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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39446

    #46
    Originally posted by HezB
    In reality we can't 'do no harm' and live in the modern world: ...
    In reality, right and wrong break down too quickly for idealism to be realistic. ...

    What is ethical is one situation is not ethical in another in a complex world: strict rules can let us down. ...
    Hi Harry,

    I agree that we cannot see or foresee the ramifications of our actions, words and thoughts ... that any cause may have varied, unintended effects ... that we are bound to fail to keep many precepts because we are just human ...

    I might save a drowning baby who, years later, turns out to be a great murderer. Or I might sometimes yield to greed or anger despite my best intents.

    Still, we should seek to live, as we can, so not to do harm to ourself or others, and to act in ways healthful and helpful to ourself and others ... seeing that there is ultimately no gap beetween ourself and others.

    I think that a good standard, even if things may not always turn out well. Heck, without some such standards, society and our Zen Practice both turn quickly to nihilistic chaos. I think.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    Comment

    • BruceS
      Member
      • Aug 2007
      • 59

      #47
      Well that post certainly generated a lot of comment! While I agree that belief in rebirth and bodhisattvas, as well as some of the other seemingly fantastic things talked about in Mahayana sutras has nothing to do with zazen or ethics, I'm having a difficult time with picking and choosing what to believe about Buddhism. I realize a lot of what's written may just be a way of teaching with nothing to do with the truth, but to me, some of it seems pretty clear that what was said is what was meant. So do we just say I like this bit but don't care for that bit just because it can't be proven or just seems too fantastic, and still call ourselves Buddhists? That's where I start having a problem. If I can think about it and feel that, well maybe it could be, then who am I to question it? There's enough that makes sense to me to accept the things I'm not at all sure of and to continue to practice and try to understand. The more I try to analyze things with my unenlightened mind, the more conceptuality I add and the more confused it gets.

      The last thing I ever thought I'd be doing is debating what to pick and choose out of Buddhism on a Buddhist forum, and it's just not how I want to spend my time. Maybe we want different flavours of Buddhism and that's fine. We should all hang out where we feel comfortable. So, I'll take my leave now. I wish you all the best.
      Gassho,
      Bruce
      The best thing I ever do is sit and do nothing.

      Comment

      • Ryumon
        Member
        • Apr 2007
        • 1706

        #48
        I agree with Harry - the "lack of God would create nihilism" meme is one propagated by Christian (and other) fundamentalists, and has no basis in reality. I think the precepts simply codify what we already know as appropriate social behavior. (And they do so a heck of a lot better than the X Commandments, with their worry about only worshipping the right God, and graven images and all that...)

        Kirk
        ---
        Ryūmon (Kirk)
        流文

        SAT/LAH

        I know nothing.

        Comment

        • Jundo
          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
          • Apr 2006
          • 39446

          #49
          Hi Guys,

          I don't think we have to confuse the Precepts with the Commandments, nor threaten hellfire if they are broken, nor compel their keeping by Catholic/Jewish guilt (I have enough Irish, Italians and Jews in my family to know what that is) ... but, still ...

          ... they do play an important role. They can do so, as healthful guides without strangling us.

          On the other hand, it is necessary for them to strangle us sometimes. It is necessary so that we know how to get out of the grip of desire.

          I think the precepts simply codify what we already know as appropriate social behavior.
          Yes, but the Precepts do ask of us a degree of restraint and renunciation ... not to have that sexual relationship that is so available, not to cheat on something though nobody is looking, not to give in to anger that is so tempting ... What is more, "appropriate social behavior" and the Precepts often differ, for example, in this day and age, shopping and buying "stuff" is perfectly appropriate behavior. The Precepts, on the other hand, might guide us to a life of great simplicity and renunciation of material goods.

          What is more, sometimes it may be a small degree of restraint and renunciation, and sometimes it may be very hard and a very large degree. We do not have to turn into Carmelite nuns, but the Precepts should not always be easy, or just a matter of doing what our bodies feel. My body says "eat that extra piece of cake" "have that extra drink" "have that affair" "buy that sports car" ... the Precepts hold me back.

          Our Zazen Practice requires some pain ... be it in the legs, be it desire. It cannot be smooth sailing and ease every day.

          Practice without some degree of restraint and renunciation is not Practice. It is "feel good" Zazen that avoids the "feel bad" part of life. I think.

          I disagree with this a little too:

          he great thing about Zazen is that you don't have to believe in reality.
          Well, I would say that our Zazen Practice requires us to believe in Reality. It is, however, not the reality that most of the world takes as reality.

          On the other hand, neither is it any enchanted fairy filled fantasy reality that comes into our heads.

          So do we just say I like this bit but don't care for that bit just because it can't be proven or just seems too fantastic, and still call ourselves Buddhists?
          Yes. An enchanted fairy told me so.

          Bruce, I hope you find what you are looking for.

          Gassho, Jundo
          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

          Comment

          • Jundo
            Treeleaf Founder and Priest
            • Apr 2006
            • 39446

            #50
            Originally posted by HezB
            Hi Jundo,

            Maybe I'm doing Zazen wrong. But, when I just sit up straight for a while I find that in practice it requires no believe,reference, faith or anything else whatsoever to just sit there.
            That sounds like good Zazen.

            Is that reality right there when I'm doing that?
            It is a Reality, I think. The Reality of Zazen right there and then.

            But the Precepts are for when you rise from the Zafu, head into the kitchen, see that piece of cake ... see that redhead woman who is flirting with you ... see that wallet that somebody dropped by accident ... Then the Precepts come into play.

            Anyone can keep the Precepts when sitting on the Zafu. That's easy enough.

            Gassho, J
            ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

            Comment

            • Hans
              Member
              • Mar 2007
              • 1853

              #51
              Hi Folks!


              I will write something (hopefully) more substantial tonight, since I am currently at work. Just a quick note to let you know that I am REALLY enjoying this discussion, because it means having to deal with some extremely important issues. So many questions being raised....when is Buddhism still Buddhism....how far to trust other people's testimonies (if at all) etc. etc.

              Gassho,

              Hans

              P.S. Sorry to see you go Bruce! All the Best to you!

              Comment

              • Bansho
                Member
                • Apr 2007
                • 532

                #52
                Hey Bruce,

                Originally posted by BruceS
                Maybe we want different flavours of Buddhism and that's fine. We should all hang out where we feel comfortable. So, I'll take my leave now. I wish you all the best.
                Sorry to see you go. :cry: Perhaps you'll pop in again for a visit some day? Never say never... In any case, I wish you all the best too. Bye for now.

                Gassho
                Kenneth
                ??

                Comment

                • Ryumon
                  Member
                  • Apr 2007
                  • 1706

                  #53
                  Bruce (if you're reading this),

                  I don't think it's about picking and choosing, but rather trying to cull the Buddhist teachings to a more original form. You have said you're familiar with the Tibetan tradition; you surely know that much of the esoteric elements of that tradition have nothing to do with Buddhism, but come from Bön, the previous tradition in Tibet. So if you can remove that layer, you'll get a lot closer to something "original", and have less of a Buddhism that was "created" to please and attract the people living in Tibet at the time it was imported.

                  Kirk
                  ---
                  Ryūmon (Kirk)
                  流文

                  SAT/LAH

                  I know nothing.

                  Comment

                  • Jarkko
                    Member
                    • Oct 2007
                    • 58

                    #54
                    hmm, i was thinking. what is the point making diffrences about buddhism or any type of "religions". I dont know much about teachings, but i feel that every religion has the same goal and most people are missing it because of they cant "read between the lines". Books (Bible, Koran etc.) are just allegory, trying to catch the essence of truth. It is mystics because you have to feel it and not just read it and learn it. So i dont think there is nothing purer or better ways than live trough heart and mind following the way of Jesus, Boddhisatva, Mohammed or what ever you feel. In the end everything is same, the truth with heavens and hells.

                    Dont know makes this any sense to you, learning english anyhow

                    Deep Gassho to every living

                    Jarkko

                    Comment

                    • Eika
                      Member
                      • Sep 2007
                      • 806

                      #55
                      Hi, Jarkko.
                      Your English is good . . . I agree with the spirit of your post. The danger for some people is that they never settle on one particular spiritual practice. No one person or religion has a monopoly on the truth, but, in my opinion, that doesn't mean one can bounce back and forth too much. I see it as being like crossing a stream. You can take a boat, or swim, or tunnel under the river, or pole vault, or fly in a plane to get to the other side. Some of those are easier than others depending on one's particular strengths, or lack thereof. All of the methods work, but one cannot stop in mid pole-vault and decide to take a boat without first backing up and starting all over again. Backing up too often makes for a long, frustrating trip. I like Zen because from my perspective on the side of the river, it seems to be the most direct trip to the other side (here is where my analogy breaks down because I know I'm not really going anywhere).
                      In general I am skeptical of "religion." Organized ideologies often take a beautiful belief system and turn it into a rigid hierarchy that does a better job of supporting agendas of power and dominance than assisting believers' realizations. I'm sure Zen has its problems too but I feel it is so 'stripped-down' that agendas would be easier to spot. I recognize that I may be a bit naive on this point.

                      Later,
                      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

                      • Mr Walker
                        Member
                        • Oct 2007
                        • 29

                        #56
                        The thing is, if it's just sitting here and now, why bother with ceremonies and formalities?
                        If it's just sitting, and now I mean only sitting, then the practice comes down to nothing else than a meditation practice, basically no different from any other meditation practice. Nothing wrong in that, but why bow to the Buddha statue and the pillow etc if it's only a meditation practice?
                        In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
                        - John Muir

                        Comment

                        • Jundo
                          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                          • Apr 2006
                          • 39446

                          #57
                          Originally posted by Mr Walker
                          The thing is, if it's just sitting here and now, why bother with ceremonies and formalities?
                          If it's just sitting, and now I mean only sitting, then the practice comes down to nothing else than a meditation practice, basically no different from any other meditation practice. Nothing wrong in that, but why bow to the Buddha statue and the pillow etc if it's only a meditation practice?
                          Hi Mr. W.,

                          I was reading a recent Tricycle magazine today, explaining the importance of ceremonies as builders of community in a Sangha. I think of them as celebrations. Thus, our Jukai (Upholding the Precepts) ceremony will not, in my view, have any special power or magical effect in some esoteric meaning (I mean, it might, but I think not. I care not). It is, instead, a celebration of living, moment by moment, so as not to harm. If you are already living in such way, then you are already 'Jukai' ... the ceremony merely commemorates that fact.

                          Over the centuries, Buddhist ceremonies have come to be seen as possessing magical properties ... to bring about health, wealth, good crops, a decent rebirth for a late loved one. Seeing ceremonies as working some mysterious magic, of course, is found in all religions. It is still a good business for Priests, as many people are willing to pay for this (please see this recent "Purification" that my wife arranged for the Treeleaf Zendo):

                          http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2007/08 ... -gods.html

                          Over the the centuries, "Buddha" was turned from a very wise teacher, a human teacher, into a golden statue dipped in gold. In our ceremonies for retreats, I often remove the "Buddha Statue" from the Altar, and replace it with anything and everything ... a stone, a dirty diaper, a roller skate, a nail, a garbage can, a flower. What is not sacred, what is not this universe, what is not the "Buddha"? We bow to each and all of those, as well as to the other people in the room and in the world, and to ourselves ... knowing that all are just one.

                          Again, I believe in "magic". I consider myself a mystic who views this world and life as sacred. Please do not misunderstand. But the "magic" I emphasize at Treeleaf is the magic of our being alive in this universe to put on our shoes and socks, change a tire (what I did today), play with children. Those are miracles. It is the mystical wonder of the ordinary.

                          'Just Sitting' is never just sitting. It is, instead, a sacred act, a celebration, a piercing of reality, just being human ... While we seek nothing, do not think that nothing is found.

                          Gassho, Jundo
                          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                          Comment

                          • Rev R
                            Member
                            • Jul 2007
                            • 457

                            #58
                            Originally posted by Jundo
                            Again, I believe in "magic". I consider myself a mystic who views this world and life as sacred. Please do not misunderstand. But the "magic" I emphasize at Treeleaf is the magic of our being alive in this universe to put on our shoes and socks, change a tire (what I did today), play with children. Those are miracles. It is the mystical wonder of the ordinary.
                            so a pragmystic view then? :lol:

                            R

                            Comment

                            • Jundo
                              Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                              • Apr 2006
                              • 39446

                              #59
                              Originally posted by Rev R
                              so a pragmystic view then? :lol:

                              R
                              Hi Rev,

                              Gee, may I copyright that term too! That and Will's "Let the Sitting do the Talking"

                              Speaking of pragmysticism ... this video is worth a quick look. Gee, mystical powers beyond human understanding. I don't suppose that it could have the slightest thing to do with the wooden pole running from the fellow down to the ground!

                              http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22 ... om=mostpop

                              Gassho, Jundo

                              (By the way, if you cannot figure out the trick, the staff actually is the column of a platform on which the "levitator" is sitting)
                              ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                              Comment

                              • Jundo
                                Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                                • Apr 2006
                                • 39446

                                #60
                                Originally posted by Rev R
                                so a pragmystic view then? :lol:

                                R
                                Hi Rev,

                                Gee, may I copyright that term too?! That and Will's "Let the Sitting do the Talking"

                                Speaking of pragmysticism ... this video is worth a quick look. Wow, mystical powers beyond human understanding. I don't suppose that it could have the slightest thing to do with the wooden pole running from the fellow down to the ground!??!

                                http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22 ... om=mostpop

                                Gassho, Jundo

                                (By the way, if you cannot figure out the trick, the staff actually is the column of a platform on which the "levitator" is sitting. Here is another image of the same trick):

                                http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl= ... n%26sa%3DN
                                ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                                Comment

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