3/28 - Waking Up to Life p. 52

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39026

    3/28 - Waking Up to Life p. 52

    It's time to let go of "Letting Go of Thoughts" and ..... WAKE UP!!!!!
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Jenny
    Member
    • Jan 2008
    • 62

    #2
    Re: 3/28 - Waking Up to Life p. 52

    I understand Uchiyama when he says that decreasing delusion and desire and finally extinguishing them is not the purpose of zazen - in other words to just observe their transient nature and release them, but I am not sure I understand this quotation on page 57.
    "Since desires and cravings are actually a manifestation of the life force, there is no reason to hate them and try to extinguish them". He advises us to let them be and not be dragged around by them. However are some of our thoughts not useful and true and some completely untrue and do we not need to give them some consideration? A sort of meditative enquiry, but obviously not while on the cushion.
    Jenny

    Comment

    • Tony-KY
      Member
      • Nov 2007
      • 63

      #3
      Re: 3/28 - Waking Up to Life p. 52

      I think Uchiyama is saying that our thoughts and desires are part of the universe just as everything else and are completely natural for humans in getting on with living in the world. They are not evil or malignant in themselves, unless we confuse them as "Truth" or reality itself.

      I really appreciated his comments on hinayana (narrow-minded) regarding of nirvana. By objectifing nirvana (or enlightenment) as a goal we are just creating another ghost to chase after in our minds.

      Gassho,

      Tony

      Comment

      • Jenny
        Member
        • Jan 2008
        • 62

        #4
        Re: 3/28 - Waking Up to Life p. 52

        Hi Tony. Thanks for thinking about my remarks and I appreciate and agree with your idea that our thoughts and desires are part of the universe. It is what gives us life and energy and a mind to think with as humans living in the world. I didn't see it like that exactly until you pointed it out.

        However I'm going to put in a "yes, but....." here, regarding your remark that "our thoughts and desires are not evil in themselves unless we confuse them with Truth or reality itself". Do you mean our thoughts required for normal daily living ("Right Thinking" in the Noble Eightfold Path), and not our self-centred thoughts which have been built up over the years by our conditioning and which cause all our problems and unhappiness?
        These are the ones I meant, which require first examination or labelling on our part and then understanding and non-identification, and which could in certain circumstances turn to murderous or evil tendencies etc.
        (I think my earlier Vipassana influence is showing here!). Probably you did mean that and I am using many more words to express it.

        Gassho Jenny

        Comment

        • Tony-KY
          Member
          • Nov 2007
          • 63

          #5
          Re: 3/28 - Waking Up to Life p. 52

          Hi Jenny

          I believe that both vipassana and shikantaza encourage Right Thinking and mindfulness. In both practices, in my opinion, we witness the fleeting nature of thoughts, emotions, moods, etc. .

          It's just in shikantaza we don't "label" and analyze the clutter that pops in our minds. For me, it's like doing away with an unnecessary step, that in itself often seems like a distraction. We see or glimpse the universe just-as-it-is directly and that is the basis for mindfulness.

          The eightfold path are teachings that serve as guidelines and reminders that our words and actions have consequences in the world, and we should be mindful if the consequences bring suffering to others and ourselves in our everyday lives. But, we don't ponder words and actions on the cushion. I believe that understanding and non-identification are natural results that come from sitting practice.

          Gassho,

          Tony

          Comment

          • John
            Member
            • Sep 2007
            • 272

            #6
            Re: 3/28 - Waking Up to Life p. 52

            Originally posted by boone enoch

            I believe that understanding and non-identification are natural results that come from sitting practice.
            Hi Tony,

            I agree, but lately I am thinking that rather than rely just on that I also need to practice coming back to awareness, to the present moment, many times all through the day,

            Gassho,
            John

            Comment

            • Jenny
              Member
              • Jan 2008
              • 62

              #7
              Re: 3/28 - Waking Up to Life p. 52

              Thanks again, Tony. And "Amen" to that, John!

              Gassho, Jenny

              Comment

              • Jundo
                Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                • Apr 2006
                • 39026

                #8
                Re: 3/28 - Waking Up to Life p. 52

                Originally posted by Jenny
                I understand Uchiyama when he says that decreasing delusion and desire and finally extinguishing them is not the purpose of zazen - in other words to just observe their transient nature and release them, but I am not sure I understand this quotation on page 57.
                "Since desires and cravings are actually a manifestation of the life force, there is no reason to hate them and try to extinguish them". He advises us to let them be and not be dragged around by them. However are some of our thoughts not useful and true and some completely untrue and do we not need to give them some consideration? A sort of meditative enquiry, but obviously not while on the cushion.
                Jenny
                Hi,

                In Zen Practice (as opposed to many other forms of Buddhism as Uchiyama notes), our thoughts, dreams, memories, emotions, desires and cravings and the like are not necessarily our enemies. In fact, they are largely what it means to be human, without which we would be reduced to being as stones, machines, corpses. They are human life itself, what nature has bestowed upon us, and are not to be rejected.

                But it is what we learn about our thoughts, emotions, etc., and how we learn to manage these, that makes all the difference.

                First, we learn that our human life is, to one degree or another, largely a story created out of thoughts and an imagined sense of "self". Both those thoughts and that "self" are, from various perspectives, like a fiction, a dream. In our Zazen, we can learn to pierce the dream, drop the self, and see the thoughts and emotions for just the dream they are.

                However, what is important is to then realize that the dream, although a dream, is --our-- dream, is our very life itself. It may be just a dream, but without that dream ... we would be left as those stones, machines, corpses. It's all untrue, yet true for us! We cannot abandon the "self" if we are to continue to live in this world, and neither can we abandon so many other parts of the dream that constitute life itself. We need that "self" to live, because it is one face of who we are.

                So what to do then?

                Well, we learn not to be enslaved to that "self", to recognize when the self is playing games with us, when we are bound by its greed, anger, excess, resistance to the world, judgmentalism, etc. Though we keep our self, we do not take it so seriously any more, nor allow it to run amuck. We do not allow the self's judgments of the world to lead to constant disappointment, we do not let its cravings and desires go to excess. We can choose the way of "moderation", satisfaction and peace.

                Also, we realize that the thoughts, emotions, memories and dreams we choose, and which create our life, are ... to one degree or another ... largely within our control. We learn to distinguish thoughts and emotions that tend to the harmful (ignorance) from those that tend to a healthy and beneficial life and world (wisdom). We can choose the latter dream.

                In summary, we realize that our mental life is something of a puppet show, yet it is --our-- show. We learn to see the strings, and which ones to pull and which to avoid (at least, we learn better how to do these things than before our Buddhist Practice)

                ... regarding your remark that "our thoughts and desires are not evil in themselves unless we confuse them with Truth or reality itself". Do you mean our thoughts required for normal daily living ("Right Thinking" in the Noble Eightfold Path), and not our self-centred thoughts which have been built up over the years by our conditioning and which cause all our problems and unhappiness?
                These are the ones I meant, which require first examination or labelling on our part and then understanding and non-identification, and which could in certain circumstances turn to murderous or evil tendencies etc.
                (I think my earlier Vipassana influence is showing here!). Probably you did mean that and I am using many more words to express it.
                I would say that the problem is neither our thoughts being true or untrue. Nor is the problem every "self-centered" thought.

                It is that some "self-centered" thoughts head the boat toward the shoals, some point to a healthy and helpful direction. In the Zen Buddhist view, it is a misunderstanding of Buddhist Philosophy to say something along the lines of "all thoughts arising from the self necessarily arise from ignorance and cause suffering' or "only a life without 'self' is True". In fact, the latter is not life, at least, not life in its human form. It is the "Hinayana" path, and is misguided.

                However, we must learn to see through the self (even as we pretend it is real), and be a master of how we let it stear our boat.

                require first examination or labelling on our part and then understanding and non-identification, and which could in certain circumstances turn to murderous or evil tendencies etc.
                (I think my earlier Vipassana influence is showing here!).
                As Tony said, we do engage in this practice, just not during "Shikantaza" Zazen ... where it is vitally important that we engage in nothing at all. I do not think that one need be in Zazen in order to learn to identify the various strings on the puppet.

                Gassho, Jundo
                ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                Comment

                • Bansho
                  Member
                  • Apr 2007
                  • 532

                  #9
                  Re: 3/28 - Waking Up to Life p. 52

                  Hi,

                  As I was reading this chapter there were so many statements where I just thought, "yes, that's it, that sums it all up perfectly!". In the end I find myself unable to pick just one or even a few. Rather, I think Uchiyama Roshi does a really great job in this chapter as a whole of pointing out what our Zazen practice is all about, how we do it, and how it's different from other Buddhist traditions.

                  Gassho
                  Ken
                  ??

                  Comment

                  • John
                    Member
                    • Sep 2007
                    • 272

                    #10
                    Re: 3/28 - Waking Up to Life p. 52

                    Originally posted by Uchiyama
                    Some Buddhists say nirvana (enlightenment) is the complete extinction of delusion and craving, and zazen or meditation is practiced in order to reach this state.....But isn't seeking to get rid of pain and to attain the bliss of nirvana itself a desire or craving? Actually this too is craving and precisely because of that the practitioner is caught in self contradiction and can't escape suffering.
                    The view that we practice meditation to attain nirvana seems very widespread amongst Buddhists. As Zen practitioners are we to assume that there is no such thing as nirvana? Or just that we shouldn't be trying to attain it?

                    Gassho,
                    John

                    Comment

                    • Jundo
                      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                      • Apr 2006
                      • 39026

                      #11
                      Re: 3/28 - Waking Up to Life p. 52

                      Originally posted by John

                      The view that we practice meditation to attain nirvana seems very widespread amongst Buddhists. As Zen practitioners are we to assume that there is no such thing as nirvana? Or just that we shouldn't be trying to attain it?

                      Gassho,
                      John
                      There is nirvana.

                      It is attained by not seeking to attain it, found by not searching.

                      (Gee, if that weren't true ... we'd be rather wasting our time around here, wouldn't we?) :shock:

                      Now, go sit and see what you might find!

                      Gassho, Jundo

                      PS - That's NOT April Fools!
                      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                      Comment

                      • Gregor
                        Member
                        • Apr 2007
                        • 638

                        #12
                        Re: 3/28 - Waking Up to Life p. 52

                        Originally posted by Jundo
                        Originally posted by John

                        The view that we practice meditation to attain nirvana seems very widespread amongst Buddhists. As Zen practitioners are we to assume that there is no such thing as nirvana? Or just that we shouldn't be trying to attain it?

                        Gassho,
                        John
                        There is nirvana.

                        It is attained by not seeking to attain it, found by not searching.

                        (Gee, if that weren't true ... we'd be rather wasting our time around here, wouldn't we?) :shock:

                        Now, go sit and see what you might find!

                        Gassho, Jundo

                        PS - That's NOT April Fools!
                        Sort of ties right into Doge saying, "Zazen itself is enligtenment" or How Thich Nhat Hanh says, "The Kingdom of God is present in the here and now".

                        I think this understanding is really a key point in being at peace with one's practice, that idea of straining to reach an impossible goal really can become a big burden. I think it's good to keep trying and putting forth effort, just important to realize that the effort itself is part of the destination. We're working hard at being who we are right now.
                        Jukai '09 Dharma Name: Shinko 慎重(Prudent Calm)

                        Comment

                        • Kent
                          Member
                          • Feb 2008
                          • 193

                          #13
                          Re: 3/28 - Waking Up to Life p. 52

                          Pg.60 Uchiyama wrote Zazen is the foundation of life where this reality of life is being manifested. In that sense,zazen is the reality of the self---the true self. How elegantly simple and poetic. Gassho Kent

                          Comment

                          • Jenny
                            Member
                            • Jan 2008
                            • 62

                            #14
                            Re: 3/28 - Waking Up to Life p. 52

                            If "zazen itself is enlightenment" then where is it when we climb off the cushion? During the moments we are "present" throughout the day and lost when we are "lost in thought"?
                            Jenny

                            Comment

                            • Tony-KY
                              Member
                              • Nov 2007
                              • 63

                              #15
                              Re: 3/28 - Waking Up to Life p. 52

                              I think my zazen experience carries over in the everyday, subtly. I agree with what John said earlier about periodically coming back to awareness. I do practice mini-zazens at times like when I'm sitting at my desk at work.


                              I also want to add that this one section of the book has brought me a lot of confidence to my practice.

                              Gassho, Tony

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