Striving-without-striving

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39270

    Striving-without-striving


    Some folks may misinterpret the "no attainment" teachings of Soto Zen by making it sound as if Soto teachers are advocating for complacency, passivity, killing time, wallowing in our own stupidity. Nothing could be further from the truth!

    We practice very, very diligently, each moment, all to realize this radical "no other place to be, nothing to attain, all goals ever realized, Buddha is manifest right here!" It is much like walking up a mountain (Buddha Mountain) in which every single step is itself total arrival at Buddha Mountain, every inch its own "summit" of Buddha mountain ... and yet we keep on moving on, not quitting. We seek to do our sincere best with each step to avoid the "mud holes" of greed, anger and ignorance, thus bringing Buddha to life in our walking Buddha Mountain. No need to seek this mountain which is always underfoot, and yet we seek to walk it well. Thus we strive and gain the glorious realization that there is no need to gain Buddha Mountain aside from this very step by step along Buddha Mountain. Buddha Mountain is right here, not hidden behind the distant hills.

    We may also learn to ease our heart, relax from all thirst and fear, free of the hunger to be elsewhere, thus ... striving with our legs, our heart beating, even as our heart is free of all hunger and striving: Thus, striving-without-striving, this doing-non-doing.

    There is no need for perfection for, in fact, we can never get away from Buddha Mountain. Nonetheless, we keep trying to do our very best as sincere and diligent practitioners walking this mountain. One step may be graceful, the next step a stumble, yet we get up and continue on through this life. Eventually, with time, the walker may become enlightened to the fact that she has been Buddha-Walking-Buddha all along, and not an inch has ever been travelled away from Buddha, nor can one be nearer..
    Suzuki Shunryu spoke about this attitude in 'Not Alway So':
    Dogen Zenji says, "Practice and enlightenment are one." Practice is something you do consciously, something you do with effort. There! Right there is enlightenment. Many Zen masters missed this point while they were striving to attain perfect zazen: things that exist are imperfect. That is how everything actually exists in this world. Nothing we see or hear is perfect. But right there in the imperfection is perfect reality. It is true intellectually and also in the realm of practice. It is true on paper and true with our body. You think that you can only establish true practice after you attain enlightenment, but it is not so. True practice is established in delusion, in frustration. If you make some mistake, that is where to establish your practice. There is no other place for you to establish your practice.
    We talk about enlightenment, but in its true sense perfect enlightenment is beyond our understanding, beyond our experience. Even in our imperfect practice enlightenment is there. We just don't know it. So the point is to find the true meaning of practice before we attain enlightenment. Wherever you are, enlightenment is there. [f you stand up right where you are, that is enlightenment.
    (not always so, p 129)


    It is the Koan of 'Ongoing, Continuous, Practice-Enlightenment' which we Soto folks savor.

    Is the fellow in this picture going up or down or on a level plain?

    In truth, he is moving yet always still, always right here yet moving.



    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-20-2022, 06:47 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Artien
    Member
    • Jun 2022
    • 56

    #2


    Artien
    Sat

    Comment

    • Gareth
      Member
      • Jun 2020
      • 219

      #3
      Thank you

      I fell into the trap, deciding that he was definitely going up a hill.

      Gassho,
      Gareth
      Sat today, Lah

      Comment

      • Chikyou
        Member
        • May 2022
        • 568

        #4


        Gassho,
        SatLah
        Kelly
        Chikyō 知鏡
        (KellyLM)

        Comment

        • Dogukan
          Member
          • Oct 2021
          • 144

          #5


          Doğukan,
          Sat.

          Comment

          • Ryumon
            Member
            • Apr 2007
            • 1693

            #6
            I find this paradox wonderful. That we think of doing something without doing it. This is akin to how the Alexander Technique teaches people to inhibit. Before moving, tell yourself not to move. You can move when you want to, but the idea is to prevent actions from becoming automatic; you have to do them intentionally. They're all about the goallessness goals as well.

            It also makes me think of flow. You've practiced something to do it well, and, sometimes, it just happens. You're no longing thinking of the attainment, you're just doing the thing. You're the thing doing the thing; you're the attainment that's not being attained.

            Gassho,

            Ryūmon (Kirk)

            sat
            ---
            Ryūmon (Kirk)
            流文

            SAT/LAH

            I know nothing.

            Comment

            • Suuko
              Member
              • May 2017
              • 405

              #7
              Thank you for the post. I think this is the essence of Zen.

              Gassho,
              Suuko.

              Sent from my M2101K7BNY using Tapatalk
              Has been known as Guish since 2017 on the forum here.

              Comment

              • Kaisho
                Member
                • Nov 2016
                • 163

                #8
                Thanks Jundo. Needed to hear this.

                Gassho
                Lah sat

                Sent from my moto g stylus 5G using Tapatalk

                Comment

                • michaelw
                  Member
                  • Feb 2022
                  • 198

                  #9


                  Gassho
                  M
                  sat

                  Comment

                  • Tai Do
                    Member
                    • Jan 2019
                    • 1358

                    #10
                    Thank you, Jundo.
                    It’s something I have to constantly remind myself of.
                    Gassho,
                    Sat/LAH
                    怠努 (Tai Do) - Lazy Effort
                    (also known as Mateus )

                    禅戒一如 (Zen Kai Ichi Nyo) - Zazen and the Precepts are One!

                    Comment

                    • Jundo
                      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                      • Apr 2006
                      • 39270

                      #11
                      And I just had some nice news. Tricycle magazine and online says my other recent essays are getting a good response from all concerned, so they wish to publish more I have written about once a month, this essay included.

                      I am glad that people get it. Writing Zen essays is also a matter of effort-without-effort.

                      Gassho, J

                      STLah
                      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                      Comment

                      • Bion
                        Treeleaf Unsui
                        • Aug 2020
                        • 3731

                        #12
                        Originally posted by Jundo
                        And I just had some nice news. Tricycle magazine and online says my other recent essays are getting a good response from all concerned, so they wish to publish more I have written about once a month, this essay included.

                        I am glad that people get it. Writing Zen essays is also a matter of effort-without-effort.

                        Gassho, J

                        STLah
                        You are on a roll! How lovely that people respond to your teaching and benefit from it! [emoji2309] [emoji2309] [emoji2309]


                        [emoji1374] Sat Today
                        "Stepping back with open hands, is thoroughly comprehending life and death. Immediately you can sparkle and respond to the world." - Hongzhi

                        Comment

                        • Geika
                          Treeleaf Unsui
                          • Jan 2010
                          • 4978

                          #13
                          Excellent news! It's nice to see you popping up there.

                          Gassho
                          Sat, lah
                          求道芸化 Kyūdō Geika
                          I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

                          Comment

                          • Artien
                            Member
                            • Jun 2022
                            • 56

                            #14
                            Great news. I am pleased to hear more people get to benefit from your teachings.

                            Gassho,

                            Artien
                            Sat

                            Comment

                            • Ryumon
                              Member
                              • Apr 2007
                              • 1693

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Jundo
                              And I just had some nice news. Tricycle magazine and online says my other recent essays are getting a good response from all concerned, so they wish to publish more I have written about once a month, this essay included.

                              I am glad that people get it. Writing Zen essays is also a matter of effort-without-effort.

                              Gassho, J

                              STLah
                              And after you've done a couple dozen, choose the best and collect them in a book.

                              Gassho,

                              Ryūmon (Kirk)

                              sat
                              ---
                              Ryūmon (Kirk)
                              流文

                              SAT/LAH

                              I know nothing.

                              Comment

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