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What is Zen?

A place to share and discuss the practice of Zen Buddhism without teachers. Debates about whether practicing without teachers is possible or desirable are not appropriate here, nor are criticisms of Zen Buddhist practice with teachers.
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A place to share and discuss the practice of Zen Buddhism without teachers. Debates about whether practising without teachers is possible or desirable are not appropriate here, nor are criticisms of Zen Buddhist practice with teachers.

Re: What is Zen?

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun May 31, 2015 2:40 pm

'morning, Colin,

OK, I feel a relief, knowing that you are hale and hardy.

There could be a Zen Buddhist teacher and sangha in your future, then. No, it's not expensive, but different sanghas set perhaps a suggested minimum monthly support amount, to pay the rent or mortgage, keep the lights and water on, and such. Usually, groups are tax-exempt, as Religious and Educational entities under the law, so taxation should not be an expense to groups. Teachers also individually usually accept "dana", and I think this is usually entirely optional and can be either regular or sporadic. Retreats cost some money, and are an important aspect of the overall practice, once one has a daily sitting-practice well established (one does not want to go on retreat "cold"). Every teacher and sangha I've been with have been extremely inviting and very versatile when it comes to financial support. "Scholarships" are extended to low-income folks for retreat (university students, say, or those on fixed-income, like me), and full participation in activities is NEVER dependent on ability to cough up cash. I think this is the norm in Zen Buddhist groups everywhere.

Support given monetarily is of course good psychology, as well as utterly practical economics. Folks tend to value what they have a material stake in, as well as spiritual. But of course any mature person well understands material realities (and maybe also appreciates the psychological aspect I mentioned). Dana is, besides, one of the Perfections (Paramitas) of Original Buddhism, you may recall -- the Perfection of Giving. I think that not too big a deal is made about this in western sanghas, however, many of which anyway practice very frugal habits and have most humble housing for their practice-center or temple. There are exceptions! Some places rely on sweat-equity of the work of members who have skills in building. Yes, members may also at times donate a lot of labor and know-how when centers either expand or re-locate, or renovate. This is one really great way of practicing "samu" together, "Spiritual Work", or "Work Practice", one of the many established practices in Zen Buddhism (it doesn't all "rest" on seated zazen).

Well, you probably know these facts.

best, for the present and future,

--Joe

chankin1937 wrote:Hello Joe,
Joe said:
But Colin has explained (claimed... ) that our advice is "too late". On that note, we will of course lament, and even say in effect "It's never too late".


Perhaps I should have been clearer. By it being “too late” I meant I have understood Zen - directly through meditation - for more decades than I care to remember. I found I had no need to ask anyone else to put their interpretation on the event. I had a perfectly good one myself.
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Re: What is Zen?

Postby Avisitor on Sun May 31, 2015 3:17 pm

When a person first starts off on this path, practice is a set of tasks or exercises.
Sitting with a calm mind and letting go of thoughts, ...
The person takes the exercise as the goal
"Stop thoughts" becomes their motto
Or sitting with minds calm and silent, ...
A person might come to believe that the goal is to "cease all mental activity"

Kensho may produce conditions similar to stopping thoughts or ceasing mental activity
These conditions are a result of kensho and not the other way around
A boat going through water will produce wakes or waves
Wakes and waves do not produce a boat going through water
Of course, without the water there is no need for boats
Stupid analogy .... sorry.

The point is ... when someone comes to Zen Buddhism ... wants to learn ...
there is a grasping at things as a way to learn and understand
Then all meanings in the words of the nobles and masters becomes a reflection of the mind reading them
It creates a web of mis-concepts and mis-understandings
Well, this is my ignorance showing ... again

Wow, time for that first cup in the morning ... lovely ... :coffee:
Disclaimer: There is no intent to be offensive in my posts. None was intended and none should be interpreted as such.
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Re: What is Zen?

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun May 31, 2015 3:46 pm

Av,

Avisitor wrote:Kensho may produce conditions similar to stopping thoughts or ceasing mental activity
These conditions are a result of kensho and not the other way around

Points well observed!

I'm barred from recommending practice with a teacher, in this area of the board, but I can say that yet another reason to have a teacher is to benefit from the teacher disabusing us of our satisfaction with minor "gum-drops" along the path. A teacher can urge us, encourage us, to continue, lest we rest dead in the water.

Of course, if we want to rest dead in the water, that's a choice. But the consequences are not to be blamed on one's teacher.

Just agreeing with you, Av!

By the way, it appears that you speak from experience, about practicing formally. Is this correct? Any teacher that we might know?

:Namaste:,

--Joe
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Re: What is Zen?

Postby Avisitor on Sun May 31, 2015 4:42 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:By the way, it appears that you speak from experience, about practicing formally. Is this correct? Any teacher that we might know?

:Namaste:,

--Joe

Sorry, been lost ... long ago ... still finding way back
Disclaimer: There is no intent to be offensive in my posts. None was intended and none should be interpreted as such.
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Re: What is Zen?

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun May 31, 2015 4:54 pm

Av,

Roger, understood. Follow GPS. I think you're locked to a sufficiency of satellites, and the signals are fine and clear. Or just follow one's nose. I know you smell the coffee.

--Joe

Avisitor wrote:
desert_woodworker wrote:By the way, it appears that you speak from experience, about practicing formally. Is this correct? Any teacher that we might know?

Sorry, been lost ... long ago ... still finding way back
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Re: What is Zen?

Postby fukasetsu on Fri Jun 05, 2015 4:15 pm

chankin1937 wrote:Perhaps I should have been clearer. By it being “too late” I meant I have understood Zen - directly through meditation - for more decades than I care to remember. I found I had no need to ask anyone else to put their interpretation on the event. I had a perfectly good one myself.
Colin


May I ask where your understanding/interpretation of Zen is at night when you sleep, or lets say a 100 days before you were born?
Everyone for President!
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Re: What is Zen?

Postby chankin1937 on Sat Jun 06, 2015 4:50 pm

Dear fukasetsu,

chankin1937 wrote:
Perhaps I should have been clearer. By it being “too late” I meant I have understood Zen - directly through meditation - for more decades than I care to remember. I found I had no need to ask anyone else to put their interpretation on the event. I had a perfectly good one myself.
fukasetsu asked:
May I ask where your understanding/interpretation of Zen is at night when you sleep, or lets say a 100 days before you were born ?


The understanding exists independently of me.It links zazen to a common experience and explains why it works.
Colin
chankin1937
 

Re: What is Zen?

Postby fukasetsu on Sat Jun 06, 2015 5:33 pm

chankin1937 wrote:Dear fukasetsu,

chankin1937 wrote:
Perhaps I should have been clearer. By it being “too late” I meant I have understood Zen - directly through meditation - for more decades than I care to remember. I found I had no need to ask anyone else to put their interpretation on the event. I had a perfectly good one myself.
fukasetsu asked:
May I ask where your understanding/interpretation of Zen is at night when you sleep, or lets say a 100 days before you were born ?


The understanding exists independently of me.It links zazen to a common experience and explains why it works.
Colin


Dear Colin,

No such thing as 'independent understanding'.
You put on a uniform and understand/experience, what is your state prior to this uniform?

If you would have realized yourself as the Source beyond all conditioning, then why speak of things (bliss, human goal etc)
which are dependent on a suit?

Where's this "independent existence" prior to the arising of this conditioned state, what words will you utter?
Everyone for President!
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Re: What is Zen?

Postby desert_woodworker on Sat Jun 06, 2015 5:36 pm

Colin,

chankin1937 wrote:The understanding exists independently of me.

Well, no.

"You" are "the understanding's" vehicle, domicile, and caretaker in this life. Protective-spaceship, essentially, with All Beings on-board. And so, we practice.

Hail!

--Joe
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Re: What is Zen?

Postby fukasetsu on Sat Jun 06, 2015 6:46 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:"You" are "the understanding's" vehicle, domicile, and caretaker in this life. Protective-spaceship, essentially, with All Beings on-board. And so, we practice.

Hail!

--Joe


Thank you Sir, I see there's no ape at the wheel, in gratitude of your service.
Everyone for President!
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Re: What is Zen?

Postby Silent Wu on Thu Nov 26, 2015 6:34 am

Single minded + open hearted = whole hearted = ZEN
Out on the perimeter there are no stars ... out here we is stoned immaculate
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