Hi Craig. Yes, I agree - this is a good group right now (I couldn't help that 
asside either!). For me, I try to get past the idea of even a mystery because 
that separates us into a BIG question seeking one BIG answer, whereas our lives 
are really one Big Question/Answer. What works for me instead is the feeling of 
Presence (or Awareness/Attention) which transcends the intellect/mind duality 
(and it's cognitive functioning such as asking questions) into a more body/mind 
unity. Of course, this too is transcended when the, "Body and mind drops away" 
ala Dogen and Satori (please excuse my foul language). Mike.

craig omanion <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:                               
i agree on the idea of a 'concept' being just and ONLY that, a concept (that's 
my conception of it anyway, sorry, couldn't help that asside there)...
  The only 'concept' I allow to work all the time for me seems to be that of a 
mystery... and most of life is a gigantic mystery.
  In philosophy and many religions the idea is to have the vehicle of 
teaching/thought/conception fill in this mysterious zone. I have no interest in 
uncovering the bigger mysteries as I respect them AND I'm not so sure we can 
uncover them anyway.
  Zen, as in sitting in Zen, is a way to cut through the mystery without having 
to detangle it or slice and dice it into words.
  BTW - I really like this group... thanks to all of you and blessings

Bill Smart <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> skrev:

First of all, WELCOME TO THE YAHOO! ZEN FORUM. We're all beginners 
here, so I hope you will feel right at home.

Since you're a newbie, I'll be especially gentle with you. My 
comments on your posting are imbedded below:

--- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, "JEFF K." <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> Hello,
> My name is Jeff K., and I am a new member, and a newcomer along the 
path of Zen Buddhism. I am wrestling with the Buddhist concept 
of "no birth-no death", which I first encountered in Thich Nhat 
Hanh's  book, "The Heart of the Buddha". 
> When I first came upon the concept, I was mystified and confused. 
Thankfully, I continued reading the book (which I find excellent!) 
and Thay returned to the "no birth-no death" concept from another 
angle. Now I am beginning to understand the concept, though not as 
deeply as I'd like.

First of all, a concept like this 'No Birth-No Death', is not an 
important component of zen. In fact no concepts are. Any concept 
you, or Thich Nhat Hanh, or even Siddhartha Guatama himself had or 
have are a not an imporant component of zen.

Second of all, UNDERSTANDING, such as 'understanding concepts like 
this one', or 'understanding koans', or 'understanding Buddhist 
dogma', is not at all necessary to practice zen - in fact in my 
opinion the more 'understanding' you have, the further you are from 
Buddha Mind.

> My superficial understanding is: Most people fear  death because we 
believe that once we "die", we are annihilated. Buddhism teaches that 
the person is never "destroyed"; rather, our existence continues, 
albeit possibly in another form. Even a cremated body is never 
totally destroyed or eliminated; ashes, bones, and vapors still 
exist. I analogize this to the concept in physics that matter cannot 
be destroyed. These elements of our body, now in the soil and/or air, 
will sustain other life forms. 
> Perhaps I have it all wrong, but I'd greatly appreciate feedback 
from other group members. 
> ...Jeff K.

You don't 'have it wrong'. Your understanding of this concept is as 
good as any, and better than most - but I again want to emphasize 
that whatever that understanding is, it is not relevant to zen.

My 'understanding' of 'No Birth-No Death' is just what it says: 
There is no such thing as 'Birth' or 'Death'. They are both just 
concepts  which attempt to characterize a begining of life and and end 
of life. Life is not 'you', as in your ego, your sense of being or 
sense of individualism. Ego and individualism, the subject-object or 
me-you separation, are just illusions - dreams. Since life does not 
begin at your birth, and does not end at your death, then what good 
are these words? What do they mean? Birth-Death, No Birth-No 
Death. You might also say 'No Good-No Bad', or 'No Me-No You'. None 
of these things exist. There is only THIS!

But again I want to empahsize that whatever MY understanding of this 
concept is, it is not relevant to zen.

Only THIS! And to experience THIS, you need only to meditate 
(zazen). You don't need to UNDERSTAND anything.



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