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Thread: Zen as Embodiment (3) - One for All, All for One

  1. #1

    Zen as Embodiment (3) - One for All, All for One

    A moment of Zazen is all things and everything and more.

    Usually, we think of a world of separate things, for example, an "ant" and a "mountain." The little ant may crawl along or within the huge mountain, but the ant is not the mountain, the mountain is not the ant. Yet Master Dogen, the other great Zen teachers, and the Tendai and Huayan Buddhist masters who came before them, knew the interflowing, wholly-holding, complete embodying and interidentity of all things and moments.

    To wit, the ant and mountain not only just interconnect, not only somehow interrelate, not only sometimes work together although remaining separate things, but the ant fully holds the entire mountain (the whole universe and whatever is beyond that, in fact) effortlessly within its tiny body down to the last mountainy grain of dust, and moreover, --is-- the mountain just as the mountain --is-- the ant (the whole universe and all beyond, in fact) in most literal sense, and all fully merges as, is totally held within and --is-- precisely sitting zazen. Every "thing" is everything, is all things, is one action that is all actions and all stillness, which is every moment and all moments while measureless and timeless too ... all people, plants, every star and atom, all events, each half second or endless expanse of time, the kitchen sink, the plumber and then some, each, all and each other ... all embodied to the last drop in each single moment that is all moments of timeless still-yet-flowing zazen sitting.

    Do we sufficiently emphasize this state, so key to Shikantaza (key to understanding Master Dogen's wild teachings no less) in our "How to Sit" instructions? Do we merely pay it lip service, before returning to little more than sitting and following the breath?

    Yes, it is hard to get our heads around, and seems to go against our common sense experience of the world, its separate things and passing time (some modern scientific ideas of a "holographic" universe in which every bit holds all bits are tantalizingly close to such a model). It is just another aspect of our practice that we should trust in until we can start to taste it, embody it. Much as our sitting embodies the Buddha, all Buddhas and Ancestors, sitting at rest under the Bodhi Tree in wholeness and completion (I discussed this in the last installment of this "Zen as Embodiment" series), a fact we may not fully experience at the outset of our practice, we must sit fully trusting that our sitting fully embodies and expresses all things, everything, every moment wholly in each moment of our own sitting here on this cushion. Then, perhaps, as the hard borders of 'self and other' soften or drop away, one may actually experience so.

    As well, this "I am you and we are they" expressed within our sitting is both the root of Compassion, and the means by which our little sitting, so finite, actually "saves all the numberless sentient beings" as we save our selfless self. (More about that next time).


    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH

    (Apologies, the whole universe is contained in three sentences, in one word, in ... )
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-27-2020 at 01:00 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Member RobD's Avatar
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    Massachusetts, United States
    Jundo,

    Thank you so much for this series of teachings. Gassho2

    This one, in particular, is a wonderful complement to the ongoing Precepts discussion.

    Gassho,
    Rob

    -stlah-


    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Wonderful. (To be honest, sometimes it’s really difficult to sit without a goal when this seems tantalizingly just out of reach.)
    Gassho,
    Krista
    st/lah

  4. #4
    Thank you for this teaching Jundo


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

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by KristaB View Post
    Wonderful. (To be honest, sometimes it’s really difficult to sit without a goal when this seems tantalizingly just out of reach.)
    Gassho,
    Krista
    st/lah
    That's because you keep reaching. What are your reaching for? Stop all reaching.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    That's because you keep reaching. What are your reaching for? Stop all reaching.

    Gassho, J

    STLah

    Krista
    st/lah

  7. #7


    Gassho,
    Washin
    stlah
    Kaido (有道) Every Way
    Washin (和信) Harmony Trust
    ----
    I am a novice priest-in-training. Anything what I say must not be considered as teaching
    and should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

  8. #8
    Thank you for this teaching. The oneness of all things and interdependent origination. This echoes TNH's idea of interbeing.

    Gassho,
    Van
    Sat

    Sent from my HD1913 using Tapatalk

  9. #9


    Kotei sat/lah today.

    義道 冴庭 / Gidou Kotei.
    Being a novice priest doesn't mean that my writing about the Dharma is more substantial than yours. Actually, it might well be the other way round.

  10. #10
    Thanks for this, Jundo. I find the key to realizing these truths is to realize them without thinking about them and to sit without checking, aiming, correcting, and trying for the prize. When all is said and done it really just comes down to; just sit.

    Gassho
    ST-lah
    Shoki

  11. #11


    eva
    sattoday and LAH

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Shoki View Post
    Thanks for this, Jundo. I find the key to realizing these truths is to realize them without thinking about them and to sit without checking, aiming, correcting, and trying for the prize. When all is said and done it really just comes down to; just sit.

    Gassho
    ST-lah
    Shoki
    Thank you Shoki,

    Gassho,
    eva
    sattoday and LAH

  13. #13
    Thank you Jundo
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Sattoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  14. #14
    Thank you, Jundo.

    Gassho,
    Mags
    ST

  15. #15
    Thank you

    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.

  16. #16
    Gassho
    Onka
    Sat
    aka Anna Kissed
    Pronouns She/Her They/Them

  17. #17
    Thank You , Jundo

    Gassho
    John
    SatToday
    侍 Samurai

  18. #18
    Member Hokin's Avatar
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    Ixtlahuacan De Los Membrillos, Mexico
    Thank you very much, Jundo for this heart-opening guidelines...


    Gassho.
    Hokin.
    Sat Today.

  19. #19
    Sometimes when I sit¹ or when I'm looking at the trees as we drive by them, I tell myself "it's all here" and this mind of mine seems brighter and more at-ease in response.

    ¹ By this I mean, at the beginning of sitting I'll tell myself this and that helps me to settle right into the seat.

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

  20. #20
    Gassho,

    Horin

    Stlah

    Enviado desde mi PLK-L01 mediante Tapatalk

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyōsen View Post
    Sometimes when I sit¹ or when I'm looking at the trees as we drive by them, I tell myself "it's all here" and this mind of mine seems brighter and more at-ease in response.

    ¹ By this I mean, at the beginning of sitting I'll tell myself this and that helps me to settle right into the seat.

    Gassho
    Kyōsen
    Sat|LAH
    I started doing something very similar as you instead of overly focusing on breath, and this "this is it" attitude helps to settle more easily and let go more easily (there's no any special concentration point to be reached).
    There's magic in trees - long before discovering meditation I used to just look at them for endless time, perfectly content with the act of watching light reflections and movement of leaves.
    Gassho
    Sat

  22. #22
    I will save this post, it is one of my favorites so far. Wonderful Jundo, thank you.

    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat

  23. #23
    Maybe the whole world is condemned to these three little words and when nothing else-- try what every mother knows at time of baby's birth, what every real father says of the mother, what every teacher says of their students, what every true doctor, committed therapist, and devoted social worker believes of their patients, what every grandmother knows of their grandchild, maybe this is all we really have, "I love you."
    Gassho
    sat/ lah
    Tai Sho
    The object of practice is not transcendence but transformation, yet ultimately we must transcend ourselves. (Elucidation of Dogen) in HOW TO RAISE AN OX

  24. #24
    Member RobD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tai Shi View Post
    Maybe the whole world is condemned to these three little words and when nothing else-- try what every mother knows at time of baby's birth, what every real father says of the mother, what every teacher says of their students, what every true doctor, committed therapist, and devoted social worker believes of their patients, what every grandmother knows of their grandchild, maybe this is all we really have, "I love you."
    Gassho
    sat/ lah
    Tai Sho
    Tai Shi, that's a beautiful perspective.

    Thank you.

    Gassho2

    Gassho,
    Rob

    -stlah-


    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
    Last edited by RobD; 09-29-2020 at 03:31 PM.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Tai Shi View Post
    Maybe the whole world is condemned to these three little words and when nothing else-- try what every mother knows at time of baby's birth, what every real father says of the mother, what every teacher says of their students, what every true doctor, committed therapist, and devoted social worker believes of their patients, what every grandmother knows of their grandchild, maybe this is all we really have, "I love you."
    Gassho
    sat/ lah
    Tai Sho
    This reminds me of certain texts, from certain source, which always end with : "Teach only love."

    Gassho,
    eva
    sattoday and LAH

  26. #26
    Sometimes I get the feeling that sitting allows the individual to become unified with the vast potential of superposition, where we exist in many states simultaneously. It's only when the mind starts separating and discriminating that these positions collapse into the reality (holographic or not) that we experience. I love that the current understanding of the nature of reality compliments Zen so well.

    Gassho,

    Josh
    SatToday

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

  27. #27
    Thank you Jundo
    Gassho
    ST
    lah

  28. #28
    I find this to be the most difficult teaching to understand or accept. But it's ok though, beacuse that moment in the future when I will finally understand and accept it is not other than Now! Right?

    Nikolas
    Sat/LaH

    Στάλθηκε από το SM-T510 μου χρησιμοποιώντας Tapatalk

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Nikos View Post
    ... that moment in the future when I will finally understand and accept it is not other than Now! Right?
    That is exactly right. It is now, although it is then too.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  30. #30
    Member Seishin's Avatar
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    Thank you all.

    sat


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  31. #31
    I try to live now but I hop between now then and yesterday my Marjorie Pearl helps a lot. She teaches me to look at cornfields and describe what they look like now. Ever wonder why it’s “look like?”
    Gassho
    sat/ lah
    Tai Shi


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The object of practice is not transcendence but transformation, yet ultimately we must transcend ourselves. (Elucidation of Dogen) in HOW TO RAISE AN OX

  32. #32
    Hey all

    "we must sit fully trusting that our sitting fully embodies and expresses all things, everything, every moment wholly in each moment of our own sitting"

    ....it's a bit like having x-ray vision lol!

    Thanks Jundo

    SatLah, Tokan

  33. #33
    Thank you for the teaching.

    Now is then / Then is now. And if now is now and then how do we live in the present? Does this mean time is ficticious in the zen sense? You are very right that this is a very hard topic to contain and wrap the mind around.

    Either way I shall have faith in the teaching.

    Gassho,
    Sat/lah

    Apologies for more than 3 sentences.

    Sent from my SM-A205U using Tapatalk
    Last edited by SeaChel; 10-08-2020 at 05:53 PM.

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by SeaChel View Post
    ... And if now is now and then how do we live in the present? ...
    When else have you ever been living?

    And if you remember the past, you are remembering the past now. And if you dream of the future, you are now thinking of the future.

    If you mean "being in the now," I have always thought of that as a Zenny skill we learn to do SOMETIMES when appropriate (e.g., when looking at a sunset), but at other times, it is more important to "let the now be as it is now" (a different skill), even if that now is being a little sad right now about the past, or a bit worried right now about the future. More here:

    Being mindful of 'mindful'
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...ful-of-mindful

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  35. #35
    That was very useful. Thank you

    Gassho
    Sat-lah

    Sent from my SM-A205U using Tapatalk

  36. #36
    Because I sit daily, my practice has been healthy. Because my doctors say I’m in the best health in years, I have discovered sitting with happiness makes sitting easier.
    Gassho
    sat/ lah
    Tai Shi


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The object of practice is not transcendence but transformation, yet ultimately we must transcend ourselves. (Elucidation of Dogen) in HOW TO RAISE AN OX

  37. #37

    Zen as Embodiment (3) - One for All, All for One

    Physically, mentally at this moment as I listen to the beautiful voice of second soprano singing the line rejoice from Handel, I’m moved, and at this moment I am moved to hear Judas Macabe recounted in song. At this moment I am alive. As I hear Mozart’s Requiem I am moved to understand a beauty I can understand in the listeners’ ears.
    Gassho
    sat/ lah
    Tai Shi


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Tai Shi; 10-18-2020 at 08:04 PM.
    The object of practice is not transcendence but transformation, yet ultimately we must transcend ourselves. (Elucidation of Dogen) in HOW TO RAISE AN OX

  38. #38
    I love this Zen as embodiment series. So inspiring, thank you for these teachings, jundo!

    Gassho

    Horin

    Stlah

    Enviado desde mi BLA-L29 mediante Tapatalk

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