Dan74 wrote: ↑
Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:19 pm
It's a thorny issue and I suspect different lineages have different takes on it and use a variety of skilful means (and sadly sometimes, unskilful ones) to make use of surrender, submission and trust.
For me, it came up in my very first Zen retreat. I went in thinking I had Zen pretty much figured out and was wondering what the pain in my knees was really for, when the teacher said: "There is so many aspects to pain and to how we deal with it. The physical is just a minor one." I though: "hey, she might have a point. My mind is throwing up all manner of excuses and avoidance mechanisms, what's that all about?"
And later she went though the 10 Ox-herding pictures and I slowly began to realise there was a bit more to the path than an intellectual graps of Watts' The Way of Zen. Like Keith, I like trust. In the following years, there were some disenchantments and even disappointments, but as far as practice went, the trust remained unbroken. I think this is important.
Interesting, this is the second time the idea of disappointments has come up recently for me. There is a thread over DW where someone mentioned "disappointments galore". How wonderful!
For me, Zen is a losing everything practice. Every single thing.
My teacher has a very annoying way of answering questions. Always with another question. I hated this for a long time. I mean, really hated it. Just answer the f&*king question!!
But, I also had trust in him and trust in the process. So, over time, i got it. I wanted something from him. But, even if wanted to, he can't give me anything. It's all up to me.
I love this story:
A while ago I gave a public lecture at a university. The speaker who preceded me talked for about an hour and a half, running over his allotted time. The break period between our talks was shortened, and I was called to the podium right away. Concerned for the audience, I opened by asking, “Did you all have time to urinate?”
Apparently this was not what the audience had expected to hear. Perhaps they were particularly surprised because the person standing before them, talking about pissing, was a monk. Everyone broke into hearty laughter.
Having started out on this note, I continued to press on. “Pissing is something that no one else can do for you. Only you can piss for yourself.” This really broke them up, and they laughed even harder.
But you must realize that to say, “You have to piss for yourself; nobody else can piss for you” is to make an utterly serious statement.
Long ago in China, there was a monk called Ken. During his training years, he practiced in the monastery of Ta-hui, but despite his prodigious efforts, he had not attained enlightenment. One day Ken’s master ordered him to carry a letter to the far-off land of Ch’ang-sha. This journey, roundtrip, could easily take half a year. The monk Ken thought, “I don’t have forever to stay in this hall practicing! Who’s got time to go on an errand like this?” He consulted one of his seniors, the monk Genjoza, about the matter.
Genjoza laughed when he heard Ken’s predicament. “Even while traveling you can still practice Zen! In fact, I’ll come along with you,”—and before long the two monks set out on their journey.
Then one day while the two were traveling, the younger monk suddenly broke into tears. “I have been practicing for many years, and I still haven’t been able to attain anything. Now, here I am roaming around the country on this trip; there’s no way I am going to attain enlightenment this way,” Ken lamented.
When he heard this, Genjoza, thrusting all his strength into his words, put himself at the junior monk’s disposal: “I will take care of anything that I can take care of for you on this trip,” he said. “But there are just five things that I cannot do in your place.
“I can’t wear clothes for you. I can’t eat for you. I can’t shit for you. I can’t piss for you. And I can’t carry your body around and live your life for you.”
It is said that upon hearing these words, the monk Ken suddenly awakened from his deluded dream and attained a great enlightenment, a great satori.
I hope that as you read this, you will realize that I am not just talking about myself or about something that happened elsewhere. No, it is about your own urgent problems that I speak.
It's up to you. What can you do?