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Thread: WHAT IS ZEN? - Chap 14 - Saving Sentient Beings- To End of Book

  1. #1

    WHAT IS ZEN? - Chap 14 - Saving Sentient Beings- To End of Book

    So ... What is Zen?

    We come to the last pages of this helpful book. Thank you, Norman Fischer and Susan Moon!

    A few questions are addressed. What are you feelings on all these and the whole book?

    -Are we selfish to practice when we could be out saving the world?

    -Do we need to make our Buddhist communities more diverse? How best to do that?

    -Do our Bodhisattva Vows "To save all sentient beings, though beings numberless" mean anything to you? How do you take that?

    -What about good and bad in a non-dualistic practice? Do you get the point that Rev. Norman is trying to make?

    Thank you for reading along all these months.

    From next time: We will return for some more Koans from the Book of Equanimity, and Rev. Shishin Wick's wonderful commentary. We will start from Koan 81 - Gensha Comes to the Province (portions available online)

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

    After that, in a few weeks, we will turn to Shohaku Okumura's Realizing Genjo Koan,


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

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Member Geika's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    San Diego County, California
    I don't think it is selfish to practice, because practice facilitates a desire to help the world.

    I don't know if we can "make" Buddhist communities more diverse, but we could try to make our groups inviting to diverse people. How to do that, I don't know. I have read about a yoga studio that got a large number of black students because they would have a black only class, but then many white students became upset about a black only class and claimed racism, not seeing that it was creating a safe and inviting space for them to proceed.

    The vows mean a lot to me. It is because they are impossible tasks that they are so meaningful: we keep trying anyway.

    I try to look at good and bad like this: skillful or unskillful. This helps me to bridge the gap of duality. Sometimes, even when a precept is broken in a literal sense, there is still a skillful reason or way behind it.

    I enjoyed this book. Very beginner, but because of that, quite refreshing.

    Gassho

    Sat today, lah
    迎 Geika

  3. #3
    Practice to me, is not selfish because it generally facilitates being kinder and more compassionate. So in other words, it helps us interact with the world

    I think naturally over time, buddhist communities will continue to become more and more diverse. There is no reason to try and force it, even if we could. All we can do is try to be as inviting as we can.

    To be honest, the bodhisattva vows don't really mean much to me. I take them as a challenge to be kinder to people and more compassionate. With this specific vow I see it right now more or less as trying to save all beings from myself.
    I like this book. It has the same qualities as what drove me to soto zen in the first place which is brutal honesty. I enjoy the format and the questions posed to norman Fischer because they dive into some misconceptions and all that.

    Gassho,
    John
    STlah

  4. #4
    Thank you Jundo for guiding us through this book.
    I enjoyed, visiting the basics again, working on the foundation.
    A really good book for this purpose.

    To me, practice and being out saving the world are not two.
    Like this book is a foundation for practice, practice is a foundation for acting out in the world.
    The ability to see through my own delusions, understanding that the world is not turning around me, but I am part of it.
    Finding a calm place and acting from there. Being able to face the despair and act.

    I am closing morning practice with the verse of atonement and repeating the bodhisattva vows.
    This is what my day shall be about. I am sorry for what I did wrong and vowing to do my very best doing better.
    It's not only about me, it's also about adding to an environment that enables others doing so.
    It's a guide, a reminder not to stop at some point; not at the guy that starts his chainsaw during morning practice, the boss that ignores me, the politicians that endangers people, the stinking cursing homeless, the wasp that stings me, the dove that sh**s on my car and even myself, who doesn't always act like I want him to...

    'Realizing Genjo Koan' is already on the book stack. Looking very much forward to reading it, and some more koans, together.

    Thank you everyone,
    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  5. #5
    What a coincidence; I just started reading Okumura's "Realizing Genjokoan" yesterday! I think the Dharma Eye is watching me...

    Gassho
    Kyōshin
    Satlah

    Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Member Seishin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    La Croix-Avranchin, Basse Normandie, France
    Despite not commenting on the last few sessions (not had a lot of forum time), I've continued reading the book and have found it a wonderful read. Searching questions and helpful answer, so I would see this would be very supporting for someone just discovering Soto Zen.

    As others have said I do not see it as selfish to practice when I could be out saving the world, For the 30 odd minutes I normally sit each morning, it sets me up for the day and I get off the Zafu with the intention of being a nicer, kinder, more helpful and more compassionate person each day. So in a way and has been quoted many times, starting by saving myself and I am helping to save All sentient beings. Daily Metta, VoA and the Four Vows help reinforce that approach but guaranteed at some point during I will break one or many vows, as I am only human after all. So wash rinse repeat until the broken vows become less. Will they ? I don't know but I will keep practising all the same.

    Looking forward to Realizing Genjokoan, as its been gathering virtual dust in my e-library for a while now.

    Thank you all for your practice.


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart



    Sat Today / lah

  7. #7
    Sto
    Guest
    Forgive me, I haven’t been following along with this thread (though I have read the book) I feel compelled to offer my two cents: I don’t see it as selfish to practice zazen either. A favorite version of the Bodhisattva vow that I’ve seen goes like this: “I vow to save all sentient beings FROM MYSELF.” Myself is selfish and small minded compared to the boundlessness of the universe. I think that without practice, I’d be in self denial that its “me, myself and I” that is the cause of the problems of small mindedness, greed, hatred and delusion in the world. Myself hates itself, it loves itself, it hates others and loves others over and over again. Its delusional and paranoid. Its tiring to be wrapped up in myself. In zazen there is peace from all the self centered noise and I think that gives the perspective of boundlessness. But maybe not, maybe thats delusion too. Either way It is easier to help others with some kind of perspective that isn’t self centered.


    Gassho
    Tom
    Sat/Lah

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Kotei View Post
    Thank you Jundo for guiding us through this book.
    I enjoyed, visiting the basics again, working on the foundation.
    A really good book for this purpose.

    To me, practice and being out saving the world are not two.
    Like this book is a foundation for practice, practice is a foundation for acting out in the world.
    The ability to see through my own delusions, understanding that the world is not turning around me, but I am part of it.
    Finding a calm place and acting from there. Being able to face the despair and act.

    I am closing morning practice with the verse of atonement and repeating the bodhisattva vows.
    This is what my day shall be about. I am sorry for what I did wrong and vowing to do my very best doing better.
    It's not only about me, it's also about adding to an environment that enables others doing so.
    It's a guide, a reminder not to stop at some point; not at the guy that starts his chainsaw during morning practice, the boss that ignores me, the politicians that endangers people, the stinking cursing homeless, the wasp that stings me, the dove that sh**s on my car and even myself, who doesn't always act like I want him to...

    'Realizing Genjo Koan' is already on the book stack. Looking very much forward to reading it, and some more koans, together.

    Thank you everyone,
    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    A wonderful reply that says it all much better than I could, thank you Kotei
    I found this book shortly after I joined Treeleaf; I came from the Tibetan tradition, which has a wealth of quite specific instructions, but while I was instinctively attracted to Zen, I was having difficulty getting to the bones of it. What I loved about the book was that it asked the questions that I was quite nervous of asking - those very simple straightforward questions that you always feel everyone knows the answer to except you, so it was of real benefit to me.
    Although I haven't always commented, I've really enjoyed this journey.
    I've been reading Realizing Genjokoan for a while now (!) and I know without a doubt I'll really benefit from reading it in this group.

    Gassho
    Meitou
    satwithyoualltoday.
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

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