No-Mind Rambling

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  • ghop
    Member
    • Jan 2010
    • 438

    No-Mind Rambling

    So, this is a dumb question. But those are usually the kind of questions I ask.

    The First Noble Truth is that suffering is an unavoidable part of life, right?

    But then in the Metta verses we ask that all beings may be free from suffering.

    My dualistic mind senses a conflict of reason. Is it truly possible to exist without suffering?

    If so, then why hasn't anyone, even Buddha (for he did suffer early in life) succeeded?

    If not, then why suppose that wishing someone to be free will ever make them free from something that one can never be free from in the first place?

    Or am I missing the point entirely. Do I need to "take a sit?"

    gassho
    Greg
  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39419

    #2
    Re: No-Mind Rambling

    Originally posted by ghop

    Or am I missing the point entirely. Do I need to "take a sit?"

    gassho
    Greg
    Yes, you are missing the point entirely! 8)

    Is it truly possible to exist without suffering?

    WELL, YES! Or else this whole Buddhism thing is a crock! :shock:

    The Buddha may have suffered before he became "The Buddha", and after he was "The Buddha" he may still have felt pain from time to time, especially as he grew old and had everything from bad feet to a bad back to tummy troubles (according to the old Suttas).** (See note below) He may even (though many would deny this) felt the normal human pain of ordinary sadness and worry about things. However such "pain" is not "suffering" in a Buddhist sense.

    I think you are holding a basic misunderstanding of the meaning of the "First Noble Truth" and Suffering ("Dukkha") in a Buddhist sense. Please review our "Buddha Basics" Series on that very topic ...

    viewtopic.php?f=21&t=2942

    viewtopic.php?f=21&t=2941

    So, what’s “Dukkha”? …and what does Dukkha do?

    No one English word captures the full depth and range of the Pali term, Dukkha. It is sometimes rendered as “suffering,” as in “life is suffering.” But perhaps it’s better expressed as “dissatisfaction,” “anxiety,” “disappointment,” “unease at perfection,” or “frustration” — terms that wonderfully convey a subtlety of meaning.

    In a nutshell, your “self” wishes this world to be X, yet this world is not X. The mental state that may result to the “self” from this disparity is Dukkha.
    .
    Shakyamuni Buddha gave many examples: sickness (when we do not wish to be sick), old age (when we long for youth), death (if we cling to life), loss of a loved one (as we cannot let go), violated expectations, the failure of happy moments to last (though we wish them to last). Even joyous moments — such as happiness and good news, treasure or pleasant times — can be a source of suffering if we cling to them, if we are attached to those things.

    ...

    In life, there’s sickness, old age, death and loss… other very hard times… But that’s not why ‘Life is Suffering‘. Not at all, said the Buddha.
    .
    Instead …

    ... it’s sickness, but only when we refuse the condition
    …old age, if we long for youth
    … death, because we cling to life
    … loss, when we cannot let go
    ... violated expectations, because we wished otherwise
    Our “dissatisfaction,” “disappointment,”‘ “unease” and “frustration” — Dukkha — arises as a state of mind, as our demands and wishes for how things “should be” or “if only would be for life to be content” differ from”the way things are.” Your “self” wishes this world to be X, yet this world is not X. That wide gap of “self” and “not self” is the source of Dukkha.
    You wrote ...


    My dualistic mind senses a conflict of reason. Is it truly possible to exist without suffering?

    Actually, your dualistic mind -IS- the source of the conflict and suffering! Thus, we sit Zazen ... tossing away the gap between X and Y in the dance of wholeness that is Emptiness. The gap is gone.

    Go sit.

    Gassho, J

    ** One thing is that later Buddhists, as they turned Buddha more and more into a godlike figure, began to assert that the Buddha did not really feel any pain, that he was just pretending in order to teach us. He even did not need to die, but chose to do so to teach us. Hmmm. I like to think that he was just an old (and very wise) man with aches and pains ... maybe even human fears and sadness and complaints ... who also learned a Freedom that sweeps all that in.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    Comment

    • Kaishin
      Member
      • Dec 2010
      • 2322

      #3
      Re: No-Mind Rambling

      While we're on the topic of dumb questions, I've got one that's been bugging me recently. I often hear it said that Buddhists don't proselytize, at least in the missionary or conversion sense of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

      But isn't that what a Bodhisattva does? "...vow to save all sentient beings" -- isn't that proselytizing?

      Or maybe the sources I've read that say Buddhism is not a proselytizing religion have it incorrect?
      Thanks,
      Kaishin (開心, Open Heart)
      Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

      Comment

      • Kaishin
        Member
        • Dec 2010
        • 2322

        #4
        Re: No-Mind Rambling

        Originally posted by ghop
        Is it truly possible to exist without suffering?
        Even if it isn't, existence with much less suffering is still pretty good! :mrgreen:
        Thanks,
        Kaishin (開心, Open Heart)
        Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

        Comment

        • anista
          Member
          • Dec 2009
          • 262

          #5
          Re: No-Mind Rambling

          Originally posted by Matto
          While we're on the topic of dumb questions, I've got one that's been bugging me recently. I often hear it said that Buddhists don't proselytize, at least in the missionary or conversion sense of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

          But isn't that what a Bodhisattva does? "...vow to save all sentient beings" -- isn't that proselytizing?

          Or maybe the sources I've read that say Buddhism is not a proselytizing religion have it incorrect?
          A Bodhisattva may, through upaya, save sentient beings without proselytizing, without the intent of "winning them over", presenting the way to the Buddha lands on an appropriate level.
          The mind does not know itself; the mind does not see itself
          The mind that fabricates perceptions is false; the mind without perceptions is nirv??a

          Comment

          • Hogen
            Member
            • Oct 2009
            • 261

            #6
            Re: No-Mind Rambling

            Originally posted by Matto
            While we're on the topic of dumb questions, I've got one that's been bugging me recently. I often hear it said that Buddhists don't proselytize, at least in the missionary or conversion sense of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

            But isn't that what a Bodhisattva does? "...vow to save all sentient beings" -- isn't that proselytizing?

            Or maybe the sources I've read that say Buddhism is not a proselytizing religion have it incorrect?
            proselytizing connotes active conversion, no? I recall reading that the Buddha had a largely pluralistic view of Buddhism and other religions.
            Hogen
            法眼

            #SatToday

            Comment

            • ChrisA
              Member
              • Jun 2011
              • 312

              #7
              Re: No-Mind Rambling

              Originally posted by Matto
              While we're on the topic of dumb questions, I've got one that's been bugging me recently. I often hear it said that Buddhists don't proselytize, at least in the missionary or conversion sense of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

              But isn't that what a Bodhisattva does? "...vow to save all sentient beings" -- isn't that proselytizing?

              Or maybe the sources I've read that say Buddhism is not a proselytizing religion have it incorrect?
              My decidedly underinformed take:

              "Save" in a Christian context means something different than "save" in a Buddhist context. To "save" means to convert sinners into Christians, giving them access to forgiveness, heaven, and all that good stuff: it's about conversin. When I chant the vow to "save all sentient beings," I understand "save" to mean a host of other things -- serve, support, treat with compassion, assist, and more -- none of which involve conversion to Buddhism.

              Perhaps another way to put it is: Christians believe that there is One True Way, a path that believers travel and that non-believers do not. To save people, you must convert them to that path. Buddhists believe that we're all on the same path (along with other sentient beings like ants and sticks and grizzly bears), but we need to be awakened to it. No conversion required.

              I think, anyway.

              ETA -- sorry -- didn't refresh my screen to see mcurtiss's and anista's good posts.
              Chris Seishi Amirault
              (ZenPedestrian)

              Comment

              • chessie
                Member
                • Jun 2008
                • 266

                #8
                Re: No-Mind Rambling

                My turn for a dumb question: Regarding impermanence...We are taught that nothing is permanent, and change is a fact of live, inherent in all of life and living. BUT... that means that 'change' is a 'constant' and therefore 'unchanging state of being'...so in that case there is something we call change that doesn't change, so there really is something that is permanent adn unchanging after all. Now my head is dizzy (and no, that's not a usual state of being for me either!) :P Spinning circles... I'm confused... ops:

                Thanks for this thread!! gassho, ann

                Comment

                • ChrisA
                  Member
                  • Jun 2011
                  • 312

                  #9
                  Re: No-Mind Rambling

                  I think you only get into that mindspin if you think of change as a word or concept. Which is most decidedly is not!

                  I used to give students learning how to do assessment a "simple" assignment: go to a cafeteria, mall, wherever, and spend just five minutes reporting back on what they observed. They'd always come back flummoxed: there's too much going on! I don't see everything! As soon as I started writing something down, it would shift!

                  Change? It's sort of like that.

                  I think that Steve Hagen's books, especially Buddhism Is Not What You Think, are great on change and flux, if you've got a library card handy.
                  Chris Seishi Amirault
                  (ZenPedestrian)

                  Comment

                  • Jundo
                    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                    • Apr 2006
                    • 39419

                    #10
                    Re: No-Mind Rambling

                    Originally posted by Matto
                    While we're on the topic of dumb questions, I've got one that's been bugging me recently. I often hear it said that Buddhists don't proselytize, at least in the missionary or conversion sense of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

                    But isn't that what a Bodhisattva does? "...vow to save all sentient beings" -- isn't that proselytizing?

                    Or maybe the sources I've read that say Buddhism is not a proselytizing religion have it incorrect?
                    Well, the notion of "save all sentient beings" is rather strange because it entails helping sentient beings encounter the truth (via Practice of the Teachings) that there are ultimately no sentient beings, no birth and death, no 'suffering', and thus no one and nothing in need of saving :shock: ! That's how we save 'em (in the Mahayana anyway) ... by showing the way to the experience that, from the view of Emptiness, there is nobody and nothing lacking or in excess, nothing to repair from the first! Sure, the Buddha and his disciples wanted to spread the "Good News" about that, but they were not hard and fervent proselytizers for the most part ... simply teaching to those who were interested, leaving the rest to their own ways.

                    Now, that is basically the Mahayana/Zen perspective on saving beings.

                    Other flavors of the Mahayana can have a more "prostelytizing" attitude, such as some flavors of Pure Land or Lotus Sutra Buddhism (such as Soka Gakkai SGI in current times) that emphasize that we need to believe and have faith in/chant the name of Amida Buddha, or the Sutra, to be saved, and have at times over the centuries been very 'evangelical' in their ways. Even Chan/Zen has had its more evangelical moments and teachers over its long history (the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch is seen by some historians as having a somewhat evangelical flavor, part of a popular movement to spread Chan to the masses).

                    Chris said ...

                    Buddhists believe that we're all on the same path (along with other sentient beings like ants and sticks and grizzly bears)

                    That is generally true, but some Buddhists at various times have had (and have) an "our way or the highway" attitude. Depends who the Buddhist is.

                    Another thing to note is that the traditional belief "there is no one ultimately in need of saving" often led Asian Buddhists to be passive and overlook social injustice, inequalities and "this world" suffering ... since this world and life were just dreamlike anyway! The "Engaged Buddhist" movement in the West has gone far to repair that lack, noting that ... even if this world is something like a passing 'dream' ... people still need to eat and have medical care in this 'dream'. So, the 'Engaged Buddhists' are more interested in building hospitals, schools, orphanages etc. This is closer to the meaning that Chris mentioned of "save" as "serve, support, treat with compassion, assist." There may be some teaching of Buddhist doctrine and traditions that goes on at the same time via the schools etc., but I do think the emphasis is generally more on "helping" than "converting" anyone.

                    In this Treeleaf Sangha, by the way, we do not "prostelytize" to the degree we can avoid it. We make resources available, and we may let interested persons know in various ways that the resources are available (for example, I put a small notice in the local Japanese newspaper in Tsukuba sometimes that we hold a Saturday Zazenkai). However, we neither chase people in the door ... nor run after anyone who finds it not right for them and wishes to leave.

                    Originally posted by chessie
                    My turn for a dumb question: Regarding impermanence.
                    I will have something to say on that a little later today. Have to go run errands now.

                    Gassho, J
                    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                    Comment

                    • Shokai
                      Treeleaf Priest
                      • Mar 2009
                      • 6391

                      #11
                      Re: No-Mind Rambling

                      This is all good stuff, Thanks Jundo (and Ghop) for bringing us back to basics;
                      and for the eloquence with which you did it.
                      In the words of Vince Lombardi;
                      "This is a football"
                      " hold on coach, your going too fast!" :lol:

                      Forty years ago I attended a Decision Making Course Which gave the definition of a problem as being " when a difference between 'what is' and 'what should be' exists" hence, Dukka is the problem.
                      Tune in next week when we discuss the Eight-Fold Path, impermanence or incontinence; whichever comes first. :shock:

                      Seriously folks, this IS good stuff
                      合掌,生開
                      gassho, Shokai

                      仁道 生開 / Jindo Shokai

                      "Open to life in a benevolent way"

                      https://sarushinzendo.wordpress.com/

                      Comment

                      • Jundo
                        Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                        • Apr 2006
                        • 39419

                        #12
                        Re: No-Mind Rambling

                        Originally posted by chessie
                        My turn for a dumb question: Regarding impermanence...We are taught that nothing is permanent, and change is a fact of live, inherent in all of life and living. BUT... that means that 'change' is a 'constant' and therefore 'unchanging state of being'...so in that case there is something we call change that doesn't change, so there really is something that is permanent adn unchanging after all. Now my head is dizzy (and no, that's not a usual state of being for me either!) :P Spinning circles... I'm confused... ops:

                        Thanks for this thread!! gassho, ann
                        Hi,

                        Okay, just give up the mental circle spinning of a question like "if change is constant, so is change unchanging?" ...

                        ... and better just go with the flow, be the flowing of life's changing.

                        And when we sit ... dropping all thought of "change vs. unchanging", of the clock ticking and change changing or remaining the same ... there remains just the ongoing flowing flowing.

                        Does that help?

                        Some questions are a bit like asking "what time is it when the clock stops?"

                        Gassho, J
                        ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                        Comment

                        • ChrisA
                          Member
                          • Jun 2011
                          • 312

                          #13
                          Re: No-Mind Rambling

                          Originally posted by Jundo
                          Some questions are a bit like asking "what time is it when the clock stops?"
                          That's a keeper!!! Gassho!
                          Chris Seishi Amirault
                          (ZenPedestrian)

                          Comment

                          • Rev R
                            Member
                            • Jul 2007
                            • 457

                            #14
                            Re: No-Mind Rambling

                            Originally posted by Jundo
                            "what time is it when the clock stops?"
                            time for a new clock

                            or alternately...


                            hammertime!

                            Comment

                            • ChrisA
                              Member
                              • Jun 2011
                              • 312

                              #15
                              Re: No-Mind Rambling

                              Can't touch that.
                              Chris Seishi Amirault
                              (ZenPedestrian)

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