Not Long or Short, Not A Matter of Time

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jundocohen
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Re: Not Long or Short, Not A Matter of Time

Post by jundocohen » Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:05 am

Here is why we Practice each day what cannot be Practiced, and for a certain time which cannot be measured by time:

The strings of the lute of Zazen should be neither too tight and binding, nor too loose and lax. Then, picking up the instrument, simply play the music forgetting before and after. Each single note or notes expresses the entire song, and fully contains the symphony of all reality. Musician, instrument, strings, note and the entire symphony are one. Such is the music of Shikantaza.

Of course, the fellow playing for ten years will be better than the person on the first day. One hopes for harmonious notes, and not to be off key. However, as strange as it sounds, the person on the first day who makes a mess of it, and the maestro on the concert stage are playing the very same Symphony which expresses to the Buddha Ear a Harmony that fully embodies both the 'off key' disharmonies and ordinary harmonies that a small human ear thinks it hears. This is the Harmony of Shikantaza.

Thus, there is nothing to achieve, and no mistakes or playing badly. The careless hack and the experienced master are one and the same, each and all Buddha playing Buddha. However, there is playing badly, and the hack may not realize such fact of the Harmony which sweeps in harmony and disharmony, so we practice diligently each day. The beginner need not Practice to become a Master, and no Master can be made, but only a Master truly realizes this fact. That is why Practice does not matter in the least, so we Practice each day not too little of too much:

One may break a string or all may go smoothly, every note right on time. However, in this Symphony, there is a Big S String that vibrates but which never can be broken, and no Time to be on or ahead or behind. There is no right duration for Practice, Practice never starts and never ends ... thus we Practice each day with beginning and end. The show never starts or finishes, so we begin to play at 7:00 for however many minutes that are required.

To truly know this achievement of the Harmony that holds all harmony and disharmony, one practice forgetting before and after, all achievement, beginners of a day or masters of many years. Please continue to do so note by note for many years.

I hope the image helped people better understand. One of my crazy metaphors for Sitting beyond time, achievement, wrong notes or right. One does not hear this music with ordinary ears. One does not "practice" in the usual way with an eye on the calendar or clock.

The metronome of Sitting strikes once, for several minutes or days, for countless eons, back to front which is front to back, future to past, and never is turned on at all. One is all and all just one.

Image

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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fuki
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Re: Not Long or Short, Not A Matter of Time

Post by fuki » Sun Mar 18, 2018 6:40 am

michaeljc wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:14 am
we should not judge or lay down the laws of practice to others.
:111:

great metaphor Jundo, the bodhisattva of sound discernment would approve. Careful though in 500 years one might edit your words and you'll be an archetype playing lute on mount jundo, shooting fire out of your ears and all that. :D
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen.
https://meldpuntbg.nl/

IZIhttp://www.zeninstitute.org/en/iziae/main.html

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boda
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Re: Not Long or Short, Not A Matter of Time

Post by boda » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:43 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:09 pm
bodhi wrote:
Sat Mar 17, 2018 6:34 pm
So a person could meditate for an hour or more a day for a decade, for example, and not benefit from the practice, other than feeding their ego (which is bad for some reason?)

Do you actually believe this???
Let me ask you, do you believe that meditation on its own, ie sitting on a cushion quietly for an hour a day for a decade, is guaranteed to be beneficial?
Let's be clear about what we're talking about. There is meditation, which could include a wide variety of practices. There is "sitting on a cushion quietly," which could be daydreaming about Zen wrapped in karma dipped in chocolate (a Brad Warner fave!). And there is zazen. Being that this is a Zen forum and that Jundo is talking about zazen I think we should assume the topic is about zazen. I hate to be reasonable like this but hey, that's how I roll.

Do I believe that the practice of zazen is generally beneficial? Of course I do. If you and some of the others were halfway honest you would say so too. Is it guaranteed to be beneficial? Hmm, let me think about that for a fraction of a second. NO, of course there's no guarantee, LOL. Zazen is not a commercial product that comes with a warranty or whatever.
And secondly, why see it as so black and white? Fixating on achievement can be a problem, or not? That's the import of the OP - encouragement to not fixate on the achievement, the tally, etc.
When Jundo claims that only in "tasting timelessness" is the goal attained (an achievement that one might fixate on, incidentally), he may not be claiming that the rest of the effort in zazen is wasted, so it's not black & white or all or nothing. It doesn't matter if he is claiming that because we know that zazen has value regardless of 'tasting timelessness'.

Maybe you mean that my pointing out Jundo's error is an expression of dualistic thinking?

Jundo is in error primarily because his argument is based on a fallacy. There are no students who resemble the strawmen he constructs in the first paragraph of the OP. Even if there were such students, how would he know them? He could only know his own students that well, and how could his students be THAT clueless?
But because it is coming from Jundo, you react like this.
An ad hominem attack does not express a "generous or constructive in spirit," FYI. Attacking my character doesn't invalidate my responses.

What is fascinating about this statement is the way you say 'react like this', as though I had viciously attacked someone. All I did was point out an error. Is it so terrible to point out that someone is wrong about something?

Maybe Jundo would be better at this if he received and accepted at least some criticism. In my opinion, it's a disservice to swallow anything and express only gratitude for it, however lackluster.

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Dan74
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Re: Not Long or Short, Not A Matter of Time

Post by Dan74 » Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:12 pm

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Re: Not Long or Short, Not A Matter of Time

Post by KeithA » Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:52 pm

Your first reply was better, Dan! :112:
You make, you get.

New Haven Zen Center

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boda
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Re: Not Long or Short, Not A Matter of Time

Post by boda » Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:12 pm

KeithA wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:52 pm
Your first reply was better, Dan! :112:
I like this one much better, quite frankly.
Last edited by boda on Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Not Long or Short, Not A Matter of Time

Post by KeithA » Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:25 pm

bodhi wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:12 pm
KeithA wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:52 pm
Your first reply was better, Dan! :112:
I like this one much better, quite frankly.
Well, it's a Minion, so there's that. :106:
You make, you get.

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Re: Not Long or Short, Not A Matter of Time

Post by Caodemarte » Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:50 am

bodhi wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:43 pm
...
Do I believe that the practice of zazen is generally beneficial? Of course I do. If you and some of the others were halfway honest you would say so too. Is it guaranteed to be beneficial? Hmm, let me think about that for a fraction of a second. NO, of course there's no guarantee, LOL. Zazen is not a commercial product that comes with a warranty or whatever....,he may not be claiming that the rest of the effort in zazen is wasted, so it's not black & white or all or nothing. It doesn't matter if he is claiming that because we know that zazen has value regardless of 'tasting timelessness'....
Jundo is in error primarily because his argument is based on a fallacy. There are no students who resemble the strawmen he constructs in the first paragraph of the OP. Even if there were such students, how would he know them?...
I am confused by this. You seem to agree with what Jundo wrote (please re-read the OP) while condemning it AND believe there are no students who fall into the trap described. I can tell you I did, have repeatedly met such people, read or heard about them and this trap. I know students who have been told to put in more effort, sit longer and those that have told they are trying too hard. It is very easy to meet such students. The Buddha’s lute metaphor that Jundo uses demonstrates that this is an old phenomenon.

That said, I have NOW found it beneficial to do long night zazen periods during retreats and extend the number and duration of my home zazen. This would not have been beneficial and was harmful earlier. It may be harmful again.

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Re: Not Long or Short, Not A Matter of Time

Post by jundocohen » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:47 am

Sorry, I will try to say it simple and direct ...

Zazen is not a matter of time, so we sit for a certain time each day putting aside all thought of time.

There is nothing to achieve in Zazen, nothing in the universe in need of repair. So, we sit each day because realizing this "nothing to achieve, nothing in need of repair" to the marrow is a great achievement and repair! Then, getting up from the cushion, we grab our tools and fix what we can, because so much about this world is in need of repair. There is nothing in need of repair in the least, but so many things in need of repair ... so we repair without repairing.

A beginner on her first day and a master Zennist with many years experience are just the same, all Buddha. Thus, no masters are made, and the beginner never becomes anything she was not all along. However, the master is probably more aware of her Buddhaness and more masterful in living accordingly. The beginner, though just the same as the master and just Buddha, is probably ignorant of that fact and less able to live accordingly.

In Shikantaza, we sit radically as this Original Buddha, nothing to attain, nothing in need of fixing. The Sitting of Zazen itself is Total Fruition, no other act to do, no other place to be or where one can be. Thus, one attains Total Fruition that is "not attaining," Buddha sitting Buddha, and our inner desires and Dukkha based on "I need to fix life" are fixed as one realizes that aspect of life "never in need of fixing." Then, getting up from the cushion, we return to a world of things to do, places to go, problems in desperate need of repair ... but with this "no thing to do, no place to go, nothing in need of fixing" felt in the bones. In this way of living life, we learn to do without doing, go without going, fix what cannot be fixed. That is mastery attained. We also learn to birth without birthing, die without dying!

Thus, Zazen is not a matter of time, so we sit a certain time each day.

Very simple.

Gassho, J

PS - All of life is Zazen, walking sitting standing running or standing on one's head. Yet, I sit on the cushion each day for the stillness of silent sitting lets me better know this fact. (Up is down too, and no place to fall, so no problem to stand on one's head, but less chance to topple over in the Lotus!) While there is stillness in moving, it is sometimes hard to know while always moving moving, running chasing in this hectic life. So, I sit still then get up and move. In doing so, moving running chasing is just stillness. This hectic life is silence itself.
Last edited by jundocohen on Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:28 am, edited 1 time 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: Not Long or Short, Not A Matter of Time

Post by boda » Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:16 am

Caodemarte wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:50 am
bodhi wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:43 pm
...
Do I believe that the practice of zazen is generally beneficial? Of course I do. If you and some of the others were halfway honest you would say so too. Is it guaranteed to be beneficial? Hmm, let me think about that for a fraction of a second. NO, of course there's no guarantee, LOL. Zazen is not a commercial product that comes with a warranty or whatever....,he may not be claiming that the rest of the effort in zazen is wasted, so it's not black & white or all or nothing. It doesn't matter if he is claiming that because we know that zazen has value regardless of 'tasting timelessness'....
Jundo is in error primarily because his argument is based on a fallacy. There are no students who resemble the strawmen he constructs in the first paragraph of the OP. Even if there were such students, how would he know them?...
I am confused by this. You seem to agree with what Jundo wrote (please re-read the OP) while condemning it AND believe there are no students who fall into the trap described. I can tell you I did, have repeatedly met such people, read or heard about them and this trap. I know students who have been told to put in more effort, sit longer and those that have told they are trying too hard. It is very easy to meet such students. The Buddha’s lute metaphor that Jundo uses demonstrates that this is an old phenomenon.

That said, I have NOW found it beneficial to do long night zazen periods during retreats and extend the number and duration of my home zazen. This would not have been beneficial and was harmful earlier. It may be harmful again.
You treated Zazen like a taxi meter or points to rack up, the more you sat the closer you got to the goal, and had no concept of kensho or an experience of nonduality? Did you know anything about zen at the time?

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Re: Not Long or Short, Not A Matter of Time

Post by Crystal » Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:46 am

.

I'm bemused at the level of what appears to be continuous criticism and ill-will going on in this thread and wondering how I can learn more about Zen in this atmosphere......but maybe it's normal for Zen folks, I really wouldn't know.

:103:



May everyone be well and happy. _/|\_

.
Last edited by Crystal on Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Not Long or Short, Not A Matter of Time

Post by Larry » Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:50 am

:namaste:

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Re: Not Long or Short, Not A Matter of Time

Post by Wayfarer » Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:52 am

Agree. I think Jundo is making a reasonable point, and I don’t see why it has been leapt upon with such vehemence. I am not enjoying the adversarial tone. Let’s see if we can find something constructive to say, otherwise this topic will be declared closed.
The most important thing is not at all important.

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Re: Not Long or Short, Not A Matter of Time

Post by Larry » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:03 am

It all reminds me of an old pop song. It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it.
Last edited by Larry on Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Not Long or Short, Not A Matter of Time

Post by Dan74 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:04 am

Crystal wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:46 am
.

I'm bemused at the level of what appears to be continuous criticism and ill-will going on in this thread and wondering how I can learn more about Zen in this atmosphere......but maybe it's normal for Zen folks, I really wouldn't know.

:103:



May everyone be well and happy. _/|\_

.
'The level' as far as I can tell, is confined to one member, Crystal, so hardly 'normal for Zen folks'. Why do you jump to these conclusions? But really, metadiscussion derails the topic, so lets resist the urge.

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Re: Not Long or Short, Not A Matter of Time

Post by jundocohen » Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:33 am

Time(s) and Timeless, for Zen folks (and Zen folkless) is/are not measured-nor-not-measured in just one way, direction or directionless.

So who is arguing with whom about what?

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: Not Long or Short, Not A Matter of Time

Post by Crystal » Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:34 am

Dan74 wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:04 am
Crystal wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:46 am
.

I'm bemused at the level of what appears to be continuous criticism and ill-will going on in this thread and wondering how I can learn more about Zen in this atmosphere......but maybe it's normal for Zen folks, I really wouldn't know.

:103:



May everyone be well and happy. _/|\_

.
'The level' as far as I can tell, is confined to one member, Crystal, so hardly 'normal for Zen folks'. Why do you jump to these conclusions? But really, metadiscussion derails the topic, so lets resist the urge.

I was trying not to name that particular member - and definately not intending to be rude to Zen people in general because I don't even know any in my everyday life. So maybe also "lets resist the urge" to pick on me, Dan, and allow me to respond to your comments ?

I came to this forum with friendship and an open mind . Before you took over here, I even offered to create a forum on my own website if Zen practitioners had nowhere else to go.

Anyway, time to get on with a very cold snowy day. Sincere apologies for going off topic, Jundo, and hoping you continue to recover well from your cancer operation.


. :namaste:

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Re: Not Long or Short, Not A Matter of Time

Post by Caodemarte » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:49 pm

bodhi wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:16 am
.....
You treated Zazen like a taxi meter or points to rack up, the more you sat the closer you got to the goal....? Did you know anything about zen at the time?
Despite knowing better, yes, at least unconsciously. As in your earlier posts I was acting as if more is always better, harder is always better. Just chasing my own tail faster and faster. I had years of study. I do see other people with even more training than I falling into the same trap. I still observe myself doing it and falling into other traps. I fall over my feet (who else can trip me so effectively?).

As even the historical Buddha described his own fall into “over practice” (the path of austerities) and Zen teachers have warned their monk and lay disciples for centuries I will have good company at least. So sometimes hard practice is useful; sometimes not. The lute string can be over tightened or too loose.

“On the one hand striving to attain something, and on the other hand trying to convince myself that I’m okay when I’m not – both are symptoms of the same dis-ease. The self, through its own will power, striving to attain some enlightened state is like being dehydrated – and then deciding to run around the block a few times. That will only make it worse. Trying to convince yourself that you’re okay when you’re not is like overeating to the point of nausea – and then deciding to wash it down with a banana split. Both are wrong effort. Seeing this much, let them both go, now and for good. Not because I say so, but because you see it through your own practice and experience” (Rinzai teacher Jeff Shore, THE CONSTANT PRACTICE OF RIGHT EFFORT, https://beingwithoutself.files.wordpres ... ctures.pdf)

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Re: Not Long or Short, Not A Matter of Time

Post by boda » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:07 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:49 pm
bodhi wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:16 am
You treated Zazen like a taxi meter or points to rack up, the more you sat the closer you got to the goal? Did you know anything about zen at the time?
Despite knowing better, yes...
Then your situation was different than what Jundo describes in the first paragraph of th OP. They don’t know better and supposedly “believe” that TMZ (taxi meter zazen) is correct.

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Re: Not Long or Short, Not A Matter of Time

Post by boda » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:36 pm

Crystal wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:46 am
.

I'm bemused at the level of what appears to be continuous criticism and ill-will going on in this thread and wondering how I can learn more about Zen in this atmosphere......but maybe it's normal for Zen folks, I really wouldn't know.
The criticism and perceived ill will actually comprise a minor portion of the topic. Perhaps it stands out in your mind for some reason. Anyway, Zen folk are normal people and normal people have disagreements from time to time. It won’t be the end of the world or whatever.

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