Polishing tiles

Discussion of Zen Buddhism, Soto Zen, Rinzai Zen, Chan, Seon and Thien.

Moderator: Spiritual Do-gooder

Pablo
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:28 am
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Polishing tiles

Post by Pablo » Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:34 am

desert_woodworker wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:58 pm
Best is when method(s) disappear, and cannot be grasped.

Methods are good, though. :hatsoff:

--Joe
That's a good koan, Joe. I would say: just pick a method, and go with it to the end of the world.

To emphasize your point:
Old case wrote: One day when Nangaku came to Baso’s hut, Baso stood up to receive him. Nangaku asked him, “What have you been doing recently?”

Baso replied, “Recently I have been doing the practice of seated meditation exclusively.”

Nangaku asked, “And what is the aim of your seated meditation?”

Baso replied, “The aim of my seated meditation is to achieve Buddhahood.”

Thereupon, Nangaku took a roof tile and began rubbing it on a rock near Baso’s hut.

Baso, upon seeing this, asked him, “Reverend monk, what are you doing?”

Nangaku replied, “I am polishing a roof tile.”

Baso then asked, “What are you going to make by polishing a roof tile?”

Nangaku replied, “I am polishing it to make a mirror.”

Baso said, “How can you possibly make a mirror by rubbing a tile?”

Nangaku replied, “How can you possibly make yourself into a Buddha by doing seated meditation?”


And, because we were talking about shikantaza, I'll add Dogen's comment:
Dogen in Shobogenzo chapter Kokyo wrote: For hundreds of years now, many people have held the view that, in this story, Nangaku is earnestly endeavoring to encourage Baso in his practice. This is not necessarily so, for, quite simply, the daily activities of the great saintly teacher were far removed from the realm of ordinary people. If great saintly teachers did not have the Dharma of polishing a tile, how could they possibly have the skillful means to guide people? Having the strength to guide people is the Bones and Marrow of an Ancestor of the Buddha. Even though the tile was the thing that came to hand, still, it was just an everyday, household object. If it were not an everyday object or some household utensil, then it would not have been passed on by the Buddha’s family. What is more, its impact on Baso was immediate. Be very clear about it, the functioning of the True Transmission of Buddhas and Ancestors involves a direct pointing. We should truly comprehend that when the polished tile became a mirror, Baso became Buddha. And when Baso became Buddha, Baso immediately became the real Baso. And when Baso became the real Baso, his sitting in meditation immediately became real seated meditation. This is why the saying ‘polishing a tile to make a mirror’ has been preserved in the Bones and Marrow of former Buddhas.

Thus it is that the Ancient Mirror was made from a roof tile. Even though the mirror was being polished, it was already without blemish in its unpolished state. The tile was not something that was dirty; it was polished simply because it was a tile. On that occasion, the virtue of making a Mirror was made manifest, for it was the diligent effort of an Ancestor of the Buddha. If polishing a tile did not make a Mirror, then even polishing a mirror could not have made a Mirror. Who can surmise that in this act of making, there is the making of a Buddha and there is the making of a Mirror?

Further, some may wonder, “When the Ancient Mirror is polished, can It ever be polished into a tile?” Your state of being—your breathing in and breathing out—when you are engaged in polishing is not something that you can gauge at other times. And Nangaku’s words, to be sure, express what is expressible. As a result, in the final analysis, he was able to polish a tile and make a Mirror. Even we people of the present time should try to pick up today’s ‘tile’ and give it a polish, for ultimately it will become a Mirror. If a tile could not become a Mirror, people could not become Buddha. If we belittle tiles as being lumps of clay, we will also belittle people as being lumps of clay. If people have a Heart, then tiles too will have a Heart. Who can recognize that there is a Mirror in which, when a tile comes, the Tile appears? And who can recognize that there is a Mirror in which, when a mirror comes, the Mirror appears?


Boy, he sure liked to write :D
Jeff Shore's website: https://beingwithoutself.org

Zazen in Madrid: https://pandazen.es

User avatar
desert_woodworker
Posts: 965
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:20 am
Location: Southern Arizona desert, USA

Re: Polishing tiles

Post by desert_woodworker » Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:58 am

No koan (Pablo).

Just a fact, I'd (I'll) say, when it comes to practice.

When even one's "favorite" method cannot be grasped -- say, on 7-day sesshin -- then, well, don't expect the usual. But I can say no more.

--Joe

User avatar
Dan74
Site Admin
Posts: 604
Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:49 am
Location: Lyss, Switzerland

Re: Polishing tiles

Post by Dan74 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:44 pm

It seems to me that sometimes we worry too much about polishing the goddamm tile. Got better things to do, have you?

Theravadins are luckily free of such concerns, but in Mahayana we are faced with the quandary of why practice, when we already have the Buddha-nature? Why concern ourselves with defilements, when they are empty and non-existent? Why save sentient beings when none exist?


Don't we run the risk of hopping out of the proverbial raft when we've barely set sail? Given that we are all, without exception, mired in samsaric habits that permeate every aspect of our existence, are we not better off applying what vigour we have to developing some clarity and some tools to face them and cut them off?


So my take for little that it's worth, is not to worry about this until the time is right, which is often after some years of very solid practice.

Hedera
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:50 am

Re: Polishing tiles

Post by Hedera » Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:15 am

How is it that a centipede can move 100 legs at once without getting all knotted up?

User avatar
Fruitzilla
Posts: 161
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:36 am
Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands

Re: Polishing tiles

Post by Fruitzilla » Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:19 pm

Hedera wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:15 am
How is it that a centipede can move 100 legs at once without getting all knotted up?
By not engaging in Zen truthisms?

User avatar
Dan74
Site Admin
Posts: 604
Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:49 am
Location: Lyss, Switzerland

Re: Polishing tiles

Post by Dan74 » Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:21 pm

Hedera wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:15 am
How is it that a centipede can move 100 legs at once without getting all knotted up?
He seems to manage just fine during the day, but then lies all night worrying about it! :P

User avatar
fuki
Posts: 1723
Joined: Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:02 am
Location: Zandvoort, The Netherlands

Re: Polishing tiles

Post by fuki » Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:32 pm

Hedera wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:15 am
How is it that a centipede can move 100 legs at once without getting all knotted up?
If one had a hundred legs one'd know, well it's not even about knowing it's simply the marriage of form and function, "knowledge" is additional, optional.But conversations between centipedes could go something like "how are humans able to walk with two legs" a centipede PBS documentary.
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen.
https://meldpuntbg.nl/

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

User avatar
Enver M.
Posts: 82
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:17 pm
Location: Ankara, turkey

Re: Polishing tiles

Post by Enver M. » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:56 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:58 pm
Best is when method(s) disappear, and cannot be grasped.

Kaya
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:03 pm

Re: Polishing tiles

Post by Kaya » Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:12 pm

Simultaneous endorsement and negation. Quite the politician!

Pablo
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:28 am
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Re: Polishing tiles

Post by Pablo » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:39 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:58 am
No koan (Pablo).

I do see koans everywhere :D you said we need to let go of methods (I agree) and that methods are important (I agree as well). I don't know about you, but that sentence looks quite weird, and I know from personal experience that people without practice are baffled by this kind of assertions. Therefore, they constitute good koans. Also for us :) Let's keep diving in!
Jeff Shore's website: https://beingwithoutself.org

Zazen in Madrid: https://pandazen.es

Pablo
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:28 am
Location: Madrid, Spain
Contact:

Re: Polishing tiles

Post by Pablo » Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:17 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:44 pm
It seems to me that sometimes we worry too much about polishing the goddamm tile. Got better things to do, have you?

Theravadins are luckily free of such concerns, but in Mahayana we are faced with the quandary of why practice, when we already have the Buddha-nature? Why concern ourselves with defilements, when they are empty and non-existent? Why save sentient beings when none exist?

Don't we run the risk of hopping out of the proverbial raft when we've barely set sail? Given that we are all, without exception, mired in samsaric habits that permeate every aspect of our existence, are we not better off applying what vigour we have to developing some clarity and some tools to face them and cut them off?

So my take for little that it's worth, is not to worry about this until the time is right, which is often after some years of very solid practice.
Thank you, Dan, as usual, for speaking from your heart, without added pretense. :namaste:

I would say that no one is free from this quandary (and believe me, I practiced Theravada before coming to Zen: they have their own issues). The fundamental problem is the same for all of us: we wish to get free. But when you start looking closely, what is it that you're trying to be free from? Who is it that wants to become free? There's this feeling that the same energy that wants to get free is the very thing that binds us. That's the basic point behind every koan.

Yes, the particular emphasis of Zen on this apparent contradiction can (and does, as we all know) lead to that attitude of "everything's all right, mate! Just go with the flow!" or whatever bullshit our minds concoct that day. But I don't think we can escape the problem, the doubt. In my own experience, every time I have rejected this Zen approach to practice was because I didn't want to face my own fundamental koan. Faced with the contradiction, I wanted to turn away and "develop clarity" or "cut off my defilements". In my case, I learned that the only way to develop clarity and cut off defilement was to stop escaping the fact that I don't know. That I don't know what the old masters are talking about, that I don't understand the koans, that I'm lost. Opening myself to this feeling is what pushes my own practice forward these days. Who is it that doesn't know? Who is it that doesn't want to hear about the koans?
Jeff Shore's website: https://beingwithoutself.org

Zazen in Madrid: https://pandazen.es

User avatar
desert_woodworker
Posts: 965
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:20 am
Location: Southern Arizona desert, USA

Re: Polishing tiles

Post by desert_woodworker » Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:55 am

Hi, Pablo, no; I do not say that "we need to let go of methods". And, I never said that.

I wrote that what's best (since someone was talking about "best"... ) is when methods disappear.

Methods will not disappear if we do not use them, however. We use them to practice, and to establish practice.

But when a method disappears, well, it is then that it is best, especially if it is samadhi which then comes on, in which case, one cannot grasp a method during that duration, nor would one want to or try to. So it seems to me!

Try it and see. ;)

What the Tathagatha has achieved or attained-to is the reality that appears during samadhi. And of course in the awakened state, if one should awaken.

But, first things first: methods (or a method); practices.

best,

--Joe
Pablo wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:39 pm
desert_woodworker wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:58 am
No koan (Pablo).

I do see koans everywhere :D you said we need to let go of methods (I agree) and that methods are important (I agree as well). I don't know about you, but that sentence looks quite weird, and I know from personal experience that people without practice are baffled by this kind of assertions. Therefore, they constitute good koans. Also for us :) Let's keep diving in!
"Ignorance is to be ignorant of one's original mind." - Ma Tsu

"Liberation is awakening to one's original nature." - Ma Tsu

"The World is all that is the case". -Ludwig Wittgenstein

User avatar
Dan74
Site Admin
Posts: 604
Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:49 am
Location: Lyss, Switzerland

Re: Polishing tiles

Post by Dan74 » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:19 pm

Pablo wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:17 pm
Dan74 wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:44 pm
It seems to me that sometimes we worry too much about polishing the goddamm tile. Got better things to do, have you?

Theravadins are luckily free of such concerns, but in Mahayana we are faced with the quandary of why practice, when we already have the Buddha-nature? Why concern ourselves with defilements, when they are empty and non-existent? Why save sentient beings when none exist?

Don't we run the risk of hopping out of the proverbial raft when we've barely set sail? Given that we are all, without exception, mired in samsaric habits that permeate every aspect of our existence, are we not better off applying what vigour we have to developing some clarity and some tools to face them and cut them off?

So my take for little that it's worth, is not to worry about this until the time is right, which is often after some years of very solid practice.
Thank you, Dan, as usual, for speaking from your heart, without added pretense. :namaste:

I would say that no one is free from this quandary (and believe me, I practiced Theravada before coming to Zen: they have their own issues). The fundamental problem is the same for all of us: we wish to get free. But when you start looking closely, what is it that you're trying to be free from? Who is it that wants to become free? There's this feeling that the same energy that wants to get free is the very thing that binds us. That's the basic point behind every koan.

Yes, the particular emphasis of Zen on this apparent contradiction can (and does, as we all know) lead to that attitude of "everything's all right, mate! Just go with the flow!" or whatever bullshit our minds concoct that day. But I don't think we can escape the problem, the doubt. In my own experience, every time I have rejected this Zen approach to practice was because I didn't want to face my own fundamental koan. Faced with the contradiction, I wanted to turn away and "develop clarity" or "cut off my defilements". In my case, I learned that the only way to develop clarity and cut off defilement was to stop escaping the fact that I don't know. That I don't know what the old masters are talking about, that I don't understand the koans, that I'm lost. Opening myself to this feeling is what pushes my own practice forward these days. Who is it that doesn't know? Who is it that doesn't want to hear about the koans?
Yes.

I would add that this 'not knowing' is a vast openness to what is right here and now. As the mind goes quiet, the universe floods in. Everything is vibrant and alive.

Thank you for thinking so well of me, Pablo, but I do still hold on to plenty of pretence and illusory notions. Sometimes more, sometimes less.

User avatar
desert_woodworker
Posts: 965
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:20 am
Location: Southern Arizona desert, USA

Re: Polishing tiles

Post by desert_woodworker » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:41 pm

Roshi Bernie Glassman (a successor of Taizan Maezumi) has passed away, on Sunday in Massachussetts USA. His Peacekeeper Order espouses three tenets:
  • Not Knowing
  • Bearing Witness
  • Compassionate Action
(may Bernie rest in deepest samadhi).

:namaste:

--Joe

User avatar
Enver M.
Posts: 82
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:17 pm
Location: Ankara, turkey

Re: Polishing tiles

Post by Enver M. » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:40 pm

Pablo wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:17 pm
Who is it that doesn't know? Who is it that doesn't want to hear about the koans?
Pablo I can understand you.As seems we are approximately at the same level.level 1 (ten bulls)

Here, what I'm gone say is One question is too much.Even One thought is too much in Zen.

Just be clear of thoughts and unify with the moment.nothing else you can learn.

nothing else you can do.at least this is the period where i am.

User avatar
Enver M.
Posts: 82
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:17 pm
Location: Ankara, turkey

Re: Polishing tiles

Post by Enver M. » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:51 pm

I'm very close to this.i mean this vivid living practice. somewhat slightly a few 'days' away.
i can feel this.

when i succed i will call my self a Zen Master.
A Zen Master

User avatar
Enver M.
Posts: 82
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:17 pm
Location: Ankara, turkey

Re: Polishing tiles

Post by Enver M. » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:10 pm

I could feel the sense of that happiness a few days ago.It was a sensation of the beginning of the practice.a mood of relaxation and emptiness.

Just fall back a few foots.daily affairs.

User avatar
Enver M.
Posts: 82
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:17 pm
Location: Ankara, turkey

Re: Polishing tiles

Post by Enver M. » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:46 pm

As in Master Dae Kwang said in Keith's post:
KeithA wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:18 am
and also the talk by ZM Dae Kwang here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVSia2_eI2U
There is no good or a bad answer to a koan.

There is no God or philosophy in Zen.

But There is just "Now".

User avatar
Enver M.
Posts: 82
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:17 pm
Location: Ankara, turkey

Re: Polishing tiles

Post by Enver M. » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:54 pm

On the other hand philosophy is to deny (reject) the (idea of) god.

What is god? It is whatever you think.

h@pe you catch the Zen here

hope you catch the humor. ;)

User avatar
KeithA
Posts: 278
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:19 am

Re: Polishing tiles

Post by KeithA » Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:16 am

Enver M. wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:46 pm
As in Master Dae Kwang said in Keith's post:
KeithA wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:18 am
and also the talk by ZM Dae Kwang here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVSia2_eI2U
There is no good or a bad answer to a koan.

There is no God or philosophy in Zen.

But There is just "Now".
Oh, there is a good and bad answer! I have endured enough head shakes to know that. 😀

His point is that the practice isn't about good and bad answer. In that sense, it as you say "just now", what can you do? Its a fine, but very important, point. It's a point that people fail to get, if they haven't done the practice.

I am glad you enjoyed his talk.

_/|\_
You make, you get.

New Haven Zen Center

Post Reply