Discussions of Zen Buddhism in all shapes and sizes.
recently i've been reading the discourse records of dahui and found these wonderful quotes that may help meditators of all buddhist traditions:
"heretical teachers teach the educated elite to regulate the mind by doing quiet-sitting--advising them to completely separating themselves from all matters, ceasing and resting. this is clearly a case of using the mind to stop the mind, using the mind to rest the mind, and using the mind to apply the mind. practicing in this way, how can they not fall into the realm of [dead-end] meditation and annihilism? "
"most of the literati who study this path seek after quick results. before the master even opens his mouth [to speak], these people will have already formulated a [conceptual] understanding using their mind, consciousness, and perceptions. when [obstructions] creep up on them, they lose all self control like crabs in boiling water; they become busy with their hands and feet without having anything to hold on to. they don’t know that it is actually their conceptual understanding that leads them to king yama to receive the [blows of the] iron rod and to [swallow] the blazing iron ball. the person who seeks after quick results is no one else [than you]. and so it is said, “those who wish to acquire it will lose it” or “those who try to be meticulous will end up being more negligent.” the tathāgata considers such people pitiable."
i hope these admonitions help.
Talk about sitting in the ghost cave and dead end meditation, certainly does make me wonder about my own practise sometimes.
Just to get things straight : the problem you refer to comes from holding onto a concept about our zazen practise? My own interrogation comes from wondering if I'm being too casual and relaxed about my own practise: just sitting calmly, coming back to mindfullness as much as possible, no progression, no questioning.
There is no problem at all with sitting meditation.
The problem is we think that is sitting meditation.
And the worse thing is after doing that, we feel we have practiced.
Through nonconceptuality, he is immovable.
Thank you, Guo Gu. These are such important cautions for all of us.
Often, one does not win a battle by taking up a fight, but achieves victory by radically giving up the attack. I just came across some nice words by Zen Teacher Issho Fujita on this:
"[Human life] is said to be filled with 84,000 earthly desires which cause us to suffer. These earthly desires are likened to "castles" ... We tend to think that our practice is to attack and destroy those castles, believing that we can never attain awakening unless we extinguish all earthly desires. The Buddha was born into [this world] in order to teach us that that is not the case. He showed us the way to live in peace without resorting to battle against the castles of earthly desires. He never taught how to invent and use weapons to destroy them. True peace is not possible so long as we rely on weapons.
How is it possible to create great peace without using weapons? How can we capture the Buddha alive? The answer is to sit zazen of shikantaza. In zazen we do not fight against whatever happens to us. We do not apply any method or technique as a weapon to win the fight. Instead we simply accept it and naturally let go. Zazen is to "cease fire" and to create a profound peace within oneself and the world."
(From Issho Fujita, Polishing A Tile)
And as one so sits as "nothing to attain" and nothing to fight, there is nonetheless a vibrancy to it all. "Just Sitting" is not merely "just sitting around". With no goal and nothing to gain, the target is hit with a powerful non-punch, and treasure gained that was ours all along.
Thank you and Dahui,
PS - Also, this from Bankei, who reminds us of the way of neither dropping nor not dropping thoughts ...
"Even when all sorts of thoughts do crop up, it's only
for the time being while they arise. So, just like little
children of three or four who are busy at play, when you
don't continue holding onto those thoughts and don't cling
to any [particular] thoughts, whether they're happy or sad,
not thinking about whether to stop or not to stop them—
why, that's nothing else but abiding in the Unborn Buddha
Mind. So keep the one mind as one mind. If you always
have your mind like this, then, whether it's good things or
bad, even though you're neither trying not to think them
nor to stop them, they can't help but just stop of them-
What's more, to try to stop your
rising thoughts, holding them back and suppressing them,
is a bad idea. The original, innate Buddha Mind is one
alone—it's never two. But when you try to stop your rising
anger, [your mind] is split between your angry thoughts
and your thoughts of stopping them. It's as if you're chasing
after someone who is running away, except that you're
both the runner and the one pursuing him as well! Let me
give you an example of what I mean: You can busy yourself
sweeping under a tree with thick [autumn] foliage; but
since the tree's leaves will keep scattering down from above,
even if, for the moment, you manage to get things neatly
swept away, more leaves will only come falling later on,
won't they? In the same way, even if you stop your original
thoughts of anger, the subsequent thoughts involved with
the stopping of them will never come to an end. So the
idea of trying to stop [your thoughts] is wrong. Since that's
how it is, when you no longer bother about those rising
thoughts, not trying either to stop them or not to stop
them, why, that's the Unborn Buddha Mind. That's what
I've been telling about just now in such detail. Weren't
you listening? [If you weren't,] it's a shame!"
(Haskel p 50-53)
Founder Treeleaf Zendo, Japan. Member SZBA. Treeleaf is an online Sangha for those unable to commute to a Sangha, w/ netcast Zazen, interaction with other practitioners and teachers & all activities of a Soto Sangha, fully online without charge (http://www.treeleaf.org) Nishijima/Niwa
A while ago I recall I posted a rhetorical question (just for self-inspection) here: "How can we be sure our practice is real (true practice), and not just... a placebo?
Of course we know that placebos actually have real effects in many uses (a phenomenon giving rise to the term, "the placebo effect").
But once again I think we can place reliance on teacher and sangha to help train us in correct practice, and to influence us to adjust (modify; recalibrate; revivify; bolster; repair; etc.) our practice with time.
Also, we can place reliance on vows, and remember to place non-intermittent emphasis upon them as well.
And, not neglect physical practice.
yes. dahui in the above quotes basically says practice cannot depend on prapanca, taking ideas as experience, and being effortful: trying hard to get, attain, acquire, realize something. all of his life, he advised practitioners to gain power by saving power.
the quotes you cited resonate... they are examples of using the mind to stop the mind, using the mind to rest the mind, and using the mind to apply the mind.... although, as you know, holding on to ideas about how to practice is itself a problem.
all practices are placebos! old man shakyamuni was a master of creating placebos ... some placebos are more effective than others, depending on how much attachment one has.
practice is placebo until one realize full awakens.
does anyone know what dahui means by "saving power"?
Capitalists would say,
"the power of Compound-Interest", ...as in the realm of banked Savings-accounts (or reinvestment of Stock Dividends or Capital Gains).
But, Saving-power among Buddhists? Sure: Being real, being direct; being true to one's Realization in all encounters; not dispensing blandishments, nor b.s. of other kinds. Utilizing skillful means to the maximum, naturally.
Well, it all requires true Wisdom and true Compassion; no use 'trying' this without those original Human inheritances being in full and open, uncovered, unfettered, free readiness.
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Last edited by desert_woodworker on Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
Dear Guo Gu (Shih),
Luv ya. You're a good man, Charlie Brown!
"saving power" has been defined by another other than dahui, in so many words, as sitting without wasting mental or physical energy- Nothing to pursue, nothing to push back from or away- To just sit, as in, just practice-
See: Attaining the Way: A Guide to the Practice of Chan Buddhism By Sheng Yen- The literature is copyright, so am unable to quote it-
It sounds like the warning from another person about sitting Zazen shikantaza
About a right way and a wrong way of practice (of using mind to practice sitting Zazen shikantaza)
And I guess it is appropriate that the Dharma protects itself from the teachings and concepts of the Dharma
So, as the person who practices and seeks enlightenment, will never achieve enlightenment, for it is not in that person's realm of possibilities
But after having practiced and given up those desires for enlightenment, will no longer need to seek those things that are possible or not possible
Thank you, Guo Gu, for the reminder
Just a note that you can quote copyrighted material. This is defined as "fair use."
This is manifold.
But basically, that which is directed (or is leaking) outwards -- it has to be [re]turned back onto ["into"] oneself. Some folks would call it energy, some others "light", while yet others call it differently.
Remember the paper candle, and the old guy Ryûtan -- who just blew it out? "saving power!!!" Tokusan was about to take it...
Guo Gu, I mean, don't let these guys to play with your Chan center main power switchboard!
Seriously, a good while back I was testing 100A power switches by shorting them with a thick screwdriver... Indeed I was a very skilled electrician...
Thank you, but the site didnt permit it, as in it didnt permit copying- The site is Google books- Anyone interested can Google "saving power" dahui - The book will show up in the results-
The Google Books site doesn't (easily... ) enable copying of text from their scanned images of books, ...unless you copy the image itself!
This is easy to do, in Windows, using a combination of keys, SHIFT - PrntScr (Shift - Print Screen). Use that combination on an image onscreen in a browser, say, and the image file will go to a buffer in your computer.
Then, you can PASTE the image to a place you want, say, into an image manipulation program (the free program GIMP 2.8, or etc.). Then (and, there), you can crop the image of extraneous borders, resize the image, darken it, lighten it, sharpen it, etc. Then, re-save it when you like your masterpiece.
Then..., share it with others!
A limited sharing like this is still "fair-use", I'd guess.
Example below, in the next post.
p., Teresa, et al.,
Here's a relevant page of Ven. Sheng Yen's Attaining the Way, on Dahui's sense of "Saving-Power":
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