku discusses how there is no”thing” beyond this phenomenal world of changing relationships. There is not something “beyond” - something to seek. Because there is no constant, the world is not really as our experience tells us it is. But, we still have to function as if it were. And, that is okay! We all carry baggage - preconceived notions based upon our life experiences. Through practice, we can begin to hold onto our bags a little less tightly.

    If everything is constantly changing, is a relationship and not a concrete “thing” in and of itself, then we are also. And, because we are also, we are free to change that relationship.

    Have you had a preconceived idea about a person, place or thing and have it be completely wrong? How did it feel? Was it freeing or did you find yourself trying to defend that idea?

    Gassho,

    Shugen

    Sattoday/LAH
    Last edited by Shugen; 12-18-2017 at 03:00 PM.
    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  2. #2
    Thank you Shugen. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH

  3. #3
    Eishuu
    Guest
    Thanks Shugen. Emptiness in Practice is p164 not 194.

    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH

  4. #4
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
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    Thank you Lucy! Fixed!

    Gassho,

    Shugen

    Sattoday/LAH

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy View Post
    Thanks Shugen. Emptiness in Practice is p164 not 194.

    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH
    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  5. #5
    Eishuu
    Guest
    I found this section beautiful and very helpful. Just a few wonderings and questions...

    I really like the idea of 'Ichi go ichi ye' – each meeting or encounter happens only once. You never meet the same person twice. But what about people who have repeatedly been abusive? You wouldn't suggest someone let go of preconceptions of a tiger and walked straight up to one; so there must be some common sense about people too. If someone is physically or emotionally abusive, it's not necessarily safe to let go of preconceptions and meet them as if for the first time. And generally we need that level of understanding of the world to navigate and avoid danger otherwise we'd be in a childlike state...you wouldn't say 'Ooh that fast moving lorry looks friendly, I'll go give it a hug'. How do we hold these two views at the same time?

    Love the bit about Dogen saying we 'shouldn't seek after enlightenment'. I really struggle with this sometimes. I understand what he is saying in theory but sometimes emotionally I get really focused on trying to become enlightened (I realise how silly that sounds when I type it, but it happens). I think it's just another form of aversion and craving and can be quite painful. It's a reaction to the subtle dukkha that I think Daizan mentioned in his Rohatsu talk, that feeling that right here, now is not good enough. I assume the way to be with this is just to sit with the uncomfortable dukkha feeling?

    In terms of the question about preconceptions of people that Shugen mentioned, in the past I tended to rather naively expect people to behave well even before I'd got to know them. When they didn't I had a really hard time with it and got very confused, and assumed it was my fault because it was hard to let go of my default position that everyone was good and kind – not sure where that came from but it wasn't very helpful. I wonder if it tends to feel more freeing when you are pleasantly surprised by someone's behaviour rather than disappointed?

    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH

  6. #6
    Hyōhaku-sha
    Guest

    LIVING by Vow: The Heart Sutra pp 156 - 194 (Stop at Emptiness in Practice)

    Great questions Lucy. I've been wondering the same things. Skimming ahead (I know that's not allowed) to page 224 "Practice in day-to-day activities" might help to answer your 'Ichi go ichi ye' question.

    I was actually reading this book unaware that you guys were discussing it *facepalm*. Now I only wish I had known. Oh well there's still plenty of book left.

    Gassho
    Tom
    ST


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    Last edited by Hyōhaku-sha; 12-18-2017 at 10:36 PM.

  7. #7
    Eishuu
    Guest
    Thank you Tom. That's helpful. I imagine that finding a balance between dropping preconceptions and using just the appropriate amount of discrimination is the recipe for a very alive, dynamic practice that is responsive and new in each moment.

    I joined this book late and was told it was fine to go back and comment on previous sections if you want.

    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH

  8. #8
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy View Post
    Thank you Tom. That's helpful. I imagine that finding a balance between dropping preconceptions and using just the appropriate amount of discrimination is the recipe for a very alive, dynamic practice that is responsive and new in each moment.

    I joined this book late and was told it was fine to go back and comment on previous sections if you want.

    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH


    Shugen

    Sattoday/LAH


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    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  9. #9
    Hyōhaku-sha
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    I deleted my last comment as I had no textual basis for it. If I confused anyone, sorry for the confusion, I will go back to silence

    Gassho,
    Tom
    ST/LAH

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  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
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    Hello Tom,

    The things we read here usually provide an opening to speak about things other than just the text and it’s okay to do that. Probably didn’t need to delete.

    Gassho,

    Shugen

    Sattoday/LAH


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    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  11. #11
    Hyōhaku-sha
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shugen View Post
    Hello Tom,

    The things we read here usually provide an opening to speak about things other than just the text and it’s okay to do that. Probably didn’t need to delete.

    Gassho,

    Shugen

    Sattoday/LAH


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    I know that you guys are probably some of the least judgmental people on the internet and I will try to be less self critical when posting on here. But still, being a shy and anxious person I feel awkward sticking my neck out. I have many assumptions and self doubts that I find hard to let go of. It makes it harder when via text because I can't gauge responses. I can turn the blender off and set down the hammer when I'm sitting but find it harder to bring that into everyday life.

    Gassho,
    Tom
    ST/LAH




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  12. #12
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyōhaku-sha View Post
    I know that you guys are probably some of the least judgmental people on the internet and I will try to be less self critical when posting on here. But still, being a shy and anxious person I feel awkward sticking my neck out. I have many assumptions and self doubts that I find hard to let go of. It makes it harder when via text because I can't gauge responses. I can turn the blender off and set down the hammer when I'm sitting but find it harder to bring that into everyday life.

    Gassho,
    Tom
    ST/LAH




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    I feel the same way sometimes.

    Shugen

    Sattoday/LAH


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    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  13. #13
    Eishuu
    Guest
    Tom, I found what you wrote interesting, before you deleted it. I totally get the self critical thing, I'm like that too. It took me ages to feel comfortable posting here and I still don't always...it does feel a bit like sticking your neck out. But then I think if no one sticks their neck out, we can't see each other (don't know if that makes sense).

    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH

  14. #14
    Hyōhaku-sha
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy View Post
    Tom, I found what you wrote interesting, before you deleted it. I totally get the self critical thing, I'm like that too. It took me ages to feel comfortable posting here and I still don't always...it does feel a bit like sticking your neck out. But then I think if no one sticks their neck out, we can't see each other (don't know if that makes sense).

    Gassho
    Lucy
    ST/LAH
    Thank you both
    My assumptions that I have nothing to say and that I am alone in how I feel are proven wrong, and It feels good

    Gassho,
    Tom
    ST/LAH


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  15. #15
    Thanks all for the thoughts and ideas. To answer Shugen's question: I've had abundant experience of my preconceptions getting things wrong! In our consumption-focused societies, we have so many choices and so many decisions to make each day that we are pretty much forced to rely on these preconceived notions of what is useful or not, good or bad etc., to make each day manageable. I think this is an example of why both relative and absolute truth are needed in our lives - simple, everyday things would be so time consuming without our guiding preconceptions!

    The thing that I liked most in this section was the last page or two, when it was made clear that these divisions we experience in the world are our own creations. This was really clear in the poem by Uchiyama Roshi:

    Though poor, never poor.
    Though sick, never sick.
    Though aging, never aging.
    Though dying, never dying.
    Reality prior to division.
    Herein lies unlimited depth.

    The phrase "prior to division" really got me. I'm so used to seeing those divisions as just part of the way the world is that it came as a shock to be reminded that they are in fact the work of my mind and my culture.

    Gassho

    Sat today

    Peter

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  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Shugen View Post
    Have you had a preconceived idea about a person, place or thing and have it be completely wrong? How did it feel? Was it freeing or did you find yourself trying to defend that idea?
    Definitely and all the time. Things, people, places, events get built up in my mind in anticipation. It is rare than reality matches up with my preconceived ideas and I very much recognize that it is a waste of effort getting too invested in these preconceived notions. It doesn’t mean I learn though .

    An important phrase that conveys the spirit of having tea together in the tea ceremony is “Ichi go ichi ye.” The phrase ichi go means “one time,” “one occasion,” or “one life.” Ichi ye means “one meeting.” Each meeting or encounter happens only once. We cannot meet with the same person twice. Each meeting, each moment, is very significant and precious because it is unique. To see things as phantoms or dreams doesn’t mean they are not important. Because reality is like a phantom or dream, we have to appreciate it. Since everything is changing, since nothing stays forever, this is the only time we can meet. We have to savor each moment
    One of my closest friends, also the best man at my wedding, no longer lives in he same city as me. We are both busy and only get to see each other maybe once or twice a year. I just saw him last week when we went out for supper. It struck me after I talked with him that the first 10 or 20 minutes is spent “catching up” which is really an abbreviated getting to know you (again) session. Yes it is the same person I know and yet he’s had perhaps 12 months of experiences that has changed him.


    Warren
    Sat today

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy View Post
    I really like the idea of 'Ichi go ichi ye' – each meeting or encounter happens only once. You never meet the same person twice. But what about people who have repeatedly been abusive? You wouldn't suggest someone let go of preconceptions of a tiger and walked straight up to one; so there must be some common sense about people too. If someone is physically or emotionally abusive, it's not necessarily safe to let go of preconceptions and meet them as if for the first time. And generally we need that level of understanding of the world to navigate and avoid danger otherwise we'd be in a childlike state...you wouldn't say 'Ooh that fast moving lorry looks friendly, I'll go give it a hug'. How do we hold these two views at the same time?
    Hey Lucy,

    I love this question and have been living with it since I first read your post several days ago. What I can offer is what I try to practice: an openness to the nature of conditions without an insistence on any particular perspective. You may never step into the same river twice, but you should avoid that tangle of barbed on the west bank each time you step in. In other words, from our perspective, if we don't insist that a person always be the same in each encounter, we allow that person the freedom to change, but it would be unwise to insist that just because each encounter with that person is "new," all conditions constituting that person have changed. To me, acceptance of the nature of conditions does not require that I accept the conditions of a particular person. Just my thoughts.

    Gassho,

    Michael

    ST

  18. #18
    I am a university professor. Every class i teach is different from the same class I taught before. Each student is different at the end of the semester than he/she was at the beginning, as am I. it is expected. It is fine. Every day or time I meet with students, they are who they are that day and that day alone, but at the end of the semester they are different, as am I. It's all good, expected, a wonderful experience of impermanence in the long view yet each encounter between student and myself, student and fellow student, student and course material, is unique unto itself, thus not waxing or waning, etc. I treat my courses as a process, and my students treat them as fixed entities. I try to get them to see the process, and they try to get me to see the outcomes, the fixedness of it all as in a grade or series of distinct grade items that accumulate into another fixed outcome grade. Neither of us are wrong, nor are either of us right. To each our own bounded view of reality. My Buddhist practice helps me to see the boundlessness of it all, yet I also accept the bounded day-to-day realities of it all. Again it's all good, it's all Zen.
    Last edited by AlanLa; 01-05-2018 at 06:48 PM.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today

  19. #19
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
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    Hello all,

    I am in the middle of a cross country move. We are at our new location and in the process of unloading furniture and figuring out where to put everything.

    We will pick back up next week and also pick up the pace a bit.

    Gassho,

    Shugen

    Sattoday


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    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Shugen View Post
    Hello all,

    I am in the middle of a cross country move. We are at our new location and in the process of unloading furniture and figuring out where to put everything.

    We will pick back up next week and also pick up the pace a bit.

    Gassho,

    Shugen

    Sattoday


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Sounds good Shugen, glad you all made it safe and sound. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH

  21. #21
    Enjoy the change!

    Gassho, sat today, lah
    求道芸化 Kyudo Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Shugen View Post
    Hello all,

    I am in the middle of a cross country move. We are at our new location and in the process of unloading furniture and figuring out where to put everything.

    We will pick back up next week and also pick up the pace a bit.

    Gassho,

    Shugen

    Sattoday


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Hope it all continues to go well for you Shugen. I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of this; I admit I've been distracted with Rohatsu and now Jukai, so next week, after all the excitement, I'll be in back-to-school mode

    Gassho
    Frankie
    satwithyoualltoday/lah

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