Can Shikantaza be done "wrong", or is an attempt at it automatically successful?

HePo
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Re: Can Shikantaza be done "wrong", or is an attempt at it automatically successful?

Post by HePo » Mon May 25, 2020 10:14 pm

LastLegend wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 9:58 pm
HePo wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 9:45 pm


This is the Soto Zen Section - so please show where "The Twelve Vows of the Medicine Buddha upon attaining Enlightenment" is mentioned anywhere in the Soto Zen literature.
Feel free to ignore.

You indeed are very kind.
No. You are. I am the devil here.
How many of the teachers do you personally know, have met and spend time with to come this conclusion?
https://zenteachers.org/members-of-azta.html

fwiw: i have no idea who on this list is enlightened or not and i have met the majority of them.
They will need to tell you exactly what Buddha nature is and what enlightenment is based on their experience. And you need to know exactly what Buddha nature (enlightened nature) is in your experience in order to know whether their description of enlightenment is true!

I have met one.
They will need to tell you exactly what Buddha nature is and what enlightenment is based on their experience. And you need to know exactly what Buddha nature (enlightened nature) is in your experience in order to know whether their description of enlightenment is true!

I have met one.
You are saying you are enlightened......!

Since you do not seem to be able answer simple direct questions - i willl bow out.

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LastLegend
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Re: Can Shikantaza be done "wrong", or is an attempt at it automatically successful?

Post by LastLegend » Mon May 25, 2020 10:18 pm

HePo wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 10:14 pm
You are saying you are enlightened......!
Of course not the layer of ignorance is not easy to transcend. Would need to know what the layer of ignorance is.
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.

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Meido
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Re: Can Shikantaza be done "wrong", or is an attempt at it automatically successful?

Post by Meido » Mon May 25, 2020 11:15 pm

LastLegend wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 8:56 pm
It’s rare now that meditation produces enlightened beings: 1) Buddha nature is not explained clearly and most of us today don’t even know that this state of clarity is still consciousness being the second moon. Let alone how is first moon clearly explained? 2) There is no explanation post enlightenment work or what enlightenment looks like. This goes for all Zen in East Asia even in Vietnam, China, Korea, etc. The original intention of Zen/Chan is to quickly produce enlightened beings, but that has become difficult. Enlightenment isn’t a place we want to go to but of course the choice to stay because of vows or just leave. Zen is still Mahayana a vehicle for many not just individual. I come off as disrespectful and offensive, but just to be clear people can strictly follow lineage of Zazen and that is introduced to Buddha nature and practice Zazen sitting. That’s cool.
You do not come across as disrespectful and offensive. Just confusing, and prone to generalization in a manner I find puzzling. As to your points:
1) Buddha nature is not explained clearly and most of us today don’t even know that this state of clarity is still consciousness being the second moon. Let alone how is first moon clearly explained?
What is signified by one's "nature" is indeed explained quite clearly in Chan/Zen teaching. Such explanations rest upon and serve to explicate experiential, rather than intellectual, grasp of the essential point, and are given by a teacher who can demonstrate or manifest that understanding. I do not say such teachers are common anywhere. But since one relies upon one's teacher as the foundation of practice anyway, it is hardly something about which to make sweeping statements outside the context of that relationship, or expect to talk about in a place like this except in the most general terms.

I am not sure what you mean by first and second moons.
2) There is no explanation post enlightenment work or what enlightenment looks like. This goes for all Zen in East Asia even in Vietnam, China, Korea, etc.
Post-kensho practice is quite precisely explained, as is its fruition. On the Rinzai Zen side, basically pick up any text at all, since it is the main subject about which all the great masters were deeply concerned and for which the broke their bones in practice (see the quote in my signature for one such master, who wrote about it extensively).
The original intention of Zen/Chan is to quickly produce enlightened beings, but that has become difficult. Enlightenment isn’t a place we want to go to but of course the choice to stay because of vows or just leave.
I have no idea what you are saying here. The intention of Zen is liberation. It has always been difficult, in one sense. If you are lamenting that there are not many deeply realized people in the modern era, that is fine. But the correct response to such feeling is to resolve to become deeply realized oneself, abandon pointless activities, and then set about doing so with all one's energy. Posting here may not be the optimal use of one's time, if one is so determined (a critique I share for myself).

It does seem, though, that we have veered far off topic.
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one’s true nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly [according to this understanding], in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - Torei

The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice

Hidden Zen: Practices for Sudden Awakening and Embodied Realization

Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org

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Re: Can Shikantaza be done "wrong", or is an attempt at it automatically successful?

Post by LastLegend » Tue May 26, 2020 1:21 am

Meido wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 11:15 pm
What is signified by one's "nature" is indeed explained quite clearly in Chan/Zen teaching. Such explanations rest upon and serve to explicate experiential, rather than intellectual, grasp of the essential point, and are given by a teacher who can demonstrate or manifest that understanding. I do not say such teachers are common anywhere. But since one relies upon one's teacher as the foundation of practice anyway, it is hardly something about which to make sweeping statements outside the context of that relationship, or expect to talk about in a place like this except in the most general terms.
I won’t contest about sweeping statements. Nature has not been described in that clear experience as almost nothing there but of course that would mislead to nihilism, yet there is inherent wisdom (enlightened in itself easily mistaken, it’s no thing or object of perception). If that clear experience is seen as enlightenment, that’s the second moon. It has always been an arduous journey for patriarchs of Zen/Chen precisely to fully unveil that wisdom is not easy since it has been long covered by skandhas which include a layer of ignorance (a division even as fine as not traceable) is really hard to transcend. Arduous journey may not necessarily be a bone breaking practice. It could mean a lot of things like sleeping in the toilet 😄, breaking up with family, etc because there is no place to go. It’s the path against rebirth so. I haven’t gone through that.
Post-kensho practice is quite precisely explained, as is its fruition. On the Rinzai Zen side, basically pick up any text at all, since it is the main subject about which all the great masters were deeply concerned and for which the broke their bones in practice (see the quote in my signature for one such master, who wrote about it extensively).
Sure but I don’t mean like still carrying water and chop woods just like before and that’s it. I meant things like vows. For example, does that text talk about how to transform a storm from hitting?
Last edited by LastLegend on Tue May 26, 2020 1:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.

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LastLegend
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Re: Can Shikantaza be done "wrong", or is an attempt at it automatically successful?

Post by LastLegend » Tue May 26, 2020 1:23 am

Meido wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 11:15 pm

I have no idea what you are saying here. The intention of Zen is liberation. It has always been difficult, in one sense. If you are lamenting that there are not many deeply realized people in the modern era, that is fine. But the correct response to such feeling is to resolve to become deeply realized oneself, abandon pointless activities, and then set about doing so with all one's energy. Posting here may not be the optimal use of one's time, if one is so determined (a critique I share for myself).

It does seem, though, that we have veered far off topic.
This is where we disagree. I get the background of discipline and practice.
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.

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Re: Can Shikantaza be done "wrong", or is an attempt at it automatically successful?

Post by reiun » Tue May 26, 2020 2:31 am

LastLegend wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 1:23 am
This is where we disagree. I get the background of discipline and practice.
Practice and discipline are foreground in zen.

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LastLegend
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Re: Can Shikantaza be done "wrong", or is an attempt at it automatically successful?

Post by LastLegend » Tue May 26, 2020 3:19 am

spike wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 2:31 am
LastLegend wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 1:23 am
This is where we disagree. I get the background of discipline and practice.
Practice and discipline are foreground in zen.
This is where diverse of views come in which lead to endless discussion for thousands of years. The issue at hand is it’s not always obvious to recognize that empty enlightened nature even with direct introduction. There is a division that still operates at all time whether it’s fine as dust motes.
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.

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Re: Can Shikantaza be done "wrong", or is an attempt at it automatically successful?

Post by reiun » Tue May 26, 2020 3:35 am

Once again, I have no idea what you are trying to say.

Feel free to have the last word. I will take Meido roshi's advice regarding use of time.

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Re: Can Shikantaza be done "wrong", or is an attempt at it automatically successful?

Post by friendly » Tue May 26, 2020 10:28 am

Matylda wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 2:41 pm
沢木興道自伝

this could be the title. If Muho has all books by Sawaki roshi there will be no problem to find it. I checked Japanese edition of wikipedia tey have bibliography but very short.. He had written many more books. Myslef I had once 20 vol edition and it was not all.

As for the content of his JIDEN it was just according to his life chronology. There was a chap. about his time as a shike at Daijiji in Kumamoto, his love experience when he was a young monk and how he met the lady maybe 40 or 50 yeas later when they were both over 70 etc etc.. just what comes to my memory 20 years after reading the book, which I made a present to someone else later on.
Muho Abbot of Antaiji answer about this. The only 沢木興道自伝 he ever heard is Sakai's pseudo-autobiography. No information online, or he ever saw. He say "It is usually said that Sawaki Roshi never wrote a book, although there were quite a number that were collected from his talks and published during his life time."
Matylda wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 2:40 pm
Another suggestion is to ask other heirs of Sawaki roshi. Sakai roshi, Murakami roshi or others who are still alive. They should know his jiden
Sorry, Sakai Roshi not living, he died 20 years ago. Murakami Roshi does not have email, so hard to ask. Maybe will try.

So, if Sawaki never wrote own book, only pseudo-biography made from quote and stories, then please do not claim this without evidence? No record. It is urban legend to Antaiji people. Even if so, Sawaki Roshi never thought worthwhile to pass on to heirs. Also, his later talk very much against Kensho and koan zazen. So, even if so, he changed opinion?

Sorry to bother.

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Re: Can Shikantaza be done "wrong", or is an attempt at it automatically successful?

Post by friendly » Tue May 26, 2020 10:38 am

Matylda wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 7:11 pm
friendly wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 5:20 pm
Monastery is safe behind walls, but world is fire. Not for coward, no place to run.
Monastery is not exactly behind the walls. It is good place for zazen if not the best, at least according to Dogen's teachings. But he did not deny lay practice. Never. However the world is full of distraction, it is in fact not place for practice. But there is no other way, than to try our best.
Yes, Master Dogen sometimes change his tune, sometimes more like priest when talking priest, sometimes like lay man when talking lay man. I like Bendowa Dogen
Question 13: Should zazen be practiced by lay men and women, or should it be practiced by home leavers alone?

Answer: The ancestors say, “In understanding buddha dharma, men and women, noble and common people, are not distinguished.”

Question 14: Home leaver are free from various involvements and do not have hindrances in zazen in pursuit of the way. How can the laity, who are variously occupied, practice single-mindedly and accord with the buddha way which is unconditioned?

Answer: Buddha ancestors, out of their kindness, have opened the wide gate of compassion in order to let all sentient beings enter realization. Who among humans and heavenly beings cannot enter?

If you look back to ancient times the examples are many. To begin with, Emperors Dai and Shun had many obligations on the throne; nevertheless, they practiced zazen in pursuit of the way, and penetrated the great way of buddha ancestors. Ministers Li and Fang both closely served their emperors but they practiced zazen, pursued the way, and entered realization in the great way of buddha ancestors.

This just depends on whether you have the willingness or not. It does not matter whether you are a lay person or home leaver. Those who can discern excellence invariably come to trust in this practice. Those who regard worldly affairs as a hindrance to buddha dharma think only that there is no buddha dharma in the secular world; they do not understand that there is no secular world in buddha dharma.

Recently, there was a high official of Great Song, Minister Feng, who was an adept in the ancestral way. He once wrote a poem concerning his view of practice:

I enjoy zazen between my official duties,

and seldom sleep lying on a bed.

Although I appear to be a minister,

I’m known as a Buddhist elder throughout the country.

Although he was busy in his official duties, he attained the way because he had a deep intention towards the buddha way. When considering someone like him, reflect on yourself and illuminate the present with the past.

In Song China, kings and ministers, officials and common people, men and women, grounded their intention on the ancestral way. Both warriors and literary people aroused the intention to practice Zen and study the way. Among those who pursued this intention, many of them illuminated their mind-ground. From this we understand that worldly duties do not hinder the buddha dharma.

When the true buddha dharma is spread widely in the nation, the rule of the monarch is peaceful because all buddhas and devas protect it unceasingly. If the rule is peaceful the buddha dharma gains eminence.

When Shakyamuni Buddha was alive, even those who previously had committed serious crimes or had mistaken views attained the way. In the assemblies of the ancestors, hunters and woodcutters attained enlightenment. As it was so for them at that time, it is so for anyone now. Just seek the teaching of an authentic master.

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Re: Can Shikantaza be done "wrong", or is an attempt at it automatically successful?

Post by Matylda » Tue May 26, 2020 2:40 pm

I had left Sawaki's JIDEN in Sendai 20 years ago. Yes and JIDEN means basically that it was written by him, anyway it sounded like. There is chance that I will get it one day, myself I am very curious about the book. But i read it wih big interest since it was really interesting. Muho is not only surviving person connected to Sawaki group, neither was Uchiyama roshi as I said before.
I also did not find any bibliography saying about JIDEN, but i do not think that I remember in wrong way. As I wrote before in the book are his memories when he was young and fell badly in love, there is meticulous description of monastery Daijiji, where he served as a shike, there are details about number of hours of zazen, style of discipline etc. migt be Muho is able to figure out which book it contains.. of course there is about Oka Sotan etc.

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Re: Can Shikantaza be done "wrong", or is an attempt at it automatically successful?

Post by friendly » Tue May 26, 2020 3:05 pm

Matylda wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 2:40 pm
I had left Sawaki's JIDEN in Sendai 20 years ago. Yes and JIDEN means basically that it was written by him, anyway it sounded like. There is chance that I will get it one day, myself I am very curious about the book. But i read it wih big interest since it was really interesting. Muho is not only surviving person connected to Sawaki group, neither was Uchiyama roshi as I said before.
I also did not find any bibliography saying about JIDEN, but i do not think that I remember in wrong way. As I wrote before in the book are his memories when he was young and fell badly in love, there is meticulous description of monastery Daijiji, where he served as a shike, there are details about number of hours of zazen, style of discipline etc. migt be Muho is able to figure out which book it contains.. of course there is about Oka Sotan etc.
Hum. So maybe you should hesitate in your claim of Inka without more evidence? Also there is evidence that Sawaki criticize such practice later. If you have some evidence you can find beside memory?

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Re: Can Shikantaza be done "wrong", or is an attempt at it automatically successful?

Post by Matylda » Tue May 26, 2020 3:13 pm

friendly wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 3:05 pm
Matylda wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 2:40 pm
I had left Sawaki's JIDEN in Sendai 20 years ago. Yes and JIDEN means basically that it was written by him, anyway it sounded like. There is chance that I will get it one day, myself I am very curious about the book. But i read it wih big interest since it was really interesting. Muho is not only surviving person connected to Sawaki group, neither was Uchiyama roshi as I said before.
I also did not find any bibliography saying about JIDEN, but i do not think that I remember in wrong way. As I wrote before in the book are his memories when he was young and fell badly in love, there is meticulous description of monastery Daijiji, where he served as a shike, there are details about number of hours of zazen, style of discipline etc. migt be Muho is able to figure out which book it contains.. of course there is about Oka Sotan etc.
Hum. So maybe you should hesitate in your claim of Inka without more evidence? Also there is evidence that Sawaki criticize such practice later. If you have some evidence you can find beside memory?
Why should I hasitate? I am not lying about what I read. Sawaki has criticized many things what is nothing unusual anyway. Many teachers criticized what they viewed as wrong. Anyway what is true about Sawaki is that group of his disciples was much more critical than he himself. And if you speak of his cricicism concerning inka, you should quote complete statment spoken or written by him. Otherwise it can be easily manipulated what often happened with the views of different teachers including Sawaki himself.

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Re: Can Shikantaza be done "wrong", or is an attempt at it automatically successful?

Post by friendly » Wed May 27, 2020 12:20 am

Matylda wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 3:13 pm

Why should I hasitate? I am not lying about what I read.
Oh, not lie! Very different! Your very sincere words. Maybe forgot because long ago? Like just did not know that Sakai Roshi dead 20 years go? Sometimes we don't have full information. Nobody thinks that Sawaki Roshi himself wrote anything himself, only talks compiled by others. So maybe not jiden. We ask yesterday Arthur Braverman, who is Sawaki biographer, and he said "I don’t know of any Sawaki jiden. Sawaki studied with Oka Sotan but not really under him much. He went to Oka’s lectures and Oka put him in charge of Daijiji. But frankly I think the rest is bull" However, he say can never be 100% sure anything! :smile:

By the way, I don't think that Sawaki Roshi was critic of Inka Shomei for others. As is well know, Sawaki is lifelong friend with great Rinzai priest 加藤耕山. Very respect each other.

It is just that in his writings like 「禅のさとり 証道歌を語る」he is Shikantaza Shikantaza Shikantaza on many pages. You have that book? It is also just his talks compiled. I need to scan, but can send you Japanese parts. Only comments about Koan is about Mu Koan, where he criticize people who resolve Koan by barking like dog, or recite poem or make sound like a crow. He say to just sit no gaining mind.

So, maybe just misunderstanding? Or he changed mind when mature? Maybe when you tell your opinion so don't be so certain?

Small thing. It does not matter important.

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Re: Can Shikantaza be done "wrong", or is an attempt at it automatically successful?

Post by Matylda » Wed May 27, 2020 9:59 am

friendly wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 12:20 am
Matylda wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 3:13 pm

Why should I hasitate? I am not lying about what I read.
Oh, not lie! Very different! Your very sincere words. Maybe forgot because long ago? Like just did not know that Sakai Roshi dead 20 years go? Sometimes we don't have full information. Nobody thinks that Sawaki Roshi himself wrote anything himself, only talks compiled by others. So maybe not jiden. We ask yesterday Arthur Braverman, who is Sawaki biographer, and he said "I don’t know of any Sawaki jiden. Sawaki studied with Oka Sotan but not really under him much. He went to Oka’s lectures and Oka put him in charge of Daijiji. But frankly I think the rest is bull" However, he say can never be 100% sure anything! :smile:

By the way, I don't think that Sawaki Roshi was critic of Inka Shomei for others. As is well know, Sawaki is lifelong friend with great Rinzai priest 加藤耕山. Very respect each other.

It is just that in his writings like 「禅のさとり 証道歌を語る」he is Shikantaza Shikantaza Shikantaza on many pages. You have that book? It is also just his talks compiled. I need to scan, but can send you Japanese parts. Only comments about Koan is about Mu Koan, where he criticize people who resolve Koan by barking like dog, or recite poem or make sound like a crow. He say to just sit no gaining mind.

So, maybe just misunderstanding? Or he changed mind when mature? Maybe when you tell your opinion so don't be so certain?

Small thing. It does not matter important.

Yes of course Sawaki roshi was great proponent of shikan taza. My memory is pretty well, still, and i cannot forget such tings like inka etc. since it was kind of suprise for me as well. I guess I can get the book and then will show complete quotation. But it will take pretty long time.
I do not have many books by Sawaki now, maybe 5 vol not more. Some I needed for a while, but not anymore.
Kato Kozan whom you recall was indeed good friend of Sawaki, this I mentioned before without giving name.

Kozan roshi was a soto monk, who practiced in rinzai for almost 40 years. He was very critical of rinzai as well as of soto and Sawaki roshi himself teasing him about over intellectual, book-like zen. In fact Sawaki's backgraound as well as Oka Sotan's was scholar circles of Nishiari Bokusan, who was the father of all this lineage of pactice, denial of kenso and koan practice etc. actually it was pretty new in soto, which in times of Dogen, Keizan and other most important soto teachers never denied koan practice itself and used it very freely. It was 19th century which brought definite change of approach due to Bokusan campain.

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Re: Can Shikantaza be done "wrong", or is an attempt at it automatically successful?

Post by Matylda » Wed May 27, 2020 1:34 pm

As for Kato Kozan, originally he was a soto monk and soto temple priest, when young, but soon started sesshin at Engakuji under guidence of Shaku Soen. He gave himself to rinzai practice at Shogenji later on and when 40 yo in Bairinji, since e could not find teacher in soto.
He was critical of rinzai for giving aprroval too easily, and of soto since it became to scholastic. He had 2 successors, one was soto monk the other one rinzai. He never took any position in spite of being asked several times, ad he warned monks wo practiced wit him to abandon any position with excepion of taking small temple. He was exremely interesting teacher with unusual character. Among monks who practiced with him only one became abbot of the monastery, actually Rinzaiji in Shizuoka. But it was not any main monastery, rather small sodo, one of 39 rinzai sodos.
Kozan roshi lived exemely simple life, in a very poor temple. But it was place of many pilgrimages made by very serious zen practitioners both from rinzai and soto, who did private sesshins with him.

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Re: Can Shikantaza be done "wrong", or is an attempt at it automatically successful?

Post by jake » Wed May 27, 2020 1:38 pm

I have enjoyed learning a bit more of the history of Soto and Rinzai priests but let us return to the original topic of this thread.

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Re: Can Shikantaza be done "wrong", or is an attempt at it automatically successful?

Post by Matylda » Wed May 27, 2020 7:44 pm

jake wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 1:38 pm
I have enjoyed learning a bit more of the history of Soto and Rinzai priests but let us return to the original topic of this thread.
very indirectly it still was... the conclusion is - shikan taza is very advanced state and if not properly instructed one may go far off the road, there is nothing what we could call an attempt which is automatically successful. Could be just opposite. Could bring extremely bad result wich will be verified at the time of death.

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Re: Can Shikantaza be done "wrong", or is an attempt at it automatically successful?

Post by Lillian » Sun May 31, 2020 5:00 pm

What an interesting discussion. My Zen teacher Ken used to say that one is doing Shikantaza right when one is beyond beyond right and wrong. When one is beyond beyond right and wrong, and beyond oneself, somehow the world is right.

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Re: Can Shikantaza be done "wrong", or is an attempt at it automatically successful?

Post by humble.student » Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:07 am

Matylda wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 7:40 am
His book was not available as a bestseller, it was knonwn in very small circle in fact. There are not many volumes left today. One may hardly get it in a few special buddhist bookstores in Japan were customers are mainly zen teachers or uni teachers. and the price is very high.
Hi Matylda, Do you mean the collected works 原坦山和尚全集 ? Do you know if this is still available anywhere?

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