Repentance Practices

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[james]
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Repentance Practices

Post by [james] » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:05 pm

guo gu wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:11 pm
cancer-free....

jundo,
the underlying cause may still be there, so it may recur, grow back. of course this is not what everyone wants. if the cancer is not caused by diet, lifestyle, stress, then it's karmic. in such a case, best to do extensive repentance practice. otherwise, it will most likely come back.
be well,
guo gu
Repentance practice ... I’ve never heard of this before. Would you care to say more? If, let’s say, a cancer is karmic, how or why would repentance practice have any effect on recurrence? And if, let’s say again, that a cancer is karmic, why would one be necessarily moved to undertake a practice to prevent recurrence? Or perhaps repentance practice is a worthy undertaking in and of itself. If so, how and when? Thanks.

james

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Re: Jundo's Cancer Ango

Post by KeithA » Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:15 pm

[james] wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:05 pm
guo gu wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:11 pm
cancer-free....

jundo,
the underlying cause may still be there, so it may recur, grow back. of course this is not what everyone wants. if the cancer is not caused by diet, lifestyle, stress, then it's karmic. in such a case, best to do extensive repentance practice. otherwise, it will most likely come back.
be well,
guo gu
Repentance practice ... I’ve never heard of this before. Would you care to say more? If, let’s say, a cancer is karmic, how or why would repentance practice have any effect on recurrence? And if, let’s say again, that a cancer is karmic, why would one be necessarily moved to undertake a practice to prevent recurrence? Or perhaps repentance practice is a worthy undertaking in and of itself. If so, how and when? Thanks.

james
This subject probably deserves it's own thread. For the longest time, I hated the idea of repentance. Now it's certainly part of what makes up my practice.

_/|\_
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Re: Jundo's Cancer Ango

Post by [james] » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:58 pm

KeithA wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:15 pm
This subject probably deserves it's own thread. For the longest time, I hated the idea of repentance. Now it's certainly part of what makes up my practice.

_/|\_
My questions are about repentance practice and one’s “relationship” to cancer. I’ve never felt a need for repentance ... maybe that is why I have had cancer; I don’t know. I’m curious.

By all means, start another thread. I would be interested in what you and others have to say about repentance, the practice of repentance and how it might affect one’s life and influence in the world.

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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by Wayfarer » Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:59 pm

Actually, there is a point related to the topic this was split from, but also the idea of 'repentance', that I would like to consider.

I am dubious about attributing cancer to karma. Obviously there are some indubitable links, in the cases where behaviours cause cancer, the obvious one being smoking (and yes, I used to smoke). But then, non-smokers also get lung cancer. I would like not to think that this is a 'result of karma', as there is a sense in which cancers might be considered accidents; sometimes cellular biology malfunctions in such a way that cancer is a result. More broadly, I resist the notion that illnesses and misfortunes are attributable to karma; again, sometimes they clearly are, but hazard is also a factor. And where karma really comes into play is how you face or deal with such calamities; one may face such things with more or less fortitude, which is where consideration of karma is significant.

As for repentance - I am still subject to some addictive behaviours, which I regard as moral lapses. I do sincerely repent from them, but knowing myself as I do, I can't say that I won't relapse. I suppose acknowledging one's lapses and sincerely trying to avoid repeating them is all you can do. I think the factor of liberation is that at the time of committing such a transgression, one's insight is equal to the urge to commit it, but in practice this doesn't always turn out to be the case.
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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by KeithA » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:55 pm

I will leave the "karma causes cancer" thing to the other thread. I have my own thoughts, but I don't have the necessary writing skills to convey them without causing aggravation.

The first time I really started to come around to the idea of repentance was reading Bodhidharma's "Two Entrances and Four Practices". Particularly, the first practice:
The first practice, "accepting karmic retribution,"
involves recognizing the effects of karma and cause
and consequence. Karma is a Sanskrit term that
translates literally as action". When we carry out
an action, a karmic force remains that leads to a
consequence in the future, whether in the present
existence, or in a future one. The karmic effect of a
particular action is not permanently fixed, because
the continual performance of new actions modifies
the karmic force accordingly, but in all cases, there
is a cause-and-consequence relationship, and the
consequence will be similar in nature to the cause.
Therefore, when we face adversity, we should
understand that we are receiving the karmic retribution
from countless previous actions in countless previous
lives. ...
From here.

I will add some other teachings that inspire me as we go along.

Every morning, I do 108 Bows. This is considered a repentance practice, and as a Dharma friend once explained, it is useful to humbly place our head below our heart. There is something to each touch of the forehead to the mat. :bow2:
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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by jundocohen » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:59 pm

I repent my harmful words thoughts and acts each day, as part of our Verse of Atonement / At-One-Ment ....

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: ATONEMENT / AT-ONE-MENT
https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthr ... T-ONE-MENT

In all likelihood, it neither causes nor cures cancer, thank you. The only connection I could see is that stress leads to stomach acid which certainly is not good. 8-) My hiatus hernia caused my cancer.

Why do we add on all these extra, very unsubstantiated ideas to Buddhism?

Gassho, Jundo
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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by Caodemarte » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:35 am

Karma literally means cause and effect and is properly used as such. In this meaning cancer, including my own melanoma, is the result of karma as there are numerous causes such as genetic predisposition and sunlight) as is everything else.

Repentance is always good. It will not cure or cause disease.

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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by jundocohen » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:41 am

Caodemarte wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:35 am
Karma literally means cause and effect and is used as such. In this meaning cancer, including my own melanoma, is the result of karma as is everything else. Repentance is always good. It will not cure or cause disease.
Well, it means something much more specific in Buddhism, namely, the volitional actions word and thoughts, some harmful or positive in this or past lives untold, that bring about positive or harmful effects in this and future lives.

I tend to be doubtful that my cancer now was caused by my kicking a puppy three lives ago.

It is much more than just some physical cause and effect.

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

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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by Meido » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:44 am

KeithA wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:55 pm
I will leave the "karma causes cancer" thing to the other thread.
Yes, I agree...let's keep this thread a little bit focused, as its an interesting topic that doesn't get sufficient discussion in some Western Zen circles I think.

Particularly as many of us come from backgrounds conditioned by Abrahamic concepts of purity, sin and atonement, this is an interesting thing to examine.

Perhaps we can broaden the discussion to include with "repentance" the terms "confession" and "purification," as these are different aspects of the subject we're discussing here.

~ Meido
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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by KeithA » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:46 am

I tend to be doubtful that my cancer now was caused by my kicking a puppy three lives ago.
This would be a complete misunderstanding of how karma works, because the two things are unrelated.
You make, you get.

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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by Meido » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:52 am

Caodemarte wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:35 am
Repentance is always good. It will not cure or cause disease.
I keep an open mind. My own experience is that use of a purification practice coincided with the immediate and rather dramatic resolution of a physical condition that had plagued me.

~ Meido
The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org

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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by [james] » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:54 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:59 pm
I am dubious about attributing cancer to karma. Obviously there are some indubitable links, in the cases where behaviours cause cancer, the obvious one being smoking (and yes, I used to smoke). But then, non-smokers also get lung cancer. I would like not to think that this is a 'result of karma', as there is a sense in which cancers might be considered accidents; sometimes cellular biology malfunctions in such a way that cancer is a result. More broadly, I resist the notion that illnesses and misfortunes are attributable to karma; again, sometimes they clearly are, but hazard is also a factor. And where karma really comes into play is how you face or deal with such calamities; one may face such things with more or less fortitude, which is where consideration of karma is significant.
If we can accept that karma manifests in our lives, why would we not accept that it can manifest as cancer or other misfortune (or good fortune as well of course)? Our presence as actor,participant,recipient in calamity or other unwanted event is no less karmic than how we respond to the event, isn’t it?
As for repentance - I am still subject to some addictive behaviours, which I regard as moral lapses. I do sincerely repent from them, but knowing myself as I do, I can't say that I won't relapse. I suppose acknowledging one's lapses and sincerely trying to avoid repeating them is all you can do. I think the factor of liberation is that at the time of committing such a transgression, one's insight is equal to the urge to commit it, but in practice this doesn't always turn out to be the case.
My question to you, to anyone here, is what influence do you hope or expect to make through repentance in thought,word,or deed? Is the arising of the need or desire to make repentance not itself a karmic manifestation? My reading of Guo Gu’s statement to Jundo is that repentance can indeed influence the manifestation of misfortune and that he, Jundo, should consider acting to do so. I’m wondering why go down that road. Can repentance influence karma without giving rise to new karma? I think not, so why not just face the music ie. the immediate karma at hand?

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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by KeithA » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:16 am

James asked;
My question to you, to anyone here, is what influence do you hope or expect to make through repentance in thought,word,or deed?
Personally, I don't hope to get anything at all. It is simply a recognition of something I had a resistance to. And that recognition has been liberating, in a sense. Not what I expected, tbh.
Last edited by KeithA on Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:52 am

[james] wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:54 am
My question to you, to anyone here, is what influence do you hope or expect to make through repentance in thought,word,or deed? Is the arising of the need or desire to make repentance not itself a karmic manifestation?
I had thought the principle of repentance was firstly the acknowledgement of some wrongdoing or transgression and secondly the intention or vow not to repeat it. I suppose practically speaking the hope is to avoid having to repeat it!
The most important thing is not at all important.

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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by [james] » Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:08 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:52 am
I had thought the principle of repentance was firstly the acknowledgement of some wrongdoing or transgression and secondly the intention or vow not to repeat it. I suppose practically speaking the hope is to avoid having to repeat it!
Most everyone regrets, apologizes, repents to some degree at some time or other. How and why does it become a practice? What is the motivation and benefit?

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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:41 am

Many answers could be given, but in the context of Buddhist practice, I would say repentance is the acknowledgement of shortcomings and the sincere intention to overcome them. After all 'samsara' means 'going around in circles', and the fuel source is habit-energy, so I see repentance in terms of breaking the hold of habit. But others might have different motivations.
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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by lindama » Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:20 am

whew, this horse if off and running....

I wanted to respond to Guo Gu's first response on several levels.... I resisted because I did not want to hi-jack Jundo's thread describing his personal experience, so I waited. I was also curious to see what GG meant by karma and repentance. As far as I know, karma has no judeo-christian explanation.... and possibly repentenance has no buddhist explanation.... tho I'm not sure since Jundo does speak of it. I have seen all kinds of interpretions and controversies as to what karma is. None of my zen teachers speak of karma or repentance. What I heard Guo Gu saying does not exist in the arena of causality for me, we are not separate from it. The discussion of causality will lead no-where. So nuanced that it probably should not be spoken in duality. Especially because the body mind that exists in separation is so heavily influenced by the trance that it may embody it. The true discussion exists in the relationship and harmony of body, mind and true nature.

I am supremely sorry to see that Guo Gu's response has been boiled down to a focus on repentance. it seems that we are much more comfortable speaking of such solidity.... we have missed the vulnerability of what GG said and the great matter of life and death and living fully. It's only natural, we can thank our judeo-christian heritage... it's hard to escape. If we could go beyond, karma is not involved in any cause....

I've heard in zen of the silver cliffs and iron mountain, perhaps we have come to that. (can anyone give me the ref for that).... we sit with ourselves, not knowing.

I am no stranger to the psycho-spiritual component in disease. It can't be spoken of from separation.

linda

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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by guo gu » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:56 am

meido, jundo, and all,

good morning! thanks for starting a new thread about this and keep the conversation going. i'm a bit late in the conversation... a bit surprised this has become a hot topic. also surprised my casual statement has sparked some misunderstandings... i repent!

indeed this is one of those topics in the west that does not get enough traction but worthy to examine closely. buddhadharma is extremely rich and nuanced, just like sentient beings are innumerable and it requires limitless approaches to the dharma to vanquish numberless vexations and to realize buddhahood (e.g., the four great vows). teachings such as these have been ignored for many reasons (lack of english translation of scriptures; thus, lack of scriptural knowledge; us being a product of modern western proclivity to favor "siting meditation" or "meditation" [in a very limited sense] over teachings/doctrines; our tendency to reduce/essentialize the rich and profound teachings of the buddha to fit into our own views of things; our own modern materialist paradigm of "science" [even though much of what we take as "science" is just assumed hypothesis and continues to be updated/rectified with the change of time], etc). this topic is vast, and i can only humbly encourage everyone to keep an open mind for things we don't quite understand due to all of these various reasons above and begin to explore within oneself and truly explore buddhist texts and that of the lineage masters because it shows up everywhere in the canon. it's just that we have not shone a light on it (cuz the canon has not been translated fully; and in our internet age, i doubt scriptural citation show up much on the internet).

the idea that cancer is directly caused by karma is a misinterpretation of what i meant. that would be pretty naive to advance that view. what i said was that, in addition to the various causes we can think of that may have attributed to cancer (diet, lifestyle, etc) there are underlying karmic causes to all illness, like cancer, as well. one of the key buddhist technical terms for this underlying causes is 業報 karmic retribution (skt. karma-phala) the other one is 宿報 retribution for the actions in prior lifetimes (skt. pūrva-karman). there are, of course, others. i'll include here romanized sanskrit and chinese terms to show that these ideas have a long established history in buddhism.

this world and everything in it, according to buddhadharma, is an ever-changing construct of karma created by living beings--including but not limited to the people we meet, the circumstances we find ourselves in, our lifespan, our health, our social standing, the way we appear, our spiritual capacity, etc. this is not to say that everything is the result of karma, or that there are no present life retributive (現報 skt. dṛṣṭa-karma) conditions that make things the way they are--of course there are! or that there is some naive notion of a one-to-one correlation of an action and its retribution (like a bank account analogy of karma). all of the above listed karmic conditions are subject to change. we may be born with a certain stock of merit, or be healthy or sick, but the actions we take this lifetime have repercussions on the fruition, postponement, changeability, and quality of our experience. causes, conditions, and effect continue to flow--there is no fixed retributive condition, but it does continue. the buddha described this like a shadow that follows a body. these are very basic teachings of buddhadharma, pervasive in the scriptures and writings attributed to the buddha and the lineage masters, either explicitly stated or assumed--(maybe nuanced but) never denied.

yes, the buddha, bodhidharma, huineng, dahui, hongzhi, rujing, dogen, hakuin, chinul, wonyo and the whole east asian chan/zen/seon traditions [in all genres of text, from biography to history, to koan literature] all have elaborated on karma and repentance; their interpretations vary (lots of debates) but existence of karma, how it shapes our world, and the need for purification are not denied. we often read into texts what we want to see, but the fact that this topic of karmic retribution is not popular doesn't mean it's not there. now that this topic has been brought up, i hope you all might be inspired to re-read those important texts or read up on this topic in scriptures and cull out what they have to say about karmic retribution. jundo, since you're in the lineage of dogen you might want to re-read what he has to say about confession and karmic retribution and precepts; his criticism of non-buddhist paths for ignoring the effects of karma from past lives and three times in the shobogenzo and eihei koroku.

as for repentance or confession 懺悔 (pratideśayati or kṣamā), there are three aspects to it: humility (慚; hrī), contrition (愧; apatrāpya), and these two are connected to making vows or resolution 發願 (praṇidhāna) to change one's mistaken ways in the past that have shaped one's present condition. the buddha instituted this repentance practice as a way to expose, externalize, and relieve past wrong doings, to clear one's conscience, and to change one's ways. this practice not only has a psychological effect of relieving guilt that haunts one's heart (concealing one's errors always has a negative outcome; and no, the judeo-christian notion of "guilt" is not related to repentance at all--in fact it is a negative mental factor), but also strengthen one's ability to overcome karmic retributions/obstructions from actions done in this and past lifetimes.

the buddha explained the various types of suffering from the perspective of karma--from his own migraine headache, to his cousin devadatta's continuous attempts to assassinate him [lifetime after lifetime]; to the massacre of his own śakya clan ppl; to maudgalyāyana's brutal death; to the spiritual disposition of certain practitioners, and so on and so on. the buddha taught how to work with karma. for example, sometimes he would go help a monk himself; other times he would ask a particular disciple to go help because there is a karmic connection there btn them (and only that disciple is able to help another disciple). there are cases where the buddha taught karma and repentance as a way to work with karma so as to help people face, accept, cure, and lessen the effect the illness. equally, the buddha was also practical; he encouraged his disciples to contemplate illness/suffering as a way to liberate themselves. what under-girded these teachings is karma and its effect, and the need to generate a sense of humility, repent, and make a resolution to change through dharma practice--the three aspects of repentance listed above. this is why in all repentance manuals these three aspects figure prominently.

karma and its effects is one of the five inconceivables (the other four listed by the buddha are the number of sentient beings; the powers of dhyāna; the powers of nāgas; the powers of the buddhas) that is simply too complicated for the limits of our linguistic and conceptual paradigm.

as for our tendency to read our modernist perspective onto buddhadharma, my own take on karma is that we now live in a world founded on a materialist paradigm. so the instruments/theories we design can only detect and prove (coarse) materialist things. for example, modern science have done much to dispel a lot of misunderstandings of the world we live in but it still has failed to understand the basic causes of disease (like cancer or even why certain ppl get migraine headaches [even though it can explain its symptoms and neuro pathways]). disease and illness is a much explored topic since very ancient times. premodern ppl had their own "sciences," but theirs are founded on an integrated psycho-materialist-spiritual paradigm. of course i'm not silly enough to advocate some kind of regression back to what some may arrogantly consider as "quasi-science" of ancient times. my point is: it's important to know that each paradigm has its limitations, assumptions, and conclusions/hypothesis. each as its merit. we have to keep an open mind. in recent years, a lot of modern medical sciences have given up on the cartesian approach toward treating disease (where body is perceived as separate from mind/brain) and drawn inspiration from ancient sciences like ayurvedic or chinese medicine for treatment. we have to come at illness from holistically, from all sides--diet, lifestyle, past injuries, up bringing, environmentally, and karmically. i know of a lady who has a tumor in her body that every time she's stressed it enlarges but whenever she practice repentance and engage in intensive retreats, it literally shrinks. it's been like that for decades. her western doctors have no idea how to explain this medically. i'm not making a big deal out of this or some kind of statement for the efficacy of repentance here.... just to point out that there are other things at play in our somatic experiences that are unexplainable in a purely materialist paradigm. so come at illness from all sides; take care of all possible conditions that may be working beyond our naked eye.

ppl frame their disease, lives, and world according the paradigms they live in. as our "science" moves forward, certain norms we subscribe to will be certainly overthrown, or nuanced, or some may be proven by ppl of future generations living in new paradigms. when the paradigms change, the instruments we design and the theoretical hypotheses change, we would be able to begin treating illness or whatever in new ways. the power of mind on somatic experiences; other dimensions of existence/realities; the effect of past on present, and present on future--our limited notion of time as linear would also be challenged. having an open mind is different than being suspicious. humility makes the difference. :bow2:

can't believe i've went on for this long... i've taken too much space here already! i could provide citation to some of the things above from the canon, but would be good for others who reads traditional buddhist languages to chime in. i don't want to dominate the conversation. now to sitting...

be well,
guo gu

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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by lindama » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:31 am

Guo Gu:
ppl frame their disease, lives, and world according the paradigms they live in.
so happy to see you going on, and on, and on ! ..... tears in my eyes

as far as karma.... it's a living thing for me.... quite diff from what I imagine more peeps think/believe. For better or worse, I took to my first explanation/view.... karma is action. For all of what Guo Gu said from the intellectual/informational side.... I don't hear any conflict. Tho, I need a whole breath or two to get over the intellectual enormity. lol, no prob!!

huh.... then, does karma exist in the past, present or future. I am ricidulous to ask the question....

linda

ps
I'm getting into my qi qong... who knows where that will take me. Interesting.... I am learning from a Taoist priest who teaches movements, awareness and energies without any reference to who he is. He teaches medical qi qong, longevity practices yet never talks about his lineage, etc. Doesn't need to when qi is present..... and, I sure don't need another theology. He is a sweet man who brought a "treat", ginger cookies, for Christmas.

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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by KeithA » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:28 pm

guo gu wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:56 am
meido, jundo, and all,

good morning! thanks for starting a new thread about this and keep the conversation going. i'm a bit late in the conversation... a bit surprised this has become a hot topic. also surprised my casual statement has sparked some misunderstandings... i repent! <snip>
:lol:

Thanks for all those words, Guo Go. I am also a bit surprised as to the consternation that has been stirred up, although I did feel like the original statement was in need of clarifying. Otherwise, what was presented is just basic Buddhism 101, to my mind, at least.

_/|\_
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