jundo cohen wrote:
I do not believe that Dogen put a time clock on it, but rather spoke of timeless (every moment holding all time) moment to moment practice-enlightenment in which each word thought and act in each instant is the pivot point of Buddhahood. This seems the greater concern than attaining of an abiding, permanent state.
OK, I understand your position now. I think I do, at least. But just to make sure:
what is the difference between someone whose body is sitting in the correct posture but his/her mind is distracted by past or future or whatever, and someone whose body is sitting in the correct posture and whose mind is fully engaged in shikantaza?
Both are Buddha, and there is no separate "both" nor "Buddha", so not the slightly gap or difference in the least.
There is also no "wrong" Zazen or "right" Zazen or "bad" Zazen or "good" Zazen because one sits dropping judgments of "wrong vs. right, good and bad." The sitting in that moment is just what it is, beyond weighing, goal or judgment, nothing to add or take away.
That said, however, one sits "right and good" (most Mahayana folks may get why this is not contradiction) when sitting as follows:
Simply sit, perhaps following the breath, not grabbing the thoughts that come into mind. Let them drift out of mind without grabbing on, without becoming caught in them. If finding oneself caught in trains of thought, open the mental hand and ungrab. Sometimes thoughts will come, sometimes not. Do not chase after them, do not grab on, neither try to chase away. If finding oneself caught in trains of thought, simply return to the breath or posture and ungrab. Sit in the quiet space between thoughts, like an open boundless unhindered clear blue sky between clouds. Repeat as needed, 10,000 times and 10,000 times again.
But there is more to it (some Shikantaza teachers seem to stop at the above, never explaining clearly the following. Their doing so turns Zazen into only some kind of 'mindfulness' meditation, in my opinion
One should also sit with the attitude (fake it till ya make it
if needed) that an instant of Zazen is wholeness in just sitting, the only place to be and act to do in that instant in all of reality that is required to fulfill life as life in that moment ... no other place to go or in need of going ... all lack and excess resolved in that one sitting, with not one thing to add or take away ... judgments dropped away, "likes and dislikes" put aside ... no rehashing yesterday or worry about imagined tomorrow ... nothing missing from Zazen (even when we might feel that "something is missing", for one can be fully content with the feeling of lack!) ... all the Buddhas and Ancestors sitting in that space of sitting in that instant ... the sitting of Zazen and all life experienced as complete and whole as just the sitting of Zazen ... the entire universe manifesting itself on the Zafu at that moment ...
A Light manifests that shines through both thoughts and their absence and all the dichotomies of this World. Sit as the clear shining mirror which holds both thoughts and no thought, love and hate, good and bad, beautiful and ugly and all the "this and thats" of the world without judgement, resistance or division.
This mirror holds in equanimity all small human judgement (and human neutrality too!), resistance vs. yielding, division and unity without judgement, resistance and division! So we speak, for example, of a kind of (big "N&J") "Non-Judgement" mirror mind that sweeps in and holds the judgments, frictions and resistances of this world and ordinary life which typically fill our human minds. The resulting experience is that all that stuff may remain ... yet simultaneously not remain and never did ... and thus are present yet wholly changed. It is much as a mirror that reflects and holds within whatever is placed before it ... beautiful things or ugly, angry face or sad face or happy face ... reflecting all without rejection or resistance, without judgement and in equanimity, illuminating all in its clarity.
When the "little self" is thereby put out of a job by the experience of "just sitting" as whole and complete with nothing more to be desired or needed ... then the hard borders between the "little self" and the "not the self" (which is usually being judged and "bumped into" and divided into pieces) thus naturally soften, fully fade away ... only the wholeness of the dance remaining ...
... then Dukkha is resolved, "Zazen is in itself body-mind dropped off" as Soto folks describe it.
And that is how we sit "Right" beyond and right through small human judgments of "right vs. wrong". No difference and all the difference in the world.