Hi folks here is the long awaited chapter 6. Hope you enjoy.
Hi to those who read this blog. It has been a while since I have entered anything into this blog. Sorry. My only excuse is that life gets busy. I have written two more chapters that I have not yet eddited. I will try to get these chapters into the blog soon.
Now a response to a comment on my last blog. The writer said that she is able to enter a clear meditative state but feels that it separates her from other people and does not create a feeling of oneness with others. I think this is probably very common. Yes we can become very quiet and calm in meditation but not truly loose a sense of self and then we see how calm we are and how frantic everybody else seems to be. I have to say everybody's experience is different but I think that this person has not reached a deep enough state or stayed there long enough to have a deep cognitive shift in which emerges a deep understanding of the non-dual. One must truly disappear in sitting where not a single grain of self is left and then somehow recognize this. Koans often help in creating this sort of breakthrough but I think what is even more important is the accumulation of chi. If we can truly let go of self one breath at a time then chi will accumulate until in one big experience the cognitive and the emotional fall in line with a deep understanding of oneness. Working in deepening concentration helps in this regard
Hi to those few who read this blog here are another two chapters to my book on meditation
Sorry has been so long between entries. I generally work on this blog early in the morning before my wife awakens. I have been sleeping a little longer and my wife has been getting up earlier
Hi Folks here is chapter 2. It is a first lesson in sitting meditation but it is really all a person needs in this pursuit.
Here is the introcuctory chapter to my book on meditation.
Hi everybody who reads this blog. As you are probably aware my last entry was a commentary to the last koan of the Mumonkan. I have decided that my next project to appear on this blog will be a series of essays/chapters of a possible book on meditation. There are a ton of books on meditation and there are lots of people practicing meditation in one of the many meditative traditions. My hope is that these essays be not only for the beginner but also be of interest to the intermediate and advanced practitioner. I think my over 45 years of diligent practice,experiences, and insights on the subject have given me an unusual perspective. Just give me some time and more blogs will be coming.
Case 47 Tosotsu's Three Barriers
Tosotsu Etsu Oshõ set up three barriers for his disciples:
1. You leave no stone unturned to explore profundity, simply to see into your true nature.
Now, I want to ask you, just at this moment, where is your true nature?
2. If you realize your true nature, you are free from life and death.
Tell me, when your eyesight deserts you at the last moment, how can you be free from life and death?
3. When you set yourself free from life and death, you should know your ultimate destination. So when the four elements separate, where will you go?
If you can put turning words to these three questions, you are the master wherever you may stand and command Zen whatever circumstances you may be in.
If otherwise, listen: gulping down your meal will fill you easily, but chewing it well can sustain you.
This moment's thoughts sees through eternal time;
Eternal time is just this moment.
If you see through this moment's thought,
You see through the man who sees through this moment.
Nearing the end of our long journey.
Just a few more questions.
Do you have any questions?
We might think of the Mumonkan as a course of study, 47 koans / questions to pass and you are a Zen Master. In the Rinzai tradition students are often trained with these 47 koans. I on the other hand did not use the Mumonkan for my training. I only officially passed 3 koans with Sasaki Roshi and they were not traditional koans. And then some 20 years later, continuing to practice I began working with Harada Rosh, and he chose not to go the koan route with me. It has been a pleasure to work through these koans even if only to write a commentary on each one.
Here are the last 3 questions all in one koan. If you have truly worked through the previous 46 koans these questions offer no difficulty. Do you know your True Self. I know many people who have been practicing for years and years who still do not know their true self. They are still caught in a conception of their individuality. True freedom comes only when we know who we are and are thus no longer afraid of death. But it is more then just a knowing, it has to be linked to deep experience and that deep experience through years of training is available in each moment.
I was asked by another Zen teacher what I do when my mind becomes disturbed and I loose my equanimity, - this happens to all of us even Zen Masters - and my response was that I chant. I have been chanting for years and years. I do it when I walk and I do it when I drive, sometimes I even do it when I sit. Over the years It has developed into a quick way I can quiet the mind and enter what I may call a light samadhi. The other Teacher said that all experienced and successful practitioners have a bag of tricks. The point is that through years of practice we have trained our minds, and have a a bag of tricks, so that in every moment kensho - seeing the true self/nature - becomes available. This is true freedom.
So what is your True Nature? I am not suppose to tell you because this is something each person must discover for themselves but even so I will tell you it is everything and not a thing. Become the Universe. Become everything in the Universe. Become the activity of the Universe. Become the conscious awareness of the Universe. This is our True Nature this is our True Self. If you know your true nature you will know what happens after the element of the individual body disperse. Our body is only a temporary manifestation as all individual things are temporary manifestations. Our consciousness is also a temporary manifestation. We are not just an individual body. We are not just an individual consciousness. We are all individual bodies and we are all individual consciousnesses.
There is no death. There is only process and transformation. And this is not individual transformation or an individual process. It involves the whole Universe There is nothing to hold on to. There is nothing we can hold on to.
Case 46 Proceed On from the Top of the Pole
Sekisõ Oshõ asked, "How can you proceed on further from the top of a hundred-foot pole?"
Another eminent teacher of old said, "You, who sit on the top of a hundred-foot pole, although you have entered the Way you are not yet genuine.
Proceed on from the top of the pole, and you will show your whole body in the ten directions."
If you go on further and turn your body about, no place is left where you are not the master.
But even so, tell me, how will you go on further from the top of a hundred-foot pole? Eh?"
He darkens the third eye of insight
And clings to the first mark on the scale.
Even though he may sacrifice his life,
He is only a blind man leading the blind.
Top of a 100 foot pole, are you there? Sometimes I think this Zen practice is not only like climbing to the top of a 100' pole but the pole is also greased and I keep sliding backwards. I have been playing a lot of music these days now that I have retired from regular work. I have been practicing one song quite a bit and the other day during my evening sit I could not get that tune out of my head for the whole hour. It's ok but I have worked all these years on training this (my) mind to be quiet. And then my wife is adept at showing me where I am still attached.
If you get to the top of the pole and truly quiet your mind then just sit there for a while, relax, look around, the path on is clear. Your whole body fills the ten directions. Do you see that? All that work for such a simple insight but still it is a revolution.
The last of the Ox Herding Pictures shows a joyous Bodhisattva giving out gifts to children. All your years of hard work are not for your ego bound small self. That self is just an illusion and by now you know that. The outcome of all the hard work is that now you partake in the activity of the Universal Bodhisattva which is really your true self.
Case 45 Hõen's "Who Is He?"
Hõen of Tõzan said, "Even Shakya and Maitreya are servants of another.
I want to ask you, who is he?"
If you can really see this "another" with perfect clarity, it is like encountering your own father at a crossroads. Why should you ask whether you recognize him or not?
Don't draw another's bow,
Don't ride another's horse,
Don't discuss another's faults,
Don't explore another's affairs.
I shouldn't write or say anything about this koan or for that matter any koan. You either understand or you don't. You have either put in the untold hours of of zazen or you haven't. You have either experienced samdhi or you haven't. This "another", this master of Shakya and Maitreya is not something you can grasp intellectually with words and yet you know it contains and is the master of all the gods and buddhas. This is not about faith, no it is something that we can perceive. At times we personify it like in this koan but it is not an individual being. We can call it Being itself or Buddha or the Man of No Rank, or even God but these are just names. Names can carry us into the realm of duality and fill us with ideas. It is better not to give it a name, but if we are clear eyed and not filled with thoughts then we can perceive this master which is everything and no-thing.
One of the fallacies that we humans fall into is the idea of free will. It goes with the idea of an individual being. But in truth none of us are in charge, it is just another idea. The complexities of cause and effect are beyond grasping. Nothing happens independent of everything else because there is no everything else, there is only this master. "In all of heaven and earth there is only One and it is I."
Hi I am Ed Shozen Haber an authorized teacher of Zen in the lineage of Shodo Harada Roshi of the One Drop Sangha. By the way I look a bit older now.