Reader on Shikantaza

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Turtle Clan
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Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:25 pm

Reader on Shikantaza

Post by Turtle Clan » Tue Jul 28, 2020 1:54 pm

https://www.upaya.org/uploads/pdfs/shik ... reader.pdf

Dear Friends,

It is of questionable value to ask you to read these venerable texts about something that is “beyond thinking.” But I have compiled this reader for those of us who enjoy the encouragement and discoveries of great practitioners.

Bodhidharma “discovered” shikantaza as he sat for nine years facing the wall of his cave at the back of abandoned Shaolin Monastery. Zen Masters Hongzhi and Dogen established shikantaza firmly in our lineage eight hundred years ago. Since then millions have practiced “just sitting”, but who has realized this subtle and wonderful practice?

Shikantaza, or just sitting, is the most direct of practices in all of Buddhism. It is the method of no-method, and invites us to just sit in stillness and openness, perceiving things simply and directly as they are, without engaging in thought, including thoughts of motivation. An approach that requires no mediation of technique, shikantaza is a fully embodied and wholehearted practice that is direct, intimate, and uncontrived.

Great teachers have expounded richly on shikantaza, but in the end and in the beginning, it is really up to you and to me to “just sit.” The words, both written and thought, have to drop away sooner or later.

As you practice, you are invited to relax. These readings are a resource. They are not the source. You may realize the source if you “just sit.”

Two hands together,
Roshi Joan
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jundocohen
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Re: Reader on Shikantaza

Post by jundocohen » Wed Jul 29, 2020 2:12 am

I might say that, as is just natural and to be celebrated in every way, Roshi Joan is coming from her own mixed "Rinzai-Soto" flavor of practice, as also does the late, great Daido Loori.

Rev. Sheng-yen is more of his own fashioned, rather new ways of Silent Illumination which, personally, I would not call "Shikantaza" at all. This is just my view, although he usually said the same thing himself (that Shikantaza is not the same.)

The writings of Uchiyama and Okumura are, in my little neck of the woods, more what "Shikantaza" is on about.

Gassho, Jundo

Turtle Clan
Posts: 63
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:25 pm

Re: Reader on Shikantaza

Post by Turtle Clan » Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:30 pm

Kōbun Chino Otogawa

Introduction to Aspects of Sitting
http://web.stanford.edu/%7Efunn/zazen_i ... tting.html

SHIKAN TAZA
(pages 14 -15)

The great pleasure, the great accomplishment of your way-seeking is in
the realization of sitting. This form of sitting, this place to sit
on this earth, this time to sit, the twentieth century, all have lots
of problems. The shikan taza way is giving birth to the Buddha seed.
It is not a person becoming a better person, it is the actualization
of what we are. To sit in shikan taza is very uncomfortable at first.
It's rather more peaceful to sink into a warm soft couch and have a
nice drink. That's peace, we may say. But to recover our basic view of
sanity and clarity, to see how everything actually arises and falls moment
after moment is how take this sitting posture. Awakening, continuous
awakening is nothing but our basic nature. Putting that awakening into
some form as so-called being, as a man or a woman, explains what shikan
taza is. When you jump into the Buddha's world, you place yourself in the
center of annuttara-samyaksambodhi. That is shikan taza's real meaning,
real action. Shikan-taza is immeasurable, it's unthinkable. You can
use your entire system of knowing, but it is impossible to completely
understand it. Shikan taza sounds very strong. Shikan is understood as
identical to zaza. Shikan means "pure", "one", "only for it". Ta is a
very strong word. It shows moving activity. When you hit, that movement
is called ta, so "strike" is ta. Za is the same as in the word zazen,
sitting. To express the whole character, shikan taza is actually quite
enough, but not enough until you experience it. Shikan taza is sitting
for itself. You may say pure sitting for itself, not for something else.
Shinjin datsu raku is the same as shikan taza. Shinjin is "body/mind".
Body/mind is nothing but our whole life. This cannot be seen in two ways;
body/mind is one thing. Datsu is "to refrain", and "to drop from".
When you are dreaming some terrible dream, and the dream is cut off,
that is called datsu. When you get rid of that dream, that also is
called datsu. When you have a sword, the action of pulling a sword
from its sheath is called datsu. So datsu has a very strong meaning of
freeing from something. Another way to express it is : to have conquered
something which hindered your existence, like attachments, delusions,
or misunderstandings. Zazen itself is cutting off those conditions.
When we are dreaming, even if it is later called a dream, while we are
dreaming it is a real thing. This night is almost the same as last night,
but you cannot call last night back. You can remember how you were
yesterday, but at this point, we don't have yesterday. Yesterday only
gave time and space for now, so we can be completely in present time.
Datsu is the succession of time from today to tomorrow; datsu of now
is the next moment. This moment is the next moment. This is the way
our life is going on. It sounds like an intuitive, ordinary philosophy
of life. Everyone can feel it: "Oh, it is, it is!" Usually no one pays
attention in that way, being with the present and seeing and feeling that
yesterday is behind us like a rope. We are on top of the rope, or karma,
and it just goes on and on like knitting. So last year someone might
have said, "You are crazy", and you thought there was something to it.
A strong impression makes unreal existence real and real existence unreal.

Shikan taza is not what we usually think, it is truly personal deeds,
because only if one decides to sit does it appear. Sitting cannot
be fully experienced by imagination. Shikan taza has a kind of
slippery feeling to it. This means that it is easy to slip off of it.
It's quite slippery because it relates to your everyday condition.
In each sitting you have to sense it without anyone's help. There are
no techniqu4es; there is no measuring stick with which to evaluate it.
There is no way of knowing what it is or what you are doing. All kinds
of conceptualizations, ideas, hopes fall away from it. They cannot stay
in your meditation. Sitting on your cushion is not relaxation, it is the
result of all your knowledge. Every experience you have come through
sits there each time. It is very serious. Otherwise, you sit because
it feels good, and you are comfortable, and once in a while you feel an
ecstatic sensation in your body. You feel calmness, stillness, clarity,
and forget there are hungry people on this earth. You forget there are
lots of diseases which are killing people. If you do not observe that
in your sitting, you are just escaping into your desire. It happens if
you mistake or limit the focus of your sitting practice. Sitting shikan
taza is the place itself, and things. The dynamics of all Buddhas are
in it. When you sit, the cushion sits with you. If you wear glasses,
the glasses sit with you. Clothing sits with you. House sits with you.
People who are moving around outside all sit with you. They don't take
the sitting posture! Sitting shikan taza does not depend on human
intellect. It is not something you understand. It's indescribable.
We say the contents of sitting are beyond our thinking system or our
sensations. Belief or confidence is not what we usually think it is.
Doing shikan taza shows utter trust and belief in it. If you explain
shikan taza it becomes something which you don't understand, but you can
experience sitting with everything with the understanding that everything
is there, is there with you. Buddha's sitting is way beyond purity and
impurity, holiness and unholiness. It is beyond Bodhisattva's sitting,
which is endless. Bodhisattva's sitting is like a seed which never
stops flourishing; it always comes back.

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jundocohen
Posts: 130
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Re: Reader on Shikantaza

Post by jundocohen » Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:17 am

The late great Kobun Chino lives!
The shikan taza way is giving birth to the Buddha seed. It is not a person becoming a better person, it is the actualization of what we are. ... Shikan taza is sitting for itself. You may say pure sitting for itself, not for something else. ... There are no techniques; there is no measuring stick with which to evaluate it. There is no way of knowing what it is or what you are doing. All kinds of conceptualizations, ideas, hopes fall away from it. ... You forget there are lots of diseases which are killing people. If you do not observe that in your sitting, you are just escaping into your desire. It happens if you mistake or limit the focus of your sitting practice. Sitting shikantaza is the place itself, and things. The dynamics of all Buddhas are in it. When you sit, the cushion sits with you. ... House sits with you. People who are moving around outside all sit with you. They don't take the sitting posture! Sitting shikan taza does not depend on human intellect. It is not something you understand. It's indescribable. We say the contents of sitting are beyond our thinking system or our sensations. Belief or confidence is not what we usually think it is. Doing shikan taza shows utter trust and belief in it. If you explain shikan taza it becomes something which you don't understand, but you can experience sitting with everything with the understanding that everything is there, is there with you. Buddha's sitting is way beyond purity and impurity, holiness and unholiness. It is beyond Bodhisattva's sitting, which is endless. Bodhisattva's sitting is like a seed which never stops flourishing; it always comes back.
Great, High-Octane stuff!

Autumnday
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2020 12:40 am

Re: Reader on Shikantaza

Post by Autumnday » Sat Aug 01, 2020 11:29 am

:bow2:

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