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Thread: Rapturous Samadhi?

  1. #1

    Lightbulb Rapturous Samadhi?

    Any thoughts on navigating the sometimes rapturous terrain of Samadhi without being attached to the pleasant meditation experiences it sometimes produces?

    Are these states significant indicating right practice to some extent or are they to be disregarded as so many phantasms of the mind?

    I'm also interested in personal experiences with reflections on how they relate to practice if anyone would like to share.

    Gassho

    -Andrew-

    SatLah


  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by A.J. View Post
    Any thoughts on navigating the sometimes rapturous terrain of Samadhi without being attached to the pleasant meditation experiences it sometimes produces?

    Are these states significant indicating right practice to some extent or are they to be disregarded as so many phantasms of the mind?

    I'm also interested in personal experiences with reflections on how they relate to practice if anyone would like to share.

    Gassho

    -Andrew-

    SatLah

    Hi Andrew
    I've never experienced anything close to pleasant while sitting. I actually find sitting extremely painful but what I personally gain in acceptance of each moment impacts more on others and how I engage with the world than myself.
    Gassho
    Onka
    Sat today

  3. #3
    During any pleasant state in life, in zazen or otherwise, I just enjoy it while it visits and let it go when it goes. I do not push it away or disallow myself from looking forward to a good thing. They are not a sign of good or bad practice, just a part of life and sitting, as are also the less pleasant feelings.

    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.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by A.J. View Post
    Any thoughts on navigating the sometimes rapturous terrain of Samadhi without being attached to the pleasant meditation experiences it sometimes produces?

    Are these states significant indicating right practice to some extent or are they to be disregarded as so many phantasms of the mind?

    I'm also interested in personal experiences with reflections on how they relate to practice if anyone would like to share.

    Gassho

    -Andrew-

    SatLah

    Hi Andrew,

    Just as Geika teaches. Lovely.

    Generally, in Soto Zen, they are neither to be run toward nor turned away from. In themselves, they are jewels, yet are not signs of progress. When they are present, we celebrate such. When they are not present, we celebrate such. I stumbled on a related quote today from Master Dogen in his Hokyo Zanmai (Precious Mirror Samadhi). Dogen is commenting on a saying by a Chinese master that "Aiming toward suchness is wrong." Dōgen then says that turning away from suchness is wrong, aiming toward suchness is also wrong, and then adds, "Aiming toward suchness and turning away from suchness are also both just suchness. Moreover, even being wrong is also itself suchness."

    Some kinds of Buddhism and other meditation practices take the reaching of very deep, or very blissful and rapturous states as progress. That can be a kind of narcotic, and misses the subtle message that Illuminates even the ordinary mind AND the blissful mind to the wise.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    By the way, Andrew, you might be interested in the history and examination of Jhana and samadhi by Richard Shankman. He makes the argument that the Fourth Jhana, originally the highest, is actually a putting aside of blissful and highly concentrated states in favor of equanimious sitting with a sense of wholeness, at least as described in the Suttas before the Vishudimagga and other commentaries (perhaps under the influence of Bhraman/Hindu practices which the Buddha originally may have rejected) turned the meaning of Jhana to some kinds of deeply concentrated and blissful, even other worldly states:

    "Just Sitting" Shikantaza which we practice at Treeleaf is placed in historical context perhaps closer to the intent of the older Pali Suttas for "open, spacious, aware samadhi which thus brings insight" than other later forms.

    Richard Shankman--a teacher in the insight meditation tradition and the author of the recently released book The Experience of Samadhi--joins us to discuss the various teachings and approaches to what in the Theravada tradition is called samadhi or concentration meditation.

    During this episode Richard shares some of his personal background with samadhi practice and also explains two different forms of deep samadhi, called jhana in the Theravada tradition--one from the time of the Buddha as captured by the Pali Suttas and another which arouse hundreds of years later and which is captured in the authoritative text, the Visuddhimagga. Listen in to find out about these different forms of deep concentration and absorption, which are a hallmark of the Theravada tradition of Buddhism...

    ...

    Discussion with insight meditation teacher and author, Richard Shankman. In this episode we continue to dissect the different kinds of samadhi and their respective fruits--what in the Theravada tradition are called jhana (or "meditative absorption"). According to Shankman there are two ways of approaching the attainment of jhana, one as was taught in the original canonical texts of the Theravada, the Pali Suttas, and the other from the later commentaries on the Buddha's teachings, the Vishudimagga. As a result we get two different forms of jhana--one called Sutta jhana and the other called Vishudimagga jhana. This two-fold understanding, though geeky, shines light on the different methods of practicing both samadhi and vipassana meditation and offers a unitary model for understanding the two together.

    His book:

    https://books.google.co.jp/books/abo...on&redir_esc=y

    Interview 1

    https://art19.com/shows/buddhist-gee...e-dbf132e13cce

    Interview 2

    https://art19.com/shows/buddhist-gee...d-611262bfad41
    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    I'm enjoying the beautiful experiences during Zazen, but also allow the things I do not find pleasant to come and go. We don't have to prefer one experience over another.

    Geika already put it into beautiful words.

    Gassho

    Horin

    Stlah

    Enviado desde mi PLK-L01 mediante Tapatalk

  7. #7
    PS - A bit more on this, from an old post:

    Richard Shankman's book makes one very interesting point about the "Fourth Jhana in the Suttas," as opposed to the highly concentrated, hyper-absorbed Visuddhimagga commentary version. The Fourth Jhana in the Pali Suttas was considered the 'summit' of Jhana practice (as the higher Jhana, No. 5 to 8, were not encouraged as a kind of otherworldly 'dead end') and appears to manifest (quoting the sutta descriptions in the book) "an abandoning of pleasure, pain, attractions/aversions, a dropping of both joy and grief", a dropping away of both rapture and bliss states, resulting in a "purity of mindfulness" and "equanimity". Combine this with the fact that, more than a "one pointed mind absorbed into a particular object", there is a "unification of mind" (described as a broader awareness around the object of meditation ... whereby the "mind itself becomes collected and unmoving, but not the objects of awareness, as mindfulness becomes lucid, effortless and unbroken" (See, for examples. pages 82-83 here))

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

    A bit of the discussion of the highest (in Buddhist Practice) "Fourth Jhana", and its emphasis on equanimity while present amid circumstances (and a dropping of bliss states), can be found on page 49.

    This is very close to a description of Shikantaza, for example, as dropping all aversions and attractions, finding unification of mind, collected and unmoving, effortless and unbroken, in/as/through/not removed from the life, circumstances, complexities which surround us and are us, sitting still with what is just as it is.
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-07-2020 at 07:17 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    I don't recall experiencing rapture. Due to personal circumstances, sitting is often painful or uncomfortable for me -- so I learn to be with whatever is for short periods. Otherwise, I also sit with other times, when I focus on breathing and just being present.

    At some point this year, my experience of strong emotions may have lessened, or maybe I just stopped engaging, I'm not sure. I'm not making a judgment, simply reflecting on what has changed. As for the pain, that's become like anything else I live with.

    Gassho, meian st lh

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
    迷安 - Mei An - Wandering At Rest

  9. #9
    I don't believe that I've ever experienced this with Shikantaza, though it was fairly frequent when I was doing jhana practices, and working with the various stages of Pīti. In those it was supposed to be a marker for progress, but honestly it just felt like my mind was making things up because it was bored. The human brain is incredibly powerful, and living in an illusory world is wild and beautiful...Geika said it best, though!

    Gassho,

    Joshua
    SatToday

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Onka View Post
    Hi Andrew
    I've never experienced anything close to pleasant while sitting. I actually find sitting extremely painful but what I personally gain in acceptance of each moment impacts more on others and how I engage with the world than myself.
    Gassho
    Onka
    Sat today
    I'd have to say the same for myself. It's not something I look forward to doing, or generally enjoy doing after all these years. Dogen said zazen "is the dharma gate of joyful ease," which I could never square with the reality of my sitting practice.

    If I want physical and mental pleasantness, I do yoga asanas or breathing exercises. (And admittedly, I'm more likely to do these than zazen lately...which is why I don't post much here anymore, but felt compelled to say something in this case, lest anyone gets the idea that after years of practice zazen will somehow magically become amazing for everyone...)

    s2d/lah
    Last edited by Kaishin; 08-07-2020 at 08:14 PM.
    Thanks,
    Kaishin (Open Heart aka Matt)
    Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

  11. #11
    Hi Andrew

    I have had times when I was sitting when I broke into a completely spontaneous smile due to the joy that rose up in me. Other times, it has seemed like someone has tinkered with my timer settings as pain meant sitting felt endless.

    Our practice is not to generate any special state but instead to sit with things just as they are. So, if pleasure is there we sit with that and likewise if there is pain. Each is just dependent arising, and attaching the idea of 'I' or 'mine' to it is to risk attachment or aversion.

    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.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    Hi Andrew

    I have had times when I was sitting when I broke into a completely spontaneous smile due to the joy that rose up in me. Other times, it has seemed like someone has tinkered with my timer settings as pain meant sitting felt endless.

    Our practice is not to generate any special state but instead to sit with things just as they are. So, if pleasure is there we sit with that and likewise if there is pain. Each is just dependent arising, and attaching the idea of 'I' or 'mine' to it is to risk attachment or aversion.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-



    Horin

    Stlah


    Enviado desde mi PLK-L01 mediante Tapatalk

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    Hi Andrew

    I have had times when I was sitting when I broke into a completely spontaneous smile due to the joy that rose up in me. Other times, it has seemed like someone has tinkered with my timer settings as pain meant sitting felt endless.

    Our practice is not to generate any special state but instead to sit with things just as they are. So, if pleasure is there we sit with that and likewise if there is pain. Each is just dependent arising, and attaching the idea of 'I' or 'mine' to it is to risk attachment or aversion.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    Thank you Kokuu. That is funny - the biggest problems I have with practice is when I try to do it for some purpose or reject it for lack thereof. In a way, it just doesn't matter what you feel; just sit. Once you really understand that you want to sit, which may take a while - that ox is stubborn, I know mine is, then you just say I'm doing this, and no matter how you feel it just doesn't matter anymore

    Gassho

    Rish
    -stlah

  14. #14
    I've never purposely aimed at blissful states in meditation having already been influenced by Zen as well as Chogyam Trungpa's "Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism" early on in my exploration of practice. However, I have at times stumbled upon them and been surprised at the strong quality of equanimity with absorption they can have. This has sometimes sent me looking back into the Hindu and early Buddhist traditions from which the entire practice of formal meditation sprang for some commentary on the subject matter...

    ...all points of view on the subject are appreciated

    Gassho

    -Andrew-

    SatLah.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Meian View Post
    I don't recall experiencing rapture. ....
    Hmmm. I am actually a bit surprised by the comments from some of our long time Zazen folks that they have never, or rarely, experienced rapture or deep bliss states (I am not speaking about "rapture" to the extent that one feels as if one has just mainlined heroin or even the laughing gas from the dentist, but a simple and powerful feeling of bliss while sitting). It is actually very easy for me to summon up waves of bliss during sitting, putting aside thoughts, centering on breath or the moment or open awareness, then accessing within as if "pushing a button" a feeling of warm bliss. Do so all together, and it is a powerful experience (even that warm feeling between the eyes will often manifest, although I put that down just to my relaxing and becoming aware of that "third eye" spot, and not some mysterious chakra or the like. Focus on the left elbow in such a time, and one experiences "third elbow" ).

    The reason that we don't do so in Shikantaza is because it is like the chocolate cake in the refrigerator: It is there, luscious and delicious, but I don't chase after it or make it the "be all end all" of my meal just because it is so sweet and delicious and pleasant. It is part of a well balanced meal, but I accept whatever is healthy and put on my plate, including the bitter but nutritious greens. If I only run to the fridge seeking cake cake cake, sweet sweet sweet, then it is but another drug, and I miss that the rest ... soup and nuts, water and greens, bitter and sweet, welcome and unwelcome ... is the whole meal of life. In Zen, we also see through all the separate dishes and tastes to the Buddha that is serving the meal! That is why we do not emphasize the bliss of chocolate cake, but neither do we run from it if it sometimes manifests for dessert.

    I would like to ask folks to try a little experiment during Shikantaza, breaking our usual protocol: After you have been sitting for a few minutes, settled a bit, recall a memory of what it feels like to be blissful. Summon up that memory and the actual sensation of bliss, waves of peace and contentment washing through your heart. Can you do so, and actually summon up feelings of bliss? Be like a "method actor" for awhile, staying with that feeling of bliss as if you are acting out what it feels like to be blissful, a goddess floating on Cloud 9, enveloped in powerful feeling as if you just breathed in some peace gas. Bath in the feeling. Can you do so? Please report back to us.

    However, after a minute or two, please put the chocolate cake down, return to just sitting in equanimity with whatever comes.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah

    PS - Even raptures to rival heroin are possible with some meditations forms, but we consider that a trap almost as bad as actually shooting up.
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-08-2020 at 03:32 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #16
    I, too, have never experienced a "bliss" state in zazen, but I have many times from other forms of meditation and ritual. I consider it a selling point of zazen, actually; after a while those bliss states become, as Jundo said, a sugary distraction. I have, however, zoned out, gotten super relaxed, felt pain, checked out of my body, had muscle cramps, confronted the horrifying demons of my own anxieties, traumas, and neuroses, and experienced a very deep sense of equanimity, all of which are, to me, more valuable and interesting.

    Gassho
    Kyōshin
    Satlah

    Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk

  17. #17
    Gassho2, Jundo, will do so.

    Gassho, meian, st lh

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
    迷安 - Mei An - Wandering At Rest

  18. #18
    Jundo you hit the nail on the head; today during zazen lots of thunderclouds but they pass and there’s wide open sky and more come but the wide open sky is always there; that peace, serenity, bliss. To steal from your blender or finger puzzle analogies, just sitting lets the blender stop or the finger puzzle release but chasing that feeling is just going to spin that blender faster; sitting with the clouds, you feel that wide open sky with them, in them, thry are nothing but sky and hopefully that sense of peace is accessible in daily life when those clouds are weaponized! hahaha

    gassho

    rish
    -stlah

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hmmm. I am actually a bit surprised by the comments from some of our long time Zazen folks that they have never, or rarely, experienced rapture or deep bliss states (I am not speaking about "rapture" to the extent that one feels as if one has just mainlined heroin or even the laughing gas from the dentist, but a simple and powerful feeling of bliss while sitting). It is actually very easy for me to summon up waves of bliss during sitting, putting aside thoughts, centering on breath or the moment or open awareness, then accessing within as if "pushing a button" a feeling of warm bliss. Do so all together, and it is a powerful experience (even that warm feeling between the eyes will often manifest, although I put that down just to my relaxing and becoming aware of that "third eye" spot, and not some mysterious chakra or the like. Focus on the left elbow in such a time, and one experiences "third elbow" ).

    The reason that we don't do so in Shikantaza is because it is like the chocolate cake in the refrigerator: It is there, luscious and delicious, but I don't chase after it or make it the "be all end all" of my meal just because it is so sweet and delicious and pleasant. It is part of a well balanced meal, but I accept whatever is healthy and put on my plate, including the bitter but nutritious greens. If I only run to the fridge seeking cake cake cake, sweet sweet sweet, then it is but another drug, and I miss that the rest ... soup and nuts, water and greens, bitter and sweet, welcome and unwelcome ... is the whole meal of life. In Zen, we also see through all the separate dishes and tastes to the Buddha that is serving the meal! That is why we do not emphasize the bliss of chocolate cake, but neither do we run from it if it sometimes manifests for dessert.

    I would like to ask folks to try a little experiment during Shikantaza, breaking our usual protocol: After you have been sitting for a few minutes, settled a bit, recall a memory of what it feels like to be blissful. Summon up that memory and the actual sensation of bliss, waves of peace and contentment washing through your heart. Can you do so, and actually summon up feelings of bliss? Be like a "method actor" for awhile, staying with that feeling of bliss as if you are acting out what it feels like to be blissful, a goddess floating on Cloud 9, enveloped in powerful feeling as if you just breathed in some peace gas. Bath in the feeling. Can you do so? Please report back to us.

    However, after a minute or two, please put the chocolate cake down, return to just sitting in equanimity with whatever comes.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah

    PS - Even raptures to rival heroin are possible with some meditations forms, but we consider that a trap almost as bad as actually shooting up.
    I too was somewhat surprised (knowing full well that Zen doesn't endorse "chasing" blissful meditative states) that there weren't more personal reflections on integrating such experiences into the context of a broader practice of Zazen, which was in part what I was especially interested in.

    I've never chased or even intentionally cultivated (cultivation being a legitimate part of the practice in some schools of Buddhism) these conditions of meditation but have merely found that sometimes sitting straight, breathing through the nostrils and letting the mind be with a soft focus on the moment by moment, begins at some point to feel really good.

    Sometimes this feeling grows until there is a strong felt sense of equanimity, serenity, bliss, etc. and it is because of these effects that I've sought input on how to integrate this potential part of Zazen.

    P.S. is there perhaps a Zen paranoia about "chasing" meditative states?

    Gassho,

    Andrew

    Satlah

  20. #20
    Oh yeah, and I found that bit about "third elbow" pretty funny, hehe.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by A.J. View Post
    P.S. is there perhaps a Zen paranoia about "chasing" meditative states?
    Not paranoia, and more a Zen wisdom about not "chasing."

    This all became the topic of today's talk during Zazenkai, although it pretty much just summarizes many of the points made in the discussion here. From the 56:00 mark ...


    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  22. #22
    Sometimes this feeling grows until there is a strong felt sense of equanimity, serenity, bliss, etc. and it is because of these effects that I've sought input on how to integrate this potential part of Zazen.

    P.S. is there perhaps a Zen paranoia about "chasing" meditative states?
    As Jundo says, not paranoia, just an observation that human beings tend to be attached to pleasant experiences.

    You have got an answer here that you integrate these states by treating them like any other. However, you seem to be looking for a different response.

    The equanimity we practice here is to treat each meditation state the same - we experience it and then let it go. But you seem to have found this state of blissful equanimity and then want to treat it as something special. It isn't. Well, no more so than any other.

    Other Buddhist traditions may give you a difference answer. The one here remains the same in keeping with how we practice.

    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.

  23. #23
    In obedience to Jundo's experiment, this morning I brought to mind memories of my kids spending time together, and my younger daughter playing with the cat. These memories have no conflicting emotions attached to them; thus, they brought up my giggly/bubbly reaction without complications, sustained for a couple minutes. I then let go and returned to shikantaza as normal, with its challenges and wanderings.

    gassho, meian st lh
    迷安 - Mei An - Wandering At Rest

  24. #24
    Member RobD's Avatar
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    Massachusetts, United States
    Something Jundo said in his talk during Zazenkai last night resonated with me, but I had to process it a bit before commenting. He mentioned how even if he could live in a state of constant bliss, he wouldn't choose to do so. I fully agree.

    I used to become quite frustrated that I was never experiencing any blissful or rapturous states during (or outside of) Zazen. After all, that's why I "signed up" for Buddhism in the first place, right?

    I have experienced deep states of calm, like being in the eye of the hurricane of my thoughts, etc., but I can't say that it ever felt rapturous. Those states are enjoyable for the peace they bring, but again, I can't say that I would classify them as blissful or rapturous, but perhaps my expectations are too high? Maybe those states are the most profound "blissful" states that I will ever achieve. If so, that is just fine with me.

    Over the years, I've slowly let go of the expectation (for the most part) of achieving anything in particular through practice, and have come to appreciate practice for what it reveals each time I sit on the cushion. I would be lying if I said that there aren't times where I would prefer that my mind is more easily settled or not so terribly sleepy. However, like Jundo said last night, I wouldn't want to just "bliss out" without end. I don't want to escape the world; I just want to experience it more clearly.

    Gassho,
    Rob

    -st-


    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  25. #25
    Thanks for this interesting thread!
    When I sit from time to time I encounter states that feel very extraordinary, very blissful and special. And as I mentioned here occasionally, in the beginning I didn't know how to handle, or I didn't know what this is. It was so great that I wanted to make it permanent... Now I know, because Jundo emphasized it, that these states are not the goal.
    As it was said before, there is no state better or more valuable than another, although we may encounter from ordinary to extraordinary, from unpleasant to pleasant everything.
    I don't think that dogen, as the stated that our practice is the dharma Gate of ease and joy is something blissful and special that we have to encounter through sitting Zazen. And this is my slight understanding, which may also be completely wrong: As far as I understand, he pointed out that we have no need to arrive through our practice, nothing to archive but sitting in hishiryo beyond the things that are passing by in our heads, and without expectations nor goals, mushotoku, we fulfill our practice on this instant moment - no matter what we face during this time.
    It's not like in other traditions like Rinzai where they work with Koan or other methods to "break though" something, to archive a certain state like Satori or Kensho.
    Dogen critized this approach in Zazenshin when he said:

    “In recent years, however, stupid unreliable people have said, “In the effort of zazen, to attain peace of mind is everything. Just this is the state of tranquility.” This opinion is beneath even scholars of the Small Vehicle.”

    So, when we sit in the balanced posture and body and mind calm down, and by this balance, when body and mind drop off, we are receptive for something greater which can be extraordinary and ordinary, because all of what we face is already that ineffable..

    I hope my understanding is not entirely wrong

    Gassho
    Horin

    Stlah

    Enviado desde mi PLK-L01 mediante Tapatalk

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    As Jundo says, not paranoia, just an observation that human beings tend to be attached to pleasant experiences.

    You have got an answer here that you integrate these states by treating them like any other. However, you seem to be looking for a different response.

    The equanimity we practice here is to treat each meditation state the same - we experience it and then let it go. But you seem to have found this state of blissful equanimity and then want to treat it as something special. It isn't. Well, no more so than any other.

    Other Buddhist traditions may give you a difference answer. The one here remains the same in keeping with how we practice.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    No, I'm not looking for a different answer. I specified that I had a particular interest if anyone had any personal reflections on experiences they had, meaning initial reaction and how it was processed in the larger context of the kind of approach already discussed and not just in the general concept of "ah yes, everything is fleeting, the good and the bad, the pleasant and the unpleasant... etc."

    So again, no, not a different answer but potentially a more individual way of relating to that answer rather than what has been (some, not all) the run of the mill buddheme generalities.

    Gassho

    -Andrew-

    Satlah.
    Last edited by A.J.; 08-08-2020 at 06:50 PM.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Horin View Post
    Thanks for this interesting thread!
    When I sit from time to time I encounter states that feel very extraordinary, very blissful and special. And as I mentioned here occasionally, in the beginning I didn't know how to handle, or I didn't know what this is. It was so great that I wanted to make it permanent... Now I know, because Jundo emphasized it, that these states are not the goal.
    As it was said before, there is no state better or more valuable than another, although we may encounter from ordinary to extraordinary, from unpleasant to pleasant everything.
    I don't think that dogen, as the stated that our practice is the dharma Gate of ease and joy is something blissful and special that we have to encounter through sitting Zazen. And this is my slight understanding, which may also be completely wrong: As far as I understand, he pointed out that we have no need to arrive through our practice, nothing to archive but sitting in hishiryo beyond the things that are passing by in our heads, and without expectations nor goals, mushotoku, we fulfill our practice on this instant moment - no matter what we face during this time.
    It's not like in other traditions like Rinzai where they work with Koan or other methods to "break though" something, to archive a certain state like Satori or Kensho.
    Dogen critized this approach in Zazenshin when he said:

    “In recent years, however, stupid unreliable people have said, “In the effort of zazen, to attain peace of mind is everything. Just this is the state of tranquility.” This opinion is beneath even scholars of the Small Vehicle.”

    So, when we sit in the balanced posture and body and mind calm down, and by this balance, when body and mind drop off, we are receptive for something greater which can be extraordinary and ordinary, because all of what we face is already that ineffable..

    I hope my understanding is not entirely wrong

    Gassho
    Horin

    Stlah

    Enviado desde mi PLK-L01 mediante Tapatalk
    I like your reflection but wonder about that quote from Dogen. He seems to betray some prejudice against the early vehicle of Buddhism as well as his own Zen neighbors. How special and unique does he think his 'not special' version is? Just a thought off the top of my head.

    Gassho,

    -Andrew-

    Satlah.

  28. #28
    Andrew, what personal reflections are you looking for? As in, what do you mean by 'personal reflection'? I don't understand your request, I think.

    Gassho, meian st lh

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
    迷安 - Mei An - Wandering At Rest

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by RobD View Post
    Something Jundo said in his talk during Zazenkai last night resonated with me, but I had to process it a bit before commenting. He mentioned how even if he could live in a state of constant bliss, he wouldn't choose to do so. I fully agree.

    I used to become quite frustrated that I was never experiencing any blissful or rapturous states during (or outside of) Zazen. After all, that's why I "signed up" for Buddhism in the first place, right?

    I have experienced deep states of calm, like being in the eye of the hurricane of my thoughts, etc., but I can't say that it ever felt rapturous. Those states are enjoyable for the peace they bring, but again, I can't say that I would classify them as blissful or rapturous, but perhaps my expectations are too high? Maybe those states are the most profound "blissful" states that I will ever achieve. If so, that is just fine with me.

    Over the years, I've slowly let go of the expectation (for the most part) of achieving anything in particular through practice, and have come to appreciate practice for what it reveals each time I sit on the cushion. I would be lying if I said that there aren't times where I would prefer that my mind is more easily settled or not so terribly sleepy. However, like Jundo said last night, I wouldn't want to just "bliss out" without end. I don't want to escape the world; I just want to experience it more clearly.

    Gassho,
    Rob

    -st-


    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
    Blissful experiences aren't the goal in my mind though they are nice like walking past some flowers you can smell from the sidewalk. However, in sitting they may hit without seeking and be surprising in strength. Therefore my seeking of various kinds of input as to what to make of them.

    Gassho,

    -Andrew-

    Satlah.

  30. #30
    "...what personal reflections are you looking for? As in, what do you mean by 'personal reflection'? I don't understand your request, I think.

    Gassho, meian st lh"


    Actually in your particular experiment along with your reflection I thought you answered a good part of my question decently. Along with the fairly typical Zen Buddhist responses I've just been looking for something related to actual human experience rather than doctrinal abstractions.

    -Andrew-

    Gassho

    Satlah.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by A.J. View Post
    I like your reflection but wonder about that quote from Dogen. He seems to betray some prejudice against the early vehicle of Buddhism as well as his own Zen neighbors. How special and unique does he think his 'not special' version is? Just a thought off the top of my head.

    Gassho,

    -Andrew-

    Satlah.
    My idea on it is that Dogen Zenji tried to make clear that the effort to attain certain mind states in order to gain personal liberation through the practice is the wrong way. He called it hinayana. Afaik is this exactly describing the aim for self liberation. Our bodhisattva vows aim in another direction. we try to liberate all sentient beings. We take the last place in the queue. And yet, we cannot seperate awakening from the practice of Zazen, according to dogen.

    Please correct me if I'm on a wrong track with this



    Gassho

    Horin

    Stlah

    Enviado desde mi PLK-L01 mediante Tapatalk

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Horin View Post
    My idea on it is that Dogen Zenji tried to make clear that the effort to attain certain mind states in order to gain personal liberation through the practice is the wrong way. He called it hinayana. Afaik is this exactly describing the aim for self liberation. Our bodhisattva vows aim in another direction. we try to liberate all sentient beings. We take the last place in the queue. And yet, we cannot seperate awakening from the practice of Zazen, according to dogen.

    Please correct me if I'm on a wrong track with this



    Gassho

    Horin

    Stlah

    Enviado desde mi PLK-L01 mediante Tapatalk
    Oh, I wouldn't aim at any corrections, just discussion. I like the Mahayana ideal of compassion combined with the Zen sort of aloofness from all fluctuation of feeling and thought but if Dogen's choice of words were along the lines of referring to another school of Zen as "stupid unreliable people" and the early vehicle as "even the hinayana" then he just sounds spiteful of his near kin by choice of verbiage.

    Gassho,

    -Andrew-

    Satlah
    Last edited by A.J.; 08-08-2020 at 07:01 PM.

  33. #33
    I sit. And i live.

    How my sitting transfers to living, tells me whether my practice is fruitful. How I live the Precepts -- or don't. How I serve others, or don't. Etc.

    That's how I see it. That's just me.

    My response earlier was in answer to Jundo's request, and as I understood it, that my practice is unbalanced. So, I can correct this now. And if not, I will correct again.

    This thread is full of wisdom shared from members and priests. I believe your question has been answered.

    Gassho, meian, st lh

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
    迷安 - Mei An - Wandering At Rest

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Meian View Post
    I sit. And i live.

    How my sitting transfers to living, tells me whether my practice is fruitful. How I live the Precepts -- or don't. How I serve others, or don't. Etc.

    That's how I see it. That's just me.

    My response earlier was in answer to Jundo's request, and as I understood it, that my practice is unbalanced. So, I can correct this now. And if not, I will correct again.

    This thread is full of wisdom shared from members and priests. I believe your question has been answered.

    Gassho, meian, st lh

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
    I appreciate the varieties of answers, both the ones that are generalized through the reiteration of tradition and the one's where there is actually a person in there who is answering.

    I enjoy discussion rather than -open book: question, -closed book: question answered.

    Life is a process so I don't close the book.

    -Gassho,

    -Andrew-

    Satlah

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Horin View Post
    ...
    As it was said before, there is no state better or more valuable than another, although we may encounter from ordinary to extraordinary, from unpleasant to pleasant everything.
    I don't think that dogen, as the stated that our practice is the dharma Gate of ease and joy is something blissful and special that we have to encounter through sitting Zazen. And this is my slight understanding, which may also be completely wrong: As far as I understand, he pointed out that we have no need to arrive through our practice, nothing to archive but sitting in hishiryo beyond the things that are passing by in our heads, and without expectations nor goals, mushotoku, we fulfill our practice on this instant moment - no matter what we face during this time. ...
    Lovely reflections, Horin. I just want to underline one point about "no state better or more valuable than another," because that kind of comment is sometimes misunderstood by people. Even though we sit in Zazen allowing all thoughts, emotions and conditions to be "just as they are," that does not mean that we sit there wallowing in thoughts, playing along or stirring up our emotions, encouraging the anger and such just to run wild. Instead, we disentangle from our excess desires, anger, jealousy, fears and other divided thinking, aversions and attractions. Then, this world is still this world, the scary things, the ugly or unpleasant things often remain ... and yet all is quite otherwise, and even the darkness is illuminated.

    Quote Originally Posted by A.J. View Post
    I like your reflection but wonder about that quote from Dogen. He seems to betray some prejudice against the early vehicle of Buddhism as well as his own Zen neighbors. How special and unique does he think his 'not special' version is? ....

    Blissful experiences aren't the goal in my mind though they are nice like walking past some flowers you can smell from the sidewalk. However, in sitting they may hit without seeking and be surprising in strength.
    Ah, in Zazen the sitter encounters the pleasant and sometimes the unpleasant, the beautiful and ugly and in between. Walking the streets, we walk past flowers but also rancid trash sometimes. All things are as they are. And yet, by allowing all things to be as they are, the frictions and divisions begin to drop away, and a certain illumination shines through. Suchness appears, a certain Joy, Peace and Wholeness, that shines through passing feelings of pleasant or unpleasant, washing in both the beautiful and ugly, flowers or trash. Nonetheless, Master Dogen's way of "Practice-Enlightenment" is still to do what we can, in this life and world, to plant beautiful flowers and pick up the trash, i.e., to act gently and with compassion, and to avoid the excess desire, anger, jealousy and such.

    As to his comments on "Hinayana" and the "Small Vehicle," Dogen knew nothing of the world beyond Japan and a small corner of China, and only knew Buddhist history from the few Buddhist Sutras and legends available at the time. So, usually when Dogen spoke such things he meant an overly scholarly, "armchair," approach, or a goal oriented or self-absorbed kind of practice, not any particular sect or geography.

    It was a prejudice common throughout "Mahayana" (so-called "Great Vehicle" Buddhism) that its way was better and more powerful that the Sutta teachings which, supposedly, Shakyamuni taught only to those who "could not handle" the power of the Great Vehicle. Alas, yes, people commonly tend to think that their way is best and special. I prefer to speak of different paths for different feet, varied medicines for varied patients.

    Gassho, J

    STLah

    (Alas, more than three phrases.)
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-08-2020 at 08:19 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Lovely reflections, Horin. I just want to underline one point about "no state better or more valuable than another," because that kind of comment is sometimes misunderstood by people. Even though we sit in Zazen allowing all thoughts, emotions and conditions to be "just as they are," that does not mean that we sit there wallowing in thoughts, playing along or stirring up our emotions, encouraging the anger and such just to run wild. Instead, we disentangle from our excess desires, anger, jealousy, fears and other divided thinking, aversions and attractions. Then, this world is still this world, the scary things, the ugly or unpleasant things often remain ... and yet all is quite otherwise, and even the darkness is illuminated.



    Ah, in Zazen the sitter encounters the pleasant and sometimes the unpleasant, the beautiful and ugly and in between. Walking the streets, we walk past flowers but also rancid trash sometimes. All things are as they are. And yet, by allowing all things to be as they are, the frictions and divisions begin to drop away, and a certain illumination shines through. Suchness appears, a certain Joy, Peace and Wholeness, that shines through passing feelings of pleasant or unpleasant, washing in both the beautiful and ugly, flowers or trash. Nonetheless, Master Dogen's way of "Practice-Enlightenment" is still to do what we can, in this life and world, to plant beautiful flowers and pick up the trash, i.e., to act gently and with compassion, and to avoid the excess desire, anger, jealousy and such.

    As to his comments on "Hinayana" and the "Small Vehicle," Dogen knew nothing of the world beyond Japan and a small corner of China, and only knew Buddhist history from the few Buddhist Sutras and legends available at the time. So, usually when Dogen spoke such things he meant an overly scholarly, goal oriented or self-absorbed kind of practice, not any particular sect or geography.

    It was a prejudice common throughout "Mahayana" (so-called "Great Vehicle" Buddhism) that its way was better and more powerful that the Sutta teachings which, supposedly, Shakyamuni taught only to those who "could not handle" the power of the Great Vehicle. Alas, yes, people commonly tend to think that their way is best and special. I prefer to speak of different paths for different feet, varied medicines for varied patients.

    Gassho, J

    STLah

    (Alas, more than three phrases.)



    Horin
    Stlah

    Enviado desde mi PLK-L01 mediante Tapatalk
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-08-2020 at 09:52 PM.

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Lovely reflections, Horin. I just want to underline one point about "no state better or more valuable than another," because that kind of comment is sometimes misunderstood by people. Even though we sit in Zazen allowing all thoughts, emotions and conditions to be "just as they are," that does not mean that we sit there wallowing in thoughts, playing along or stirring up our emotions, encouraging the anger and such just to run wild. Instead, we disentangle from our excess desires, anger, jealousy, fears and other divided thinking, aversions and attractions. Then, this world is still this world, the scary things, the ugly or unpleasant things often remain ... and yet all is quite otherwise, and even the darkness is illuminated.



    Ah, in Zazen the sitter encounters the pleasant and sometimes the unpleasant, the beautiful and ugly and in between. Walking the streets, we walk past flowers but also rancid trash sometimes. All things are as they are. And yet, by allowing all things to be as they are, the frictions and divisions begin to drop away, and a certain illumination shines through. Suchness appears, a certain Joy, Peace and Wholeness, that shines through passing feelings of pleasant or unpleasant, washing in both the beautiful and ugly, flowers or trash. Nonetheless, Master Dogen's way of "Practice-Enlightenment" is still to do what we can, in this life and world, to plant beautiful flowers and pick up the trash, i.e., to act gently and with compassion, and to avoid the excess desire, anger, jealousy and such.

    As to his comments on "Hinayana" and the "Small Vehicle," Dogen knew nothing of the world beyond Japan and a small corner of China, and only knew Buddhist history from the few Buddhist Sutras and legends available at the time. So, usually when Dogen spoke such things he meant an overly scholarly, "armchair," approach, or a goal oriented or self-absorbed kind of practice, not any particular sect or geography.

    It was a prejudice common throughout "Mahayana" (so-called "Great Vehicle" Buddhism) that its way was better and more powerful that the Sutta teachings which, supposedly, Shakyamuni taught only to those who "could not handle" the power of the Great Vehicle. Alas, yes, people commonly tend to think that their way is best and special. I prefer to speak of different paths for different feet, varied medicines for varied patients.

    Gassho, J

    STLah

    (Alas, more than three phrases.)
    If Dogen said "stupid, unreliable people" in reference to other practitioners it still seems a little much to me but his unfamiliarity with the reality of other schools puts it in some perspective.

    Alas, I feel I've emphasized I'm not into chasing meditative states and value whatever happens to be there but that I had a particular curiosity of what people made of the "rapturous" because of the stark nature of experiences stumbled upon at times.

    Flowers are flowers, trash is trash.

    Gassho,

    Andrew,

    Satlah.

  38. #38
    Wanting to talk about rapturous samadhi or other experiences tells me that the practitioner still doesn't believe that Zazen is "good for nothing". Please read master kodo sawaki's quote:

    "What’s zazen good for? Absolutely nothing! This ‘good for nothing’ has got to sink into your flesh and bones until you actually practice what is truly good for nothing. Until then, your zazen is just good for nothing."

    and this:

    "Zazen isn’t like a thermometer on which the temperature slowly rises, “Just a little more … yeah … that’s it! Now, I’ve got satori!” Zazen never becomes anything special, no matter how long you practice. If it becomes something special, you must have a screw lose somewhere."

    More here: https://antaiji.org/en/dharma/attitude_of_zazen/

    Gassho,
    Sam
    ST

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by A.J. View Post
    If Dogen said "stupid, unreliable people" in reference to other practitioners it still seems a little much to me but his unfamiliarity with the reality of other schools puts it in some perspective.
    These Zen fellows like Dogen are not alone in criticizing others. Notice however that most of the criticisms are directed at wrong ways of practice ... either too bookish or selfish or wrongly directed. It is not about a specific sect or location.

    (For those who don't know, a śrāvaka is generally a follower of the "lesser vehicle," and pratyekabuddha are generally those who attain awakening but do not bother to work to enlighten others ... )

    The Lotus Sutra, for example says (pretty typical of Mahayana Sutras in doing so).

    “Profound and immeasurable is the wisdom of the
    buddhas. The gate to their wisdom is hard to enter and difficult to understand.
    None of the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas may be capable of understanding it

    ... Now, in the past the Buddha reviled the śrāvakas—those who yearned
    for the inferior teaching—in the presence of the bodhisattvas, but actually
    the Buddha inspired them also with the Mahayana. ...

    ... There are no śrāvakas who attain nirvana.
    What you practice is the bodhisattva path;
    And if you practice step by step,
    You will all become buddhas ...
    Amitabha Sutra for the Pure Land folks:

    ... as followers of the Bodhisattva path they continue to work for the salvation of all beings, and do not fall back to the level of the Lesser Vehicles with their concern limited to individual salvation. ...

    ... Literalist disciples of the Lesser Vehicle (Shravakas and Pratyeka Buddhas), have few good roots. ...
    Or this Tibetan Classic (page 111 here):

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

    I think that these comments are directed at a fictional opponent rather than any actual group. As you might expect, the Theravada folks often say much the same about the Mahayana and Zen folks! Alas.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-09-2020 at 03:45 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Not paranoia, and more a Zen wisdom about not "chasing."

    This all became the topic of today's talk during Zazenkai, although it pretty much just summarizes many of the points made in the discussion here. From the 56:00 mark ...


    Gassho, J

    STLah
    I enjoyed the dharma talk. Because of a spotty connection reliant on WiFi hotspots I just listened to it.

    Since there is this three sacred sentence rule I have been endeavoring to the best of my ability to keep my comments terse, but I will just say that it seems while Zen doesn't encourage the sukha that can naturally develop from a concentrated mind it has a good grounded context for the appearance and disappearance of such.

    Gassho,

    =Andrew=

    Satlah

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by shikantazen View Post
    Wanting to talk about rapturous samadhi or other experiences tells me that the practitioner still doesn't believe that Zazen is "good for nothing". Please read master kodo sawaki's quote:

    "What’s zazen good for? Absolutely nothing! This ‘good for nothing’ has got to sink into your flesh and bones until you actually practice what is truly good for nothing. Until then, your zazen is just good for nothing."

    and this:

    "Zazen isn’t like a thermometer on which the temperature slowly rises, “Just a little more … yeah … that’s it! Now, I’ve got satori!” Zazen never becomes anything special, no matter how long you practice. If it becomes something special, you must have a screw lose somewhere."

    More here: https://antaiji.org/en/dharma/attitude_of_zazen/

    Gassho,
    Sam
    ST
    I think we should be able to discuss questions that arise from anything that comes up in the experience of practice. Given that sukha is a concept in the ancient meditation traditions from which Zen ultimately derives I think questions related to it are valid.

    This discomfort around such a topic is what I'm beginning to term: Zen paranoia.

    Gassho,

    Andrew.

    Satlah

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by A.J. View Post
    .

    This discomfort around such a topic is what I'm beginning to term: Zen paranoia.
    I am sure that there is no discomfort. It is just that we handle this in our way. In fact, such way is beyond "comfort vs. discomfort," which are just human ratings and subjective emotions existing between the ears.

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-09-2020 at 04:20 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    These Zen fellows like Dogen are not alone in criticizing others. Notice however that most of the criticisms are directed at wrong ways of practice ... either too bookish or selfish or wrongly directed. It is not about a specific sect or location.

    (For those who don't know, a śrāvaka is generally a follower of the "lesser vehicle," and pratyekabuddha are generally those who attain awakening but do not bother to work to enlighten others ... )

    The Lotus Sutra, for example says (pretty typical of Mahayana Sutras in doing so).



    Amitabha Sutra for the Pure Land folks:



    Or this Tibetan Classic (page 111 here):

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

    I think that these comments are directed at a fictional opponent rather than any actual group. As you might expect, the Theravada folks often say much the same about the Mahayana and Zen folks! Alas.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Some of the contentious characterizations within schools of Buddhism about what is conceived of as outside the pale get a little funny. I'm easily distracted by them as a modern person with modern sensibilities.

    Funny enough, in those Sutras it sounds like even the Buddhas have a pyramid scheme based on who is more compassion based than whom.... "anything you can do I can do metta".
    Hehe.

    Gassho,

    Andrew,

    Satlah

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by A.J. View Post
    Funny enough, in those Sutras it sounds like even the Buddhas have a pyramid scheme based on who is more compassion based than whom.... "anything you can do I can do metta".
    Hehe.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I am sure that there is no discomfort. It is just that we handle this in our way. In fact, such way is beyond "comfort vs. discomfort."

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH
    By discomfort I basically mean a knee-jerk anxiety that makes it so someone can't ask a question about an experience well-understood by the tradition to sometimes come about through samadhi without suspicions about "not really getting it... la, la, la."

    I would find a reaction that was automatic and stereotypical to that same degree to be censorial in any other context about any other subject and therefore "Zen paranoia" is my name for this underlying worry that someone might actually run into a mystical moment.

    For me, I try to make inquiries based on what comes up naturally in recent practice so even my words are only an articulated version of what is there.

    Gassho,

    Andrew

    Satlah

  46. #46
    Also ... and god forbid they stumble upon kensho.

    Gassho,

    Andrew,

    Satlah

  47. #47
    Hi Andrew,

    Have we not tried to answer in some detail?

    We don't worry about, yet very much welcome, such Blissful moments. Kensho as well. These are treasured.

    Gassho, Jundo

    SaTTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  48. #48
    By discomfort I basically mean a knee-jerk anxiety that makes it so someone can't ask a question about an experience well-understood by the tradition to sometimes come about through samadhi without suspicions about "not really getting it... la, la, la."

    I would find a reaction that was automatic and stereotypical to that same degree to be censorial in any other context about any other subject and therefore "Zen paranoia" is my name for this underlying worry that someone might actually run into a mystical moment.
    Hi Andrew

    I don't see that there has been any censoring and I think that characterising responses as 'pat Buddhism' might be a little unkind. It is not how I would wish to introduce myself to a new sangha.

    However, the Zen approach does differ to that of many other Buddhist traditions. We do not say that we are the correct or true tradition but our approach is how we practice.

    When sukha arises for me, I don't see it as anything mystical, but just something that can arise in sitting in the same way as pain or boredom. That way it is fully integrated into the whole of life, complete just as it is without anything lacking. I do not see sukha and kensho as in anyway equivalent. One is a transitory blissful state, whereas kensho is seeing into the nature of reality itself.


    Some of the contentious characterizations within schools of Buddhism about what is conceived of as outside the pale get a little funny. I'm easily distracted by them as a modern person with modern sensibilities.

    Funny enough, in those Sutras it sounds like even the Buddhas have a pyramid scheme based on who is more compassion based than whom.... "anything you can do I can do metta".
    Hehe.
    I must admit it is something I am really not fond of either and, as much as I love Dōgen, his comments about 'pitiful people' really do grate.

    With regard to Mahayana sutras, in the early days of Mahayana they were trying to establish themselves as a school or new philosophical strand of Buddhism so I guess some degree of setting themselves apart is understandable. However, I agree that terming pre-Mahayana practice as 'Hinayana' is something I have always found troubling, and it continues to be taught like that in many places.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    Last edited by Kokuu; 08-09-2020 at 10:56 AM.
    ------------------------------------
    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.

  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by A.J. View Post

    I would find a reaction that was automatic and stereotypical to that same degree to be censorial in any other context about any other subject and therefore "Zen paranoia" is my name for this underlying worry that someone might actually run into a mystical moment.
    It's not that there is a work that someone might have a mystical moment - or a kensho experience - it's just that in this specific flavor of Zen, we don't chase after such experiences. We accept them, and then move on. They aren't signs that we're somehow achieving anything, because the only achievement we seek is to sit and accept what arises.

    Gassho,

    Kirk
    -----
    I know nothing.

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    Hi Andrew

    I don't see that there has been any censoring and I think that characterising responses as 'pat Buddhism' might be a little unkind. It is not how I would wish to introduce myself to a new sangha.

    However, the Zen approach does differ to that of many other Buddhist traditions. We do not say that we are the correct or true tradition but our approach is how we practice.

    When sukha arises for me, I don't see it as anything mystical, but just something that can arise in sitting in the same way as pain or boredom. That way it is fully integrated into the whole of life, complete just as it is without anything lacking. I do not see sukha and kensho as in anyway equivalent. One is a transitory blissful state, whereas kensho is seeing into the nature of reality itself.




    I must admit it is something I am really not fond of either and, as much as I love Dōgen, his comments about 'pitiful people' really do grate.

    With regard to Mahayana sutras, in the early days of Mahayana they were trying to establish themselves as a school or new philosophical strand of Buddhism so I guess some degree of setting themselves apart is understandable. However, I agree that terming pre-Mahayana practice as 'Hinayana' is something I have always found troubling, and it continues to be taught like that in many places.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    In referring to a censorial attitude I meant only those few posts which in some way denigrated the asking of the question itself as demonstrating a lack of special Zen understanding and did not by any means mean the majority of responses.

    In referring to buddhemes or "pat Buddhism" I mean only to constructively critique the automaticity of reiterating official rhetoric (which considering that Zen of old did that for it's time... take, for instance, Joshu saying that a dog doesn't have Buddha nature...I think that Zen of now could use some of it) so I don't particularly consider critique itself to be unkind.

    I find I learn more from discussing where I find "the rub" in a topic rather than relishing in what we all already find similarity in and having Kumbaya (though I am glad to see someone shares my hesitance regarding Dogen's "unkind" words at times).

    Gassho,

    -Andrew-

    Satlah

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