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Thread: Moving from a selfish practice to practice for all

  1. #1

    Moving from a selfish practice to practice for all

    Touched by below post by Horin in the other thread on Rapturous samadhi

    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.
    My practice is selfish (judging my zazen on focus, worrying if it is "working", no compassion in real life, would never give away my zazen "progress" to others) for my own liberation despite all vows I say daily. What tips do others have for really being a selfless student and not minding taking the last place in the queue

    Gassho,
    Sam
    ST
    Last edited by shikantazen; 08-12-2020 at 03:00 AM.

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Unsui / Engineer Sekishi's Avatar
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    Two quick reflections on my experience (take with a grain of salt and YMMV):

    1. With time and practice, I feel the walls between “self” and “other” have gotten much thinner / feel like conventional constructs only. At some point “my Dukkha” becomes less and less of a focus and all beings come into focus instead. Eg “my suffering” isn’t the enemy, simply “suffering” is. It feels like this just comes with the territory, no forcing it.

    2. I’ve found no quicker way to ease “my Dukkha” than to help someone else with theirs. It sounds simplistic to the point of absurdity: help someone else with their suffering and you both might feel better. If this seems self serving, perhaps, but see also #1... Dukkha is Dukkha.

    Both of these come with a caveat: you need to care for your body and life too of course. There is a balancing act. When the oxygen mask falls, take some so you stay functional and then give it your child or others around you that need it.

    Anyhow maybe that’s too simplistic, but it comes from this heart.

    Deep bows,
    Sekishi
    #sat


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    sekishi
    石志

    As a novice priest-in-training, this is simply an expression of my opinion. Please take it with a grain of salt.

  3. #3
    Intrinsically I'm a protector and helper, always have been someone community minded and always stood up for the underdog and brought home "strays" which I still do. My Practice is selfish in that I started sitting in order to sit with the pain of my spinal disabilities but the discipline and structure of Zen Buddhism Practice with its focus on compassion for all has united the selfishness and the desire to serve others.
    I hope that makes sense.
    Gassho
    Onka
    ST
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.

  4. #4
    Sekishi echoes my heart.

    Our bodhisattva vows aim in another direction. we try to liberate all sentient beings. We take the last place in the queue.
    Taking the last place in the queue, we realize that there was never a front or back of the line.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    I'm not sure who was saying this. But to liberate all sentient beings means also to liberate them from "me", from my views, ideas, judgements about them and reality. I liked that aspect.
    By dropping our ideas, our idealism about the others, and the reality, we have to drop the idea of me and about our personal enlightenment, I think.

    Gassho

    Horin


    Stlah

    Enviado desde mi PLK-L01 mediante Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Hello,
    Sam I am no expert, I am still troubled by my ego that, I can see that clearly in Zazen, tries to cling onto everything and anything. If it can help, not long ago I decided to let go of my fears and my doubts and have faith. Faith intended as trust towards the enlightened people that have walked the Path before me and left a trace, like our Master Dogen for example. I want to trust these people that state that we are one, that when we sit the entire universe is sitting with us, that Practice is enlightenment and that our efforts will reverberate and be of benefit to all sentient beings. Also, to remind myself that Practice is not just for my benefit, at the end of my Zazen I bow and dedicate the session and the Sutras to all beings, in particular to those who suffer, and at times I add names of people I know of that are going through a tough time or need a little boost.

    Gassho,
    Mags
    ST

  7. #7
    I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately too, and the responses have been really good in this thread. It’s sort of, well it is, a koan. without any self-interest we wouldn’t have come to practice but, after time, and a little right intention I think that self/other divisor naturally fades a bit; that can’t be rushed; it has to unfold, naturally, so I just sit selfishness or not, goal or no goal, just sit

    gassho

    risho
    -st

  8. #8
    I believe one becomes selfless when one understands interdependence and that what it means is that the wellbeing of others is our wellbeing and vice-versa. The Buddha's initial mission was to find the end of suffering and that was meant to be for all beings, for if he could end his own suffering, he could end everyone else's, so if we strive to generate beneficial karma, we follow Buddha's example. It also helps to understand that every present moment is an opportunity to embody the Buddha so even if we judge past moments and actions as selfish, we have the perfect opportunity right now to act differently.

  9. #9
    Well, you can't be a lifeguard unless you know how to swim. Just let your practice be your practice until you are ready for the next step. In the meantime practice small acts of compassion as you find the opportunity: pay for someone's groceries, wave and say hi to strangers, treat the earth with compassion, volunteer or donate to an organization that means something to you, smile more often, pick up some trash in the park, find what works for you.

    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.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Shinshi View Post
    Well, you can't be a lifeguard unless you know how to swim. Just let your practice be your practice until you are ready for the next step. In the meantime practice small acts of compassion as you find the opportunity: pay for someone's groceries, wave and say hi to strangers, treat the earth with compassion, volunteer or donate to an organization that means something to you, smile more often, pick up some trash in the park, find what works for you.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    great advice! Practicing compassion is not like training to be compassionate. Every compassionate act performed already IS COMPASSION.

  11. #11
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shikantazen View Post
    Touched by below post by Horin in the other thread on Rapturous samadhi



    My practice is selfish (judging my zazen on focus, worrying if it is "working", no compassion in real life, would never give away my zazen "progress" to others) for my own liberation despite all vows I say daily. What tips do others have for really being a selfless student and not minding taking the last place in the queue

    Gassho,
    Sam
    ST
    Hi Sam,

    I don't think I have much to add but I have a little something. You could thinking of our practice like a flower (maybe a Tulup.) When its still in the bud or its the night time they appear to be closed off. But they are still being a plant. But when the sun comes up it opens and its beautiful, fragrant and it allows bees and other insects to drink its nectar. The bees are a part of their reproductive processes. They take part in the life of the flower and the flower takes part in the life of the bee. I don't have enough time to fully clarif but I hope it makes sense and isn't to hokey.

    The other thing is that care for yourself is fine and in fact if you loved everyone that would include yourself. But with time that love can grow to encompass more than yourself and your inner circle. Plus love can be expressed through actions as well even if we don't "feel" it. So when I hold my tongue with my kids I'm still angry but the love manifests in my calming myself down to deal with them respect and care (at least I try.)


    Does any of this work for you?

    Gassho
    Hoseki
    sattoday

  12. #12
    In the monastery, whether in Buddha's time or Dogen's, a monk would take care of others AND take care of his/her own personal needs, practice, mental and physical health. Others were fed and tended to, but one fed and tended to oneself too. Even outside a monastery, out in the world, we may be part of a loving family in which one needs and works to take care of others, feeding and clothing and comforting them, but we also must feed and clothe, rest and recreate, and comfort ourself in order to do so. The others are not separate from you, but neither are you separate from them. I think it is much the same for doctors and nurses in a hospital, flight attendants on a plane, social workers helping the poor, teachers in a school ... all need to strike a balance, so as not to burn out, between being 'other directed' AND their own healthful, moderated and mentally/physically balanced self interest (don't be too self-absorbed, personal pleasure addicted, excessive, greedy or someone who indulges in harmful activities). Self and others, all in balance, all in its time.

    But Buddhism provides a few more lessons: That there never were "others" to start with, nor a personal "self," and thus the others are already safe ... although they just don't know so. As strange as it sounds, we rescue the others by proving to the others that there were never others in need of rescue all along! Also, they are just us, and we are just them ... so our sitting Zazen and practice is automatically their sitting and practice. Your sitting Zazen automatically saves the whole world, a whole world that never needed saving. There is nothing to do, nothing ever in need of doing ... and nobody to do it, or to do it to.

    Nonetheless, though all that is true and, from one perspective, there is nobody in need of saving in the absolute perspective, nonetheless here in the relative world there are still hungry mouths to feed and minds to enlighten ... so when we monks and mommies get back up from the cushion, we get back to work feeding our fellow monks or children, waiting tables or curing patients, tending to passengers or the needy poor ... and tending to our own needs too.

    All together, all in healthy balance.

    Gassho, J

    STLah

    (pardon, more than 3 small sentences)
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-12-2020 at 10:42 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    In the monastery, whether in Buddha's time or Dogen's, a monk would take care of others AND take care of his/her own personal needs, practice, mental and physical health. Others were fed and tended to, but one fed and tended to oneself too. Even outside a monastery, out in the world, we may be part of a loving family in which one needs and works to take care of others, feeding and clothing and comforting them, but we also must feed and clothe, rest and recreate, and comfort oneself in order to do so. The others are not separate from you, but neither are you separate from them. I think it is much the same for doctors and nurses in a hospital, flight attendants on a plane, social workers helping the poor, teachers in a school ... all need to strike a balance between being 'other directed' AND healthful, moderated and mentally/physically balanced self interest (don't be too self-absorbed, personal pleasure addicted, excessive, greedy or someone who indulges in harmful activities) so as not to burn out.

    But Buddhism provides a few more lessons: That there never were "others" to start with, nor a personal "self," and thus the others are already safe ... although they just don't know so. Also, they are just us, and we are just them ... so our sitting Zazen and practice is automatically their sitting and practice. Your sitting Zazen automatically saves the whole world, a whole world that never needed saving.

    Nonetheless, though all that is true and, from one perspective, there is nobody in need of saving in the absolute perspective, here in the relative world there are still hungry mouths to feed and minds to enlighten ... so when we monks and mommies get back up from the cushion, we get back to work feeding our fellow monks or children, waiting tables or curing patients, tending to passengers or the needy poor ... and tending to our own needs too.

    All together, all in healthy balance.

    Gassho, J

    STLah

    (pardon, more than 3 small sentences)
    Really beautiful, thank you


    Gassho
    Horin

    Stlah

    Enviado desde mi PLK-L01 mediante Tapatalk

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by jakeb View Post
    great advice! Practicing compassion is not like training to be compassionate. Every compassionate act performed already IS COMPASSION.
    Lovely! This is Master Dogen's teaching of "Practice-Enlightenment," in which every "Buddha-like" act, word or thought of compassion, peace, generosity, equanimity, patience, diligence, kindness and the rest ... IS ... a Buddha realized and brought to life right here, in the doing.

    Alas, our acts of greed, anger, violence, jealousy and the like also bring to life something very different.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-12-2020 at 09:38 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    (pardon, more than 3 small sentences)
    I will not pardon you good sir!

    Gassho

    Rish
    -stlah

  16. #16
    To illustrate what many others have already pointed out in this lovely thread: early in my career, I struggled with "burnout" (a form of dukkha) which is common in health care professions, since they require tending to other people's needs all day in an often urgent setting. Most of what I called "burnout" was my own mind resisting, ruminating over how much I wanted to be wherever I wasn't, doing something else, putting "my own needs" higher on the list. With observation of my own mind over the years, I can better decide when I am creating my own inner "burnout" due to greed, anger and delusion, or whether I really do need to tend to myself for the good of all involved.

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    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
    Exactly. I can´t help but to think of his teaching about the meaning of practice and realization. Thanks for your nice addition to my brief less than 3 sentences reply 😄
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Lovely! This is Master Dogen's teaching of "Practice-Enlightenment," in which every "Buddha-like" act, word or thought of compassion, peace, generosity, equanimity, patience, diligence, kindness and the rest ... IS ... a Buddha realized and brought to life right here, in the doing.

    Alas, our acts of greed, anger, violence, jealousy and the like also bring to life something very different.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Jake

    -------------------------
    Join me on Insight Timer
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  18. #18
    Thank you sangha. Such beautiful replies and wisdom everyone.

    Gassho,
    Sam
    ST

  19. #19
    My practice is selfish (judging my zazen on focus, worrying if it is "working", no compassion in real life, would never give away my zazen "progress" to others) for my own liberation despite all vows I say daily. What tips do others have for really being a selfless student and not minding taking the last place in the queue
    Hi Sam

    My personal suggestions based on thing which has helped me are two-fold

    1. Compassionate activity, including volunteer work, the more physical the better, although that may be harder in the current pandemic restrictions.

    2. Compassion practices such as the Metta Verses. Use daily for most benefit.


    Neither of these is focused on getting you enlightened, which is part of the reason for suggesting them.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    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.

  20. #20
    I don't have a tip so much as a thought.
    If an individual were to be free from dukha then it's unlikely they would spread dukha to those they are around.
    Perhaps since humans are interconnected to be centered in your self (in a Dhammapada sense) is not the same as being self-centered.

    Gassho,

    Andrew,

    Satlah

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by A.J. View Post
    I don't have a tip so much as a thought.
    If an individual were to be free from dukha then it's unlikely they would spread dukha to those they are around.
    Perhaps since humans are interconnected to be centered in your self (in a Dhammapada sense) is not the same as being self-centered.
    I would say that sentient beings each suffer their own Dukkha, and outside life (including outside sentient beings) are just conditions. Dukkha arises when an individual resists conditions as they are, wishing that they be some other way ... including that outside beings be some other way. Yes, I might be a pain in the ass to somebody, but whether that somebody chooses to feel resistance to my actions is between their own ears.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I would say that sentient beings each suffer their own Dukkha, and outside life (including outside sentient beings) are just conditions. Dukkha arises when an individual resists conditions as they are, wishing that they be some other way ... including that outside beings be some other way. Yes, I might be a pain in the ass to somebody, but whether that somebody chooses to feel resistance to my actions is between their own ears.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    What many of us fail to understand is that there is no exterior cause for our emotional suffering. Someone doesn’t offend us, we choose to interpret words or actions and assign them a certain moral or emotional value, and then decide the intention behind them and how we “feel” about them. We react to ourselves and our senses but blame the result on external conditions.


    Sat Today
    Jake

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  23. #23
    Some people are naturally strong and have big muscles; likewise, some people are naturally selfless and take the worst parking spot. If one is not naturally muscular, the only way to build muscles (if you want them) is to work from the outside in and exercise them. It's no different with character traits like selflessness: if you don't have it naturally, just do it whether you want to or not and it will gradually become a "natural" part of you.

    Just my experience -
    Shinshou (Daniel)
    Sat Today

  24. #24
    There is a great article that pertains to this discussion in this issue of ‘Dharma Eye’ titled “How to Live Here and Now – The Connection With a 1.5 Personal Pronoun”: https://global.sotozen-net.or.jp/eng/dharma/pdf/45e.pdf

    Gassho,
    Tom

    Sat/lah
    Last edited by StoBird; 08-15-2020 at 03:18 AM.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I would say that sentient beings each suffer their own Dukkha, and outside life (including outside sentient beings) are just conditions. Dukkha arises when an individual resists conditions as they are, wishing that they be some other way ... including that outside beings be some other way. Yes, I might be a pain in the ass to somebody, but whether that somebody chooses to feel resistance to my actions is between their own ears.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    To a large extent I think that is true and is a useful belief psychologically. Nevertheless I can't completely buy the idea that people don't influence other people. Therefore if your practice makes you a better influence on those around you then all the better.

    Gassho,

    Andrew,

    Satlah

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I would say that sentient beings each suffer their own Dukkha, and outside life (including outside sentient beings) are just conditions. Dukkha arises when an individual resists conditions as they are, wishing that they be some other way ... including that outside beings be some other way. Yes, I might be a pain in the ass to somebody, but whether that somebody chooses to feel resistance to my actions is between their own ears.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    For instance, you've mentioned the atrocities committed by Chogyam Trungpa before. It would be wrong to say that the harm was only in the heads of the victims.

    Gassho,

    Andrew,

    Satlah

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by A.J. View Post
    To a large extent I think that is true and is a useful belief psychologically. Nevertheless I can't completely buy the idea that people don't influence other people. Therefore if your practice makes you a better influence on those around you then all the better.

    Gassho,

    Andrew,

    Satlah
    I think you misunderstand a bit. Zen folks are always seeing life by several perspectives, each true in its way.

    Trungpa did harm to others, and others were harmed. Trungpa should be criticized for doing harm, and the victims would be right to feel hurt, trauma, depression, injury. We should offer them empathy and wish for their healing.

    However, Dukkha is something different from harm. It is our fundamental refusal of what is from a Buddhist view.

    For example, if I have cancer, the cancer does me harm, I wish to fight the cancer and heal the ill body and pained mind because I do not wish to die. I may even be afraid of death sometimes in a most human way. Cancer is my enemy.

    But on another level for Buddhists, cancer is just cancer, sickness is just sickness, pain is just pain, even death is just death. There is no Dukkha.

    People often confuse Dukkha with "suffering" in its ordinary meaning.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I think you misunderstand a bit. Zen folks are always seeing life by several perspectives, each true in its way.

    Trungpa did harm to others, and others were harmed. Trungpa should be criticized for doing harm, and the victims would be right to feel hurt, trauma, depression, injury. We should offer them empathy and wish for their healing.

    However, Dukkha is something different from harm. It is our fundamental refusal of what is from a Buddhist view.

    For example, if I have cancer, the cancer does me harm, I wish to fight the cancer and heal the ill body and pained mind because I do not wish to die. I may even be afraid of death sometimes in a most human way. Cancer is my enemy.

    But on another level for Buddhists, cancer is just cancer, sickness is just sickness, pain is just pain, even death is just death. There is no Dukkha.

    People often confuse Dukkha with "suffering" in its ordinary meaning.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Yes, I think there are folks that tend to say "so what, it's just illness. It is what it is, who cares?" Although this is true on a certain level, as you said, with this perspective we are ignorant to another level, and dismiss that aspect of being a human that suffers from certain circumstances. So it's neither only the one nor the other. It's neither getting lost into nihilism nor into the total entanglement of finding oneself a victim to the circumstances. But out of the "it is what is" and the level of dukkha and suffering, we can act and try to make a situation better, help people, and find compassion and practice the way of the bodhisattva

    Gassho

    Horin

    Stlah

    Enviado desde mi PLK-L01 mediante Tapatalk
    Last edited by Horin; 08-15-2020 at 09:30 AM.

  29. #29
    Going along with Shinshi's analogy of "You can't be a lifeguard if you don't know how to swim" another great analogy comes from airliners.

    You must put your own oxygen mask before helping someone else with there's. If you pass out from lack of oxygen you can't help others. (That being said, once you have your mask on you should do what you can to help others)


    Evan,
    Sat today!
    Just going through life one day at a time!

  30. #30
    This is starting to make sense: closing the gap that creates dukkha naturally minimizes the "self" or the inner needy child (or putting on the oxgyen mask), making it easier to respect reality as it is, here and now (helping others with their masks).

    Outside of Zazen, the subtle trap is to only see "pretty," "good" or "high value" people, experiences or things because of expecting to win or gain things or praise, as if expecting to be awarded for every mask put on a childs face. Though even then, I suppose we just accept the feeling of wanting to help only that which we will gain from and continue to put masks on faces.

    Gassho,
    Tom

    Sat/lah

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I think you misunderstand a bit. Zen folks are always seeing life by several perspectives, each true in its way.

    Trungpa did harm to others, and others were harmed. Trungpa should be criticized for doing harm, and the victims would be right to feel hurt, trauma, depression, injury. We should offer them empathy and wish for their healing.

    However, Dukkha is something different from harm. It is our fundamental refusal of what is from a Buddhist view.

    For example, if I have cancer, the cancer does me harm, I wish to fight the cancer and heal the ill body and pained mind because I do not wish to die. I may even be afraid of death sometimes in a most human way. Cancer is my enemy.

    But on another level for Buddhists, cancer is just cancer, sickness is just sickness, pain is just pain, even death is just death. There is no Dukkha.

    People often confuse Dukkha with "suffering" in its ordinary meaning.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Ah, I see the distinction you are making.
    In the Pali Canon do you think it is possible that dukkha includes all forms of suffering in existence because of the soteriological framework around enlightenment, the arhat and the ultimate goal of no longer being on the wheel of Samsara?
    Did the meaning of dukkha change along with the new bodhisattva ideal in the Mahayana?

    Gassho,

    Andrew,

    Satlah

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by A.J. View Post
    Ah, I see the distinction you are making.
    In the Pali Canon do you think it is possible that dukkha includes all forms of suffering in existence because of the soteriological framework around enlightenment, the arhat and the ultimate goal of no longer being on the wheel of Samsara?
    Did the meaning of dukkha change along with the new bodhisattva ideal in the Mahayana?

    Gassho,

    Andrew,

    Satlah
    In South Asian Buddhism, there was more emphasis that this world is hopeless and we need to make a full escape from all birth within it.

    In Mahayana Buddhism, and especially Zen, there was more emphasis that one can make an escape from this world, and from birth and death, while still in this world, living and dying, and right up to our necks in it.

    I think that the definitions of Dukkha in South Asian Buddhism were not necessarily uniform, nor are the definitions in Mahayana for that matter. However, the emphasis in Zen certainly came to be the resistance and disappointment in our minds to conditions, rather than the conditions themselves including the physical and even mental pain that may entail. Being sad or afraid is not so much a problem in Zen Buddhism, especially if not in truly harmful excess such as depression, and is not itself Dukkha. One can be sad yet beyond sadness at once, afraid yet beyond all fear at once.

    Gassho, J

    (And I fear that I used more than my 3 sentences).
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I think you misunderstand a bit. Zen folks are always seeing life by several perspectives, each true in its way.

    Trungpa did harm to others, and others were harmed. Trungpa should be criticized for doing harm, and the victims would be right to feel hurt, trauma, depression, injury. We should offer them empathy and wish for their healing.

    However, Dukkha is something different from harm. It is our fundamental refusal of what is from a Buddhist view.

    For example, if I have cancer, the cancer does me harm, I wish to fight the cancer and heal the ill body and pained mind because I do not wish to die. I may even be afraid of death sometimes in a most human way. Cancer is my enemy.

    But on another level for Buddhists, cancer is just cancer, sickness is just sickness, pain is just pain, even death is just death. There is no Dukkha.

    People often confuse Dukkha with "suffering" in its ordinary meaning.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ... come to think of it I think I get your distinction but I might need more clarification.
    Let's say someone punches a Buddhist in the face:
    is the impact suffering (but not dukkha) and the internal reaction (aversion, resentment, animosity, whatever) dukkha but not quite the same as sheer suffering?

    Thanks for entertaining my questions.

    Gassho,

    Andrew,

    Satlah

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    In South Asian Buddhism, there was more emphasis that this world is hopeless and we need to make a full escape from all birth within it.

    In Mahayana Buddhism, and especially Zen, there was more emphasis that one can make an escape from this world, and from birth and death, while still in this world, living and dying, and right up to our necks in it.

    I think that the definitions of Dukkha in South Asian Buddhism were not necessarily uniform, nor are the definitions in Mahayana for that matter. However, the emphasis in Zen certainly came to be the resistance and disappointment in our minds to conditions, rather than the conditions themselves including the physical and even mental pain that may entail. Being sad or afraid is not so much a problem in Zen Buddhism, especially if not in truly harmful excess such as depression, and is not itself Dukkha. One can be sad yet beyond sadness at once, afraid yet beyond all fear at once.

    Gassho, J

    (And I fear that I used more than my 3 sentences).
    Some of these terms seem slippery. What I like about the Zen emphasis in your example on sadness is that it is more of a fully fledged way of facing what's there rather than making it into something else.

    Gassho,

    Andrew,

    Satlah

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    In South Asian Buddhism, there was more emphasis that this world is hopeless and we need to make a full escape from all birth within it.

    In Mahayana Buddhism, and especially Zen, there was more emphasis that one can make an escape from this world, and from birth and death, while still in this world, living and dying, and right up to our necks in it.

    I think that the definitions of Dukkha in South Asian Buddhism were not necessarily uniform, nor are the definitions in Mahayana for that matter. However, the emphasis in Zen certainly came to be the resistance and disappointment in our minds to conditions, rather than the conditions themselves including the physical and even mental pain that may entail. Being sad or afraid is not so much a problem in Zen Buddhism, especially if not in truly harmful excess such as depression, and is not itself Dukkha. One can be sad yet beyond sadness at once, afraid yet beyond all fear at once.

    Gassho, J

    (And I fear that I used more than my 3 sentences).
    My original comment on this thread had more to do with the idea of dukkha as mental afflictions that people can't help but spill all over other people. Misery loves company, for instance. The idea being that if one were more liberated from that sort of dukkha one would be less beholden to spreading it everywhere.

    Gassho,

    Andrew,

    Satlah

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by A.J. View Post
    ... come to think of it I think I get your distinction but I might need more clarification.
    Let's say someone punches a Buddhist in the face:
    is the impact suffering (but not dukkha) and the internal reaction (aversion, resentment, animosity, whatever) dukkha but not quite the same as sheer suffering?

    Thanks for entertaining my questions.
    I would say that the situation is, first, a broken nose and physical pain. There may even be some aversion, resentment, animosity, fear etc. that begins to arise in the victim's animal brain as a result, as a natural reaction. Hopefully, the well-trained Buddhist can learn to head that off and turn away from such angry reaction before it starts to boil out of control.

    But Dukkha is something more basic, and that is an underlying refusal to accept the situation and conditions themselves. I can be rolling on the floor in pain with a bloody nose, I can even feel some anger and fear welling up in my animal "fight or flight" mind as just a circumstance (hopefully not to run to excess) ...

    ... but simultaneously can also just be in total acceptance and flowing with the situation at the same time, and even in touch with an aspect beyond puncher and punched, pain or no pain, anger or no anger at once. There is nothing to fight, no other place to fly too, even as I am in the midst of fight or flight response.

    In such case, there is no Dukkha. Furthermore, such realization may actually help head off the arising anger and fear of the mind.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-16-2020 at 04:56 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by A.J. View Post
    My original comment on this thread had more to do with the idea of dukkha as mental afflictions that people can't help but spill all over other people. Misery loves company, for instance. The idea being that if one were more liberated from that sort of dukkha one would be less beholden to spreading it everywhere.

    Gassho,

    Andrew,

    Satlah
    I would say that we can choose to harm others or not harm others. I can want to cause another harm, whether a broken nose, feelings of sadness or feelings of Dukkha.

    But our "Dukkha" is a most personal matter. I am ultimately the creator of my own Dukkha, even if somebody else is the creator of my broken nose.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I would say that the situation is, first, a broken nose and physical pain. There may even be some aversion, resentment, animosity, fear etc. that begins to arise in the victims animal brain as a result, as a natural reaction. Hopefully, the well-trained Buddhist can learn to head that off and turn away from such angry reaction before it starts to boil out of control.

    But Dukkha is something more basic, and that is an underlying refusal to accept the situation and conditions themselves. I can be rolling on the floor in pain with a bloody nose, I can even feel some anger and fear welling up in my animal "fight or flight" mind as just a circumstance (hopefully not to run to excess) ...

    ... but simultaneously can also just be in total acceptance and flowing with the situation at the same time, and even in touch with an aspect beyond puncher and punched, pain or no pain, anger or no anger at once. There is nothing to fight, no other place to fly too, even as I am in the midst of fight or flight response.

    In such case, there is no Dukkha. Furthermore, such realization may actually help head off the arising anger and fear of the mind.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Alright, I think I get your idea.
    Just trying to figure our where exactly dukkha begins in your view by playing off a stark example.

    Gassho,

    Andrew,

    Satlah

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I would say that we can choose to harm others or not harm others. I can want to cause another harm, whether a broken nose, feelings of sadness or feelings of Dukkha.

    But our "Dukkha" is a most personal matter. I am ultimately the creator of my own Dukkha, even if somebody else is the creator of my broken nose.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    So then, in effect, liberation from personal dukkha does absolutely nothing for other beings?

    Gassho,

    Andrew,

    Satlah

  40. #40
    Member Hokin's Avatar
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    Wonderful Thread, really.
    I have been dealing with this same kind of koan-like questioning pretty much as of late, especially...and find all the advises I have read from you all so far very helpful! Thank you beautiful Sangha!
    I just feel I have nothing more to add that hasn't yet been wistfully stated by you all, so I appreciate your deep and useful counselling and will look forward to keep them at heart and let them flow through day-by-day sincere and wholehearted practice (on-and-off the zafu), always surely starting from here and now. There are always beings whom we can try benefit, even if with a little kind thought, a smile, a comforting word or gesture..a heartfelt wish and ready/steady openness to be and make/do better and better. We are one in multiplicity, we are multiplicity in one!

    Gassho.
    Hokin.
    ST.

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by A.J. View Post
    So then, in effect, liberation from personal dukkha does absolutely nothing for other beings?

    Gassho,

    Andrew,

    Satlah
    Yes, hopefully when freed from Dukkha between our own ears, and better guided by a heart of wisdom and compassion, we will live more gently, avoiding intentional harm to others.

    However, whether the others feel Dukkha is between their own ears, especially in the face of the harm we might do to them and other outside conditions.

    Unfortunately, Dukkha is a creation of the "small self." Freedom from Dukkha is seeing past and not being imprisoned by the excesses of the small self. However, it is up to the small self to get past its self itself. Outside conditions, teachers, teachings etc. cannot remove Dukkha, nor can outside harm and harm doers create it, for only the self can drop itself.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Yes, hopefully when freed from Dukkha between our own ears, and better guided by a heart of wisdom and compassion, we will live more gently, avoiding intentional harm to others.

    However, whether the others feel Dukkha is between their own ears, especially in the face of the harm we might do to them and other outside conditions.

    Unfortunately, Dukkha is a creation of the "small self." Freedom from Dukkha is seeing past and not being imprisoned by the excesses of the small self. However, it is up to the small self to get past its self itself. Outside conditions, teachers, teachings etc. cannot remove Dukkha, nor can outside harm and harm doers create it, for only the self can drop itself.

    Gassho, J
    So how do various references in Zen ritual that refer to practicing for all beings fit into that point of view? I'm sure I've heard instances where people in Zen temples made it sound like the practice that they were doing in that place was itself for the whole world.

    Gassho,

    Andrew,

    Satlah

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Yes, hopefully when freed from Dukkha between our own ears, and better guided by a heart of wisdom and compassion, we will live more gently, avoiding intentional harm to others.

    However, whether the others feel Dukkha is between their own ears, especially in the face of the harm we might do to them and other outside conditions.

    Unfortunately, Dukkha is a creation of the "small self." Freedom from Dukkha is seeing past and not being imprisoned by the excesses of the small self. However, it is up to the small self to get past its self itself. Outside conditions, teachers, teachings etc. cannot remove Dukkha, nor can outside harm and harm doers create it, for only the self can drop itself.

    Gassho, J
    Also, based on this what is the point of the bodhisattva ideal? Might as well be an arhat.

    Gassho,

    Andrew,

    Satlah

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by A.J. View Post
    So how do various references in Zen ritual that refer to practicing for all beings fit into that point of view? I'm sure I've heard instances where people in Zen temples made it sound like the practice that they were doing in that place was itself for the whole world.

    ...

    Also, based on this what is the point of the bodhisattva ideal? Might as well be an arhat.
    Yes, we practice to rescue the sentient beings, not merely for ourselves. To rescue the sentient beings in an ultimate sense is to help them realize how to be free of the "Dukkha" which they are creating between their own ears.

    The way to free the sentient beings is to show them that there never were any "sentient beings" in need of saving from the beginingless-beginning, nor anything lacking. except for the self-created sense of separate "self," the self-created measures of division and lack, and self-created frictions and disappointments of "Dukkha" which the separate self creates between its own ears.

    Arhats can do what arhats do, but Bodhisattvas practice to liberate the sentient beings.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-17-2020 at 04:07 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  45. #45
    As to the difference between "Dukkha" and physical harm or revulsion, I stumbled on a truly stomach turning story yesterday about the Korean Master, Wonhyo, more than our "pooh and peaches":

    VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED for the SENSITIVE

    In 661 he and a close friend - Uisang - were traveling to China where they hoped to study Buddhism further. Somewhere in the region of Baekje, the pair were caught in a heavy downpour and forced to take shelter in what they believed to be an earthen sanctuary. During the night Wonhyo was overcome with thirst, and reaching out grasped what he perceived to be a gourd, and drinking from it was refreshed with a draught of cool, refreshing water. Upon waking the next morning, however, the companions discovered much to their amazement that their shelter was in fact an ancient tomb littered with human skulls, and the vessel from which Wonhyo had drunk was a human skull full of brackish water and human remains. Upon seeing this, Wonhyo vomited. Startled by the experience of believing that a gruesome liquid was a refreshing treat, Wonhyo was astonished at the power of the human mind to transform reality.
    The body vomits, this is natural. A mental and physical revulsion is felt, this is natural.

    However, one can so come to accept and flow with this experience ... drinking when drinking, being mistaken when mistaken, thinking it a gourd when thinking it a gourd, just vomiting when vomiting, just feeling revulsion when feeling revulsion ... that there is no Dukkha.

    Perhaps you think that a fully enlightened Buddha would neither vomit nor feel revulsion?

    Okay, it is noon ... I'm off to lunch.

    Gassho, J

    STlah

    PS - In fact, when I was in India, I encountered some Shavist holy men who train themselves to do just that ... but I don't think that one needs to be so in order to escape Samsara. That is the kind of extreme which, it is said, the ascetic Buddha rejected.

    Last edited by Jundo; 08-17-2020 at 04:18 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Yes, we practice to rescue the sentient beings, not merely for ourselves. To rescue the sentient beings in an ultimate sense is to help them realize how to be free of the "Dukkha" which they are creating between their own ears.

    The way to free the sentient beings is to show them that there never were any "sentient beings" in need of saving from the beginingless-beginning, nor anything lacking. except for the self-created sense of separate "self," the self-created measures of division and lack, and self-created frictions and disappointments of "Dukkha" which the separate self creates between its own ears.

    Arhats can do what arhats do, but Bodhisattvas practice to liberate the sentient beings.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    To show anyone anything don't you have to know it yourself? Doesn't even that show some connection between liberation of the person showing and the shown? It's funny to me here that everything is part of interdependent co-arising... except for dukkha... that's an isolated phenomena in the head.

    Gassho,

    Andrew,

    Satlah

  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    As to the difference between "Dukkha" and physical harm or revulsion, I stumbled on a truly stomach turning story yesterday about the Korean Master, Wonhyo, more than our "pooh and peaches":

    VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED for the SENSITIVE



    The body vomits, this is natural. A mental and physical revulsion is felt, this is natural.

    However, one can so come to accept and flow with this experience ... drinking when drinking, being mistaken when mistaken, thinking it a gourd when thinking it a gourd, just vomiting when vomiting, just feeling revulsion when feeling revulsion ... that there is no Dukkha.

    Perhaps you think that a fully enlightened Buddha would neither vomit nor feel revulsion?

    Okay, it is noon ... I'm off to lunch.

    Gassho, J

    STlah

    PS - In fact, when I was in India, I encountered some Shavist holy men who train themselves to do just that ... but I don't think that one needs to be so in order to escape Samsara. That is the kind of extreme which, it is said, the ascetic Buddha rejected.

    Yeah, gross. I accept that shit exists but don't need to eat it because of non-duality. There is still conventional duality... enjoy your poohless peaches

    Gassho,

    Andrew,

    Satlah

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    As to the difference between "Dukkha" and physical harm or revulsion, I stumbled on a truly stomach turning story yesterday about the Korean Master, Wonhyo, more than our "pooh and peaches":

    VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED for the SENSITIVE



    The body vomits, this is natural. A mental and physical revulsion is felt, this is natural.

    However, one can so come to accept and flow with this experience ... drinking when drinking, being mistaken when mistaken, thinking it a gourd when thinking it a gourd, just vomiting when vomiting, just feeling revulsion when feeling revulsion ... that there is no Dukkha.

    Perhaps you think that a fully enlightened Buddha would neither vomit nor feel revulsion?

    Okay, it is noon ... I'm off to lunch.

    Gassho, J

    STlah

    PS - In fact, when I was in India, I encountered some Shavist holy men who train themselves to do just that ... but I don't think that one needs to be so in order to escape Samsara. That is the kind of extreme which, it is said, the ascetic Buddha rejected.

    I don't think a fully enlightened Buddha wouldn't vomit or feel revulsion. I think that is what people sound like they are promoting some of the time though when talking about being totally beyond craving and aversion. That's not my bag because I'm happy to accept the conventional parameters of human life along with a more ultimate view.

    Gassho,

    Andrew,

    Satlah

  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by A.J. View Post
    To show anyone anything don't you have to know it yourself? Doesn't even that show some connection between liberation of the person showing and the shown?
    Oh, yes, the guide must know it to show it, but that does not mean that the teacher can do the "heavy lifting" for the student. The teacher can help guide the student, but the student must realize the lesson of "self" for herself between her own ears.

    It's funny to me here that everything is part of interdependent co-arising... except for dukkha... that's an isolated phenomena in the head.
    Oh no, Dukkha is part of interdependent co-arising, as are all phenomena. That does not mean that it is not primarily personal. For example, the sun and moon, all other creatures, history and every blade of grass, every thing, being or moment of the whole universe gathers together in some ways, directly and indirectly, to cause you to have a heart beating in your chest and a brain between your ears. This is true. Nonetheless, my heart beating in my body does not cause your blood to pump in your body ... your heart must do its own beating, and your liberation from Dukkha must be done by you in the end.

    I don't think a fully enlightened Buddha wouldn't vomit or feel revulsion. I think that is what people sound like they are promoting some of the time though when talking about being totally beyond craving and aversion. That's not my bag because I'm happy to accept the conventional parameters of human life along with a more ultimate view.
    Well, I happen to think that a "fully enlightened Buddha" is going to turn blue in the face and die if I cut off his oxygen, that he will tumble over in pain and nausea if he gets hit in the nuts (assuming a Buddha has those ... some people debate that), and that certain situations or actions, somehow to some degree if extreme enough, will cause him to feel nausea and revulsion because it is hard wired into the animal brain (it may not be drinking from a skull, but something will cross the line of disgust even for a buddha). So long as the buddha had a human body, he cannot avoid these facts. In any case, were a buddha so removed from the human conditions that he felt no reaction at all, that would not be a "buddha" that I would care to follow.

    But what we can do in this life, say the Zen and other Mahayana masters, is be free even when bound ... for example, we can drink from a skull and be disgusted, all while realizing that "life and death" are just a dream, and there was never any death or skull all along. Thus we vomit and roll on the floor in pain, yet there is no "sentient being" to do so from the startless start.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-17-2020 at 05:00 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Oh, yes, the guide must know it to show it, but that does not mean that the teacher can do the "heavy lifting" for the student. The teacher can help guide the student, but the student must realize the lesson of "self" for herself between her own ears.



    Oh no, Dukkha is part of interdependent co-arising, as are all phenomena. That does not mean that it is not primarily personal. For example, the sun and moon, all other creatures, history and every blade of grass, every thing, being or moment of the whole universe gathers together in some ways, directly and indirectly, to cause you to have a heart beating in your chest and a brain between your ears. This is true. Nonetheless, my heart beating in my body does not cause your blood to pump in your body ... your heart must do its own beating, and your liberation from Dukkha must be done by you in the end.



    Well, I happen to think that a "fully enlightened Buddha" is going to turn blue in the face and die if I cut off his oxygen, that he will tumble over in pain and nausea if he gets hit in the nuts (assuming a Buddha has those ... some people debate that), and that certain situations or actions, somehow to some degree if extreme enough, will cause him to feel nausea and revulsion because it is hard wired into the animal brain (it may not be drinking from a skull, but something will cross the line of disgust even for a buddha). So long as the buddha had a human body, he cannot avoid these facts. In any case, were a buddha so removed from the human conditions that he felt no reaction at all, that would not be a "buddha" that I would care to follow.

    But what we can do in this life, say the Zen and other Mahayana masters, is be free even when bound ... for example, we can drink from a skull and be disgusted, all while realizing that "life and death" are just a dream, and there was never any death or skull all along. Thus we vomit and roll on the floor in pain, yet there is no "sentient being" to do so from the startless start.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    I wouldn't expect that anyone could enlighten someone else anymore than they could pump someone else's blood for them but only mention the interlinked nature of existence because in my original comment on this particular thread I mentioned the possibility that personal liberation from dukkha could have positive ripple effects on those we are around (therefore solving some of the dichotomy between self-centered and selfless practice).

    From there we have had a very interesting discussion about the exact definition of dukkha from your view, though I still see, with some modification, room for the idea that your own individual practice can have ripple effects (e.g. your example of showing the selfless nature of existence).

    I just hope the Buddha wouldn't eat peaches with poo in them to prove a point for that would be a colossal waste of peaches.

    Gassho,

    Andrew,

    Satlah

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