Monday, August 16, 2010

DONE AT GREAT SKY, NEXT STOP TASSAJARA

Man it was hot at the Great Sky sesshin! And the mosquitoes were vicious beyond belief. You'd spray yourself with more bug poison than any human should ever apply to his skin and they would still bite. I have little red splotches up and down my legs even now, two days later. Whenever I'd go to the outhouse as soon as that one portion of my body that was not doused with bug spray was exposed they'd be right there trying to take a bite. I had to admire their tenacity.

There's an old Zen saying, "When it's hot let the heat kill you. When it's cold let the cold kill you." Good advice, to be sure. But gosh dang it was hot!

And there were thunderstorms. Because the prairie is so flat out in that part of Minnesota you could see the lightning flashes sometimes as much as four hours before the storms actually arrived. There were a couple times the strikes must have been right there outside the zendo because the thunder came simultaneously with the flash and was loud enough to shake the building. BA-BOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!

As most of you reading this probably know, a Zen sesshin is an intensive period of concentrated Zen practice that usually lasts 3-7 days. This was a 7 day one. They wake you up at 4:30 in the morning and the first practice begins at five. The photo above is the tea house at Hokyoji at 4:30 AM. That's where folks go to caffeine up for the coming onslaught, unless you're me and you can't handle caffeine anymore and have to make do with vitamins. The day is broken up with a few chanting services, a dharma talk, a couple breaks and a work period. But for the most part you are sitting, staring at a wall all fucking day long. It's brutal.

And Great Sky is probably the gentlest Zen sesshin out there, except maybe for those Thich Nhat Hahn things where you do like 20 minutes of zazen a day and even that's optional. Or something like that. I've never been on one, but word on the street says there's very little actual zazen required.

The dharma talks this year by the five of us teachers who were there tended to interlock, which was an interesting new development. One of the themes that seemed to come up in nearly all of them was the subject of kensho experiences.

Kensho (見性)means "seeing into one's true nature." In some circles a kensho or satori experience is held out to be the greatest thing a Zen practitioner can hope for. Lots of Zen folks drive themselves to have one of these great breakthrough moments. The literature is full of different words for these; "opening experiences," "enlightenment," "awakening," the list goes on.

This is, of course, the premise behind the whole Big Mind® scam and other similar abuses of Zen practice. I can't remember what the other teachers and participants said about these experiences, but I can give you my opinions, informed by what I heard last week.

It's not that there can never be any value to such experiences. You can find value in any experience. It's just that afterward it's just like any other cool thing that happened to you. "Dude! You shoulda seen the sunset I saw in Maui when I was totally high!" or "I banged the captain of the cheer leading squad/football team/both at once when I was in tenth grade!" or "I had the biggest Enlightenment experience ever in the world!" are all pretty much the same thing. They're just events from our past that we latch onto in order to define ourselves.

Enlightenment experiences are particularly good for this. In fact, they may represent the ultimate among all ego trips. What could be bigger than being one with the entire universe? What could make you more massive and heavy and ultra super duper rad and cool? Nothing I can think of, that's for sure.

It's not hard to induce some big ass experience. Tonen O'Connor, one of the Great Sky teachers worked in the theater for many years before she became a Zen teacher. She said that this was their stock in trade when they put on shows -- exciting people's emotions and giving them an experience they'd remember. This is why she was initially unimpressed when she first encountered Zen at a temple in Japan that emphasized these kinds of "breakthrough moments." I've participated in similar things in the world of rock'n'roll. Inducing Big Wow moments like this can also be a very powerful way of making people feel they owe you something.

Making someone have a breakthrough moment very early in practice may be the best way of killing that person's potential to truly come to terms with who and what they actually are. And that's pretty sad. Also, at some level of understanding, a so-called "kensho experience" and what most of us would call a nervous breakdown or even psychosis aren't all that different. It's dangerous mojo to play with that kind of stuff.

Anyway, whatever. You've heard me say all this before and you'll probably hear it again. I can't convince anyone of anything, particularly those unfortunate enough to have had their own so-called "breakthrough moments" far too early. I can just make it abundantly clear that I, for one, will forever and always oppose that kind of bullshit.

This year's Great Sky sesshin was a particularly harrowing retreat for me. I don't think I've ever sat a sesshin that was quite as difficult. But it was good. It's what I needed.

In becoming a celebrity and touring the world I've been concerned that I was losing touch with the practice. I needed something pretty strong to bring me back. The Great Sky sesshin was the first part, and the month I'm going to spend at Tassajara is the next.

For those of you keeping track at home, I will be at Tassajara from on or about August 18th until on or about September 14th. It's guest season down there and I'll be a work practice student for most of that month right until the day I magically transform into a teacher and give a couple of talks down in the valley just before I emerge into the so-called "real world."

After that I have a few gigs in Northern California. They're listed at this link. So stop by if you can. Then Zero Defex is playing at the Kent Stage in Kent, Ohio on September 25th. After that I'm speaking at the Cleveland Buddhist Temple in Cleveland, Ohio. I'll be in New York in October. I'm working on a few more East Coast things to try and take advantage of being on that side of the country. So stay tuned.

Some folks are managing my Twitter account while I'm away. So if you subscribe to that there might be updates there before I get out of Tassajara.

Meanwhile, copies of my newest book, Sex, Sin, and Zen: A Buddhist Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything in Between, have already started appearing in the shops. I have it on good authority that there's a copy at a book store here in Milwaukee. If they've penetrated this far into the Midwest there may be some at stores near you too.

So as soon as I get out of the monastery, the madness will start right back up again full force. Hopefully the time away will help me settle into it easily.

I think we all need a bit of time away from the world. This is why people take vacations. But a Zen sesshin is more than a vacation. It's a time of deepening practice that you can't really get any other way. There's stuff you get into on day three or four that you couldn't possibly get into just sitting for a half an hour at home.

Still, that at-home practice is the most vital thing. It's like visiting the dentist. If you never brushed your teeth and just went in for a cleaning every six months, it would be hard for your hygenist to do much for you. Same with Zen. If you expect, as some folks seem to, that you can get your Zen practice done all in one super intensive week, well, it just doesn't work that way.

Anyhow, this will probably be my last post for a while. Unless I get held up in San Francisco waiting for a ride up the mountains and down into the canyon where Tassajara sits. So enjoy the respite from all of my noise while you can!

ADDENDUM:

It's really interesting to see how upset people get when I question anything about kensho/satori/enlightenment/awakening etc. Immediately after this post went up I'm accused by the usual anonymous posters of "teaching Zen without having insight into (my) true nature," and "talking out my ass like (I) usually do." It seems to really touch a nerve when you question these things.

Even the venerable Jinzang says that saying kensho is unimportant is the same as chasing it, only with a "fucked up layer of repression added to it."

But why such fussing? If kensho is real, then who cares what I think about it? It's not gonna make it less real. Or is it? Are these anonymi simply eager to protect those poor souls, less enlightened than anonymous blog posters, who might be mislead by Bad Ol' Brad?

In Hardcore Zen I talked about two events that happened in my life. One time I was walking to work and all of a sudden everything fell into place. All kinds of crazy shit Tim McCarthy had told me when I first started sitting made sense like, "It's more you than you could ever be." I can't recall when this happened. Not even what year. It occurred completely outside of time and space as I knew it up until that moment. It occurred every day since time began and until time ends. It flashed through all living and non-living things in the cosmos.

My life was divided in two on that day. I describe the whole thing in great detail in the book, so I won't regurgitate that here. That moment has informed everything I've written about Zen ever since. It was an important day.

It was not dramatic at all. It was perfectly normal. Nothing has ever been so normal.

It was not kensho.

I also talked about another experience. In that one I saw my whole body and being spread throughout the cosmos. My mind was the mind of God. All of time was my creation. I was the Biggest, Baddest Thing That Ever Existed.

That one fucked me up but good. And just like the anonymi who post comments to this blog, I was terribly upset when Gudo Nishijima dared — DARED — to question me — ME!!! — about the reality of this.

And then I thought, "Why would God His Bad Ass Self be worried what some little old man thought of him?" And then I ate a tangerine and got over it. Which was also a very big deal. I did not get over it easily. I'll leave it at that. I got over it screaming and kicking and cursing.

The former is not something you can bottle and sell. The latter is what guys like Genpo are tricking their followers into believing is "Enlightenment."

It's fucking them up big time.

But I digress.

If you experience even something like the former too soon and without proper grounding, it's exactly like psychosis. It will make you crazy. It is not a good thing. I suspect maybe Charles Manson had an experience of something like real awakening but he had it when he was not ready to understand what it meant.

Even with 20 or so years of Zen behind me, that experience by the river has had some seriously weird effects in my life. The song 108 Sacred Stages I posted here a while back is about some of that. Something like that happens and you're cool for a while. But then you're all like, (whiny voice) "How come it's not like that anymore?" "How can I make it happen again?"

Oh it's still there, somewhere. But it's not of time. It's the very ground of all being and non-being, including my shitty-ass life of sleeping on other people's floors and hoping my next book sells enough that I can live somewhere decent, of getting horny and looking at Suicide Girls, of mosquito bites and record shopping, of buying books about Jesus and listening to experimental electronic music from the 1950s. It's you too, whether you know it or not.

But there's a strong, strong habit we all have of grasping at things to make them "mine." That day was not mine. "It does not linger in the vicinity of the personal self" as Dogen put it. But you want it to. Believe me, YOU want it to. You want it to bad. And I mean you. And I mean BAD.

Kensho is bunk. Satori is bullshit.

And I'm sleepy. Good night.

831 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Er....yes he did.

"But there's a strong, strong habit we all have of grasping at things to make them "mine." That day was not mine....

Kensho is bunk. Satori is bullshit.


Oh THAT post! Different time and place. Different context and intention. Please attribute sources and reference quotes next time. Thank you :)

Puku said...

Oh THAT post! Different time and place. Different context and intention. Please attribute sources and reference quotes next time. Thank you :)

Oh THAT post!~???
It was THIS post...the one we're supposed to be commenting on. Different context? WTF? It's in the context of this post and these comments.
Intention?
How the heck do you know what Brad's intentions are?

Attribute sources?
I said; 'BRAD SAID'!
I did reference the quotes, that was the point.
Are you on meds today?

Anonymous said...

I do apologise. I made a mistake. THIS post was sooo long ago.

SECURITY!!!

Anonymous said...

Please, so I can orient to why Kensho and Satori are this and that... what ARE they?

I mean, to me, from what I've been reading, they sound like moments of opening, blessings really. Nothing that *I* could intend or do, but something that might occur from my efforts to keep practicing. Like a blossoming flower, sure, one that blossoms for a moment and falls away.

When I practiced Ashtanga yoga for a while I was moved by how the practice was presented. The main teacher, who passed recently, would say again and again: just practice and don't get hung up on results, all is coming. In reading the Yoga suttas of Patanjali I found these core principles of Practice and Dispassion. Practice is what I do, day in and out, and Dispassion is how I am to orient towards any results coming from practice. Non grasping, non attachment. Dispassion because any passion for effects will only result in entraining of the mind in an unproductive direction, grasping versus letting go.

I think that's what I'm reading in the many comments here that feel sensible to me, like they're coming from people who know from practice.

So this or that is bunk, what does that mean? Practice is not bunk. I would say that the fruits of practice are not bunk either, but neither are they treasures to be hoarded. It seems that to cling to them or push them away would be bi-polar forms of grasping.

Whether shit happens or kensho happens, the productive attitude towards either would be one of dispassion, but not disdain, which is just inverted passion to me.

Here I think the 'punk' metaphor of questioning authority doesn't quite fit the spirit of dispassion to me.

I had a 'moment' of my own years ago that was quite different than anything else before or since. I told my teacher about it - what I saw and felt - and his response was a shoulder shrug and a smile as he said "yeah, a lot of strange stuff happens in the universe'.

-el anon

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mysterion said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"Please, so I can orient to why Kensho and Satori are this and that... what ARE they?"

Satori is 'understanding' while kensho is 'the umbrella of understanding.'

Don't be anxious about these terma or what they represent.

You sit.

And you sit.

And you sit some more.

Not all day, but every day.

Sit at the same TIME in the same PLACE if you can. Whatever the time, and whatever the place, they will become your sacred (seperate) place.

Over the months and years, it will slowly become more obvious to you than 'realization is consciousness' and 'consciousness is realization'. And you will find comfort in questioning the nature of both. As you develop your practice, you may indeed learn that 'all is well.'

You are not a horse and THIS is not a horse race.

As I used to tell a Desert Storm vet with PTSD: "You can't force yourself to relax."

Mysterion said...

correction

Don't be anxious about these terms or what they represent.

Anonymous said...

Very good post, anonymous.

"they sound like moments of opening, blessings really. Nothing that *I* could intend or do, but something that might occur from my efforts to keep practicing."

Krishnamurti said that 'All you can do is open the window. You can't make the breeze come in.' or words to that effect. Practice, open the window, that's all any of us can do.

Hokai said...

Harry!

That can't be true!
You say you've attained two-hundred?

You rascal, I'm sure that you know, that there's not two. It's all ONE!

You're welcome,

Gerald

Hokai said...

And by the way....

I miss a wise comment from Seagal Rinpoche to the main theme.

On holiday?

Seagal,how you got to Enlightenment?

Quick, no thinking, just dashed off.

Not as wise as I wish I would,
Gerald

Uku said...

Interesting article at NYTimes:

Sex Scandal Has U.S. Buddhists Looking Within

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/21/us/21beliefs.html?_r=2

I found that article from here: http://enlightenmentward.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/sex-and-the-sangha-nyt-report/

Anonymous said...

Wow Uku! That was the shit. A bonafide Zen master that has consensual sex with his students!
OMFG!
The outrage.
Just shows what psycho horndogs those Rinzai Zennies are.
Oh wait.......

Uku said...

Anon wrote: Oh wait.......

Yeah, exactly. A student thinking his/her teacher to be perfect and smelling like peppermint can lead to serious problems. Sex is fine, sex is wonderful but not if a teacher has used his/her Jedi Powers to get students in bed. "Oh, please come to see my Lightsaber, you can be my Princess Leia. I can even let you scream Satori when I'm taking you behind!"

No need to mention that same problems goes with the Enlightenment/Satori/Kensho business. Similar problems, same reasons... delusion, delusion, delusion.

Anonymous said...

Where does this come from?


Once there was a fly. And the fly was captured by a kid that pinned the fly down and pulled off its wings and left him on the sidewalk rolling around on his back and stomach. The poor fly didn't know which way was up. The fly cried and cried and the boy laughed at the fly. The fly exhausted stopped wriggling and took a deep breath and just laid there. The kid flicked the fly with his finger into the street gutter. There was a small stream of water that took the fly down the street . The fly floated on his back. He put his hands behind his head and laughed.

Anonymous said...

where does this come from?

Once there was a fly. And the fly was captured by a kid that pinned the fly down and pulled off its wings and left him on the sidewalk rolling around on his back and stomach. The poor fly didn't know which way was up. The fly cried and cried and the boy laughed at the fly. The fly exhausted stopped wriggling and took a deep breath and just laid there. The kid flicked the fly with his finger into the street gutter. There was a small stream of water that took the fly down the street . The fly floated on his back. He put his hands behind his head and laughed.

Troy Troi said...

That's right Uku, having the sex with your zen students is exactly like kensho! You are so fucking wise. Jinzang and the dumbass anons can suck it. I bow to you 3 times and cover you with namaste in my dreams. Delusion delusion delusion. Nice to know at least someone understands it all.

Anonymous said...

Please don't talk to each other like that boys. It's not big, it's not clever, and it's not very Buddhist. For people setting each other straight about the true nature of stuff, you really should know better.

Play nice.

Anonymous said...

...For you just might be wrong.

Anonymous said...

By the sixth grade, Nelson started to think that he was somewhat different from the other little boys who were playing baseball on the grass in Central Park as he looked down at them through field glasses from the walnut paneled trophy room of his Grandfathers penthouse on Central Park South in midtown Manhattan.

Jinzang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jinzang said...

Ven. Jinzang then calls Uku's remarks 'Stupid' on his blog. ... Uku is saying the same thing as Brad. Why pick on the follower when he is just echoing the doctrines of the teacher? If Uku's comment was stupid, so is Brad's.

The reason why I called Uku's comment stupid is that the defining episode of Buddhism is Buddha's enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. If you think Buddhism has nothing to do with kensho or satori, what do you think the Buddha's enlightenment was?

I've got no gripe against Uku. Plenty of smart people say stupid things, you could fill a book with them. I like Uku and I'm glad he's helping to bring Zen to Finland.

Brad's remark is ... complicated. He takes what sounds like is an honest to goodness kensho experience and then says it was not kensho. Then he seems to define kensho as some sort of big, impressive experience. If all Brad is saying is that you shouldn't chase after or grab at experiences, I agree with him 100%.

Still, I have a problem if he's defining kensho to be some impressive but ultimately fake experience. First, it belittles Rinzai Zen and its emphasis on kensho. Second, using terms like kensho in a non-standard way confuses rather than clarifies. I could define kensho as a ham sandwich and argue you'll never get kensho from a vegetarian teacher. But that wouldn't be very enlightening.

Also, as a favor, would people please not call me venerable? I know it's just a joke, bit it's a term traditionally reserved for the ordained and makes me cringe every time I read it.

Anonymous said...

The Sandōkai
"To encounter the absolute is NOT yet enlightenment"




Kensho is bullshit. Satori is bunk.

Anonymous said...

As a Zen Buddhist myself it is so refreshing to finally have an honest man speak truthfully!!

Thank you Brad for being true to the Precept of "I will honor honesty and truth"

Kensho is Bullshit

THANK YOU !!!!!!!

gassho

Anonymous said...

As a Zen Buddhist myself it is so refreshing to finally

You missed it already.

mother from another brother said...

Best post in a while. Fucking great.

And Im not talking about any zen bullshit.

It is just a great piece of writing--Brad-style.

If there was a "Brad's greatest hits" this would definitely be on it. Probably song 2...

anonymousmaximus said...

"Electric Love penetrates the sky, the Mountain falls in the sea, the Sun refuses to shine, NO ONE on Earth will escape." - Master Dogen liked looking at the moon, so August 15th was a favorite day for him.

Shin said...

Maybe a Rinzai-view on kensho is also worthwhile reading:

Hakuin Zenji on The Importance of Kensho


..."When a person who has not had kensho reads the Buddhist scriptures, questions his teachers and fellow monks about Buddhism, or practices religious disciplines, he is merely creating the causes of his own illusion"...

Anonymous said...

Does this sound familiar?

' The Zen priests of today are busily imparting a teaching to their students that sounds something like this:

"Don't misdirect your efforts. Don't chase around looking for something apart from your own selves. All you have to do is to concentrate on being thoughtless, on doing nothing whatever. No practice. No realization. Doing nothing, the state of no-mind, is the direct path of sudden realization. No practice, no realization - that is the true principle, things as they really are. The enlightened ones themselves, those who possess every attribute of Buddhahood, have called this supreme, unparalleled, right awakening."

People hear this teaching and try to follow it. Choking off their aspirations. Sweeping their minds clean of delusive thoughts. They dedicate themselves solely to doing nothing and to making their minds complete blanks, blissfully unaware that they are doing and thinking a great deal....

...Bodhidharma spoke of this in his Essay on the Dharma pulse:

If someone without kensho tries constantly to make his thoughts free and unattached, he commits a great transgression against the Dharma and is a great fool to boot. He winds up in the passive indifference of empty emptiness, no more able to distinguish good from bad than a drunken man. If you want to put the Dharma of non- activity into practice, you must bring an end to all your thought-attachments by breaking through into kensho. Unless you have kensho, you can never expect to achieve a state of non-doing." '

Brad Warner said...

Satori is bullshit.

Satori said...

Brad Warner is bullshit.

Uku said...

Jinzang wrote: If you think Buddhism has nothing to do with kensho or satori, what do you think the Buddha's enlightenment was?

Well, it wasn't enlightenment, satori or kensho. It had nothing to do with those words. Yes, reality is open for everyone and by practicing zazen the dropping off body and mind will be real but that experience has nothing to do with satori, kensho or enlightenment.

It's impossible to attain Buddha's awakening but it's possible to attain your own awakening. Master Dogen wrote: "Just be diligent in your practice at once." That's the reality, that's real. "At once."

Anonymous 2 said...

Does this sound familiar?

'The Zen priests of today are busily imparting a teaching to their students that sounds something like this:

"Don't misdirect your efforts...All you have to do is to concentrate on being thoughtless, on doing nothing whatever...No practice, no realization - that is the true principle, things as they really are...People hear this teaching and try to follow it...Sweeping their minds clean of delusive thoughts. They dedicate themselves solely to doing nothing and to making their minds complete blanks, blissfully unaware that they are doing and thinking a great deal...."



No it doesn't, I'm afriad. Not in any modern form of Zen, Soto or Rinzai - or any other Buddhist School, Theravada or Tibetan, that I've come across or read about. I have read that many centuries ago there were such schools, and they are the schools Bodhidharma (or however actually wrote the attributed passage) is criticising. Dogen was similarly critical of that approach.

Anoymous 2 said...

In fact - is that first passage from Dogen? Sounds like it could be.

Anonymous 2 said...

As for the 2nd paragraph, attributed to Bodhidharma - what do you think it means?

Do you think "a state of non-doing" is referring to a state of action transcending karma/cause and effect, as the Brahmans believed was possible? Or is it perhaps a translation of the (Taoist) term wu-wei? Or something else entirely? And can you please tell us what Bodhidharma meant by kensho? Then we can start all over again :) Thanks.

Real said...

Uku,

"Well, it wasn't enlightenment, satori or kensho. It had nothing to do with those words. Yes, reality is open for everyone and by practicing zazen the dropping off body and mind will be real but that experience has nothing to do with satori, kensho or enlightenment."

The Buddha's enlightenment wasn't enlightenment? Not only does that make no sense, but it's contrary to pretty much everything written about it from the time of Buddha to now. Also, how would you know? Not only were you not there, but given that you claim it doesn't exist, you also have no experience of enlightenment. Or is this just about which words you prefer?

Please describe your experience of "the dropping off body and mind".

"Master Dogen wrote: "Just be diligent in your practice at once."

Is there anything to your Buddhism other than sitting mindfully?

Anonymous 2 said...

It's all very confusing, isn't it? Perhaps best to just get on with it. And see what happens.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2

It's not Dogen, it's Hakuin.

Non-doing means without ego-directedness, without ego attachment I think.

Kensho means awakening. He defines it as “Direct pointing at the mind of man, seeing one's nature and becoming Buddha.” Sounds a lot like the long line of descriptions of kensho that run right through Zen. Not sure it matters if it's sudden or gradual, but apparently Boddhdharma thinks it matters.

Uku said...

Real,

zazen isn't just sitting. It's living your daily life as best as you can. The Buddha's path is in everything, in everywhere, we have a possibility to practice all the time. If someone thinks zazen is just sitting mindfully, then he/she is living in a delusion. But without concrete zazen, sitting on a cushion, there's no zazen at all. Eating, shitting, practicing zazen on a cushion... Dogen had a term for this all: Kajo ("daily life") - that's zazen. Buddhism is practicing in daily life. Buddhism is the daily life.


Anon 2 wrote:

It's all very confusing, isn't it? Perhaps best to just get on with it. And see what happens.

I agree. I find the buddha's attitude from those words. I have heard someone used other words for that: "Sit down and shut up." Zen Master Nike said: "Just do it."
It's all about action, it's all about experiencing things. Someone else's experience can't never be someone else's experience. We can experience the Buddha's state but that state is not Buddha's experience. It's ours and by that it's everybody's experience but we have to experience it by ourselves.

Anonymous 2 said...

Thanks anon.

And thanks Uku.

I'll sign in properly now, just in case I can't resist the urge to write something later. But I think we've pretty much covered it.

Malcolm

Real said...

UKU,

Yes, true. But the point is that a merely intellectual 'knowledge'/belief that "The Buddha's path is in everything" is not worth much except as a spur or reminder perhaps, it needs to be actualised in our lives.

"Buddhism is practicing in daily life. Buddhism is the daily life."

Yes. Nothing happens outside of daily life. And we're always on the path.

However a distinction needs to be made (at the relative level) between delusion and enlightenment, between realised and non-realised activity. That distinction is not made on the basis that you do "as best as you can" or that you "practice all the time" nor is it made on the basis that we are sitting on a cushion or not. It is made on the basis of realisation. If you don't know what that means then you must keep practicing. And if you do then you must keep practicing anyway. Ha!

REal said...

"That distinction is not made on the basis that you do "as best as you can" or that you "practice all the time" nor is it made on the basis that we are sitting on a cushion or not."

And why is this?

Because these are arbitrary distinctions, made on the basis of superficial characteristics. In other words, it is a value judgement.

It is like the conditional thinking of a Believer who believes that he is doing 'God's Work' if he acts morally and sincerely according to the dictates of the Church.

True realisation is a mind in the midst of daily activity that excludes nothing and attaches to nothing, and does not divide the world into dualities of practice and non-practice, nor sitting and standing.

Lone Wolf said...

Enjoying the new book!

Uku said...

Real wrote However a distinction needs to be made (at the relative level) between delusion and enlightenment, between realised and non-realised activity. That distinction is not made on the basis that you do "as best as you can" or that you "practice all the time" nor is it made on the basis that we are sitting on a cushion or not. It is made on the basis of realisation.

For me there are no distinctions at the relative level. Realisation made on the basis of realisation doesn't contain distinctions. If reality itself is not here, where is it then?

If you don't know what that means then you must keep practicing. And if you do then you must keep practicing anyway. Ha!

I don't think practicing has nothing to do with knowing or not-knowing. Practice means practicing. "Just be diligent in practice at once."

Anonymous said...

Brad Warner's a good guy. Anyone who would play guitar for his niece to sing out is a-ok in my book. Absolutely and Relatively.

anon #108 said...

I think this distinction is worth making:

"...do "as best as you can"..."practice all the time"...sitting on a cushion or not."

- are all things that we can do. Distinctions are made in/by the mind. There are no distinctions in an action - action 'trancends' thinking. Action/doing is a different thing entirely from thinking, considering, evaluating or distinguishing.

"True realisation is a mind in the midst of daily activity that excludes nothing and attaches to nothing, and does not divide the world into dualities of practice and non-practice, nor sitting and standing."

- are assertions, ideas about 'realisation', 'mind' and 'attachment'. We can say that they are qualities we can manifest in action, but we can't do them - they remain concepts.

The fundamental difference between action and idea is something that Zen (particularly Dogen, and Gudo), has clarified. Sadly, it's a distinction that is easiliy misunderstood or passed over.

I think.

Real said...

"There are no distinctions in an action - action 'trancends' thinking...."

Action without thinking is only action without thinking. Saying it 'transcends' thinking or is 'enlightened activity' is fancy ideas. To equate that with the Buddha's enlightenment is foolish.

"they remain concepts. "

Awakening is not a concept. It is freedom among actions and concepts.

Anonymous said...

[The spiritual intelligence] is neither

restricted by myriad things nor connected with circumstances:

things come and go and circumstances arise and pass, but the spiritual

intelligence always remains, unchanging. This spiritual intelligence is

all around, pervading all souls—common and sacred—without distinction.

In its midst, illusory flowers in space exist for the time being,

but when momentary insight has appeared, and things have vanished

and circumstances have disappeared, then the spiritual intelligence,

the original essence, alone is clearly recognizable, peaceful, and eternal.

Though the physical form may be broken, the spiritual intelligence

departs unbroken; just as, when a house burns down in a fire, the master

of the house leaves. This perfectly clear and truly spiritual presence

is called “the essence of perception and intelligence.” It is also

described as “buddha,” and called “enlightenment.” It includes both

the subject and the object, and it permeates both delusion and enlightenment.

[So] let the myriad dharmas and all circumstances be as they

are. The spiritual intelligence does not coexist with circumstances and

it is not the same as things. It abides constantly through passing kalpas.

We might also call the circumstances that exist in the present “real,”

insofar as they derive from the existence of the spiritual intelligence:

because they are conditions arising from the original essence, they are

real things. Even so, they are not eternal as the spiritual intelligence

is, for they exist and then vanish. [The spiritual intelligence] is unrelated

to brightness and darkness, because it knows spiritually.We call

this “the spiritual intelligence,” we also call it “the true self,” we call

it “the basis of awakening,” we call it “original essence,” and we call

it “original substance.” Someone who realizes this original essence is

said to have returned to eternity and is called a great man who has

come back to the truth. After this, he no longer wanders through the

cycle of life and death; he experiences and enters the essential ocean1

where there is neither appearance nor disappearance. There is no reality

other than this, but as long as this essence has not emerged, the

three worlds2 and the six states3 are said to arise in competition.

This then is the view of the non-Buddhist Senika.

Anonymous said...

Soku-shin-ze-butsu

Mind Here and Now Is Buddha

Translator’s Note: Soku means “here and now.” Shin means “mind.” Ze

means “is.” Butsu means “buddha.” The principle of soku-shin-ze-butsu, or

“mind here and now is buddha” is very famous in Buddhism, but many people

have interpreted the principle to support the wrong views. They

say if our mind here and now is just buddha, our conduct must always be

right, and, in that case, we need not make any effort to understand or to realize

Buddhism. However, this interpretation is a serious mistake. The principle

soku-shin-ze-butsu, “mind here and now is buddha,” must be understood

not from the standpoint of the intellect but from the standpoint of practice. In

other words, the principle does not mean belief in something spiritual called

“mind” but it affirms the time “now” and the place “here” as reality itself.

This time and place must always be absolute and right, and so we can call

them the truth or “buddha.” In this chapter, Master Dōen explained this

meaning of soku-shin-ze-butsu, “mind here and now is buddha.”

[125]What every buddha and every patriarch has maintained and relied upon,

without exception, is just “mind here and now is buddha.” Many students,

however, misunderstand that “mind here and now is buddha” did not exist in

India but was first heard in China. As a result, they do not recognize their mistake

as a mistake. Because they do not recognize the mistake as a mistake,

many fall down into non-Buddhism. When stupid people hear talk of “mind

here and now is buddha,” they interpret that ordinary beings’ intellect and

sense perception, which have never established the bodhi-mind, are just buddha.

This derives from never having met a true teacher. The reason I say that they

become non-Buddhists is that there was a non-Buddhist in India, called Senika,

whose viewpoint is expressed as follows:

The great truth exists in our own body now, so we can easily recognize

its situation. In other words, [a spiritual intelligence] distinguishes

between pain and pleasure, naturally senses cold and warmth, and recognizes

discomfort and irritation.

Uku said...

Real wrote:

Awakening is not a concept. It is freedom among actions and concepts.

How do you know that?

Awakening is a concept when we're putting it into words. Same goes with zazen, Soto, Zen, Buddha etc. They are just words, nothing else.

anon #108 said...

Hi Real -

"Action without thinking" has nothing to do with what I tried, badly, to express. What you understood by what I wrote is not at all what I meant. Like I said, "...it's a distinction that is easiliy misunderstood or passed over." FWIW, from the time I first encountered it, it took me about a year to stop misunderstanding...what I failed to express.

Harry said...

Hey,

Nishijima is of the opinion that we can talk about 'two enlightenments'. The first is practicing zazen, so doing zazen is realisation/enlightenment. This, of course, jams with Master Dogen's teaching on the matter. The 'second enlightenment' Gudo explains in terms of someone coming to understand Buddhist philosophy directly and instinctively after years of practicing it.

So, if we accept this, not only is the act of zazen itself realisation/enlightenment (or the act of actually becoming a buddha, as Master Dogen affirmed), but a person comes to have a direct enlightened understanding of the WORDS of Buddhist philosophy.

Not for the first time it seems that students of Zen are getting caught up in words and the futile/ shallow negation of words. Master Dogen clearly indicates that both positions are not the substantial way of Buddhist practice/realisation/enlightenment/or whatever you want to call it. He seemed concerned that we should avoid these extremes.

Regards,

Harry.

anon #108 said...

Thanks Harry.

Another very useful aspect of Dogen's (and Nagarjuna and Gudo's) perspective is the insistence that (some) seemingly contradictory views can be simultaneously true, depending on our standpoint. Yet reality - the whole ineffable shooting match - includes and transcends all such views.

Shonin said...

It seems to me that these two emphases (thats a word right?) are tow sides of one coin. There is no fundamental doctrinal disagreement between Soto and Rinzai, but they have a different emphasis. Soto focuses on calmness and acceptance of ordinariness ie stability while Rinzai focusses on insight.

It's the extremes that are problematic.

One upon a time there were two sisters Samatha (Stability) and Vipassana (Insight). They were inseparable and acheived great things together. But one day they they were separated, and grew up in different households. After that they struggled to understand one another or get along. But on those occasions when they do manage to work together they can still achieve great things.

I just made that up.

Anonymous said...

Brad,

The only bunk and bullshit is that spoken/written by you when you're tired.

Instead of denigrating insight into True Nature, why not go verify it yourself?

Or is that too hard? Maybe easier to say it doesn't exist eh? ;-)

-SpongeBob.

Anonymous said...

Mike Cross said...

Brad Warner wrote:
"Kensho is bunk. Satori is bullshit."

This is a nice example from the present day of a view which is never the True Dharma Eye. It is just danken-gedo, the nihilistic view of non-Buddhism.

In chapter (89), Shinjin-Inga, Master Dogen wrote: "Even if in form they resemble monks, those who hold such wrong opinions are not the Buddha's disciples at all. They are just non-Buddhists."

anon #108 said...

Hi Shonin,

I hear ya and may be splitting hairs, but...

Soto focuses on calmness and acceptance of ordinariness ie stability while Rinzai focusses on insight.

In the teaching that I'm familiar with - which certainly derives from the Soto tradition - insight into, and understanding of (the extraordinary nature of) ordinariness is as much what it's all about as 'acceptance'. As just about any quote from Dogen confirms.

The debate seems to centre around whether 'insight' can only be had using certain purpose-designed techniques...whether 'just sitting' is just sitting. As if!

Nice story, btw. You're a very clever boy ;)

Anonymous said...

but a person comes to have a direct enlightened understanding of the WORDS of Buddhist philosophy

The second enlightenment is more than just an understanding of the words though. That makes it sound like a purely intellectual effort. (I'm not sure that is what you are asserting, just trying to clarify) The intellectual understanding acompanies the insight itself. Awakening is a radical change in view, more akin to a reversable figure where an old woman suddenly becomes a beautiful girl. This instant shift in understanding is not the product of discursive thinking at all. It's what the Lankavatara sutra calls a turning about at the seat of consciousness. Intellectual understanding is only on the surface.

When you do have the second enlightenment (why is it ok when gudo uses that word but not others?) it brings intellectual understanding so that the Buddha's teachings and koans of the old masters become clear or at least clearer.

Harry said...

Hi Anon,

I just emphasised WORDS because of the nature of some of the shallow and dismissive (of words) arguments that are being aired.

"why is it ok when gudo uses that word but not others?"

I know. It may be very useful, of course, to dismiss words and language in certain situations (we can see the very same Master Dogen who clearly reveled in, and highly valued, enlightened expression in Shobogenzo asking practitioners to 'abandon words' and 'cease study' in Fukanzazengi and in Shobogenzo Zuimonki), but a blanket negation of the language of practice/realisation, and certainly a half-assed dogma of sloppy iconoclasm, is really not what he was doing there.

Regards,

Harry.

Same Anon said...

Thanks for the clarification Harry.

anon #108 said...

PS

Real,

I wasn't for one moment meaning to suggest that action is better than thinking. That would be truly daft.

Anonymous said...

"Oh it's still there, somewhere. But it's not of time. It's the very ground of all being and non-being, including my shitty-ass life of sleeping on other people's floors and hoping my next book sells enough that I can live somewhere decent, of getting horny and looking at Suicide Girls, of mosquito bites and record shopping, of buying books about Jesus and listening to experimental electronic music from the 1950s. It's you too, whether you know it or not."

Sorry to hear of your difficulties and hope you sell enough books to get a decent place and a partner. (will order my copy soon) Everything is perfectly OK without that kensho satori state because there is no time for it when practice is 24/7.
/Rich

Shonin said...

Malcolm,

Neither Master Nishijima nor even Master Dogen invented Zen. Simplifying just a little, Nishijima is an interpreter of Dogen through the lens of his own Zen experience and intellect, while Dogen is a man who did his best to find and import the authentic Zen of the Patriarchs from the Chinese mainland to Japan - again through the lense of his own practice and intelligence.

Zen is founded on this notion of a certain realisation passed down through the patriarchs, especially key figures like Hui-Neng and Bodhidharma and ultimately (so the story goes) to the historical Buddha. So, where there is ambiguity or disagreement it can be very clarifying to refer to the writings of those Patriarchs. Then we can see with what fidelity Zen has been transmitted to our more modern teachers.

As shown in a number of excerpts from both Hui-Neng and Bodhidharma, something called 'enlightenment', 'kensho' or 'realisation' is considered vital. This is not directly equated with the practice of zazen, even if zazen is part of the means through which it is realised.

The Patriarchs generally speak of different kinds or levels of realisation. In that sense what Nishijima wrote about it is consistent. The state of absorption found in zazen or washing the floor is called Samadhi and is considered a precursor to enlightenment.

Both Soto and Rinzai are descended from the 'sudden enlightenment' school of Hui-Neng. Enlightenment itself is seen as deep insight into emptiness (and beyond). This is often sudden and triggered by various a phrase or a sudden event. Such insights then have to be integrated into the everyday.

I'm not arguing that deep insight must come from any particular technique. I don't know the answer to that question. So perhaps if what is important is realisation rather than methodology, then the question is - hearing the words of Bodhidharma or Hui-Neng, do you see with the same realised eyes? (That is, directly not intellectually)

Shonin said...

Oh and btw I didn't at all say that Soto is devoid of insight - not at all. Dogen's work is full of insight for example. But in contemporary Soto there seems to me less emphasis on it than in Rinzai - for better or worse.

Shonin said...

Dogen said:
"Truly, great realization is limitless, and returning to delusion is limitless."

Master Sekiso said,
"You are at the top of the 100 foot high pole. How will you make a
step further?"

Another Zen Master of Ancient Times said,
"One who sits on top of the 100 foot pole has not quite attained true
enlightenment. Make another step forward from the top of the pole and
throw one's own body into the 100,000 universes."

proulx michel said...

Shonin said...

One upon a time there were two sisters Samatha (Stability) and Vipassana (Insight). They were inseparable and acheived great things together. But one day they they were separated, and grew up in different households... (...)


Only they were brothers. Had they been sisters, they would have been samathi and vipassani...

Shonin said...

OK, I'll work that into the Second Edition

anon #108 said...

Thanks Justin.

I've only been practising for 5 years, but I've been intermittently reading and thinking about Zen since I first encountered it, aged 14 - that's 43 years of ideas and fantasies about Zen Buddhism.

As you'll know, in the 60's D. T. Suzuki and Alan Watts were all the rage (and pretty much all that was generally available), so I'm very familiar with notions of satori/enlightenment. Until I started practising with a teacher, I thought I knew what Zen was all about: clearly, it was about getting enlightened, breaking the chains of rational, dualistic thought and perception, experiencing a turning about in the deepest seat of consciousness. And I badly wanted that experience. I lived in hope that one day I might truly know, for my life would remain an illusion until then. I dreamt that I might one day get to Japan and sit in Dokusan with my Master and have him affirm my breakthrough. I would then truly understand, as if for the first time who I, and what reality, was. But being lazy, satori had to wait while I got on with being a rock star.

Five years ago, having given up some bad habits I'd picked up while dallying in the music business, I re-read Philip Kapleau's 'The Three Pillars of Zen'. It was just the inspiration I needed finally to get practising. I'll always be grateful for that book. I decided to find a teacher and was lucky enough to find Mike Luetchford leading monthly retreats a 20 minute walk from where I live. As you know, Mike is one of Gudo Nishijima's oldest students. Just my bad luck! All those years dreaming about satori, only to find a teacher who never mentions it and doesn't do koan zazen! Long story short...I grew to understand and trust what he was teaching. It made sense. It worked. And I started to question my deeply held ideas and fantasies about enlightenment; about what it really might actually be.

The point for me, now, is this: I don't deny that mystical insights can occur and may have great value. I don't believe I've had one - certainly not as described by D T Suzuki, Kapleau and others - but one day I might, and then I'll have an opinion. There again, I may be one of those people whose deep seat of consciousness has been turned about, but so unremarkably, in such a very ordinary penny-dropping fashion that I barely noticed. I’d certainly like to think my “moment” was the satori of the ancestors. Enlightened after all! My dream come true !

I'm not trying to convince you, or anyone else, that satori is bullshit. How could I possibly know? And what would the point of that be? What I can be very sure of is that regardless of experiences that may one day occur, life goes on here and now, always. About that I'm sure we agree. So should I carry on dreaming and hoping, always feeling that my life is somehow lacking, or do I do the only thing I can do, the only thing that any of us can do - live moment by moment, doing this thing and then the next thing. There is never anything missing from this moment. In the whole world nothing is hidden.

anon #108 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anon #108 said...

PS and BTW Justin,

The state of absorption found in zazen or washing the floor is called Samadhi and is considered a precursor to enlightenment.

I think this is red herring...or becoming one. If my floor's dirty I'll wash it (or in my case, not). I'll do it well - better, perhaps, than I would have done it before I started practising zazen. Certainly I'll not be so inlcined to get it over with as soon as possible. But not in a *here.is.my.hand.on.the.handle.of.the.mop.here.is.the.bucket.of.soapy.water...* kind of way. I’ll just get the floor washed. I'll do it well and enjoy it.

If you find it helpful to call that ‘samadhi’, and think of it as a ‘precursor to enlightenment’, fine. But washing the floor is washing the floor. And zazen is zazen. No ‘samadhi’ or precursor about it. I hear that too in the teaching of the old Zen masters.

Fugen said...

Hi.

Whether or not yiou've had kensho is, in my opinion, not the thing.
It's what(and if) you do with it that is.

But in the end it's all good practice.
Thank you for your practice.

Gassho
Fugen

Shonin said...

Thanks for sharing your story Malcolm.

Yes - I used to have those sorts of fantasies about dokusan, kensho and enlightenment. At this point in time I've had more than one experience of this kind and I no longer have such cravings. Partly this is thanks to the 8 years + of Soto Zen practice I think. And it's abundantly clear that such experiences are impermanent and not subject to my will. Clinging to ideas or memories of them just unbalances us and makes us dissatisfied with the reality of the present moment, which is the only reality there is, as you say

life goes on here and now, always

The lasting value of these experiences - and of any real Buddhist insight I think - is a deepening appreciation of this 'here and now, always'.

I see value in an ongoing process of deepening and nonattachment, deepening and nonattachment. Bliss, tranquility or insight may arise or not. If they do, they won't last. Clinging to them leads to delusion and suffering. Nevertheless it is my intention to keep deepening my practice endlessly.

Jinzang said...

I think the point is that there are three sides to Buddhist practice, traditionally called morality, meditation, and wisdom. Morality is how we express our practice in our lives and its watch words are no attachment and no harm. Meditation is practice on and off the cushion and its watch words are no distraction and no heedlessness. Wisdom is cutting through confusion and its watch words are no contrivance and no embellishment. Wisdom is not something we have to hope and plan for in the distant future. It's seeing clearly what's right here. You don't wait for wisdom as if you were waiting for a bus.

Anonymous said...

Malcolm, reading your story brought to mind my own. I too read lots of DT Suzuki and Alan Watts. As a teen, I thought if I could just read enough of Watt's books and think deeply enough I'd 'get it'. Like you, after reading the 3 Pillars of Zen I began zazen. I was in my late teens.

The funny twist on our two stories is that I became enamored of Shunryu Suzuki's ZMBM. After a couple of years of solitary zazen I wrote to Tassajara asking about traveling to Ca. and joining the monastery. I received a very nice letter explaining that Ca. was very far from my location (Southeast) and it might be more practical for me to attend another nearby zen group. They gave me the address and phone # of a zen group affilliated with Roshi Philip Kapleau.

Due to advice from Tassajara I eventually joined the Rochester Zen Center with the koans and emphasis on kensho. I wonder if our paths were reversed, would you be here championing the importance of satori and I the primacy of just zazen?

That nice letter and recommendation to join a rival zen sect led me to believe that zen wasn't full of nasty sectarianism.
Following the precedent of that letter from Tassajara, when anyone asks me for advice on practice I try to emphasize there are a variety of different approaches available and that they should choose which way suits them best. (By that I emphatically do 'not' mean what is easiest, Brad) I haven't been a member of the RZC in decades but still owe roshi Kapleau and others there a debt of gratitude.

Jinzang, as usual that was an excellent comment.

Spike said...

Do we sully the sandal? ~~~ holy music

FOLLOWERS: ...Look! Ah! Oh! Oh!

ARTHUR: He has given us a sign!

FOLLOWER: Oh!

SHOE FOLLOWER: He has given us... His shoe!

ARTHUR: The shoe is the sign. Let us follow His example.

SPIKE: What?

ARTHUR: Let us, like Him, hold up one shoe and let the other be upon our foot, for this is His sign, that all who follow Him shall do likewise.

EDDIE: Yes.

SHOE FOLLOWER: No, no, no. The shoe is...

YOUTH: No.

SHOE FOLLOWER: ...a sign that we must gather shoes together in abundance.

GIRL: Cast off...

SPIKE: Aye. What?

GIRL: ...the shoes! Follow the Gourd!

SHOE FOLLOWER: No! Let us gather shoes together!

FRANK: Yes.

SHOE FOLLOWER: Let me!

ELSIE: Oh, get off!

YOUTH: No, no! It is a sign that, like Him, we must think not of the things of the body, but of the face and head!

SHOE FOLLOWER: Give me your shoe!

YOUTH: Get off!

GIRL: Follow the Gourd! The Holy Gourd of Jerusalem!

FOLLOWER: The Gourd!

HARRY: Hold up the sandal, as He has commanded us!

ARTHUR: It is a shoe! It is a shoe!

HARRY: It's a sandal!

ARTHUR: No, it isn't!

GIRL: Cast it away!

ARTHUR: Put it on!

YOUTH: And clear off!

SHOE FOLLOWER: Take the shoes and follow Him!

GIRL: Come,...

FRANK: Yes!

GIRL: ...all ye who call yourself Gourdenes!

SPIKE: Stop! Stop! Stop, I say! Stop! Let us-- let us pray. Yea, He cometh to us, like the seed to the grain.

Harry said...

HARRY: It appears that you wouldn't know the real robe, the real shoe/sandal or whatever, the real Spike, if he came up and bit you on the ass...

SPKIE: Ha ha, I'm so clever! [says something clever with reference to Monty Python] etc etc etc...

Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.

Harry.

Disastercat said...

It appears that you wouldn't know the real robe, the real shoe/sandal or whatever, the real Spike, if he came up and bit you on the ass...

Jeeze didn't jundo say something like this to chet? Is jundo using a monty python skit?

Harry said...

I think Jundo is sometimes a Monty Python skit that everyone but he gets. As are we all.

I think Zen, and religion in general, is a Monty Python skit that we all don't recognise as a skit from time to time. Recognising and employing the skitiness of it, and the skitter, seems to be what it's all about. More often we just see stancing, posing and strutting, like Brad's post at the head of this thread, and much of the other waffle, including mine.

Good luck,

Harry.

Joshu said...

Just put the damned shoes on your head and walk away! That cat is already beaten to death, no need for a sword here.

HENTAI said...

HERE TO THE BEST DRINK IN THE UNIVERS


CracK COLA Harrrraaa!

The best stuff just got better
But, now I can feel my eyes?

anon #108 said...
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anon #108 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anon #108 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anon #108 said...

Try again…


Hi Anon @7.31am.

Thanks for your story.

I wonder if our paths were reversed, would you be here championing the importance of satori and I the primacy of just zazen?

I hope it doesn't appear that I'm simply championing the primacy of just zazen. I'm trying to clarify the practice and approach I know in the face of what I see as misunderstandings.

Nevertheless, the answer to your question - in the spirit that it was asked - is 'Almost certainly yes'. I imagine.

Of course, I found what I found because of who and where I am. How could it be otherwise?

Anonymous said...

Hey, Brad!
When you get back to a world with wifi reception
tell us if you enjoyed yourself at Tassa ha ha ha ra.

Am waiting for you to see the place for what it is

but when you last spoke of the place you still seemed charmed by it.

They have found a way to remain solvent, I'll give them that, but being a bed and breakfast tourist spot for zen voyeurs...I dunno

I guess if their gift shop is stocked with your books
and the works of a choice few others
there might be hope for them
there might be hope for zen
and going out of the way to get to a sweltering hot valley just to give all the hand helds and micro chips
a rest will have been so worth it

verification: expro

more like perpetual amateur

Anonymous said...

After finishing the book Eat, Pray, Love I now feel inspired to do a retreat at Tassajara. Follow your heart my friends.

Anonymous said...

When you get to tassajara you won't find it there

Doesn't mean the book you read wasn't a good read

You know, 'the map is not the territory' and all

� said...

I'm going to wait for Tassajara the movie..

anon #108 said...

There again...

Satori literally means 'comprehension, understanding'.

Budh, the root of buddha, sambodhi etc, literally means 'wake, perceive, notice, learn, understand'.

Both words refer to understanding - as one might suddenly understand a previously confusing mathematical problem or abstract idea and exclaim "Ah! I get it!"

Perhaps the instant enlightenment experienced with such regularity by the Buddha's audience was simply an example of good teaching which audiences understood.

Understanding is a pretty mystical and miraculous process. Once we have truly understood something, unless we neglect to remind ourselves of it or have no use for it, it's difficult to forget.

Perhaps some of us come have to undervalue 'ordinary' understanding and over-value 'extra-ordinary' mystical insight.

Today, I'm convinced of it.

anon #108 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anon #108 said...

...Of course, it's very important to understand that some things are beyond understanding.

Anonymous said...

Last winter I visited New York City for the first time in a long time. I took a cab from the bus station to my friend's house and noticed that they now have a tv screen that displays a street map indicating the current location. This was amusing to me as I realized that the map is not the territory, the map is *in* the territory.

anon #108 said...

...I realized that the map is not the territory, the map is *in* the territory.

Ah hah, satori mashta!

� said...

"...Of course, it's very important to understand that some things are beyond understanding."

And with that understanding, what then?

Azeworai said...

Brad, when are you going to start having zazen sessions in North Carolina?

anon #108 said...

Hi �,

...what then?

Forget about it. Do the next thing.

Anonymous said...

or don't forget about it!!
who is the agent?

Anonymous said...

Agent Number 000
Gone... J's Gone.

Anonymous said...

Shaken or Stirred ;)

Anonymous said...

Shtirred.

john e mumbles said...

U R Mishaken, Sirrrrr

Anonymous said...

ouch! mefeels impaled on my point of view :(

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mysterion said...

Kensho ("seeing inner nature"), the first stage (or glimpse) of enlightenment, occurs when the student does "let go" of himself. "All of a sudden he finds his mind and body wiped out of existence together with the koan. This is what is known as letting go your hold'." (Hakuin)[8] dogen described it by saying that one's body and mind drop away, and thereafter there is an empty, fallen-away, body and mind. Here the Zen master may help by cutting the last thread: an unexpected action, such as a blow or a shout or even a few quiet words, may startle the student into "letting go". Many of the classical Zen stories tell of how a student was enlightened by such an action. What happens in such cases is that the shock of the unexpected noise or pain causes it to penetrate to the very core of the student's being -- in other words, it is experienced nondually. source

Does a dog have a buddha nature?
You bet your sweet ass it does!

And so does the fox he chases!

Anonymous said...

"The man of devotion, who knows the truth, thinks he does nothing at all, when he sees, hears, touches, smells, eats, moves, sleeps, breathes, talks, excretes, takes, opens his eyes or closes his eyes: he knows that the senses deal with the objects of the senses."

Bhagavad Gita 5:8-9
http://wsu.edu/~dee/ANCINDIA/GITA.HTM

anon #108 said...

Some time ago, Anonymous Sponge-Bob challenged Brad:

"Instead of denigrating insight into True Nature, why not go verify it yourself?"

...Who am I?

anon #108 said...

:-/

Anonymous said...

"It is as though you have an eye
That sees all forms
But does not see itself.
This is how your mind is.
Its light penetrates everywhere
And engulfs everything,
So why does it not know itself?"
***Foyan

Who is hearing?
"Your physical being doesn't hear,
Nor does the void.
Then what does?
Strive to find out.
Put aside your rational Intellect,
Give up all techniques.
Just get rid of the notion of self."
***Bassui

"Look for Buddha outside your own mind, and Buddha becomes the devil.'
***Dogen

"If you want to be free,
Get to know your real self.
It has no form, no appearance,
No root, no basis, no abode,
But is lively and buoyant.
It responds with versatile facility,
But its function cannot be located.
Therefore when you look for it,
You become further from it;
When you seek it,
You turn away from it all the more."
***Linji

"What is this mind?
Who is hearing these sounds?
Do not mistake any state for
Self-realization, but continue
To ask yourself even more intensely,
What is it that hears?"
***Bassui

"Whether you are going or staying or sitting or lying down,
the whole world is your own self.
You must find out
whether the mountains, rivers, grass, and forests
exist in your own mind or exist outside it.
Analyze the ten thousand things,
dissect them minutely,
and when you take this to the limit
you will come to the limitless,
when you search into it you come to the end of search,
where thinking goes no further and distinctions vanish.
When you smash the citadel of doubt,
then the Buddha is simply yourself."
***Daikaku

Jinzang said...

From "The Aspiration Prayer of Mahamudra" (Chagchen Monlam)

It is not existent--even the Victorious Ones do not see it.
It is not nonexistent--it is the basis of all samsara and nirvana.
This is not a contradiction, but the middle path of unity.
May the ultimate nature of phenomena, limitless mind beyond extremes, he realised.

If one says, "This is it," there is nothing to show.
If one says, "This is not it," there is nothing to deny.
The true nature of phenomena,
which transcends conceptual understanding, is unconditioned.
May conviction he gained in the ultimate, perfect truth.

Not realising it, one circles in the ocean of samsara.
If it is realised, buddha is not anything other.
It is completely devoid of any "This is it," or "This is not it."
May this simple secret, this ultimate essence of phenomena,
which is the basis of everything, be realised.

Appearance is mind and emptiness is mind.
Realisation is mind and confusion is mind.
Arising is mind and cessation is mind.
May all doubts about mind be resolved.

:-/ said...

Plenty more where where that came from -

However deep your
Knowledge of the scriptures,
It is no more than a strand of hair
In the vastness of space;
However important appears
Your worldly experience,
It is but a drop of water in a deep ravine.

- Tokusan

***********************************

The past is already past.
Don't try to regain it.
The present does not stay.
Don't try to touch it.

From moment to moment.
The future has not come;
Don't think about it
Beforehand.

Whatever comes to the eye,
Leave it be.
There are no commandments
To be kept;
There's no filth to be cleansed.

With empty mind really
Penetrated, the dharmas
Have no life.

When you can be like this,
You've completed
The ultimate attainment.

- Layman P'ang (740-808)

***********************************

1. Experience Chan! It's not mysterious.
As I see it, it boils down to cause and effect.
Outside the mind there is no Dharma
So how can anybody speak of a heaven beyond?

5. Experience Chan! It can't be described.
When you describe it you miss the point.
When you discover that your proofs are without substance
You'll realize that words are nothing but dust.

6. Experience Chan! It's experiencing your own nature!
Going with the flow everywhere and always.
When you don't fake it and waste time trying to rub and polish it,
Your Original Self will always shine through brighter than bright.


10. Experience Chan! Ignore that superstitious nonsense
That makes some claim that they've attained Chan.
Foolish beliefs are those of the not-yet-awakened.
And they're the ones who most need the experience of Chan!

- Master Xu Yun

***********************************

All sentient beings are essentially Buddhas.
As with water and ice, there is no ice without water;
apart from sentient beings, there are no Buddhas.
Not knowing how close the truth is,
we seek it far away
--what a pity!

- Hakuin Ekaku Zenji

***********************************

There are thousands upon thousands of students
who have practised meditation and obtained its fruits.
Do not doubt its possibilities because of the simplicity of the method.
If you can not find the truth right where you are,
where else do you expect to find it?

- Dogen

***********************************

When you hear your inner voice,
forget it.

*Hyoen Sahn

Anonymous said...

Let the mystery take care of itself.

john e mumbles said...

Ho!

Garrapata Red said...

Tassajara? Sin, Sex & Zen? 1969. Lived in a cabin in Big Sur, in Rocky Point cove, just south of the Palo Colorado Rd. Crazy Carmel beach kids not long out of high school. It was a rave at that time to pick up girls our age 'round about 9PM and drive all the way to Tassajara in the dead of night. This is back when it was a bitch of a hard, rocky forest road...the last run I made destroyed my '61 Rambler. Pick up some Carmel Valley girls with my compadres, drive to Tassajara, and sneak into the hot springs....get naked and stay silent in 110 degrees...build up a little ki. After an hour or two, climb up the hill, out of the creeks where the wild pigs roam, in the hot August Santa Lucia night with the indelible aroma of madrone and California Laurel in your nostrils, lay out a blanket with a tanned California girl and make hot monkey love til you purred yourself to sleep with her hand on your manhood. Yeah....that's kensho, or as close to it as I'll ever get. Don't know if Suzuki Roshi ever knew about it, but if he did, I guess he let it be, 'cause we were always quiet and never messed anything up. Pay my respects to Tassajara, Brad. And long live the spirit of Richard Farina!

Anonymous said...

One way to describe the difference between before and after (kensho) is that previously experience was (or seemed to be) dualistic: there is the duality between subject and object, between oneself and the external world. With kenshō that duality is realized to be delusive: my consciousness and the world are not separate from each other. As Dōgen put it, "I came to realize clearly that mind is no other than mountains, rivers, and the great wide earth, the sun and the moon and the stars."

It must be emphasized that the kenshō experience -- the first "taste" of nonduality -- is not the end but only the true beginning of Zen practice. It has been said that to experience kenshō is not usually very difficult, but to integrate that experience fully into one's daily life is a challenge that takes lifetimes. Except in the very deepest (and rarest) of cases, impure karmic tendencies persist and they eventually return after any enlightenment experience, along with the sense of duality, although that has been weakened by the realization that such duality is indeed delusive. According to Mahāyāna teachings, reality has two sides, form and emptiness. Usually we experience phenomena only dualistically, but kenshō reveals the "essential world" of empty oneness. Rather than just alternating from one to the other, the challenge is to realize and manifest their "interpenetration". One way to express this is that nonduality must be fully "brought into" the apparently dualistic world of our day-to-day activities. ***David Loy

Even if you sit until your seat breaks through, even if you persevere mindless of fatigue, even if you are a person of lofty deeds and pure behavior, if you haven't reached this realm of satori, you still can't get out of the prison of the world.***
Keizan Zenji (1268–1325), co-founder of the Soto school

Anonymous said...

... hence the challenge in expression using language. we human animals seem to be so attached to the mental activity in the frontal lobe. logic, intellect, reason and meaning are just delightful and so self-satisfying. "Ahhh," says the mind, "there it is exactly!" I mean, I'm going through this right now in this paragraph, LOL! So this is a finger pointing at the moon, and my referencing that metaphor is a finger pointing at a finger pointing at the moon. I used to love quoting Huang Po too (It's that which you see before you, begin to reason about it and at once you fall into error. At this point though, I'm finding quotes to be just like my favorite TV shows in my iTunes App or on Hulu.

Shoot, forgot my point :)

Anonymous said...

How about a new line of Zen T-shirts called "Finger Points"? The idea is to compose words and phrases to put on a T-Shirt so that in a crowd others would read the shirt and it would refer back to their experience...


Not me!

Quote Mind said...

Quotes can be used in all sorts of ways. I can use a quote from some esteemed master or expert to imply authority.

I can quote someone who I think is saying the same thing I'm trying to say but they are saying it clearer or better than I can. (this is usually how I try to use quotes)

I can quote to show contradiction. Someone asserts that the Quran never suggests killing people and I quote passages from the Quran explicitly condoning killing infidels.

I can quote without attribution to imply that the wisdom comes from me.

I can quote as a substitute for personal experience. Lots of people assume this is the only reason. If Brad quotes Dogen does this mean Brad has no actual personal experience or understanding of what he writes and so must use Dogen as a substitute? Not necessarily. Best not to assume too much or project our own hang-ups and delusions onto others.

Sunami said...

Just posted today in NYT...opportunity to plug your new book.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/21/us/21beliefs.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&sq=buddhist&st=cse&scp=2

anon #108 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anon #108 said...

Thanks for the David Loy quote anon.

With kenshō that duality is realized to be delusive: my consciousness and the world are not separate from each other.

Does that mean –

1) I only experience the external world in and through the matrix of my 'mind/consciousness' (so what's new?) ?

2) My 'mind/consciousness' is part of the Universe (it is co-dependently arising, and essentially 'empty') ?

3) Only my 'mind/consciousness' exists ( = solipsism) ?

4) My 'mind/consciousness' is part of a self-existent Universal mind/consciousness ( = I am God/Brahman etc etc) ?

5) Something else (please specify) ?

*********************************

Usually we experience phenomena only dualistically, but kenshō reveals the "essential world" of empty oneness. Rather than just alternating from one to the other, the challenge is to realize and manifest their "interpenetration".

So experience, then "interpretation", then "realising/manifesting". I can understand that - how can it be otherwise? For if an experience is to be anything other than a brain fart it has to be understood/interpreted - it will be understood/interpreted. Bi-peds do that.

How then might the manifesting triggered by an experience of non-duality differ from the manifesting triggered by a rational understanding of non-duality?

Please give examples.


(I'm really not much cop at philosophy - or Buddhism. I'm just asking questions, y'understand).

anon #108 said...

Ha! Just noticed David Loy says "interpenetration", not "interpretation".

Whatever. Doesn't affect the questions...No really, it doesn't ;)

Anonymous said...

With kenshō that duality is realized to be delusive: my consciousness and the world are not separate from each other.

Does that mean –

How about:
As Dōgen put it, "I came to realize clearly that mind is no other than mountains, rivers, and the great wide earth, the sun and the moon and the stars."

Usually we experience phenomena only dualistically, but kenshō reveals the "essential world" of empty oneness. Rather than just alternating from one to the other, the challenge is to realize and manifest their "interpenetration".

He's speaking of the interpenetration of oneness and manyness, not interpretation of it. There is a vast difference. David is not here to answer, but I'd venture to say that it's like going to a therapist and having the insight that "I'm angry with my wife because of problems with my mother when I was a child." I go home and find I'm still yelling at my wife. I now know why I'm doing this and realize it isn't really about my wife or what she does. How to change my behavior so that it is aligned with what I now know? Back to those oxherding pics....at first we have to use force to pull the ox around by the nostrils. Practice after satori is cultivation. We integrate what we know with our daily life until our life flows from satori effortlessly and we return to the market place looking like Hotei with a bag of goodies. That is interpenetration. That's the best case scenario.

How then might the manifesting triggered by an experience of non-duality differ from the manifesting triggered by a rational understanding of non-duality?

A rational understanding of nonduality is theory and it easily becomes a type of idealism. I 'should' treat people kindly because I believe we are all one. A theoretical understanding is fine as long as it does not become a substitute for direct insight. It's like the difference between reading about the ocean and jumping into it and swimming. I'm not sure what you mean by 'give examples'...is this a test? Will I be graded? lol!

Anonymous said...

I put my head underneath my bedcovers and sniffed my farts!!! Ohhh, true enlightenment!

anon #108 said...

Thanks anon for taking the time to answer me.

I'm afraid the Dogen quote doesn't help. It sounds very beautiful, but I'm a very literal kinda guy - I'd like to know just which of the options I provided anyone thinks that stuff means. Otherwise I'm left with a poetic expression of a brain-fart...kinda.

Whatever, a brain-fart is pretty useless until you 'integrate' it. As David Loy says: "It has been said that to experience kenshō is not usually very difficult, but to integrate that experience fully into one's daily life is a challenge that takes lifetimes [shame about the lifetimes]." The process of integration must, I'm suggesting, involve rationalisation/explanation of the experience. Notions like "non-duality" are examples of such rationalisation, and I don't think it's impossible, or undesirable, to explain just what they mean. I think bi-peds need explanations. Ceratinly this one does. Sometimes.

***********************************

Despite my misreading of "interpenetration" you still managed to understand my question and give me an example:

...it's like going to a therapist and having the insight that "I'm angry with my wife because of problems with my mother when I was a child." I go home and find I'm still yelling at my wife. I now know why I'm doing this and realize it isn't really about my wife or what she does...

Unfortunately, you've assumed that the insight provided by, in this case, psycho-analysis won't have the desired effect. I suspect many people who've received therapy will say that they've been given insights into their motivations and have been effectively released from negative behaviour by directly experiencing the source of it. So your example doesn't help me, either. As for the ox-herding pictures - just more poetry...with pictures ;)

FWIW, IMO, I think our behaviour towards others has so much more to do with our genetic/hereditary disposition than either kensho moments or rational explanations; which would account for the failure of quite a few "enlightened" types to avoid "unenlightened" behaviour. But that's a another debate entirley...

Oh well. I'm an awkward sod :)

Hey - 10 for effort!

anon #108 said...

Even though I suspect many people who've received therapy will say that they've been given insights into their motivations and have been effectively released from negative behaviour by directly experiencing the source of it... [me] - which I now notice sound a bit like kensho (!)...

...the realisation that I 'should' treat people kindly because I believe we are all one [you] may be a theoretical understanding, but it is absolutely fine if does the trick, isn't it? Isn't that all that matters?

Mysterion said...

Zen Monks are not, in large part, Clinical Psychologists. Hell, some Clinical Psychologists are not Clinical Psychologists - or they are Clinical Psychologists in name only.

Buddhism IS, however, psychology in spades. As I have previously stated, and made a case for, no student of Psychology goes very far in graduate school without encountering Buddhism - often at the hand of Carl Jung.

For a fine look at the relationship between Jungian psychology and Buddhism, see Spiegelman and Miyuki (1985).

Spiegelman, J., & Miyuki, M. (1985). Buddhism and Jungian Psychology. Phoenix, AZ: Falcon Press.

Please download and read the PDF here.

If you want to be a psychologist, go get a Certification. If you want to be a Buddhist, you were born Buddhist - just realize it.

Ga-Sho-Nuff
Chas

Clinical? ^one flight up.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anon #108 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anon #108 said...

There again...

Treating people kindly because experience teaches that it makes you happier and your life easier probably works best. If you haven't yet integrated the lessons of experience, you can take the Budddhist's word for it. Something to do with "karma", I have heard.

And thanks, Chas. It looks heavy going, but very interesting. I'll give it a shot.

Anonymous said...

For your HTML edification, HERE is one HOT LINK.


















another kensho moment, as seen on TV!

Anonymous said...

There's a reason why mosquitoes are jokingly referred to as Minnesota's State Bird.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
--- said...

OH SNNAP, Uku

blogger jundo cohen said...
____
Hi Uku,

Oh, I don't know.

May I ask you some questions about "knowing"?

How much time must one talk with people, read their writings every day, counsel them through personal exchanges during the ups and downs in life to "know" the person? In the instant case, it has been several years of such exchange.

And how much time would I have to spend in the same house with them to truly "know" them? Do mothers and wifes truly know the secret inner lives of teenage sons and husbands? My own wife of 20 years surprised me this week by professing that she did not believe in the Japanese traditional custom of visiting her parent's grave from time to time, something I would never have thought of her. Yet I "know" her so well that often not a word is necessary to convey pages.

I guess we now discount the old stories, such as in the "Passing of the Lamp" collections, in which Patriarch met Patriarch in a dream or intuition and, meeting once ... passed not only ordination, or Transmission, but the Patriarch's torch itself ... all within a short conversation.

Now, suppose there were a self-described "monk" who had a teacher 2000 miles away, a man of few words with whom he barely had interchange ... perhaps meeting face to face once a year or so. Suppose that "monk" did not and had never lived in a monastery but worked at a job and came home to the wife and kids every night, and had not received any formal training in much anything besides sitting Zazen (not to say that is not the heart of it all). Suppose the fellow was part of a Lineage which sometimes turned people loose on the world by handing them a Rakusu and performing a 30 minute ceremony ... with little follow-up training in about anything about anything. Suppose the fellow regularly taught then folks the teachings of the Buddha and Dogen who he had never met (save in their written translations and on the cushion) ... in a language that his own "teacher" could not follow and, thus, supervise. Suppose the fellow (the next day) posted a video of him interpreting the fine points of the teachings of a living Japanese fellow whom he had met once or twice (or not at all) and who did not speak English very well, Finnish at all. Suppose that monk basically rejected all that Master Dogen taught on 1000 subjects of monkly behavior... from celibacy to dress to the procedures by which he himself got "ordained" as a "monk" (in an apartment) ... yet somehow felt that a certain path were suddenly "insulting the old tradition".

8:34 AM, August 23, 2010

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=4418718317517959131&postID=8196274906190766152

--- said...

blogger jundo cohen said...

Anyway, Taigu and I went ahead because we felt that we "know" these guys enough to be assured that they are sincere, committed to the Practice, gifted. What is more, "Ordination" is merely the start of the endless road of training ... not the endless end ... and a long road lies ahead in the kitchen washing dishes before handing anyone a chef's hat or (in the case of a minister often called upon to guide folks through crisis moments in their life) a license to do real harm.

That is why we emphasize the years of training that must follow Ordination (see below) ... something, unfortunately, I learned from my own Lineage which, sometimes, turns "teachers" loose on the world with a Kesa and a wink. Very dangerous.

Anyway, following is the public announcement we made at Shambhala Sun ...

ANNOUNCEMENT


One part there which is very important (except perhaps to a "maintainer of traditions" such as yourself who abandons the need for learning of most Old Dogen's traditions even if ... and before ... rejecting them) is this:

As we approach our fifth year, we believe we have succeeded, and the ceremony is another symbol of that and the strength of our community. What is more, beyond any ceremony, the real test and responsibility will be the training and education as clergy, ministers and teachers that it is our responsibility to now provide these novice priests. In order to do so, we are about to embark on a road which will take years of hard and sincere effort, also combining traditional ways and some very new, innovative ways of education. If anyone wishes to download and read a very long and detailed statement of the ‘goalless goals’ of training that these three are expected to follow and come to embody … HERE IT IS (33 pages, PDF) based, as closely as we can, upon guidelines for priest training established by the The Soto Zen Buddhist Association (SZBA) of North America.

Be well. Come visit if you come to Japan (have you ever been here for long?)

Gassho, Jundo (Internet Dharma Protector)

8:35 AM, August 23, 2010

Mysterion said...

-- said:
"Suppose that monk basically rejected all that Master Dogen taught on 1000 subjects of monkly behavior... from celibacy to dress to the procedures by which he himself got "ordained" as a "monk" (in an apartment) ... yet somehow felt that a certain path were suddenly "insulting the old tradition"."

None of that matters.

In Buddhism there is only one authority - that being YOU are your own authority and nobody elses'.

There have been, and will be monks who are followed. There have been, and will be monks who are rejected. There have been, and will be monks who are questioned. There have been, and will be monks who are doubted.

None of this matters!

Kalamas, what was said is thus:

"Do not go by revelation or tradition, do not go by rumour, or the sacred scriptures, do not go by hearsay or mere logic, do not go by bias towards a notion or by another person's seeming ability and do not go by the idea "He is our teacher". But when you yourself know that a thing is good, that it is not blamable, that it is praised by the wise and when practiced and observed that it leads to happiness, then follow that thing." ~ Kalama Sutta

Enlightenmentpsycho said...

Gudo said:

"Brad San does not deny the existence of Enlightenment, but he says that the real enlightenment is not so clear as usual people expect it."

Anastasia said...

Brad, I'm not one to give lots of praise because I'm wary of doing so, but I have to hand it to you: this post of yours is wicked cool and bitchin'.

Anonymous said...

Mysterion said

Kalamas, what was said is thus:

"Do not go by revelation or tradition, do not go by rumour, or the sacred scriptures, do not go by hearsay or mere logic, do not go by bias towards a notion or by another person's seeming ability and do not go by the idea "He is our teacher". But when you yourself know that a thing is good, that it is not blamable, that it is praised by the wise and when practiced and observed that it leads to happiness, then follow that thing." ~ Kalama Sutta


By which the Buddha meant that in the end you will know what I say is right and you should follow the teachings as I explained them as the authority and teacher here. People usually leave that subtext out in quotiing the Kalama Sutta.

Felatio Sodomite said...

The problem with the whole kensho ordeal is the apparent lack of self-control amongst so-called Zen (chan) masters.
Once among masters, faulty morals occur. Like a Catholic priest licking lollipops. The chops of the zen master are wet with $$$ signs in their eyes. Sitting crossed-legged in full-lotus position only gathers muscle impalement.
And the lack of college scholarship among these men OBVIOUSLY shows a lack o fortitude. So called ex-professors commenting on this blog definitely show a lack of respect for their students.
Sharks illuminate the depths of Maya's undercurrent.
Flashing appeals for demonic attitudes wail within the nights like cold liver and onions working on a stomach of beer and Pepto Bismol. Tortoise shell aptitude begets inferior Mysterion money shots. My jism has de-Viagrad into weak freshman English class marvels!!!!
Ha! Harry and his "companion" Anon 108 share a 2 room flat in West London. Shall we all fornicate with the Fat Buddha?

Brad?

woongs

Uku said...

Blogger Mysterion said...

-- said:
"Suppose that monk basically rejected all that Master Dogen taught on 1000 subjects of monkly behavior... from celibacy to dress to the procedures by which he himself got "ordained" as a "monk" (in an apartment) ... yet somehow felt that a certain path were suddenly "insulting the old tradition"."

None of that matters.

In Buddhism there is only one authority - that being YOU are your own authority and nobody elses'.

There have been, and will be monks who are followed. There have been, and will be monks who are rejected. There have been, and will be monks who are questioned. There have been, and will be monks who are doubted.

None of this matters!


I agree, Mysterion. Well said.

anon #108 said...

ONE MORE TIME, with feeling - -

With kenshō that duality is realized to be delusive: my consciousness and the world are not separate from each other.

Does that mean –

1) I only experience the external world in and through the matrix of my 'mind/consciousness' (so what's new?) ?

2) My 'mind/consciousness' is part of the Universe (it is co-dependently arising, and essentially 'empty') ?

3) Only my 'mind/consciousness' exists ( = solipsism) ?

4) My 'mind/consciousness' is part of a self-existent Universal mind/consciousness ( = I am God/Brahman etc etc) ?

5) Something else (please specify) ?

***********************************
If I don't get an answer soon I'll have to conclude that

1) No one knows

2) No one cares

3) No one dares to stick their neck out

4) David Loy doesn't know what he's talking about

5) …There is no fifth condition.

Malcolm said...

108 -

I suppose you haven't bothered to read the David Loy article you just linked:

...The second point is that, with regard to spiritual insight in Zen, there’s no “pure experience” to be found apart from the nondual sensory experience. There’s no universal consciousness that is exactly the same across culture and time. With a kensho—a first opening, as it were—you let go of yourself and you experience something in a nondual way and an empty way. The important point is that there is no awareness of a distinction between subject and object. The fact that the experience is nondual makes it similar to other nondual experiences, but there’s an enormous variety of particular experiences that can trigger this: a sound, something visual, a physical sensation. So, we’re not talking about transcending the sensory world to experience some higher reality, some unchanging transcendence. In Zen, it’s experiencing one’s particular situation in a nondual way—maybe only for a split second, or maybe longer.

anon #108 said...

Malcolm,

That still doesn't answer my specific question: What does my consciousness and the world are not separate from each other mean?

I'm banging on about this because Buddhists, religionists of all persuasions, are full of these kind of cute aphorisms, and believe that they express The Truth. I'm inclined to think they're deluding themselves.

While I'm waiting for an answer, I like DL's description of Kensho; what he describes happens countless times throughout the day to everyone [with the important caveat that if you are aware you're experiencing a moment of 'non-duality' then it was NOT a moment of non-duality. Maybe afterwards you can notice that there was "no awareness of a distinction between subject and object."]. But that doesn't seem to be what most Zennies mean by "kensho".

Anonymous said...

what is going on in here? I can't see all the comments unless I leave a comment

Anonymous said...

If I don't get an answer soon I'll have to conclude that

1) No one knows

2) No one cares

3) No one dares to stick their neck out

4) David Loy doesn't know what he's talking about

5) …There is no fifth condition


The answer is trivial and easy to find in any number of books and articles. But it means nothing at all unless you see it for yourself.
There's a reason this is usually expressed in pretty pictures and poetically. We're talking about something that is really impossible to talk about. Just as Nishijima says in that video link.

If you really want a thorough conceptual grasp of this try reading the Surangama sutra, if you haven't already.

There's also a koan dealing with mind and objective reality:

Hogen, a Chinese Zen teacher, lived alone in a small temple
in the country. One day four traveling monks appeared and asked
if they might make a fire in his yard to warm themselves.

While they were building the fire, Hogen heard them arguing
about subjectivity and objectivity. He joined them and said:
"There is a big stone. Do you consider it to be inside or
outside your mind?"

One of the monks replied: "From the Buddhist viewpoint
everything is an objectification of mind, so I would say that
the stone is inside my mind."

"Your head must feel very heavy," observed Hogen,
"if you are carrying around a stone like that in your mind."


And finally:

The Buddha said,
He who thinks that upon enlightenment there is self is wrong.
If he thinks there is not-self, he is likewise wrong.
If he thinks there is neither self nor not-self, he is wrong.
And if he thinks there are both self and not-self, he is still wrong.

anon #108 said...

Sorry anon, I'm sure you're genuinely trying to help me out here, but...

The koan you quoted is relevant to my question, but only suggests that solipsism (the 3rd option I offered) isn't the answer, and that the external world is real. Good. I think so too.

The Mahayana sutras (Vajracchedika and Lankavatara in particular - I don't know the Shurangama, I'll have a look) include fascinating insights about the nature of consciousness/mind, but as attempts of an earlier culture to explain it are just as likely to miss the target as you and I.

Nishijima is saying 'we can never know what/who we are'. I tend to agree with him. That's very different from saying 'I CAN experience/know what I (truly) am through a kensho experience'.

The Buddha - kudos to him - is also saying it's not this/not that/not both/not neither. He knows better than to tell us what it is. Because he doesn't know either! It can't be known. And that, I'm pretty sure, is what he's saying :)

It's so easy to say "We're talking about something that is really impossible to talk about". I'm not asking "What is the self?" or "What is the ultimate true nature of reality?" I'm asking...the very specific question about that short statement of David Loy's that I've already asked three times ^^^. DL seems to have no trouble talking about it - a lot.

Although I provided multiple choice answers , my very specific, simple question: "What dooes DL mean by "my consciousness and the world are not separate from each other"* is still being dodged. And I'm not surprised ;)

Fun, aintit?

Mysterion said...

re teaching:

"Good" students don't need me, anyone in the field can direct them to books, experiences, and growth. Of the students who listened to my espousing, more than 100 remain in contact - asking for more books, experiences, &c.

"Bad" students need custodial care. In as much as I was becoming a custodian of control for defocused student behavior, I could see the benefits of an early retirement.

I now make and give away jewelry to momentarily distract youth from the obvious. Earth has been on a runaway greenhouse for 60 of my 62 years. I could see it, my wife could see it. Ergo, we have no offspring. Why let them suffer?

"Cogito ergo sum"

Oh, and we participate in the local festival series.

half of what I post is not meant to be read by all. the other half is not meant to be read by anyone.

merely comments from consciousness.

you are nothing to me and I should be substantially less to you.

cheers,

chas

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mysterion said...

Anastasia said... ~ Kalama Sutta
"By which the Buddha meant that in the end you will know what I say is right and you should follow the teachings as I explained them as the authority and teacher here. People usually leave that subtext out in quotiing the Kalama Sutta."

The Suttras, like most 'religious matter' were appended in later times by communities with a mission. When you deconstruct the teachings of Gautama Shakyamuni, one can see the pattern of:

"Work out your own constipation, with your own pencil."

Anonymous said...

I'm going to try this again. It first showed that it posted twice, then the whole post disappeared. My apologies if it posts more than once.

Anon 108,

"Nishijima is saying 'we can never know what/who we are'. I tend to agree with him. That's very different from saying 'I CAN experience/know what I (truly) am through a kensho experience'."

I think what he is saying may be more subtle than that. On one level we can never know who we are. The eye can't see itself. Go back to what Foyan said;

"It is as though you have an eye
That sees all forms
But does not see itself.
This is how your mind is.
Its light penetrates everywhere
And engulfs everything,
So why does it not know itself?"

The emperor asked Bodhidharma; "Who then stands before me?" and Bodhidharma answered; "I don't know".

Later Bodhidharma told Huike, 'Bring me your mind and I'll pacify it.' Huike replied; "I've searched & searched and can't find my mind anywhere."
B then said; "There. I've pacified your mind."

You're jumping to conclusions about what the Buddha and others above are saying, imo. Are you sure your own not-knowing and Bodhidharma's are the same?

So, you believe that master Dogen (and a bazillion other teachers) were mistaken when he said that?;

"I came to realize clearly that mind is no other than mountains, rivers, and the great wide earth, the sun and the moon and the stars."

Who knows? Maybe he was wrong, It's good to be sceptical of all of this. Question all authorities, but try not to let scepticism become cynicism. Part of this is to also strongly question our own authority and experience.

BTW, that koan does not just negate solipsism, nor does it assert that the world is objective as opposed to subjective.

I thought you had a teacher, so you should perhaps take up such questions with him. If you are not satisfied with his answers, maybe you should consider another teacher.

Here are some words of master Seung Sahn that you might consider:

"The true meaning of sitting Zen is to cut off all thinking and keep not-moving mind. So I ask you: what are you? You don't know; there is only "I don't know." Always keep this don't know mind. When this don't know mind becomes clear, then you will understand."
***Seung Sahn soen sa nim

When the 'don't know mind' becomes clear, that is satori. Take care.

anon #108 said...

Thanks, anon.

This has been an very interesting exchange. FWIW, I am satisfied with the explanations and insight into these matters that I've received from my teacher. His, and Nishijima's understanding of the koans, the Buddha's teaching, Dogen's writing informs where I'm coming from (you'll know by now that my teacher is studied with Gudo for over 20 years). Yes, I am cynical about some presentations of Zen/Buddhism, but I'm not cynical about the benefit of the practice, as I do it and the philosophy, as I understand it.

I'm sure you won't be offended if I say that much of our discussion reminds me of the reply one might get from a born-again Christian to the question "Please explain to me what it means to say that Jesus is the son of God?": "When you truly open your heart to Him, and invite Him into your life, you will know.

***********************************
PS

So, you believe that master Dogen (and a bazillion other teachers) were mistaken when he said that?;

"I came to realize clearly that mind is no other than mountains, rivers, and the great wide earth, the sun and the moon and the stars."


No. I think he meant (my) option 2)

You're jumping to conclusions about what the Buddha and others above are saying, imo.

Of course. Don't we all?

Are you sure your own not-knowing and Bodhidharma's are the same?

In one sense, I'm sure they're not. How could they be; we are different people. In another sense, not-knowing may simply be not to know: me and Bodhidharma on exactly the same page.

When this don't know mind becomes clear, then you will understand."

Hey - maybe it has, and I do! I don't know...

anon #108 said...

PPS

Re: "...mind is no other than mountains, rivers, and the great wide earth, the sun and the moon and the stars" -

My suggestion that Dogen may mean something very similar to what David Loy meant by the sentence that started our debate; ie, "My 'mind/consciousness' is part of the Universe (it is co-dependently arising, and essentially 'empty')" is a suggestion of an explanation from a "Buddhist theory" point of view. If you're not the anon who previously found THIS article useful, then what's written at the bottom of page 2 ("fences, wall, tiles and pebbles" this time) is an explanation that clarifies my understanding from a different point of view.

Anonymous said...

can anyone see me?

R I DD L E said...

Why did the boy rip the wings off the fly?

desertman said...

Malcolm, you asked what this means."my consciousness and the world are not separate from each other."
While the answer is simple it is something that the self nature will make us want to reject.

Mind is non dual, unbounded. True nature has no physical limits. when we realize satori/kensho we recognize the Mind for what it is. Because it has no physicalness there is nothing outside of Mind.
Kensho may give a glimpse of that truth and with satori you experience the true nature of Mind in a more direct way. with kensho we may feel the emptiness of all phenomina but not directly recognize what the mind is. With satori the fuzzyness is gone and we realize directly the non dual empty nature of our own Mind

Anastasia said...

Mysterion said: "Anastasia said... ~ Kalama Sutta
"By which the Buddha meant that in the end you will know what I say is right and you should follow the teachings as I explained them as the authority and teacher here. People usually leave that subtext out in quotiing the Kalama Sutta."

...no, I didn't, dollface. I said, "Brad, I'm not one to give lots of praise because I'm wary of doing so, but I have to hand it to you: this post of yours is wicked cool and bitchin'."

Well, for all I know, both could mean the same thing... :D

Harry said...

From Dosho's 'Wild Fox Zen' blog:

The issue of enlightenment (or kensho or satori or my personal favorite, verification) experiences has been kicked around again over on Brad Warner's Hardcore blog (with many hundreds of comments), James Ford's Monkey Mind and beyond.

Brad tends to kick such things down. James tends to kick them up. I'm with my buddy James on this one.

Simply and personally put, verification experiences have been very important for me. Never the end of the road but pointers to the work that might be done.

"Seeing that there's nothing to do, rolling up our sleeves and going to work," said Gary Snyder, I believe.

Without them, Buddhism is just another belief set with people yabbering on in idle speculation - a virtual hemorrhoid support group (whether it be composed of Zen priests or students) for those who have pristine assholes (my regrets for the questionable metaphor!).

Of course, there are issues with verification experiences, like how they're all transitory too, how we can get all greedy and stupid while chasing after them, and how we can get hung up on them and all high and arrogant. Oh, and how we can't control their depth or frequency and that's a pisser.

Yeah, well, that applies to lots of wonderful things, like love and paychecks, but we somehow learn to work through the kinks.

Here's a talk by a Zen teacher I like a lot Genjo Marinello, "Mu and Impermanence," (click [here] and go to #5) that says it very much like I see it.

And, hey, find out for yourself (and confirm it with a teacher who knows such things) if you haven't already and don't get distracted or despondent or nihilistic by listening to people who talk about hemorrhoids but haven't suffered them.


So if we fully realise our Hemorrhoid-Nature do we have to get one of those inflatable 'zafus' with the void in the middle?

..."Okay, shall we sit with that [with those]?"

Another thing I meant to point out was that the Bradster was a bit keen to link 'Satori' and 'kensho' with his whole BigMind axis-of-evil theory. That's like saying that berets are evil because Saddam Hussein wore one sometimes ...Dingleberets are certainly an evil of the unified whole of nature, on the other hand.

Regards,

Hararrhoid.

Anonymous said...

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." Dick, Philip K.

anon #108 said...

Hi desertman,

Thanks for sticking your neck out (I notice the usual suspects are keeping well away from this one. Very wise lol).

I don't know where to start!...

Have you given me a description of your own experience of kensho and satori, or is what you've written your understanding of what you've read on the subject?

Either way, I can't make head or tail of it, I'm afraid.

So here's an attempt at summarising what I think about "mind" and "kensho" and why it's an issue for me -

I understand, intellectually, that all things are interdependent/co-dependently arisen/arising. Our experience/observation confirms it. Science confirms it. (The seeming paradox of a a process of cause and effect being 'real' in an instantaneous Universe [is it??] is another story). But the notion that an 'experience', a phenomenon of mind, can give a reliable insight into an objective truth about itself ("our true nature") seems highly suspect, delusional even. Anon, quoting, referred to the inability of the eye to see itself. If that truth is axiomatic, then so must be the truth that any idea 'mind' or 'consciousness' has about itself is dubious. And so...

I suppose that what we perceive as (my) 'mind' is, as the Buddhists supposed, an instantly arising no-thing which results from the interaction or coincidence of sense and sense objects; from a relationship between our 'internal' physical processes and the 'external' world. We can say all sorts of things about what 'it' does. But it is not substantial. It is not self-existent. It cannot be located. And yet I do recognise (my) consiousness. If that, or something very much like it, is what a kensho experience confirms, then fine. But if a kensho experience confirms that I have a mind, whose true, objective nature I have now experienced and can know, then that, my intuition tells me, must be delusion.

And it's an issue for me because sometimes I need to check my understanding with that of others, so as not to feel alone in the Universe...and in order to be right. And because by writing I hear the sound of my own voice and sometimes learn something unexpected.

***********************************

Thanks, Harry - just seen your/Mike Port's post.

Yes, insights are important. It's important to really understand, to verify this stuff, otherwise, as MP says, "Buddhism is just another belief set." Some people - I think I'm one of them - have been having moments of insight/kenshos/satoris for as long as they can remember. Nothing special.

K. I'm done. As if.

Captcha = rehyp

Anonymous said...

Great post Brad !! Reading the comments and peoples reactions reveals a dualism that has snuck into peoples conceptions of "Buddhism". And it is his questioning of "kensho,satori" that threatens peoples attachment to a self. This self sneaks in as a wrong view of "Buddhanature",etc. Some comments seem to fall into a mind body dualism saying that "mind","consciousness" can be separate,which is eternalism/dualism.

Heart Sutra
"no body, NO mind; no sight, no sound,
no smell, no taste, no touch,
no object of mind; no realm of sight,NO realm of mind consciousness"

Nagarjuna explains:
Whatever is dependently co-arisen (pratityasamutpada)
That is explained to be emptiness (sunyata)
That, being a dependent designation
Is itself the middle way. (madhyamika)
Something that is not dependently arisen,
Such a thing does not exist
Therefore a non-empty thing (atman)
Does not exit.

anon #108 said...

(I notice the usual suspects are keeping well away from this one. Very wise lol).

...by which I mean my terrier-like grip on that one sentence of David Loy's.

anon #108 said...

There again, the Buddhists (but maybe not G Buddha - he was a slippery sod) might be wrong. There may be a self/soul/atman after all.

Muahahahaaa!

Harry said...

Hi 108,

"Some people - I think I'm one of them - have been having moments of insight/kenshos/satoris for as long as they can remember. Nothing special."

One thing that Dosho's post says to me is that, okay, you may have been having satoris to beat the band, or maybe not, but without some way of verifying it, or pooh-poohing it (and your reaction to it!), or, more to the point, both, how would you know? The matter is very, very subtle and the verifying expression/language of it, as Master Dogen points out, is extremely important. Besides, there are different house 'styles' as Dosho maturely points out: Some (such as Dogen Sangha) might set you adrift to more-or-less find your own way in your own practice/'verification' (to borrow Dosho's preferred term), while some are more intimate and involve interaction/dialogue with the teacher (and, funnily enough, this latter option seems to be Master Dogen's own preferred model... he went large on the student/teacher relationship, the necessity of expression/clarification/verification of it, and saw this as indispensable).

I see a lot of people (including Brad and his loving bro Jundo) locking themselves into knotted 'positions' on this, as they have been groomed to do.

Re "nothing special". This is only one way to look at it. From the point of view of doing-realising it, it's nothing special. From the point of view of being a deluded, habitually driven robot then it may be quite special indeed, *and what's more we may personally recognise some of the actual significance of it at times* (although not always, or not even often, or not ever as Master Dogen pointed out; he reckoned than a buddha couldn't begin to understands the merit of it remember).

From the point of view of habitually beating yourself with a hammer, actually and really stopping doing that may rightly be considered a big deal (although this is a bad way of putting it, but seems strangely apt here!)

Regards,

Harry.

anon #108 said...

I know you're only in the next room, H, but I have to publicly make known my agreement with the gist of what you're saying here. For sure, some things, when verified, have far more significant implications than others.

Harry said...

Okay, dear, pass a teacake... yes, and the lube...

Partytime!!!

Anonymous said...

desertman, I'm really glad you pointed this out;

"Kensho may give a glimpse of that truth and with satori you experience the true nature of Mind in a more direct way. with kensho we may feel the emptiness of all phenomina but not directly recognize what the mind is. With satori the fuzzyness is gone and we realize directly the non dual empty nature of our own Mind."

With a shallow kensho, people can believe they've finished zen, attained buddhahood and are ready to teach and go on the ego trip Brad warns of.

Great post & quote, harry. Thanks for that.

anon #108 said...

Oi Harry (do you have to be so rough!),

Some (such as Dogen Sangha) might set you adrift to more-or-less find your own way in your own practice/'verification' (to borrow Dosho's preferred term), while some are more intimate and involve interaction/dialogue with the teacher...

I suppose that's a fair description of the Dogen Sangha house style, as far as I can tell. There's a danger that too much teaching becomes 'accepting teachings' - hearing stuff that sounds good and we want to be true, and making it so. Some may object: "Good teaching teaches you to find your own way and not blindly accept 'teachings'". But very that often doesn't happen, from what I sometimes read here and elsewhere, in what I and others write.

(When Brad returns to the market-place, Perhaps he'll clarify what he meant by "Kensho is bunk. Satori is bullshit." I've a sneaking suspicion his intention was to provoke. It worked).

Anonymous said...

The narcissism hammer beats out more second-hand zen motley to conceal itself with.

On the other hand, I wouldn't have had the opportunities to read Harry's very interesting posts - I appreciate what appears to be evidence of someone who can have a good look at themselves and refract their experience and learning into something that has the ring of authenticity.

Your insights feel hard-won Harry, and less wannabe than others.

Thanks.

anon #108 said...

I guess that's me you're talking about, anon (Same one? Surely not).

Why so snarky? Have I touched a nerve? If I wanted to create the impression that I really knew something, I wouldn't repeatedly expose myself on here so that people like you could call me a fool and tell me to STFU. I'd occasionally post some cryptic Zen-type thing, or maybe sit at home, shtum, knowing I knew better. I'm just trying to understand this stuff, you know. Can't you see that?

Perhaps you can help me. What do you think about Zen/Buddhism?

anon #108 said...

Mind you, I've always been aware of a degree of narcssism, but before admitting so here, which I promise you I was about to do, I thought I'd check what Wiki had to say about it and was relieved to find this:

The name "narcissism" was coined by Freud after a Greek myth about a pathologically self-absorbed young man. Freud believed that some narcissism is an essential part of all of us from birth. Andrew P. Morrison claims that, in adults, a reasonable amount of healthy narcissism allows the individual's perception of his needs to be balanced in relation to others.

Rather proud of myself now ;)

How about you?

Passer-By said...

"...People who are overly narcissistic commonly feel rejected, humiliated and threatened when criticised. To protect themselves from these dangers, they often react with disdain, rage, and/or defiance to any slight criticism, real or imagined.[11] To avoid such situations, some narcissistic people withdraw socially and may feign modesty or humility..."

anon #108 said...

Thanks, passer-by. Sounds familiar.

Much of what goes on on this blog, and in all relationships, I think, goes:

You don't get it.
No, you don't get it.

I'm just as interested in what that says about *getting it* as I am in who's right.

not_brad said...

People who are overly narcissistic commonly feel rejected, humiliated and threatened when criticised.

This is not about me!
Evil mindless troll haters!

Anonymous said...

"The narcissism hammer beats out more second-hand zen motley to conceal itself with."

That's a very rude and conceited attack on some interesting comments. If someone said that to me I would not be happy. Am I a narcissist?

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

?

Anonymous said...

Brad doesn't know Kensho if someone hit over the head with it?

http://monkeymindonline.blogspot.com/2010/08/authority-in-zen-rant.html

Not-Gniz said...

Different groups attract different pathologies. What is fascinating about Zen is the space it provides for what I will call the agent of a pathology to 'recognise' that pathology and yet maintain its functioning.

This can be very useful from a mental health point of view (from an individual perspective and from the perspective of those that individual came into contact with), as it provides a potential buffer against the sudden, deep and thus often confusing insights which mark the pathologies of revelation in other areas - religious or otherwise. These can often amplify and distort the underlying situation into something potentially more dangerous - whether concealed or or shouted from the roof-tops.

Nevertheless, it may also be exploited to keep the pathology chugging along and in some cases steadily grow as the agent of the pathology grows in confidence. This confidence can be derived from increased acceptance within the 'club' and from becoming adept in using its codes, along with 'club' status in the larger community of those outside the 'club'.

This would work especially in tandem with a certain over-determination of experiences from practice that facilitate a growing sense of expertise in a 'club' whose modus operandi might be loosely identified as a kind of 'self-awareness' or 'delusion awareness'.

This growing sense of expertise (as part of the make-up or make-believe of the pathology) would need to be constantly maintained extrinsically and also be highly sensitive to perceived or actual attacks, in order to keep the inflated sense of expertise going. These 'attacks' it would have to negotiate with nominal concessions while re-asserting persona-control along with a sense of self-control in the arena of contact.

The agent (being a modern human being) can absorb criticism intellectually and synthesise it into a fresh mode of defence, and in doing so also re-absorb the energies of a more potentially transformative emotional impact (one the agent might even be unconsciously striving towards), by which substantive aspects of the beating heart of the pathology might fruitfully, although somewhat painfully be let go of.

The parasitical nature of such a zen pathology might go unnoticed until and be largely benign until the agent has achieved a sense of status which it feels puts it on a par with the teacher or those who previously seemed to have had greater status, or more disturbingly not until the vulnerable come for guidance from it - it having established itself as a teacher.

In the light of my above speculations, Brad Warners -

"But there's a strong, strong habit we all have of grasping at things to make them "mine." That day was not mine....

Kensho is bunk. Satori is bullshit."

- seems to me, above all else, a pragmatic check against over-determination.

I am not a Zen practioner, but I would argue that saying Kensho is bunk and satori is bullshit doesn't have to be taken as derogating Rinzai or raising up Soto. The Rinzai practioner may have these as labels for evolving ideas for what they aim for and for what they experienced - but the experience itself may indeed be one with aspects akin to "Kensho is bunk. Satori is bullshit."

Uku said...

Kodo Sawaki Roshi has said:

You study, you do sports, and you’re fixated on satori and illusion. So that even zazen becomes a marathon for you, with satori as the finish line. Yet because you’re trying to grab it, you’re missing it completely. Only when you stop meddling like this does your original, cosmic nature realize itself.

He has also said:

Why don’t you simply have “I have satori!” tattooed all over your body? If you’re not conscious of your stomach, that’s proof your stomach is healthy. If you can’t forget your satori, that’s proof that you haven’t got any.

He has also said:

You think that you’re something special because you’ve got satori, but you’re simply showing off your sack of flesh.

And:

You’ve got it backwards if you talk about stages of practice. Practice is satori.
http://antaiji.dogen-zen.de/eng/kodo-sawaki-to-you.shtml

And you might ask: "so what?" And I would answer "yes, exactly!"

Showing Zen Finger [tm],
Martin Shidartist

Anonymous said...

asdf

Uku said...

Anonymous wrote:

asdf

Exactly!

Harry said...

body bgcolor="#asdf"

#ASDF said...

Green is a color, the perception of which is evoked by light having a spectrum dominated by energy with a wavelength of roughly 520–570 nanometres. In the subtractive color system, it is not a primary color, but is created out of a mixture of yellow and blue, or yellow and cyan; it is considered one of the additive primary colors. On the HSV color wheel, also known as the RGB color wheel, the complement of green is magenta; that is, a purple color corresponding to an equal mixture of red and blue light. On a color wheel based on traditional color theory (RYB), the complementary color to green is considered to be red.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jinzang said...

Uku, you couldn't forget satori if you didn't get it first. It like washing your clothes. First you use soap to get out the dirt, then you rinse out the soap with water, and finally you dry out the water.

Everyone is already enlightened is what the person with satori sees, so they also see it is nothing special. But just saying "everyone is enlightened" without realizing it for yourself is worse than useless.

Jinzang said...

a growing sense of expertise in a 'club' whose modus operandi might be loosely identified as a kind of 'self-awareness' or 'delusion awareness'

This misses the point entirely on what kensho /satori is about. The one thing you need to avoid is becoming a "zen expert." That's called contrivance or fabrication in mahamudra. It's not about getting something, it's about losing it.

dsla said...

Brad might be returning to Los Angeles, and Dogen Sangha Los Angles might be expanding to a more than once a week zen center. Those interested can read his letter on the topic here.

Anonymous said...

This growing sense of expertise (as part of the make-up or make-believe of the pathology) would need to be constantly maintained extrinsically and also be highly sensitive to perceived or actual attacks, in order to keep the inflated sense of expertise going

Without mentioning specific individuals, your contentions seem highly speculative and a bit over-intellectualized. Zen can give rise to lots of pathologies and be used by pathological individuals to maintain their delusions. Does that cover it? A lot of people are sensitive to perceived attacks and feel the need to defend themselves. This isn't confined to Zen students or teachers. Even Brad exhibits this behavior from time to time here.

Deja-vu said...

Anon 108: "Can we stop parroting shit about satori and kensho for a second and someone tell me what "mind is just a bowl of cherries" means?"
Anon: "Let me try. That means mind is just a bunch of bananas. The masters know this."
108: "I don't get it. Are you sure?"
Anon: "Oh Yes. No doubt about it. The scriptures say so."
108: "Hmm. What do you say?"
Anon: "I say, When you will know, then you will know...grasshopper."
108: "Oh Jesus."
Anon: "Take care!"
108: "Hmm...Anyone else?"
Desert Eagle: "Perhaps I can help. It's very simple. First, get your Satori. Satori is not fuzzy, and has no pips. Nothing in the middle or on the outside either. Get it?"
108: "Thanks a lot...WTF???"
Anon: "Wow Desert Eagle! That's brilliant!"
Harry: "Step aside. Mind is a special fairy cake and an ordinary butt-plug, Malc. I know these things."
108: "Easy H! And thanks for nothin."
Thor: "108. I don't know what you're on about, but I don't like you. I like Harry."
108: "Prick."
Chorus: "Er...where were we?"
Jinzang: "Heard the one about Satori......?"

Chorus girl said...

Let me guess Deja U,
you think satori is bunk, right?
Good writing though.

Anonymous said...

Shonin? The very same Edward Penney a.k.a Edo Shonin a.k.a Edo Yamato?

Your reputation precedes you.

anon 11.55 am said...

Jinzang

in reply to your

"This misses the point entirely on what kensho /satori is about. The one thing you need to avoid is becoming a "zen expert." That's called contrivance or fabrication in mahamudra. It's not about getting something, it's about losing it."

Where you quoted my

"a growing sense of expertise in a 'club' whose modus operandi might be loosely identified as a kind of 'self-awareness' or 'delusion awareness'"

I wasn't referring at that point to satori or kensho. When I wrote 'self-awareness' or 'delusion awareness' I was attempting to be as loose as possible in labelling the core procedures (ie such as the tool of mindfulness or looking inward etc) involved in practice to highlight the mental activities which can be caught up in 'contrivance' or fabrication'.

I'm not a zen practioner, as I said, so pardon my heavy steps and rangy speculations.

I very much agree that 'letting go' is central and that substantive letting go can be pathologically side-stepped in an 'agent' who maintains a superficially complex habit of over-determined 'little' letting goes. If that makes sense. The most valuable experiences of my own life and in observing others have been ones where 'letting go' could be characterised as the most important trigger for an enriching transformation.

Anon 6.29 - I'm glad I noticed yours there. Yes I was being highly speculative and in doing so providing little to back up my thoughts.

'Pathology' is a rather categorical label for a variety of behaviours of different degrees which are often interwoven with other traits or circumstances. Reading this comments section with interest lead me to this speculation without feeling the need to provide pointless personal examples.

Being sensitive to perceived attacks doesn't necessarily mean a pathology, of course. And I would suggest that religions or so-called 'spiritual' practices have been enriched by people with problems or pathologies or whatever, that have been transformed by their encounters with them. Likewise the pathological have tragically distorted, transferred and projected much.

I think there is very little that one can do in the face of certain pathologies but be on guard and informed.

For example, in groups where a higher level of intelligence is valorized, an agent can display excellence in moral parsing or ethical debate but an habitual tendency when confident to baulk heavily at simple slips of ethical behaviour, and become over-attached in arguing the point in an attempt to regain control. I imagine that this type of behaviour could be a problem in intimate groups where the agent has teacher status.

I read somewhere that a zen teacher advised a student to cling to the eightfold path, and wonder if this sort of thing has a tendency to be lost in the dogmatic atmoshphere of zen.

I do believe modern society is only gradually coming to terms with sociopathic behaviours that don't fit the tabloid news extremes. Behaviours that modern society exacerbates and often has a stake in turning a blind eye to.

anon 11.55 am said...

correction - '..LESS dogmatic atmosphere of zen'

Anonymous said...

394

Anonymous said...

395

Uku said...

dsla wrote:

Brad might be returning to Los Angeles, and Dogen Sangha Los Angles might be expanding to a more than once a week zen center. Those interested can read his letter on the topic here: http://dogensanghalosangeles.blogspot.com/2010/08/letter-from-brad-re-possible-return-to.html

Great news!

Uku said...

56:57 Golden opportunity (literally) for Sidney Crosby - breakaway chance but he loses control of the puck and allows a defender back before he reaches Miller.

Uku said...

54:56 Rafalski's rebound shot is saved by Luongo - important save that as Canadian bodies flew in front of him trying to block the puck.

Uku said...

58:40 Miller's out. But Luongo freezes the puck with 1:17 minutes to go. Massive, massive finish here.

Uku said...

And he shooooots! 400, yeeeeeaaaaaah!

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