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Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Going?

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: Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Goin

Postby desert_woodworker on Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:27 pm

Colin,

chankin1937 wrote:I would suggest that in the extreme states of mind induced by zazen, the connection with the world, and even our own body, is severed. Then we are one.

Has anyone else any thoughts on this?

I have thoughts, yes. But only the experience of oneness, and of emptiness, will convince a Human that that's the way it is.

You mention "zazen", but zazen is not the time or place or condition in which the oneness and emptiness is experienced. It is experienced in the realm of activity and of action. A Teacher will keep you clear of supposing that 'what happens in zazen' is of much importance. Caution!

When one wakes up ("forgets the self", through correct practice), one's way of experiencing, in everyday life, is changed.

Dogen Zenji has a sweet, very juicy, ditty about these facts in his GENJOKOAN :

"To study the Way is to study the Self. To study the Self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things of the universe. To be enlightened by all things of the universe is to cast off the body and mind of the self as well as those of others. Even the traces of enlightenment are wiped out, and life with traceless enlightenment goes on forever and ever."

Familiar to all, probably, but a "ditty" worth deeply contemplating.

--Joe
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Re: Why We Do It (w/o a Teacher / Sangha), and How's It Goin

Postby chankin1937 on Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:50 pm

chankin1937 wrote:I would suggest that in the extreme states of mind induced by zazen, the connection with the world, and even our own body, is severed. Then we are one.


Joe wrote: You mention "zazen", but zazen is not the time or place or condition in which the oneness and emptiness is experienced. It is experienced in the realm of activity and of action.


Hello Joe,
You are joking of course. :lol2:

Joe wrote: When one wakes up ("forgets the self", through correct practice), one's way of experiencing, in everyday life, is changed.


Not according to Dogen. The last lines in his lancet on meditation – fish still swim – birds still fly – implies that everything remains as it was.

Dogen Zenji has a sweet, very juicy, ditty about these facts in his GENJOKOAN :
"To study the Way is to study the Self. To study the Self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things of the universe. To be enlightened by all things of the universe is to cast off the body and mind of the self as well as those of others. Even the traces of enlightenment are wiped out, and life with traceless enlightenment goes on forever and ever."


Frankly, I doubt the great Master Dogen Kigen would have written anything so confusing. Compare that with his lancet (which is likely to have survived mainly intact):

Dogen’s
LANCET OF SEATED MEDITATION
Essential function of all the Buddhas,
Functioning essence of all the Patriarchs
It is present without thinking,
It is completed without interacting.
Present without thinking,
Its presence is inherently intimate;
Completed without interacting,
Its completion is inherently verified.
Its presence inherently intimate,
It is eye without any stain or defilement;
Its completion inherently verified,
It is ever without the upright or inclined.
Intimacy ever without stain or defilement,
Its intimacy sloughs off without discarding;
Verification ever without upright or inclined,
Its verification makes effort without figuring.
The water is clear right through the earth,
A fish goes along like a fish.
The sky is vast straight into the heavens,
A bird flies just like a bird.


(Take note of the title, Joe.)

I readily admit that we do have a problem with the written record in that overzealous monks tended to elaborate texts according to their sometimes limited experience . It is up to those with the necessary experience to sort the wheat from the chaff.
You’ve got a bit of chaff there, Joe.
For a start, no one lives forever. Add that to the fact that Dogen was a Soto practitioner and so was highly unlikely to have used Koans.
All it takes to get to the true Zen is a little common sense.
Colin
chankin1937
 

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