Satori ala Soto

Moderator: Spiritual Do-gooder

Post Reply
User avatar
jundocohen
Posts: 604
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:30 pm

Satori ala Soto

Post by jundocohen » Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:01 am

The legendary modern Soto Master, 'Homeless' Kodo Sawaki, is noted for teachings like this:
Zazen isn’t like a thermometer where the temperature slowly rises: “Just a little more … yeah … that’s it! Now, I’ve got satori!” Zazen never becomes anything special, no matter how long you practice. If it becomes something special, you must have a screw lose somewhere. ... We don’t practice in order to get satori. It’s satori that pulls our practice. We practice, being dragged all over by satori. ... You study, you do sports, and you’re fixated on satori and illusion. So that even zazen becomes a marathon for you, with satori as the finish line. Yet because you’re trying to grab it, you’re missing it completely. Only when you stop meddling like this does your original, cosmic nature realize itself. ... We don’t achieve satori through practice: practice is satori. Each and every step is the goal. ... Don’t take pride in your practice. It’s clear that any satori you take pride in is a lie.... You’ve got it backwards if you talk about stages of practice. Practice is satori. ... Satori is like a thief breaking into an empty house. He breaks in but there’s nothing to steal. No reason to flee. No one who chases him. So there’s nothing which could satisfy him either. ... Aren’t a huge pile of crazy ideas dumped on us humans, ideas that go by the names of “faith”, “satori” and so on? ... Master Dôgen “returned with empty hands” [Eihei Kôroku]. When he came back from Japan, he didn’t show off some satori the way others show off their tattoos. The story of his empty-handed return completely relaxes our hold on any sort of fixed idea like achieving satori through zazen. ...
http://antaiji.org/archives/eng/kodo-sa ... -you.shtml
It should be obvious from such quotes that Sawaki cherished Satori ... he also did not give a rat's ass about Satori. Sawaki (and his descendants) will often sit for 15 or more hours per day in Sesshin, no talks and no ceremonies, all to achieve what cannot be achieved.

http://antaiji.org/archives/eng/schedules.shtml

... all to achieve what cannot and need not be achieved, as always present. Always present, yet not here unless we live and act and make it come alive (Dogen's "Practice-Realization" or "Continuous Realization")

Many folks use expressions like "until Kensho" "before Satori." In fact, what is realized in Kensho is that there is no "before or after," and only all reality pouring into this moment. While there may be a "before" and "after" the realization of that fact, in Soto doctrine, "Satori" is not the destination or crossed border of some trip, but the whole trip itself.

How so?

Many forms of meditation focus on reaching rather intense, extra-ordinary and highly concentrated mind states. Having such experiences is wonderful and powerful when such occur, and each can be a great insight into and piercing of the "self-other divide", "Emptiness" and impermanence, the underlying light, peace and harmony which can be found when the divisive mind is put aside. Koan centered Zazen with a heavy emphasis on reaching a radical "Kensho" is another way. In Shikantaza too, one may sometimes experience such perspectives (because subject-object is transcended, we might better speak of "non-perspective-perspectives"), and they are important and to be cherished when they occur. However, reaching so is not the emphasis or central point. In fact, reaching makes the present diamond appear falsely ever more out of reach.

Dogen typically spoke of "Enlightenment" ... not as some momentary experience to attain ... but as "Practice-Enlightenment", emphasizing that how we make Buddha Wisdom and Compassion manifest in our actual words, thoughts and deeds in this life is the real "Kensho".

These momentary Kensho or other experiences can be light and deep and beyond light or deep. Sometimes there is just wonder and awe. Sometimes there is that which is so much more profound and enveloping. Bottomless, Boundless, pouring in and out of all things. HOWEVER, that does not matter because, generally in Soto, we consider all such experiences as passing scenery ... just a visit to the wonders of the Grand Canyon. In Shikantaza, the great insight into and piercing of the "self-other divide", "Emptiness" and impermanence, the underlying light, peace and harmony etc. fills life and arises from our marrow in a more subtle way. The best analogy I have for this is a universal "bus trip to visit the Grand Canyon":

One cannot stay there, as lovely as it is. Nice and educational place to visit ... would not, should not, could not truly live there. One can even live perfectly well never having visited the vast Canyon at all. The most important thing is to get on the bus, get on with the trip, get on with life from there. In our Soto Way, the WHOLE TRIP is Enlightenment when realized as such (that is the True "Kensho"!) ... not some momentary stop or passing scene of wonder or some final destination .

The following is important, so BOLDFACE and UNDERLINE ... :)

Different folks approach and define all this in their own way. In our Soto View, some folks (not all "Koan Introspection" folks, but some ... the "Three Pillars of Zen" crowd particularly) way way way overvalue an experience of timelessly momentary "Kensho" ... as the be all and end all (beyond being or ending) of "Enlightenment" ... and chase after it like some gold ring on the merry go round. For Soto folks, that is like missing the point of the trip. For Soto Folks, when we realize such ... every moment of the Buddha-Bus trip, the scenery out the windows (both what we encounter as beautiful and what appears ugly), the moments of good health and moments of passing illness, the highway, the seats and windows, all the other passengers on the Bus who appear to be riding with us, when we board and someday when we are let off ... the whole Trip ... is all the Buddha-Bus, all Enlightenment and Kensho, all the "destination" beyond "coming" or "going" or "getting there", when realized as such (Kensho). This ride is what we make it. The bus just us and us the bus.

In a nutshell, a wondrous and important experience perhaps, but in "Zen Enlightenment" one comes to realize that even this ordinary, dusty, confining, sometimes joyous and sometimes ugly world is just as miraculous, wondrous, and "holy" as anything like that. The "Grand Canyon" or "Top of Mt. Everest" is a wonderful place to visit, but wouldn't want to live there. Scratching one's nose, taking out the trash, feeding the baby ... when we come to perceive this world as such ... is all as much the "Buddhaland" as anything with rainbow colored trees and cotton candy castles in the sky. In fact, the canyon vistas and the mountain top are ever before your eyes even now ... in the trash, the very tip of the nose, in the hungry baby [(even in Mara!)]... although maybe hard to see. The most "boring and ordinary, beautiful or ugly" of this world is Extraordinary and Beautiful when properly understood.

In the violence, ugliness, anger, greed and clutching, divisive thoughts and frictions of the world, this fact can be hidden, so hard to see. Thus, a key aspect of our Practice is to see and live free of the violence, anger, greed, clutching and all the rest to see this fact more clearly ... and even to realize it was there all along, though so hidden by the storm.

Most folks just don't pierce that fact and are lost in delusion about the Nature of the trip. Most sentient being "passengers" on this ride just don't realize that, feeling homesick, car sick, separated from all the other passengers, revolted or attracted to what they see ... filling the whole trip with thoughts of greed and anger, spoiling the journey, making a mess of the bus and harming themselves and the other riders, unhappy until they get to the "promised destination" somewhere down the road. They may even get to the Grand Canyon, snap a picture and buy a sovenier, then wonder "is that all it is"?

I once wrote this on such Kensho (Seeing One's Nature) experiences ...
For Kensho is, in fact, special as special ever has been or could be … a sacred jewel, key to the path, life’s vitality realized … nothing other than special!

Yet Kensho is “nothing special” in that each and all facets of this life-world-self, bar none, are vital, sacred, a unique treasure – and every step of the path is central to the path. The “ordinary and mundane” is never ordinary. Every moment and any encounter, each breeze and blade of grass is special, sacred, a jewel in Indra’s Net. Thus, I do not mean to lower the import of Kensho in the least, but just to RAISE UP all of life, and every instant of practice, to one and the same par with Kensho, for such is the wholeness, intimacy, unity that is KENSHO’d in KENSHO.
.
Realizing that fact – that the most “ordinary” is sacred and whole and unbroken – is at the heart of Kensho! Failing to see Kensho as extraordinary insight into the extra-ordinariness and sacredness of both the sacred and ordinary is not to see “Kensho.”
That is why many Soto folks, like Sawaki Roshi above, think "Kensho Schmensho" ... running after some timelessly momentary fireworky experience of "Kensho" is not True "Grocking the Nature" Buddha-Bus Kensho. He says ...

You want to become a buddha? There’s no need to become a buddha! Now is simply now. You are simply you. And tell me, since you want to leave the place where you are,where is it exactly you want to go?
Zazen means just sitting without even thinking of becoming buddha.
We don’t achieve satori through practice: practice is satori. Each and every step is the goal.


Something like that.

Gassho, J
Last edited by jundocohen on Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:33 am, edited 12 times in total.
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

gwinston99
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:48 pm
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL

Re: Satori ala Soto

Post by gwinston99 » Wed Jul 18, 2018 12:27 pm

The tale of the rhinoceros doesn't go through the window!

Gassho! Jundo

User avatar
desert_woodworker
Posts: 884
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:20 am
Location: Southern Arizona desert, USA

Re: Satori ala Soto

Post by desert_woodworker » Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:02 am

The Soto way: Soto, yes, but not sotto voce. --Giuseppe

User avatar
Great Sage EofH
Posts: 351
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:55 pm

Re: Satori ala Soto

Post by Great Sage EofH » Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:31 am

In kensho, the sum total meaning of everything is explicit, but it does not and cannot replace meaning everything has in and of itself
"We are magical animals that roam" ~~ Roam

User avatar
desert_woodworker
Posts: 884
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:20 am
Location: Southern Arizona desert, USA

Re: Satori ala Soto

Post by desert_woodworker » Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:38 am

By golly, if it's not One thing, it's Nothin'. --Joe

User avatar
jundocohen
Posts: 604
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:30 pm

Re: Satori ala Soto

Post by jundocohen » Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:23 am

The assertion that one "must first have Kensho to experience Shikantaza fully" is incorrect in the Soto way. Here is why.

It is something of a "chicken or the egg" assertion. One might say, "the chicken must first be out of the shell to experience liberation." In the standard Rinzai image, the master and student peck from opposite sides and, finally, the shell cracks.

However, in the Soto way, such a teaching makes liberation limited and farther away. Instead, from the start, the new student must be taught that he or she has always been out of the shell all along, whether felt or not (as a matter of faith), that there is no place to go and that there is no "in" vs. "out". The student just sits, perfectly at home, dropping all thought of some 'where' to be or some place to go. Desires to be elsewhere are dropped, anger and resistance are dropped, divided thinking is dropped. The student drops all resistance to "what is" (very differing from wallowing in "what is" however) as well as all hunger to flee. In this way, poof, the shell vanishes (was always a creation of the student's own divided mind) and the student is out. What is more, the inside is just out, and outside is in (Samsara just Nirvana), never two.

Through goalless sitting, and the dropping of all plots to escape, escape is made ... escape from the prison never present except in one's own mind.

“A woman raised a goose in a bottle. When the goose had grown, she wanted to get it out without harming the goose or breaking the bottle. How do you get the goose out of the bottle?”

:chicken:

Gassho, J
Last edited by jundocohen on Thu Jul 19, 2018 5:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

Caodemarte
Posts: 420
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:02 pm

Re: Satori ala Soto

Post by Caodemarte » Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:51 pm

Wouldn’t “the shell.... was always a creation of the student's own divided mind” be shared by pretty much all Mahayana Buddhism, certainly all Zen sects?

Way-Fun
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:15 pm

Re: Satori ala Soto

Post by Way-Fun » Thu Jul 19, 2018 1:21 pm

Kensho is an instance of seeing things as they are which clarifies the meaning of seeing things as they are. Letting go means not turning away, though in truth there is nowhere to turn. Students of the Way will chase their own feet in search of the Great Release. The Great Release is seeing things as they are.

User avatar
jundocohen
Posts: 604
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:30 pm

Re: Satori ala Soto

Post by jundocohen » Thu Jul 19, 2018 1:30 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:51 pm
Wouldn’t “the shell.... was always a creation of the student's own divided mind” be shared by pretty much all Mahayana Buddhism, certainly all Zen sects?
Yes. The difference is merely in the method to realize that fact. In one method, one might seeks very deep samadhi states in which the shell is swept away. In other, one might meditate on a Koan phrase, seeking a shattering of the shell or some breaking through.

In Shikantaza, one radically stops all thought of inside or outside, or any place to run. The shell evaporates of its own accord.

All arrive at the same non-place beyond inside and outside, whereby inside is just out, and out is precisely in.

For Soto folks, however, the Kensho hunt can be counter-productive if it leads just to further hunger and an endless hunt (I can produce examples). On the other hand, critics would be justified in pointing to any so-called "Shikantaza" sitting which was merely complacency, wallowing and thumb twiddling (there are examples of that too). Both should be avoided. Where Koan Introspection becomes radical "non-seeking" it is, in fact, the same as Shikantaza. It is only the first kind of "Kensho hunt" that most Shikantaza folks are skeptical of.

Further, Dogen's Practice-Enlightenment, Continuous Practice also has an element of faith, whereby one has trust that one is already Buddha, nothing to attain, even if one does not clearly see that fact yet. One must nonetheless continue to live, moment by moment, releasing greed, anger and ignorance to make Buddha real in that moment.
Way-Fun wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 1:21 pm
Kensho is an instance of seeing things as they are which clarifies the meaning of seeing things as they are. Letting go means not turning away, though in truth there is nowhere to turn. Students of the Way will chase their own feet in search of the Great Release. The Great Release is seeing things as they are.
The Great Release (which follows building "a great ball of doubt," and shattering the ice) is one way, perhaps useful for many. It is not the only way to reach the realization of that which cannot be reached. Radical stopping of the search for release, and total resting, is in fact also Great Release.

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

Caodemarte
Posts: 420
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:02 pm

Re: Satori ala Soto

Post by Caodemarte » Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:11 pm

jundocohen wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 1:30 pm
....
.... In Shikantaza, one radically stops all thought of inside or outside, or any place to run. The shell evaporates of its own accord......For Soto folks, however, the Kensho hunt can be counter-productive if it leads just to further hunger and an endless hunt (I can produce examples). On the other hand, critics would be justified in pointing to any so-called "Shikantaza" sitting which was merely complacency, wallowing and thumb twiddling (there are examples of that too). Both should be avoided....Further, Dogen's Practice-Enlightenment, Continuous Practice also has an element of faith, whereby one has trust that one is already Buddha, nothing to attain, even if one does not clearly see that fact.....
Thank you for your kind response. If I could just pile on some addional questions: Is it correct to say this does not mean literally trying to stop thoughts here like a dead or unconscious being, but something more like seeing or passing through them? Not being caught up in them?

Isn’t Great Faith, the belief or knowledge that “one is already Buddha,” very important in all Mahayana Buddhism, and specifically so in all Zen sects? As I understand, Great Faith leads to Great Doubt (I am Buddha; why don’t I see it?) of the kind that pushed Dogen to China with Great Determination a given. I would imagine that Great Doubt would be more emphasized in Rinzai practice and Great Faith in Soto, but not absent from either.

I can’t imagine any authentic Zen teacher disagreeing that “a Kensho should hunt can be counter-productive if it leads just to further hunger and an endless hunt” or “chasing your own tail” as some Rinzai teachers put it. The ancients were more pithy. However, I think what is often missed is that at the time of the introduction of Zen in the West, many people denied that awakening, satori, or kensho existed or completely misunderstood the terms (see Jack Kerouac’s Satori in Paris). This may have encouraged an over emphasis on “the Kensho hunt” as a counter-reaction by students.

Now back to chasing my own tail and/or complacency, wallowing and thumb twiddling!

User avatar
jundocohen
Posts: 604
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:30 pm

Re: Satori ala Soto

Post by jundocohen » Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:46 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:11 pm

Thank you for your kind response. If I could just pile on some addional questions: Is it correct to say this does not mean literally trying to stop thoughts here like a dead or unconscious being, but something more like seeing or passing through them? Not being caught up in them?

Isn’t Great Faith, the belief or knowledge that “one is already Buddha,” very important in all Mahayana Buddhism, and specifically so in all Zen sects?
Yes and yes.

What may be special in the Soto approach is the degree of radical non-attaining and goallessness, no special states, no stages, the view of total fruition in the mere act of sitting itself (during sitting), coupled with a "continuous practice" emphasis on living unbound by excess desire, anger, divided thinking and the rest. This is, in fact, a wondrous attainment and the most special of special states.
I can’t imagine any authentic Zen teacher disagreeing that “a Kensho should hunt can be counter-productive if it leads just to further hunger and an endless hunt” or “chasing your own tail” as some Rinzai teachers put it.
I do not mean to criticize someone else's practice for them, and to each their own. However, from a Soto viewpoint, the following would seem to be such a way of practice. I read this poor man's diary (of his experience with F.A.S.) and it is a story of someone who, after decades of intense practice, seems to have been thrown into obsession. If, for example, you read the page here that begins ""By the fourth day, under relentless pressure" you get a taste for much of the book. After decades of this, there is no hint in the book of resolution.

https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=pVe ... 22&f=false

Again, I am speaking within a Soto context, and to each their own on their practice. If the author found value there, then there is value for the author.

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
Larry
Posts: 614
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:17 am

Re: Satori ala Soto

Post by Larry » Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:40 pm

The other side of the coin to my two Soto friends, I mentioned in another thread, who abandoned ship after 18 & 30 years because they didn't feel they were getting anywhere. As you said, different paths for different people.

User avatar
jundocohen
Posts: 604
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:30 pm

Re: Satori ala Soto

Post by jundocohen » Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:44 pm

Larry wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:40 pm
The other side of the coin to my two Soto friends, I mentioned in another thread, who abandoned ship after 18 & 30 years because they didn't feel they were getting anywhere. As you said, different paths for different people.
And who knows what they were taught! I might say that, if they did not feel that they were "getting anywhere," then perhaps it was not really Shikantaza. Rectifying Shikataza with the wish to "get somewhere" is strange. Radically dropping the need to constantly get somewhere is the medicine. Hard to say.

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
Larry
Posts: 614
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:17 am

Re: Satori ala Soto

Post by Larry » Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:06 pm

And yet "getting somewhere" is what took Dogen to China. So I can see where some doubt could creep in for some people.

The 18 year guy was White Plum. Admittedly not pure Soto. The 30 year guy was originally a student of Daido (Yamahata) Hogen Roshi (Abbot of Chogen-ji Temple, Japan). He later studied with Daisetsu (Harada) Tangen Roshi , Soto Abbot of Bukkoku-ji Zen Temple, Obama-shi, Japan.

Do you think mixing Soto & Rinzai is a mistake in terms of potential "get somewhere", "don't get somewhere" confusion?

User avatar
jundocohen
Posts: 604
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:30 pm

Re: Satori ala Soto

Post by jundocohen » Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:35 pm

Larry wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:06 pm
And yet "getting somewhere" is what took Dogen to China. So I can see where some doubt could creep in for some people.

The 18 year guy was White Plum. Admittedly not pure Soto. The 30 year guy was originally a student of Daido (Yamahata) Hogen Roshi (Abbot of Chogen-ji Temple, Japan). He later studied with Daisetsu (Harada) Tangen Roshi , Soto Abbot of Bukkoku-ji Zen Temple, Obama-shi, Japan.

Do you think mixing Soto & Rinzai is a mistake in terms of potential "get somewhere", "don't get somewhere" confusion?
Ah, the mystery solved, if not the Koan. :) Harada Tangen and White Plum are both "Harada-Yasutani" family that abandoned Shikantaza for a Hakuin influenced Koan Introspection Practice.
The Abbot of Bukkokuji, Harada Tangen, is the only surviving successor of Harada Daiun Roshi (1871 – 1961), the Zen monk who reintroduced koan introspection to Soto Zen and launched the Harada-Yasutani lineage with the Maezumi, Kapleau, Yamada and Aitken branches now so influential in the West. ...
Yamahata (Daidō) Hōgen Roshi was Harada Tangen's student.

In that lineage, instructions for Shikantaza are often extremely goal oriented, focused on attaining a Kensho, and often Shikantaza takes second fiddle to Koan Introspection. An example is the unusual description of what is called "Shikantaza" by Yasutani Roshi ...
"When you thoroughly practice shikantaza you will sweat-even in the winter. Such intensely heightened alertness of mind cannot be maintained for long periods of time. You might think that you can maintain it for longer, but this state will naturally loosen. ... Sit with such intensely heightened concentration, patience, and alertness that if someone were to touch you while you are sitting, there would be an electrical spark! Sitting thus, you return naturally to the original Buddha, the very nature of your being.

Then, almost anything can plunge you into the sudden realization that all beings are originally buddhas and all existence is perfect from the beginning. Experiencing this is called enlightenment. Personally experiencing this is as vivid as an explosion; regardless of how well you know the theory of explosions, only an actual explosion will do anything. In the same manner, no matter how much you know about enlightenment, until you actually experience it, you will not be intimately aware of yourself as Buddha.."
It is a very different animal.

I never comment on what is a "mistake," because what is right for one person is wrong for another. I simply speak within the context of Soto practice to say that something might be a mistake within Soto context (and likewise, Soto practice might be a mistake for someone else). However, someone concerned about "getting somewhere" in spiritual attainments may not fully grasp the principle that freedom from the need to "get somewhere" is really getting somewhere that is a great spritual attainment.

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: 1705
Joined: Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:02 am
Location: Zandvoort, The Netherlands

Re: Satori ala Soto

Post by fuki » Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:38 pm

Larry wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:40 pm
The other side of the coin to my two Soto friends, I mentioned in another thread, who abandoned ship after 18 & 30 years because they didn't feel they were getting anywhere. As you said, different paths for different people.
I just asked my mom on the phone...."how did the space enter the room" :lol:
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen.
https://meldpuntbg.nl/

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

User avatar
jundocohen
Posts: 604
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:30 pm

Re: Satori ala Soto

Post by jundocohen » Fri Jul 20, 2018 3:05 am

The above perspectives (and non-perspectives) on Practice might help clarify some of what Rev. Meido may possibly have misunderstood when he visited a Soto group in California. For example ...
... there is no need for awakening, fruition of practice, or realization.
Well, that depends on which part of the elephant one is grabbing, and whether one sees the act of Zazen sitting itself as the whole elephant, and riding the elephant as Practice-Enlightenment! All is awakening, realization and the fruition of practice, start to finish. Realizing such fact is swallowing the elephant. Sentient beings are riding an elephant already (better said, are the elephant as is all reality), but most do not know that fact. So, they charge forward very intently hoping to break through to the elephant which must be hiding in the bushes over the next hill. In fact, what one needs to do is rest perfectly in the present state, be told again and again that one is already the elephant (so best act like it, as best one can!) with no where else in need of going, and simply to open their eyes (which eyes are the elephant too). Ride that elephant with grace and skill, like the boy on the ox. All roads lead to the elephant.

It may also explain the other statements that, I bet, were misinterpreted ...
what occurs during practice is utterly unimportant because "everything is already Buddha"; that practice itself need not be done, and no instruction is given about how to practice, for the same reason; that awakening and realization are myths for children and do not exist; and that the full fruition of the path is simply understanding the idea that everything is Buddha.
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=451
Yes, samsara is a child's myth in a burning house, and so is all notion of "awakening" or "delusion" and "realization." Realizing that truth is a great awakening. Likewise, because "everything is already Buddha" (nothing for any of us to disagree with there), practice is "not done" even as we practice diligently. That "not doing" is a great doing, and gets us where one cannot be got. One of Katagiri Roshi's heirs, Byakuren Judith Ragir, has an interesting talk on this and Dogen's Shobogenzo-Daigo, Great Realization (She is very interested in the way of "non-doing," and writes on that quite a bit) ...
Okumura-Roshi said that the line, “The way is reached through no realization” is the
main point. (7) This is an example of reversing what the Heart Sutra calls upside-down
thinking or inverted views. This “no” is not negative. This “no” is a pointer at that
which is not bound by time and space and pervades the whole universe. This “no” is
allowing non-substantiality and impermanence to reflect (like moon in a dewdrop) in
every moment and every object. This “no”, in and of itself, decomposes so-called
“enlightenment.”
...
Let us investigate now the common notion of realization as an “event” that occurs in
space and time usually in a formal Zen setting. We often say that this is a kensho or an
insight into the truth that happens in a moment. Zen students often spend our time
obsessively looking for this experience and missing this actual moment of “total dynamic
working” (another translation of Zenki) as it is, which is the present moment. This is
why Dogen coined the term practice/realization as a remedy for searching. We can settle
into the “self” in this very moment. With practice/realization, each moment, however we
evaluate it, good or bad, right or wrong, kensho or delusion, is the form of that moment’s
realization. Seeing our life in this way, we begin to stop seeking for somewhere else and
make peace with what is occurring right now and open up to the moment as “just this”.
“Like a fish swimming in water, like a bird flying in the sky”, (Zazenshin fascicle) (10)
we humans are always in the field of realization. It is our home.
...
Our usual commonplace notion is that the development of enlightenment has a starting
point, a process, and a result. In our ordinary minds, we see enlightenment as the result
and zazen as the means or cause. Dogen encourages us to see cause and effect as one,
and to see form and emptiness as one.
...
He [Dogen] implores us not to “vainly wait for realization to come”. He encourages us in this very
moment to express practice/realization as the means and the end. The two notions of
delusion and enlightenment, need, are bound by and interact with one another. They
have no beginning, middle or end. They have no separate place. The day-to-day
activities in the household of the Buddha-ancestors, is our house, our life and our
activity. This doing and non-doing, is imbued thoroughly with the total dynamic
functioning of moment-to-moment reality. Nothing is left out, and there can be great
peace and ease in this understanding.

https://www.judithragir.org/wp-content/ ... t-A.v2.pdf
From such perspective (and non-perspective) this (quoting Meido) "practice that need not be done" is not a "non-doing" which is simply wallowing in one's thoughts and ignorance, twiddling one's thumbs and killing time. Rather, it is the radical "non-doing" which is the the doing of that which cannot be done unless we pause from the race of our divided thoughts of ignorance, "not getting" to the elephant which are are all along.

I cannot believe that someone comes to a Zen groups and is given "no instructions" and told to "just sit over there." However, if they were told to Just Sit and ride the elephant and there is nothing more, then the "non-instructions" overflow with Wisdom and Compassion.

Gassho, J
Last edited by jundocohen on Fri Jul 20, 2018 3:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

User avatar
boda
Posts: 554
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:27 am

Re: Satori ala Soto

Post by boda » Fri Jul 20, 2018 3:21 am

I cannot believe that someone comes to a Zen groups and is given "no instructions" and told to "just sit over there."
That would be silly of course. The obvious answer is that they don’t sit at all.

User avatar
lindama
Posts: 311
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:20 pm
Location: Forestville, CA

Re: Satori ala Soto

Post by lindama » Sat Jul 21, 2018 1:09 am

my, oh my.... this conversation seems like the neverending story. are we having fun yet?

ofc, I know nothing, but I will add this.... it's a set up kids. each traditions loves it's tradition. Each tradition is not so diff from the others. Dzogchen says that the base, the path and the fruit.... no different, the same.... they don't seem to notice any diff.... ofc, depending on what Halloween costume you are wearing this year. ah hum, I added the last part. :lol: ofc, there's no costume, or is there? I remember one of the first teachings I had in zen.... when you see it, it's not it. This seems same whether it's satori, kensho, samadhi.... yes, yes, I'm not ignorant to the distinctions or the score keeping. As guide posts on the path, we can often benefit from the goal and the steps along the way, if we need it ... it's all the same. A light bulb is same whether off or on....

When I think of impermanence, I think of Nonin. It's just a loosy-goosy step away from the base, the path and the fruit.... satori, kensho, samadhi.... how else could we say, no beginning, no end....

linda

ps... I'll spare you this time ... Alice's Restaurant just started playing in my head... what is that?

Post Reply