jundocohen wrote: ↑
Thu May 31, 2018 1:07 pm
Human beings these days need to learn to drop their desire and dissatisfaction into the Wholeness and Completion of Just Sitting. People do not know how to stop chasing, wishing to attain, needing to change and, unfortunately, many of our goal oriented Buddhist practices feed right into the dis-Ease.
In these times, in "modern" countries -- and, for a long time! -- there has been an atmosphere of Scientific Materialism as a primary background of all experience, I think even eclipsing the primary hold on people that traditional Western religions once exercised.
Shall I say(?) ...that people are "trained" by this scientific emphasis "to test", "to experiment", "to confirm", "to dis-confirm", which are all ACTIVE pursuits, active participations, active investigations. All this testing and inquiring rules-out "just-" anything, most of all "just-sitting" (as some people call it).
What I'm getting-at, Jundo, is that it's not "PEOPLE"
. It's not "people" who have these inabilities which you claim (and I agree, with reservations) disable them by default from settling-down into original nature, and original wonderful Mind. It's not PEOPLE!: It's training, and habituated training, and it's the ethos
of current culture. "PEOPLE" are largely innocent, and are 'merely' victimized.
Let's cut "PEOPLE" a break. And ourselves.
We're cooked in a stew of Materialistic Science. And so many of our reflex actions and responses are simmered-into and arise from that same stew. These conditioned actions and responses come with the hot meal. No extra charge. So let's cut "PEOPLE" a break.
The question (and compassionate action) then becomes: how to help PEOPLE effectively ignore their prior training? Well, it's impossible (just accept that for a moment... ).
Thus, "one" may compassionately offer an antidote to the cultural and personal poisoning (it's not necessarily
shikantaza! Stay with me, please).
I think that all schools of Zen Buddhist practice do this "offering of antidotes", skillfully and expediently. And the antidotes are tried-and-true, and have been continuously updated and tweaked by nimble, compassionate geniuses who have been and who are lineage-holders. You're doing this too, in our time, using even high-tech tools and media (hats off; Glad to see).
Here's where we differ slightly, I'd say (you may see it distinctly differently): I believe (...I've seen it operate this way successfully) that people, as practitioners, or practitioner-wannabees, can be given methods that will, on sincere adoption and practicing, produce an opening. THEN, people can sit shikantaza (they'll have no choice, at first, while awakening lasts, actually). Having "once" done that, and experienced shikantaza, faith in shikantaza will be unshakeable (even if easy and ready access to it becomes more unsteady, as awakening fades). But they may also see that shikantaza is the nourishment and maintenance that enables the healthy state of awakening to persist. Contact with one's teacher will of course help in this and all other phases.
I agree with some people here and elsewhere who claim baldly or boldly that newcomers "cannot 'do' shikantaza". Well, maybe some Soto teachers agree, there, and offer students some practices involving the breathing, at first.
Maybe newcomer students who are like the proverbial and noble "horses who bolt even at the mere shadow
of the whip" are the ones prepared or primed to take up or take-on shikantaza as an initial practice. For the others, teachers may make other suggestions (leading up, or down, eventually to shikantaza
Wisdom and Compassion will win-out. Shikantaza is fine. Other methods, which are more "methods" and not results, have a good track-record. Dogen used one such, or several, to lead to his "body and mind fallen away" condition with his teacher Rujing, in China.
I would hope that the way of Soto Zen is a widely Compassionate and Wise way, and not narrow. That is, I would hope that it has not fallen-into and will not devolve in the West into "mere Dogen-ism". Doggone!, I think it's better than that.
These are my considered views, formed over decades. Subject to change.
There may be more to discuss here, but I've expressed what I've wanted and needed to, as exposition.
Apologies!, the longish post. But if you've followed this, you know my true heart.
Continued copious Blessings,