The Goal Of Meditation.

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Joka
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The Goal Of Meditation.

Post by Joka » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:07 pm

When one meditates, what is its goal for the individual? What is its purpose? What is meditation fulfilling?

Also, for the poor working class slob like myself that is constantly working seven days a week, can the same kind of attainment be done with just purely mental meditation while working?

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Anders
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Re: The Goal Of Meditation.

Post by Anders » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:29 pm

Since this was posted in the soto section, I'll give the soto take on it. I like how Alan Watts once expressed it:

"...Zazen is most fundamentally not a method for achieving anything. It is, like dancing, an expression of achievement".

When I heard that, it clicked for me why Dogen insisted that "we sit in zazen because that is how a Buddha sits."

Or put another way, zazen is a really good way for us to express our innate buddhahood.

=====

Now for the more gritty practically oriented take:

What is the purpose? You know best, really. Possible answers include: Calming an otherwise compulsively busy mind for a bit of peace, giving room for consciousness to express itself, developing a joy from within, answering the call of your heart's innermost and subtlest desires, etc.

Can 'it' be done? I presume you mean the sort of initial awakening often spoken of in Zen? I think so. Rather than think of it as a checklist, I prefer to think of it as raising a storm of conditions. Zazen, a dedicated lifestyle, a teacher - These are all powerful forces to help kick up a storm. Take them away doesn't mean it is impossible, but you will probably need to kick it up a notch or ten on the other factors of practise to generate similar power.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

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Astus
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Re: The Goal Of Meditation.

Post by Astus » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:56 pm

Joka wrote:When one meditates, what is its goal for the individual? What is its purpose? What is meditation fulfilling?
Zanmai-o-zanmai (SBGZ, BDK ed, vol 3, p 371):

To transcend the whole universe at once, to live a great and valuable life in the house of the Buddhist patriarchs, is to sit in the full lotus posture. To tread over the heads of non-Buddhists and demons; to become, in the inner sanctum of the Buddhist patriarchs, a person in the concrete state, is to sit in the full lotus posture. To transcend the supremacy of the Buddhist patriarchs’ supremacy, there is only this one method. Therefore, Buddhist patriarchs practice it solely, having no other practices at all. Remember, the universe in sitting is far different from other universes. Clearly understanding this truth, Buddhist patriarchs pursue and realize the establishment of the will, training, the state of bodhi, and nirvana.
Joka wrote:Also, for the poor working class slob like myself that is constantly working seven days a week, can the same kind of attainment be done with just purely mental meditation while working?
Bendowa (SBGZ, BDK ed, vol 1, p 16-17):

[Someone] asks, “People who leave home get free of all involvements at once, so they have no hindrances in practicing zazen and pursuing the truth. How can a busy layperson devotedly do training and be at one with the unintentional state of Buddhist truth?”

I say: In general, the Buddhist Patriarch,86 overfilled with pity, left open a wide and great gate of compassion so that all living beings could experience and enter [the state of truth]; what human being or god could not want to enter? Thus, when we study the past and the present, there are many confirmations of such [experience and entry]. For instance, Taisō and Junsō were, as emperors, very busy with affairs of state [but] they pursued the truth by sitting in zazen and realized the Buddhist Patriarch’s great truth. Both Minister Ri (Ch. Li) and Minister Bō (Ch. Fang), serving as [the emperor’s] lieutenants, were the arms and legs of the whole nation [but] they pursued the truth by sitting in zazen and experienced and entered the Buddhist Patriarch’s truth. This [practice-and-experience] rests only upon whether or not the will is present; it does not relate to whether the body stays at home or leaves home. Moreover, any person who profoundly discerns the superiority or inferiority of things will naturally have belief. Still more, those who think that worldly affairs hinder the Buddha-Dharma only know that there is no Buddha-Dharma in the world; they do not know that there are no worldly dharmas in the state of Buddha. Recently in great Song [China] there was [a man] called Minister Hyō (Ch. Feng), a high-ranking official who was accomplished in the Patriarch’s truth. In his later years he made a poem in which he expressed himself as follows:

When official business allows, I like to sit in zazen.
I have seldom slept with my side touching a bed.
Though I have now become prime minister,
My fame as a veteran practitioner has spread across the four seas.

This was somebody with no time free from official duties but, because his will to the Buddha’s truth was deep, he was able to attain the truth. We should reflect on ourselves [in comparison] with him, and we should reflect on the present [in comparison] with those days. In the great kingdom of Song, the present generation of kings and ministers, officials and commoners, men and women, all apply their mind to the Patriarch’s truth, without exception. Both the military and literary classes are resolved to practice [za]zen and to learn the truth. Those who resolve it will, in many cases, undoubtedly clarify the mental state. Thus, it can naturally be inferred that worldly affairs do not hinder the Buddha-Dharma. When the real Buddha-Dharma spreads throughout a nation the buddhas and the gods guard [that nation] ceaselessly, so the reign is peaceful. When the imperial reign is peaceful, the Buddha- Dharma comes into its own. Furthermore, when Śākyamuni was in the world, [even] people of heavy sins and wrong views were able to get the truth, and in the orders of the ancestral masters, [even] hunters and old woodcutters entered the state of realization, to say nothing of other people. We need only study the teaching and the state of truth of a true teacher.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Joka
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Re: The Goal Of Meditation.

Post by Joka » Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:35 pm

Anders wrote:Since this was posted in the soto section, I'll give the soto take on it. I like how Alan Watts once expressed it:

"...Zazen is most fundamentally not a method for achieving anything. It is, like dancing, an expression of achievement".

When I heard that, it clicked for me why Dogen insisted that "we sit in zazen because that is how a Buddha sits."

Or put another way, zazen is a really good way for us to express our innate buddhahood.

=====

Now for the more gritty practically oriented take:

What is the purpose? You know best, really. Possible answers include: Calming an otherwise compulsively busy mind for a bit of peace, giving room for consciousness to express itself, developing a joy from within, answering the call of your heart's innermost and subtlest desires, etc.

Can 'it' be done? I presume you mean the sort of initial awakening often spoken of in Zen? I think so. Rather than think of it as a checklist, I prefer to think of it as raising a storm of conditions. Zazen, a dedicated lifestyle, a teacher - These are all powerful forces to help kick up a storm. Take them away doesn't mean it is impossible, but you will probably need to kick it up a notch or ten on the other factors of practise to generate similar power.
Thank you for that insight. That helps with some of my questions above.

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Joka
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Re: The Goal Of Meditation.

Post by Joka » Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:38 pm

Astus wrote:
Joka wrote:When one meditates, what is its goal for the individual? What is its purpose? What is meditation fulfilling?
Zanmai-o-zanmai (SBGZ, BDK ed, vol 3, p 371):

To transcend the whole universe at once, to live a great and valuable life in the house of the Buddhist patriarchs, is to sit in the full lotus posture. To tread over the heads of non-Buddhists and demons; to become, in the inner sanctum of the Buddhist patriarchs, a person in the concrete state, is to sit in the full lotus posture. To transcend the supremacy of the Buddhist patriarchs’ supremacy, there is only this one method. Therefore, Buddhist patriarchs practice it solely, having no other practices at all. Remember, the universe in sitting is far different from other universes. Clearly understanding this truth, Buddhist patriarchs pursue and realize the establishment of the will, training, the state of bodhi, and nirvana.
Joka wrote:Also, for the poor working class slob like myself that is constantly working seven days a week, can the same kind of attainment be done with just purely mental meditation while working?
Bendowa (SBGZ, BDK ed, vol 1, p 16-17):

[Someone] asks, “People who leave home get free of all involvements at once, so they have no hindrances in practicing zazen and pursuing the truth. How can a busy layperson devotedly do training and be at one with the unintentional state of Buddhist truth?”

I say: In general, the Buddhist Patriarch,86 overfilled with pity, left open a wide and great gate of compassion so that all living beings could experience and enter [the state of truth]; what human being or god could not want to enter? Thus, when we study the past and the present, there are many confirmations of such [experience and entry]. For instance, Taisō and Junsō were, as emperors, very busy with affairs of state [but] they pursued the truth by sitting in zazen and realized the Buddhist Patriarch’s great truth. Both Minister Ri (Ch. Li) and Minister Bō (Ch. Fang), serving as [the emperor’s] lieutenants, were the arms and legs of the whole nation [but] they pursued the truth by sitting in zazen and experienced and entered the Buddhist Patriarch’s truth. This [practice-and-experience] rests only upon whether or not the will is present; it does not relate to whether the body stays at home or leaves home. Moreover, any person who profoundly discerns the superiority or inferiority of things will naturally have belief. Still more, those who think that worldly affairs hinder the Buddha-Dharma only know that there is no Buddha-Dharma in the world; they do not know that there are no worldly dharmas in the state of Buddha. Recently in great Song [China] there was [a man] called Minister Hyō (Ch. Feng), a high-ranking official who was accomplished in the Patriarch’s truth. In his later years he made a poem in which he expressed himself as follows:

When official business allows, I like to sit in zazen.
I have seldom slept with my side touching a bed.
Though I have now become prime minister,
My fame as a veteran practitioner has spread across the four seas.

This was somebody with no time free from official duties but, because his will to the Buddha’s truth was deep, he was able to attain the truth. We should reflect on ourselves [in comparison] with him, and we should reflect on the present [in comparison] with those days. In the great kingdom of Song, the present generation of kings and ministers, officials and commoners, men and women, all apply their mind to the Patriarch’s truth, without exception. Both the military and literary classes are resolved to practice [za]zen and to learn the truth. Those who resolve it will, in many cases, undoubtedly clarify the mental state. Thus, it can naturally be inferred that worldly affairs do not hinder the Buddha-Dharma. When the real Buddha-Dharma spreads throughout a nation the buddhas and the gods guard [that nation] ceaselessly, so the reign is peaceful. When the imperial reign is peaceful, the Buddha- Dharma comes into its own. Furthermore, when Śākyamuni was in the world, [even] people of heavy sins and wrong views were able to get the truth, and in the orders of the ancestral masters, [even] hunters and old woodcutters entered the state of realization, to say nothing of other people. We need only study the teaching and the state of truth of a true teacher.
A very informative post! I will have to re-read this within the coming days and this post is extremely helpful.

Matylda
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Re: The Goal Of Meditation.

Post by Matylda » Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:09 am

Joka wrote:When one meditates, what is its goal for the individual? What is its purpose? What is meditation fulfilling?

Also, for the poor working class slob like myself that is constantly working seven days a week, can the same kind of attainment be done with just purely mental meditation while working?
it is very simple.. attaining buddhahood.. all what is above it is how it is taught within soto zen.. but goal is clear... as for busy people, one needs a master who can give key points instructions concerning active meditation, not only sitting meditation.

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PuerAzaelis
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Re: The Goal Of Meditation.

Post by PuerAzaelis » Sat Mar 18, 2017 12:35 am

Joka wrote:When one meditates, what is its goal for the individual? What is its purpose? What is meditation fulfilling?
What kind of meditation?
And nobody in all of Oz. No Wizard that there is or was.

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Re: The Goal Of Meditation.

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:17 am

Meditation is not actually doing anything, if anything it's an unwinding of "doing".
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

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Re: The Goal Of Meditation.

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:28 am

Two good Sōtō Zen books - Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, Shunryu Suzuki (basic text of San Francisco Zen Centre)

To Meet the Real Dragon - Gudo Wafu Nishijima

They're especially useful for Western lay practitioners.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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