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Thread: Zen and daydreaming

  1. #1

    Zen and daydreaming

    I woke up early this morning, and as I lay in bed daydreaming I found my Zazen habits cutting in, bringing me back to the present (so in the end I got up and did some early Zazen ). Pondering this, it seems to me that daydreaming (floating off down rabbit holes of fancy) is in many ways the opposite of Zen practice (letting thoughts arise but not serving them tea).

    I wondered if anyone has any thoughts on this? Do you still daydream? Are you just aware of it happening? Or has your daydreaming been zapped by practice?

    Gassho

    Steve

    sat:today

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A6003 using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by floke View Post
    I woke up early this morning, and as I lay in bed daydreaming I found my Zazen habits cutting in, bringing me back to the present (so in the end I got up and did some early Zazen ). Pondering this, it seems to me that daydreaming (floating off down rabbit holes of fancy) is in many ways the opposite of Zen practice (letting thoughts arise but not serving them tea).

    I wondered if anyone has any thoughts on this? Do you still daydream? Are you just aware of it happening? Or has your daydreaming been zapped by practice?

    Gassho

    Steve

    sat:today

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A6003 using Tapatalk
    Oh, I don't know. Perhaps the whole fantastic Lotus Sutra was someone's daydream, and our Soto Ancestor Keizan was a renowned dreamer ... both waking and sleeping ... which he often interpreted as messages from the Buddha world. From page 114 here ...

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

    Personally, there is a time to be serious, a time to let the thoughts quiet and settle in Zazen, a time to focus on thoughts just of what is before one ... but also a time to let the mind lose and just dream looking at passing clouds.

    Gassho, J

    STLah

    PS - A Koan we recently examined had to do with Dogen's view that all of life is just "a dream within a dream" ...

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...NIMITY-Case-90

    MAIN CASE
    Attention!
    Kyozan had a dream in which he went to Maitreya's place and sat in the second seat.
    The Venerable Maitreya said, "Today it is time for the one in the second seat to speak."
    At that Kyozan stood up, struck the podium with the gavel, and said,
    "The Dharma of the Mahayana is beyond all words. I respectfully declare it."
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-03-2020 at 08:55 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    As Dogen says that life is just a dream within a dream, our lives are made up of a series of different levels of dreams. What we see, hear, and feel is not reality, but a version of reality that our brains have evolved to show us to allow us to function. We have daydreams, night dreams, and my own favorite, hypnagogia, those hallucinations you can have just as you're falling asleep. (With me, I often have this if I take a short nap in the afternoon.)

    All these remind us that reality is slippery and liquid, and that we cannot trust what we see/hear/smell/taste/feel.

    Gassho,

    Kirk

    sat
    -----
    I know nothing.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc View Post

    All these remind us that reality is slippery and liquid, and that we cannot trust what we see/hear/smell/taste/feel.

    Gassho,

    Kirk

    sat
    And there's a wonderful liberation in acknowledging and accepting this..

    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by floke View Post
    Pondering this, it seems to me that daydreaming (floating off down rabbit holes of fancy) is in many ways the opposite of Zen practice (letting thoughts arise but not serving them tea).

    I wondered if anyone has any thoughts on this? Do you still daydream? Are you just aware of it happening? Or has your daydreaming been zapped by practice?
    I often daydream on purpose, because I like to make up stories sometimes. I don't see any harm in it as long as one is not living in a fantasy on purpose.

    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.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by floke View Post
    ... Pondering this, it seems to me that daydreaming (floating off down rabbit holes of fancy) is in many ways the opposite of Zen practice (letting thoughts arise but not serving them tea) ...
    I would say, too, that it depends which thoughts not to serve tea, and when: If they are thoughts of greed, anger, jealousy or the like, then we may wish to put those down all the time, even if just in a dream, but we do not have to put down so much the gentle thoughts, or moving thoughts, or thoughts of peace and joy.

    We may wish to put down all our thoughts, both good and bad, during the time of sitting Zazen so that we may taste some truth which shines beyond thoughts ... or we may sometimes wish to just put down our thoughts and to engage in a single action, such as just tasting the tea when drinking tea.

    But we don't just sit Zazen or drink tea that way, so at other times, it is fine to have a head full of thoughts, think about stuff, think about the world, drink tea while thinking about the baseball season, ponder what they should do in Washington or just how to get ink stains out in the wash, look at clouds and daydream.

    So, there are times to put down the thoughts, but also times to think small or great or simple or complicated thoughts or to dream.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-03-2020 at 08:05 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    Personally, there is a time to be serious, a time to let the thoughts quiet and settle in Zazen, a time to focus on thoughts just of what is before one ... but also a time to let the mind lose and just dream looking at passing clouds.

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...NIMITY-Case-90
    Ok, I like this way of looking at things. I just feel sometimes that being (hopefully) more aware of thoughts makes it trickier to drift away with them, because then you're aware that you're drifting rather than 'just drifting' (which might, come to think of it, be a more Zen thing to do). In any case, it's all good.

    Gassho,

    Steve

    Sat:today

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A6003 using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by floke View Post
    Ok, I like this way of looking at things. I just feel sometimes that being (hopefully) more aware of thoughts makes it trickier to drift away with them, because then you're aware that you're drifting rather than 'just drifting' (which might, come to think of it, be a more Zen thing to do). In any case, it's all good.

    Gassho,

    Steve

    Sat:today
    Perhaps we might say that Zen is to "just be ordinary" ...

    ... but at the same time, not to get caught up in the truly harmful aspects of being ordinary (the desires that are in excess to the point of greed, the anger and violence, the jealousy and excess fear and all the rest) ...

    ... all while also seeing through the ordinary, beyond me and you, this and that, coming and going and all the rest, thus to realize how extra-ordinary is this "ordinary" in fact ... that just scratching one's knows or looking out to spy a flower or to be born at all is just a wondrous breath of the whole universe ...

    ... and then just to be ordinary again. Daydreaming is most ordinary, basically harmless, please indulge. In the time of daydreaming, feel free to dream.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Perhaps we might say that Zen is to "just be ordinary" ...

    ... but at the same time, not to get caught up in the truly harmful aspects of being ordinary (the desires that are in excess to the point of greed, the anger and violence, the jealousy and excess fear and all the rest) ...

    ... all while also seeing through the ordinary, beyond me and you, this and that, coming and going and all the rest, thus to realize how extra-ordinary is this "ordinary" in fact ... that just scratching one's knows or looking out to spy a flower or to be born at all is just a wondrous breath of the whole universe ...

    ... and then just to be ordinary again. Daydreaming is most ordinary, basically harmless, please indulge. In the time of daydreaming, feel free to dream.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    I will henceforth refer to the act of trying to remember something as "scratching my knows."

    Gassho
    Kyōshin
    Satlah

    Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    "scratching my knows."

    Yes. A Dogenian slip.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  11. #11
    I moved a few posts from various current threads that mentioned the "Bardo" and "spirit/soul" in Soto Zen here:

    COMBINED THREAD: Soto Zen, the 'Bardo,' and Spirit
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...rdo-and-Spirit

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  12. #12
    I'm happy to daydream - just not to ruminate, in which case I zap it Maybe my views will change on this over time, but I think daydreams can be useful.

    Gassho,
    Gareth
    Sat today
    Last edited by bad_buddha_007; 08-21-2020 at 07:44 PM.

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