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Thread: The Zen Master's Dance - 4 - Fukan Zazengi (to p. 23)

  1. #1

    The Zen Master's Dance - 4 - Fukan Zazengi (to p. 23)

    I hope (as we recite in the Metta Verses), this finds you well and, if not, content in all your ills.

    For the next couple of weeks we will turn to the chapter, "The Way of Zazen Recommended for Everyone (Fukan Zazengi)," stopping before "The Basics and the Missing Ingredient," which is page 19 to the top of page 23 in paper.

    I would like you to write a paragraph or two, based on an actual event in your life or an imagined situation, in which you switch back and forth between a powerful, negative emotion (such as depression or grief, anger/hate, addiction, disappointment, jealousy, strong/excessive desire for something, fear, frustration or the like) and a "letting go" and radical equanimity as I describe in those pages with my own fear due to my cancer at the time. Like hitting a switch, I could swing in and out of a sense of fear of death, loneliness and loss, and a sense of nothing to fear, wholeness/connection and nothing possible to lose. Sometimes (and somehow the best moments) I could experience BOTH ways as one, together at once. Even "death" was not a "thing," and there was no "self" to lose. I often say that there is a sense of such wholeness that, for example, there is no separate thief, no separate thing to be stolen, nothing lacking thus no need to steal.

    Describe a situation (like how I described being in my hospital bed experiencing these feelings) in which one goes back and forth, back and forth, between knowing life both ways. I sometimes say that it is like seeing life these two ways out of two eyes, but both eyes open together bring clarity.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-20-2021 at 01:48 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    As a child, I learned to observe my emotions and the advantage of not going along with them. Though why I started this habit I can’t discern. However, it meant that when I encountered ‘The Litany Against Fear’ in Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’ it fitted me well. I learned to apply it to a range of emotions, in particular anger and depression. The full text is:

    “I must not fear.
    Fear is the mind-killer.
    Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

    Shikantaza has refined this reflex and Zen has given it a theoretical underpinning which now causes me to omit the first and last sentences. Now, when a wave of rage builds, bubbles of anger form in my blood and fire swirls about me….I can simply sit, smile or be polite as needed.

    One example. A former colleague, who I refused to promote, wrote to the school management accusing me of predatory pedophilia. Without my officially knowing of the accusation, it was investigated and dismissed. However, he bragged about it to me and gloated over my imminent dismissal. I worked with him for the next few years until he moved on to another job. At which point I objectively decided that he met the criteria for the leaving bonus. He told me that doing so showed I was weak for not taking what revenge I could. One of many life events that I now usually find dull though they can be triggers into an intense emotional response.

    Stewart
    Sat

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Stewart View Post
    “I must not fear.
    ...
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

    Shikantaza has refined this reflex and Zen has given it a theoretical underpinning which now causes me to omit the first and last sentences.
    Lovely, and I can only say that I hope that I would act with such wisdom and tolerance under like circumstances.

    Oh, Dogen would so very much approve. He tells this story:

    Someone told me this story, although I cannot be sure of its veracity. Jimyoin, the late government councilor who was a lay monk, once had his valuable sword stolen. The thief was someone among his retainers. The other warriors seized the man and brought him before Jimyoin, yet Jimyoin declared that the recovered sword was not the missing sword, and had it returned to the thieving retainer. There was no doubt that the sword was Jimyoin’s but, considering the disgrace and shame of the warrior, he returned it anyway. Everyone knew the truth too, but let the situation end without further ado nonetheless. For this reason, it is said that the councilor’s family flourished for many generations. If even a lay person can possess a big hearted attitude like this, how much more so should a monk have such an attitude!
    Because monks best have no personal property and wealth, their true treasure is wisdom and virtue. Thus, even if we see someone who has lost the Buddha Way, and engages in some wrong, we should not speak our criticism openly, judging the person to be bad. Rather, it is best to find skillful means in speaking that does not give rise to anger in others. It is said that violence and anger eventually bring about a fall. Even if our censuring someone is in accord with the dharma, the use of course language with be the eventual downfall of the dharma.
    A small person quickly angers and feels insulted when the object of even small criticism using course words. A great person, however, never considers retaliating even if hit. Alas, in our country today, small people are many. We had best take care. (SZ 4-16)
    A great story. Let us offer Metta for that fellow, who is surely suffering within.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    There is a gentleman I work with whose political views are pretty contradictory to my own. If we were to have a discussion I imagine we would find almost nothing to agree upon. When I first started working here I would have to force myself not to listen to him whenever he began ranting about politics.
    I would usually just out earbuds in and drown him out, but if I did listen I would feel myself becoming increasingly annoyed and sometimes outright irate. I could feel myself rolling my eyes internally and coming up with arguments that would dismantle whatever he had just said.

    And one day (a few months later, after really beginning my experience with Zazen) I stopped and took the time to really listen to what he was saying.

    We were talking about the United States withdrawing from Afghanistan, as it was around the time this had taken place. Now personally I don't know enough about to situation to make an informed opinion. I tend to feel like life is a miracle, and that I do not have the right to take that from anyone. I think that must also apply to war, and that pulling out of war is generally a good idea. I understand also that world powers have been interfering in Afghanistan for several decades, and that it is probably unlikely that more fighting will bring an end to it.
    However, I also understand that there are a lot of people who will suffer without someone standing against the Taliban.

    But, as to my friend.
    He was deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11. His unit was sent to a dirt runway in the middle of some desert, and tasked with creating a functioning military base from which operations could occur. They built the base from the ground up, and then eventually were sent home.
    And from his point of view, when he enlisted he took a vow. A promise to defend the helpless, with his own life if need be.
    And to him, those people who will suffer at the hands of the Taliban are people that we let down.
    He said, "That I let down." But quickly changed it, and seemed ashamed to be feeling that level of emotion.

    Now, when he says things that I disagree with, I find it much easier to realize that at the core he is a very compassionate person who just has a different point of view by which he approaches these issues.

    Gassho,
    William
    SatToday

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Shinshin View Post
    There is a gentleman I work with whose political views are pretty contradictory to my own. If we were to have a discussion I imagine we would find almost nothing to agree upon. When I first started working here I would have to force myself not to listen to him whenever he began ranting about politics.
    I would usually just out earbuds in and drown him out, but if I did listen I would feel myself becoming increasingly annoyed and sometimes outright irate. I could feel myself rolling my eyes internally and coming up with arguments that would dismantle whatever he had just said.

    And one day (a few months later, after really beginning my experience with Zazen) I stopped and took the time to really listen to what he was saying.

    We were talking about the United States withdrawing from Afghanistan, as it was around the time this had taken place. Now personally I don't know enough about to situation to make an informed opinion. I tend to feel like life is a miracle, and that I do not have the right to take that from anyone. I think that must also apply to war, and that pulling out of war is generally a good idea. I understand also that world powers have been interfering in Afghanistan for several decades, and that it is probably unlikely that more fighting will bring an end to it.
    However, I also understand that there are a lot of people who will suffer without someone standing against the Taliban.

    But, as to my friend.
    He was deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11. His unit was sent to a dirt runway in the middle of some desert, and tasked with creating a functioning military base from which operations could occur. They built the base from the ground up, and then eventually were sent home.
    And from his point of view, when he enlisted he took a vow. A promise to defend the helpless, with his own life if need be.
    And to him, those people who will suffer at the hands of the Taliban are people that we let down.
    He said, "That I let down." But quickly changed it, and seemed ashamed to be feeling that level of emotion.

    Now, when he says things that I disagree with, I find it much easier to realize that at the core he is a very compassionate person who just has a different point of view by which he approaches these issues.

    Gassho,
    William
    SatToday
    But can you feel such by which there remains no you, no friend, no Afghanistan, no desert, no time nor death thus no 9/11, no America, no Taliban, no war? Never was, all washed clean and whole in the waters of Emptiness.

    All that in a world which yet has friends, Afghanistan, deserts, time, death, 9/11, America, Taliban and war.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-22-2021 at 12:48 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    But can you feel such by which there remains no you, no friend, no Afghanistan, no desert, no time nor death thus no 9/11, no America, no Taliban, no war? Never was, all washed clean and whole in the waters of Emptiness.

    All that in a world which yet has friends, Afghanistan, deserts, time, death, 9/11, America, Taliban and war.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    To me presently that is what I mean when I say that I can see he is a compassionate person with a different point of view.

    Without the divisions we create in our minds everyone is as compassionate as we are. Their different point of view in this relative world is not more or less wrong than mine for being different. Just as I am capable of being wrong or right. And still there is no wrong or right without those distinctions. We are all just part of the turning wheel of timelessness.
    And so we continue to give those wrong opinions while still seeing them for what they are not in that absolute sense.

    Gassho,
    William
    Sat

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Shinshin View Post
    To me presently that is what I mean when I say that I can see he is a compassionate person with a different point of view.

    Without the divisions we create in our minds everyone is as compassionate as we are. Their different point of view in this relative world is not more or less wrong than mine for being different. Just as I am capable of being wrong or right. And still there is no wrong or right without those distinctions. We are all just part of the turning wheel of timelessness.
    And so we continue to give those wrong opinions while still seeing them for what they are not in that absolute sense.

    Gassho,
    William
    Sat
    What you write is true, but I am speaking of a further leap ... in which there is no "he" nor "I" nor any view, different or not. There are no divisions so radically, that there are no "our mind" or "his mind" or "we" or "everyone." There is no right or wrong, which is thoroughly Right!

    This is so, hand in hand (the sound of one hand clapping hand) as this world of he and I, same and different, divisions, minds and us.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    What you write is true, but I am speaking of a further leap ... in which there is no "he" nor "I" nor any view, different or not. There are no divisions so radically, that there are no "our mind" or "his mind" or "we" or "everyone." There is no right or wrong, which is thoroughly Right!

    This is so, hand in hand (the sound of one hand clapping hand) as this world of he and I, same and different, divisions, minds and us.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Meaning that all things are empty, and are connected by observation of these things. In observing them they become a part of our experience, our path.
    Our observing of these things brings them form in a relative sense. And so if we do not perceive them as form and instead as only an extension of ourselves then we see that all we see is ourself.
    If everything is ourself then there is no distinction of "our" to begin with, there is only sentient beings. If sentient beings means to be composed of many in the same way that each human is billions of individual organisms working together, then the entire universe is just one sentient being observing itself.
    And so in the same way that one part of your body does not observe another as separate, we do not see each other as separate. And so we cultivate the Dharmakaya because in doing so we benefit ourselves, but without self the benefit is for all sentient beings. Or rather, because there are no sentient beings, there is no benefit. But in a relative sense, we still try to do good.

    Gassho,
    William
    Sat
    Last edited by Nengyoku; 10-22-2021 at 04:09 AM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Shinshin View Post
    Meaning that all things are empty, and are connected by observation of these things. In observing them they become a part of our experience, our path.
    Our observing of these things brings them form in a relative sense. And so if we do not perceive them as form and instead as only an extension of ourselves then we see that all we see is ourself.
    If everything is ourself then there is no distinction of "our" to begin with, there is only sentient beings. If sentient beings means to be composed of many in the same way that each human is billions of individual organisms working together, then the entire universe is just one sentient being observing itself.
    And so in the same way that one part of your body does not observe another as separate, we do not see each other as separate. And so we cultivate the Dharmakaya because in doing so we benefit ourselves, but without self the benefit is for all sentient beings.
    No, I don't mean just that. I mean that there is no separate "ourself" to observe nor anyone or thing apart to be observed (can we even speak then of "observing," any more than a mirror shining in its own mirror??), nor "part" nor "path" nor "sentient beings" nor "separate" nor "together" nor "benefit" nor "Dharmakaya."

    What then?!

    All such, even in this world of "ourself" and "observing" and "observed" and "parts" and "path" and "sentient beings" and "separate" and "together" and "benefits" and "Dharmakaya.

    From the Large Sutra of the Perfection of Wisdom (a very much expanded Teaching in the same flavor as the Heart Sutra) ...

    And that emptiness, that is neither produced nor stopped, is neither defiled nor purified, does not decrease or increase; and that which is neither produced nor stopped, neither defiled nor purified, neither decreased nor increased, that is not past, future, or present. (II) There is no form in it, no feeling, etc.; no eye, etc. to: no mind; no form, etc, to: no mind-objects; no eye-element, etc. to: no mind-consciousness ; no ignorance, no stopping of ignorance, etc. to : no decay and death, no stopping of decay and death; no suffering and no comprehension of suffering; no origination and no forsaking of origination; no stopping and no realization of stopping; no path and no development of the path; no attainment, and no reunion; no Streamwinner, and no fruit of a Streamwinner; etc. to: no Bodhisattva, and no knowledge of the modes of the path; no Buddha, and no enlightenment. (Ill) It is in this sense, Sariputra, that a Bodhisattva, a great being who courses in perfect wisdom, is to be called "joined" [whole].
    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-22-2021 at 04:13 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  10. #10
    can we even speak then of "observing," any more than a mirror shining in its own mirror?

    I think this is the point where language breaks down. Where anything I add becomes fox slobber.
    The point where I extend one hand silently, or speak of moondrops falling from a crane's bill.

    What then?!
    With no division then all is right as it is.
    No need to see his point of view because it is also my point of view, that there is no point of view. No right or wrong for either of us to not-hold.
    All of it just is; as it is not.

    And if all of it just is, then whatever middle-way we do decide upon in the relative also just is. No need to second guess, or regret.

    And yet, I can tell I still don't get it.
    Thank you for all of your teaching non-teaching, Jundo.

    Gassho,
    William
    Sat

  11. #11
    I don't know if this is exactly what you're asking about, but the closest thing I have experienced was the two times I had to drive my wife to the emergency room late at night, for a ruptured gall bladder which caused severe pancreatitis (on our honeymoon!) and for a severe allergic reaction years later. Both times I experienced something I can only describe as two states of mind at once. On the one hand, my emotional mind was clouded with fear and worry for my wife; at the same time, a part of me "took over" which was absolutely clear and focused on exactly what needed to be done from moment to moment to get her the care she needed. I say "took over" but that's not an accurate description of what was going on--I was simultaneously fully aware of both states of mind at the same time, as though I had two brains in my skull at the same time.
    おつかれさまです

  12. #12
    During work last week, I had a situation where a particularly challenging client complained to one of my supervisors about something that happened that I had no control over. He does this on a somewhat regular basis, and it often causes incredible frustration for me, as I am then responsible for explaining and/or coordinating a response to address the situation. When it happened last week, at first I was frustrated and annoyed... but then tried to step back before deciding how to proceed. I saw him as a suffering individual, with his own reasons and life experiences that have caused him to behave and respond as he does. While the situation is still ongoing, and will likely happen time and time again, I am actively working on learning to recognize when I start getting "caught up", and then trying to remind myself that he is suffering, and that compassion and equanimity are more beneficial than resentment and letting my ego get involved... it is not always perfect, but I am viewing him and the situation as a chance to strengthen my practice...


    rj~sat

  13. #13
    I am not sure this is exactly what the exercise calls for. Also for brevity I have left out some details but you will get the gist of my story.


    At the time of my 50th birthday I went through an intense roller coaster of emotions in the span of a few days.

    My wife put a lot of effort into making my 50th birthday special. We had a great day with a lot of nice surprises. My family came over for a lovely meal my wife had made then we all went to my son’s school to watch a play that his class had written and performed. The class had spent most of the term preparing the script, the scenes, and the costumes. The play included music my son composed specifically for the play. It was a fantastic day.

    Next day my wife went in for some scheduled surgery. While I was sitting in the waiting room waiting for her to wake up I got a call from my manager informing me that I was one of a group of people being laid off from work. This was strictly a bean counter decision as I had been working my butt off for years and was leading several key projects. Devastated I had to hide my news and emotions from my wife for several hours as I focused on her and her recovery. I finally told her that evening.

    The day following the surgery we were back in the hospital. My wife had got an infection due to the surgery and needed to spend two days in the hospital for several round of antibiotics. She was a lot of pain. Meanwhile my son was celebrating what is considered to be one of the highlights of his school where their play is performed 3 times a day for a week. To not spoil his experience we had decided to not tell him about the loss of my job or my wife’s surgery but I could not conceal her being in the hospital. My wife and I missed the last two performances.

    Finally once my wife was home we had to confront the reality that I had lost my job and because I was (and am) the sole wage earner in the house we needed to make significant adjustments to our lifestyle until I was able to find more work. I finally did four months later.

    During all of this I sat daily with all the elation, joy, concerns, and stresses. I did manage to find some degree of equanimity through it all. In fact it was this series of events helped solidify for me the value of this practice. It was in the Fall of that year that I fully committed to this path and undertook Jukai.



    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    Last edited by Tairin; 10-24-2021 at 02:37 PM.
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Max Andrew View Post
    I don't know if this is exactly what you're asking about, but the closest thing I have experienced was the two times I had to drive my wife to the emergency room late at night, for a ruptured gall bladder which caused severe pancreatitis (on our honeymoon!) and for a severe allergic reaction years later. Both times I experienced something I can only describe as two states of mind at once. On the one hand, my emotional mind was clouded with fear and worry for my wife; at the same time, a part of me "took over" which was absolutely clear and focused on exactly what needed to be done from moment to moment to get her the care she needed. I say "took over" but that's not an accurate description of what was going on--I was simultaneously fully aware of both states of mind at the same time, as though I had two brains in my skull at the same time.
    Thank you, Max. I am glad that she is better now. What a honeymoon! But, that is true love!

    I would say that you describe the mind of fear and worry, and also a mind of hyper focus to just do what needs to be done in the moment. That is truly a wondrous power, very much "in the moment" when one needs to be.

    But there is also something more, that sweeps through it all, where there is no late at night nor daytime nor time, nothing to "rupture" in this unbroken wholeness, no honeymoon versus not on honeymoon, no reactions and no not reactions, no wife to be sick and no "me" to take over. This is so as but another face of this life of late night hospital trips, breaks and ruptures, reactions and no reactions. One might say that the universe is on a perpetual Big H Honeymoon, even when we must head to the emergency ward shaking to our boots.



    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-25-2021 at 12:51 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by nefertiti120 View Post
    During work last week, I had a situation where a particularly challenging client complained to one of my supervisors about something that happened that I had no control over. He does this on a somewhat regular basis, and it often causes incredible frustration for me, as I am then responsible for explaining and/or coordinating a response to address the situation. When it happened last week, at first I was frustrated and annoyed... but then tried to step back before deciding how to proceed. I saw him as a suffering individual, with his own reasons and life experiences that have caused him to behave and respond as he does. While the situation is still ongoing, and will likely happen time and time again, I am actively working on learning to recognize when I start getting "caught up", and then trying to remind myself that he is suffering, and that compassion and equanimity are more beneficial than resentment and letting my ego get involved... it is not always perfect, but I am viewing him and the situation as a chance to strengthen my practice...


    rj~sat
    Hi Nef,

    That is a lovely story, and you brought a great deal of compassion and patience to the situation. You saw the challenging person as also the product of circumstances that made him so.

    But I would point you to something more that sweeps through even that, a world of no professionals nor clients, nor challenges or no not challenges, so supervisors nor subordinates, no control nor lack of control, no frustration or annoyance (because no people or things to be in friction), no "time and again" for no time, no "caught up" for nothing to catch or let go. This is so even in a world of professionals with challenging clients, supervisors and sometime lack of control, frustrations and annoyance that happen time and again and catch us up!



    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Tairin View Post
    I am not sure this is exactly what the exercise calls for. Also for brevity I have left out some details but you will get the gist of my story.


    At the time of my 50th birthday I went through an intense roller coaster of emotions in the span of a few days.

    My wife put a lot of effort into making my 50th birthday special. We had a great day with a lot of nice surprises. My family came over for a lovely meal my wife had made then we all went to my son’s school to watch a play that his class had written and performed. The class had spent most of the term preparing the script, the scenes, and the costumes. The play included music my son composed specifically for the play. It was a fantastic day.

    Next day my wife went in for some scheduled surgery. While I was sitting in the waiting room waiting for her to wake up I got a call from my manager informing me that I was one of a group of people being laid off from work. This was strictly a bean counter decision as I had been working my butt off for years and was leading several key projects. Devastated I had to hide my news and emotions from my wife for several hours as I focused on her and her recovery. I finally told her that evening.

    The day following the surgery we were back in the hospital. My wife had got an infection due to the surgery and needed to spend two days in the hospital for several round of antibiotics. She was a lot of pain. Meanwhile my son was celebrating what is considered to be one of the highlights of his school where their play is performed 3 times a day for a week. To not spoil his experience we had decided to not tell him about the loss of my job or my wife’s surgery but I could not conceal her being in the hospital. My wife and I missed the last two performances.

    Finally once my wife was home we had to confront the reality that I had lost my job and because I was (and am) the sole wage earner in the house we needed to make significant adjustments to our lifestyle until I was able to find more work. I finally did four months later.

    During all of this I sat daily with all the elation, joy, concerns, and stresses. I did manage to find some degree of equanimity through it all. In fact it was this series of events helped solidify for me the value of this practice. It was in the Fall of that year that I fully committed to this path and undertook Jukai.



    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    Oh my, there are times like this in life! It is at those hardest of times that we can find the true value of this practice.

    I would just say that there is that perspective where all of this life is like a show with scripts and costumes. In this show, sickness and health, win and lose appear. Yet there is also this view in which there is no sickness nor health, no being in hospital nor ever not being in hospital, no jobs to gain or lose for nothing lacking, nothing possible to miss for failure to attend. That is so even in a world where we must sometimes sit fearful in hospital waiting rooms, and wake up with the cold sweats worried how the rent will be paid.

    I am so glad that you could sit "with all the elation, joy, concerns, and stresses [finding] some degree of equanimity through it all."

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  17. #17
    Several years ago, our only car broke down about a week after moving into a new apartment. We were completely broke after the rent and deposits. We both needed that car to get to work and we lived too far away from family or friends to ask for a ride. Uber wasn't really an option back then. The amount of stress I felt was intense, but as we were going through the motions of getting it towed, finding a mechanic, calling family for financial help, organizing a generous ride from my father-in-law for a few days, etc., I also felt this great relief at the fact that everything I was doing was the only thing I could be doing about it. There was nothing to be done other than trying to fix the situation, step by step. When I realized that, the situation was still crappy but the stress was gone. Why stress when I've done all I could think of? Even if it didn't work out, I'd tried my best.

    Gassho
    Sat, lah
    求道芸化 Kyūdō Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Geika View Post
    Several years ago, our only car broke down about a week after moving into a new apartment. We were completely broke after the rent and deposits. We both needed that car to get to work and we lived too far away from family or friends to ask for a ride. Uber wasn't really an option back then. The amount of stress I felt was intense, but as we were going through the motions of getting it towed, finding a mechanic, calling family for financial help, organizing a generous ride from my father-in-law for a few days, etc., I also felt this great relief at the fact that everything I was doing was the only thing I could be doing about it. There was nothing to be done other than trying to fix the situation, step by step. When I realized that, the situation was still crappy but the stress was gone. Why stress when I've done all I could think of? Even if it didn't work out, I'd tried my best.

    Gassho
    Sat, lah
    That is the power of this practice!

    And also, one knows that there is nothing to break down, nothing to repair, that there is no debt to be paid, no place to go so no need for a car, no place to be towed! All that, in a world with broken cars, bills to pay, mechanics to find and begging family for cash.



    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  19. #19
    I don't have anything big to share with you this time. Until relatively recently, when a negative emotion was rising I was consumed by it. Worst than that, I wasn't recognizing or accepting it even if it was affecting me physically (sweating, nausea, headache). For example, during the exam period I couldn't accept that I was stressed for the things I had to study. Or right before a particularly difficult exam I was denying the fear of failing in yet another course. And that fear would block me from thinking clearly...
    Hopefully I left these times behind. Since then I worked with a therapist for some time and I learned how to understanding these feelings and how to see them for what they are. When I was accepted at the university for the second time, my approach toward exams has changed. Yes, I am still worried or stressed about them, but it's ok. Now, before or after I have finished the exam, I can say "whatever happens from now on, I know that I did my best". Even if I have doubts for a particular exercise or I am dissatisfied on how I approached something, I know deep inside that it's ok.

    I wish I could say that I can accept failure with the same equanimity. I can't. After repeated failures in the past, I now enjoy the success I get. I am sure that in the future there will be more cycles of fails and success. That's fine. I only hope that I get to enjoy (academic) success for a while longer.

    Gassho, Nikolas
    Sat/Lah

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Nikos View Post
    I don't have anything big to share with you this time. Until relatively recently, when a negative emotion was rising I was consumed by it. Worst than that, I wasn't recognizing or accepting it even if it was affecting me physically (sweating, nausea, headache). For example, during the exam period I couldn't accept that I was stressed for the things I had to study. Or right before a particularly difficult exam I was denying the fear of failing in yet another course. And that fear would block me from thinking clearly...
    Hopefully I left these times behind. Since then I worked with a therapist for some time and I learned how to understanding these feelings and how to see them for what they are. When I was accepted at the university for the second time, my approach toward exams has changed. Yes, I am still worried or stressed about them, but it's ok. Now, before or after I have finished the exam, I can say "whatever happens from now on, I know that I did my best". Even if I have doubts for a particular exercise or I am dissatisfied on how I approached something, I know deep inside that it's ok.

    I wish I could say that I can accept failure with the same equanimity. I can't. After repeated failures in the past, I now enjoy the success I get. I am sure that in the future there will be more cycles of fails and success. That's fine. I only hope that I get to enjoy (academic) success for a while longer.

    Gassho, Nikolas
    Sat/Lah
    Lovely. Keep going.

    But what I am talking of is this: In Emptiness, which is Wholeness Flowing, there is no exam, no grades, nothing in need of therapy, no "my best" or "my worst" or any "my" to do, nothing to doubt. It is the Big O "Ok" of the universe! There are no fails and no cycles of success, for one must judge the Wholeness which we are as already automatically successful at being wholly the Wholeness. It gets an A+ in Flowing!

    This is so even as there are exams and grades, personal issues requiring therapy, best and worst and in between pass/fail, success and failure, even sometimes sweating, nausea and headaches.

    All True At Once, As One.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-27-2021 at 06:03 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  21. #21
    Earlier this year 2 of my friends died within 2 weeks of each other. The first took his own life, which came as an incredible shock to me, and the 2nd died after a long battle with cancer and his death was expected for some time. I hadn’t had any significant conversations with either of them for a long time, but there was a time when I was very close to both of them and I was very upset about their passing. With the friend who died of cancer, it was much easier to reconcile my feelings with his passing, he was no longer in pain, I’d had a chance to say good bye, his loved ones were around him when it happened, etc. I found, and continue to find, it much harder to accept my other friend’s suicide. He left behind a very young daughter who will now grow up without a father.

    I nonetheless feel a very deep sense of gratitude for having been friends with them. Each came in to my life at a time when I had my own troubles and both were incredibly supportive and were a huge influence on me. I had a very real sense of interdependence and interconnectedness when they passed and I took some comfort in that. That barrier between myself and them was far less distinct than it could ever have been before finding this practice. I can see a connection between that and death being a part of the flow of things coming and going. However, I can’t say that I have made the leap from there to truly appreciating the “emptiness” in this situation, or being fully able to “let go”. I understand it intellectually but I haven’t yet felt the calmness, acceptance and lack of fear that Jundo speaks of in this chapter in my bones.

    Gassho,
    Dan
    ST/LAH

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by DanM View Post
    Earlier this year 2 of my friends died within 2 weeks of each other. The first took his own life, which came as an incredible shock to me, and the 2nd died after a long battle with cancer and his death was expected for some time. I hadn’t had any significant conversations with either of them for a long time, but there was a time when I was very close to both of them and I was very upset about their passing. With the friend who died of cancer, it was much easier to reconcile my feelings with his passing, he was no longer in pain, I’d had a chance to say good bye, his loved ones were around him when it happened, etc. I found, and continue to find, it much harder to accept my other friend’s suicide. He left behind a very young daughter who will now grow up without a father.

    I nonetheless feel a very deep sense of gratitude for having been friends with them. Each came in to my life at a time when I had my own troubles and both were incredibly supportive and were a huge influence on me. I had a very real sense of interdependence and interconnectedness when they passed and I took some comfort in that. That barrier between myself and them was far less distinct than it could ever have been before finding this practice. I can see a connection between that and death being a part of the flow of things coming and going. However, I can’t say that I have made the leap from there to truly appreciating the “emptiness” in this situation, or being fully able to “let go”. I understand it intellectually but I haven’t yet felt the calmness, acceptance and lack of fear that Jundo speaks of in this chapter in my bones.

    Gassho,
    Dan
    ST/LAH
    Yes, it sounds very strange, but we do not believe in death (birth either), any more than a wave appears to rise and fall on the sea, but the sea is just the flowing sea that does not lose a drop.

    That is so, even as there is birth and death in this world, and we sometimes grieve. We are waves that miss other waves, but we can also know ourselves as the sea.

    I will dedicate Zazen tonight to your friends.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Yes, it sounds very strange, but we do not believe in death (birth either), any more than a wave appears to rise and fall on the sea, but the sea is just the flowing sea that does not lose a drop.

    That is so, even as there is birth and death in this world, and we sometimes grieve. We are waves that miss other waves, but we can also know ourselves as the sea.

    I will dedicate Zazen tonight to your friends.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Thank you Jundo, especially for expressing it in terms that very much appeal to a surfer’s sensibilities

    I increasingly understand things in this way, but at the moment that understanding seems mostly intellectual, rather than understood intuitively. I will continue to sit...

    Gassho,
    Dan
    ST/LAH

  24. #24
    Member Kaisui's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Australia (past username - coriander)
    I don't know if I have an example of experiencing full equanimity at the same time as intense negative emotion, but since practicing there are certainly moments of equanimity that shine through and counterbalance such emotion, when in the past I may have been more carried away by it, and these I think are increasing.

    It is common for me to stress about work or study, and to dread upcoming work or meetings because I feel I am behind in my work and I have to face up to people about it.

    I have written the below to express the more extreme end of this worry countered with the highest points of equanimity, even if in reality these moment may be more fleeting than I am expressing here.

    I stress about my work. I think, I haven't done enough. I haven't spent enough time. I have allowed too many interruptions and now I am behind. When I think about the next task, I feel uneasy, I don't want to face it, because I am too far behind. When a meeting is coming up, I am afraid to face my co-workers, who may ask about where I'm at.
    But then alongside this, I am aware that there is no separate me from those co-workers, we are all aspects of the same. There is no incomplete work that is separate from completed work. If work gets done that is the world as it is, and if work doesn't get done that is also the world as it is. Sitting in equanimity, I see life as it is beyond my worries, things just as they are, beneath each flawed idea built onto flawed idea, beyond distorted representations that are in fact only one way of looking at things among countless others.

    Gassho,
    Charity
    sat/lah

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by DanM View Post
    Thank you Jundo, especially for expressing it in terms that very much appeal to a surfer’s sensibilities

    I increasingly understand things in this way, but at the moment that understanding seems mostly intellectual, rather than understood intuitively. I will continue to sit...

    Gassho,
    Dan
    ST/LAH
    Yes, one has to experience it (i.e., Zazen!) It is like the difference between explaining or reading a book about "surfing" and actually managing to get up on a surfboard, riding a wave (something I only --barely-- managed for seconds during my brief surfing career at age 14 in Ft. Lauderdale, only I did enjoy sitting on the beach with my board looking cool ... until I actually had to head out. )

    Wave is surfing the surfer as surfer is surfing the wave ... in fact, wave and surfer are just the surfing ... Imagine your most "wave and surfer are one" moments on the board, Dan, and you may have a taste. Then, surfing includes both the getting up in the morning, paddling out, getting up, wiping out, going home ... lost friends ... nothing left out ...

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by coriander View Post

    I stress about my work. I think, I haven't done enough. I haven't spent enough time. I have allowed too many interruptions and now I am behind. When I think about the next task, I feel uneasy, I don't want to face it, because I am too far behind. When a meeting is coming up, I am afraid to face my co-workers, who may ask about where I'm at.
    But then alongside this, I am aware that there is no separate me from those co-workers, we are all aspects of the same. There is no incomplete work that is separate from completed work. If work gets done that is the world as it is, and if work doesn't get done that is also the world as it is. Sitting in equanimity, I see life as it is beyond my worries, things just as they are, beneath each flawed idea built onto flawed idea, beyond distorted representations that are in fact only one way of looking at things among countless others.

    Gassho,
    Charity
    sat/lah
    Nothing to work, no worker, nothing to do, no time, no chance for interruptions for nobody and no time to interrupt, no ahead or behind nor right on schedule, no complete or incomplete (the universe is always completely on its universal schedule!)

    All that while, simultaneously, there is work to get done, things to do by workers, interruptions, time is money, falling behind and stuff that is never complete.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Yes, one has to experience it (i.e., Zazen!) It is like the difference between explaining or reading a book about "surfing" and actually managing to get up on a surfboard, riding a wave (something I only --barely-- managed for seconds during my brief surfing career at age 14 in Ft. Lauderdale, only I did enjoy sitting on the beach with my board looking cool ... until I actually had to head out. )

    Wave is surfing the surfer as surfer is surfing the wave ... in fact, wave and surfer are just the surfing ... Imagine your most "wave and surfer are one" moments on the board, Dan, and you may have a taste. Then, surfing includes both the getting up in the morning, paddling out, getting up, wiping out, going home ... lost friends ... nothing left out ...

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Thanks again Jundo! And yes, surfing is actually the perfect example of when I have had the most intense feelings of oneness, so this is very helpful.

    Gassho,
    Dan
    ST
    Last edited by DanM; 10-29-2021 at 07:10 AM.

  28. #28
    Member Kaisui's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Australia (past username - coriander)
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Nothing to work, no worker, nothing to do, no time, no chance for interruptions for nobody and no time to interrupt, no ahead or behind nor right on schedule, no complete or incomplete (the universe is always completely on its universal schedule!)

    All that while, simultaneously, there is work to get done, things to do by workers, interruptions, time is money, falling behind and stuff that is never complete.
    Thank you, Jundo. I will keep working on the work that is nothing to do, alert to the interruptions that are interrupting nothing, and the work will never be complete nor incomplete.

    Gassho,
    Charity
    sat/lah

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by coriander View Post
    Thank you, Jundo. I will keep working on the work that is nothing to do, alert to the interruptions that are interrupting nothing, and the work will never be complete nor incomplete.

    Gassho,
    Charity
    sat/lah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  30. #30
    I know I'm late, and I'm catching up. When my parents recently moved to Tampa, the first emotion that came to me was how old they looked. In my mind, they were still the parents of my youth; I'm sure I'm still their little child to some extent. Very early on, it became an overwhelming situation. I was overwhelmed with anger toward them; I was overwhelmed with my own mortality; I was overwhelmed with sorrow for them and stress and worry. They moved here without a plan, on a whim. There is a lot of other stuff going on as well with my Dad's health.

    I have never felt more helpless. Then something interesting happened; I literally dropped my expectations. I dropped it -and made myself face how they are, who they are, not who I want them to be. I also realized they need my help.

    So that has become my 2nd job Initially my mom was very distraught and stressed moving here - I mean my parents are in their mid-70's so up and moving is just an incredible change. So I decided to see things from their perspective; I also realized that if they had waited for a fully fleshed out plan that it may have delayed things; having them here was the first priority, and so I think my mom was right all along.

    They also got to meet their grandson, and we will be having thanksgiving dinner for the first time in 17 years; we normally visit them on christmas only; I'm an only child, and this has been a deep pain in me for so long. I cannot explain how much of a miracle and blessing it is that they are here - a literal blessing that I get to help them.

    So I had to step it up and really just accept it so I could move forward. When they first came here, she was breaking down almost daily. But with patience and love, she has started healing. I think that despite not having a plan, the fact that they moved here was huge. Also I've started healing a lot.

    Feeling that overwhelm was like a huge wave of stress and anxiety, but dropping it and focusing on the good little things every day and what we could do to actually move forward was huge.

    We only get a small amount of time here - it's helped me put into perspective what is really important in my life. I just had to let go all of the attachment to the past.

    What a miracle this life is!

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    I know I'm late, and I'm catching up. When my parents recently moved to Tampa, the first emotion that came to me was how old they looked. In my mind, they were still the parents of my youth; I'm sure I'm still their little child to some extent. Very early on, it became an overwhelming situation. I was overwhelmed with anger toward them; I was overwhelmed with my own mortality; I was overwhelmed with sorrow for them and stress and worry. They moved here without a plan, on a whim. There is a lot of other stuff going on as well with my Dad's health.

    I have never felt more helpless. Then something interesting happened; I literally dropped my expectations. I dropped it -and made myself face how they are, who they are, not who I want them to be. I also realized they need my help.

    So that has become my 2nd job Initially my mom was very distraught and stressed moving here - I mean my parents are in their mid-70's so up and moving is just an incredible change. So I decided to see things from their perspective; I also realized that if they had waited for a fully fleshed out plan that it may have delayed things; having them here was the first priority, and so I think my mom was right all along.

    They also got to meet their grandson, and we will be having thanksgiving dinner for the first time in 17 years; we normally visit them on christmas only; I'm an only child, and this has been a deep pain in me for so long. I cannot explain how much of a miracle and blessing it is that they are here - a literal blessing that I get to help them.

    So I had to step it up and really just accept it so I could move forward. When they first came here, she was breaking down almost daily. But with patience and love, she has started healing. I think that despite not having a plan, the fact that they moved here was huge. Also I've started healing a lot.

    Feeling that overwhelm was like a huge wave of stress and anxiety, but dropping it and focusing on the good little things every day and what we could do to actually move forward was huge.

    We only get a small amount of time here - it's helped me put into perspective what is really important in my life. I just had to let go all of the attachment to the past.

    What a miracle this life is!

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah
    In this mountain of words and thoughts ...

    No parents, no children (only the face before all were born), no Tampa or Tokyo, no place to move or stay, no old or youth ... so who to get angry, who to get angry at? No plan or no plan, whim or whimless, sickness or health ... no Christmas or Thanksgiving ... thus each day is its own Sacred Holiday, as the universe in its health follows its own whimless planless plan whims.

    All this, in a world of parents and children, Tokyo and Tampa, moving and staying, sickness and health ... etc.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  32. #32
    Thank you

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah

  33. #33
    Risho, you are a good son! I'm glad you are finding some peace with your family.

    I hate to use the same example of Jundo, but I just had my most recent cancer surveillance checkup last week, so can relate to the fear-but-no-fear sensations of waiting for scan results.

    This experience is almost impossible to explain. It's something that seeps into you over the years, I think. Waiting in the exam room, though this body was perspiring with fear and this stomach churning with anxiety, these weren't my skin or stomach. There was no skin or stomach, no scans, no doctors, no cancer ever there nor ever removed.

    This very feeling of "I" or even any person to feel dissolved. I mean this literally, not in an intellectualized way, there was just "is-ness". It sounds contrived and nonsensical, and it's certainly not something experienced all the time. But these moments are real, these waves of equanimity flowing across eons of oceans. Nothing but flowing, flowing, flowing.

    Nonsense!

    And then the doctor opened the door and there "I" was again, panicking, holding my breath. This time, good news: still no sign of cancer after 3yrs. Tomorrow, who knows!

    -stlah

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin View Post

    And then the doctor opened the door and there "I" was again, panicking, holding my breath. This time, good news: still no sign of cancer after 3yrs. Tomorrow, who knows!
    Lovely! The self is something of a dream, but we want to keep this dream going and healthy as long as we can!

    (I had my cancer surgery 4 years ago next month)

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  35. #35
    My mother had complications when after a stent was put in her heart. I was worried and upset, but didn't realize how strongly I was feeling until back home I picked up my electric toothbrush and I felt the emotions roll off of me, and there was nothing but the familiar act of brushing my teeth. It was a brief moment, and then I still felt I was losing my mother. I pm'd Jundo, and one thing he suggested was dedicating my zazen to her recovery. I realized that I hadn't been sitting for the first time in several years. Sitting was like being in the eye of the emotional storm, like there was no storm right there. I could then be fully there for my mother when I was with her in ICU. She recovered and is doing well now.

    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.

  36. #36
    During the first months of the COVID-19 events my elderly mother, who lives across the country from me, experienced a life-threatening after-effect from a minor medical procedure. This resulted in a helicopter transport, emergency surgery, and months of recovery with persistent effects. In our family, the usual response would be that I and one or more of my siblings drop everything and go. At that time, COVID-19 shutdowns were new. Crossing state lines was problematic. As a hospice nurse then, I was witnessing first-hand the devastation of this disease, about which little was known. Going to where my mother lived would have meant quarantining for at least two weeks on arrival. Returning home afterward would have meant the same. My siblings and I were frantically trying to figure out how to approach this situation, when our usual way was fully undermined.

    So... I sat. I sat, and sat some more. And in the calm that comes with putting my mind to rest, the just-is-ness of what was going on became clear. The simplicity of the matter was that it made no sense for any of us to go. We would not be allowed to be in the hospital. We did not know how long it would be before Mom was discharged. We did not know what her disposition would be after discharge. The only option was to not know, and to let the world be what it was. We did not have a plan for much, but we did have a plan for the moment (wait, and let the medical system handle things). There were moments of frustration, disquiet, and anger, but in general, I was learning to be at peace with how things were.

    Mom did recover, and while still faced with some challenges from these events, is perhaps stronger than she has been in the previous ten years. She is living in a new place (nearer to family), in a better situation (an amazing, progressive retirement community), and doing the things that she wants to do.

    Gassho,
    Nengei
    Sat today. LAH.

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Onkai View Post
    My mother had complications when after a stent was put in her heart. I was worried and upset, but didn't realize how strongly I was feeling until back home I picked up my electric toothbrush and I felt the emotions roll off of me, and there was nothing but the familiar act of brushing my teeth. It was a brief moment, and then I still felt I was losing my mother. I pm'd Jundo, and one thing he suggested was dedicating my zazen to her recovery. I realized that I hadn't been sitting for the first time in several years. Sitting was like being in the eye of the emotional storm, like there was no storm right there. I could then be fully there for my mother when I was with her in ICU. She recovered and is doing well now.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat/lah
    I am glad that mom is better.

    Yes, at the heart of our practice (the Heart that never breaks), there are no complications or anything to put in, no worries and no upsets, nothing to brush or roll off, no storms and no eye ... the Buddha's heart is flowing clear, no need of a stent ...

    ... even as we need heart surgery sometimes and stents put in, get worried and upset, need to brush our teeth and feel like we are in the storm.

    PS - (Don't worry and get upset about sometimes getting worried and upset!)

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Nengei View Post
    During the first months of the COVID-19 events my elderly mother, who lives across the country from me, experienced a life-threatening after-effect from a minor medical procedure. This resulted in a helicopter transport, emergency surgery, and months of recovery with persistent effects. In our family, the usual response would be that I and one or more of my siblings drop everything and go. At that time, COVID-19 shutdowns were new. Crossing state lines was problematic. As a hospice nurse then, I was witnessing first-hand the devastation of this disease, about which little was known. Going to where my mother lived would have meant quarantining for at least two weeks on arrival. Returning home afterward would have meant the same. My siblings and I were frantically trying to figure out how to approach this situation, when our usual way was fully undermined.

    So... I sat. I sat, and sat some more. And in the calm that comes with putting my mind to rest, the just-is-ness of what was going on became clear. The simplicity of the matter was that it made no sense for any of us to go. We would not be allowed to be in the hospital. We did not know how long it would be before Mom was discharged. We did not know what her disposition would be after discharge. The only option was to not know, and to let the world be what it was. We did not have a plan for much, but we did have a plan for the moment (wait, and let the medical system handle things). There were moments of frustration, disquiet, and anger, but in general, I was learning to be at peace with how things were.

    Mom did recover, and while still faced with some challenges from these events, is perhaps stronger than she has been in the previous ten years. She is living in a new place (nearer to family), in a better situation (an amazing, progressive retirement community), and doing the things that she wants to do.

    Gassho,
    Nengei
    Sat today. LAH.
    I am glad that mom is doing better.

    No mothers no children, no old or young, no country to be across or borders to cross, no place to be transported to, no time thus no months of recovery, nothing to drop or pick up, no place to go.

    And yet, mothers get sick, we must plan and go, so hard when we cannot ... months of recovery.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  39. #39
    Member Seishin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    La Croix-Avranchin, Basse Normandie, France
    Found it very hard to remember, if in fact any happened, where I flip flop between such extremes. Life is a rollacoster so I guess you take the ups and down for granted and move on. My wife's health over the last few years could be an example but I just see it as the ebb and flow of life. Good days bad days, good weeks bad weeks. Up and down, round and round. Is what it is but daily sitting keep in some form of balance. That probably just muddies the waters but its all I can offer, even this late to the party.

    Sat


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Seishin View Post
    Found it very hard to remember, if in fact any happened, where I flip flop between such extremes. Life is a rollacoster so I guess you take the ups and down for granted and move on. My wife's health over the last few years could be an example but I just see it as the ebb and flow of life. Good days bad days, good weeks bad weeks. Up and down, round and round. Is what it is but daily sitting keep in some form of balance. That probably just muddies the waters but its all I can offer, even this late to the party.

    Sat
    What leaps past ebb and flow, up and down, round and round?

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  41. #41
    Member Seishin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    La Croix-Avranchin, Basse Normandie, France


    Sat (in a circle)


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  42. #42
    one of my favorite songs ... French version too ...

    stlah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  43. #43
    This was a brilliant piece to read. I have had a similar experience with my mom's cancer situation. Everytime she goes through follow-up tests to know if the cancer has progressed or not, we both feel a deep sense of fear of dying and losing eachother. And yet at times I realize that, fundamentally, there was never any separation between "my mother" and "me" and never will be, which leaves me a radical sense of equanimity. Whatever happens, even death, it is ok

    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat&LaH

  44. #44
    Several years ago my wife and I camped one night at a state park on a beach near Jacksonville. Walking at night among the dunes under a full moon, I found myself quietly chanting sutras and feeling both peaceful and inspired by the beautiful setting. About a half hour after settling in the tent, two young women drove up and began setting up close by. I'm no expert, but I would guess that their poison of choice was cocaine -- the aggressive yelling and commotion made sleep difficult. Two college students camping near us suggested they keep it down since we had gone to bed. This just aroused their anger, and they screamed that they didn't give a damn, we could go to hell, etc. It turned out as well that the mother of one of them was camping nearby in an RV, and she joined the fray, yelling that she had a gun and would shoot anyone who had any complaints. I was terrified, but have to laugh as I remember being at least as indignant as frightened. The commotion lasted until 2 or 3, during which I focused intently on quietly chanting the Heart Sutra, seeing the empty nature as well as the inevitable wholeness of the situation.

    As we drove away in the morning (after resisting tossing a bucket of water in their tent), I felt the fear and indignation of the night rising up again, but looking at them from the prajnaparamita perspective, they just sort of dissolved like mist, having a solid appearance, but no independent substance. As these views kept alternating, I began to think of "gate gate paragate" as an instruction: if you go past (or look through) the anger or attachment or whatever, there is clarity and equanimity. This was tremendously helpful to me, though it didn't stop me from soon falling back into my obsessive, irritable ways, but that's how it goes -- we fall down, and we (hopefully) get up again.

    Viveka
    st/lah
    Viveka (विवेक)

  45. #45
    we fall down, and we (hopefully) get up again.
    We learn from falling down, and this sentence made me consider that maybe we get up so we can fall down again.

    Gassho
    William
    Sat

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Shinshin View Post
    We learn from falling down, and this sentence made me consider that maybe we get up so we can fall down again.

    Gassho
    William
    Sat
    And as Muhammad Ali once told his opponent, when the time comes that one just cannot get up again ... just stay down.

    The only difference is that we Zen folks also believe and know that we are the whole match, the ring, the arena, the crowd and there is no place to fall. So, the bell ringing is not quite the beginning or end either.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  47. #47

  48. #48
    I have had some difficult times in my marriage.

    Dealing with all this has had me gripped by fear, anxiety and with two young children feeling trapped in an unwinnable situation.

    However, I have come to recognize those feelings, fear , anxiety are all creations of my mind. I can drop the fear, the worry for the future and just do the things I need to do in the present to take care of myself, care for my children and be a good husband.

    Of course I can and do sometimes think about negative situations and trigger those feelings that help me to be prudent and prepare for a worse cass scenario but I don't need to live in anxiety and suffering.

    With this balance I am happier and have a better marriage than before.

    So much suffering is purely going on between our ears. Everything that happens just happens how we react to it is just as important.

    Fear can be a friend to balance us from being naively optimistic but living there is not balance. I am grateful for the hard times as they have taught me so much.

    Gassho,

    ST

    Sent from my SM-N981U using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Gregor; 12-22-2021 at 08:52 PM.
    Jukai '09 Dharma Name: Shinko 慎重(Prudent Calm)

  49. #49
    One of my very best friends died at the end of September. He was in his early 50s, and had a cardiac arrest following a home workout. I did not deal with it well at all. I experienced short periods of equanimity though via seated zazen, mini zazens and meal gathas, and via walks by myself where I would let go of thoughts. I reflected on impermanence generally, e.g. that of myself and my family. I went between this and a view that I should just let myself be miserable and think about my lost friend, his family, and, selfishly, the decades of laughter I thought we had left.

    The zazen was not something I really wanted to do, it even felt wrong or that I was 'using' zazen, but the relatively brief periods of letting go and equanimity helped me remain mostly reasonable and not react badly most of the time to little daily trials in a busy household, it also helped mitigate some old problems that could affect others.

    Gassho,
    Gareth

    Sat today, Lah

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Gregor View Post
    I have had some difficult times in my marriage.

    Dealing with all this has had me gripped by fear, anxiety and with two young children feeling trapped in an unwinnable situation.

    However, I have come to recognize those feelings, fear , anxiety are all creations of my mind. I can drop the fear, the worry for the future and just do the things I need to do in the present to take care of myself, care for my children and be a good husband.

    Of course I can and do sometimes think about negative situations and trigger those feelings that help me to be prudent and prepare for a worse cass scenario but I don't need to live in anxiety and suffering.

    With this balance I am happier and have a better marriage than before.

    So much suffering is purely going on between our ears. Everything that happens just happens how we react to it is just as important.

    Fear can be a friend to balance us from being naively optimistic but living there is not balance. I am grateful for the hard times as they have taught me so much.

    Gassho,
    It may be misunderstood by some, but we sit is a place without husbands, wives and children, no "two" to marry, nothing to "prepare" for and nothing to be a "worst case" or "best case." One might actually call this wholeness as the original universal "marriage" that cannot be broken.

    And yet ... there are husbands, wives and kids, good times and bad ... marriages and break-ups ...

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-23-2021 at 12:08 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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