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Thread: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 79

  1. #1

    BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 79

    Case 78 never ends, yet now we move on to Case 79 - Chosa Advances A Step ...

    The Koan is here ...

    https://terebess.hu/zen/Shoyo.pdf

    Most of Shishin's commentary is here (from p 249) ...

    https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=...orward&f=false

    The "leap off a hundred-foot pole" (not literally!) is always a reminder in Zazen and all practice to put down the words and theory and live this. One can read all the books on the ocean one wishes, watch David Attenborough's "Life of the Sea" specials, study the anatomy of sharks and the chemistry of H20 to one's heart's content ... but at a certain point, one must dive in and return to the sea, just swim swim swim, the ocean alive in every stroke, bringing life to the ocean, all the waters pouring into every drop, sea and swim and swimmer not apart. Something like that.

    The Koan Introspection Zazen folks (Shishin Wick comes from such a Lineage) often take it to mean leaping in Zazen into a big booming Kensho experience, but I say that it is just any time we get out of the armchair and bring this to life beyond mere words and theories and lip service.

    Something to keep in mind about these Koans is that sometimes these old masters offered criticisms of what other masters said and did as actual criticisms, and sometimes as back-handed compliments. ("He doesn't get it" might mean, for example, "He really gets it, beyond he and it"). One can never be quite sure. In this case, commentators generally feel that Chosa's criticism of Master E is genuine criticism based on the feeling the Master E was just mouthing the words and had not actually "taken the leap" and brought them to life (like a musician who might be able to play the notes on paper, but who doesn't seem to have a real feel for the music and the ability to make it jump off the page). Master E's silence and "nothing special" could be taken to mean, in fact, a great treasure that says more than any words could, but Chosa seems to take this "nothing special" as truly nothing special, and that Master E had nothing much to say.

    In the Preface, the reference to the "wife in the Ba family" is to an old story in which Kannon Bodhisattva takes such form in order to teach Buddhist wisdom to groups of people who did not know about Buddhism. She played on their lust and desire to get the message across. She did this to hide her full form a bit, which would have been overwhelming, into something they could more easily handle until they were ready for the real message ...

    Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is said to have appeared in the district of Sen'u in the ancient China in the form of an extremely beautiful girl and promised to marry a young man who would be able to read the sutras best. All young men started to learn to read the sutras, but the son of the Family Ba could read them better than anyone else, so he succeeded in marrying the girl, who, however, died right after the wedding. An old monk, who happened to come by, explained the real history behind the girl. After that, Buddhism spread all over the district, and the statue of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara was erected on the golden sand-bank of the land; the statue was eventually called “Avalokitesvara, the wife of the son of the Family Ba.”
    This is what Chosa and this Koan are trying to do for us, who are also not ready to take the full leap.

    Pounding the "millet cakes in a jar of emerald" may be, like last weeks Koan, a reference to the most ordinary that is also a sacred treasure. but some commentators also say that it is something that must be done delicately ... not too hard and not too soft ... lest one either crack the bowl of emerald jade or fail to make the cakes.

    The "get into a wave that astonishes people" is much like my "dive into the sea" above.

    In the Koan, the "mountains of Ro province, the waters of Rei province" and "four oceans and five lakes are within the king's control" is certainly something like saying that one then fills all the directions and all places, becomes the whole sea, master of the universe.

    In the Appreciatory Verse, the "jeweled man's dream is broken by one cock's crow" is certainly a reference to waking up. He, and all things, are precious jewels but do not know so until waking up. Everything then appears equally sacred, and the whole world is alive as in Spring. We walk forward from here, living our life, bringing it to life. Mud is usually a reference to this ignorant, dirty world of Samsara in which we live stuck in the muck. However, now like a farmer, we get in the muck and do our work to make something grow ... like the lotus which rises from, is nourished by, and is the very mud itself come to flowering life.

    Something like that.

    Please, this is not about diving off of a real pole! It is about diving right into life. How should we do that?

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-25-2018 at 05:25 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Thank you Jundo. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH

  3. #3
    Thank you Jundo.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH

  4. #4

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

  5. #5
    When I was reading Shishin's commentary and thinking of how to apply this message to my life, my first thought was that I identify too much with the aspiration to write fiction, but then reading on it seemed to say that I need to let go into creativity to write at all. Sitting is also a letting go, stepping off into the unknown, letting go of fixed identities. I appreciate the Jundo's more detailed explanation above of the case and applying it to sitting practice.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat

  6. #6
    I have tended to try to control and plan my life but I know that the sense of control is an illusion. Something unexpected can happen that throws the plan off.

    I think ultimately every moment of life is like stepping off the 100 foot pole.


    Tairin
    Sat today
    Last edited by Tairin; 06-27-2018 at 06:03 PM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Tairin View Post
    I think ultimately every moment of life is like stepping off the 100 foot pole.


    Tairin
    Sat today
    I agree! This is a Koan I think about sometimes—when I first heard it, I thought for sure if I kept it in mind, I would be braver about facing life directly. But situations come up all the time that make me cling to the imagined safety of that 100 foot pole. It’s easy to pay lip service to it, say that I’d be okay if such-and-such were to happen... but when you are facing the possibility or the reality of an undesirable event, your emotions rising, your mind racing, it’s a different story! It reminds me of how scared I was to jump off the high diving board as a kid, I had to learn to trust that the water would be there and I would float.

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    She/her.
    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).

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    I agree! This is a Koan I think about sometimes—when I first heard it, I thought for sure if I kept it in mind, I would be braver about facing life directly. But situations come up all the time that make me cling to the imagined safety of that 100 foot pole. It’s easy to pay lip service to it, say that I’d be okay if such-and-such were to happen... but when you are facing the possibility or the reality of an undesirable event, your emotions rising, your mind racing, it’s a different story! It reminds me of how scared I was to jump off the high diving board as a kid, I had to learn to trust that the water would be there and I would float.

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    This jump is not scary. There is no place to fall, safety nets all the way.

    It is not about facing "scary situations" (although it is that too, as I can tell you from my surgery last year), or about leaping into challenges (although it can be about that too).

    It is about leaping into that incredibly safe place that is beyond all fear, beyond all places to fall, so "Safe" that it holds all human ideas of safe or dangerous, beyond even birth and death and everything in between.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    This jump is not scary. There is no place to fall, safety nets all the way.

    It is not about facing "scary situations" (although it is that too, as I can tell you from my surgery last year), or about leaping into challenges (although it can be about that too).

    It is about leaping into that incredibly safe place that is beyond all fear, beyond all places to fall, so "Safe" that it holds all human ideas of safe or dangerous, beyond even birth and death and everything in between.

    Gassho, J

    STLah



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    She/her.
    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).

  10. #10
    Interesting timing on this koan, as I read the chapter in David Loy’s Buddhist Social Theory on good and evil this morning and then sat zazen. The dualistic good/evil is the 100-foot pole we tend to get stuck on. Depending on your side (or tribe), this seems to fit the West’s war on terror and the current US political climate. Loy’s solution was that it might be better to think of a more constructive and aware duality of love and fear as the emotions to be aware of that lead to attachments such as good and evil. Both sides like to claim the high ground, which is the 100-foot pole, and it seems that no one in power wants to take that step to get off. But enough about world events.

    More personally, I sat this morning with my past and current relationships ideas like “I am right” and “the other was wrong” and let them drop in awareness of my fears and loves. Fear (as wrongness) comes from the idea of a loss of self (as rightness). Dropping fear of the loss of self leads to love in the form of compassion because of connection to all beings. The logic is fairly simple, but the living of that logic is so very difficult. Forget the height of the pole, because mostly we trip on stuff a whole lot shorter than 100-feet. For example, my dad the buddha I discussed in the last koan, was estranged from his whole remaining family by the time he died, and the reason was because he held on so strongly to his own severe attachment to what was right and wrong. My mom can’t recall what his complaints were against them because to her they seemed a lot shorter than 100-feet. For reasons that seemed a trifle, he cut off all communication. I learned most of my ethics from my dad as I grew up, but once I grew up I started to learn most of my ethics from the Tao and now Buddhism. Is this my middle way?

    Getting back to my own personal living of dropping the right/wrong of good/evil and becoming aware of love/fear, I was already in the process of renewing some relationships and changing others, and the combination of this koan and Loy’s writing will help me to proceed with more motivation, because that work has been hard and slow. Others in my life stumble on their own tall poles, and I need to recognize that rather than just clinging to my own high ground because I am afraid of falling. I sat today in awareness of my fear of losing my “self” and the precepts that caused me to violate, how I have collectively tended to apply them to some but not the “others.” I have always liked the 100-foot pole koan, but I see it today a lot different than I used to.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today

  11. #11
    I don't have much to add really. I just keep wondering why Master E didn't step off.

    And for some reason every time I think about this Koan this comes to mind.

    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.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Shinshi View Post
    I don't have much to add really. I just keep wondering why Master E didn't step off.

    And for some reason every time I think about this Koan this comes to mind.

    [/video]
    Well, it ain't so beautiful sometimes ...

    As a Bolivian soldier approached the hideout, the Americans shot him dead. A brief exchange of gunfire ensued. After it subsided, San Vicente mayor Cleto Bellot reported hearing “three screams of desperation” followed by a single gunshot, then another, from inside the house. When the Bolivian authorities cautiously entered the hideout the following morning, they found the bodies of the two foreigners.


    The man thought to be the Sundance Kid was slumped against a wall with bullet wounds to his body and a gunshot to his forehead. The man believed to be Cassidy was next to him on the floor with a bullet hole to his temple. Contrary to the 1969 film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” in which the outlaws go down in a blaze of glory amid a hail of bullets, it appeared that Cassidy had shot his wounded partner between the eyes before turning the gun on himself.

    At an inquest, Pero identified the corpses as those of the thieves who had ambushed him—although all he had ever seen of the masked men were their eyes. But neither Pero nor anyone else ever positively identified the two dead men as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid before their reported burial in an unmarked grave in a San Vicente cemetery. Although descriptions of the deceased bandits bore some resemblance to the legendary robbers, no photographs of the bodies were ever taken to provide proof.

    With no conclusive evidence to confirm the deaths of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, rumors took root that the pair had once again eluded the long arm of the law, and sightings of the duo in South America, Mexico and the United States continued for decades to come.

    Family members fueled the stories by insisting that the men had never been killed and instead returned to the United States to live into old age. Cassidy’s sister, Lula Parker Betenson, wrote in her 1975 book “Butch Cassidy, My Brother” that the outlaw had returned to the family ranch in Circleville, Utah, in 1925 to visit his ailing father and attend a family wedding. According to Betenson, Cassidy told the family that a friend of his had planted the story that one of the men killed in Bolivia was him so that he would no longer be pursued. She claimed that Cassidy lived in the state of Washington under an alias until his death in 1937. Betenson said her brother was buried in an unmarked grave in a location that was kept a family secret.

    https://www.history.com/news/the-mys...e-sundance-kid
    Sundance was most recently spotted hanging out with Elvis.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-01-2018 at 03:39 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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