Treeleaf Sangha

Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:09 am

Dzogchen Community does emphasize in-person interactions with the teacher. You have to show up.


Sorry this is my bad, my misunderstanding. For some reason I thought I heard somewhere that for transmission the internet transmission was just as good as the live version. But of course, this doesn't mean the same goes for teacher training- that was my (incorrect) assumption.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Jikan » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:22 am

JKhedrup wrote:
Dzogchen Community does emphasize in-person interactions with the teacher. You have to show up.


Sorry this is my bad, my misunderstanding. For some reason I thought I heard somewhere that for transmission the internet transmission was just as good as the live version. But of course, this doesn't mean the same goes for teacher training- that was my (incorrect) assumption.


Sure. I think you're on very solid ground. :smile:
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby shel » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:35 am

I believe Jundo/Treeleaf is of the 'practice is enlightenment' Soto Zen school. That basically means that if you can quiet the mind enough in sitting meditation to the point where a sense of self temporarily suppressed, that's experiencing emptiness, and that's the pinnacle of their practice. Jundo doesn't believe in postmortem rebirth etc.
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:06 am

Jikan wrote:OK, I see what you mean shel.

I think it's good to stick rigorously to a daily practice regimen. If seated meditation is your practice, and you're able, then keep that commitment. Of course it would be foolish to keep that commitment at that if your kid is choking on something and no one else is around to save her skin (for instance).

I'm interested in the equation of sitting with meditation. I know that seated meditation is emphasized strongly in Soto Zen. But is sitting necessarily synonymous with meditation? It is possible to put one's body on the cushion, wear the proper accoutrement, maintain good posture... and daydream the whole session. I know, I've done it myself. It's also possible to practice meditation quite rigorously in many other postures.

The equation of the terms "meditation" and "Buddhism" or "Zen" (as though meditation is the totality of Buddhist practice) is a separate thing. I'm not sure of Treeleaf does this, but I've seen it in other Soto Zen contexts in the English-speaking world...


Off topic a bit, but my own experience in Zen was exactly this...at first at least. Because there is no instruction given (for the most part) beyond "just sitting", I would daydream, sit bored, go insanely impatient, want to pee, think about boobs (accidentally of course), whatever. But, that is also the really excellent thing about "just sitting" it seems to me, there are no states (boredom and daydreaming included) that are excluded from the practice. In the end I decided on doing something else, it is not the method for me, but I do really see the merit in just sitting with no expectation or plan, and no compromise as to do doing it ..within reason of course. I would save the child lol.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby myozankodo » Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:30 am

Jikan, Shel, and everyone,
I think I'm going to retire as the topic has moved on. Besides, I have some children I have to go save. :smile:
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:43 am

myozankodo wrote:...I think I'm going to retire as the topic has moved on.
Moved off (track, that is) not moved on! ;)

Discussion on daily practice commitments moved here.
Discussion on the significance of empowerments moved here.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby shel » Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:11 pm

myozankodo wrote:I have some children I have to go save. :smile:


And in doing so the life you save might be your own. :twothumbsup:
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Omoi Otoshi » Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:22 pm

Hi everybody!
I have been a member of Treeleaf for three years now. I just thought I'd share a few thoughts/views!

shel wrote:I believe Jundo/Treeleaf is of the 'practice is enlightenment' Soto Zen school. That basically means that if you can quiet the mind enough in sitting meditation to the point where a sense of self temporarily suppressed, that's experiencing emptiness, and that's the pinnacle of their practice.


Yes, at Treeleaf we do believe that practice is enlightenment and that enlightenment is practice. This is what Dogen taught and one of the truly great koans in my opinion. But we don't try to suppress the self, thoughts, feelings or anything else. We just don't always pay the self so much attention. But the self is Buddha nature too. If you fight the self, you reinforce it and let it cage you. In Shikantaza, we just practice being who we are, free from all bonds, sitting with what is, right here, right now, not trying to do something in particular, not trying to be someone, not trying find something nor trying to escape anything. In suchness, when everything is put down, when you finally just stop and take a break from all the madness, when there is no more chasing after desires or running from aversions, when we are no longer trapped and tormented by our delusions, emptiness emerges. The pure land is revealed. Samsara is seen as Nirvana. The path ends right there, right then. But emptiness didn't emerge. It was there all the time. It is what we are. It is what never changes. And it's not so empty after all. Practice is the pinncle of our practice. No distant goal, just whole-hearted, honest and compassionate practice.

I do this in addition to full-time employment, as well as taking care of all the usual householder duties, and additional learning and training. I wouldn't call it a rigorous lifestyle.

Sitting alone and all by my lonesome self, if something comes up like a work deadline I'll sometimes skip sitting for the day. Do you or any of the other priests in training do this?


That's great! :twothumbsup:
Don't tell Jundo, but I skip sitting every now and then too! :oops: :spy:
In my opinion, in order to practice Zen buddhism, you need to stop trying to fight what life throws at you and instead accept your circumstances and adapt to them, dance with them, effortlessly, fluidly. I don't believe in ascetism. I don't believe in a rigorous practice. But I do believe in a whole-hearted, dedicated practice that is motivated by your heart's deepest desire, and I know that is what Myozan means. I wouldn't worry too much about skipping a day every now and then. I would feel much worse if I neglected my work or family just because I had the idea that I must sit every day. Problem is, many times I would just rather do something else, ie keep chasing after my desires, which is not the same thing. The ego can come up with all kinds of reasons why we needn't go sit on that cushion. As Zen buddhists we sit Zazen, it's as simple as that. As grown-ups we brush our teeth every morning and every night. We don't debate whether we should or shouldn't on this particular day, or skip it just because we have something important to do. As a member of Treeleaf, you are expected to sit daily. But you can sit for only 5 minutes if that is all the time you have. That is perfectly fine! The funny thing is, once you are on the cushion, those 5 minutes easily become 15 or 20 minutes! :smile:

I wrote this in response to a thread on the chapter in Dogen's Shobogenzo called Shukke Kudoku, “In Praise of Home Leaving”, in which Dogen writes: Breaking of the precepts having left family life (become a monk) is better than keeping the precepts as a layperson, because with the precepts of a layperson we do not realize liberation.

"It's easy to get provoked by a statement like this and ignore the true meaning, the wisdom that could be hidden behind these words. It's very convenient to just disregard the passages that we don't like, that we feel aversion towards, instead of asking ourselves where this aversion comes from, and what the blind old donkey is really trying to say.

We tend to identify ourselves as laypersons and of course our egos don't like it when someone says we can't realize liberation. But is that what he is really saying? We are extremely lucky to live in a time and part of the world where we have access to the kind of advanced practice and teachings that in medieval Japan was reserved for monks only. If you practice dilligently, in the same way as monks traditionally did, does this make you a monk? Does living in a monastery (and only sitting because someone beats you if you don't) make you a monk? That is a question each of us has to answer for themselves. There was a thread a year or so ago about what constitutes a monk. I think I said something silly like "if you consider yourself to be a monk, you are a monk". To me, it's not about living inside a certain type of walls, but about a dedication to practice.

If you get too hung up on the whole monk/monastery/home leaving thing, you may be leaning to much toward the relative side of things and forget about the absolute.

In my view, you can be a monk, even though you don't live in a monastery. When you are a monk, the whole world is a monastery. Leaving home without taking a single step. This is not the same as trying to eat the cake and keep it too. It's a transformation of the mind."

Sara H wrote:The wisdom of when somebody listens to you go off and rant on something and they don't tell you something yet, because they know you just arn't ready to listen to it, or giving you some small physical task to do, because they know it will help a certain kind of problem you have...


Thanks Sara for a good post! :good:
I don't expect all people to understand Buddhism. I don't expect all Buddhists to understand Zen buddhism. I don't expect all Zen buddhists to understand Soto Zen. And I sure don't expect all Soto Zen buddhists to understand or applaud what Jundo and Taigu are doing with Treeleaf either! :D

For me, for my practice, Treeleaf has been great. Jundo, like all people, has his faults. He may seem like an elephant in a china store sometimes! :lol: He's not a saint and he's not trying to impersonate one either. But his heart is in the right place. And he's a great teacher. I personally think what he has done with Treeleaf together with Taigu is truly wonderful. An internet Sangha may not be the answer for everyone. Of course it has its drawbacks. But during the few years I have been around, I have seen Treeleaf grow into a Sangha more real to me than any other. A while back, I wrote this on the Treeleaf forum:

"Since I joined, it feels as if this Sangha, its members and its teachers have gone from strength to strength. Maybe it has. Or maybe what has changed the most is me, or rather my views, ideas and perceptions. Maybe through sitting, listening and interacting, through being as honest to myself and others as possible, through dropping some of the judging, expecting and running after what's next, this Sangha was truly realized, made real, the true Sangha seen as for the first time."

Thanks for listening, and thanks for practicing!
Take great care,

:namaste:
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby shel » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:18 pm

Hi Omoi Otoshi,

Omoi Otoshi wrote:Don't tell Jundo, but I skip sitting every now and then too!


It doesn't serve to hide the truth. People can sense dishonesty.

In my opinion, in order to practice Zen buddhism, you need to stop trying to fight what life throws at you and instead accept your circumstances and adapt to them, dance with them, effortlessly, fluidly.

Rather I accept it when things are a struggle, because that's my experience, simply.

I don't believe in a rigorous practice.

Odd. Why not?

But I do believe in a whole-hearted, dedicated practice that is motivated by your heart's deepest desire, and I know that is what Myozan means.

Of course that's what he meant. He could not have meant anything less deep than that.

I wouldn't worry too much about skipping a day every now and then.

Did I give the impression that I worry about it? How silly of me.

I would feel much worse if I neglected my work or family just because I had the idea that I must sit every day.

I would certainly hope so.

Problem is, many times I would just rather do something else, ie keep chasing after my desires, which is not the same thing. The ego can come up with all kinds of reasons why we needn't go sit on that cushion. As Zen buddhists we sit Zazen, it's as simple as that. As grown-ups we brush our teeth every morning and every night. We don't debate whether we should or shouldn't on this particular day, or skip it just because we have something important to do.

You just wrote above that you skip every now and then.

As a member of Treeleaf, you are expected to sit daily. But you can sit for only 5 minutes if that is all the time you have. That is perfectly fine! The funny thing is, once you are on the cushion, those 5 minutes easily become 15 or 20 minutes!

Why not take your own advise and accept your circumstances and sit for the time that you said you would sit for, effortlessly and fluidly?
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Omoi Otoshi » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:29 pm

:smile:
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby shel » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:40 pm

Omoi Otoshi wrote::smile:

:smile:

I was sorry to read about Taigu's depression the other day (http://sweepingzen.com/sit-a-long-with- ... the-blues/). Perhaps you should share your good cheer with him, and maybe some of that advice about accepting your circumstances and adapting to them, dancing with them, effortlessly, fluidly.
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Simon E. » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:31 am

shel wrote:Hi Omoi Otoshi,

Omoi Otoshi wrote:Don't tell Jundo, but I skip sitting every now and then too!


It doesn't serve to hide the truth. People can sense dishonesty.

In my opinion, in order to practice Zen buddhism, you need to stop trying to fight what life throws at you and instead accept your circumstances and adapt to them, dance with them, effortlessly, fluidly.

Rather I accept it when things are a struggle, because that's my experience, simply.

I don't believe in a rigorous practice.

Odd. Why not?

But I do believe in a whole-hearted, dedicated practice that is motivated by your heart's deepest desire, and I know that is what Myozan means.

Of course that's what he meant. He could not have meant anything less deep than that.

I wouldn't worry too much about skipping a day every now and then.

Did I give the impression that I worry about it? How silly of me.

I would feel much worse if I neglected my work or family just because I had the idea that I must sit every day.

I would certainly hope so.

Problem is, many times I would just rather do something else, ie keep chasing after my desires, which is not the same thing. The ego can come up with all kinds of reasons why we needn't go sit on that cushion. As Zen buddhists we sit Zazen, it's as simple as that. As grown-ups we brush our teeth every morning and every night. We don't debate whether we should or shouldn't on this particular day, or skip it just because we have something important to do.

You just wrote above that you skip every now and then.

As a member of Treeleaf, you are expected to sit daily. But you can sit for only 5 minutes if that is all the time you have. That is perfectly fine! The funny thing is, once you are on the cushion, those 5 minutes easily become 15 or 20 minutes!

Why not take your own advise and accept your circumstances and sit for the time that you said you would sit for, effortlessly and fluidly?

Oh believe me, even in an online forum people can sense all sorts of dysfunctionality..not just dishonesty,
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby shel » Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:56 pm

Thank you for pointing that out, Simon. I could not agree more.
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby kirtu » Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:02 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:A person can be banned for being ..., brusque, ...., rude, impolite, ..., etc...

Many have been banned for their, to use a broad term that covers all the abovementioned categories, social ineptitude.


Social ineptitude? brusque, rude, impolite? Me thinks something is not right here. Sometimes ideas that go against the grain will be viewed in these terms because they are difficult to express or they contain difficult concepts that significantly challenge others.

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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:00 pm

If misinterpreted (whether purposefully or not), maybe, yes.

I was more thinking along the lines of saying something like: "Sorry Kirt, but I disagree with what you are saying. I believe..."

As opposed to: "You are such a fool. You have no idea what you are talking about. I'm the only one here that knows the truth. Now go crawl back under your rock."

In both statemnts I am expressing something which is in contradiction to what you believe. In one I am being socially inept, rude, brusque and impolite and in the other I am being polite, informative and intelligent. One will lead to me drawing a warning (and probably draw your ire) and the other will (under normal circumstances) lead to a sharing of ideas. It's got nothing to do with the ideas themselves and everything to do with the way they are expressed.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby shel » Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:22 pm

Thank you for the lesson in politeness, Gregkavarnos.
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby KeithA » Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:35 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:If misinterpreted (whether purposefully or not), maybe, yes.

I was more thinking along the lines of saying something like: "Sorry Kirt, but I disagree with what you are saying. I believe..."

As opposed to: "You are such a fool. You have no idea what you are talking about. I'm the only one here that knows the truth. Now go crawl back under your rock."

In both statemnts I am expressing something which is in contradiction to what you believe. In one I am being socially inept, rude, brusque and impolite and in the other I am being polite, informative and intelligent. One will lead to me drawing a warning (and probably draw your ire) and the other will (under normal circumstances) lead to a sharing of ideas. It's got nothing to do with the ideas themselves and everything to do with the way they are expressed.
:namaste:


Nice post, Greg. I am a big fan of civil discourse! :thanks:

Shel/Praxis/Piper (I think I am forgetting one.) has always been polite, informative and intelligent. He also is dogged and relentless, which rubs some folks (or maybe just me :lol: ) the wrong way. The biggest lesson for me in dealing with the various Buddhist fora is that I don't have to respond. My ideas and opinions occasionally get the better of me, but less often than they used to. Shel has been a great teacher for me. And he has caused me think a little along the way.

Anyway, back to the :popcorn:

Good luck and thanks for practicing,
Keith
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby shel » Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:50 pm

Awww, I'm blushing. :emb:

:tongue:
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby KeithA » Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:59 pm

shel wrote:Awww, I'm blushing. :emb:

:tongue:



haha..you are nothing if not consistent, my friend! :tongue:
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby shel » Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:10 pm

To a [dysfunctional] fault. :twothumbsup:
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