11/9-16-Relationship Not Each Other/True Suffering and False

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39074

    11/9-16-Relationship Not Each Other/True Suffering and False

    Hi,

    Okay, everything is somehow off schedule. Let's see what happens if we post two topics at once!

    11/9 - Relationship Is Not to Each Other p.97
    11/16 - True Suffering and False Suffering p.105

    Or, we might call this "Relationship is Not Falze Suffering" and "True Suffering is Not to Each Other"

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Gregor
    Member
    • Apr 2007
    • 638

    #2
    I'm way off schedule myself. I've been taking a little unplanned break, I'll try and get myself caught up here.

    take care gang!
    Jukai '09 Dharma Name: Shinko 慎重(Prudent Calm)

    Comment

    • John
      Member
      • Sep 2007
      • 272

      #3
      Double homework this week, groan....

      On the first section, I can relate to the squid that squirts ink. That's what I do as soon as I get up in the morning - that's when I seem to get the most depressing thoughts over anything that isn't going too well in my life. Or maybe it's the news I hear on my clock radio. Maybe that's not a good way to start the day - it's too like 'Groundhog Day' :-) I should start with a period of Zazen instead of waiting until after breakfast.

      Gassho
      John

      Comment

      • Bansho
        Member
        • Apr 2007
        • 532

        #4
        Hi John,

        Originally posted by John
        That's what I do as soon as I get up in the morning - that's when I seem to get the most depressing thoughts over anything that isn't going too well in my life.
        Yep, I can relate to that too. Usually when I wake up in the morning my mind is very quiet, and sometimes I can observe how one thought after another successively appears. Sometimes those thoughts are worries, sometimes they're things to look forward to, sometimes they're just things which need to be done that day, etc. Those thoughts used to have the potential to make or ruin my day, depending on how I looked at them and what weight I attached to them. Through my Zazen practice I've come to realize that there's really no difference between my mind in the quiet state upon awakening and the state approx. 10 minutes later when my mind is filled with thoughts. Those thoughts can only be worrying, troublesome, etc. if I fail to recognize them for what they really are, namely just thoughts. I'm perfectly free to attach weight to them and let them influence the rest of my day ... or just let them go.

        Gassho
        Kenneth
        ??

        Comment

        • paige
          Member
          • Apr 2007
          • 234

          #5
          I really liked the bit on page 110:

          Originally posted by Joko
          Now, sometimes people say, "It's too hard." But in fact, not practicing at all is much, much harder. We really fool ourselves when we don't practice. So please be very clear with yourself about what must be done to end suffering; and also that by practicing with such courage we can enable others to have no fear, no suffering.
          Or perhaps Mensch said it better (he left out the semicolon at least!) on another thread.

          Originally posted by Mensch
          The only thing I hate more than zazen is my state of mind when I don't do it for too long.
          Like John, I also related to the image of the squid. What it brings to mind for me was living in student housing. It was amazing how the house sparkled in the week leading up to exams. We'd rather do anything else - even clean the 'fridge and toilets! - besides study! In the same way, I'll try just about anything to distract myself from zazen.

          Comment

          • John
            Member
            • Sep 2007
            • 272

            #6
            For me the most difficult part of this first section is the discussion about ‘true self’. I presume that by true self she means no self? The first time I read this section I thought how unrealistic and alien that unselfish way of living seems in today’s society where we tend to be focused all or at least most of the time on looking after or manipulating the world to suit the needs and desires of the small-self and being judged successful or not by how well we achieve this task. It’s just so hard to escape the conditioning that makes us want to humour the small self all the time. I don’t think I have got very far with it, but I suppose that that is what practice is all about. But like Kenneth, I think I am starting to attach far less weight to my thoughts, especially the bad ones - so that they become less important, less substantial, and thus easier to let go of,

            Gassho,
            John

            Comment

            • Bansho
              Member
              • Apr 2007
              • 532

              #7
              Hi,

              Originally posted by John
              The first time I read this section I thought how unrealistic and alien that unselfish way of living seems in today’s society where we tend to be focused all or at least most of the time on looking after or manipulating the world to suit the needs and desires of the small-self and being judged successful or not by how well we achieve this task.
              Yeah, that doesn't help does it? It's difficult enough for most of us to overcome our own selfishness, and, as you say, to make matters worse we're frowned upon by society if we don't play along with the selfishness game. :cry:

              I'm not sure if it's correct, but I tend to think of the 'true self' as that which remains when we're free of greed, hate and ignorance, when we don't view ourselves and everything else as separate entities, and most importantly, when we act in accordance with that view. In general though, I think 'true self' is also just a concept which can cause a lot of confusion if interpreted incorrectly. I get the impression that there's more emphasis on it in Rinzai-Zen, since I don't recall Dogen Zenji ever explicitly mentioning it. Perhaps others here know more about that?

              Gassho
              Kenneth
              ??

              Comment

              • paige
                Member
                • Apr 2007
                • 234

                #8
                Originally posted by John
                I presume that by true self she means no self?
                I think Joko's probably talking about this story from the Platform Sutra, also told as a famous koan in the Gateless Gate:

                Case 23: Think Neither Good Nor Evil

                The Sixth Patriarch was pursued by the monk Myõ as far as Taiyu Mountain.

                The patriarch, seeing Myõ coming, laid the robe and bowl on a rock and said, "This robe represents the faith; it should not be fought over. If you want to take it away, take it now."

                Myõ tried to move it, but it was as heavy as a mountain and would not budge. Faltering and trembling, he cried out, "I came for the Dharma, not for the robe.

                I beg you, please give me your instruction."

                The patriarch said, "Think neither good nor evil. At this very moment, what is the original self of the monk Myõ?"

                At these words, Myõ was directly illuminated. His whole body was covered with sweat.

                He wept and bowed, saying, "Besides the secret words and the secret meaning you have just now revealed to me, is there anything else, deeper still?"

                The patriarch said, "What I have told you is no secret at all.

                When you look into your own true self, whatever is deeper is found right there."

                Myõ said, "I was with the monks under Õbai for many years but I could not realize my true self.

                But now, receiving your instruction, I know it is like a man drinking water and knowing whether it is cold or warm.

                My lay brother, you are now my teacher."

                The patriarch said, "If you say so, but let us both call Õbai our teacher.

                Be mindful to treasure and hold fast to what you have attained."

                Mumon's Comment

                The Sixth Patriarch was, so to speak, hurried into helping a man in an emergency, and he displayed a grandmotherly kindness.

                It is as though he peeled a fresh lichi, removed the seed, put it in your mouth, and asked you to swallow it down.

                Mumon's Verse

                You cannot describe it; you cannot picture it;
                You cannot admire it; don't try to eat it raw.
                Your true self has nowhere to hide;
                When the world is destroyed, it is not destroyed.
                I'm pretty sure that "Original mind," "True self," "Your fundamental face before your parents gave birth to you," &c all mean pretty much the same.

                Comment

                • Jundo
                  Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                  • Apr 2006
                  • 39074

                  #9
                  Hi,

                  Sometimes, in my perspective, these words can be a bit misleading. I must comment on that.

                  For example, since there is this 'True Face', we may think, logically, there must be a 'False Face', which is probably your "ordinary, human face" right now. And some schools of Buddhism and other Eastern philosophy might imply that, accordingly, your "ordinary face" is but a filthy lie, and filthy lies must be fully rejected. So, as Ken says, if there is a 'True' perspective that "remains when we're free of greed, hate and ignorance, when we don't view ourselves and everything else as separate entities, and most importantly, when we act in accordance with that view" (I like that very much, Ken, by the way), the opposing face of greed, hate, ignorance, separation, is just a fraud, to be wiped out and stamped out.

                  And they are right! Our 'ordinary face' must be seen right through, seeing the face behind a mask. We must rip off the mask and see the face of no separation, lacking greed, hate, ignorance ... They are absolutely right, and there is a way to live in such way.

                  And they are wrong! Absolutely wrong! Your face of separation, complete with human weaknesses of greed, hate and ignorance, is just your face and is True ... as True as True can be. It is truly your human face. Without that human face ... without separation and a 'self' to bump into all the 'not self' things .... you could not live, and there would be no world to live in. They are wrong wrong wrong.

                  So, how can we live with two faces at once???

                  Our Zen practice is, I believe, much like learning to see life as perhaps a bit of theatre, and ourselves as actors on the stage, reading the lines that are our life, wearing actors' masks (our ordinary face). The play is one of greed, anger, jealously, drama and comedy ... but it is our life.

                  Now, sometimes, when the play gets too hot and heavy, too ugly or violent, when we forget that it is just a story, we can take off our mask, step back stage behind the scenery and view the performance as just the fiction it is. Ah, the scenery is just made of paper and glue!

                  Yet, if we stay off stage, where is our life? Where is the world? Are we to abandon this story in the middle (even if not always to our liking, and perhaps just the Theatre of the Absurd)? So, we must replace our mask, and enter again stage left. We must pretend it is real. We have lines to read and a mask to wear.

                  That masked play is True! It is truly the play that it is!!

                  _________________

                  I want to make a similar comment about "Original Face" or the "Face before your mother & father were born". Sounds like something in the past, doesn't it? Like where we "originally came from but not where we are now". Like something so old it is even before "mom and dad".

                  So, I think that term is misleading too. How about we think of it more as the "Foundation" or "Stage" on which your life is built (not always visible, but always present)? In keeping with our earlier analogy (why bring in a new one?), the stage and theatre within which the play of our life must be performed. Then, it is right here and now ... even when, focusing on our little dramas, we forget the theatre we are sitting in and only see the play.

                  _________________


                  The patriarch, seeing Myõ coming, laid the robe and bowl on a rock and said, "This robe represents the faith; it should not be fought over. If you want to take it away, take it now."

                  Myõ tried to move it, but it was as heavy as a mountain and would not budge."
                  Speaking of true and false, this whole tale of suspended gravity sounds a little fishy to me. Did he use super glue? Yes, I know, it is just a literary symbol just like my little "theatre", and not necessarily "literally true". Still, in my moral tales of "Truth" and "Falsity", I kinda hate to see such obvious fiction merely for dramatic effect!

                  In fact ...


                  Modern scholars now agree that many of the stories surrounding Huineng are “mythical” reconstructions and elaborations by later generations of Chan writers. ... As with many legendary figures, it is difficult to sort fact from fiction when it comes to Huineng. We have many sources of information on him but most were written long after his lifetime. Most scholars of Buddhism now consider the story of Huineng’s life and his role in establishing Chan as a direct line going back to Sakyamuni (the historical Buddha, ca. 6th to 5th centuries BCE) to be little more than pious fiction. While there may be a kernel of historical truth to them, all of the accounts of Huineng’s life (particularly as recorded in the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch) show evidence of later expansion and elaboration. In fact, scholars cannot even agree on the location of Dafan, the temple in which Huineng allegedly recited the Platform Sutra.

                  http://www.iep.utm.edu/h/huineng.htm

                  So, Huineng himself may be fiction! As fictional as the anti-gravity bowl! The man telling us to see past the fiction is himself a fiction!!


                  And, you know what!? It matters not in the least because the fictional story is true in its view and truly what it is!!!!!!

                  See past the actors mask of fiction, then live the play, live the story!

                  Gassho, Jundo the Thespian

                  PS- Our lives may truly be a "Theatre of the Absurd" by the way, for no way of knowing if there is a point to the story, if it is heading somewhere ... or even if there was a playwright behind it at all!

                  No matter ... read your lines, read your lines.
                  ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                  Comment

                  • paige
                    Member
                    • Apr 2007
                    • 234

                    #10
                    I'm sorry Jundo, but you've lost me! *scratches head*

                    I tend to view koans more as parables than as accounts of true events. I find the exchange concerning the robe very interesting. We should all choose the Dharma rather than the robe!

                    I posted Case 23 because (AFAIK) it's the most popular "original mind (/face/ self)" story. But I don't think that the Hui Neng story is really any different from Lin-chi's "True man of no rank" or Nansen's "Ordinary mind" or Dogen's "Direct transmission (of the face through the face)."

                    PS - With regards to the hua tou, I was told that the same character is used for both "to be born" and "to give birth," which created some confusion for the translators. So instead of "your fundamental face before your parents were born," it should be "your fundamental face before your parents gave birth [to you]." I don't know Chinese, so I'm just taking my teacher's word for it!

                    Comment

                    • Jundo
                      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                      • Apr 2006
                      • 39074

                      #11
                      Originally posted by paige
                      I'm sorry Jundo, but you've lost me! *scratches head*
                      Surely, not the first time nor the last. ;-)

                      I posted Case 23 because (AFAIK) it's the most popular "original mind (/face/ self)" story. But I don't think that the Hui Neng story is really any different from Lin-chi's "True man of no rank" or Nansen's "Ordinary mind" or Dogen's "Direct transmission (of the face through the face)."
                      “The Master Lin Chi took the high seat in the hall. He said ‘On your lump of red flesh is a True Person of No Rank who is always going in and out of the face of every one of you. Those who have not yet proved him, look, look!’ Then a monk came forward and asked ‘What about the True Person of No Rank?’ The Master got down from his seat, seized the monk and said ‘Speak! Speak!’ The monk faltered. Shoving him away, the Master said, ‘The True Person With-out Rank, what kind of shit-wiping stick is he?’ Then he returned to his quarters.”

                      My point was only that there is nothing wrong with lumps of red flesh and shit-wiping sticks. They are Truth too.

                      And so for Master Dogen who, upon his return from China said ... ""I have come back empty-handed. I have realized only that the eyes are horizontal and the nose is vertical."

                      And Nansen who said that just your regular, 'ol “ordinary mind is the Way” [yet] "The Way is not a matter of knowing or not knowing. Knowing is delusion; not knowing is confusion. When you have really reached the true Way beyond doubt, you will find it vast and boundless as outer space."


                      So instead of "your fundamental face before your parents were born," it should be "your fundamental face before your parents gave birth [to you]." I don't know Chinese, so I'm just taking my teacher's word for it!
                      What's the difference? Seems a "not-6 or a not-half a dozen."

                      Gassho, Jundo
                      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                      Comment

                      • will
                        Member
                        • Jun 2007
                        • 2331

                        #12
                        Jundo

                        That masked play is True! It is truly the play that it is!!
                        Just a question. Doesn't this go against the precept of telling lies? I know I know the precepts are guidelines, but this seems like a big one.

                        I think a good point would be: not to be convinced by the lines that you are given and to be able to shatter those lines into a million pieces at any time without worry.

                        Gassho

                        Ps. I might have to read your post again.
                        [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

                        • Jundo
                          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                          • Apr 2006
                          • 39074

                          #13
                          Hi Will,

                          But I don't think that life is a lie. It is truly your life.

                          Anyway, a novel, play, movie or other bit of theatre is not a 'lie' even in ordinary meaning. That being said, Leon, Mina and I are now off to see the 'Bee Movie'

                          Gassho, Jundo
                          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                          Comment

                          • will
                            Member
                            • Jun 2007
                            • 2331

                            #14
                            Jundo
                            a novel, play, movie or other bit of theatre is not a 'lie'
                            It could be, if you've convinced yourself that it is something other than what it is.

                            That being said, Leon, Mina and I are now off to see the 'Bee Movie'
                            Seen it. It's great. Have fun.

                            Gassho Will
                            [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

                            • Bansho
                              Member
                              • Apr 2007
                              • 532

                              #15
                              Hi Jundo,

                              I like your theatre analogy -- thanks for putting that into perspective. I guess what generally bothers me about concepts like the 'true self' is that they're typically presented as being cloaked in mystery or somehow mystical, in any case something only a very few ever manage to catch a glimpse of. For example, in 'The Sixth Patriarch Comes to Manhattan' by Sokei-An, he repeatedly talks about his struggle to find his true self and incites his students to also take up that search and never give up. Like the works of D.T. Suzuki, P. Kapleau, E. Herrigel, A. Watts etc., that kind of carrot-and-stick-Zen seem to be typical of the time in which they were written. Instead of embracing the present moment, they're urged so constantly seek, grasp, attain...

                              Gassho
                              Ken
                              ??

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