Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Mark?

On Sat, 2005-04-16 at 07:39 -0700, RS wrote:
> 1) Fudos quote: In the Bendowa Dogen states "if perceptions and
> understanding are mixed in, then it is not the mark of
> verification."
> -- what is this saying? That ones 'attainnment' is fake /
> unverifiable
> if it is comprised of perceptions and understanding? If so, I don't
> get
> it... But maybe I'm reading the thing wrong. Little help?

No it is saying it may well be fake...because the mark of verification
is not such things. If the mark of verification for being a poodle is
having four legs and a curly coat, having brown eyes is not the mark of
verification. It does not mean the poodle does not have brown
just means having brown eyes does not make the dog a poodle. Having
understanding and perceptions does not make one a Buddha. Ananda
memorized every word the Buddha said. He is the source of most all those
Sutras that were eventually written down..The ones that start "thus I
have heard" were all remembered by Ananda. Ananda was the Buddha's
personal attendant. When it came time to pass the Buddha's robes on to a
successor Ananda thought it would be him that received the robe...but it
was Mahakashapa who smiled when the Buddha raised the flower that got
the robe....Ananda eventually received the robe from
Mahakashapa....after he transcended words and knowledge. The mark was
not how much you perceive or had to have more than had to actually smile when it was time to smile...not
just know that one should smile at the appropriate time.

Perceptions and understanding are not the mark of verification. You
might have them, but a master will look at other things for the mark of
verification. A master looks at how you do things, how you attend to and
take care of your life and the life of others in this moment for the
mark of verification. It does not mean you do not perceive or
understand, but your perceptions and understanding are not what the
master looks for when he or she looks for the mark..the Buddha seal.

RS writes:

>-- I am seeing how this works. In part it greatly reduces the 'burden'
>of maintaining a self-importance. Things that don't go my way, don't
>bother me as much, because I don't associate my 'self' with the
>wish/desire/misconception. I can say, "those poorly laid plans weren't
>mine, just some past fool named Rod -- now that I have to deal with the
>pieces, what will this Rod do/plan for?" Lets me get to work rather
>than lament ideas of loss... All that said, there is another
>that has been arising and I think you might have actually recommended I
>pursue it if I recall, but I suspect because of its decadence its not a
>rewarding way to see things.I'd like your and others input on its
>before I give further into it, or swear it off:

> My habit of repackaging things into self and other, makes me want to
>still point and say THAT is me. Naturally the stuff I point at is
>flattering, like I AM Life/ existence/ arising/ thinking/ observing/
>love/ curiosity/ hope etc. This is attractive because I don't see
>much in those things, and thus it sounds like a nice place to hang my
>hat (and also stroke my ego since I leave out the
>death/non-existence/stillness/fear/apathy/defeat). I know I shouldn't
>deliberately 'choose' where to hang my hat, and just let it work itself
>out, but I feel trapped between resisting the egotistic but decadent
>lure of being a personification of etneral
>Arising/Bodhisattva/Buddha/God/etc. and the alternative of trying to
>keep 'knowledge' of the impermanent nature of things in my wretching

>Where is the alternative place? Hang my hat on death with equal fervor
>as life? Defeat with equal surety of hope?

You are still picking and choosing. You want all the good things to be
"you" and all the bad things to be "temporary". The vow to realize all
things without exception that is the gatha recited upon arising in the
morning that brings the freedom. It is when we do not want to look at
death or at illness that we can be blindsided by disaster. When we look
at all the things that arise, then all that arise is "me" or "I" arise
with all things. All things cause all things. Your life is dependent on
the blade of grass your neighbor just cut. The reason you practice
immediately if your hair is on fire, is because this moment may
indeed be your last. It does no good to become desperate, frantic and
run around screaming with your hair on fire..but if you immediately
address the problem in a calm and effective manner..the fire will be
quickly dealt with, and the damage minimized. The same is true of death.
As I pass through middle age I find I do not fear the end as much
because I feel I have already lived a full life. I treasure each moment
of my life because I know it is fleeting, like a flash of lightening or
the dew on the grass. When I fully live and attend to this moment, the
next flows freely from the last. When you attend to all the things in
this moment fully, you fill your life with the life you live which
includes the end of your life. Katagiri Roshi said "Do not think for one
moment you will not die." cannot fully appreciate the cherry
blossoms if one is not aware of their fleeting nature. When you sit down
quietly and be in your life right as it is....and attend to all that
arises, you end up peaceful...aware of the bitter sweet fact that my six
year old daughter will only be six for a year, and then seven. The
innocence that is manifest in her at this moment is going to turn to a
worldly knowledge before my eyes. Each moment including the moment of
death becomes bitter sweet. If my daughters life ends tragically in a
few years I will be devastated,but I will not have to say I missed the
beauty of it. The days of her life like mine and yours are finite and
numbered. It is part of the nature of life that as soon as we are born
we begin to die. Part of the sweetness of a stick of gum is that the
flavor will soon fade. If we always have a stick of gum in our
mouth..the sweetness is no longer noticed. If cherry blossoms were
always there, there would not be viewing parties in Japan. It is the
contrasts and the fleeting nature of life that makes it beautiful. If we
do not look at the tenuous nature of our life we cannot fully appreciate
the beauty of our life. If you do not understand that in the scheme of
things "you" are a flash of can you "know" who you
are? If you do not understand that eating, farting, taking a dump, death
and being a dink are all part of are you going to know who you
are? If you ignore your ignorance how are you going to learn to be
wise?....each part of you...the good and the bad, the smells and the
mess as well as the understanding and pretty hair must see
all to truly understand who you are. To understand that who you are
changes when you are "dad" or "employee" or "husband" ..none of these is
you...and none of them are not you. How can you relax and be in the
moment when you are spending so much time ignoring a part of what is
arising in this moment?....each thing....everything....must be
noticed....or the bad things will keep ambushing you when you are not
looking at them.

Right now you are not perfect...join the club. Right now you are
learning, you are striving, you are seeking your way. It is a fine place
to is the only place you can be because it is, in fact, where you
are. So just be there. Just seek. Just learn. Just strive. From these
activities arise understanding, and a finding of your way. Soto Zen is
about "negotiating the way"....there is no way to negotiate the way if
you do not start with where you are. You can only step forward from
where you are. You cannot step forward either, if you refuse to leave
the place you are. The reality of your life is you cannot stay. Life
moves forward whether you want it to or not. The only question is are
you going to step into the next moment from a solid place, and clearly
and completely enter the next? Or are you going to be drug into the next
moment from the stumbles of the last? Are you going to blindsided by the
nature of your life because you refuse to look at it? Or are you going
to be clear on what this moment is, and what the next is bringing?

It is my experience that being drug around kicking and screaming and
bouncing off rocks you continue to ignore until they crack your ribs is
does not make for a smooth negotiation of the way, or a very pleasant
life...if you see the rocks and cannot avoid them, at least you can
minimize the damage and slightly smooth the way. If you step forward in
calm knowledge of what have a better chance of making it a
smoother journey.

You are going to take the you do it is up to you...I have
made my choice, and will not turn to another way because...this way
works as promised in my life. I do not crack my ribs very severely, or
very often, and the way is much smoother and much much more pleasant.

Be Well