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Thread: WHAT IS ZEN? - Thru Chap 1 - 'What's The Point?'

  1. #1

    WHAT IS ZEN? - Thru Chap 1 - 'What's The Point?'

    Hi All Questioners,

    Mast Dogen used to take question words like "What?" and employ them in his Shobogenzo teachings as emphatic expressions of the wonder of All Reality, more like the "WHAT!" in "THAT'S WHAT'S WHAT!" and "WHAAAATSU UP!" ..

    On that note, let's begin our dance with the book "What is Zen?" by the great Norman Fischer and the also wonderful Susan Moon.

    http://www.normanfischer.org/books-zen/what-is-zen

    I thought we would start with the Preface and Introduction, followed by the rather short Chapter 1. I hope that is not too much. They are pretty easy reads.

    Any impressions, comments, disagreements or anything are most welcome, please post here.

    I might suggest a couple of topics, just to seed the discussion:

    So, what is Zen, and the point of Zen practice, to you as we begin this book?

    What do you consider to be the meaning in saying "no gaining mind" and "goallessness" in Shikantaza Practice?

    Enjoy!

    I guess, depending how the discussion is going, that I will post a new reading every week or two weeks. Let's see.

    SAY WHAT!!!!

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-08-2018 at 02:07 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Wonderful Jundo ... my copy has just been waiting for this day. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH

  3. #3
    Thank you Jundo. I have my copy ready to go.

    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.

  4. #4
    More a Q and A than a dialogue so far. Enjoy the plain language and warm teacher/student, friend/friend relation between Susan and Norman.
    Being alive is a gift and a responsibility. Practice helps us see and live it like that.
    "Gaining Mind" is a hindrance to gaining independence. As stated,
    looking for something stands in the way of getting what you are looking for.
    Norman includes the usual paradoxes found in Zen and sums it all with his last statement.
    Zen practice helps us to live (our) actual lives; not (our) descriptions of it.
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    May we all grow together in our knowledge of the Dharma

  5. #5
    I read through the first chapter.

    So, what is Zen, and the point of Zen practice, to you as we begin this book?

    Zen is many things to me, but I will mention this for now. Zen is Zazen. Zen is Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. Zen is easing our own suffering and the suffering of others, living compassionately, being engaged, connecting spiritually to the oneness of life, experiencing each moment and then letting go. Zen is me and you. It is the sound of the wind through the trees and sunlight warming our skin. It is the smile on a child’s face. It is the death of a loved one. It is wholly us and wholly not us and wholly us again. Zen is everything and nothing.

    What do you consider to be the meaning in saying "no gaining mind" and "goallessness" in Shikantaza Practice?

    Finding by not seeking.


    Sat2day

  6. #6
    Wow, why didn't I say that

    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

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Troy View Post
    I read through the first chapter.

    So, what is Zen, and the point of Zen practice, to you as we begin this book?

    Zen is many things to me, but I will mention this for now. Zen is Zazen. Zen is Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. Zen is easing our own suffering and the suffering of others, living compassionately, being engaged, connecting spiritually to the oneness of life, experiencing each moment and then letting go. Zen is me and you. It is the sound of the wind through the trees and sunlight warming our skin. It is the smile on a child’s face. It is the death of a loved one. It is wholly us and wholly not us and wholly us again. Zen is everything and nothing.

    What do you consider to be the meaning in saying "no gaining mind" and "goallessness" in Shikantaza Practice?

    Finding by not seeking.


    Sat2day
    I think that we can burn the book now. No need to read on.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I think that we can burn the book now. No need to read on.

    Deep bows, Troy!

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    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).

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Troy View Post
    I read through the first chapter.

    So, what is Zen, and the point of Zen practice, to you as we begin this book?

    Zen is many things to me, but I will mention this for now. Zen is Zazen. Zen is Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. Zen is easing our own suffering and the suffering of others, living compassionately, being engaged, connecting spiritually to the oneness of life, experiencing each moment and then letting go. Zen is me and you. It is the sound of the wind through the trees and sunlight warming our skin. It is the smile on a child’s face. It is the death of a loved one. It is wholly us and wholly not us and wholly us again. Zen is everything and nothing.

    What do you consider to be the meaning in saying "no gaining mind" and "goallessness" in Shikantaza Practice?

    Finding by not seeking.


    Sat2day
    Nicely said Troy ... glad I bought the Kindle version, all I have to do is delete it. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH

  10. #10
    What is Zen. In my medical practice I often prescribed meditation for people with stress. I have done this even before I became a Buddhist, so I always give them full disclosure that although I am a Zen Buddhist, the meditation is not Zen Buddhism. Strangely enough, after I say this, no one has ever asked me what is Zen.

    For me, Zen is laminar, resonant, copacetic, sympathetic, complementary, harmonic; and yet something I can’t describe, I just know it when I feel it.

    The point of practice? To find it in the irregular, discordant, disagreeable, disdainful, confrontational, and incongruous life where it always has been in the first place.

    Gassho
    Sat/lah
    Marc Connery
    明岩
    Myo̅ Gan - Bright Cliff

    I put the Monkey in Monkeymind

  11. #11

    Slip-Sliding Away

    Metta to all:

    To me Zen is hanging up the "I," suit in the closet, and venturing out without the filter of the"I," suit on. But, the vestiges of the "I," suit still cling to me. No matter what I do some "I," suit underwear is till present. I can't fully perceive the void although I feel it as a presence. I think the Heart Sutra is literal. "Form is emptiness." This book and to a greater extent, Treeleaf, and Shikantaza Zazen are teaching me that to percieve that that perceives us all I have to let go of my perceptions altogether. Zen is like the Paul Simmons song, "You near your destination the more you're slip-sliding away."

    Gassho,
    Sat/Lah

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan View Post
    Metta to all:

    To me Zen is hanging up the "I," suit in the closet, and venturing out without the filter of the"I," suit on. But, the vestiges of the "I," suit still cling to me. No matter what I do some "I," suit underwear is till present. I can't fully perceive the void although I feel it as a presence. I think the Heart Sutra is literal. "Form is emptiness." This book and to a greater extent, Treeleaf, and Shikantaza Zazen are teaching me that to percieve that that perceives us all I have to let go of my perceptions altogether. Zen is like the Paul Simmons song, "You near your destination the more you're slip-sliding away."

    Gassho,
    Sat/Lah
    Why do you feel that you must run around naked? Stay like that, and you'll just catch cold! Sometimes naked, sometimes clothed, but isn't the true body present all along?

    I hope this helps ...

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...l=1#post225937

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  13. #13
    I got the book some weeks ago and was surprised it is on the list of the Book Group. However, haven't really started. I read the first chapter this morning. I practiced Zen, but I actually have not read much books about it, except Thich Nhat Hanh, who probably is not the best intro if you join Soto Zen. I will give some of my ideas in my next comment, I want to read the first chapter and intro again.

    Gassho,
    Karsten

    - could not sit today, because I am at war with local authorities, but maybe later -

  14. #14
    Lol guys deep bows. Thank you for being great teachers


    Sat2day

  15. #15
    Hello all,

    I bought the book through Audible and listened to it several months ago. I just wanted to mention that in case there are any differences in the audio and print versions.

    What is Zen? I thought a knew what Zen was a few months ago, but that wasn't it. I thought I knew what Zen was a year an a half ago when I joined Treeleaf, but that wasn't it. I thought I knew what Zen was years ago when I started reading about it, but hat wasn't it. What I think now is: Zen is the acceptance of the continual revision of what I think I know about life, living in the midst of it not as an I but as an eye--and accepting that, finally, this is not it either.

    Gassho,

    Michael

    STLAH

  16. #16
    Clouds and sky- Thank you

  17. #17
    Hello All,

    Although this reading was just the introduction and one chapter to me there were a lot of great quotes and ideas enclosed.

    "Buddhism changed in each country it came to, as it adapted itself to a different culture." "These tend to be slow, evolutionary changes, as the animal that is Zen learns to survive in a new habitat."

    So true and so interesting as a few hundred years ago monks would never have anticipated a man from Massachusetts would sit in a sangha with a teacher in Japan and members all around the world. This is a topic that has interested me for a while. Most religions have done a reasonable job clinging to the ancient texts that are attributed to the founding of the religion / practice (Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity). However, these texts and the practice developed around them were made in a drastically different time by drastically different people. Litterally everything has changed since that time, culture, language, technology, and science. Still these texts are the core of the religion and some people take their meaning litterally although they could never fathom the situation the original author was in and the meaning behind the words as they were written.

    "And all of this affects one's ability to sit still and be quiet. Is stillness possible now?"
    Again an interesting question and concept. I find that when i am not when i am not on the zafu stillness almost feels un-natural or impossible. My phone or my tablet or my TV are always at hand to wisk me away and make time fly by. However, once i get to the zafu stillness comes easy and feels like the most natural thing in the world. Almost as if a switch has been flipped.

    "But to practice nonharming toward other human beings and the environment is more challenging now than it was in Buddha's time, when it was possible to know who had grown your food and woven your clothes, and what trees were cut down to build your house. How do we chop wood and carry water now? How do we live simply and sustainably now?
    This led to a thought "Does a person have less control over their aquired Karma now then ever before?". Just looking at food consumption now adays we see many beings are killed due to modern agriculture techniques and factory farming. Although the consumer is not typically aware of it much suffering is left in the wake of all items seen in the grocery store.

    Now on to Jundo's question. I do agree with Michael's post about how the "definition" of Zen shifts over time. However, i believe this quote from the book states my feelings on the question much more eloquently then i could.
    "Zen practice helps us to be more present with the actual life we are living. And the more present we are, the more we see through our many projected delusions and illusions and enjoy our lives, seeing our difficulties as intriquing challenges rather than sad failures. Being alive is a gift and a responsibility. Practice helps us see and live it like that."

    James F
    Sat LAH

  18. #18
    Thanks for all of the comments above. I was rather intrigued by what Susan Moon says in the introduction about how the book's dialogue is "more personal and probably more frank than the more recent books written by single authors..." though I assume those qualities become more evident in later parts of the book than chapter one. Still, it seems to me perhaps already somewhat evident in what Moon says in the introduction about practicing with some ambivalence for many years and her initial questions about Zen practice and whether it was for her. That last bit of background was helpful for me to read.

    Gassho--Deborah
    SatToday
    LAH

  19. #19
    The point is to address the fear of death.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    The point is to address the fear of death.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_
    You are also right. Or maybe it's figuring out how best to spend our time while waiting to die. But I do agree with you, despite my lightheartedness, though I would expand it a little and say that Zen's point (one of many) is to address the fear of the unknown (death being the most urgent example), and every moment is the unknown. Making peace with the unknown of each moment, each being, each thought. Thank you, Jishin. These are thoughts I've had but was never able to articulate until this moment.

    Gassho,

    Michael

    STLAH
    Last edited by Michael Joseph; 07-10-2018 at 12:43 PM. Reason: More

  21. #21
    Eishuu
    Guest
    I really like the phrase (p3) "The fire god comes seeking fire". In terms of what is Zen and goalessness...I'd say something along the lines of letting go of the longing for an experience other than the one I'm having. But even trying to put it into words sounds silly. Having a goal in zazen seems to be about wanting to be someplace and some time else...but where else is there? Something like that. I'm looking forward to the rest of the book.

    Gassho
    Eishuu
    ST/LAH

  22. #22
    What is Zen? We have an appointment to euthanize our 17-year-old family dog who suffers from a multitude of ailments. It helps to realize there is no “we,” no “family dog,” and no “euthanasia.” At the same time, we will cry like babies. That is Zen.

    Gassho
    Meishin
    Sat Today LAH

  23. #23
    Eishuu
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Meishin View Post
    What is Zen? We have an appointment to euthanize our 17-year-old family dog who suffers from a multitude of ailments. It helps to realize there is no “we,” no “family dog,” and no “euthanasia.” At the same time, we will cry like babies. That is Zen.

    Gassho
    Meishin
    Sat Today LAH
    So sorry Meishin. Metta to all of you

    Gassho
    Eishuu
    ST/LAH

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Meishin View Post
    What is Zen? We have an appointment to euthanize our 17-year-old family dog who suffers from a multitude of ailments. It helps to realize there is no “we,” no “family dog,” and no “euthanasia.” At the same time, we will cry like babies. That is Zen.

    Gassho
    Meishin
    Sat Today LAH
    Our attachments are amazing things. Logically 17 years is a long life for a dog, you have given it a good life with people who care, and it is likely suffering due to age related ailments. Yet logic goes out the window when separating from a being you love and all that is left is sorrow. Metta to you and your family.

    James F
    Sat lah

    Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

  25. #25
    Much metta to your and your family, Meishin.

    Those four-pawed buddhas really give a lot of love.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    ------------------------------------
    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.

  26. #26
    Eishuu, do you know the passage from Bendowa that refers to "The fire god comes seeking fire"?

    Long ago there was a monk called Prior Soku who lived in Master Hogen's order. Master Hogen asked him: “Soku, how long have you been with us?”
    Soku said: “I have been here for three years now.”
    The master said: “Since you are quite a new member, why don't you ever ask me about the Buddha's truth?”
    Soku replied somewhat arrogantly: “I'd better tell you the truth. When I was studying with Master Seiho I attained the state of enlightenment.”
    The master said: “What were the words that enlightened you?”
    Soku said: “I once asked Seiho, ‘Who am I, this student?’
    And Seiho replied, ‘That which the fire created comes looking for fire.’”
    The master said: “Those words are true, but I wonder if you understood what he meant by them.”
    Soku said: “Well, that which fire created comes looking for fire – I understood him to mean that I am already fire, but I am looking for fire. I am looking for myself although I am already myself.”
    The master said: “Now I am sure that you missed the point of what he was saying to you. If the truth of the Buddha were only a kind of intellectual recognition, then it would never have survived for so long.”
    Then Soku became embarrassed and disturbed, and stood up and started to leave the temple. But after a while on the path he thought to himself, 'Master Hogen is known as a good teacher throughout China, and he is teaching over 500 students. There must be something in his criticism of me.'
    Then Soku returned to the temple to apologise and to respectfully ask Master Hogen to explain to him where he was wrong. He asked: “Who am I, this student?”
    The master replied: “That which the fire created COMES LOOKING for fire.”
    Hearing these words, Soku fully realized what the truth of the Buddha is.

    -- translation by Mike Eido Luetchford, 2004.
    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    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.

  27. #27
    Kokuu,

    Thanks for sharing the full story. I have heard it before but the emphasis on the last repetition of the saying stuck me like a bell at the end of zazen. Showing the emphasis on those two words changed the meaning entirely.

    Gassho James F
    SAT LAH

    Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

  28. #28
    Much metta to you and your family Meishin


    Sat2day

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Meishin View Post
    What is Zen? We have an appointment to euthanize our 17-year-old family dog who suffers from a multitude of ailments. It helps to realize there is no “we,” no “family dog,” and no “euthanasia.” At the same time, we will cry like babies. That is Zen.

    Gassho
    Meishin
    Sat Today LAH
    Metta to you and your family.

    Gassho,

    Michael

    STLAH

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  30. #30
    I get a little teary when I realize how many warm and wise folks there are in this Sangha. Lovely.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Meishin View Post
    What is Zen? We have an appointment to euthanize our 17-year-old family dog who suffers from a multitude of ailments. It helps to realize there is no “we,” no “family dog,” and no “euthanasia.” At the same time, we will cry like babies. That is Zen.

    Gassho
    Meishin
    Sat Today LAH
    So sorry Meishin, my heart is with you and your family. What a long happy life your sweet doggie has had. Metta ❤️
    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    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).

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Meishin View Post
    What is Zen? We have an appointment to euthanize our 17-year-old family dog who suffers from a multitude of ailments. It helps to realize there is no “we,” no “family dog,” and no “euthanasia.” At the same time, we will cry like babies. That is Zen.

    Gassho
    Meishin
    Sat Today LAH
    We will be with you in each of those moments Meishin, with tears and gentle hearts.

    Deep bows
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH

  33. #33
    Meishin;
    Your 17 year old is not your family dog. You are his Buddha.
    It's OK to cry, Rejoice in his liberation. Metta for you and your family

    nine bows, in 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

  34. #34
    What I like first of this book is the statement that it is done in dialogues and their own words. A lot of Zen books, even for beginners, are just too far away, written by experts who have done Zen for decades. The typical expert stuff written by experts for lays, which is unreadable for lays. They throw the beginner into deep water, although the beginner is just thinking of the basic theory of swimming. I was afraid to get a personal view, but the first chapter already reveals an open mind. The authors do not impose their own world view on the reader, they give always some points on their view of Zen, but also that there are others.

  35. #35
    Thank you

    Gassho
    Meishin
    Sat today lah

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Meishin View Post
    What is Zen? We have an appointment to euthanize our 17-year-old family dog who suffers from a multitude of ailments. It helps to realize there is no “we,” no “family dog,” and no “euthanasia.” At the same time, we will cry like babies. That is Zen.

    Gassho
    Meishin
    Sat Today LAH
    Very sorry for your loss -- and grateful for the love you have shown your family dog. I can't say what is or is not Zen, but sending metta to you and your family.

    Gassho--
    Deborah

    SatToday

  37. #37
    Eishuu
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    Eishuu, do you know the passage from Bendowa that refers to "The fire god comes seeking fire"?



    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    Thank you

    Gassho
    Eishuu
    ST/LAH

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Meishin View Post
    What is Zen? We have an appointment to euthanize our 17-year-old family dog who suffers from a multitude of ailments. It helps to realize there is no “we,” no “family dog,” and no “euthanasia.” At the same time, we will cry like babies. That is Zen.

    Gassho
    Meishin
    Sat Today LAH


    Very hard to say goodbye to a loved family companion - metta to you and your family



    Jinyo

    ST

  39. #39
    Hi guys,

    I was able to buy the book today. Will report back after reading. This also zen!

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Sat/LAH
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  40. #40
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    St. John's Newfoundland, Canada.
    Quote Originally Posted by Meishin View Post
    What is Zen? We have an appointment to euthanize our 17-year-old family dog who suffers from a multitude of ailments. It helps to realize there is no “we,” no “family dog,” and no “euthanasia.” At the same time, we will cry like babies. That is Zen.

    Gassho
    Meishin
    Sat Today LAH
    I'm sorry for you loss. If it helps that dog has lived his/her life surrounded by the family they love and who love them in return. To pass away peacefully surrounded by the ones we love. I can't think of a better way to go.

    Gassho
    Hoseki
    sattoday

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Meishin View Post
    What is Zen? We have an appointment to euthanize our 17-year-old family dog who suffers from a multitude of ailments. It helps to realize there is no “we,” no “family dog,” and no “euthanasia.” At the same time, we will cry like babies. That is Zen.

    Gassho
    Meishin
    Sat Today LAH
    Metta to you, your family and your dog.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat

  42. #42
    Zen is the ability to accept competing narratives.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  43. #43
    Truly sorry about your loss Meishin.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  44. #44
    Most importantly, much Metta to you Meishin. Really sorry to hear about your dog. That is a hard place to be but I am sure you did the right thing by your companion.

    So, what is Zen, and the point of Zen practice, to you as we begin this book?

    Zen is the hummingbird dancing on the wind. It is moment your child says they love you. It is the grievous wound that will not heal. It is holding your loved one close. It is watching your loved one die.

    There aren't enough words to paint the full picture of Zen.

    Trying to describe Zen is like trying to cage the wild beast that must run free.

    I don't know. I guess to me Zen is the never ending practice of fully engaging in one's life. And the point is to just keep returning to that practice.

    What do you consider to be the meaning in saying "no gaining mind" and "goallessness" in Shikantaza Practice?

    For me, right now, I take this to mean that when your thoughts drift to a goal you drift away from the real. As you engage with the goal you begin to constrict your view and your experience. You start to dance with the goal and lose track of everything else. But when you sit with "no gaining mind" you are open to any opportunity that might arise.

    Like Eishuu I was struck by "The fire god comes seeking fire". (Thank you Kokuu for posting the story). I feel like that resonates for me.

    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.

  45. #45
    So, what is Zen, and the point of Zen practice, to you as we begin this book?

    I feel that Zen is simply this very unwavering moment. Any other concept we attach to it deludes its meaning. Everything just is.

    I feel the idea of goallessness in Shikantaza is about yielding to this very moment with nothing to gain. Seeking without looking for anything. Observing the rabbit hole without ever going down it.

    Gassho,
    Alexander
    ST/LAH

  46. #46
    Member Seishin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    La Croix-Avranchin, Basse Normandie, France
    Looking foward to the rest of the book, after the intro and first chapter.

    As to Jundo's questions, as many said Troy captures it perfectly. And on the subject of practice, to me its about trying to be a better person, being aware and accepting my limitations and gaining a better understanding of how I can help others, if only in a small way. And yes actually not gaining without seeking.

    Thank you


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Meishin View Post
    What is Zen? We have an appointment to euthanize our 17-year-old family dog who suffers from a multitude of ailments. It helps to realize there is no “we,” no “family dog,” and no “euthanasia.” At the same time, we will cry like babies. That is Zen.

    Gassho
    Meishin
    Sat Today LAH
    Yes, this is truly Zen.
    Metta to you and your family Meishin, thank you for making a wonderful life your beloved dog and making that heartbreakingly compassionate decision.

    Gassho
    Meitou
    satwithyoualltoday/ lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  48. #48
    "So, what is Zen, and the point of Zen practice, to you as we begin this book?":

    Sitting now.

    "What do you consider to be the meaning in saying 'no gaining mind' and 'goallessness' in Shikantaza Practice?":

    It points to the fact that there's really nothing to grab.

    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.

  49. #49
    I used to spend a lot of time as a hospital patient in my youth, and long before I ever formally practiced Zen I used to adopt a zen sort of attitude to get through those difficult times. Zen was, and still is, the acceptance of what is rather than what you want life circumstances to be. This is also what no gaining means to me. The only goal back then was to get through it, and that was plenty, and it still is. Now that I formally practice Zen, it is a lot of other things, too, such as:
    Living according to the Precepts
    Zazen - which I did earlier today
    The harmonizing of Being and Doing in my life
    And all the other wonderful things people have listed above.


    I appreciated Fischer's comment that people practice Christianity without a goal because it's just a practice handed down to them, but I am not sure I agree with it. Here in the Bible Belt where I live, people seem to have a clear goal of salvation, of attaining heaven, and in some cases a sense of superiority because of this "guaranteed" afterlife, so maybe Fischer is right if we don't count earthly goals, but there is a whole lot of gaining going on during Sundays here.
    Last edited by AlanLa; 07-15-2018 at 09:54 PM.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today

  50. #50
    I agree there aren't enough words to encapsulate what Zen is.
    Personally, the biggest draw is the contemplative nature of Zazen - the opportunity
    to let go and just be, to relax the discriminating mind and then to live that out the best I can
    in everyday living.

    Gassho

    Jinyo

    ST

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