Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

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  • JohnsonCM
    Member
    • Jan 2010
    • 549

    Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    This is likely very flawed, but is the best way I can think to describe my point at the end of the Zen and God thread:


    The principal of Non-Duality is like this: A bar magnet is a single magnet. This is the original nature, the source, reality, at-one-ment, suchness. But to say there is no negative or positive force is foolish. We know this to be true. Such is the way with right and wrong, good and evil, God and Mara, etc. All One, all the same suchness, yet there are polarities to all of existence. Note the lines of magnetic force and the symbol they resemble.




    The continual circle, which may have points in opposition along it’s continual surface is the same. All one, all the same, nothing to add or take away, all suchness. Yet standing on one point of the circle polarizes the opposing point.





    And yet still, they are One. Co-existent, unable to be removed from one another without the cessation of existence of them both. Not Two, Not One. It is so much MORE than One, but never many, never divided, never Two.
    Gassho,
    "Heitetsu"
    Christopher
    Sat today
  • Jinyo
    Member
    • Jan 2012
    • 1957

    #2
    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

    My understanding of non-duality is no doubt flawed as well - but the way I understand it is that we can only apprehend non-duality through a 'lucid' appreciation of duality. (I am trying to grasp this after reading Hee-Jin Kim).

    The above book (Eihei Dogen - Mystical Realist) has made me realise that I can't just make up my own version of Zen as I'm going along. I've been taking on terms like 'suchness', 'thusness' etc without really understanding where those terms come from. Dogen was working with/and against a whole backdrop of historical tradition, etc and I really feel I need to understand this backdrop a bit more.

    The difficulty I'm having is that sitting zazen seems so 'pure' - but the thought behind it (the history/tradition) is highly intellectual (there's no escaping this) - and finding a balance is hard.

    The reason I'm writing this here is because I don't actually know/understand how the dichotomy between good and evil is conceptualized within Zen - but there's bound to be a whole lot of complexitity of thought behind what might seem like a simple answer :roll:

    .... and whatever comes to me through sitting - it mightn't be Zen at all - and I'm a bit concerned that I'm just borrowing zen words to somehow clothe my experience - and will that lead to inauthentic practice :?

    Gassho

    Willow

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    • JohnsonCM
      Member
      • Jan 2010
      • 549

      #3
      Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

      Just remember that in the same way that "enlightenment" transcends our understanding the current concept of the good and evil dichotomy that you hold may not be the original understanding of the concept. Perhaps the reason the backdrop is intellectual is that all things begin with the one continual ever progressing and unquantifiable Mind. The first words of the Kybalion are "all is mental, all exists in Mind" where else could we start?
      Gassho,
      "Heitetsu"
      Christopher
      Sat today

      Comment

      • Seiryu
        Member
        • Sep 2010
        • 620

        #4
        Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

        The mind naturally sees things in dualities. That is what it does. You and other. Night and day. Enlightenment and delusion. Birth and Death. Although intellectually we can understand the idea that all is talking about the same thing, yet still our minds don't quite believe it. Or better still, doesn't quite get it.

        Non-duality cannot be understood by the mind. And it doesn't need to be. It has to be experienced. It has to be understood from a whole new place. Place of no mind. No self. No no self, and no no mind.


        Just sitting, allowing all to be just as it is without any interferences, you will taste for yourself what noon duality is.

        More thoughts from deluded little ol'me
        Humbly,
        清竜 Seiryu

        Comment

        • disastermouse

          #5
          Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

          Duality is not so natural, actually.

          Chet

          Comment

          • Rich
            Member
            • Apr 2009
            • 2601

            #6
            Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

            Thank you seiryu and chet. Don't. Know natural. Or not. As far as dualism.

            Willow, suchness doesn't. Really care about zen thinking so your practice of just sitting is always authentic.
            _/_
            Rich
            MUHYO
            無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

            https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

            Comment

            • alan.r
              Member
              • Jan 2012
              • 546

              #7
              Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

              Originally posted by Seiryu

              Just sitting, allowing all to be just as it is without any interferences, you will taste for yourself what non duality is.

              More thoughts from deluded little ol'me

              Hi Willow. I often have the same thoughts/worries. We should both listen to Seiryu here.

              Gassho,
              Alan
              Shōmon

              Comment

              • JohnsonCM
                Member
                • Jan 2010
                • 549

                #8
                Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

                No matter where you stand on the Circle, there always appears to be a completely opposite point. This is duality. This is often still true even once you've walked around to that once opposite point, and are looking accross at the place you began. Realising that this is what you've done, that you never left the path and that all extremes are really just different views of the same beginningless and endless Circle, this is non duality.
                Gassho,
                "Heitetsu"
                Christopher
                Sat today

                Comment

                • disastermouse

                  #9
                  Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

                  Originally posted by JohnsonCM
                  No matter where you stand on the Circle, there always appears to be a completely opposite point. This is duality. This is often still true even once you've walked around to that once opposite point, and are looking accross at the place you began. Realising that this is what you've done, that you never left the path and that all extremes are really just different views of the same beginningless and endless Circle, this is non duality.
                  Why are we talking about hypothetical circles in regards to reality? All useful talk about reality is broken-but-acknowledges-it's-brokenness. It's talk that tries to wrap it all up it a neat little package with a bow on top that is suspect, IMHO.

                  Is it rainy or sunny where you live?

                  Chet

                  Comment

                  • Jundo
                    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                    • Apr 2006
                    • 39454

                    #10
                    Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

                    Just live doing good ... seeking a way beneficial and healthful to self and others (not two, by the way)

                    Just live avoiding evil ... seeking not to harm self or others (not two, by the way)

                    Do one's best in the endless grey situations life presents, where some harm cannot be avoided despite a great good.

                    All the while, cast off all thought of doing good or doing evils, drop away Karmic results, forget all seeking (for the mountain does not think the cold wind evil) ...

                    ... nonetheless do one's best!

                    Is that so hard? It ain't rocket science.

                    I do not know if that is God's way, or Karma's way or Mankind's way or carved into the very fabric of the universe way ...

                    ... but it tends to make a good, balanced, peaceful life-world-self for your self and those around you (not two, by the way).

                    Dogen wrote (in Shobogenzo Shoaku Makusa .. Not Doing Evils) ...


                    Ancient buddhas say:

                    Not doing evils,
                    devoutly practicing every good,
                    purifying one's own mind:
                    this is the teachings of all buddhas.

                    ...

                    In the above quotation the term "evils" refers to [what is called] morally evil among the categories of morally good, morally evil, and morally undefined. Its moral nature, however, is uncreated. The natures of morally good and morally undefined likewise are uncreated. They are untainted, they are the real aspects, which is to say that these three categories of moral nature encompass manifold varieties of dharmas ...

                    ...

                    It is not that evils do not exist, but that there is only "not doing." It is not that evils do exist, but that there is only "not doing." Evils are not emptiness; it is "not doing." Evils are not form; it is "not doing." Evils are not "not doing," for there is only "not doing." For example, spring pines are neither non-existent nor existent; they just are not done. Autumn chrysanthemums are neither existent nor are they non-existent; they just are not done. The buddhas are neither existent nor non-existent; they are "not doing." Pillars, lamps, candles, whisks, staffs, and so forth, are neither existent nor non-existent; they are "not doing." One's own self is neither existent nor non-existent; it is "not doing."

                    ...

                    Because this is so, to act on the assumption that "if [evil already] is 'not doing,' then I can just do as I please" would be exactly as [mistaken as] walking north while expecting to arrive in [the south].

                    ...

                    Every good is not existent, is not non-existent, is not form, is not emptiness, nor anything else; it only is devoutly practicing. Wherever it fully appears, whenever it fully appears, it must be devoutly practicing. In this devoutly practicing, every good will certainly fully appear. The full appearance of devoutly practicing is itself the kôan, but it is not production and destruction, it is not casual conditions.

                    The same is true regarding the entering, abiding, and departing of devoutly practicing. Devoutly practicing even one good among the every good causes the entirety of dharmas, the whole body, and reality itself to devoutly practice together.

                    http://scbs.stanford.edu/sztp3/translat ... ation.html
                    Gassho, J
                    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                    Comment

                    • Hans
                      Member
                      • Mar 2007
                      • 1853

                      #11
                      Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

                      Hello,

                      yet again a very interesting thread...however as I stumble over the word God a lot here on the forum these days, I am kind of a bit surprised to be honest. Almost all my old time Pagan friends had a long period of dealing with their theist baggage before making a conscious move towards a different mindset and practise...and after that period of really coming to terms with their personal baggage "God", I hardly ever heard anyone mention God in relation to their own religious practise anymore - only in terms of religious history.

                      I am just surprised that God comes up this much here at all to be honest....nothign wrong with that let me add...just a bit odd from my POV.


                      Gassho,

                      Hans Chudo Mongen

                      Comment

                      • JohnsonCM
                        Member
                        • Jan 2010
                        • 549

                        #12
                        Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

                        Why are we talking about hypothetical circles in regards to reality? All useful talk about reality is broken-but-acknowledges-it's-brokenness. It's talk that tries to wrap it all up it a neat little package with a bow on top that is suspect, IMHO.

                        Is it rainy or sunny where you live?

                        Chet
                        Chet gives us this as a teaching. In truth, there is great wisdom in what he says. But we talk about hypothetical circles in regards to reality for the same reason we talk of imaginary Buddhas and non-existant Dharmas. Didn’t the Buddha himself say in the Diamond Sutra, “For this is the teaching of all Buddhas and all Dharmas, but just as the Tathagatta says these words, he must recall them, for there are no Buddhas and no Dharmas in existence.”? All useful talk about reality is broken, true, but for all that – it is no less imperative that we talk about it anyway. And yes, my circle talk is just as broken as all the rest and I admit that I have neither bow nor box to wrap it up with.

                        We often say, “Zen is beyond words and syllables.” And this is true, but it doesn’t stop us from talking about it any way. These conversations, which for some reason always end up eliciting some form of the question, “Why are we talking about this anyway?” are necessary to help in opening the heart and (M)ind of the student of Zen to catch even the most fleeting glimpse of that which caused Mahakashyapa to laugh. We work to save the many beings, even though we know that beings are numberless and delusions are inexhaustible. We understand that we cannot experience enlightenment / kensho / realization / etc by talking about it, but we also know that sitting still in “Noble Silence” won’t help either. So what are we to do? Do we just sit still at our computers, never typing in a character, leaving these forums blank and all the threads with one page and titles like “…”?

                        Or do we do what we can, use what tools we have, broken or incomplete thought they might be, and begin to build an understanding that will change and grow as we begin to understand?

                        That’s a good question, I think. Why, when we are all perfectly aware that discourse is part of the Path of Understanding (and yes I mean whole and complete understanding, not simple intellectual ‘knowledge’), why do we seem to have an aversion to it? Why do we talk about the Way only to deride talking about the Way?

                        I have said this before, and I must say it here again. Everything is sitting, but our understanding of it is key. The whole act of sitting becomes something new when we acknowledge its Original Nature. Otherwise, without this understanding, all we are really doing is flattening a cushion.
                        Gassho,
                        "Heitetsu"
                        Christopher
                        Sat today

                        Comment

                        • Hans
                          Member
                          • Mar 2007
                          • 1853

                          #13
                          Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

                          Hello Chris,

                          my two Unsui cents would suggest that it's not about acknowledging or understanding our original nature at all, instead it is about knowing it intimately -and acting from that basis. Reality/Buddha nature doesn't need to be acknowledged at all, Zazen is the Soto way of cultivating this marrow-knowing from the inside out.

                          Gassho,

                          Hans Chudo Mongen

                          Comment

                          • Omoi Otoshi
                            Member
                            • Dec 2010
                            • 801

                            #14
                            Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

                            Originally posted by Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra (Thurman translation)

                            Then the venerable Sariputra said to the goddess, "Goddess, how long have you been in this house?"

                            The goddess replied, "I have been here as long as the elder has been in liberation."

                            Sariputra said, "Then, have you been in this house for quite some time?"

                            The goddess said, "Has the elder been in liberation for quite some time?"

                            At that, the elder Sariputra fell silent.

                            The goddess continued, "Elder, you are 'foremost of the wise!' Why do you not speak? Now, when it is your turn, you do not answer the question."

                            Sariputra: Since liberation is inexpressible, goddess, I do not know what to say.

                            Goddess: All the syllables pronounced by the elder have the nature of liberation. Why? Liberation is neither internal nor external, nor can it be apprehended apart from them. Likewise, syllables are neither internal nor external, nor can they be apprehended anywhere else. Therefore, reverend Sariputra, do not point to liberation by abandoning speech! Why? The holy liberation is the equality of all things!
                            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

                            • disastermouse

                              #15
                              Re: Non-duality from the Zen and God Thread

                              Originally posted by JohnsonCM
                              Why are we talking about hypothetical circles in regards to reality? All useful talk about reality is broken-but-acknowledges-it's-brokenness. It's talk that tries to wrap it all up it a neat little package with a bow on top that is suspect, IMHO.

                              Is it rainy or sunny where you live?

                              Chet
                              I have said this before, and I must say it here again. Everything is sitting, but our understanding of it is key. The whole act of sitting becomes something new when we acknowledge its Original Nature. Otherwise, without this understanding, all we are really doing is flattening a cushion.
                              I used to think this too, but now I'm not so sure. It's not that we shouldn't say something - nor should we try out-zenning each other, nor trying to please teachers or peers.

                              There was something about your analogy that seemed too neat to me, not that I'm an authority of any kind. Sometimes I talk with my friends about philosophy - but there creep in these glimpses of understanding where I realize that most of it is playful, but some of it is this....pride(?)... this luxuriating in the imagined beauty of
                              my own cleverness and understanding. It's really quite embarrassing to see these glimpses - but illuminating too.

                              So, I'm suspicious of 'this is like this other abstract-but-simple thing' sort of arguments.

                              Chet

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