2010.06.17 01:00 - Right and Wrong or Have a Cup of Tea

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Zen Arado. The comments are by Zen Arado. Present were Calvino Rabeni, Darren Islar and Zaldaan Sirnah.

    Started with a Zen Koan:

    Zen Arado: Hi Cal :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Ah Zen... now where were we? You were saying ? :)
    Zen Arado: was I ?
    Calvino Rabeni: Weren't you?
    Zen Arado: I forget :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Have you been here before Zen?
    Zen Arado: think so :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Well, maybe we're not *sure* of that, but it's enough to go on :)
    Zen Arado: that's a Zen koan I think
    Calvino Rabeni: So, shall we continue?
    Zen Arado: can't remember the koan
    Calvino Rabeni: If you could, what would it have been?
    Zen Arado: something like: a new monk comes before the zen master
    Calvino Rabeni: I like that, so far :)
    Zen Arado: the master asks 'have you been here before?
    Zen Arado: the monk says no
    Zen Arado: the master says 'have a cup of tea
    Zen Arado: another monk arrives and the master askes him the same question'Have you been here before?
    Zen Arado: the monk says says 'yes'
    Zen Arado: the master says 'have a cup of tea
    Zen Arado: the elder assistant monk ,Issen, asks the master 'why did you say the same thing to both monks?
    Zen Arado: the master says' Issen - ............have a cup of tea
    Zen Arado: I find that funny for some reason :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Perhaps it was the only phrase he had memorized...or just really liked tea...or was also a chado master
    Calvino Rabeni: So, these three monks walk into a bar ...
    Calvino Rabeni: NO! that's not how it goes ...
    Zen Arado: :)

    Calvino has a koan too :)

    Calvino Rabeni: A new monk walks into a temple....
    Calvino Rabeni: And is shown to his cell
    Calvino Rabeni: He asks to see the Master
    Calvino Rabeni: and is told -- you must meditate
    Calvino Rabeni: you can only see the master one time per year!
    Calvino Rabeni: And then, you may only speak two words, so choose them carefully!
    Calvino Rabeni: Consigned to this vow of silence, the monk returned to his cell to sit
    Calvino Rabeni: A year passed. He meets with the Master
    Calvino Rabeni: Young monk, do you have anything to say? asks the master
    Calvino Rabeni: He replies - "Bad Food!"
    Calvino Rabeni: and goes back to his cell to sit.
    Calvino Rabeni: A year passes
    Calvino Rabeni: He has another meet with the Master.
    Calvino Rabeni: What have you to say? Asks the Master.
    Calvino Rabeni: He replies - "Hard Bed!" and then returns to his cell to sit.
    Calvino Rabeni: Another year passes.
    Calvino Rabeni: He goes yet again to meet the Master.
    Calvino Rabeni: And whathave you to say? Asks the Master?
    Calvino Rabeni: "Cold Tea!" says the monk.
    Calvino Rabeni: Then the Master speaks.
    Calvino Rabeni: "Young Monk! I'd like to suggest you consider a vocation as a Householder!"
    Zen Arado: :)
    Calvino Rabeni: "Since you arrived here, you've done nothing but complain!"
    Zen Arado: lol
    Zen Arado: good joke
    Zen Arado: is that one a koan?
    Calvino Rabeni: Have a cup of tea :)
    Zen Arado: thanks :)
    Zen Arado: the first one points to the way we question things?
    Zen Arado: or assign meanings
    Zen Arado: or treat people differently?
    Zen Arado: I'll just have my tea :)
    Zen Arado: have you written anything for WOK yet?

    Folk tales:

    Calvino Rabeni: You know the folk tales (there are many similar) about the boy who only does exactly what he is told...
    Calvino Rabeni: And it
    Calvino Rabeni: is always what he did last time, but inappropriate for this time
    Calvino Rabeni: Like, tie a rope around its neck and lead it thru the village
    Calvino Rabeni: (meant for a cow) but he does it to a loaf of bread
    Zen Arado: yes
    Calvino Rabeni: In one such story the dull boy is supposed to meet a girl for a date, but he locks her in the barn in a sheep pen
    Calvino Rabeni: and then dutifully reports to his parents
    Zen Arado: I am studying a koan like this atm
    Darren Islar: good morning and evening
    Calvino Rabeni: Hi darren
    Calvino Rabeni: Anyway the parents say - NO NO, you are supposed to say to her "will you marry me!"
    Zen Arado: Hi Darren:)
    Zen Arado: lol
    Calvino Rabeni: So he goes back to the barn, and the girl looks at him with big sheep eyes, and says "Yes!!!"
    Calvino Rabeni: (end of that story)
    Zen Arado: so it worked anyway :)
    Calvino Rabeni: it is by Grimm Bros
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes
    Calvino Rabeni: I have a personal example

    Cal gives a personal example:

    Calvino Rabeni: I was studying martial arts
    Calvino Rabeni: Every year or so, there's be a big event where students did a performance - a test - and were awarded another rank, asuming they did well
    Calvino Rabeni: I'd practice hard, learn all the moves, stay after class working out
    Calvino Rabeni: You know, just do my best, but do more than expected
    Zen Arado: yes
    Calvino Rabeni: One year I was up for a more advanced test
    Calvino Rabeni: As before I practiced diligently as a good student would
    Calvino Rabeni: the day of the test came, and other students did their performances.
    Calvino Rabeni: When it was my turn, I bowed to the audience and went out on the mat.
    Calvino Rabeni: The master looked at me, and at the others, and said
    Calvino Rabeni: "Oh Pass! Thank you, that is all!"
    Darren Islar: :)
    Calvino Rabeni: I asked him later about that
    Calvino Rabeni: "Well I know, and everybody else knows, you can do it"
    Zen Arado: does that mean you got a higher rank?
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes of course :)
    Zen Arado: ah ok
    Calvino Rabeni: But I didn't have to go through the performance
    Calvino Rabeni: evidently I already had, without knowing it

    'Right and wrong' thinking:

    Zen Arado: I'm studying a koan about 'right and wrong'
    Zen Arado: finding a lot of similarities with the other ones we talked about
    Zen Arado: the commentator says it's not a question og right or wrong but 'it's a question of letting go of your fixed positions'
    Zen Arado: or 'not holding to fixed views' as it says in the Metta Sutra
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes, like that teacher - I had it "right" but that wasn't the lesson he wanted me to learn at that point
    Calvino Rabeni: Blew my pattern, in a way
    Zen Arado: so hard to let go of 'right and wrong' thinking
    Darren Islar: :)
    Zen Arado: right?
    Zen Arado: :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Well I think I gave it up immediately after that missing test :)
    Darren Islar: I was waiting for the deeper meaning :)
    Calvino Rabeni: hehehe
    Zen Arado: it's also about wanting approval from others
    Calvino Rabeni: Doing what is expected
    Zen Arado: doing the 'right' think in the eyes of others
    Calvino Rabeni: Letting others be the judge of validity
    Zen Arado: yes
    Darren Islar: right
    Zen Arado: :)
    Darren Islar: being very diligent is often about the other one; not wanting to make any mistakes
    Darren Islar: I think :)
    Zen Arado: because we worry about what others will think about us if we make mistakes?

    Improvising:

    Calvino Rabeni: I'm going to an improvisation class tomorrow with a friend - there's a fair amount in that practice about what to do with "mistakes"
    Darren Islar: yes
    Zen Arado: improvising what Cal?
    Darren Islar: improvisation of what?
    Darren Islar: snep
    Darren Islar: snap
    Zen Arado: snap :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Acting improvisation
    Calvino Rabeni: and the "method" about mistakes is -
    Zen Arado: are you back home Cal?
    Calvino Rabeni: ... there aren't any mistakes!
    Darren Islar: :)
    Darren Islar: especially in improvisation, you can use it
    Zen Arado: it's the result of old fashioned education system
    Calvino Rabeni: The technique is called, "Yes, And"
    Darren Islar: right
    Calvino Rabeni: no matter what happens - well, that is your base
    Calvino Rabeni: and take it from there
    Calvino Rabeni: being with what is, having a good time with it - does that remind you of anything?
    Zen Arado: yes
    Zen Arado: staying the present
    Darren Islar: but what I'm wondering about is, did you say you stopped after not having to do the performance?
    Zen Arado: staying in the present
    Darren Islar: don't know, can't remember :)))))

    The meaning of the earlier story:

    Calvino Rabeni: About that earlier story from the dojo, Darren?
    Darren Islar: yes
    Calvino Rabeni: Well, it confused me for a while, I had to decide for myself if I had actually learned :)
    Zen Arado: Hi Zaldaan :)
    Calvino Rabeni: but I didn't "stop" in any sense
    Darren Islar: then what happened?
    Darren Islar: hi Zal :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Not sure what you mean, Darren - end of show, came back the next day, it was just practice as usual.
    Calvino Rabeni: It did make me think about the nature of initiations
    Zen Arado: so..in a way there is no such thing as a mistake?
    Darren Islar: you didn't stop?
    Darren Islar: then I misunderstood
    Calvino Rabeni: I didn't stop
    Darren Islar: in improvisations it is really the key
    Calvino Rabeni: Before you came, the back story was, we were talking about stories about people who do things mechanically according to the rules
    Darren Islar: if you don't stay in the present, you're not tuned in
    Calvino Rabeni: Not stopping, is the key
    Zen Arado: reminds me of the lojong teaching about not being consistent or too predictable
    Darren Islar: yes :)
    Darren Islar: then I clearly misunderstood you
    Calvino Rabeni: The bigger principle is - how do you set your aims for practice?
    Zen Arado: or should you have aims?
    Zen Arado: you all tell me I shouldn't :)
    Darren Islar: I think that is part of the question I guess
    Calvino Rabeni: I think it is implicit, that aims exist, but can't be determined mechanically
    Calvino Rabeni: You should indeed have aims :)
    Zen Arado: for meditation?
    Calvino Rabeni: No, for practice
    Calvino Rabeni: Meditation is often protected from aims
    Zen Arado: meditation is practice tho
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes, but lojong, for instance, is about how to manage a whole life, of many practices
    Zen Arado: Theravadins aren't ashamed of having aims for meditation
    Calvino Rabeni: it is a high level pragmatic perspective
    Darren Islar: you look smaller Zal
    Zen Arado: poem about 'rightness':
    Zen Arado: "From the place where we are rightFlowers will never grow In the spring. The place where we are right Is hard and trampled Like a yard. But doubts and loves Dig up the world Like a mole, a plow. And a whisper will be heard in the place Where the ruined House once stood." (from The Selected Poetry of Yehudi Amichai

    Calvino's 'high level pragmatic perspective' To have an aim or not in meditation:

    Darren Islar: [02:00] Calvino Rabeni: it is a high level pragmatic perspective
    Darren Islar: can you elaborate on that?
    Calvino Rabeni: The lojong proverbs start with "study the basics"
    Calvino Rabeni: one is assumed to already be established in the whole business of spiritual practice in general
    Calvino Rabeni: and need no low-level specific instructions
    Darren Islar: true
    Calvino Rabeni: the proverbs are more about how to be responsible and conscious for managing a whole life of practic
    Zen Arado: yes
    Calvino Rabeni: for the experienced practitioners, already familiar with all the philosophies, specific "practices", etc.
    Calvino Rabeni: it is how to get an effective perspective on all of that
    Calvino Rabeni: maintaining balance, seeking completness, not getting fixated, etc.
    Calvino Rabeni: So it is "meta-instructions"
    Calvino Rabeni: about high level principles such as responsibility
    Calvino Rabeni: and being appropriate to circumstances
    Zen Arado: what do you think of this perspective: "The Zen Buddhist does not ask what is right and wrong but rather, 'What am I to do at this moment?' She has no opinion to put forth. She has learned not to acquire answers, and so holds her question open wherever she goes."
    Calvino Rabeni: What about it?
    Darren Islar: well, I think there is an aim in meditation too
    Darren Islar: like not aiming
    Calvino Rabeni: It seems like the main, basic idea of flexible aware engagement with live
    Calvino Rabeni: *life
    Darren Islar: right
    Darren Islar: but as Zen describes an important part of practice and meditation
    Calvino Rabeni: But as you were saying in another session, Darren, sometimes it seems like "doing" in order to interrupt unconscious patterns of habitual doing, in order to do something else (or "not do")
    Darren Islar: yes
    Calvino Rabeni: given a conditioned habit or life, of unconscious doing
    Calvino Rabeni: without some kind of effort it will continue like that
    Darren Islar: yes
    Zen Arado: maybe we have to 'do'something to break ingrained habits
    Zen Arado: yes
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes, that's it
    Calvino Rabeni: So some "aim" is required to hold to such a practice
    Zen Arado: I am not like a young monk 14 years old going into a monastery
    Calvino Rabeni: For example, working against conditioning, waking up from unconscious habits
    Calvino Rabeni: Zen, how are you?
    Zen Arado: an old man with deep habit patterns
    Calvino Rabeni: Even an old tree can put out a new fresh branch
    Calvino Rabeni: (according to one biblical proverb I like)
    Zen Arado: yes - maybe shouldn't make excuses too
    Zen Arado: it;s a zen teaching too
    Darren Islar: well I think describing yourself like that Zen is also showing that you know where you are
    Darren Islar: very important in practice
    Zaldaan Sirnah: REPEATED practice trains the system(s) in the changing circumnstances, therefore increasing the likelihood of that system to be active at other times -- the alternative is that the changing environment will not trigger the desired result.
    Zen Arado: ever read Tolle on the 'pain body' ?
    Calvino Rabeni: I think, such a description could be the setting for change, or an excuse of not changing, or an enlightened awareness of not needing to change
    Calvino Rabeni: it could be any of those
    Calvino Rabeni: lojong is kind of about, to recognize the differences
    Darren Islar: To me it is major to know where you are and what you need to work on
    Darren Islar: also true Cal :)
    Zen Arado: yes
    Calvino Rabeni: @Darren, I agree highly
    Darren Islar: but anything can also be an excuse, often not knowing yourself
    Zen Arado: I think Tibetan is a bit more pro-active than zen in many respects
    Calvino Rabeni: It seems that way
    Zen Arado: zen puts more emphasis on 'just sitting' in meditation
    Calvino Rabeni: and I'd say, Sufi is quite pro-active also
    Zen Arado: seeing waht needs change
    Darren Islar: I think so too, but I do not really know, not knowing enough of Zen
    Zaldaan Sirnah: You can decrease the repetitions necessary by delbierately establishing the proper environment (physical/thought/emotional state), then take yourself into the destined state.
    Zaldaan Sirnah: deliberately
    Zen Arado: but Zen seems more proactive on the precepts and morality
    Zen Arado: yes Zal
    Calvino Rabeni: It's not like Will is missing from Zen
    Calvino Rabeni: But there's definitely an emphasis on will and aim in sufism, as far as I can see

    Zal suggests more theistic form of submission:

    Zaldaan Sirnah: finding how to submit your will to Allah?
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes, there's submission
    Zen Arado: you have to *see* what needs changing first though
    Zen Arado: seeing is half the battle
    Darren Islar: Have no perspective on sufism
    Zaldaan Sirnah: Islam defines itself by saying that that is what all the prophets did.
    Zen Arado: most of us are 'unconscious' most of the time
    Calvino Rabeni: Submission is to align with a higher intelligence
    Calvino Rabeni: All such statements by me are personal assessment of course, I'm no scholar :)
    Zen Arado: the higher intelligence is in us tho?
    Zaldaan Sirnah: Prophets does not just mean "Abrahamic", but the Holy Qur'an explains that to each population we send a messenger".
    Zen Arado: yes - messengers always arise when the time is propitiois for them
    Zen Arado: propitious*
    Calvino Rabeni: when the student is ready and the need is present
    Darren Islar: I think a the concept of God is placing the higher intelligent beside yourself, that si in principal
    Calvino Rabeni: Beside meaning, outside, or helping, or what...
    Darren Islar: I can't figure out what the relationship between mankind and God it though
    Darren Islar: how we relate to this higher intelligence
    Darren Islar: maybe even being part of it, to some extend
    Zen Arado: I don;t like dualistic notions of God
    Calvino Rabeni: Partly by being aware of the many ways it happens, and the even greater possibilities of how it *could* happen
    Darren Islar: neither do I Zen, that is one of the reasons why I'm a buddhist
    Darren Islar: but the question is intriging
    Calvino Rabeni: I feel it's a responsibility for people who consider themselves on a spiritual path, to try to see beyond their likes and dislikes about theological concepts

    Knowing God:

    Zaldaan Sirnah: There is obviously more knowledge in Existence than what we are aware of. The experience of the prophet (peace be upon him) is a model that attaining cognition of God is possible
    Darren Islar: yes, I think so too
    Zen Arado: oh yes
    Zen Arado: it's more than likes/dislikes
    Calvino Rabeni: Like, maybe there are concepts of God I don't like - that is surely so - but the question is how to find the ones I can well regard
    Darren Islar: yes, there are answers to find there
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes, to not let likes / dislikes be a criterion for getting at what could be realer
    Zen Arado: stays open
    Calvino Rabeni: And until one goes there, it's speculative
    Zen Arado: but I'm pretty agnostic
    Darren Islar: what do you mean Zal with 'attaining cognition of God is possible'
    Zaldaan Sirnah: "He who has cognized his true self has cognized God". That's how it's translated.
    Calvino Rabeni: nice, true seeming
    Zen Arado: once studied arguments for and against the existencde of God in philosophy, but I think it is to be experienced not cognized
    Zaldaan Sirnah: Darren, in my understanding it means the human is capable of "knowing" God.
    Zen Arado: yes 'knowing' is better I think
    Zaldaan Sirnah: well, English commonly just uses "know" for everything.
    Zen Arado: 'be still and know that I am God'
    Darren Islar: but there is a difference between knowing and being ?
    Zen Arado: true Zal
    Zaldaan Sirnah: Other languages have multiple words for different types of knowledge, used commonly. Thus, we use "cognize" for this.
    Zen Arado: yes
    Zaldaan Sirnah: Darren, whoever is being his true self is being God?
    Zaldaan Sirnah: Interesting -- I can stretch some truth/derive ideas out of that, but I think it's a perversion of the revelation?
    Zaldaan Sirnah: Doesn't mean it's not good to bring up other ideas derived from it :) They don't end up with "is being God" though, but you might say that anything that's behaving according to its true nature is therefore also in harmony with the workings of God.
    Zaldaan Sirnah: and thus, it is performing God's "will". But what could avoid doing that?
    Zaldaan Sirnah: The point is, if I choose to put my hand in a fire, that could be God's will -- and the fire burning me is also God's will.
    Zaldaan Sirnah: But we call it "punishment" or "results of actions"
    Calvino Rabeni: This is a great dialogue, but I'm going to turn in now - I'll look forward to rereading the log
    Zaldaan Sirnah: Good luck with your mouth :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Good night / day then, Zen, Darren, Zal
    Zen Arado: big questions of free will and determinism there
    Darren Islar: nite Cal, need to go soon too
    Zen Arado: yes - looks at time
    Zen Arado: gosh I have to go too
    Zaldaan Sirnah: Well, I guess it's mostly been taught to us -- that knowledge placed in us, so I don't want to go put my hand on the stove. :)
    Zen Arado: thanks for discussion
    Darren Islar: :)
    Darren Islar: please don't Zal :)
    Zaldaan Sirnah: Why it's off.
    Zen Arado: bye
    Zaldaan Sirnah: :)
    Zaldaan Sirnah: afk tea :)
    Darren Islar: I need to go
    Darren Islar: then you can have your cup of tea and I can have my cup of coffee :)
    Darren Islar: bye Zal

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