Sweeping..... under the carpet?

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  • Kantai
    • May 2024

    Sweeping..... under the carpet?

    Hello everyone!

    When sitting shikantaza we are to sit like Buddha, dropping body and mind and "think not-thinking".
    However one thing that has been troubling me lately is that when having a trouble, like for instance someone or something troubling us at work or at school, during zazen, the mind produces thoughts about this.
    It feels very good to just "open the hand of thought" and let this thoughts of trouble and problems just drift by.

    Sometimes I feel that doing this sweeps the problem under the carpet so to speak and that it will come up later, maybe even worse than it is now.
    I wonder when it´s best to deal with the problems and when it´s best to let them drift away. Sometimes I feel like the right thing is to just dig in to the troubles and problems and really look at them. Then it´s easier to let them go afterwards.

    Any thoughts or non-thoughts about this?

    Gassho
    Kantai
  • Kyonin
    Treeleaf Priest / Engineer
    • Oct 2010
    • 6739

    #2
    Hi Kantai,

    Before I say anything, please note that I might be wrong since I still have a long way to go before being a fully trained priest.

    That said, the way I see it, shikantaza is not hiding problems or hiding from them.

    By sitting daily we come to terms with what life is and what it means to be part of the universe. We accept what there is, what we are and what we have around us.

    Whether it's good times, hard times, nice people or challenging relationships with people, we calm ourselves. We learn patience and perseverance and we train to see life from a better perspective.

    Dealing with problems and challenges is like if you were a football player right in the field. You have to react to what you see in front of you. You are in the action line.

    Zazen, in the other hand, helps you see the field from up in the sky from the Goodyear zeppelin. You see all the field, all the players, the public, the referees and the hot dog vendors. You see all the options and courses of actions the player might not see.

    While sitting you let go of your attachments and opinions to situations in life. You can even see your own opinions from afar.

    In my experience problems are as bad as you want to make them. If you are too attached to ego, you'll feel violated and hurt by stuff. If equanimity is present, you'll accept things as they are and that will be the solid ground where you'll stand to solve problems. They might be tough, but you'll be able to see different paths and choices available.

    Sitting and practicing shikantaza is not about inaction or hiding. It's about morphing with the universe to be calm, letting go of ego, judgments and opinions to be present right here and now.

    This way you'll be calm and serene to take part of life.

    But then again, I might be wrong

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

    Comment

    • Genki
      Member
      • Apr 2013
      • 86

      #3
      Hej Kantai!
      I have lately let thoughts of this kind stay for a while when I sit zazen. If they have been worth working on they have often been "solved" quite smoth. And if they have not been worth working at they have just drifted by.
      I'm not the right man to tell you how to not think, this is how I think.

      Gassho
      Genki




      Björn

      Comment

      • Jundo
        Treeleaf Founder and Priest
        • Apr 2006
        • 39074

        #4
        Hi,

        Kyonin speaks my heart.

        When sitting Zazen, we let our problems just be with equanimity ... much as we let 'just be' the chair or table in the room. Rising from the cushion, the problems will still be there, and so will plenty of time to think about them. But during sitting, we let the world rest and flow by.

        As Kyonin said, our problems ... and the whole world ... may appear quite different and clearer when we put them down, step back and view them from high above. Nothing in need of solving.

        And then perhaps we will learn the fine art of both at once! Facing our problems head on with vigor, and realizing "nothing in need of fixing" AT ONCE! Planning how to get out of a predicament, and nothing to escape from AS ONE!

        Nothing is swept under the rug. Rather, all is illuminated!

        By the way, it is okay if (like Genki describes) thoughts of a problem come into mind and hand around for awhile during Zazen. It is natural for such thoughts to come and go. It is just that, during Zazen, we are not "pondering and chewing over" the problems as usual. Rather, we are letting them come, sit, just be and illuminate themselves before moving on.

        Gassho, J (dealing with many problems in my own life, every day like everybody).
        Last edited by Jundo; 02-12-2014, 11:01 PM.
        ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

        Comment

        • Shokai
          Treeleaf Priest
          • Mar 2009
          • 6391

          #5
          Kantai;
          These three guys appear to have hit the nail on the head. You are probably best to sit with what they say and you will be amazed at how problems/troubles sort themselves out.
          And, thank you Kyonin, Genki and Jundo, this seems to essentially sum up every thing you've ever told us about zazen.

          Sent from my Note 2 using Tapatalk4
          合掌,生開
          gassho, Shokai

          仁道 生開 / Jindo Shokai

          "Open to life in a benevolent way"

          https://sarushinzendo.wordpress.com/

          Comment

          • Kantai

            #6
            Hi Kyonin and Genki,
            thanks for your responses.

            Kyonin said:
            In my experience problems are as bad as you want to make them. If you are too attached to ego, you'll feel violated and hurt by stuff. If equanimity is present, you'll accept things as they are and that will be the solid ground where you'll stand to solve problems. They might be tough, but you'll be able to see different paths and choices available.
            Maybe I´m a bit attached to dwelling on prolems, working them over and over in my mind. I somehow think that if I don´t brood on problems I´m not worthy of letting them go. It´s hard to get used to the bigger picture from the Zeppelin, especially if you´re afraid of heights!

            Sometimes the best solutions pops up when not thinking of the problems.
            I will sit with/without this.

            Gassho
            Kantai

            Comment

            • Kantai

              #7
              Originally posted by Jundo
              And then perhaps we will learn the fine art of both at once! Facing our problems head on with vigor, and realizing "nothing in need of fixing" AT ONCE! Planning how to get out of a predicament, and nothing to escape from AS ONE!

              Nothing is swept under the rug. Rather, all is illuminated!
              Thank you Jundo,

              Gassho
              Kantai

              Comment

              • Nameless
                Member
                • Apr 2013
                • 461

                #8
                Hey Kantai,

                Treeleaf is wonderful, so many great responses. Agreeing with what's been said, this can also be thrown in: on the zafu we can just sit in the rain while accepting it, off the zafu we can open an umbrella but still not be averse to the rain. From this fool's perspective, there are no problems, only experiences. It's best to respond rather than react. Troubles are impermanent. We can respond to the rain by letting it fade, or use an umbrella. Either way we can only accept the rain for what it is... rain. Either way, the skies are clear above the clouds. This is the awareness of the Original Mind, the Buddha, who is the zeppelin, the players, referees, hot dogs, the sport, and the field. Hope this helped buddy!

                Gassho, Foolish John

                Comment

                • Jundo
                  Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                  • Apr 2006
                  • 39074

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Shokai
                  .... You are probably best to sit with what they say and you will be amazed at how problems/troubles sort themselves out.
                  And, thank you Kyonin, Genki and Jundo, this seems to essentially sum up every thing you've ever told us about zazen.
                  Listen to the wise voice, who is sitting here even as we speak with a wife very sick in the hospital, and doctors who need a kick in the butt to get moving.

                  Originally posted by Nameless
                  ... on the zafu we can just sit in the rain while accepting it, off the zafu we can open an umbrella but still not be averse to the rain. From this fool's perspective, there are no problems, only experiences. It's best to respond rather than react. Troubles are impermanent. We can respond to the rain by letting it fade, or use an umbrella. Either way we can only accept the rain for what it is... rain. Either way, the skies are clear above the clouds. This is the awareness of the Original Mind, the Buddha, who is the zeppelin, the players, referees, hot dogs, the sport, and the field. Hope this helped buddy!

                  Gassho, Foolish John
                  I feel you really described the sensation here. Yes. Like that. Stay warm and dry as best you can, but when it rains ...

                  I still do not like getting my picnic ruined, my shoes drenched or catching my death of pneumonia. I very much dislike it in fact. Yet, there is aversion AND no aversion AT ONCE, AS ONE. Buddha don't mind getting wet!



                  Gassho, J
                  Last edited by Jundo; 02-13-2014, 12:49 AM.
                  ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                  Comment

                  • Mp

                    #10
                    Wow again ... Some amazing responses! I have to say we have some amazing folks around here, thank you all for your reflections. =)

                    Gassho
                    Shingen

                    Comment

                    • Shinzan
                      Member
                      • Nov 2013
                      • 338

                      #11
                      Kantai, I've been wondering about the same thing. So, thanks for articulating it so well. And thanks to Kyonin for the blimp analogy.
                      Shinzan

                      Comment

                      • alan.r
                        Member
                        • Jan 2012
                        • 546

                        #12
                        Originally posted by Kantai

                        Maybe I´m a bit attached to dwelling on prolems, working them over and over in my mind. I somehow think that if I don´t brood on problems I´m not worthy of letting them go. It´s hard to get used to the bigger picture from the Zeppelin, especially if you´re afraid of heights!
                        Hi Kantai,

                        I just wanted to add that I do this (dwell on problems) a lot - I have a strong attachment to "working things out" (less so now, but in the past, to the point of anxiety and depression), and I'm guessing that if anyone is conscious and really trying to live in a particular way, this kind of thinking occurs and can be a trap. What I mean is, I totally empathize, and think this is a fairly normal trend in contemporary life. Just recognizing it, I think, is good, then you can sit in the way described by others here.

                        Anyway, hope you're well and gassho
                        Shōmon

                        Comment

                        • Joyo

                          #13
                          I was going to respond, and then I read what other's had posted, and well, can't say it any better. Thank you everyone for what you posted here, wonderful, wonderful stuff!!!

                          Gassho,
                          Joyo

                          Comment

                          • JohnsonCM
                            Member
                            • Jan 2010
                            • 549

                            #14
                            Every thing has its time. The thoughts will arise and they will come back. That is their nature. But when sitting, just sit. Let the problem be what it is, let it be Buddah. It will come up in its time.
                            Gassho,
                            "Heitetsu"
                            Christopher
                            Sat today

                            Comment

                            • Kantai

                              #15
                              Thanks everyone for your thoughts on this.

                              Nameless/John, what's the difference between to react and to respond?
                              It's best to respond rather than react. Troubles are impermanent. We can respond to the rain by letting it fade, or use an umbrella. Either way we can only accept the rain for what it is... rain.
                              Gassho
                              Kantai
                              Last edited by Guest; 02-18-2014, 11:12 PM.

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