8/19 - Zen Seeds: Pgs 23-25

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  • Dosho
    Member
    • Jun 2008
    • 5784

    8/19 - Zen Seeds: Pgs 23-25

    Hi all,

    Appetite Is Also a Blessing

    About two years ago, my youngest son was born. The delivery, a c-section, went as smoothly as it could...something my wife and I didn't take for granted because with my oldest my wife pushed for nearly 4 hours and had 3 (yes, I said 3!) botched epidurals. But everything had gone wonderfully and after a very full day we let our newborn sleep in the nursery so we could get some rest ourselves. But in the middle of the night we awoke to some very scary news: Our son was turning blue every time he was fed and was being rushed to the NICU. I'll cut the suspense; he's fine now! He stayed there for a week before we were able to take him home and it wasn't until the last day or so that he had anything to eat. Our doctor only told us later that no one in the NICU, not even the director, had ever seen a case like his where, everytime you tried to feed him, he would turn blue. Eventually they disagnosed him with gastroparesis, a condtion where the contents of his stomach empty very slowly, and developed a method to feed him with bottles designed for premature babies, but for the next two years he didn't even appear on the growth chart. His offical designation for most of those two years? Less than 3rd percentile. At his last visit about two weeks ago? 3rd percentile. He's a small little guy and has a hearty appetite now, but since that time we have never taken having appetite for granted.

    QUESTION: Was there ever an experience you went through or a phrase uttered by a teacher that ultimately led to you not take something for granted?

    Plum Blosssoms Open the Early Spring

    We have all at one time or another thought of things that would make us happier. As pointed out in this section, money can seem like a very global elixir since its reach extends not just into material goods, but also in the longing for fame and status. Before coming to practice I searched long and hard for every new toy that could make me happy. When I was a child, it was actual toys. As an adult, it was the best food, the nicest car, the cleanest house. But even the best tasting food would just make me want more, the new car would lose its luster, and the clean house would just wait until it was dirty again. It was as if I were trying to fill a hole that could never be filled. But even as I learned about zazen and was welcomed into the sangha here at Treeleaf, there continues to be a longing for something I feel my life has lacked: Friendship. It is a worthy goal, especially as part of our sangha, but will finding a "best friend" fill the empty hole I often feel inside me? I have heard other people, even here at Treeleaf, refer to the friends they have in their daily lives as their "real" friends. But if tomorrow all your friends were gone and no one else wanted to be your friend, would you feel whole? This is a tough one since you can always make a new friend, but what if you couldn't? And I don't mean if you were stranded on a desert island. What if you were constantly surrounded by people, but none ever extended their hand in friendship? Could you be whole? I have to logically answer, "Yes." And I would try to embrace it with open arms, but could you? The human, non-logical, part of me isn't quite so sure!

    QUESTION: Can you think of an example of something that right now, even after months or years of dedicated practice, still makes you wonder if it could bring you happiness?

    Thank you all for your practice...deep bows.

    Gassho,
    Dosho
  • Myoku
    Member
    • Jul 2010
    • 1487

    #2
    Re: 8/19 - Zen Seeds: Pgs 23-25

    Appetite Is Also a Blessing
    As i get older my own body is teaching me not to take things for granted, but its nothing compared to the story of your little boy, Dosho. Nothing is for sure, except the end of our lives in this body. And still, I take almost everything for granted, my health, waking up in the morning, a nice breakfast, my job. Why is this so ? I dont know. However, I think its even ok to take things as they are, as long as we not make a drama when things change, and suddenly something is not available anymore.

    Plum Blosssoms Open the Early Spring
    I have certain times where I just need to buy something. I know its crazy, i know it makes me happy only for a short while, but I feel a strong desire. I tried to fight it, but that was not satisfying. I'm not buying expensive stuff anyway, but I do not because its really needed but because there is a desire, or call it hope for happiness. Its not working of course, and I think when I gone through that process for some time, always experiencing my desire and disappointment later on (after the short period of happiness), it eventually will get better.

    _()_
    Peter

    Comment

    • Hoyu
      Member
      • Nov 2010
      • 2020

      #3
      Re: 8/19 - Zen Seeds: Pgs 23-25

      Appetite Is Also a Blessing
      QUESTION: Was there ever an experience you went through or a phrase uttered by a teacher that ultimately led to you not take something for granted?

      Dosho thank you for sharing the story of your son! I have two answers to this question. The first one from my own experience the second what I have learned from the experience of others.

      My own experience.
      My infancy is similar(though not as severe) as Dosho's son. When I was born I hungered but became ill everytime I ate. Turns out I had MANY allergies. I was Lactose intolerance(had to have soy milk), had other food and sun allergies, etc. Bottom line is without the vitamin D from the sun and lack of proper nutrition I was very small and sickly. So hunger and the ability to properly satisfy it is truly a gift. Which leads me to my next answer.

      Learning from the experience of others.
      As I've mentioned before I work in the kitchen of hospital. Just seeing what some people are reduced to eating is enough to be grateful for my appetite! From clear liquids 3 meals a day, pureed food, or worst yet, tube feedings. I see people who will stay with us for 3 months or more and only get tube feedings the whole time
      Even my wife, while pregnant, had hyperemesis(a condition of severe "morning sickness") and was unable to eat or even keep fluids down for 3 months. Honestly I never would have believed you could get sooooooo sick from pregnancy if I hadn't seen her vomiting 20+ times a day! She lost over 20% of her body mass and we had to have her on a TPN(meaning she was slowly fed and hydrated intravenously 16 hours a day, every day) for those 3 months. With nothing by mouth for so long her hunger manifested into her having dreams about food. But every time she would try to eat, there was always something in the dream which prevented it. It Reminds me of the hungry ghost realm in Buddhist teaching.

      Gassho,
      John
      Ho (Dharma)
      Yu (Hot Water)

      Comment

      • Graceleejenkins
        Member
        • Feb 2011
        • 434

        #4
        Re: 8/19 - Zen Seeds: Pgs 23-25

        Originally posted by Dosho
        But even as I learned about zazen and was welcomed into the sangha here at Treeleaf, there continues to be a longing for something I feel my life has lacked: Friendship. It is a worthy goal, especially as part of our sangha, but will finding a "best friend" fill the empty hole I often feel inside me?
        Dosho, isn't your wife your friend? In my life, I have found that you don't have many deep friends like the kind you are idealizing. It's just like with wives , there isn't time. But even the unidealized kind of friends are good, too. I think you might also find that these friends, even as they may become separated from you over time or distance, still have feelings for you that are still there--frozen in time. I know if any of my friends were to come and ask me for anything, even after many, many years, I would still feel the same toward them and would do everything I possibly could to help them, even though I may not have spoken with them in decades. All friends are different, and the idealized friend doesn't really exist, though the closest would be your wife or husband.

        In answer to your first question: I thought that my brother would always love me. Now he hangs up if I call. He’ll probably never talk to me again, and there is probably nothing that I can ever do about it. Long story, but I think he has gone off the deep end mentally. He won’t even let his wife talk to me, even though we had also been close, and I also feel this loss. (There go two of my best friends.)

        I have been married 33 years. Before, I have always been 100% sure that my husband will always love me, even if I am a success or failure, young or old, fat or skinny, pretty or ugly. This experience with my brother has made me realize I can take nothing for granted. My husband and I are very lucky now.

        I don't know what to say about your second question: As with a lot of people, I think that I would be able to be really happy if I only had success, health, money, time, freedom, and a great body! :lol: Because I am almost really, really happy now!

        Thanks for your thoughful quesitons, Grace.
        Sat today and 10 more in honor of Treeleaf's 10th Anniversary!

        Comment

        • Tb
          Member
          • Jan 2008
          • 3186

          #5
          Re: 8/19 - Zen Seeds: Pgs 23-25

          Appetite Is Also a Blessing

          if you can't taste, it doesnt matter if its the juiciest in the world.
          And it would be the sweetest if there weren't the sourest, will you taste that to?

          QUESTION: Was there ever an experience you went through or a phrase uttered by a teacher that ultimately led to you not take something for granted?

          Yes, every moment.
          But especially, From a Treeleaf standpoint, The Treeleaf Teaparties, which happen each sunday, and each one unique, new and a good practice.

          Plum Blosssoms Open the Early Spring

          The way to escape unhappiness is to not seek happiness.
          If you want one, you will get the opposite as well.

          QUESTION: Can you think of an example of something that right now, even after months or years of dedicated practice, still makes you wonder if it could bring you happiness?

          Yes.
          I have those moments when i really want something, and then "take a step back" and kind of see if i really want/need it.

          Mtfbwy
          Fugen
          Life is our temple and its all good practice
          Blog: http://fugenblog.blogspot.com/

          Comment

          • Hans
            Member
            • Mar 2007
            • 1853

            #6
            Re: 8/19 - Zen Seeds: Pgs 23-25

            Hello Dosho,

            thank you for your very intriguing questions. My answer was just swallowed somehow by the forum software So I guess I'll try to re-write what I had written once more tomorrow.

            Have a great weekend!

            Gassho,

            Hans Chudo Mongen

            Comment

            • Risho
              Member
              • May 2010
              • 3179

              #7
              Re: 8/19 - Zen Seeds: Pgs 23-25

              Originally posted by JRBrisson
              It Reminds me of the hungry ghost realm in Buddhist teaching.

              Gassho,
              John
              That's what I was thinking as well. That too much desire of wishing things were some other way leads to Dukkha, but that doesn't mean we should kill desire (or appetite). Just like with appetite; sometimes we can eat too much, or buy too much or whatever, but we should be thankful for that appetite. It keeps us alive but let loose, it can keep us in chains.

              Thank you Dosho and John for sharing your experience! Having a loved-one in ill health is no fun. I can't imagine what it must be like having your child in that position.

              Appetite Is Also a Blessing

              QUESTION: Was there ever an experience you went through or a phrase uttered by a teacher that ultimately led to you not take something for granted?

              I take things for granted every day. I try to chant the meal gatha before every meal. What I can get in excess and for like 30% of my income, others in the world cannot get at all, or it costs them much, much more. I think our daily liturgy is important as it helps us take time to be thankful for what we have. Zazen itself (and this practice) is a thankfulness for this life, not taking it for granted that we have the capability to stop being so self-destructive and destructive to others through greed, anger and ignorance.

              But yes, I get caught up in the moment. When I'm cognizant enough, I try to remind myself of how lucky I am to have a job to complain about, or have enough food to be angry that I overate or be thankful that I have food at all and I don't have to worry where my next meal is coming from, be thankful that I have all the senses and bodily abilities that I do which not everyone does. Thankful that I have a loving wife and family and friends. The list goes on and on.


              Plum Blosssoms Open the Early Spring

              QUESTION: Can you think of an example of something that right now, even after months or years of dedicated practice, still makes you wonder if it could bring you happiness?

              Like Peter said, I too look at consumerism as an emotional relief. I do that with food and alcohol as well. I even do that with Zen. Maybe if I were enlightened I wouldn't have any more problems. But happiness is to be found within the "problems" we have. And if we flow with the stream (from a previous reading) and take ourselves out of being the perceived center of the universe, these problems add a richness. Problems at work, for instance, are a double-edged sword. On one hand they get frustrating; on the other hand, without them my job would be boring. Solving those problems is a lot of the fun.. in life too; although, I don't if solving is the right wording... more like getting out of the way to observe what is happening.

              I thought Julia mentioned this blog in another post, but I really like "Breathe Zen Habits", and I've been reading more on minimalism which is an anti-consumerism movement. I guess you could say now I'm trying to find happiness by getting rid of stuff, but that's not the point. And I surely have not gotten rid of stuff yet. I do have strong attachments to my material possessions but they are loosening. In any case, I think a lot of our "problems" are self-imposed. And I really do believe that a lot of my problems stem from consumerism. We already have enough; the challenge for me is actually realizing that instead of constantly searching. That searching can get tiring. But I guess that is part of the practice... just wear that searching out until one realizes how futile it is.

              Anyway, enough of my rambling this Sunday morning

              Gassho,

              Risho
              Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com

              Comment

              • Hoyu
                Member
                • Nov 2010
                • 2020

                #8
                Re: 8/19 - Zen Seeds: Pgs 23-25

                Mongen wrote:
                My answer was just swallowed somehow by the forum software
                I find the irony that your very post on appetite was swallowed by the software, most interesting.
                There's definitely a profound teaching in this little accident!

                Gassho,
                John
                Ho (Dharma)
                Yu (Hot Water)

                Comment

                • Shokai
                  Treeleaf Priest
                  • Mar 2009
                  • 6391

                  #9
                  Re: 8/19 - Zen Seeds: Pgs 23-25

                  We can all relate and learn from Dosho's experience. Thank you Scott for sharing that. And, thank you all for your contributions and practice.

                  Last evening an F2/3 Tornado devastated the downtown area of Goderich, a small city 100 km north of here. By the miracle of a cell phone call that slipped out before the area's infrastructure caved to the pressures of hydro outages, fallen trees and phone demand, we heard that our nephew's family was unharmed. Shortly after, I was summoned to our back deck by my best friend and teacher (spelled w-i-f-e) to see the most beautiful rainbow I can recall; especially as it's purple band was shockingly vivid. We stood and watched as it faded away and felt renewed. Moments later, we discovered the moon flower which our daughter-in-law had given us back in May and had so far done exceedingly nothing, had blossomed.

                  and this morning, one of Canada's foremost politcal leaders, Jack Layton has succumbed to cancer; may he now rest.

                  Lesson of the day: none of us can afford to take the least phenomena for granted
                  合掌,生開
                  gassho, Shokai

                  仁道 生開 / Jindo Shokai

                  "Open to life in a benevolent way"

                  https://sarushinzendo.wordpress.com/

                  Comment

                  • Risho
                    Member
                    • May 2010
                    • 3179

                    #10
                    Re: 8/19 - Zen Seeds: Pgs 23-25

                    Gassho Shokai. Your words always touch me.

                    Risho
                    Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com

                    Comment

                    • Hoyu
                      Member
                      • Nov 2010
                      • 2020

                      #11
                      Re: 8/19 - Zen Seeds: Pgs 23-25

                      Originally posted by Risho
                      Your words always touch me.
                      I agree. Sometimes they touch the heart, others, they tickle the funny bone
                      Thank you for sharing your story.

                      Gassho,
                      John
                      Ho (Dharma)
                      Yu (Hot Water)

                      Comment

                      • Shokai
                        Treeleaf Priest
                        • Mar 2009
                        • 6391

                        #12
                        Re: 8/19 - Zen Seeds: Pgs 23-25

                        What better place to tickle you my darlings :roll: :roll: :roll: :lol: :lol:

                        [a page straight out of Goldilocks]
                        合掌,生開
                        gassho, Shokai

                        仁道 生開 / Jindo Shokai

                        "Open to life in a benevolent way"

                        https://sarushinzendo.wordpress.com/

                        Comment

                        • Nenka
                          Member
                          • Aug 2010
                          • 1238

                          #13
                          Re: 8/19 - Zen Seeds: Pgs 23-25

                          Appetite is Also a Blessing

                          I was thinking about this one today as I saw an acquaintance who has not been able to eat solid food or keep anything down for months. It started shortly after she had gallbladder surgery, so everyone assumed something went wrong there, even though the doctors couldn't figure it out. A recent last-ditch effort of going to a chiropractor revealed that the vertebrae in the base of her neck are straight where they should be curved, putting some pressure on her brain (she had been in a car accident a year ago). So treatment there has been a bit helpful so far. I've never had anything quite so serious, maybe a nasty bout of stomach flu once, but I remember the joy of being able to eat again without feeling sick. Or swallowing without pain--I had strep throat once and it was awful.

                          There isn't any one specific thing that has taught me not to take things for granted . . . it's a lesson I learn over and over. I do know that the recent economy crash and all the lost homes and jobs have made me very, very grateful for what I do have, even if it is modest.

                          Plum Blossoms Open the Early Spring

                          Something that could bring me happiness . . . I sometimes think I should have written Some Brilliant Novel by now and be A Brilliant Voice of My Generation, but I am still just an asshole who writes greeting cards from time to time on a freelance basis. (Speaking of gratitude, I like getting checks in the mail, which I rarely got writing short stories!) Some times I have a great day with my husband or my friends and I wonder if some kind of professional success could make me any happier (and having seen enough documentaries on brilliant writers, I really, really doubt it. :roll: ) And yet . . . and yet . . .

                          All good practice.

                          Gassho

                          Jen

                          Comment

                          • Geika
                            Treeleaf Unsui
                            • Jan 2010
                            • 4980

                            #14
                            Re: 8/19 - Zen Seeds: Pgs 23-25

                            Originally posted by Dosho
                            QUESTION: Was there ever an experience you went through or a phrase uttered by a teacher that ultimately led to you not take something for granted?
                            I went on a medication that gave me panic attacks for about two weeks near the beginning of the month. I am still having residual anxiety over the tiniest changes, and it has really challenged my practice. I have stopped the medication. Now, feeling "normal" is such a blessing-- I need nothing else! Regaining my appetite has also been a blessing, as my weight dropped to ninety-five pounds at that time.

                            Also, the death of my Papa (grandfather), Nonie (great-grandmother), and my boyfriend's Papa (grandfather) over three consecutive years shocked me so horribly into reality that now I don't ever take a moment with a loved one for granted. Thank you, Papas and Nonie, for your lives and your deaths. _/_

                            Originally posted by Dosho
                            QUESTION: Can you think of an example of something that right now, even after months or years of dedicated practice, still makes you wonder if it could bring you happiness?
                            My own home... even better, a farm... with my boyfriend... who I would like to be my husband... those things.
                            求道芸化 Kyūdō Geika
                            I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

                            Comment

                            • Taylor
                              Member
                              • May 2010
                              • 388

                              #15
                              Re: 8/19 - Zen Seeds: Pgs 23-25

                              Appetite is also a blessing:

                              I can't think of a specific instance, but more often than not life gives me a good old slap on the back of the head saying, "APPRECIATE IT D*MNIT". Everyone is our teacher, and thus we should consider everything a blessing.

                              Plum Blossoms Open in Early Spring:

                              I'm newly single, and college has just come back into session, so of course I think every attractive girl will make me happy! It's just a matter of childish possessiveness fueled by raging hormones but man, does it ever feel real sometimes :P Really though, I have my toys that I think make life better, easier, more complete. But spending time away in a country where so many have so little, has left me with a different perspective. I've seen what damage (socially, economically, and environmentally) this idea of "gimme gimme gimme!" has done, and I'm a bit tired of it. But, we move on.
                              Gassho,
                              Myoken
                              [url:r05q3pze]http://staresatwalls.blogspot.com/[/url:r05q3pze]

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