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'A last shred of affliction'

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Re: 'A last shred of affliction'

Postby Nonin on Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:11 pm

Someone asked "Who are these celestial beings? Where are these buddha realms?

My answers are: those practicing at Dharma Rain, and, right here in front of us.

As Hakuin-zenji said in his "Song of Zazen:"

How vast is the heaven of boundless samadhi!
How bright and transparent the moonlight of wisdom!
What is there outside us, what is there we lack?
Nirvana is openly shown to our eyes.
This earth where we stand is the pure lotus land,
And this very body, the body of Buddha.


Hands palm-to-palm,

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Re: 'A last shred of affliction'

Postby Kojip on Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:59 pm

Anders Honore wrote:
Kojip wrote:the world of the Sutras is wonderful to imagine. Don't get me wrong, but does your actual practice and first hand experience touch any of this? Folks?

edit: the last two posts ruffled me. There is talk of what is read in the sutras as if it is direct experiential knowledge, and I just don't believe it is. Can we please acknowledge this?


I personally believe they are documents of actual experience and I've met people who will attest to the truth of it based on personal experience as well. Why else would one study them in the first place?

The message of the Mahayana is not so much that there are great Bodhisattvas and Buddhas totally beyond human capacity and recognition, but rather that we too can become realise these things, for the sake of all living beings.


That sounds great, lets do our best, but keep your "camp"
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Re: 'A last shred of affliction'

Postby Kojip on Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:31 pm

Jechbi wrote:People use the same words to mean very different things. I try to be very careful when I hear things that seem to disagree with my own perspective, because I can see how what I hear might not be what the person is actually saying. When we listen carefully, we have an opportunity to better understand how another person's approach might be just the right orientation for that person at that stage, I think. And when we really hear, then we might find that those seemingly different viewpoints also can inform our own path of practice.

Given enough time to clarify our various views and experiences, we would probably come see the differences here are a matter of differing word sense.
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Re: 'A last shred of affliction'

Postby So-on Mann on Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:52 am

Nonin wrote:Someone asked "Who are these celestial beings? Where are these buddha realms?

My answers are: those practicing at Dharma Rain, and, right here in front of us.

As Hakuin-zenji said in his "Song of Zazen:"

How vast is the heaven of boundless samadhi!
How bright and transparent the moonlight of wisdom!
What is there outside us, what is there we lack?
Nirvana is openly shown to our eyes.
This earth where we stand is the pure lotus land,
And this very body, the body of Buddha.


Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin


True true. And in the Zendo we have statues of Kanzeon, and Manjusri, and Fudo Myo-o. We do services invoking their names, we recite the Universal Gateway Chapter.

Not outside. Never said outside.
Facing a precious mirror, form and reflection behold each other. You are not it, but in truth it is you.
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Re: 'A last shred of affliction'

Postby Nonin on Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:11 am

So-on Mann wrote:
Nonin wrote:Someone asked "Who are these celestial beings? Where are these buddha realms?

My answers are: those practicing at Dharma Rain, and, right here in front of us.

As Hakuin-zenji said in his "Song of Zazen:"

How vast is the heaven of boundless samadhi!
How bright and transparent the moonlight of wisdom!
What is there outside us, what is there we lack?
Nirvana is openly shown to our eyes.
This earth where we stand is the pure lotus land,
And this very body, the body of Buddha.


Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin


True true. And in the Zendo we have statues of Kanzeon, and Manjusri, and Fudo Myo-o. We do services invoking their names, we recite the Universal Gateway Chapter.

Not outside. Never said outside.

So-on,

I wasn't sure what you were saying, but it's clear now that we're saying the same thing. Good to know. Those statues are personifications of compassion, wisdom, and dharma and practitioner protection. Those statues show what these qualities are like when we manifest them in our form as human beings. When we invoke their names, we are invoking those qualities in ourselves to come forth, for Kanzeon, Manjushri, and Fudo Myo-o don't exist as entities in and of themselves. They are not and never were living beings. When we are compassionate, we are Kanzeon; when we manifest wisdom and act wisely, we are Manjushri, and when we stand up for the dharma and our fellow practitioners, we are Fudo-Myo.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin
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Re: 'A last shred of affliction'

Postby So-on Mann on Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:19 am

Yes, and we have these conversations at DRZC about Kanzeon, et al, it comes up every now and again- "Is Kanzeon real?" Then Kyogen or Jiko speak of real-not-real, inside-outside, mysteries we might not know, bodhisattvas of this moment, understanding them metaphorically and yet not discarding the teachings of old. Like the front and back foot in walking.
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Re: 'A last shred of affliction'

Postby christopher::: on Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:25 am

Nonin wrote:
A bodhisattva is a person who acts like a bodhisattva, who saves all beings by encountering them wholeheartedly wherever he or she finds them, knowing that there are no separate beings in the absolute sense, but that the being in front of them needs their undivided attention. Any idea of what a bodhisattva is divorced from what a bodhisattva does in the world is merely speculation.

All a human being can know and understand is what any human being can know and understand about human life by scrupulously examining themselves and their relationship to the rest of the universe. Anything else is pure speculation. I, too, say that everything that I know is a drop in the bucket compared to everything I don't know. I, and I would guess that Kyogen would say the same, don't see any worth in speculating about what I don't know. As Shakespeare said in Hamlet: "There are more things in heaven and on earth, Horatio, than are ever dreamt of in your philosophy." So I leave it at that, and I'm comfortable not knowing.



Anders Honore wrote:The message of the Mahayana is not so much that there are great Bodhisattvas and Buddhas totally beyond human capacity and recognition, but rather that we too can... realise these things, for the sake of all living beings.



ed blanco wrote:
.........I visit prisions to spread the dharma....that makes me a bodhisatva wannabeee...a real looosiwooosi dude with a taste for scoth and music....i sit i fast i wait.....the bodhidatvas practicing med in rural Africa and people teaching in inner city schools and people who need peolple....aaahhh them are the ones i relate to....I read suttras and stuff getting what i'v put in practice but, man, give me the struggle here, the tears and disapointments....that is the stuff of growth, where love abides...



Jechbi wrote:
Kojip wrote:These threads do sneak-up, and before long it's a tangle of yarn.


All this great discussion can become a tangle of yarn if we don't relate it right back to actual practice and first-hand experience. That's why I think it's important to remember why we use certain words and adopt certain views: They are tied to our path of practice.

People use the same words to mean very different things. I try to be very careful when I hear things that seem to disagree with my own perspective, because I can see how what I hear might not be what the person is actually saying. When we listen carefully, we have an opportunity to better understand how another person's approach might be just the right orientation for that person at that stage, I think. And when we really hear, then we might find that those seemingly different viewpoints also can inform our own path of practice...



slice wrote:
Without a star to steer by, as Kyogen puts it, we may lose our way in thinking and confusion and like Hamlet, end in ruination. What could that star be but our own hearts, our own Buddha-nature, or bodhicitta as expressed by the bodhisattva.



Kojip wrote: Given enough time to clarify our various views and experiences, we would probably come see the differences here are a matter of differing word sense.


So-on Mann wrote:
As you know, practice at Dharma Rain is all about the here and now, about everyday life. So when I talk of an infallible, unafflicted Buddha, and speak of the sutras, I do so as a yin to a yang with which I am all too familiar.


Nonin wrote:Someone asked "Who are these celestial beings? Where are these buddha realms?

My answers are: those practicing at Dharma Rain, and, right here in front of us.

As Hakuin-zenji said in his "Song of Zazen:"

How vast is the heaven of boundless samadhi!
How bright and transparent the moonlight of wisdom!
What is there outside us, what is there we lack?
Nirvana is openly shown to our eyes.
This earth where we stand is the pure lotus land,
And this very body, the body of Buddha.


Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin


Jechbi wrote:
Fascinating that according to some traditions, when the Buddha attained to perfect awakening, he said: "How marvelous, I, the great earth, and all beings are naturally and simultaneously awakened." Concepts regarding past and future, self and others, can entangle if we hold the yarn too tightly.



ed blanco wrote:
.....this thread is like the tower Bable must've been: we wanna know, communicate, but the meanings go by like snow balls crashing on trees.......

....open, listen, love, be one of the "ordinary beings who undertake bodhisatva action" "little sister you ain't suffere enough." (sic)


:ghug:
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Re: 'A last shred of affliction'

Postby ed blanco on Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:24 pm

:)X
IT SPEAKS IN SILENCE
IN SPEECH YOU HEAR ITS SILENCE

Yongjia Xuanjue
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Re: 'A last shred of affliction'

Postby Sam on Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:17 am

Huifeng wrote:Well, rather than "allow it to remain", for most of us, myself included, even if we were to spend 100% of our effort to eradicate our afflictions, there would still probably be plenty left for now. It's more of an issue once one gets close to becoming an arya. Just have to make sure that the old bodhicitta kicks in once we arrive at the door. But, please, for now, let us go and eradicate to our hearts' content! :lol2:

This post is right on! Liberate all beings? I can't even imagine how to begin doing that. My great vow is the best I can personally aspire to based on my understanding of dependent origination. It is simply to life one life and die without having sex.

Certainly not as holy as liberating all beings, but hey, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. We all do what we can, right?

In peace,
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Re: 'A last shred of affliction'

Postby ReturningToTheSource on Sun Dec 19, 2010 3:35 am

Kojip wrote:
christopher::: wrote: The motivation there is of compassion... its not due to affliction, but rather wisdom. Enlightenment is not delayed, rather the wheel of life is engaged, for the sake of assisting others.


Attachment is attachment no matter how sublime.


Kojip wrote:Not beings, but suffering. There is suffering. Com-passion... suffer-with.

Maybe it is being a two headed Zen-avadin cross-breed but all I know is that you can't have your cake and eat it too. If you seek com-passion and engagement then you must be human. If you seek final cessation of suffering then kiss the world goodbye. There is a choice, either way it's fine.


So must we be attached and suffer to help others?

So the mind cannot experience cessation (nirodha) and help others?

I have never heard before the term karuna in Buddhism means to 'suffer-with'?

What happened to the Tao & Zen notion of 'doing without doing'?

In short, the dilemma of the opening post is based in rebirth belief. Remove the rebirth belief and helping others becomes both simple & meaningful.

Rebirth belief is for faith-followers rather than practitioners. The notion of a Bodhisatva is similarly for faith-followers (to believe a Bodhisatva loves them) rather than for higher practitioners.

When one mixes beliefs for faith-followers with aspirations for higher practice, one will end up very confused.

:O:

The bodhisattva path involves a very difficult practice: Insight into emptiness, while having the compassion to remain in samsara. This last point means that a last shred of affliction remains - if it is cut off, then one becomes at best a sravaka arhat. Developing compassion is thus very important, as a counter to premature sravaka exit from samsara.
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Re: 'A last shred of affliction'

Postby Kojip on Sun Dec 19, 2010 4:47 am

ReturningToTheSource wrote:
So must we be attached and suffer to help others?

So the mind cannot experience cessation (nirodha) and help others?

I have never heard before the term karuna in Buddhism means to 'suffer-with'?

What happened to the Tao & Zen notion of 'doing without doing'?

In short, the dilemma of the opening post is based in rebirth belief. Remove the rebirth belief and helping others becomes both simple & meaningful.

Rebirth belief is for faith-followers rather than practitioners. The notion of a Bodhisatva is similarly for faith-followers (to believe a Bodhisatva loves them) rather than for higher practitioners.

When one mixes beliefs for faith-followers with aspirations for higher practice, one will end up very confused.
.
You raise some interesting points, Thank you. Once again there may be a different word sense here, and I'll leave it at that.
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Re: 'A last shred of affliction'

Postby Jechbi on Sun Dec 19, 2010 7:37 am

ReturningToTheSource wrote:... the dilemma of the opening post is based in rebirth belief. Remove the rebirth belief and helping others becomes both simple & meaningful.
That's not correct. The dilemma of the opening post has to do with a basic practice orientation regarding afflicted states. That dilemma remains regardless of whether one holds a rebirth belief.
ReturningToTheSource wrote:Rebirth belief is for faith-followers rather than practitioners. The notion of a Bodhisatva is similarly for faith-followers (to believe a Bodhisatva loves them) rather than for higher practitioners.
I think the idea that beliefs are a predominant factor in our approach to Dharma is a Western overlay, because in Western culture we tend to place so much emphasis on beliefs. But in reality, a rebirth belief or a Bodhisattva belief or any kind of belief at all is just one more not-self thing to work with. Of course we're going to have our beliefs. They become an obstacle when we cling to them too tightly (or cling too tightly to the notion that other beliefs are wrong).

Also, from a practical standpoint, I don't see how it can be helpful to draw distinctions between "higher practitioners" and others. If we start to regard ourselves as "higher practitioners" in comparison to others, that's probably a good signal to pay attention to our own practice.

One point of this thread is about aspirations, and how a reliance on continued afflicted states ties into our aspirations in practice.
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Re: 'A last shred of affliction'

Postby ReturningToTheSource on Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:39 am

Jechbi wrote:That's not correct. The dilemma of the opening post has to do with a basic practice orientation regarding afflicted states.That dilemma remains regardless of whether one holds a rebirth belief.


Jechbi

The impression I gained from the OP was the 'movement' to help another will lead to rebirth; where as the aspiration of a 'Hinayana arahant', namely, 'final birth', necessitates remaining very still, like a rock.

But if rebirth belief is removed then helping others becomes both spontaneuous & the only wise alternative. When one believes 'there is only this one life' then there is nothing left to do but free life from suffering & help others free life from suffering. To not help others becomes a waste of this one life.

By higher practise, I am referring to non-attachment. Helping with spontaneity, without fear, is non-attachment.

But being concerned with another rebirth is not non-attachment. It is 'becoming'.

Kind regards

:)
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Re: 'A last shred of affliction'

Postby Jechbi on Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:38 pm

Thanks, Source. I can see how this orientation could be practical for some.

My own perspective is that beliefs and convictions don't so much guide a person in their actions as they provide a justification after the fact. People are going to do what they want to do, in my experience. So if someone has the inclination to help others, that inclination will be present regardless of the presence or absence of rebirth belief. In other words, I don't think eradicating rebirth belief is a condition for eradicating the obstacles to selfless service.

Also, I don't think attainment to the fruit of Arahantship would necessitate "remaining very still, like a rock." If fact, remaining still like a rock would seem counterproductive. Rather, it seems to me that the only way would be liberation through non-clinging, which is similar to what you describe as "higher practice."
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Re: 'A last shred of affliction'

Postby BeKind on Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:29 pm

Kojip wrote:the world of the Sutras is wonderful to imagine. Don't get me wrong, but does your actual practice and first hand experience touch any of this? Folks?


edit: the last two posts ruffled me. There is talk of what is read in the sutras as if it is direct experiential knowledge, and I just don't believe it is. Can we please acknowledge this?


Two points to be made:

First, this body of literature is not a record of experiential knowledge analogous to a contemporary memoir or a lab report. It's a very different form of discourse. (Good to acknowledge that our culture has very specific expectations for what counts as "experience" and "actual practice" that are themselves historically determined, which is to say, samsaric). Neither one's internal monologue nor the today's genre of the Meditation Journal (or blog or tweet...) is a foolproof or necessarily reliable yardstick by which to measure the experiential quality of the sutras.

Second follows the first: how then to dig into this literature in a practical way in order to extract the workable stuff from it? It takes time to get acclimated, like reading James Joyce or Faulkner: you have to figure out how the discursive world works on its own terms, and what kind of affective punch it has. Sometimes this is really straightforward (as in The Diamond Sutra, which is very accessible for today's readers); sometimes this is very baroque (all the kotis of nayutas of kalpas in the Lotus Sutra are difficult for many to get their minds around) by today's standards.

A skeptical, critical attitude is healthy and helpful, no question. Literalism bears brownshirted children. But there's more to the donut than the hole. Anyway...

Here's something on a form of meditative practice with a long history in East Asian Buddhism having directly to do with the sutras:

http://dctendai.blogspot.com/2010/08/id ... utras.html
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Re: 'A last shred of affliction'

Postby ed blanco on Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:23 pm

Regulate the breath and concentrate the mind so it is not within you, not outside of you, and not in any intermediate location. Make your body and mind pure and peaceful.
Do this carefully and naturally. View your own consciousness tranquilly and attentively, so you can see how it is always moving, like flowing water or a glittering mirage.
After you have perceived this consciousness, simply continue to view it gently and naturally, without it assuming any fixed position inside or outside yourself.
Do this tranquilly and attentively until its fluctuations dissolve into peaceful stability.
This flowing consciousness will disappear like a gust of wind. When this consciousness disappears, all one’s illusions will disappear along with it, even the extremely subtle illusions of bodhisattvas of the tenth stage.

..a quote from TREATISE ON THE ESSENTIALS OF CULTIVATING THE MIND attributed to 5th Ancestor Hongren, but most likely written by his followers after his death…..from SEEING THROUGH ZEN by John McRae.

:O:
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Re: 'A last shred of affliction'

Postby Kojip on Sun Dec 26, 2010 2:18 am

BeKind wrote:
First, this body of literature is not a record of experiential knowledge analogous to a contemporary memoir or a lab report. It's a very different form of discourse. (Good to acknowledge that our culture has very specific expectations for what counts as "experience" and "actual practice" that are themselves historically determined, which is to say, samsaric). Neither one's internal monologue nor the today's genre of the Meditation Journal (or blog or tweet...) is a foolproof or necessarily reliable yardstick by which to measure the experiential quality of the sutras.

This points to something quite subtle, if I read you correctly. This body of literature describes experiential truths that are not merely subjective, yet not objective in the sense of an object transcendent reality "out there" waiting to be discovered. They are not other than practice. They co-arise with, as, practice.
Maybe this is not what you are suggesting, but it does seem to point to that..
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