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Seeing One's True Nature

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: Seeing One's True Nature

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Jul 06, 2015 3:01 pm

Colin,

chankin1937 wrote:I’m a Soto Zen Buddhst. Koans are a bit hit and miss. I’ve never been impressed by that method.

Right. The practice may not suit everybody, and you may be one whom it didn't suit at the time, in the conditions you may have had. But you never know -- practice keeps on changing, and so do conditions.

And -- as is known -- koan practice is a practice and study between a teacher and a student. Unless one has that formal and actual relationship, and undertakes koan practice in the midst of it, there is no way to proceed with koans at all. That may be where your impression of "hit and miss" comes from. In any case, one may sit a long time with the first koan, for example, before you have something acceptable to present to the teacher. I think many practitioners agree, and teachers may, too, that the first koan is usually the "hardest". The reason is that this practice forces you to abandon (or exhaust... ) all reasoning, and come to rely faithfully on other resources. For most practitioners, that is a new experience, and a new necessity. It may take some time! And to discover such resources is actually rather a surprise. Without a relationship with a teacher, this will always, always, go wrong, of course (which is to say, go nowhere). So, first things first.

Soto Zen Buddhist practice, although it may be known for the technical practice of shikantaza, is not without its use of koans. Zen Master Dogen, noted as a Soto exponent, for example, himself assembled a collection of 300 koans. My friend, the late John Daido Loori Roshi, of New York, brought out a translation and commentary on all these 300 cases of Dogen's, in his TRUE DHARMA EYE -- ZEN MASTER DOGEN'S THREE HUNDRED KOANS (2005); Shambhala.

Mind you... I'm not advocating koan or hua-t'ou practice. Just sharing information about it.

--Joe
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Re: Seeing One's True Nature

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Jul 06, 2015 4:15 pm

Colin,

chankin1937 wrote:We all prattle on about what the Patriarch said and what it means. But let’s take a common sense look at the subject of our discourse. Is it rational to suggest that we can conduct our lives without using our brains to solve the myriad little problem that involve choices ( picking and choosing) that occur from moment to moment throughout the day? How much more probable is it that such advice relates to the practice of zazen where it is totally relevant.

The old masters you quote, Colin, knew nothing about "brains". But they knew something you don't!

If you are aligned with the Tao, and Buddha-Tao, one does not pick and choose, IN DAILY LIFE.

If you are aligned with the Tao, and the Buddha-Tao, YES, it is reasonable not to pick and choose. That is... there's no REASON to pick and choose!

There's great wonder in the state that these words point to. (I'm sure you're wondering right now! ;) ).

That, there, then, sir, is the bottom line. Suck it up.

Please get clear about it this instant.

--Joe
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Re: Seeing One's True Nature

Postby Linda Anderson on Mon Jul 06, 2015 4:21 pm

hi Colin,

what Joe said...

Colin:
Surely a koan is designed to induce intense speculation.


no, koans are not designed for this.

linda
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not this morning;
Melon flowers bloomed.
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Re: Seeing One's True Nature

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Jul 06, 2015 4:30 pm

Linda,

Linda Anderson wrote:no, koans are not designed for this.

Spoken like the Bodhisattva you are.

:Namaste:, :rbow:,

good-morning greetings,

--Joe
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Re: Seeing One's True Nature

Postby Linda Anderson on Mon Jul 06, 2015 4:32 pm

OK, I will state the obvious... koans are not designed.
Not last night,
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Re: Seeing One's True Nature

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Jul 06, 2015 4:38 pm

Heavens to Murgatroid! This Forum -- and this thread -- is turning into a rather richly-appointed "Zen Buddhism-101" for Mr. Colin!

What a lucky fellow. And a good opportunity for those here to "review".

Tread kindly, now. We were all beginners, once.

:)X

--Joe
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Re: Seeing One's True Nature

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Jul 06, 2015 4:41 pm

Linda,

Linda Anderson wrote:OK, I will state the obvious... koans are not designed.

:O: --Joe
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Re: Seeing One's True Nature

Postby Michaeljc on Mon Jul 06, 2015 9:22 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:Heavens to Murgatroid! This Forum -- and this thread -- is turning into a rather richly-appointed "Zen Buddhism-101" for Mr. Colin!

What a lucky fellow. And a good opportunity for those here to "review".

Tread kindly, now. We were all beginners, once.

:)X

--Joe


Yup, aside from my admiration for Colin's tenacity I see this topic as worth reading by anyone contemplating Chan/Zen practice

Indications are that Colin has not been taught how to practice Zazen which is the one common denominator throughout Chan/Zen history. It shows

He does not realise and has not experienced the fundamental point that Chan/Zen practice is through the body and that it manifests itself as much through the body as through the mind. Both change

Zen is the prize scalp for those who profess to know one universal truth of all disciplines and shout their accomplishment from the roof tops

How miraculous - to have conquered the mysteries of Chan/ Zen without actually having practiced it

What is practice? To experience it try this for starters:

Any student not practicing Zazen for less than 2 hours/day is not serious


I do not advocate that anyone maintains such a regime without guidance but that they try this alone for a few days to get a taste of what is meant by practice being through the body. This requires Orthodox spinal posture that is difficult to establish without some help

As this topic is under 'Practice without a teacher" I am going to throw in my penny's worth on how to establish a feel for posture

- Stand up straight like a soldier at rigid attention

- Cup one hand in the other over the belly button

- Then let the entire torso relax completely downwards ( the belly pushes outwards)

Here is the posture


Steady cold rain this morning but the birds still sing - "what the hell have you got to be happy about!"

Little buggars :lol2:

m
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Re: Seeing One's True Nature

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Jul 06, 2015 10:13 pm

M.,

Michaeljc wrote:Steady cold rain this morning but the birds still sing - "what the hell have you got to be happy about!"

Little buggars :lol2:

Michael, your practice is not just yours, but ours, too. I send greetings from this warm desert.

The White-Winged Dove here now sings, "Who cooks for YOU? Who cooks for YOU?"

(well, before I discovered this interpretation in birding-texts, I thought I heard, "Here Come da JUDGE!")

--Joe

w_w_dove.jpg
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Re: Seeing One's True Nature

Postby LAO_Z on Mon Jul 06, 2015 10:21 pm

chankin1937 wrote:I read of one lucky person who became enlightened through sexual excess!!!

The purpose of Ch’an was to take away delusion and obsession towards everything including Sila, Samadhi (meditation) and our physical body. Ch'an record (Gong-an) in a way served the purpose sometimes with stories involved with killing, sexual activities and sexual assault. However, we should not treat it as record of incidents really occurred or actions acceptable unconditionally. Everyone has their own way of studying Gong-an. I just put myself in there. And it is said some record especially later ones were fake. I may be wrong but I do not see a practitioner going very far without cutting off lust. The realized wisdom inherently contains Sila, Samadhi. Wisdom, Sila and Samadhi are “not three”, “not two”. Doctrine and Ch’an are “not two”.
Last edited by LAO_Z on Tue Jul 07, 2015 8:10 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Seeing One's True Nature

Postby Avisitor on Tue Jul 07, 2015 3:15 am

chankin1937 wrote:I sit with my back unsupported in a place as free of distractions as possible and allow all my thoughts (all conscious mental activity) to fade away of their own accord while remaining alert and aware.
If that is not zazen, tell me what is. Don’t dodge the question by telling me to ask a teacher. I’ve read Jundo’s post and found that my method corresponds precisely with his. The Zen Masters also confirm my method as correct. The results of over forty years of practice also confirm that I am meditating correctly. The peace–of-mind that underpins my every waking moment is absolute proof of my practice being true zazen.
Colin-

How do Zen masters confirm your method?
Aren't those masters dead??
Doesn't matter as long as you believe then it is okay.

chankin1937 wrote:Surely a koan is designed to induce intense speculation.
Colin,

That may happen in the beginning
But after several sessions of Dokusan with a teacher, that notion goes away
And focus on the Koan becomes very intense ...
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Re: Seeing One's True Nature

Postby fukasetsu on Tue Jul 07, 2015 11:19 am

LAO_Z wrote:[I may be wrong but I do not see a practitioner going very far without cutting off lust.


It's not necessarely about 'cutting and embracing' but seeing things as they are, when desire is understood (I don't mean intellectually) there is nothing which arises which is in need of cutting, altering, avoiding or liberation. For in its empty nature it liberates itself into its own condition.

The same activity can both be from one's vasana's or be the function of the True Mind.
Arising is illumination when the delusory/illusory mind does not arise.
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Re: Seeing One's True Nature

Postby desert_woodworker on Tue Jul 07, 2015 5:56 pm

Av,

Avisitor wrote:So let others live that life which brings them closer to the truth of ones original nature

We can't stop others living life, no. That would be against the 1st Precept: "No killing".

But in discussion(s), we can present the truth, and put that in contrast with errors. That's called "Not to Speak Falsely", the 4th Precept, and "Not to Spare the Dharma Assets", the 8th Precept.

While it's not necessary to bring the Precepts in, why not recollect them.

--Joe
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Re: Seeing One's True Nature

Postby LAO_Z on Tue Jul 07, 2015 9:33 pm

fukasetsu wrote:It's not necessarely about 'cutting and embracing' but seeing things as they are, when desire is understood (I don't mean intellectually) there is nothing which arises which is in need of cutting, altering, avoiding or liberation. For in its empty nature it liberates itself into its own condition.

The same activity can both be from one's vasana's or be the function of the True Mind.
Arising is illumination when the delusory/illusory mind does not arise.


Is killing the function of the True Mind?

The question remains: Can this family activity be performed normally (say, in a "ZEN" way) without being a hindrance toward liberation?

Therefore, Ananda, if cultivators of samadhi do not cut off lust, they will be like someone who cooks sand in the hope of getting rice. After hundreds of thousands of aeons, it will still be just hot sand. Why? It wasn’t rice to begin with; it was only sand. If you seek the Buddha’s wonderful fruition and still have physical lust, then even if you attain a wonderful awakening, it will be based in lust. With lust at the source, you will revolve in the three paths and not be able to get out. Which road will you take to cultivate and be certified to the Thus Come One’s Nirvana? You must cut off the lust which is intrinsic in both body and mind. Then get rid of even the aspect of cutting it off. At that point you have some hope of attaining the Buddha’s Bodhi. What I have said here is the Buddha’s teaching. Any explanation counter to it is the teaching of Papiyan. -- The Shurangama

To be honest, I have never heard anything differently from the above before I came to this forum, probably due to regional differences.

It is impossible to do a massive comparison study and yet meaningless for people have different capacities (previous lives’ preparation) and could execute same methods differently.

It is conclusive though for those who are serious to conduct a self comparison study. Have I done mine?
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Re: Seeing One's True Nature

Postby Michaeljc on Tue Jul 07, 2015 9:56 pm

To be honest, I have never heard anything differently from the above before I came to this forum, probably due to regional differences


Well: a statement like, "Someone gaining enlightenment through excessive sexual activity" ain't that common :lol2:

It keeps the forum interesting though :tee:
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Re: Seeing One's True Nature

Postby LAO_Z on Tue Jul 07, 2015 10:04 pm

fukasetsu wrote:The same activity can both be from one's vasana's or be the function of the True Mind.
Arising is illumination when the delusory/illusory mind does not arise.

不见寂静者, 终不离妄想.

Before the True Mind reveals itself, at no time has one been able to get away from delusion/illusion. --lankavatara sutra
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Re: Seeing One's True Nature

Postby desert_woodworker on Tue Jul 07, 2015 10:29 pm

Colin,

Oh, ok, almost missed this, thanks.

chankin1937 wrote:I think it’s time we killed your erroneous presumption that my practice is “personal and private”.

No, no killing, please.

But in the context of your mechanical-model-of-mystical-mis-meditation (from a Zen Buddhist point of view), your practice as described is indubitably personal and private. All good, about that.

Suffice it to say that Zen Buddhist zazen (dunno about your "meditation") is not entirely about "posture", although Michael is correct to emphasize appropriate posture, as the seat of the Buddha, as true teachers -- like Meido Roshi, here -- have always done. But it's about correct method and application, once one is seated.

And then it's about the other twelve practices of Zen Buddhism, which you do not speak or write about, evidently because you have not practiced. Well, how authentically Zen Buddhist is that? True Zazen is only the indispensable one-thirteenth part of the practice-suite that Zen Buddhists have inherited, have always practiced, and which they are fortunate to practice.

Personal and private. I see no other proper way for you to appropriate your own way.

Stop digging, Colin! You're at the bottom of a hole. Rest... .

Colin wrote:If that is not zazen, tell me what is. Don’t dodge the question by telling me to ask a teacher.

I won't dodge the question. That's not my way. I'll "tell" you to ask a teacher in person.

There is no better way. Don't cheat yourself. I advise this in all compassion, Colin. But, persist in practice with the teacher and sangha there a few months or much longer intensively, don't just expect that a one-off is going to break all your bad habits and instill good new ones. One needs continuing corrections of posture, and method, for a long time, because ...things change. The influence of Teacher and Sangha are immense, and rightly scored as "Treasures" in our Zen Buddhist tradition, and in all living Buddhist practice streams in which people and living beings are actually liberated.

:Namaste:,

--Joe
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Re: Seeing One's True Nature

Postby fukasetsu on Tue Jul 07, 2015 10:30 pm

fukasetsu wrote:Arising is illumination when the delusory/illusory mind does not arise.

不见寂静者, 终不离妄想.

LAO_Z wrote:Before the True Mind reveals itself, at no time has one been able to get away from delusion/illusion. --lankavatara sutra


;)

So why did you bother to write up the expedient talk of the Shurangama?

To be honest, I have never heard anything differently from the above before I came to this forum, probably due to regional differences.

You might be reading things which are not there.
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Re: Seeing One's True Nature

Postby LAO_Z on Wed Jul 08, 2015 12:54 am

fukasetsu wrote:
To be honest, I have never heard anything differently from the above before I came to this forum, probably due to regional differences.

You might be reading things which are not there.

The region that I referred to was not the Netherlands, and I do not speculate on what people in the Netherlands have been doing, sorry, just to clear some confusion I caused in my previous posting.
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Re: Seeing One's True Nature

Postby Avisitor on Wed Jul 08, 2015 1:23 am

desert_woodworker wrote:We can't stop others living life, no. That would be against the 1st Precept: "No killing".

But in discussion(s), we can present the truth, and put that in contrast with errors. That's called "Not to Speak Falsely", the 4th Precept, and "Not to Spare the Dharma Assets", the 8th Precept.

While it's not necessary to bring the Precepts in, why not recollect them.

--Joe

You're a good man Joe.
Glad to have met you.
But, was never one for the yellow robe
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