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Thread: Buddhist knowledge

  1. #1

    Question Buddhist knowledge

    Hello, I apologise in advance as I will surely go over 3 sentences.

    I have been wondering for a while now, and a post about a koan contributed to my thinking (https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...d-and-answered), about knowledge and study.
    I see many people here, Jundo in primis, and in my Italian Sangha that are so knowledgeable in Zen Buddhism (or Buddhism in general) and I can't stop thinking: how do they got there? How many years did it take to you to reach a level that permits you to confidently explain a koan? Is there hope at the end of the tunnel?

    I just feel frustrated. I know that the essence of zen is "just sit", but surely knowledge helps as well? The more I read, the more ignorant I feel.

    Gassho,
    Mags ST

  2. #2
    It is certainly a long process. For me, it’s been 30 years that I’ve been “meditating,“ and I’ve been in Treeleaf and learning about zen since 2007. I’ve read lots of books about zen, as well as listening to many recorded talks over the years.

    I think the biggest hurdle is that there is no sort of gradual syllabus: you just have to pick things up haphazardly. You will get them, over time, but the question is whether you really need to. Whether sitting alone is enough.

    I posted that koan text, and I enjoy reading koan books, even though I don’t understand a lot of them. But I slowly pick up on repeated ideas, and more and more makes sense.

    Gassho,

    Ryūmon

    Sat
    -----

    流文

    I know nothing.

  3. #3
    Ryumon - Pretty much everything you said Also, and this comes with experience, is trusting yourself.

    I don't know if I mentioned it but the questions you ask Jundo, or the way you point blank state things on the Zen of Everything Podcast - really opened me up if that makes sense; sometimes, when something seems a bit far fetched, I just take things for face value, or I figure it's my lack of experience or what have you (which is sometimes the case), but when I see you pointing out things that don't make sense or don't click, it makes it ok for me to note that too. So thank you for that; I don't know if that makes sense, but you have helped me pretty significantly make this practice my own.

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlay

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    Ryumon - Pretty much everything you said Also, and this comes with experience, is trusting yourself.

    I don't know if I mentioned it but the questions you ask Jundo, or the way you point blank state things on the Zen of Everything Podcast - really opened me up if that makes sense; sometimes, when something seems a bit far fetched, I just take things for face value, or I figure it's my lack of experience or what have you (which is sometimes the case), but when I see you pointing out things that don't make sense or don't click, it makes it ok for me to note that too. So thank you for that; I don't know if that makes sense, but you have helped me pretty significantly make this practice my own.
    Thank you for your kind words. I’m very happy that we succeed in imparting some wisdom on the podcast.

    Gassho,

    Ryūmon

    Sat
    -----

    流文

    I know nothing.

  5. #5

    Buddhist knowledge

    I second everything said including praise for the podcast

    Funny to hear you ask this question Margherita, often I have the exact same one, and then I remember:

    To save all sentient beings though beings numberless
    To Transform all delusions though delusions inexhaustible
    To perceive reality though reality is boundless
    To attain the Buddha Way, a Way non-attainable.

    And then feeling like a perpetual beginner seems at least a little wiser than the delusion of feeling knowledgeable.

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  6. #6
    PS: Jundo’s teaching style makes it almost impossible NOT to absorb the essential teachings that make one a true practitioner of Soto Zen, if one sticks around Treeleaf for a bit. All the rest is garnish, IMHO.

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  7. #7
    Thank you everybody for your answers. I always get too impatient and I forget that it takes a long, LONG, time to understand and digest concepts. Especially those that are so outside our western perspective. I sat with your responses and with my own monkey mind and I came to the conclusion that what I wrote makes sense only from a selfish perspective. I grew up being told how better other people were doing compared to me in their studies and in life, and to this day I feel bad and inferior if I don't understand a concept or if I don't learn quickly enough. Which is stupid: nobody can know or understand everything, and it takes time to learn! This same reasoning caused me problems at work a few weeks ago because I wanted to learn too fast... or course I had a complete meltdown when it became too much to bear.

    By the way Ryumon (and Jundo), thank you very much indeed for the podcast. I am learning a lot through it and I can always listen to an episode again if I need to elaborate more on a concept.

    Jakuden, thanks for the reminder.

    Gassho,
    Mags ST

  8. #8
    The story of our Ancestor Toju Reiso proves that you don't really need to intellectualy know much and be eloquent to practice Zen.

    I think he even got a scar from one of his teachers who lost patience and threw something at Toju because he could not memorise any sentence from any sutra.

    The fact that there are so many Buddhist scriptures (and many more not translated yet) and Zen written teachings makes it a lifetime project, something that you cannot really fully master, you read one thing that leads to another and another and you find yourself going even deeper into Dharma rabbit hole. Just enjoy the process of learning without any goal in mind.

    Gassho
    Sat

  9. #9
    I am learning to play the guitar. I am up to the G and C chords. I understand the feeling.

    And yet, each note is wondrous and holds the whole universe.

    (Not to mention that, with just the G and A, plus a few others I know like Em, A and D, I can play some of my favorite songs already, including Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here," Johnny Cash "I Walk the Line," Tom Waits "Chocolate Jesus," and Nancy Sinatra's "Summer Wine." Thank you, Seishin, for recommending the online "Justin Guitar" course).

    Also, even my missed and out of tune chords are "perfect" in their way.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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