Dharma Wheel

A Buddhist discussion forum on Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism
It is currently Thu Dec 25, 2014 8:13 am

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Forum rules


Please click here to view the forum rules



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 13 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: practice question
PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 3:36 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:38 pm
Posts: 5
gassho and greetings to all, I have been practicing in a Soto-mode for a few years now and have the following question I'd like to ask the Sangha:

What is the proper way to think of the relationship between actual sitting and the quest for a more intellectual understanding as in the reading and study of Sutras and precepts?

gassho, and thank you,

Robt

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: practice question
PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:39 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:38 am
Posts: 556
The two ways of practice complement and reinforce each other.
Practice without understanding is limited to the working of our ordinary reason.
Study without practice is limited to the realm of theory and doesn't penetrate illusion.
Faith, the willingness to accept the teaching and carry out practice and study in the aspiration for enlightenment makes both practice and study possible.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: practice question
PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 8:24 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:27 am
Posts: 173
That they are both needed. Thinking in terms of the Eightfold path, the sitting meditation is part of right concentration and the sutra study is part of right wisdom.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: practice question
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:04 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:52 am
Posts: 421
Hard to say. Most of us are feeling our way through this just as you are.

_________________
(no longer participating on this board)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: practice question
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 2:51 am 
Online
Global Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Posts: 3045
Location: Olympia WA
It's important to understand why you are meditating, what it is you aim to "achieve" (probably not the right word but you get the idea) through practice. To understand the worldview of Buddhism, though granted there isn't just one version of that .The more vague your ideas of what you are trying to do, the greater chance of going in the wrong direction, or spinning your wheels, this is the reason for intellectual practice.. At least that's my understanding of it, based on what i've read, and my small bit of experience.

_________________
"We're chained to the world and we all gotta pull" -Tom Waits


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: practice question
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 3:20 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 1:26 am
Posts: 217
Without study you're just imitating.

If you ask a young child with no education to do a math problem, they can scribble on paper and imitate a mathematician.
That's the worldly equivalent of a Buddhist who has not learned the Buddha's instructions.

Don't fall for the rhetoric of a teacher that tells you you're already enlightened or all you have to do is sit and clear your mind.
Those kinds of teachers are only good for making jokes about.

_________________
If there is a radical inconsistency between your statements and the position you claim to hold,
you are a sock puppet.
Make as many accounts as you want; people can identify your deception with this test.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: practice question
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 3:38 am 
Online
Global Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Posts: 3045
Location: Olympia WA
disjointed wrote:
Without study you're just imitating.

If you ask a young child with no education to do a math problem, they can scribble on paper and imitate a mathematician.
That's the worldly equivalent of a Buddhist who has not learned the Buddha's instructions.

Don't fall for the rhetoric of a teacher that tells you you're already enlightened or all you have to do is sit and clear your mind.
Those kinds of teachers are only good for making jokes about.


:good:

_________________
"We're chained to the world and we all gotta pull" -Tom Waits


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: practice question
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:21 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:38 pm
Posts: 5
thank you all for thoughtful replies.

sometimes I feel zazen to be "deconstructive" in literally removing/ dissolving the constructs I've built and accumulated, standing in the way of realizing my (our) capacity for fuller experience and
study to be in the manner of beginning that construction anew. cross purposes?

or should study be similarly deconstructive in disassembling opinions and attitudes? "nothing needs adding or subtracting", but often from my
"feeling my way through" point of view, it seems like a whole lotta subtracting needs to be done to see clearly.

gassho,

Robt

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: practice question
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 6:59 pm 
Online
Global Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Posts: 3045
Location: Olympia WA
I'll just be blunt with you here, IMO sometimes what alot of Zen people say about "realization outside of scripture" etc. is great advice..and sometimes it's because they don't want to bother learning or thinking about anything, and want a catch-all answer. I know that sounds judgmental and snotty, it's nothing againt Zen, I loved my time in it, but I think alot of western Zen practitioners use that sort of thing as an excuse to not study. Sorry if that's mean..Buddhism has a long history of philosophy and logic, and sutta/sutra are an important thing to study. I . You can't deconstruct something or find where you are blind without some intellectual work I think..

_________________
"We're chained to the world and we all gotta pull" -Tom Waits


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: practice question
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:47 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 1:26 am
Posts: 217
If you want to use the idea of enlightenment being a process of removing concepts then I would use an image like this.

The work of becoming enlightened is like cleaning a very messy tile floor with 10 year old trampled gum, spit and dirt worn into it and piled high with trash.

Just sitting is like letting the wind blow away the trash. Some stuff blows away, some stuff gets blown in. It's only useful to a degree.

Meditating, which is distinctly different from just sitting, is like picking up all the trash and disposing of it and then using solvents and mopping.
Studying is like having a cleaning instructions on how to remove gum and a picture of what tile floor looks like when clean so you know exactly where it needs work.

When you combine meditation with study it's like using a mechanical floor cleaner. You know what you're doing and the job gets done relatively quickly.

_________________
If there is a radical inconsistency between your statements and the position you claim to hold,
you are a sock puppet.
Make as many accounts as you want; people can identify your deception with this test.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: practice question
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:06 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:38 am
Posts: 556
Oheso wrote:
thank you all for thoughtful replies.

sometimes I feel zazen to be "deconstructive" in literally removing/ dissolving the constructs I've built and accumulated, standing in the way of realizing my (our) capacity for fuller experience and
study to be in the manner of beginning that construction anew. cross purposes?

or should study be similarly deconstructive in disassembling opinions and attitudes? "nothing needs adding or subtracting", but often from my
"feeling my way through" point of view, it seems like a whole lotta subtracting needs to be done to see clearly.

gassho,

Robt

I struggle with that too. I reach a conclusion, then read something or think of something that doesn't line up with it, or even contradicts it. I feel like "what do I do, how can I change what I think or feel by just an effort of will?"
So I deeply empathize with you, and have difficulty just as you do. All progress I have made, which is not yet perfect, but it has been progress, has come from looking within myself and making efforts to uncover the wisdom that the teachings say is inherent within.
I don't subtract or add, I just look at it from a standpoint of belief that the teachings are true, and if I don't believe or understand them, I still have work to do.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: practice question
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 11:24 pm 
Online
Global Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Posts: 3045
Location: Olympia WA
Also a useful metaphor here is using your trash as fertilizer, while just sitting might accomplish that to some degree, it makes sense to me that you need some intellectual work to know how do transform your trash.

_________________
"We're chained to the world and we all gotta pull" -Tom Waits


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: practice question
PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:08 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:11 am
Posts: 614
Location: Oregon
The wrinkle is the process that can remove defilement is the same one that creates it, and we've been doing it for so long that it's almost completely transparent.

Technique and understanding can be just as much of obstacles as anything else.
For some who may get too much in their own heads and theories, something like just sitting can be a way to see these habits for what they are.
My own habits of self are strongest around thoughts and mind as "mine" versus the body or emotions or other things.
Just sitting has been helpful in loosening this grip.

I wouldn't presume to discard an entire meditation practice, because it likely comes from a place of insufficient experience and incomplete ideas.
Not everything's for everybody!

I find the "just sitting" styles of practice I've learned from the local Soto center to be invaluable.
It's not the entirety of what I do, though :)

_________________
Namu Amida Butsu


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 13 posts ] 

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 7 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group