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Thread: Ritual - discomfort and seeking to understand

  1. #1

    Ritual - discomfort and seeking to understand

    Hello All,

    I wanted to respectfully ask a few questions. I truly hope I don't sound disrespectful and I want to be clear that this is coming from a place of good faith - I am honestly seeking to understand this better and feel that as a beginner I just may not "get it" yet.

    A little context, I grew up in a Roman Catholic household and was forced to complete confirmation and attend church weekly until I left my childhood home. I very intentionally left the Christian faith many years ago for reasons that aren't really relevant here. So I think this is why I am perhaps more concerned than usual with...adopting new trappings without understanding them.

    So...there's something I really like about the zen "aesthetic" and things like robes, incense, tatami mats, zafus, bells. It's all very nice. The ritual around zazen is genuinely nice. But what is "nice" or what I like isn't the same thing as what is needed or required.

    If I am understanding the teaching of zen and zazen at any sort of rudimentary level, it seems to me like the highly structured ritual I am seeing seems...counter to the teachings. If we're learning to let go, if we're learning that all is needed is to just sit and let our cravings and preconceived concepts fall away, then it makes me nervous that if I go to a zendo (relatively near) my home, that I need to hold my hands in a certain way when walking, and bow various ways before I start, and show reverence towards a statue, etc etc etc. Why is incense being burned? Why must I always turn clockwise? Why must I enter and exit the room a certain way? Why must I chant? Why, if I continue down this path, must I receive a new name?

    Honestly, it has me stressing so much that I'll make a faux pas or (literally or figuratively) step on someone's toes or embarrass myself (what self?!) that I don't know if I'll be able to work up the courage to go.

    I sat in on a Zoom introductory session for a (relatively) nearby temple yesterday and asked a version of this question and they surprisingly didn't have a very rich answer. There was a little comment about how it's history, and the rituals are just forms, but that sort of reminds me of Platonic forms, which I now know don't really exist. And creating forms, creating a sort of boundary around "special sitting time," seems like the opposite of what I should be doing when I am trying to sit zazen or learn zen, when I am learning to be mindful always and let go of "self." And even with historical purpose - why were they doing this back then? Kicking the can down into history doesn't really resolve the question.

    There was also a response from a man there, when I asked this, along the lines of, "I used to be an atheist too, before I started" which struck me as a rather odd response because my question isn't really about religion at all - religion isn't ritual and ritual isn't inherently a religion. We all have rituals, a daily coffee in a way can be a ritual - and it seems to me you could be a strong atheist or a devout member of a faith and still sit zazen in the same zendo. Perhaps. So I wondered if maybe that gentleman maybe didn't understand my question, or why I was asking, or maybe he doesn't understand why he's doing what he's doing. I don't know. But for him to say "I used to be" made me wonder what he thinks he is now worshipping, when from my understanding within Zen Buddhism specifically, Buddha is not a deity, and no comment on the divine is really made (or needs to be made, as the question is irrelevant) at all.

    In one sense, I think that it might be nice, if I am able to establish a practice, to (conduct? complete? not sure the verb) jukai in a year or two. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to sew and wear a rakusu, and balance it on my head and kiss it before zazen, if I don't truly understand why I am doing those things.

    I hope that this doesn't sound like I am criticizing the use of ritual - rather, I realize I am a beginner and likely don't have a full or accurate view. I am seeking to better understand its purpose and use to make sure I am understanding things in at least some correct rudimentary way. I don't understand why the ritualized nature of zen at a zendo is needed, and why it is encouraged, when to my eyes it seems like as we understand better and better, form should rather fall away.

    Can anyone help me understand or offer some resources I can explore?

    Thank you all very much for your insight.

    Warmly,

    Lauren
    Last edited by Lauren; 07-15-2020 at 06:15 PM. Reason: typo

  2. #2
    Hi Lauren!

    That is both a very good, and very frequent question. Whether people come from another religion, or no religion, before coming to Zen, the presence of so much ritual can seem quite strange, and quite foreign. Some people love it, others have a dislike or distrust of it. Both responses are fine and natural.

    Anyway, some answers as best as I can, and Jundo will doubtless respond at some point to pick up on the rest!

    1. Most historic Buddhism, at least in terms of serious practice, has taken place in practice communities, largely monastic or temple based. Ritual is a way of getting everyone to do the same thing at the same time and to promote group cohesion. It also supports sitting practice in terms of reciting prayers and teachings that reflect on our practice and set an intention. Clothing-wise, spiritual seekers and teachers generally wear clothing that sets them apart from the rest of society. It also comes with symbolism and we chant the Robe Verse (Takkesage) before putting it on to declare this:

    Robe of liberation boundless
    Field beyond both form and formless
    Wearing the Tathagatha's teachings
    Vowing to save all sentient beings


    In addition to being a Buddhist religion, Zen ritual is also influenced by the fact that Japanese people and culture tends to be highly ritualised so Zen has a large measure of that.

    2. It is often commented upon that it seems strange that Zen had so much ritual when it claims to go beyond form. The emphasis here, is to go beyond form within form itself. By adopting a series of highly ritualised movements and practices, we learn to find freedom within the form itself. Does that make sense? Anyone can just behave as they like but repeating the same gestures and movements again and again, we drop the idea of form or no form altogether.

    3. In your own life, you only have to adopt as much form and clothing as you like. The Rakusu is a lovely item to make and wear as a reminder of the precepts you take, if you should want to do that, but we mostly only wear it for practice. The Rakusu itself is a smaller version of the outer robe or kashaya (kesa in Japanese). Some think it might have come from a time when Buddhism was suppressed by the Chinese state and so Zen Buddhists instead wore a small, more portable robe. The robe itself, and Rakusu, are said to resemble the rice fields often seen in south and south-east Asia.

    In practice centres you pretty much follow along with what is happening there but if you do get corrected, it will not likely be with any kind of admonishment, merely showing you the right way. Western centres are generally pretty gentle, and newcomers are not going to be expected to instantly know what to do.


    John Daido Loori's short book Bringing the Sacred to Life explains ritual as a way of "making the invisible visible". The precepts would be there in our heart with or without Jukai and with or without a Rakusu but giving an outward expression to this is a very human thing to do, and rituals mark new beginnings and endings. This is the same as being given a new name, to mark your entry into Zen life after taking the precepts. Some people choose not to use that name at all though, or rarely. Brad Warner and Norman Fischer are both Zen priests but most people call them Brad And Norman.

    The Zen Studies Podcast, which is a very good place to obtain information about practice and teachings, also has a nice podcast on this very topic! https://zenstudiespodcast.com/zenforms/

    I guess the guy at the centre you practiced with meant 'atheist' as 'non-religious' but you are right that Buddhism does sit in a bit of a grey area as matters of faith go, as the historical Buddha was not a god and we do not worship him as such. However, Buddhism still does have a number of religious trappings. I tend to find most of them meaningful but will also admit that I tend not to wear my robe unless I really really have to!

    I hope this is of some help. Thank you for your question.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    Last edited by Kokuu; 07-15-2020 at 03:58 PM.
    ------------------------------------
    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.

  3. #3
    Member RobD's Avatar
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    Massachusetts, United States
    Lauren,

    Great questions. I can't speak for others, but I had many of the same questions and concerns when I first approached Buddhism years ago after leaving Catholicism myself.

    I've come to appreciate the inclusion of ritual (not necessarily all elemts) into my practice over the years at it provides a modest amount of structure that supports my core practice of Zazen. The amount of structure/support will vary for each of us, so we shouldn't feel obligated to all do exactly the same things. That said, I also recognize and respect the fact that some basic elements are necessary to practice in a group to help with minimizing distraction and supporting the practice of the group.

    I've sat with other, non-Zen Sanghas in the past that had virtually no ritual/structure, and to be honest, they always felt very disjointed and too "casual". For me, having a modest amount of ritual adds just the right amount of "seriousness" to the practice. For example, I find the simple practice of bowing during Zazenkai and before and after Zazen to be a great way to cultivate a strong sense of respect for others and for teachings themselves. Bowing can be a great way to help put the ego in its place.

    Jundo actually addressed this very topic during last week's Zazenkai. If you're interested, I would suggest viewing the recording (at least the talk in the middle of you can sit with the whole session). That may not answer all of your questions, but it may give you a taste of how ritual is viewed here at Treeleaf.

    You're asking all the right questions, so keep 'em coming! I certainly don't have all the answers, but the "collective mind" of the Sangha will certainly help you. I'm sure of that.

    Gassho,
    Rob

    -st-



    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren View Post
    I hope that this doesn't sound like I am criticizing the use of ritual - rather, I realize I am a beginner and likely don't have a full or accurate view. I am seeking to better understand its purpose and use to make sure I am understanding things in at least some correct rudimentary way. I don't understand why the ritualized nature of zen at a zendo is needed, and why it is encouraged, when to my eyes it seems like as we understand better and better, form should rather fall away.
    I have been a Treeleaf member since 2007, and before that was practicing in the Tibetan tradition for as long, and I have struggled with this for many years. While I didn't have a religious upbringing - my parents were agnostic/atheist, though not in any formally declared way - I did go to a private grade school that was attached to a church. We had services every morning, with some sort of bible reading, and a couple of hymns. While I certainly credit the hymns with teaching me to appreciate Protestant-influenced music such as Bach, I did not appreciate the services.

    I also don't consider zen to be a "religion," and I've long struggled with the idea of it being considered as such. I've never been a joiner, and especially not one who joins what to me seem to be organizations that want to control their members. (ie, organized religions). So for years, I did not want to take jukai, but I have finally realized that I've been in this game long enough, and that I should in order to "confirm" my commitment to this path. I've made no secret to Jundo that I don't care about sewing a rakusu or any of the other rituals, and he has nevertheless allowed me to continue. I'll make the effort to do what's required for jukai, and then see what happens.

    But I agree that zen, to me, is not about ritual, but about the abandonment of all such things. While I understand the importance of ritual in a monastery, it's a lot different for lay practitioners. Part of what annoys me about ritual is that there are people who try too hard to be something they are not, and take the accouterments to be as important as the practice.

    So you are not alone with these thoughts. I think Treeleaf has a wide range of opinions on this topic, and I'm sure Jundo will chime in with more useful thoughts than mine. (This said, Jundo, here's a topic for our next podcast...)

    Gassho,

    Kirk

    sat
    -----
    I know nothing.

  5. #5


    I have a poster of the above image, and I own kind of in relationship to this question. If you don't know who painted it, I'll get to it in a second.

    I struggled with this question quite a bit early on in my zen experience. I come for a very rule breaking background. Question Authority - the whole nine yards. And some of my early experience with Zen seemed to really fit with that. If you meet the Buddha on the road kill him. Be spontaneous. Live in the moment. How could these ideas come from a tradition with all the ritual. Rather than being spontaneous it seemed constraining. It made my brain hurt.

    As I got older I started to think about ritual more deeply. I wondered what was its role. Why is it so prevalent across societies. And I came to believe that ritual serves a number of functions. One it connects you to the the greater community. For us it connects us not only to our Treeleaf Sangha but also the Greater Zen Community. In that moment when we enage in ritual we are doing so not only where we are, we are doing so across space and time. We connect to everyone else also engaging in the ritual at that time. And everyone who has done so in the past. We are sitting with Dogen, intimately, in the moment.

    So when we engage in the ritual we are connecting with others. And we are also respecting, and honoring those that came before. We do as they did to connect, honor and respect.

    But that doesn't mean we can't break the rules too. Which Jundo so beautifully illustrates as he changes the "Buddha" on his alter.

    So the other change in thinking that I had is related to the painting. It is by Pablo Picasso. When I first saw it floored me. When I was a kid I didn't get abstract art. My friends would say things like: Well even I could paint like that. And I believed them.

    But when I saw that painting it just hit me. You have to know the rules to really truly break the rules. If you just break the rules you are really just kind of flailing around. You can't really be spontaneous unless you know the other side of that coin. So I feel that learning and performing the ritual actually frees me in some weird way. I am not sure I am explaining this very well. It is one of those things I feel in my bones but I don't know if I can articulate it as well as I would like.

    Anyway, long story short. I get where you are coming from.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Shinshi View Post


    I have a poster of the above image, and I own kind of in relationship to this question. If you don't know who painted it, I'll get to it in a second.


    So the other change in thinking that I had is related to the painting. It is by Pablo Picasso. When I first saw it floored me. When I was a kid I didn't get abstract art. My friends would say things like: Well even I could paint like that. And I believed them.

    But when I saw the painting it just hit me. You have to know the rules to really truly break the rules.




    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    True, but I'll bet that if you flipped that painting over, on the opposite side there would be the image of a woman with two noses and a triangle for an eyeball. Of course, it would probably be a drawing. You know, Zen and ink.


    Gassho,
    Juki

    Sat today and lah
    Last edited by Juki; 07-15-2020 at 08:39 PM.
    "First you have to give up." Tyler Durden

  7. #7
    Member Onka's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Rural Queensland, Australia
    Hey Lauren
    I've got nothing more than the folk above to add really.
    I undertook Jukai studies last year and in all honesty I was probably a pain in the arse for Jundo and the other Priests and Unsui. I didn't deliberately set out to be like this but whenever I came across something that was worth questioning I questioned it. Often rather forcefully. I wasn't just going to accept anything being shoved down my throat and told that this is just what it is. I didn't want a new name and sewing the Rakusu was not at all a pleasant experience. The Ango intensive Practice period leading up to Jukai in my case really deepened my appreciation for the rituals and brought home to me that in my mind the rituals are kinda like little reminders to not be half-arsed about my Practice. I found a connection with the words recited, they made sense, and no longer was Zazen a pain both figuratively and literally.
    So I sewed my Rakusu, took the Precepts and received a funny name.
    The weird thing was that for reasons I still can't fathom my Rakusu became very important to me, the Precepts became a lovely addition to the way I conduct my life, and my Dharma name is perfect, so much so that when Jundo read out the new Dharma names during the Jukai ceremony I had Priests and Unsui contact me privately to tell me that when Onka was read out they knew it was me.
    You're asking the right questions Lauren. Don't stop questioning.
    Gassho
    Onka/Anna
    sat today

    P.S. On Ka means Cool Fires and when you get to know me better you too will see that Jundo nailed it. It's both aspirational and an accurate observation lol
    穏 On (Calm)
    火 Ka (Fires)
    aka Anna Kissed
    Resident Anarchist.
    Pronouns:She/Her They/Them.
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.
    No Gods. No Masters.

  8. #8
    Iíd say rituals are important to my practice, although sometimes I feel resistance and other times it feels natural. Even when I donít feel in the moment when doing them, I feel they can bring clarity in that moment and a reminder to drop any resistance.

    Gassho,
    Jakugan
    St

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by RobD View Post
    For example, I find the simple practice of bowing during Zazenkai and before and after Zazen to be a great way to cultivate a strong sense of respect for others and for teachings themselves. Bowing can be a great way to help put the ego in its place.
    Rob, i find this to be absolutely spot on! Bowing is wonderful and it took me awhile to figure out why I found it so moving. I think you nailed it. Just the other day I had picked up Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind which I haven't read in a year or so, and I just happened to read the early section on bowing.

    "By bowing we are giving up ourselves. To give up ourselves means to give up our dualistic ideas. So there is no difference between zazen practice and bowing." -Shunryu Suzuki

    I also agree with Kokuu above, and I highly recommend Bringing the Sacred to Life as well. It does an excellent job of explaining rituals in a way that shows them as something other than just motions to go through. For me personally, I grew up in a religious household and always found rituals to be quite odd. These days I feel like the rituals are part of the practice, and I very much enjoy them, but, it's all about personal preference. Nobody is going to miss out on enlightenment because they forgot the incense, the Buddha understands!

    Gassho,

    Joshua
    SatToday/LaH

  10. #10
    Hi Lauren,

    I think that folks have answered very well. Ritual is just a dance, a song, in which we pour ourself, to lose ourself in the dance, all to find our self again. There is something about pouring one's body into set patterns of movement that let's the body take over as the mind goes along for the ride (my sister, a classical ballerina, tells me she experiences this too). Most of what we chant are philosophical texts to study (like the Heart Sutra), but then we put down the ideas, lose ourself in the sound and song, and just dance. We taste for a moment that we dance as some steps in the great dance that the whole world is dancing by our own feet! That's the real magic and wonder of the ceremony, no "hocus-pocus."

    This idea that the old Zen monks were radical iconoclasts is not really true. Rather, they lived extremely regimented lives in their monasteries, filled with routines and rituals morning until night (even rigid rules about how to sleep and poo). Most of their "iconoclasm" was making minor infractions within that extreme routine, e.g., sometimes giving a little shout during a ceremony, or turning left when the ceremony said to turn right. (I used to volunteer teaching Zen at a maximum security prison in Florida, and told the inmates that the lifestyle was not so far from a traditional Zen monastery).

    But what is the lesson? We are free, even in the most binding routine, when the mind is free and flows. The "walls" of the prison or monastery are not only outside, but more between the ears. Life is filled with restrictions ... our jobs, the need to care for family, all our daily duties ... but we can be free when free, and free when not free, if the mind is freed.

    Much of the "aesthetic" like robes and such is either just a respect for tradition (e.g., Zen has Chinese roots so some traditions look very Chinese even though Zen is not bound by place) or a reminder that there is something special in the moment, like the bride wearing white at the wedding or our singing "Happy Birthday" with candles at a birthday party. Just a reminder that right now is special and sacred ... even though part of our lesson in Zen is that every place and moment is "sacred." Every single tick of the clock is a new "Happy Birthday!"



    The clay statue on the altar or Rakusu is just a work of art, a reminder, like a picture of your mother on the bookcase or your kids' "Pokemon" bed sheets. Buddha was just a human being like your mother, or a myth like Pikachu ... yet your mother and Pikachu somehow represent much more. In fact, you can sew a Rakusu and then use it as doormat for your feet instead of place it on your head (both fine with me) ... same with the picture of your mother which you can use to line the bird cage. Neither the Rakusu or the piece of paper which is a photo of your mom will mind, but maybe you would instead want to find some other meaning and memories there?

    In truth, you don't need to do any of that, or have any statue, and can just sit. Yes! But, if part of our practice is to leap beyond our personal "likes and dislikes," why are you feeling bothered by those dislikes? (Sometimes I go to a very traditional Zen monastery precisely because I do not like the strict routine or silly, arcane rituals ... just to drop my personal "likes" for awhile.)

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-17-2020 at 02:24 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  11. #11
    I was also raised Roman Catholic and had almost exactly the same thoughts about Zen ritual when I first started to practice. However, I have learned that it is beneficial in this practice to adopt the mindset that the rituals are meant to be reverent, yes, but also habit forming. By doing things the same way, every day, they become second nature, and require no thought or calculation. To remove those extra thoughts is beneficial to opening to the very moment as it is. Also, I enjoy learning how to preserve the tradition, but my every day life, and my daily practice, is still quite casual compared to a monastery.

    Gassho
    Sat today, lah
    求道芸化 Kyudo Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

  12. #12
    PS - Actually, my little talk this week during Zazen was with your question in mind. It is from 55:45 ...

    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  13. #13
    Hi Lauren,

    I'm new here too, from an atheist background. I am developing faith that the rituals are guiding me to enlightenment. I sat a few times through Zoom without the camera on. it felt a little strange but now I get a wonderful feeling when I am greeted and greet with a bow. the act of bowing is greater than the act of bowing.

    Gassho,

    dan.

    sat today

  14. #14
    Lauren,
    I left the Catholic Church 5 decades ago. But I loved the ritual, and have used the iconography of the Catholic Church in my artwork over the years (eg. Latin titles), and hence love the Zen Buddhist rituals. They are aesthetically beautiful to me.

    Bows
    Anne

    ~lahst~

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Snark View Post
    Hi Lauren,

    I'm new here too, from an atheist background. I am developing faith that the rituals are guiding me to enlightenment.
    Which, perhaps, you might discover as here all along, right in your very toes ... which are the same toes moving in the ritual!

    ... the act of bowing is greater than the act of bowing.
    Bowing is just an act of gratitude and humility and, even in a prostration, what appears to be one's lowering oneself is actually, turned upside down, the ground supporting you and the whole world raising you up as you support and raise up the world. Yes, westerners prefer to "handshake" rather than bow or especially prostrate, so it contains an extra dose of humility (but is healthier than a handshake).

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-17-2020 at 10:15 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakugan View Post
    Iíd say rituals are important to my practice, although sometimes I feel resistance and other times it feels natural. Even when I donít feel in the moment when doing them, I feel they can bring clarity in that moment and a reminder to drop any resistance.

    Gassho,
    Jakugan
    St
    This is one of the most important aspects for me too, along with all the things others have mentioned. My mind resists it all, including many of the non-Zen things I have to do all day! Both the Zen and non-Zen rituals give the essential substance to the relative/form side of the coin, while Zazen provides the non-form balance.

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    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).

  17. #17
    It is most important to develop a daily practice.
    All the rituals are pointing and supporting you in this direction.
    Take what you need and leave the rest.

    Sat

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    It is most important to develop a daily practice.
    All the rituals are pointing and supporting you in this direction.
    Take what you need and leave the rest.

    Sat
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    It is most important to develop a daily practice.
    All the rituals are pointing and supporting you in this direction.
    Take what you need and leave the rest.

    Sat

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

  20. #20
    I'm still wondering why they tied up the cat...

    Gassho,

    Kirk

    sat
    -----
    I know nothing.

  21. #21
    Because you can't tell a cat to do anything. You need to restrain it from doing what it wants

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

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Shokai View Post
    Because you can't tell a cat to do anything. You need to restrain it from doing what it wants

    gassho,Shokai
    That is why it is sometimes said that guiding a Zen Sangha is like "herding cats."

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Shokai View Post
    Because you can't tell a cat to do anything. You need to restrain it from doing what it wants
    Do you not know the story about the cat tied up for zazen?

    http://users.rider.edu/~suler/zenstory/ritualcat.html

    Gassho,

    Kirk

    sat
    -----
    I know nothing.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    It is most important to develop a daily practice.
    All the rituals are pointing and supporting you in this direction.
    Take what you need and leave the rest.

    Sat

  25. #25
    I have been having difficulty with this as well, i think its a large part of why i have been procrastinating on jukai prep. I wonder if there is a fear of becoming "stuck" to rituals. Coming from a formerly christian background i remember that there where many rituals but they carried little weight or personal meaning.
    Gassho
    David
    Sat/lah

  26. #26
    Here is an ancient ritual and ceremony ...


    ... and another old one ...


    (alas, did not get to go this month) ...

    ... Also this ...


    Nuff said?

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-23-2020 at 08:50 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  27. #27
    Our rituals, when all conditioned ideas about 'ritual' are dropped, are for me an open hearted expression of love, faith and respect for the tradition, our teachers and ancestors. There is an ineffable beauty in bowing, in every sense, to this precious gift.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Sattoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Shinshi View Post

    But when I saw that painting it just hit me. You have to know the rules to really truly break the rules. If you just break the rules you are really just kind of flailing around. You can't really be spontaneous unless you know the other side of that coin. So I feel that learning and performing the ritual actually frees me in some weird way. I am not sure I am explaining this very well. It is one of those things I feel in my bones but I don't know if I can articulate it as well as I would like.
    This is very thought provoking. I feel your point came across well.

    Ryan
    Sat Today
    Last edited by Ryan-S; 07-23-2020 at 08:06 PM.

  29. #29
    Member Onka's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Rural Queensland, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Meitou View Post
    Our rituals, when all conditioned ideas about 'ritual' are dropped, are for me an open hearted expression of love, faith and respect for the tradition, our teachers and ancestors. There is an ineffable beauty in bowing, in every sense, to this precious gift.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Sattoday lah
    Gassho
    Onka
    sat
    穏 On (Calm)
    火 Ka (Fires)
    aka Anna Kissed
    Resident Anarchist.
    Pronouns:She/Her They/Them.
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.
    No Gods. No Masters.

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