Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Moderator: Spiritual Do-gooder

User avatar
clyde
Posts: 138
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 3:08 am
Location: Sacramento, CA
Contact:

Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by clyde » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:09 am

Jundo; I read your posts in the most positive way possible and I read Meido’s posts and his book in the same way. And I try to apply that attitude to how I read Joe’s posts and all the posts here.

That still leaves ample opportunity for discussion and exploration of experiences, practices, and views.

For example, given that many of us are not fully enlightened beings and therefore are still subject to the arising of vedana (the feelings of pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral), how does that fit with shikantaza? Can one say that a sit was pleasant or unpleasant (as when one’s body aches)? Does Dogen say anything about this?
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

User avatar
boda
Posts: 528
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:27 am

Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by boda » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:28 am

jundocohen wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:35 am
It does not strike me here that Meido and I are saying anything very different, although perhaps "success" in what he is describing sometimes involves a certain "sweating white beads" intensity that is not particularly emphasized in Shikantaza.
It strikes me that you simply have lower standards in this aspect, or rather, you focus more on religiosity, as evidenced by your preachiness in both quantity and frequency. There’s nothing wrong with that, this is not a criticism. Obviously your way resonates with a particular type of individual.

User avatar
fuki
Posts: 1404
Joined: Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:02 am
Location: Zandvoort, The Netherlands

Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by fuki » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:06 am

clyde wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:09 am

For example, given that many of us are not fully enlightened beings and therefore are still subject to the arising of vedana (the feelings of pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral),
"Enlightened beings" still experience feelings, difference is they're not "attached" to them" i.e. they dont inject a "self" into experience/feelings/perception etc
how does that fit with shikantaza? Can one say that a sit was pleasant or unpleasant (as when one’s body aches)?
I experience pleasant things often, I fully enjoy them much deeper then anyone who might conceptualize the feeling and claims own being to feelings/experiences. Why wouldn't you be able to say that or not? (if that is what one feels) If not "attached" you wont store/tape the feeling/experience as "you", so whatever experoence then does not become a source of grasping or avoiding. The pleasant/unpleasant feeling is not projected into the future as in "I will sit to get that feeling again" or "I fear to experience something unpleasant again" Shikantaza is then not associated with personal grasping and avoiding of the central character called "me"

My opinion ofcourse, not the law.

But even if it is, there's no rule or law or religious conditioning/manipulation which can tell you if you can say or experience things as pleasant or not. If one does not categorize or is "unattached" to arising feelings then that is a result of practise, not because one tells himself to feel or not feel, say or not say as that would be intellectual effort based (and emotional manipulation) on hearsay of "the enlightened"Then what is taught is contraction not true "transmission"

Eating a cookie with coffee now, very enjoyable and pleasant. :P
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen.
https://meldpuntbg.nl/

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

User avatar
jundocohen
Posts: 595
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:30 pm

Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by jundocohen » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:21 am

clyde wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:09 am
Jundo; I read your posts in the most positive way possible and I read Meido’s posts and his book in the same way. And I try to apply that attitude to how I read Joe’s posts and all the posts here.

That still leaves ample opportunity for discussion and exploration of experiences, practices, and views.

For example, given that many of us are not fully enlightened beings and therefore are still subject to the arising of vedana (the feelings of pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral), how does that fit with shikantaza? Can one say that a sit was pleasant or unpleasant (as when one’s body aches)? Does Dogen say anything about this?
Hi Clyde,

I also try to read everyone's posts and observations with positive feelings, and I know everyone is only trying to be helpful. I am too. I celebrate everyone's paths and practices for their individual power and beauty. Different roads for different walkers.

As to pleasant and unpleasant, and bodily pain guidance from Dogen, there are a few things besides the basic "Don’t think about good or bad” and "If the least like or dislike arises, the Mind is lost in confusion" instructions in the Fukanzazengi. He had many passages where he described Zazen as pleasant such as as the "the dharma gate of joyful ease." In the Zuimonki, he wrote the following somewhere in 1235-37. It is not really on point about pain during Zazen, and is more about not letting pain and illness hinder us from constant practice. (Dogen did not have the internet, by the way, so did not have the possibility of telling his lay student to practice at home. At Treeleaf, I have had folks sitting with us in hospital beds, sick beds and hospice beds. We have one fellow right now who must crawl to the toilet, several in wheelchairs, one in a nursing home.) I am sure sickness and pain was always before their eyes in the 13th century, even more than today.
6-8

Dogen instructed,

Students of the Way, you should not postpone beginning to practice the Way. Just do
not spend this day or even this moment in vain. Practice diligently day by day,
moment by moment.

A certain lay person had been sick for a long time. Last spring he promised, “As soon
as I have recovered, I will abandon my wife and children and build a hermitage near
the temple. I will join in the meetings of repentance (fusatsu) held twice a month. I
also want to practice daily and listen to your lectures on the dharma. I would like to
spend as much as possible the rest of my life being in accord with the precepts.”

After that, he received various treatments, and recovered a little bit. But then, he had
a relapse and spent his days in vain. In January of this year, his condition suddenly
became critical, and he suffered increasing pain. Because he hadn’t had enough time
to bring the materials to build the hermitage he had been planning, he rented a room
to stay in temporarily. Within a month or so, however, he passed away. He died
peacefully since he had received the Bodhisattva precepts and had taken refuge in the
Three Treasures the night before his death. So it was better than having stayed at
home, clinging to the bonds of affection for his wife and children dying in madness.
However I think it would have been better for him to have left home last year when
he first made up his mind to do so. He could have lived close to the temple becoming
familiar with the sangha and ended his life practicing the Way. Considering this, I feel
that the practice of the Buddha-Way should not be put off until a later day. It is due to
your lack of bodhi-mind that, you think since you’re sick you can begin to practice
after you have recovered. Whose body doesn’t become sick composed as it is of the
four elements!

The ancient masters did not necessarily have golden bones. They
practiced without concern for anything else only because they thoroughly aspired (to
practice the Way). It is like forgetting petty matters when encountering a great
problem. Since the Buddha-Way is the vital matter, you should resolve to complete it
in this lifetime and not waste even a single day or hour.

An ancient master said, “Do not pass time wastefully.” When you are receiving
some treatment, but instead of getting better the pain gradually increases, you should
practice while the pain is still not too bad. After the pain has become severe, you
should determine to practice before your condition becomes critical. And when your
condition has become critical, you should resolve to practice before you die.
When you are sick, sometimes the illness passes, sometimes it gets worse. Sometimes
it gets better even without any treatment. And, sometimes it gets worse even though
you are being treated. Take this carefully into consideration.

Practitioners of the Way, do not think of practicing after shelter has been assured, and
robes and bowls etc. have been prepared. Although you may be living in dire
poverty, while waiting until robes, bowls, and other equipment have been prepared,
can you prevent death from approaching? If you wait until shelter has been prepared
and robes and bowls are ready, you will have spent your whole lifetime in vain. You
should have the resolution that without robes and bowls, even a lay person can
practice the Buddha-Way. Robes and bowls are simply the ornaments of monkshood.

True practitioners of the Buddha-Way do not depend on such things. If they are
available, let them be with you, but do not deliberately seek after them. On the other
hand, do not think of not owning them when you have them. In the same way, if it is
possible to cure your sickness, it goes against the Buddha’s teachings to try and die
intentionally and not receive treatment. For the sake of the Buddha Way neither hold
your life dear, nor be careless about it. When possible, use moxa or decocted herbal
medicines which do not obstruct your practice of the Way. Anyway, it is a mistake to
put aside your practice of the Way and put primary importance on curing your
sickness, planning to practice only after you have recovered.
Also in 5-9
Dogen instructed,

In learning the Way, you must depart from your ego. Even if you have been able to
study a thousand sutras or ten thousand commentaries, if you do not free yourself
from ego-attachment, you will eventually fall into the hole of demons.

An ancient master said, “If you lack the body and mind of the buddha-dharma, how is
it possible to become a buddha or a patriarch?” To depart from your ego means
throwing your body and mind into the great ocean of the buddha-dharma, and
practicing by following the buddha-dharma no matter how much pain or anxiety you
may have.
https://global.sotozen-net.or.jp/common ... 02-04.html
Modern teachers have had much to say on this question. Shunryu Suzuki to a student:
Student C: Roshi, when you sit zazen and you feel pain in your legs-

Suzuki-roshi: Yeah.

Student C: -do you think we should concentrate on the pain or-or to try and concentrate on something else?

Suzuki-roshi: Anyway, that is every day [laughs], you know-that is, you know, quite natural, and that is a kind of everyday routine, you know. That is not problem, you know. Do you understand? It is same thing you feel hungry, you know. There is no difference.

Student C: Well, when you are hungry you eat, usually.

Suzuki-roshi: You eat. [Laughs, laughter.] But what will happen to you if you eat whenever you will feel hungry? Maybe it is necessary to feel hungry for one hour or so.

Student C: I know. I want to know if you think we should concentrate on the pain [?] or just ignore it.

Suzuki-roshi: Maybe-that is not big problem, you know.

Student C: Sometimes it is. [Laughter.]

Suzuki-roshi: Yeah. Not big problem in comparison to the problem Buddha points out. This is your problem. [Hits table four times in previous sentence.] You know, that is big, big problem. So many people-Zen student and Zen master say: "We must achieve buddhahood," you know, "next life. If it is not possible to do it next life, we will achieve it someday," you know, "after many life." The problem is so big. But pain on your-our legs is small problem. Nothing wrong to have pain in your legs. And, you know-crossing, if it is too painful, you know, there is no need to-if it is almost impossible for you, there is no need to cross your legs.

Student C: I-but-what I-what I was interested in was what did you think you should devote your concentrate to, in terms of on the pain itself or-or away from it?

Suzuki-roshi: No. Away from? No. No. Don't try to be away from it. And don't try to be concentrated on it. [Laughs, laughter.] You know, let it painful. Let it be painful always. [Laughs, laughter.] That is your problem, you may say. I have to practice zazen. If you are painful, you know, that is your-your problem. [Laughs, laughter.] Hai.

http://suzukiroshi.sfzc.org/archives/in ... ?seemore=y
and
When you practice zazen you will of course have physical pain in your legs and mentally you will have some difficulty. You will find it difficult to be concentrated on your breathing. One after another images will come into your mind. Or your mind will go out for a walk and wander about. I have many difficulties in my practice, so I think you, too, will find it very difficult to sit in good zazen.

All the difficulties you have in zazen should not take place outside your mind. Your efforts should be kept within your mind. In other words you have to accept the difficulty as not being other than what you are. You should not try to make some tentative particular effort based on your small mind like, "my practice should be better." My practice you say, but zazen is not your practice, it is buddha's practice. Your effort is based on big mind which cannot get out of. If your small self begins to act without the care of big mind, that is not Zen. What you do should be well taken care of by big mind. Our practice should be based on mind or original way-seeking mind which works on and on continuously.
http://suzukiroshi.sfzc.org/archives/in ... ?seemore=y
I am sorry if that is not so helpful.

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

User avatar
fuki
Posts: 1404
Joined: Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:02 am
Location: Zandvoort, The Netherlands

Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by fuki » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:48 am

My opinion, which wont make me popular with Teachers mainly.
Dogen instructed,

In learning the Way, you must depart from your ego. Even if you have been able to
study a thousand sutras or ten thousand commentaries, if you do not free yourself
from ego-attachment, you will eventually fall into the hole of demons.

An ancient master said, “If you lack the body and mind of the buddha-dharma, how is
it possible to become a buddha or a patriarch?” To depart from your ego means
throwing your body and mind into the great ocean of the buddha-dharma, and
practicing by following the buddha-dharma no matter how much pain or anxiety you
I often hear teachers say "do not practise according to personal preferences" If that means that ppl will copy a posture and experience unneccesary pain and are still manipulated/conditioned into an "awakening posture" and if they dont it's their "ego" then such a teacher is transmitting contraction.

Ofcourse I've heared all examples that one "shouldnt adopt a posture one is not ready for" or "if physical disabilities prevent then it's allright to sit in a chair or whatever etc" As if we should be thankful that we're "allowed" to sit in a different posture by the grace of the teacher.

Let's get real, not objecting to traditional/religious postures at all, but many (young) ppl get chronic injuries for adopting a posture which isn't necessary and is forced by religious conditioning. What if the Buddha sat on a chair for instance beneath the Bodhi tree?

Ppl may believe what they will or talk about experiential actualizing etc etc but no one should be forced to experience pain when not necessary, if they do so thats up to them.
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen.
https://meldpuntbg.nl/

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

User avatar
desert_woodworker
Posts: 705
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:20 am
Location: Southern Arizona desert, USA

Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by desert_woodworker » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:59 am

Evening, Jundo,
jundocohen wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:25 pm
Joe, you need to decide which side of the mouth you talk from. Your posts very clearly speak of what you believe to be good and fruitful attainments in Zazen necessary for its success as you see it. Which is it?
Again, you address what we call a polarity. I'm not addressing polarities, Jundo. And not addressing "good and fruitful" (Juicyfruit Gum).

Now, whether you're doing it intentionally -- deliberately -- or not, what you are doing is confusing reports on phenomenology with Purposefulness.

Yes, I sometimes mention psychological, sensory, and physical developments along the Way, but I do not say that I practice for them (which I think makes a difference from a Soto, and especially Dogen-istic point of view). Yet, I am able to describe some things, just as I suppose we all are. And, some of the time, that's why we meet here, and we mention such things sometimes, in passing. Or witness Michael's thread on "Zazen", where he asks for and warmly invites such observations.

Noting and being able to mention such things -- say, in a "discussion" forum!, for practitioners ;) -- is just a feature of being alive, Jundo.

I'd say that in "Studying the Self", one notes things. In "Forgetting the Self", one notes things too, perhaps new or different things.

In "Being awakened by the Many Things", one may make yet other notes, too. Commenting on them or calling out their beautiful names (like names of the Stars in the sky) does not equate to practicing for them, nor holding them as good, bad, desirable, or repulsive.

We practice for daily life, in daily life. Speaking for myself... . :)

Well, I put this out for all readers. Wishing you a good night now, Jundo... .

(nice desert morning dawning here; to be 105-106 F again, until the Hurricane "Bud" influence reaches us from the South on the weekend, when the 5 percent humidity will rise to 100 percent and we may get 1.5 inches of rain, after more than 100 days of rainlessness. Just noting and commenting, not saying this is good or bad! Nature has its ways. Or, is it just a Way... ).

:namaste:

--Joe

User avatar
jundocohen
Posts: 595
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:30 pm

Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by jundocohen » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:51 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:59 am
Evening, Jundo,
jundocohen wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:25 pm
Joe, you need to decide which side of the mouth you talk from. Your posts very clearly speak of what you believe to be good and fruitful attainments in Zazen necessary for its success as you see it. Which is it?
Again, you address what we call a polarity. I'm not addressing polarities, Jundo. And not addressing "good and fruitful" (Juicyfruit Gum).

Now, whether you're doing it intentionally -- deliberately -- or not, what you are doing is confusing reports on phenomenology with Purposefulness.

Yes, I sometimes mention psychological, sensory, and physical developments along the Way, but I do not say that I practice for them (which I think makes a difference from a Soto, and especially Dogen-istic point of view). Yet, I am able to describe some things, just as I suppose we all are. And, some of the time, that's why we meet here, and we mention such things sometimes, in passing. Or witness Michael's thread on "Zazen", where he asks for and warmly invites such observations.

Noting and being able to mention such things -- say, in a "discussion" forum!, for practitioners ;) -- is just a feature of being alive, Jundo.

I'd say that in "Studying the Self", one notes things. In "Forgetting the Self", one notes things too, perhaps new or different things.

In "Being awakened by the Many Things", one may make yet other notes, too. Commenting on them or calling out their beautiful names (like names of the Stars in the sky) does not equate to practicing for them, nor holding them as good, bad, desirable, or repulsive.

We practice for daily life, in daily life. Speaking for myself... . :)

Well, I put this out for all readers. Wishing you a good night now, Jundo... .

(nice desert morning dawning here; to be 105-106 F again, until the Hurricane "Bud" influence reaches us from the South on the weekend, when the 5 percent humidity will rise to 100 percent and we may get 1.5 inches of rain, after more than 100 days of rainlessness. Just noting and commenting, not saying this is good or bad! Nature has its ways. Or, is it just a Way... ).

:namaste:

--Joe
I have read this several times. Sometimes I feel that there is something being said here, and I am reminded of a wonderful old novel called "Gravity's Rainbow." Do you know it?

https://bradleyjfest.com/2011/10/01/an- ... s-rainbow/

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

User avatar
desert_woodworker
Posts: 705
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:20 am
Location: Southern Arizona desert, USA

Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by desert_woodworker » Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:15 pm

Ohayo, across the big Salt,
jundocohen wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:51 pm
I have read this several times. Sometimes I feel that there is something being said here, and I am reminded of a wonderful old novel called "Gravity's Rainbow." Do you know it?

https://bradleyjfest.com/2011/10/01/an- ... s-rainbow/
Thanks for reading, Jundo, I appreciate it.

The important thing in that interchange is just not to confuse reports on phenomenology with Purposefulness.

--Joe

ps as for Pynchon's book, I don't think of it as "old" tho' I've had my copy since 1974. I doubt my writing is like his, though. And mine contains no fictions. ;) Did you have something particular in mind about the book? I have it here on the shelf, and can check any page, etc. tnx again, -J.

User avatar
desert_woodworker
Posts: 705
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:20 am
Location: Southern Arizona desert, USA

Re: Lewis Richmond on Shikantaza: Just Sitting, Going Nowhere

Post by desert_woodworker » Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:58 pm

Body and Mind fell away for the fellow(s) (Dogen. And, the Roshi, I presume).

Sure, anything they say, recommend, instruct, or criticize after this is bound to be true when seen from the point of view of "Body and Mind fallen away".

It's disingenuous of them to leave this fact out of what they say, what they recommend, what they instruct, and what they criticize. Dogen, and all his apologists and want-to-be apologists, uniformly leave this out.

--Joe

User avatar
[james]
Posts: 143
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:19 am
Location: Are we there yet?

Re: Lewis Richmond on Shikantaza: Just Sitting, Going Nowhere

Post by [james] » Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:09 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:58 pm
Body and Mind fell away for the fellow(s) (Dogen. And, the Roshi, I presume).

Sure, anything they say, recommend, instruct, or criticize after this is bound to be true when seen from the point of view of "Body and Mind fallen away".

It's disingenuous of them to leave this fact out of what they say, what they recommend, what they instruct, and what they criticize. Dogen, and all his apologists and want-to-be apologists, uniformly leave this out.

--Joe
Except that true is true regardless of view.
So, are they, and you, talking true or view?

Perhaps an example of “anything they say” that founders due to a lack of knowledge (on the part of the hearer) of the point of view of the speaker could be provided ... to support your statement. As it is, it appears that you are saying that only those who hold the same point of view can appreciate the recommendations, instructions and critiques of Dogen and etc. Is that what you are saying?

User avatar
lindama
Posts: 254
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:20 pm
Location: Forestville, CA

Re: Lewis Richmond on Shikantaza: Just Sitting, Going Nowhere

Post by lindama » Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:05 pm

let's keep our feet on the ground Joe. I'm not keeping score.... and I'm tired of it to put it mildly.
linda

User avatar
desert_woodworker
Posts: 705
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:20 am
Location: Southern Arizona desert, USA

Re: Lewis Richmond on Shikantaza: Just Sitting, Going Nowhere

Post by desert_woodworker » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:41 am

[james] wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:09 pm
desert_woodworker wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:58 pm
Body and Mind fell away for the fellow(s) (Dogen. And, the Roshi, I presume).

Sure, anything they say, recommend, instruct, or criticize after this is bound to be true when seen from the point of view of "Body and Mind fallen away".

It's disingenuous of them to leave this fact out of what they say, what they recommend, what they instruct, and what they criticize. Dogen, and all his apologists and want-to-be apologists, uniformly leave this out.
Except that true is true regardless of view.
So, are they, and you, talking true or view?

Perhaps an example of “anything they say” that founders due to a lack of knowledge (on the part of the hearer) of the point of view of the speaker could be provided ... to support your statement. As it is, it appears that you are saying that only those who hold the same point of view can appreciate the recommendations, instructions and critiques of Dogen and etc. Is that what you are saying?
I'd say that the state of mind (awakened state) that conditions what the folks in question say is not that of the "Default Network" (the name of which boda reminds us of in another thread). Now, the awakened state is what there is after the falling away of body and mind. Their view, and statements, are the view and statements from the point of view and reality of the awakened state. But in making their statements, their recommendations, their instructions, and critiques, they do not mention that they are speaking from the point of view of the awakened state (to reveal and uncover which, body and mind had fallen away at least once, sometime prior). I say that this is disingenuous of them.

--Joe

Caodemarte
Posts: 379
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:02 pm
Location: Lilburn, GA, USA

Re: Lewis Richmond on Shikantaza: Just Sitting, Going Nowhere

Post by Caodemarte » Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:52 am

desert_woodworker wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:41 am
...But in making their statements, their recommendations, their instructions, and critiques, they do not mention that they are speaking from the point of view of the awakened state (to reveal and uncover which, body and mind had fallen away at least once, sometime prior). I say that this is disingenuous of them....
Disingenuous? You really think Dogen, et al. are not candid or sincere, dishonest, untruthful, false, deceitful, duplicitous, lying, mendacious, or hypocritical?

User avatar
boda
Posts: 528
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:27 am

Re: Lewis Richmond on Shikantaza: Just Sitting, Going Nowhere

Post by boda » Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:50 am

Caodemarte wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:52 am
desert_woodworker wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:41 am
...But in making their statements, their recommendations, their instructions, and critiques, they do not mention that they are speaking from the point of view of the awakened state (to reveal and uncover which, body and mind had fallen away at least once, sometime prior). I say that this is disingenuous of them....
Disingenuous? You really think Dogen, et al. are not candid or sincere, dishonest, untruthful, false, deceitful, duplicitous, lying, mendacious, or hypocritical?
Do you think they’re perfect or something? in a :bow2: kind of way.

User avatar
jundocohen
Posts: 595
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:30 pm

Re: Lewis Richmond on Shikantaza: Just Sitting, Going Nowhere

Post by jundocohen » Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:32 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:58 pm
Body and Mind fell away for the fellow(s) (Dogen. And, the Roshi, I presume).

Sure, anything they say, recommend, instruct, or criticize after this is bound to be true when seen from the point of view of "Body and Mind fallen away".

It's disingenuous of them to leave this fact out of what they say, what they recommend, what they instruct, and what they criticize. Dogen, and all his apologists and want-to-be apologists, uniformly leave this out.

--Joe
Joe, I believe that I too will offer (as Dan said) "general criticism" and suggest that you do not understand the non-method in the madness of Shikantaza. You think like a human (usually good, but not in this case). You say that the horse ("body and mind fallen away") must come before the cart of Zazen's realization, that time runs in a sequence front to back, from past to present to future for those having such a realization.You say that this realization is something to be had (although, of course, the realization is to realize that there is no realizer apart from realizing to be had at all) before Shikantaza makes sense to the students. Most students meditating think that way too. That's their problem, I feel.

In fact, Shikantaza is a way to disabuse students of such deluded ideas.

It is very simple actually:

By inspiring students to sit in the faith and trust that "just sitting is already Buddha, that there is nothing more to attain beyond this perfect act of total fruition in the universe," thereby that faith and trust and "just this, no other place" manifests as the satiation of all desire, the release and liberation from all other demands, that is "Body and Mind Fallen Away." Students are taught that, in the time of sitting, there is no before or after to sitting, that future flows into past that flow into just this. They may not be able to understand it at first, and it might be a matter of faith ... but like the Tibetan practitioner who becomes Taira by visualizing oneself as already Taira ... faith becomes truth. This is Kensho, the Nature seeing the Nature.

Instead, when you try to induce the students to chase and attain some experience first as an prior necessity, well, it may be a beautiful practice for someone, but it is not Shikantaza. It is just my opinion, but you do not understand Shikantaza Joe. You are putting the horse before the cart, but missing the trip. How does the eye see the eye? By misleading the student into thinking that they must see something first? Or by letting them sit in the faith, conviction and embodiment that mere sitting is the eye eyeing eye from the start, the eye which never sleeps? The eye looking for the eye simply sits with faith that it is already the eye, which then is immediately realized as the truth that eyeness always was beyond mere faith.

Dogen wrote this on carts and horses (oxen actually, and the question of whether one realizes Zazen by beating the ox or beating the cart). It is from his masterful guide to Shikantaza called "Zazenshin," and the commentary is by me from my book [BOLDFACE is Dogen's words]: ...
Nangaku says, “When a person is driving a cart, if the cart does not move, is it right to prod the cart, or is it right to prod the ox?”

Now, when he says, “if the cart does not move,” what is a a cart moving and what is a cart not moving? For example, is water flowing the cart moving? Is water not flowing the cart moving? We can say that flowing is water not moving. And it may also be that water moving is beyond “flowing.” Thus, when we investigate the words, “if the cart does not move,” we may find that there is “not moving,” and we may find that there is no “not moving”— because it is time. The words “if it does not move” are not saying only that it does not move.

Jundo Note: This passage expresses Dogen’s vision of getting something done (making a Buddha) in the instantaneous world of time to a Buddha. Normally, we think that time flows and gradually something happens. However, Zazen is instantaneously “Buddha made,” immediately as right as right can be. It is immediately true and complete, even as the process keeps moving and flowing (this is Dogen’s vision of “Practice-Enlightenment” in which every step of Practice is complete even as we keep moving forward). In fact, Zazen and “making Buddha” is really a happening beyond all measure of time. Nonetheless, we take the time to sit Zazen each day, and it takes time for such fact to get into our bones. In this passage, Dogen shows us that experiencing the time of Zazen – as instantaneous and timeless, yet also as a gradual daily practice – are all true at once.

For this, he uses the image of a cart next to a flowing stream. The observer can’t be sure of the optical illusion by which the cart may be moving, or whether the water is moving but the cart is still, or both are moving, or perhaps neither. Movement and time are relative. Dogen takes this image a step further, pointing to an aspect of Zazen and all reality that is stillness in moving, moving in stillness. Perhaps we may say that there is a certain “flowing” to the universe that is thoroughly in, yet also beyond, all moving or not moving.

If I may change the words, when is “Zazen” just sitting still, not moving when time continues moving on? The hands of the clock keep moving on even as one sits still as a mountain. In such case, is Zazen truly not moving or is it also moving with time? If we then stopped the clock, would it appear that sitting Zazen is now moving? We can say that time’s flowing also has a timeless, unmoving aspect beyond all measure of time, and that Zazen is truly both moving and not moving.

In this way, it seems to take time to make a Buddha. Nonetheless, sitting Zazen is instantaneously and timelessly a Buddha made. Thus, we take the time each day to sit for a time, making this already timeless Buddha which need not be made.

[Nangaku] says, “Is it right to prod the cart, or is it right to prod the ox?”

Can there be both prodding the cart and prodding the ox? Are prodding the cart and prodding the ox the same or not the same? In the common world, there is no method of prodding the cart. Although ordinary people have no method of prodding the cart, we see that in the way of Buddha there is a method of prodding the cart. Such method is the very eye of learning in Practice. And although we learn that there is a method of prodding the cart, it cannot be the same as prodding the ox. We should consider this point in detail. Even though the method of prodding the ox exists in the common world, we should go on to investigate and learn the practice of prodding the ox in the way of Buddha.

...


Jundo Note: Dogen continues to play with the fact that, although one cannot “get to” Buddha by Zazen, nonetheless Zazen arrives at Buddha. Buddha is already present, so how can one “get” there? Nonetheless, we must keep practicing to realize this, and keep practicing to keep arriving. In ordinary terms, Zazen will not move one toward Buddha any more than beating a cart will get the cart to move. However, since Zazen is always moving, and always getting where it’s going even as we sit still, beating this cart arrives at the destination of Buddha.
Joe's "before and after" is precisely the disease for which Shikantaza is the medicine, I feel.

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

User avatar
Larry
Posts: 422
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:17 am

Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by Larry » Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:28 pm

And yet, on the Dogen path, surely there must be a "stage" where the newbie is no longer a newbie & something slowly/suddenly "clicks"? Could you say more about that? Perhaps from your own experience.

Or did you just sit down on day one & start writing Jundo style koans? :D

One of my Soto friends gave up after 18 years, because he didn't feel he was getting anywhere, & turned to Theravada. Another gave it 30 years before turning to Rinzai.

User avatar
jundocohen
Posts: 595
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:30 pm

Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by jundocohen » Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:37 pm

Larry wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:28 pm
And yet, on the Dogen path, surely there must be a "stage" where the newbie is no longer a newbie & something slowly/suddenly "clicks"? Could you say more about that? Perhaps from your own experience.
Of course, one day faith becomes truth. Of course, such was truth all along.
One of my Soto friends gave up after 18 years, because he didn't feel he was getting anywhere, & turned to Theravada. Another gave it 30 years before turning to Rinzai.
Hey, not everybody is cut out for everything.

But I must say that the way that so-called "Shikantaza" is often being taught many places does not help matters. The fact that these two folks felt that after years that didn't "get anywhere," indicates to me that they were placed on a multi-year wild goose chase or snipe hunt. It is unfortunate.

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

User avatar
boda
Posts: 528
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:27 am

Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by boda » Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:23 pm

jundocohen wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:37 pm
Larry wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:28 pm
And yet, on the Dogen path, surely there must be a "stage" where the newbie is no longer a newbie & something slowly/suddenly "clicks"? Could you say more about that? Perhaps from your own experience.
Of course, one day faith becomes truth. Of course, such was truth all along.
One of my Soto friends gave up after 18 years, because he didn't feel he was getting anywhere, & turned to Theravada. Another gave it 30 years before turning to Rinzai.
Hey, not everybody is cut out for everything.

But I must say that the way that so-called "Shikantaza" is often being taught many places does not help matters. The fact that these two folks felt that after years that didn't "get anywhere," indicates to me that they were placed on a multi-year wild goose chase or snipe hunt. It is unfortunate.

Gassho, Jundo
How do you know when your students are snipe hunting? or does that never happen?

User avatar
desert_woodworker
Posts: 705
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:20 am
Location: Southern Arizona desert, USA

Re: Zazen Is Good For Nothing

Post by desert_woodworker » Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:59 pm

Hi, Roshi,

Jundo, no, I don't say those things.

I say however, and repeat again, that the Dogen Apologists do not admit that their claims (etc.) are made from the point of view of awakening, from "body and mind fallen away" (fallen-away at least in Master Dogen, as confirmed by Dogen's Ch'an master; if not in themselves).

I think Dogen is fine. And shikantaza is fine (it has been my practice for 4.0 decades). It's Dogen's apologists who are disingenuous, and, in my opinion, ceaselessly tend to give Dogen a bad name. Let Dogen speak for himself! All the apologia is too much, but not even too much of a good thing. It may be a Cottage-Industry, but that makes the Apologists' scriblings and sayings even that much worse, in my eyes. Peace, already... .

:namaste: ,

--Joe
Last edited by desert_woodworker on Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
desert_woodworker
Posts: 705
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:20 am
Location: Southern Arizona desert, USA

Re: Lewis Richmond on Shikantaza: Just Sitting, Going Nowhere

Post by desert_woodworker » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:05 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:52 am
desert_woodworker wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:41 am
...But in making their statements, their recommendations, their instructions, and critiques, they do not mention that they are speaking from the point of view of the awakened state (to reveal and uncover which, body and mind had fallen away at least once, sometime prior). I say that this is disingenuous of them....
Disingenuous? You really think Dogen, et al. are not candid or sincere, dishonest, untruthful, false, deceitful, duplicitous, lying, mendacious, or hypocritical?
Disingenuous.

--Joe

Post Reply