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Zen Buddhism

genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
I put this on my blog and thought I might tack it here as well ... FWIW:

From where I sit, most religions attempt to separate disciples from their god or goal.

Zen Buddhism is not in the separation business, though lord knows there are plenty of wise and uninformed people who try to accomplish exactly that.

But if Zen is not in the separation business, it might be inferred that it was therefore in the business of unification or oneness.

But this too is not the case: How could anyone in their right mind unify what was never separated in the first place?

Anyone wanting to know what Zen Buddhism might be will have to practice and find out. Nothing else works ....

Unless, of course, anyone would prefer to spend a lifetime in some religious dungeon with nothing better to do than separate and unify.

Just noodling.
Cinorjerriverflow

Comments

  • What do you mean by separate and unify? I think the practice is to come back to awareness again and again as we are day dreaming or what have you. We just come back to the present again and again. Is that unifying with the present? Could it be that simple?
  • Noodle snacks.

    Both separation and unity usually manifest as the polarities of an us and them mentality.
    Or in some Zen speak.. The all is one and the all is different.
    From this zafu, the businesses of Zen is really about allowing both to unfold, unmolested by our own conditioning.
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    @Jeffrey -- Just out of curiosity, where do you come back from?
  • @genkaku, From thoughts. Coming from nowhere. Always there is a diffusion and a focusing in awareness. If you favor the focusing it can make you agitated. If you overly favor diffusion then you can have dullness in your mind.

    You can see it in meditation as mandala after mandala blooms.. Then you catch yourself and notice your meditation and take your meditation technique. The meditation and technique is also a mandala and as you return again and again the energy is strengthened in the meditation and practice mandala. You need diffusion to be a fertile ground for letting go and allowing insight to bubble up. You need sharp enough thinking to prevent dullness and see what is going on in your meditation as it relates to getting to know the mind.

    Is that ok? :)
    how said:

    Noodle snacks.

    Both separation and unity usually manifest as the polarities of an us and them mentality.
    Or in some Zen speak.. The all is one and the all is different.
    From this zafu, the businesses of Zen is really about allowing both to unfold, unmolested by our own conditioning.

    The Sandokei poem explains this.

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    From thoughts. Coming from nowhere.
    @Jeffrey -- OK, so when you're thinking, you're making some effort to get somewhere else? And when you're coming from nowhere, wherever that might be, you're going somewhere?

    If I've got that right, it's sounds pretty damned hard ... if not downright impossible.
  • yeah man, ramen
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramen‎

    and here is the poem
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandokai

    I think the mind is initially agitated (and then some)
    There is a passing away of agitation and the 'emergence; of an inherent stillness.
    The stillness does not come and go as it is always present, obscured by the agitation.
    We might say its presence becomes apparent without anything leaving or coming.

    I can think up, nothing has gone up.
    I can think down, what has gone down?
    Without direction, the mind exists
    still. :wave:
    Jeffrey
  • genkaku said:

    From thoughts. Coming from nowhere.
    @Jeffrey -- OK, so when you're thinking, you're making some effort to get somewhere else? And when you're coming from nowhere, wherever that might be, you're going somewhere?

    If I've got that right, it's sounds pretty damned hard ... if not downright impossible.

    Sorry, this is hard to explain and a little foggy in my mind. You could say that you are making some effort to return to the awareness mandala. But you don't make the daydream mandala collapse. You just have to notice that a new mandala has come in. When you are solid daydreaming you go to thought to thought to thought. Then somehow and without effort you remember that you are meditating. Then you just let go on the outbreath to space. No effort to do anything on the inbreath. Letting go on the outbreath is the only technique along with noticing thoughts and not getting lost nor getting aversion to thought. Yes coming from nowhere the new thought comes in. Where does it come from? When you are daydreaming and then remember you are meditating that came from nowhere. As you return again and again you come back to the technique and confidence. When you are present you can also just think about thoughts and reflecting on where they are, where they are going, and where they come from. It is not to solve the problem intellectually rather it is to sharpen awareness with the questions. You can feel it when that happens.

    Is it hard? Well you take it with a light touch and with infinite forgiveness. The space is already there and everything is fine. The practice is to notice that space (of mind etc) and even through our craving or depression or whatever we notice that there is space. In my mind it's harder to stay poisoned than it is to come back to the meditation method.
  • I will add that when a mandala appears we do have a choice whether to engage in that mandala or to just let it abide and fade. The latter is what we do with passions during meditation such as anger or lust.
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    @Jeffrey -- Do things come and go because we choose it or do they just come and go? And if the latter, what makes the "we" any different and the "choice" any more or less convincing?
  • Do things come and go because we choose it or do they just come and go?
    @genkaku, It's just because that is the way awareness is.
    what makes the "we" any different and the "choice" any more or less convincing?
    I think we do have a choice. That is my experience in meditation. If we could not empower awareness and disempower ego mandala we would just stay stuck.
    lobster
  • GuiGui Veteran
    edited September 2013
    @genkaku
    When you say that nothing else works.
    Are you saying that only zen works?
    Or are you saying that no thing works?
    Is it the same? Is practicing zen, so to speak, practicing no thing?
    If not, then isn't zen also absurd?
    I'm just curious.
    Regards,
    Gui
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    @gui -- My sense is that if you want to know what Zen Buddhism is, it's a good idea to practice Zen Buddhism. That way you know what you're talking about. Not that Zen is something else -- it's just that this particular bit of blue sky is blue ... pretty much like all the other bits. I guess we could call the whole matter "absurd" since blue sky is, after all, blue, but how much more absurd is it than the word "absurd?"
  • genkaku said:


    Unless, of course, anyone would prefer to spend a lifetime in some religious dungeon with nothing better to do than separate and unify.
    Just noodling.

    Despite what some other famous Zen teachers have said..
    IMO
    When Zen is taught through the comparison & denigration of other religious forms and what they lack, then that Zen teaches of separation.
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited September 2013
    @how
    It is interesting how people express their understanding. It is why there is a commonality in @Jeffrey and @genkaku. A sufi or christian contemplative would describe 'the stillness' in a very different way but be involved in a similar journey.

    It is the stillness that is 'important' not what 'the path' or our mind throws up . . .
    "Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?”
    ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
  • howhow Veteran
    edited September 2013
    @lobster
    always interesting.

    Some might say that neither stillness or activity, trump the other.
    Facing activity in stillness is just as "important" as facing stillness in activity.
    How else can a tricky lobster differentiate between stillness and quietism,
    or activity and the restless waving of ones antennas.

    Commonality is comforting, not sacrosanct.


  • Some might say that neither stillness or activity, trump the other.
    Indeed.

    There is stillness in churning the waters and activation in the still spring.
    They are both inherently empty.
    Most of us and I belong to that dharma detachment, are attracted to stillness and distracted by the poker player with a full house . . .

    oh well still human :cool:
    how
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