Monday, March 19, 2007

Bodhidharma & the 2nd Zen Patriarch (Eka)

I have always found this pivotal conversation between Bodhidharma and Eka to be instructive.

After Eka repeatedly implores Bodhidharma to give him the "true teachings," the first zen patriarch roars back at Eka,

"The incomparable truth of the Buddhas can only realized by constant struggle, practicing what can not be practiced, bearing the unbearable. How can you, with your small virtue and your easy-going and conceited mind, dare to aspire to the true teachings?!"


This response contains the essence of the paradox embedded in zen (and other nondual teachings):

How can one practice "what can not be practice."

How is it possible to bear what is "unbearable"?

It reminds me of a Shaolin priest's answer to a student who asked him "How can I know what is possible?"

To know what is possible"
Listen for the color of the sky.
Look for the sound of the hummingbird's wings.
Search for the perfume of ice on a hot day.
If you have found these things,
You will know what is possible.

39 Comments:

At March 19, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

Sounds like synesthesia, to me!

What is the sound of one hand clapping?

I always thought a great response to that would be to respond "Listen closely"
then clapping the asker sharply on the ear with one hand.

"Didja hear that?"

 
At March 19, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

"How can one practice "what can not be practiced." ?"

The term "choiceless awareness" comes to mind....

 
At March 19, 2007, Blogger endofthedream said...

How can one practice "what can not be practiced." ?" The term "choiceless awareness" comes to mind....


And what can be done to promote (or generate, or engender) "choiceless awareness"?

What is its source? What is the source of everything?

Like all things, does not "choiceless awareness" arise and recede on its own timetable, not on thought's demand for its presence?

 
At March 19, 2007, Blogger Jinzang said...

I always thought a great response to that would be to respond "Listen closely"
then clapping the asker sharply on the ear with one hand.


I think you've confused Zen with The Three Stooges.

"What's that for? I didn't do nuthin'!" "That's in case ya do and I'm not around!"

 
At March 19, 2007, Blogger Jinzang said...

And what can be done to promote (or generate, or engender) "choiceless awareness"?

You see? That's what I meant about Krishnamurti tying people up in knots.

Speaking in terms of Soto Zen, shikantaza is the expression of the practice of non-practice. You sit as the Buddha without any attempt to achieve Buddhahood, because in has the strong faith that you are already the Buddha.

 
At March 19, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

And what can be done to promote (or generate, or engender) "choiceless awareness"?

Scrunch up the face? Squint? Lean forward and try real hard to be aware??


I think the point is seeing how much we cover up things as they are with our near constant thinking, dreaming, spinning and conceptualizing.

I don't like thinking too much, too hard or deeply, and I might be totally off-base with my ideas of what choiceless awareness is.

I gave the example Alan Watts used about what one does when one is told to "listen closely" (scrunch up the face, squint, lean forward, etc) because I was reminded of that when I read the phrase in your post, it having been a little while since I read J.K. Maybe I had it wrong, it wouldn't be the 1st time for that!

The questions put forth in your post about practicing what cannot be practiced struck a chord in me. What we call meditation isn't really doing anything, it's the process of becoming aware of our doings.
I mean we do sit, we do focus our attention, we do bring it back to one thing over and over and over ad infinitum, we correct our posture, etc, so that is doing something.

I don't know. I'm easily confused by concepts. Not a deep thinker, me. I don't like thinking about this shit, honestly. It doesn't do me any good, it's like wondering or thinking about the shape of the universe.

When I got into this Buddhism thing, I was interested only in results, in practicality. I was never good at arguing or (in this case) discussing philosophy. Nothing's changed.

Sitting and dharma can be so confusing, if you put your mind to it. I'm not particularly good at

 
At March 20, 2007, Blogger endofthedream said...

I think the point is seeing how much we cover up things as they are with our near constant thinking, dreaming, spinning and conceptualizing.


No. The point is to see that we are not the ones covering up things. And even that we can't do. But it can happen.

As long as there is an entrenched belief that there is a "me" who is "doing" all this stuff (meditating, "awaring," "practicing" or "not practicing"), the illusion and attendant suffering continues. As Wei Wu Wei commented sagely, "All else is is bondage."


I don't like thinking too much, too hard or deeply, and I might be totally off-base with my ideas of what choiceless awareness is.

Thinking is highly over-rated. :-)
So the conditioning that is mudderpugger doesn't like to think too much. So what?? It will think "just enough" I'm sure. :-))


The questions put forth in your post about practicing what cannot be practiced struck a chord in me. What we call meditation isn't really doing anything, it's the process of becoming aware of our doings.


And that ("engaging in the process of becoming aware of our doings") IS a "doing." And what's the problem with "doing" anyway? Can't you see that whatever happens is ... appropriate. And also foreordained. If you argue with reality you lose. 100% of the time.


I mean we do sit, we do focus our attention, we do bring it back to one thing over and over and over ad infinitum, we correct our posture, etc, so that is doing something.

Eggs-actly. And for most, just the process of sitting down entails some thought of result or gain. (As you note in your comment "When I got into this Buddhism thing, I was interested only in results, in practicality.") And if sitting or practice doesn't involve those thoughts of gain or attainment, then...it doesn't. No big deal either way. Until one is caught in the mental trap of believing it must be this way or that way for it be "right."

Look: it's really, really simple.

If you wanna sit, are moved to do a "practice," then it will happen. If there is no desire to do so, then it won't.

The crucial thing is to discover just where the desire (or non-desire) comes from. As long as there is the core belief that it is coming from "you," then your work isn't done.

 
At March 20, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

Ha! that was pretty funny, jinzang.
I love those guys.
I must have been posting at the same time as you last night, I missed your posts.

endo;
No. The point is to see that we are not the ones covering up things. And even that we can't do. But it can happen.

Things as they are get "covered up" with thoughts of self, as well. That's part of what I meant. Seeing things as they are requires cutting through the illusion of self.
So, take back that "No.", dammit.

Can't you see that whatever happens is ... appropriate

I should smack you for that one. Moe-style.
C'mere, you....I'll give you something appropriate alright.

 
At March 20, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

But, can't you see that there is no one to smack? Just as there is no smacker? We might say "a smack happens", but why? As long as you are caught in the smack-trap, you will never be free. There is no you to be free, there is only

Smack!!



Thanks, I needed that.
Sorry.

 
At March 21, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

This post is too long, it's redundant and is sure to offend people who think of Buddhism as something holy or special. I don't think I will continue to post here for too much longer, and for many that will be a good thing! If you don't like what I say or how I say it, be patient, I'm almost talked out here.

So, in advance, I apologize for being long winded, offensive and ignorant. That's just the way I am right now.

Also, Endo, regarding our conversation; sorry for taking the piss in my previous post, but it seems that you are intent on teaching me something. Your replies to my statements often contain phrases like "can't you see", when I see quite clearly.

I've had several lessons from you on the non-existance of the self that I found to be quite redundant in relation to things I'd already said here.

Sometimes, you talk to me like a stubborn student who just isn't seeing, or getting the point of what you're saying.

In my profile, under "interests" I put Samsara, not Nirvana. Now, before you go and lecture me on Nirvana and Samsara being both sides of the same coin, read this very sentence; I said it myself first.

Maybe I should change it to Samsara/Nirvana, in fact, by the time you read this, I will have changed it, but at the time I thought it a very appropriate response. I'm very much interested in the illusion. Yes, I see quite plainly that it is in fact an illusion, I know for a fact that today is no such thing as Wednesday, March 21st, 2007, but I'm gonna pretend that it is along with everybody else.

I talk about me and you, I talk about rainbows, I talk about things that don't exist, for the sake of convention and also because just because they don't exist in the ways most of us believe them to, they do exist in relative ways. To talk about Zen is to fall into a trap. But I still do it, in hopes of helping some poor darkened fool to turn on the light.

To people who get all enlightened about everything, politics (or anything else) doesn't seem to matter much. Zennies, from my experience, tend not to be much interested in "the news". That's ignorance, they say, "Samsara". They're way too interested in their nonexistant selves and the sound of one hand clapping. (THIS)

Illusory things of this world just don't interest them as much as does their own experience of reality, which is indeed fascinating. I can see why they get hung up on it. (Fingerologists: The moon might be there, but what do they care when the finger pionting at it is so darned fascinating?)

But, to me, that's taking it a bit too far, "the news" matters very much. Ask the parent of a child killed in this war. That's why I listed Samsara as an interest. (Also, I thought it interesting in that interests are samsara) You can be the most enlightened guy in the room, and still fuck someone else's wife, or pull a gun on somebody in a fit of rage, or drink a bottle of vodka a day. You can be the most unenlightened person in the room and wake them all up, saving their lives.

Fuck Zen. Fuck Buddhism. Fuck enlightenment.
When B'sm becomes myopic, it's fucking useless. Alan Watts drank himself to death and helped fuck up his family's lives while he was alive and the foremost expert on Zen in the West. Yet, he could tear me apart in an intellectual discussion about Buddhism. What good did it do him? Sure it got him laid, made him a lot of money and gave him rockstar fame. But, it failed to cure him of his suffering.
And yet, he was one of the most important of my teachers.

I don't enjoy shape of the universe discussions, and I am not into competitive Zen.
Koans never interested me. It's a style of teaching and learning that I personally do not favor or respond to well. Though I don't argue that for some, it's just the ticket.

I'm much more interested in seeing it help a person to overcome fear, grief, depression, anger, addiction and ignorance than I am in seeing someone become "enlightened" or hearing them explain (or merely recite) koans.

To me, (I repeat, TO ME) "Listen for the color of the sky.
Look for the sound of the hummingbird's wings.
Search for the perfume of ice on a hot day.
If you have found these things,
You will know what is possible." is about as usefull as the lyrics to Lighter Shade of Pale.

I understand, from personal experience, (if I'm allowed to say that without it implying "I'm enlightened!!") that what I call "I" is an everchanging opinion, and I also realize (pay attention to this point) the impact that has on "my" life; "I" is the illusory fulcrum point that gives leverage to all "my" misunderstandings about the world. It is the principle defect in all the ways we fool ourselves about everything.
It is not a minor philisophical, metaphysical opinion, it is a fact with real consequences.
Take that away (the belief in things, such as the self, actually existing in the way they appear to), and almost all of our sufferings can be seen for what they truly are, self-imposed limitations, illusions. Restrictions on our happiness. The fist that's punching us is revealed to be us.
In other words, it ain't just unproveable, metaphysical speculation, it has real influence in "my" life.
(Dan, if you're reading,
In 1988, I saw a UFO. 2 of them, actually. They were glowing red and orange balls that moved in impossible ways and were as aware of me as I was of them.
Yet, the debate about whether or not UFOs exist goes on to this day.
I stay out of that debate, because to me it's fucking stupid.
Carl Sagan might also have thought it stupid, but for different reasons. Poor guy spent his entire life looking at the sky and never saw a damned thing!
At any rate, I would never, ever be able to convince Mr. Sagan, or anyone else, that I had actually seen an alien craft of some kind, or that they exist. No matter how accurately I described what I saw, no matter how many times I said it. It wouldn't affect his opinions.

But when you see one yourself, all debate ends.)

I think we need to find a way to present these teachings to people without fancy foreign and exotic words (like "Buddha"). Nothing is more annoying to me than a buncha wannabe Buddhist monks. What does a shaved head or a fucking bib have to do with anything? Dharma transmission my ass. I have no faith in lineages. I'm not impressed by merit badges. Endo asked me "why would anyone not born in a Buddhist country want to refer to themselves as a Buddhist?" (right after I said pretty much the same thing to him ;) ) I don't fucking know, but there are a lot of "Buddhists" in America now. Go ask them. I'm sure they have impressive answers.

I've had a "bad" winter this year. Were it not for the cure Buddhism helped work within me, I'd have returned to my decades long, suicidal depression. Now, I think that might be impossible.
So yesterday, these familiar feelings rising again within me, I went for a walk with them in our woods.
Financially, we're in trouble. Our business has had a rough winter. Personally, I have people I'm close to that are very sick, dying. There are many changes happening in my life that right now look to be not so good. There have been problems with people I considered to be friends, really just all kinds of shit that normally would have pushed me into obsessive depression.

Now, I watch these feelings arise and subside and they don't bother me. They still happen. I don't practice Vajrayana techniques of happiness cultivation, so they still occur within me, these destructive emotions. (I say this because a lot of people stop listening to when a person contradicts their ideas of enlightened, Yoda-like beings.)
But they're power over me has been taken away. There are so many reasons as to why that is so that I can't even begin to name them all, so many lessons, so many revealed truths... here are just a few; in life, there is nothing to lose, nothing to gain, and nothing to fear. The people whom I thought were my "friends" do not exist anymore than do "I", my idea of "friend" is just an idea, there is no such thing as a "friend"; I could go on and on.

In short, I had a wonderful walk in the woods with all those negative feelings. They went away. I feel good today, happy as I usually am, despite all these thoughts/feelings that do still arise within me. Despite everything.

That's very practical, and I like sharing the cure I found with other people, it's why I'm here.

I have a friend in this town, who might even be reading this as I suggested this site to him, along with Brad's blog. I had leant him a copy of Hardcore Zen, and, as I thought it would, it reached him. He's an early 40s music head, and a deeply troubled Christian. He's got about as many problems as I ever had, and "they're" beating the shit out of him. (he's slowly seeing that he's beating the shit out of himself)
He is suffering, bigtime.
That's why I leant him books, that's why I discuss this shit with him when he's in the mood for it (and at no other time).
I'm not a Zen Master, have no fucking interest in being anysuchthing. I'm not a "Buddhist" and certainly not a "qualified" teacher. I let him know this early on.
But, the I have had with him have resulted in actual change for the better in this person.

THAT is my interest in "dharma". It's a cure for humanity's ills. This person has all sorts of problems that he had thought originated outside of himself, including physical pain.
The waking up process has begun in him, although I don't know how far he will take it. The fact is that whether he can see the sound of a hummingbird's wings is totally fucking useless at this point in his (and my own) life.

I don't like to see dharma reduced to an often showy game of philisophical understanding, as it frequently is on these kinds of message boards. I don't like intellectual Zen. That's why I practice 3 Stooges Zen.

I know there are some people here who haven't yet "got it". And I know that they might learn to talk the talk like pros and yetstill not "get it". There lies my interest in dumbing down the conversation.

You can explain every koan to me (it's all just this, right here, right now, everything else is illusion) and still walk around clubbing yourself (and everyone else) on the head.

I'm interested in results that can be measured.

I said something to my friend, who suffers from chronic pain, about the nature of suffering. I told him that pain is not suffering, that suffering is what happens when we try to oppose our pain, to run from it. Pain itself is not suffering.
This isn't some metaphysical bullshit point. It's the truth, and it's there to see for anyone who looks, much like no-self.
This bit of information really helped my friend, once he looked into it for himself. It paid real dividends, it reduced suffering.

There should be nothing confusing about this, but as taught, it can be a mind game and thousands upon thousands of students who go away to Zen places to be Zen with Zen teachers can totally miss that point. I'll bet the minority of the people who study Zen cure themselves of suffering. Most are intent on being experts, they want to be looked up to, to be listened to. They want to be regarded as teachers, they want to be enlightened, or at least thought of as being such. Maybe they want to get paid for nothingness...? They want to be respected and a Zen title bestowed by an official teacher helps them with that. (btw, I'm not talking about anyone here specifically, in fact I'm specifically talking about someone whom I don't think knows about this blog)

In order for these teachings we collectively refer to as "dharma" to have a chance to spread in our bullshit, shallow, plastic, distracted and hypnotized culture with its 5 minute attention span, we need to talk about this stuff in plain, easy to understand language. Some might prefer Ta Hui, or one of the other old dead guys who talked in ways I personally cannot easily relate to, to Joko Beck. Early on, I loved Shunryu Suzuki's teachings, although a lot of it went right over my head.
I'm not saying that we should forget the history and traditions of Japanese Zen, I just believe that it can and should be dumbed down to the level that most Americans can understand. The old masters might have been talking as plain as day, I've heard people who understood them to say just that, I just don't understand them very well.

Ever watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart?
At the end of every show, there is "your moment of Zen" followed by some weird, confusing clip that leaves you scratching your head.

I think that sums up what all the hummingbird's wing type shit has done to basic, fundamental truths and teachings. People thing Zen is hard to understand, why do you think that is? The answer is as obvious as the perfume of ice on a hot summer's day.

How many Zen Masters does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

answer: A tree in a golden forest.

I've taken too long and said too much, as usual. This post has gotten so long that even I don't want to read it, I'd better put a disclaimer at the beginning....

 
At March 21, 2007, Blogger Jordan & The Tortoise said...

Mudderpugger,

That was long, but worth it. Thanks for posting it and please stay in the Flapping Mouths Community.

Thank You
Jordan

 
At March 21, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

that was nice of you to say, and I appreciate it, Jordan. Thank you. Frankly, I'm amazed that you bothered to read my post! I didn't bother to review it, I can't stand the sound of my own voice.

But, I came back because I had a couple things to add to what I'd said.

I know people that have looked very hard for something in Zen practice. They've gone off to a couple places to study with teachers.
To me, going somewhere in order to practice Zen or to become familiar with things as they are makes about as much sense as getting out of the shower to pee.
But, the allure of Zen attracts them. It seems special. To me, it's a waste of time and effort.
Yet, Zen study and practice centers are very popular. People seem to need something and isms of various kinds (Buddhism, for one) fulfill something in their lives. They become addicted to teachers and teachings. They wanna be Buddhists.
Some people need that Zen merit badge, they need their teachers to have it so they can be sure that what they're hearing from those teachers is "official" dharma. There's no doubt in my mind that because Brad is an official Zen Master, many people who might not otherwise give him the time of day will see that badge and listen to him. I think that's good. He saved me the effort of trying to write a book. I usually just buy a copy of his (used, amazon.com) and have it sent to them. I'm lazy and I don't want their respect.
But, there are just as many, if not more, people who will not listen just because of the damned badge. Atheists are about as likely to be interested in hearing about Buddhism as they are about Christianity.
"Buddhism" is, or should be, a direct, empirical examination of the only "thing" we have to work with, this moment right now. There's no need for baby's who are born able to speak 12 languages, there's no need for chanting in languages you don't understand, there's no reason to call it religious adornment of any kind. There's no need for a Buddha.

I don't think people who basically understand dharma have much to say to one another. Some still like to gather and wave their dharmic dicks around, comparing them to everyone else's, but I don't like it. I don't like talking about Buddhism with Buddhists, I'm much more interested in talking about it to people who have no interest in Buddhism. They can still be helped.

This is why I said I don't think I'll have a long career here at Flapping Mouths. I suspect there are a lot of Buddhists here.

"Say something once, why say it again?"

cuz I like to talk, Mr. Byrne.

 
At March 21, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

I apologize, once again, for not reviewing my post. I edited it and put it back together in such a way that at least one sentence didn't make sense, corrected, it should read: "There's no need for babies who are born able to speak 12 languages, there's no need for chanting in languages you don't understand, there's no reason for religious adornment of any kind."

but, anyway...

 
At March 21, 2007, Blogger Anatman said...

Mudderpugger. My Brother.

 
At March 21, 2007, Blogger Anatman said...

Mudderpugger, I'm sorry to hear about your difficulties. I hope you do not stop sharing your thoughts with us altogether, though, as I appreciate your honesty and experience, and I'm sure many of our lurking readers do as well.

 
At March 21, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

ahh, it ain't that difficult, really!
But, thanks, man. I love you, too.
fag.

 
At March 21, 2007, Blogger Hamza said...

Did Alan Watts really fuck up his family? He's the one who got me interested in this whole thang.

I don't post here, just found out about this place a week ago. But I felt compelled to compliment mudderpugger on that post. Thanks, I've often thought about this buddhism thing in the same way.

But that long post seems as if it's driven by egotism. Is it hard for to swallow when someone seems to handle you like a student? You got a problem with autoritah?

Dharma is inexpressable, you can reason all you want, if you don't have a guide that will point you in the right direction, you'll be reasoning all your life without getting anywhere. A badge is something ceremonial and in the west it's traditionally admirable but in the end, when one gets the point, the badge was nothing but an instrument.

All those words you don't get, or koans that don't mean shit to you.. it doesn't look you really try do you. At first koans were making me feel insecure cuz I'd read one over and over again but I'd never got it. But after I did some additional homework I found out I was trying to understand it with the wrong mindset. It's a different culture and it requires a helluvalot energy before you can start to grasp something. Imo it's also essential that the oriental approach to it remains, our western ways of conceptualizing, reasoning is just isn't fit for grasping reality.

 
At March 21, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

you read a lot into my post, but that's probably my fault.

You have a right to your opinions, too.

btw, EVERYTHING I say is driven by ego.

 
At March 21, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

I didn't answer your questions, sorry:

Is it hard for to swallow when someone seems to handle you like a student?
That depends. Sometimes it is.

You got a problem with autoritah?
If you are asking if I have a problem with authority, the answer is yes, I bestow it to very few people.

I personally don't have a problem with koans, I don't not-understand them. I see their uses, I know what their purpose is, and I even understand a few of them.

But, like I did intend to say, they ain't for me. I thought I was clear about that. They might be just the ticket for some.

 
At March 21, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

"Imo it's also essential that the oriental approach to it remains, our western ways of conceptualizing, reasoning is just isn't fit for grasping reality."

bullshit.

That's like hearing the Dalai Lama say that he preaches compassion (which seems hollow when taken out of context, to me, IMBO that's in my bloated opinion. See, everything I say in these posts is my opinion, and driven by ego. In fact, here's a rough synapsis of every single post on the internet:

" Me me me me me. Me me me me me me me me, me me me, me me me. Me, me me me me me!"

end parenthesis.

 
At March 21, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

oopy!
cont.
That's like hearing the Dalai Lama say that he preaches compassion because westerners cannot comprehend emptiness, or the deeper teachings of dharma. So, he teaches "just be really nice and smile a lot, you won't be so sad"

He'd agree with you. I don't.

 
At March 21, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

I would say that there is no "western way of conceptualizing" it's human.

 
At March 21, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

JEEEZ!
I would NOT say that, is what I meant to say.
I'm braindead. Too many hours online today.

We fired a kiln last night so I had the day off, just look at how I wasted it.....

 
At March 22, 2007, Blogger endofthedream said...

Also, Endo, regarding our conversation; sorry for taking the piss in my previous post,

No apology necessary.


but it seems that you are intent on teaching me something.


What it seems may not be what it is. You really can't know another's motivation. All you know is the person you create and the attendant motivations that are ascribed to that creation.


Your replies to my statements often contain phrases like "can't you see", when I see quite clearly.


If, in fact, everything you write is driven by ego (as you said in a later post), then you don't see quite clearly.


I've had several lessons from you on the non-existance of the self that I found to be quite redundant in relation to things I'd already said here.


That's why God created the DEL key. :-))


Sometimes, you talk to me like a stubborn student who just isn't seeing, or getting the point of what you're saying.


This is your creation, Mudderpugger. This is what you are hearing.

And suppose, just suppose, I was talking to you in such a manner. Where is the offense? Why is it an issue for you?

I'm very much interested in the illusion.

You are the illusion.


To talk about Zen is to fall into a trap. But I still do it, in hopes of helping some poor darkened fool to turn on the light.


Just the notion that you can help some poor darkened fool is confusion. First, you can't help anyone, even yourself. Second there are no poor darkened fools to be helped. Now, if you mean that you like to pretend that you are helping poor darkened fools, then that is it.


I understand, from personal experience, (if I'm allowed to say that without it implying "I'm enlightened!!") that what I call "I" is an everchanging opinion, and I also realize (pay attention to this point) the impact that has on "my" life; "I" is the illusory fulcrum point that gives leverage to all "my" misunderstandings about the world. It is the principle defect in all the ways we fool ourselves about everything.


It is not a defect. It is a function of how it manifests in phenomenality. It is as it is, neither a defect nor a source of pride or praise. As long as it is operative it carries with it consequences (as you said below), one of which is suffering.



It is not a minor philisophical, metaphysical opinion, it is a fact with real consequences.
Take that away (the belief in things, such as the self, actually existing in the way they appear to), and almost all of our sufferings can be seen for what they truly are, self-imposed limitations, illusions.


They are not self-imposed. If they were, they could be self-removed. Which they can't.


I think we need to find a way to present these teachings to people without fancy foreign and exotic words (like "Buddha").

You mean you need to find a way. You have a mission. And that's fine. It couldn't be otherwise (until it isn't).


Nothing is more annoying to me than a buncha wannabe Buddhist monks. What does a shaved head or a fucking bib have to do with anything? Dharma transmission my ass. I have no faith in lineages. I'm not impressed by merit badges.


Until there is acceptance of what is (in a global sense), there will be suffering.

Why do you care what others do? Do you think they have a say in the matter? Do you believe they have a choice in shaving or not shaving their head, going or not going for dharma transmission? Is it any of your what others do?

Piece of advice (take it or leave it): when you are "out there" directing how the world "should" be, you are not here, taking care of yourself. And that can get very lonely. It is the primary source of ALL suffering, getting into others' business.

Of course, the more comprehensive understanding (switching levels here), is that there are NO others and Mudderpugger has no say in whether or not he will direct how the world should be. But sometimes, just in conversing like this, something will break loose and another way of being will exert itself.

Pain itself is not suffering.

Right.

that suffering is what happens when we try to oppose our pain, to run from it.

Pain is a physical function in phenomenality. It is a "wake up" call, either physically or psychologically. Suffering is the projection of pain, through the vehicle of thought, into an imagined future. No thought, no suffering. And yet we think. It is what the brain is constructed to do. But there is working thought ("I need to fix the dishwasher") and there is self-referential thought ("What'll I do if this pain continues?!?") which births a self that isn't really there and, along with that construction, comes suffering.

Peace.

 
At March 22, 2007, Blogger endofthedream said...

Hello Hamza,

You wrote,


But that long post seems as if it's driven by egotism.

This is speculation. And that is fine. We all do it. But it might help to recognize that you can't know what is truly motivating another's actions. Such awareness is ... humbling.



if you don't have a guide that will point you in the right direction, you'll be reasoning all your life without getting anywhere.

Can you see that this is simply a belief? How can you know that without a guide another will be reasoning all its life and not getting anywhere?

And even more to the point: where is there to get?

Is that not another belief, that there is some"where" to get to?


All those words you don't get, or koans that don't mean shit to you.. it doesn't look you really try do you.

Again...maybe you're correct. Maybe he doesn't try. But how can you know that? Can you see that this is thought talking, thought born out of the conditioning that is Hamza?



At first koans were making me feel insecure cuz I'd read one over and over again but I'd never got it. But after I did some additional homework I found out I was trying to understand it with the wrong mindset.

Great! (For you) This is your story. Enjoy it (it sounds like you are). But also recognize that it may not be so for other bodymind mechanisms. Give 'em a break.


Imo it's also essential that the oriental approach to it remains, our western ways of conceptualizing, reasoning is just isn't fit for grasping reality.

I remind of the insight prattled in the Sandokai (also known as The Identity of Relative and Absolute), an "oriental" teaching:

The mind of the Great Sage of India was intimately conveyed from West to East/Among human beings are wise ones and fools/But in the way there is no northern or southern patriarch

the message? "In the way there is no northern or southern patriarch"...there is no "oriental" approach. It's just another illusion for the self to cling to in order to feel more substantial. It just perpetuates the illusion.

Cheers.

 
At March 22, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

A couple more thoughts on ancient koans from another culture:

Symbols are not universal, if a poem written in mid 20th century USA contains verses who's subjects are The Eagle, and The Bear, there's a good chance that those symbols are being used to indicate the USA and the USSR.

If a time traveller from the 16th century, say France, were to read it, would they derive the same meaning?

No??

Well, what's different about koans?

I looked around for a book I thought I had, couldn't find it, maybe it was something I read online, maybe it was the Blue Cliff Record, I dunno, but the reason I was looking for it is there were great examples of koans containing symbolism utterly alien to me. It was mentioned later, in the analysis of the koan, that there was even some dispute over exactly what the authors of the koan were symbolizing.

Get my point?

Further, if in fact there are Eastern and Western ways of conceptualizing, then shouldn't there be different koans for each?

Why isn't there a constant stream of new koans from Western teachers to instruct their students? Have all the good koans been written?

I'm calling bullshit. Not only am I calling bullshit, but I'm going further and suggesting that a lot of "koan work" done by students with their teachers is, as it was put here, "ego-driven"

Teach is in the know, he knows the answers to these mysterious riddles, student sits obediently (obedience is very important to the Japanese, just ask their women) and reads teach's response to his wild imaginings, being steered toward the answer teach likes best. When student finally gives the answer teach wants to hear, student feels like he accomplished something.

OK, that was harsh. I'm sure there are exchanges, transmissions if you will and I know you're dying to, that are pure. It just turns me off.

But, I do not doubt that it turns a lot of people on. It's part of the allure of this mysterious, exotic thing that they need. They don't want anything "ordinary", they like to feel like they're doing something, a part of something special, and that's fine, too. Really.

I think these people have a future in Buddhism. I think they're gonna be good Buddhists and they're gonna love it, and whether or not they actually wake up, they're going to enjoy the process.

I hated it. (sometimes)
Nothing was more painful and ordinary than sitting on that little cushion (it's an ordinary pillow, no buckwheat or nuthin', maybe this is why I went astray) every damned day for 6 years, and 2 years on and off before that.

Much more interesting to read those books and listen to those tapes! Time spent wondering was fabulous. All that stuff to think about and to ponder.

Sometimes it was difficult to stay inspired, during these times the temptation was there to run off to Boulder or Northern Cali and join the sangha, but being poor and holding a mortgage, that wasn't going to happen, I was stuck with my painfully ordinary practice.

Thankfully.

Now, for me, that worked just fine. Further, it left me with no need for anything else. I can practice right here and now, wherever that is.

An emptiness so profound was revealed that it left no need for anything at all, no Buddhism anywhere to be found. This despite the fact that I bowed to pictures of Shunryu Suzuki twice a session (each 40 minute zazen/shikantaza session, that is).

As much as I love him, I doubt he'd back me up on any of this. And, that's OK with me.

Here's some more blasphemy: If the Buddha, Gotama Siddhartha, actually lived, I very much doubt he said to take refuge in the sangha!!

THE sangha!! THE sangha?!

Ask them greater vehiculars and them sissy vehiculars if they're sittin' in the same sangha!
Take a Zennie over to Tibet and have 'em join right in the ritual. Want a little rancid yak's butter in your tea before you head out for a busy day of spinning prayer wheels, Mr. Zennie?

"The Sangha", particularly when applied to the scattered practitioners here in the US, tasting all the exotic Asian dishes laid out before them (what's your favorite weirdo form of Buddhism? Should we put the Falun Gong hors d'oeuvre on the same table with the Chan delights?). Unity is nowhere to be found. SO HOW CAN ONE TAKE REFUGE IN THAT?

I can just see Sid, sittin' under the Bodhi tree, fully awake now and battling like hell with whether or not to go back into town....
"fucking people, man!"
It might have gone the other way, I wonder what we'd be practicing if that happened....
"free market" capitalism?

also, Hamza, you had asked if Alan Watts really fucked up his whole family, well, not exactly, I was exaggerating a bit. He was, by his own admission, a terrible father and husband. If you're interested, there are biographies and a hard to find autobiography out there that you can read.
Alan was one of my own very important teachers, and I love the guy. We're a little bit alike, we're both big fans of pussy and gettin' high. And, I love talking about Zen, too!

 
At March 22, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

yeah yeah yeah.

 
At March 22, 2007, Blogger endofthedream said...

Hi Mudderpugger,

A couple of thoughts on yours...

Symbols are not universal,

Actually, some are. Some are stored in the collective unconscious and relate to human beings, not particular cultures.



Why isn't there a constant stream of new koans from Western teachers to instruct their students? Have all the good koans been written?

Why isn't there a constant stream of new koans from Eastern teachers?

You're familiar with Joko Beck. She constructs koans for some of her students out of their daily lives, the misunderstandings that arise in day-to-day living. Not formal (traditional) koans, but "riddles" all the same. And they are a lot more accessible and (to use a word from education) "relevant" to her contemporary students.


I'm calling bullshit. Not only am I calling bullshit, but I'm going further and suggesting that a lot of "koan work" done by students with their teachers is, as it was put here, "ego-driven."


How do you know this? Taken any surveys? Questioned scores of teachers? Interviewed dozens of students whom you know personally? What is your sample size for this assertion?

Even more to the point: why do you care?

There's a great koan (sorry!) about this. The zen teacher named Kuei-shan from 9th century China was walking with his student, Yang-shan when the student asked, "When the ten thousand things come up to you, what should you do?"

Kuei-shan said, "Green is not yellow; long is not short. Each thing manages it own; why should I interfere?"



OK, that was harsh. I'm sure there are exchanges, transmissions if you will and I know you're dying to, that are pure. It just turns me off.


And therein lies the suffering.


But, I do not doubt that it turns a lot of people on.

Who knows? Who cares? What is it of your business? Why stray from yourself?


It's part of the allure of this mysterious, exotic thing that they need. They don't want anything "ordinary", they like to feel like they're doing something, a part of something special, and that's fine, too. Really.


Yes, it is fine.


I think these people have a future in Buddhism. I think they're gonna be good Buddhists and they're gonna love it, and whether or not they actually wake up, they're going to enjoy the process.


Let's hope so. LoL Then all will not be for naught. :-)))


I hated it. (sometimes)
Nothing was more painful and ordinary than sitting on that little cushion (it's an ordinary pillow, no buckwheat or nuthin', maybe this is why I went astray) every damned day for 6 years, and 2 years on and off before that.



So, for you, it was not a good fit. I didn't take to it either. I found shikantaza to be much more..........amusing.

 
At March 22, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

me: "Symbols are not universal"
endo Actually, some are.
Maybe. I don't know. How can you prove that to me? I'm not a scholar (no shit), but to me it would seem everyone has their own, unique experience. The experience I have with anything, ocean, river, mother, tree, car, moon, anything, could be completely opposite from anothers. Maybe we're born with a set of symbols we all share somehow imprinted in our psyches, whatever that means, but it would then seem that life could happen in such a way as to run contrary to that symbol? I don't know, but, since you pointed it out, how does that deflect from my point? The symbols I was talking about, which were used in koans that you could probably dig out faster than I, were not universal.

another one: You're familiar with Joko Beck. She constructs koans for some of her students out of their daily lives, the misunderstandings that arise in day-to-day living.
Great. That's why I like her. She is pulling away from the traditional school. I guess I might have come off like I didn't think there was such a thing as secular Zen (or whatever you want to call it) going on, hard to imagine as I was the one who brought both she and Toni Packer up earlier in this conversation.


me:"I'm calling bullshit. Not only am I calling bullshit, but I'm going further and suggesting that a lot of "koan work" done by students with their teachers is, as it was put here, "ego-driven."
you: How do you know this?
I don't. I suggested it. But, I did go on to give an example of the kind of relationship I suggested might be happening, are you suggesting that kind of thing cannot and does not happen?

Even more to the point: why do you care?
I don't, really. No more than I care about anything. Which is to say I care quite a bit.
Why do you care?

but, I did say "OK, that was harsh. I'm sure there are exchanges, transmissions if you will and I know you're dying to, that are pure. It just turns me off."
which sorta answers the how do you know this? and the why do you care inquiries.

me "But, I do not doubt that it turns a lot of people on."

you Who knows? Who cares? What is it of your business? Why stray from yourself?

Why are you talking to me?

 
At March 22, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

that was an earnest question, btw. I wasn't being snide and suggesting you stop talking to me.

 
At March 22, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

So, for you, it was not a good fit. I didn't take to it either. I found shikantaza to be much more..........amusing.

good point.
once I learned to just sit, it was both enjoyable and amusing.
but, that took years.

 
At March 22, 2007, Blogger endofthedream said...

me: "Symbols are not universal"
endo Actually, some are.
Maybe. I don't know. How can you prove that to me?


I can't, just like I can't prove that I like you as person. That doesn't make my affection for you no less "real." I was pointing to the notion of "archetype" which, in Jungian psychology is defined to be an inherited pattern of thought or symbolic imagery derived from the past collective experience and present in the individual unconscious. The model you hold of reality will either fit or not fit this. It's not science or math, so I don't know how to prove something like that.


I'm not a scholar (no shit), but to me it would seem everyone has their own, unique experience.

Yes, of course they do. The infinite permutations of being.


The experience I have with anything, ocean, river, mother, tree, car, moon, anything, could be completely opposite from anothers.

Yep. No question about it.


Maybe we're born with a set of symbols we all share somehow imprinted in our psyches, whatever that means, but it would then seem that life could happen in such a way as to run contrary to that symbol?

Certain facial expressions are consist across all cultures (crying, for example, evokes a similar internal response from one culture to another). This is not true for all facial expressions however. Some are distinctly culture-specific.

I don't know, but, since you pointed it out, how does that deflect from my point? The symbols I was talking about, which were used in koans that you could probably dig out faster than I, were not universal.

Yes. It doesn't deflect from you point. You win. :-)




me:"I'm calling bullshit. Not only am I calling bullshit, but I'm going further and suggesting that a lot of "koan work" done by students with their teachers is, as it was put here, "ego-driven."
you: How do you know this?
I don't. I suggested it. But, I did go on to give an example of the kind of relationship I suggested might be happening, are you suggesting that kind of thing cannot and does not happen?


Oh no. I've seen that first hand. No dispute.

Even more to the point: why do you care?
I don't, really. No more than I care about anything. Which is to say I care quite a bit.
Why do you care?



What makes you think I do? (I'm not playing parlor-psychologist here, nor is this being coy.)


you Who knows? Who cares? What is it of your business? Why stray from yourself?

Why are you talking to me?


People do what they do and then, afterwards, they "explain" why. The explanation is always consistent with the innate conditioning-in-the-moment. That is all that happens.

So, I can give you a story about why I'm talking to you. But the truth is: I have no choice. (The cute answer is "I didn't get a better offer," or, alternatively, "This was the best offer I had at this moment.")

What happens, in simplest terms, is that a thought arises which says "go to FM blog site" and that thought, plus the subsequent ones, are simply too powerful to resist. The ones that follow direct the opening of certain posts and the resulting answers which appear. There is simply no "me" in charge of the events.

 
At March 22, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

Certain facial expressions are consist across all cultures (crying, for example, evokes a similar internal response from one culture to another). This is not true for all facial expressions however. Some are distinctly culture-specific.

excellent example, I'll have to let that one soak for a little while and see what I end up with....

me: "Why do you care?"
(in answer to be asked the very same thing)

you reply: What makes you think I do? (I'm not playing parlor-psychologist here, nor is this being coy.)

maybe not, but it's still funny as hell. (I laugh at the littlest things)

my response: what makes you think I care?
tee-hee!

now for a really important question: how do you color your font? it won't take my html for colors or size, I don't think it let me use the underline code, either....wtf?

 
At March 22, 2007, Blogger Anatman said...

"Why do you care?"

What makes you think I do?

"what makes you think I care? tee-hee!"

Sorry, but if I had been drinking milk when I read that, it would have sprayed out my nose.

 
At March 22, 2007, Blogger Anatman said...

still giggling.

 
At March 22, 2007, Blogger endofthedream said...

Mudderpugger: "Why do you care?"
(in answer to be asked the very same thing)

endo: What makes you think I do? (I'm not playing parlor-psychologist here, nor is this being coy.)

Muddgerpugger: maybe not, but it's still funny as hell. (I laugh at the littlest things)

Mudderpugger: what makes you think I care? tee-hee!



To answer your question, I think you care because that is what you wrote in an earlier post today. I quote, "Even more to the point: why do you care? I don't, really. No more than I care about anything. Which is to say I care quite a bit."

That's where I got it from.


Mudderpugger:now for a really important question: how do you color your font? it won't take my html for colors or size, I don't think it let me use the underline code, either....wtf?

endo: I'm not very knowledgeable about HTML tags. I know that colors have code numbers (which I don't know and which is why I don't use colors). The only color that comes on my posts is the one that is part of the "a" tag (which I guess represents an underscore). Someone more familiar with HTML will need to advise us further on colors.

 
At March 22, 2007, Blogger Anatman said...

I'm not sure how to add colors either.

Whoah. Cool.

 
At March 23, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

the a tag?

never heard of it.

 
At March 23, 2007, Blogger MudderPugger said...

ahhhh, I get it, it's the anchor tag, but without a specified forwarding URL (as in "a href=" etc)

the underscore tag is "u", and it won't allow that here

so, b, i and a is all? Nice of them to allow us that, but I wonder why so limited?

not that it matters....just wonderin'....

 

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