March 21, 2022 at 12:08 am #395718
The pain was intense. It hurt at the kidney and along the renal path to the bladder. Once I felt it in the bladder, there was always the urge to go the bathroom. I think it has finally passed. Thanks for your concern.
There is a Zen story of a woman who suddenly one day thought she had lost her head. She looked everywhere for it. All her friends told her head was where it always was. She did not believe. Finally, a person who had seen this condition before, took a stick and hit her on the head. She then realized where her head had been all the time she thought it was lost.
Too many, they do not see the parallel between this woman and a disciple of Buddha. Before one encounters Zen, mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers. When one encounters Zen, mountains are not mountains and rivers are not rivers. When one awakes, nothing externally changes. Mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers. I think Dogen said that.March 21, 2022 at 9:13 am #395728
I thought about your kidney stone situation and considered asking you about it in the last couple of weeks, glad to read that the saying this too shall pass literally applies to that stone, that it passed as well as the intense pain involved. I am sorry that you experienced that pain (and other pains).
Let’s drink enough water every day for better health, including for the prevention of (more) kidney stones being formed.
I read your post on the other thread, I like what you wrote there, it brings a smile to my face right now, thank you!!!
“When one awakes, nothing externally changes. Mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers. I think Dogen said that” – I live on a (not too tall of a) mountain and surrounded by mountains, little waterfalls around and a river down in the valley. Lots of trees.
I googled the Mountains and Rivers Sutra by Zen master Dogen. and liked a part here about a tree: “A tree is heavy at the root, light at the top. Its leaves sense the slightest movement of the wind and invariably move before the trunk can be swayed… A tree becomes dormant in order to become vital. This is the very key to our art- Action arising from Stillness. While the manifestations of its Force are evident, the root is kept hidden from plain view…. A tree is tall and noble, mysteriously alive, upright in bearing and continually growing and renewing until death, which is then met without a care.”
Comparing an awakened person to a tree, I wonder what it means that “the root is kept hidden from plain view”, do you know?
anitaMarch 21, 2022 at 11:26 pm #395841
Comparing an awakened person to a tree, I wonder what it means that “the root is kept hidden from plain view”, do you know?
I have not seen that part of myself. But, I do understand what it refers to. The root is where the life of the tree ultimately resides. And, it is the source of the manifestation of its force (life, mind). It is hidden from view means that our true self is hidden from plain view. Thru stillness, we can come to know this.
In my practice, I have had moments where the mind has let go of thoughts and there is quiet. One might think that it would be quite boring to having nothing. No game to play or words to think over. But, the quiet between thoughts takes on a focus of its own. I can sit for thirty minutes and not realize it until I try to get up. The legs take a punishment. But, I think I do not sit right. Maybe a pillow to boost the backside would help. Sorry off topic.
I have found that in Zen, the Dharma always points to the truth of oneself. However, many get stuck watching the finger point the way rather than look at where the finger is point at. Me being one of them.March 22, 2022 at 9:15 am #395855
Thank you for answering my question. So, let me see… the life force that is in every living thing, plants and animals included, cannot be seen but it can be experienced if we are still. Thinking distracts one from Stillness. Stillness is in the space between the thoughts.
Thoughts are our interpretations of reality, including the reality of what makes it all possible, this life force. We have to stop trying to interpret life force in order to experience it. I suppose this is how plants and animals who do not think experience life force, the birds chirping in the morning, the way Hunter the Beagle used to explore every inch of the yard for new smells, new adventures.
“In my practice, I have had moments where the mind has let go of thoughts and there is quiet… the quiet between thoughts takes on a focus of its own” – I want to practice this.
“I try to get up… I think I do not sit right. Maybe a pillow to boost the backside would help” – I have two pillows against my back right now and they do help, also helps when sitting and feeling some stress in the lower back, to place the body weight more to the right or to the left or backward and having the right or left leg stretch this way or that way.
anitaMarch 22, 2022 at 10:53 pm #395946
The stillness allows the mind to drop off. Staying aware, we can experience the source of the life force or the truth of ones nature. When one thinks, the person is caught up in this mind, in this ego. And so we have this constant monologue. Sitting still, I become well aware of my mind, my ego talking, thinking, … sometimes inspiration comes and many good thoughts flow in. I get caught up in them. Lost in thoughts. More practice and the peacefulness grows. Practice allows the moments between thoughts become longer. The depth of the stillness …
Maybe you have heard of Koans. A famous one is “What is the sound of one hand clap?” The purpose of the Koan is not to get an answer to the question. But, to allow the mind to focus and thus allow concentration to become one pointed. It becomes like a ball of wax exploding from a blast of heat. For some this results in the opening of the mind’s eye. Insight into Nirvana. Kensho. But, it is not an easy thing to do.
How can stillness and concentration result in this thing called enlightenment? I do not know. There are many methods, meditations. And some produce great results and others don’t. It may be because of the person or personality? I just do not know. You probably know more than I do about the Dharma and enlightenment. Well, wishing you a good practice.
TommyMarch 23, 2022 at 2:56 pm #395969
Thank you for the lesson, much appreciated! I want to reply to you further later. You mentioned “ego”. If you have the time, if you want to- can you explain “ego” to me? I read about it many times, but no explanation sticks in my brain, I keep forgetting what it means. Maybe you can explain to me in a way that I can understand…?
anitaMarch 23, 2022 at 11:26 pm #395974
I am no teacher and what little I know is more dangerous than helpful at times. And, there is no way to simply put this cause I really do not comprehend it all. First, you know the person or mind is a creation of the body. The body is a sum of parts and the parts has a mind or a person or self or ego. It is what we call ourselves or what we believe ourselves to be. So when the body dies so does this ego. Buddha described it as the make up of the personality or the five skandhas.
One is form or the body. It contains the five senses. An example would be to see or hear something. Two is the feelings or sensations one has from experiencing the five senses. Often sex is associated with love. Sensation has feelings related to it. Seeing one’s home has a feeling of safety, of relaxation. Three is perception or the way one sees the world. It allows one to relate to the world. We know what a person is because we have perceived a person before. Four is the mental formations or what opinion we develop about the person we perceive. A parallel would be the senses and feelings (emotions). Five is the consciousness. A general awareness of the world about themselves.
Supposedly the five skandhas are like a fluid and flowing all the time so everything changes over time. Don’t ask me. I have very little understanding about this. My mind shuts down when it comes to complicated thoughts about self. I just think of ego as what I believe myself to be. What feels fear in the face of danger. What feels happiness and joy when good things happen.
Sorry, I can not really give you a good answer.
TommyMarch 24, 2022 at 7:17 am #395979
“I am no teacher and what little I know… You probably know more than I do” – I love your humility. I can’t bring myself to match it, but I like it. Coming to think about it, I already expressed myself with some humility in these forums following your lead, with your humility on my mind. But I don’t want to overdo it, don’t want to present myself as less-than, as inferior. Yet humility is a very good thing, essential, really, to know one’s limitations.
“When one thinks, the person is caught up in this mind, in this ego. And so, we have this constant monologue” – on my walk in the last couple of days, walking among the trees and sounds of birds and frogs and little waterfalls, I tried to understand Ego, and it occurred to me that ego=thinking. As simple as that, and it fits with your sentence, boldfaced above.
As I walked, I tried to not think and remembered how it always felt like I was failing at it and I felt badly about myself for failing at yet another task. I then thought that it must be impossible for any person to not think for long, like for a whole hour, when one has access to a language with hundreds of thousands of words all in between one’s two ears. I thought to myself: it’s okay if I don’t think for just a little while, every once in a while, so I focused on the sounds, the sights and the feel of the cold air against my face and I felt calm. I realized that my goal is not to not-think for the whole duration of the walk, or for five minutes… I am not a competition with anyone who I imagine can do better. I am taking a break, that’s all. Here is my guideline for myself: when stressed- take a break.
“More practice and the peacefulness grows. Practice allows the moments between thoughts become longer. The depth of the stillness” – better than taking a break when stressed is taking breaks all along and in so doing, preventing or slowing down the buildup of stress.
“Maybe you have heard of Koans. A famous one is ‘What is the sound of one hand clap?‘” – koan: “a paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason…” (Merriam Webster). Elsewhere, about Hakuin Ekaku, the Japanese Zen master who might have been the one that came up with the-sound-of-one-hand-clap koan: “He once said that, not knowing how near the truth is, most people will often seek it far away… We should never seek the answers by taking it further away in…with our minds. We should silence our mind, and feel the truth as it arises silently… silencing the noise of our minds”.
I just clapped with one hand and the sound was a swishing sound.
“the five skandhas… My mind shuts down when it comes to complicated thoughts about self. I just think of ego as what I believe myself to be” – I looked up skandhas on Wikipedia and read your explanation and it is too complicated for me. I like simplicity, like ego=thinking. This can stick in my brain so that when I see the word ego, I will substitute it with thinking.
“Sorry, I cannot really give you a good answer” – I think and feel that you led me to good answers over the last three days, on my walks and here, while typing away this long post, thank you!
anitaMarch 24, 2022 at 10:22 pm #396091
It is not to say that thinking is bad. We need to be able to function in this society. Meditation is not to stop thoughts. But to let go of thoughts. I was told it is like letting the mud in water settle then one can see to the depths. The more one tries to push the mud down then the more the mud stirs up again. Meditation is also not just relaxation. The mind needs to focus to one point concentration. Awareness is not allowed to slacken. No one can just stop their thoughts. So, there is no failing. We are what we are .. thoughts, ego, self. Just trying to be more aware, more mindful. One is not silencing the mind rather it is allowing the mind to fall away and staying very aware.
Humility? I thought I was just being honest? I do not try to do or be less than I am. And, I do not think you should either. I have read your posts here and you do good work. I know a little and there are many others who know more. But, I like simple and I try to put things simple. Like, thinking=ego.March 25, 2022 at 2:08 pm #396120
“Meditation is not to stop thoughts. But to let go of thoughts” – the verb to stop suggests applying force, such as exerting force against the brake pedal of a car when forcing it to stop; to let go suggests gently allowing something to change, no application of force.
“I was told it is like letting the mud in water settle then one can see to the depths. The more one tries to push the mud down then the more the mud stirs up again” – applying force to the mud stirs the mud; gently allowing it to settle clears the water from mud. Force=> murkiness; Withdrawal of force=> Clarity.
“Meditation is also not just relaxation. The mind needs to focus… Awareness is not allowed to slacken… One is not silencing the mind rather it is… staying very aware” – meditation is about focusing, about being aware. Overthinking/ thinking that serves no practical purpose hijacks our focus on/ attention to being alive; it hijacks our awareness of being alive.
“I do not try to do or be less than I am. And, I do not think you should either… I know a little and there are many others who know more” – you present your knowledge in a way that settles the mud and clears the water in my brain, and therefore, your presentation is valuable to me regardless of how much you know. Thank you.
anitaMarch 25, 2022 at 10:47 pm #396205
Okay, now I am thinking you do know more than me. You’re just being nice. These things I said here are just the basics. And, it has always been my belief that the basics are what everything else is built upon. Anyway, I wish you the best on your journey.
TommyMarch 26, 2022 at 6:19 am #396206
Years ago, I read a lot and forgot a lot. Talking with you brought alive the principles/ the basics behind a lot that I read and forgot about Buddhism. I have no desire to read books anymore, all I want is to practice the basics that you brought back to my attention. Thank you and best on your journey as well!
- This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by anita.