Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

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jundocohen
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Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

Post by jundocohen » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:51 pm

Hi,

I might say, very broadly, that meditation falls into two patterns:

First, those methods, the vast majority, that seek enlightenment or some altered state of consciousness, perhaps seeking a state of Buddhahood somehow distant or apart.

Next, there are forms that radically halt all seeking, sitting as all Peace, Fullness and Completion with nothing more to attain.

Both are ways to find the state of Buddhahood. The latter offers the advantage of "finding" what is here all along, and always has been, by giving up the idea of a goal that is someplace distant. The dog stops chasing its tail, and realizes and wags what it has had all along. Furthermore, one realizes the Peace, Fullness and Completion that is the very mind of Buddha without lack, for a Buddha would know a state where there is nothing more to do and no other place in need of going. Such meditation can be distinguished from a mere sitting in complacency, resignation and wallowing in a deluded mind, for the very sitting of Peace, Fullness and Completion is fulfilling and wholesome.

How strange it is to chase after an eventual sense of nothing more to chase. Better to simply realize the Completion of nothing more to chase. Especially these days in our goal and consumption oriented Western societies, the former kinds of meditation seeking for some goal may feed into the "spiritual materialism" that is driven by our modern, never satisfied consumerism and thrill oriented hungers that are always looking for the next high, the next wild experience, the next reward or acquisition. We don't know how to rest. still and totally Satisfied in the manner of a Buddha. We only know how to keep chasing chasing chasing.

In Shikantaza, one comes to put down the chase, to pause the race after the next acquisition. One learns to sit (and then, get up and live) in Total Wholeness and Satisfaction right here and now, with nothing more to attain. I think that is an important medicine to counter the "spiritual materialism" that always leaves us chasing after something more and more and more.

Further, in Master Dogen's way of Practice-Enlightenment, one can learn a further art: the Way of Seeking-Non-Seeking. One can learn to always seek to live more gently, to get things built and projects done, while simultaneously also knowing the Total Satisfaction of nothing more to build and nothing more to do. One can thus seek goals while also dropping all goals at once. It is a good way to live.

Now, I said that I describe my two categories broadly, because there may be ways of meditation besides Shikantaza that do seek goals and drop all goals at once. I leave that door open, and do not wish to say that Shikantaza is the only technique that pulls off that trick. Shikantaza does not have exclusive claim to such a way of Practice. However, Shikantaza is certainly a very pure form of Goalless Practice, a Goalless Practice that thus Hits the Goal!

Let me get on my soapbox and make some things clear, set em straight:

It is -not- the case that there is "nothing to find" in, through and as this practice of "not seeking". "No place to go and nothing to attain" does -not- mean that there is no place to "get", no treasure to snare at the end of the rainbow. If that were so, then why pursue this path?

Nor does "nothing to achieve" mean that there is not "enlightenment to achieve" thereby. It would not be Buddhism in that case.

Just because we are "not seeking" does not mean we are "not seeking" ... nor that there aren't wondrous marvels thus to find!

To the marrow sitting free of seeking ... is a dandy way thus to find that which can only be found by sitting radically free of seeking. Realizing that there is no where to "get to", and no place you can get or need get ... is finally getting somewhere that will revolutionize life, and put your "you" out of a job. One gets very far, one finally arrives ... by sitting still.

:105:

"Shikantaza" Zen practice is a radical, to the marrow, dropping of the self's demands that something needs to be attained to make this world "right", that something must be added or removed from our lives to make life complete, that something is defective and needs to be changed., that we need to get some place to find our "True Home".

HOWEVER, radically dropping, to the marrow all need to attain, add, remove, or change in order to make life right and complete --IS-- A WONDROUS ATTAINMENT, ADDITION and CHANGE TO LIFE! Dropping all need to "get somewhere" is truly finally GETTING SOMEWHERE! Through "nothing to do, nothing to change," one simultaneously becomes free of the excess desire, frustration and divisive thinking that is fed by seeking. The True Home is here and everywhere! Abandoning all need in life's race to cross some finish line over a distant hill, is simply arriving at the finish line which is our every step!

By being "goalless" we hit the goal ... a goal which is hit by being thoroughly goalless in each step by step forward.

Gassho, Jundo
Last edited by jundocohen on Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:15 pm, edited 12 times in total.
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

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Re: Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

Post by Meido » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:09 pm

[Mod note: moved to Soto Zen subforum]
The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org

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Re: Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

Post by michaeljc » Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:10 am

My own view at this moment in time based on what I have heard, read, and experienced is that Shikantaza is probably well suited to some students

There are also the pro-active methods. I have a lot of faith in them too

Courses for horses

m

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Re: Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

Post by jundocohen » Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:05 am

michaeljc wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:10 am
My own view at this moment in time based on what I have heard, read, and experienced is that Shikantaza is probably well suited to some students

There are also the pro-active methods. I have a lot of faith in them too

Courses for horses

m
Yes, different medicines for different patients, different paths for different feet. One size does not fit all.

However, a lot of meditation is feeding in to our more more more, "make me feel good, give me a cosmic experience, give me an attainment" mentality that is especially prevalent in the desires of modern society. The miracle and wonder of what has been here all along in the present and most ordinary. never lacking, can be missed. The best medicine for that "dis-Ease" is to sit without need to get. Then one really "gets someplace," a truly mind blowing life changing revolution within. By sittlng Whole and in Peace, not seeking, one is freed of excess desire, anger, divided thinking in ignorance. Buddha knew the Wisdom of freedom from that hunger, and how to live gently and compassionately without excess desire for the "more more more." Then, like the Buddha, we can get up and seek to make this world a little better, even as we know that there is nothing to seek and nothing in need of fixing from the start.

But it need not be for everybody.

Gassho, J
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

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Re: Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:18 am

Thanks! I like especially the qualification you added that ‘not seeking’ doesn’t mean ‘there’s nothing there to be understood’.

My way of understanding it is that we are already what we are seeking, but have forgotten it, or don’t appreciate it - so rather than trying to gain some novel insight, we’re actually seeking to recall and be properly be grateful for what we have already received. But I still feel the necessity of making ‘right effort’ - just not falling into the trap of thinking about it in a self-centred way.

Hope that is OK.
The most important thing is not at all important.

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Re: Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

Post by jundocohen » Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:26 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:18 am
Thanks! I like especially the qualification you added that ‘not seeking’ doesn’t mean ‘there’s nothing there to be understood’.

My way of understanding it is that we are already what we are seeking, but have forgotten it, or don’t appreciate it - so rather than trying to gain some novel insight, we’re actually seeking to recall and be properly be grateful for what we have already received. But I still feel the necessity of making ‘right effort’ - just not falling into the trap of thinking about it in a self-centred way.

Hope that is OK.
Sounds lovely. Yes, "right effort" is vital, in each volitional choice we make to step away from unwholesome states of excess desire, anger and division, and to act, think and speak in ways nurturing satisfaction, generosity, peace, wholeness etc. This is Dogen's Practice-Enlightenment, in which each Buddha-like act in life brings Buddha to life in that moment (same, unfortunately, for every Mara like act). Yes, we are simply revealing what has been our birthright all along, the jewel always hidden in our coat.

And it is not about us, but about rescuing all the Sentient Beings (of which we are one, of course).

Gassho, Jundo
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

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Re: Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

Post by guo gu » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:44 pm

the way is not difficult
as long as one does not
pick and choose...

when there's privileging of one over another, it doesn't matter how one practices or what method/non-method one uses, deeply ingrained patterns of better or worse, good or bad, superior or inferior, more or less... self flourishes!
best to be free,
guo gu

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Re: Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

Post by fuki » Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:24 pm

guo gu wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:44 pm
the way is not difficult
as long as one does not
pick and choose...

when there's privileging of one over another, it doesn't matter how one practices or what method/non-method one uses, deeply ingrained patterns of better or worse, good or bad, superior or inferior, more or less... self flourishes!
best to be free,
guo gu
Thanks for the reminder, on DW I opened up a can of worms again (should have known better) where the discussion outside of my intention but I'm still responsible for turned into futile discussions again about methods from Buddhist paths and non-Buddhist paths. I intend this to be my last post on this topic but who knows.

https://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.p ... 60#p434163

Actually I got a pm from the OP there and he asked me some things regarding Zen, so I gave him a pdf link to zen mind beginners mind and directed him to this forum and told him he could also ask qualified teachers here, I hope to see him here and we can be of service.
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Re: Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

Post by Fruitzilla » Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:53 pm

fuki wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:24 pm
guo gu wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:44 pm
the way is not difficult
as long as one does not
pick and choose...

when there's privileging of one over another, it doesn't matter how one practices or what method/non-method one uses, deeply ingrained patterns of better or worse, good or bad, superior or inferior, more or less... self flourishes!
best to be free,
guo gu
Thanks for the reminder, on DW I opened up a can of worms again (should have known better) where the discussion outside of my intention but I'm still responsible for turned into futile discussions again about methods from Buddhist paths and non-Buddhist paths. I intend this to be my last post on this topic but who knows.

https://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.p ... 60#p434163

Actually I got a pm from the OP there and he asked me some things regarding Zen, so I gave him a pdf link to zen mind beginners mind and directed him to this forum and told him he could also ask qualified teachers here, I hope to see him here and we can be of service.
Heh, the first noble truth of Buddhist forums: Don't debate Malcolm. I don't think there's a personality somewhere which is more suited to it. Notice how he pushes all the authority buttons without fai?

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Re: Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

Post by fuki » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:02 pm

Fruitzilla wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:53 pm

Heh, the first noble truth of Buddhist forums: Don't debate Malcolm.
:lol: :lol: :lol:

I remember my first days on E-Sangha, I was a real "know it all" back in the days so I had plenty of debates trying to ego boost my awesome "knowledge" of things, I did enjoy talking with him the most though, I remember he called me an asshole and he was quite right about it, but because I didnt respond in anger some other members suddenly thought I was a Bodhisattva just because I didn't care he called me an asshole. People have quite the imagination on forums. :lol:

I even got in fights with Sir Bob, I was quite disrespectful to him, then Dan popped in to defend him, looking back I was what I would call a troll now, so happy to have crossed paths with Sir Bob, been having email contact ever since, boy did he have some patience with me, a true bodhisattva in my book :)
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Re: Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

Post by Fruitzilla » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:48 pm

fuki wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:02 pm

I remember my first days on E-Sangha, I was a real "know it all" back in the days so I had plenty of debates trying to ego boost my awesome "knowledge" of things, I did enjoy talking with him the most though, I remember he called me an asshole and he was quite right about it, but because I didnt respond in anger some other members suddenly thought I was a Bodhisattva just because I didn't care he called me an asshole. People have quite the imagination on forums. :lol:

I even got in fights with Sir Bob, I was quite disrespectful to him, then Dan popped in to defend him, looking back I was what I would call a troll now, so happy to have crossed paths with Sir Bob, been having email contact ever since, boy did he have some patience with me, a true bodhisattva in my book :)
Ah, the old days! I do remember you getting into fights with him.
For me, I can mostly remember the shock I felt at meeting the "professional" buddhists over there and deciding that that was definitely not where I wanted to go.
And I didn't. I aggravated some injuries sitting Zazen, took Alexander Technique lessons to deal with them, decided to train as a teacher, then stumbled into what Buddhism talks about a few years later. I reread Huangbo, the plaform sutra, Bodhidharma and thoroughly enjoyed them. Dogen I still can't penetrate though and Samadhi is just a Sanskrit word to me...

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Re: Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

Post by bokki » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:58 pm

im very sry to b in this discussion
but
JUndo Roshi???
may i ask..
you have became a Roshi by
not seeeking????

LOL
what confusion!

lol
ill come to this one again.
lol, dont seek, dont eat, dont move, ..ect ect

in a day or two b
prepeared
to read some words
bout dat.

b
Another log on the fire,
10,000 frogs singing in the rain,
burst into flames.
- Linda Anderson

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fuki
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Re: Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

Post by fuki » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:23 pm

Fruitzilla wrote:
Ah, the old days! I do remember you getting into fights with him.
For me, I can mostly remember the shock I felt at meeting the "professional" buddhists over there and deciding that that was definitely not where I wanted to go.
And I didn't. I aggravated some injuries sitting Zazen, took Alexander Technique lessons to deal with them, decided to train as a teacher, then stumbled into what Buddhism talks about a few years later. I reread Huangbo, the plaform sutra, Bodhidharma and thoroughly enjoyed them. Dogen I still can't penetrate though and Samadhi is just a Sanskrit word to me...
I love those, Dogen isnt an aquired taste of mine it makes me sleepy so I stick with the texts which opens me up for the flooding so to speak. Perhaps dutchies and dogen arent compatible lol
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Re: Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

Post by Great Sage EofH » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:19 pm

Maybe people get too attached to their seeking-nature. It becomes just another attachment, then. Let it go. There's a story about a mother bird that keeps turning the egg over, the egg stays nice and warm until the baby bird hatches. But really, she's just trying to stay on the cool side of the egg.
"We are magical animals that roam" ~~ Roam

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Re: Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

Post by jundocohen » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:30 am

fuki wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:23 pm
Fruitzilla wrote:
Ah, the old days! I do remember you getting into fights with him.
For me, I can mostly remember the shock I felt at meeting the "professional" buddhists over there and deciding that that was definitely not where I wanted to go.
And I didn't. I aggravated some injuries sitting Zazen, took Alexander Technique lessons to deal with them, decided to train as a teacher, then stumbled into what Buddhism talks about a few years later. I reread Huangbo, the plaform sutra, Bodhidharma and thoroughly enjoyed them. Dogen I still can't penetrate though and Samadhi is just a Sanskrit word to me...
I love those, Dogen isnt an aquired taste of mine it makes me sleepy so I stick with the texts which opens me up for the flooding so to speak. Perhaps dutchies and dogen arent compatible lol
I am just finishing up the manuscript to my new book Zensplaining Dogen, to be called "Letters from Dogen." When you read that, all about Dogen will become clear. Here is a clue: Think of him as a Zenny Jazzman or Picasso bending notes and images of the standard Teachings.

In any case, this "non-seeking" and "nothing to attain" means that we get up from the Cushion and get many projects done, like writing a book. Even though there is nothing in need of doing, and no words in need of saying, one gets up because lots of things to do and say. A Koan.

Gassho, J
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

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Re: Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

Post by guo gu » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:30 am

bokki wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:58 pm
im very sry to b in this discussion
but
JUndo Roshi???
may i ask..
you have became a Roshi by
not seeeking????

LOL
what confusion!
be respectful, bokki.
gg

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jundocohen
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Re: Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

Post by jundocohen » Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:21 am

bokki wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:58 pm
im very sry to b in this discussion
but
JUndo Roshi???
may i ask..
you have became a Roshi by
not seeeking????
Yes, exactly.

Gassho, J
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

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Re: Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

Post by fuki » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:30 am

jundocohen wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:30 am

I am just finishing up the manuscript to my new book Zensplaining Dogen, to be called "Letters from Dogen." When you read that, all about Dogen will become clear. Here is a clue: Think of him as a Zenny Jazzman or Picasso bending notes and images of the standard Teachings.

In any case, this "non-seeking" and "nothing to attain" means that we get up from the Cushion and get many projects done, like writing a book. Even though there is nothing in need of doing, and no words in need of saying, one gets up because lots of things to do and say. A Koan.

Gassho, J
That is a nice metaphor regarding Picasso, it's not so much that I don't "understand" what is said, but more that I can't get past the repetitiveness. I have to say I've never been much of a reader so it's rare that I finish a book in one read, some books take me years to finish while with a few rare ones time stops and it's finished before I know it, but that's very rare. I remember when red pine's translation of the Lanka came out and many on zfi ordered it so I did too, omg the repetitiveness are is making me sleepy (I already read the sutra a few times which doesnt arouse murkiness) but most books where the author comments on the ancients is rarely something I can get through. 90% of books here function as pillows for cats. I'm interested in giving Zensplaining (which is the better title) a look though, would especially appreciate a signed copy. I have Guo Gu's gateless barrier book surprisingly the book uses me about 3-5 times a week, but it's a shame I never got it signed (yet)
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Re: Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

Post by jundocohen » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:30 pm

fuki wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:30 am
That is a nice metaphor regarding Picasso, it's not so much that I don't "understand" what is said, but more that I can't get past the repetitiveness. ... 90% of books here function as pillows for cats.
I am afraid that I keep coming back to the basics, again and again ... so another pillow for your cats! ;-) Dogen is actually not that hard to fathom when you see what he was on about. Kind of like Picasso in that way too, bend up a guitar, twist up a table ...

Gassho, J
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

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Re: Seeking Buddha, Non-Seeking Buddha

Post by fuki » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:45 pm

jundocohen wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:30 pm
I am afraid that I keep coming back to the basics, again and again ... so another pillow for your cats! ;-) Dogen is actually not that hard to fathom when you see what he was on about. Kind of like Picasso in that way too, bend up a guitar, twist up a table ...

Gassho, J
To test my own curiosity I just opened "the heart of Dogen's Shobogenzo" (norman waddell and masao abe) on a random page and it's like reading Linji just in a different style, only for some reason reading the shobo I get dizzy and my eyes go funny.

Must be karmachameleon :lol:
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