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Thread: Lost my Zen

  1. #1

    Lost my Zen

    In honor of Jundo's Buddhabot talk, I lost my cool today and got snotty with the verizon wireless "customer service" guy.

    My bad.

  2. #2
    Thank you for your confession, my son ... Please recite the following with sincerity ...

    All harmful acts, words and thoughts, ever committed by me since of old,
    On account of beginningless greed, anger and ignorance,
    Born of my body, mouth and mind,
    Now I atone for them all

    You know, we don't undertake this at Treeleaf, but some Zen Sangha do have a "confession and repentance" ceremony they celebrate several times per year.

    My preference is not for a public ritual, but just for each of us to live so as to be people who do not harm, moment by moment, reflecting on our lives within our own hearts. We can sometimes make a public "confession", and seek help from others, but most of the work is to be done within our own selves. I think. Anyone have other feelings on this?

    Here is a description of one such ceremony ...


    Because we are still limited beings, we make mistakes and transgress our precepts. To purify and restore our precepts, we do a confession and repentance ceremony before each sesshin, before each precept-taking ceremony, and at other times as well. This ceremony has become a basis of serious, deep practice in Rochester. Lay people are included in it, unlike the custom in the strictly monastic traditions in Southeast Asia, Tibet, and China. It has taken Westerners some years to grasp the spirit of these ceremonies. Early on our understanding was rather superficial, so many people attended only because it was required. However, we have been transformed by Dharma talks and practice, so now these confession and repentance ceremonies have become deep and moving. We come out of them feeling cleansed and inspired by people's struggles to keep the precepts.

    In Rochester, our confession and repentance ceremony is based on the writings of Dogen, the Japanese master who brought the Soto lineage from China (JUNDO NOTE: I DO NOT THINK THAT DOGEN ACTUALLY DID THIS CEREMONY. IT IS JUST THAT THEY MADE A CEREMONY BASED ON THE PHILOSOPHY OF DOGEN). Before the ceremony begins, the leader, who is a senior ordained person, talks about the purpose of repentance and the spirit of the ceremony. The ceremony opens with chanting and a moment of silence. The leader then recites a piece that speaks of openly confessing before the Buddhas and ancestors in order to purify ourselves. After this, a stick of incense is lit and placed in a small incense pot, which is passed from person to person. If we have nothing to confess in that particular ceremony-which rarely happens-we offer the incense pot for a moment and then pass it on. If we have something to confess, we do so. The confession has two parts: revealing our wrongdoings and resolving not to continue those habitual patterns of behavior in the future. When we finish our confession, other people may bring up faults or wrong actions they have observed in us. If nothing is brought up, we pass the incense pot to the next person. The core of the ceremony is the repentance gatha, "All evil actions I have committed since time immemorial, stemming from greed, anger, and ignorance, arising from body, speech, and mind, I now repent having committed." It is done nine times toward the end of the ceremony just to cover whatever we might have missed in our specific confession. Revealing our mistakes in this way is very helpful for lightening the heart and effecting change within us.

  3. #3
    We can sometimes make a public "confession
    I don't think you have room on the forum for all mine.

    but most of the work is to be done within our own selves.
    Yep. What happens one moment doesn't necessarily reflect your next action if you practice. I'm actually starting to notice more as well Gregor about myself in the moment. How my actions effect others. Today in class I rambled on for a bit because I get frustrated with my students sometimes(for certain reason). This of course caused some useless discussion and I felt myself falling into the old habits that I used to have. Well, What did I do? Continued the lesson and noticed the page that I was looking at. I laughed on the inside at the whole thing and just practiced a bit. Coming back to the moment. After that, things changed, and the class turned out alright. I didn't lose too much of my dignity or center. There was no more conflict and I got on with the day. I also had some left over reactions after, but nothing too big. Just shrugged it off and payed attention to the moment. Anyway, I could keep going on and on, but I'll stop there。It's like that for me all the time.


  4. #4

    All harmful acts, words and thoughts, ever committed by me since of old,
    On account of beginningless greed, anger and ignorance,
    Born of my body, mouth and mind,
    Now I atone for them all
    I recite (or reflect silently on) this at least once a day, typically before Zazen. There's almost always something to atone for, and this helps keep me honest with myself with regard to past shortcomings, as well as being a reminder to avoid those shortcomings in the future.


  5. #5
    My Zen is coming back to me today. . . I just got some pretty rough news over the phone my grandmother has been diagnosed with cancer, and my father has a potentially serious heart condition. . . they are both in the hospital right now, some things to sit with on this Rohatshu.

  6. #6
    Sad news indeed My best thoughts are with them and you.


  7. #7

  8. #8
    empathy, sympathy, and best wishes, Gregor.

  9. #9
    Hi Greg,

    I'm very sorry to hear that - best wishes to both of them.


  10. #10
    Me too, Greg . . . sorry to hear about your family's health issues.

    My best,

  11. #11
    Member Martin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Wherever the next mediation is. Every now and then I make it back to Norfolk, England.
    Sorry to hear that Greg. My thoughts are with you, and them.



  12. #12
    Hi Greg,

    My best to you and your family.

    Take good care,

  13. #13
    Greg, Just saw this post. I hope you can maintain your Zen through adversity. I will offer merit of your father and grandmother.
    Bowing in deference

  14. #14
    Greg - I hope you are doing well and for your grandmother and father to get better soon.. take care - jeff (oxeye)

  15. #15
    Greg, sorry to hear the news about your family. It only serves as a reminder of the reality of life and the illusion that we live as if we are all mag.ically protected from reality. There is wisdom within this experience for you, I say, without any glibness. Thanks for bringing this here.
    David aka PapaDoc

  16. #16
    Gregor, I so sorry to hear about your Grandma and Dad. I hope things improve for them. Take care.

  17. #17
    Thanks for the kind words and encouragement from everybody, It means a lot to me right now.

    Things for my Father look better he's back home and doing alright, I just got back from visiting my grandmother in the hospital . . . not good news there the cancer is pretty widespread. I don't imagine she has too much time left.

    Even though I fully understand the inevitability of death and separation from loved ones, this is not an easy thing to go through. But, I'm doing my best not to resist the pain, another part of life I suppose.

    I'm reminded of the five remembrances of the Buddha, and it's a helpful teaching for this.

    thanks again.

  18. #18

    Take care of yourself, buddy. Do what you can to make them comfortable and be with them.

  19. #19
    Birth and death are two sides of the coin, and we stand in the middle.

    Greg, losing someone you love, or being with them while ill, is one of the great Practice places. I know it is hard, but you are wise and strong. Bear witness to it all. I am sure you, just by being there, are a great comfort to both your dad and grandmother.

    Our thoughts are all with you. Please let us know if we can offer anything to help.

    Gassho, Jundo

  20. #20
    Hey Gregor,

    Don't have anything sagely to add, but stay strong bro.

  21. #21
    Greg, I'll be thinking of you and your family.
    Deep respectful bow to your grandmother and father.


  22. #22
    Thanks again,

    I appreciate the support. Just another part of life. No old age and death, no extinction of old age and death. . .

  23. #23

  24. #24
    I didn't notice this thread before....

    I'm sorry to hear of your family's health troubles, Gregor. I'll be keeping them - and you - in my thoughts.

  25. #25
    May the force be with you Greg.

    Speaking of losing Zen and atoning... should we consider only the outward actions, how we react outside, or also how we react inside to some situations? I too get frustrated with people and angry at them but rarely - if ever - let it show; the worst I'll do is leave and perhaps avoid contact with someone for a while, silently cursing them for being such an idiot. :roll:

    Of course in Zen we don't try to reach any eternally blissful state where we would be devoid of emotions like Spock, but I think we should be able to kind of "shrug off" the strong impulses - also in the mind, so we don't dwell in them?

  26. #26

    lost my zen

    Ah, Greg as with your cool and all of Jundo's video sit-a-longs:

    Zer eez nozzen' to attain, zer eez nozzen' to lose

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