Hello from the Netherlands

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  • helena
    Member
    • Oct 2007
    • 43

    Hello from the Netherlands

    I just registered for this forum, and wanted to say hello. I am Helena, I live with my husband and daughter in a small town in The Netherlands. I became interested in Zen after reading Brad Warner's Hardcore Zen. Until then, I was a big cynic for everything that smelled like Eastern Religion, because there seem to be so many fake "holy persons" and I did not like the whole "ME ME ME" vibe that I got off it. Even though not everything Brad said resonated with me, I found it really refreshing that he did not present himself as some better person that knew everything and was in a state of bliss all or most of the time. It also helped that Brad wrote that buddhism did not equal reincarnation.

    So, I started reading some more books and blogs, and found out that these ideas were quite common in Zen. Then I found Treeleaf, through a blog that I followed. I like that Jundo is down-to-earth, has a family himself and seems to constantly find topics to talk about that are relevant to my life at that time. I still haven't started a regular zazen practice, and I hope that participating in this community will stimulate me to do so. I do however, already notice changes in my life, just from being more present.

    I am looking forward to getting to know all of you!
  • Fuken
    Member
    • Sep 2006
    • 435

    #2
    I think a little bit of cynicism is good!

    Welcome aboard!
    Jordan
    Yours in practice,
    Jordan ("Fu Ken" translates to "Wind Sword", Dharma name givin to me by Jundo, I am so glad he did not name me Wind bag.)

    Comment

    • Jundo
      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
      • Apr 2006
      • 39392

      #3
      Originally posted by Jordan
      I think a little bit of cynicism is good!

      Welcome aboard!
      Jordan
      Hi,

      I like the word 'skepticism', because it is more neutral in tone than 'cynicism'. But, yes, doubt just about everything, have your Bull detector constantly at the ready, and find your own truths.

      Helena, welcome again!

      This is a good time to mention my advice to people starting Zazen: Folks should try to sit daily, and do so until it becomes a daily habit. How about start for even 10 minutes once a day, or twice a day, but make sure you do it every day?? It is important. After that, you can build up to sittings of 20 or 30 (or 40) minutes, at least once (better twice) per day. But to start, a 10 minute sitting is fine. However, it should be every day!

      I also recommend 'mini-sittings' (even when standing) at various times of day ... in the traffic jam, in the postal line, in the dentist's chair, when you hear bad news from your boss, when you see a lovely blade of grass, etc.

      Gassho, Jundo
      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

      Comment

      • Hans
        Member
        • Mar 2007
        • 1853

        #4
        Hello Helena!

        Just a very quick welcome from another person living in the Netherlands...though I am actually German.

        Big Gassho,


        Hans

        Comment

        • Dainin
          Member
          • Sep 2007
          • 389

          #5
          Welcome Helena!

          It's very nice having you here. I can certainy relate what you wrote. It wasn't until I read Hardcore Zen that I began to practice, for very similar reasons to yours.

          I look forward to your postings.

          Gassho,
          Keith

          Comment

          • helena
            Member
            • Oct 2007
            • 43

            #6
            Thanks for the welcome everybody. I will start practicing! In fact, I doubted about registering here because it is yet another opportunutiy to talk, instead of do, but I hope it will be the push I needed to finally get started.

            Comment

            • Mensch
              Member
              • Jun 2007
              • 77

              #7
              Originally posted by helena
              Thanks for the welcome everybody. I will start practicing! In fact, I doubted about registering here because it is yet another opportunutiy to talk, instead of do, but I hope it will be the push I needed to finally get started.
              There is no need for a push because you'll feel a pull. Even if you hate it you will feel a pull. Maybe you are just afraid to "fail". But how would one "fail" at failing completely?

              Honestly, I am really just a Zen greenhorn. And Jundo will probably put it better. But this is just how it feels. Besides Brad's book I particularly like Kodo Sawaki's remarks on Zazen. Maybe you'll find them encouraging. Look here.

              Welcome,

              Mensch

              Comment

              • Rev R
                Member
                • Jul 2007
                • 457

                #8
                Always late to the party.

                Hello and stuff helena.

                Since the intorduction has turned toward a discussion of skepticism...

                I think that skepticism is very healthy in practice. You just have to be careful that you aren't so skeptical that you refuse to learn.



                R

                Comment

                • will
                  Member
                  • Jun 2007
                  • 2331

                  #9
                  Rev R

                  I think that skepticism is very healthy in practice. You just have to be careful that you aren't so skeptical that you refuse to learn.
                  Good Advice.

                  Helena

                  Jundo is down-to-earth, has a family himself and seems to constantly find topics to talk about that are relevant to my life at that time.
                  Welcome Helena.
                  It's all really relevant. We're not all about the mysticism here. It's more practical. You will find quite a bit of skeptics here as well.

                  Anyway, Have fun.

                  Gassho Will
                  [size=85:z6oilzbt]
                  To save all sentient beings, though beings are numberless.
                  To penetrate reality, though reality is boundless.
                  To transform all delusion, though delusions are immeasurable.
                  To attain the enlightened way, a way non-attainable.
                  [/size:z6oilzbt]

                  Comment

                  • Eika
                    Member
                    • Sep 2007
                    • 806

                    #10
                    Welcome Helena!


                    Bill
                    [size=150:m8cet5u6]??[/size:m8cet5u6] We are involved in a life that passes understanding and our highest business is our daily life---John Cage

                    Comment

                    • Ryan
                      Member
                      • Aug 2007
                      • 27

                      #11
                      Welcome!

                      -Ryan

                      Comment

                      • Justin
                        Member
                        • Jul 2007
                        • 97

                        #12
                        Welcome, Helena! It's wonderful to have another voice to enrich our discussions.

                        To contribute to the talk on doubting, I thought I'd mention that my University FreeThought Society has printed up T-Shirts with a particularly skeptical translation of Buddha's last words: "Doubt everything. Find your own light."

                        Gassho.

                        Comment

                        • Jundo
                          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                          • Apr 2006
                          • 39392

                          #13
                          I want to say ...

                          Rev R

                          I think that skepticism is very healthy in practice. You just have to be careful that you aren't so skeptical that you refuse to learn.
                          Very good reminder, I think. Zen practice is a fine mix of skepticism, yet trusting and trying for yourself a philosophy that sometimes goes against our ordinary experience and popular beliefs.

                          "Yes, you tell me that 'time' is a state of mind (that also flows from future to past), that my refrigerator is just part of me, that I was never born, that great attainments come from dropping all 'goals' ... I buy that!" :-)

                          It's all really relevant. We're not all about the mysticism here. It's more practical.
                          Ordinary life is a miracle of the universe. How wondrous that we are here to open cans of peas with a can opener (I am into kitchen appliances today**). I consider myself a practical, skeptical mystic. That means that I am not quiet sure who or what power in the universe created the peas or the can opener ... but yum, yum, yum.

                          Gassho, Jundo

                          ** That means that the appliances have been delivered, but I am not quite sure who the cosmic manufacture is, where the factory is located, how the manufacturing process works or how long the warranty lasts. But, boy, it sure does open cans of peas!!! Just push the button, and YUM YUM YUM!
                          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                          Comment

                          • Jundo
                            Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                            • Apr 2006
                            • 39392

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Mensch
                            I particularly like Kodo Sawaki's remarks on Zazen. Maybe you'll find them encouraging. Look here.
                            Dear Mensch,

                            Thank you SO much for the "Homeless" Kodo Sawaki Roshi quotes. Wow, it had been a while since I read any Kodo-isms. That fellow had a way with words, and was not afraid to say what he was thinking .... even if it got him in trouble. I hope everyone will print out those quotes and go through them slowly.

                            You know, Nishijima studied with Kodo for several decades, from the time Nishijima was a teenager. He was never formally ordained by Kodo, but there is such a great influence on Nishijima and, of course, many others in our Lineage. Here are a few typical 'Homeless' Kodo quotes on Zazen:

                            Often people ask me how many years they have to practice zazen before it shows results. Zazen has no results. You won’t get anything at all out of zazen.

                            In true dharma there’s nothing to gain. In false dharma there’s something to gain.

                            The way of buddha means that there is nothing to seek, nothing to find [mushogu-mushotoku]. If there’s something to find, no matter how much we practice, it’s got nothing to do with the buddha-dharma. If there’s nothing to find [mushotoku], that’s the buddha-dharma.


                            What’s zazen good for? Absolutely nothing! This “good for nothing” has got to sink into your flesh and bones until you’re truly practicing what’s good for nothing. Until then, your zazen is really good for nothing.

                            Zazen is unsatisfying. Unsatisfying for whom? For the ordinary person. People are never satisfied.


                            Don’t whine. Don’t stare into space. Just sit!

                            Zazen isn’t like a thermometer where the temperature slowly rises: “Just a little more … yeah … that’s it! Now, I’ve got satori!” Zazen never becomes anything special, no matter how long you practice. If it becomes something special, you must have a screw lose somewhere.

                            If we don’t watch out, we’ll start believing that the buddha-dharma is like climbing up a staircase. But it isn’t like this at all. This very step right now is the one practice which includes all practices, and it is all practices, contained in this one practice.

                            You want to become a buddha? There’s no need to become a buddha! Now is simply now. You are simply you. And tell me, since you want to leave the place where you are,where is it exactly you want to go?

                            Zazen means just sitting without even thinking of becoming buddha.

                            In the world, it’s always about winning or losing, plus or minus. Yet in Zazen, it’s about nothing. It’s good for nothing. That’s why it is the greatest and most all-inclusive thing there is.

                            We don’t achieve satori through practice: practice is satori. Each and every step is the goal.
                            and here are a coupe of my favorite Koto-isms:

                            The asshole doesn’t need to be ashamed of being the asshole. The feet don’t have any reason to go on strike just because they’re only feet. The head isn’t the most important of all, and the navel doesn’t need to imagine he’s the father of all things. It’s strange though that people look at the prime minister as an especially important person. The nose can’t replace the eyes, and the mouth can’t replace the ears.
                            Everything has its own identity, which is unsurpassable in the whole universe.

                            They say, “When I hear Sawaki talk, my faith cools down.” Now I’m going to really put their faith on ice: This sort of faith is nothing but superstition.
                            They say, “Sawaki’s talks don’t awaken any faith in me.” They don’t awaken any superstition, that’s all.

                            What a shame to have been born a human being and to spend your whole life worrying. You should reach the point where you can be happy to have been born a human.
                            Gassho, Jundo
                            ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                            Comment

                            • helena
                              Member
                              • Oct 2007
                              • 43

                              #15
                              Thanks for all the welcomes again! Hi Hans, it is nice to "meet" someone that is a bit nearby!

                              Originally posted by Mensch
                              Maybe you are just afraid to "fail".
                              Hey, did you read my mind? I thought that only Jundo did that
                              I do tend to be too perfectionistic, so this is something I am aware of.

                              Originally posted by Mensch
                              Besides Brad's book I particularly like Kodo Sawaki's remarks on Zazen. Maybe you'll find them encouraging. Look here.
                              Thanks. I will read them slowly.

                              Originally posted by Jundo
                              "Yes, you tell me that my refrigerator is just part of me
                              You know, I think that many mothers do understand this point quite well. When my daughter was born, I had not read anything about zen. But I instantly realized the one-ness of everything. Me and her (SO weird! Now your part of me, now you are a seperate human being!). Me and all the other mothers in the world. And yes, even me and the refrigerator. I read the warnings about PCB's and other chemicals in our breast milk and wondered why we just seemed to not care about the fact that there is a refrigerator in my breasts and my baby was eating it for dinner.

                              Helena.

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