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Thread: Zen Stoicism

  1. #1

    Zen Stoicism

    Is it true that two of Nishijima Roshi’s common sayings were “follow the circumstances”(ie work with what you have and where you are within reality, no wilfull non-acceptance of reality, or wishful thinking) and “there are no outcomes”(ie only worry about what you can control, only worry about the process not the product, mainly concern yourself with what is inside you, your character and attitude)? If so, these are very wise sayings and get to the heart of most of our day to day problems…

    Gassho,
    Tom
    Sat/Lah

  2. #2
    Kyotai
    Guest
    “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”
    ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

    I have found Stoicism to be profoundly practical and helpful in my daily life.

    Gassho, Kyotai
    ST

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by StoBird View Post
    Is it true that two of Nishijima Roshi’s common sayings were “follow the circumstances”(ie work with what you have and where you are within reality, no wilfull non-acceptance of reality, or wishful thinking) and “there are no outcomes”(ie only worry about what you can control, only worry about the process not the product, mainly concern yourself with what is inside you, your character and attitude)? If so, these are very wise sayings and get to the heart of most of our day to day problems…

    Gassho,
    Tom
    Sat/Lah
    Hmmm. Well, I have found that Nishijima Roshi used the expression "follow the circumstances" in connection with the Kalpa Fire Koan in Nishijima Roshi's translation of Master Dogen's Shinji Shobogenzo, and he interprets it beautifully as flowing with circumstances, i.e., "[If our] plans go awry or we may discover that we are trying to change something that cannot be changed. The Buddhist attitude is to accept and deal with the reality of the situation, even if that one is not one we would have chosen." He then tells the story of the fellow chased off a cliff, hanging with tigers below, who tastes the lovely strawberry.

    It is a lovely teaching, but there is perhaps a more common interpretation of the Koan that there is "something" about reality ... call it "Buddha" or "Emptiness" or whatever ... that would disappear if all the matter of the universe someday disappeared (because all that matter of the universe is just this too in other quise), yet would not disappear because it is so much more than just the matter of the universe.

    The Japanese and Chinese in the Koan can really be interpreted either way, but more the latter I think:


    「いんもならば他に随い去るや?」。

    隋云く、

    「他に随い去る」。
    (I found that Brad Warner said somewhere that Nishijima's interpretation is closer to the Japanese, but I don't see so. It is a bit ambiguous, and maybe can mean either, but is usually taken for the latter interpretation which seems to fit better. Both lovely teachings though.)

    I don't know "there are no outcomes." Where did you hear that one?

    But there is certainly a stoic attitude toward life in Zen, accepting and embracing and flowing with what is. On the other hand, that is no excuse to be passive, totally ignoring the state of the world and just letting things happen. Be informed, be active, even as the heart is calm.

    (sorry to run long)

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-27-2021 at 11:55 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hmmm. Well, I have found that Nishijima Roshi used the expression "follow the circumstances" in connection with the Kalpa Fire Koan in Nishijima Roshi's translation of Master Dogen's Shinji Shobogenzo, and he interprets it beautifully as flowing with circumstances, i.e., "[If our] plans go awry or we may discover that we are trying to change something that cannot be changed. The Buddhist attitude is to accept and deal with the reality of the situation, even if that one is not one we would have chosen." He then tells the story of the fellow chased off a cliff, hanging with tigers below, who tastes the lovely strawberry.

    It is a lovely teaching, but there is perhaps a more common interpretation of the Koan that there is "something" about reality ... call it "Buddha" or "Emptiness" or whatever ... that would disappear if all the matter of the universe somedays disappeared (because all that matter of the universe is just this too in other quise), yet would not disappear because it is so much more than just the matter of the universe.

    The Japanese and Chinese in the Koan can really be interpreted either way, but more the latter I think:



    (I found that Brad Warner said somewhere that Nishijima's interpretation is closer to the Japanese, but I don't see so. It is a bit ambiguous, and maybe can mean either, but is usually taken for the latter interpretation which seems to fit better. Both lovely teachings though.)

    I don't know "there are no outcomes." Where did you hear that one?

    But there is certainly a stoic attitude toward life in Zen, accepting and embracing and flowing with what is. On the other hand, that is no excuse to be passive, totally ignoring the state of the world and just letting things happen. Be informed, be active, even as the heart is calm.

    (sorry to run long)

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    A little birdie told me wrong. I thought I read it in one of his books a while back about a Nagarjuna writing that I forgot the name of (the book really had nothing to do with the Nagarjuna writing btw).

    Gassho,
    Tom

    Sat/Lah

  5. #5
    Kyotai- Me too. I am in the process of reading the greats: Uchiyama, Okumura, Sawaki, Cohen etc… and writing down what I think is particularly Stoic. This concept is particularly concordant with zen: https://medium.com/stoicism-philosop...d-379be0252940

    Asterisk.
    In Bendowa Dogen says something like “one must completely and wholly follow the way.” I take that to mean “stick to Soto Zen and go deep into Soto Zen, don’t stretch yourself with too much non Soto philosophy and thought.”

    Gassho,
    Tom
    SAT/Lah
    Last edited by StoBird; 01-27-2021 at 02:08 PM.

  6. #6
    This one’s very Zenny:

    “I have to die. If it is now, well then I die now; if later, then now I will take my lunch, since the hour for lunch has arrived – and dying I will tend to later.”- Epictetus

    Gassho,
    Tom
    SAT/Lah

  7. #7
    Tom,

    I think that stoicism is embodied in the third of the six Mahayana perfections, kṣānti (patience or forbearance).

    You might also be interested in the story of Sundarī in the Udāna (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipi...4.08.than.html), in which the Buddha's early sangha is reviled after being suspected of murdering a woman from another spiritual community. Shakyamuni tells his monks to be patient and endure the insults as the most important thing is knowing that they are innocent.

    They stab with their words
    — people unrestrained —
    as they do, with arrows,
    a tusker gone into battle.
    Hearing abusive words spoken,
    one should endure them:
    a monk with unbothered mind.


    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.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    Tom,

    I think that stoicism is embodied in the third of the six Mahayana perfections, kṣānti (patience or forbearance).

    You might also be interested in the story of Sundarī in the Udāna (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipi...4.08.than.html), in which the Buddha's early sangha is reviled after being suspected of murdering a woman from another spiritual community. Shakyamuni tells his monks to be patient and endure the insults as the most important thing is knowing that they are innocent.

    They stab with their words
    — people unrestrained —
    as they do, with arrows,
    a tusker gone into battle.
    Hearing abusive words spoken,
    one should endure them:
    a monk with unbothered mind.


    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-


    I’m mainly talking about uppercase Stoicism, the philosophy of Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and Seneca (the big three). That being said, the Stoics thought to bear and forbear aka endure and renounce were the greatest virtues because nothing matters if you give up the fight (don’t endure) or don’t renounce vice in favor of virtue.

    Gassho,
    Tom
    Sat/Lah

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyotai View Post
    “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”
    ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

    I have found Stoicism to be profoundly practical and helpful in my daily life.

    Gassho, Kyotai
    ST

  10. #10
    Kyotai
    Guest

    Zen Stoicism

    Quote Originally Posted by StoBird View Post
    Kyotai- Me too. I am in the process of reading the greats: Uchiyama, Okumura, Sawaki, Cohen etc… and writing down what I think is particularly Stoic. This concept is particularly concordant with zen: https://medium.com/stoicism-philosop...d-379be0252940

    Asterisk.
    In Bendowa Dogen says something like “one must completely and wholly follow the way.” I take that to mean “stick to Soto Zen and go deep into Soto Zen, don’t stretch yourself with too much non Soto philosophy and thought.”

    Gassho,
    Tom
    SAT/Lah
    I highly highly recommend “how to think like a Roman emperor,” by Donald Robertson and of course the greats..

    Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius.
    Letters from a Stoic, by Seneca
    among others

    Gassho Kyotai
    ST


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Kyotai; 01-27-2021 at 02:53 PM.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by StoBird View Post
    Kyotai- Me too. I am in the process of reading the greats: Uchiyama, Okumura, Sawaki, Cohen etc… and writing down what I think is particularly Stoic. This concept is particularly concordant with zen: https://medium.com/stoicism-philosop...d-379be0252940
    You sycophant!!!! hahahah just kidding

    I love Stoicism - it seems like a practical philosophy -> Kyotai - that is a really good book; anything by Ryan Holiday as well (e.g. The Obstacle is the Way).

    I think it's natural that Stoicism shares many ideas with Zen; there is inevitable bleedover because truth is truth and is not under the purview of any "ism".

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    You sycophant!!!! hahahah just kidding

    I love Stoicism - it seems like a practical philosophy -> Kyotai - that is a really good book; anything by Ryan Holiday as well (e.g. The Obstacle is the Way).

    I think it's natural that Stoicism shares many ideas with Zen; there is inevitable bleedover because truth is truth and is not under the purview of any "ism".

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah
    Caught me!
    And good point about truth.



    Gassho,
    Tom
    Sat/Lah

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by StoBird View Post
    This one’s very Zenny:

    “I have to die. If it is now, well then I die now; if later, then now I will take my lunch, since the hour for lunch has arrived – and dying I will tend to later.”- Epictetus

    Gassho,
    Tom
    SAT/Lah
    This reminds me of Dogen's words in Shoji ...

    If you understand that life and death are themselves Nirvana, there is no need for avoiding life and death or seeking Nirvana. Then, for the first time, you will have the possibility to free yourself from life and death.

    ...

    When it is called life, there is nothing but life. When it is called death, there is nothing but death. If life comes, this is life. If death comes, this is death. There is no reason to try to escape from it, and their is no reason to cling to it either.
    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    This reminds me of Dogen's words in Shoji ...



    Gassho, J

    STLah
    We let life come to us the way it is and accept it fully. We don't try to make the moment be something else. Is that right?

    Gassho,
    Sat today,
    Geerish.

    Sent from my PAR-LX1M using Tapatalk

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Guish View Post
    We let life come to us the way it is and accept it fully. We don't try to make the moment be something else. Is that right?

    Gassho,
    Sat today,
    Geerish.

    Sent from my PAR-LX1M using Tapatalk
    Ah, one of the wonders of Zen is that it is not only encountering life one way. Thus, we accept life as it is fully, and drop all need to make things some other way ...

    ... and yet, to live in life, we do not accept all of life fully (the war, the disease, the other things in our life that need fixing), and we can want and work to make them some other way ...

    ... all while ALSO knowing that there are no "things," as all washes away into Emptiness.

    One can encounter life simultaneously, know all ways at once. Thus, nothing to change, all just as it is ... yet so many things we should try to change.

    It is something like accepting dirt as beautiful dirt, each grain holding the universe within ... yet it is not beautiful, so clean it up ... yet, what "dirt?"

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-30-2021 at 05:01 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #16
    this is weird timing; I literally opened up “Discovering the True Self” and there on the page was a reference to your point: “The real state of things is [inherently] taken care of. There’s no need to twist things into what we want.” Now, and I can hear Jundo saying this lol, this does not mean some passivity or nihilism; this is a deep surrender and acceptance of how things are so you can actually do what needs doing without all the baggage and resistance. In fact I know in one of jundo’s talks he says if you lost your job, you best get out there and create the best resume you can. Zen is one big surrender which is not tge same as giving up.

    gassho

    risho
    -stlah

    ps just read what you wrote Jundo; I think I was posting at the same time; thank you!
    Last edited by Risho; 01-30-2021 at 05:06 PM.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    this is weird timing; I literally opened up “Discovering the True Self” and there on the page was a reference to your point: “The real state of things is [inherently] taken care of. There’s no need to twist things into what we want.” Now, and I can hear Jundo saying this lol, this does not mean some passivity or nihilism; this is a deep surrender and acceptance of how things are so you can actually do what needs doing without all the baggage and resistance. In fact I know in one of jundo’s talks he says if you lost your job, you best get out there and create the best resume you can. Zen is one big surrender which is not tge same as giving up.

    gassho

    risho
    -stlah

    ps just read what you wrote Jundo; I think I was posting at the same time; thank you!
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  18. #18
    I believe that if we really view everything as sacred, we drop resistance towards the unpleasant things and make a genuine effort in a very calm way to improve things. The less we react to things, the more we can act.

    Gassho,
    Lah,
    Geerish.


    Sent from my PAR-LX1M using Tapatalk

  19. #19

    Zen Stoicism

    I think, due to misconceptions, mainly driven by a twisting of Stoicism into mere platitudes to gain external career success by Silicon Valley types, Stoicism has gained a reputation for being uncaring and cold. I really, really believe Stoicism can inform Soto Zen because it ultimately IS wisdom and truth, and wisdom and truth, no matter where they’re from fit into Soto Zen like a hand fits into a glove. I feel that in many ways Soto Zen is closer to Stoicism than Theravada “classical” Buddhism, so this is my impassioned posting informing those with misconceptions what Stoicism is really about. (It will run longer than three sentences, I am sorry.)

    Stoicism has a very interesting concept called “indifference” and its not as negative as it sounds at first glance (I don’t know what the Greek and Latin original of “indifference” or any other of these words is and am too lazy to look them up at the moment.) let me explain:

    It’s very much the serenity prayer but more specific: there are things that we can control and things that we can’t control.

    The things that we can control are our deliberate judgments, beliefs, values, goals and decision to act or not to act in the present moment.

    That is it.

    We don’t have control over anything else. We don’t have control of any of the “external” “vicissitudes of life”: our gain or loss of reputation, employment, money, health, our pleasure or pain, praise and blame.

    We can influence them but their outcome is ultimately 100% beyond our control:

    the classic example is of an archer and her target, she can train, choose her bow, choose the arrows, choose her target, choose when to let go of the arrow (or everything that involves deliberate judgements, beliefs, values, goals and decision to act or not to act in the present moment.) After that nothing is up to her, not the gust of wind, the movement of her target or anything else that could make her miss.

    Therefore, anything that is not something we can control, anything that is not our deliberate judgments, beliefs, values, goals and decision to act or not to act in the present moment is something that is “indifferent.”

    We still value certain outcomes over other outcomes but they are ultimately indifferent and beyond our control, thus we attach the prefix: preferred, denoting that the outcome is valued or the prefix: dis-preferred, denoting that the outcome is not valued so much.

    In all, there are “preferred indifferences” and “dis-preferred indifferences.” The goal is not to be indifferent to anything (in the negative sense), but to shift our locus of control to what we actually can control and therefore to where our attention is most effective, namely our deliberate judgements, beliefs, values, goals and decision to act or not to act in the present moment AKA our character and to accept the rest.

    Stoicism is not a cold, emotionless turning away from society and social issues, it is the opposite. Stoics from the very beginning of Stoicism realized that we are social animals and therefor happiness and flourishing require us to be pro-social. They were so pro-social that they had a concept called cosmopolitanism, that we are all part of the same cosmos and therefor despite political parties, status, country, continent or planet, we treat each other with respect and fight for each other to flourish and be happy.

    The Serenity Prayer is:

    “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

    The Shantideva version is:

    “If there's a remedy when trouble strikes,
    What reason is there for dejection?
    And if there is no help for it,
    What use is there in being glum?”

    I feel like Dogen was trying to get at the sense of only being able to control some things in Genjokoan with:

    “blossoms fall (even though we love them), and weeds spread (even though we dislike them)”

    Stoicism is a tool that shines a light on what can control and can’t control.

    This is all a wordy way to say it is wise to focus on this verse from the Dhammapada:

    Avoid evil
    Do good
    Cleanse the mind

    That is the end of my “PowerPoint” presentation hope you enjoyed.

    PS For the nit picky, I am not suggesting that Soto Zen is 100% based in Virtue Ethics (ethics that emphasize personal character over outcomes or commandments) as there are the Precepts (which is complicated because they are not the same as “commandments”) someone else that is much smarter and has a training in philosophy can discuss and parse the differences between Stoicism and Soto Zen, I am only trying to note the benefits of Stoicism.

    Gassho,
    Tom
    SAT/Lah
    Last edited by StoBird; 01-30-2021 at 10:25 PM.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Guish View Post
    I believe that if we really view everything as sacred, we drop resistance towards the unpleasant things and make a genuine effort in a very calm way to improve things. The less we react to things, the more we can act.

    Gassho,
    Lah,
    Geerish.


    Sent from my PAR-LX1M using Tapatalk


    Gsssho,
    Tom
    Sat/Lah


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

  21. #21
    Kyotai
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by StoBird View Post
    I think, due to misconceptions, mainly driven by a twisting of Stoicism into mere platitudes to gain external career success by Silicon Valley types, Stoicism has gained a reputation for being uncaring and cold. I really, really believe Stoicism can inform Soto Zen because it ultimately IS wisdom and truth, and wisdom and truth, no matter where they’re from fit into Soto Zen like a hand fits into a glove. I feel that in many ways Soto Zen is closer to Stoicism than Theravada “classical” Buddhism, so this is my impassioned posting informing those with misconceptions what Stoicism is really about. (It will run longer than three sentences, I am sorry.)

    Stoicism has a very interesting concept called “indifference” and its not as negative as it sounds at first glance (I don’t know what the Greek and Latin original of “indifference” or any other of these words is and am too lazy to look them up at the moment.) let me explain:

    It’s very much the serenity prayer but more specific: there are things that we can control and things that we can’t control.

    The things that we can control are our deliberate beliefs, values, goals and decision to act or not to act in the present moment.

    That is it.

    We don’t have control over anything else. We don’t have control of any of the “external” “vicissitudes of life”: our gain or loss of reputation, employment, money, health, our pleasure or pain, praise and blame.

    We can influence them but their outcome is ultimately 100% beyond our control:

    the classic example is of an archer and her target, she can train, choose her bow, choose the arrows, choose her target, choose when to let go of the arrow (or everything that involves deliberate beliefs, values, goals and decision to act or not to act in the present moment.) After that nothing is up to her, not the gust of wind, the movement of her target or anything else that could make her miss.

    Therefore, anything that is not something we can control, anything that is not our deliberate beliefs, values, goals and decision to act or not to act in the present moment is something that is “indifferent.”

    We still value certain outcomes over other outcomes but they are ultimately indifferent and beyond our control, thus we attach the prefix: preferred, denoting that the outcome is valued or the prefix: dis-preferred, denoting that the outcome is not valued so much.

    In all, there are “preferred indifferences” and “dis-preferred indifferences.” The goal is not to be indifferent to anything (in the negative sense), but to shift our locus of control to what we actually can control and therefore to where our attention is most effective, namely our deliberate beliefs, values, goals and decision to act or not to act in the present moment AKA our character and to accept the rest.

    Stoicism is not a cold, emotionless turning away from society and social issues, it is the opposite. Stoics from the very beginning of Stoicism realized that we are social animals and therefor happiness and flourishing require us to be pro-social. They were so pro-social that they had a concept called cosmopolitanism, that we are all part of the same cosmos and therefor despite political parties, status, country, continent or planet, we treat each other with respect and fight for each other to flourish and be happy.

    The Serenity Prayer is:

    “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

    The Shantideva version is:

    “If there's a remedy when trouble strikes,
    What reason is there for dejection?
    And if there is no help for it,
    What use is there in being glum?”

    I feel like Dogen was trying to get at the sense of only being able to control some things in Genjokoan with:

    “blossoms fall (even though we love them), and weeds spread (even though we dislike them)”

    Stoicism is a tool that shines a light on what can control and can’t control.

    This is all a wordy way to say it is wise to focus on this verse from the Dhammapada:

    Avoid evil
    Do good
    Cleanse the mind

    That is the end of my “PowerPoint” presentation hope you enjoyed.

    PS For the nit picky, I am not suggesting that Soto Zen is 100% based in Virtue Ethics (ethics that emphasize personal character over outcomes or commandments) as there are the Precepts (which is complicated because they are not the same as “commandments”) someone else that is much smarter and has a training in philosophy can discuss and parse the differences between Stoicism and Soto Zen, I am only trying to note the benefits of Stoicism.

    Gassho,
    Tom
    SAT/Lah
    I enjoyed that thank you.

    Gassho, Kyotai
    ST

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by StoBird View Post
    I think, due to misconceptions, mainly driven by a twisting of Stoicism into mere platitudes to gain external career success by Silicon Valley types, Stoicism has gained a reputation for being uncaring and cold. I really, really believe Stoicism can inform Soto Zen because it ultimately IS wisdom and truth, and wisdom and truth, no matter where they’re from fit into Soto Zen like a hand fits into a glove. I feel that in many ways Soto Zen is closer to Stoicism than Theravada “classical” Buddhism, so this is my impassioned posting informing those with misconceptions what Stoicism is really about. (It will run longer than three sentences, I am sorry.)

    Stoicism has a very interesting concept called “indifference” and its not as negative as it sounds at first glance (I don’t know what the Greek and Latin original of “indifference” or any other of these words is and am too lazy to look them up at the moment.) let me explain:

    It’s very much the serenity prayer but more specific: there are things that we can control and things that we can’t control.

    The things that we can control are our deliberate beliefs, values, goals and decision to act or not to act in the present moment.

    That is it.

    We don’t have control over anything else. We don’t have control of any of the “external” “vicissitudes of life”: our gain or loss of reputation, employment, money, health, our pleasure or pain, praise and blame.

    We can influence them but their outcome is ultimately 100% beyond our control:

    the classic example is of an archer and her target, she can train, choose her bow, choose the arrows, choose her target, choose when to let go of the arrow (or everything that involves deliberate beliefs, values, goals and decision to act or not to act in the present moment.) After that nothing is up to her, not the gust of wind, the movement of her target or anything else that could make her miss.

    Therefore, anything that is not something we can control, anything that is not our deliberate beliefs, values, goals and decision to act or not to act in the present moment is something that is “indifferent.”

    We still value certain outcomes over other outcomes but they are ultimately indifferent and beyond our control, thus we attach the prefix: preferred, denoting that the outcome is valued or the prefix: dis-preferred, denoting that the outcome is not valued so much.

    In all, there are “preferred indifferences” and “dis-preferred indifferences.” The goal is not to be indifferent to anything (in the negative sense), but to shift our locus of control to what we actually can control and therefore to where our attention is most effective, namely our deliberate beliefs, values, goals and decision to act or not to act in the present moment AKA our character and to accept the rest.

    Stoicism is not a cold, emotionless turning away from society and social issues, it is the opposite. Stoics from the very beginning of Stoicism realized that we are social animals and therefor happiness and flourishing require us to be pro-social. They were so pro-social that they had a concept called cosmopolitanism, that we are all part of the same cosmos and therefor despite political parties, status, country, continent or planet, we treat each other with respect and fight for each other to flourish and be happy.

    The Serenity Prayer is:

    “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

    The Shantideva version is:

    “If there's a remedy when trouble strikes,
    What reason is there for dejection?
    And if there is no help for it,
    What use is there in being glum?”

    I feel like Dogen was trying to get at the sense of only being able to control some things in Genjokoan with:

    “blossoms fall (even though we love them), and weeds spread (even though we dislike them)”

    Stoicism is a tool that shines a light on what can control and can’t control.

    This is all a wordy way to say it is wise to focus on this verse from the Dhammapada:

    Avoid evil
    Do good
    Cleanse the mind

    That is the end of my “PowerPoint” presentation hope you enjoyed.

    PS For the nit picky, I am not suggesting that Soto Zen is 100% based in Virtue Ethics (ethics that emphasize personal character over outcomes or commandments) as there are the Precepts (which is complicated because they are not the same as “commandments”) someone else that is much smarter and has a training in philosophy can discuss and parse the differences between Stoicism and Soto Zen, I am only trying to note the benefits of Stoicism.

    Gassho,
    Tom
    SAT/Lah
    Thank you! I really enjoyed reading that!

    And because I get so few chances to make use of my classical Greek from my Uni days the Greek word usually translated as "indifferent" is ἀπάθεια. We get the word "apathy" from it, but it was used to mean indifferent, without suffering. I kinda think you could translate it as equanimity, but since apathy is a negation, without pathos, indifference, seeing things without difference, might capture the sense better.

    Thanks again for your great post!

    Gassho,
    Jim
    STlah

  23. #23
    Kyotai
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by StoBird View Post
    I think, due to misconceptions, mainly driven by a twisting of Stoicism into mere platitudes to gain external career success by Silicon Valley types, Stoicism has gained a reputation for being uncaring and cold. I really, really believe Stoicism can inform Soto Zen because it ultimately IS wisdom and truth, and wisdom and truth, no matter where they’re from fit into Soto Zen like a hand fits into a glove. I feel that in many ways Soto Zen is closer to Stoicism than Theravada “classical” Buddhism, so this is my impassioned posting informing those with misconceptions what Stoicism is really about. (It will run longer than three sentences, I am sorry.)

    Stoicism has a very interesting concept called “indifference” and its not as negative as it sounds at first glance (I don’t know what the Greek and Latin original of “indifference” or any other of these words is and am too lazy to look them up at the moment.) let me explain:

    It’s very much the serenity prayer but more specific: there are things that we can control and things that we can’t control.

    The things that we can control are our deliberate beliefs, values, goals and decision to act or not to act in the present moment.

    That is it.

    We don’t have control over anything else. We don’t have control of any of the “external” “vicissitudes of life”: our gain or loss of reputation, employment, money, health, our pleasure or pain, praise and blame.

    We can influence them but their outcome is ultimately 100% beyond our control:

    the classic example is of an archer and her target, she can train, choose her bow, choose the arrows, choose her target, choose when to let go of the arrow (or everything that involves deliberate beliefs, values, goals and decision to act or not to act in the present moment.) After that nothing is up to her, not the gust of wind, the movement of her target or anything else that could make her miss.

    Therefore, anything that is not something we can control, anything that is not our deliberate beliefs, values, goals and decision to act or not to act in the present moment is something that is “indifferent.”

    We still value certain outcomes over other outcomes but they are ultimately indifferent and beyond our control, thus we attach the prefix: preferred, denoting that the outcome is valued or the prefix: dis-preferred, denoting that the outcome is not valued so much.

    In all, there are “preferred indifferences” and “dis-preferred indifferences.” The goal is not to be indifferent to anything (in the negative sense), but to shift our locus of control to what we actually can control and therefore to where our attention is most effective, namely our deliberate beliefs, values, goals and decision to act or not to act in the present moment AKA our character and to accept the rest.

    Stoicism is not a cold, emotionless turning away from society and social issues, it is the opposite. Stoics from the very beginning of Stoicism realized that we are social animals and therefor happiness and flourishing require us to be pro-social. They were so pro-social that they had a concept called cosmopolitanism, that we are all part of the same cosmos and therefor despite political parties, status, country, continent or planet, we treat each other with respect and fight for each other to flourish and be happy.

    The Serenity Prayer is:

    “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

    The Shantideva version is:

    “If there's a remedy when trouble strikes,
    What reason is there for dejection?
    And if there is no help for it,
    What use is there in being glum?”

    I feel like Dogen was trying to get at the sense of only being able to control some things in Genjokoan with:

    “blossoms fall (even though we love them), and weeds spread (even though we dislike them)”

    Stoicism is a tool that shines a light on what can control and can’t control.

    This is all a wordy way to say it is wise to focus on this verse from the Dhammapada:

    Avoid evil
    Do good
    Cleanse the mind

    That is the end of my “PowerPoint” presentation hope you enjoyed.

    PS For the nit picky, I am not suggesting that Soto Zen is 100% based in Virtue Ethics (ethics that emphasize personal character over outcomes or commandments) as there are the Precepts (which is complicated because they are not the same as “commandments”) someone else that is much smarter and has a training in philosophy can discuss and parse the differences between Stoicism and Soto Zen, I am only trying to note the benefits of Stoicism.

    Gassho,
    Tom
    SAT/Lah
    I think using stoicism or zen Buddhism for that matter to manage career success and personal gain is a great thing, ( Silicon valley types, firefighters, artists, military leaders, stay at home parents, athletes or otherwise) I think you may be correct in suggesting something may have been twisted, though i'm not certain that is a bad thing. I am told that modern therapy methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy was largely influenced by the early stoics, though many things did not seem to carry over (the emphasis on personal virtue for one). These are just my observations and I could be completely wrong.

    At it's core, I find it to be much more straightforward and accessible then Zen Buddhsim (for a simpleton like me that is.) That is not a criticism by any means.

    Though many similarities exist, I find it quite difficult to manage two philosophical structures by which to live my life. I'm not able to explain why as of yet.

    Gassho, Kyotai
    ST

  24. #24

    Zen Stoicism

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyotai View Post
    I think using stoicism or zen Buddhism for that matter to manage career success and personal gain is a great thing, ( Silicon valley types, firefighters, artists, military leaders, stay at home parents, athletes or otherwise) I think you may be correct in suggesting something may have been twisted, though i'm not certain that is a bad thing. I am told that modern therapy methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy was largely influenced by the early stoics, though many things did not seem to carry over (the emphasis on personal virtue for one). These are just my observations and I could be completely wrong.

    At it's core, I find it to be much more straightforward and accessible then Zen Buddhsim (for a simpleton like me that is.) That is not a criticism by any means.

    Though many similarities exist, I find it quite difficult to manage two philosophical structures by which to live my life. I'm not able to explain why as of yet.

    Gassho, Kyotai
    ST
    I’m glad you liked my post

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand the primacy of Shikantaza. This might sound pretentious because I’ve only been practicing Soto Zen for about four years but from what I understand Soto Zen both is and is not a philosophy by which to live your life in the western sense but is dharma or truth itself. It’s a deeply felt, to the marrow understanding of the wholeness of the universe. Radical equanimity and all that Jundo talks about. As well as change and working to make the world a more beautiful place.

    I view the core of Soto Zen simply to be Shikantaza Zazen, the Bodhisatttva vows, Dogen the main proponent, that a Soto Zen practitioner go deep into Soto Zen and only Soto Zen, that the wisdom and goodness we seek is already in us and that too much thinking, thought and philosophizing ties a person into knots... after that, whatever practical truth, wisdom, virtue and clarity from any source is a good thing and can’t hurt as long as we are actively using it to make the world a more beautiful place. Soto Zen is not dogma in the sense that Abrahamic religions are

    Gassho,
    Tom
    Sat/Lah


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
    Last edited by StoBird; 01-30-2021 at 10:58 PM.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by JimInBC View Post
    Thank you! I really enjoyed reading that!

    And because I get so few chances to make use of my classical Greek from my Uni days the Greek word usually translated as "indifferent" is ἀπάθεια. We get the word "apathy" from it, but it was used to mean indifferent, without suffering. I kinda think you could translate it as equanimity, but since apathy is a negation, without pathos, indifference, seeing things without difference, might capture the sense better.

    Thanks again for your great post!

    Gassho,
    Jim
    STlah


    Gassho,
    Tom
    Sat/Lah



    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

  26. #26
    It all sounds so right, and lovely to read...
    Yet to be a "monk with unbothered mind" takes our wholehearted practice. I have everything I need, and live in luxury compared to these wise old masters... and yet there are times that the mind just kicks and screams like a toddler, and stoicism wavers.


    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    She/her.
    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).

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    It all sounds so right, and lovely to read...
    Yet to be a "monk with unbothered mind" takes our wholehearted practice. I have everything I need, and live in luxury compared to these wise old masters... and yet there are times that the mind just kicks and screams like a toddler, and stoicism wavers.


    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    You and me both.

    Luckily for us in Shikantaza Zazen there is no Stoic ideal of Sagehood to attain.

    Gassho
    Tom,
    Sat/Lah
    Last edited by StoBird; 01-31-2021 at 08:41 AM.

  28. #28
    Tom, I agree with your view here :

    I view the core of Soto Zen simply to be Shikantaza Zazen, the Bodhisatttva vows, Dogen the main proponent, that a Soto Zen practitioner go deep into Soto Zen and only Soto Zen, that the wisdom and goodness we seek is already in us and that too much thinking, thought and philosophizing ties a person into knots... after that, whatever practical truth, wisdom, virtue and clarity from any source is a good thing and can’t hurt as long as we are actively using it to make the world a more beautiful place. Soto Zen is not dogma in the sense that Abrahamic religions are.

    That "core" you speak of is how I have been practicing over the years ( for awhile i didn't sit for private reasons) But lately i seem to want to fall in line beyond the basics. Deepen my database of zenology and strive harder to live by it.

    Dave
    SAT/LAH

  29. #29
    Interesting discussion. Thank you.


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

  30. #30
    Thich Nhat Hanh becomes the Zen equivalent of Being at the moment as he describes the relevant nature in Being Peace. I smile and I 'become the smile.' "We need people who can sit still and be able to smile, who can walk peacefully. We need people like that in order to save us. Mahayana Buddhism says that you are that person, that each of you is that person." I have been a patient in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy since 2011, I have learned that I have choices for fictions or stories. I can chose to be angry over bygone traumatic days, which invade my 'now as a story, or fiction,' or I can chose now, a real being in the moment of just accepting what happens right now, in this moment. I can chose to smile, and I can chose another 'fiction of peace,' a more satisfying choice? If I chose peace, or to smile, is it logical that I feel better? I have that choice in each moment, and this stoic approach to my survival is another way of 'falling off the cliff where hungry tigers wait below to devour me, and I hang on to a root bearly avoiding the fall. There is next to me a strawberry growing, a delicious fruit, fully ready to be plucked with my hand. However, I am going to fall in any event. Do I pluck the delicious strawberry and eat it thereby hastening my fall, or do I wait for the root to give way. In other words do I accept the tragedy of my death which is reality, or do I eat the strawberry enjoying my last moments. Ah to eat that fruit so succulent and delicious, and let myself die anyway. Which choice do I have in the moment, to enjoy my last moment, smile, and fall, or wait extending my pain?' I can accept the fiction of my past trauma, or history, or in this moment, do I smile, and continue on in that moment? Jundo has been trying to teach me this. This morning I backed into my daughter's cat at 5:00, and tried to feed her. I had created distrust, so I walked away lettering her eat by herself becaust I had hurt her albiet accidently. Now I type to you sitting in the easy chair, an activity she familiar with and trusts. She sleeps on a cushion next to me. I choose to wait. I ate my breakfast, and now I enjoy this lovely, longhaired Ms Cat, Alana, and I can let this moment be. I smile. This will take time to enjoy full acceptance again, but I know this possibility. I have chosem and she sleeps. I live in this reality of my smile, my acceptance of my past accident, now history, and know that something better now is my choice. I find peace for myself. I accept sitting here, enjoying you, and talking on my electronic paper, different than disappointment, or I disturb this cat. Which have I chosen? When I just sit, Shikantaza, do I focus on my upset stomach ache of an hour ago, or even now or do I sit now, only sit, just chose to sit, accept my stomach. Perhaps the next moment's fiction a tragedy, thinking of my past upset stomach i CAN CHOSE, AND SIT WITHOUT, JUST SIT EVEN WITHOUT HOPE. i LET THE STOMACH BE WHAT IT IS, AND i SIT IN THIS UPSET MOMENT. Can I smile? Can I do nothing?
    Gassho
    sat/lah
    Taishi
    Last edited by Tai Shi; 02-03-2021 at 04:38 PM. Reason: concision, spelling.
    ...Thought and action/ your life would never experience, (even before you were born), But he also being the Devine Cannot, He etched every moment of your existence, With His own hand... Haifiz

  31. #31

    Zen Stoicism

    Quote Originally Posted by Tai Shi View Post
    Thich Nhat Hanh becomes the Zen equivalent of Being at the moment as he describes the relevant nature in Being Peace. I smile and I 'become the smile.' "We need people who can sit still and be able to smile, who can walk peacefully. We need people like that in order to save us. Mahayana Buddhism says that you are that person, that each of you is that person." I have been a patient in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy since 2011, I have learned that I have choices for fictions or stories. I can chose to be angry over bygone traumatic days, which invade my 'now as a story, or fiction,' or I can chose now, a real being in the moment of just accepting what happens right now, in this moment. I can chose to smile, and I can chose another 'fiction of peace,' a more satisfying choice? If I chose peace, or to smile, is it logical that I feel better? I have that choice in each moment, and this stoic approach to my survival is another way of 'falling off the cliff where hungry tigers wait below to devour me, and I hang on to a root bearly avoiding the fall. There is next to me a strawberry growing, a delicious fruit, fully ready to be plucked with my hand. However, I am going to fall in any event. Do I pluck the delicious strawberry and eat it thereby hastening my fall, or do I wait for the root to give way. In other words do I accept the tragedy of my death which is reality, or do I eat the strawberry enjoying my last moments. Ah to eat that fruit so succulent and delicious, and let myself die anyway. Which choice do I have in the moment, to enjoy my last moment, smile, and fall, or wait extending my pain?' I can accept the fiction of my past trauma, or history, or in this moment, do I smile, and continue on in that moment? Jundo has been trying to teach me this. This morning I backed into my daughter's cat at 5:00, and tried to feed her. I had created distrust, so I walked away lettering her eat by herself becaust I had hurt her albiet accidently. Now I type to you sitting in the easy chair, an activity she familiar with and trusts. She sleeps on a cushion next to me. I choose to wait. I ate my breakfast, and now I enjoy this lovely, longhaired Ms Cat, Alana, and I can let this moment be. I smile. This will take time to enjoy full acceptance again, but I know this possibility. I have chosem and she sleeps. I live in this reality of my smile, my acceptance of my past accident, now history, and know that something better now is my choice. I find peace for myself. I accept sitting here, enjoying you, and talking on my electronic paper, different than disappointment, or I disturb this cat. Which have I chosen? When I just sit, Shikantaza, do I focus on my upset stomach ache of an hour ago, or even now or do I sit now, only sit, just chose to sit, accept my stomach. Perhaps the next moment's fiction a tragedy, thinking of my past upset stomach i CAN CHOSE, AND SIT WITHOUT, JUST SIT EVEN WITHOUT HOPE. i LET THE STOMACH BE WHAT IT IS, AND i SIT IN THIS UPSET MOMENT. Can I smile? Can I do nothing?
    Gassho
    sat/lah
    Taishi


    I love that you brought up your day to day struggles because now I realize the key similarity between Stoicism and Soto Zen (Jundo has mentioned this so many times that I can’t believe I’ve had such a brain fart. It’s my “duh” moment.)

    The key similarity between Soto Zen and Stoicism is (drum roll)...

    That we have to deal with reality as it is here and now and not some idealized head in the sand version of it.

    From the book ‘A Heart to Heart Chat on Buddhism with Old Master Gudo Nishijima’:

    “Sekishin: So, which religions do you consider emphasize action? What do you mean by that?

    Gudo: This refers to those religions that just call for us to be, to live and act here and now, while simultaneously accepting this world as it is, just as it is here and now, without appealing to some other world that is somehow better, more ideal. Because all such teachings ask of us is to be, to act here and now, in this very world in which we are living here and now, I call such philosophies religions of action. Buddhism is such an existential religion.”

    However, Nishijima goes on to say the following and especially the part I emphasize with italics and bold is unique to Buddhism and to Soto Zen specifically (although modern Stoicism has borrowed the phrase “Amor Fati”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amor_fati from Nietzsche, “Amor Fati” is a close cousin to what Nishijima is talking about here, I personally love the Nietzsche quote “all idealism is mendacity in the face of what is necessary”):

    “On the other hand, while Buddhism calls upon us to fully accept, to merely observe without judgment this world in which we are living, still, Buddhism need not be a philosophy of passivity. We need not but sit in bliss upon our lotus leaf, watching life pass us by. While fully accepting the world, while fully not wishing that the world were any other way than just the way it is, simultaneously and from yet another perspective, we are most free to act, live and choose as we think best, with wisdom and compassion. We need not be passive, but can live our lives abundantly, moving forward, all the while knowing that we are always just here, that there is no place ultimately to go other than where we are. In this way, it is a religion of action. And, again, equally important is the further perspective that in our acting, in our living, it is but the world which acts and lives as we act and live, for we are each but a facet of the world, an expression of the whole of reality without separation. In this stance, all concepts of subject and object are put aside, and our lives and the functioning of all reality constitute a single great activity, one great functioning. Thus, because we view the world as acting by and through each of us without separation or division, it is a religion of action. So, just being, living and acting is sacred, a sacred act, in and of itself. We can even try to better the world as best we can, while hand-in-hand recognizing the world as perfectly just what it is. Because we can live, must live and act even as we accept, so it is a religion of action.”






    Gassho,
    Tom

    Sat/Lah


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
    Last edited by StoBird; 02-04-2021 at 07:31 PM.

  32. #32
    Well, we have to use "reality" carefully in Buddhism, because it is a basic Mahayana 101 teaching that, to one degree or another, we are all living in a mind created dream. Even something seemingly as solid and obvious as the chair you are sitting on is just some configuration of molecules in a configuration that your mind processes and labels as "chair" with some associated function personal to you (an ant crawling across it is probably not seeing a "chair" there at all. We seem to share the concept and name "chair" with all our fellow butt possessing humans, so it is like a shared delusion, but a jelly space visitor who does not "sit" would have difficulty to see it.) Even "comfortable" chair is a matter of your own personal butt and mind, not a characteristic inherent in the molecules themselves. Thus we are all living in our own personal "reality" which is, at the same time, a shared delusion and dream. We have no choice so long as we are alive as human beings feeling and living like isolated beings ... each with his or her own personal butt).

    Master Dogen would say that it is all a dream, but it is OUR dream, so dream it well. Dream a peaceful, non-violent, accepting and flowing with conditions dream.

    (I know that it is hard with this conversation, and I am violating too, but we should also do our best to honor the "shoot for about three sentences" request as best we can, not getting tangled in our own thoughts and words ... about thoughts and words. )

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...ences-Practice

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 02-05-2021 at 01:48 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    we should also do our best to honor the "shoot for about three sentences" request
    Dogen sees Avalokiteshvara
    Jundo the personal butt
    What do you see in your dream?

    Gassho,
    Jim
    stlah
    Last edited by JimInBC; 02-06-2021 at 12:36 AM.

  34. #34
    It is another day, and another time. I listen to the powerful music from a film score, this is now, and the music fully portrays tragedy, mixed with hope, Hope is hinted as only a possibility is this liner progression of notes. Because I am Western man, familiar with movies, and Westerm Music, also a Soto Zen prationer, I now listen to the turning modulation of full hope. I knew this was coming because through my senses of now of listening with my physical ears I am turning away from my past fiction. I can predict this hope. Now am the music as it plays with my hope. I know more positive times come because through music, I live fully in the now. Now the great full beat takes me into hope and my other senses engage. I want to cry as my emotions engage and I hear the power of now. The music begines to fluctuate with great risie much louder. I feel the trumpet flourish. I know we arrive, and good things happens in this movie. Even if I were blind, I am fully in the now. Music rises as it slowlyfalls in this moment; then it rises up again, and I know I am moving toward an ending. I am engaged with my sense of an ending. I am in the now as a great cymbol rolls with drum, and trombone hope plods and rises again with sudden fall. I am quietly filled with hope. I know we age arrived. I know action in the movie as it turnes from tragedy to the affifmation of good; hope is one with good. One last rise of notes comes up with care and understanding we are here. we have arrived and base instruments proclaim NOW, THE GOOD, voices of strong men joint instruments; then quiet comes. I am again at the reality of NOW! We are here and the final movement comes with one last rise. Women and men sing. Full chorus sings and plays with all instruments as everyone proclains now. Then trumpets and women, and the violins are not just hope. Good is proclaimed with chorus and the positive in minor key mixed with minor. Quieter then louder, music brings on all good now. Good is now, and trumpets play the great fanfare, They fall off with drumbs sounding. Superman has risen from the dead and stands strong and tall for a last moment. Words have told me this is superman, Music stops. It is good. This is the now of Western Music and Film score as Superman now falls to death, and I know it is The Death of Superman because words have told me. Thinking is now. His final great surge comes now because I know the title of this film. With music, I have lived in the now. This is existentential of modern linear Western Film Music has let me leave the fiction of my pain, and I choose with hearing to live in the now. Death is life, life is death, Reality is fiction, fiction is realith. Form is space, and space is not Form. I have left film fiction of bad and I am now in good there is less pain, and it is good. I can tell you that when I began to listen to this music, I was in much arthritis pain, TODAY in this now, great pain from my arthritis invaded my upper back into my neck and skull. Now my pain has growen less. I am happy and smiling. This is the good of now for me. I have chosen to pluck the delicious fruit, the strawberry, before I fall to my death, I can tell you that in the last 24 hous I have sat, quietly into nothingness. Out of this I chose to eat the strawberry. However for me sitting was not now. It has been music, and now I feel less pain. Music will not work for me if I cannot hear it, or if it means nothing to me, but for me, this is better than a drug. I will sit again in 10 minutes. All combines. I am free of pain for a while. Now evem 20 minutes later I feel only pressure and less pain.
    Gassho
    sat/lah
    Taishi
    Last edited by Tai Shi; 02-06-2021 at 04:45 PM. Reason: Word choice, grammar, and spelling
    ...Thought and action/ your life would never experience, (even before you were born), But he also being the Devine Cannot, He etched every moment of your existence, With His own hand... Haifiz

  35. #35
    I would like to remind everyone (although we all widely overstep sometimes, me too) of ...

    A Request to Sangha Members: "Three Sacred Sentences" Practice

    If you can.

    There are some sections of the Forum, such as the Arts section and "How to be Sick" section where it does not apply, but otherwise it is easy for all of us to get lost in words and thoughts.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  36. #36
    My apologies. My language is getting harder, and harder to follow. Let it be said, said, My instrument was my voice. Yesterday, it is gone we live at the moment. I am peace, I am being Peace, and Jundo is right; two or three sentences, or they become difficult to read. I am (was) ready to sit Zazenkai.
    Gassho
    sat/ lah I sat this morning from 8:06 (late for Sunday, but really was sitting.) until 9:43.
    Taishi
    Last edited by Tai Shi; 02-07-2021 at 03:54 PM. Reason: concision, spelling.
    ...Thought and action/ your life would never experience, (even before you were born), But he also being the Devine Cannot, He etched every moment of your existence, With His own hand... Haifiz

  37. #37
    I never tried using music to deal with pain, but when I returned to college, I used music to transform anxiety and paranoia. This is one album that helped me a great deal:

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat/lah
    On (Warm)
    Kai (Sea)
    I have a lot to learn, take anything I say that sounds like teaching with a grain of salt.

  38. #38
    Kyotai
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Onkai View Post
    I never tried using music to deal with pain, but when I returned to college, I used music to transform anxiety and paranoia. This is one album that helped me a great deal:

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat/lah
    I've enjoyed Bands such as "Hammock" "Explosions in the sky" and Hans Zimmer for similar purpose.

    Gassho, Kyotai

  39. #39

    Zen Stoicism

    I have a collection of albums spanning centuries of music. From Plainsong to early 2100 cent. I’ve collected albums form folk to New Age, to every period of classical to most vocals ( a bit short of Opera) My collection may be as large as 40 days of continuous listening. I’ve been collecting since I was 16-yr-old though converted my collection entirely to CD about 1997. Been collecting CDs since 1985. Gave away hours of taped music mostly replaced with CDs in 2007. I can listen to hundreds of albums on a popular cloud which I’ve maintained since 2008 near its inception. Jundo I have also sung many of these types and periods from 1967 to 2005 in high school, college, and amateur theatre, operetta and church. Two years of vocal training including solo work and lead roles. All State vocal chorus. I know this exceeds three lines Jundo, but I just wanted to show my complete commitment to music. Even much Jazz.
    Gassho
    sat/ lah
    Tai Shi


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Last edited by Tai Shi; 02-09-2021 at 10:55 AM.
    ...Thought and action/ your life would never experience, (even before you were born), But he also being the Devine Cannot, He etched every moment of your existence, With His own hand... Haifiz

  40. #40
    My minor in college was music.
    Gassho
    sat/ lah
    Tai Shi


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    ...Thought and action/ your life would never experience, (even before you were born), But he also being the Devine Cannot, He etched every moment of your existence, With His own hand... Haifiz

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by StoBird View Post
    Stoicism has a very interesting concept called “indifference” and its not as negative as it sounds at first glance (I don’t know what the Greek and Latin original of “indifference” or any other of these words is and am too lazy to look them up at the moment.) let me explain:

    It’s very much the serenity prayer but more specific: there are things that we can control and things that we can’t control.

    The things that we can control are our deliberate judgments, beliefs, values, goals and decision to act or not to act in the present moment.

    That is it.
    I have seen some in Buddhism talk about how we don't really have a concept of "free will" so any notions of "control" are pretty silly right from the get-go. What we do have, however, is some measure of influence over the conditions we find ourselves in. We can influence where our attention goes, and that that shifting of attention sets in motion other changes that lead to new decisions, different choices, and hopefully liberation for those who seek it.

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

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyōsen View Post
    I have seen some in Buddhism talk about how we don't really have a concept of "free will" so any notions of "control" are pretty silly right from the get-go. What we do have, however, is some measure of influence over the conditions we find ourselves in. We can influence where our attention goes, and that that shifting of attention sets in motion other changes that lead to new decisions, different choices, and hopefully liberation for those who seek it.

    Gassho

    Kyōsen
    Sat|LAH
    There are different forms of “free will.” Buddhists very much believe in free will. Buddhists believe in anatta “non-self” and karma which is different from free will/determinism. Dogen said something along the lines of that we are always on the knifes edge of choice.

    Where would you find “influence over the conditions” if not in deliberate judgements, beliefs, values, goals and the decision to act or not? Cognitive-behavioral psychology can prove this to some extent. Let’s take emotion for instance, when there is a painful emotion present and the emotion doesn’t fit the facts of the situation, then one or more logically distorted thoughts will always be present also. When you catch yourself in a situation where you are experiencing a painful emotion and that emotion doesn’t fit the facts, then you can deliberately challenge your irrational distorted thought(s) thereby attenuating the painful emotion. If that turns out to be a practical illusion, then so be it.

    (Sorry for way over three)

    Tom
    Gassho
    Sat/Lah
    Last edited by StoBird; 02-09-2021 at 04:26 PM.

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by StoBird View Post
    There are different forms of “free will.” Buddhists very much believe in free will. Buddhists believe in anatta “non-self” and karma which is different from free will/determinism. Dogen said something along the lines of that we are always on the knifes edge of choice.

    Where would you find “influence over the conditions” if not in deliberate judgements, beliefs, values, goals and the decision to act or not? Cognitive-behavioral psychology can prove this to some extent. Let’s take emotion for instance, when there is a painful emotion present and the emotion doesn’t fit the facts of the situation, then a logically distorted thought will always be present. When you catch yourself in a situation where you are experiencing a painful emotion and that emotion doesn’t fit the facts, then you can deliberately challenge your irrational thoughts thereby attenuating the painful emotion. If that turns out to be a practical illusion, then so be it.

    (Sorry for way over three)

    Tom
    Gassho
    Sat/Lah
    Indeed. Through Zazen or mindfulness meditation, we just look at thoughts as thoughts and are not necessarily ours.

    Gassho,
    Sat today,
    Geerish.

    Sent from my PAR-LX1M using Tapatalk

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Guish View Post
    Indeed. Through Zazen or mindfulness meditation, we just look at thoughts as thoughts and are not necessarily ours.

    Gassho,
    Sat today,
    Geerish.


    Sent from my PAR-LX1M using Tapatalk
    “Skillful means” can take many forms, sometimes there is a time to look at thoughts and sometimes there is a time to challenge them.



    Gassho
    Tom,
    Sat/lah
    Last edited by StoBird; 02-09-2021 at 04:33 PM.

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by StoBird View Post
    “Skillful means” can take many forms, sometimes there is a time to look at thoughts and sometimes there is a time to challenge them.



    Tom,
    Sat/lah
    Indeed. Sometimes we get surprised by the thoughts that pop up. It's a good way to really see what's under the hood.

    Gassho,
    Geerish.

    Sent from my PAR-LX1M using Tapatalk

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Guish View Post
    Indeed. Sometimes we get surprised by the thoughts that pop up. It's a good way to really see what's under the hood.

    Gassho,
    Geerish.

    Sent from my PAR-LX1M using Tapatalk


    I don’t think there is an either/or in terms of emotional regulation vs watching emotion pass. It’s a balance for me. Some things I keep in mind (I not only majorly geek out over this but really hope it will help others as I wish I had learned about this stuff many years ago):

    Thoughts and emotions are just secretions of the brain, let them go

    AND

    Sometimes we need to check the facts when emotion is intense,

    There is criteria that needs to be met in order for an emotion to “fit the facts”:

    1. it’s appropriate- the emotion is appropriate in the situation (ie you don’t feel extatic joy when you roll your car, unless it’s to be alive),

    2. it’s useful (effective)- the emotion is useful in some way (ie it gets you and/or others to behave in an appropriate way, not willfully),

    3. and it’s duration and intensity (not too intense, not too long)- the emotion is not too intense and doesn’t outlive its appropriateness and usefulness.

    If this criteria is not met for a present emotion then there is always a distortion or fallacy of thought present too. To further complicate things, there is no “right” way to think, feel or act in a given situation, only emotions, thoughts and actions that “fit the facts” or not.

    http://edencounseling.com/resources/...4-handouts.pdf

    Gassho,
    Tom
    SAT/Lah
    Last edited by StoBird; 02-09-2021 at 06:00 PM.

  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by StoBird View Post
    There are different forms of “free will.” Buddhists very much believe in free will. Buddhists believe in anatta “non-self” and karma which is different from free will/determinism. Dogen said something along the lines of that we are always on the knifes edge of choice.

    Where would you find “influence over the conditions” if not in deliberate judgements, beliefs, values, goals and the decision to act or not? Cognitive-behavioral psychology can prove this to some extent. Let’s take emotion for instance, when there is a painful emotion present and the emotion doesn’t fit the facts of the situation, then one or more logically distorted thoughts will always be present also. When you catch yourself in a situation where you are experiencing a painful emotion and that emotion doesn’t fit the facts, then you can deliberately challenge your irrational distorted thought(s) thereby attenuating the painful emotion. If that turns out to be a practical illusion, then so be it.

    (Sorry for way over three)

    Tom
    Gassho
    Sat/Lah
    I can't help but think of neurological experiments wherein someone is wired up to a brain scanning device of some kind and then told to press a button before it lights up. The button lights up when the device detects that the brain has decided to press it. The experiment consistently shows that the decision to press the button is made seconds before someone becomes consciously aware of the choice. They believe "they" are the ones who decided to push the button but, in reality, the decision was already made.

    Outside of the world of neuroscience, when we look at the mental aggregates and their facts, they are all under the influence of karma. They are reactions to reactions to reactions. So one might ask "if it's all just reactions, what do we actually have any influence over?" What choices do we actually have? I think that's why some Buddhist monks over the centuries have said that we have influence over where our attention goes which is actually tremendously potent if you think about it. Whatever you choose to pay attention to is what gets your effort: perception, feeling, judgement, action, etc.

    So if we choose to focus on our loved ones instead of mainstream news, that's going to reflect in our emotional and physical sense of well-being and what we spend most of our efforts on, as an example. This is related to why people who quit social media tend to report increased self-esteem and sense of well-being; their attention is being re-directed away from something toxic and unrealistic and "other" to what is actually present in their lives, what is "real", and what they can actually do something about. Which isn't to say all social media is bad, of course - it's a tool, really, and like any tool if you use it improperly then you could end up hurting yourself (and not all tools are appropriate for all jobs).

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

  48. #48
    Ah, I see where you’re going with this but with the same logic “I” don’t have control of attention itself.

    I’m gonna let you in on what I really believe: it’s all happening on its own for if “I” existed then there would be a homunculus behind the “I” and a homunculus behind that homunculus, behind that one etc... homuncules all the way down... and if I truly believe in philosophical naturalism, that everything has a natural cause, then nothing happens uncaused in a vacuum including “myself” and what “I” think “I” can “control.” But on a conceptual level, yes, “paying attention” to what “I” have “control” over is all “I” can “do.” I’m gonna retire from being so chatty, even I’m sick of my own bloviating. Let’s sit.

    Gassho
    Tom
    Sat/Lah
    Last edited by StoBird; 02-09-2021 at 11:38 PM.

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