September 12, 2006 at 4:53 pm #17983
Here’s an article that may help some to better understand what Buddhist meditation aims at, not suicide of the self.
Does No-Thought Mean No Thought?
By Wing-shing Chan
In a famous Chan lineage story we hear that the Fifth Patriarchs leading student, Shen Hsiu, composed a verse that equated practice with continually removing dust. When the illiterate Huineng heard a boy chanting the verse, he composed his own, which ended,
Since all is void,
Where can the dust alight?
For this, he was recognized as the Sixth Patriarch. The void he experienced is wunien, a mind that cannot be defiled by any dust of thought. As a result Huineng (638-713), the illiterate wood-cutter, was probably the first master who taught wunien (thoughtlessness) as the central tenet of Chan Buddhism.
Wunien is reflected in the approach Chan practitioners take in even basic meditation methods, such as counting the breath. The meditator hopes that with continued practice discursive thoughts will subside and therefore regards a state of less discursive thoughtor more thoughtlessnessas signifying improvement in meditation practice. Indeed, the word wunien itself would seem to indicate as much. In Chinese, wu means no, without, nothing or empty of, and nien refers to thoughts or objects of the mind. So, taken together, they could be rendered sensibly as no-thought or thoughtlessness.
Is wunien, then, equivalent to a state of mind where all thoughts cease? If this is the goal of practice, then what is the difference between an enlightened master and a rock, which also entertains no thoughts? Simply stated, are there thoughts or no thoughts after enlightenment?
To find answers to these pivotal questions, we can first look at passages from Huinengs Platform Sutra, the foremost text of the Chan tradition. Secondly, it will be valuable to explore the idea of no-leaking as presented in the teachings on silent illumination meditation by Master Hongzhi (1091-1157) of the Caodong sect, which is the precursor to Soto Zen. The no-leaking teaching helps us to distinguish between purified thoughts and discursive thoughts.
In one of the key passages of the Platform Sutra, the Sixth Patriarch says, Learned Audience, it has been the tradition of our school to take idealessness as our object. In the translation of the sutra quoted here, Wong Mou Lam chose to translate wunien variously as idealessness, thoughtlessness, or free from idle thoughts. Huineng went further to say:
Learned Audience, in this system of mine one prajna produces eighty-four thousand ways of wisdom, since there are that number of defilements for us to cope with; but when one is free from defilements, wisdom reveals itself, and will not be separated from the essence of mind. Those who understand this dharma will be free from idle thought. To be free from being infatuated by one particular thought, from clinging to desire, and from falsehood; to put ones own essence of tathata into operation; to use prajna for contemplation, and to take an attitude of neither indifference nor attachment towards all things this is what is meant by realizing ones own essence of mind for the attainment of buddhahood.
Huineng is indicating that there is no need to chase after wisdom. Rather, when one is freed from eighty-four thousand defilements (meaning simply a very large number), eighty-four thousand wisdoms reveal themselves, all of which are manifestations of the essence of mind. When he says, Those who understand this dharma will be free from idle thought, he is referring to the state of wunien, wherein the mind is not carried away by objects and images of the past or the future. The mind does not fixate on any particular instance of thought or past experience in any way that suffocates the free functioning of the mind. There are no self-inflating thoughts or false views of any kind. In dealing with all things in the world, one does not hold a fixed predisposition. There is neither attachment nor detachment.
As noted above, reducing or eliminating the arising of discursive thoughts is often taken as the sign of achievement in meditation practice, and in Huinengs time, some teachers advocated the cessation of all thoughts as the ultimate goal. But Huineng considered these views heretical, saying, There is also a class of foolish people who sit quietly and try to keep their mind blank. They refrain from thinking of anything and call themselves great. On account of their heretical view one can hardly talk to them.
An enlightened mind, if it truly deserves to be called that, is clearly different from a blank, dysfunctional mind resulting from great efforts to quench all thoughts. Wunien is to be free of discursive thoughts of defilement. It is not the termination of the brains thinking function. Huineng elaborated further on the nature of enlightenment when he said,
Thoughtlessness is to see and to know all dharmas with a mind free from attachment. When in use it pervades everywhere, and yet it sticks nowhere. What we have to do is to purify our mind so that the six vijnanas [aspects of consciousness] in passing through the six gates will neither be defiled by nor attached to the six sense-objects. When our mind works freely without any hindrance, and is at liberty to come or to go, we attain samadhi of prajna, or liberation. Such a state is called the function of thoughtlessness. But to refrain from thinking of anything, so that all thoughts are suppressed, is to be dharma-ridden, and this is an erroneous view.
Far from a mind blank of all thoughts, the thoughtless mind is able to see and to know all dharmas free from attachment. It pervades everywhere, functioning freely and smoothly without any fixation, attachment or hindrance. The crucial difference between the wunien state and the ordinary persons mind is that the thoughts in wunien no longer produce defilement nor attachment in the process of cognition. Huineng emphatically pointed out that suppressing all thoughts and refraining from thinking of anything is a misunderstanding of the dharma, and indeed one who did that was being tied up by the dharma, instead of being liberated by it.
There is a popular gongan (Japanese: koan) about an elderly woman who provided a hut and offerings to a monk to support his practice. Over the many years that passed, this woman tried to test the monks practice. One day she asked her young daughter to bring food to the monks hut. The girl then suddenly embraced the monk and asked, How do you feel now? The monk merely replied, Its like a rotted wood standing by a chilly cliff, finding no warm breeze all three winters. The girl then returned to report to her mother. When the elderly woman heard what had happened, she drove the monk out with a broom and burnt down the hut.
Much later, the monk came back to the place where the elderly woman lived. Once again, the woman asked her daughter to go alone to offer food and embrace the monk. The monk whispered, Let only heaven and earth, you and me, know about this. But dont ever make this known to your mother. When the monk was first tested, he was in a state of withdrawal from the external environment. Although not affected by external stimulus, he was not truly in the state of wunien. His consciousness was screened off from the environment but was not able to function freely without hindrance, so the old woman gave him a lesson. The second time he was tested, he was completely different. He perceived fully but there was no defilement due to desire.
Many meditation methods work by focusing the scattered mind and decreasing the activity of discursive thoughts. However, focusing the mind on the method of practice is itself a thought or a subtle attachment. If one continues to focus the mind, this subtle attachment to the practice method will prevent one from entering the wunien state, which is free from any fixation, hindrance or attachment. That is why Chan seldom uses samadhi practices that focus the mind on specific objects or images. These practices lead one to attain samadhi, but not the unobstructed free functioning of the mind of wunien. To really experience wunien, one needs to experience the state of no discursive thoughts without using any method.
For most beginning practitioners, giving up the method would mean losing the strength of concentration and falling back into the discursive-thought loophole. To realize wunien, however, at some point one has to employ a no-thought methodor no-method methodof practice, or work with a method that dissolves automatically near its final stage. More advanced methods such as silent illumination and shikantaza do not focus the mind on any specific object. Lucid awareness and tranquility of mind are coupled in the practice, which is by itself a no-thought practice, a direct expression of wunien. When this state is perfected and effortlessly sustainable in daily life, it is enlightenment itself. That is why the Soto Zen school asserts that practice is itself enlightenment.
Likewise, when a gongan (koan) is practiced diligently, one is immersed in the great mass of doubt until the gongan itself dissolves. At that time, such a method also becomes a no-thought method. When the time is ripe, the great doubt mass shatters with the trigger of a sound, sight, touch or the like, and one realizes wunien and sees ones true nature. These no-thought methods become available to practitioners who have prepared themselves with sufficient basic meditation practice, but no-thought cannot be found by forever adhering to the basic methods.
Inexperienced practitioners often confuse a cloudy mind temporarily empty of obvious concrete thoughts with the free-flowing and undefiled mind of wunien. But a cloudy, blank mind is still changeable and dependent on circumstances; it is not able to respond freely to the environment. As Huineng said, To keep our mind free from defilement under all circumstances is called idealessness. Our mind should stand aloof from circumstances, and on no account should we allow them to influence the function of our mind. In wunien, thoughts arise but do not attach to any external objects that would give rise to a chain of discursive thoughts.
Given that thought is not extinguished by enlightenment, Master Hongzhione of the foremost teachers of silent illuminationdistinguished purified thought from discursive thoughts through the notion of leakage cessation, or no-leaking. Master Hongzhi said, When there is no leaking with no discursiveness, a monk is said to have completed his business. In explaining leaking and no-leaking to his disciples, Master Hongzhi used the following gongan:
A monk inquired of Qingping, What is having leaking? Pin replied, A basket. What is no-leaking? Pin said, A wooden spoon.
This blunt answer avoids intellectualization. A basket cannot contain fluids and all fluids leak away, whereas a wooden spoon holds all the fluids it contains. When a person begins to practice meditation, he or she will notice the flow of discursive thoughts in the mind. These thoughts follow one after another and their momentum is very difficult to overcome. Through concentration during meditation, a more experienced meditator may be able to maintain a calm and clear mind with few discursive thoughts; however, when the person returns to daily life, their mind easily breaks into the confused state with discursive thoughts arising again and again. There is a clear distinction between the peaceful state of mind in meditation and the confused state of mind during daily life affairs. When the vigor of the discursive thoughts returns, aggravation and vexation reemerge. One aspires to maintain the peaceful state of mind found in meditation and this provides a strong motivating force for further practice. Eventually one will require a no-method method such as silent illumination to be able to stop the leaking of the mind both within meditation and in daily life.
Leaking refers to the motion of discursive thoughts and the accompanying vexation. It is as if there is a hole in the mind, just as in a leaky container. As long as the hole exists, one cannot stop either the flow of discursive thoughts or the resulting vexation. Consequently, the mind becomes gloomy, dull and unspontaneous. It flows all the time. We lack the power to fully control our mind and body; we are unable to prevent greed, hatred and ignorance from arising in response to external influences. The mind leaks.
The cessation of leaking is like fixing the hole in a broken container. The drops of liquid leak and drip slower and slower until the leaking ceases completely. This is how we understand the work of practice on the mind. The completion state is like that of the wooden spoon referred in the gongan about Master Qingping. In the state of no-leaking, discursive thought and its accompanying vexation have lost their power to self-generate and self-propagate. Confusion vanishes like random background noise dissipating. With the vexation removed, the mind becomes clear, bright and completely relieved, as if we have cast off a heavy load.
In the state of no-leaking, the mind switches from dualistic to non-dualistic perception, with no boundary and no opposition. One also appreciates the inconceivable, simultaneous existence of absolute independence and universal unification with all things. A person at this stage can use thoughts however they please, but discursive thoughts will not leak out and cause disturbance. Rather than removing thought, there is no leakage of thought.
The state of no-leaking is a clear-cut criterion regarding practice: the mind either leaks or has stopped leaking. If there is still a tiny hole in the mind, the leakage of discursive thoughts and vexations will continue, in the same way that water continues to drip and the container eventually loses its contents no matter how small the hole is. The state of complete relief and quiescence, and the termination of the self-generation and self-propagation of discursive thoughts and vexations, will not emerge. To understand cessation in terms of the cessation of leaking rather than the cessation of thoughts is far more accurate and reliable. When the hole has been mended, the mind can maintain its state of no-leaking, without regressing to the confusedstate. This is far better than the relief obtained through samadhi, where disturbances will return after the samadhi fades.
Initially, though, the state of no-leaking can collapse when the practitioner faces situations that arouse a strong sense of attachment. This is like a newly mended hole being tampered with through strong forces that cause the water to leak again. Therefore, the practitioner has to be very cautious in protecting the non-leaking mind when it is first formed. One can use precepts to protect against re-opening the hole in the mind. The mended containerthe mind of no-leakingcan become stronger and stronger with further practice, until one day it is no longer shakable by even the most acute of lifes disturbances.
At this point, Master Hongzhi says, the practitioner can accomplish his inhnce. The mind exists independently beyond all worldly matters, subtly with no dualistic oppositions. Totally impermeable without leaking, the mind is vast and meets no opposition.September 12, 2006 at 11:58 pm #17984
I quite disagree.
“No-thought” means simply that: a meditational state where the flow of conceptual thoughts cease (they are not “suppressed”, btw). Various states of mind, pure energy flow, and purification becomes much more available as a result.
In some lineages it is relatively common for no-thought to occur for students. In many other lineages, (almost) no one can do it .. so it sometimes takes on a sort of mythical or doubtful hue, just accepted as ‘no one can do that anymore’, or interpreted as something else.
It is, simply, what it says it is.September 13, 2006 at 1:26 pm #17986
What we are really talking about is addiction on the part of traditionalist practitioners to traditional forms of WORDING about spiritual development, which causes argument by sticking to wordings – not because of ‘correctness’ or ‘incorrectness’.
Every time the wording itself is *actually discussed* the Buddhist wording starts to admit itself incorrect.
For example, the Wikipedia entry (posted by Fajin before) words it this way:
>>>Nirvana is the extinguishment of all desire; it is the realisation that the Self does not exist<<>An enlightened Buddhist is able to act in this world with complete detachment<<
When detachment is (rightly) complained of as a concept, as lacking heart, Fajin instantly responds – 'there is a difference between detachment and non-attachment'. Even if that were not simply to split hairs, the document used the word 'detachment'.
I could go on. The standard words of Buddhist *doctrine* (as opposed to Buddhist *practice*) do not appear to work as an explanation of the enlightenment process. Why Wikipedia of all authorities should have been chosen as Buddha's representative I have no idea, but can we at least agree that these traditional concepts don't seem to get across what they mean too well, if at all? Why then stick to such concepts, since they are only words after all?
When one finds a practice that works, one tends to adopt the vocabulary surrounding that practice. Then when the vocabulary is contested it sounds to the convert like the practice is being contested as well. I don't remember anyone ever decrying one-pointedness. I even remember quoting at length several of the (non-lineage, Western) books I like on the subject, with Fajin's approval. (I never even mentioned the Japanese concept of 'Mushin' or 'no-mind', which is another example of the same thing….)
But I contest deeply the Buddhist wording which my very soul cries out against, and I'm not alone. Fajin is forced by his attachment to this wording to argue that I am therefore being led by my ego!! This is all so needless if only what I wrote above can be admitted by the Buddhists on the board, namely that (however excellent the Buddhist methods) the standard wording of them leaves alot to be desired.
Fajin, when you first appeared on this board you were a very vehement character who believed passionately in the martial and alchemical methods you espoused, and would not hear of the possible effectiveness of anything else. Later you started practicing zen and now you are equally vehemently in favour of that. It does not seem to me, if you will forgive the observation, that your personality has changed very much! Your words have changed, and your practice has certainly changed, but you are as vehement as before in insisting on your own way.
As for what I have vehemently been in favour of this whole time, I venture to suggest it is simply: open-mindedness between people on different paths. What I call the 'Alexandria ideal', that we can all work separately by our different methods and then return here to discuss. If one is too attached to outdated and traditional wordings (rather than to the things these represent) nothing new can be created here. And given the state of the world, I would say something new is needed. Do we really need sectarian squabbling over words?
The irony is that, of all paths, Buddhism most stresses freedom of interpretation. The famous scripture quoted by Max (and others), to the effect that one should believe nothing Buddha says unless experience confirms it, makes that quite clear. Yet when recent posts have stated very plainly, 'I cannot accept the Buddhist wordings, they contradict my own personal experience', Fajin rushes to condemn this idea as 'too much!', defending the *letter* of scripture against attack – when in fact the attack is certainly in the *spirit* of Buddhist questioning of the received.
"Our universe would be deplorably insignificant had it not offered every generation new problems. Nature does not surrender her secrets once and for all."
best, NNSeptember 13, 2006 at 2:41 pm #17988
>>What we are really talking about is addiction on the part of traditionalist practitioners to traditional forms of WORDING about spiritual development, which causes argument by sticking to wordings – not because of ‘correctness’ or ‘incorrectness’.<>>>>Nirvana is the extinguishment of all desire; it is the realisation that the Self does not exist<<<
Then Fajin jumps through mightier and ever-mightier hoops in order to prove this wording correct.
Meanwhile everyone else (Bagua for example) has already admitted this is quite simply wrong. I said that the self does not disappear in enlightenment; Bagua agreed and Michael agreed. Fajin made no comment!<>When detachment is (rightly) complained of as a concept, as lacking heart, Fajin instantly responds – ‘there is a difference between detachment and non-attachment’. Even if that were not simply to split hairs, the document used the word ‘detachment’.<>I don’t remember anyone ever decrying one-pointedness. I even remember quoting at length several of the (non-lineage, Western) books I like on the subject, with Fajin’s approval. (I never even mentioned the Japanese concept of ‘Mushin’ or ‘no-mind’, which is another example of the same thing….)<> Fajin is forced by his attachment to this wording to argue that I am therefore being led by my ego!! This is all so needless if only what I wrote above can be admitted by the Buddhists on the board, namely that (however excellent the Buddhist methods) the standard wording of them leaves alot to be desired.<>Your words have changed, and your practice has certainly changed, but you are as vehement as before in insisting on your own way.<>If one is too attached to outdated and traditional wordings (rather than to the things these represent) nothing new can be created here. And given the state of the world, I would say something new is needed. Do we really need sectarian squabbling over words?<>The irony is that, of all paths, Buddhism most stresses freedom of interpretation. The famous scripture quoted by Max (and others), to the effect that one should believe nothing Buddha says unless experience confirms it, makes that quite clear. Yet when recent posts have stated very plainly, ‘I cannot accept the Buddhist wordings, they contradict my own personal experience’, Fajin rushes to condemn this idea as ‘too much!’, defending the *letter* of scripture against attack – when in fact the attack is certainly in the *spirit* of Buddhist questioning of the received.<<
*It depends what Buddha said. If he says form is emptiness and emptiness is form, that is inconceivable. If he says do not eat meat because you will create more karma, that is incoceivable to some, to others is not.
CONCLUSION: I'm done on this board for good, I'll stay for another day or two to see what's stirring.
FajinSeptember 13, 2006 at 2:47 pm #17990
The main difference is the non-thinking is not grasping to those thoughts. Yes idle thoughts die, not the thinking process. I put that article in there to show some that Zen doesn’t make people’s mind like a rock.
As Dogen says, put your thinking in the palm of you hand. To think about not thinking. This is non-thinking.
FajinSeptember 13, 2006 at 3:01 pm #17992
Personally, I like reading your posts and opinions (and everyone elses) even if I don`t agree with them. If nothing else it broadens my horizons a bit and gives me food for thought.
“*Bagua and others like Max, agree that the ego stands in the way of our true nature and so something must be done about it. You can call it forgotten, eradicated, as Bagua says giving it a healthy role, stilled, etc. We do not agree with Michael, just ask them. If Michael agreed with Bagua and Max, for example, then he would commence Buddhist meditation at once.”
I still don`t get why you would eradicate the ego… In one of Slavninski`s books it says something like “Ego is powerful servant, and a terrifying master”. It may stand in the way, but I don`t believe the right thing to do is to destroy it.
“*One-pointedness is the method of practice, the state of mind is the result. Michael, and apparently others, find this method of practice to be a “loss of free will”.”
I don`t see how if you are one pointed there would be loss of free will. I think that it would only enable to express my will better, more efficiently or whatever.September 13, 2006 at 3:16 pm #17994
Thank you for the kind reply, but I am considering of going to Taobums, they seem to have a nice forum there for Daoists and others to share their practices and experiences. It’s not so hectic like here. People here just see me as someone who is arrogant, a “know it all”, who velhemently pursues his way as the best way, etc. I’ve had it with that, I’m gone, it’s pretty much my final decision. Here’s my e-mail.
For anyone who wishes to discuss anything with me, that’s fine you know where to reach me. My screename on taobums will be “Jin”. It expresses martial energy, which I love to cultivate.
FajinSeptember 13, 2006 at 4:04 pm #17996
OK I think there is a little over-sensitivity here!
>>When I see someone voices their opinion that Daoism has more free will, Buddism aims at suicide of the self, etc.<>If Michael agreed with Bagua and Max, for example, then he would commence Buddhist meditation at once.<>I apologize to you Nnonnth for “attempting to persaude you into my way as the best way.”<>Michael, and apparently others, find this method of practice to be a “loss of free will”<>Prajna wisdom is never outdated, it is truth.<>If he says form is emptiness and emptiness is form, that is inconceivable. If he says do not eat meat because you will create more karma, that is incoceivable to some, to others is not.<<
But these are *your* interpretations. Surely they are just words and people have the right to interpret them for themselves? These words are not 'wisdom', they only point to it.
I certainly hope I haven't chased you from the board or offended you in some way. I know you will succeed at whatever you attempt, whether you share it here with us or not.
All the best, NNSeptember 13, 2006 at 4:27 pm #17998
You haven’t chased me from the board, but the general outlook that people have on me is what is chasing me away. I have no need to stay here any longer.
Here’s my response to some things you said:
>>But nobody said this! What was said was that the Buddhist *wording* tends to *imply* such things. In practice I certainly do not think it is necessarily true at all – the free will issue depends upon the person.<>Why? Surely your own logic contradicts you here? You said before that you saw all paths as one – if so, why would agreement with you cause somebody to move to a path that was more like yours?
I accept that you feel it’s unjust to say you are very vehement in your own way, but can’t you see how someone might think this? After all I’ve quoted many (many!) sources on here but never once said that anyone who agreed with me should start practicing in my way!<>Hmm… well if you are leaving now we may never know if you are correct on that – or if, as I suspect, Michael is complaining much more about the Buddhist wording *implying* loss of free will (which it clearly does) when a *gain* in freedom is the object of practice. In other words, like I said before, I think you are mistaking a dislike of wording for a dislike of practice.<>Absolutely – although even here, why say ‘Prajna wisdom’?<<
*Ordinary wisdom deals with yin-yang and is intellectual. Prajna deals with the knowledge of void, or Wu Ji itself. That's why I say there is no right and wrong, just one way, not two. That is the oneness of all things. You already know that though.
FajinSeptember 13, 2006 at 4:42 pm #18000
Look here for example –
>>I found it very insulting to Buddhist thought when he said, “Mat, are you there or are you just an illusion”.<>We have previously agreed that ALL paths include some sort of stilling of the mind as a preparation at the very least. Michael’s “Daoism” does not include that.<>I see all paths as one when they lead one to their original nature, not by saying “do my alchemy or the chance for an immortal self is lost and five shen split and that’s it”.<>Ordinary wisdom deals with yin-yang and is intellectual. Prajna deals with the knowledge of void, or Wu Ji itself. That’s why I say there is no right and wrong, just one way, not two. That is the oneness of all things. You already know that though.<<
OK an example. Marcus Aurelius, philosopher-emperor of Rome, said:
"The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are."
Is that 'ordinary wisdom' or 'prajna wisdom'?
NNSeptember 13, 2006 at 4:57 pm #18002
>>But why is this [Mat, are you there or are you just an illusion] ‘insulting’? Somebody has one view you have another, why is that an insult to the Buddhist tradition? If they misunderstand it is because the tradition has not conveyed itself correctly…<>Michael himself says that he often uses stillness. Why does it matter so much to you that Michael doesn’t use this technique primarily and that you do?<>Bagua has spent a great deal of time recently claiming that we are all already immortal. Michael challenges him to show where this is said in Buddhist doctrine.
Meanwhile, if you search back on the forum, during the previous times of trouble on this board, Max made a strong post about One Cloud not having achieved immortality. Michael replied that everyone is immortal anyway. You can look it up.
This is how words make fools of us if we insist they are more important than the truth.<>”The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.”
Is that ‘ordinary wisdom’ or ‘prajna wisdom’?<<
*This is prajna wisdom. If we could see things as they are, and use basic spirit instead of mind, that is following the advice of Lao Tzu and Shakyamuni.
FajinSeptember 13, 2006 at 6:40 pm #18004
>>How about if I said to you, Nnonnth, do you wave a little magic wand that you wave casting spells? Is that also an opinion or is it being ignorant of another spiritual path? I think one should know what’s what before he starts making condescending statements like that.<>The picture I get here is that you have alot of faith in Michael<>This is prajna wisdom. If we could see things as they are, and use basic spirit instead of mind, that is following the advice of Lao Tzu and Shakyamuni.<<
And are you saying that Marcus Aurelius was a follower of Lao Tzu and Shakyamuni?? He would not have called it 'prajna wisdom'! Here you come perilously close to saying that only Lao Tzu and Shakyamuni (plus their followers of course) are truly wise. This is what might upset some people… I realize this is a Taoist board but the experiment it represents has also a great deal to do with opening out a new frontier of spirituality and east-west relations. So one must perhaps be diplomatic, especially if one is respected as you are.
NNSeptember 13, 2006 at 6:59 pm #18006
First, Fajin, I want to apologize for inadvertantly insulting you. It was meant as a flip comment to Mat (I actually said that it was -I- who was not really here) and I really do believe that some levity is due anyway. Please don’t take it personally.
I want you to know that I have a lot of respect for you on your path. Period. You are due that anyway just because you exist. You have done a lot with your time so far and that’s good. You’re just very stubborn about being right and maybe you don’t see that but it’s in your tone often. When some of us have tried to coach you to open a space of greater allowing you have balked. OK.
I disagree with you on some things. Obviously. Also, I agree on some things. But what is more important is that we stop arguing and just share. I have pointed fingers at you sometimes and maybe that wasn’t the best way to approach you. Sometimes I get hot. You do too. I could take lots of points brought up in this last posting volley between you and Nnonnth and other recent posts as well and go one by one through them to point out who was right or wrong about each thing, who did what to who or who is maligning what text or idea, yada, yada, yada, in a futile attempt to bring clarity and completion but I don’t want to go that way.
These are opinions we have and that what we are all reaching for is a lot higher and wider than our opinions can define. That’s the Dao. Our words about things ought to be meant to support and guide each other.
I have come to understand that some things are not in your makeup to do and one of them is to not fight about things you believe in. I have some of that too. When this has come up and been pointed out you don’t want to go there, and so you attract comments from Michael like -you’re dancing around things- or from me about -knowing it all.- If you hold a fighting stance against what you don’t want to hear you will keep recreating the battle, and I have come to understand that there is a strong part of you that wants that or you would desist, not defend. You have said many times that you are a fighter. Be that as it may be. You have the right to be as you wish and we will accept you even though it may trigger us at times. It would be nice if you could just hear this.
I would like to see us all refocus on the Way of cultivating the virtues we want to see in our world(s). This can happen only when we practice acceptance for each other and appreciate the good we can get by communing. I suggest that when the urge to argue comes up that we get in touch with how that feels and determine whether that is what we want to energize and cultivate in our bodies. I think that, if we do this, when we get to a point where we are in disagreement we can talk it through instead of banging into each other. Since this has happened so many times in many ways with many different people I have to surmise that it is one of the reasons that we are here together talking. It is something for us to transmute as a group.
OK. That’s all I want to say for now.
Aloha, AlexanderSeptember 13, 2006 at 7:21 pm #18008
Thank you for your apology. I have made a firm decision to depart from the forum, and will do so, not based on emotion. The time I spend here, could rather be used to cultivate which is time better spent.
FajinSeptember 13, 2006 at 7:26 pm #18010
“Mat, are you there or are you just an illusion”, *How about if I said to you, Nnonnth, do you wave a little magic wand that you wave casting spells?”
I`m sorry, but I have to admit that I laughed when I read both of these. 🙂
Here`s a story that is awesome to me, the first time I read it I was like I got enlightened for a moment hehe, laughed pretty hard. It still brings a smile to my face every time I read it.
Meeting of two Masters
The teachers, seventy-year-old Kalu Rinpoche of Tibet, a veteran of years of solitary retreat, and the Zen master Seung Sahn, the first Korean Zen master to teach in the United States, were to test each others understanding of the Buddhas teachings for the benefit of the onlooking Western students. This was to be a high form of what was being called dharma combat (the clashing of great minds sharpened by years of study and meditation), and we were waiting with all the anticipation that such a historic encounter deserved. The two monks entered with swirling robes maroon and yellow for the Tibetan, austere grey and black for the Korean and were followed by retinues of younger monks and translators with shaven heads.
They settled onto cushions in the familiar cross-legged positions, and the host made it clear that the younger Zen master was to begin. The Tibetan lama sat very still, fingering a wooden rosary ( mala) with one hand while murmuring, Om mani padme hum continuously under his breath.
The Zen master, who was already gaining renown for his method of hurling questions at his students until they were forced to admit their ignorance and then bellowing, Keep that dont know mind! at them, reached deep inside his robes and drew out an orange. What is this? he demanded of the lama. What is this? This was a typical opening question, and we could feel him ready to pounce on whatever response he was given.
The Tibetan sat quietly fingering his mala and made no move to respond.
What is this? the Zen master insisted, holding the orange up to the Tibetans nose.
Kalu Rinpoche bent very slowly to the Tibetan monk near to him who was serving as the translator, and they whispered back and forth for several minutes. Finally the translator addressed the room: Rinpoche says, What is the matter with him? Dont they have oranges where he comes from?
The dialog progressed no further.
BTW, has any of you guys read any buddhist (or other religions) jokes? Some are just amazingly funny… 🙂
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