How can I be sure its valid

Anonymous X
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Location: Bangkok

Re: How can I be sure its valid

Post by Anonymous X » Thu May 25, 2017 11:47 am

Zafutales wrote:I don't think I have articulated my question well.

My experience over the years in other traditions has meant that Shikantaza is a tangential in terms of a meditation MO. Be it Anapanasati or Mahasi noting etc... there has always been a focus of sorts with a result or aim (Jhana or Insight). My time spent in the Gelug tradition taught me that deep and active analysis into the nature of the mind was the conduit to understanding.

I struggled with all of the above methods for reasons rendering.

Then I discovered Shikantaza. Wonderful, effortless and immediate in terms of benefits as Meido suggests.

However, as it is so far from my experience and understanding of what the Buddha taught I am concerned that I might be lapsing into a self congratulatory sense of indifference and like I said, 'Zoning Out'.

Hence my question, how do I know the relative ease in which I find I can 'just sit' is not some sort of self delusion and I am in fact wasting my time?

Thanks again :anjali:
Only you know if you're wasting your time and on the wrong track. I think the reason most people are attracted to Zen and its sitting practice is the directness of their own experience. This is all you have, the immediacy of what is going on, to be present, alive, now. Somewhere, in the midst of this, not apart from it, is your own nature. It can be very helpful to either talk with others or study the vast Zen literature to get your focus back on why you are sitting zazen. It's not about watching yourself or getting yourself 'comfortable' with sitting. These are superficial reflections, nothing to do with Zen. For me, the sutras are there to make sure I don't go off the rails. Practicing Zen is not about reading sutras, but you can't practice Zen without confirming your own experience with the sutras.

From Zongmi On Chan:

“all instructional teaching devices inherited from the past first show the original nature and then require reliance on this nature to practice dhyana. In most cases, when the nature is not easily awakened to, it is due to the grasping of characteristics.”

Characteristics are the arising and disappearance of mind. Nature is the substance. Because you don't have direct experience of the nature, you get caught up with the movements of mind. Reverse this, and you resolve these doubts and questions you put to yourself, maybe not fully, but enough to get you past the stage that you are stuck in. Good luck.

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Astus
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Re: How can I be sure its valid

Post by Astus » Thu May 25, 2017 12:16 pm

Zafutales wrote:how do I know the relative ease in which I find I can 'just sit' is not some sort of self delusion and I am in fact wasting my time?
"like a man who drinks water knowing [immediately] whether it is cold or warm."
(Platform Sutra, ch 1, BDK ed, p 25)

If you cannot verify for yourself, who can?

"Are not these matters to be perceived by the eye of wisdom?"
(Atthinukhopariyaayo Sutta)

Perhaps the relevant question is whether one can tell the difference between delusion and enlightenment. So here is a summary of what the goal is in Zen:

"Put down the four elements, do not cling to anything;
In this Nirvanic nature, feel free to eat and drink.
All phenomena are impermanent; all are empty.
This is the complete enlightenment of the Tathagata."

...
"The mind is a sense organ; dharmas are its object.
The two are like marks on a mirror.
Once the dust is rubbed off, the light begins to appear.
When both mind and dharmas are forgotten, this is true nature."

(Song of Enlightenment, in Sword of Wisdom, p 55 and p 171)
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"

boda
Posts: 1667
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:40 pm

Re: How can I be sure its valid

Post by boda » Thu May 25, 2017 11:35 pm

Zafutales wrote:Then I discovered Shikantaza. Wonderful, effortless and immediate in terms of benefits as Meido suggests.

However, as it is so far from my experience and understanding of what the Buddha taught I am concerned that I might be lapsing into a self congratulatory sense of indifference and like I said, 'Zoning Out'.

Hence my question, how do I know the relative ease in which I find I can 'just sit' is not some sort of self delusion and I am in fact wasting my time?
I have to say that I envy the effortless relative ease of your shikantaza. I've always found it challenging. It's about as difficult for me as it is to maintain relative mindfulness throughout the day.

Also, I find "Zoning Out" an odd description for being mindful and aware. It seems to opposite to me. Maybe someone else has already mentioned this.

Zafutales
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 10:59 am

Re: How can I be sure its valid

Post by Zafutales » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:08 pm

Anonymous X wrote:
Zafutales wrote:I don't think I have articulated my question well.

My experience over the years in other traditions has meant that Shikantaza is a tangential in terms of a meditation MO. Be it Anapanasati or Mahasi noting etc... there has always been a focus of sorts with a result or aim (Jhana or Insight). My time spent in the Gelug tradition taught me that deep and active analysis into the nature of the mind was the conduit to understanding.

I struggled with all of the above methods for reasons rendering.

Then I discovered Shikantaza. Wonderful, effortless and immediate in terms of benefits as Meido suggests.

However, as it is so far from my experience and understanding of what the Buddha taught I am concerned that I might be lapsing into a self congratulatory sense of indifference and like I said, 'Zoning Out'.

Hence my question, how do I know the relative ease in which I find I can 'just sit' is not some sort of self delusion and I am in fact wasting my time?

Thanks again :anjali:
Only you know if you're wasting your time and on the wrong track. I think the reason most people are attracted to Zen and its sitting practice is the directness of their own experience. This is all you have, the immediacy of what is going on, to be present, alive, now. Somewhere, in the midst of this, not apart from it, is your own nature. It can be very helpful to either talk with others or study the vast Zen literature to get your focus back on why you are sitting zazen. It's not about watching yourself or getting yourself 'comfortable' with sitting. These are superficial reflections, nothing to do with Zen. For me, the sutras are there to make sure I don't go off the rails. Practicing Zen is not about reading sutras, but you can't practice Zen without confirming your own experience with the sutras.

From Zongmi On Chan:

“all instructional teaching devices inherited from the past first show the original nature and then require reliance on this nature to practice dhyana. In most cases, when the nature is not easily awakened to, it is due to the grasping of characteristics.”

Characteristics are the arising and disappearance of mind. Nature is the substance. Because you don't have direct experience of the nature, you get caught up with the movements of mind. Reverse this, and you resolve these doubts and questions you put to yourself, maybe not fully, but enough to get you past the stage that you are stuck in. Good luck.
Thanks for that...inspiring!

Zafutales
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 10:59 am

Re: How can I be sure its valid

Post by Zafutales » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:12 pm

Astus wrote:
If you cannot verify for yourself, who can?


"Put down the four elements, do not cling to anything;
In this Nirvanic nature, feel free to eat and drink.
All phenomena are impermanent; all are empty.
This is the complete enlightenment of the Tathagata."

...
"The mind is a sense organ; dharmas are its object.
The two are like marks on a mirror.
Once the dust is rubbed off, the light begins to appear.
When both mind and dharmas are forgotten, this is true nature."

(Song of Enlightenment, in Sword of Wisdom, p 55 and p 171)
Nice quotes and you're right - if I can't who can?

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