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Cold feet

Discussion of Japanese Sōtō Zen / 曹洞宗

Cold feet

Postby zafu on Fri Nov 18, 2016 7:57 am

Hi, I'm getting cold feet re taking Jukai. Its not unlike me and I was hoping the commitment would be just that, a commitment. But I'm starting to feel a little suffocated by my own decision now. I've not mentioned it to my teacher as there is a sense of weakness and shame attached to it.

What would you advise...?

Thanks,

M
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Re: Cold feet

Postby [james] on Fri Nov 18, 2016 2:44 pm

zafu wrote:Hi, I'm getting cold feet re taking Jukai.


Nyogen Senzaki wrote: Keep your head cool and your feet warm.
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Re: Cold feet

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Nov 18, 2016 5:42 pm

zafu, M.,

Go in with cold feet.

--Joe ("Tennen"; Jukai, Apr., 1999; and May, 1979)

p.s. (albeit, an old Ch'an adage is, "Keep your feet warm and your head cool.")
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Re: Cold feet

Postby macdougdoug on Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:32 pm

How to deal with thoughts and emotions? Isn't that what the practise is all about? Observe calmly in the light of Buddhadharma until we see.
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Re: Cold feet

Postby zafu on Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:30 pm

macdougdoug wrote:How to deal with thoughts and emotions? Isn't that what the practise is all about? Observe calmly in the light of Buddhadharma until we see.


If I was there I'd not be looking for anywhere else to be.

In the mean time.....?
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Re: Cold feet

Postby desert_woodworker on Sat Nov 19, 2016 1:27 am

Go in with cold feet. Nothing's wrong with them.

--Joe

p.s. (if perhaps it's a matter of not seeming to feel "virtuous enough" to uphold and study the Precepts that one would at Jukai vow to take (you can, BTW, skip taking the ones you can't or won't uphold), then I'll repeat here what my Shih-fu used to say. He said, "It's better to have precepts to break than to have no precepts at all." I've found that to be correct for me, during the past 37 years of my life since taking the precepts the first time as a young(er) man).
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Re: Cold feet

Postby zafu on Sat Nov 19, 2016 10:09 am

desert_woodworker wrote:Go in with cold feet. Nothing's wrong with them.

--Joe

p.s. (if perhaps it's a matter of not seeming to feel "virtuous enough" to uphold and study the Precepts that one would at Jukai vow to take (you can, BTW, skip taking the ones you can't or won't uphold), then I'll repeat here what my Shih-fu used to say. He said, "It's better to have precepts to break than to have no precepts at all." I've found that to be correct for me, during the past 37 years of my life since taking the precepts the first time as a young(er) man).


Thanks. I guess its more to do with a commitment to one tradition. Zen isn't my first tradition and I'm equally impressed by all from Theravada to Tantra. But my main practice has been Vipassana for many years. I just wanted to make more of a commitment and Zen offered that.

A Pali Chanting, Vipassana practicing Soto Zennie....see doesn't feel right :)
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Re: Cold feet

Postby desert_woodworker on Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:55 pm

Cold feet notwithstanding, the water's fine. Well, it sounds as if you've jumped-in already, and so you know.

Granted, the rakusu we've sewn does not much keep the feet warm (Hmm, actually, it can).

(BTW, one teacher taught me that the rakusu "is something we try to wear-out in our lifetime").

Strong practice,

--Joe
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Re: Cold feet

Postby desert_woodworker on Sat Nov 19, 2016 2:11 pm

zafu, M.,

You're welcome!

zafu wrote:I guess its more to do with a commitment to one tradition.

Aha. Another teacher of mine stressed that we commit to the Dharma, not even to a tradition or a teacher.

I think I've done that. Committed to the Dharma (also, it happens that my root teacher and second main teacher are by now deceased).

Zen Buddhist practice for me has long been the means for the commitment to align with the Dharma and the Buddha-Dao, and has been the sharing-grounds (for sangha-relations).

I've been looking recently at some of the Vipassana traces in the past few years, and liking what I see, esp. regarding the approaches to the jnanas by various teachers.

--Joe
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Re: Cold feet

Postby zafu on Sat Nov 19, 2016 7:09 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:zafu, M.,

You're welcome!

zafu wrote:I guess its more to do with a commitment to one tradition.

Aha. Another teacher of mine stressed that we commit to the Dharma, not even to a tradition or a teacher.

I think I've done that. Committed to the Dharma (also, it happens that my root teacher and second main teacher are by now deceased).

Zen Buddhist practice for me has long been the means for the commitment to align with the Dharma and the Buddha-Dao, and has been the sharing-grounds (for sangha-relations).

I've been looking recently at some of the Vipassana traces in the past few years, and liking what I see, esp. regarding the approaches to the jnanas by various teachers.

--Joe


Do you think Jhana and Shikantaza for example are compatible?
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Re: Cold feet

Postby macdougdoug on Sat Nov 19, 2016 8:48 pm

zafu wrote:
macdougdoug wrote:How to deal with thoughts and emotions? Isn't that what the practise is all about? Observe calmly in the light of Buddhadharma until we see.


If I was there I'd not be looking for anywhere else to be.

In the mean time.....?


In the mean time no point in getting too emotional about our emotions (feeling guilty about feeling scared, or angry about feeling guilty, or guilty about feeling angry about feeling scared etc); no point in thinking too much about our thoughts; no point reacting too harshly to our habitual reactions.
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Re: Cold feet

Postby [james] on Sun Nov 20, 2016 1:14 am

zafu wrote:Do you think Jhana and Shikantaza for example are compatible?


Definately a cold feet question!
As a Vipassana Soto Zen yogi, what is your experience? Compatible? Completely congruous? Antipasto?
:O:
Yes and no do not apply.
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Re: Cold feet

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun Nov 20, 2016 4:44 am

zafu, M.,

zafu wrote:Do you think Jhana and Shikantaza for example are compatible?

My personal opinion is that when one is "coursing in the deep Prajnaparamita", all deliberate methods of practice disappear.

The method could be grasped again -- as for example one can train oneself to pass from one jhana to the other deeper one, or back to an earlier one -- but there is little incentive and seldom any real need to do so.

This is something we could ask a teacher about. Teachers very kindly participate here at ZFI.

I don't know enough about distinctly Soto-oriented practice, but I suspect that shikantaza leads to samadhi, and once a samadhi state comes on, one is not any longer doing shikantaza, nor is aware of doing it. I think the samadhi states take over, with shikantaza having been the enabling entrée. Note!, this may be completely wrong! I'd like it if a Soto teacher were to vet this partially-informed (or wholly-misinformed) supposition.

Described (by Master Dogen?) as "the natural condition of mind", shikantaza may (might) encompass much more than just what appears as what I call a "deliberate method of practice"; it may properly and technically include all the jhanas of samadhi as well. Dunno; dunno.

:Namaste:,

--Joe
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Re: Cold feet

Postby zafu on Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:34 am

[james] wrote:
zafu wrote:Do you think Jhana and Shikantaza for example are compatible?


Definately a cold feet question!
As a Vipassana Soto Zen yogi, what is your experience? Compatible? Completely congruous? Antipasto?
:O:
Yes and no do not apply.


Dont know what that means?!?

Confusion and agitation maybe....
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Re: Cold feet

Postby zafu on Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:41 am

desert_woodworker wrote:Described (by Master Dogen?) as "the natural condition of mind", shikantaza may (might) encompass much more than just what appears as what I call a "deliberate method of practice"; it may properly and technically include all the jhanas of samadhi as well. Dunno; dunno


This is something intetesting thanks Joe...

Its often the acutriments that seduce me. The Thai (ness) of the Therevada and rhe Japanese (ness) of Zen.

Its like having affairs and never being able to settle with one partner. Tho all aspects of my 'daily' life in this respect are fiercely loyal.
Last edited by zafu on Mon Nov 21, 2016 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cold feet

Postby cam101+ on Mon Nov 21, 2016 2:58 pm

Personally, if I was getting second thoughts I would listen to that and let it ride and make a decision later.

It's unfortunate that Zen has become so associated w/ Japanese culture, as it has absolutely nothing to do w/ that. Zen came from the Chinese Chan, and was practiced by the ancients before that. It really has nothing to do w/any culture, it has to do w/ what it is.....understanding on an experiential level "Big Mind", or the universe, Buddha, god, whatever we call it. When we do that, there is no need for the Precepts, we already know them and operate on our own inherent Buddha wisdom. Dogen and Shunryu Suzuki say that sitting in meditation and experiencing that Big Mind, getting our Small Mind out of the way, is in itself enlightenment, and my experience will back that up. Enlightenment is not out there somewhere, it is now, this moment.

I follow a lay practitioner practice because it suits me, and is actually more difficult than if I was ordained. I have a sangha, which is more about having a combined sangha and a teacher. It's always good to have someone else check us. I take the vows, just to myself, and we chant them as well. Who else would I need to take them to? If someone wants to make the public move you are contemplating, that is their decision. No one can make it for you, you will have to listen to your own mind and come to an understanding of why you're doing this and what you expect (hopefully nothing) to gain from it.
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Re: Cold feet

Postby zafu on Mon Nov 21, 2016 4:20 pm

cam101+ wrote: I take the vows, just to myself, and we chant them as well. Who else would I need to take them to?


This is so true....thanks!
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Re: Cold feet

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Nov 21, 2016 4:28 pm

Many people, when they marry, marry in an open, shared ceremony where people who know the bride and groom come out to participate in the joy and the solemnity of the devotion of the two hearts to each other, in the sight of God (or, maybe it's a secular wedding). The sight and experience of the couple making vows also strengthens and refreshes the commitments of those attending.

Jukai is a bit like this.

Different sanghas or lineages make the ceremony different. Often it occurs at the end of a seven-day retreat or sesshin.
People are particularly settled, and clear, then.

--Joe
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Re: Cold feet

Postby zafu on Mon Nov 21, 2016 4:44 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:Many people, when they marry, marry in an open, shared ceremony where people who know the bride and groom come out to participate in the joy and the solemnity of the devotion of the two hearts to each other, in the sight of God (or, maybe it's a secular wedding). The sight and experience of the couple making vows also strengthens and refreshes the commitments of those attending.

Jukai is a bit like this.

Different sanghas or lineages make the ceremony different. Often it occurs at the end of a seven-day retreat or sesshin.
People are particularly settled, and clear, then.

--Joe


To labour the metaphor, its like getting engaged to be married and realising that you eye is already wandering towards other women...! :blush:
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Re: Cold feet

Postby zafu on Mon Nov 21, 2016 4:54 pm

...the more I think about it the more I am aware that its the commitment to one tradition thats making me feel uncomfortable.

The whole concept of one lineage, with one practice with one, teacher...etc... I just (currently) don't feel its sitting well with me.

The irony is of course that the Jukai ceremony is liable to be a good year or so off - but even so I feel like there is something that I need to shed, to ostracize myself from - like I am in a relationship that despite it being ok, I am left feeling that I want to be on my own.

Thats as good as I can describe it.

Thanks for listening!
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