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Thread: WHAT IS ZEN? - Chap 12 - Everyday Life - P. 160 to End

  1. #1

    WHAT IS ZEN? - Chap 12 - Everyday Life - P. 160 to End

    Hi Everyone,

    We will finish Chapter 12 this time, and more questions about "everyday life" such as ...

    - Meat eating. (Always a hot topic. I remind folks that the historical Buddha seemingly ate meat if placed in his bowl, and allowed his monks to do so, if they did not know that the animal was killed especially for them. Meat eating of chicken and frogs is common in Thailand, Japanese Buddhists priests generally eat meat when not in monastic settings. Meat eating, I understand, is common in Tibet as well. However, the Chinese are generally very strict vegetarians among the Ordained and many lay folks. Some Japanese priests believe that meat eating is wrong.)

    - Expressing opinions about others.

    - Getting lost in the small things.

    - The seeming contradictions of Zen.

    ... and much more ...

    After we complete this book, we will return for a few weeks to further Koans of Shishin Wick's commentary on the Book of Serenity, starting from where we left off (from Case 81)

    After that, not sure yet, and I am considering a few possibilities. Suggestions welcome. Okumura Roshi's "Realizing Genjokoan"? Hmmm.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-23-2019 at 10:45 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Looking forward to returning to the Book of Equanimity.

    If you are looking for votes I’ll vote for Realizing Genjokoan. It is on my list to read and I think I’d get a lot out of it if discussed as a group here.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    Last edited by Tairin; 03-23-2019 at 01:44 PM.
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  3. #3
    Thank you Jundo. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  4. #4
    **I am obviously not a teacher; these are very personal reflections of my own practice; this not to be taken as any suggestion or recommendation; sometimes I can come off very persuasively; so just take this as a layman practitioner, which is what I am.


    I sort of cheated. I skipped ahead and read this portion of the book without reading the previous chapters; I missed contributing to the book club, and this question about meat eating resonates with my practice. Thank goodness I have a practice again; I will get to that.

    I had to take a break; I actually just stopped sitting for well over a year. I needed to re-clarify what practice meant to me. Sometimes, and this may just be the human condition, I create an idea of something, and then I start thinking of that idea as the thing itself. I did this with practice as well.

    In my mind, I had this idea of what a Buddhist is, and then I started resenting that idea; but instead of just recognizing that idea as my mistaken concept, I broadbrushed it to what the meaning of Zen is, so I had to stop.

    I started resenting the idea of even being a Buddhist. I am not a Buddhist. I don't want to be a Buddhist. I don't need a new set of ideals; I can think for myself.

    Then it dawned on me, just recently in fact. This is the point of Zen. We see our thoughts for what they are and, in so doing, they lose their fervor.

    And it's absolutely true. I'm not a Buddhist. I practice Zen. I am not this label. I don't mean this in a new agey sort of way; I mean this in a very practical way. I think it's similar to Dogen's practice is enlightenment. Enlightenment isn't this BS state that we should aim for; it is the actual act of zazen and, even more, it is the living out of that attitude that we practice during zazen into our daily life.


    In the past, I would read a lot of Zen books, and I have started again recently; but I would only get them on an intellectual level. Thinking I "got it", I then felt pretty impressed.

    When I rejected practice, I was rejecting this ideal of practice. This idea of having to be a person that acts in a certain idealized fashion; I rejected this but, in doing so, I was affirming on a very personal level what the Zen teachings have been pointing me to all along, but which I only superficially understood on an intellectual level but hadn't yet felt viscerally.

    So when I realized this, I started sitting again because I had a renewed understanding of what Zen meant to me.


    This directly relates to this question of meat eating because I am over this question. I am nowhere near the stereotypical (maybe just my stereotype, who knows) of a zen practitioner. I eat meat. I drink in moderation. I swear. I'm a middlemanager in a corporation. I actually love my job as crazy as that sounds.

    But I also live my life intentionally, aiming "for the good". I try to live with the "3 minds" (from Tenzo Kyokun): joyful, parental and magnanimous. I try to take that "zen" attitude of living the best way we possibly can in every are of my life.

    So I don't care if you are a vegan, vegetarian or meat eater. To me that has no bearing on the practice.

    To me practice is how I live my life, and the attitude I bring to bear because of that practice.

    I don't know if this makes sense, but the "meat" question always gets a rise out of me. hahha

    Gassho,

    Rish
    -st/lah

  5. #5
    I've been a vegetarian for 23 years, over half my life. Eating vegetables involves killing sentient beings, as does simply living (at the least, one's white blood cells are routinely killing bacteria and other "germs"). I don't ever lecture or pressure anyone about what they eat - as long as they don't lecture or pressure me Living means killing. We try to draw a line at which killing is necessary, which is forgivable, and which is forbidden. Different people draw those lines at different places. That's usually fine with me. Others, such as activists, try to move these lines. That's usually fine with me, too. It's only when the lines fall well outside of societal norms that they become a problem.

    Realizing Genjokoan is also on my reading list.

    Sat Today
    Shinshou (Dan)

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Shinshou View Post
    I've been a vegetarian for 23 years, over half my life. Eating vegetables involves killing sentient beings, as does simply living (at the least, one's white blood cells are routinely killing bacteria and other "germs"). I don't ever lecture or pressure anyone about what they eat - as long as they don't lecture or pressure me Living means killing. We try to draw a line at which killing is necessary, which is forgivable, and which is forbidden. Different people draw those lines at different places. That's usually fine with me. Others, such as activists, try to move these lines. That's usually fine with me, too. It's only when the lines fall well outside of societal norms that they become a problem.

    Realizing Genjokoan is also on my reading list.

    Sat Today
    Shinshou (Dan)
    I agree with this sentiment; you know I really believe that, while there are people who do inflict suffering intentionally, most people are doing the best with the knowledge they have at the moment. I mean I'm astounded at things I discover and didn't know before; it's not my place to preach, but rather and more importantly learn and adjust course as needed.

    Gassho

    Risho
    -st/lah

  7. #7
    I just read "Realizing Genjokoan" for the second time. Slowly. I'd be in for an even slower journey through that wonderful book.

    Gassho
    Meishin
    Stlah

  8. #8
    Eating Meat ... this is a tough one for me. For years I thought "How can anyone consider to be a Buddhist as long as you pay money to people for slaughtering sentient beings?" In my early years of being vegetarian(age19-20) all the self righteousness of youth even made me lecture people about how the eating of meat leeds to more aggression in the world ... not realizing how aggressive my arguments were.
    Now, about 30 years later, I have gone through 4 years of eating meat and now since 2013 I keep a mostly vegan diet. Do I feel like I am saving the world by it?
    Am I a better Buddhist as a vegan? Hardly so. Just as Norman Fischer shows in the example of Suzuki Roshi and his vegetarian student: clinging to concepts is attachment to concepts. Perhaps I would have considered Suszuki Roshi a carnivore bully, if I had just read this book. What really got me thinking was something I found in the Jukai section of this forum. There was an entry about the precept "To refrain from taking lives" which made me realize: every agricultural product comes at the cost of taking lives. I kill insects on my windshield when driving to work in my own car. I could better follow the precepts by taking public transportation. The convenience of driving my own car seems to matter more to me than refraining from taking insects' lives. The pleasure of eating meat does not matter enough to me take an animals life. Just my (current) set of values I am going by.

    I am very glad that Buddhism encourages us to think for our selves and not just blindly follow scripture. Because I feel that I can much better relate to people who question their own choices than people who just follow doctrines, no matter whether omnivore, vegetarian or vegan.

    Another topic for discussion was "Expressing opinions about others". My comment on this is much shorter than the vegetarian issue.
    I still catch myself talking behind other people's backs ... but I feel it is decreasing since I took up serious practice. Just hope it is the gossipping which decreases, not just the awareness thereof.

    Gassho
    Gero (sat today)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Shinshou View Post
    I've been a vegetarian for 23 years, over half my life. Eating vegetables involves killing sentient beings, as does simply living (at the least, one's white blood cells are routinely killing bacteria and other "germs"). I don't ever lecture or pressure anyone about what they eat - as long as they don't lecture or pressure me Living means killing. We try to draw a line at which killing is necessary, which is forgivable, and which is forbidden. Different people draw those lines at different places. That's usually fine with me. Others, such as activists, try to move these lines. That's usually fine with me, too. It's only when the lines fall well outside of societal norms that they become a problem.

    Realizing Genjokoan is also on my reading list.

    Sat Today
    Shinshou (Dan)
    This is very well put. I agree with how we can all draw lines and I like what Gero is saying here too, that Buddhism helps us make up our own minds and create those lines. I feel that within those choices we also have the freedom to be flexible and not be afraid to redraw those lines, because our understanding and interpretation of the precepts changes and grows with our own self knowledge and openness to changes outside of ourselves.
    I've also been reading Realizing Genjokoan - since Ango! As Tairin says, I think I would definitely benefit from reading it as part of this group,especially as there is a new commentary out which I'm also intending to read - David Brazier's 'The Dark Side of the Mirror'.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Satwithyoualltoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  10. #10
    You all are my teachers. Thank you.



    Doshin
    Stlah

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