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Thread: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The "GOALLESS" ZEN of NEW YEAR's RESOLUTIONS

  1. #1

    SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The "GOALLESS" ZEN of NEW YEAR's RESOLUTIONS


    Shunryu Suzuki famously said, "Each of you is perfect the way you are ... and you can use a little improvement.”

    This is the time of year when many folks make "New Year's Resolutions" to achieve some big and little improvements ... from exercising more and losing a few pounds, to being a kinder person, to learning to play the violin! There are things about us as human beings that can do with some fixing or improving, and we make vows and set goals to achieve it!

    But in Soto Zen, we often speak of "dropping all goals," with "nothing to achieve." The Way is beyond failure or any place to fall, and yet we may rise or fall, fail or succeed. We accept all things "just as they are," and "just sit" facing a wall. You are not going to burn a lot of calories "just sitting" staring at a wall!

    So, how does it all fit together? Goals and "goallessness," fixing when there is "nothing to fix," "Just Sitting" then getting off our rumps to get it done?

    I'll tell ya here ...



    I WISH EACH AND ALL BOUNDLESS PEACE AND CONTENTMENT in the COMING NEW YEAR!


    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-28-2018 at 05:42 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
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    Jundo...beautiful timely teaching, as always.

    My wedding vows to my wife began..."I enter into this marriage with both eyes wide open...."..your teaching immediately took me back to that day...beautiful!

    All true... And I will certainly sit now...eyes open....no expectations, yet goals are there.

    I love being part of this Sangha!

    Gassho
    Frank (Kunzang)
    Satoday...

    Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Thank you Jundo.

    This is a very important message for us who tend to orbit the extremes.

    Lets sit!

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Sat/LAH
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  4. #4
    A lovely message indeed Jundo and wonderful timing as always. Thank you. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  5. #5
    Thank you Jundo.
    Yes.
    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  6. #6
    Thank you Jundo

    Gassho
    Washin
    st
    Kaido (有道) Every Way
    Washin (和信) Harmony Trust
    ----
    I am a novice priest-in-training. Anything what I say must not be considered as teaching
    and should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

  7. #7


    Gracias

    Gassho
    Doshin
    stlah

    Happy and Joyous New Year

  8. #8
    Thank you Jundo!

    A peaceful new year to all - with time to be perfect and time to improve...

    Gassho
    Christian

    Sat/Lah
    Teiro

  9. #9

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

  10. #10
    Thank you.

    Maitri

    St

  11. #11
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    Thought I'd share these thoughts on New Years Resolutions. I liked the thought

    Source Unknown

    Crooked Trees and New Year's Resolutions

    There was an old Buddhist priest who ran a small temple at the top of a hillside. He'd spent several decades chanting, praying, and providing spiritual support to his community, but the time had come for him to retire. Sadly, the priest did not have any children that he could give the temple too.

    So, he put together a small wooden sign, and placed it in from of a withered, crooked tree that was growing outside the gates of his temple. The sign said, "Anyone who can tell me how to fix this tree can have my temple and the land that it resides on."

    Word spread quickly about the sign, and monks came from all over the country to offer advice. Some told the priest that he should cut the tree down. Others suggested the use of wires and ropes to straighten its branches.

    The old priest listened patiently to each person, and when they were done he grabbed a frying pan and chased each one from the temple grounds.

    Many years passed, and it started to seem like no one would be able to answer the priest's koan. Finally, a Buddhist nun appeared at the temple. She'd been traveling for many days, and she needed a place to rest. She knocked on the temple gates, and after a few moments the priest came out; frying pan in hand.

    "I'm very tired," the nun said, "May I sleep at your temple tonight?"
    "No, you can't sleep at my temple tonight," the priest replied, "But you can have my temple and land it resides on if you can answer one question."
    "Okay," the nun replied calmly, "What's your question?
    The priest pointed at the the crooked tree with his frying pan and said, "How do I fix this tree?"

    Upon hearing this, the nun looked at the tree for a long time. She noticed the trunk was so bent that it almost ran parallel with the ground. She saw the gnarled branches that twisted in strange directions, and the dead leaves that surrounded the tree's base.

    Eventually, the nun turned to the priest and said, "Just leave it alone, the tree is fine the way it is." As soon as the nun finished speaking the old priest smiled broadly, and dropped his frying pan. He bowed deeply to the nun, and said, "Follow me, this temple belongs to you."

    As we approach New Year's Eve, my time line is filled with people discussing their New Year's resolutions. Words like "New Year, New You!" and "Get beach body ready!" are filling my screen like mantras, representing the hopes of people who want to be smarter, richer, and prettier in 2019.

    This is to be expected. After all, our economy hinges on the idea that if we buy one more gym membership or add one more mindfulness app to our phone, then all of our dreams will come true. But each time one of these messages appears I think back to the tree in the story, and I wonder, "What if we're not as broken as we think we are?"

    To be sure, each of us is a "crooked tree" dealing with our own fears and insecurities. Our bodies don't look the way we think they should, our paychecks don't have enough zeroes, and our relationships aren't what we desire. But why is that a bad thing?

    After all, the tree in the story was gnarled and ugly. But the tree accepted it's crooked nature. The priest accepted its crooked nature, and everything was peaceful as a result. The only time fear or anxiety entered the picture was when foolish monks attempted to make the crooked tree straight. That's why the priest chased them off with a frying pan.

    In contrast, the nun looked at the tree, and she saw what it was; not what she desired it to be. She understood that what ever made it crooked and gnarled could not have happened any other way. Thus, the tree could not exist any other way.

    SHE UNDERSTOOD THAT THE TREE COULD NOT BE FIXED BECAUSE THE TREE WAS NEVER BROKEN.

    What would happen if we looked at ourselves like the nun looked at that tree? What would happen if we treasured our imperfections in the same way that the priest treasured the tree's gnarled branches? Personally, I think our lives would be better as a result. More than that, I think it's incumbent on us to see the perfection of our imperfect souls.

    Buddhism can be helpful in this regard. When done correctly, without nonsense words like "self-improvement" or "enlightenment", the practice helps us see past our thoughts about how life should be.

    When we sit on cushions that are always either too hard or too soft, we understand the perfect nature of imperfect cushions. When we mix-up words during chants, we understand the perfect nature of imperfect chanting. And that understanding bleeds over into the rest of our lives.

    Eventually, we step on the scale and see the perfection of our imperfect weight. And we enjoy the perfect chaos of our imperfect home life. And we exist in a state of peace, rejoicing in the great perfection of our messy, crooked lives.

    BECAUSE CROOKED TREES/ PEOPLE ARE PERFECT IN THEIR CROOKEDNESS, AND WE SUFFER WHEN WE TRY TO MAKE THEM STRAIGHT.

    With this in mind, I toyed with the idea of not making a resolution this year. The idea of people spending days or even weeks combing their imperfections in order to find something to "fix" makes my heart hurt.

    But I decided that it would be best to engage with the perfect nature of this imperfect ritual. So, my new year's resolution is this. In 2019, I'll wake up every morning, I'll go to sleep every night, and I'll live my crooked life in between.

    Happy New Year's Everyone

  12. #12
    Very nice Frank. Thank you for sharing that.


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

  13. #13
    Lovely. Treeleaf is such a crooked tree.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
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    Apr 2017
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    J,
    With the deepest and finest roots!

    Gassho
    Frank (Kunzang)
    Satoday

    Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Kunzang View Post
    Thought I'd share these thoughts on New Years Resolutions. I liked the thought

    Source Unknown

    Crooked Trees and New Year's Resolutions

    There was an old Buddhist priest who ran a small temple at the top of a hillside. He'd spent several decades chanting, praying, and providing spiritual support to his community, but the time had come for him to retire. Sadly, the priest did not have any children that he could give the temple too.

    So, he put together a small wooden sign, and placed it in from of a withered, crooked tree that was growing outside the gates of his temple. The sign said, "Anyone who can tell me how to fix this tree can have my temple and the land that it resides on."

    Word spread quickly about the sign, and monks came from all over the country to offer advice. Some told the priest that he should cut the tree down. Others suggested the use of wires and ropes to straighten its branches.

    The old priest listened patiently to each person, and when they were done he grabbed a frying pan and chased each one from the temple grounds.

    Many years passed, and it started to seem like no one would be able to answer the priest's koan. Finally, a Buddhist nun appeared at the temple. She'd been traveling for many days, and she needed a place to rest. She knocked on the temple gates, and after a few moments the priest came out; frying pan in hand.

    "I'm very tired," the nun said, "May I sleep at your temple tonight?"
    "No, you can't sleep at my temple tonight," the priest replied, "But you can have my temple and land it resides on if you can answer one question."
    "Okay," the nun replied calmly, "What's your question?
    The priest pointed at the the crooked tree with his frying pan and said, "How do I fix this tree?"

    Upon hearing this, the nun looked at the tree for a long time. She noticed the trunk was so bent that it almost ran parallel with the ground. She saw the gnarled branches that twisted in strange directions, and the dead leaves that surrounded the tree's base.

    Eventually, the nun turned to the priest and said, "Just leave it alone, the tree is fine the way it is." As soon as the nun finished speaking the old priest smiled broadly, and dropped his frying pan. He bowed deeply to the nun, and said, "Follow me, this temple belongs to you."

    As we approach New Year's Eve, my time line is filled with people discussing their New Year's resolutions. Words like "New Year, New You!" and "Get beach body ready!" are filling my screen like mantras, representing the hopes of people who want to be smarter, richer, and prettier in 2019.

    This is to be expected. After all, our economy hinges on the idea that if we buy one more gym membership or add one more mindfulness app to our phone, then all of our dreams will come true. But each time one of these messages appears I think back to the tree in the story, and I wonder, "What if we're not as broken as we think we are?"

    To be sure, each of us is a "crooked tree" dealing with our own fears and insecurities. Our bodies don't look the way we think they should, our paychecks don't have enough zeroes, and our relationships aren't what we desire. But why is that a bad thing?

    After all, the tree in the story was gnarled and ugly. But the tree accepted it's crooked nature. The priest accepted its crooked nature, and everything was peaceful as a result. The only time fear or anxiety entered the picture was when foolish monks attempted to make the crooked tree straight. That's why the priest chased them off with a frying pan.

    In contrast, the nun looked at the tree, and she saw what it was; not what she desired it to be. She understood that what ever made it crooked and gnarled could not have happened any other way. Thus, the tree could not exist any other way.

    SHE UNDERSTOOD THAT THE TREE COULD NOT BE FIXED BECAUSE THE TREE WAS NEVER BROKEN.

    What would happen if we looked at ourselves like the nun looked at that tree? What would happen if we treasured our imperfections in the same way that the priest treasured the tree's gnarled branches? Personally, I think our lives would be better as a result. More than that, I think it's incumbent on us to see the perfection of our imperfect souls.

    Buddhism can be helpful in this regard. When done correctly, without nonsense words like "self-improvement" or "enlightenment", the practice helps us see past our thoughts about how life should be.

    When we sit on cushions that are always either too hard or too soft, we understand the perfect nature of imperfect cushions. When we mix-up words during chants, we understand the perfect nature of imperfect chanting. And that understanding bleeds over into the rest of our lives.

    Eventually, we step on the scale and see the perfection of our imperfect weight. And we enjoy the perfect chaos of our imperfect home life. And we exist in a state of peace, rejoicing in the great perfection of our messy, crooked lives.

    BECAUSE CROOKED TREES/ PEOPLE ARE PERFECT IN THEIR CROOKEDNESS, AND WE SUFFER WHEN WE TRY TO MAKE THEM STRAIGHT.

    With this in mind, I toyed with the idea of not making a resolution this year. The idea of people spending days or even weeks combing their imperfections in order to find something to "fix" makes my heart hurt.

    But I decided that it would be best to engage with the perfect nature of this imperfect ritual. So, my new year's resolution is this. In 2019, I'll wake up every morning, I'll go to sleep every night, and I'll live my crooked life in between.

    Happy New Year's Everyone
    I will be thinking on this story for a long time. Thank you.

    Gassho
    Kim
    St lh

    Sent from my SM-G930U using Tapatalk
    i speak from my own practice only. i am not an expert. gassho.

  16. #16
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    Gassho Kim

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  17. #17
    I saved this teaching for New Years Eve, and have just sat after listening to it. Thank you Jundo for this and everything you do. Thank you Frank for a lovely story.
    I don't make resolutions, but I will be continuing with some of the Ango commitments, and following the example of Susan Moon, who as she puts her feet on the floor each morning after waking, says simply "I vow."
    Happy New Year dear Sangha.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Satwithyoualltoday
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Kunzang View Post
    Thought I'd share these thoughts on New Years Resolutions. I liked the thought

    Source Unknown

    Crooked Trees and New Year's Resolutions

    There was an old Buddhist priest who ran a small temple at the top of a hillside. He'd spent several decades chanting, praying, and providing spiritual support to his community, but the time had come for him to retire. Sadly, the priest did not have any children that he could give the temple too.

    So, he put together a small wooden sign, and placed it in from of a withered, crooked tree that was growing outside the gates of his temple. The sign said, "Anyone who can tell me how to fix this tree can have my temple and the land that it resides on."

    Word spread quickly about the sign, and monks came from all over the country to offer advice. Some told the priest that he should cut the tree down. Others suggested the use of wires and ropes to straighten its branches.

    The old priest listened patiently to each person, and when they were done he grabbed a frying pan and chased each one from the temple grounds.

    Many years passed, and it started to seem like no one would be able to answer the priest's koan. Finally, a Buddhist nun appeared at the temple. She'd been traveling for many days, and she needed a place to rest. She knocked on the temple gates, and after a few moments the priest came out; frying pan in hand.

    "I'm very tired," the nun said, "May I sleep at your temple tonight?"
    "No, you can't sleep at my temple tonight," the priest replied, "But you can have my temple and land it resides on if you can answer one question."
    "Okay," the nun replied calmly, "What's your question?
    The priest pointed at the the crooked tree with his frying pan and said, "How do I fix this tree?"

    Upon hearing this, the nun looked at the tree for a long time. She noticed the trunk was so bent that it almost ran parallel with the ground. She saw the gnarled branches that twisted in strange directions, and the dead leaves that surrounded the tree's base.

    Eventually, the nun turned to the priest and said, "Just leave it alone, the tree is fine the way it is." As soon as the nun finished speaking the old priest smiled broadly, and dropped his frying pan. He bowed deeply to the nun, and said, "Follow me, this temple belongs to you."

    As we approach New Year's Eve, my time line is filled with people discussing their New Year's resolutions. Words like "New Year, New You!" and "Get beach body ready!" are filling my screen like mantras, representing the hopes of people who want to be smarter, richer, and prettier in 2019.

    This is to be expected. After all, our economy hinges on the idea that if we buy one more gym membership or add one more mindfulness app to our phone, then all of our dreams will come true. But each time one of these messages appears I think back to the tree in the story, and I wonder, "What if we're not as broken as we think we are?"

    To be sure, each of us is a "crooked tree" dealing with our own fears and insecurities. Our bodies don't look the way we think they should, our paychecks don't have enough zeroes, and our relationships aren't what we desire. But why is that a bad thing?

    After all, the tree in the story was gnarled and ugly. But the tree accepted it's crooked nature. The priest accepted its crooked nature, and everything was peaceful as a result. The only time fear or anxiety entered the picture was when foolish monks attempted to make the crooked tree straight. That's why the priest chased them off with a frying pan.

    In contrast, the nun looked at the tree, and she saw what it was; not what she desired it to be. She understood that what ever made it crooked and gnarled could not have happened any other way. Thus, the tree could not exist any other way.

    SHE UNDERSTOOD THAT THE TREE COULD NOT BE FIXED BECAUSE THE TREE WAS NEVER BROKEN.

    What would happen if we looked at ourselves like the nun looked at that tree? What would happen if we treasured our imperfections in the same way that the priest treasured the tree's gnarled branches? Personally, I think our lives would be better as a result. More than that, I think it's incumbent on us to see the perfection of our imperfect souls.

    Buddhism can be helpful in this regard. When done correctly, without nonsense words like "self-improvement" or "enlightenment", the practice helps us see past our thoughts about how life should be.

    When we sit on cushions that are always either too hard or too soft, we understand the perfect nature of imperfect cushions. When we mix-up words during chants, we understand the perfect nature of imperfect chanting. And that understanding bleeds over into the rest of our lives.

    Eventually, we step on the scale and see the perfection of our imperfect weight. And we enjoy the perfect chaos of our imperfect home life. And we exist in a state of peace, rejoicing in the great perfection of our messy, crooked lives.

    BECAUSE CROOKED TREES/ PEOPLE ARE PERFECT IN THEIR CROOKEDNESS, AND WE SUFFER WHEN WE TRY TO MAKE THEM STRAIGHT.

    With this in mind, I toyed with the idea of not making a resolution this year. The idea of people spending days or even weeks combing their imperfections in order to find something to "fix" makes my heart hurt.

    But I decided that it would be best to engage with the perfect nature of this imperfect ritual. So, my new year's resolution is this. In 2019, I'll wake up every morning, I'll go to sleep every night, and I'll live my crooked life in between.

    Happy New Year's Everyone
    Wonderful!! Thank you for this teaching.

    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).

  19. #19
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    Gassho Jakuden

    Frank (Kunzang) Satoday

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