Zazen Is Good For Nothing

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jundocohen
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Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by jundocohen » Sat Jun 09, 2018 3:49 am

A wonderful short talk by the great Shohaku Okumura Roshi explaining why "Zazen Is Good For Nothing," amid our lives as the Great Function of all things ...



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: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by fuki » Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:10 am

Thanks for sharing, lovely humurous being.

About that "conflict" ppl often experience some kind of cognitive dissonance between "no-goal" yet ofcourse the Zen "goal" of uncovering one's original nature. The "no-goal" applies to the false desires, in other words the person or ego construct behind the desire wanting to become more happier or more "enlightened" etcetera which is based on mistaking identity, so practise then will likely only enhance the virus (of self-identification)

Yet the spontaneous desire for "awakening" or "truth" which manifests usually at a very young age is what I call simply "the heart calling us home" It's beyond the reason seeking mind. So only the false must be seen and "given up" Usually at the start of practise this cognitive dissonance is there until we realize there is no such person inside which sees an outside world. There is only (the nature of) perception, and no mind for practise. What's Alive in each of us (a worm or my mother) is the same and deathless. Does not mean there is no more practise or desire, but no more false desires. Anyways what's given up has no meaning, we must see what's still left which can be given up. Practise is "good" for that, for who? No one in particular yet for the totality of manifestation/functioning. So good for nothing and everything simultaniously.

ps Zazen is good for Viktor(y) :lol:
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Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by Meido » Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:05 am

I think this seeming conflict of goal vs. non-goal to be the biggest red herring in online Zen discussion. More time is wasted on it than anything.

Of course one practices in a manner permeated by deep aspiration and lofty goal: the Four Vows are the foundation and ultimate teaching of Zen. It is a fault to practice with lesser aspiration than this, lackadaisically, in a stale manner.

Of course when one sits down to practice, one does so with great ease and completeness, arising from profound faith that what we call "Buddha" is indeed intrinsically present as one's own original face. One does not then think upon any goal at all, because one's entire body-mind are thrown entirely into just whatever practice has been given, with no room for a mind that fixates upon attaining anything. It is a fault to practice with less than one's whole existence and commitment.

With this balance, and a lot of practice, one can arrive eventually at a place where "practice" and "non-practice" no longer make sense. There is nothing that is not encompassed within one's effortless practice, and nothing met that is not one's own original face.

But this balance of profound, noble aspiration and a whole body-mind practice that itself confirms one's aspiration with no need to seek anything further, is no special teaching. It's just the mainstream understanding in all Zen schools. Of course one aspect or the other may sometimes need to be stressed if some fixation arises. But neither is meant to be set up as a view or approach, as against the other.

~ Meido
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: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by fuki » Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:12 am

Meido wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:05 am
I think this seeming conflict of goal vs. non-goal to be the biggest red herring in online Zen discussion. More time is wasted on it than anything.
As an argument (right vs wrong philosophical assertions) it is a waste of time. But many ppl are confused by their own internal narrative (perhaps mainly those who never shared a practise formally) So not all a waste of time if what it said (by you for instance) serves as a way for ppl to give it a rest or realizes it's only a construct of mind or an ego-manifestation.

ps I think "no-self" is the biggest red herring.

Then again "beyond words and letters" is another to disguise the same cognitive dissonance.
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Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by Meido » Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:48 am

fuki wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:12 am
As an argument (right vs wrong philosophical assertions) it is a waste of time. But many ppl are confused by their own internal narrative (perhaps mainly those who never shared a practise formally) So not all a waste of time if what it said (by you for instance) serves as a way for ppl to give it a rest or realizes it's only a construct of mind or an ego-manifestation.

ps I think "no-self" is the biggest red herring.

Then again "beyond words and letters" is another to disguise the same cognitive dissonance.
Yes, as medicine it's all good, if administered correctly for one's situation...not taken up according to one's preferences. No-self also is like this. Don't take without a prescription!

Experiential understanding is the beginning of the cure.

"Not dependent upon (or not setting up) words and letters" points out that experiential understanding is something primarily realized in relationship with one's teacher, heart to heart, rather than from study of texts that describe someone else's experience.

~ Meido
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
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Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by Dan74 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:09 pm

Meido wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:05 am
I think this seeming conflict of goal vs. non-goal to be the biggest red herring in online Zen discussion. More time is wasted on it than anything.

Of course one practices in a manner permeated by deep aspiration and lofty goal: the Four Vows are the foundation and ultimate teaching of Zen. It is a fault to practice with lesser aspiration than this, lackadaisically, in a stale manner.

Of course when one sits down to practice, one does so with great ease and completeness, arising from profound faith that what we call "Buddha" is indeed intrinsically present as one's own original face. One does not then think upon any goal at all, because one's entire body-mind are thrown entirely into just whatever practice has been given, with no room for a mind that fixates upon attaining anything. It is a fault to practice with less than one's whole existence and commitment.

With this balance, and a lot of practice, one can arrive eventually at a place where "practice" and "non-practice" no longer make sense. There is nothing that is not encompassed within one's effortless practice, and nothing met that is not one's own original face.

But this balance of profound, noble aspiration and a whole body-mind practice that itself confirms one's aspiration with no need to seek anything further, is no special teaching. It's just the mainstream understanding in all Zen schools. Of course one aspect or the other may sometimes need to be stressed if some fixation arises. But neither is meant to be set up as a view or approach, as against the other.

~ Meido
Thank you for this, Meido. :bow2: :bow2: :bow2:


As guidance, this of course makes total sense, but in practice, it doesn't always work so well, in my experience. Two issues that I've had over the years have been

1. maintaining attentive focus, whether on the breath, general awareness or a koan/hwadu. so the mind kinda spins down into a sleepy mode. once I recall thius happened during an informal retreat I organised with some friends, when I was just feeling content and at ease and sitting seemed to be unnecessary. of course, there is a certain superficiality and laziness (lack of Great Doubt) and I guess I know some practices to deal with that, but maybe you'd like to mention something in this regard?

2. is the Great Faith that truly the Buddha-nature is nowhere else but right here, that "I have it!". This was especially hard the first 6-7 years, then there was a breakthrough of sorts, and now I basically know it and spontaneous recognitions arise from time to time, but also old patterns sometimes arise that are completely opposite. Somehow they didn't get the memo.


So as much as fundamental guidance like the above is important, our day-to-day practice is often a far cry from the ideal they embody. Maybe this place is not at all a place to bridge that gulf, but I feel that some indications would be useful. Otherwise the danger is of what I call "aspirational Zen" where we believe we are where we aspire to be and completely miss where we actually are.


_/|\_

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Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by Meido » Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:34 pm

Again, I think this is where relationship with one's teacher is crucial.

As to your first point RE sleepy mode, from my perspective I would stress the embodied physicality of practice. If the breath and body are engaged in a correct and vital manner as instructed, there is an upwelling of energetic vitality, and one's practice is continuously grounded. As for Great Doubt and all that, I would say that this is where some study is important, to remind one RE one's own transience, the preciousness of this human life, and so on. We have to face the fact that if we are practicing correctly but still there is a lack of fruition, it is likely due to insufficient aspiration and motivation. In this regard Torei advises that we constantly recite and mull over the four vows, so that they eventually permeate our minds like the smell of incense permeates clothing; and also, that we contemplate the endless beings in all the various realms, and the manner in which they are suffering right now.

As to your second point, great faith in the beginning is taken on, well, faith: in the Buddha and patriarchs (that they did not deceive us), in one's teacher and lineage, in whatever urge brought one to encounter and enter the path. Later with the arising of experiential knowledge, as you experienced, a real faith can begin to grow...one has seen the ox, so to speak, and the stories are true. From then on, faith deepens as the clarity of practice deepens; faith and one's experience mirror one another.

It's true that practice is often experienced as a series of failures :) Aspirational Zen with correctly directed and sufficient effort is fine; it will succeed. Aspirational Zen marked by self-delusion, taken up as another view, identity, hat to wear, or other possession to bolster one's self-clinging, will not succeed. A good guide, with both kind word of guidance and stick in hand, is rather helpful in this regard.

~ Meido
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: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by Great Sage EofH » Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:49 pm

My working theory (unofficial) is that no-goal-ness is none other than a dissociative condition which in Zen is cultivated methodically and liberates the mind from narrow constraints- at lest I hope so
"We are magical animals that roam" ~~ Roam

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Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by jundocohen » Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:57 pm

Meido wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:05 am
I think this seeming conflict of goal vs. non-goal to be the biggest red herring in online Zen discussion. More time is wasted on it than anything.

Of course one practices in a manner permeated by deep aspiration and lofty goal: the Four Vows are the foundation and ultimate teaching of Zen. It is a fault to practice with lesser aspiration than this, lackadaisically, in a stale manner.

Of course when one sits down to practice, one does so with great ease and completeness, arising from profound faith that what we call "Buddha" is indeed intrinsically present as one's own original face. One does not then think upon any goal at all, because one's entire body-mind are thrown entirely into just whatever practice has been given, with no room for a mind that fixates upon attaining anything. It is a fault to practice with less than one's whole existence and commitment.

With this balance, and a lot of practice, one can arrive eventually at a place where "practice" and "non-practice" no longer make sense. There is nothing that is not encompassed within one's effortless practice, and nothing met that is not one's own original face.

But this balance of profound, noble aspiration and a whole body-mind practice that itself confirms one's aspiration with no need to seek anything further, is no special teaching. It's just the mainstream understanding in all Zen schools. Of course one aspect or the other may sometimes need to be stressed if some fixation arises. But neither is meant to be set up as a view or approach, as against the other.

~ Meido
Hi Meido,

I might agree in principle, and yet ... I could point to what seems like clearly goal oriented language and emphasis in your own book and some of your other writings, much more than in true "Sitting is the fulfillment of Sitting" Shikantaza. I could say as much for many of the descriptions in the ongoing "Zazen experience" thread. There seems to be language and focus in both which is much more goal and attainment oriented than in true "Zazen Is Good For Nothing" Just Sitting. Even a sentence such as this which you wrote above in this thread has that subtle scent ...

We have to face the fact that if we are practicing correctly but still there is a lack of fruition, it is likely due to insufficient aspiration and motivation.

Of course, Shikantaza is not lacadaisical sitting, but is instead vibrant sitting in which there is absolutely nothing needed to attain, goose eggs, nada, zilch needed in the whole universe.

I could be wrong, but that is my impression. If you want, I will pull up examples. They are plentiful, I feel. One can think that one is engaged in a true goalless practice, but subtly that difference is a wide as that between heaven and earth.

Gassho, Jundo

PS - I will also add some citations to the likes of "Three Pillars of Zen" and writings of Robert Buswell and others to make my point as well.
Last edited by jundocohen on Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:59 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by desert_woodworker » Sat Jun 09, 2018 5:41 pm

Meido,

As far as the size of herring go (red or not), I'll note that Atlantic Herring usually grow only to about 18 inch length, and weigh about a pound and a half. Sleek and slender and fast-running fish, among the world's several sub-species... .
Meido wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:05 am
With this balance, and a lot of practice, one can arrive eventually at a place where "practice" and "non-practice" no longer make sense. There is nothing that is not encompassed within one's effortless practice, and nothing met that is not one's own original face.
Meido, I agree with this, and I think it is probably the most important point and recognition that's capable of defusing needless argumentation over the perceived "propriety" of proceeding with directed goals, or being "goal-less".

There is a personal history of each practitioner's practice career, and its motivations. And as you write above, "one can arrive eventually at a place where 'practice' and 'non-practice' no longer make sense". A potent line! It's that falling-to-the-ground, or perfect dissolution into nothingness of aspiration and goal when everything falls away for some time, leaving no room -- and no need -- for anything to enter or to be entertained.

The visitation of even a finite-lived openness and change can and does result in lasting experiential-faith. I.e., faith in Buddha; faith in Dharma; faith in Sangha. And, just as particularly, it can and does result in (experientially-backed) faith in our Methods (ways of our lineage); (experientially-backed) faith in the Teacher; and (experientially-backed) faith in ourselves to practice, more especially as practice has by then become as natural as the necessity of breathing, eating of food, and drinking of water.

This, anyway, is my experiential testimony, and so I can agree with what you have written (here, and in your book). I thank you for both!

I'd like to say, too, that I agree that physical practice(s) is a need along with zazen practice, and is a major source of energy and versatility in keeping things "fresh" and proceeding along healthy lines. I had a teacher who stressed this among his monastic and lay students, and I am continuously grateful to him for this: it could have been otherwise! Of course, at the time, we could not see that it was a "stressing": it was just a part of the seamless whole that we inherited from him, given in pure Compassion and Wisdom.

--Joe

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Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by jundocohen » Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:40 am

I would add that such comments about all Zazen practices being equally "no goal" at some point often confuse pouring oneself into an action hoping for some insight or experience (even if one then gives up that hope at a certain point) with simply sitting in the total lack of need for some insight or experience or all necessity for hope about anything at all besides just sitting.

I think this is shown by the many comments on the "Experience of Zazen" thread that seem to emphasize reaching various depths of samadhi or "getting close to the "fundamental question" of existence " and the like. Or, "A state can come along, when each issue can be identified and dissolved with each breath cycle." I do not criticize such practices and, quite the contrary, I celebrate and honor those who find their path their. It is just that Shikantaza, true radical "Just Sitting," seems worlds apart.

For one example (and I wonder how many people can answer this question affirmately about their way of sitting, I would like to hear from each of you): In most forms of Zazen or meditation, there is good and bad, successful and not successful sitting. In Shikantaza, it is impossible by definition to have any bad or unsuccessful sitting. Simply sitting is, ipso facto, success. Good or bad, successful or unsuccessful judgments are washed away in automatic "Good Sitting which is Successful Just By Sitting" (one possible way to translate the meaning of the word "Shikantaza" right there). Even angry, confused, cloudy, wallowing in emotions sitting is "good, successful sitting." However, the catch is that when one truly lets each and every sitting be itself, good and successful just by being itself, there is thus something transcendent of anger, confusion, cloudiness and wallowing simply by letting "anger, confusion, clouds and wallowing" (and all conditions of life) just be "anger, confusion, clouds and wallowing" (and all conditions of life as they are). As strange as it sounds, one is thus "free" of anger, confusion, clouds and wallowing even in the continued presence (or absence) of anger, confusion, clouds and wallowing. So long as one is sitting, this is the universe in fruition.

Of course, such total acceptance might clear the "anger, confusion, clouds and wallowing," but it need not do so at all, and might just allow one to accept and see through the "anger, confusion, clouds and wallowing" even as the human mind continues to experience wild and raging "anger, confusion, clouds and wallowing." The result is that (in a 'form is emptiness'/'blue sky is just precisely the rain clouds' way of experiencing both ways at once) "anger, confusion, clouds and wallowing" is both there and not there at once. It is a subtle difference in the handling of "anger, confusion, clouds and wallowing" by radically not trying to take any action whatsoever to handle it ... a bit like solving the problem by totally ignoring the problem thus rendering the problem not problematic, or like living with "terrorists" of the mind who no longer constitute "terrorists" when we just do not react and ignore their acts of "terrorism" (thus allowing them to do their thing, blow up buildings and toss bombs, no more rejected than a table in the room where we sit or rain on the eaves or reflections in the mirror. The "terrorism" is ended when we respond with equanimity not terror, and the terrorists lose their power.) As I mentioned on the other thread, one might experience "anger, confusion, clouds and wallowing" as what is written on the paper, painted on the canvas, in that moment of life. Absolutely nothing is needed or sought besides sitting, which is complete however and whatever it is.

viewtopic.php?p=6602#p6602

Does your sitting include sitting so whole in sitting that one is not seeking (radically not seeking) to change a thing even anger, confusion, clouds and wallowing ... thus to be free of anger, confusion, clouds and wallowing even if in the presence of raging anger, confusion, clouds and wallowing? Is your way of sitting doing radically, to-the-marrow nothing ... and making no judgments whatsoever about ... "anger, confusion, clouds and wallowing" thus to be free even in the continued presence of "anger, confusion, clouds and wallowing" ... free even while bound, lotus in the mud, letting the storm rage without resistance, "what dust with no where to alight on the mirrorless mirror," in this world yet boundless, nothing more required besides crossing the legs (or if with physical or health restriction, reclining or writhing in pain on the ground)?

I would like to hear from folks.

Gassho, J

PS - And if someone thinks I wrote that we should just twiddle our thumbs or bath in an orgy of "anger, confusion, clouds and wallowing" then they also do not understand Shikantaza.
Last edited by jundocohen on Sun Jun 10, 2018 3:31 am, edited 31 times in total.
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Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by desert_woodworker » Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:55 am

These are good questions, and good statements.

On sesshin, I practice in appreciation of the company of the others I am with. Rubbing elbows, shoulders, knees, Mind: what is or could be more of the essence?

Some say sesshin is "a model of life". At first, it can also be a school of hard-knocks which hands you over squarely into the rough and tender hands of life, as in a rebirth, or very certain birthing.

Maybe life is good for nothing; if so, then so is zazen, at least for this denizen.

Hats off!, to the compassionate geniuses in all our lineages, and to the people who show up in their sanghas.

--Joe

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Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by Caodemarte » Sun Jun 10, 2018 3:47 am

jundocohen wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:57 pm
....
I could point to what seems like clearly goal oriented language and emphasis in your own book and some of your other writings...
I am sure we could pick quotes from whatever individual or tradition we like to demonstrate any point. Surely it is better to try to understand the whole in context!

Returning to the topic and letting the red herring swim free, this excerpt from a Rinzai teacher’s talk during a Rinzai retreat seems very relevant here:

...Do you see how striving to attain something, within or without, is itself prolonging the dis-ease? You may do it quickly or slowly, poorly or well, but after all it is a fruitless and futile effort, like chasing your own tail...To put it bluntly, trying to get somewhere other than where you are, trying to realize something or attain some state of mind, is part and parcel of the dis-ease that self is.
As you come to clearly see this through your own experience, to taste it, you can let go of wrong effort once and for all. Then your practice can naturally develop right effort untainted by self. Not that you cease to do anything! But you cease the frustrating and pointless practice of wrong effort, you stop chasing your own tail....
Striving to get somewhere, to attain something, is wrong effort. Is it any better, however, to try and persuade myself that I’m okay as I am, that I don’t need to do anything – after all, all beings have the Buddha nature, right? I trust you can already see what a deceptive and fruitless dead end this is. To put it bluntly, the self that is not at ease is trying to convince itself that it is. It doesn’t work...
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..
..https://beingwithoutself.files.wordpres ... ctures.pdf

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Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by fuki » Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:56 pm

jundocohen wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:40 am

Does your sitting include sitting so whole in sitting that one is not seeking (radically not seeking) to change a thing even anger, confusion, clouds and wallowing ... thus to be free of anger, confusion, clouds and wallowing even if in the presence of raging anger, confusion, clouds and wallowing? Is your way of sitting doing radically, to-the-marrow nothing ... and making no judgments whatsoever about ... "anger, confusion, clouds and wallowing" thus to be free even in the continued presence of "anger, confusion, clouds and wallowing" ... free even while bound, lotus in the mud, letting the storm rage without resistance, "what dust with no where to alight on the mirrorless mirror," in this world yet boundless, nothing more required besides crossing the legs (or if with physical or health restriction, reclining or writhing in pain on the ground)?

I would like to hear from folks.
Sure to seek is to (eventually) become, I have no interest in becoming anything in particular.
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen.
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Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by jundocohen » Sun Jun 10, 2018 2:25 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 3:47 am
[
Returning to the topic and letting the red herring swim free, this excerpt from a Rinzai teacher’s talk on right effort during a Rinzai retreat seems very relevant here:
Hi Caodemarte,

Thank you for this quote which makes it very easy to explain the difference, and the sameness, of these various beautiful approaches. Nothing I say in the following is meant to hold one above the other. In the quote you provide from Jeff Shore, and as others make clear here, "Striving to get somewhere, to attain something, is wrong effort." I have no doubt that there is a goalless aspect to many forms of practice. (Jeff then goes on to say that the practitioner must not rest complacent in his/her ignorant self, which we all agree upon too). However, the question is what happens then, from that goalless place, and I believe that there are basically two forms of response: (1) Pushing forward nonetheless toward Kensho and other goals of realization, with various degrees of intensity and focus on reaching that (as seen in the quotes below), and (2) the "radical stopping" of Shikantaza.

As examples of (1), some seem as if they call for a harder push than others. One hard approach seems to be found in this description by one of the founders of the mixed Soto-Rinzai-Sambokyodan line, Hakuun Yasutani Roshi on the "red hot iron ball" and "don't stop ... until MU breaks open and the whole universe has totally collapsed":

https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=VUA ... ll&f=false

Meido has sections of his book which seem to speak of an effort for realization, such as the following section on "kiai":
Nothing short of complete unwavering commitment and courage will suffice when it comes to the actual work of dissolving our own ancient, deeply embedded ignorance. ... The path of Zen is not a hesitant, timid thing suited to the fainthearted. It requires that we develop a kind of ferocious energy and joyful self-abandonment, not unlike that of a warrior making a final, courageous charge against overwhelming odds.
https://books.google.co.jp/books?redir_ ... ge&f=false
These are powerful, wonderful approaches. So is the radical stopping, allowing, resting in flowing wholeness, "as what is"-ness of Shikantaza. Both are wonderful paths, and we do not put one as better than the other, each suited to different people.

There are dangers and potential criticisms of both: The search may turn into another form of spiritual materialism and hunger. The power of Kensho to work a change on the personality can be overstated (many a "realized" Zen Master has proven to have feet of clay, as the recent cases of Shimano and Sasaki show). I recently read a memoir of the F.A.S. society, and I can only describe this poor man's decades long push for Kensho Kensho Kensho as a kind of disease which led him not to be present along the way:

https://books.google.co.jp/books?redir_ ... at&f=false

On the other hand, "radical stopping" can be mistaken for complacency, "dead sitting," allowing oneself to wallow. As Jeff Shore rightly states, "Is it any better, however, to try and persuade myself that I’m okay as I am, that I don’t need to do anything – after all, all beings have the Buddha nature, right? I trust you can already see what a deceptive and fruitless dead end this is. To put it bluntly, the self that is not at ease is trying to convince itself that it is. It doesn’t work."

So, this is no "red herring." It is a true difference in approaches between two wonderful directions. No, not all responses to "non-goalless" practice are the same.

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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jundocohen
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Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by jundocohen » Sun Jun 10, 2018 2:54 pm

PS - One additional point on my "Just Sitting with anger, confusion, clouds and wallowing" post above ...

We sit with nothing to fix. However, that does not mean that there are not aspects about ourself to fix in this Practice. So, for example, I sit accepting all things including that maybe, in some moment, I might feel a bit angry or jealous about something. For the time I am sitting, that is "just what is" and I accept. By accepting it, hopefully the anger and jealousy become just passing mental scenery and lose their fire. Even if not, I know that they are still just passing states on the blank canvas. However, when I get up from the cushion, that does not mean that it is okay as Buddhists for us to keep being angry and jealous! That is not the meaning of "letting it be" during Zazen. After Zazen, we must do what we can to not be angry and jealous. In fact, anger and jealousy are poisons that prevent us from truly tasting the fruits of this Path. So, for that reason, there is a "nothing to fix" aspect of this practice, and a "stuff we should fix" aspect of this practice which both exist at the same time. (I hope that is kind of clear).
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: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by fuki » Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:22 pm

Meido wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:48 am
Yes, as medicine it's all good, if administered correctly for one's situation...not taken up according to one's preferences. No-self also is like this. Don't take without a prescription!

Experiential understanding is the beginning of the cure.
I do agree, yet I did started my own diagnosis and prescription around 6 years before having access to the internet, where I self-prescribed some more medicine/poison. There are many who started practise on their own, and eventhough I would never advice someone to self-diagnose without seeing a "doctor" one can also not always prevent it. "Worst" thing in my case was spiritual bypassing but I'd say things turned out well. And ps sometimes life just gives the prescription when you least expect it or even looking for medicine/knowing your sick/deluded, every few years or so the medicine presents itself, whether in human form (a friend on the way) or not.
So saying I started my own diagnosis isn't even correct.

Failing is a part of it, such a grace to fall, to fail completely! :)
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen.
https://meldpuntbg.nl/

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

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daibunny
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Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by daibunny » Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:51 pm

jundocohen wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 3:49 am
A wonderful short talk by the great Shohaku Okumura Roshi explaining why "Zazen Is Good For Nothing," amid our lives as the Great Function of all things ...



Gassho, J
Thank you :bow2:
Thats the whole thing right there, nothing left to say or do, last one out please turn off the lights.
Beautiful.
The bridge is flowing, not the water.

~Shenxiu

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desert_woodworker
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Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by desert_woodworker » Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:28 pm

Mom used to say, in giving us kids healthy foods at home, and in encouraging us to eat them, "It's good for what ails you, and if nothing ails you, it's good for you anyway".

I think the same is true of... zazen, commentary by people already-awakened notwithstanding! (but bless their butts; Zen Mind, Zen Behind... ).

--Joe

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boda
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Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by boda » Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:56 pm

Is it Sacrilegious to point out the obvious fact that zazen is good for something, and that’s why people do it? :lol:

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