2010.05.09 - Koan Practice [Ordinary Life as Path]

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    Zen Arado: Hi mitsu
    Gaya Ethaniel: Hello Mitsu :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi flying Mitsu
    Agatha Macbeth sees a flying Mitsu
    Mitsu Ishii: hi
    Agatha Macbeth waves
    Timbo Quan: Hello Mitsu
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Dao :)
    Agatha Macbeth: Hi dao
    Gaya Ethaniel: Hello Dao :)
    Zen Arado: Hi Dao:)
    Mitsu Ishii: I just posted my report, last minute as usual
    Dao Yheng: Hi all!
    Eliza Madrigal says 'tsk tsk' and runs to read ...
    Fael Illyar is Online
    Timbo Quan: Hello Dao
    Eliza Madrigal: http://ways-of-knowing.wik.is/
    Calvino Rabeni: I missed the meetings while I was in Thailand - they went well I trust?
    Eliza Madrigal: yes... of course discussions are posted, Cal :)
    Zen Arado: about the 30 years....
    Mitsu Ishii: how was thailand?
    Dao Yheng: :)
    Zen Arado: I thought it took oshu that long to put his realizatin into practice...
    Mitsu Ishii: he can put it into practice right away, but still study for 30 more years.
    Mitsu Ishii: or however long
    Eliza Madrigal: Excellent report, Mitsu, thank you! Mitsu wrote: "Even though everyday life is the path, it contains the whole sky, or that is to say, it is unlimited, vast."
    Gaya Ethaniel: Well, knowing and manifestating are two different things so study is needed I think.
    Agatha Macbeth: :)
    Zen Arado: well.....that is my problem...the difference between theoretical head knowledge and actually living like that
    Gaya Ethaniel: I didn't mean theoretical knowledge ...
    Zen Arado: practice is needed more maybe
    Mitsu Ishii: well, it's not really a duality as in, you understand, then you have to figure out how to practice it.
    Gaya Ethaniel: Study as in application to everyday life that offers limitless opportunities ...
    Eliza Madrigal nods
    Zen Arado: problem is it is a duality for me.....
    Mitsu Ishii: it's more like, even with an intense insight, there is still endless more to investigate. it's not a one time event, but an ongoing commitment
    Mitsu Ishii: the commitment isn't to some sort of goal, but to coming back to presence which is always new
    Zen Arado: I can lose insights again too
    Mitsu Ishii: right
    Zen Arado: Joshu didn't think he was ready to teach until he was 80 years old

    Dao Yheng: I think it counts, though, to be able to look into those situations where you think, this isn't "right"
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes
    Eliza Madrigal: Say more Dao?
    Dao Yheng: counts in the sense of the moment of catching yourself
    Dao Yheng: it's a sign of development in itself
    Gaya Ethaniel nods. It's very encouraging :)
    Dao Yheng: and then when happens with that moment?
    Eliza Madrigal: mmm, nodding
    Calvino Rabeni: A form of conscience and a sense of human potentials
    Dao Yheng: are you able to find a way to relax the judgment that doesn't see it as part of the way?
    Dao Yheng: or are you able to see more directly the fullness of that moment?
    Dao Yheng: open-ended possibilities
    Eliza Madrigal: mmm, yes... one thing to look at seems to be 'Am I trying to keep *this*?" Re insight or anything
    Zen Arado: allowing it to happen
    Calvino Rabeni: I think one starts to get a reading on motivation for holding things
    Gaya Ethaniel: If kept, is it really an insight ... ?
    Calvino Rabeni: If it returns after being let go, it is an insight
    Zen Arado: insights are only the start is my thought
    Calvino Rabeni: That kind of insight, like a door glimpsed
    Calvino Rabeni: Must be walked through at some point I think
    Zen Arado: a glimpse of something yes

    Mitsu Ishii: yes, they're only the start, because at first the insight is more of an idea, it feels like something you understand
    Mitsu Ishii: but where it comes from includes body, energy, the universe, etc.
    Mitsu Ishii: other people
    Calvino Rabeni: Memory for those insights is something that is different than attachment to the idea itself
    Calvino Rabeni: ... as Mitsu said :)
    Zen Arado: the idea has to 'fit' somehow
    Mitsu Ishii: ideas are really embodied. we usually think of ideas as being in the mind, separate from body and everything else
    Gaya Ethaniel: I of course write down 'insights' :) What I mean is if one trys to hold onto them, they become tainted perhaps.
    Mitsu Ishii: but they can be seen as concrete, embodied, and then that makes them immediately beyond just the mind or ideas, but they become almost physical
    Calvino Rabeni: And they are
    Gaya Ethaniel: Writing often is a useful tool for me to take time and contemplate.
    Mitsu Ishii: its like when you learn to ride a bike, you're not just learning an idea
    Zen Arado: yes good point
    Agatha Macbeth nods
    Zen Arado: you never really lose a realization either?
    Mitsu Ishii: I've had a number of conversations with Stim/Steven about that
    Zen Arado: though it may drift away fro a time
    Calvino Rabeni: I think, ignorance can grow as easily as enlightenment
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Zen Arado: ah like watering seeds?
    Calvino Rabeni: Maybe better not to take it for granted
    Gaya Ethaniel: I guess that's why daily renewal often is emphasised by teachers :)
    Zen Arado: watering the right ones
    Mitsu Ishii: so yes, you can "lose" things in that you can get stuck again in ignorance. but at an ultimate level of course we can never own these things so no matter how deluded we are we're not really lost.
    Calvino Rabeni: TO not practice, is to practice ignorance
    Mitsu Ishii: this koan is really interesting because it covers so much ground
    Calvino Rabeni: Sorry, I missed the koan, can someone restate it please?
    Mitsu Ishii: study vs non-study --- so we should practice, yet at the same time the point isn't to somehow climb a mountain or steadily accumulate insights or something.
    Zen Arado: Joshu asked Nansen: `What is the path?'

     Nansen said: `Everyday life is the path.'

     Joshu asked: `Can it be studied?'

     Nansen said: `If you try to study, you will be far away from it.'

     Joshu asked: `If I do not study, how can I know it is the path?'

     Nansen said: `The path does not belong to the perception world, neither does it belong to the nonperception world. Cognition is a delusion and noncognition is senseless. If you want to reach the true path beyond doubt, place yourself in the same
    Dao Yheng: here's a link: http://www.ibiblio.org/zen/gateless-gate/19.html
    Calvino Rabeni: Thanks
    Eliza Madrigal: Seems worth stating again: "but at an ultimate level of course we can never own these things so no matter how deluded we are we're not really lost."
    Eliza Madrigal: this to me has that 'open sky' sensibility
    Zen Arado: another point for me is about the 'ordinariness' of realization
    Eliza Madrigal: which was certainly the strongest message in this koan for me... that everything is included in practice...
    Zen Arado: zen emphasizes that
    Eliza Madrigal: even our temper tantrums, our too much time on the computer, our noticing ...
    Zen Arado: funny how we all see different things
    Eliza Madrigal: even the what seems dormant
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Dao Yheng: yes, it's one of the clever things about a good koan, I guess!
    Mitsu Ishii: well I would say that the koan isnt quite saying that realization is "ordinary" --- it is saying that it is in everyday life.
    Mitsu Ishii: everyday life, however, could be seen as ordinary --- but it is also not ordinary.
    Mitsu Ishii: both at the same time
    Zen Arado: yes - but so many expect some great enlightenment experience
    Zen Arado: and then everything will be great
    Zen Arado: I have found this
    Gaya Ethaniel: For someone who has seen, perhaps such a realisation is no longer 'special' as imagined beforehand.
    Mitsu Ishii: well you might have a great enlightenment experience but even then, that's not the end of it. In fact that's not even the point.
    Eliza Madrigal: well, 'special' itself implies some kind of separation from everything 'else'
    Mitsu Ishii: you might have many such experiences.
    Mitsu Ishii: or none
    Calvino Rabeni: Special and ordinary are from a perspective, but then the perspective changes, not the things seen
    Zen Arado: part fo the koans duty is to point this out maaybe
    Zen Arado: like the koan 'wash your bowl'
    Calvino Rabeni: I've really enjoyed chopping wood (literally) :)
    Zen Arado: yes that too :)
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Zen Arado: and being contented with the 'ordinary'
    Calvino Rabeni: Now I'm working on enjoying "tax paperwork" :)
    Dao Yheng: oh no! :)
    Zen Arado: because it is really extraordinary
    Mitsu Ishii: right. there is something extraordinary about enlightenment, but it is not because it is beyond everyday life
    Eliza Madrigal: there seems to be some sense of 'happening upon sky' in so-called realization... that when one sees something it opens up everything as though it had always been that way
    Eliza Madrigal: and maybe the koan is saying that is has .. or just is
    Eliza Madrigal: and our seeing that is the 'placing ourselves' part
    Mitsu Ishii: it's more that what we thought everyday life was is actually not what it is. everyday life includes what we thought it was, but is also vastly larger.
    Mitsu Ishii: right, the sky aspect of everyday life has always been there. we just sort of didn't notice it
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Calvino Rabeni: LIke, we see a couple of dimensions, and there are vastly more
    Calvino Rabeni: but those few don't necessarily change
    Mitsu Ishii: right
    Mitsu Ishii: though they can be seen to be connected to the vastly more
    Zen Arado: our perceptions selfishly narrow it
    Mitsu Ishii: whereas before they might have seemed just limited and small
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes, bigger context or vista
    Dao Yheng: And then when we do notice it, there is the question of what happens then? Do we turn it into a memory of an insight, a judgement of good or bad?
    Calvino Rabeni: In the bigger vista there's no need to bemoan their smallness anymore
    Calvino Rabeni: They play their proper role
    Calvino Rabeni: No, probably best to beware that, Dao
    Zen Arado: are we 'ordinary' then?
    Eliza Madrigal: Intersting Dao... yes do we hang it up on the wall and put a date on it?
    Dao Yheng: :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Zen Arado: your mic is open Mitsu
    Calvino Rabeni: BTW Zen, that's the "lava syndrome" in another book you read
    Gaya Ethaniel: Mitsu coughs :)
    Eliza Madrigal: "Here is a picture of 'me' with 'my' 'Insight'." hehe
    Agatha Macbeth: Great cough Mitsu ;=)
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Timbo Quan: :)
    Mitsu Ishii: whups
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Dao Yheng: we do act like little trout fishermen sometimes :)
    Zen Arado: what book Cal?
    Mitsu Ishii: some idiot left their mic on
    Eliza Madrigal: hehehe Dao
    Calvino Rabeni: The rawness of ringing a bell, to be waked, then goes over to the concept of the bell ringing, and loses its power
    Eliza Madrigal is a little embarrassed when she looks around the room at her many trophies
    Calvino Rabeni: The book is "The Book of Not Knowing"
    Gaya Ethaniel: oh please explain Dao re: trout fishermen.
    Zen Arado: ah ok
    Calvino Rabeni: It's about the tendency for insights to change into frozen concepts
    Gaya Ethaniel: I wonder what path one would walk on if not one's life ...
    Calvino Rabeni: At that point, they have value only if one can remember how to reanimate them
    Dao Yheng: (american-ism -- sometimes trout fishermen like to take pictures of their biggest fish and hang them around the living room much to the dismay of spouses)
    Zen Arado: don't remember the 'lava' word
    Calvino Rabeni: Otherwise perhaps, better off without them ?
    Gaya Ethaniel: ah I know ... pictures of big catches :)
    Eliza Madrigal: :) and stories of ones that got away
    Calvino Rabeni: RIght, or the "grand canyon" travel photo :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: mythologies
    Zen Arado: there's a zen story about that....
    Calvino Rabeni: Here's me, at the grand canyon, there by the eiffel tower :)
    Eliza Madrigal: heheh, yes
    Dao Yheng: :))
    Dao Yheng: I know I like to line them all up and say, this is what I thought then, and this is what I'm thinking now
    Calvino Rabeni: However, images and icons are so popular
    Zen Arado: One day Mara, the Evil One, was travelling through the villages of India with his attendants. he saw a man doing walking meditation whose face was lit up on wonder. The man had just discovered something on the ground in front of him. Mara’s attendant asked what that was and Mara replied, "A piece of truth."
    "Doesn’t this bother you when someone finds a piece of truth, O Evil One?" his attendant asked. "No," Mara replied. "Right after this, they usually make a belief out of it."
    Eliza Madrigal: OH, definitely Dao!!
    Calvino Rabeni: The vast statue of kwan Yin I saw in mountain thailand, people gave it power by their observances
    Dao Yheng: oh, good story Zen!
    Zen Arado: our culture always seems to promote 'specialness' though
    Eliza Madrigal: Great story, Zen, thanks
    Eliza Madrigal: Sure, its the best we think we can do, Zen
    Mitsu Ishii: that's a nice one Zen, I'm going to blog it
    Gaya Ethaniel: Yes ... encouragement and celebration etc are helpful but being defined and stuck with those images is problematic for practice.
    Eliza Madrigal nods
    Calvino Rabeni: the observances of kwan yin, kind of avoid the specialness in that, you don't get to do Your Way
    Zen Arado: it's when we are encouraged to think ourselves better than others....
    Zen Arado: that's what special means?
    Gaya Ethaniel shrugs ... everyone's special.
    Dao Yheng: :))
    Calvino Rabeni: Maybe special means, better than usual, better than I think I deserve
    Zen Arado: unique yes...
    Eliza Madrigal: this is tricky ... sharing and being attentive to what one notices, appreciating that and the process itself... without getting stuck or sticking others...
    Gaya Ethaniel: Each of us a gem on Indra's net ... limitless possibilities.
    Zen Arado: we tell children they are special
    Zen Arado: is that wrong?
    Zen Arado: or is it encouraging
    Eliza Madrigal: as a generalization maybe zen... but noticing a talent, no... nurturing that
    Zen Arado: yes
    Calvino Rabeni: Both / neither
    Gaya Ethaniel: Depends on what context the statement was made in.
    Zen Arado: tricky..
    Eliza Madrigal: of course many kids have been stuck into the talents someone noticed
    Eliza Madrigal: "You are ____"
    Calvino Rabeni: Deppends on if they also hear the other sides of the story at some other time
    Calvino Rabeni: There are attempts to deal with the school bullying problem in this country
    Zen Arado: funny how we praise peole for their talents...but they didn't do anything to get them....
    Calvino Rabeni: and it reveals some things not expected by the assumptions of child treatment
    Gaya Ethaniel: A bit lost ... could someone link back to koan somehow? :P
    Agatha Macbeth: :)
    Dao Yheng: hmm, maybe an example of "good and bad"?
    Calvino Rabeni: One link would be, that study can take a one-sided view of things
    Calvino Rabeni: When something becomes a concept, it collapses into a stereotype
    Mitsu Ishii: the funny thing is when my parents used to talk to me when I was a child, they always emphasized how ordinary they thought I was, how they didn't care too much about my grades and so on.
    Eliza Madrigal: Maybe what happens in the case of children is what we're talking about in a way... talents seen as something 'for oneself' can become toxic....
    Calvino Rabeni: embodying only a limited perspective of an original insight or knowledge
    Mitsu Ishii: but when they talked about me to other people they always bragged though.
    Zen Arado: ust trying to think about the contrast of 'ordinariness' and how it seems antithetical in our culture that looks for 'specialness'
    Mitsu Ishii: but basically I grew up with the very strong sense of myself as just one person, not particularly special. And I'm grateful to them for that
    Agatha Macbeth smiles @ Mistsu
    Calvino Rabeni: The folk myth was that the child bullies were the downtrodden or disadvantaged trying to make up for their oppressive rearing, but the studies revealed them to be the priveleged and entitled
    Gaya Ethaniel: Funny that's what my music teacher does ...
    Mitsu Ishii: even though I knew they were secretly proud of me, I was glad that most of the time they didn't make anything of it.
    Calvino Rabeni: Too much a one sided story - you are special
    Calvino Rabeni: It is a good message, yes, but only part of the full story
    Eliza Madrigal is especially ordinary and always has been (hehe)
    Zen Arado: my culture tended to put children down I think
    Zen Arado: very dismissive of them
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes, the pendulum can swing too far in compensating for something like that
    Calvino Rabeni: Because there gets to be a popular social idea of how to do things "right"
    Mitsu Ishii: well my parents would criticize me freely when they thought I was making a mistake. but they obviously had high expectations of my capacities. so I never took their criticism as a sense of being "put down"
    Zen Arado: always admkired American culture of encouragement
    Calvino Rabeni: But the "right" is only one side of it
    Calvino Rabeni: And now we see the dark side of encouragement
    Zen Arado: yes Cal?
    Eliza Madrigal: well blind encouragement seems that issue....
    Calvino Rabeni: Selfishnes, entitlement, bullying, narcissism -
    Mitsu Ishii: I think it's one thing to criticize and give advice, and another to tell someone they don't think they are capable.
    Calvino Rabeni: A dark result of a one-sided story
    Eliza Madrigal: 'You are special because we are special and we are special because our family has always been special because we come from this place and know those people"
    Zen Arado: ha ha like David Cameron Aga
    Gaya Ethaniel: In fact, disinterests are worse than being critical :)
    Agatha Macbeth: (David cameron?)
    Zen Arado: our new PM:)
    Mitsu Ishii: yes, right. there's also a difference between saying "you are capable and can work things out" and "other people aren't because they're fundamentally flawed"
    Agatha Macbeth: Oh him...
    Eliza Madrigal nods
    Calvino Rabeni: I had an interesting experience in Thailand showing some child raising practices there, contrasting with those of my own culture - that's what I love about traveling
    Dao Yheng: yes?
    Zen Arado: go on Cal
    Agatha Macbeth nods @ Cal
    Mitsu Ishii: (Cameron isn't PM yet! I actually predict he won't be!)
    Calvino Rabeni: I wondered, how do you cultivate the apparent buddhist style of relating
    Calvino Rabeni: when it comes to children and their natural wildness
    Calvino Rabeni: I wondered, are they oppressed in secret by parents
    Calvino Rabeni: I was in a medical clinic
    Zen Arado: hope you are right Aga
    Calvino Rabeni: lying on a cot, and the doctor (woman) has a child playing there
    Calvino Rabeni: lots of happy noise
    Calvino Rabeni: Not a disturbance
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Calvino Rabeni: He threw a stuffed animal toy - it flew over a partition and hit me right in the face :)
    Mitsu Ishii: I don't know if there is one "Buddhist" way of raising children though there are certainly buddhist influences on it.
    Eliza Madrigal has heard tibetan teachers say that in the west, people are so hard on themselves already that some of the more strict methods don't make the same sense
    Mitsu Ishii: yeah that reminds me a bit of Japanese attitudes towards young children
    Calvino Rabeni: _/!\_
    Calvino Rabeni: So she brought him in, and asked him to look me in the face, and say "I'm sorry" in english, and then we smiled and did the
    Zen Arado: yes I heard that too Eliza
    Calvino Rabeni: namaste gesture
    Mitsu Ishii: Japanese are very lenient towards young children, though more disciplined towards older children. Not sure how it is in other countries with Buddhist culture.
    Calvino Rabeni: It felt right at the time, he was not shamed or anything, and there was mutual respect
    Eliza Madrigal smiles at Cal. Nice... so not separated out of society, iow
    Calvino Rabeni: And a relationship on good terms
    Calvino Rabeni: and he got to practice his English lesson too
    Mitsu Ishii: Japanese let young children just rampage around mostly uncontrolled
    Zen Arado: nice story
    Gaya Ethaniel: hm ... :)
    Mitsu Ishii: so perhaps that is similar to Thailand? never been there
    Agatha Macbeth smiles
    Eliza Madrigal: We're nearing the end of the session, so I wonder what we'd like to do for next week....
    Calvino Rabeni: Later on a bridge over a canal, I saw a stone mural symbolizing adults passing cultural knowledge to children
    Zen Arado: did you do lojong teaching 'all dharmas are dreams?
    Zen Arado: prob did
    Calvino Rabeni: so I'd say, it's in the cultural consciousness carried by public art also
    Eliza Madrigal: I think we did touch on that, toward the beginning Zen
    Zen Arado: ok
    Eliza Madrigal: not completely sure though.... it might have been just woven in with others?
    Zen Arado: or another koan?
    Eliza Madrigal: I've been inspired to hear something steven said in an audio recently...
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes?
    Eliza Madrigal: that the main koan, is our very life. That seems the message of the one we worked with this past week...
    Eliza Madrigal: and maybe there is more there
    Zen Arado: Genjokoan
    Eliza Madrigal: a little more personal of an angle?
    Eliza Madrigal: Is it too difficult to see if there is something in our own lives we might see as a koan?
    Calvino Rabeni: As we "are" a koan
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: yes, well.... vast and endless
    Calvino Rabeni: A great topic, handled carefully :)
    Eliza Madrigal can be a bull in a china shop but is willing to see/try
    Mitsu Ishii: okay, so we continue with our own lives as a theme, find koan in our own life?
    Gaya Ethaniel: ok
    Eliza Madrigal: If that seems okay? or are there other ideas?
    Dao Yheng: sounds good
    Calvino Rabeni: Self-as-koan, life-as-koan, busuiness-as-usual-as-koan
    Eliza Madrigal: Thanks everyone :) Seems the writing/homework component is important here, btw
    Dao Yheng: Yes! And there was the question of whether people would be available if we shifted time to Thursdays at 2pm?
    Eliza Madrigal: Oh, thanks Dao, eys
    Eliza Madrigal: *yes
    Zen Arado: awkward for me
    Gaya Ethaniel: Would be interesting to see what everyone understands 'koan' means.
    Zen Arado: is why I didn't come to this group before
    Eliza Madrigal nods @ Gaya, indeed
    Calvino Rabeni: That time is good for me, but so's this one
    Eliza Madrigal: Ah, I see Zen. Impossible?
    Gaya Ethaniel: We are hoping to shift back to Thursday 2 pm ...
    Zen Arado: I go to a mindfulness meditation group in RL thurs nights
    Mitsu Ishii: ah I see
    Agatha Macbeth is easy
    Zen Arado: I would miss the start
    Agatha Macbeth: :;-)
    Zen Arado: but it's ok
    Mitsu Ishii: what about 2:30
    Eliza Madrigal: there's an idea
    Mitsu Ishii: or is there a conflict at 3?
    Agatha Macbeth: Could come after PaB
    Zen Arado: 2.30 is ok
    Eliza Madrigal: 3 might be late for europeans
    Gaya Ethaniel: That'd be 11 pm for us.
    Mitsu Ishii: 2:30 is 10:30 in the UK?
    Agatha Macbeth nods
    Gaya Ethaniel: Yep 2:30 is doable.
    Eliza Madrigal: Ah, great
    Mitsu Ishii: okay, let's propose 2:30pm SLT Thursday to Kira, should be okay
    Mitsu Ishii: ?
    Zen Arado: ok
    Mitsu Ishii: then Pema can come
    Eliza Madrigal: Yup!
    Agatha Macbeth: Fine by me
    Eliza Madrigal: and others who find sunday mornings difficult
    Eliza Madrigal: Great. Well, thanks everyone :))
    Gaya Ethaniel: ok I will let Kira know :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: Enjoy the rest of your weekend :)
    Zen Arado: thanks for discussion
    Eliza Madrigal: you too Gaya, everyone :)
    Agatha Macbeth: Bye for now :)
    Dao Yheng: Thanks everyone -- very enjoyable!
    Eliza Madrigal: bfn
    Agatha Macbeth is Offline
    Zen Arado: bye everyone
    Dao Yheng: bye all!
    Calvino Rabeni: Bye all :)
    Timbo Quan: bye everyone
    Dao Yheng is Offline
    Eliza Madrigal: :::waves:::

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