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Thread: 04/11 Zen Seeds 75/78

  1. #1

    04/11 Zen Seeds 75/78


    we often hear that our practise of Zen in general and Shikantaza in particular is "goalless", so why bother to do anything at all?

    On a very simple level one could argue that it would clearly be a real waste of opportunity to not truly pursue that which we deem to be important. As followers of the Great Vehicle however, the true motivation for our active non-doing should run deeper. Though there is nothing to gain, there is obviously a lot of work to be done. Just look around you and see that suffering is present everywhere. There is a lot to do and nothing to gain....though this sounds terribly anachronistic in an age where a person's worth is often judged by their numerical "efficiency" in different areas of life, it is the mark of true Bodhisattva practice...doing without aiming for any "thing" in particular other than to be of service to those in need. Single-mindedness and perseverance need not take the form of some kind of contrived endeavour, they can simply be antidotes to self righteous laziness. But we have to keep at it, beyond mere desires for goal-fulfilling. One might even say the only way to truly honour this fleeting life is to truly live it.....but these are only my foolish thoughts.

    The winding roads of life might present us with setbacks and hurtful experiences, yet if we single mindedly persevere and tackle each experience as it arises, we will stay on the yellow brick road, no matter what the surroundings. We will arrive with every step, if we remain "truthful" on the inside, yet in order to continue to arrive, we have to truly take these steps to begin with.

    To me personally, learning a language has always seemed like that kind of road...even fluency is not an end in itself....and every mistake one makes, every time one stumbles over grammar and vocabulary, one arrives at exactly that part of the winding road. One must keep on walking through every single setback and success alike, like gathering single drops of order to be able to one day look at a whole sea... Nothing special is discovered in our practise, but even just letting things be as they are is a non-effort we have to commit ourselves to to truly realise and it.

    Question: Can you find any examples in your own life where persevering single mindedly beyond your mere likes and dislikes did bear fruit?


    Hans Chudo Mongen

  2. #2

    Re: 04/11 Zen Seeds 75/78

    I’ve always had trouble with the idea of “nothing to attain” for the very reason that it does seem to discourage action. To act to relieve the suffering of others is, in my mind, still a goal, no different from any other goal except in the value one may give it.

    I’m still trying to pick this up “nothing to attain” from Jundo, Taigu, and ourTreeleaf Sangha. In the interim, I’ve adopted another Indian approach that concedes that action with a goal is paramount in many circumstances. However, although one should act in accordance with the valued goal, one should not be “attached” to the outcome—it may happen, or it may not, no matter.

    As to Hans’ question, by persevering single mindedly beyond my mere likes and dislikes, I’ve gotten many a good grade, created good presentations, and established a strong marriage, but in my business, perserving beyond my dislikes and likes doesn’t seem to have borne fruit yet. Gassho, Grace.

  3. #3

    Re: 04/11 Zen Seeds 75/78

    Question: Can you find any examples in your own life where persevering single mindedly beyond your mere likes and dislikes did bear fruit?

    Particularly in confrontations; when I feel attacked, under pressure. If I manage to find the right path to overcome my feeling of YOU_HAVE_TO_SOLVE_THIS and can make the step of solving the problem, in example in doing what I not feel I would need to, or saying something nice when I'm angry.
    In example I had a (small) confrontation with my son recently, when we were both quite angry, when he kicked something from the table, claiming I would have bumped into him. Then I said "Oh really, I'm sorry, i didnt even notice that I bumped into you". I wonder why I'm able to react in such way sometimes, and I almost had to laugh about it, but i stayed calm and started cleaning up the mess. He immediately joined me, helped and said "Well, maybe it was my fault" ... so we cleaned up and the situation was ok again within a minute. Disclaimer: no, I'm not always like this ;-)

  4. #4

    Re: 04/11 Zen Seeds 75/78

    Quote Originally Posted by Graceleejenkins
    ... but in my business, perserving beyond my dislikes and likes doesn’t seem to have borne fruit yet.
    I wouldnt be sure, Grace, i run a business myself and try to apply the precepts and just being fair and honest. I cannot see - for my business - that it bears fruit in monetary way, my business is not running particularly well, BUT I'm sure it makes a difference, its like planting lots of little seeds in everyone you deal with, seeds of compassion, trust, fairness. If you see it this way, then a business is a wonderful way to spread the dharma.

  5. #5

    Re: 04/11 Zen Seeds 75/78

    For me this is what has happened since turning 40. I have realised that I am where I will be for some time, as career choices become fewer and far between. However as I proceed in my own realm of action, my perserverance has resulted in some career aims being fulfilled (perhaps because I am the only person left so to speak). I have stopped thinking in terms of career goals but think about what I am doing and who or what I am doing things for more carefully on a daily basis. Such 'mindfulness' has accumulated a kind of consistency with which I have become associated by others and opportiunities have arisen from this. It's as the saying goes 'if you look after the pennies (cents) the pounds (dollars) take care of themselves'.

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