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Thread: The Zen Of Zipping It

  1. #1

    The Zen Of Zipping It

    In Great Sung China there was a lay Buddhist called T?ba. His family name
    was So, his official name was Shoku, and his name as an adult was Shisen. He
    must have been a veritable dragon in the sea of letters, for he had trained under
    dragon elephants in the ocean of Buddhism. Swimming in the fathomless waters
    of Buddhism, he would soar up through the cloud banks to plunge once again into
    the depths of that ocean. Then there came a time when, whilst on a visit to Mount
    Ro, he was struck by the sound of the valley stream rippling through the night,
    and he awoke to the Way. He composed the following poem about the experience,
    which he presented to Meditation Master J?s?:

    The valley streamís rippling is indeed the eloquent
    tongue of Buddha:
    The mountainís contour is not other than that of the
    body of Buddha.
    With the coming of night, I heard the eighty-four
    thousand songs,
    But with the rising of the sun, how am I ever to offer
    them to you?

    -from Dogen's discourse on The Rippling of a Valley Stream and the Contour of a Mountain,
    The Shobogenzo

    Firstly, I want to express my deepest gratitude to all who responded to my post on searching for free resources. Bansho especially provided great examples to aid my understanding of Zen literature and practice, one of them being The Shobogenzo.

    While reading through the discourses, I was struck immediately by this poem above, which sounds as if Toba were inspired by the view of our property. Having come from the Philadelphia area originally, the hills and valleys of rural PA have been and continue to be a source of endless, contrasting natural wonder to the world I grew up in.

    What also struck me about this particular discourse is that it examines the need to keep one's spiritual experiences, and even intentions on a path to such, as much to oneself as possible. I now understand what Jundo meant when he wrote that Soto practitioners don't openly discuss kenshos very much. As I continue on my journey, I find that I've naturally developed less of a desire to chatter, and more of a devotion to actual practice.

    Thank you very, very kindly to everyone for your assistance thus far, and here's to zipping it! 8)

    Hearing eighty-four thousand songs, and not uttering a word about it,


  2. #2
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Redding California USA

    Re: The Zen Of Zipping It

  3. #3

    Re: The Zen Of Zipping It

    Quote Originally Posted by ZenChat99xyz
    Our society has thrown away many people...leaving them the to suffer the pains of aging or disability alone. As someone who has experienced this (and is experiencing this) directly, I can not begin to tell you how destructive an experience it is. You just feel like you are living in prison. And that is the word that my 85 year old cousin used to describe her living in "prison."

    I have taken to my life, looking at this directly as my "monk's cell." And that does indeed help. On my disabled support groups we have discussed this very dynamic. If I could meditate all day long, I would not care a jot. It would not be prison, but a heaven on earth. I just don't have that capacity. I am extremely ill. I have about 2 - 4 good hours a day. The rest is in mind-boggling pains and problems. I do sit through them and usually get in 1 - 3 hours of spiritual practice daily. But, being a human being and having emotions...and going weeks straight without talking to another person...has been an incredibly destructive experience.
    YOU, sir, are a bodhisattva--such compassion in your words. I wish you well and peace in your illness. Your post really struck me as a reminder to make the most out of our lives.


  4. #4

    Re: The Zen Of Zipping It

    Thank you, Jon, for sharing your pain and that of your loved ones with us. It washed over me and soaked through to the marrow of my bones. The times that we've chatted here, I had no inkling you were suffering so much. And yet, through your suffering, your strength and wisdom shines through.

    Please don't think for an instant that I was calling for a silence of all sangha members. I, too, enjoy the conversations here in the forum due to a lack of communication otherwise.
    Our situations differ in that your suffering comes from illness, and mine out of past choices. Because of my loneliness, I have learned some tough lessons in online communities and craving attention. I used to frequent MySpace and Facebook in what you might call my mid-life crisis. Going from the suburban-urban lifestyle to rural hit me with a kind of culture shock that didn't register right away. It's taken me some time to admit to my vulnerabilities and realize just how much I miss human interaction.

    Once I came to accept my self-induced suffering, I began to value silence a lot more. I'm becoming more accepting and honest about my own faults and weaknesses, including internet play time, which has helped me in healing a lot of old wounds.

    As the song, "River of Deceit" by Mad Season goes,

    "My self chosen.
    At the prophet says."

    I've chosen not to suffer anymore. May your suffering and that of those you care so deeply for be eased as well. Peace and blessings, friend.


  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Redding California USA

    Re: The Zen Of Zipping It

    If you have access to a webcam, there is a virtual zen hall where you can "sit with" other people. There is also a sitting scheduler to help interested people set up times where they can all "be" together. I used to use it pretty regularly but haven't been lately. If you want to try and work out a time, I would be happy to sit with you. Just let me know. I'm sure there are others in the group that would be willing to "sit with" you as well.

    Ron (Shugen)

  6. #6

    Re: The Zen Of Zipping It

    Sorry to learn about your health. It just shows how we often donít know the stories of peoplesí lives. Hopefully Treeleaf has provided you with some comfort and fellowship.

  7. #7

    Re: The Zen Of Zipping It

    After all, the reason we are on here in the first place, is that we can't make it to a Zen center.
    Thank you, Jon, for that. wonderful reminder. That is the reason Treeleaf was built!

    Thank you, Jon, for supporting the rest of us in our Practice, as we support you.

    Deep Bows, Jundo

  8. #8

    Re: The Zen Of Zipping It

    Jon, I came so close to tears hearing about how much pain you are in. do any of us who have not had to withstand the challenges of severe physical or psychological pain ever come to understand the true nature of suffering. i hope that i can bring you some comfort by letting you know that you have been heard and everyone here offers you their compassion and would do their very best to help you in any way. you are not alone, i most definitely would sit with you in a online group.


  9. #9

    Re: The Zen Of Zipping It

    *another 2 cents worth - warning*
    On the zen in zipping it. Sometimes zipping it is not the True response, but rather avoidance (for what ever end means) so ... i think we need to choose wisely when Not to zipit as much as when To.

    Thank you very much for sharing Jon. I am humbled and i must say one would not know you were suffering from reading your posts or the way you approach things! As others have said your strength and wisdom shine through (well said Dave)

    Deep bows
    Shohei -who now needs to zipit!

  10. #10

    Re: The Zen Of Zipping It

    Thank you for sharing that, Jon.

    I'm so happy you are here at Treeleaf.

    Deep gassho,

  11. #11

    Re: The Zen Of Zipping It

    Well said, Dirk. There are certain times when zipping is best, and those when unzipping is more appropriate.
    Jon's post brought up an important aspect of this community-while traditionally it may be the rule to keep one's experiences to oneself, probably to avoid the confusion of what is really kensho and what is not, this is our sangha. I believe Dogen's advice was not to speak of experiences on the Path to worldly other words, those we encounter who are probably not Buddhist and would not understand.

    Jon's post also sheds light on another point. If no one shares their pain, it would then appear to others that there is no need for compassion. I have shared a little of what challenges face me with the members of this forum (my father's illness), but have not gone into much detail about why I'm really here.

    In honor of Jon, who has so openly detailed his obstacles and serves as an inspiration to all of us, I'm going to start a new thread on "unzipping." Anyone wishing to share their stories of personal struggle may do so. I believe this may help all of us to get to know each other in a much more honest way, but posting is completely optional of course. There may be things best left unsaid :|

  12. #12

    Re: The Zen Of Zipping It

    Hi Jon,

    I'm sorry to hear of your disability and the consequences it has had on your life. At least in regards to loneliness I hope this sangha will provide some succour.

    And many thanks to Jundo also.



  13. #13

    Re: The Zen Of Zipping It

    Your presence and reflections are inspirations to all of us. I am glad you are here, and look forward to your posts on a daily basis. It is interesting the perspective that one can bring to a Sangha based upon the our life's circumstances.

    This dialog is a friendly incentive for me to participate in, and contribute to the life of the sangha. You see, I am a "lurker!" - I read posts on a daily basis - I "visit" with you every day, but for whatever reason, by the time I have finished reading a particular thread, whatever I am thinking has already been said, and probably in a much more eloquent fashion that I would be capable of. Coupled with the Tricycle Magazine challenge to sit every day for ninety days, I would like to begin sitting with you more, as my practice has been rather solitary. I would even venture to say that it has been rather selfish. Jon and David, you have helped me to reflect upon my practice and what it means to be in a community. "See" you in the zen hall (once I figure it out)!

    David, I too have made many choices that have resulted in suffering - to myself and to others. Every day I try to live and "do no harm..." I look forward to practicing with you.

    Deep bows,
    Alex (Yugen)

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