The Perfectly Imperfect Beyond Perfection/Imperfection (Zen) Buddha

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jundo cohen
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Re: The Perfectly Imperfect Beyond Perfection/Imperfection (Zen) Buddha

Postby jundo cohen » Tue Apr 05, 2016 4:41 pm

maybay wrote:The step up from sravakayana doctrine to Mahayana is vast and also delicate to get right. You haven't nailed it. But when you do your courage and energy will be a great benefit to many beings. I am sure of that.


Thank you.

Gassho, Jundo
Priest/Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha. Treeleaf Zendo was designed as an online practice place for Zen practitioners who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health concerns, living in remote areas, or work, childcare and family needs, and seeks to provide Zazen sittings, retreats, discussion, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Zen Buddhist Sangha, all fully online. The focus is Shikantaza "Just Sitting" Zazen as instructed by the 13th Century Japanese Master, Eihei Dogen. http://www.treeleaf.org

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Re: The Perfectly Imperfect Beyond Perfection/Imperfection (Zen) Buddha

Postby Grigoris » Tue Apr 05, 2016 5:38 pm

Like I said to you in another thread:
My introduction to Buddhism was via Zen practice, back then I also thought that to "be" Zen all you had to do was counter every statement with an opposite while couching it in a type of prose/poetry.
Instead of "answering" to the statement of a Mahasiddha and betraying your complete lack of realisation, it would probably be better for you to keep your mouth shut and (at the very least) try and understand what they are saying. If your ego permits it, that is...
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: The Perfectly Imperfect Beyond Perfection/Imperfection (Zen) Buddha

Postby jundo cohen » Tue Apr 05, 2016 5:50 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:Like I said to you in another thread:
My introduction to Buddhism was via Zen practice, back then I also thought that to "be" Zen all you had to do was counter every statement with an opposite while couching it in a type of prose/poetry.
Instead of "answering" to the statement of a Mahasiddha and betraying your complete lack of realisation, it would probably be better for you to keep your mouth shut and (at the very least) try and understand what they are saying. If your ego permits it, that is...


Hello,

I believe that if you search the archives of Dharma Wheel, you fill find that I have never told anyone to "keep their mouth shut" based on their "complete lack of realization". Oh my. You sound upset. It is not my habit to speak to anyone like that, even folks who might hold another point of view. Best to be civil.

By the way, if you think that I am answering in "opposites", then you do not understand perhaps that this is all about the transcendence of identity and opposition in a world of opposites. That is a kind of lack of realization perhaps? :smile: Depends where one sits.

I am not sure why one would answer a Mahasiddha in a discussion of Soto Zen anyway. I don't believe we have those, but I am sure they are very nice people. Was there one here? What did they ask?

Gassho, Jundo
Last edited by jundo cohen on Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Priest/Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha. Treeleaf Zendo was designed as an online practice place for Zen practitioners who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health concerns, living in remote areas, or work, childcare and family needs, and seeks to provide Zazen sittings, retreats, discussion, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Zen Buddhist Sangha, all fully online. The focus is Shikantaza "Just Sitting" Zazen as instructed by the 13th Century Japanese Master, Eihei Dogen. http://www.treeleaf.org

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Re: The Perfectly Imperfect Beyond Perfection/Imperfection (Zen) Buddha

Postby Grigoris » Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:01 pm

jundo cohen wrote:Zazen is not meditation
Nobody said it was, I was giving you the quote as an example of non-meditation as it exists outside of the Zen context...
and no deception is possible even though we are often deceived. About this, please do not be deceived.
...but your paranoid persecution complex seems to have deceived you (again).
The "why" of Zazen is zazen.
Same as the "why" of Mahamudra being explained by Saraha.
Do you know how to speak what cannot be spoken? Do you know that not speaking sometimes says so much?
Then why don't you shut up and listen?
However, sometimes not speaking is simply being tongue tied, and sometimes talking is just blah blah blah.
Something with which you are well acquainted.
Never any deception, a world of existence non-existence.
Seems to me you are deceiving yourself (again).
There is nothing to perfect or even improve, no inner or outer, so let us set to work to fix ourselves and the world!
So stop trying so desperately to talk-the-talk and just walk-the-walk.
Actually, sometimes to be a dumb ass simpleton is simply to be a dumb ass simpleton, and sometimes in Zen lingo to be a dumb and simple is to be incredibly wise!
To this dumb ass simpleton it looks to me that you are now back peddling, but it's too late...
Why? Sometimes "knowledge" (jnana?)
Use the Greek word gnosis, it was invented by them to describe exactly what you are trying to say.
...and mental complexity in ordinary worldly terms is worldly deception, to be without such tangled worldly knowledge and simplicity is a doorway to Wisdom.
'ccept that you are (again) forgetting that there are two levels of truth.

No surprise you keep making the same mistakes given you are so averse to learning.
Last edited by Grigoris on Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:11 pm, edited 3 times in total.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: The Perfectly Imperfect Beyond Perfection/Imperfection (Zen) Buddha

Postby jundo cohen » Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:05 pm

Hi Sherab Dorje,

Perhaps you do not understand much about Soto Zen, are judging from the standpoint of your own tradition which you apparently consider the standard and final word? Perhaps you should learn and try to come to understand Soto Zen. After all, this is a discussion of Soto Zen, so I understand that it may be confusing to you if you come at it through the lens of your own assumptions.

I would not try to judge your interpretations no matter how partial, incomplete or incorrect they may seem from here. The little poem you quote seems to miss the point in our way.

For example, in our way, we speak of two levels of truth that stand apart, fully interpenetrate, exchange places, are fully and whole embodying each other, where "one truths" stands alone expressing the whole whole universe, dance with each other, are five or six truths, are truth-non-truths, your truth and my truth, a Buddha's truth beyond truth, a truth of Buddha beyond Buddha ...

... and anyway what two truths?

Gassho, Jundo
Last edited by jundo cohen on Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Priest/Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha. Treeleaf Zendo was designed as an online practice place for Zen practitioners who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health concerns, living in remote areas, or work, childcare and family needs, and seeks to provide Zazen sittings, retreats, discussion, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Zen Buddhist Sangha, all fully online. The focus is Shikantaza "Just Sitting" Zazen as instructed by the 13th Century Japanese Master, Eihei Dogen. http://www.treeleaf.org

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Re: The Perfectly Imperfect Beyond Perfection/Imperfection (Zen) Buddha

Postby barndoor » Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:14 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:Like I said to you in another thread:
My introduction to Buddhism was via Zen practice, back then I also thought that to "be" Zen all you had to do was counter every statement with an opposite while couching it in a type of prose/poetry.
Instead of "answering" to the statement of a Mahasiddha and betraying your complete lack of realisation, it would probably be better for you to keep your mouth shut and (at the very least) try and understand what they are saying. If your ego permits it, that is...

For some reason, you've reminded me of Zazen-Yōjinki (Notes on what to be aware of in Zazen) by Keizan.
If you're interested in Zazen and the discussion in this thread, "Zazen-Yōjinki" is a fabulous read http://www.wwzc.org/dharma-text/zazen-y ... ware-zazen. It opens with:
Sitting is the way to clarify the ground of experiences and to rest at ease in your Actual Nature. This is called "the display of the Original Face" and "revealing the landscape of the basic ground".

Drop through this bodymind and you will be far beyond such forms as sitting or lying down. Beyond considerations of good or bad, transcend any divisions between usual people and sages, pass beyond the boundary between sentient beings and Buddha.


bd

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Re: The Perfectly Imperfect Beyond Perfection/Imperfection (Zen) Buddha

Postby jundo cohen » Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:21 pm

barndoor wrote:If you're interested in Zazen and the discussion in this thread, "Zazen-Yōjinki" is a fabulous read http://www.wwzc.org/dharma-text/zazen-y ... ware-zazen.


Lovely! Great Adept Keizan!

Zazen is not based upon teaching, practice or realization; instead these three aspects are all contained within it. Measuring realization is based upon some notion of enlightenment—this is not the essence of zazen. Practice is based upon strenuous application—this is not the essence of zazen. Teaching is based upon freeing from evil and cultivating good—this is not the essence of zazen.

Teaching is found in Zen but it is not the usual teaching. Rather, it is a direct pointing, just expressing the Way, speaking with the whole body. Such words are without sentences or clauses. Where views end and concept is exhausted, the one word pervades the ten directions without setting up so much as a single hair. This is the true Teaching of the Buddhas and Awakened Ancestors.

Although we speak of "practice", it is not a practice that you can do. That is to say, the body does nothing, the mouth does not recite, the mind doesn't think things over, the six senses are left to their own clarity and unaffected. So this is not the sixteen stage practice of the hearers [the path of insight or darsanamarga into the four noble truths at four different levels]. Nor is it the practice of understanding the twelve nidanas of inter-dependent emergence of those whose practice is founded upon isolation. Nor is it the six perfections within numberless activities of the Bodhisattvas. It is without struggle at all so is called Awakening or enlightenment. Just rest in the Self-enjoyment Samadhi of all the Buddhas, wandering playfully in the four practices of peace and bliss of those open to Openness. This is the profound and inconceivable practice of Buddhas and Awakened Ancestors.

Although we speak of realization, this realization does not hold to itself as being "realization". This is practice of the supreme samadhi which is the knowing of unborn, unobstructed, and spontaneously arising Awareness. It is the door of luminosity which opens out onto the realization of Those Who Come Thus, born through the practice of the great ease. This goes beyond the patterns of holy and profane, goes beyond confusion and wisdom. This is the realization of unsurpassed enlightenment as our own nature.

Zazen is also not based upon discipline, practice, or wisdom. These three are all contained within it.

Discipline is usually understood as ceasing wrong action and eliminating evil. In zazen the whole thing is known to be non-dual. Cast off the numberless concerns and rest free from entangling yourself in the "Buddhist Way" or the "worldly way." Leave behind feelings about the path as well as your usual sentiments. When you leave behind all opposites, what can obstruct you? This is the formless discipline of the ground of mind.

Practice usually means unbroken concentration. Zazen is dropping the bodymind, leaving behind confusion and understanding. Unshakeable, without activity, it is not deluded but still like an idiot, a fool. Like a mountain, like the ocean. Without any trace of motion or stillness. This practice is no-practice because it has no object to practice and so is called great practice.

Wisdom is usually understood to be clear discernment. In zazen, all knowledge vanishes of itself. Mind and discrimination are forgotten forever. The wisdom-eye of this body has no discrimination but is clear seeing of the essence of Awakening. From the beginning it is free of confusion, cuts off concept, and open and clear luminosity pervades everywhere. This wisdom is no-wisdom; because it is traceless wisdom, it is called great wisdom.

The Teaching that the Buddhas have presented all throughout their lifetimes are just this discipline, practice, and wisdom. In zazen there is no discipline that is not maintained, no practice that is uncultivated, no wisdom that is unrealized. Conquering the demons of confusion, attaining the Way, turning the wheel of the Dharma and returning to tracelessness all arise from the power of this. Siddhis and inconceivable activities, emanating luminosity and proclaiming the Teachings—all of these are present in this zazen. Penetrating Zen is zazen.



Without any trace of motion or stillness ... beyond patterns of holy or profane, beyond confusion or wisdom ...

Gassho, J
Priest/Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha. Treeleaf Zendo was designed as an online practice place for Zen practitioners who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health concerns, living in remote areas, or work, childcare and family needs, and seeks to provide Zazen sittings, retreats, discussion, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Zen Buddhist Sangha, all fully online. The focus is Shikantaza "Just Sitting" Zazen as instructed by the 13th Century Japanese Master, Eihei Dogen. http://www.treeleaf.org

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Re: The Perfectly Imperfect Beyond Perfection/Imperfection (Zen) Buddha

Postby Grigoris » Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:38 pm

jundo cohen wrote:Perhaps you do not understand much about Soto Zen, are judging from the standpoint of your own tradition which you apparently consider the standard and final word?
Paranoid persecution complex. I was/am not judging Soto Zen, I was agreeing with the "practice" of Zazen and showing you that parallel "techniques" (or non-techniques to be more exact) exist in other (Mahayana simpleton) traditions too. Your clouded mental functioning is constantly deceiving you into perceiving attacks where no attacks actually exist. If you keep up this mental attitude you will be destined for rebirth as an Asura. 100% guaranteed.
Perhaps you should learn and try to come to understand Soto Zen. After all, this is a discussion of Soto Zen, so I understand that it may be confusing to you if you come at it through the lens of your own assumptions.
It is not in the least bit confusing to me.
I would not try to judge your interpretations no matter how partial, incomplete or incorrect they may seem from here.
I would want you to judge my interpretations, if they were mistaken. Your constructive criticism would be more than welcome.
The little poem you quote seems to miss the point in our way.

For example, in our way, we speak of two levels of truth that stand apart, fully interpenetrate, exchange places, are fully and whole embodying each other, where "one truths" stands alone expressing the whole whole universe, dance with each other, are five or six truths, are truth-non-truths, your truth and my truth, a Buddha's truth beyond truth, a truth of Buddha beyond Buddha ...
Seems to me that you miss the point: there is no "your" way and "my" way, there is Dharma and there is drama and you'll be receiving your award shortly in the mail.

Image

My advice to you is to read what is written, understand what the other person is trying to say and then reply. Knee-jerk reactions are normally (as you have proven time and again) woefully inadequate.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: The Perfectly Imperfect Beyond Perfection/Imperfection (Zen) Buddha

Postby jundo cohen » Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:47 pm

if they were mistaken. Your constructive criticism would be more than welcome.


Hi Sherab Dorje,

You are right. Perhaps I perceived your attitude incorrectly, and you are here to share the Dharma too through a Soto lens. I am happy to learn from you too.

So, ask any question and I will do my best to address it from a Soto approach.

Gassho, Jundo
Priest/Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha. Treeleaf Zendo was designed as an online practice place for Zen practitioners who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health concerns, living in remote areas, or work, childcare and family needs, and seeks to provide Zazen sittings, retreats, discussion, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Zen Buddhist Sangha, all fully online. The focus is Shikantaza "Just Sitting" Zazen as instructed by the 13th Century Japanese Master, Eihei Dogen. http://www.treeleaf.org

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Re: The Perfectly Imperfect Beyond Perfection/Imperfection (Zen) Buddha

Postby Grigoris » Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:52 pm

barndoor wrote:For some reason, you've reminded me of Zazen-Yōjinki (Notes on what to be aware of in Zazen) by Keizan.
If you're interested in Zazen and the discussion in this thread, "Zazen-Yōjinki" is a fabulous read http://www.wwzc.org/dharma-text/zazen-y ... ware-zazen
Thank you for the link. A beautiful and well presented teaching!!!

Mind bound, you're bound -
when it's free, you're free,
no doubt;

What binds the stupid,
quickly and fully frees
the wise.


Or

Releasing thought
and breath,
[which are] like unsteady horses,

dwell in your innate nature,
and be motionless.


And

Where comprehension is destroyed,
thought dies,
and pride is split;

there the utmost art,
of magic [is] made -
why bind it [with] meditation?


Good old Saraha, you'd think he was with "your" team and not "mine" with the things he says! :)
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: The Perfectly Imperfect Beyond Perfection/Imperfection (Zen) Buddha

Postby Grigoris » Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:25 pm

jundo cohen wrote:I believe that if you search the archives of Dharma Wheel, you fill find that I have never told anyone to "keep their mouth shut" based on their "complete lack of realization". Oh my. You sound upset. It is not my habit to speak to anyone like that, even folks who might hold another point of view. Best to be civil.
Ha! You should see me when I am not being civil! :tongue:
By the way, if you think that I am answering in "opposites", then you do not understand perhaps that this is all about the transcendence of identity and opposition in a world of opposites. That is a kind of lack of realization perhaps?
So transcend your identity instead of just being contrary, contrariness arises as a consequence of identity/identification: This in contrast to that, My view in contrast to your view, ad nauseum... If I remember correctly, which I do, answering with silence is a very Zen way of dealing with things. Try it, it will work wonders for you.
:smile: Depends where one sits.
Generally I sit on my ass. But when it's off grazing I sit on my arse. Sometimes I sit on my arse on my ass. But now we are digressing!
I am not sure why one would answer a Mahasiddha in a discussion of Soto Zen anyway. I don't believe we have those, but I am sure they are very nice people. Was there one here? What did they ask?
Of course you have Mahasiddhas in the Soto Zen tradition. I am 100% sure of it. Do you know what a Mahasiddha is? The Soto Zen tradition was imported from China to Japan in the 13th Century, it wouldn't surpise me if there was a cross-fertilisation of ideas between the Chan predecessors of Soto and the Indian Mahasiddha current. The similarities are too striking to be random.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: The Perfectly Imperfect Beyond Perfection/Imperfection (Zen) Buddha

Postby jundo cohen » Tue Apr 05, 2016 8:07 pm

Hi

http://tsony.com/wp-content/uploads/201 ... ackson.pdf

Well, this "Saraha’s Treasury of Couplets" does seem to be Buddhism, and Mahayana Buddhism, so it certainly shares some wording and viewpoints in many places with Zen as also Mahayana Buddhism. That is not surprising, as they are both Mahayana Buddhism. So much there though that seems extremely foreign to our tradition. as I am familiar with it. (That is fine, it is just different). The collection does seem to prove my prior point that, to an "insider" who is familiar with the lingo and implied meaning, something that may seem like a tangled and illogical diatribe filled with buzzwords to an outsider is judged clear and easy and persuasive to the insider. Koans and such are much the same for Zen folks, hard to piece for many other Buddhists.

If going naked means release,
then the dog and the jackal
must have it;
if baldness is perfection,
then a young girl’s bottom
must have it.

...

That’s what’s incanted,
that’s what is murmured,
and spoken
in treatise and Pura¯nfia.
There is no seeing
that doesn’t perceive it—
but it’s witnessed solely
at the precious guru’s feet.

...

Without meditation,
beyond all renouncing,
living at home
with your wife—
if enjoying things intently
doesn’t free you,
Saraha says,
how can consciousness be free?

...

No tantra, no mantra,
no reflection or recollection—
Hey, fool! All this
is the cause of error.
Mind is unstained—
don’t taint it with meditation;
you’re living in bliss:
don’t torment yourself

,,,

Where senses subside,
and self-nature
cannot stand—
that, you hick, is the finest innate:
ask for it clearly—
it’s got from the guru.

...

When wind and fire
and the mighty power have stopped,
at the time when nectar flows,
winds enter the mind.
When through four absorptions
they enter a single abode,
then utmost great bliss
can’t be contained by space.


I can see parallels because both paths are Mahayana Buddhism and thus share many basic perspective, and I am sure you cherish and find great nurture in this piece. You obviously are very familiar with the insider meanings and the obscure ways of expression. I am sure there is much common ground. However, it seems a bit of a reach to say this is really Zen teaching, especially with the talk of bliss, gurus, rejection of meditation and the like.

Gassho, Jundo
Priest/Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha. Treeleaf Zendo was designed as an online practice place for Zen practitioners who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health concerns, living in remote areas, or work, childcare and family needs, and seeks to provide Zazen sittings, retreats, discussion, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Zen Buddhist Sangha, all fully online. The focus is Shikantaza "Just Sitting" Zazen as instructed by the 13th Century Japanese Master, Eihei Dogen. http://www.treeleaf.org

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Re: The Perfectly Imperfect Beyond Perfection/Imperfection (Zen) Buddha

Postby Grigoris » Tue Apr 05, 2016 8:26 pm

jundo cohen wrote:Well, this "Saraha’s Treasury of Couplets" does seem to be Buddhism, and Mahayana Buddhism...
Seems to be???

If going naked means release,
then the dog and the jackal
must have it;
if baldness is perfection,
then a young girl’s bottom
must have it....
He is talking about Jains and their praxis.
When wind and fire
and the mighty power have stopped,
at the time when nectar flows,
winds enter the mind.
When through four absorptions
they enter a single abode,
then utmost great bliss
can’t be contained by space.
If you included the footnotes this would make perfect sense. Of course it requires the instruction of a teacher, but so does Zen.
However, it seems a bit of a reach to say this is really Zen teaching, especially with the talk of bliss...
Obviously you have not experienced kensho.
gurus...
What of Sosan then? Kansho? Nisshitsu? Sanno?
...rejection of meditation and the like.
So now Zazen is meditation?

Do you even know what you are talking about?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: The Perfectly Imperfect Beyond Perfection/Imperfection (Zen) Buddha

Postby jundo cohen » Tue Apr 05, 2016 8:47 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote: ,,,


You seem very upset, and I apologize for being the cause of that.

Gassho, Jundo
Priest/Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha. Treeleaf Zendo was designed as an online practice place for Zen practitioners who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health concerns, living in remote areas, or work, childcare and family needs, and seeks to provide Zazen sittings, retreats, discussion, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Zen Buddhist Sangha, all fully online. The focus is Shikantaza "Just Sitting" Zazen as instructed by the 13th Century Japanese Master, Eihei Dogen. http://www.treeleaf.org

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Re: The Perfectly Imperfect Beyond Perfection/Imperfection (Zen) Buddha

Postby DGA » Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:04 pm

jundo cohen wrote:it seems a bit of a reach to say this is really Zen teaching, especially with the talk of bliss, gurus, rejection of meditation and the like.


I smell another topic for discussion coming. For now, I am reminded of the discussions we've had before on the role of the teacher. In this post and some ensuing ones...

viewtopic.php?f=69&t=20488&start=40#p298602

...is a description that doesn't use the word "guru" of course but certainly involves a relationship that is anything but dissimilar to that between the Dzogchen guru and disciple.

more on this in a bit.

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Re: The Perfectly Imperfect Beyond Perfection/Imperfection (Zen) Buddha

Postby Grigoris » Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:06 pm

jundo cohen wrote:You seem very upset, and I apologize for being the cause of that.
I am not upset and I don't need your condescending pity.

I asked some questions, based on the Zen paradigm, which seem to point to the similarities of Zen praxis with Mahamudra praxis. Care to answer them, or are you just going to continue patronising me?
Last edited by Grigoris on Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: The Perfectly Imperfect Beyond Perfection/Imperfection (Zen) Buddha

Postby DGA » Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:09 pm

OK, here's a thread on the topic of bliss (sukha) in Zen practice.

viewtopic.php?f=69&t=22385

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Re: The Perfectly Imperfect Beyond Perfection/Imperfection (Zen) Buddha

Postby jundo cohen » Wed Apr 06, 2016 5:28 am

Sherab Dorje wrote:
jundo cohen wrote:]However, it seems a bit of a reach to say this is really Zen teaching, especially with the talk of bliss...
Obviously you have not experienced kensho.


Hi Sherab Dorje,

It would be fine to civilly and softly discuss what appear to be some differences, if you would like. Besides the possible misunderstanding by you of "Kensho/Seeing the Nature" in the Soto Tradition, this question of "bliss" is interesting. I see a separate thread was started, but I would like to address the question here from the point of Soto Zen too.

Dear "Saraha" does seem to speak of reaching "bliss" ...

take that and perfect
the utmost great bliss

footnote: utmost great bliss: One of the most important characteristics of the enlightened mind, the innate, or one’s inmost nature. ... Tantric Buddhism is particularly notable for its description of the ultimate as blissful (see, e.g., HT 1:8, 44, ST 33:22) and for cultivating techniques that stimulate and utilize bliss—including sexual bliss—to attain that ultimate. “Bliss” (Apa. suha; Skt. sukha) is roughly synonymous with such terms as ecstasy (Skt. a¯nanda), delight (Skt. ra¯ga), and rapture (Skt. sura).

Eating and drinking,
enjoying bliss,
ever filling the cakras
again and again:

footnote: filling the cakras: Most likely the tantric yogic process of drawing energies (Skt. pra¯nfia) into the cakras, or nodes, that lie at the intersections of major channels in the subtle body that is within, and fundamental to, our coarse physical body .... It is through such processes that various drops are activated and controlled, and blisses and ecstasies experienced.

at the time when nectar flows,
winds enter the mind

footnote: Most likely, the time when one moves the blissful drop that resides at the crown cakra up and down through the cakras of the central channel, and experiences various degrees of ecstasy, which must be conjoined with a realization of emptiness. The absorption of various coarse physical elements and mental events is a prerequisite for the ecstasies.



I am sure that this is all very powerful for those who practice in such way, but Shikantaza does not speak of bliss and ecstacy and rapture. Such will happen, yet we open the hand of thought and let such go with all the rest.

I searched various translations of Soto materials, and I have found no references to "bliss", especially in Dogen. The closest I came was this caution, in the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives translation of Shobogenzo, perhaps the most flowery in its style (p337, 526) ...

p 337 - 4. That is, such befuddled persons take ‘blissing out’ to be the true goal of meditation.
p. 526 - 19. ... the northern continent of Uttarakuru is associated with the world of celestial beings who see no need to train because they are, at the moment, enjoying a constantly easy and blissful existence.
p. 767 - ... This meditative state, however, is not to be confused with a quietistic or blissful condition, which is simply a passing phase that may arise in spiritual practice.


... and there are more like that ...
http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf/Shobogenzo.pdf

I usually tell students that one is to move beyond feelings of "bliss" as an immature state, and one very tempting for us to run after. We use words like "Joy" and "Bliss" is a very subtle way. In Zazen (and Kensho) one experiences what may be called a "Joy" that shines behind ordinary human experience of feeling joyful or not joyful in any moment, much as a mirror reflects both scenes of joy or scenes of sadness. It is not some "ecstacy" or "rapture" and, while some will and do occur in Zazen, a good teacher will direct students away from such to a much more subtle insight.

[In Zazen], sometimes a sense of joy and rapture may result, sometimes tears and total distraction amid life. Do not insist that any such mental state be permanent, and joy, tears, rapture and distraction are each just emptiness, the ever-always-changing flowing permanently/impermanently flowing flowing flowing. Go with the flow, the flowing just flowing! Allow joyful times to be joyful, tears to be times of tears. This is a kind of Joy which embraces whole little human judgments of "happy and sad". What shines before, beyond and right at the heart of each and all of that?

Shikantaza is a "letting go to the bones" (as a friend expressed elsewhere today), dropping goals and demands to the marrow and beyond. We drop need to feel happy, blissful, peaceful and any other way. Yet, the "method to the madness" (many thus call it a "non-method") is that one thus finds Peace and Happiness which can only be found in such way of finding by not looking ... a Peace (Big "P") that holds and embraces all of life's broken pieces, a Joy (Big "J") that is Joyous right through/beyond/in/precisely as all life's small human judgments of joy or sadness, smiles and tears (a Joy so Joyous that one need not even feel (small j) "joyous" all the time, savored right amid even our sometime ordinary human grief at loss and tears!)

Thus, it is very unique among forms of meditation in which (like most of our goal and attainment driven day-to-day lives) we are trying to get something or get some place, trying to attain some pleasure or treasure. Shikantaza allows one to attain the Treasure (Big "T") right in hand all along by dropping the need to find it over some distant hill. All day, we run after this, and run away from that ... and do not know how to just sit, complete with not feeling a need of running and no place in need of going. Body-Mind Drop Away as the clutching and thirst of body and mind drop away, together with our separation from the surrounding world we are always clutching at or pushing away. The Self-Life-World presents as Whole, without division and friction. Sitting Itself is the only action needed, the only place to be, in that moment and action of sitting ... nothing lacking.

This is not about attaining some blissful state.


This is a kind of subtle "Joy" or "Bliss" that simply need not feel like "joy" or "bliss" in ordinary terms of those worlds, but is the Wholeness and Peace and Allowing which manifests even in Samsara's hardest and ugliest moments, our faces covered in tears and howling with loss of a broken heart.

In Shikantaza Zazen, we sit with the eyes open because we never leave this world and life behind. Our mind is caught by nothing,, yet shuts out nothing. Oh yes, we learn to see through this life and world, as real yet a dream, a phantasm, a dew drop. And, yes, in our Zazen we will often encounter various tastes of rapture or ecstasy, each its own. However (and this is the point of divergence), we do not make the attaining of deep absorbed states, ecstatic states, bliss states, visions, trances or the like the central point or goal of practice. We are not looking for a trippy trip,

What Dogen and the other Masters in the Soto Tradition (and I think so for much of the Zen world as well) is "Anraku", closer to the "Easy Peace" of equanimity which pervades all the ups and down of life.

坐禅は...安楽の法門なり - "The zazen ... is simply the dharma gate of joyful ease" (Fukanzazengi)

(One translation used "bliss" for the above "anraku", and was criticized by other translators as a poor expression of "raku", which is closer to "ease" and "non-resistance").

My understanding is that, even in traditions which emphasize Jhana (which Shikantaza does not, although there are some parallels to the 4th Jnana of equanimity LINK viewtopic.php?f=107&t=22352&p=331626&hilit=shankman#p331626) in fact "bliss" is something that is left behind in the higher Jhana, and is a lesser attainment. ... however, that is not something here or there for the topic at hand.

As Astus points out in the other thread ... such bliss states are seen as something to be avoided. In my view, this a lesser and non-subtle form of meditation experience that students are traditionally pointed away from in the Zen traditions. A human focus on feeling "bliss" misses the point of the Buddha's Truth.

So, at the very least, "Saraha" does not seem to be talking about experiences of "Bliss and Ecstacy" that relate.

There are other points of difference I can see, and your understanding of "Kensho" may be to focused on oa rather narrow definition (from some sources in the Zen world, such as in Sambokyodan, that seem to value ecstatic experiences more than in Shikantaza Soto practice) of what that is too. One has to be careful about trying to understand one Mahayana tradition with partial assumptions, and with the definitions and perspectives of other traditions in the Mahayana.

I hope that is helpful.

Gassho, Jundo
Last edited by jundo cohen on Wed Apr 06, 2016 5:55 am, edited 4 times in total.
Priest/Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha. Treeleaf Zendo was designed as an online practice place for Zen practitioners who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health concerns, living in remote areas, or work, childcare and family needs, and seeks to provide Zazen sittings, retreats, discussion, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Zen Buddhist Sangha, all fully online. The focus is Shikantaza "Just Sitting" Zazen as instructed by the 13th Century Japanese Master, Eihei Dogen. http://www.treeleaf.org

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Re: The Perfectly Imperfect Beyond Perfection/Imperfection (Zen) Buddha

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Apr 06, 2016 5:52 am

Maybe you should actually read the other thread on "bliss", instead of going off about bliss, when clearly you are working with a different definition of it than anyone else. Obviously, no Buddhist teachings talk about Samsaric "bliss" as a goal, so talking as if they do is just a straw man.

In Shikantaza Zazen, we sit with the eyes open because we never leave this world and life behind. Our mind is caught by nothing,, yet shuts out nothing. Oh yes, we learn to see through this life and world, as real yet a dream, a phantasm, a dew drop. And, yes, in our Zazen we will often encounter various tastes of rapture or ecstasy, each its own. However (and this is the point of divergence), we do not make the attaining of deep absorbed states, ecstatic states, bliss states, visions, trances or the like the central point or goal of practice. We are not looking for a trippy trip,


We are not looking for a trippy trip either, which you would know if you were actually more invested in conversing than trying to sell your wares as the Resident Zen Expert.

So, at the very least, "Saraha" does not seem to be talking about experiences of "Bliss and Ecstacy" that relate.


Oh yeah. how do you know that, and what IS he talking about then?
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Re: The Perfectly Imperfect Beyond Perfection/Imperfection (Zen) Buddha

Postby jundo cohen » Wed Apr 06, 2016 6:02 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Maybe you should actually read the other thread on "bliss", instead of going off about bliss, when clearly you are working with a different definition of it than anyone else. Obviously, no Buddhist teachings talk about Samsaric "bliss" as a goal, so talking as if they do is just a straw man.


Hello Johnny,

I am just doing my best to respond in civil and polite tones, without bile. I hope everyone does as well ever where we agree to disagree. I did look at the other thread and the points raised earlier, and will post some there (after getting my daughter to school and such), but wished to answer here because there are actually differences on these questions between Soto Zen and what some others in the Zen world may emphasize, such as some folks in the Harada-Yasutani line who prize ecstatic peak experiences of Kensho.

Anyway, more later. None of us have the final word on these things, and I can only comment from whether in my experience the writings and descriptions offered by SD seemed to resonate with Soto Zen as I know it. I don't feel that they do, although there is much common ground as both are from the common ground of Mahayana. I feel that a subtle understanding of Soto Practice may be lacking, and people are seeing what they what to see (maybe I am guilty of the same when I look at the Tibetan writings which were raised).

I often say that if someone advocates the value of a teaching in Buddhism ... but they have to do so in an upset or hostile tone ... well, can that reflect well on that Buddhist teaching to bring peace to the mind?

Gassho, Jundo
Priest/Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha. Treeleaf Zendo was designed as an online practice place for Zen practitioners who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health concerns, living in remote areas, or work, childcare and family needs, and seeks to provide Zazen sittings, retreats, discussion, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Zen Buddhist Sangha, all fully online. The focus is Shikantaza "Just Sitting" Zazen as instructed by the 13th Century Japanese Master, Eihei Dogen. http://www.treeleaf.org


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