What's all this nonsense about sitting still?

Re: What's all this nonsense about sitting still?

Postby LastLegend » Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:01 pm

So are you fools enlightened yet?
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Re: What's all this nonsense about sitting still?

Postby Simon E. » Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:44 pm

Me ? I am about a million miles from that.
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Re: What's all this nonsense about sitting still?

Postby Matylda » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:24 pm

oushi wrote:Thank you for clarification, but what part of the text are you referring to?
I can only relate to the logic of your translation which appears to be flawed. It would mean that you can enter the Way (by practice) without realizing the final truth or absolute level, as it is the other way. The text contains explanation of both ways, can you provide your translation of the first one? I am asking about this part:

Entering the Way by Principle means to awaken to the Truth through the doctrine, with a deep faith that all sentient beings have the same true nature. Obscured by the fleeting dust of delusions, this nature cannot manifest itself.
If one can relinquish the false and turn to the true, fix the mind in “wall meditation”, understand that there are neither self nor others, that mortals and saints are equal and one—abiding this way without wavering, clinging not even to the scriptures, then one is implicitly in accord with the Principle. Being non-discriminative, still, and empty of effort is to Enter by Principle.


I think you should read it rather in Chinese or classical Japanese. Every translation in English could be missing the true meaning. What I mean by RI is 理 and has sort of heavy meaning... to start with the text it says actually "The person who enters by Truth takes teaching and is enlightened to the essence...'' Here teaching is wrongly pointed to be sutras and shastras.. however in the end of the clause text says 更不隨文教 which means it is not about written teaching and in the first part it starts from 謂藉教悟宗which points to oral teaching, i.e. oral instruction as a means, so note 6 is wrong since 更不隨文教 undermines it...

Meaning of the beginning, entering through the truth is not about reason or understanding or any intellectual way or logic. It is nonsense and text does not say anything like that. It rather says that 'depending on the oral instruction as a teaching one is enlightened to the essence' and text clarifies it further very clearly.. again there is nothing about intellectual understanding or so... unfortunately Chinese dharma language is very condensed so it loses in translation, but real meaning is much deeper.

To give an example in the zen history it was definitely Daikan Eno Zenji who did it... hearing just a few words from Kongo-kyo he became enlightened, so it is only for most gifted individuals, not for intellectuals or philosophers... they could hear a key pointer and be deaf completely, as if nothing was said... so intellect is invalid here.
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Re: What's all this nonsense about sitting still?

Postby Astus » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:00 pm

Matylda wrote:Here teaching is wrongly pointed to be sutras and shastras.. however in the end of the clause text says 更不隨文教 which means it is not about written teaching and in the first part it starts from 謂藉教悟宗which points to oral teaching, i.e. oral instruction as a means, so note 6 is wrong since 更不隨文教 undermines it...


Regarding that note 15 says: " Scriptures are important as they provide guidance to enlightenment, but they can be misinterpreted or taken too literally. Also to study them as philosophy without practice will not lead to true understanding."

On the other hand, there is no mention of any oral teaching at all. Written texts are nothing but words on paper, and oral teachings are words by voice. Why would voice be a superior conveyor of words than paper?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: What's all this nonsense about sitting still?

Postby oushi » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:15 pm

Matylda wrote:
oushi wrote:Thank you for clarification, but what part of the text are you referring to?
I can only relate to the logic of your translation which appears to be flawed. It would mean that you can enter the Way (by practice) without realizing the final truth or absolute level, as it is the other way. The text contains explanation of both ways, can you provide your translation of the first one? I am asking about this part:

Entering the Way by Principle means to awaken to the Truth through the doctrine, with a deep faith that all sentient beings have the same true nature. Obscured by the fleeting dust of delusions, this nature cannot manifest itself.
If one can relinquish the false and turn to the true, fix the mind in “wall meditation”, understand that there are neither self nor others, that mortals and saints are equal and one—abiding this way without wavering, clinging not even to the scriptures, then one is implicitly in accord with the Principle. Being non-discriminative, still, and empty of effort is to Enter by Principle.


I think you should read it rather in Chinese or classical Japanese. Every translation in English could be missing the true meaning. What I mean by RI is 理 and has sort of heavy meaning... to start with the text it says actually "The person who enters by Truth takes teaching and is enlightened to the essence...'' Here teaching is wrongly pointed to be sutras and shastras.. however in the end of the clause text says 更不隨文教 which means it is not about written teaching and in the first part it starts from 謂藉教悟宗which points to oral teaching, i.e. oral instruction as a means, so note 6 is wrong since 更不隨文教 undermines it...

Meaning of the beginning, entering through the truth is not about reason or understanding or any intellectual way or logic. It is nonsense and text does not say anything like that. It rather says that 'depending on the oral instruction as a teaching one is enlightened to the essence' and text clarifies it further very clearly.. again there is nothing about intellectual understanding or so... unfortunately Chinese dharma language is very condensed so it loses in translation, but real meaning is much deeper.

To give an example in the zen history it was definitely Daikan Eno Zenji who did it... hearing just a few words from Kongo-kyo he became enlightened, so it is only for most gifted individuals, not for intellectuals or philosophers... they could hear a key pointer and be deaf completely, as if nothing was said... so intellect is invalid here.

I asked you for translation of the quoted text, and I received random sentences that I cannot correlate to each other. You say that English translations are flawed and you provide your English translation that you see as true. This is going nowhere. Do you know the whole text, Including other sermons? There is a great amount of explanations in it.
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Re: What's all this nonsense about sitting still?

Postby Matylda » Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:12 pm

Astus wrote:
Matylda wrote:Here teaching is wrongly pointed to be sutras and shastras.. however in the end of the clause text says 更不隨文教 which means it is not about written teaching and in the first part it starts from 謂藉教悟宗which points to oral teaching, i.e. oral instruction as a means, so note 6 is wrong since 更不隨文教 undermines it...


Regarding that note 15 says: " Scriptures are important as they provide guidance to enlightenment, but they can be misinterpreted or taken too literally. Also to study them as philosophy without practice will not lead to true understanding."

On the other hand, there is no mention of any oral teaching at all. Written texts are nothing but words on paper, and oral teachings are words by voice. Why would voice be a superior conveyor of words than paper?


Well voice is superior to the written text in this sense that it comes from an enlightened master who can use words according to conditions and capacities, which text by its nature cannot... as for spoken word by living buddha what plays a role is 時所位, which is also crucial for skillful usage of the words of teachings... and 謂藉教悟宗 clearly sugests it.
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Re: What's all this nonsense about sitting still?

Postby Matylda » Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:30 pm

oushi wrote:I asked you for translation of the quoted text, and I received random sentences that I cannot correlate to each other. You say that English translations are flawed and you provide your English translation that you see as true. This is going nowhere. Do you know the whole text, Including other sermons? There is a great amount of explanations in it.


I have no time to translate it for you, the meaning I have explained clearly enough. The other paragraph of the clause concerning Principle could be ok with me and just supports what I have said. I would not use the term 'principle' rather 'truth' but never reason etc. since it leaves too big margin for misinterpretations...

As you quoted

Many roads lead to the Path, but basically there are only two: reason and practice. To enter by reason means to realize the essence through instruction and to believe that all living things share the same true nature, which isn’t apparent because it’s shrouded by sensation and delusion. Those who turn from delusion back to reality, who meditate on walls,’ the absence of self and other, the oneness of mortal and sage, and who remain unmoved even by scriptures are in complete and unspoken agreement with reason. Without moving, without effort, they enter, we say, by reason.

and Astus offered this one:

To enter the Great Way3 there are many paths,ctrine but essentially they are of two means4: by Principle and by Practice.
Entering the Way by Principle5 means to awaken to the Truth through the doctrine6, with a deep faith7 that all sentient beings8 have the same true nature9. Obscured by the fleeting dust of delusions10, this nature cannot manifest itself.
If one can relinquish the false and turn to the true, fix the mind in “wall meditation11”, understand that there are neither self nor others12, that mortals and saints13 are equal and one—abiding this way14 without wavering, clinging not even to the scriptures15, then one is implicitly in accord16 with the Principle. Being non-discriminative17, still18, and empty of effort19 is to Enter by Principle.


and I added that to translate RI as reason is unfortunate.. Since RI is main point here it is important to have its proper meaning. Do you still claim that text says here about intellectual understanding?

then there is term 'doctrine' which is doubtful... the word KYO has many meanings and also includes 'personal teaching', which is by far something else then 'doctrine'.. you may read explanation above in the answer to Astus...

So both 'reason' and 'doctrine' are misreadings or rather mistranslations. :)
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Re: What's all this nonsense about sitting still?

Postby randomseb » Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:52 pm

oushi wrote:Bodhidharma: "Only when you understand nothing is it true understanding.". One cannot be that which comes and goes for him. Identification comes and goes, same thing with understanding. What can be said about "understanding nothing"? Nothing.

Enough said.. not much will be taken seriously anyway.


May this clarify what I wrote, an excerpt from Record I of "The Bodhidharma Anthology, The earliest Records of Zen"

If you see that all dharmas exist, that existence is not existent in and of itself. The calculations of your own mind have created that existence. If you see that all dharmas do not exist, that nonexistence is not nonexistent in and of itself. The calculations of your own mind have created that nonexistence. This extends to all dharmas. In all cases the calculations of one's own mind create existence, and the calculations create nonexistence.

What is greed like that you create the greed interpretation? Because in all these cases one's mind has produced views, one's own mind has calculated about the unlocalized. This is called false thought.

If you yourself say that you are beyond the calculated views of those who follow non-Buddhist paths, this is also false thought.

If you engage in talk about no-thought and nondiscrimination, it is also false thought.

When walking, Dharma is walking. It is not the ego walking. It is not the ego not walking. When sitting, Dharma is sitting. It is not the ego sitting. It is not the ego not sitting.

Entertaining these sorts of interpretation is also false thought.
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Re: What's all this nonsense about sitting still?

Postby Astus » Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:32 am

Matylda wrote:Well voice is superior to the written text in this sense that it comes from an enlightened master who can use words according to conditions and capacities, which text by its nature cannot... as for spoken word by living buddha what plays a role is 時所位, which is also crucial for skillful usage of the words of teachings... and 謂藉教悟宗 clearly sugests it.


How does 謂藉教悟宗 clearly suggest it for you? Just because it starts with 謂? It's simply explanatory (i.e. the meaning of it is "meaning" and not "saying") exactly as in the next section: 行入謂四行, that's why it was translated as that to English.

The sutras come from the Buddha himself, the treatises are written by enlightened masters, therefore in terms of source the written teachings are at least equal, if not superior, to oral instructions. The sutras and treatises address the different conditions and capacities, they can even have lists of them, unless you are proposing that the human mind today is somehow different in its workings from those of the past, in which case we need a whole new Buddhism. Is there anything a teacher can say that has not been already said before and written down several times? For someone transmitting the Buddhadharma, there can't be any difference between the spoken words and the canonical scriptures. It is true, however, that a teacher can give answers and instructions immediately while studying the Tripitaka takes time.

The Platform Sutra (ch. 10) says: "Those who grasp at emptiness slander the Sutras by maintaining that written words have no use. Since they maintain they have no need of written words, they should not speak either, because written words are merely the marks of spoken language. They also maintain that the direct way cannot be established by written words, and yet these two words, 'not established' are themselves written."
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: What's all this nonsense about sitting still?

Postby uan » Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:40 am

Astus wrote:
The sutras come from the Buddha himself, the treatises are written by enlightened masters, therefore in terms of source the written teachings are at least equal, if not superior, to oral instructions.


But the Buddha only gave oral instructions himself. I'm not a scholar of sutras, but many seem to be specific teachings to specific people, but with broad application. It seems for current practitioners a combination of both oral instruction and written teachings would be preferable. I could be missing the point of your disagreement with Matylda, who may be putting forth the idea that oral instructions are all that is required - and on that point I'm not qualified to know.
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Re: What's all this nonsense about sitting still?

Postby oushi » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:37 am

Matylda wrote:then there is term 'doctrine' which is doubtful... the word KYO has many meanings and also includes 'personal teaching', which is by far something else then 'doctrine'.

That is why translations is not merely linguistic task. If you read all Bodhidharma sermons you will see how rich in meaning those are. I don't have my favorite translation, and the Red Pine one presents a teaching that is not easy to "digest". Still, without picking, I go through it over and over again, and meaning is revealed. If you have better translation, we all will be grateful. Just provide it. Picking a meaning (out of many) that doesn't fit, and presenting is as some kind of proof, does not help us at all.
Bodhidharma wrote:People who don’t understand and think they can do so without study are no different from those deluded souls who can’t tell white from black.

I would appreciate your translation of this part of Bloodstream Sermon.
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Re: What's all this nonsense about sitting still?

Postby Matylda » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:45 am

Astus wrote:
Matylda wrote:Well voice is superior to the written text in this sense that it comes from an enlightened master who can use words according to conditions and capacities, which text by its nature cannot... as for spoken word by living buddha what plays a role is 時所位, which is also crucial for skillful usage of the words of teachings... and 謂藉教悟宗 clearly sugests it.


How does 謂藉教悟宗 clearly suggest it for you? Just because it starts with 謂? It's simply explanatory (i.e. the meaning of it is "meaning" and not "saying") exactly as in the next section: 行入謂四行, that's why it was translated as that to English.

The sutras come from the Buddha himself, the treatises are written by enlightened masters, therefore in terms of source the written teachings are at least equal, if not superior, to oral instructions. The sutras and treatises address the different conditions and capacities, they can even have lists of them, unless you are proposing that the human mind today is somehow different in its workings from those of the past, in which case we need a whole new Buddhism. Is there anything a teacher can say that has not been already said before and written down several times? For someone transmitting the Buddhadharma, there can't be any difference between the spoken words and the canonical scriptures. It is true, however, that a teacher can give answers and instructions immediately while studying the Tripitaka takes time.

The Platform Sutra (ch. 10) says: "Those who grasp at emptiness slander the Sutras by maintaining that written words have no use. Since they maintain they have no need of written words, they should not speak either, because written words are merely the marks of spoken language. They also maintain that the direct way cannot be established by written words, and yet these two words, 'not established' are themselves written."


Well it does... your quotation from Tanagyo of Daikan Eno is beyond this context and this text. It is not problem to find different quotations which condradict each other, but that is nonsense and waste of time. Each teaching was given in particular circumstances... it is not this kanji 謂 which suggests rather oral instruction or oral teaching, but the whole sentence... and to suggest that it is wbout written teachings where in the same clause it denyies relying on any written word in the realization of absolute truth is really unreasonable. the rest 4 practices yes, they rely on every written word of Buddha, so the whole text does not deny it.. just the realization of truth is free from intellectual reasoning, letters etc.

I am sorry I cannot answer now since I have to go for my duties as a translator for retreat, till end of March :)
I wish you fruitful discussion :)
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Re: What's all this nonsense about sitting still?

Postby Matylda » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:55 am

oushi wrote:
Matylda wrote:then there is term 'doctrine' which is doubtful... the word KYO has many meanings and also includes 'personal teaching', which is by far something else then 'doctrine'.

That is why translations is not merely linguistic task. If you read all Bodhidharma sermons you will see how rich in meaning those are. I don't have my favorite translation, and the Red Pine one presents a teaching that is not easy to "digest". Still, without picking, I go through it over and over again, and meaning is revealed. If you have better translation, we all will be grateful. Just provide it. Picking a meaning (out of many) that doesn't fit, and presenting is as some kind of proof, does not help us at all.
Bodhidharma wrote:People who don’t understand and think they can do so without study are no different from those deluded souls who can’t tell white from black.

I would appreciate your translation of this part of Bloodstream Sermon.


I am not in position to discuss others translations and specially of other particular individuals... I can only say in general that it is very difficult to find accurate translation. The best situation is, if one can combine the knowledge of Chinese and sufficient experience in practice and instructions. I am sorry if I sound arrogant. It is not my intention.
Red Pine provided in his translation Chinese original, and I think it is very honest. SO for one who has some training in old dharma language it is possible to compare with modern translation.. this is really good. And if you go through the texts like Kechimyaku-ron etc. then you may see how far it is interpretation or translation.

Yes I did oral translation for group of students some 13 years ago I think. But I do not have access to the recorded files, it was not duty and they were not mine. I would be happy to offer translation but I do not have any resources to make one. It takes time etc. and I have to work to make living. There were many texts which I would love to translate, but lack of time counteracts. I know most of those texts, since I worked for some time on Tunhuang files, but for long it is not my work. I have to do now completely other translation which are far more difficult for me and on very different subject and tradition.

As I wrote I have to go till end of March to translate so sorry it is my last voice in this discussion... I wish you all best and good results in this discussion :)

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Re: What's all this nonsense about sitting still?

Postby oushi » Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:23 am

Good luck with your work ! :smile:
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Re: What's all this nonsense about sitting still?

Postby greentara » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:16 am

dondrup tashi, "It's like how American Protestantism has degenerated Christianity into the happy-clappy-going-to-heaven-club? Heard of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's "cheap grace"? Same syndrome in all religions"
Well put, it appears to be the same syndrome in all religions.
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Re: What's all this nonsense about sitting still?

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:38 pm

Verbanderbog wrote:Why do people struggle so with enlightenment? Once you understand it intellectually you can have it. All this wishy-washy business about sitting still and discipline, is it just an alternate route? Is it just a way to crack the ego's defenses? :shrug: To quote Alan Watts, "If you have a thin shell and your mask is easily dispatched with he simply uses what we might call an easy method. He says, 'ha-ha, listen Shiva, come off, it ha, don’t pretend you’re this guy here. I know who you are.' And the guy sort-of twinkles a bit and says um, 'Well, I guess you’re right'." Why is it never that simple with most people?

:alien:
This kind of intellectualism is exactly what Alan Watts laughed about and made it his career to challenge.
It is never that simple because people have ideas like "Once you understand it intellectually you can have it."

_/|\_
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Re: What's all this nonsense about sitting still?

Postby Simon E. » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:51 pm

Greetings Mr Wonderwheel. As a non contributing occasional reader of your forum does it ever strike you to challenge your member Mr Fukesetsu on this issue ?
He is the most obvious sufferer from Zen Sickness i have encountered online but his views seem to go unchecked.

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Re: What's all this nonsense about sitting still?

Postby oushi » Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:02 pm

Fukasetsu suffering zen sickness? No way.
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Re: What's all this nonsense about sitting still?

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel » Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:06 pm

oushi wrote:Outline of Practice
Many roads lead to the Path, but basically there are only two: reason and practice. To enter by reason means to realize the essence through instruction and to believe that all living things share the same true nature, which isn’t apparent because it’s shrouded by sensation and delusion. Those who turn from delusion back to reality, who meditate on walls,’ the absence of self and other, the oneness of mortal and sage, and who remain unmoved even by scriptures are in complete and unspoken agreement with reason. Without moving, without effort, they enter, we say, by reason.


In my view, translating "li" (理) as "reason" was not the best choice for the English audience just because "reason" is commonly interpreted as "intellect." I take it that when Red Pine was using "reason" he meant it in the classical Greek sense of "Logos" ("the wisdom manifest in phenomenon" or "the controlling principle in the universe") which is very much akin to the Chinese "li" (理) or "principle" that Bodhidharma used. When "reason" is used to translate "li" is should not be taken as "intellectual powers" but as "the proper use of mind"

Here's my translation of the opening paragraphs:
Great Master Bodhidharma’s Outline For Discerning the Mahayana and Entering the Way By Four Practices and Contemplation

Man enters the Way by many roads. But in summary we speak of not going beyond two kinds of cultivating. The first is entering by principle. The second is entering by practice.

That which is "entering by principle" designates reliance on the lineage of awakening to bear profound faith that the one true nature of beings is the same. However, as a traveler is concealed in the dusts of delusion, it has been unable to manifest. Even so, if one renounces the false, returns to the true, firmly abides in wall contemplation--without self and without other, with the ordinary and the sacred one and the same--solidly abides in the immovable, and furthermore, does not depend on written teachings, then one immediately takes part in a deep accord with principle without having discriminations. Being peaceful in this way is non-doing (wuwei) and has the name of "entering by principle."


Having an "intellectual" understanding is not part of it. The phrase "reliance on the lineage of awakening" means reliance on awakening as the axiomatic premise or proposition of the lineage of the school that Bodhidharma taught. So, "entering by principle" means having complete faith in awakening to the truth that our true natue and Buddha's true nature are the same. "Getting it" has more to do with faith than with intellectual understanding because it is only with faith that we can get past our own knots of cognitive thinking that we bind ourselves with. Put another way, with intellect we can climb the mountain to the peak and discover we can't go any further using intellect alone, and with faith we can leap off the peak.

Returning to the opening post, the phrase "--solidly abides in the immovable" is a clue to the business of "sitting still." Sitting still is the outward method for discovering what Bodhidharma is talking about "--solidly abiding in the immovable." The physical stitting still shouldn't be confused with abiding in the immovable, but the physical sitting still is a gateway to the immovable. Abiding in the immovable takes place when we are walking, standing, lying or sitting, but there is something special about sitting that lets the mental motions of turbulent distraction calm enough for us to realize the truly immovable and what it means to abide there. Bodhidharma's "abiding in the immovable" is the same as the Diamond Sutra's "cultivating a mind that abides nowhere."

_/|\_
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Re: What's all this nonsense about sitting still?

Postby Simon E. » Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:09 pm

oushi wrote:Fukasetsu suffering zen sickness? No way.


Well I must admit I did wonder why you are banned from ZFI ( or so I believe ) and he isnt.
As you appear to hold identical views.
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