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Thread: Impermanence

  1. #1

    Impermanence

    I am going through a situation which has taken a sudden change. I know things are impermanent on an intellectual level, but I dont "feel" it, if that makes sense. I mean, I kind of do when Im doing zazen, but once I come up from the cushion, I am saddened by it again. How can I get to knowing it on the experiential, true Zen level?

    Gassho,

    John

    SatTodayLAH
    Gassho

    John

    SATToday

  2. #2
    Allow me to say, knowing impermanence, realizing it, does not mean a lack of sadness or emotion, I believe. I think rather, it means a gentle, compassionate acceptance and embracing of the entire experience, that includes the perceived loss, our reaction to it, our emotions, and hopefully, a release moment, where we don’t cling to that sadness we inevitably feel and not get suffocated by it.

    Sat Today
    Bion
    美音

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  3. #3
    I like Bion's answer. I don't believe there is a formula approach to consistently seeing the impermanence of things, but rather a gradual unfolding over time that leads to more occasions of such awareness. The solution is practice. My experience is that first I have gained an awareness of the impermanence of things that I appreciate or enjoy, seeing all stages of their existence at any stage of their existence. Recognizing in other things takes longer.

    Please excuse any unintended appearance that I am trying to teach or explain anything. I am a novice priest, and have no depth of knowledge or qualifications for teaching Zen.

    Gassho,
    遜道念芸 Nengei
    Sat today. LAH.

  4. #4
    These are excellent responses - from my personal experience, I know I shouldn't, but I try to use zazen as some tool to buffer me from feeling pain or dissatisfaction at times. But that isn't what zazen is - it's a practice to learn not to grasp or run, which is what causes that pain. At the same time, pain is inevitable; heartbreak, death etc: pain is natural and healthy - it's the adding onto what already exists that compounds it.

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    These are excellent responses - from my personal experience, I know I shouldn't, but I try to use zazen as some tool to buffer me from feeling pain or dissatisfaction at times. But that isn't what zazen is - it's a practice to learn not to grasp or run, which is what causes that pain. At the same time, pain is inevitable; heartbreak, death etc: pain is natural and healthy - it's the adding onto what already exists that compounds it.

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah
    I’d make one note there. You say zazen is a practice to help us learn not to grasp or run, but in my experience, it is beyond that “training of oneself” aspect and is rather an EXECUTION of all the letting go. In zazen I fully accomplish all of it. Then I get off the cushion and can look back at that zazen and try to carry it with me in the rest of my daily craziness and train this mind based on it to, as much as possible, function off the cushion as I do on it.

    Sorry for running a bit long.

    Sat Today


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    Bion
    美音

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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Bion View Post
    I’d make one note there. You say zazen is a practice to help us learn not to grasp or run, but in my experience, it is beyond that “training of oneself” aspect and is rather an EXECUTION of all the letting go. In zazen I fully accomplish all of it. Then I get off the cushion and can look back at that zazen and try to carry it with me in the rest of my daily craziness and train this mind based on it to, as much as possible, function off the cushion as I do on it.

    Sorry for running a bit long.

    Sat Today


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    you are absolutely correct (no pun intended )

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    you are absolutely correct (no pun intended )

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah
    HA! Nailed it Risho!

    Sat Today
    Bion
    美音

    -------------------------
    Please consider whatever I might say as my own ideas, experiences and understanding, and not zen doctrine.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnS View Post
    I am going through a situation which has taken a sudden change. I know things are impermanent on an intellectual level, but I dont "feel" it, if that makes sense. I mean, I kind of do when Im doing zazen, but once I come up from the cushion, I am saddened by it again. How can I get to knowing it on the experiential, true Zen level?

    Gassho,

    John

    SatTodayLAH
    All lovely advice from the folks above.

    In our way, it is not just a matter of knowing and experiencing change, but of flowing with change, allowing changing, becoming change. Heck, we are "knowing and experiencing" change every day, and that is the not the problem. The problem is that we resist, are at war with, feel friction about, refuse to honor the change. As one sits Zazen, the world keeps turning, all things keep changing ... and we just let em!

    Now, it is perfectly human and natural to feel some sadness and fear in the face of some changes, such as fear of losing our job or health, or sadness at the loss of a loved one. This "flowing and allowing" only goes so far sometimes because we are not emotional robots! We honor that too, flowing with and allowing such emotions, letting fear and sadness just be the fear and sadness sometimes (although, maybe now, now pulled in so deeply, tangled in what the fear and sadness are selling.) Like all things, even the fear and sadness is impermanent, will change to something else with time.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH

    Sorry to run long
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    Impermanence is the one truth you can always rely on to happen. But feeling sad when things change is normal. Allowing yourself to go through the grieving process without clinging to the past or thoughts of what you wanted things to be will help you get through. The other truth is things will change for the better too. But don't get attached to the good times either. Instead hold a space of equanimity for whatever situation you find yourself in.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

    SAT/LAH

  10. #10
    I don't claim to know anything. All I write here is what I observe.
    As good as it is, the realization of impermanence also raises a sense of sadness and fear in us. Perhaps because as humans we see certainty and predictability of life as hopes of survival. All beings, evolutionarily, seek survival.
    Now, here seems to be the turning point. Once impermanence is realized, some seem to be able to turn they key towards the opposite of fear. These some people, for us, seem to be "enlightened" or "realized" as they turned the key to so-called "bliss".

    Does an ant, very busy in constructing it's mountain-view ant-hill along with a million other ants, need to know that it's all impermanent? It just does what it's intending to do. I wish we humans had that simplicity in our approach to life.

    We are sad.
    Then we don't want to be sad.
    Then we are disappointed because we don't want to be sad although we should accept sadness too.
    Constant self judgment of how I am and how I should be.
    Leading to sadness again.

    That's why, perhaps, we should just sit.


    Sorry to run very long.

    Gassho.
    Sat.




    Sent from my Lenovo TB-7305F using Tapatalk

  11. #11
    If the impermanence is the death of a family member or friend, I think there is just a softening of the bereavement process from zen practice. Zazen does interrupt the sadness though, like you say, and this is good for everyone.

    Gassho,
    Gareth

    Sat today, Lah
    Last edited by bad_buddha_007; 06-27-2022 at 09:33 PM.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by bad_buddha_007 View Post
    If the impermanence is the death of a family member or friend, I think there is just a softening of the bereavement process from zen practice. Zazen does interrupt the sadness though, like you say, and this is good for everyone.

    Gassho,
    Gareth

    Sat today, Lah
    Let grief be grief, for we have lost a dear loved one. Our Hearts break.

    And yet, there is no birth and death. None.

    All true at once, this is the Heart Sutra.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Let grief be grief, for we have lost a dear loved one. Our Hearts break.

    And yet, there is no birth and death. None.

    All true at once, this is the Heart Sutra.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    With your permission, I will sneak in one of Master Dogen’s Waka poems where he himself acknowledges and validates the inevitability of grief that comes from the realization of transience:

    “Even plants and trees,
    Which have no heart,
    Wither with the passing days;
    Beholding this,
    Can anyone help but feel chagrin?”

    Sat Today
    Bion
    美音

    -------------------------
    Please consider whatever I might say as my own ideas, experiences and understanding, and not zen doctrine.
    Join me on Insight Timer
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  14. #14

  15. #15
    Impermanence can't last forever...


    Gasshō
    Seiko
    stlah
    清 Sei (Pure)
    光 Ko (Light)

    My street name is 'Al'.

    Great support can be gained by sitting quietly amongst friends.

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