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Dissolved by koan "Mu"

Dissolved by koan "Mu"

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun Oct 12, 2014 12:31 am

I see a thread in the Ask a Teacher area about "solving" the koan "Mu".

I think we can all hope instead that it's, ultimately, being "dissolved by" work on the koan "Mu".

A teacher's confirmation, plus one's own sense of the temperature of the water, ought to inform unambiguously.

There's most readily available dissolving, not solving. But, OK, maybe just a slip of the tongue (; pen; or keyboard).

Just saying, as if somebody's life depended on it.

--Joe
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Re: Dissolved by koan "Mu"

Postby Carol on Sun Oct 12, 2014 4:59 am

Well, now, isn't this a pickle! People opining on another's relationship with his/her teacher. None of us were there but the two of them. This is why it's usually best that what happens in the dokusan room stays there, lest we step in dog doo-doo.

But, then again, I have a friend who tells the story of having realized "Mu" while cleaning the toilets during work-practice at sesshin. :PP:
Practitioners who cultivate the personal realization of buddha knowledge dwell in the bliss of whatever is present and do not abandon their practice.
~Lankavatara Sutra
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Re: Dissolved by koan "Mu"

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun Oct 12, 2014 11:09 am

Carol,

It is indeed quite a salted and vinegar-ed cucumber. Well, in that other thread, not this one! But, that's what the teachers are there for, and why people are blessed to be able to pose questions to the teachers.

By the way, I agree with you about "What happens in dokusan stays in dokusan". It's a wise injunction. And, Compassionate! :)X

--Joe

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Re: Dissolved by koan "Mu"

Postby Pedestrian on Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:31 pm

Solved, dissolved, practiced, realized, practice-realized, chewed, swallowed, digested: pick your past-tense poison.

I think Robert Aitken got the tense right, expressed as a negative in the present: "I am still working on Mu, a great mystery, though it is no longer alien."
"Buddha, to liberate beings, cultivates practices everywhere." Avatamsaka Sutra.

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Re: Dissolved by koan "Mu"

Postby Carol on Sun Oct 12, 2014 5:54 pm

Thanks, Chris. I'm with Robert Aitken on this. And not with anyone second-guessing what goes on in dokusan!
Practitioners who cultivate the personal realization of buddha knowledge dwell in the bliss of whatever is present and do not abandon their practice.
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Re: Dissolved by koan "Mu"

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:48 pm

Ga-ack!, the Glob. Moderators are ganging up on me. :P

Folks everywhere may choose the verb-tense they like.

Whatever and whichever it is, though, it will convey what it is that impelled the Teacher to pass the student on to the next koan (if there is, or is to be, a next one).

And with all deference to Aitken Roshi's expedient words, who was a friend.

But whatever the verb-tense, I maintain it's better in our practice circles to "be dissolved", than to "solve". It is, more accurately, essential.

Respectfully,

--Joe

ps Like everything else, "Dissolution" does not last forever, though. And right there is the reason for the need for correct and continuous practice.
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Re: Dissolved by koan "Mu"

Postby Carol on Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:12 pm

"Moderators" are not ganging up on you, DW. Chris and I are. We just don the "moderator" hat from time to time, when necessary. And when we do, we clearly identify what we post as a "moderator's note." Let there be no confusion about that. This is not one of those times.

Your opinions about what is better in our practice may be better for you than someone else's opinions about what is better in our practice. No arguments there. I'll just leave it at that -- Except that I really don't like to see anyone undermining someone else's teacher-student relationship. That core practice relationship needs to be respected here more than it is sometimes. There is much going on there besides words -- most of it isn't words at all. And those of us who are not there in that room with that teacher at that time in that relationship really don't have valuable opinions about it at all, IMO.

:Namaste:
Practitioners who cultivate the personal realization of buddha knowledge dwell in the bliss of whatever is present and do not abandon their practice.
~Lankavatara Sutra
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Re: Dissolved by koan "Mu"

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun Oct 12, 2014 11:47 pm

Carol, howdy,

Right, Carol, pardon the levity, which may have been misplaced and too jokey. It's just me. You know I admire what Moderators give of themselves in all that they do here for all ZFI.

When it comes to "undermining someone's teacher-student relationship", if you are referring to Guo Gu's post to the OP in the Teacher area, then it seems inappropriate to continue that festering sentiment in this new thread (I can understand your not taking a teacher to task, though, at least not publicly). Here in this new thread, I offer a new word, and an alternative -- if not "new"! -- sense of the metabolism of koans. Thus, about the first koan, I speak about becoming dissolved, not about solving. One word contains the other. It's not so bad, is it? And it should not reflect on the OP's teacher-student relationship, but only on one's lexicon (which might be a welcome impingement, let's see what the OP may have to say about it). Anyway, I offer this view for all -- not just for one -- and certainly not for me. My way has always been shikantaza. Except for one or two exceptions, or three. ;)

Still, you're not altogether to be chastised, no matter what the OP feels about any of this chatter, or other chatter. At least not by me, you're not.

"Thanks for playing"!

(R.I.P., Robin Williams),

--Joe

ps Yeah, I don't speak about what may be better in our practice: that's for a teacher and student. I speak about what's better in speaking about it, say, here. Granted, I'm a stickler for language and word applicability. My first career was in academic Philosophy. Apologies... . Old habits die hard; and old die-hards have habits (you may quote me, with proper credit) :Namaste: .
:hide:
pps I love your calling me "DW". Do that again? :lol2:

Carol wrote:"Moderators" are not ganging up on you, DW. Chris and I are. We just don the "moderator" hat from time to time, when necessary. And when we do, we clearly identify what we post as a "moderator's note." Let there be no confusion about that. This is not one of those times.

Your opinions about what is better in our practice may be better for you than someone else's opinions about what is better in our practice. No arguments there. I'll just leave it at that -- Except that I really don't like to see anyone undermining someone else's teacher-student relationship. That core practice relationship needs to be respected here more than it is sometimes. There is much going on there besides words -- most of it isn't words at all. And those of us who are not there in that room with that teacher at that time in that relationship really don't have valuable opinions about it at all, IMO.
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Re: Dissolved by koan "Mu"

Postby Carol on Mon Oct 13, 2014 12:51 am

I've said all I want to say about this.
Practitioners who cultivate the personal realization of buddha knowledge dwell in the bliss of whatever is present and do not abandon their practice.
~Lankavatara Sutra
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Re: Dissolved by koan "Mu"

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Oct 13, 2014 2:33 am

And thanks for it, Carol. Understand the limitations. --Joe

Carol wrote:I've said all I want to say about this.
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Re: Dissolved by koan "Mu"

Postby Zendudest on Mon Oct 13, 2014 6:55 pm

The post by Woodworker reminds me of an anecdote a teacher shared with us during sesshin (he is now a fairly well known and respected Zen teacher)... a few days after being passed on Mu (and not 'understanding what had happened'--his words) he was excoriated by Roshi Kapleau for some minor infraction.

The words 'passed right through me'..
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Re: Dissolved by koan "Mu"

Postby Carol on Mon Oct 13, 2014 7:34 pm

Great story, Bryan! Yeah, it often works like that. You don't know what happened, thing changed anyway, without your knowing.

~Carol
Practitioners who cultivate the personal realization of buddha knowledge dwell in the bliss of whatever is present and do not abandon their practice.
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