BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 1

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39211

    BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 1

    Dear All,

    Well, the moment has come to begin our reflecting, dancing, living the 100 Koans of the Book of Equanimity ...

    We are going to try a great experiment, seeing how these Koans may be brought to life in our lives ... feeling how each resonates in our heart, and the Wisdom each carves into our bones.

    At the core of the experiment, I would like to ask each member joining in this book club to post something each week ... some message ... just to signal to the others that we are all together. However, in posting your message ... you do not necessarily need to say anything (even a blank space as your posting is fine if that is what is sincerely felt), or a photograph, a poem, a song lyric, a cartoon, a story. The only requirement is that your posting be sincere, and honestly expresses how the Koan resonates in you and your life, and you in the Koan. Don't post simply because you feel you have to "sound Zen, sound Wise" ... and it is okay to say "I don't really get it" or "This Koan does not do anything for me". Most highly treasured would be some story from your own life describing a moment ... perhaps your life now, or some event you recall many years ago ... in which the insight of the Koan served as a kind of "turning word" to let you see, experience or handle an event in your life differently (This week, our Case 1, will ask for such an example).

    Give it a try, take a chance ... don't be scared. We will not be judgmental, and all sincere responses are welcome. What pops up for you when you reflect on this Koan?... either immediately or after a few days?

    Although we will not be judgmental, at the same time it is certainly true that some responses will ring the bell, flower, fly in the sky, and some will clunk, wilt on the vine or never get off the ground! Some may be very much "up in the head" ... all words and philosophy, no real heart. Some may "stink of Zen" but be rather hollow. That's okay, don't be afraid to clunk or stink or crash & burn! You see ... Koans are a lot like trying one's hand at art in a rather free form art class. Some paintings may come out as works of great insight and power, and some may not. Oh, sure, some creations may show "the knack" and some may "lack" something ... but the most important thing is to keep on making art!

    So, be brave!! We are all going to be supportive of each other here, and all of us will flower sometimes, wilt sometimes, a bit of both sometimes.

    I suggest that you read the "MAIN CASE" first, then read the "PREFACE TO THE ASSEMBLY" next and the "APPRECIATORY VERSE", then Shishin Wick's Commentary. The reason I suggest you read the "PREFACE TO THE ASSEMBLY" and "APPRECIATORY VERSE" after the main case is that they are usually playful puns, jokes, poetic reflections and such on the MAIN CASE. Don't be worried if they are hard to understand. Often, the PREFACE and VERSE are based on inside jokes, old Chinese slang, long forgotten poetic references that are now hard to understand. Shishin will explain some of the meaning.

    In fact, take the whole ... the entire Koan ... as like a painting, scenery, a poem, a song ... and let the "lyrics" or images or little tale sink into you. For example, if you visit and look at the Grand Canyon ... you may think a bit about the Grand Canyon, about the majesty, the forces which went into its creation, the pioneers and cowboys, history ...

    ... but ultimately, one just lets the Grand Canyon wash through one and one through the Canyon. So it is with these Koans.

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


    CASE 1 - The World-Honored One Ascends the Platform

    Most days, for years and years, the Buddha would ascend the platform to deliver a lecture on some aspect of Buddhist Teachings. Today, he goes up ... he comes down without saying a word. Or, did his "without words" speak volumes? Some truths about the Grand Canyon can be described in words, and some vital truths about the Canyon ... best without words. Such is even so much more so in the Buddha's Truths!

    Suggested Question:

    Shishin says, "Don't add anything extra. Just let everything be as it is. That's liberation. But letting everything be as it is, is difficult for us because we are always trying to fiddle around with things, always adding something, wishing something were taken away. ... [But if you think] everything is perfect as it is, that is [also] an erroneous view."

    Can you describe a problem or incident in your life, now or in the past ... a situation that is/was very hard ... that your head was filled with thoughts and emotions about, and that you resisted or hated very much ... but would have/did/might experience very differently by just being "without words", just allowing and not fighting?

    Gassho, J

    PS - Some portions are available online, pending purchase ...

    http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=fjtE ... &q&f=false

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Book-Equanimi ... 0861713877
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-05-2020, 03:34 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • RichardH
    Member
    • Nov 2011
    • 2800

    #2
    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 1

    Ok. So everything, as-is, is “perfect” as-such, including my very natural need to fix things. But there isn't some kind of winking going on when something is “wrong”... it isn't pretend wrong. Stepping on a nail sucks. That nail in my foot is perfect suchness alright... but it hurts and I have to get it out.
    I'm not going to sprinkle non-dual fairy dust on the situation and say the nail in my foot sucks, but doesn't really suck on an absolute level. It just plain sucks. The crappiness of the crappiness is crappy.. So all that is left is living it whole heartedly... and then letting go ..

    Comment

    • Shohei
      Member
      • Oct 2007
      • 2854

      #3
      Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 1

      The koan itself I took this one as one eager beaver wanting so much to "help" he inadvertently verbally built a cage to trap the dharma in and anything Buddha could have said after this to the assembly would be caught there too in the minds of others so best to shut it get down and leave it at that.

      To the question posed. Big yes!
      at work I had up set a person who, while in the wrong, Had I given the space to explain, would have simply had me explain what needed to happen next time that situation arrived and all would have been sunshine and lollypops.

      Instead I gave them an instant blast of shit upon sight - before even asking for an explanation -as I had already sat fuming over the
      "wrong" for a half an hour. When there reasons were given back to me, it was something that could have been a 2 min conversation, some compromise and that would have been it.

      Too late now the ears were closed and any attempt there after was a loss.

      Were they in the wrong? Yep.
      Did they need to be reminded of their responsibility? Yep
      Did their reason fail in the face of office protocol yep.
      Did i blow it all to hell with one sentence and a sour look. Oh yeah.

      Still feeling the blow back from my lack of tact and opening my trap
      I usually wait until all are settled, my own emotions checked at the door and THEN approach it more open ended (leaving lots of rope of course)

      Im sure my wife an those around me have much more than that

      Gassho
      Shohei

      Comment

      • Omoi Otoshi
        Member
        • Dec 2010
        • 801

        #4
        Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 1

        Kojip - Yes, as Shishin says "[But if you think] everything is perfect as it is, that is [also] an erroneous view". Having a nail in your foot is not ideal. It causes unnecessary suffering and infection leading to a premature death. But the situation after you have stepped on the nail is perfectly what it is. It happened. In this moment, it couldn't be any different. It is thus, such, as it is. In a way, perfect, because it couldn't be any different, but at the same time not perfect. The wisest action would be to do something about it. Not because we "should", but because it's the natural thing to do, the only sane thing to do. There's no need to add anything extra (Oh no! Why did this happen to me? Things like this always happen to me! I hate the idiot who left a board with a nail in it on the ground!) or wish things were different. Instead, with the right mind, we can accept that now there's a nail in my foot, it sucks, it hurts as hell, it's dangerous. Give the anger space, give the fear space, give the pain space. And take action. Pull it out and clean the wound or go to the doctor. Talk to the person who left the nail on the ground, or if it was you, forgive yourself and promise to be more careful in the future. To me, Zen is not about resignation, but about accepting what is, the suchness of things, and adapting to the circumstances you find yourself in, ie taking action, changing things.

        I was going to comment on the koan and on the question posted by Jundo, but the two-year-old is demolishing the house, so I have to adapt to the circumstances and take action! :lol:

        Gassho,
        Pontus
        In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
        you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
        now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
        the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

        Comment

        • Heisoku
          Member
          • Jun 2010
          • 1338

          #5
          Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 1

          Being without words is easy. Allowing without fighting is a whole other matter. Sometimes it is good to let things be but you need to assess the roots of a situation. I guess we have all found ourselves between a rock and a hard place in our lives..a situation perhaps of our own making which we just have to live through. In this instance then we just have to live through it! I remember my salvation being the simple routines of each day..getting up ( really important), making food ( just as important), keeping the place and yourself clean ( yup important) doing little things, just doing them...no words required.. A kind of mindfulness. Sometimes it takes a lot of nerve and focus to keep things on the level ...but sometimes there are situations where again you have no control, such as those defined by the boss or work team, when fighting the situation (in your head I mean) can bring you around to discovering where delusions are really working. Keeping wordless can solve the issue whereas getting angry and closed off from others can damage relationships and yourself.
          Buddha got down to let Manjushri's words be. There was no need at that moment to say more....another time, well who knows?
          Heisoku 平 息
          Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. (Basho)

          Comment

          • Ekai
            Member
            • Feb 2011
            • 664

            #6
            Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 1

            Originally posted by Omoi Otoshi

            I was going to comment on the koan and on the question posted by Jundo, but the two-year-old is demolishing the house, so I have to adapt to the circumstances and take action! :lol:

            Gassho,
            Pontus
            Sounds like my 2-year old! :lol:

            Gassho,
            Ekai

            Comment

            • Gary
              Member
              • Nov 2010
              • 251

              #7
              Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 1

              I've heard a saying that goes something like "Speak only if it improves on silence."
              I think that this refers not only to verbal speech but also includes mental speech. "Think only if it improves on silence."

              These are the first thoughts from my beginners mind, these are subject to change over the next few days.

              Gassho
              Gary
              Drinking tea and eating rice.

              Comment

              • Jinyo
                Member
                • Jan 2012
                • 1957

                #8
                Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 1

                Gary wrote

                I've heard a saying that goes something like "Speak only if it improves on silence."
                I think that this refers not only to verbal speech but also includes mental speech. "Think only if it improves on silence."


                thanks Gary - the above is my biggest challenge.

                When I woke this morning my head was immediately racing with worrying thoughts concerning my mother - who is living in less than ideal
                circumstances but refusing help. I know what needs doing - and all the dead ends - so the endless mind theatre is 'adding more' with no good
                purpose.

                Outside it's a beautiful morning - sun glistening on the dew soaked lawn - resonating (for me) with the words of the Appreciatory Verse
                'Mother Nature goes on weaving warp and wool'
                Looking out at the garden everything is just as it is - mother nature doing her thing. Inside my head - in my mind - I'm constantly adding to the
                'woven old brocade' - endlessly stitching over and over, perhaps stitching over, blocking, concealing - the images of spring.

                So everything just as it is - worried about my mum and a beautiful morning. Nothing to add and nothing to take away.

                But later we'll deliver shopping and check she's Ok - because right action matters too.

                Gassho

                Willow

                Comment

                • Dokan
                  Friend of Treeleaf
                  • Dec 2010
                  • 1222

                  #9
                  Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 1

                  Blinded by Manushri's words. Deafened by his finger. The hazy moon is eclipsed. Eyes wide shut, what more could be seen?

                  Gassho,

                  Dokan
                  We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
                  ~Anaïs Nin

                  Comment

                  • andyZ
                    Member
                    • Aug 2011
                    • 303

                    #10
                    Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 1

                    As far as I can remember myself I was always a dreamer in my younger years. I would day dream anywhere and anytime. Now as I'm getting older there isn't much dreaming going on but rather dwelling in the past, playing out different scenarios of what my life would be like have I not done this or that. However, thanks to the practice more of life "as is" appears and gets noticed. So this koan for me personally is about noticing and giving up the tendencies that have been part of my way of being for pretty much all of my life. It's about living right this moment which is just as is, even accepting my old way of thinking as is/was – no critique no judging, just accepting it and dropping it.
                    Gassho,
                    Andy

                    Comment

                    • Heisoku
                      Member
                      • Jun 2010
                      • 1338

                      #11
                      Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 1

                      I recognise that Andy. Well put. Gassho.
                      Heisoku 平 息
                      Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. (Basho)

                      Comment

                      • Jiken
                        Member
                        • Jan 2011
                        • 753

                        #12
                        Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 1

                        So a couple of weeks ago my eight year old girl had a soccer game. It was the first game where they were keeping score. My kid is a pretty good player. She is also very sweet without the killer instinct for competition. The score was tied 1-1 for the whole game and emotions were high. The last quarter she was put in the position of goal keeper - a position she has no experience in - a high stress position for her, for me and my wife who played goalkeeper at the highest levels. The atmosphere with the parents on both sides was intense with lots of yelling and screaming. The referee for the game was a 15 year old kid volunteer. Of course a foul was called in the penalty box and the ref called for a penalty kick (one on one shot against the keeper at a short distance). The ref made a mistake. The rules state no penalty kicks at this age. I hadnt prepared her for it. My daughter wasnt ready. My wife wasnt ready. I wasnt ready. I was afraid for her. Would it crush her - the weight of losing the game-the pressure of the situation-worried for my wife-on and on and on in my head. I was yelling at the ref that he was wrong and needed to fix it. Needless to say the parents went crazy with several verbal fights breaking out including me yelling at a 17 year old boy who was swearing at and challenging my wife to a fight. There were worse arguments with other parents on the field as well. Things got out of control and the game was called.

                        My daughter and all the kids saw the entire thing and how all the parents acted. I should have just let it go. It was just a soccer game. She would have learned more from the experience of the penalty kick - either good or bad and dealt with whatever situation that would have come about. It would have been hard to be quiet and let it just happen without resisting (just cheering her on) but the experience would have been better and my kid would have learned a better lesson than her parents and other parents are out of control. I did a lot of damage control to fix a problem I helped to create

                        Daido

                        Comment

                        • jefftos
                          Member
                          • Mar 2012
                          • 28

                          #13
                          Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 1

                          At the hotel I work at the front desk has a big laser printer, this printer takes a huge beating from over use all day, the back office likes to save money by buying the generic toner for this printer. I've told them countless times after fixing it that they must stop using this crappy generic stuff but to no avail. This used to infuriate me to no end I would kick and scream in my head, and then devise some plan to get them to understand why you must buy the actual brand name toner, but at the end of the day, the printer gets fixed fixed and still we had the generic ink regardless of my advice. Now when I am called to fix the printer, I still get angry, I still get upset, I am still disappointed that my advice goes unheeded but when that's done I fix the printer and move on, and I find that the periods of anger and disappointment don't last as long once I resolve to just fix the issue, but the longer I get caught up in the swirl of emotion, the longer it takes to fix the printer.

                          Gassho,

                          Jeff

                          Comment

                          • Gregor
                            Member
                            • Apr 2007
                            • 638

                            #14
                            Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 1

                            Glad for all the detail here, still waiting on my book, something happened with the amazon order.

                            This case goes right to experiance/meaning of a Zen practice to me. I find that there is not much for me to say about it that adds much value. Silence, awareness, and acceptance seems to trump thoughts, words and striving.
                            Jukai '09 Dharma Name: Shinko 慎重(Prudent Calm)

                            Comment

                            • alan.r
                              Member
                              • Jan 2012
                              • 546

                              #15
                              Re: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 1

                              Originally posted by Kojip
                              Ok. So everything, as-is, is “perfect” as-such, including my very natural need to fix things. But there isn't some kind of winking going on when something is “wrong”... it isn't pretend wrong. Stepping on a nail sucks. That nail in my foot is perfect suchness alright... but it hurts and I have to get it out.
                              I'm not going to sprinkle non-dual fairy dust on the situation and say the nail in my foot sucks, but doesn't really suck on an absolute level. It just plain sucks. The crappiness of the crappiness is crappy.. So all that is left is living it whole heartedly... and then letting go ..
                              Does it suck? It's pain, but does it suck? Maybe right at that moment? But even then, who can say? Pain is pain.

                              To riff off Daido's excellent soccer story (I've seen those fights and been part of them, sure!). Here is my ankle, sprained during soccer (futball, of course), in a boot a month, another month out, two more months of rehab. There was a lot of pain and anger at the pain at first, sure. But in those four months, I rehabbed, strengthened both ankles, and quite accidentally developed my left foot into a strength, and can now play off both sides. It took discipline and patience and working through pain. For my soccer game, this ankle injury, even this pain, ended up being one of best things to happen to my body and my mind state while playing. So, does this sprained ankle suck?

                              ankle pictures (couldn't upload photo; some R-rated language in re-telling of story here): http://stories-like-stories-you-know.bl ... ankle.html.

                              "nothing can be done about the Spring God's outflowing": I'm reminded of my over-analyzing, self-conscious mind. I used to always question what I was saying, how I was saying it, how it was coming off to other people, was I being too self-centered, too focused on being funny or intelligent, too focused on trying to create an impression, did others see this, did I hurt someone's feelings with a joke, an argument, a point of view. This drove me crazy, to the point of not being able to sleep nights, to depression, mood swings, serious doubt, disliking myself, etc. Over the past few years, sitting, just being with oneself, just being with everything, has really settled the "outflow" some.

                              Gassho,
                              Alan
                              Shōmon

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