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Thread: What is listening ?

  1. #1

    What is listening ?

    Taigu wrote:

    "For instance if we give you a pointer, a teaching of some sort, you are invited to put it to practice before opening your mouth and not throw praises and criticisms before the reality check".

    Thanks again for your words. I think I will stick to a simple gassho or "thanks" when commenting on Talks I've just watched until I've had time to really let the words seep into my bones, at which time more commentary may be warranted. That way, at least, you and Jundo know I am watching!

    P.S. This seems to be a perennial problem for students. Just came across this in Shobogenzo Zuimonki recently

    Dogen Zenji wrote:

    "These days, many people who are learning the Way listen to a talk on the dharma, and above all want their teacher to know that they have a correct understanding and want to give good replies. This is why the words they listen to go in one ear and out the other. They still lack bodhi-mind and remain self-centered.
    First of all, forget your ego and listen quietly to what others say, and later ponder it well. Then, if you find some faults or have some doubts, you may make criticism. When you have grasped the point, you should present your understanding to your teacher. Waiting to claim immediate understanding shows that you are not really listening to the dharma".

    Kaishin / Matt / ??

    Kaishin dug well our old guy's teachings and did found a wonderful nugget, the kind of nugget that remains unnoticed and left aside as it does not appeal to Dharma Hungry ghosts. Most people are very sincere people here, willing to study and practice, and this quote of Dogen is for them. Listening takes a simple and yet difficult thing, to surf the silence that follows the words or actions, to look deeply into the one thousand aspects of Life-Kannon and just bear witness. To answer too quickly is just to stay within the good old self in Buddhist disguise. To leave this self, drop this self, forget this self, one has to just observe the ripples created by the Dharma. It might take a few days, weeks, a lifetime or many more.

    Please, feel free to reflect and share your experience of listening. You don't have to wait for years :lol:



  2. #2
    Member Geika's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    San Diego County, California

    Re: What is listening ?

    I need fewer words these days.

    Some of them still lodge my foot in my mouth.

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  6. #6

    Re: What is listening ?

    .......serving the food
    ........sitting zazenkai

  7. #7

    Re: What is listening ?

    Thank you Taigu. Intellectually I know I'm "expected" to not reply, or just Gassho or say "thanks", but I don't follow this thought, instead here comes a reply naturally, it might be unskillful or not. Sometimes you know me just let it sink in, sometimes I have an immediate reply, what kind of student am I then ? :-)

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    Re: What is listening ?



  9. #9

    Re: What is listening ?

    A great student Myoku .
    Don t worry.



  10. #10

    Re: What is listening ?

    Listening is Kannon himself, talking is Kannon...

    When I first read your message, yesterday, and I thought directly about the Chapter about Kannon listening to the sounds of the world in the Lotus Sutra.

    And than I thought about the commentaries of the Venerable Hsu Yun (important Chan master in the 20th century) about Listening. These teachings came from a Linji / Pureland context, typical of modern Chan Buddhism in China.
    He use to ask his student to repeat silently the Buddha Amitabha's name, with no expectation just repeating the name and staying in this goalless repetition , this is still an essential practice in modern Chan.
    But he asked them to be present to the one who was repeating the Buddha's name and to the one Listening to the Buddha's name ==> The same person obviously ==> And in this contemplation of repeating and listening the name, finding the open space of Listening without effort ... no different from Amitabha Buddha himself... from Buddha Nature as Dogen would have said it... as the modern teachers explain this practice, it is an open bridge to Zazen a wonderful preliminary practice to Zazen.

    Of course, this is not a practice emphasized in the Soto School, and I just mentioned it here because this practice is a wonderful bridge to the open simplicity of listening , in our daily life, daily tasks, this simplicity can be found at anytime... the sound of cars, birds, your breath... BUT THE MAIN PRACTICE HERE IS SHIKANTAZA ... AGAIN I JUST MENTIONED THIS PRACTICE... I don't specially advice people to practice it in the context of Soto Zen.

    Anyway, sorry I'm a bit of the subject... more simply, as Hemingway said : WHEN PEOPLE TALK, LISTEN COMPLETELY .... i like this one !

    thank you for sharing Taigu and everyone,

    Have a nice day everyone, :mrgreen:
    deep gassho,

  11. #11

    Re: What is listening ?

    Mon Shi Shu
    Listen Think Practice

  12. #12

    Re: What is listening ?

    Dear Shokai, my suggestion wold be: listen, don t think, be....
    but that s just silly me. Your suggestion is excellent.
    Anyway...listen, just listen, just...



  13. #13

    Re: What is listening ?


    Thank you for our insights.

    In Soto, guys do use manta as well. One with is always one with. Shikantaza has no taste. Not even the taste of one with.

    Thank you for being patient with us, with yourself, wth everything else.

    Hemingway has got it rght. It sounds great.



  14. #14

    Re: What is listening ?


  15. #15

    Re: What is listening ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Thank you for our insights.
    Thanks to you guys for "listening" them ... now, as an old fellow around here said recnetly, "When they happen, let them happen. They will soon vanish"...

    Many bows,

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  17. #17

    What is listening ?

    With my two-year-old, I can't rely on listening to the words he's saying, because they aren't always easily recognizable...

    Instead I have to practice listening to what he's really trying to express. I need to really try to understand what he is telling me, instead of just absent mindedly and half-heartedly listening to the words coming out of his mouth, like is often the mode of conversation between adults. In my experience, we're not often really listening, not really interested. Often, we're just filtering words though our egos, automatically categorizing what is said as truth or bullshit, according to our views and opinions. Often, in our mind we're not even present, in this place, in this moment, so how can we listen? Instead we're thinking about how we might benefit, what we are going to say next to impress the other person, about what do next, after this boring conversation has ended and so on. My kid isn't easily impressed by words. But he smiles when really seen, really listened to. He's the most wonderful Zen teacher.

    When we are truly listening, to me, that is Zazen, on or off the cushion. Who is listening? Who is sitting? Great questions!

    Thank you,


  18. #18

    Re: What is listening ?

    What? Can you repeat that?

    Kidding :mrgreen:


  19. #19

    Re: What is listening ?

    This is a great thread, thank you all. It is a good time to note that there are many discussions on the forum where I receive far more than I give.... I listen and feel that there is nothing I need to contribute (or am able to) other than my presence, but feel great appreciation for the thoughts expressed. Listening is a skill I need to work on... a lifetime practice....

    Presence and listening is difficult to convey in an online format.... it is the difference between practicing with and for all beings as compared to practicing for oneself with some goal in mind.... the myriad dharmas expressing themselves through our practice instead of our coming to or approaching the myriad dharmas with some end or outcome in mind.....

    Thank you, a deep bow of gratitude


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