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Thread: Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

  1. #1

    Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

    Hi,

    I might say, very broadly, that meditation falls into two patterns:

    First, those methods, the vast majority, that seek enlightenment or some altered state of consciousness, perhaps seeking a state of Buddhahood somehow distant or apart.

    Next, there are forms that radically halt all seeking, sitting as all Peace, Fullness and Completion with nothing more to attain.

    Both are ways to find the state of Buddhahood. The latter offers the advantage of "finding" what is here all along, and always has been, by giving up the idea of a goal that is someplace distant. The dog stops chasing its tail, and realizes and wags what it has had all along. Furthermore, one realizes the Peace, Fullness and Completion that is the very mind of Buddha without lack, for a Buddha would know a state where there is nothing more to do and no other place in need of going. Such meditation can be distinguished from a mere sitting in complacency, resignation and wallowing in a deluded mind, for the very sitting of Peace, Fullness and Completion is fulfilling and wholesome.

    How strange it is to chase after an eventual sense of nothing more to chase. Better to simply realize the Completion of nothing more to chase. Especially these days in our goal and consumption oriented Western societies, the former kinds of meditation seeking for some goal may feed into the "spiritual materialism" that is driven by our modern, never satisfied consumerism and thrill oriented hungers that are always looking for the next high, the next wild experience, the next reward or acquisition. We don't know how to rest. still and totally Satisfied in the manner of a Buddha. We only know how to keep chasing chasing chasing.

    In Shikantaza, one comes to put down the chase, to pause the race after the next acquisition. One learns to sit (and then, get up and live) in Total Wholeness and Satisfaction right here and now, with nothing more to attain. I think that is an important medicine to counter the "spiritual materialism" that always leaves us chasing after something more and more and more.

    Further, in Master Dogen's way of Practice-Enlightenment, one can learn a further art: the Way of Seeking-Non-Seeking. One can learn to always seek to live more gently, to get things built and projects done, while simultaneously also knowing the Total Satisfaction of nothing more to build and nothing more to do. One can thus seek goals while also dropping all goals at once. It is a good way to live.

    Now, I said that I describe my two categories broadly, because there may be ways of meditation besides Shikantaza that do seek goals and drop all goals at once. I leave that door open, and do not wish to say that Shikantaza is the only technique that pulls off that trick. Shikantaza does not have exclusive claim to such a way of Practice. However, Shikantaza is certainly a very pure form of Goalless Practice, a Goalless Practice that thus Hits the Goal!

    Let me get on my soapbox and make some things clear, set em straight:

    It is -not- the case that there is "nothing to find" in, through and as this practice of "not seeking". "No place to go and nothing to attain" does -not- mean that there is no place to "get", no treasure to snare at the end of the rainbow. If that were so, then why pursue this path?

    Nor does "nothing to achieve" mean that there is not "enlightenment to achieve" thereby. It would not be Buddhism in that case.

    Just because we are "not seeking" does not mean we are "not seeking" ... nor that there aren't wondrous marvels thus to find!

    To the marrow sitting free of seeking ... is a dandy way thus to find that which can only be found by sitting radically free of seeking. Realizing that there is no where to "get to", and no place you can get or need get ... is finally getting somewhere that will revolutionize life, and put your "you" out of a job. One gets very far, one finally arrives ... by sitting still.

    "Shikantaza" Zen practice is a radical, to the marrow, dropping of the self's demands that something needs to be attained to make this world "right", that something must be added or removed from our lives to make life complete, that something is defective and needs to be changed., that we need to get some place to find our "True Home".

    HOWEVER, radically dropping, to the marrow all need to attain, add, remove, or change in order to make life right and complete --IS-- A WONDROUS ATTAINMENT, ADDITION and CHANGE TO LIFE! Dropping all need to "get somewhere" is truly finally GETTING SOMEWHERE! Through "nothing to do, nothing to change," one simultaneously becomes free of the excess desire, frustration and divisive thinking that is fed by seeking. The True Home is here and everywhere! Abandoning all need in life's race to cross some finish line over a distant hill, is simply arriving at the finish line which is our every step!

    By being "goalless" we hit the goal ... a goal which is hit by being thoroughly goalless in each step by step forward.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    put your "you" out of a job. One gets very far, one finally arrives ... by sitting still.]
    Jundo:
    Thank you for this teaching, very good advice

    gassho, Shokai

    stlah
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    May we all grow together in our knowledge of the Dharma

  3. #3
    Eishuu
    Guest
    Thank you Jundo

    Gassho
    Eishuu
    ST/LAH

  4. #4
    Beautiful. Thank you, Jundo Roshi.

    deep bows
    Byōkan
    sat + lah
    Please take my words with a big grain of salt. I know nothing. Wisdom is only found in our whole-hearted practice together.

  5. #5
    I rather chase enlightenment. I know itís out there.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_ , LAH

  6. #6
    This is beautiful Jundo, thank you! =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  7. #7

    Thank you.

    Gassho
    Ryudo
    SatToday/LAH

  8. #8
    Thank you very kindly for you teaching Jundo.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  9. #9
    Joyo
    Guest
    Thank you for this wonderful teaching, Jundo.

    This reminds me of something I've heard Thich Nhat Hahn say "peace in every step"

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today/lah

  10. #10
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    I rather chase enlightenment. I know it’s out there.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_ , LAH

    Thank you jishin, I like your humor :-)

    Gassho,
    Sattoday
    Lentahand.

    Geoff.
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Getchi View Post
    Thank you jishin, I like your humor :-)

    Gassho,
    Sattoday
    Lentahand.

    Geoff.
    I am just trying to be obnoxious.

    I think you are a very cool and compassionate practitioner. Thank you for your work.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_ , LAH

  12. #12
    Thank you for these words.

    Gassho,
    Anant
    SatToday

  13. #13
    Thank you for this Jundo Roshi
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Satwithyoualltoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  14. #14
    Beautiful words Jundo,

    Hugs and bows

    Gassho

    Moy


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  15. #15


    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  16. #16
    Much gratitude, Jundo. Can you post this every Monday? ☺

    Gassho,

    Michael

    Sat today.

  17. #17
    Thank you, Jundo

    Gassho
    Washin
    sat today

  18. #18
    Sounds good to me. Thank you.

    Gassho
    Doshin
    St

  19. #19
    Member Seishin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    La Croix-Avranchin, Basse Normandie, France
    Deep bows and many thanks for this teaching.


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  20. #20
    Thank you Jundo. I know that faith can be an unpopular term with many people including practitioners of Zen but can you talk a bit about the role of faith in Shikantaza. It would seem that to give up seeking awakening and truly "just sit" in Shikantaza one must have unshakable faith that awakened nature is already, and always, present...nothing to do here but express what is already there. Otherwise, you can't help but start grasping at some experience, "better state" or even better practice. I wouldn't say that this is the type of faith that we would call blind faith. I think it is something that arises when you have a good taste of Zazen that can be strengthened or shaken over time. I am not sure how to articulate my basic question other than maybe to just ask: Do you see faith as an important part of Shikantaza, and, if so, how does one strengthen such faith?

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by arnold View Post
    Thank you Jundo. I know that faith can be an unpopular term with many people including practitioners of Zen but can you talk a bit about the role of faith in Shikantaza. It would seem that to give up seeking awakening and truly "just sit" in Shikantaza one must have unshakable faith that awakened nature is already, and always, present...nothing to do here but express what is already there. Otherwise, you can't help but start grasping at some experience, "better state" or even better practice. I wouldn't say that this is the type of faith that we would call blind faith. I think it is something that arises when you have a good taste of Zazen that can be strengthened or shaken over time. I am not sure how to articulate my basic question other than maybe to just ask: Do you see faith as an important part of Shikantaza, and, if so, how does one strengthen such faith?
    Hi Arnold,

    Yes, many people might prefer the word "trust" to "faith," because many folks bring baggage about that "faith" word when coming from their childhood religion. So, "trust" is fine. I think there is such an element of "trust" that one's sitting is the only act to do in that time of sitting, the one place to be. Yes, one must trust that there is an aspect to reality whereby there is something good, with nothing to be added or taken away. Yes, one way to say this is our "Original Enlightenment," and we should trust in that fact.

    However, one might also call it just a "non-self fulfilling proposition" (Get the joke, "non-self" . It is a matter of your own heart, and making it true by feeling it is true. If one just convinces oneself that "this is the only act to do" and psyches oneself into "there is no other place to go," that is also fine. The "self" wants to run here and there, fill this hole and that, and is rarely satisfied. We are so used to running and chasing, that it is okay if one merely pretends that it is so ... because then it becomes so. It is a kind of "fake it until one makes (realizes) it" Practice. In other words, if you make yourself feel in your heart that "this sitting is all fulfillment, there is nothing lacking" then, ipso facto, there is nothing lacking in your heart. You feeling so makes it so, because who is the judge of "something is lacking" except you in your subjective heart?

    But this Practice is not "blind faith" either. It is more a "proof is in the pudding" Practice. For a time, like any new thing, one might have to trust someone's advice and give it a try. But, fairly soon, one should begin to see the effect in one's life of sitting so. It is a medicine for much of what causes us to run around chasing this and that, feeling lack and dissatisfaction.

    I spoke about it about more here, in this old essay ...

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...ll=1#post22153

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 02-10-2018 at 11:11 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  22. #22
    You see ... it is the little "self" that needs, feels "lack", needs to "get" somewhere other than where it is, cannot be still. "Just Sit" Zazen without seeking to find ... and the "self" is put out of a job, body-mind dropped away.
    Thank you Jundo. I read that other essay/talk and the quote above struck me. Dogen's, "Shinjin Datsuraku" ("body mind dropped away") used to seem so mysterious to me, something so dramatic and grandiose. The sort of thing one can't help but seek and grasp at. Now I am not trying to say that I totally get it, but it has begun to makes some sense to me over the last few years. There are these basic moments that come up that can be very beautiful but not really dramatic (that is, they don't overwhelm or throw you off balance and make you wax rhapsodic). A brief time just this morning was like this. I had sat and then took the dogs outside and there were over 30 Gold Finches shooting about the trees behind my house...down to the ground then back up again, over and over, each flying on its own path at its own time. I noticed them and simply didn't need anything else. It was funny because I love birds and have seen things like this many times, so it wasn't that something novel was happening; the birds were just living their lives, so were the trees and the dogs, the rain was falling and the air was cold. Then I realized that I was as happy as I had ever been and thought to myself, "who could ever need a moment more wonderful than this". When it was time to take the dogs inside I quietly went back inside; I didn't need to linger and watch the birds. I just went inside playing with the dogs along the way.

    Of course, this very simple but beautiful way of experiencing life is pretty transitory for me, but I think it's a little taste of something very special and I think that we all have these kind of moments. For me, noticing them allows me to grasp less even at times when I realize that I don't have it all figured out, or have been a jerk to someone. I also notice that this kind of beauty only happens when I am not grasping. I am beginning to understand that whether we are on the cushion or elsewhere, this warm-hearted ease only arises if we are not, just as you say Jundo, "seeking Budda" or seeking anything else.

    Thank you so much Jundo for your generosity in sharing your experience and insight and thank you to the whole Treeleaf Sangha for your practice. It is nice to be back!
    Last edited by arnold; 02-11-2018 at 10:59 PM.

  23. #23
    Thank you, Arnold. Such moments are precious. They may be transitory, as you say, but we can learn to bring them into our everyday, and learn to experience things like that more and more.

    Also, I just read a thesis (I can't link to it) which discussed two kinds of "faith" or "trust" in Zen.

    One is ordinary "trust" like a small infant to its mother: We may not understand much about what is going on, or who these shapes are that keep putting food in our mouth, yet we trust and allow it to happen, go with the flow. Not like we have much choice in the matter, but enjoy the ride.

    But the other "faith" or "trust" in Zazen is really interesting, because it completely rewrites the usual sentence "I trust it" to remove the "I" and remove the object "it" and just leave the "trust" right through subject and object. That is cool.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  24. #24
    Just sitting...Just trusting...Just faith...Faith...
    I like it.

    Thank you Jundo.

    Gassho,
    Arnold

    Sat today

  25. #25
    Arnold, another word I find useful when people have a conditioned problem with the word faith is confidence.
    This week for me was snatched and random sits wherever and whenever. At bus stops, on buses, hospital waiting rooms, over coffee in bars, waiting for my husband to have a cataract op. All noisy, buzzing places full of people. I didn't once, in the whole week, get near the cushion, rakusu or shrine. Yet I never thought oh no, I'm not keeping up my practice, I'm going wrong etc because I had confidence - confidence in the dharma's presence, confidence that the cushion was waiting, confidence that my practice was complete, right there, whatever I was doing,whoever I was with. It couldn't have been any more or less right.
    In my head each morning I recited the last part of the Metta verse, seeing how it relates to life every moment of every day. I felt confident that I was embracing all conditions of life as well as I could - and the opportunities were endless!
    Confidence/trust/faith - yes, these are just words, but sometimes finding the right word to link in to, that resonates in some way, can make all the difference.
    Thank you for bringing this up Arnold.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Satwithyoualltoday on the cushion again.
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  26. #26
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    Gassho Meitou




    Geoff
    SatToday
    LaH

    a
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  27. #27
    Meitou, your post nicely reflects the Treeleaf tag line “All of life is our temple”. Last week I had some surgery that took me out of my routine. I also didn’t get near the cushion for a few days but nevertheless I sat. Sitting on the cushion. Sitting on the bus. Sitting in a waiting room. Sitting in a hospital bed. Just sit.


    Tairin
    Sat today & LAH
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Tairin View Post
    Meitou, your post nicely reflects the Treeleaf tag line “All of life is our temple”. Last week I had some surgery that took me out of my routine. I also didn’t get near the cushion for a few days but nevertheless I sat. Sitting on the cushion. Sitting on the bus. Sitting in a waiting room. Sitting in a hospital bed. Just sit.


    Tairin
    Sat today & LAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Tairin View Post
    Meitou, your post nicely reflects the Treeleaf tag line “All of life is our temple”. Last week I had some surgery that took me out of my routine. I also didn’t get near the cushion for a few days but nevertheless I sat. Sitting on the cushion. Sitting on the bus. Sitting in a waiting room. Sitting in a hospital bed. Just sit.


    Tairin
    Sat today & LAH
    Thank you for your practice Tairin, hope your recovery is going well!

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  30. #30
    thank you, Meitou.


    Coos

    std

    Let silence take you to the core of life

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    Thank you for your practice Tairin, hope your recovery is going well!

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    Yes it is. Thank you.


    Tairin
    Sat today & LAH
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  32. #32
    Meitou, sorry to respond so late. I somehow overlooked your response.

    I agree that the right word can be really helpful so long as we don’t get dogmatic about it. The word “faith” has a real warm resonance for me so I find it helpful. Others may find it a stumbling block and “trust” or “confidence” may be better for them.

    I think that you hit on something essential with your confidence in practicing whereever you are. This is something that I understand better now. I had a tendency in the past to be very rigid in my notion of practice and it really got in the way. Silly things like if I woke up late and only had 20 minutes available to sit instead of 40 I didn’t sit at all. When I hit some real challenges in my life my formal practice that had been so seemingly solid unraveled. Although I endeavored to approach each moment of my life wholeheartedly My sitting became very erratic and I became very self critical.

    Now I am finding that I am quite a bit more patient and my daily sitting no longer feels like some requirement I am imposing on myself. It’s an opportunity and a gift. If an untanticipated event comes up then that’s okay. The gift of Zazen is available and practice is my life. While I really believe that daily sitting is uniquely helpful I see less of a distinction between Zazen and daily life.

    Your kind observations are helpful, so thank you for sharing. I hope that all went well with your husband’s recovery from eye surgery.

    Thank you for your thoughts and your practice.

    With Gratitude,

    Arnold
    Sat today/LAH

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by arnold View Post
    ... I had a tendency in the past to be very rigid in my notion of practice and it really got in the way. Silly things like if I woke up late and only had 20 minutes available to sit instead of 40 I didn’t sit at all. When I hit some real challenges in my life my formal practice that had been so seemingly solid unraveled. Although I endeavored to approach each moment of my life wholeheartedly My sitting became very erratic and I became very self critical.
    This is why we recommend 15 minutes ... or even 5 ... of sincere sitting putting the clock aside, rather than 40 minutes or 40 years measuring length and points.

    SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: Why Zen Folks FAIL!! (5) - Watching The Clock Rackin Up Points
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...ckin-Up-Points

    It is also vital to take Shikantaza off the cushion, and to bring it to life and many times during the day when the Samsara hits the fan!

    Zazen for Beginners (13) - Anywhere, Anytime INSTA-ZAZEN!© (the © is a joke) ...
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...nners-%2813%29

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  34. #34
    Thank you Jundo. Just read why Zen Folks fail and that hits it on the head. Funny thing is back then I really was only slightly aware that I was doing this and I knew that it wasn't the right approach. It is strange how often in life we can be blind to how we are setting ourselves up for failure and then see it so clearly in the rear view mirror.

    Gassho,
    Arnold
    sat today/LAH

  35. #35
    This is why we recommend 15 minutes ... or even 5 ... of sincere sitting putting the clock aside, rather than 40 minutes or 40 years measuring length and points.

    SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: Why Zen Folks FAIL!! (5) - Watching The Clock Rackin Up Points
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...ckin-Up-Points
    Always a great reminder.


    Tairin
    Sat today
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by arnold View Post
    Meitou, sorry to respond so late. I somehow overlooked your response.

    I agree that the right word can be really helpful so long as we don’t get dogmatic about it. The word “faith” has a real warm resonance for me so I find it helpful. Others may find it a stumbling block and “trust” or “confidence” may be better for them.

    I think that you hit on something essential with your confidence in practicing whereever you are. This is something that I understand better now. I had a tendency in the past to be very rigid in my notion of practice and it really got in the way. Silly things like if I woke up late and only had 20 minutes available to sit instead of 40 I didn’t sit at all. When I hit some real challenges in my life my formal practice that had been so seemingly solid unraveled. Although I endeavored to approach each moment of my life wholeheartedly My sitting became very erratic and I became very self critical.

    Now I am finding that I am quite a bit more patient and my daily sitting no longer feels like some requirement I am imposing on myself. It’s an opportunity and a gift. If an untanticipated event comes up then that’s okay. The gift of Zazen is available and practice is my life. While I really believe that daily sitting is uniquely helpful I see less of a distinction between Zazen and daily life.

    Your kind observations are helpful, so thank you for sharing. I hope that all went well with your husband’s recovery from eye surgery.

    Thank you for your thoughts and your practice.

    With Gratitude,

    Arnold
    Sat today/LAH
    Thanks Arnold!
    I really relate to a lot of what you're saying here and I do understand what you mean about practice becoming rigid and formal, I went through a lot of this when I was sitting with the Tibetan flavour of Mahayana - part of what I saw was that my practice had become like going to church once a week on Sunday, something I took out of my pocket, a ritual that had turned into a habit, and even worse a habit that had failed to become part of my daily life. This separation of life and temple was not what I wanted, it felt all wrong and was mostly why I started to look at other forms of practice within Buddhism.
    I do use Insight Timer, but not now as much as I used to, really more to be in touch with other Treeleafers as we practice together. At one point however I found that I was getting very attached to the stats and keeping them up - as soon as I became aware of that, I stopped using it for a while, sitting with whatever form of timekeeping I had to hand - that was a very liberating experience for me.
    And yes, Insta-zazen, all the time, everywhere, especially wonderful to practice when queuing in a country that doesn't have the queue culture
    Thank you for your kind thoughts about Stef, he's very happy with his new eye and can't wait to get the other one done! The blueness of the blue of the gas flame on the cooker is still freaking him out though!
    Gassho
    Meitou
    satwithyoualltoday/ lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

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