Being-with--is it a kind of doing?

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  • AmongTheLilies
    Member
    • Dec 2009
    • 15

    Being-with--is it a kind of doing?

    I've read that an important part of zazen is to simply accept whatever happens to be there "without preferences;" I've noticed that consciously abandoning preferences when something unpleasant is there helps me sit with it--however, my question is, is that *really* "just sitting?" I mean, should I abandon even the preference not to prefer, or the conscious effort to abandon conscious effort? I get the feeling that I should let preference and no-preference just come and go like other thought-forms, but I wonder if there's any way to do that and not have zazen degenerate into a mess of likes and dislikes building on each other ad nauseam.
    _/_ Gassho,
    Lily
  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39211

    #2
    Re: Being-with--is it a kind of doing?

    Originally posted by AmongTheLilies
    I've read that an important part of zazen is to simply accept whatever happens to be there "without preferences;" I've noticed that consciously abandoning preferences when something unpleasant is there helps me sit with it--however, my question is, is that *really* "just sitting?" I mean, should I abandon even the preference not to prefer, or the conscious effort to abandon conscious effort? I get the feeling that I should let preference and no-preference just come and go like other thought-forms, but I wonder if there's any way to do that and not have zazen degenerate into a mess of likes and dislikes building on each other ad nauseam.
    Well, sounds like a Zen cop-out ... but you just need to sit Zazen, dropping likes and dislikes ... instead of talking about it and thinking "how do I drop likes and dislikes"? Otherwise, it becomes a bit like thinking about thinking about how to stop thinking!

    By the way, our way might be described as simultaneous preferences without preferences (as if on two different channels at once, like two sides of a single coin). See if this helps make it a little clearer ...

    In Buddhism, and especially the Mahayana, "desire" itself is not necessarily "all bad" ... provided we (1) learn to distinguish the wholesome from the harmful (the Precepts are a helpful guide), (2) learn moderation and balance in even our wholesome desires (lest they become harmful by excess), and (3) learn "non-attachment" to outcomes should our desires be unfulfilled.

    As well, our Zen practice teaches us that we can live by seemingly contradictory "modes" and viewpoints at once, simultaneously, without conflict (similar to how I sometimes speak about "acceptance without acceptance", thus we might speak of "desire without desire" or "preferences without preferences"). So, for example, we can have a desire for event X, and even feel some moderate sadness or disappointment should X not occur (for example, if "X" were to represent the desire that someone we love not die or leave us, and the person does die or leave us. Some grief might be natural and not to be pushed away). But, at the same time as feeling that moderate, natural, human sadness, grief or disappointment at loss ... we could also know simultaneously another state, completely without resistance and with total acceptance, in which we fully accept, embrace and are at one with whatever occurs X, Y or Z, no preferences.

    Got my point? All at once, not two.
    .

    By the way, radical, to the marrow "non-attaining" and "no preferences" (even amid life's necessary attaining and preferences) is not "just sitting there" ... but a revolution in how we experience this life and world.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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    • Jundo
      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
      • Apr 2006
      • 39211

      #3
      Re: Being-with--is it a kind of doing?

      Maybe this post will help too ...

      SPECIAL REPOST: "Right" Zazen and "Wrong" Zazen

      viewtopic.php?p=22966#p22966
      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

      Comment

      • AmongTheLilies
        Member
        • Dec 2009
        • 15

        #4
        Re: Being-with--is it a kind of doing?

        Thanks! Sounds like I'm over-thinking this (as I have a tendency to do...it's the Feminist Studies coming out :? )--the best thing would probably be to sit as well as I can without worrying about sitting well.
        _/_ Gassho,
        Lily

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