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Thread: Homeless Kodo's "TO YOU" - Chapters 12, 13 & 14

  1. #1

    Homeless Kodo's "TO YOU" - Chapters 12, 13 & 14

    Dear All,

    Moving on, although no place to go ...

    As it is a fairly easy read, and chapters are rather short, consisting mostly of small quotes, we will take a few chapters at a time. This week, Chapters 12, 13 and 14.

    The rules of the game are pretty easy: Just mention here, in our discussion, any quotes (none, one or many) that ring your bell and resonate with you, and briefly say why.

    That's it!

    If you need a version to "cut and paste" a quote, there is one here. However, PLEASE PURCHASE THE ACTUAL BOOK! I ask everyone to use the following only for ease in cutting and pasting a quote or two into this discussion, not for purposes of reading the entire book. Thank you!

    What trips your trigger, strikes your fancy, inspires and makes your day? Try to say why it does so for you. (You can also feel free to disagree with Ol' Kodo too, but be prepared to say why!)

    Gassho, Jundo


  2. #2
    There were a lot of great quotes in these chapters - difficult to pick! This one stood out:

    Doing zazen because you want to become Buddha or get satori is running after an object. Zazen is to stop wanting to become Buddha or experience satori.
    To me this is what makes zazen very different to other forms of meditation - no goals or stages that have to be achieved, just being in the present with yourself and the universe together. Chasing after goals is just another form of grasping or attachment that can be a difficult habit to break in today’s society. Our jobs and often our lives are often built around goals and stages to be achieved and it can sometimes be strange to be doing something that has no goal in the future.

    Sat, LAH

  3. #3
    "Somebody who practices zazen once practices eternal zazen."

    No comment at all. It feels right, it sounds right. It was a relief to hear that in the middle of a *unfortunately usual* sleepless night.


  4. #4
    my evergreen: zen is good for nothing.

    this one comes back a few times in these chapters. Many years i had this question of master Yunmen: Why do we put on our robes at the sound of the bell ?
    And this time it was not Yunmen but Sawaki roshi who gave an answer that really helped me: Zen is good for nothing.
    Now the question does not bother me any more.



    hobo kore dojo / 歩歩是道場 / step, step, there is my place of practice

    Aprāpti (अप्राप्ति) non-attainment

  5. #5
    So many good ones.
    "We don't achieve satori through practice. Practice is satori. Each and every step is the goal."

    Goes along with the many quotes about dropping the idea of improvement, and that zen is transparent and tasteless. Like how the most valuable things in life are the simplest, smallest everyday interactions.

  6. #6
    'Don't whine. Don't stare into space. Just sit!'

    Sometimes, probably more often than sometimes, I need to be reminded of the simplest of things and this is a great example. I find myself unable to offer any mental argument to something as direct and it encourages me to let go in as many ways as I'm able....



    Sat today

    Sent from my Pixel 6a using Tapatalk
    Let everything happen to you: Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final. - Rainer Maria Rilke

  7. #7
    Zazen is really an amazing thing. When you are siting, it doesn't seem like zazen is anything particularly good. But when you see it from the outside, there's nothing that could be so majestic.
    With everything else, it's usually the other way around. Looked at objectively, there's not much to it. You're the only one who thinks what you are doing is so terribly important.
    This is really true. Sitting on the cushion, I don't feel it as anything special; most of the time, there is no special state of mind, no clear blue sky, no "becoming one with everything," no special samadhi, just a guy sitting in front of a wall with the eyes a little open trying to keep the same position despite the discomfort, the resistance and the will to get up and do something else. But looking at it when I'm not sitting, it is the most dignified and majestic of our practices.
    怠努 (Tai Do) - Lazy Effort
    (also known as Mateus )

    禅戒一如 (Zen Kai Ichi Nyo) - Zazen and the Precepts are One!

  8. #8
    From Chapter 14:

    You study, you do sports, and you’re xated on satori and illusion. Even zazen becomes a marathon for you, with satori as the nish line. Yet because you’re trying to grab it, you’re missing it completely.

    Only when you stop meddling like this does your original, universal nature realize itself.
    We don’t start practicing now in order to get satori later. Every single one of us has always been a buddha, lacking nothing. It’s just that somewhere along the line we’ve forgoen that. We’ve lost our way, and now we get all worked up over nothing.

    Our practice means nothing besides practicing being the buddha who we have really always been.
    For me, these quotes are wonderful teachings about the goalless nature of Zazen.


  9. #9
    Lots of good choices. Here’s a few that I’ll call out

    What's zazen good for? Absolutely nothing! This "good for nothing" has got to sink into your flesh and bones until you're truly practicing what's good for nothing. Until then, your zazen is really good for nothing.
    A classic!!

    We only say, “Things are going well!" when they're going our way.
    This is so true.

    We should simply leave the water of our original nature as it is. But instead we are constantly mucking about with our hands to find out how cold or warm it is. That's why it gets cloudy.
    The imagery here really just struck me as right.

    Sat today and lah
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  10. #10
    In chapter 12, one quote that resonated with me was:
    In our Soto School, zazen isn't so exciting. Ordinary people are always looking for excitement - sports, gambling on horse races and things like that. What makes them so popular? It's the excitement of winning and losing.
    It's ultimately an unhappy path to see things in terms of winning or losing, of comparing oneself to others.

    Related to this in my mind, in Chapter 13
    If we don't watch out, we'll start believing that the buddha-dharma is like climbing up a staircase. But it isn't like this at all.

    This very step right now is the one practice which includes all practices, and it is all practices, contained in this one practice.
    It's not about achievement.

    In Chapter 14, I was struck by:
    Running after satori and running away from illusion is buying and selling shares of one and the same company.
    This reminds me to just sit.

    I'm enjoying this book immensely.

    美道 Bidou Beautiful Way
    恩海 Onkai Merciful/Kind Ocean

    I have a lot to learn; take anything I say that sounds like teaching with a grain of salt.

  11. #11
    Chapter 14,page 85: If you aren't careful,you might start thinking that your individuality is the most important
    thing in the world. Then you forget that which fills the whole universe.

    Response: The ten thousand things throw a cosmic party each unfolding moment,
    why come to the party as your tedious self,
    come as the ten thousand things!

  12. #12
    We don’t start practicing now in order to get satori later. Every single one of us has always been a buddha, lacking nothing. It’s just that somewhere along the line we’ve forgotten that. We’ve lost our way, and now we get all worked up over nothing. Our practice means nothing besides practicing being the buddha who we have really always been.
    I believe this is true even today. "society" puts expectations on us that most of us can fulfill or barely can. And if we can not, we feel like something is wrong with us or that we aren't perfect the way we are. So then we go out getting attachments to things that we think will make us perfect, although we were already perfect/buddha to begin with. (that doesn't mean we can't improve ourselves though!)


  13. #13
    We only say "Things are going well!" when they are going our way.
    This whole chapter was really good for me to read, and I think this quote does a good job of summing up the rest of the chapter.

    Our zazen doesn't help us with anything in our lives. When we see improvements elsewhere we draw that correlation to our zazen, but they are not cause and effect. It is only natural that our lives will improve and regress over time. Is that regression also courtesy of our zazen?
    Both viewpoints are nothing short of further delusion.

    Thank you, to Sawaki-san, the translators, and for Jundo for bringing this book to me, and everyone participating. Thank you all for this teaching.

    Thank you for being the warmth in my world.

  14. #14
    I have been falling behind in my studies, unfortunately. I read and enjoyed these chapters but didn't find time to comment until now - apologies.

    As always, Sawaki Roshi both entertains and profoundly changes my state of mind. Quotes that I found stood out to me this time around:

    Chapter 12
    You say you want to become a better person by doing zazen. Zazen isn't about learning how to be a person. Zazen is to stop being a person.
    This speaks deeply to me, the gentlest of reprimands to think not of the 'person' doing the sitting, but of the experience of sitting within, and as, the whole universe. Stray thoughts are the universe. Hip pain is the universe. Numb feet are the universe. The breath is the universe.

    There were several in chapter 14:
    You don't seek the way. The way seeks you.
    Running after satori and running away from illusion is buying and selling shares of one and the same company.
    I like the contemporary twist of this one. It's a little less esoteric than some teachings and simplifies it. It's the sort of example I could see myself using if explaining zen/zazen to others.

    You want to become a buddha? There's no need to become a buddha!
    Now is simply now. You are simply you.
    And tell me, since you want to leave the place where you are: where is it exactly you want to go?
    The question in the last line is, again, so simple and yet so profound, especially when asked in this context. Because where else is there but right here, right now, a part of everything?


  15. #15
    There were too many great quotes in these chapters to quote them all, and I'll definitely be returning to these chapters in particular.

    This one, though, was like a shot to the heart:

    "So you say you'd like to try doing Zazen in order to become a better person. Become a better person by doing Zazen? How ridiculous! How could a person ever become something better?"

    And this one:

    "We have all kinds of thoughts during Zazen, and we wonder if that's correct. The fact that we can ask ourselves this proves that the nature of Zazen is pure, and that this pure nature is looking us in the eye. When we dance around drunk in our underwear, we don't question ourselves at all."

    This one really speaks to the reality of grappling with (or more accurately, learning to let go of!) thoughts in Zazen. It's reassurance that I'm not failing at doing Zazen correctly, and also a call-out for my general lack of awareness during everyday life.


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