Results 1 to 26 of 26

Thread: Fatalism vs acceptance in Zazen

  1. #1

    Fatalism vs acceptance in Zazen

    Is there ultimately a difference between fatalism (the belief in the inevitability of reality) and the radical deep-in-the-bones acceptance of reality, a radical acquiescence to reality that happens in Zazen? To use a mountain climbing analogy, Is it accurate to say that fatalism is like refusing to even climb the mountain and radical acceptance is accepting wherever you are when climbing on the mountain?

    Gassho
    Tom

    Sat
    Last edited by StoBird; 10-13-2020 at 03:26 AM.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by StoBird View Post
    Is there ultimately a difference between fatalism (the belief in the inevitability of reality) and the radical deep-in-the-bones acceptance of reality, a radical acquiescence to reality that happens in Zazen?
    Oh, yes. Buddhism and Zen are based on the premise that we accept circumstances on the one hand (one hand clapping hand ), yet we also are free agents who make life through our choices and acts, and that there are things not to accept. We accept AND do not accept at once, ALL AS ONE.

    To use a mountain climbing analogy, Is it accurate to say that fatalism is like refusing to even climb the mountain and radical acceptance is accepting wherever you are when climbing on the mountain?
    So, whether we climb the mountain or not climb the mountain is our choice. Maybe we do not accept being at the bottom, and want to get to the top. So, we choose to climb.

    However, in our bones, we also accept being at the bottom, being at the top, being each step in between. If we stay in the parking lot at the base, that is just where we are. If we reach the top, that is just where we are. In fact, we can wish to get to the top AND accept wherever we are too, all at the same time.

    We try to avoid the mud holes and poison ivy, because we don't accept getting muddy and itchy. Yet, from the absolute perspective, we accept being muddy and itchy if muddy and itchy, and we accept not being muddy and itchy if not being muddy and itchy. In other words, we can avoid the mud and poison ivy AND totally accept the mud and poison ivy at once.

    (Sorry that I could not avoid running long)

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    I think a stoic fatalist might climb the mountain, saying “climbing mountains is what a human does”. He might not appreciate the climb as much, though.

  4. #4
    Code:
    We try to avoid the mud holes and poison ivy, because we don't accept getting muddy and itchy. Yet, from the absolute perspective, we accept being muddy and itchy if muddy and itchy, and we accept not being muddy and itchy if not being muddy and itchy. In other words, we can avoid the mud and poison ivy AND totally accept the mud and poison ivy at once.
    Wonderful teaching - I really like this metaphor.

    Gassho
    Van
    Sat

    Sent from my HD1913 using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Practice that resembles climbing a Mount Everest, to get to "the top", the enlightenment, nirvana... And once you "get" to the summit you feel like a fool, and you laugh, because what you see from the top are hundreds of other mountains, and the hight doesn't matter anymore , the top and the bottom are irrelevant. You begin from the end and each step is arriving.
    Gassho
    Sat

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Ania View Post
    Practice that resembles climbing a Mount Everest, to get to "the top", the enlightenment, nirvana... And once you "get" to the summit you feel like a fool, and you laugh, because what you see from the top are hundreds of other mountains, and the hight doesn't matter anymore , the top and the bottom are irrelevant. You begin from the end and each step is arriving.
    Gassho
    Sat
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #7
    Does that mean that confidence is compatible with fear ?

    Gassho,
    Uggy,
    Sat Today,
    LAH

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Ugrok View Post
    Does that mean that confidence is compatible with fear ?

    Gassho,
    Uggy,
    Sat Today,
    LAH
    What do you mean?

    In Zen, one can be confident AND sometimes afraid AT ONCE, AS ONE, as if encountering the world both ways as one.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    Iíve heard it called ďjoyfearĒ; itís the sweetspot; you want to have one foot in the known (what you have learned) and one in the unknown (new challenges that stretch you and you have to level up to accomplish). Too much known: stagnation; too much unknown: chaos.

    when you start something new if you bite off more than you can chew youíll quit, so it comes back to that buddhist lute story: finding the right tightness, the strings canít be too tight or the lute wont play and not overly loose or the lute wont play

    gassho

    risho
    -stlah

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    I’ve heard it called “joyfear”; it’s the sweetspot; you want to have one foot in the known (what you have learned) and one in the unknown (new challenges that stretch you and you have to level up to accomplish). Too much known: stagnation; too much unknown: chaos.

    when you start something new if you bite off more than you can chew you’ll quit, so it comes back to that buddhist lute story: finding the right tightness, the strings can’t be too tight or the lute wont play and not overly loose or the lute wont play

    gassho

    risho
    -stlah
    What I was speaking of is not that, but the total fearlessness of knowing the birthless and deathless wholeness of the Absolute, while also sometimes scared to the bone here in samsara, this life of birth and death. One can know all as one, two sides of the no sided coin.

    Here in samsara, that "joyfear" of which you speak sounds possible and very useful sometimes, but it is not the fearlessness of the deathless.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    What I was speaking of is not that, but the total fearlessness of knowing the birthless and deathless wholeness of the Absolute, while also sometimes scared to the bone here in samsara, this life of birth and death. One can know all as one, two sides of the no sided coin.

    Here in samsara, that "joyfear" of which you speak sounds possible and very useful sometimes, but it is not the fearlessness of the deathless.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Is this total fearlessness possible to feel in the body, deep to the bone marrow? I have never been afraid of birth and death, as I believed that I understood their true essence. However, two occasions in my life revealed that this "lack of fear" was only my opinion, a mental construct and deep in my bones I was petrified. This total fearlessness you mention: does it mean looking into the fears eyes, accepting it and then letting it go when it comes to it, rather than forming beliefs of death and deathlessness?
    Fear of impermanence and death is deeply engraved in our bones and apparently our brains were designed to "trick" us :
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.liv...dea-death.html

    Sorry for extra sentence.
    Gassho
    Sat

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Ania View Post
    Is this total fearlessness possible to feel in the body, deep to the bone marrow? I have never been afraid of birth and death, as I believed that I understood their true essence. However, two occasions in my life revealed that this "lack of fear" was only my opinion, a mental construct and deep in my bones I was petrified. This total fearlessness you mention: does it mean looking into the fears eyes, accepting it and then letting it go when it comes to it, rather than forming beliefs of death and deathlessness?
    Fear of impermanence and death is deeply engraved in our bones and apparently our brains were designed to "trick" us :
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.liv...dea-death.html

    Sorry for extra sentence.
    Gassho
    Sat
    I would say best to keep practicing and then one can experience such at times. By chance, my book that just came out had something on this ...

    Life’s dance takes unexpected turns.

    I am writing this some weeks after receiving an esophageal and stomach cancer diagnosis. The doctors are optimistic, but they won’t know the real prognosis until they do surgery a few days from now. Like many twists and turns in life, this news came as quite a surprise to me. In general, I’m doing okay with it, but I am also afraid sometimes, as we humans often are when faced with our mortality. I don’t want to pretend that I am some kind of hero who is beyond all fear. I am not. I’m a complete Zen coward! I believe that some level of fear is hardwired into the deepest parts of our brains, and it awakens when we ponder our own sickness and death.

    But that’s okay, because it’s not the end of the story.

    Another part of me is beyond all fear. I mean that. Part of me is afraid but part of me is not afraid at all. It’s the part of me that is wonderfully beyond “me,” beyond all fear of death—an aspect of my being that is fine with whatever happens. The part of me that knows there is no place to fall to and that does not believe in death in the usual way we think about it. I feel content, even though I am also worried about my upcoming surgery. There are serious risks, and the operation might not work. I want to get the cancer out, but the treatment is painful and without guarantees. I am afraid, and sometimes the fear makes me sweat from head to toe. I realize I may not be here in a year or two, or even months from now. I may not be here tomorrow. What will become of my family? I miss my kids, my wife, the cat. Who will teach my daughter to ride a bike, or show my son how to shave? Sometimes the loneliness I feel makes me cry at night.

    At the same time, I am beyond all fear, and there is not the least resistance to death in my heart. Through Zen practice, I stopped being concerned about death a long time ago. If death comes, let it come. Whatever happens, I’m willing to dive right in. Thus, I am content to be here in this hospital room. All is as it should be and I overflow with joy. An amazing aspect of Zen, the essence of the wisdom and compassion at its very center, is that it allows all such feelings to be true at once, each in its own way. Each perspective has its place, and there is not the least bit of conflict among ideas and emotions that at first appear to be contradictory.
    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-21-2020 at 06:51 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I would say best to keep practicing and then one can experience such at times. By chance, my book that just came out had something on this ...



    Gassho, J

    STLah


    That's beautiful. Thank you.
    I used to wonder if everything was okay with me: how there can be happiness in depression? How can I feel such gratitude in the face of adversity? How come the middle of the darkest, coldest winter is so beautiful?
    I am looking forward to reading your book.

    Gassho
    Sat

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Ania View Post
    I used to wonder if everything was okay with me: how there can be happiness in depression? How can I feel such gratitude in the face of adversity? How come the middle of the darkest, coldest winter is so beautiful?
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    What I was speaking of is not that, but the total fearlessness of knowing the birthless and deathless wholeness of the Absolute, while also sometimes scared to the bone here in samsara, this life of birth and death. One can know all as one, two sides of the no sided coin.

    Here in samsara, that "joyfear" of which you speak sounds possible and very useful sometimes, but it is not the fearlessness of the deathless.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Ha - calling out my "Bompu" zen again. hahahahah and point taken

    Ania -

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah

  16. #16
    Foyan said that without the right view, Zen practice will seem bitter.

    Because Zen is quite bare in some respects, I think thereís a tendency to equate Zen with asceticism. Certainly Sesshin can seem that way (Iíve never made it more than a day, though perhaps less. Maybe if I could have endured, Iíd have worn away the bitter.)

    I think with one mind, zazen can be seen as asceticism. With another, it might be seen as athleticism. Agony? Boredom? Fatalism?

    Right view isnít just one long, uncaring, grey dayóexcept when it is.

    Something thatís helped me because Iím mentally ill, is to try to examine the movements of mind and not thoroughly rely on them. But the ground in which the mind movesówhatís that? Is it even possible for that to be inconsistent? The painting might be a riot of color, but what about the wall, just outside the frame, against which the painting has been hung?

    Fatalism seems too dead, too settled and certain of itself to be Zen.

    Chet

    Sat Today (donít know what the other thing means. Ihn? Something like that? IAH?)

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Chet View Post
    Foyan said that without the right view, Zen practice will seem bitter.

    Because Zen is quite bare in some respects, I think there’s a tendency to equate Zen with asceticism. Certainly Sesshin can seem that way (I’ve never made it more than a day, though perhaps less. Maybe if I could have endured, I’d have worn away the bitter.)

    I think with one mind, zazen can be seen as asceticism. With another, it might be seen as athleticism. Agony? Boredom? Fatalism?

    Right view isn’t just one long, uncaring, grey day—except when it is.

    Something that’s helped me because I’m mentally ill, is to try to examine the movements of mind and not thoroughly rely on them. But the ground in which the mind moves—what’s that? Is it even possible for that to be inconsistent? The painting might be a riot of color, but what about the wall, just outside the frame, against which the painting has been hung?

    Fatalism seems too dead, too settled and certain of itself to be Zen.

    Chet

    Sat Today (don’t know what the other thing means. Ihn? Something like that? IAH?)
    But the ground in which the mind moves—what’s that? Is it even possible for that to be inconsistent? The painting might be a riot of color, but what about the wall, just outside the frame, against which the painting has been hung?
    The painting and the wall and you seeing it are one. The ground in which the mind moves is groundless. The movement itself is constant. Letting go of fear of groundlessness, letting go of need for certainy, letting go of resistance to unwanted and attachment to desired, becoming at ease with the flow of life : in clarity, in mental turbulence, in health in illness. That's how I started to practice after I realised that looking for the "unchanged, unmoved, self" is just creating duality.

    Land A Hand/lah. Is a daily practice of sharing compassion and our usefulness to others. You may include that after your comment if you did something nice for anyone. I couldn't find a link to the Lah thread.

    Appologies for going over 3 sentences.
    Gassho
    Sat.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Ania View Post
    I couldn't find a link to the Lah thread.
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...%28Lend-A-Hand

    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.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Ania View Post
    The painting and the wall and you seeing it are one. The ground in which the mind moves is groundless. The movement itself is constant. Letting go of fear of groundlessness, letting go of need for certainy, letting go of resistance to unwanted and attachment to desired, becoming at ease with the flow of life : in clarity, in mental turbulence, in health in illness. That's how I started to practice after I realised that looking for the "unchanged, unmoved, self" is just creating duality.

    Land A Hand/lah. Is a daily practice of sharing compassion and our usefulness to others. You may include that after your comment if you did something nice for anyone. I couldn't find a link to the Lah thread.

    Appologies for going over 3 sentences.
    Gassho
    Sat.
    I should have anticipated someone would try to out-Zen me.

    Happens every time.

    Chet

    st
    Last edited by Chet; 10-26-2020 at 07:15 PM.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Chet View Post
    I should have anticipated someone would try to out-Zen me.

    Happens every time.

    Chet

    st
    Hi Chet,

    What does out-Zen me mean?

    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  21. #21
    Chet, Is it a competition?

    I was actually asking myself a lot the same question as you posted before I encountered Zen

    Gassho
    Sat

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Ania View Post
    Chet, Is it a competition?

    I was actually asking myself a lot the same question as you posted before I encountered Zen

    Gassho
    Sat
    It often seems that way, but I don't even have my Zen running shoes. You'll beat me every time.

    Chet

    sat

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Ania View Post
    The painting and the wall and you seeing it are one. The ground in which the mind moves is groundless. The movement itself is constant. Letting go of fear of groundlessness, letting go of need for certainy, letting go of resistance to unwanted and attachment to desired, becoming at ease with the flow of life : in clarity, in mental turbulence, in health in illness. That's how I started to practice after I realised that looking for the "unchanged, unmoved, self" is just creating duality.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Chet View Post
    It often seems that way, but I don't even have my Zen running shoes. You'll beat me every time.

    Chet

    sat
    Hi Chet,

    Perhaps best to take those shoes off, and get to knowing folks first before quipping. Yes?

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Chet,

    Perhaps best to take those shoes off, and get to knowing folks first before quipping. Yes?

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH
    No, I'm allowed to be disappointed by a first impression. So are they.

    I'm trying to think of something more dangerous than blithely saying there is no groundless ground.

    Chet
    Sat
    Last edited by Chet; 11-04-2020 at 07:57 PM.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Chet View Post
    No, I'm allowed to be disappointed by a first impression. So are they.

    I'm trying to think of something more dangerous than blithely saying there is no groundless ground.

    Chet
    Sat


    Words fail so often.

    rsz_img_20201104_200950.jpg

    Artwork by Iwasaki Tsuneo
    Gassho
    Sat

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •