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Thread: Article: What If Our Delusions Arenít a Barrier to Enlightenment?

  1. #1

    Article: What If Our Delusions Arenít a Barrier to Enlightenment?

    Hello everyone!
    I found this article by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel and I immediately thought of Jundo's dance analogy for Dogen's teachings. What do you think guys?
    Gassho, Nikolas
    Sat/Lah

  2. #2
    Hi Nikolas,

    This is a wonderful article describing the concept of no mud, no lotus. The more I sit with this idea of practising in ignorance, the more it makes sense. Dogen admonishes the traditional thinking of banishing ignorance and obtaining enlightenment, hence why I found his radical thinking so profound.

    Many thanks for sharing this article.

    Gassho
    Van
    Satlah

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  3. #3
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
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    Hi,

    For what its worth I don't think our thoughts are inherently delusions so much as its how we relate to them. If we think of our thoughts and feelings as entities that arise are the result of what we are currently encountering in conjunction with our seed conciousness or karma basically our memories and personal history. So if I see a snake I may feel fear because I know they are dangerous. But if I were the snakes owner I wouldn't be scared. It would just be Jake the snake.

    So I think what we call delusions are just the workings of world or cosmos or the ineffable. The problems that come from this have more to do with what happens after we experience a thought or feeling. Do we cling to them even though they hurt us? Lament that the world isn't a pleasant as we can image it (I do sometimes)?

    I think I might be just repeating what was in the article but in a less clear manner. But here we are

    Gassho
    Hoseki
    Sattoday

  4. #4
    Hoseki, I agree with your perspective.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah

  5. #5
    Member Hokin's Avatar
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    I find that anything takes as being "I, me, mine" can be detrimental to liberation from delusion and, hence, suffering; while, on the contrary, when we don't take anything as being "I, me, mine" then liberation can be actilized. So, I too feel that it is not any thought in and of itself, or anything peculiar in and of itself that IS delusion, but he way one relates to the actual "goings-on". Wether they be inner or outer ones. Remember Buddha taught that it is not so much that "Life IS suffering" per se, but that when there is clinging (upadana: lit. "Fuel", fuel for the identification-fire), caused by taņhā (craving, lit."thirst", for more other than this...), then those very same delusion and suffering arise as a consequence.

    Gassho.
    Arya.
    Sat Today.

  6. #6
    Thank you for the article Nikos.



    Ghasso
    Bobby
    SatTodayLAH


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    "When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."
    Shunryu Suzuki

  7. #7
    Thank you. A lovely and rare description of the intimacy of delusion and enlightenment in Soto Zen.

    One comment on something in the article which might be misunderstood. Zenju writes:

    Whether we are angry, even enraged, aggrieved, or content, we are right where we should be. No part of our humanity needs to be tossed away.

    This is not license to wallow in anger, jealousy, greedy desires, fear, etc., or to let their fires just rage.

    I like to say that when we encounter the dark or stormy clouds of such thoughts and emotions, a light of wisdom and clarity free of frictions and desire (as encountered in Shikantaza and all our practice) comes to shines through the clouds, turning them lighter, quieter and gossamer. Sometimes the clouds evaporate altogether. The clouds of anger, jealousy, fear etc. may remain, but somehow are not the same or as powerful as before, and their grip on us is lessened or gone.

    They may sometimes still rage and storm beyond our mental control nonetheless, because we are human. Even so, we learn not to wallow, grab onto, cling to or stir up such emotions as much as before, and we learn to let the light shine through more easily. This is our continuing "Practice-Enlightenment" in Soto Zen.

    Zen masters were a bit earthier and more accepting of human nature than perhaps the South Asian Buddhist traditions, so the problem is not a bit of fear, disappointment, sadness, competitive spirit, desire for something etc. (all of which are emotions necessary for human life and survival), but only those emotions in harmful and destructive excess, letting their fires rage out of control. One must also come to see the light, whole and boundless in which there is nothing to fear, seek or need that simultaneously is present at the heart of this world. It is then possible to experiencce that one can, for example, simultaneously fear or desire AND not fear or desire at all, at once as one.

    Lovely article, thank you. I recommend it to all our members to read.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 05-04-2020 at 11:20 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    That you Nikolas for this article. I've always thought of the delusions, thoughts, hindrances, etc. during zazen and practice as being little tools or learning devices. Not as things that should be shunned and dreaded.

    Gassho
    ST-LAH
    James

  9. #9
    Thank you for the article and the thoughts of others who added to my understanding.

    Doshin
    st

  10. #10
    So, what he is saying is to take "the good with the bad" and they will resolve as you wrestle to let them go. To my way of thinking, the delusion is a feeling of our lack of ability to reach enlightenment ( as if that were your non- goal.) In the Releasing Technique taught in the Sedona Method*, it is stated that if you can grasp the feeling associated with that thought, instead of the thought itself, experience it as a feeling, a somatic experience somewhere within your body and embrace it and allow it to release; it will go poof, and disappear. It is an energy within your subconscious that wants to be released. If it appears to persist, it is not that you weren't able to release it, It is more of the same type of energy that needs to be released. Meet with it, embrace it and suggest it leave; give it permission. When it is implied that these are somatic experiences somewhere within your body, such feelings are usually experienced in the trunk (chest or abdomen) and are energy that is administered by the heart. It is important to remember, they are just feelings and there is no need to hang on or cling to them.
    * This technique is very similar to the Hawaiian practice of Ho'oponopono in which one is taught to repeat; " I'm sorry, Please forgive me, thank you, I love you." This is a practice it seems to me I recall reading somewhere in Robert Aiken Roshi's writings. Definitely less selective than the Sedona method, and similar to the Buddhist use of Gathas to distract the intellect from mundane thoughts. But, used more as a mantra when negative thoughts arise. Both systems agree that one is dealing with units of past tense baggage that want io be released and it is in your own interest to give permission. Yoi can chose to keep them for eternity but, It is truly a simple practice. You'd be amazed at how easy it is to use. The important point is not to deal with the thought. Getting into your head complicates the issue. Let go of the thought and deal with the feeling associated with it. It is really what we do in Shikantaza by integrating the body/mind and letting it drop away.
    The real take away of course is, Do not be discouraged if you need to repeat many times. Persistence and patience are required. Drop by drop you get rid of the mud at the bottom of the well before the water becomes clear and you manifest the true Buddha you are meant to be.

    gassho, Shokai
    stlah
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    May we all grow together in our knowledge of the Dharma

  11. #11
    Member Hokin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Thank you. A lovely and rare description of the intimacy of delusion and enlightenment in Soto Zen.

    One comment on something in the article which might be misunderstood. Zenju writes:

    Whether we are angry, even enraged, aggrieved, or content, we are right where we should be. No part of our humanity needs to be tossed away.

    This is not license to wallow in anger, jealousy, greedy desires, fear, etc., or to let their fires just rage.

    I like to say that when we encounter the dark or stormy clouds of such thoughts and emotions, a light of wisdom and clarity free of frictions and desire (as encountered in Shikantaza and all our practice) comes to shines through the clouds, turning them lighter, quieter and gossamer. Sometimes the clouds evaporate altogether. The clouds of anger, jealousy, fear etc. may remain, but somehow are not the same or as powerful as before, and their grip on us is lessened or gone.

    They may sometimes still rage and storm beyond our mental control nonetheless, because we are human. Even so, we learn not to wallow, grab onto, cling to or stir up such emotions as much as before, and we learn to let the light shine through more easily. This is our continuing "Practice-Enlightenment" in Soto Zen.

    Zen masters were a bit earthier and more accepting of human nature than perhaps the South Asian Buddhist traditions, so the problem is not a bit of fear, disappointment, sadness, competitive spirit, desire for something etc. (all of which are emotions necessary for human life and survival), but only those emotions in harmful and destructive excess, letting their fires rage out of control. One must also come to see the light, whole and boundless in which there is nothing to fear, seek or need that simultaneously is present at the heart of this world. It is then possible to experiencce that one can, for example, simultaneously fear or desire AND not fear or desire at all, at once as one.

    Lovely article, thank you. I recommend it to all our members to read.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Thank you Jundo for precising this out for us all!
    It is always all too common for me to fall in this trap the ego displays of convincing to indulge even with and through not-so-desirable feelings and emotions (both for oneself and for others-no difference..?), just making believe that in the end it is all simply how things are (and actually SHOULD be), for I am right and others wrong, and that my opinion is more correct than the other's and all that subtle hypnotizing the ego is so good at! And one (me!) ends up really wasting a lot of time and energy trying to win...what?!? Deceiving oneself...it seems. Shikantaza always reminds me that I can be at peace with both the dark and the light side of reality (just names we give it...uh?), It is only that I feel that, perhaps, way too many times I loose the balance and find myself following dangerous paths...I observe and let that be, pass and go...but pratice tells me I can always do better...Can I? I....I....Me...Me....Hahahaha...May peace be...now.

    Gassho.
    Arya.
    Sat Today.

  12. #12
    Thank you Jundo
    Thank you Nikos
    Thank you all

    Gassho/SatToday
    流道
    Ryū Dou

  13. #13
    Hi all

    Great article! Thank you for sharing, Nikolas!

    I especially liked this part:

    Soto Zen practitioners regularly chant: ďDelusions are inexhaustible. I vow to end them.Ē Many a Zen student has chuckled at the absurdity of vowing to end something that is inexhaustible. How could we ever meet this vow? Instead of declaring endless war on our delusions, though, we can simply stop trying to banish them from the path of enlightenment. We can end the separation and lack of intimacy with our thinking minds, and through that encounter with delusion we can come to know the enlightenment that previously seemed as distant as the morning star.
    This is the crux of it for me, not to be pushing away things we don't like or pretending they are not part of our experience.

    Zen, and life (as if the two are separate in any way), is not about achieving some unattainable standard of perfection. But, as Jundo says, it is also not about wallowing in our delusion and not trying to change it.

    And within the struggles of life, whether they are our own or other people's, we see the deeper whole and sacredness of all that is.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  14. #14
    Thank you for this article, Nikos, and for this discussion all.

    For me, I'd have to say this leaves me with more questions than answers. I read it. (twice), realizing it seems to be intended for an audience very familiar with Dogen, whom I am still not.

    Why is his perspective on thought considered so radical? What was his perspective and to whom was it so radically different? Can anyone point me to where I can learn more about that?


    That being said, I do kind of feel like I get the gist of what is being said. I, for example, know that I can get very vexed when I lose something. I am well aware of where this mental pattern comes form and that I can get unreasonably upset about it when it happens. It's something I've had to work on to not get caught up in that delusional vexed state; and yet having that to work on has helped me drop other delusions as well.

    Something like that, or perhaps I am delusional.

    Gassho
    Ishin/sat lah
    Last edited by Ishin; 05-06-2020 at 08:19 PM.
    Grateful for your practice

  15. #15
    It's interesting to see this pointed to so directly. I'm familiar with idea being presented most often in the context of practice.

    A Theravada monk from Canada explains vipassana as becoming familiar with what is currently happening, mechanically noting everything and he even admits it can be very boring and unpleasant to do, to just sit and tell yourself "thinking, thinking, wanting, wanting", but he explains it's important to do this so the mind can clearly see its own contents in order to realize what's really going on.

    Another meditation teacher I listened to gave the explanation of when you become distracted, notice you've become distracted, then return your attention to the breath ... and he made sure to emphasize that the noticing (that you've become distracted) is the heart of the practice. If your mind never becomes distracted, you can never notice it, so you can never do the practice. Therefore, in a way, the distractions are necessary.

    Finally, Pema Chodron wrote how when we're facing any kind of problem our natural instinct is to try to get away from it because it hurts or is uncomfortable, and one of the methods she suggested is to do the opposite - become familiar with that discomfort and move closer to the hurt; get to know it. Trungpa Rinpoche talked about how a warrior's heart is very tender because it is exposed and open, it feels everything, and it takes a lot of courage to do that.

    If everything were always great and wonderful, what use would we have for patience or generosity or other good qualities?

    Thinking there are obstacles to the path that are separate from the path and that they don't "belong" there is to make a mistake, I think. No obstacle, no journey. The obstacles are as much a part of the path as twists and turns are part of a river. What would a story be without a conflict?

    Though, as Jundo skillfully points out, this isn't an excuse to wallow in our unwholesome qualities; we shouldn't use this as a license to harm ourselves or others. This is about transforming our view and our approach to be less dualistic, less divisive, and more holistic. There is nothing in the universe that doesn't belong here.

    Gassho
    Kyōsen
    Sat|LAH
    橋川
    kyō (bridge) | sen (river)

  16. #16
    Just read this. Thank you Nikos.
    Just breathe.
    Sun face, moon face.
    Gassho Heisoku
    Satlah


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    Heisoku 平 息
    Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. (Basho)

  17. #17
    Thank you Nikos for a nice article and all for the comments.

    Gassho
    Washin
    sat today
    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'.

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