Opening the Hand of Thought - Chapter 3

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  • Banto
    Member
    • Jan 2015
    • 209

    #31
    Opening the Hand of Thought - Chapter 3

    The struggle I have is that I'm not usually aware when A becomes A' then A'' then A'''''''''''
    At some point, I obviously do and return to posture or open stillness ...
    But for me this is often 1 minute in to that thought train A'''''' *a complete runaway before I realize and return.

    Does this thought train shorten over time from A'''''' to A'''' then A''' so that our our times away from aiming at ZZ' are smaller?

    Otherwise I don't know how to return at A=Flower before B=Is Beautiful happens. That is without being "on watch" for thoughts which as I understand is not our practice right Jundo?
    So can we become aware early in the thought carry-away process that we are grasping a thought? How do you leave the hand of thought open?
    Just Practice?*
    Gassho
    Sat Today
    Last edited by Banto; 01-30-2016, 04:10 AM.

    Banto (aka Rodney)
    万磴 (Myriad StoneSteps)

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    • Risho
      Member
      • May 2010
      • 3179

      #32
      You dont leave it open. You keep coming back again and again. There is no goal to get more aware or less caught; you are human; you think; the practice never ends; you just sit with what comes not trying to grasp or push. just my opinion of course.

      Gassho

      Risho
      -sattoday
      Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com

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      • Banto
        Member
        • Jan 2015
        • 209

        #33
        No goal, just an aim back to ZZ'.

        Maybe my hangup is the A to B part. The book makes it seem that we should be returning at A=A Flower. It says:
        Here we have to clearly distinguish “chasing after thoughts and thinking” from “ideas or thoughts merely occurring.”

        So do we return at the occurrence of the thought? If so I'm off course.
        Often I'm MINUTES in to a thought run (often struggling with work issues) before I know it and return. So I spend most of my Zafu time chasing thoughts as I don't realize I'm in one of those.

        One thing I tried differently tonight is that I remembered that most of my thinking is in words in my head. I seem to recognize words more than thoughts (though inseparable in part, but from a perspective) .. so I sat and when I noticed words happening, I returned toward just sitting and let go. It still wasn't "A flower" when I returned but perhaps, "Flowers are interesting. We kill them and sell them and give them to loved ones. Oh Valentines is coming, I better get my wife and daughter some! King Soopers has some down the street. Fresh cut or vase arrangements? We share an account and she always know what I spend on flowers. Who grows these? What if I ..... <RETURN TO JUST SITTING>" but believe it or not that is far sooner than when I notice thoughts versus notice words. Is this also off track and grasping?

        Gassho
        SatToday on the thought trains to dukkha town


        Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

        Banto (aka Rodney)
        万磴 (Myriad StoneSteps)

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        • Risho
          Member
          • May 2010
          • 3179

          #34
          Dude, I don't know, but I know how you feel! My mind can be calm or I can start having conversations, or sometimes, I get into a fervor about how I'm going to respond to a post on Treeleaf! Then I just return.

          Gassho,

          Risho
          -sattoday: also on a major thought train about my response to the 4th chapter of Opening the Hand of Thought
          Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com

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          • Banto
            Member
            • Jan 2015
            • 209

            #35
            Funny you should say that, I did that very thing in this morning's sit ... Had an observation (that I've since forgotten) that I was eager to share here LOL. Sitting, dreaming of zazen instead of zazen. Little painted clay dragons on my shelf
            SatToday


            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

            Banto (aka Rodney)
            万磴 (Myriad StoneSteps)

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            • CK732
              Member
              • Aug 2015
              • 252

              #36
              Originally posted by Jakuden
              Hi Nando! Good to hear from you!

              Gassho,
              Jakuden
              SatToday
              Hi Jakuden,

              Good to be here and seeing you too! [emoji23][emoji23][emoji23]

              Deep bows

              Nanto Sat2Day

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              • CK732
                Member
                • Aug 2015
                • 252

                #37
                Originally posted by Jakuden
                Hi Nando! Good to hear from you!

                Gassho,
                Jakuden
                SatToday
                Use say NO to posting while sleepy because Nanto can easily become Nando[emoji15]

                [emoji23][emoji23][emoji23][emoji23]

                Gasho

                Nanto

                Sat2Day

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                • CK732
                  Member
                  • Aug 2015
                  • 252

                  #38
                  Originally posted by Rodney
                  No goal, just an aim back to ZZ'.

                  Maybe my hangup is the A to B part. The book makes it seem that we should be returning at A=A Flower. It says:
                  Here we have to clearly distinguish “chasing after thoughts and thinking” from “ideas or thoughts merely occurring.”

                  So do we return at the occurrence of the thought? If so I'm off course.
                  Often I'm MINUTES in to a thought run (often struggling with work issues) before I know it and return. So I spend most of my Zafu time chasing thoughts as I don't realize I'm in one of those.

                  One thing I tried differently tonight is that I remembered that most of my thinking is in words in my head. I seem to recognize words more than thoughts (though inseparable in part, but from a perspective) .. so I sat and when I noticed words happening, I returned toward just sitting and let go. It still wasn't "A flower" when I returned but perhaps, "Flowers are interesting. We kill them and sell them and give them to loved ones. Oh Valentines is coming, I better get my wife and daughter some! King Soopers has some down the street. Fresh cut or vase arrangements? We share an account and she always know what I spend on flowers. Who grows these? What if I ..... <RETURN TO JUST SITTING>" but believe it or not that is far sooner than when I notice thoughts versus notice words. Is this also off track and grasping?

                  Gassho
                  SatToday on the thought trains to dukkha town


                  Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                  Hi Rodney,

                  When I sit I never have a goal like "don't think" or watch my posture because that will cause me to think. I sit and relax into my posture and when something comes into my mind I acknowledge it and release it. If I try not to think about it I move on to the next thought I get carried away with that thought. Sometimes an Idea will come to me and I let it go even though I think it's a great idea. I believe that the more practice we have the quieter our mind will become or it will become easier for us to release anything that comes up because we will know it is from our little I and not our true self - and not important.

                  When I feel like I'm beginning to drift off into sleepy zazen or have a run in thoughts I check my posture because I've noticed that when I'm out of alignment I get sleepy or distracted. Checking my posture brings my mind back to my body, which brings me back to my cushion and back to my stillness. I count my breathes when I'm sitting with a thunderstorm rolling in my mind. All good teachings.

                  I hope I made sense and helped you with my thoughts. Encouragement [emoji177]

                  Gassho

                  Nanto

                  Sat2Day

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                  • Banto
                    Member
                    • Jan 2015
                    • 209

                    #39
                    Hi Clarisse!
                    Indeed, no goal of stopping thoughts or "don't think" but perhaps not consuming the entire sit with a though train, which wouldn't be zazen as the book says.

                    So when an idea comes to you at what point are you aware that it did? What triggers that awareness event? Is it because now there is something other than our focus (of spacious openness or of posture or of breath) since we're not watching out for thoughts. I know if I do watch for thoughts and then let go of them then I'm back quicker, but then I'm "doing" thought-watchout which isn't Zazen.

                    I think you're right, perhaps the more we return to ZZ' the quicker within the train we will return so our entire sit isn't just a thought session. Returning to ZZ' is indeed our practice, whether 100 times or 10.

                    I too have found that following the breath is good in the thunderstorm, it's certainly my go-to.

                    I wish there was a 1st person movie of the mind of a sitter going through this process. Haha!

                    Hope you are doing well my friend Nanto, have been thinking about you.
                    Gassho
                    Sat2Day

                    Banto (aka Rodney)
                    万磴 (Myriad StoneSteps)

                    Comment

                    • AlanLa
                      Member
                      • Mar 2008
                      • 1405

                      #40
                      Pardon me for butting in... I have been sitting my a number of years, not sure how many, not interested in counting them, and sometimes my thought train goes far down the line, sometimes it is a short trip, sometimes its somewhere in the middle. It doesn't matter where or when the line ends as long as it ends with me back at zazen doing zazen. Trying to figure out how long you have been thinking is just another thought getting in the way of zazen doing zazen. All good questions, Rodney, very understandable stuff that many (if not all of us) ask, but I don't think knowing the answers will really help with your practice.
                      AL (Jigen) in:
                      Faith/Trust
                      Courage/Love
                      Awareness/Action!

                      I sat today

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                      • Banto
                        Member
                        • Jan 2015
                        • 209

                        #41
                        Thank you Jigen. Comforting to know maybe that's just what always happens; sometimes short sometimes long before returning. Specific to the book and this chapter discussion, I reference:

                        'When a thought of something does actually arise, as long as the thought does not grasp that something, nothing will be formed. For example, even if thought A (“ a flower”) occurs, as long as it is not followed by thought B (“ is beautiful”), no meaning such as A B (“ a flower is beautiful”) is formed. Neither is it something that could be taken in the sense of A which is B (“ beautiful flower”). So, even if thought A does occur, as long as the thought does not continue, A occurs prior to the formation of a meaningful sequence.'

                        For me, it is always followed by thought B. The thought does continue. So paragraph above (unless I'm reading incorrectly) seems to indicate our aim is not to continue thought.

                        'The book goes on to say:
                        When a thought comes into our mind and we move away from the steadiness that line ZZ′ represents in the figure, if we take this thought a as a basis and continue with thoughts a′ and a″, we are thinking. If something about our work comes to mind and we continue with thoughts about the arrangements and management of the work, we are clearly doing nothing but thinking about our work.'

                        Hence my questions above in other posts. Obviously we need to let go of thoughts at some point during the thought. But I don't remember to until later.

                        But alas maybe it doesn't matter at all as long as we just keep returning, whenever we return, to ZZ'
                        Thanks for sharing, appreciate hearing what people experience over time.
                        Gassho
                        Rodney SatToday


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                        Banto (aka Rodney)
                        万磴 (Myriad StoneSteps)

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                        • Jundo
                          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                          • Apr 2006
                          • 39237

                          #42
                          Originally posted by Rodney

                          Otherwise I don't know how to return at A=Flower before B=Is Beautiful happens. That is without being "on watch" for thoughts which as I understand is not our practice right Jundo?
                          So can we become aware early in the thought carry-away process that we are grasping a thought? How do you leave the hand of thought open?
                          Hi Rodney,

                          I still get the sense that you are trying too hard to do something, when instead you should just relax and not do. It is a bit like rollerblading, literal child's play that a school kid can master, yet start to think about what keeps one up on such small wheels ... work too hard to stay up for longer and longer periods ... and a good chance you will start to fall over. Some things are about relaxing and not trying to do. Just relax, let go ...

                          if stumbling a bit anyway (A) ... and you will ... just relax again and be on one's way ....

                          Do not try to shorten into increasingly shorter bits your "A'''''' to A'''' then A''' so that our our times away from aiming at ZZ' are smaller". Do not try to "return at the occurrence of the thought." Just relax. Do not grab on to A. When finding oneself in A nonetheless, gently let go. Then just sit ZZZZZZZ.

                          Often I'm MINUTES in to a thought run
                          Yes. When this happens, gently let go and return. No problem.

                          So when an idea comes to you at what point are you aware that it did? What triggers that awareness event?
                          What makes you care? Just gently let go.

                          Alan offer good advice ...

                          It doesn't matter where or when the line ends as long as it ends with me back at zazen doing zazen. Trying to figure out how long you have been thinking is just another thought getting in the way of zazen doing zazen.
                          Clarisse sounds like she is a good skater ...

                          When I sit I never have a goal like "don't think" or watch my posture because that will cause me to think. I sit and relax into my posture and when something comes into my mind I acknowledge it and release it. If I try not to think about it I move on to the next thought I get carried away with that thought. Sometimes an Idea will come to me and I let it go even though I think it's a great idea. I believe that the more practice we have the quieter our mind will become or it will become easier for us to release anything that comes up because we will know it is from our little I and not our true self - and not important.
                          As Risho put it ...

                          .... Then I just return.

                          Good advice to Rodney from Rodney ...

                          But alas maybe it doesn't matter at all as long as we just keep returning, whenever we return, to ZZ'
                          I also reMIND folks that there is another perspective as well, although Uchiyama does not touch upon it much in this Chapter. In sitting, one can come to know that AAAAA and ZZZZZ were not two all along ... then ZZZZZ shines right through and illuminates AAAAA. Then, ZZZZZ is experienced both when there is simply ZZZZZ and also right as and amid all life's most dark and stormy AAAAA. "ZZZZZ" and "AAAAA" are 'not two', as we say in Zenspeak. When such happens, AAAAA just does not seem quite like dark and stormy AAAAA as it did before.

                          Child's play. Good skating, everyone!

                          Gassho, J

                          SatToday
                          Last edited by Jundo; 01-31-2016, 03:58 AM.
                          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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