Author Topic: Just Sitting, Nothing to Attain  (Read 1283 times)

Offline ZenFred

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Just Sitting, Nothing to Attain
« on: January 16, 2014, 05:01:35 am »
I had an experience/realization I wanted to share. I hope anyone considering a Zen practice can find it helpful.

I was talking with the sangha about how I think too much about Zen (who me? never! :teehee:)
Anyways, they responded with "Just Sit" and I thought about it some more (cause I don't listen) and it really hit home.

August 18, 2005: I remember very clearly because it was my 23rd birthday, but also because it was the day we landed in Iraq. I remember thinking on the massive C-130 plane packed full of American troops that this was the most important, most significant thing I would ever do in my life and I finally measured up and proved myself worthy (worthy of what I wasn't sure). I believed that I was fighting for my country, for my fellow man, for all the people back home I care about, even for my faith (I was a devout Christian at the time). But that was a lie. I'm not making a political statement, just a statement of how our ideas and ideals don't match reality. War is terrible is cliché, but I participated in plenty of terrible things and earned myself a truckload of bad karma. I used to be proud of my service, now I understand the "service" part was a lie. Worst of all, after I got out of the army I drifted through life wanting to get back to that high of knowing I was important and worthy. Thankfully I stumbled into a career in therapy, helping others, but that drive to prove myself was still there. I wasn't content with just training to be a good therapist, I had to be one of the best in my class, best in my field, have an amazing career. That too is a lie. I always thought was this professor "really" think of me? Or I am better than my peers?

So in Zen, I learn slowly and with plenty of backsliding, that I put all those illusions and lies down and just sit. There is no where to go, nothing to attain. Just being, just zazen.

Gassho  :namaste:
Fred
« Last Edit: January 16, 2014, 06:28:05 am by ZenFred »

Offline NepalianBuddhist

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Re: Just Sitting, Nothing to Attain
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2014, 06:49:21 am »
You can attain to the four stages of Awakening but meditation is a personal thing. Good luck with Zen and zazen  :om:

Offline ZenFred

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Re: Just Sitting, Nothing to Attain
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2014, 07:26:06 pm »

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_enlightenment
Okay, I've seen that In one of the sutras, lotus sutra?  This involves rebirth though not attainment in one lifetime right? And isn't enlightenment a path of non-attainment? Though to be honest, I don't really know what version of enlightenment I follow. My zen master says just sitting zazen is, but that's very soto. I tend to focus on experiencing non-thought true nature, but is that enlightenment? I am not really concerned about it, I just want peace from suffering and to live compassionatly. That should give me a good rebirth anyways. I guess I'm saying as it is now awakening isn't the focus of my practice. How is that like for you?
« Last Edit: January 16, 2014, 07:34:41 pm by ZenFred »

Offline NepalianBuddhist

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Re: Just Sitting, Nothing to Attain
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2014, 08:09:37 pm »
Awakening and Enlightenment are basically the same thing ... I do the Pure Land meditation. (I think the word for it is Sunyata) ...


Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Just Sitting, Nothing to Attain
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2014, 08:33:47 pm »
The Lotus Sutra says that there are four stages of awakening: (1) initiation to the knowledge of awakening; (2) demonstration of the knowledge of awakening; (3) realization of the knowledge of awakening; and (4) actualization of the knowledge of awakening.

It is said that when you hear of the intitiation and the knowledge of the teaching, you will then be able to realize and actualize it. Thus you will attain the knowledge of awakening and your intrinsic nature will be revealed.

For more on this, I would recommend reading Sokei-An Sasaki's "Original Nature: Zen Comments on the Sixth Patriarch's Platform Sutra":

http://books.google.com/books?id=VIRg2XuYu4AC

As a side note, the Theravada tradition also has four stages of awakening, but they're different: (1) stream-entry; (2) once-returning; (3) non-returning, and (4) arahantship.

Offline ZenFred

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Re: Just Sitting, Nothing to Attain
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2014, 05:31:12 am »
Thanks DK. I guess the Wikipedia article was about it from a thervandan perspective . Is there a story or analogy about how the different traditions of Buddhism can be correct and different at the same time? I know of the blind men describing an elephant but there is a sense of ridicule there. The "many paths, one truth" is very superficial.
I have deep respect for the other traditions mainly through the wonderful responses and questions I have recieved here. I extend this respect to other religions as well since from experience as a devout christain for many years (I even was in the process to be an episcopal priest at one point!). I think I can say my own Zen path teaching direct enlightenment and emphasis on not-knowing and sitting meditation is the right path for me; at least right now.

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Just Sitting, Nothing to Attain
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2014, 09:16:38 am »
The blind men and the elephant would probably be the best simile of the perceived differences  --- I'm not sure if you're aware of it, by the story is actually found in several traditions other than Buddhism, so the story can be said to work on several levels:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant

As for the cause of such differences among Buddhist sects, most are related to adaptation and/or expedient means --- contrary to popular opinion, no one is correct if everyone else is wrong.

Offline ZenFred

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Re: Just Sitting, Nothing to Attain
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2014, 11:56:24 am »
Right. Hyon gak Sunim the American kwam un school zen teacher used it to describe the world religions attempt to describe god and true nature, but in that dharma talk he insinuated that Zen has it right and "sees" the elephant. I think it's important to keep the understanding that we too only see pieces. It's very tricky if we say we have direct experience of "enlightenment" to not declare it a short cut for everyone and to also admit we too only feel part of the elephant. It is difficult even to blend two schools of Zen (Kuam un with its focus on "what am I?" Koans and study with soto and it s zazen zazen zazen). Somewhere in the middle between those two I think lies my practice. I feel like I'm rambling...

Gassho, Fred

 


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