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Thread: WHAT IS ZEN? - Chap 4 - Awakening

  1. #1

    WHAT IS ZEN? - Chap 4 - Awakening

    Good Morning! Time to Wake Up!

    I think we will stay with this chapter for a couple of weeks, just to give some folks a chance to reflect or catch up a bit.

    The topic is "awakening," and some interesting insights from Norman Roshi.

    I sometimes use my "whole bus trip" analogy, which I feel is much as Norman describes ...

    The best analogy I have for this is a universal "bus trip to visit the Grand Canyon" ... Experiencing the boundless vistas of the Grand Canyon is wondrous and insightful, but not really the point of the trip. For Soto Folks, when we realize such ... every moment of the Buddha-Bus trip, the scenery out the windows (both what we encounter as beautiful and what appears ugly), the moments of good health and moments of passing illness, the highway, the seats and windows, all the other passengers on the Bus who appear to be riding with us, when we board and someday when we are let off ... the whole Trip ... is all the Buddha-Bus, all Enlightenment and Kensho, all the "destination" beyond "coming" or "going" or "getting there", when realized as such (Kensho). This ride is what we make it. The bus just us and us the bus.
    ... or the hike up and down Buddha Mountain ...

    Each step up and down the mountain is a total arrival, each inch cross the finish line, yet we keep pressing forward to live this life (just doing our best to avoid the mud holes and poison ivy).

    In fact, while trying to get to the peak of "Buddha Mountain", one might say that we realize that the whole mountain, from base to summit, was Buddha all along, and you and I are the Buddha, and the hike itself is Buddha ... so your climbing the mountain is actually "Buddha Buddha-ing Buddha". All of it is the "Summit".

    Even reaching some "peak experience", we do not stay there long, but keep moving. Soon we realize that the whole trek, with sunny weather or rainy, is the point of life.

    Something like that.
    He also speaks of "suffering without suffering." In this practice we can feel many seemingly conflicting emotions as transcended without the least conflict. I am working on a book that puts it this way ...

    I sometimes describe the sensation as experiencing life simultaneously from two angles at once through Zen Practice. It is as if we see the world one way out of the left eye (accepting, with complete equanimity, the borders of self/not self dropped away) and also out of the right eye (very human, not pleased, a bit fearful etc.), while both eyes open at once provide the clarity of Buddha Eye. We can experience both emotions at once, as one, each perfuming the other. As mysterious as it sounds, we can learn to be totally free and fearless even as, simultaneously, we remain within the confines of this often scary and disappointing, up and down, good and bad human life. ... [T]his Practice allows one to encounter a Peace and Wholeness beyond all sense of loss, even as the tears roll down one’s cheeks. Loss, yet no loss at once, as all just flows back to and as the Sea. It is, again, much like that “seeing life two ways at once, with two eyes”. Both eyes open together bring a Buddha’s clarity to this world.

    Through our Buddha Way, we encounter a Peace and Wholeness, transcending birth and death, a Joy which holds both the happy days and sad ... yet at the same time, there is birth and there is death, happy days and sad. I hope a little of that Light can shine through your moments of darkness and grief.
    Anyway, a short but rich chapter.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-07-2018 at 02:56 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Thank you Jundo. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  3. #3
    Thank you Jundo! Lets read

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Sat/LAH
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  4. #4
    I think many people have satori experiences at some point in their spiritual journey. My experiences have shaped my view of “suchness”, but it is not a switch that gets turned on and I get to live the rest of my life as an enlightened person. I am still the same old me with the same old problems and imperfections. So, I enjoy my satori moments and then its back to sitting, studying the sutras, and doing my best to live an ethical and compassionate life.


    Sat2day

  5. #5
    I am liking the Buddha Mountain approach. Have climbed alot of them. The top was always the point. Now because of Siting, retirement, age or a combination, I try to enjoy the hike up and the top no longer seems as important.

    Gassho
    Doshin
    St

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Doshin View Post
    I am liking the Buddha Mountain approach. Have climbed alot of them. The top was always the point. Now because of Siting, retirement, age or a combination, I try to enjoy the hike up and the top no longer seems as important.

    Gassho
    Doshin
    St
    I love this


    Sat2day

  7. #7
    Thanks everyone so far for sharing.

    Questions around ‘enlightenment’ and all it’s various meanings, perspectives and purposes are very interesting.

    I guess if we were to look at ‘seeking enlightenment’ it as being ‘goal oriented’, it may be an interesting model in which to demonstrate how the process is indeed what it’s all about as opposed to the goal itself. Thus putting the goal in perspective as something which is maybe irrelevant, and even as something we might not know if we reached or not anyway.

    A favourite author of mine describes how important it is not to ‘fall in love with the goal’, but fine to have one for the sake of having general bearings. As you might not even like it when/if you get there, so make the journey matter. Then going on to describe the details of how one takes a journey.

    Maybe if we set out on a journey with ‘heading east’ as our goal? We would never reach it, but it facilitates the whole journey and prevents us from stalling or going in circles. East is also paradoxical as everywhere could be east, but ultimately it’s just a direction in which to travel. It would also allow us to understand why others we encountered are traveling west, with wisdom to see how it’s identical to heading east in terms of goals.

    It has taken me many years to really ‘feel’ and ‘get it’ how the way one travels on the journey is where the magic is. At the same time I am wary of getting to caught up in the definitions of who/why/what/where/when, but I think it’s valuable to stop and look sometimes, from that perspective.

    I do feel that when I’m in the zone, I know it. That could be potentially useful as a description... maybe

    Good topic!

    Gassho,

    Frank

    Sat today and lent a hand.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    I've enjoyed tasting the views on this thread, and I thank those who have shared. I'd like to offer something as well.

    I think when we talk about enlightenment (which Norman wisely avoids defining in an objective way), we're actually talking about what we see ourselves doing in our practice, which will vary from person to person. If I've had a taste of enlightenment, it's come through a gradual giving up of the idea of the perfectability of the world and the self (not two because how can we separate ourselves from what we're in?). Giving up the idea of perfectability (which just the ego trying to make all things in its own image) opens the possibility of caring for ourselves and the world (in Uchiyama Roshi's words, "the self that is just the self [which is] life"). Our life does not need our views nor will it bend to them, but it does need our care, our compassion.

    Please forgive any of my rookie mistakes.

    Gassho,

    Michael

    STLAH

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Eishuu
    Guest
    I agree with Troy that it doesn't seem to be a switch that gets turned on permanently, even though that is how it is often spoken about. I always liked the way Chogyam Trunpa talked about it in one of his books: he described how we are all enlightened but fall into delusion continually in every moment. I also found Jill Bolte Taylor's idea in My Stroke of Insight (which I haven't read, but read about) that one hemisphere of the brain experiences enlightenment, unfiltered raw experience devoid of a 'self' and that the other hemisphere filters that experience through the ego. I think Richard Wright came to a similar conclusion in his course on Buddhism and Psychology. So in that way we are all enlightened all the time, but also continually experiencing the world through the filter of 'self'. This seems to me compatible with Zen practice. Maybe through practice we gradually have access to the part of our brain that can perceive the emptiness and non-self of everything...but I think if we do, it comes in glimpses which we then have to integrate into the rest of our lives. Trungpa wasn't a great example of being integrated with his alcoholism...but who am I to judge? I always liked the title of Jack Kornfield's book 'After the Ecstacy, the Laundry', which talks about what happens after the big insight experiences. That's just where my thoughts are on it. On another level, I have no idea.

    With regard to the question of how you can tell if someone is more spiritually developed, there are people I have been in the presence of either at a talk or through being lucky enough to spend some time with who had a certain way of making people around them feel loved. With one person, it was an effortless kindness whereby he seemed to know what was needed and went out of his way to put people at their ease. So for me kindness is a sign...not soppy, gushy, over the top, but a certain way of treating people.

    Gassho
    Eishuu
    ST/LAH

  10. #10
    I've always felt perplexed by this chapter; I haven't ever really understood what enlightenment is, or what makes an enlightened person, but just because I don't get it, doesn't mean to say that I don't or can't believe it's possible. I've never met anyone who claims to be an enlightened being, have you? It's a bit like death and rebirth isn't it, something that can't be known in fact and takes a genuine leap of faith to believe in. I do like the old stories about immediate enlightenment after being hit over the head with a sandal or suddenly dropping something ( not acid though, eh) in an amazed state, but I treat them as myths, legends and allegories - but who knows really?
    I relate much more to the idea of awakening - is a fully awakened person also a fully enlightened one? Either way, it's the journey I aspire to, difficult enough in itself, without thinking about the end game. I've often wondered if that very first moment when we read/see/hear about Buddhism and recognise ourselves within it, is actually the moment of awakening and / or enlightenment, and then the work to get back to what we truly are begins. ( I also agree with Chogyam Trungpa's take on this Eishuu, was that in Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism?).
    I have had some ta-da moments, but I've never considered them as satori or as enlightenment, only as glimpses of something. felt but undefinable and not to get attached to as 'this is it' because saying that means it can't 'be it'.
    I liked this quote from Jundo in the discussion about dharma and drugs https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...edlic-Buddhism

    Ri no kano mo mata satori ni arazu. Satori is "enlightenment"-No, not
    enlightenment. It is better not to say anything. If I translate it into English it
    is ji already. [Ji is something which you can see, or hear, or smell or taste, and it includes
    objects of thinking or ideas. Whatever can be introduced into your consciousness
    is ji. Something which is beyond our conscious world is ri.] If you "recognize"-kai, as in San-do-kai- if you recognize the
    point, if you make some point about ri, it is not enlightenment. Enlightenment
    is not something you can experience, actually. Enlightenment is beyond
    our experience. At the same time, if you think that enlightenment is beyond
    our experience, something which you cannot experience, if when you hear
    someone say " I have attained enlightenment" you think he is wrong, it means
    that you stick to some explanation of enlightenment, you stick to words.
    That is delusion. So you cannot say, there is no enlightenment, or there is
    enlightenment. Enlightenment is not something which you can say there is,
    or there is not. And at the same time, something which you can experience
    is enlightenment too.

    http://cuke.com/pdf-2013/srl/v14-sandokai-lec-no3.pdf
    It's great to have this discussion by the way, enlightenment is such a huge concept but it's not often we get to talk about it. This is why I love this book, for those 'What is...' questions that I'm always frightened to ask Thanks everyone.

    Gassho
    Meitou
    satwithyoualltoday/lah
    Last edited by Meitou; 08-26-2018 at 06:20 PM. Reason: awful sentence construction!
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Meitou View Post
    It's great to have this discussion by the way, enlightenment is such a huge concept but it's not often we get to talk about it.
    First rule of enlightenment club is...





    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Meitou View Post
    I've always felt perplexed by this chapter; I haven't ever really understood what enlightenment is, or what makes an enlightened person, but just because I don't get it, doesn't mean to say that I don't or can't believe it's possible. I've never met anyone who claims to be an enlightened being, have you? It's a bit like death and rebirth isn't it, something that can't be known in fact and takes a genuine leap of faith to believe in. I do like the old stories about immediate enlightenment after being hit over the head with a sandal or suddenly dropping something ( not acid though, eh) in an amazed state, but I treat them as myths, legends and allegories - but who knows really?
    "I" know (the "I" is the interesting part in saying so) from experience "first hand" (is there "even one" for such moments?) that the self/other divide can be dropped away, leaving only the wondrous Wholeness which flows in and out and as all things, as "you" and "I" too. All fears, and even "birth and death" are no longer at issue.

    Such experiences can be had, a dime a dozen. In fact, "I" have had such "moments" many times ("time" also is strange in this discussion for there is something timeless here, beyond beginnings and endings) through Zen Practice, in ways which I would call deep and shallow by how much this world of "samsara" ... birth and death, win and lose, me and you ... is also present or seems to drop away. In fact, there is no "deep and shallow," because one comes to realize that "samsara" is just a face of all this. Our Zazen Practice can help us realize this face (as if two faces of a no sided coin), and helps "train the brain" to access such perspectives (I feel that much of it has to do with regions of the brain, such as the prefrontal cortex, which create the hard borders of the "self/other" divide, and our sense of independence, time and the like, quieting or shutting down with training.)

    However ...

    Then getting on with life, finding out how that all fits together in the messy day to day lives we lead is the trick. Any "myth, legend and allegory" I feel is the old rumor that once someone has had such insight that they become perfect saints, all suffering dropped away, never to burp and blunder again like the rest of us humans. Not so. (The scandals that sometimes infect otherwise insightful teachers in the Zen and wider Buddhist world should be evidence of this enough). Such experiences are just a glimpse of something, the Grand Canyon, but then we must get on with the whole bus trip of life.

    That is why Brad is so right that drugs will not cut it (the above kinds of experience can be chemically recreated in various ways). It is the helicopter to the summit, not learning to walk the mountain knowing that every step is "it" too.

    That is why Suzuki Shunryu said "we are all perfect as we are, yet we need work." It is why Dogen spoke of our already being enlightened Buddhas, yet we are not and need to take care to live gently, more like Buddhas, in each daily choice ... his vision of constant "practice-enlightenment." In fact, I would go so far as to call the above small e "enlightenment," but living with grace and skill in this messy world as real "Enlightenment."

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-27-2018 at 01:26 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  13. #13
    For anyone who is interested in how the brain comes to play in such "moments," this is not to be missed ...



    Yes, an amazing story and a unique understanding as a neurologist. I know a pair of interviews with here on two Public Radio science programs, Insight and Radiolab. She had something to say about what she recommends to folks as a daily Practice (short of having a lucky stroke, of course!) ...

    Taylor: Yea, it was really wonderful, you know we have these two very different hemispheres inside of our heads and they process information in totally different ways. In the right hemisphere thinks in pictures and it is all about the present moment. It is analyzing and perceiving all the information from our sensory systems and creating a big enormous collage of this present moment. And the existence of the present moment is beautiful, there’s no judgment there, it’s just it is. And when I lost the judgment and the critical analysis ability of my left hemisphere in that language structure and the ability to think linearly and sequentially and methodically and the make sense of the past and to project ideas into the future I lost the past, I lost the future I was given the present moment and for me it was a total experience of peacefulness and euphoria. And for me, so much of my motivation to recover and to reconnect with the external world is to help people recognize that they have this experience of deep inner peace right there in the right hemisphere its always there if you allow the left hemisphere verbiage system to shut down enough to allow you to come back to the present moment.

    ...

    Taylor: Yea, I think that it’s very important that we recognize that both hemispheres are always functioning and I kind of, I don’t know who it was someone famous said that the blue sky is always there, and to me the blue sky is the consciousness of the right hemisphere. And then the clouds come in which is the consciousness of the left hemisphere and the verbiage and it blocks our ability to see the blue sky but the blue sky is still always there. So I encourage people to pay attention to the two very distinctively different characters inside of your body. You always have the option, moment-by-moment, of saying in this moment I'm going sit back, I’m going to look at the world around me, I’m going to escape all the things that I’m thinking about and I’m just going to pay attention to how the air feels, the temperature of the air, my breath, pay attention to feeling it come in and go out, look at the colors in the field around me stop thinking and analyzing everything that’s going on inside of your left hemisphere, all the jargon. Then you can consciously choose to have that experience at any moment.

    Strainchamps: You make it sound so easy but I don’t think it’s that easy.

    Taylor: You have to be persistent. You know, I think that what I bring to this story that hasn’t been brought before is, through the eyes of a scientist, who specializes in the brain, we do have two very separate hemispheres and I think it’s a matter of recognizing we are biologically designed to have this experience of feeling at one with all that is and to be able to say, oh, all I’m doing is quieting a certain group of cells inside of my brain , you know judgment, that critical judgment not just of I’m wasting my time here, why am I sitting here doing this I’m just wasting my time and it’s like, yea that’s the point , the point is to allow yourself to get out of the fact that you think that you’re wasting your time.

    http://ttbook.org/book/transcript/tr...taylor-insight
    She said on Radiolab as she was in the hospital ICU ...

    JILL BOLTE TAYLOR: And I lost all my memories



    ROBERT KRULWICH: And yet she says sitting there and that's suddenly wordless space—



    JILL BOLTE TAYLOR: I had found a peace inside of myself that I had not known before. I had pure silence inside of my mind. Pure silence.



    JAD ABUMRAD: Pure silence



    JILL BOLTE TAYLOR: Pure Silence

    JAD ABUMRAD: What was—



    JILL BOLTE TAYLOR: You know, not that little voice that you know you wake up in the morning and the first thing your brain says it Oh man the sun is shining. Well imagining you don't hear that little voice that says man the sun is shining you just experience the sun and the shining.



    ROBERT KRULWICH: Is this the absence of reflection of any kind? Is it just sensual intake and “period?”



    JILL BOLTE TAYLOR: That is exactly what it was it was. It was all of the present moment.



    JAD ABUMRAD: Did you have thoughts?



    JTB: I had joy.



    (R. laughing.)



    JILL BOLTE TAYLOR: I just had joy. I had, I had this magnificent experience of I’m this collection of these beautiful cells. I am organic. I’m this, this organic entity.



    ROBERT KRULWICH: Did you have a dead head period by any chance?



    JILL BOLTE TAYLOR: You know why I missed that by a few years, but I get that a lot.



    ROBERT KRULWICH: And, and the other thing that she told us is that lying in that bed without words, she says she felt connected to things, to everything, in a way that she never had before.



    JILL BOLTE TAYLOR: Oh yeah I lost all definition of myself in relationship to everything in the external world.



    JAD ABUMRAD: You mean like he couldn't figure out where you ended.



    ROBERT KRULWICH: How much of that was about language. A little part? A lot? I mean.



    JILL BOLTE TAYLOR: Oh I would say it was huge. Language is an ongoing information processing it's that constant reminder. I am, this is my name, this is all the data related to me, these are my likes and my dislikes, these are my beliefs, I am an individual, I'm a single, I am a solid, I'm separate from you. This is my name…



    JAD ABUMRAD: Now as fruity as this may all sound to pin all this on language, we have run into this idea before. A couple seasons ago. Paul Brucks, remember him?



    ROBERT KRULWICH: Yeah sure.



    JAD ABUMRAD: Neuropsychologist.



    P: Well if you have to ask me about myself…

    JAD ABUMRAD: He told me that there's a theory out there, which he believes actually, that all a person is in the end. Like all the personhood of a person, the I or the you of a person all that is in the end is a…



    P: Story.



    JAD ABUMRAD: A story you tell yourself.



    P: What we normally think of when we think about ourselves. Is really a story; it's the story of what's happened to that body over time.



    JILL BOLTE TAYLOR: I did not have that portion of my language center that tells a story curious little Jill, me, Jill Bolte Taylor climbing the Harvard ladder, through language, loves dissection, cutting up things, that language was gone. I got to essentially become an infant (baby sounds) again.

    http://www.radiolab.org/story/91725-words/
    Yeah, yeah ... blue sky, clouds, past present and future, judgments, like and dislikes, names dropped away ...

    The cut up, time measured, "me" vs. "you" way we usually experience this world ... and the whole, timeless, selfless way ... both perfectly good ways for the mind to experience reality. Both viable mental models for describing how the universe is put together and works as individual things or as a whole. In fact, not being a prisoner of the former, nor merely the latter, is our practice ... not one, not two.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-27-2018 at 01:15 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    That was a great talk by Jill ... thanks for sharing that Jundo. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  15. #15
    Oooh this is so cool. Jundo do you think Nishijima Roshi would have enjoyed these types of discussions? With his interest in relating the autonomic nervous system to Zazen (which actually does make some sense to me) Here the discussion is about the Somatic or conscious nervous system. There is so much still to learn.

    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).

  16. #16

    WHAT IS ZEN? - Chap 4 - Awakening

    Amazing talk by Jill. Made me tear up a little. Thanks for sharing Jundo


    Sat2day
    Last edited by Troy; 08-27-2018 at 02:53 AM.

  17. #17
    Oh my goodness, Jill's talk and the reported dialogue are amazing and really shed light on some 'moments' I've experienced. I also had an incident with my brain eight years ago caused by the onset of high BP which at one point affected my ability to write - I had to sign something, but when I put pen to paper, what I wrote was the equivalent of Jill's labrador noises. It passed within hours but strangely the experience was the catalyst for starting out on this path. I wonder now if somehow in that brief period of excruciating pain and my fear of it, something else was accessed and glimpsed which opened me to the possibility of a more spiritual life. Fascinating, thank you for posting this Jundo.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Satwithyoualltoday
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  18. #18
    Member Seishin's Avatar
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    There has been interesting feedback on this chapter and to be honest I was put off by the opening paragraph a little

    Everyone has a breakthrough of some kind, probably more than one. People don’t continue to practice unless the practice has moved them in some important way. Otherwise they would drift away, as some do. So you can assume that anyone who continues to practice Zen has been profoundly affected by the practice and has had important experiences that have altered the course of their lives.

    Fischer, Norman. What Is Zen?: Plain Talk for a Beginner's Mind (p. 39). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.
    Can't say I've had a breakthrough yet, so Norman's assumption made me sit up and think "so why am I still sitting every day ?" and it kicked me back into the circle of am I doing something wrong, with my not right not wrong zazen ?
    I've been sitting daily for 725 days since joining Treeleaf (actually missed one day early on, but not long in the general scheme of things) and am yet to have any kind of experience, while sitting. Normally there is just a kind of neutrality, as the thoughts ebb and flow. I had one session when I felt profoundly calm, so maybe that was it. But I still sit in the belief one day some thing may happen and that while I am there dropping judgement, anger etc etc my practice will slowly influence my time off the zafu.

    I've not listened to Jill's talk yet but the description of what's happening in both sides of the brain was fascinating and gives me encouragement that one day the right side of my brain will break free from the shackles of what I now see as the dominant left side and allow me to peer into emptiness.

    Taylor: Yea, I think that it’s very important that we recognize that both hemispheres are always functioning and I kind of, I don’t know who it was someone famous said that the blue sky is always there, and to me the blue sky is the consciousness of the right hemisphere. And then the clouds come in which is the consciousness of the left hemisphere and the verbiage and it blocks our ability to see the blue sky but the blue sky is still always there. So I encourage people to pay attention to the two very distinctively different characters inside of your body. You always have the option, moment-by-moment, of saying in this moment I'm going sit back, I’m going to look at the world around me, I’m going to escape all the things that I’m thinking about and I’m just going to pay attention to how the air feels, the temperature of the air, my breath, pay attention to feeling it come in and go out, look at the colors in the field around me stop thinking and analyzing everything that’s going on inside of your left hemisphere, all the jargon. Then you can consciously choose to have that experience at any moment.
    This section particularly resonated with me, as I often just stop when out walking the dog, and drink in the surrounding countryside and sounds trying not to label anything, just being conscious of my breathing and feeling alive. Think I'll try and do this more often.

    Thanks for listening, while I ramble.


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart



    Sat Today / lah

  19. #19
    Hi Seishin,

    It is not always about a "breakthrough" or an "experience." A subtle softening of the hard borders and friction between the self and this life and world is fine. It is more than just a passing calm, and you will know for the at homeness in life ... even when life is far from calm.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  20. #20

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    IMG_0012.JPG

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_


    Wonderful.

    Jishin, as far as you know in your work, is Jill's talk on the left/right brain division correct or rather oversimplified (as I suspect, but not sure).

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  22. #22
    These days, I generally see "enlightenment" as an obstacle. A very introspective Christian once said to me, "lusting after heaven is still lust." I can see this same application to enlightenment, especially in a zen context.
    Just my view from where I am.

    Shinshou (Dan)
    Sat Today

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post


    Wonderful.

    Jishin, as far as you know in your work, is Jill's talk on the left/right brain division correct or rather oversimplified (as I suspect, but not sure).

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    She is extraordinary. Thank you for pointing out her work. I am not an academic but what she says is true to the best of my understanding.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post


    Wonderful.

    Jishin, as far as you know in your work, is Jill's talk on the left/right brain division correct or rather oversimplified (as I suspect, but not sure).

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    I am also curious about whether there is additional information to be gained from people who have had certain types of brain surgery. Didn’t people sometimes used to have the corpus callosum transected to prevent seizures from spreading to the other half of the brain? Does that have an effect on their ability to go from one side to the other?
    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).

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    Didn’t people sometimes used to have the corpus callosum transected to prevent seizures from spreading to the other half of the brain? Does that have an effect on their ability to go from one side to the other?
    Isn't that what Lobotomy is about? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobotomy
    A 'Treatment' for mental disorder? There are disturbing videos on youtube from Mr. Freeman himself, performing such operations. "This operation can be performed by the psychiatrist himself".
    (edit: Quite some ugly history in treating criminals, too).

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    Last edited by Kotei; 08-28-2018 at 08:09 AM.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  26. #26
    Eishuu
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    I am also curious about whether there is additional information to be gained from people who have had certain types of brain surgery. Didn’t people sometimes used to have the corpus callosum transected to prevent seizures from spreading to the other half of the brain? Does that have an effect on their ability to go from one side to the other?
    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I think the studies that Richard Wright was drawing from to argue that the 'ego' is located in only one hemisphere of the brain involved people who had 'split brains' (for whatever reason I can't remember).

    Gassho
    Eishuu
    ST/LAH

  27. #27
    Eishuu
    Guest
    Meitou, yes it was from Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism! Thank you - I couldn't remember which book it was. :-)

    Brilliant cartoon Jishin: that was exactly what I was trying to say. Sometimes hamsters say it better!

    Gassho
    Eishuu
    ST/LAH

  28. #28
    Hello,

    I tend to oversimplify these things, but I can only think of enlightenment as doing things and thinking thoughts, that shed light on certain aspects, that are otherwise put aside by my conscious, reacting self.
    Studying Buddhism sheds light ('enlightens', 'awakens me to') on certain aspects, as does sitting and interacting with the Sangha.
    When sitting, the brain might switch into a different, 'open' mode, that show prior unseen aspects and perspectives.
    This happens slow and step by step, or maybe while sitting and having the brain in 'open mode' with a sudden, larger step, when new aspects help to sort the others in place.

    Possibly, but I've not experienced such, there is a moment, when enough of the little enlightened thoughts/realisations come together and they suddenly form a new self. The enlightened being.
    But maybe, that still depends on the mind, being in it's 'open mode', while sitting.
    So it's gone in it's totality, but still radiates into the deluded self, when raising from the cushion.


    -

    I enjoyed watching two ted talks about our brains, that I find interesting in combination with Jills talk, that I enjoyed very much.
    One is from a biologist, who does research on the microbiome in our guts and shows, how the microbes (many more than our own cells) interact with the brain. I liked that lesson on interconnectedness from food/microbes/brain.

    The other one about our own neurons in the guts, that are working as an independent brain with bidirectional communication with that other brains in the head, connected to the limbic (emotional) system. That independent brain has about the size of that of a cat.





    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Kotei View Post
    Isn't that what Lobotomy is about? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobotomy
    A 'Treatment' for mental disorder? There are disturbing videos on youtube from Mr. Freeman himself, performing such operations. "This operation can be performed by the psychiatrist himself".
    (edit: Quite some ugly history in treating criminals, too).

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    Lobotomy was severing the connections with the prefrontal cortex, or the "higher function" areas that involve personality, planning, and other complex cognition, which is different than severing the connection between the left and right hemispheres. It was a crude and poor solution to mental illness.

    Nowadays in the case of epilepsy I think they are able to selectively ablate the areas of the brain where the seizures begin in some cases, instead of such drastic procedures as transecting the corpus callosum, but I just wondered if anyone who had the procedure had described the experience, a la Oliver Sacks style

    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
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    Lobotomy was severing the connections with the prefrontal cortex, or the "higher function" areas that involve personality, planning, and other complex cognition, which is different than severing the connection between the left and right hemispheres. It was a crude and poor solution to mental illness.

    Nowadays in the case of epilepsy I think they are able to selectively ablate the areas of the brain where the seizures begin in some cases, instead of such drastic procedures as transecting the corpus callosum, but I just wondered if anyone who had the procedure had described the experience, a la Oliver Sacks style

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    Thank you

    You made me read about
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corpus_callosotomy
    and
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split-brain

    Seems, that it is common having language issues after the procedure...


    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    Last edited by Kotei; 08-28-2018 at 12:50 PM.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  31. #31
    Hmmm. Not a brain expert, but I am sure that she is not describing a lobotomy!

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  32. #32

    WHAT IS ZEN? - Chap 4 - Awakening

    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    I am also curious about whether there is additional information to be gained from people who have had certain types of brain surgery. Didn’t people sometimes used to have the corpus callosum transected to prevent seizures from spreading to the other half of the brain? Does that have an effect on their ability to go from one side to the other?
    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Some of the first neuroanatomy findings were related to war injuries or other accidents. Now days it's much easier to figure out what does what with advanced neuroimaging. The problem with the brain is we know a lot about what and where it happens but don't know how to fix it.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_
    Last edited by Jishin; 08-29-2018 at 01:01 AM.

  33. #33
    Member Seishin's Avatar
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    Some strange observations while sitting the over the last week or so, since the subject of right/left hemisphere was raised.

    When coming back to the breath, if I've been tangled up in thoughts, I seem to be aware of breathing through both nostrils and if feeling a little stressed about the thoughts, more so the right. When I find myself in a calm place and return to the breath, my awareness is predominately air flow in and out of the left nostril. Not sure if this supports a view of a more dominant right side of the brain when sitting relaxed or not but I've now noticed a similar left nostril presence when totally relaxed when dog walking.

    Not making anything of it, its just suchness but if my right side is being more wakeful, I'll take that.

    Food for thought.


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart



    Sat Today / lah

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Seishin View Post
    Some strange observations while sitting the over the last week or so, since the subject of right/left hemisphere was raised.

    When coming back to the breath, if I've been tangled up in thoughts, I seem to be aware of breathing through both nostrils and if feeling a little stressed about the thoughts, more so the right. When I find myself in a calm place and return to the breath, my awareness is predominately air flow in and out of the left nostril. Not sure if this supports a view of a more dominant right side of the brain when sitting relaxed or not but I've now noticed a similar left nostril presence when totally relaxed when dog walking.

    Not making anything of it, its just suchness but if my right side is being more wakeful, I'll take that.

    Food for thought.
    Beyond and right as left and right, out and in, dogs and cats, breath and breathless ...

    As obvious as the nose on one's True Face.

    Sitting itself is the sacred act, and there is truly nothing more to attain beyond this.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  35. #35
    I know the talk has moved on to chapter 5, but Jill Bolte Taylor's experience reminded me of an art book of all things. Betty Edward's book, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain," has been a staple of art teacher's for decades. Some of the science in it has been discredited, but the process has proven effective. Her position is that the problem in learning to draw isn't that you can't physically do it, it's that you're not allowing yourself to see what's really in front of you. Your impatient cut-to-the-chase logical left brain is taking over a task better suited to your relaxed spatial-awareness-oriented right brain. When you want to draw a portrait for example, your left brain rushes in and says "I got this" and proceeds to map out the symbols it has for features. Noses are triangles. Eyes are round. The face is the most important thing so it takes up the most space because foreheads are boring. If you can turn off the left brain, then you can see the actual shapes and their relationships (measure on any picture and you'll find the eyes are nearly always dead-center top to bottom). Basically, she’s saying in order to see reality you have to stop thinking about it and applying what you know. She says you have to give your brain a task that the left brain can't or won't do. For example you can task yourself with doing something really boring like super slow drawing and the left brain gets bored and tunes out (staring at a wall for 30 minutes?). Or you can give it a task that it thinks is impossible to complete like drawing every crease, line, and wrinkle in your palm (or practice with a koan?). Anyway, since I started studying and practicing Buddhism, I’ve been struck at how similar some of the experiences feel.

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Sprice View Post
    I know the talk has moved on to chapter 5, but Jill Bolte Taylor's experience reminded me of an art book of all things. Betty Edward's book, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain," has been a staple of art teacher's for decades. Some of the science in it has been discredited, but the process has proven effective. Her position is that the problem in learning to draw isn't that you can't physically do it, it's that you're not allowing yourself to see what's really in front of you. Your impatient cut-to-the-chase logical left brain is taking over a task better suited to your relaxed spatial-awareness-oriented right brain. When you want to draw a portrait for example, your left brain rushes in and says "I got this" and proceeds to map out the symbols it has for features. Noses are triangles. Eyes are round. The face is the most important thing so it takes up the most space because foreheads are boring. If you can turn off the left brain, then you can see the actual shapes and their relationships (measure on any picture and you'll find the eyes are nearly always dead-center top to bottom). Basically, she’s saying in order to see reality you have to stop thinking about it and applying what you know. She says you have to give your brain a task that the left brain can't or won't do. For example you can task yourself with doing something really boring like super slow drawing and the left brain gets bored and tunes out (staring at a wall for 30 minutes?). Or you can give it a task that it thinks is impossible to complete like drawing every crease, line, and wrinkle in your palm (or practice with a koan?). Anyway, since I started studying and practicing Buddhism, I’ve been struck at how similar some of the experiences feel.
    This is interesting, thanks!

    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).

  37. #37
    Member DADOOM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Seishin,

    It is not always about a "breakthrough" or an "experience." A subtle softening of the hard borders and friction between the self and this life and world is fine. It is more than just a passing calm, and you will know for the at homeness in life ... even when life is far from calm.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Yes - for me it is not a breakthrough experienced on the cushion but the everyday impact on my daily life that i feel has come from my practice. I have been sitting daily for two years and feel like a different person...it's that "softening" that Jundo refers to that lets me know I am on the right path. A very gentle breaking thru...

    Thanks to everyone for the thoughtful and thought provoking comments!

    Gassho,

    DadooM

    Sat/LaH

  38. #38
    Eishuu
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Seishin View Post
    Some strange observations while sitting the over the last week or so, since the subject of right/left hemisphere was raised.

    When coming back to the breath, if I've been tangled up in thoughts, I seem to be aware of breathing through both nostrils and if feeling a little stressed about the thoughts, more so the right. When I find myself in a calm place and return to the breath, my awareness is predominately air flow in and out of the left nostril. Not sure if this supports a view of a more dominant right side of the brain when sitting relaxed or not but I've now noticed a similar left nostril presence when totally relaxed when dog walking.

    Not making anything of it, its just suchness but if my right side is being more wakeful, I'll take that.

    Food for thought.
    I seem to remember that Tibetan practice can involve doing things with the left and right side of the body (including nostrils). I think that's because of the energy channels that they work with.

    Gassho
    Eishuu
    ST/LAH

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Eishuu View Post
    I seem to remember that Tibetan practice can involve doing things with the left and right side of the body (including nostrils). I think that's because of the energy channels that they work with.

    Gassho
    Eishuu
    ST/LAH
    I will just say that I do not believe in "energy channels." Just my personal opinion. I also tend to doubt that one can "feel" more "left brain/right brain" by the breath through the nostrils, and think that one had best just sit and breathe. One can convince oneself of such things.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-11-2018 at 10:55 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  40. #40
    Eishuu
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I will just say that I do not believe in "energy channels." Just my personal opinion. I also tend to doubt that one can "feel" more "left brain/right brain" by the breath through the nostrils, and think that one had best just sit and breathe. One can convince oneself of such things.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    I just thought I'd check the latest split brain research because I remembered hearing that the left hemisphere controlled the right side of the body and vice versa (and I thought maybe that applied to nostrils too!). There was an experiment that Richard Wright quoted where the left brain didn't know what the right hand and eye were doing. But it appears that the latest research has found that that doesn't hold up and even with largely split brains consciousness 'unity in consciousness...is largely preserved'. https://digest.bps.org.uk/2017/05/03...rain-patients/

    I do believe that certain types of breathing can activate the parasympathetic nervous system though and calm people down. But I don't know about energy channels.

    Gassho
    Eishuu
    ST/LAH

  41. #41
    Member Seishin's Avatar
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    I too know nothing of energy channels, although I did experience the development akin to Chi in my martial arts days. Since my original post, when returning to the breathe its been back to its normal pattern and in fact this week predominately my right nostril.
    I must say that when focusing on the breathe to untangle from thoughts, I've not been concentrating on one nostril or another, just the feeling of inspiration and exhalation. Although the aspects of the two brain hemispheres is interesting, I put my experiences down to the more common natural phenomenon ...................................... blocked nasal passages

    I sit I breathe, simples.


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart



    Sat Today / lah

  42. #42
    Just Don't Nose!
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  43. #43
    Member Seishin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Just Don't Nose!
    A good Zenny response to that would be "I don't (k)nose"


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart



    Sat Today / lah

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