Grass Hut - 32 - "Don't Give Up"

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39271

    Grass Hut - 32 - "Don't Give Up"

    We turn to Chapter 26 - "Don't Give Up" ...

    A suggested topic ...

    Any of the roadblocks to Practice which he mentions sound familiar in your life?

    Gassho, J

  • Jishin
    • Oct 2012
    • 4819

    Grass Hut - 32 - "Don't Give Up"

    Originally posted by Jundo

    Any of the roadblocks to Practice which he mentions sound familiar in your life?

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_


    • Mp

      Thank you Jundo. =)




      • Risho
        • May 2010
        • 3179

        Don’t Give Up. I love this line in the poem; I love this idea. This is certainly one of my favorite parts of the poem and the book.

        From one perspective, I think this practice is set up to make us fail. I don’t mean this in a bad way; what it demands is everything. It’s impossible. The Bodhisattva vows, impossible. The Precepts, impossible.

        It demands that we fail, and keep coming back. That’s really I think such an important point. Just show up, just practice. Just get on the cushion.

        I think it’s only possible with the support of a sangha like this. We each have these candles that are the passion for the dharma, and the sangha is the wax that keeps it burning.

        It’s hard to stay consistent all the time, but our support from the sangha, the vows we take/chant, keep us going.

        Ango’s hard. We aren’t monastics; we are people who live in the work-a-day world, with families to take care of. So it can be hard to sit after a long day at work, or at home taking care of the family.

        So sitting in this environment is even more precious and special.

        To not give up, however, isn’t just a matter of will power. I think it also has to do with finding a path that resonates with someone down in their heart.

        It’s easy to get overtaken by the bells, the chanting, the liturgy, the smell of the new cushion. But when the honeymoon phase wears off (who am I kidding? I still get a thrill from my zafu actually), that’s when practice starts.

        That’s why I really enjoy ango (even though it pisses me off some days when I don’t feel like practice) and Jukai; it makes me think newly and see all the perspectives on the precepts.
And you know? Sometimes the vows are there to keep us going when we’d rather teeter off.

        And also, going back to Jukai, I think it’s really important to consider the precepts before taking them. Personally, this is obviously my perspective as a beginner; I’m absolutely no zen teacher by any stretch, but I think that we each need to make sure that this is our path before we vow to take the precepts, because those are like wedding vows. They are serious.

        When you bow to the Buddha or Avalokitesvara statue, or maybe you don’t have a statue, but you are bowing to yourself. If you are not upholding the vows, who will? In the Tenzo Kyokun talks, Jundo reminds us, “if not now, when? If not you, who?” If you are not sitting and practicing and maintaining your vows, then where is Avalokitesvara? If I’m not doing the practice, where is Avalokitesvara?

        And that’s why I don’t give up. And I know a lot of others here feel this way, because I feel the passion through the forum posts. This place has a lot of heart. The practice here is so strong; it’s wonderful.

        I don’t give up because where would I go? Everything would be here, but I would no longer be facing my life; I’d be running from problems. But there are no problems. Problems are your life. These “problems” are sacred. My point is that I vowed and still do to adhere to this path and support the sangha.

        I just listened to a talk from Austin Zen center, by Kosho McCall, called “No Pain No Gain”. He was talking about a retreat he was on; he left in the middle because he couldn’t take it any longer. On the way, he turned around in his car and came back because he imagined what would all the other practitioners feel like? That’s how I feel here; taking Jukai/receiving the precepts under Jundo was no small thing to me; I feel like leaving would be like a best friend or family member leaving your life.
When we make a commitment here I think that by staying here, practicing when times are tough, I think we are being bodhisattvas to each other just by virtue of showing up here.

        Also, I’m really bad at zen. I’m selfish; I buy too much stuff. I get mad at drivers. I yell at times. Sometimes I drink too much.

        But I come back and I don’t give up. I atone, and I don’t give up. That really is the most important part.

        Taking responsibility. When we look at the people who commit mass murder with guns, and then we look at Jundo wishing them well being with metta during one of the 4-hour zazenkai’s, it’s amazing. That’s what we all do when we practice metta.

        Because we are those people. The mind that has the ability to picture beating the hell out of someone who cuts me off in traffic is the mind that creates wars, kills, imprisons, tortures. Of course, I don’t actualize that but my mind has that potential.

        So not giving up isn’t a license to say to hell with the precepts; it means letting all that pain in, and not giving rise to the anger. And when you fail, you come back again, because these habits are hard to break. They took years and years (and perhaps are part of our evolution) to develop, so it will take a long time, with patience and openness to transform our hearts.

        We cannot shun the feelings, and we cannot grasp onto them. Like Shikantaza, we let them be. We don’t give up; we take all the courage we have and face them… again and again.

        We have the courage to fail again and again and we come back knowing that we will fail but showing up, doing our best wholeheartedly dropping the thought of failure.




        • Shinzan
          • Nov 2013
          • 338

          "Our greatest obstacles offer the way to the greatest wisdom."
          Tough one to practice. Like they say, one continuous mistake.
          _/st\_ Shinzan


          • Ongen
            • Jan 2014
            • 786

            I regularly think of this part of the poem when I once again sit alone in our local zendo, early tuesday morning. Trying to get a nice morning meditation group started I want the door to be open always. Sometimes there's three or four of us, many times it's just me alone. Yet when I sit, all sits. If I give up, all gives up. So I sit and I think of this line


            Sat Today
            Ongen (音源) - Sound Source


            • AlanLa
              • Mar 2008
              • 1405

              Wow, parts of this chapter hit me like a ton of bricks. First of all, I will never win any prizes for consistency of sitting zazen. I skip at least a few times a month, to be kind, but I never give up, so that part I totally get. What hit me so hard were these passages:
              Sometimes we don't know what the best thing to do is, but an awful lot of the time we know and just don't do it.
              Don't... back off from the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity shining at this moment.
              I have a pretty secure job where I am at right now, but there are parts of it I absolutely abhor; I love to teach but absolutely hate all the administration stuff that comes with being in charge of a program. Lately, I have been struggling with burnout. If I could just teach I would be happy, I think (see the attachment there?), so along comes a position at one of my alma maters that would allow me to just teach, but I would lose all tenure and seniority and have to teach much more than I do now, and almost certainly lose income, so whatever I gained would be offset by other demands. Plus the loss of just moving across the country, again.

              Everything in my heart says to apply for this job that I have a very good chance of getting, and everything in my head says don't walk away from the good deal and stability I have now.

              Yeah, I am sitting with it, so please don't advise me here in this thread designated for more personal reflection. I will figure it out. Thank you.
              Last edited by AlanLa; 10-31-2015, 09:27 PM.
              AL (Jigen) in:

              I sat today