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Thread: Jundo: BEING MODERATE on "BEING IN THE MOMENT"

  1. #1

    Jundo: BEING MODERATE on "BEING IN THE MOMENT"


    I am a moderate on this "be in the moment" thing, which is a wonderful practice ... but also DENIES LIFE in a way and is OVERBLOWN by Zen folks. There are proper times to "just do one thing in one moment," for example, when looking at a flower, just to see the flower and not be thinking about some better flower somewhere else. When I am playing with my kids in the park, it is best to play with my kids ... and not have my head thinking about work or politics. Sometimes I just wash dishes, and pour myself into that, not pondering the tea that comes after the dishes. There are moments too when we pour ourself so fully into washing that self is fully washed away, this pouring water and pouring world and pouring self just a single stream.

    HOWEVER, what need or reason to be such way all or most of the time? When washing the dishes while thinking about baseball or the shopping that needs to be done for dinner, just wash while thinking about baseball and the groceries. THAT TOO IS JUST THIS MOMENT of washing while thinking about baseball and groceries. When sometimes looking at the flower while thinking that there is weeding that must be done, just look at the flower while thinking about the weeding. WHEN HAVE WE EVER FAILED TO BE "IN THE MOMENT" if we just realize that we are ALWAYS in the moments of this life?!

    I work to assist someone who suffered a brain injury by which he is forced to be, always, truly in just the present activity in which he cannot recall or think about the past or future, and must give his full attention just to tying his laces or eating his soup. While we honor everyone's life as truly precious as it is, there has also been loss of important abilities. Human beings were meant to sometimes do one thing doing one thing, sometimes one thing thinking about three things, sometimes doing three things at once.

    Of course, balance is important: If one finds oneself going to the other extreme of ALWAYS multi-tasking, too frequently overwhelmed in thoughts, never able to "be in the moment, just doing one thing" when one wishes, well, that is not good either! Do not simply abandon all opportunities for "just being in the moment, doing one thing, one practice, in one moment!" These are priceless, precious, not to be missed, a gateway in Zazen to the dropping of bodymind! My point is merely that not every moment of the day need or should be so. Please know when to do one thing, and do one thing ... please know when not to do one thing because, to the wise, "doing three things" is also one thing.

    I do not know where the idea started among Zen folks that the 'goal' of this practice is to live the first way every moment of every day. If anything, our practice should not be about "being in the moment," as much as about allowing each moment of life ... happy moments and sad moments, calm moments and busy moments, up moments and down moments, doing one thing moments and many things moments ... to be just that precious jewel of a moment. Please know the timeless stillness that is the heart of each moment, even the most tumultuous moments in life.

    In my view, all of the above together is truly balanced, "mindful" living. That is "being the moment" as each moment comes and goes ...

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH

    Sorry for running long, taking up some moments
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-14-2021 at 02:04 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Thank you, Jundo.

    Gassho,
    Kendrick
    Sat

  3. #3
    Thank you for the post, Jundo.

    I've often wondered about this myself, especially after doing some of the Jukai readings which highlighted the importance of bringing awareness to our mental activity and learning how this activity can propel our behavior. I think the stillness, both physical and mental, that can be briefly experienced during zazen also helps us to understand the connection between our mental activity and behavior.

    However, I'm not sure if we need to be so hyper-focused on one solid thing/activity all the time. I'm glad Jundo mentioned this notion of denying life because I think if we tried to treat every moment of our life like our Zazen practice, it wouldn't be pretty. Well, it wouldn't be pretty for me, anyway.

    That being said, for Ango I've been trying to incorporate opportunities for Samu while doing various kinds of work around the house. Typically I would do this while listening to an audiobook, but I'm trying to just pour myself into the activity of the moment without my headphones. But you know, even when I'm working around the house and listening to an audiobook, I still get caught up in my mental activity and have to bring myself back to the moment of vampires, magic, space lasers, or whatever else I happen to be listening to. So even when we're doing two to three things at a time, perhaps there are still opportunities for bringing our awareness back to the unfolding activity of doing two or three things.

    Sorry for going over three sentences.

    Gassho,

    Shade

    ST

  4. #4
    That being said, for Ango I've been trying to incorporate opportunities for Samu while doing various kinds of work around the house.
    Yes, do not go to the other extreme and ABANDON all opportunities for "just being in the moment, doing one thing, one practice, in one moment" either! These are valuable, important, not to be missed. My point is merely that not every moment of the day need or should be so.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    Lovely ! Thank you, Jundo.

    Gassho
    SatTodayLah

  6. #6
    I feel people mistake “being in the moment” for mindlessly obsessing over one particular action at a time. Every moment is a bunch of things happening at the same time, and being “in the moment” means being with ALL OF THAT! I can “be in the moment” eating, while I also check an urgent email and hear music from the neighbors and a dog in the backyard all the while keeping an eye on my kids... Life is everything happening at once and that is just fine!

    Sorry for the length!

    SatToday
    Bion
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Shade View Post
    Thank you for the post, Jundo.

    I've often wondered about this myself, especially after doing some of the Jukai readings which highlighted the importance of bringing awareness to our mental activity and learning how this activity can propel our behavior. I think the stillness, both physical and mental, that can be briefly experienced during zazen also helps us to understand the connection between our mental activity and behavior.

    However, I'm not sure if we need to be so hyper-focused on one solid thing/activity all the time. I'm glad Jundo mentioned this notion of denying life because I think if we tried to treat every moment of our life like our Zazen practice, it wouldn't be pretty. Well, it wouldn't be pretty for me, anyway.

    That being said, for Ango I've been trying to incorporate opportunities for Samu while doing various kinds of work around the house. Typically I would do this while listening to an audiobook, but I'm trying to just pour myself into the activity of the moment without my headphones. But you know, even when I'm working around the house and listening to an audiobook, I still get caught up in my mental activity and have to bring myself back to the moment of vampires, magic, space lasers, or whatever else I happen to be listening to. So even when we're doing two to three things at a time, perhaps there are still opportunities for bringing our awareness back to the unfolding activity of doing two or three things.

    Sorry for going over three sentences.

    Gassho,

    Shade

    ST
    Actually, I do think the zazen mind should be applied to every other aspect of our life. The zazen mind is simply unified and aware… it is not excluding or judgmental, dismissive or obsessive. If the state of zazen is, as Dogen says, the king of samadhis, then carrying it to apply it to our other “daily samadhis” or to convert other actions into samadhi, is a true accomplishment.



    SatToday
    Bion
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  8. #8
    Well said. Thank you Jundo


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

  9. #9
    Thanks for this, Jundo. I've always been cautious about focusing on being "in the moment" so much for reasons stated. It's become a sort of catch-all, stereotyped misunderstanding like the whole "Mindfulness" thing that is always being pushed.


    Gassho
    STlah
    Shoki

  10. #10
    Thank you Jundo . Shoki, I completely agree with what you said.

    Gassho,
    Seibu
    Sattoday

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    If anything, our practice should not be about "being in the moment," as much as about allowing each moment of life ... happy moments and sad moments, calm moments and busy moments, up moments and down moments, doing one thing moments and many things moments ... to be just that precious jewel of a moment. Please know the timeless stillness that is the heart of each moment, even the most tumultuous moments in life.
    Thank you Jundo! This is excellent teaching and just what I needed to read right now (!). I was thinking of this very issue today and just like that it shows up on the Treeleaf forum...

    Rob
    sat today and LAH
    “Be humble; you are made of dust. Be noble; you are made of stars”

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Bion View Post
    I feel people mistake “being in the moment” for mindlessly obsessing over one particular action at a time.
    Gassho.

    I also feel like this is how I often read this phrase when people use it. Or at least as if the present moment itself becomes the minds obsession, a clinging state.

    However I've always read this phrase as Avalokiteshvara talking to Shariputra "HERE!". It is in this moment that we dwell so that we do not obsess on the illusory. This does not mean that we cannot think about past present or future. It simply means that we do not dwell within them and allow them to effect us. This is what being in the moment means to me, it is as we do in practice: a letting go of obsessions.

    It is not a clinging to of the moments obsessions.

    Gassho
    Mark
    ST
    Last edited by WanderingIntrospection; 09-13-2021 at 09:12 AM.
    "We may hear and understand as well, yet in our daily lives still be subject to our habitual ways. And so we do zazen to cut all of this habitualization away. If we don’t cut, we end up carrying more and more burdens around."
    Finding Our Essence of Mind

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by WanderingIntrospection View Post
    Gassho.

    I also feel like this is how I often read this phrase when people use it. Or at least as if the present moment itself becomes the minds obsession, a clinging state.

    However I've always read this phrase as Avalokiteshvara talking to Shariputra "HERE!". It is in this moment that we dwell so that we do not obsess on the illusory. This does not mean that we cannot think about past present or future. It simply means that we do not dwell within them and allow them to effect us. This is what being in the moment means to me, it is as we do in practice: a letting go of obsessions.

    It is not creating an obsession of the moment.

    Gassho
    Mark
    ST



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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    I do not know where the idea started among Zen folks that the 'goal' of this practice is to live the first way every moment of every day.
    I don't know exactly where I first encountered this idea, but I that Thich Naht Hanh talks a lot about this sort of thing. He's one of those who promotes "mindfulness" as this idea of being in the moment. Here's one example:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/the-moment-is-perfect/

    I've always felt that this was artificial; that the moment is perfect no matter what we're doing, as long as we can realize that the moment is perfect, but that we don't need to constantly tell ourselves that the moment is perfect for it to be perfect. If we assume that only "being in the moment" is perfect, and that the rest of life is imperfect, then we spend all out time judging rather than living.

    Gassho,

    Ryūmon

    sat
    Last edited by Ryumon; 09-13-2021 at 08:17 AM.
    -----

    流文

    I know nothing.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    I do not know where the idea started among Zen folks that the 'goal' of this practice is to live the first way every moment of every day.
    Ryumon beat me to it... came here to say, probably TNH. He's constantly talking about the importance of mindfulness. And his books are hugely popular and influential.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ryumon View Post
    I don't know exactly where I first encountered this idea, but I that Thich Naht Hanh talks a lot about this sort of thing. He's one of those who promotes "mindfulness" as this idea of being in the moment. Here's one example:
    Thanks,
    Kaishin (Open Heart)
    Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin View Post
    Ryumon beat me to it... came here to say, probably TNH. He's constantly talking about the importance of mindfulness. And his books are hugely popular and influential.

    Yes that is where I first encountered it over 20 years ago. My memory always goes to him when I wash the dishes. Still working on keeping my mind there with the chore. Think I have focused for up to a half minute so far.

    Doshin
    St

  17. #17
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    TNH is definitely one of the most well-known proponents of "mindfulness" practice, especially within the sphere of Zen Buddhism. Then again, being from Vietnam, his own practice developed right at the crossroads of Zen and Theravada Buddhism, so it is not surprising that many of his teachings have a bit of a Vipassana-style flavor to them.

    Having spent much of many of my earlier years practicing with Vipassana-style Sanghas, I can attest to how many teachers do encourage a lever of attention that is hyper-focused on one particular activity, sensation, etc. A great example is walking meditation. We were taught to focus closely on every sensation of each foot as it lifted, moved through the air, and gently touched back down to the floor. Such a practice is excellent for developing deeper states of concentration, but it certainly is not how we practice Kinhin in Zen.

    That said, most Vipassana teachers (at least the ones I am familiar with) certainly do not teach that we should maintain this same level of attention 24/7, but that it should be used as a form of concentration practice. Ultimately, all such practice is designed to lead to and support the practice of "choiceless awareness", which is much closer to our practice of Shikantaza (yet still not quite the same thing... that's a topic for another day. )

    I only mention all of this to emphasize that it is more of the pop-culture version of mindfulness that seems to prescribe the idea of 24/7 focused awareness. If you dig into the actual practices of the Theravada schools of Buddhism, you will typically find that it is only another tool/means to deeper, more encompassing forms of practice.

    Gassho,
    Seikan

    -stlah-

    (apologies for the extra length...)
    聖簡 Seikan (Sacred Simplicity)

  18. #18
    It's physically impossible to live anywhere else other than this moment.

    Tim
    ST

  19. #19
    I decided to change the title to "Jundo: BEING MODERATE on "BEING IN THE MOMENT" as it just struck me as a nice way to say it.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Bion View Post
    Actually, I do think the zazen mind should be applied to every other aspect of our life. The zazen mind is simply unified and aware… it is not excluding or judgmental, dismissive or obsessive. If the state of zazen is, as Dogen says, the king of samadhis, then carrying it to apply it to our other “daily samadhis” or to convert other actions into samadhi, is a true accomplishment.



    SatToday
    This is how I am coming to think of it too, Bion! Not so much focused and obsessed on the doing of the action, (the state of which I associate with samu), as just returning periodically to that light awareness we develop during Zazen. Checking in with oneself to make sure one is not going down obsessive rabbit holes of thought, being overly reactive to someone, or getting dangerously attached to something.

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday


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    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
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  21. #21
    Time my brain AVM living in the moment; type entries in new better ways; typing touch taught by my OT therapist who taught this way on my new 24 gig fast computer, listening to music, speed improves as cat is happy she joins me with my music. Listening we both are happy living in the now with 2 fingers, thumbs, music making us happy in the now. She then leaves for food. I smile with words. Received call from hospital for OT on Monday makes arthritis pain bad. This is in the now.
    Gassho
    sat/ Tai Shi/ lah
    Last edited by Tai Shi; 09-17-2021 at 03:27 PM.
    ...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

  22. #22
    Wonderful

    Thank you Jundo.

    Ghasso
    Bobby
    SatTodayLAH
    "When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."
    Shunryu Suzuki

  23. #23
    "I do not know where the idea started among Zen folks that the 'goal' of this practice is to live the first way every moment of every day. If anything, our practice should not be about "being in the moment," as much as about allowing each moment of life ... happy moments and sad moments, calm moments and busy moments, up moments and down moments, doing one thing moments and many things moments ... to be just that precious jewel of a moment. Please know the timeless stillness that is the heart of each moment, even the most tumultuous moments in life.

    In my view, all of the above together is truly balanced, "mindful" living." Jundo Cohen
    forty years ago I had read ZEN MIND: BEGINNER MIND by Suzuki Roshi, and THE GOSPEL ACCCORDING TO ZEN, teaching me Zen Buddhism. Please My teacher, Jundo allow me to digress. I had a miss-wrong diagnosis of schizophrenia in 1974, and I thought I might have bipolar disorder not schizophrenia. This was my diagnosis in 2011. My Ankylosing Spondylitis, rare arthritis, began in my spine in 1974. These illnesses were counter to some MDs
    who believed something else. None of us are 100% right; hardly ever.

    In 1980 my therapy slowed; that year I was awarded teaching (TA) at the University of Iowa while I studied, and met my pretty wife to be, married in 1982, still married. I graduated from the University that year. All this was deemed impossible in 1974. The problem was trauma and substance abuse. I am an alcoholic. I taught as instructor at the University and at a local college, read books about Zen. I became sober in 1987. I read more books about Zen and read Chinese poets, and Haiku and American, and British Buddhist poets In 1993 we moved to South Dakota and still live here. I earned a BA, and three degrees, taught 22 years in places we have lived. my wife earned BA and MA, worked for the government 30 years, and, so far, our daughter, like mom and dad has studied, spent 5 years in Japan, traveled throughout the world, and taught. We are academics, writers, translators, and my wife is not only academic but an authority on many laws. However, and gratefully we are both retired. Both mom and daughter won many academic awards. I am happy to be finished with work. My wife is also very happy to be retired.

    Irregular pressures in my head has not stopped Zen, my reading, nor my sitting. Pressure from AVM, lasts about an hour. Yet, I am able to write. This Arterial Venus Malformation has been present since birth. It has grown. It is more dangerous now because it could bleed, and cause stroke, and will and is producing trouble with memory. We identified the mass in the Right Temporal Lobe of my brain, and toward the front about few centimeters from the surface of my skull, 2.2 centimeters across, and a nuclease of blood vessels with veins shooting off in every direction. In March 2021. I fell ten feet down stairs, concussion and stiches. I am 70 and unsteady replacements in both knees and Ankylosing Spondylitis flairs. Yet I practice zazen.

    I am Soto Zen Buddhist, and in fact sitting has since 2014, and 2016 Jukai began change of attitude. I don't see myself as immortal, and seizures showed I had a problem, How to Cook your life and Opening the Hand of Thought showed me the problem of avoiding stairs because I failed to heed advice, so now we moved my study upstairs to a spare room. I have read Classic Haiku, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, many Thich Nhat Hanh books including Commentary on the Heart Sutra, and Anger, and Being Peace four books on meditation, Books about Breath and Meditation, Zen Poets, and great Western Verse. What I know of acceptance comes from calm poetry, are the creative elements of my illnesses. Poetry or chants like the Heart, longer Lotus Sutra, include metaphor and are Grand Metaphor for all who can attain Bodhisattva, of which Buddhists are asked to teach, and carry the messages. If one seeks to become fully moral, in reality, and free, one can hear teachings of Siddhartha, the enlightened One. Thus we seek the broad vista of creation, all good things, and may be happy in carrying this message. Experiencing this is happiness. Reality for is me is as poet. It is "The Good, The True, and The Beautiful." Is this subject to interpretation? I believe this is what the Buddha realized. In fullness through teaching with contemplation and sitting we see Buddhahood. If reach for the sky, feet planted on the ground, I may see the sky.
    Gassho
    sat/lah
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-19-2021 at 09:29 PM.
    ...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

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Tai Shi View Post
    I believe this is what the Buddha realized. In fullness through teaching with contemplation and sitting we see Buddhahood. If reach for the sky, feet planted on the ground, I may see the sky.
    Gassho
    sat/lah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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