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Thread: What do I have to offer?

  1. #1

    What do I have to offer?


    Today, Sangha members wrote to me with terrible stories of suffering, violence, war and falling bombs in their very town, addictions, illness, lost loved ones, fear and sadness. I feel powerless in the face of all of it.

    What do I have to offer?

    Of course, as a friend, I lend an ear, a shoulder, some practical advice here and there. We might cry together, and I have some encouraging words. "The sun will come out, there is hope ...," and other like thoughts. It is the same as any friend or loved one might give. I can momentarily cheer or encourage. Still, I feel helpless, for I can do nothing to change all that.

    The violence, illness and all the rest remain.

    As one person, what do I have to offer?

    We should work for a world in which there is no war and violence, no addictions, where illnesses find their cure, loved ones live long, where all are at peace. I look forward to such a world, somewhere tomorrow. But in the meantime, that seems so far away.

    The violence, illness and all the rest remain.

    As a Buddhist priest, what do I have to offer?

    Oh, I might offer a chant of strange and mysterious "gya gya gya" words, together with a promise that it will make some magic, chase away evil, prevent disasters, cure sickness and the like. The sound is soothing to the heart, it is true. Or, I can say that it is just someone's "past Karma" working out, that good things will come eventually, soon, or perhaps in a next life after the debt is paid. Yes, there is some psychological benefit to the listener to hear such "it is all God's plan"-like explanations, it is true.

    That may be reason enough to profess such things. And sometimes I do chant, light a candle, say some words for someone's lost loved one, for someone's health and recovery, precisely because it is one thing I can offer to calm their hurting heart for a time. I do it. Giving hope and strength to others is precious and powerful. But, beyond the comforting sound and promises, I do not believe in any of that. They are just sounds and explanations that change little.

    The violence, illness and all the rest remain.

    As a Zen priest, what do I have to offer?

    I only have sitting, Zazen, Shikantaza ... guiding folks to sit at the heart of suffering, violence, addictions, illness, fear and sadness ... to know the light and stillness which shines and rests quietly at the heart of suffering, violence, addictions, illness, fear and sadness ... to know the unbroken wholeness beyond victors and victims, loss and need, and even birth and death. Here, there is no suffering, violence, excess desire in addiction, bodies or illness, nothing and nobody to fear, no loss, no sadness. Here, there is a Peace which sweeps in all the world's broken pieces, a Whole encompassing all this life's filled or empty holes, a Heart that beats on as our little lives come and go. Though the violence, the illness and all the rest remain ... HERE ... they do not remain, and all is clear.

    Sitting is a power, marvelous, as the hard borders, tensions, battles, needs and longings of the "little self" soften and fully drop away, revealing ...

    THIS!


    And it was so in the Buddha's time, in Dogen's ... all Samsara's times of suffering, violence, addictions, illness, loss and longing, fear and sadness. This is all they too had to offer ... a Peace and Flowing Wholeness that liberates from suffering, violence, desire, birth and death, and anything to fear or regret. The violence, illness and all the rest are banished, cured, ended, never were and never will be! The work is done.

    And yet ... still helpless ...

    ... "the beloved flowers still fall to our regret and sorrow, the weeds still grow though we wish it were not so," said Dogen.

    Helpless, the violence, illness and all the rest remain ...



    ... the tears remain.


    Last edited by Jundo; 11-16-2022 at 12:45 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Seems to me like you have plenty to offer! ( and you do, continuously and abundantly)

    Sat Today lah
    Bion
    美音

    -------------------------
    Please consider whatever I might say as my own ideas, experiences and understanding, and not zen doctrine.

  3. #3
    I think a lot of us are drawn to Buddhism and priesthood because we fundamentally want to help people. Then we get put in situations where we want to help but just can't find a way. In the end all you can do is all you can do. My advice, for what it is worth, would to just be them for them in whatever way you can. Try to stay open a vulnerable and open. And to really listen. It is a human impulse to try and "fix" it. But often there is just no way to fix it for them. They need to find their path.

    Back when I worked with the chronically mentally ill one of the things I tried to focus on was doing whatever I could to provide some kind of "nutritive environment" for folks who were struggling. Given them space and a sympathetic ear. Sometimes that is much more important that a fix.

    Just some rambling in case it helps. And I just realized I fell into the same trap of trying to fix things by offering advice! Sorry.

    You are a good person to care so deeply Jundo. Thank you.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.
    E84I - JAJ

  4. #4
    We do what we can, but..

    And yet ... still helpless ...

    ... "even so, the beloved flowers still fall to our regret and sorrow, the weeds still grow though we wish it were not so."

    Helpless, the violence, illness and all the rest remains ...

    ... the tears remain.
    thank you, Jundo

    aprapti

    sat

    hobo kore dojo / 歩々これ道場 / step, step, there is my place of practice


    Aprāpti (अप्राप्ति) non-attainment

  5. #5
    Well put.



    Gassho,
    Nengyoku
    SatLah
    Thank you for being the warmth in my world.

  6. #6
    I have spent a long time in hospital with my son now. I have lit a candle and incense every day. either I practiced zazen or just sat and thought and gave hope to all who suffer. I don't know if it works. but I hope. I can only go to myself. Giving hope and a thought to others has strengthened me and makes what is difficult for me less difficult.

    Gassho. Mokuso!

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Mokuso View Post
    I have spent a long time in hospital with my son now. I have lit a candle and incense every day. either I practiced zazen or just sat and thought and gave hope to all who suffer. I don't know if it works. but I hope. I can only go to myself. Giving hope and a thought to others has strengthened me and makes what is difficult for me less difficult.

    Gassho. Mokuso!
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Shinshi View Post
    My advice, for what it is worth, would to just be them for them in whatever way you can. Try to stay open a vulnerable and open. And to really listen. It is a human impulse to try and "fix" it. But often there is just no way to fix it for them. They need to find their path.
    This is true. And yet, the path of Shikantaza does fix it and everything ... or, better said, proves to us that there was never a thing in need of fixing from the start.

    Even so, the countless problems in need of fixing remain, often impossible to fix.

    This is the Koan:

    Countless problems to fix, some impossible to fix, yet we keep on fixing what we can ...

    ... even as, never a thing in need of fixing, never was nor will be, right from the startless start.



    Gassho, J

    stlah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    When I was younger and did counseling for a living I was very motivated to find the most effective approach to help people solve the problems they were seeing me for. Selfishly, I just didn't want to see people hurting so much. Eventually, that lack of ability to tolerate the suffering in others combined with not having a fast enough fix for them led me to other work. As an older version of myself I am much more accepting of the suffering of others, as strange as it sounds. That awful situation they are going through presents an important opportunity for learning and change. It's still hard to witness the horrors people go through, but I am more inclined to wonder about what hard won piece of personal wisdom they will find after having gone through it. How many of us would never have found Buddhism if not for some personal hell?

    Gassho,

    MarkJ
    s@

  10. #10
    Some guy I know wrote this

    Sitting in radical equanimity, we let all of life be just what it is and our resistance drops away. Whether it’s cancer, problems at work or in a marriage, our broken dreams or dashed hopes—all the ups and downs of life are “just as they are” when we are sitting. Our problems and fears remain but, somehow, by dropping resistance to them, everything is okay. We let them be, we leave them behind, in our equanimity during the minutes of our sitting. (After sitting we had best work to fix that marriage, solve the problems, cure our cancer. However, during the minutes of sitting, we put aside all need to fix, solve, and cure.) By assuming a balanced, stable, and comfortable physical posture—as comfortable as our health will allow—we facilitate a balanced, stable, and easy heart. Then, we just let be.
    When I get depressed or start to feel a little despair or overwhelmed I come back to statements like this. Honestly it helps me a lot to try to accept things as they are and yet at the same time do my best to hopefully leave this world a little better.

    Thank you for sharing this Jundo and thank you for being a wonderful teacher


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

  11. #11
    May all receive healing energy, light the lamp of awareness and transform suffering

    Sar/lah


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    May all receive healing energy, light the lamp of awareness and transform suffering
    Yes, "healing energy" is one of those things that does sound good to say, no matter what it actually means.

    I believe that simply caring and being concerned, offering friendship and support does have real power to help others. Simple human touch, skin to skin, has power to give strength and comfort to others (just think of a baby who is never cuddled for the opposite). That helps mental and physical healing.

    If you mean "Reiki" and like kinds of "healing energy," frankly, apart from simple touch, I don't put much stock in that kind of thing.

    Gassho, J

    stlah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Yes, "healing energy" is one of those things that does sound good to say, no matter what it actually means.

    I believe that simply caring and being concerned, offering friendship and support does have real power to help others. Simple human touch, skin to skin, has power to give strength and comfort to others (just think of a baby who is never cuddled for the opposite). That helps mental and physical healing.

    If you mean "Reiki" and like kinds of "healing energy," frankly, apart from simple touch, I don't put much stock in that kind of thing.

    Gassho, J

    stlah
    Here’s one description of metta.

    In Pali — a language that's closely related to Sanskrit and spoken in northern India — “metta” means positive energy and kindness toward others.

    Does that align with your usage of metta?

    _/\_

    Sat/lah


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Here’s one description of metta.

    In Pali — a language that's closely related to Sanskrit and spoken in northern India — “metta” means positive energy and kindness toward others.

    Does that align with your usage of metta?
    Thank you, Rich. Yes, I feel so.

    I often say that our angry, violent, jealous, spiteful words (spoken, written, typed on the internet) have real power to travel and impact our own heart, those around us, our wider community and (in this wired world) even people on the other side of the world who hear or read them ... even indirectly, from the atmosphere the words create in our family or society. That is real power to do harm.

    So, likewise, kind and loving words have power to do the opposite.

    It is just some actual "healing energy," like a mysterious unknown natural force, that I have trouble with, such as in tent revival faith healing, crystals, Reiki and the like.**

    ** On the other hand, even prayer for someone has been shown to have psychological benefits, at least for the person praying and the recipient who may know about the effort. It may also have unexpected negative aspects, such as leading people to avoid proper medical treatment:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2802370/


    In any case, let me try an experiment of this power to have effect on the other side of the world, typing here in Japan:

    Rich, love you, man!

    Did that have good effect?

    Gassho, J

    stlah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    Thank you Jundo.

    Gassho

    MichaelW

    sat.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Thank you, Rich. Yes, I feel so.

    I often say that our angry, violent, jealous, spiteful words (spoken, written, typed on the internet) have real power to travel and impact our own heart, those around us, our wider community and (in this wired world) even people on the other side of the world who hear or read them ... even indirectly, from the atmosphere the words create in our family or society. That is real power to do harm.

    So, likewise, kind and loving words have power to do the opposite.

    It is just some actual "healing energy," like a mysterious unknown natural force, that I have trouble with, such as in tent revival faith healing, crystals, Reiki and the like.**

    ** On the other hand, even prayer for someone has been shown to have psychological benefits, at least for the person praying and the recipient who may know about the effort. It may also have unexpected negative aspects, such as leading people to avoid proper medical treatment:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2802370/


    In any case, let me try an experiment of this power to have effect on the other side of the world, typing here in Japan:

    Rich, love you, man!

    Did that have good effect?

    Gassho, J

    stlah
    Love you, bro
    May you be well with joy and ease

    Sat/lah


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

  17. #17
    what do i have to offer?

    when i undergone a mental attack i feel my brain departs into two parts and remains without connection or paralyzing..

    for instance now i'm having a moderate attack, i remembered this topic, sat my armchair and intended to write those words..

    i asked myself if my suffering, endless attacks are a sign of my misdeeds in this life and in the pasts'? i guess no..

    do i have to wait a savior among our society? of course no..

    in my attack times it is sometimes beneficial to give in, i feel relax a little bit in my bed..

    giving in..

    sitting in font of the bosphorus and seeing seagouls are flying in front of me to disappear with the sunset..

    i'm not a happy person, please forgive me, but what can i offer only giving in and accepting the reality when we have no choice ...


    Gassho

    fâtih

    sati

  18. #18
    Gassho
    Kiri
    Sat/Lah
    希 rare
    理 principle
    (Nikos)

  19. #19
    Jundo (et al),

    It has been a hellish few weeks for me. Sickness, injury, more sickness, loneliness, worry, more worry. All life, and I ‘know’ this. And I sit, and I get up. And do it all over again. Reading this today was hugely comforting. Nothing new, of course, but so, so very important. Thank you for being the teacher you are, and the sangha for being the sangha we are. Apologies for longer sentences, and more words than might have been strictly necessary. TL/DR: thank you. all.

    Gassho, and stlah.
    東西 - Tōsei - East West
    there is only what is, and it is all miraculous

  20. #20
    Thank you for this, Jundo.
    Sitting with you, Mokusu, Fâtih and Tosei.

    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.

  21. #21
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messiah

    There is a possibility that Jundo is the true messiah and that is a lot to offer.

    Gassho, Jishin, ST, LAH

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messiah

    There is a possibility that Jundo is the true messiah and that is a lot to offer.

    Gassho, Jishin, ST, LAH
    No pressure

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah

  23. #23
    Dongshan looked down into the stream and saw his own reflection. I seem to remember reading somewhere he had stubbed his toe rather badly; I visualize blood streaming away and vanishing into the water. "It now is me; I now am not it. One must understand in this way to merge with suchness."

    Going on past three sentences, prating: the blood is an offering. The reflection is an offering. Dongshan is an offering. The Record of Dongshan is an offering. Jundo's post is an offering. The replies are an offering. Our illnesses are an offering. Our recovery and repose is an offering. Our non-recovery is an offering: the blood and water flow on over the stones toward the all-accepting sea.

    Noisy! Imposter, but grinning.

    gassho ds did sit
    Last edited by Shōnin Risa Bear; 11-19-2022 at 03:55 AM.
    Visiting unsui, take w/salt.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messiah

    There is a possibility that Jundo is the true messiah and that is a lot to offer.

    Gassho, Jishin, ST, LAH
    ONLY the Messiah? I had higher ambitions.

    Oy vey. (I cannot find the truly appropriate emoji)
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-18-2022 at 12:06 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  25. #25

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