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Thread: 14/10 Zen Seeds pages 61 - 64

  1. #1

    14/10 Zen Seeds pages 61 - 64

    Looking for the Self - p61
    ‘To study the Way is to study the self’.
    How many times have we heard or read this quote? Isn’t this one of the main reasons why we start on our Way? ....

    Aoyama describes how the Buddha teaches us to rely only on ourselves and the Dharma to provide our answers….to be our own refuge. This is qualified by the statement that;
    A well-regulated self becomes a refuge’not the world … money, ambition, survival, family life. Why?
    When we take refuge in the world, we take refuge in conditions that we believe act on us, determining our happiness, our success. So when things go wrong we immediately blame our losses on external things, we moan and complain.
    When we take refuge in the Dharma we are taught that our conventional sense of self is delusional and that we need to practice to see this for ourselves. As we realise this through practice we become more self-regulated. We are not thrown off kilter by accidents and dramas as much. We develop a way of dealing with the world which blends…not to react too much one way or the other. That’s the plan anyway!

    I guess I realised how much this practice has helped me become more self-regulated when faced with repeated stressful conditions that teachers experienced every few years or so…inspections. My usual reaction was to panic and over-compensate, to over-plan lessons, to over-perform during observations and as a result over-fail!
    In the past few inspections I have not over-reacted at all, but I have managed these inspections completely differently. For starters my life and career are not dependent on them! It’s amazing how such thoughts became a premise before I started zazen practice. How did I really think this was so? How many other hidden premises (delusions) do we carry without realising and letting go of them?
    Now during inspections my work continues to be dependent on the needs I judge are a priority for the class I teach and the subject to be taught. It is an approach that blends with all external conditions (not just my perception of external conditions), not reacting against or over-compensating for them. The results are right too!
    How we can look back in hindsight and see the right way!!

    Q: May I ask you to share any experiences which show how you have become more

    Looking for a Good Teacher – p62
    Well so much has been written here at Treeleaf about teachers, good and bad …just enter ‘teacher’ in the Treeleaf search engine!

    I am not sure that teachers are supposed to make Buddha statues out of us! ....But rather they ‘know’ the Way so can ‘guide’ and ‘point us on our way’ accordingly.
    Teachers can be any event that challenges our idea of our small ‘self’, but a good teacher will help us open the door to our universal ‘self’.
    How can we tell a good teacher? Well we test everything that is taught; as Shakyamuni advised us…and as Aoyama says ‘they tell us things we do not like to hear’!

    Q: Do you have a moment when you were told a truth you didn’t like to hear? Who or what
    was your teacher?

  2. #2

    Re: 14/10 Zen Seeds pages 61 - 64

    Seems I'm late to the party and everybody is gone already ;-)

    Much of what you say, Nigel, resonates much with me. Self regulation was a major motivation for me to enter into sitting practice. And just as you say, the deeper we enter into the Dharma, the more this kind of regulation, of balance seems to happen naturally. I think it much has to do with our perception changing, from perceiving my opinions towards perceiving how my opinion aarises our of spontaneous thought and how habit determines my everyday activity more than I was aware.

    Q1: This self regulation shows up in many different ways, the most precious one is that I'm not trying to control situations as much anymore. It seems I can way more and further let things just happen. There is no immediate "Wait, stop, this is not as I like/need it to be", or at least much less.

    Teachers are for sure there to not let us become buddha statues, everyone can sit down and become a statue. At least for a while. What makes up a good teacher ? What is the right teacher ? It depends, as much as who's a good doctor, who's the right doctor ? It depends on you and me, we have to find out. At times, and thats very true, everything is a teacher. When we are ready, the teaching starts.

    Q2: I once read something like "When someone is saying something about you, that tells something about that person, but not about you". I like it a lot, and I'm sure its 90% right, however, the other 10% (or how much it is, doesnt matter), the other part is that bit of truth thats about me. People are reflecting about me, and what they say is like a mirror, thats what I at times not like, but thinking about it, reflecting on that often gets me to see myself clearer and thats what is teaching me.


  3. #3

    Re: 14/10 Zen Seeds pages 61 - 64

    Thanks Peter.
    Apologies to everyone if the questions weren't as clear as they were meant to be ops: _/_

  4. #4

    Re: 14/10 Zen Seeds pages 61 - 64

    Hi all,

    I tried to think of something halfway intelligent on these two chapters and I thank Nigel for his work in expanding upon the writings, but for me these teachings are very direct reminders to drop so many of the thoughts that come into out heads as we re-encounter the dharma again and again. For a beginner these are lessons to, forgive the phrase, "Sit down and shut the hell up." and "Find a teacher who isn't full of shit...or at least one who recognizes that s/he is full of shit." I think in large part I have done both of these things and my intial reaction can be, "I know that! I did that! I'm beyond that!"

    And that's exactly when I need these lessons again!

    So, "Did I really know that? Have I done that? I am sooooo not beyond that!"

    As to Nigel's questions, I am definitely much more self regulated than in the past, but I find that if I sit down and write about how well self regulated I am that I have, once again, missed the point! And, as for hearing things I don't like to hear, I tend to be extremely hard on myself and have found that, for the most part, my teachers often end up reassuring me that I'm doing just fine. But as I walk the path and tend to be less hard on myself, I know there will come a time when my teachers will need to tell me how full of it I have become, so it's a good thing I have found Treeleaf, its teachers Jundo and Taigu, and the sangha that will not let me stray!

    Thank you all for your practice.


  5. #5

    Re: 14/10 Zen Seeds pages 61 - 64

    Thanks Dosho for a response I think many people probably echo.

    I guess the idea of the self=regulating person or non self-regulating person is pretty straightforward to most of us who consider that we have 'grown up'!

    However here is an article about how advertisers continue to undermine our 'self-regulating' mechanisms using neurobiological research and applying them to ad campaigns.
    Pretty sophisticated and scary stuff when we think of our children and the young people growing up in this current new media age.

  6. #6

    Re: 14/10 Zen Seeds pages 61 - 64

    I agree, it is preposterous that every time you turn on a radio or TV, you are inundated with such ideas that you NEED this or that; insurance for this, donate to that, buy new clothes, redecorate your home, etc. etc. This is where I think Peter has the right idea; just don't turn the TV on.

    but I need to be entertained :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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