On Fri, 28 Dec 2007 05:52:23 -0800, Bill Smart <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>  
wrote:

> On Fri, 28 Dec 2007 ZenBob wrote:
>
>> It is neither correct nor incorrect to
>
>> state that if one "practices Zen" that one does not "make choices."  As
>
>> humans, we make choices, and practicing Zen is a choice.
>
>> If we then choose to practice Zen, then our Zen Mind, and Zen Bones,
>
>> follow that perspective, if we remain in that state of
>
>> being.  However, being human, means to drift in and out of states of
>
>> varying consciousness
>
> You are either practicing zen OR you are making choices.  You are not
> practicing zen AND making choices.  That is clear to me.  Perhaps we are  
> not
> using the term 'practicing zen' in the same way.  The way you're using it
> sounds more like 'trying to practice zen, or 'learning to practice zen'  
> to
> me.


No, absolutely no.  You fail to understand the manner of human thinking.
We cannot say "don't think of an elephant" and not think of an elephant --
even the act of attempting to negate that thought is the formation of that  
thought.
Zen does not spring into being unbidden.  It is cultivated.  Such  
cultivation
is based on our thoughts and actions.  Despite your adherence to some  
schools
of Zen and Dzogzen, there is fundamental error in believing that Zen  
occurs of
itself independent of the mind or that if we are "choosing" or "thinking"  
that we have negated Zen.

That is a fundamental error.  Period.  A clever sylogism, a mental trick,  
just as
it would be to say that we don not learn words, they just come out of our  
mouths.
The distinction is that with the Buddhist foundation of the Eightfold  
Path, which
stipulates "right thought, right action, etc." Zen comes into being.   
Furthermore,
Zen is most closely akin to the resting state between thoughts and  
actions, but
cannot manifest unless those thoughts and actions have occurred.  Also, it  
is an
error of intellect to suppose that "I" "You" "they" have no distinction --  
as from
the relative level, we could not otherwise have a discussion, nor could I  
step on your
foot or vice-versa.  Sure, we are all part of a greater unity, but like  
being paint on a vase,
we each have our own separate domain, and can be chipped off or polished  
quite
independently.  For me, Zen must always remain harmonious with physics,
especially Quantum physics, and the arguments of non-duality can only be  
applied
in very non-local event times.  Since we do measure time (yes we do, don't  
make any
funny arguments here) and our body locations in space-time in order to  
function and
realize that you and I do not occupy the same space at the same time, then  
we functionally
have duality, even as we are "one in a non-local universe."  Therefore,  
Zen does not merely
"happen" of itself, it is part of who we are, and who we are depends  
totally on what we
learn, experience, and that depends on our choices and actions that bring  
us new
experiences.

This is not merely important as doctrine or theory, but is fundamental to  
the process...
suggesting otherwise obfuscates and leads astray the willing student.  No  
one can claim
that they became enthusiastic adherents to Zen but never read or heard  
about it, did not
attempt to study it, practice Zazen, engage in studious effort or simply  
enjoy the literature
for its own sake.  That being said, we did not merely form ourselves, nor  
come into full
nature of Zen without a teacher, a learning process, a gradual  
understanding of the Way.

So to suggest that we do not plant our own seeds is erroneous, our very  
nature guides our
curiosity and our desire (yes, even when one seeks to renounce desires!)  
for something else in
our life guides us to seek out this path.  We recognize a truth in these  
teachings, practice and
come to a greater knowing or experience of Zen.  And it is the individual  
who benefits and comes by
this knowing...not some other entity in some other place.  We exchange  
these words only because
we ultimately believe that we are communicating information to another  
person and that each of
us may benefit or improve our total understanding of the ideas being  
discussed -- otherwise
we would merely abide in the silence of the infinite and smile, knowing  
that everything was
everything and there is no duality and thus, such discussions merely silly  
illusion --

We don't do that, so that underscores my point completely.  Only the mad  
argue futiley
with themselves...

Cheers,

Zenbob


  Yes, I do drift in and out of states of consciousness; and when I've
> drifted into a state of consciousness where I create a separation between
> myself and my environment (discrimination), then I do make choices,  
> because
> there is then an 'I' to make choices.  But then I would not say that I am
> 'practicing zen'.
>
>
>> we must remind ourselves
>
>> that the finger pointing at the moon is not the moon, and that the moon  
>> is
>
>
>> actually unknown..the image of the moon on the retina is
>
>> no more "real" than our sketch of the moon on paper.  Yet, there is a
>
>> world, even if only intuited, and we must find ways to
>
>> function within it.
>
> Actually, the image of the moon on our retina is a lot different than our
> sketch of the moon on paper, but that's not important to the analogy of  
> the
> 'finger pointing to the moon'.  The analogy is important because of the
> emphasis in NOT MISTAKING the finger for the moon; NOT MISTAKING the
> teachings for the Buddha mind.  And, contrary to what you said above,  
> once
> you've actually found the moon, knowing it is easy.
>
>
>> .the Zen approach is Buddhist at its foundation,.
>
> There is a Buddhist approach to zen, but zen does not have Buddhism for  
> its
> foundation.  If anything, I'd say Buddhism has zen for its foundation,  
> but I
> could say that about almost any religion.
>
>
>> .so right thought, etc., is a starting point first, and not trying to
>
>> force the world into a preconceived illusory set of rultes is the next
>
>> step.
>
> A preconceived illusory set of rules such as 'right thought, right  
> action,
> etc.'?  Thoughts are thoughts.  Action is action.  As soon as you
> discriminate between 'right' and 'wrong' thoughts, you are already lost!
>
>
>
>> We can agree that a door is just a series of info-packets and
>
>> spinning electrons, etc., but it hurts to run into one, nonetheless.    
>> So,
>
>
>> we refine our knowing of the world, moment by moment,
>
>> until we begin to "ride the bicycle without thinking...without conscious
>
>> choosing"  and this gets us close to Zen for a bit.  Then we
>
>> "fall off the bike" and scratch our sore heads and try to get back on  
>> and
>
>> ride again...hoping that we learned enough to understand what
>
>> caused our fall and do not repeat the mistake.
>
> Okay, this paragraph helps a lot.  You are using 'practicing zen' like
> 'practicing riding a bike', and not like 'riding a bike', or better yet  
> just
> 'wind in face, cars in and out, etc.'.
>
>
>> A lot of Zen is conveyed in far too mystical terms, I think...and yet,  
>> it
>
>> cannot be explained, nor simplified to the point of absurdity...
>
>> this is most correct.
>
> I agree wholeheartedly.  Zen cannot be conveyed using mystical or  
> rational
> terms.  Simplification is a good thing.  I'm not sure how you can  
> simplify
> it to the point of absurdity.  Zen is the most simple thing there is.   
> It's
> just THIS!  How much more simple can you get?
>
>
>> Both of us, I think are pointing at something we
>
>> share in common to our experience, and seem to share a common
>
>> foundation with...we must allow Zen to happen, we cannot force it...but  
>> we
>
>
>> also cannot expect it to occur without some choices of our
>
>> own day by day.
>
> I think we are pointing at something we share in common.  I too have
> practiced zen for a long time, since the mid-60's under both Soto and  
> Renzai
> roshis.  Now I'm living in a place where I do not have access to a  
> sangha.
> I enjoy participating in this e-sangha.  I enjoy your posts.
>
>
>> Allowing the tea to taste great still requires that we
>
>> brew it in some "right" fashion, even if you or I brew it by
>
>> different methods!  In the end, we each must be satisfied or enjoy the  
>> cup
>
>
>> of tea that we end up with.
>
> Tea refreshes, ahhh! Wash cups. Tea is bitter, phwew! (spit out)  Wash  
> cups.
>
>
>> When I use the word "choice"
>
>> of choosing, I mean to suggest not the process of "choosing a specific  
>> act
>
>
>> with the intent of making Zen occur" as that is silly, but
>
>> I mean the aspects of the Eightfold Path, as I began with in my earlier
>
>> post.  I am also not trying to be doctrinaire or absolutist with
>
>> that, only, again, suggesting a basis for developing a broader  
>> foundation
>
>> that leads to "better results."  What else can one do? :)
>
> One can just sit.  No choosing.  No 'better', no 'results'.  Just zazen.
>
>
>> Our own inner transoformation is gradual and often surprising.  Zen does
>
>> just happen, but it never happens to the person who
>
>> has not cultivated the nature of Zen within his or her own mental garden
>
>> first.  The mental reminders are the gentle rain that
>
>> allow the seeds of Zen to germinate and eventually blossom, seemingly
>
>> without any "choice" or "action" of our own.  But we
>
>> have been instrumental in their creation, nonetheless.
>
> No transformation.  What is there to transform?  No cultivation.  What is
> there to cultivate?  Rain comes, seeds germinate, flowers blossom.  You  
> were
> not instrumental in this.  All this is you.
>
>
>> Really enjoyed the discussion, recently!  Thank You!
>
> Me too.  Thank you for becoming active (again?) in the Zen Forum and for
> posting such thoughtful and sincere insights.
>
>
> .Bill!
>
>
>
>
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