4/24 - Branching Streams - A Short Talk During Z

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39270

    4/24 - Branching Streams - A Short Talk During Z

    Hi,

    A little interlude this week, as we let some folks catch up and allow things to settle. So, just a very short talk called ..

    A Short Talk During Zazen - pp. 147 to 149

    It is about the physical side of sitting ... but is it only that?

    It has some special words on the Mudra which sound much like Rev. Taigu wrote today ...

    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1603&p=22681&hilit=mudra#p2268 1

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • prg5001
    Member
    • Apr 2008
    • 76

    #2
    Re: 4/24 - Branching Streams - A Short Talk During Z

    Hi,

    I really liked the whole body doing zazen independently and supporting each other. I am often too much in my head when sitting so to do a check around all the parts and ask them if they are okay is good for me.

    Cheers,

    Paul

    Comment

    • John
      Member
      • Sep 2007
      • 272

      #3
      Re: 4/24 - Branching Streams - A Short Talk During Z

      Originally posted by Suzuki
      The entire universe is doing zazen in the same way that your body is doing zazen
      Just allowing zazen to happen....'zazen doing zazen', as Uchiyama said..allowing the sense of self doing anything to evaporate,

      Gassho,
      Doshin

      Comment

      • Shohei
        Member
        • Oct 2007
        • 2854

        #4
        Re: 4/24 - Branching Streams - A Short Talk During Z

        Hiyas

        This was a nice reminder to pull up my trousers and sit down. Ive been a bit down and out with the flu and missed a couple of sits. Sinus pain and runny nose, aching legs and arms, sore throat and a cough. Each part of the body sits zazen and the body sits as a whole. So sitting with my symptomatic parts as well as my healthy parts was in order and instead i gave up quite easily to the self centered "Im sitting zazen" and decided I will not be sitting tonight because I was sick.

        The body and mind in their natural state practicing zazen. Like Paul said, too often im in my head " ohh shhhh! quiet brain!" - but that is not the natural state and its very much like a babbling brook! this quoted bit made perfect sense to me.

        Water is practicing zazen with movement, yet the water is still while flowing because flowing is its stillness, or its nature. The bridge is doing zazen without moving.
        Gassho Shohei

        Comment

        • BrianW
          Member
          • Oct 2008
          • 511

          #5
          Re: 4/24 - Branching Streams - A Short Talk During Z

          The entire universe is doing zazen in the same way that your body is doing zazen. When all parts of the body are doing zazen, then that is how the whole universe practices zazen. Each mountain is standing and each stream is flowing independently……Thus, the whole universe is practicing independently.
          The above passage made me reflect on today’s Sit-a-Long on the Bendowa, which speaks more to the interdependent nature of the universe….

          Zazen, even if it is only one human being sitting for one moment, thus enters into mystical co-operation with all dharmas [phenomena of the universe], and completely penetrates all times; and it therefore performs, within the limitless Universe, the eternal work of the Buddha's guiding influence in the past, future, and present. [Zazen is equally the same practice and same enlightenment for both the person sitting and for all dharmas]. The practice is not confined to the sitting itself; it strikes space and resonates, [like] ringing that continues before and after a bell. How could [the practice] be limited to this place?
          As always in zen more than one perspective to hold simultaneously….

          Gassho,
          BrianW

          Comment

          • prg5001
            Member
            • Apr 2008
            • 76

            #6
            Re: 4/24 - Branching Streams - A Short Talk During Z

            Originally posted by Dirk
            Like Paul said, too often im in my head " ohh shhhh! quiet brain!" - but that is not the natural state and its very much like a babbling brook!
            It is my natural state, otherwise, how could it happen?

            Cheers,

            Paul

            Comment

            • CharlesC
              Member
              • May 2008
              • 83

              #7
              Re: 4/24 - Branching Streams - A Short Talk During Z

              Originally posted by Dirk
              The body and mind in their natural state practicing zazen. Like Paul said, too often im in my head " ohh shhhh! quiet brain!" - but that is not the natural state and its very much like a babbling brook! this quoted bit made perfect sense to me.
              Funnily enough, a few days ago I thought that zazen was sometimes like sitting next to a babbling brook. You hear the noise but you don't pay attention to it.

              :Charles

              Comment

              • Shogen
                Member
                • Dec 2008
                • 301

                #8
                Re: 4/24 - Branching Streams - A Short Talk During Z

                Hi Paul

                Dirk said, " Like Paul said, too often im in my head " ohh shhhh! quiet brain!" - but that is not the natural state and its very much like a babbling brook!"


                Paul said, "It is my natural state, otherwise, how could it happen?"

                The "thud sound" I just heard was body and mind dropping. Wow, Jundo said let's take a little interlude and Paul went and showed us " Begginers Mind/Natural State. This Zazen thing must really be something special?

                Gassho Zak

                Comment

                • Shohei
                  Member
                  • Oct 2007
                  • 2854

                  #9
                  Re: 4/24 - Branching Streams - A Short Talk During Z

                  Originally posted by prg5001
                  Originally posted by Dirk
                  Like Paul said, too often im in my head " ohh shhhh! quiet brain!" - but that is not the natural state and its very much like a babbling brook!
                  It is my natural state, otherwise, how could it happen?

                  Cheers,

                  Paul

                  Hi
                  I was awkwardly trying to say my minds natural state is not "quiet brain" - Yet i used to keep trying to "Shhhh" it. I came to see that my minds normal state is active (inactive, well we know that's not preferable) flowing and babbling like a brook. Being in my head is my natural state. As already said sitting by the stream you hear the stream, but it doesn't perturb or distract the sound just flows in its natural state.

                  Hehe hope i was clearer... clumsy everything is also my natural state.

                  Gassho, Shohei

                  Comment

                  • Jundo
                    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                    • Apr 2006
                    • 39270

                    #10
                    Re: 4/24 - Branching Streams - A Short Talk During Z

                    Hi,

                    It is worth repeating, especially for folks new to Shikantaza (others will have read this many times before), that our practice is not chasing after thoughts ... neither stirring them up, nor becoming tangled in them once they arise ... just allowing each one to drift naturally out of mind. In doing so, the mind may (sometimes not) become naturally still and silent.

                    We don't forcibly silence anything, neither do we poke a stick into the beehive of thinking and emotions and stir 'em up.

                    I sometimes describe our practice as clouds (of thought) amid a clear blue sky (emptiness, yet not "empty") ...

                    We do not try to "silence the thoughts before they arise" in Skikantaza. It is more that we allow the thoughts that naturally drift into mind to to naturally drift out of mind, much as clouds (of thought) naturally drift in and out of a clear blue sky. In this way, return again and again to the open, clear blue sky.

                    One of the key points about Master Dogen's approach to Zazen is to allow the clouds (of thought) to drift naturally out of mind (our thoughts of this and that, likes and dislikes, judgments, events, etc) and we come back again and again to the clear blue sky. Do that again and again, 100 billion times and 100 billion times again.

                    HOWEVER, Dogen taught "non-thinking" (also called "thinking not thinking"). That means that there is nothing "wrong" with the clouds. It is not that blue sky is "good" while clouds are "bad" (some Buddhism and other Eastern philosophies imply that). We allow the clouds to drift out of mind, but neither do we resent the clouds when present or on very cloudy days. Even on those days when the sky is all cloudy, and not an inch of blue is present, the blue sky is still there behind the clouds. WE DO NOT SEEK TO BREAK UP OR RESIST ANY PART OF THE SKY, CLOUDS OR BLUE ... It is all the unbroken sky. Understand?

                    So, no need to "catch" the thoughts and chase them away, even as we seek during Zazen to find the open, blue sky.
                    Gassho, Jundo

                    PS - I recently came across this description from Kennett Roshi that is also very nice, and picks up on a distinction between "natural" and "deliberate" thinking sometimes made by Japanese Zen teachers ...

                    Another useful observation which Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett made about meditation was the distinction between natural and deliberate thought. Suppose, for instance, that a dog barks while we are meditating. We naturally hear the sound, and perhaps the thought occurs to us that a dog is barking. These are examples of natural thought; they are part of things-as-they-are, part of simple, aware sitting. This is meditation, and nothing needs to be done about it. But suppose that we continue the chain of thought: we next think that the barking disturbs our meditation, that our neighbor should control their dog better, that something really should be done about this lack of consideration·, and the next thing we are aware of is that we "wake up", realizing that we have spent the last five minutes giving our neighbor a lecture. This is deliberate thought and is inconsistent with serene reflection meditation. We need to bring our mind back to the awareness of simply sitting there.
                    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                    Comment

                    • prg5001
                      Member
                      • Apr 2008
                      • 76

                      #11
                      Re: 4/24 - Branching Streams - A Short Talk During Z

                      Originally posted by Dirk

                      Hi
                      I was awkwardly trying to say my minds natural state is not "quiet brain" - Yet i used to keep trying to "Shhhh" it. I came to see that my minds normal state is active (inactive, well we know that's not preferable) flowing and babbling like a brook. Being in my head is my natural state. As already said sitting by the stream you hear the stream, but it doesn't perturb or distract the sound just flows in its natural state.

                      Hehe hope i was clearer... clumsy everything is also my natural state.

                      Gassho, Shohei
                      Hi,

                      I thought you might have been saying that but I wanted to clarify. Also, I agree with the "Shhh, keep it down it down it a bit guys", sometimes it gets a bit too noisy up there.

                      Cheers,

                      Paul

                      Comment

                      • Shugen
                        Treeleaf Unsui
                        • Nov 2007
                        • 4535

                        #12
                        Re: 4/24 - Branching Streams - A Short Talk During Z

                        PS - I recently came across this description from Kennett Roshi that is also very nice, and picks up on a distinction between "natural" and "deliberate" thinking sometimes made by Japanese Zen teachers ...

                        Another useful observation which Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett made about meditation was the distinction between natural and deliberate thought. Suppose, for instance, that a dog barks while we are meditating. We naturally hear the sound, and perhaps the thought occurs to us that a dog is barking. These are examples of natural thought; they are part of things-as-they-are, part of simple, aware sitting. This is meditation, and nothing needs to be done about it. But suppose that we continue the chain of thought: we next think that the barking disturbs our meditation, that our neighbor should control their dog better, that something really should be done about this lack of consideration·, and the next thing we are aware of is that we "wake up", realizing that we have spent the last five minutes giving our neighbor a lecture. This is deliberate thought and is inconsistent with serene reflection meditation. We need to bring our mind back to the awareness of simply sitting there.
                        This really clicked for me.

                        Ron
                        Meido Shugen
                        明道 修眼

                        Comment

                        • prg5001
                          Member
                          • Apr 2008
                          • 76

                          #13
                          Re: 4/24 - Branching Streams - A Short Talk During Z

                          Hi,

                          I like that Ron. Also, it might not be a bad idea to be aware of such discursive thoughts off the cushion and see if they really help or not.

                          Cheers,

                          Paul

                          Comment

                          • will
                            Member
                            • Jun 2007
                            • 2331

                            #14
                            Re: 4/24 - Branching Streams - A Short Talk During Z

                            Also, it might not be a bad idea to be aware of such discursive thoughts off the cushion and see if they really help or not.
                            Not quite sure what your saying here. Zen is our natural state on and off the cushion. Discursive thinking never leads to anything good from my experience. However, one should not try to get rid of it (the clouds thing).

                            ie.

                            Walking to the store (I use this example a lot) I could be going over all kinds of stuff not realizing that I'm just sinking more and more into what? Anyway. When body mind is balanced there's little unnecessary reaction, and thought. You are precisely where you are. Body and mind are not separate. When discursive thinking is there, this is reflected through body as well. It could be in the form of reaction. You hear a loud noise and jump. That shows you your not really paying attention. I don't want to get into it, but there is thinking, and there is getting lost in thought.

                            Gassho
                            [size=85:z6oilzbt]
                            To save all sentient beings, though beings are numberless.
                            To penetrate reality, though reality is boundless.
                            To transform all delusion, though delusions are immeasurable.
                            To attain the enlightened way, a way non-attainable.
                            [/size:z6oilzbt]

                            Comment

                            • Dosho
                              Member
                              • Jun 2008
                              • 5784

                              #15
                              Re: 4/24 - Branching Streams - A Short Talk During Z

                              Originally posted by rculver
                              PS - I recently came across this description from Kennett Roshi that is also very nice, and picks up on a distinction between "natural" and "deliberate" thinking sometimes made by Japanese Zen teachers ...

                              Another useful observation which Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett made about meditation was the distinction between natural and deliberate thought. Suppose, for instance, that a dog barks while we are meditating. We naturally hear the sound, and perhaps the thought occurs to us that a dog is barking. These are examples of natural thought; they are part of things-as-they-are, part of simple, aware sitting. This is meditation, and nothing needs to be done about it. But suppose that we continue the chain of thought: we next think that the barking disturbs our meditation, that our neighbor should control their dog better, that something really should be done about this lack of consideration·, and the next thing we are aware of is that we "wake up", realizing that we have spent the last five minutes giving our neighbor a lecture. This is deliberate thought and is inconsistent with serene reflection meditation. We need to bring our mind back to the awareness of simply sitting there.
                              This really clicked for me.

                              Ron
                              Same here...my thought after reading this was, "That's it!"

                              Comment

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