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Am I here for the right reasons?

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Re: Am I here for the right reasons?

Postby jundo on Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:54 am

Screature wrote:My 2yr old is a horror (but a loveable horror) and he's the biggest drain, physically and mentally, on both of us! Simply having an hour to myself to sit seems like heaven! I'm going to talk to my wife about it, it's the only way I'm going to find time to myself in the evening without judgment.


H SCreature,

As the father of a 6 and 14 year old, I can relate. But in the particular flavor of Zazen we Practice, one sits amid and as disturbances ... kids, life pressures, noisy neighbors upstairs, earthquakes (I live in Japan, a lot of earthquakes during my sitting :) ). It is hard to explain, but we can sit Zazen with the kids jumping on us, with eyes open (and attentive to a child in the room to make sure they don't jump on the sofa), with the need to "interrupt" Zazen in the middle for a diaper change (which, in fact, can be tasted as a sacred ritual no different from all the bowing and work in a temple!)

In other words, we sit as the attitude that nothing is lacking, and there can be no "disturbance" except in the thoughts and judgments between our own ears. It takes two to tango with life's disturbances. If you allow and accept "what is", then what "disturbance" even as the child jumps off the sofa right on to your bad back? :blush: I often tell new folks that ordinarily we like sunny days for a picnic and get disappointed when it rains and "ruins our day." But if a farmer with crops in the field, we may welcome the rain and be afraid of too much sun. However, the attitude in Shikantaza is very different from both of those: As we sit (and as we bring this same attitude "off the cushion" into the rest of life), rain is just rain, sun is just sun. Each is "just what it is". Each is a "shining jewel" in its way, even when it may disappoint or worry us or bring tears to the eyes. Why is this important?

Well, generally in life we like to be young but not old, we like to be healthy but not sick, we like to win and not lose, we like quiet children but not noisy ones, we like quiet neighbors but not noisy ones, we like to be happy but not sad, we like birth but not death etc etc. The attitude of Zazen is very different: In Sitting, when young just be young, when old just be old ... when healthy just be healthy, when sick just be sick ... winning is just winning, losing just losing ... quiet is just quiet, noise is just noise ... happy times are perfectly happy, sad times are perfectly sad ... etc. Sick children are just sick and our worry about them is just our love and worry, a kind of "peace" even as we are simultaneously worried out of our wits! Life is just life while death is just death, and we can even see beyond "life vs. death" to a Wholeness which sweeps in all coming and going and loss or gain, even at we cry at our loved one's funeral. We can experience life from both ways at once, as one.

Getting up from the cushion, we bring such attitude into all of life. Furthermore, we learn another lesson: That we can experience life such way -AND- try to fix problems at the same time. So, for example, "sick is just sick" and we can allow and even embrace our illness fully, yet "on another channel" go see the doctor and take our medicine to try to get healthy ... we can "be one" with the noise, yet ask our neighbors to "please turn down the stereo for the 10th time or I will call the police" :blush: ... we can work hard at our job, yet have "no goal" all at once (as if a bus driver who, trying to get to the end of his route, simultaneously accepts each stop as sacred and complete unto itself, all the traffic and crazy drivers for just what they are, yet proceeds forward as timely and safely as possible to get to the terminal. We might even accept the "disturbing" drunk passengers even as we must deal with them and it is a real PAIN IN THE ASS!). We learn to encounter life both ways at once ... moving ahead, yet just here ... dealing with problems, yet "what problem"? :<.<: PAIN IN THE ASS is just this PAIN IN THE ASS, sacred too in its own way.

Anyway, this is not a matter of time or place. Sitting for a minute several times a day on your sofa as if just resting so that nobody sees and the kids can be watched ... just fine if that is what you need to do. Just as valuable "Zazen" as sitting in some pretzel posture is when you "Zazen" when the driver cuts you off, the passenger yells at you, the kids are sick, the neighbors put on the stereo for the 11th time! :P

As was mentioned, breathing or "following the breath" can itself be a powerful Practice. In fact, when we sit, I recommend that folks "follow the breath" at the start for the first several months (although I ask them slowly to transition back and forth from that to "open awareness", where the object of focus is just the surrounding circumstances of the room without judgment). Breathing is not the issue. The problem (ha!) is that just sitting for a moment following the breath, without all the other "nothing to attain, no other place to go or thing to do, THIS IS IT YIPPEE! :dance: " attitude of "Just Sitting" as I describe above means it does not get to the real issue of "disturbance." It seems just like a minute's escape, after which right back to being in a mess.

I don't know how clear my explanation was, but that is why I recommend more to "Zazen" than just breathing meditation for a minute or many other types of meditation that are either very "goal oriented" or meant to just chill for a bit.

Gassho, Jundo
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Re: Am I here for the right reasons?

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:17 pm

hi,

Off-topic remarks below, but I'll be brief: ;)

jundo wrote:(..., a lot of earthquakes during my sitting :) ).

Can relate. Worked in Chile for some years in the early '80s at a major observatory, while already an established Ch'an practitioner. Temblors of some strength were at least weekly, or else we knew a large one was building.

jundo wrote:(I live in Japan, ... ).

Anywhere near Dogen's place? A teacher (Sensei) from our desert town and local sangha (Dr. Al Kazniak) is there on pilgrimage at this very moment with his wife. His teacher, Roshi Joan Halifax (now age 82?) is leading the expedition, with all or most of her other Dharma heirs together along-with, in a very special troupe. They are of a Soto lineage, with Joan Halifax Roshi based at Upaya Zen Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Maybe you'll encounter them visiting if you're nearby.

rgds, across the Big Salt,

--Joe
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Re: Am I here for the right reasons?

Postby jundo on Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:28 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:hi,

Off-topic remarks below, but I'll be brief: ;)

jundo wrote:(..., a lot of earthquakes during my sitting :) ).

Can relate. Worked in Chile for some years in the early '80s at a major observatory, while already an established Ch'an practitioner. Temblors of some strength were at least weekly, or else we knew a large one was building.

jundo wrote:(I live in Japan, ... ).

Anywhere near Dogen's place? A teacher (Sensei) from our desert town and local sangha is there on pilgrimage at this very moment with his wife. His teacher, Roshi Joan Halifax, is leading the expedition, with all or most of her other Dharma heirs together, in a very special troupe. They are of a Soto lineage, with Joan Halifax Roshi based at Upaya Zen Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Maybe you'll encounter them visiting if you're nearby.

rgds,

--Joe


Hi,

I know Joan but, alas, I am about 45 minutes from Tokyo (and 100 miles as the crow flies from Fukushima) on the other side of Japan. I am in Tsukuba "Science City", a very different face of Japan with (besides our little Zendo) the space program, several of the world's fastest super computers, a particle collider and many robot factories. It is also a very traditional area though, apart from that. Our local Chamber of Commerce obviously worked very hard on this, so please enjoy a few minutes. :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogkxAIw39c0

Gassho, J

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Re: Am I here for the right reasons?

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:36 pm

Jundo,

jundo wrote:I am in Tsukuba "Science City", a very different face of Japan with the space program, several of the world's fastest super computers, a particle collider and many robot factories, plus our little Zendo

"Roger, understood". Sounds like a place where this observational-astronomer would immediately feel at home, yet be bathed in fresh newness. And, the little Zendo sounds great.

:Namaste:,

--Joe
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Re: Am I here for the right reasons?

Postby Screature on Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:48 pm

Off topic conversation very welcome :)

I'm honestly a little humbled by the care and attention given to these posts. None have been copy-paste generic answers, all personal, relevant and relateable. I've come to realise the value of having a teacher as I feel I've learned more in these few posts than any research I'd done before posting.

I've realised my personal issue surrounding my behaviour could be said to stem from not living in the moment, not being mindful and aware, and not accepting things for what they are. 5 years ago before I met my wife I lived with parents, had a job inputting numbers into spreadsheets, went to the gym and spent all my time alone. I had no responsibilities or pressures. Obviously getting married (taking on two stepchildren whom I consider my own), changing jobs and having a third child has brought a huge change to my life, and I've been resistant to the change. I was too comfortable before. Now I get angry or irritated at such stupid things!

Taking your advice, I could look at situations in a different light. Rather than being irritated at running my bus 10 minutes late and getting more irritated when I'm pulling up to a stop with 15 kids who will mess around getting on the bus, I could think: One minute is late, ten minutes is late. I'm late and that's ok (well, it isn't, but it's acceptable!). Passengers pay my wage. One adult is ok, and 15 rowdy kids is ok.

I need to start accepting things for what they are, and I didn't realise that carries over into zazen. I was mistaken in thinking I needed time to myself without distraction to practice zazen, like I needed external peace to find internal peace, but the reality is if you accept everything as it is, then zazen can be practiced any time and anywhere.

I've done a little searching and found that a Zen Master by the name of Jitei White has moved to Lancaster, UK this year, and there are a few Zen centers already here!

I'm confident I'm here for the right reasons, and I know what my next step is :) You've all been wonderful
Last edited by Screature on Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Am I here for the right reasons?

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:16 pm

Sc.,

Screature wrote:I'm confident I'm here for the right reasons, and I know what my next step is :) You've all been wonderful

You're blessed, and in more ways than this.

BTW, I recently saw the movie (on DVD) "Paterson". The main character is a bus driver in Paterson, New Jersey (USA). Coincidentally (?), the surname of the character is also Paterson. He is a poet. The movie is simple, and elegant, even subtle and understated, not overdone. There is a touch of a Zen Buddhist (?) aesthetic near the end. That's all I may say. I can recommend the movie!

cheers,

--Joe
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Re: Am I here for the right reasons?

Postby Screature on Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:21 pm

I've just taken a peek at the movie, my wife is also called Laura! I don't believe in coincidence, but I can appreciate chance happenings :PP: I'll give it a watch, thankyou!
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Re: Am I here for the right reasons?

Postby jundo on Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:16 pm

Screature wrote: ... Rather than being irritated at running my bus 10 minutes late and getting more irritated when I'm pulling up to a stop with 15 kids who will mess around getting on the bus, I could think: One minute is late, ten minutes is late. I'm late and that's ok (well, it isn't, but it's acceptable!). Passengers pay my wage. One adult is ok, and 15 rowdy kids is ok.


Sounds like you next shift is already going to be a different experience, and good Zazen! Remember that all your passengers are "Buddha." Unfortunately, not all of them act like it. :blush:

By the way, even Buddha has to pay the fare, and he always has correct "change". :hide:

Gassho, J

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Re: Am I here for the right reasons?

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:05 pm

Sc.,

Screature wrote:I've just taken a peek at the movie, my wife is also called Laura! I don't believe in coincidence, but I can appreciate chance happenings :PP:

Neat.

Another coincidence then is that the actual name (as far as we know, when it comes to actors) of the actor who plays the bus driver in "Paterson" is... Adam Driver.

Well, naturally!, I guess. ;)

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Re: Am I here for the right reasons?

Postby Screature on Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:52 pm

Jundo, I have noticed your post copied over onto the TreeLeaf forums, to which I will be registering today! I'm happy my question has prompted such a brilliant response that was used to teach! :lol2:

EDIT: Through the Tapatalk app it says "Account registration is currently not available in this forum". I'll work it out :)

EDIT2: If I don't use the app and try register through regular site, step 1 of registration has me fill in my date of birth. Pressing "proceed" it then says "You left a required field blank". No, no I didn't. I'll try again on a computer tonight :lol2:

EDIT3: Requested desktop site on my phone and all worked. Sent email also!
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Re: Am I here for the right reasons?

Postby jundo on Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:34 am

Screature wrote:EDIT3: Requested desktop site on my phone and all worked. Sent email also!


Lovely. Glad to see that you found our bus! :heya:

Gassho, J

SatToday

PS - Yes, I reposted my response, without your name or personal information in the background. Just a question from a "bus driver".
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Re: Am I here for the right reasons?

Postby jundo on Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:35 am

Speaking of bus trips ...

I like to use this image of "Kensho" (Seeing the Nature) in the Soto Practice-Enlightenment way. I feel that it speaks for itself, but it is basically an image of "the whole bus is us, man", all the other passengers and the seats too, and the trip is the arrival, and passengers seem to get on and off but the bus rolls on and on, and all the beautiful and ugly scenes outside are just the trip too when seen with clarity ... and the trip is what we make it, and hangs on whether we encounter it as an endless frustrating trudge in circles getting nowhere or constant arrival ... but it is easy to lose the way and get lost, thus we had best drive carefully!

I hope this is not too "trippy" for ya! :daisy: :daisy:

Different folks approach and define all this in their own way. In our Soto View, some folks way way way overvalue an experience of timelessly momentary "Kensho" ... as the be all and end all (beyond being or ending) of "Enlightenment" ... and chase after it like some gold ring on the merry go round. For Soto folks, that is like missing the point of the trip. For Soto Folks, when we realize such ... every moment of the Buddha-Bus trip, the scenery out the windows (both what we encounter as beautiful and what appears ugly), the moments of good health and moments of passing illness, the highway, the seats and windows, all the other passengers on the Bus who appear to be riding with us, when we board and someday when we are let off ... the whole Trip ... is all the Buddha-Bus, all Enlightenment and Kensho, all the "destination" beyond "coming" or "going" or "getting there", when realized as such (Kensho). This ride is what we make it.

...

Most folks just don't pierce that fact and are lost in delusion about the Nature of the trip. Most sentient being "passengers" on this ride just don't realize that, feeling homesick, car sick, separated from all the other passengers, revolted or attracted to what they see ... filling the whole trip with thoughts of greed and anger, spoiling the journey, making a mess of the bus and harming themselves and the other riders, unhappy until they get to the "promised destination" somewhere down the road. They may even get to the Grand Canyon, snap a picture and buy a sovenier, then wonder "is that all it is"? They do not realize is that the whole trip is WHAT IS! The wheels on the Buddha-Bus go round and round. :)X


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFHBfFAmcbc

Gassho, J
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Re: Am I here for the right reasons?

Postby [james] on Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:56 am

Speaking of buses and wholeness ...

Joan Osborne, "One of Us" ...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3A9kuCpKINA
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Re: Am I here for the right reasons?

Postby organizational on Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:37 am

Sorry, I'm a little late..i've been in travel for the last two days.
a kind of city change.

what i want to say is, james he`s not talking about god man.
(as you mention in the song)
:)
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Re: Am I here for the right reasons?

Postby jundo on Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:56 am

organizational wrote:Sorry, I'm a little late..i've been in travel for the last two days.
a kind of city change.

what i want to say is, james he`s not talking about god man.
(as you mention in the song)
:)


In Zen, best not to say one is, best not to say one is not ... best not to say.

The Buddha, by the way, never said that "there is no God" or that "there is a God" (especially in the Judeo-Christian sense, as he was a man of India). Rather, he ducked the whole question, and called it beside the point of his concern with Dukkha.

Is God at the wheel? Is nobody at the wheel? Is God the Great Mechanic who built and maintains the Bus, or did the Bus just pop up on the road, or was the Bus always? Is God a bozo on the bus or no God or bozo or bus? Not a concern on this ride.

Gassho, Jundo
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Re: Am I here for the right reasons?

Postby fukasetsu on Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:25 pm

Screature wrote:I'm confident I'm here for the right reasons, and I know what my next step is.


Funny I never see reason nor do I ever take a step forward or backward, I must be in Rome already :lol2:

Anyways good to see you here. :heya:
Differences are never in opposition.
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Re: Am I here for the right reasons?

Postby desert_woodworker on Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:42 pm

fukasetsu wrote:I must be in Rome already :lol2:

Ha!, I see where you're going -- or coming from -- with that.

BTW, I think an old Ch'an saying is: "All roads lead to the Capital".

("Funny", the cultural-parallel... ).

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Re: Am I here for the right reasons?

Postby fukasetsu on Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:45 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:
fukasetsu wrote:I must be in Rome already :lol2:

Ha!, I see where you're going -- or coming from -- with that.

BTW, I think an old Ch'an saying is: "All roads lead to the Capital".

("Funny", the cultural-parallel... ).

--Joe


I didn't know that one Joe, thanks.
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Re: Am I here for the right reasons?

Postby desert_woodworker on Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:57 pm

fuki,

fukasetsu wrote:
desert_woodworker wrote:BTW, I think an old Ch'an saying is: "All roads lead to the Capital".

I didn't know that one Joe, thanks.

Check out this reference to same in Prof. Steven Heine's book, Like Cats and Dogs: Contesting the Mu Koan in Zen Buddhism (2013). There's even a little more to the saying than I knew! ;)

http://books.google.com/books?id=1eLUAA ... ol&f=false

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