This simply doesn't make any sense.....

Genjo Conan
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Re: This simply doesn't make any sense.....

Post by Genjo Conan »

Justmeagain wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 6:49 am
Genjo Conan wrote: Tue Sep 08, 2020 11:06 pm So--what is it that's missing?
Clarity and an unambiguous rationale for sitting on the cushion if there's nothing to gain and nowhere to go.
The unambiguous rationale is to resolve the ambiguity for yourself. If you had perfect clarity about practice you'd be an actualized Buddha right now. Remember the Three Essentials: Great doubt, great faith, great determination.
When the great root of faith and the great ball of doubt are present, great determination will arise. Great determination is a strong resolve that wells up from the bottom of our gut and spurs us on. We already believe that we ourselves are intrinsically awake; we only need discover what is within us. We ask ourselves why we can’t realize it. It must be possible! With great determination we continue to practice mu single-mindedly, but mountains of silver and walls of iron rise up before us and we can’t break through. Still, we must continue to goad ourselves on, “There’s no reason I can’t do what others have done!”
Justmeagain
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Re: This simply doesn't make any sense.....

Post by Justmeagain »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:55 pm
Justmeagain wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 6:49 am
Genjo Conan wrote: Tue Sep 08, 2020 11:06 pm So--what is it that's missing?
Clarity and an unambiguous rationale for sitting on the cushion if there's nothing to gain and nowhere to go.
Regarding this concern about rationale and destination, What is your motivation?
It can be helpful, before doing any practice, to remind oneself of the purpose, or motivation for one’s practice, which in Mahayana Buddhism is to attain perfect realization for the benefit of all sentient beings.
Doing this will help to resolve the two conflicts you mention here, (clarity and rationale)
and will address your original concern about already being enlightened (Tathâgata Garba) but not yet experiencing it.
Why will establishing your motivation have that result? Because:
The rationale will be specific,
and
When the selfless motivation (to liberate all beings) is inseparable from the destination (enlightenment), then, during your practice, you begin to rely on the functioning of the mind’s enlightened quality itself.
In other words, when you are doing zazen
to attain some type of self-realization,
this in itself is an impossibility because
realization is free from self-grasping, it is selfless.

But, your motivation has to come from somewhere,
doesn’t it?

If your destination is to experience
your already-existing Buddha nature,
And the essence of your already-existing Buddha nature
is freedom from self-grasping,
Then if your motivation is free of self-grasping,
That motivation can only be drawn from
your already-existing Buddha-nature.

So, maybe try to firmly establish in your own mind your motivation for zazen practice, even before you sit down on the cushion.
Thanks... 🙏
Justmeagain
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Re: This simply doesn't make any sense.....

Post by Justmeagain »

Thanks for your our replies everyone.

Sometimes, just sometimes it's really clear. There's nothing separate from anything else....no duality, so striving for something outside of 'just this' is futile and delusional. It feels like Enlightenment is here.....right now, but hidden, like looking for water in water........maybe? Occasionally Zazen (Shikantaza) is like allowing this to just be.

Maybe?
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clyde
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Re: This simply doesn't make any sense.....

Post by clyde »

Justmeagain wrote: Tue Sep 08, 2020 12:29 pm I really am not trying to be provocative, but I am finding the lack of a coherent and rationale explanation to this without ambiguity hugely frustrating, to the extent that I am on the verge of abandoning this practice altogether.

Thanks for your time all clarification welcomed! :namaste:
I’m reading Polishing a Tile - the collected essays of Issho Fujita (https://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/Fujita ... a-Tile.pdf) and when I came to this passage I thought of your post:
While we are sitting in zazen, we definitely have a feeling of disappointment and unsatisfactoriness, a sense of uncertainty or fruitlessness. We think, “I am working so hard but I’m not experiencing the ’response’ or ’effect’ that I wish. Maybe I am doing something wrong. Maybe my effort is not enough. Or maybe I am not suited for zazen...” These kinds of doubts and questions arise one after another in our mind. At that time we feel at a complete loss, thinking, “Should I keep doing such an unresponsive thing or not? Is not this a waste of time?” But that is totally all right for zazen. Rather, it is a good sign that we are doing zazen in the right direction.
He has more to say about zazen and I encourage you to read it. I think it’s worthwhile and you may too.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

“The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful.” Pema Chodron, “What to Do When the Going Gets Rough”
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: This simply doesn't make any sense.....

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

Not Zen (although he had some Zen influence), and perhaps controversial, but Trungpa used to say that meditation is experiencing "the ape ego" as it is, which accords with the above explanation.
Chogyam Trungpa wrote:The main point of any spiritual practice is to step out of the bureaucracy of ego. This means stepping out of ego's constant desire for a higher, more spiritual, more transcendental version of knowledge, religion, virtue, judgment, comfort, or whatever it is that the particular ego is seeking.
So thoughts of dissatisfaction with meditation, ironically sometimes indicates that meditation is well...progressing, as it were. The point is not to disassociate, but simply to observe the mindstream as it makes these machinations, like clouds in the sky, leaves on a stream, or whatever analogy.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
Schrödinger’s Yidam
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Re: This simply doesn't make any sense.....

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Justmeagain wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 6:45 am
Schrödinger’s Yidam wrote: Tue Sep 08, 2020 4:06 pm There are a number of such analogies in the Uttaratantra, like the sun behind the clouds, and a Buddha statue wrapped in rags. You should check them out.
Thanks, I'll do that 🙏
In case you actually follow through on this, you can skip the first 3 chapters. The material about Buddha Nature really starts witH ch.4.

The first 3 chapters are about the 3 Jewels. They are worth reading, but if you’re looking for Buddha Nature teachings you could get disappointed and put the book down. I wouldn’t want to see that.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
Justmeagain
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Re: This simply doesn't make any sense.....

Post by Justmeagain »

clyde wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:39 am He has more to say about zazen and I encourage you to read it. I think it’s worthwhile and you may too.
Thanks.....just downloaded
Justmeagain
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Re: This simply doesn't make any sense.....

Post by Justmeagain »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:53 am Not Zen (although he had some Zen influence), and perhaps controversial, but Trungpa used to say that meditation is experiencing "the ape ego" as it is, which accords with the above explanation.
Chogyam Trungpa wrote:The main point of any spiritual practice is to step out of the bureaucracy of ego. This means stepping out of ego's constant desire for a higher, more spiritual, more transcendental version of knowledge, religion, virtue, judgment, comfort, or whatever it is that the particular ego is seeking.
So thoughts of dissatisfaction with meditation, ironically sometimes indicates that meditation is well...progressing, as it were. The point is not to disassociate, but simply to observe the mindstream as it makes these machinations, like clouds in the sky, leaves on a stream, or whatever analogy.
Nice....thanks Johnny :namaste:
Justmeagain
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Re: This simply doesn't make any sense.....

Post by Justmeagain »

Schrödinger’s Yidam wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:30 am
In case you actually follow through on this, you can skip the first 3 chapters. The material about Buddha Nature really starts witH ch.4.

The first 3 chapters are about the 3 Jewels. They are worth reading, but if you’re looking for Buddha Nature teachings you could get disappointed and put the book down. I wouldn’t want to see that.
Gotchya and thanks again
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Berry
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Re: This simply doesn't make any sense.....

Post by Berry »

Hi Justmeagain,

You might also like to read "Everyday Zen" by Charlotte Joko Beck.


:namaste:
Leave the polluted water of conceptual thoughts in its natural clarity. Without affirming or denying appearances, leave them as they are. When there is neither acceptance nor rejection, mind is liberated into mahāmudra.

~ Tilopa
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seeker242
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Re: This simply doesn't make any sense.....

Post by seeker242 »

Justmeagain wrote: Tue Sep 08, 2020 12:29 pm Its frustrating to hear the following:

"...you are already enlightened but just ignorant to the fact. There is nowhere to go and nothing to do but equally Zazen needs to be done in order for you to experience the fact that you are enlightened..."
It's not fundamentally flawed simply because it has an apparent contradiction. It's like walking around looking for your sunglasses, meanwhile they are sitting on top of your head. Do you really need to go find your sunglasses? On one hand, yes, because you don't know where they are. You think you don't have them so you need to go find them. On the other hand, no, because you already have them. They are right on top of your head, you just don't realize it. So are you currently without sunglasses? Well, yes and no. Do you need to go find them? Well, yes and no. Those appear to be contradictions but are they really? Well, no not really.
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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Berry
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Re: This simply doesn't make any sense.....

Post by Berry »

Justmeagain wrote: Tue Sep 08, 2020 12:29 pm
I really am not trying to be provocative, but I am finding the lack of a coherent and rationale explanation to this without ambiguity hugely frustrating, to the extent that I am on the verge of abandoning this practice altogether.

Thanks for your time all clarification welcomed! :namaste:
The problem lies in the fact that you appear to be asking random strangers on the internet for help with your study and practice, when in fact you should be finding and talking to a Soto Zen teacher! Try to find a centre in your area ,or a teacher you can communicate with via Zoom or whatever. Lots of different buddhist centres appear to be using the Zoom method for face-to-face practice and discussion.

Good luck!
Leave the polluted water of conceptual thoughts in its natural clarity. Without affirming or denying appearances, leave them as they are. When there is neither acceptance nor rejection, mind is liberated into mahāmudra.

~ Tilopa
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Dan74
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Re: This simply doesn't make any sense.....

Post by Dan74 »

Berry wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:17 am
Justmeagain wrote: Tue Sep 08, 2020 12:29 pm
I really am not trying to be provocative, but I am finding the lack of a coherent and rationale explanation to this without ambiguity hugely frustrating, to the extent that I am on the verge of abandoning this practice altogether.

Thanks for your time all clarification welcomed! :namaste:
The problem lies in the fact that you appear to be asking random strangers on the internet for help with your study and practice, when in fact you should be finding and talking to a Soto Zen teacher! Try to find a centre in your area ,or a teacher you can communicate with via Zoom or whatever. Lots of different buddhist centres appear to be using the Zoom method for face-to-face practice and discussion.

Good luck!
:good:
narhwal90
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Re: This simply doesn't make any sense.....

Post by narhwal90 »

Berry wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:17 am
Justmeagain wrote: Tue Sep 08, 2020 12:29 pm
Thanks for your time all clarification welcomed! :namaste:
The problem lies in the fact that you appear to be asking random strangers on the internet for help with your study and practice, when in fact you should be finding and talking to a Soto Zen teacher! Try to find a centre in your area ,or a teacher you can communicate with via Zoom or whatever. Lots of different buddhist centres appear to be using the Zoom method for face-to-face practice and discussion.

Good luck!
That is the point I've been wanting to make since the beginning of this thread but couldn't articulate it- thanks! Zen started making a lot more sense (in its inside-out way), or perhaps better to say it became a lot more practical and relevant when I started working with a teacher & sangha. I spent a couple years solo, digging around in commentaries and sutras- which is good background reading but not much of a practice.

My sanga is all zoom, a couple folks live near the roshi but everyone else is around the country or overseas.
Justmeagain
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Re: This simply doesn't make any sense.....

Post by Justmeagain »

Berry wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:17 am
Justmeagain wrote: Tue Sep 08, 2020 12:29 pm
I really am not trying to be provocative, but I am finding the lack of a coherent and rationale explanation to this without ambiguity hugely frustrating, to the extent that I am on the verge of abandoning this practice altogether.

Thanks for your time all clarification welcomed! :namaste:
The problem lies in the fact that you appear to be asking random strangers on the internet for help with your study and practice, when in fact you should be finding and talking to a Soto Zen teacher! Try to find a centre in your area ,or a teacher you can communicate with via Zoom or whatever. Lots of different buddhist centres appear to be using the Zoom method for face-to-face practice and discussion.

Good luck!
Can you see the irony?
gustafk
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Re: This simply doesn't make any sense.....

Post by gustafk »

Justmeagain wrote: Tue Sep 08, 2020 12:29 pm "...practice and realization are completely one and the same. Because it is a practice based on being spiritually awake at this very moment" But I am not!!!
The words "practice and realization are completely one and the same" is like a clue. When you see it, it is clear. When you don't see it, it is unclear. Still it is true. That realisation is a result of the practice.

The comparison with you practicing the violin is limping. Zen practice is about letting go, not aquiring. Or rather leaving be. Leaving be in the sense that you free yourself (and others) from them.
"Because it is the practice of enlightenment" Or just pretending to be?
It is the practice of enlightenment, once you really are able to practice it. The thing is no one can make you do that. All they can do is give you pointers. You have to realise it yourself.
Our Theravadin brothers practice (some) practice to experience Vipassana (insight into the nature of reality) and for this to become an inherent experience, thus removing suffering. Others practice Jhana to experience ever deepening levels of mind to see through the coarse mental misinterpretations of 'realities' as being permanent phenomena. The Tibetans can be analytical searching to the object of negation again to experience the Emptiness of self........all the above are definitive and robust techniques with a goal, that goal often being the antithesis of their everyday experience of mind.
They are other techniques or traditions, but all lead to the same. There is no goal in the future or out there somewhere. Where and when is the only time and place you can make a realisation?
"...you are already enlightened but just ignorant to the fact. There is nowhere to go and nothing to do but equally Zazen needs to be done in order for you to experience the fact that you are enlightened..." This is riddled with contradictions and fundamentally flawed and the latter part of the statement no different that any other tradition.
It seems riddled and contradictor and flawed as long as you have not had the realisation. It is a pointer to something.
I really am not trying to be provocative, but I am finding the lack of a coherent and rationale explanation to this without ambiguity hugely frustrating, to the extent that I am on the verge of abandoning this practice altogether.
It is ok. Maybe you are trying to figuring this out too much? Maybe you should try to relax and sit with an open, curious attitude?

I hope you will be well!
gustafk
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Re: This simply doesn't make any sense.....

Post by gustafk »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:48 pm Relatively there is samsara and nirvana, so keep practicing. It’s easy to confuse statements on the absolute as some kind of instruction to do nothing. Obviously, the answer is keep practicing and don’t make such statements into intellectual games that discourage practice.

You asking this question is enough to show that relatively speaking, you are in samsara and should practice Dharma.
Very good points.
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