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Thread: The Continuing Tales of Gendo JinKan

  1. #51
    Treeleaf Priest Jinkan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    Location
    Clovis, California U.S.A
    I spent last night thinking what I would share today. I usually spend Thursday night and Friday examining the week and I have so far found something to share. Last night though the review was harder than normal. It was a long night of pain that had been proceeded by a very bad day of pain. I could not concentrate. I was in so much pain yesterday because I found out that me pain medication was out of stock so I spent a day out of medication. Trying to focus while pain courses through you can be next to impossible at times. Even the briefest hint of Samadhi gets buried in the agony forgotten as quickly as it occurs. I spent a long time staring into the blackness of our small room trying not to cry out or wince too loud so me roommate could sleep. In between the pain and the thoughts of this update I was bombarded by the thoughts I hope I get me medication tomorrow (it is not coming in today but they said maybe tomorrow). Fears of the oncoming DT’s were on the horizon but often were quickly abated by the sheer pain that didn’t allow me to focus on anything else. I am dependent on opioid pain medication and while I take the lowest dose possible for me condition and to avoid addiction to it’s euphoric effects I still take a dose high enough that it can’t be stopped abruptly.

    After deciding it was time to get dressed and greet the day I was overcome with sadness and depression. Why do I have to go through this? I have prescriptions so why can’t I go to another pharmacy and get the medication I need. I was overwhelmed and sleep deprived and a call to the pharmacy confirming me worst fears. It just made things worse. So as I felt I was going to break down in a black pool of pain and frustration I got up and walked out side into the cold morning chill. Me samue did nothing to shield me from the brisk winter air and the chill snapped me out of the spiral of dark thoughts. I knew suddenly what I should share and what would help me in the short term deal with dark thoughts coming from a tap that at times didn’t feel like it could be closed. I often share me anxieties, pain and fears but today I would share what a normal day is for me. Not a good day or a bad day but that median betwixt the the two extremes. I would not do this hoping for this bad day to turn into a good day. I except that today is a bad day and a good one could be on the horizon. Hopefully though I will return that stillness where there is no good, bad or average.

    So I’m going to write about daily life of an ill priest. I normally wake up between 12am and 2am and I often awake to a pitch black room. Often the only sound heard is the light snoring of me roommate and cat. I lay on the floor where I sleep and sit in that darkness with me thoughts. This often the best “sitting” of the day I will do. After a time sometimes hours and sometimes minutes. I put on headphones and I listen to podcasts until dawn. The day has just started and I am already exhausted. I take me regime pills and then if I am able I sit in earnest or lay down if I have to.

    Every day I try to sit sometimes sitting with anger sometimes joy and sometimes serenity and on the rarest occasions there is no I sitting. A friend asked me why I sit if I only experience what he labeled transcendence on the rarest of occasions. Am I questing after this elusive experience. Is that the goal of zazen. That experience is great when it happens but I do not sit to experience it. I sit just to sit. If there was a goal it was met the moment me backside meets the zafu. I ask for nothing from zazen but hope for truth. More often than not I just end up with a lot of introspection.

    After sitting I set out me roommates lunch to take to work and if I am able I read. If I am in to much pain which is more often the case I watch streaming shows. I am often very tired and I can’t fall back asleep to take a nap. I crack a Coke Zero and put me alter from its spot on me bookshelf onto a Japanese floor table in front of me zafu and zabuton. I set out all the instruments I need and incense I need for ceremony and then take a break. I do most physical things in 15 minute intervals or I start to get chest pains. I cook breakfast if me roommate wants it and see her off to work. A few minutes after she leaves I ready me self to do me daily ceremony. Take 15 minutes to put on me Kimono, Koromo and Kesa. After a rest I do the heart Sutra in English and Japanese, Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo and Identity of Relative and Absolute sometime I will add different ancestors list as well if I am feeling up to it. After the ceremony I am beat and in pain. I use the last of me strength to disrobe and collapse afterwards I will just lay down or I watch TV. After I can move again in normally an hour to two hours later I do chores. Clean dishes, do prep work for dinner, put the altar back, shower etc… At four or five in the afternoon I try and play bass as me fingers will allow but more so I sing along with music. I sing because it helps keep me lungs open and it is a natural way to increase endorphins. Tired and weak. I finish Dinner and leave it for me roommate for when she gets home and take a bunch of medications that makes loopy and dizzy. If I am able I will sit one more time but more often than not I lay down and watch TV, read or do some priest craft practice until I fall asleep between 10pm or 11pm.

    As I write this it can seem glamorous me life is not. It will probably never be used for a blockbuster movie or make an award winning novel. What it is, is honest. It allows me to do me best with the limited resources and ability I have to continue to practice and to help as many people as I can. If you feel limited by what you can do because of physical limitations or even financial ones. If you feel you are not living up to the bodhisattva ideal or can’t practice because you can’t stay in a temple. Strive to save all sentient being but practice saving those you can even if it is just yourself. You don’t need a brick and mortar establishment to practice make your zafu and zabuton your three square foot monastery. If you find your life is not glamorous that is fine for as long as it is lived honestly and earnestly it will help you to pursue this great practice and there is nothing in my eyes more honorable and glamorous than that.
    Gassho,
    JinKan
    Sat

  2. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by Jinkan View Post
    I spent last night thinking what I would share today. I usually spend Thursday night and Friday examining the week and I have so far found something to share. Last night though the review was harder than normal. It was a long night of pain that had been proceeded by a very bad day of pain. I could not concentrate. I was in so much pain yesterday because I found out that me pain medication was out of stock so I spent a day out of medication. Trying to focus while pain courses through you can be next to impossible at times. Even the briefest hint of Samadhi gets buried in the agony forgotten as quickly as it occurs. I spent a long time staring into the blackness of our small room trying not to cry out or wince too loud so me roommate could sleep. In between the pain and the thoughts of this update I was bombarded by the thoughts I hope I get me medication tomorrow (it is not coming in today but they said maybe tomorrow). Fears of the oncoming DTís were on the horizon but often were quickly abated by the sheer pain that didnít allow me to focus on anything else. I am dependent on opioid pain medication and while I take the lowest dose possible for me condition and to avoid addiction to itís euphoric effects I still take a dose high enough that it canít be stopped abruptly.

    After deciding it was time to get dressed and greet the day I was overcome with sadness and depression. Why do I have to go through this? I have prescriptions so why canít I go to another pharmacy and get the medication I need. I was overwhelmed and sleep deprived and a call to the pharmacy confirming me worst fears. It just made things worse. So as I felt I was going to break down in a black pool of pain and frustration I got up and walked out side into the cold morning chill. Me samue did nothing to shield me from the brisk winter air and the chill snapped me out of the spiral of dark thoughts. I knew suddenly what I should share and what would help me in the short term deal with dark thoughts coming from a tap that at times didnít feel like it could be closed. I often share me anxieties, pain and fears but today I would share what a normal day is for me. Not a good day or a bad day but that median betwixt the the two extremes. I would not do this hoping for this bad day to turn into a good day. I except that today is a bad day and a good one could be on the horizon. Hopefully though I will return that stillness where there is no good, bad or average.

    So Iím going to write about daily life of an ill priest. I normally wake up between 12am and 2am and I often awake to a pitch black room. Often the only sound heard is the light snoring of me roommate and cat. I lay on the floor where I sleep and sit in that darkness with me thoughts. This often the best ďsittingĒ of the day I will do. After a time sometimes hours and sometimes minutes. I put on headphones and I listen to podcasts until dawn. The day has just started and I am already exhausted. I take me regime pills and then if I am able I sit in earnest or lay down if I have to.

    Every day I try to sit sometimes sitting with anger sometimes joy and sometimes serenity and on the rarest occasions there is no I sitting. A friend asked me why I sit if I only experience what he labeled transcendence on the rarest of occasions. Am I questing after this elusive experience. Is that the goal of zazen. That experience is great when it happens but I do not sit to experience it. I sit just to sit. If there was a goal it was met the moment me backside meets the zafu. I ask for nothing from zazen but hope for truth. More often than not I just end up with a lot of introspection.

    After sitting I set out me roommates lunch to take to work and if I am able I read. If I am in to much pain which is more often the case I watch streaming shows. I am often very tired and I canít fall back asleep to take a nap. I crack a Coke Zero and put me alter from its spot on me bookshelf onto a Japanese floor table in front of me zafu and zabuton. I set out all the instruments I need and incense I need for ceremony and then take a break. I do most physical things in 15 minute intervals or I start to get chest pains. I cook breakfast if me roommate wants it and see her off to work. A few minutes after she leaves I ready me self to do me daily ceremony. Take 15 minutes to put on me Kimono, Koromo and Kesa. After a rest I do the heart Sutra in English and Japanese, Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo and Identity of Relative and Absolute sometime I will add different ancestors list as well if I am feeling up to it. After the ceremony I am beat and in pain. I use the last of me strength to disrobe and collapse afterwards I will just lay down or I watch TV. After I can move again in normally an hour to two hours later I do chores. Clean dishes, do prep work for dinner, put the altar back, shower etcÖ At four or five in the afternoon I try and play bass as me fingers will allow but more so I sing along with music. I sing because it helps keep me lungs open and it is a natural way to increase endorphins. Tired and weak. I finish Dinner and leave it for me roommate for when she gets home and take a bunch of medications that makes loopy and dizzy. If I am able I will sit one more time but more often than not I lay down and watch TV, read or do some priest craft practice until I fall asleep between 10pm or 11pm.

    As I write this it can seem glamorous me life is not. It will probably never be used for a blockbuster movie or make an award winning novel. What it is, is honest. It allows me to do me best with the limited resources and ability I have to continue to practice and to help as many people as I can. If you feel limited by what you can do because of physical limitations or even financial ones. If you feel you are not living up to the bodhisattva ideal or canít practice because you canít stay in a temple. Strive to save all sentient being but practice saving those you can even if it is just yourself. You donít need a brick and mortar establishment to practice make your zafu and zabuton your three square foot monastery. If you find your life is not glamorous that is fine for as long as it is lived honestly and earnestly it will help you to pursue this great practice and there is nothing in my eyes more honorable and glamorous than that.
    Gassho,
    JinKan
    Sat
    Thank you, brother, for this glimpse into your life and struggles. I appreciate you and your continuous efforts and the example you set. May you be at ease in your ills and serene as much as possible.

    Sat Today
    Bion
    -------------------------
    When you put Buddhaís activity into practice, only then are you a buddha. When you act like a fool, then youíre a fool.

  3. #53
    Thank you, again JinKan. I wish for your pain to subside and hope you can be serene in all your ills. I can only imagine what you are going through and thank you for your dedication as a priest and for sharing your experience. You are also a really good roommate.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat lah
    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.

  4. #54
    Thank you for sharing this with us JinKan. I hope your medication will be available soon, to ease your pain.

    Naiko
    st lah

  5. #55
    Treeleaf Priest Jinkan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    Location
    Clovis, California U.S.A
    This weeks update comes early as I have surgery tomorrow afternoon. I will be having more teeth pulled and bone grafts as a few more tumors are removed from me mouth. I had a long week without pain medication I am over most of the DT’s but that misery has been replaced by the pain I was taking the medication for. If the pain wasn’t so bad I honestly would not take the medication again because the feeling of going through withdrawals a second time was horrible. A trip to a cardiac surgeon left me with an appointment for a heart catheter on the first of next month to determine if they want to do another open heart (it will be me third if they do it). So this week I felt lost. I was lost in fears, anxieties and the desire to not be in pain. I was lost in me and I have been lost many times in me life.

    When I was younger I moved to Japan to teach English. I had studied and practiced buddhism for a more than 10 years and wanted to practice zen while I was there but I also really wanted to see the Tendai Marathon monks. I had read a book about them and I was captivated by their practice. Me dislike for running would never allow me to ever participate in their practice but I could watch and visit their small temple. So the first free chance I got I took a bus out of Kyoto and went to Mt. Hiei. I was ill prepared I had forgotten me guide book and didn’t know where to go. I got off at a stop that a bunch of people who were wearing wagesa got off at thinking they were temple members. They proceeded to get on a sky tram and the lift took us up the mountain. I later would realize the group I followed was a Shin group that went up there for a picnic. No temple at the summit just gorgeous scenery that me disappointment made me unaware of (it was looking at photos later that showed me what distraction had made me miss). There were multiple paths going down so I picked one and went on me way. I spent hours hiking on trails that occasionally had Japanese signs that I couldn’t read. I passed beautiful trees and moss covered abandoned temples and statues. I paid no head to these though because I was lost and fear was slowly creeping in. Hours passed and I wondered if I would be stuck on this mountain to die lost. I am a city kid and I have no survival skills I thought. Only thing I could do was continue down. Blisters on me feet sprouting like an unwelcome crop and heaviness came upon me. I continued down with a drive to survive. I finally reached the bottom and found me self in an unfamiliar city. I didn’t know what to do or where I was. I didn’t speak the language outside of saying hello and I am the number one pervert (learned working at Disneyland). Filthy, in pain and overcome I asked for help. It was morning when I had reached the mountain and it was deep into the night when I reached this village. People came to me aid. They found someone who spoke some English they fed me and got me a cab. They showed a generosity not often seen in the many big cities I have lived. I obviously got back safe and sound but all this could have been avoided if I had asked for help. If I had asked on the bus when I realized I had forgotten me travel guide what stop I should get off on to see the Tendai Head temple or if I had ask the group picnicking on the summit how I should get down. Luckily the people in that village were the many arms of Kanon but I was too caught up in me self to realize it.

    Whilst walking this Bodhisattva path Buddhism encourages us to both give help and ask for it when needed. The Sangha is a support network to help all. So when I felt lost this week instead of waiting and getting lost on the mountain of self. I asked for help. I talked to me roommates and friends and if that didn’t help I would have reached out to me fellow priest and Jundo. I feel grateful having to ask for help because I was able to do emotional Takuhatsu and me bowl was filled as I was emptied. If you feel lost in life, practice or on a mountain ask for help. You lose nothing in the asking and you give someone a chance to offer you a kindness enriching both your lives.

    The biggest help came in the form of me practice. The difference between that mountain and now is me practice. It was me guide book. I never felt alone because I knew I had a sangha there to help and support me. I was able to ask for help because I had abandoned that fearful pride that stops one from reaching out for help. I offer this story to world hoping it will help and maybe fill someones alms bowl with hope.
    Gassho,
    JinKan
    Sat
    Last edited by Jinkan; 02-10-2023 at 04:17 PM.

  6. #56
    Such a beautiful post about the willingness to ask for help. And also about how we can miss the wonderful views in life if we are too stressed to notice them. Best wishes for your next surgery.
    Veronica
    Stlah

  7. #57
    Thank you, JinKan. I struggle with that lesson and have my whole life. I hope I will recall your lesson when I need it. Hoping your surgery goes well.
    Gassho,
    Naiko
    st lah

  8. #58
    This was a beautiful and amazing lesson, JinKan. I wish you well in your oral procedures and your heart catheterization. I hope your pain subsides, and that you find some ease even with your pain.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat lah
    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.

  9. #59
    Jinkan,

    I just want to say that, although I hope all may beat cancer and that the scientists find new ways to treat and prevent cancer, I am really rooting for your recovery specifically! Should I ever be placed in a situation like yours I would feel blessed to even approach half of the level of equanimity you have embraced and shared. There are not enough bows left in my knees to honour your dedication to the path

    Tokan

    Satlah
    平道 島看 Heidou Tokan (Balanced Way Island Nurse)
    I enjoy learning from everyone, I simply hope to be a friend along the way

  10. #60
    Thank you very much, JinKan. As always you bring us a profound teaching for us all to reflect on and act upon. I struggle a lot to ask for help; and I really need some help more than Iím willing to admit it to myself.
    May you be healthy and at ease in all your ills!
    Gassho,
    Tai Do
    Satlah

  11. #61
    Thank you Your journey and your stories are inspirational. Wish you the best!

    Michael
    Satlah

  12. #62
    🙏
    Diana
    Sat

  13. #63
    Treeleaf Priest Jinkan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    Location
    Clovis, California U.S.A
    This week was long and painful as me weeks often are. The difference between this week and others is it was more painful than it should have been. It was needlessly painful. It started out with pain and frustration a continuation from the previous week. I found out Monday that I had to go in again Tuesday for another surgery. The surgeon had seen some worrying things on Friday so after discussing how they should proceed with me oncologist, cardiologist and anesthesiologist Tuesday was decided for the new surgery and since it was going to be so more invasive than previous surgeries so it was decided that I would be unconscious instead of just a local. I was stressed and in pain. I was still very sore from Fridays Surgery and I was two weeks behind in getting me pain medication so all me regular pain was hand in hand with me surgical pain skipping from pain receptor to pain receptor. After receiving the call from the surgeon and setting up the surgery for the next day I called pharmacies and me doctors. I had a self imposed mission and that was to some how get a prescription filled for pain medication. I was still hurting from Fridays operation and Tuesdays was going to be much more invasive so it was imperative I was able to get the post op medications I would need.. Me thoughts turned from me thinking I need call doctors to make sure I know tomorrows pre surgery routine and I will see if they will try to get me medication for after the surgery. To why can’t I get medication its so flipping insane. It also seemed the more frustrated I got the more intense the pain I felt. These negative thoughts along with the pain seemed to be feed on itself and growing exponentially. It finally came to a head when I got angry for no reason and almost cursed at me roommate. Me roommate did something like didn’t wash dishes or didn’t clean out the lint trap for the dryer. I don’t remember what it was that caused me to lose me temper. I am just pretty sure that it really didn’t warrant any response. I first started to channel me mothers super power of passive aggression and began to curse and talk trash under me breath. She continued to do whatever was making me angry and to me sleep deprived mind she was doing it deliberately. Rage boiling over and me about to make a huge mistake. I readied a curse and insult and in that split second I “saw” me roommate. I saw this kind person who has helped me on so many occasions. She has been with me during long nights in hospital and she has been with me while I received disheartening medical news. We share a small studio apartment and have intimate knowledge of each other with out ever having been intimate. I looked at her deeply and I saw me self staring back at me. I saw an overwhelmed JinKan in her and I saw her in me. Practicing buddhism had not stopped me from being overwhelmed. Many times our being overwhelmed is caused by unexpected and unforeseen situations. What me practice did was give me tools for dealing with being overwhelmed. If I didn’t sit Shikantaza and practice bring that “sitting”into me whole life, I would have just reacted. I would have been reaction without knowledge of the consequences or even knowledge I was overwhelmed. If you get overwhelmed know you haven’t failed in your practice. Instead look at being overwhelmed as an opportunity to put everything you have learned through zazen trading into practice. Since that happened I almost had another surgery which was postponed. The surgery was cancelled because the surgeon gave me a high dose of Ibuprofen, a medication I am allergic too. I spent a night in the hospital and through all that me roommate was with me teaching me how one can live the Bodhisativa vows.
    Gassho,
    JinKan
    Sat

  14. #64
    Hey Jinkan

    May your prescriptions be filled, though there are no prescriptions that need filling!

    Sounds like you've had a big week amongst big weeks and months. I want to share something back that happened to me yesterday. I work in crisis mental health, you can get quite insensitive to the suffering of others at times, even commenting that "I don't know why they are miserable, they have a good life." Of course, such comparisons are meaningless, we know that, but we still have those conversations in the office all the same. Sometimes something good comes out of the negative though, but I notice the effect it has on overall morale, and it's not good. Anyway, we've been dealing with a guy I know quite well from working with him when I was a manager in the local prison. A misfortunate guy who never had a single advantage in life but for the ability to draw breath. He's recently come to the attention of the police for mental health reasons and we've had some dealings with him. He also lives less than a hundred metres away from my home, so I have a personal interest in being careful how I manage things. One of my strategies was to ensure I had no contact with him out on our street. Very un-Buddhist I know, but he is involved with some very dangerous people and I have four kids, so I don't want any association with criminals or gangs to affect my household. However, when I left my house yesterday he happened to be on the other side of the road riding his bike home, and our eyes met, and I could see he wanted to talk, but it was more than that, I could see the hurt person, the neglected child, the lost soul, and I was taken over by compassion. We talked for about 15 minutes, nothing really coming of it, his life seems to be a hypervigilant ever-present-moment state of being that sounds exhausting. Trying to dodge people looking for him to hurt him, struggling to have access to his children, never-ending family disputes, and living in a house where he has to keep one eye open even when asleep. I found myself giving voice to the metta vows in his direction, out loud but not in the zen way, transforming them into words he could hear. Sometimes there is too much noise or distraction in our own heads, or we try so hard not to be overwhelmed or frustrated, sad or angry, that we deny the very things that are a part of being human. Zen is not about being a mindless meditating robot, and your teaching through your life experience captures that. You have an extremely good way of communicating that while maintaining the posture of a priest, as well as making your story seem like our story too. Your teachings within your story, beyond a doubt, penetrate into all things in all times and places, and I am grateful that you are willing to share them so openly.

    Gassho, Tokan

    satlah
    平道 島看 Heidou Tokan (Balanced Way Island Nurse)
    I enjoy learning from everyone, I simply hope to be a friend along the way

  15. #65
    Sitting with you, Jinkan. I think of you often and am always praying for you to catch a break!

    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.

  16. #66
    Thank you, JinKan, for sharing and practicing. Your posts are full of wisdom. I hope the pain management improves and you find comfort. I also hope the surgeries have a good outcome. Much metta to you.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    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.

  17. #67
    Treeleaf Priest Jinkan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    Location
    Clovis, California U.S.A
    This was a weird week. I thought I would be overwhelmed. I got very partial fill of me pain medication which meant I had to use it extremely sparingly after having surgery on Tuesday. I started the week with trepidation but it has ended in peace. Peace strangely enough does not mean being without pain or a some joyful euphoria. It is being content within pain or pleasure not seeking but excepting what life gives. I spent this week excepting and learning contentment and peace can be found in even the most extreme experiences. I got pain medication but couldn’t take it knowing that I would be in a right bloody massive bit of pain after Tuesdays surgery. So I had to spend time in pain with a bottle of relief knowing that if taken that relief would be short lived. It literally felt like I had ate a bowl full of glass shards and razor blades and I felt most of the surgery as the Novocain started to fade early surgery. There was a point were I almost punched the surgeon in a very physical and visceral reaction to the pain he was causing me. I held me self back but on top of the mouth pain I have strained muscles from all the clenching and straining. I was in pain and I was not happy but I would find peace. In that struggle to not hit the surgeon I had to give of me self. I had to see the him in me. See the compassion he was showing me. I am sure there are other things he would want to do on a Tuesday morning than remove chemo ruined teeth and tumors. Dealing with a cancerous jaw reshaping and grafting. He was doing his job but he was also being compassionate. He wasn’t hurting me on purpose. He was me and I him. In that knowing the psychological reaction to pain disappeared completely but I still had to deal with the physiologically reflexive one. I left surgery better because of this experience. If the pain hadn’t kicked in and it was completely painless I might not have got to experience that zen moment of interconnectedness. I might have not spent a week in peace but maybe feeling lost again or in despair.


    As I write this I realized the magnitude of what I try to share. I try to share zen, our practice, Shikantaza or whatever name we apply to the “manifest”. I try to share something that might seem singular but I am pointing past that to the infinite it arises from. Sitting, practice or experience can be shared but often the manifest is only seen. Know that, when I share something like pain I am not asking you to look to pain but to share how I have seen through it to the unmanifest that it arose from. I am awed at Jundo and Nishijima and many other teachers for their work sharing this simple thing that is all. This experience often forgotten as soon as experienced that encapsulates the infinite. I add this digression so you know I share these things not to whine or to bitch about me conditions but so you might see you can find the light of illumination in even the darkest of our human experiences. So I felt this a needed digression.

    To continue I was not lost this week though and I was not in despair. I found peace in the pain and the agony. Knowing acceptance through understanding was preferable to suffering was a part of the process to find peace but be sure it is not complacency. I Still did what I could to feel better and alleviate any pain both physical or psychological just without expecting anything change. Just excepting whatever outcome happened. How did a brief experience of non duality bring me peace? It definitely wasn’t something out of a romance novel. It wasn’t me looking up into the surgeons brown eyes and everything was ok. It was a deep and pervasive experience that felt like it seeped into me very marrow fermenting there until needed. I worry a lot about me practice because I often have to lay down instead of sit or have to modify much of what I do from traditional forms. But ws the experience fermented into a ripe wine with a fine bouquet. It became the experience of something I had heard but never fully experienced or if I had the experience had been forgotten. It was the experience of all Zazen is perfect Zazen. I truly knew this adage. I forgot worries of imperfection in me practice and since I try to bring me zazen from off the mat to all I do. I saw that all that I do is perfect in its imperfections. In that understanding a weight was lifted from me and I reside in peace.
    Gassho
    JinKan
    Sat
    Last edited by Jinkan; 02-27-2023 at 05:48 AM.

  18. #68


    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat lah
    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.

  19. #69
    Thank you JinKan for your teaching and sharing. May you heal and get well.

    Sat/lah


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

    https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

  20. #70
    Hi JinKan. I am sitting for you today and appreciate you passing along this teaching. Much Metta to you and a I hope you heal well.

    Gassho
    Kaisho

    Sent from my moto g stylus 5G using Tapatalk

  21. #71
    Thank you, Jinkan. I find myself looking forward to your weekly updates

    Michael
    Satlah

  22. #72
    Treeleaf Priest Jinkan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
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    Clovis, California U.S.A
    For this weeks update I am going to talk about fear, death and panic disorder. This week I had to go for a cardiac catheter and a medically induced radioactive stress test. Both are routine if you are healthy but even in good health there is still a mortality rate and I am not in good health. They warned of the chances of death with the catheter and the chance of heart attack with the induced stress. So with those two lovely thoughts flouting in me head I was not in the best head space when I arrived for these tests. As I lay on the bed getting an IV me leg started to shake uncontrollably and I suddenly had massive chest pains. I did not think of how lucky I was that if I was having a heart attack to have one in a cardiac hospital is the best of all places. I was fear with a strong attachment to life. In between the dizziness brought on from hyperventilating and chest pains I just thought I don’t want to die. Not me most zen moment assuredly but I have panic disorder. Ever since me stroke I have had uncontrollable panic attacks often at the most inopportune time. Panic disorder has two main parts to it (there is more but this isn’t a psych text) the first is your body going into the physiological flight or fight response no matter the external stimuli. This is caused by chemical imbalance in me own case most likely caused by the stroke but for some it can be PTSD especially in abused children. The second part is a hyperawareness of all external stimuli. Every pain, muscle twitch even hair movement is felt with a disconcerting clarity. I know this doesn’t sound fun and may seem hopeless. Zen will not cure panic disorder or any mental condition. You are going to have the physiological experience that we label panic and fear no matter what you do. You may ask why are you sharing if it is hopeless? Where is the cure? No cure, there is medication to help alleviate and reduce symptoms and that is it. Zen offers something else though an understanding of that panic and fears. Once fear and panic subside and GABA levels return to normal you can explore and face your fears. I did just that as I waited between tests. So I looked to me self and without having to think hard I saw me main fear is death. I started looking at other fears and the vast majority of them revolve around death. I for some reason thought about the fear of Alzheimer’s and looking deeply at that I saw that is the fear of losing self. I saw fear of death or dying being the underlying cause of your fear it was all the same. We don’t want to stop existing. We are attached to self. This where buddhism comes in with the a cure. For those of us in the Soto lineage that cure is Shikantaza. Through Shikantaza we slowly learn there is no permanent self and no I we are continually changing. Through shikantaza we don’t just know this logically but we experience it and in that experience we learn there is nothing lost in death it is just another change. Fears will subside and more often than not come back. We strive to have “no hindrance of mind and therefore no fear” but we live in the world with all its stress so to maintain that experience is hard so we return to the mat. The experience of no permanent I and no fear will ebb and flow in your practice as the tide but once experienced will always be there. A bulb planted that blossoms occasionally but when it blossoms it produces beautiful flowers. So I encourage you if suffer from fears to sit with them not try to distract or hide from them. Except them and learn from them. Treat them as great teachers and they may spure you to Kensho. Panic will arise and be experienced as will fear but I will not experience them for there was no permanent I to begin with. As quickly as fear or panic arises it can be replaced with the arising of joy or something else. 
Sitting residing in the unmanifest fear, panic and other emotions drop off with the flesh as truth is experienced.
    Gassho,
    JinKan
    Sat
    Last edited by Jinkan; 03-04-2023 at 12:19 AM.

  23. #73


    gassho

    ds sat, and a bit of lah
    Visiting unsui: salt liberally.

  24. #74
    Hey Jinkan

    The concept of self is probably one of the most misunderstood in the public eye, because if you don't learn about it fully it is counterintuitive, so I like your teaching on it. In my understanding, the Buddha never taught that there is no self, for even the Buddha acknowledged that while in human form he was prone to the anxieties and troubles of life, experienced therefore by the everyday self. It was more that there is no fixed or permanent self, which modern neuroscience fully supports with its concepts of how we use our stored data to continually create ourselves in the present. Like all other things, the self as we know day to day it is transient, ungraspable, and neither exists nor does not exist, for "no-self" is the negation of self, and therefore duality. I'm grateful for your teachings on 'living with the self' but not being 'of the self.' Just my thoughts anyway, not intended as an attempt to influence anyone else's understanding.

    Gassho, Tokan

    satlah
    平道 島看 Heidou Tokan (Balanced Way Island Nurse)
    I enjoy learning from everyone, I simply hope to be a friend along the way

  25. #75
    Treeleaf Priest Jinkan's Avatar
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    Tokan, thank you for your post and you are correct. The Buddha never taught that there is no self but instead that there is no permanent I as you stated. The Buddha was actually hesitant to talk about self some scholars think because of the failings of language being able to fully convey some ideas. We change and in that change there is no permanent self. I apologize for the confusion and language used. I will fix the wording and hopefully the point I was trying to make becomes less ambiguous. It is one of those weird things of when I read it I see it as no permanent self because I know what is trying to be conveyed while succeeding at not conveying the message. Thank you for sharing and reminding me to be more mindful of me writings.
    Gassho,
    JinKan
    Sat
    Last edited by Jinkan; 03-04-2023 at 12:05 AM.

  26. #76
    Quote Originally Posted by Jinkan View Post
    Tokan, thank you for your post and you are correct. The Buddha never taught that there is no self but instead that there is no permanent I as you stated. The Buddha was actually hesitant to talk about self some scholars think because of the failings of language being able to fully convey some ideas. We change and in that change there is no permanent self. I apologize for the confusion and language used. I will fix the wording and hopefully the point I was trying to make becomes less ambiguous. It is one of those weird things of when I read it I see it as no permanent self because I know what is trying to be conveyed while succeeding at not conveying the message. Thank you for sharing and reminding me to be more mindful of me writings.
    Gassho,
    JinKan
    Sat
    Hey Jinkan

    Thank you too. My intention was simply to add to the discourse rather than correct, I certainly wouldn't be attempting to do that at all, though I doubt you took it that way. What you offer the sangha by way of teaching through your lived experience of such confronting existential challenges is so valuable to us. Additionally, I find the raw and deeply personal nature of your writing is like a sword that cuts through delusion and points us towards the immediacy and urgency of the human condition - reminding me of the final lines of sandokai "live well your time by night and day." Yes, the pitfalls of words! I have certainly read that this is why the Buddha was reluctant to teach at all, because how could what he experienced be taught with language! Fortunately he understood that his teaching could only ever be the finger pointing at the moon. For me, language is the key, zazen the door, but what is on this side and the other side is the two sides of the no-sided coin of life (as Jundo says).

    Gassho, Tokan

    satlah
    平道 島看 Heidou Tokan (Balanced Way Island Nurse)
    I enjoy learning from everyone, I simply hope to be a friend along the way

  27. #77
    Thank you, JinKan, for another deep lesson. You are an inspiration.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat lah
    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.

  28. #78
    Thank you JinKan. I was thinking today how nicely your post meshed with the talk by Shosan Victoria Austin today.

    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

  29. #79
    Treeleaf Unsui Nengei's Avatar
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    Thank you for your teaching.

    Gassho,
    Nengei
    Sat today. LAH.
    遜道念芸 Sondō Nengei (he/him)

    Please excuse any indication that I am trying to teach anything. I am a priest in training and have no qualifications or credentials to teach Zen practice or the Dharma.

  30. #80
    Treeleaf Priest Jinkan's Avatar
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    Today I had to go to the cardiologist and get the results of last weeks tests. They called me in early because there were massive irregularities in the tests. I found out that around 60% maybe higher of me heart isn’t functioning properly and the repair has partially failed. I will go in again for another angiogram in a few weeks for another test but all in all the heart doesn’t look good. That wasn’t news to me but wasn’t pleasant to hear all the same. As I rode uber back home processing the doctors news we drove through a rougher area of Fresno with many homeless camping out. Some had tents up, others make shift shelters of raincoats and tarps hung up on lines. As I watched people smoke meth openly probably because they were too cold to care. Through the billowing plums of white smoke I saw a dharma desert. I was brought out of this contemplative state by me driver who decided that it was the perfect time to share His hate and vitriol of the homeless. I realized the desert wasn’t just outside but was in this very car. I could sit and do nothing or I could try to share as I do here and maybe teach from me life. I decided with some trepidation to talk hoping an oasis might one day spring from this discourse. I did not try to proselytize just share compassion. Hoping this might be a minuscule step towards turning this world into a Pureland.
    I listened and waited for a break in the conversation and told him I was homeless more than once in me life, as a child and adult. He thought I was agreeing with his premise and said good for you. You worked hard and are working unlike these lazy people. So I shared with him me story. A few years ago the State of California made a mistake on what I owed for taxes. They claimed I owed over 80,000 dollars in back taxes and put a lean on me accounts and seized me property. I lost everything. I lost me subsidized housing me medical insurance me transportation and income. I was left destitute. I was ill and disabled and no one wanted to put me up on their couch. I went through most of me friends and was turned down. No family in the states to assist and no way to leave. I spent a week being mugged and harassed often by normal people like yourself who approach this pervasive problem with hate. If It wasn’t for a friend letting me stay with her I would probably be dead or on drugs. I lucked out that of all me so called good friends one of them stepped up. I still live with that friend and if it wasn’t for her kindness I would be homeless. I would have income and still be on the streets. Vets disability pays less than a 1000 dollars a month and a studio apartment here is around 900. You can’t get a place without subsidized housing and there is no subsidized housing. These are pervasive problems and there are many out there who didn’t have family or friends to rely on who got stuck. So when I hear you go on a tirade about these people it wounds me because if it wasn’t for me friend you might be saying those things about me. If we approach this problem with compassion and not hate we may be willing to do more for those on the streets. I can see by your Kara and Kesh that you are a Sikh right. I got the affirmative and a shocked look that I knew the five k’s. Are you amritdhari? I got another yes. You are a Khalsa warrior sworn to defend the weak, that is why you wear a kirpan (dagger) at your side. Those people we passed on the street are the weak so will you defend them? Will you arm yourself with compassion and go into battle for them? We spent most of the ride after that in silence. When we arrived I didn’t know if I had done anything positive or made things worse. He got out of the car and called me back over. He shook me hand and said thank you. I smiled at him gave a thanks for the ride and came inside to sit and write. With that thanks I was grateful it was me karma to ride with him and that I was able to serve through sharing. With all the violence going on in the world I am grateful those of us who walk this path walk it armed with compassion and understanding. This story is massively paraphrased to cut down on length but I hope it gets the point across.
    Gassho
    JinKan
    Sat
    Last edited by Jinkan; 03-11-2023 at 03:33 AM.

  31. #81
    JinKan, you gave him a great gift—a different way of looking, in a very personal and human manner. I hope he could receive it.

    Naiko
    st

  32. #82
    Nice job, Jinkan. May your heart heal soon. Your compassion and understanding is awesome.

    Sat/lah


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

    https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

  33. #83


    Gassho, Tokan

    satlah
    平道 島看 Heidou Tokan (Balanced Way Island Nurse)
    I enjoy learning from everyone, I simply hope to be a friend along the way

  34. #84
    Thank you for sharing, JinKan. You appealed to his better nature. I'm glad you understood his religion.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat lah
    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.

  35. #85
    I wish you well. Take good care and be with us. Better health and peace.
    Gassho
    sat/lah
    Tai Shi
    Peaceful Poetry, Tai Shi. Ubasoku; calm, supportive, 台 婆

  36. #86

  37. #87
    Deep bow, JinKan. Thank you.

    [st]
    東西 - Tōsei - East West
    there is only what is, and it is all miraculous

  38. #88
    Your message did get the point across. My heart goes out to you. I know what you feel.
    The Sangha is cares for you. I care. I have been there too.
    Gassho
    Tai Shi
    Peaceful Poetry, Tai Shi. Ubasoku; calm, supportive, 台 婆

  39. #89
    Treeleaf Priest Jinkan's Avatar
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    This week can be summed up in two words exhaustion and pain. I was in too much pain to do much of anything and when I wasn’t pain I was exhausted. In times like this when I don’t want to practice. That is when practice is the most important. Many of the greatest breakthroughs I have had are the product of struggle and this week has been a struggle. Through it all while mainly physically alone I knew I wasn’t. I have the greatest support network in the three treasures. While I was in pain I was able to except it and not become attached to it or the desire to be pain free. I practiced the honesty that should be at the heart of all our practices and excepted things as they arose and didn’t cling to them when they fell away. I was able to keep this state of mind (something I still struggle to do at times) because of me practice. I was honest with what I could and couldn’t do and what was best for me. So while I wanted to start on some projects one being to start working on a Dharma talk on the Diamond (that cuts through illusion) Sutra, I didn’t. I rested because it is what me body needed. I didn’t read even though I had the time because in me exhausted state I wouldn’t retain even the tiny bits I normally retain. This week in exhaustion and pain I practiced. When I sat I just sat. When I was cutting vegetables I was just cutting vegetables. When was sad I excepted it without anything else. I let it come and I found that as soon as it arose it quickly faded. I did the same with depression and pain. I even found that pain lessens in this state of mind because pain was being amplified before by the anxiety of wanting to be pain free. That great practice of being honest with me self and me practice removed many anxieties but was also difficult because I was very aware of what I couldn’t do and what I didn’t want to do. It is easier to watch reruns of old RedDwarf episodes than sit Shikantaza when you are exhausted. So there were days that I didn’t want to sit but I did. If I had the cognitive processing power and energy I did a ceremony or did some studying online instead of getting caught up in cute animal videos. Honesty while not easy is the only way approach our practice. Through it you gain an understanding of your own abilities and remove a lot of anxieties about your practice. If you have to lay down instead of sit in the traditional posture or can only be present for few minutes out of 30 minute meditation because of pain or other issue. If you have been approaching your practice with honesty you will know you have nothing to feel bad about no matter what anyone may say about your practice. You did everything you could and no one can ask more than that.

    I want to quickly address something I wrote above about the non attached state of mind or simply letting go. For those who have years of experience as meditators under their belt this may seem an easy or even natural state to achieve. For the beginning student who is starting their practice in pain this can seem lofty and impossible. I was lucky to have many years of practice before me health problems but I know there are those who don’t have the practice to fall back on when things are tough. For them I would say keep at it and remember you are not alone in this. Reach out to the sangha for that is what we are here for. You will find that there are many in the community that at one time or another have experienced what you are going through. Take guidance from the dharma, your fellow practitioners and teachers. Most of all be honest in your practice and you will be able to let go in time. Soon when you sit you will just sit and when you cut veggies you will just be cutting veggies.
    Gassho
    JinKan
    Sat
    Last edited by Jinkan; 03-17-2023 at 10:41 PM.

  40. #90




    aprapti


    sat

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

    Aprāpti (अप्राप्ति) non-attainment

  41. #91


    Gassho, Tokan

    satlah
    平道 島看 Heidou Tokan (Balanced Way Island Nurse)
    I enjoy learning from everyone, I simply hope to be a friend along the way

  42. #92
    Jinkan, this resonated with me. After my seventh (!) heart attack, I wound up homeless. Ended up in a transitional housing shelter for disabled veterans.
    I have my own place now, and I work at that same shelter. (Veterans Haven.) I run the Records Room, and do admissions/discharges.
    The thing your driver never saw was... People. Real people. Not "lazy," in fact, being homeless takes a tremendous amount of effort and energy! It's an all day, every day struggle. Far from a life of ease and handouts... Every minute is stress.
    Add to that the stress of addiction for so many.... No. It ain't about being "lazy."
    Hopefully your compassion awakened something in him.
    Maybe he just needs to find it himself.
    But bravo to you, man.
    Sattoday Saturday.
    Gassho!
    -Godo Ankai

    I'm still just starting to learn. I'm not a teacher. Please don't take anything I say too seriously. I already take myself too seriously!

  43. #93
    Deep bows, JinKan, for your teaching on practicing with exhaustion and pain.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat lah
    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.

  44. #94
    Thank you, JinKan.
    Gassho ,
    Naiko
    st lah

  45. #95
    Treeleaf Priest Jinkan's Avatar
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    Jundo asked me to write a little something on pain medication and practice. When it comes to these medications that can leave you intoxicated for me when it comes to practice the key word to remember is need. It doesn’t matter what the medication whether it be opiates, benzodiazepines or even marijuana. If you need these medications for a health condition and they are prescribed to you, you are not breaking the precepts. I would ask you try not to mix them with your sitting but if you have a medical need to use these medicines do so. When we sit we should try to be as clear headed as possible but if that is not something you can do allowances are made. To quote Jundo, “our practice is "moderation," which is doing what is needed, not too much nor too little. So, if pain relievers are needed in a certain dose, then that is "moderation." Sitting doesn’t discriminate and if your health is bad enough for the need of narcotic medication you should feel comfortable taking it knowing we here at Treeleaf will not judge. If you do have any concerns though please contact Jundo. For me self I take strong opiate medications to function. I do not take them to get high or more importantly be pain free. When I first started taking opiate medication euphoria was a strong side effect so I made sure I never did any Shikantaza whilst the drug was having that effect on me. I also took lower doses than what was offered working up to a dose that allowed me to function. I do this because pain is natural and a part of life. A little pain lets you know your bodies limits and can teach. Remember that Shikantaza is not about avoidance but acceptance of our human experiences, even those experiences we really don’t like. When I first took the medication I didn’t feel any pain and in an inebriated state ended up goofing around on a skateboard breaking a rib and messing up me back. I didn’t feel it at the time. A few hours after taking the medication I was in more agony than when I had first taken it. I realized the damage I had done to me self and learned a valuable lesson. In the end you know your body best and what you need to do to live and practice comfortably. I write this just to share me own experience of using a narcotic medication. Not chide or look down on those who do things differently. Your treatment is as unique as you. Follow your doctors and your health needs. I shared this seeking tranquility for all creatures suffering or ill in health. May they get the treatment they need and be serene through all their ills.
    Gassho
    JinKan
    Sat

  46. #96
    I shared this seeking tranquility for all creatures suffering or ill in health. May they get the treatment they need and be serene through all their ills.




    aprapti


    sat

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

    Aprāpti (अप्राप्ति) non-attainment

  47. #97
    I too take narcotic medication, and like you, Jinkan, I have sought the lowest dose of this medicatiation. I will admit that it is not only narcotics that cause problems for many years ago, a doctor prescribed three times the amount I needed as bipolar medication. As it turned out this doctor has been relieved as practitioner of medicine. Yet, because of an error I swerved into a car and caused harm to a woman I will regret the rest of my life; as it turned out another of these medications turned bad and nearly caused my death. Both of these medications were not narcotics, and since one replaced and with my doctor of 13 years, and I owe a man from india my life, an MD, of one of the most difficult types of medicine. I tell you that since I have given up all driving, and I gave my car to our daughter as she is a student. I do now take a narcotic medicine for severe Ankylosing Spondylitis, arthritis of the spine and other arthritic difficulties. I started out with a huge amount, and really at the urging to take care from my wife, then from our Zendo, I changed doctors, and have since changed providers. I have come to the minimum my current CNP provider has agreed upon and she is very conservative, and I consulted with my wife, and we decided it is best, and with the provider, that this is the lowest dose of this medicine I can take with the thought if someday it is possible, I will come off over a period of six months all narcotics even though my medication no longer causes difficulties and I have consulted with my doctors, and my provider who has consulted with other doctors, and I take the minimum, and I no longer drive, and I take the proper psychiatric medications, dose, and type after 13 years of testing I am on the proper doses. I have had doctors the whole way.
    Gassho
    sat/lah
    Last edited by Tai Shi; 03-21-2023 at 02:15 PM. Reason: spelling
    Peaceful Poetry, Tai Shi. Ubasoku; calm, supportive, 台 婆

  48. #98
    Treeleaf Priest Jinkan's Avatar
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    Last week I learned I will be going in for heart surgery this Thursday (which was yesterday and I did)so I will be out of commission for a while after and I probably won’t be writing any posts for a few weeks after the surgery. If I can I will try to continue to post but thinking on me past surgeries and how much they took out of me I am sure that I will be focusing on healing, resting and basically going from one pain medication shot to the next. Going into the surgery I felt calm and comfortable with the procedure and the only things I was nervous about was getting medication after the being discharged from the hospital also a wee bit nervous about the long painful recovery. I was was really frightened before the first open heart surgery I had. They went over all the things they were going to do while me heart was stopped and out of me chest. They went over everything that could go wrong. For a lot of those things that could go wrong the chances of them happening were slim but I didn’t hear that instead me selective hearing kicked in. I just heard a play by play of horrors that could happen while being shown people in different stages of healing in the cardiac ICU. These pale people with bloody tubes and wires coming out of them that looked like they were on deaths door should not be the introduction one has to open heart surgery but they have to show you everything so they can legally say they have informed consent. It is also one of the reasons why I started volunteering with broken hearts. I wanted to help assuage any new patients fear’s going into this scary procedure and do it from the prospective of one who has gone through the surgery now three times. The first two surgeries when I had them I was in amazing shape and health minus the heart and even in peak physical condition the recovery was rough. So now out of shape and riddled with cancer I am sure I have me work cut out for me and it already is showing. I came out in way more pain than I remember and the pain medication they have given me so far has done nothing to help. The nausea from the drainage tub makes it feel like I am constantly on the verge of throwing up but nothing comes out and I am swollen in many areas because a nurse didn’t read the huge allergy band and check to see if I was allergic to iodine. So to say I am not in the mindset right now to sit Shikantaza is an understatement. Just because I didn’t sit does not mean I didn’t practice. Sitting is the foundation we base our practice on but is not all that it entails. One of the main reasons I share these “tales to astonish” from me life is to share how we practitioners must take our zen off the mat otherwise we are not fully practicing. We often focus on the mat because we hear about Dogens Satori experience. How flesh, self and even conceptual thought dropped off while he was sitting. Is a moving tale from his life and does inspire one to want to sit. The problem is we often don’t get the follow up with it informing us that Dogens experience was a rare one. Most people’s enlightenment experiences happen off the mat. It is one of the reasons why Dogen held the office of Tenzo (head chef) and even monks and laypersons doing samu in such high regard because in doing these activities we are afforded the chance to take our practice off the mat and bring it into our everyday activities. Now facing these tasks with a mind tempered by Shikantaza we have concentration at forefront of our brain (taught to us from the experience of Samadhi in sitting) whilst doing these often boring tasks that many view as mundane. In the hands of an experienced practitioner the mundane becomes the mystical and what were boring chores are now seen as doors that could lead to enlightenment. While surgery is no basic task or boring chore it can equally affect a Kensho experience when viewed by a mind tempered by Shikantaza.

    Many of the patients and people going into risky surgery or even dangerous combat missions have told me that prior to these events they became deeply reflective and contemplative. They start thinking about whether or not their life had meaning. Will they be remembered fondly, poorly or at all. What they might have done differently for past mistakes and what they want to do differently in the future. Our practice has changed or colored that contemplative mental state that I experienced and how I dealt with the thoughts and emotions it brought up. Also thoughts and emotions about the surgery in general. I am regularly contemplative and reflective so there wasn’t some big cognitive shift for me. I didn’t focused on the past and perceived failings or spend me time mentally replaying the “glory days” wishing life was still so because those are poisonous practices that just lead to suffering. I instead thought about how I will try to make practice a priority second only to healing in the hospital. I also thought about how I might become a better teacher and how this hospitalization may be used to teach those going through or who have gone through similar experiences. I did not think about how I would be remembered because I honestly don’t care how or even if I am remembered. I know that if practice honestly, follow the precepts and follow Treeleaf priestly ethical guidelines I will live a good life perfect in its imperfections and maybe rich in imperfections too. I made a renewal of the precepts going into the hospital and a goal to continue to practice honestly, ethically and to continue to keep the precepts. I also asked me self have I achieved me lifelong goal (I have had this desire since I was a child) of making this world a better place then it was when I came into it. The current answer to the query is Yes. I made a vow though to continue striving to make the world a better place. To use this lofty childhood goal as one of the means I use to save all sentient beings.
    Gassho
    JinKan
    Last edited by Jinkan; 03-31-2023 at 06:12 PM.

  49. #99
    Treeleaf Unsui Nengei's Avatar
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    The world is definitely better from your presence. Thank you for your teaching, JinKan.

    Gassho,
    Nengei
    Sat today. LAH.
    遜道念芸 Sondō Nengei (he/him)

    Please excuse any indication that I am trying to teach anything. I am a priest in training and have no qualifications or credentials to teach Zen practice or the Dharma.

  50. #100
    i hope everything goes well in the heart surgery. Thank you for your teaching.


    aprapti


    sat

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

    Aprāpti (अप्राप्ति) non-attainment

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