@reto Zen should make it more clear that moments of thusness are just moments, and no one should ever expect to dwell there full-time. Nirvana, likewise, just means “blowing out”, and the fires of greed, anger, and delusion are like those ever-lighting trick candles. We experience these things only for moments, but we can take inspiration from those moments.
@reto I’m not sure you get the mindfulness without some zazen, and if you have the zazen, you need some framework for coping with the weird stuff that shows up like makyo and satori.
Focusing too much on enlightenment is detrimental to progress anyway. The “crossing to the other shore” metaphor is counterproductive— even the Buddha kept sitting for the rest of his life! He didn’t just enter enlightenment and stay there.
@reto I often compare meditation to a gym workout for the “letting go” circuit in the brain. Cultivating that does, I think, need some accompanying discussion of ethical systems and nurturing of universal lovingkindness. Otherwise you get the pre-Mahayana lofty attitude. You could certainly ground that in mundane concerns over community than a bodhisattva vow, though.
@reto The sudden stuff is Rinzai Zen. Check out Soto Zen for the slow and steady approach.
@reto If you make it explicit that some of the ideas like the Six Realms are metaphors, and pick the sutras and poems to chant, Soto Zen fits those requirements pretty well. Some of the rituals like feeding the hungry ghosts would need to be shelved.
@reto I can see the point to a degree of formality— a certain amount of structure can be helpful. On a day when one’s head is full of noise, the ritual may be the thing that helps the most. The mistake is to think that the ritual is what it’s about, rather than that the ritual is the trappings that help get the mind into the right space.
I did not know there was a Lay Zen Teachers Association! http://lzta.org/
Discovered via https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/lay-buddhist-teachers/
Poll: Sangha or Hangha?
@ShaunBartone I have an organized sangha with a teacher who often asks students to give dharma talks, and has a lot of back-and-forth discussion once service is complete. The first one I tried (ch'an) was much more formal and strict.
@ShaunBartone It helps to have a group that meets regularly, as a safety net for those days when it's really tempting to slack off. A certain amount of formality can be useful for discipline, but it can be overdone. The sangha that I settled in has freewheeling discussion and laughter during the dharma talks after the service. A lot of folks in American Zen take it TOO seriously, which is itself a form of attachment.
@ShaunBartone That’s why the Sangha is one of the Three Treasures. People who have been there can tell you which things are a distraction and which are a milestone.
@ShaunBartone @reto Being a buddha isn't about being a god. It's about extinguishing the fires of greed, hatred, and delusion, while still being entirely human. And Zen in particular comes with the Mahayana vow, so even if you do manage to be in nirvana full time (fat chance, even the Buddha sat for the rest of his life), you're obligated to liberate all other beings, too.
Whose 3 Poisons?
@ShaunBartone Dukkha is the suffering we inflict on ourselves through craving and clinging. The annoyance from others' bad behavior is a different kind, I think, though our reaction to it can bring us suffering.
@scribe Even if we killed the entire entertainment industry, we’d still be buying food that has to compete with factory farms, paying rent to landlords or paying mortgages, and scraping by with what little health care we can force the government to make available by regulation.
@scribe And cautions. Ever yank a stinging nettle out of the ground? It's easy because it has a simple root; it relies on only one trick, and gloves defeat that trick.
@Honeybees Whether we consider the source to be “God”, “fate”, “Nature”, or “karma”, there are events we cannot affect, and can merely avoid or prepare for them. Whether we follow divine commandments or human precepts, there are actions we can take, or refrain from, to further liberation from misery. Meditation helps us approach this with clarity.
@Honeybees Zen is about giving up delusions, which would include delusions of agency we never really had, as well as delusions of lack of agency that we actually possess. From the outside, some of that may look like deference or rebellion.
Everything is Beautifully Broken
@ShaunBartone My approach is that perfection is a property of very simple things, like mathematics. Things can be healthy or unhealthy, well-adapted or ill-suited to their environment, but the very act of asserting that there is a perfection that can be approached creates misery as you dwell on the distance between the thing as it is and the notion of its perfection.
Reader. Gamer. Maine Coon Cat wrangler. Software engineer. Zen practitioner (Soto school).
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