Human Route By Zen Master Seung Sahn

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  • Seiryu
    Member
    • Sep 2010
    • 620

    Human Route By Zen Master Seung Sahn

    Coming empty-handed,

    going empty-handed -- that is human.

    When you are born, where do you come from?

    When you die, where do you go?

    Life is like a floating cloud which appears.

    Death is like a floating cloud which disappears.

    The floating cloud itself originally does not exist.

    Life and death, coming and going, are also like that.

    But there is one thing which always remains clear.

    It is pure and clear, not depending on life and death.

    Then what is the one pure and clear thing?
    I have always loved this poem by ZM Seung Sahn.

    Sometimes I can spend hours thinking, "what is that one pure thing?" or "what is this life?" "what is death?"

    No satisfying answers ever come.

    But this morning while drinking coffee, eating breakfast, i realized that in that moment, if we are willing to look and see, everything we have been searching for was right there all along.

    The answer to our questions doesn't come from the mind, from our thinking about stuff.

    because there is no answer to be found that is separate from the question itself.

    "What is life and death?" Who is asking the question? Where is this question coming from? Find that. Understand that. And realize that there is no difference between life, death, you, other, enlightenment, delusion.

    Enough of my rambling...Happy Sunday to you all
    Humbly,
    清竜 Seiryu
  • RichardH
    Member
    • Nov 2011
    • 2800

    #2
    Re: Human Route By Zen Master Seung Sahn

    Originally posted by Seiryu
    [
    because there is no answer to be found that is separate from the question itself.

    "What is life and death?" Who is asking the question? Where is this question coming from? Find that. Understand that. And realize that there is no difference between life, death, you, other, enlightenment, delusion.

    Enough of my rambling...Happy Sunday to you all

    Hi Seiryu. That doesn't sound like rambling to me. When both questions and answers and all reaching and grasping cease.....O

    Personally I have aversion to the use of ontological terms around this, even simple ones like "reality", and "true nature", and feel that the descriptor "Cessation of Dukkha" is least likely to project subtle notions of an absolute. .....but I'm an eccentric that way, probably because I grasped such terms tightly. It may not be the case for others.

    Comment

    • Jundo
      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
      • Apr 2006
      • 39221

      #3
      Re: Human Route By Zen Master Seung Sahn

      Thank you, Seiryu.

      The clouds are also the sky ... light, boundless, clear ... when flown through as such. Birds are the sky, flying here and there while leaving no traces.

      A blue sky ever without clouds and birds would be so very lifeless.



      Gassho, J
      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

      Comment

      • Myoku
        Member
        • Jul 2010
        • 1487

        #4
        Re: Human Route By Zen Master Seung Sahn

        Gassho Seiryu,
        Myoku

        Comment

        • Omoi Otoshi
          Member
          • Dec 2010
          • 801

          #5
          Re: Human Route By Zen Master Seung Sahn

          Originally posted by Seiryu
          Sometimes I can spend hours thinking, "what is that one pure thing?" or "what is this life?" "what is death?"

          No satisfying answers ever come.

          But this morning while drinking coffee, eating breakfast, i realized that in that moment, if we are willing to look and see, everything we have been searching for was right there all along.

          The answer to our questions doesn't come from the mind, from our thinking about stuff.

          because there is no answer to be found that is separate from the question itself.

          "What is life and death?" Who is asking the question? Where is this question coming from? Find that. Understand that. And realize that there is no difference between life, death, you, other, enlightenment, delusion.

          Enough of my rambling...Happy Sunday to you all
          No rambling! :lol:

          I'm happy for you! In some moments, everything is so clear.
          Then, at least for me, not so clear anymore... But as Rev Jundo says, life can not always be clear blue skies!
          I know very little about these things, but here are my thoughts anyway. :lol: ops:
          I am not you and I have no idea about the nature of your experience, but I consider some of my own experiences, that may or may not be similar to yours, to be just cool moments in life, nothing special. Nothing to cling to. But I don't see any reason not to be thankful, like we are thankful for many things in life and practice. My personal take is that they should neither be celebrated as an achievement nor be rejected as bunk or bullshit. Just aknowledge them and leave them be, without trying to repeat them or dwell in the memory of them, without letting the ego transform them into something they are not. Which is not so easy when you found the experience to be very profound... But the now is what matters, not the past or the future. If there is great faith and clarity arriving in this moment, then that is so. If there is not, then that is also so.

          Enjoy your day!

          /Pontus
          In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
          you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
          now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
          the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

          Comment

          • Jinyo
            Member
            • Jan 2012
            • 1957

            #6
            Re: Human Route By Zen Master Seung Sahn

            .... sometimes (actually quite often!) I get lost in this enigmatic dance between 'mind' and the illumination of 'no-self' - the present moment, etc

            I find myself wanting to stick up for the 'mind' - because without it I feel we are lost. Yes the 'mind' can be deluded - but it is also the means by which we integrate the stuff of life - with the mind we can lovingly sculpt the 'core' self - not the 'false' self that causes so many problems. The 'authentic' self and the 'no-self' - they seem related to me.

            I sense there may be some resistence to the above - I am still finding my way through the relationship between buddhism, psychology, psychotherapy, humanism, etc
            Would really appreciate the thoughts of others on this.

            Gassho,

            Willow

            Comment

            • Jundo
              Treeleaf Founder and Priest
              • Apr 2006
              • 39221

              #7
              Re: Human Route By Zen Master Seung Sahn

              Originally posted by willow

              I find myself wanting to stick up for the 'mind' - because without it I feel we are lost. Yes the 'mind' can be deluded - but it is also the means by which we integrate the stuff of life - with the mind we can lovingly sculpt the 'core' self - not the 'false' self that causes so many problems. The 'authentic' self and the 'no-self' - they seem related to me.
              YES, A BIG Koan! And one of those opportunities for me to pull out the old Zen teacher quip (but truly, not a "cop out"):

              Just Keep Sitting, Keep Practicing.

              See what happens. Truly, that is not a "cop out" or ducking the question, but is facing them head on.

              Gassho, Jundo
              ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

              Comment

              • andyZ
                Member
                • Aug 2011
                • 303

                #8
                Re: Human Route By Zen Master Seung Sahn

                Originally posted by willow
                .... sometimes (actually quite often!) I get lost in this enigmatic dance between 'mind' and the illumination of 'no-self' - the present moment, etc

                I find myself wanting to stick up for the 'mind' - because without it I feel we are lost. Yes the 'mind' can be deluded - but it is also the means by which we integrate the stuff of life - with the mind we can lovingly sculpt the 'core' self - not the 'false' self that causes so many problems. The 'authentic' self and the 'no-self' - they seem related to me.

                I sense there may be some resistence to the above - I am still finding my way through the relationship between buddhism, psychology, psychotherapy, humanism, etc
                Would really appreciate the thoughts of others on this.

                Gassho,
                Willow
                In one of the sutras it is said that "the three realms of existence are nothing but mind". So even the greatest enlightenment of "no body and mind" is the product of mind and doesn't really exist outside of it. So I don't think that anyone is trying to get rid of the mind, even if it was possible.
                Gassho,
                Andy

                Comment

                • Kaishin
                  Member
                  • Dec 2010
                  • 2322

                  #9
                  Re: Human Route By Zen Master Seung Sahn

                  Thanks for sharing! Despite the controversies surrounding him, I've always found Seung Sahn Sunim to be one of the more vivid and insightful characters in Zen.
                  Thanks,
                  Kaishin (開心, Open Heart)
                  Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

                  Comment

                  • RichardH
                    Member
                    • Nov 2011
                    • 2800

                    #10
                    Re: Human Route By Zen Master Seung Sahn

                    Originally posted by Kaishin
                    Thanks for sharing! Despite the controversies surrounding him, I've always found Seung Sahn Sunim to be one of the more vivid and insightful characters in Zen.
                    The Kwan Um school folks I have practiced with are straightforward.

                    Comment

                    • Jinyo
                      Member
                      • Jan 2012
                      • 1957

                      #11
                      Re: Human Route By Zen Master Seung Sahn

                      Andy - thanks for the reference - I think I am beginning to grasp that 'no-self' does not mean 'no mind.'

                      Jundo - I went back over the Buddha basics on this subject and listened to the podcast you've referenced (Rick Hanson).
                      This has helped a lot - it was quite a relief to hear Hanson say he, at first, struggled with 'no-self' because of his background in psychology.
                      I don't want to take up space with this here - but sense my own thought processes are scrambled on this subject for a
                      similar reason. The experience of zazen has become full of 'noise' because of this, so I'm just trying to go with the 'noise' and
                      waiting for a quieting down.

                      Seiryu - thankyou for the poem - I did not mean to detract from it.

                      Gassho,

                      Willow

                      Comment

                      • RichardH
                        Member
                        • Nov 2011
                        • 2800

                        #12
                        Re: Human Route By Zen Master Seung Sahn

                        One word we don't hear a lot of in Buddhism is Faith. Not faith in the sense of having faith in something, but faith in the sense of resting with nothing, being suspended without "Mind" or "Self" or anything at all to hold. There can almost be a panic, a scramble, to find some principle to hold, but once the grasping and reaching wind down and subside, there is the ordinary solid ground. My favourite Image of the Buddha is the Earth Touching Mudra, where he reaches down and touches the solid ordinary earth...... calls the Earth to witness. Just like that.

                        Anyway.. been on a posting roll here of late.... but I just wanted to say that. It is very beautiful and reassuring image.

                        Comment

                        • Jinyo
                          Member
                          • Jan 2012
                          • 1957

                          #13
                          Re: Human Route By Zen Master Seung Sahn

                          Kojip - a powerful and reassuring image.

                          I had originally written I had 'faith' that the noise would recede - then deleted the word 'faith'. I'm not sure why
                          - some discomfort in using the word faith.

                          Anyhow - your words clarified what I was struggling to express - and helped untie a knot of confusion.

                          Gassho,

                          Willow

                          Comment

                          • Rich
                            Member
                            • Apr 2009
                            • 2595

                            #14
                            Re: Human Route By Zen Master Seung Sahn

                            Ss might say, don't make anything. Self, noself, trueself, false self. I guess it takes a leap of faith but with a clear mind you do the right thing. Now there is nothing wrong with thinking and planning, but its easy to get stuck in it so you really need to cultivate just sitting mind. Speaking as one imperfect being to others.
                            _/_
                            Rich
                            MUHYO
                            無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

                            https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

                            Comment

                            • Omoi Otoshi
                              Member
                              • Dec 2010
                              • 801

                              #15
                              Re: Human Route By Zen Master Seung Sahn

                              Originally posted by Kojip
                              One word we don't hear a lot of in Buddhism is Faith. Not faith in the sense of having faith in something, but faith in the sense of resting with nothing, being suspended without "Mind" or "Self" or anything at all to hold. There can almost be a panic, a scramble, to find some principle to hold, but once the grasping and reaching wind down and subside, there is the ordinary solid ground. My favourite Image of the Buddha is the Earth Touching Mudra, where he reaches down and touches the solid ordinary earth...... calls the Earth to witness. Just like that.

                              Anyway.. been on a posting roll here of late.... but I just wanted to say that. It is very beautiful and reassuring image.
                              Thanks for this.
                              Just like Willow, I have also had a strong antipathy against words like faith. It's only recently that I have found a meaning in this word. We are sometimes told to let go, put down, surrender. But if we feel that we are hanging from a cliff, holding on only to a small branch, and don't have great faith, there will be panic and frantic clinging, because beneath us is the certain death of our ego. In this situation, if someone tells us to just let go, we won't listen. So we have to find ways to build that faith. Personally, I have to know, confirm for myself, realize completely, that there is nowhere to fall, before I can let go. In this sense, I'm a control freak. Maybe we all take different paths, but I would say that by simple practice we can get an intuitive feeling of emptiness, the true nature of reality, and of our own nature. For some, maybe this is enough to have great faith? In Shikantaza, we may sometimes get a glimpse of the emptiness of reality and our true/original/buddha nature, experience it first hand. In that moment, I have great faith. But in the next moment, I am still hanging from a branch, refusing to let go. Maybe one day, there will be faith great enough to completely let go in every moment, in every situation in life, great faith always arriving. Then there will be no letting go, because I will not be holding on to anything. But in this moment I can't force myself to have faith, I can only practice. And I suspect that without any faith I wouldn't be practicing. In practice there is already enlightenment. If great faith is not arriving in this moment, that's fine. I will just keep practicing. Ignorance is just buddha nature and we are already Buddha. In this I have faith.

                              Sorry for lack of clarity... :roll: ops:

                              /Pontus
                              In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
                              you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
                              now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
                              the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

                              Comment

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