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Thread: Being mindful of 'mindful'

  1. #51
    Quote Originally Posted by orangedice View Post
    Rationally I know that it's silly to feel insecure, but a part of me feels hopeless that all this mindfulness and shikantaza practice won't change anything about me.
    It won't change anything about you! But the meaning of your life will become clarified.

    I'd like to share one of my most treasured stories about our great teachers, Kodo Sawaki and Uchiyama Roshi. I have so many problems, and especially early in my practice, all I wanted was for practice to make me flawless. But, as this story illustrates, zazen is not a self-improvement campaign. Don't sit or practice to "become better." Sit and practice to embody the flawless true, perfect, universal Self that Rich refers to.

    I re-read this passage many times each year. I hope it speaks to you. (emphases mine)

    -satToday

    Shortly after I began to practice with Sawaki Roshi, we were walking in Utsunomiya and I said, “As you know, I’m a rather weak-minded person, but I want to continue to practice zazen with you for twenty or even thirty years, or until you die. If I do that, will it be possible for a weak person like me to become a little stronger?”

    Sawaki Roshi replied, “No! Zazen is good for nothing.” He had a loud, deep voice and was powerful and resolute. He wasn’t a weak yet handsome person like me! He was the traditional image of a Zen monk. “I’m not like this because of my practice,” he continued. “I was like this before I began to practice. Zazen doesn’t change a person. Zazen is good for nothing.”

    When I heard those words I thought, “Although he says it isn’t possible, still, I’ll be able to improve myself.” I followed him and practiced zazen for twenty-five years, until his death in December 1965. While he was alive, I relied on him. After he died, I couldn’t do that anymore.

    Just after his death, I recalled my question during our walk and asked myself, “Have I changed after practicing zazen with the roshi for twenty-five years?” I realized I hadn’t really changed at all.

    In that moment it was natural for me to say to myself, “A violet blooms as a violet, a rose blooms as a rose.” There are people like Sawaki Roshi who resemble luxurious roses. There are people like me who resemble tiny, pretty violets. Which is better? It’s not a relevant question. We shouldn’t compare with others. It’s enough to blossom wholeheartedly, just as we are. That’s what I felt after Sawaki Roshi died.

    In conclusion, I’m living out the life of the whole heaven and earth, the absolute reality, regardless of whether I accept or reject it. The point of our practice is to manifest this life suffusing the whole heaven and earth, here and now. In this practice, there’s no judgment of success or failure. If there’s success and failure, I’m comparing myself. Since everything I encounter is part of my life, I shouldn’t treat anything without respect. I should take care of everything wholeheartedly. I practice this way. Everything I encounter is my life.

    Uchiyama Roshi, Kosho (2014-11-04). Zen Teaching of Homeless Kodo (Kindle Locations 3636-3653). Wisdom Publications. Kindle Edition.
    Thanks,
    Kaishin (Open Heart aka Matt)
    Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

  2. #52
    Treeleaf Unsui Geika's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    San Diego County, California
    Thanks so much, Kaishin. Gassho

    Sat today
    求道芸化 Kyudo Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

  3. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin View Post
    It won't change anything about you! But the meaning of your life will become clarified.
    Hi Kaishin,

    Lovely. Gudo Nishijima Roshi, in the book of his which I translated, had a passage in which he played on Sawaki's famous "good for nothing." When old Zen teachers like Nishijima (Dogen and others all the way back) would "play with" or "improve" the words of an prior Teacher, it was often meant to honor or play a musical riff from the other Teacher's words, not "correct" it. This was such a case.

    Gassho, J
    SatToday

    -----------

    Gudo: Kodo Sawaki Roshi, when he was instructing me in Zazen many years ago, used to say that every time he was asked by some student, What benefit will come to me from doing Zazen, he would answer in a booming voice … Nothing comes from it at all!! Sawaki Roshi would admonish all of us against the attitude of viewing Zazen as a means to a goal other than Zazen itself. He wished to strongly emphasize the sacredness inherent just in Zazen, that Zazen should be done simply to be done, without ulterior objective or purpose at all.

    Sekishin: But to tell us to do something that will come to nothing, that has no purpose. It has to sound like a great waste of time and energy!

    Gudo: Yes. Sawaki Roshi used to boom, Nothing comes from it at all!! It was his way to touch and draw out in the people to whom he was speaking the spirit of sacredness inherent in Zazen. On the other hand, when I myself am asked what will come from doing Zazen, I like to answer … Everything can come of it!! I believe that this is also the case, just the same as Master Sawaki’s words.

    If I am asked, “Will Zazen serve as a means to calm my mind?” then I answer, It certainly will! “Will it restore my health?” I answer, Absolutely! “Will it make me a person who can get things done, who will be a great success? “ Yes! I answer. “Will I become someone who is not fearful even in the face of terrible tragedy and looking death in the eye?” You will become that person! … and so on, and so on, I answer. In response to any such question, if the answer represents a change in a good and positive direction, then we can say that Everything can come of Zazen!!

    Sekishin: But come on!! How can you claim that? Is there any panacea like that in this whole world?

    Gudo: Yes there is, and that is Zazen. But please listen very closely to what I am saying: if we inquire into how we will each become through our Zazen, the answer is that we will, each of us, become but our Self, our True Self. A fundamental concept of Buddhism is that each human being, each of us, is a wonderful existence, lacking not one thing at all, not one thing in the least from the start.

    Thus, “Will Zazen serve as a means to calm the mind?” Returning to our Original, True Nature, what is there ultimately in need of calming? In the wholeness of this world, where is the friction between you and things if not separate from things as they are?

    “Will it restore one’s health?” When one discovers one’s Original Face, nothing in the least lacking …. what need ever be restored? One’s health is always precisely one’s health.

    It is the same for each and everything desired. It is the same for being the person who can get things done, who is a success or one not fearful in the face of tragedy and death. For with not one thing to be added, nor one thing to be taken away, all that needs to be done is already done, all success right in hand just here and now, and there is never the slightest thing to fear.

    This is the meaning of our reclaiming our True Self. Therefore, that which can be attained by one through Zazen is none other than our Original Face, That which you were before even your Mother and Father were born. It is called by such names and others.

    http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Chat-Bud...=UTF8&qid=&sr=
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-12-2016 at 04:11 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #54
    Yes there is, and that is Zazen. But please listen very closely to what I am saying: if we inquire into how we will each become through our Zazen, the answer is that we will, each of us, become but our Self, our True Self.
    Thank you

    Gassho,
    Sergey
    sattoday

  5. #55
    Thank you Kaishin. That did actually help.

    Gassho,
    June
    #SatToday

  6. #56

  7. #57
    When I tune my guitar inside the warmth of my home, I begin by tightening each string and as I do it begins to sharpen, as I loosen it, it becomes flat. As I reach each string's balance it becomes harmonious, when all strings are in harmony I can create tuneful music. Yet if I take the same guitar, that has been tuned to harmony in my warm home, outside in the cold it will become un-tuneful. When the strings are in tune to the conditions in which they are being struck, tuneful music follows.

    We must not only be "mindful" of our "strings", we must also be "at one" with the environment that we seek to practice in. my interpretation of this important lesson, for what it's worth.

    May peace find us all,
    Jordan

    Sat today

  8. #58
    June, Thank you for asking the question. The answers were good for me and I bet many others.

    Gassho
    Doshin
    Sattoday

  9. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by JHost1214 View Post
    When I tune my guitar inside the warmth of my home, I begin by tightening each string and as I do it begins to sharpen, as I loosen it, it becomes flat. As I reach each string's balance it becomes harmonious, when all strings are in harmony I can create tuneful music. Yet if I take the same guitar, that has been tuned to harmony in my warm home, outside in the cold it will become un-tuneful. When the strings are in tune to the conditions in which they are being struck, tuneful music follows.

    We must not only be "mindful" of our "strings", we must also be "at one" with the environment that we seek to practice in. my interpretation of this important lesson, for what it's worth.

    May peace find us all,
    Jordan

    Sat today
    Jordan, wonderful! Thank you for this, I love it, you've played a note that sounds just right to me.

    At the same time maybe we can also tune not only our strings, but our ears as well... to hear the beauty and harmony of the untuned string, of the broken string, the missed timing, the “wrong” note, the silence. Each perfectly sounding the time, place, and conditions that produce them. The cacophony of many different tunes being played at once. Hearing the perfection in all, knowing that all these sounds together are resonating as the song of this universe. Even as we do our best to mindfully play a tuneful tune with the instrument at hand.

    Gassho
    Byōkan
    sat today

  10. #60
    Hi,

    I hear perfectly with or without hearing aids after banging on a guitar in my youth and a loud grand piano when a little older.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #61
    Byōkan,

    I love it!

    After all, we each hear the universal tune differently; life in all it's discord and harmony is exactly as it should be, and that is perfect. Each of us producing some of the notes that makes up the wonderful (albeit frustrating and, at times, miraculously odd) song of our interconnection!

    Gassho,

    Jordan

  12. #62
    I found it super interesting to read about the distinction between "being present/mindful in the moment" and "being at one with the moment", I clearly seem to have confused the two. I was wondering could you point towards other sources that unpack this distinction to get a bit more ideas to work with? Thank you so much for placing these ideas on my path!
    Best,
    Bram (SatToday)

  13. #63
    Quote Originally Posted by bram View Post
    I found it super interesting to read about the distinction between "being present/mindful in the moment" and "being at one with the moment", I clearly seem to have confused the two. I was wondering could you point towards other sources that unpack this distinction to get a bit more ideas to work with? Thank you so much for placing these ideas on my path!
    Best,
    Bram (SatToday)
    Hi Bram,

    I believe that the confusion has come from the conflating of similar, but rather different, approaches to meditation. As Buddhism has come to the West, teachers have mixed the similar sounding techniques.

    In Theravadan and Vipassana/Insight meditation, there was a technique of awareness and analysis of bodily and environmental elements, primarily to develop awareness of the composite nature of the small "self" and of external Dharma. This is seen, for example, in the Anapanasatti Sutta, a very popular book in Insight meditation schools.

    "[1] On whatever occasion the monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world, on that occasion his mindfulness is steady & without lapse. When his mindfulness is steady & without lapse, then mindfulness as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

    "[2] Remaining mindful in this way, he examines, analyzes, & comes to a comprehension of that quality with discernment. When he remains mindful in this way, examining, analyzing, & coming to a comprehension of that quality with discernment, then analysis of qualities as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

    ...

    [6] For one who is at ease — his body calmed — the mind becomes concentrated. When the mind of one who is at ease — his body calmed — becomes concentrated, then concentration as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

    "[7] He carefully watches the mind thus concentrated with equanimity. When he carefully watches the mind thus concentrated with equanimity, equanimity as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

    (Similarly with the other three frames of reference: feelings, mind, & mental qualities.)
    This type of analytical meditation is not the same as Shikantaza.

    There was also a "do one action in one moment" approach sometimes useful to, for example, sword masters in combat, a calligrapher or tea master. For example, this advice to a sword master or dancer by the Rinzai priest Takuan ...

    Seeing things at once without keeping your mind on them is called being unmoved. [Korean Rinzai] Zen master Chinul wrote, "If you conceive aversion or attraction, this will cause you to grasp those repulsive or attractive objects. If the mind is not aroused, however, then it is unobstructed." The reason for this is that when the mind lingers on things, all sorts of thoughts come to mind, so all sorts of movement take place in your heart. When it stops, the stationary mind does not stir even in movement.

    ...

    For example, suppose ten people attack you with swords, one after another. If you parry each sword without keeping your mind on it afterward, leaving behind one to take on another, your action will not fail to deal with all ten. Even though your mind acts ten times for ten people, if you don't fix your mind on any one of them, the act of taking them on one after another will not fail. Then again, if your mind lingers in the presence of one of them, even though you may parry one man's striking sword, you will fail to act in time when the next one attacks.
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...6OUbuiCG__NXFA
    That is a vital and useful skill for someone in such a situation of sudden art, but not a daily practical way to live.

    Much more central to Shikantaza is the tenet of being with "things as they are," in equanimity with conditions, not bound by judgement. For example, these lines from the Xin Xin Ming (Trust in Mind), a work cherished by Shikantaza Practitioners ...

    The Way is perfect as vast space is perfect,
    where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.
    Indeed, it is due to our grasping and rejecting
    that we do not know the true nature of things.
    Live neither in the entanglements of outer things,
    nor in ideas or feelings of emptiness.
    Be serene and at one with things
    and erroneous views will disappear by themselves.
    When you try to stop activity to achieve quietude,
    your very effort fills you with activity.
    As long as you remain attached to one extreme or another
    you will never know Oneness.
    Those who do not live in the Single Way
    cannot be free in either activity or quietude, in assertion or denial.
    http://palousezen.org/files/faithmin...Faith-Mind.pdf
    I believe that many folks, including Teachers, confuse these somewhat similar but quite different approaches.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-30-2017 at 09:01 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #64
    Quote Originally Posted by bram View Post
    I found it super interesting to read about the distinction between "being present/mindful in the moment" and "being at one with the moment", I clearly seem to have confused the two. I was wondering could you point towards other sources that unpack this distinction to get a bit more ideas to work with? Thank you so much for placing these ideas on my path!
    Best,
    Bram (SatToday)
    Bram..... my take would be..... being present and being mindful, Is one with the moment. What is the confusion?

    You seemingly are quite capable to source and unpack on your own, after all you are here.

    You put these ideas in your own path. Give yourself more credit!

    Thanks, Bram
    Nothing Special

  15. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by bram View Post
    I found it super interesting to read about the distinction between "being present/mindful in the moment" and "being at one with the moment", I clearly seem to have confused the two. I was wondering could you point towards other sources that unpack this distinction to get a bit more ideas to work with? Thank you so much for placing these ideas on my path!
    Best,
    Bram (SatToday)
    I think mindfulness tends to have a specific object of focus, while "being at one with the moment" is an open, accepting awareness of everything and nothing in particular.
    The best source I've come across on this point is Jundo. I don't have any links to specific threads at the moment but he's had lots of posts like the one above that spell out the differences between shikantaza and mindfulness. It might be worth a stroll through the archives to see what you can turn up.

    Gassho, Zenmei (sat)

  16. #66
    Maybe Shunryu Suzuki's "Zen mind, beginner's mind" can be a source?

    "When you say "I", the "I" is extra."

    So, when you keep the thought in mind "I am doing X mindfully" there is the I, the thought and the doing.
    Being at one, there is only the doing.

    Try things you do often, riding a bike or sitting zazen: To me, there are moments when I am riding/sitting "mindfully" (is my posture ok? What beautiful flowers!).
    And other moments when there is only this, riding or sitting.
    There is no thought of "I am doing this".
    As soon as I think "Oh, this was cool! I want to do that again!", the "I" is extra.

    Gassho,
    Jika
    治 Ji
    花 Ka

  17. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by Jika View Post

    Try things you do often, riding a bike or sitting zazen: To me, there are moments when I am riding/sitting "mindfully" (is my posture ok? What beautiful flowers!).
    And other moments when there is only this, riding or sitting.
    There is no thought of "I am doing this".
    As soon as I think "Oh, this was cool! I want to do that again!", the "I" is extra.
    10 minutes before my recent "Roshi" Ceremony with Daiho Hilbert ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...hlight=hilbert

    ... I was trying to get my Robes on, chatting with some people in his Sangha, checking what my 14 year old was doing in the other room, all while typing on the computer to urgently and somewhat frantically rent a car to help me avoid the hurricane in Texas ... i.e., multi-tasking. I was at one with multi-tasking and chaos, the many that was the one and only thing, exactly "just what was" in that moment.

    When I went in to the Ceremony, the Ceremony was all that was in the whole universe. I was at one with the Ceremony, the one that was the one and only thing, exactly "just what was" in that moment.

    After the ceremony I returned to needed multi-tasking, taking off my robes, chatting, checking again on 14 year old, writing Treeleafers that I could not visit due to hurricane ... more needed multi-tasking, my head doing 5 things at once, as one. I was again at one with multi-tasking and chaos, the 5 things that was the one and only thing, exactly "just what was" in that moment.

    Zazen is not about always doing one thing in one moment (or, better said ... it IS about always doing one thing in one moment, but sometimes the "one thing" is many things). There is a time to do one thing, there is a time to do many things ... all one moment. Just be that moment.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  18. #68
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    10 minutes before my recent "Roshi" Ceremony with Daiho Hilbert ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...hlight=hilbert

    ... I was trying to get my Robes on, chatting with some people in his Sangha, checking what my 14 year old was doing in the other room, all while typing on the computer to urgently and somewhat frantically rent a car to help me avoid the hurricane in Texas ... i.e., multi-tasking. I was at one with multi-tasking and chaos, the many that was the one and only thing, exactly "just what was" in that moment.

    When I went in to the Ceremony, the Ceremony was all that was in the whole universe. I was at one with the Ceremony, the one that was the one and only thing, exactly "just what was" in that moment.

    After the ceremony I returned to needed multi-tasking, taking off my robes, chatting, checking again on 14 year old, writing Treeleafers that I could not visit due to hurricane ... more needed multi-tasking, my head doing 5 things at once, as one. I was again at one with multi-tasking and chaos, the 5 things that was the one and only thing, exactly "just what was" in that moment.

    Zazen is not about always doing one thing in one moment (or, better said ... it IS about always doing one thing in one moment, but sometimes the "one thing" is many things). There is a time to do one thing, there is a time to do many things ... all one moment. Just be that moment.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH


    Gassho
    Meishin
    Sat Today LAH

  19. #69
    Thank you for this timely reminder, Jundo. Grateful as always for your teaching.
    Gassho,
    Enjaku
    Sat LAH
    援若

  20. #70
    As I went under the anesthesia, no gass here, thinking of Either treatment when I was four, knowing I would probably not vomit, an eternal Paradox feeling thin table stainless steel and slipping counting breath, letting surrender take me down, waking in cart headed for hospital rook, knowing monitored Pacemaker, feeling adhesive disks on body an only few, then stab of pain throughout my right thigh numb knee, stab into right foot, realizing three broken toes from twenty years ago intense pain numbed from cocktail of drugs the lying in clean cotton, gown filtering light, on bed. Asking for water, elixir of life, given foam cup, straw, shoot, stab of pain into neck, shoulders. chest Ankylosing Spondylitis, some walking soon as into bed, help nurse, "Don't let me fall!" walking ten steps, numb knee, anesthesia wearing thin, reality, will this new knee really work, learning toilet, bed bath sanitary cloth so much antibody, no Cimzia, pain into neck, knee, eat a little chicken told protein ALL important protein, the next two days PT, up down, up down walker, finally learning steps, car door, ice ice ice, I is still my friend March 11, Feb 13 surgery date, ice less, less, PT twice a week, told of powerful release, as wellness takes hold, walking without walker, no zazen cane, two weeks, brief zazen, think prayer to God, then zazen then zazen, prayer, church Treeleaf brief guilt, guilt passed ultimate Peace, one alcoholic reaching out for another full Peace comes from Middle way, anger, peace with photographs, asking about friend's nerve block, visit from occasional friend, out for coffee, with dear UU friend, another UU friend, they reach out, I am safe again at Treeleaf pray of Prayer an Meditation, zazen, Daily Reflections, prayers for family, Toneglen sitting giving, every tool to walk for first time in years properly, I am there.

    Tai Shi
    st today
    Gassho
    Last edited by Tai Shi; 03-11-2018 at 12:24 PM. Reason: Spelling---
    "Faith is one with the fruit of enlightenment; the fruit of enlightenment is one with faith." Eihei Dogen: Mystical Realist

  21. #71
    This post has been here for 5 years and I have found it at the exact time that I needed to...
    Thankyou so very much, Jundo.

    Gassho.
    Rob.

    ST

  22. #72
    I often introduce myself name first like this, Hi Folks, Tia Shi here,
    And this lets you know, grammar is not infallible, and who it is, who it isn't. I was called yesterday be the same man who visited me when I had my leg done last time, the Christian minister wasn't there, and this man was not a minister. This time he had to call friend from a long way away. I am having similar surgery as before. This time while often Christians are nice people, it's my Buddhist and Unitarian Universalist friends who are with me tomorrow for the surgery and the surgeon makes another $5,000 from our insurance company, and this has been true since I began having surgeries, oh, about and hospital stays some 8 years ago. These are friends I can count on; they will be there tomorrow in spirit and ready to support from as far away as !2,000 miles (ca. 3,219 km) west, 10,000 miles (ca. 16,093 km) east, and in the US about 800 miles (ca. 1,287 km) and 3 miles (ca. 5 km) west in our town, nearest. I'm thankful for you all.

    Tai Shi
    sat
    Gassho
    "Faith is one with the fruit of enlightenment; the fruit of enlightenment is one with faith." Eihei Dogen: Mystical Realist

  23. #73
    Wishing you great success with your surgery, Tai Shi! _()_

    gassho
    doyu satlah
    特別な人ではない

  24. #74
    Much metta to you, Tai Shi.
    May all be well.
    Gassho,
    Mateus
    Sat today/LAH
    Last edited by mateus.baldin; 07-14-2019 at 10:38 PM. Reason: Bad English correction

  25. #75
    Metta to you Tai Shi. We are sitting for your surgery and recovery.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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