Grass Hut - 1 - Things Change

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39026

    Grass Hut - 1 - Things Change

    Let's begin our chat on INSIDE THE GRASS HUT: LIVING SHITOU'S CLASSIC ZEN POEM by Ben Connelly ...

    This week, we are with the first section "Things Change", which is the first part of Chapter 1, "Living Simply in the Changes: I’ve built a grass hut where there’s nothing of value". It is only a few pages long. We will see if that is a good pace (later we can all decide whether we might pick up the pace a bit, perhaps a couple of sections each week).

    If your book copy has not arrived, all of "Things Change" appears to be available at the Amazon preview, from page 13 ...



    A partial excerpt is also available here, but it is somewhat shortened ...



    You can discuss anything you wish about the section or the book. I will toss out a couple of questions, but feel free to ignore them and comment on whatever strikes you. They are merely to stimulate your reflections. You can talk back and forth with other folks here, or simply express your own feelings. Anything goes!

    Suggested Questions & Reflections:

    -1- Do you think it possible to keep and cherish something or someone (a person, a relationship, a thing such as a house), and work to maintain it and preserve it, and feel a bit sad if it is lost ... yet also be totally non-attached, able to roll with the changes and let it go, flowing with the impermanence? [Here's a hint: YES! Zen Practice let's that happen! ]

    -2- Give an example about a time you were not so "allowing and flowing" about a person, relationship or thing in your life, and became a prisoner of your attachment. How would the situation have been better or different [please imagine] if you had handled things like in Question 1 above?

    Gassho, J SatToday

    PS - I will be closing previous threads as we move through. I want to keep the discussion on the "same page", literally, much as would be in any book club.
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-07-2015, 08:06 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Jishin
    Member
    • Oct 2012
    • 4818

    #2
    Grass Hut - 1 - Things Change

    1. - Not possible. Siting helps though.

    2. - I am a prisoner to my attachments, everyday, all the time. More siting helps.

    Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_
    Last edited by Jishin; 03-07-2015, 02:45 PM.

    Comment

    • Mp

      #3
      Thank you Jundo, I will read, contemplate, and reply shortly. =)

      Gassho
      Shingen

      SatToday

      Comment

      • Byrne
        Member
        • Dec 2014
        • 371

        #4
        In my life the line between keeping and losing the things I love is razor thin. long chains of physical and emotional abuse in my family and my wife's family constantly threaten our security in various ways. At the end of 2014 the very real possibility of everything blowing up into face face presented itself. I decided to take Buddhism more seriously to help cope with those possibilities and to help find some clarity. I wondered if something like Treeleaf existed and whattayaknow? It did! Sitting has been extremely helpful and has given me a great deal of confidence with dealing with potential tradgedies. But honestly, nothing catastrophic has happened so far so I dunno.

        Gassho

        Sat Today

        Comment

        • bcaruthers
          Member
          • May 2011
          • 46

          #5
          1. I think that being completely unattached from someone or something you care deeply for is a very difficult thing. As Jishin stated sitting does help but I'm just not sure if complete detachment can be obtained.

          2. Once again, I have to agree with Jishin about being a prisoner to my attachments daily.

          Gassho,

          Bryan
          “And though it is like this, it is only that flowers, while loved, fall; and weeds while hated, flourish." ~ Dogen Zenji ~

          Comment

          • orangedice
            Member
            • Oct 2014
            • 62

            #6
            Impermanence/things changing has always been difficult for me--not the concept of it, but the acceptance of it. I've thought about things dying/ending/changing ever since high school, after the first time I realized, "Holy shit, I'm going to DIE one day." Even now, I get that feeling of dread, of fear of death and nonexistence. For awhile, I considered myself a "reluctant atheist," knowing deep in my heart that there isn't a God like the Christian God, or even a God/Goddess/life force like Wiccans believe (I dabbled in that a bit in high school), but I wished there was. For awhile, my thinking felt nihilistic, nothing matters, so why even bother? This happens mostly during my major depressive episodes mostly.

            But with mindfulness practice, I've slowly... VERY slowly... have started practicing accepting it. It's not easy, and I have a long way to go.

            As to the questions asked in OP, I'm still trying to figure this out. Logically, yes, it's possible, but can I do it? When things are great with my boyfriend, I think, "This is great, but one day we might break up, or eventually one of us will die, etc., but you know what? That's okay." But then we have a fight, and I think, "THIS IS AWFUL! Are we going to break up? I don't want that to happen! I want things to go back to when we were happy!" So I've a long way to go on that front.

            --

            I'm excited to be able to join the book club this time around, and looking forward to further discussion!

            Gassho,
            June

            #SatToday

            Comment

            • Jundo
              Treeleaf Founder and Priest
              • Apr 2006
              • 39026

              #7
              Originally posted by bcaruthers
              1. I think that being completely unattached from someone or something you care deeply for is a very difficult thing. As Jishin stated sitting does help but I'm just not sure if complete detachment can be obtained.

              2. Once again, I have to agree with Jishin about being a prisoner to my attachments daily.

              Gassho,

              Bryan
              Hi Bryan,

              Although there are some flavors of Buddhism that emphasize being detached from or unattached to the world (cutting off all connections to family and separating from worldly obligations, for example), the Mahayana and especially Japanese Zen over the centuries had a more subtle view. I typically say the following ...

              -------------

              I usually tell people that our Way is attachment without attachment ... simultaneously holding but not holding, embracing but nothing to clutch ... as if out of one eye we live one way, from the other eye are beyond all need to attach or choose. Two eyes not even one, all a Buddha Eye.

              I sometimes write on the related question of what is the difference between a Buddha's "non-attachment" and being detached or apathetic ...

              Our way is to be "non-attached", not "detached" and "unattached". That means that one can emotionally savor, to the marrow, what is happening in life right now ... and one can commit to that and pour oneself into that ... but just do not cling to that, be willing to let it go. Appreciate this life while it is here (whether for our self or for those selfs we love) ... and when it is over, release (feeling grief when grief at loss of those we love is called for). Feel all emotions, yet simultaneously see through them as mental theatre, do not be imprisoned or made a puppet, seek to keep moderation and balance (although ... even then, moderation may not always be best when it comes to love).

              I think of this quite frequently as our son gets bigger. He is getting older, a time of bitter-sweet happiness. I do not want to be emotionally detached from that, but neither do I want to cling to this moment, try to keep him from growing up, and be unwilling to see it all pass.

              Early Buddhism did emphasize emotional detachment more than the later Mahayana. As I said, now we tend not to see our thoughts and emotions (i.e., the "self") so much as the "enemy" as bits of theatre that have to be seen through, handled wisely, not allowed to tie us up. That is a big difference. Same with ordinary life, which is no longer seen as something to "escape", but as something to also be seen through, handled wisely, not allowed to tie us up.
              One can be attached to Zazen or Buddhism, the people we love and such. Just cling lightly, even as you fully savor each. Also-also (a double also ) know the Buddha's View free of all views and attachments, All At Once, As One. ... squeezing hard, squeezing lightly and also-also fully open handed AT ONCE! Attached and present, yet not attached in the least. A kind of healthy schizophrenia ... not a "split" personality, but a Whole!

              Yes, it is possible!

              Gassho, Jundo
              Last edited by Jundo; 03-08-2015, 01:41 AM.
              ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

              Comment

              • Jundo
                Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                • Apr 2006
                • 39026

                #8
                Originally posted by orangedice
                ... Even now, I get that feeling of dread, of fear of death and nonexistence. For awhile, I considered myself a "reluctant atheist," knowing deep in my heart that there isn't a God like the Christian God, or even a God/Goddess/life force like Wiccans believe (I dabbled in that a bit in high school), but I wished there was. For awhile, my thinking felt nihilistic, nothing matters, so why even bother? This happens mostly during my major depressive episodes mostly.
                If there is God/Goddess/Life Force ... there is birth and death, change and heart break, smiles and tears ... so just flow.

                If there is No God/No Goddess/No Life Force ... there is birth and death, change and heart break, smiles and tears ... so just flow.

                In either case ... there is birth and death, change and heart break, smiles and tears ... so just flow.

                But whether "God/Goddess/Life Force" or no "God/Goddess/Life Force" ... there is also no birth and no death, nothing to change and a Heart which cannot be broken, holding "smiles and tears", beyond and right through "existence" or "nonexistence" ... just flowing.

                Perhaps this "just flowing" and this "no birth and no death amid birth and death" is the Heart which words such as "God/Goddess/Life Force" seek to express?

                A bittersweet Buddha Smile holding smiles and tears.

                Gassho, J

                Last edited by Jundo; 03-08-2015, 01:51 AM.
                ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                Comment

                • Jundo
                  Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                  • Apr 2006
                  • 39026

                  #9
                  If you are interested, the little Talk during our Zazenkai this month was a visit to the Grass Hut (from the 1:50 mark, about 30 minutes) ...

                  Today's Talk will be with Master Shitou Xiqian’s SONG OF THE GRASS ROOF HERMITAGE. Please see below in this thread. Please 'sit-a-long' with our MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI, netcast LIVE 8am to noon Japan time Saturday morning (that is New York 7pm to 11pm, Los Angeles 4pm to 8pm (Friday night), London 11pm to 3am and Paris




                  Gassho, J

                  SatToday
                  ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                  Comment

                  • Nindo

                    #10
                    I thought there was an interesting parallel in "Living by Vow", chapter 1, p.43 where Dogen is cited about Master Guishan:

                    There he made friends with bears and animals, lived at a thatched hermitage, and kept practicing. ... There were neither temple buildings nor temple provisions.
                    And then Dogen rants:

                    The buddhas and ancestors never had desires for buildings. Many people today meaninglessly construct a Buddha hall or other temple buildings although they haven't yet clarified the eye of their own self.
                    Reminds me of the recent discussion about temples falling into disrepair here.

                    Other than that, so many images come into my mind. A house in Vienna from the 15th century. The foundation walls of a Roman villa in the woods near my school in Germany. The 100 year old bridge in Edmonton that is being replaced. The downtown church that has fallen into disrepair and may be lost. A story about settlers leaving tipi stone rings untouched on their farms. The Anasazi ruins in Arizona. How do/ did things get preserved, or lost?

                    Comment

                    • lyn
                      Member
                      • Jan 2015
                      • 3

                      #11
                      As my life lessons change so do the people. Some I let go with great sadness. Some I let go with great relief.

                      Comment

                      • Joyo

                        #12
                        Thank you, Jundo. I have started the reading and since I missed that part of zazenkai this week, I plan on listening to your talk also.

                        Gassho,
                        Joyo
                        sat today

                        Comment

                        • Shinzan
                          Member
                          • Nov 2013
                          • 338

                          #13
                          I think back to failed relationships and feel the tug of attachment. I'm wishing it to be otherwise (WITBO). People I felt close to, but our conditioning, reactivity, and attachment to "being right" made it unbearable or unwholesome to continue in a relationship. A boundary was needed.

                          On the other hand, being attached to detachment is just as much a trap. This is the path to disconnection and numbing out of life. It is avoiding dealing with our real human needs.

                          On the third hand, can non-attachment arise simultaneously with deep caring and vulnerability to the pain that being human entails? Can I learn to see the hooks of attachment, know what they are, love the person and myself, and just hold all the hooks in soft non-judging awareness? And see how they drift off in the next moment.

                          Just my musings.
                          _/st\_ Shinzan

                          Comment

                          • Christopher
                            Member
                            • May 2014
                            • 45

                            #14
                            I think I should start my post with asking all of you if you have the same highlights in your copies as I have in the Kindle version I downloaded. Is this early piece highlighted ...?

                            "Everything that comes to be....to......Liberation arises from facing it fully." ?

                            I don't have a Kindle I am using the 'Kindle for PC' software.

                            I do see that this quote is chosen specifically to make a point about impermanence ...which is the whole purpose for living in a grass hut. Shitou is inviting the lessons of impermanence to be before him at every moment.

                            Gassho
                            Christopher
                            sat2day

                            Comment

                            • Jundo
                              Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                              • Apr 2006
                              • 39026

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Jundo

                              Suggested Questions & Reflections:

                              -1- Do you think it possible to keep and cherish something or someone (a person, a relationship, a thing such as a house), and work to maintain it and preserve it, and feel a bit sad if it is lost ... yet also be totally non-attached, able to roll with the changes and let it go, flowing with the impermanence? [Here's a hint: YES! Zen Practice let's that happen! ]

                              -2- Give an example about a time you were not so "allowing and flowing" about a person, relationship or thing in your life, and became a prisoner of your attachment. How would the situation have been better or different [please imagine] if you had handled things like in Question 1 above?
                              I will take a turn with these questions with my own life this morning. I really threw my lower back out this week, maybe one of the worst times in my life. It it painful to get out of bed, I need help to put my pants and shoes on, going to the bathroom involves a good deal of creativity, sneezing is crisis, and I moan to get in and out of the car, I cannot play on the floor with my 4 year old daughter, I cannot sit (either in a chair or on the floor or Zazen) for more than a few minutes. I am feeling every bit of my 55 years. Of course, I am not bedridden or terminal, but it is enough to throw life out of balance this week.

                              Fortunately, having a bad back is bringing me very close to a fellow patient: Shakyamuni Buddha. The old Suttas are filled with references to his bad back, which sometimes put him out of commission. (Later Buddhist interpreted these very human passages to mean that the Buddha, being beyond all human things, was merely "pretending" to have a bad back as a teaching ... but I don't think so. I think he was just an aging dude like me). Even the buddha could not escape sickness and old age, and in some of the old Suttas (such as quoted here from the Sekha Sutta) had to give up Teaching on days when feeling too poorly:

                              Shariputra, you think of a discourse on Dhamma to give to the monks. My back aches, I want to stretch it."

                              "Very good, Lord." Replied Shariputra.
                              Of course, there is an aspect of me that resists the pain, the inconvenience, the embarrassment, the weakness and sense of impermanence. I am doing all I can to get better.

                              But years ago, before all this Zen Training, I would have been totally depressed, frustrated, self-absorbed, obsessed, "woo is me"-ing right and left.

                              Now, there is a certain Joy (Big "J") that sweeps in all the pain and sadness, a great Peace which somehow perfumes and clarifies all the seeming frustration. There is, amid the ache and aging, that which cannot grow sick and is not a matter of time. It doesn't make putting on my pants or sneezing any easier, but it sure does shine a light right through the whole experience. In fact, though present, the pain sure seems smaller ... and I no longer feel it's prisoner ... even though it is just as much present.

                              If you are interested, I spoke about this experience in an old sit-a-long talk:

                              Zazen can't even fix a bad tooth (you need to see a dentist, not a Zen Master, for that!) For the most part, Zazen will not relieve human pain.

                              But "pain" is not "suffering" (Dukkha) in a Buddhist sense. This Dukkha is a special Buddhist word, perhaps best rendered as “dissatisfaction,” “anxiety,” “disappointment,” “unease at imperfection,” or “frustration” — the conditions wherein your little “self” wishes this life/world to be X, yet this life/world is not X. The dissatisfaction and anxiety at the "gap" is "Dukkha". For "Dukkha/Suffering", Zazen is absolutely a complete and thorough cure for everything that ails us! How?

                              Well, on the one hand, the buddha left us a way to encounter a realm (also called "Buddha" ... but with a Big "B") where there is no pain, no disease, no birth or death, no separation, no loss, no bad teeth from the start ... because no individual selves to feel it! Zazen is the door. Of course (like the buddha's bad back), one will certainly continue to encounter days of pain, sickness, oral cavities and all the rest so long as one is alive in a human body (until we all leave this visible samsaric world and become Big B Buddha through and through!). Unfortunately, so long as we are alive in this messy world there will still be cancer, broken bones, broken hearts, broken relationships and all the rest. However (and strange as it may seem) through our Zen Practice, we also encounter a view free of a "we" to encounter any of that ... At Once!

                              Strange as it may seem, when these two views are combined, we experience pain AND freedom from pain at once, separation AND wholeness at once, death AND no death at once, holes in life or broken dreams AND nothing ever missing or breakable at once. A bad tooth AND a Buddha's Smile At Once, As One.

                              We also encounter a Buddha's Way of living filled with total allowing, letting be, radical acceptance of the pain, embracing of every loss and tragedy. That is so even as part of us, the human part, still cannot allow, tolerate or accept the pain, loss and tragedy one bit. When the two are combined as one, what results is an allowing-though not allowing, a 'letting be' even while (simultaneously) passionately resisting, and an acceptance without acceptance of pain, loss and tragedy. Such seemingly contradictory ways of living with pain and tribulations can be lived at once, as one. We are better able to bear it all, shoulder it, endure. Thus (as counter-intuitive and contradictory as it may sound) we experience human fear and a Buddha's fearlessness at once, sadness and endless peace at once, physical pain which we scream from -and- spiritual calm at once, a broken heart and nothing ever broken at once.

                              SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Pain, Suffering & Freedom
                              http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...fering-Freedom
                              Gassho, Jundo

                              WalkedKinhinToday
                              Last edited by Jundo; 03-09-2015, 02:52 AM.
                              ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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