From dreams to actualization . . .

Discussion of Zen Buddhism.
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Larry
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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by Larry » Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:13 am

It is fascinating....and useful....how Joe often stirs us up.

My mother does the same :D

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by [james] » Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:07 pm

clyde wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:38 am
Here’s another way to look at it.
If it’s a glimpse, it’s not awakening.
And if it’s not permanent, it’s a glimpse.
Even a glimpse of a glimpse is to be respected.
A hint, a glimmer, a subtle inner voice is what got all of us started on this journey.
It’s a continuum isn’t it?

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by desert_woodworker » Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:15 pm

clyde wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:12 pm
When one tastes the water, one knows for oneself if it is cold or warm.
Clyde, that's accepted as true, from the rich story of the happening around Hui-Neng's time. But, the person who is said to have said it was a full-time monastic, and already someone who had mastered meditation practice and the many other practices in the daily schedule of a monk. The monk had probably put in the "10000 hours" of modern-myth (and of some Science; although, the time sometimes varies from 10000 hours to 2000 hours, 5000, and 20000 hours; maybe suffice it to say, it could depend on causes and conditions). Thus, something may have been bound to happen. But before the awakened monk uttered this, his teacher confirmed his experience ("teacher" was Hui-Neng, to the brother-monk who tracked him down in the countryside in search of the Dharma after the teacher of both of them had died; good story, can be found in THE SUTRA OF HUI-NENG, the only Chinese-sourced scripture in the entire Buddhist canon known to date, I think).
clyde wrote:From Zen Buddhism, Selected Writings of D. T. Suzuki:
“Satori comes upon one abruptly and is a momentary experience. In fact, if it is not abrupt and momentary, it is not Satori.” p. 126
Yes, he's emphatic about it, and I think that the suddenness of this onset has become accepted by many Western readers on faith since Prof. Suzuki's ESSAYS became popular and influential. It may differ from awakening, in that awakening is not known to be momentary. It ("satori") may also be a solely Japanese concept, or observation, besides. My teacher was not Japanese, but Chinese; his criterion was "kai wu", and it is not given to be "momentary".

Awakening, and concomitant dwelling in emptiness is known to have a finite lifetime, however, as is also well known. The relatively modern Japanese master Hakuin writes in his spiritual autobiography about the multiple awakenings he experienced or underwent. So not only is awakening not permanent, it need not be a one-shot deal, and can occur anew as one continues to practice, breaking new ground again even after it may have become covered up. This too is in accord with my experience in practice, with both a Chinese teacher and American teachers heir to Japanese lineages.

Puzzling?, about Prof. Suzuki's characterization of satori as both sudden and momentary? Maybe not. Here I speculate that for him (and the several Japanese schools), it may be that the first moment, the first instant of awakening may be what is called by them "satori", the first shock, and great surprise, of the sudden onset of awakening, which makes people clap their hands, or shout in surprise and joy. That sudden phase-change, and utter novelty of mentality ("No-Mind", acc. to Prof. Suzuki). I could believe that. It too accords with my experience in and around formal practice circles with teacher and sangha. But "If it's going to happen, it's going to happen", and in that spirit, I side with Jundo Cohen Roshi's approach and "take", and so of course with Dogen. I.e., what we can best do is practice for practice's sake ...Unless there's some actual other goal in mind: some may practice for health, mental clarity, relaxation, or other such practical outcomes and improvements to daily life. The many other practices of Ch'an and Zen Buddhism besides sitting can help to confer health and strong bodies, which also feed into practitioners' being able to take the rigors of sitting practice. And from that environment comes the Japanese encouragement phrase, "Bitter practice; sweet mind".

Best. And best to All,

Sweet mind,

--Joe

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by clyde » Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:44 pm

Joe; Whether one has one’s awakening “confirmed” by a teacher or not, does not alter the experience. It is necessary to have one’s awakening confirmed by a teacher - if one wants authorization to teach in the lineage; otherwise, it seems to me, confirmation is of no value.

Regarding D.T. Suzuki, he’s not one of my preferred authorities, but you mentioned him in a post above. One of the first books I read on Zen was An Introduction to Zen Buddhism, but I found it too academic for my tastes. (And for years avoided reading Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind because I confused the two Suzukis!)

Also, regarding awakening, I’m not certain if you view it as a permanent condition/state (“. . . it is not given to be "momentary"”) or impermanent (“So not only is awakening not permanent . . .”).

I regard awakening as impermanent for two reasons. The first reason is in conformance with Buddhist teachings that all conditions are impermanent. The second reason is based on observation that human beings who are capable of awakening are also subject to disease, including dementia and senility.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

“The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful.” Pema Chodron, “What to Do When the Going Gets Rough”

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by [james] » Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:21 pm

clyde wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:44 pm
I regard awakening as impermanent for two reasons. The first reason is in conformance with Buddhist teachings that all conditions are impermanent. The second reason is based on observation that human beings who are capable of awakening are also subject to disease, including dementia and senility.
1) Is awakening a conditioned mental state?
2) Does awakening reside in the functional activities of the brain?
3) Is awakening “like a dream, like a fantasy”?

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by Spike » Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:25 pm

The first glimpse is just like tinder catching after multiple flint strikes in a wilderness campsite. For Rinzai students, koan practice can nurture this initial flame of wisdom and compassion. This is done on behalf of all beings through actualization of the genuine, confirmed realization, purposeful but not infinite practice, and what lindama and I know as "work in the room". This is the opposite of what is described upcolumn on a prior page. There are no monastics here. We are all laypeople. And, I'm sure, certainly no one else is notching their belt after every meditation hour or sesshin (73, 74, 75!). The stated emphasis above on a personal experience, rather than its actualization, is wrongheaded

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by desert_woodworker » Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:51 pm

clyde wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:44 pm
Joe; Whether one has one’s awakening “confirmed” by a teacher or not, does not alter the experience. It is necessary to have one’s awakening confirmed by a teacher - if one wants authorization to teach in the lineage; otherwise, it seems to me, confirmation is of no value.
Clyde, well, that may in fact work for you, and God bless you. But not for those Zen teachers who would teach us. Part of the vows (all those vows of ours who choose to hold them) is not to harm. So rather than let a practitioner harmfully be deluded about some makyo state being an awakened state, or of a samadhi state being awakening, a teacher is sure to test the practitioner's putative realization. Sometimes a student may feel "This is It", when in fact it's, say, just a change in samadhi. Rather than let a student dwell there, and miss the opportunity to "Push on" to potentially actual awakening, or at least deeper enabling-states, a teacher can guide the student appropriately at such a time. Well, in fact, a teacher has a pretty clear sense of a student's state of mind/body at all times on retreat/sesshin, from ways of moving, speaking, eating, sitting, working, harmonizing (or not) with others, and other means. But this testing -- explicit testing -- of any putative awakening is Standard (ISO-dunno-the-number). This goes with the territory (of Ch'an, Zen, Son, Thien). See what Meido Roshi may have to say about this "testing", in his book, and the reasons stated for it. Of course, there's testing at almost all stages of understanding of any koan, if one is working on koans, but testing of realization is related in practice, but different in scope.
Regarding D.T. Suzuki, he’s not one of my preferred authorities, but you mentioned him in a post above. One of the first books I read on Zen was An Introduction to Zen Buddhism, but I found it too academic for my tastes. (And for years avoided reading Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind because I confused the two Suzukis!)
Funny effect of that confusion in the names (persons). I wonder if you found Kapleau Roshi's THREE PILLARS OF ZEN to your liking. I do. It's very practical.

Prof. Suzuki is a wonder of clear expression and documentation, as well as a great popularizer of Zen Buddhism and of difficult topics. If you like (love) simple-seeming but in fact elegant declarative, descriptive, expositive prose, he writes it. A treat for you could be to read his three books of ESSAYS IN ZEN BUDDHISM, Series, 1, 2 and 3. These are the blockbusters that made him famous in the West.
Also, regarding awakening, I’m not certain if you view it as a permanent condition/state (“. . . it is not given to be "momentary"”) or impermanent (“So not only is awakening not permanent . . .”).
I've always written about it here, at ZFI, and elsewhere as temporary, lasting only as long as one's continued practice can and does support it. "The Three Poisons rise endlessly", and continued practice is there to transform them. Still, we may "fall out of awakening". Do you suppose it's true of full-time monastics, too?
clyde wrote:I regard awakening as impermanent for two reasons. The first reason is in conformance with Buddhist teachings that all conditions are impermanent. The second reason is based on observation that human beings who are capable of awakening are also subject to disease, including dementia and senility.
Yes, everything alive dies. There may be third, fourth, and more reasons. But "let's" avoid their influence(s) by practicing correctly and sufficiently (I wish, for all... ;) ). Aiken Roshi used to say, "Take good care of your realization!"

Even though we do and will fall out of awakening (if we awaken), we can still be Bodhisattvas. I'd say we acquire more and more skillful means and experience, both in and out of the awakened state. And even out of the awakened state we can skillfully apply and exercise these. I'd say this is all part of the career and job description of a Bodhisattva to do.

--Joe
Last edited by desert_woodworker on Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by desert_woodworker » Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:10 pm

[james] wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:21 pm
1) Is awakening a conditioned mental state?
2) Does awakening reside in the functional activities of the brain?
3) Is awakening “like a dream, like a fantasy”?

[James], let me do violence ( ;) ) to your good questions. I'm going to substitute for the word "awakening" the words or hybrid-word, "No-mind", instead. And I'll give a [short answer] to each new question made that way.

1) Is No-mind a conditioned mental state? [it doesn't seem so; some suggest it's what becomes conditioned, or covered by conditioning]
2) Does No-mind reside in the functional activities of the brain? [who knows; but there's a soybean hanging on the forehead]
3) Is No-mind “like a dream, like a fantasy”? [no; it's not like anything 't all; yet, we can still praise it]

--Joe
Last edited by desert_woodworker on Wed May 01, 2019 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by Spike » Wed May 01, 2019 12:28 am

desert_woodworker wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:51 pm
clyde wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:44 pm
Joe; Whether one has one’s awakening “confirmed” by a teacher or not, does not alter the experience. It is necessary to have one’s awakening confirmed by a teacher - if one wants authorization to teach in the lineage; otherwise, it seems to me, confirmation is of no value.
Clyde, well, that may in fact work for you, and God bless you. But not for those Zen teachers who would teach us.
Well, of course, this is obviously false. Shakyamuni buddha's experience was not confirmed, and he was the greatest teacher of all.

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by [james] » Wed May 01, 2019 12:57 am

desert_woodworker wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:10 pm
[james] wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:21 pm
1) Is awakening a conditioned mental state?
2) Does awakening reside in the functional activities of the brain?
3) Is awakening “like a dream, like a fantasy”?

[James], let me do violence ( ;) ) to your good questions. I'm going to substitute for the word "awakening" for the words or hybrid-word, "No-mind". And I'll give a [short answer] to each new question made that way.

1) Is No-mind a conditioned mental state? [it doesn't seem so; some suggest it's what becomes conditioned, or covered by conditioning]
2) Does No-mind reside in the functional activities of the brain? [who knows; but there's a soybean hanging on the forehead]
3) Is No-mind “like a dream, like a fantasy”? [no; it's not like anything 't all; yet, we can still praise it]

--Joe
My questions, referring back to Clyde’s comments, concern awakening.

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by [james] » Wed May 01, 2019 1:11 am

Spike wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 12:28 am
desert_woodworker wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:51 pm
clyde wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:44 pm
Joe; Whether one has one’s awakening “confirmed” by a teacher or not, does not alter the experience. It is necessary to have one’s awakening confirmed by a teacher - if one wants authorization to teach in the lineage; otherwise, it seems to me, confirmation is of no value.
Clyde, well, that may in fact work for you, and God bless you. But not for those Zen teachers who would teach us.
Well, of course, this is obviously false. Shakyamuni buddha's experience was not confirmed, and he was the greatest teacher of all.
As I see it, the teacher’s/mentor’s confirmation of the student’s realization is basically an acknowledgement of work done and a prelude to the subsequent work, investigation, fine tuning that needs to be taken up in light of the new quality of awareness. It is a reminder that, as there is no end of the road, there is always a beginning.

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by clyde » Wed May 01, 2019 2:34 am

[james] wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:21 pm
clyde wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:44 pm
I regard awakening as impermanent for two reasons. The first reason is in conformance with Buddhist teachings that all conditions are impermanent. The second reason is based on observation that human beings who are capable of awakening are also subject to disease, including dementia and senility.
1) Is awakening a conditioned mental state?
2) Does awakening reside in the functional activities of the brain?
3) Is awakening “like a dream, like a fantasy”?
Good questions and I hope someone has satisfactory answers.

Here’s my current limited understanding.

1) A human being was unawakened and later becomes awakened, so there are two conditioned states of a human being. (This should not be confused with “the unconditioned”.)
2) I don’t think either condition “resides”, but then I don’t know that awareness “resides” in the brain.
3) This question seems ambiguous to me. Perhaps you mean: Is awakening like dreaming or fantasizing? In some ways, yes (e.g. - they are activities) and in some ways no (e.g. - what one awakens to is reality and what one dreams or fantasizes is unreal).

I hope others have better answers for you. Or maybe you have better answers!
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

“The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful.” Pema Chodron, “What to Do When the Going Gets Rough”

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by clyde » Wed May 01, 2019 2:35 am

Spike wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:25 pm
The stated emphasis above on a personal experience, rather than its actualization, is wrongheaded
What statement(s) is this pointing to?
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

“The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful.” Pema Chodron, “What to Do When the Going Gets Rough”

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by clyde » Wed May 01, 2019 2:38 am

Joe: Yes, I read Kapleau Roshi’s Three Pillars of Zen shortly after reading D.T. Suzuki’s book and found it much more accessible and inspiring.

Yes, I agree that for Zen students confirmation from an authorized Zen teacher is important - but it doesn’t alter the experience. And I agree that without such confirmation, one may be sadly mistaken; but if one is unsure (and seeks validation), then one is definitely not awakened.

And emphatically yes, with or without awakening, “we can still be Bodhisattvas.”
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

“The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful.” Pema Chodron, “What to Do When the Going Gets Rough”

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by Spike » Wed May 01, 2019 2:45 am

clyde wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 2:35 am
Spike wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:25 pm
The stated emphasis above on a personal experience, rather than its actualization, is wrongheaded
What statement(s) is this pointing to?
It is pointed at the entire, lengthy conversation that ignores actualization. If you say you missed it, I cant help you.

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by clyde » Wed May 01, 2019 3:03 am

Spike wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 2:45 am
clyde wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 2:35 am
Spike wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:25 pm
The stated emphasis above on a personal experience, rather than its actualization, is wrongheaded
What statement(s) is this pointing to?
It is pointed at the entire, lengthy conversation that ignores actualization. If you say you missed it, I cant help you.
OK. If someone knows what Spike is referring to or meaning, and why he used the word “actualization” (Is this different from awakening and if so, how?), please help me.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

“The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful.” Pema Chodron, “What to Do When the Going Gets Rough”

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by Spike » Wed May 01, 2019 3:14 am

Glad to help. Just Google the folliwing: "zen actualization".

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by Spike » Wed May 01, 2019 3:34 am

Or, more simply, ox-herding picture ten.

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by clyde » Wed May 01, 2019 4:17 am

Thank you. The Ten Ox Herding pictures are a favorite and especially #10, the way of a bodhisattva.

When I googled “zen actualization”, the second entry was on thezensite and was a translation of The Actualization of Enlightenment by Eihei Dogen. Tonight this passage stuck out:
“When Buddhas become Buddhas, it is not necessary for them to be aware they are Buddhas. However, they are still enlightened Buddhas and continually realize Buddha.”

http://www.thezensite.com/ZenTeachings/ ... hiyama.htm
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

“The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful.” Pema Chodron, “What to Do When the Going Gets Rough”

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Re: For Avisitor...Is Zen thinking of no-thought?

Post by Larry » Wed May 01, 2019 9:34 am

Neat little summary of Rinzai Actualization by Meido from his Facebook forum....

"In general I'd say that the post-kensho path is precisely the integration of what was recognized at awakening (and revisited again and again) with all activities of body, speech, and mind....It's the much neglected aspect of the Zen path, to the point that Hakuin points out Bodhidharma's words in that context: "Many know the path, few follow it."

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