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Thread: Shikantaza and the Morning Star

  1. #1

    Shikantaza and the Morning Star


    I heard some folks comparing Shikantaza to other ways of Zazen and meditation: Is it better or not? Faster or slower? For beginners or only experts? Should we add this or that to improve the practice? Are we just sitting around, letting life pass us by? Should I train to be ready to do it? Should I give it up and find something else? Is it progressing as it should?

    They do not realize that this very drive for comparing, timing, categorizing, our constant need to improve, need to get ready, to switch, ever to rate --IS-- the very cause of human suffering and alienation that Zazen is meant to cure.

    Does a star, shining as that star, feel the need to compare its shining to all the other stars in the sky, any of the other countless stars in the infinite sky, whether the brighter and larger, the dimmer or smaller? Or does it simply shine as that unique star? Need a mountain wonder if it is rising from the ground too high or too low? Will the river reprove itself for flowing today slowly, and feel guilt tomorrow when it is the season to flood? Must a a breeze spiritually prepare itself to blow, will it long deep down to head a different way? Must a bird be expert before it calls, or does it simply call when nature urges? Is the ant saddened that life is passing it by, thus does it wish to become a butterfly instead? Is the moon worried for its progress no where, embarrassed at its pockmarked face, even as human beings seek to progress and achieve by walking on its surface?

    It is the human heart which rates and times, compares and sees lack or excess, feels that now is not the moment, longs to be something else, envisions its happiness only down the line. In comparison to us humans and our need to rank, the star does not compare its shining, the mountain simply mountains, the river quietly flows, the breeze sometimes blows, birds call when spring comes, the ants keep crawling along. While our human need and ability to analyze, rank, compare, plan and implement is our civilization's power, allowing us to build great towers, powerful machines, and to walk on the moon itself ... the moon protests not our footprints, nor any crater or mark upon its surface. Dividing, judging and planning is what makes our species who we are. Yet, perhaps, in all our need to achieve and despair our failures, rating the world as it "should" be, we humans should learn too from the flowers and stones, waters and stars which merely shine, rise, roll, flow, blow, call, crawl and rest.

    Does the star judge itself separate from space, the mountain from the land, the river different from the other waters, the bird from the forest, the breeze from the air? Is not, each one, anything but the whole of reality shining, flowing, calling in its light and life and motion? Is our human planning and toiling anything but the same, the world building and growing, spying and moving the world with our eyes and hands?

    I wish folks would cease to add complexity to Shikantaza ... for sitting is the ultimate simplicity. The very mental complexity that we add to this is Dukkha, separation, entanglement. No empowerments needed, no energies or exorcisms, no gurus or goals, no clocks or measures, no keys to turn nor 'ki' to tune, no preliminary steps or post-scripts, no stages or stopping points, no deities or special diets, no mind ground or groundless. Just sit, in the completion of sitting for sitting's sake, no other place to be, no other act to do, nothing lacking. Shikantaza is, by nature, beyond compare ... so best not to compare it.

    The Buddha sits, the morning star simply shines. Shining for shining's sake, nothing to add or take away, nothing lacking. Must we ask why a star shines, or what is lacking to this star? Need we compare this star to others? After all the Buddha's hard struggles, pursuits of deep meditations, his search for answers ... just shining, just sitting.

    Gassho, J

    stlah

    Last edited by Jundo; 09-10-2022 at 07:30 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Thank you for being the warmth in my world.

  3. #3
    Gassho
    Let everything happen to you: Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final. - Rainer Maria Rilke

  4. #4
    I heard some folks comparing Shikantaza to other ways of Zazen and meditation:
    Guilty of charge. My head calls for complexity and comparing, my heart for simplicity and letting go. This is why despite all of the comparisons, rankings and elaborate plans my mind makes when I get carried away, I always come back to Shikantaza. Thank you for the reminder, Jundo.

    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat&LaH

  5. #5

  6. #6
    Thank you very much, Jundo.

    Gassho,
    stlah

  7. #7
    Thank you Jundo.
    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.

    義道 冴庭 / Gidō Kotei.
    Being a novice priest doesn't mean that my writing about the Dharma is more substantial than yours. Actually, it might well be the other way round.

  8. #8
    Treeleaf Unsui Nengei's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Praha, Česká Republika
    A beautiful essay on this topic. Thank you for your teaching, Jundo.


    Gassho,
    Nengei
    Sat today. LAH.

  9. #9
    Thank you, Roshi. I really needed to read your words.

    Mateus
    Satlah

  10. #10
    Thank you, Jundo.

    st

  11. #11
    Lovely. Thank you for this teaching Jundo


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

  12. #12
    Gassho
    Margaret
    Satlah

  13. #13
    Thank you.

    Jack
    sat

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  15. #15
    Thank you, Jundo

    Appreciate your teachings so very much

    Gassho,

    Bokugan
    SatToday
    墨眼 | Bokugan | Sumi Ink Eye
    Ryan-S | zazenlibrarian.com

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