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Gratitude

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  • Palmer, Ralph
    Greetings - I just got Sheng-yen s There Is No Suffering for my birthday, and it made me realize how grateful I am to this list. I ve received all kinds of
    Message 1 of 8 , May 17, 2006
      Greetings -

      I just got Sheng-yen's "There Is No Suffering" for my birthday, and it
      made me realize how grateful I am to this list. I've received all kinds
      of advice, information, and encouragement from the members and the
      discussions.

      In Gratitude,

      Ralph
      +++++++++++++++++++++++++
      Ralph Palmer
      Keene, NH, and Greenfield, MA
      USA
      rpalmer@...
    • Pat Stacy
      Ralph wrote: I just got Sheng-yen s There Is No Suffering for my birthday, and it made me realize how grateful I am to this list. I ve received all kinds of
      Message 2 of 8 , May 17, 2006
        Ralph wrote:
        I just got Sheng-yen's "There Is No Suffering" for my birthday, and it
        made me realize how grateful I am to this list. I've received all kinds
        of advice, information, and encouragement from the members and the
        discussions.

        But are you under water on the East Coast?
         
        And...I would like to hear a book report on "There is No Suffering."
         
        Pat
      • Palmer, Ralph
        A little soggy, but the sun came out briefly yesterday, and it s sunny now. I can t remember when we last saw the sun before yesterday. It was bad enough that,
        Message 3 of 8 , May 18, 2006
          A little soggy, but the sun came out briefly yesterday, and it's sunny now. I can't remember when we last saw the sun before yesterday. It was bad enough that, driving to work yesterday morning, I saw a beaver walking down the road. Probably looking for a place to dry out.
           
          I'll send a report when I've finished the book. So far, it's good. Sheng-yen admits his commentary has a different slant from most; most commentaries seem to be from what I would call an abhidharma perspective, and he says he's approaching it from a meditation practise perspective. I'm not very far into it, so I'll have to reserve comment for now.
           
          Ralph


          From: U-Zendo@yahoogroups.com [mailto:U-Zendo@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Pat Stacy
          Sent: Wednesday, May 17, 2006 8:26 PM
          To: U-Zendo@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [U-Zendo] Gratitude

          Ralph wrote:
          I just got Sheng-yen's "There Is No Suffering" for my birthday, and it
          made me realize how grateful I am to this list. I've received all kinds
          of advice, information, and encouragement from the members and the
          discussions.

          But are you under water on the East Coast?
           
          And...I would like to hear a book report on "There is No Suffering."
           
          Pat
        • Weasel Tracks
          ... You re Welcome! It s been so long since I last read it it will be like a new book to me. Perhaps we should read it as a group and trade comments? It s a
          Message 4 of 8 , May 24, 2006
            At 1:51 PM -0400 06/05/17, Palmer, Ralph wrote:
            >I just got Sheng-yen's "There Is No Suffering" for my birthday, and it
            >made me realize how grateful I am to this list. I've received all kinds
            >of advice, information, and encouragement from the members and the
            >discussions.

            You're Welcome!

            It's been so long since I last read it it will be like a new book to
            me. Perhaps we should read it as a group and trade comments?

            It's a commentary on the Heart Sutra, right? The Sutra is at the core
            of the Soto tradition, the story being that ancient Tozan (Tung-shan,
            one of the foubnd) as a child asked his teacher why the sutra they
            chanted said that he had no eyes, no ears, etc., when he could say
            for himself that he had them. His guardian monk saw that this orphan
            had some spiritual talent and sent him to a monastery. I think most
            people are struck that way by the sutra when they first hear or read
            it.

            At the old Soto Temple in Chicago, it was chanted before and after
            the two forty-minute zazen sessions. Although I had been
            intellectually convinced that Zen was a true way -- perhaps, I
            thought at the time, the *only* true way -- into the Great Matter, a
            deeper level of my being was convinced by noticing the difference in
            the chanting after the zazen from before. That pesky subconscious
            demands evidence from actions, not words!

            Yet even the words of the Sutra do mysterious things under the hood!
            Such a marvelously designed psychic tool! It begins with an
            experience of a mode of being/perception that seems to deny the truth
            and very existence of every category of teaching of Buddhism, and
            ends with an irrational declaration of a magic formula as the highest
            truth! What a grand non seqitur! It just tickles the hell out of the
            hulking id, that cynically watches the rational mind insisting on
            making sense out of the world!

            The Sutra was chanted at the temple from cards that the Soto Sect had
            made up that consisted of three lines for each line of the text --
            first the phonetic syllables in the Latin alphabet we use, then the
            Kanji characters, then the word-for-word translation. You got some
            sense of what the Sutra was saying, but it was rather jumbled. I
            asked the Japanese priest, Rev. Matsuoka, why we chanted it in the
            Sino-Japanese version rather than English. He asked me if I had read
            good English translations of the Sutra, and I replied that I had. He
            then asked me if I underrstood the English any better than the
            Japanese. :)

            My great gratitude to Sensei for that long-lasting question!

            ---Weasel Tracks
          • Pat Stacy
            Weasel Tracks said: At the old Soto Temple in Chicago, it was chanted before and after the two forty-minute zazen sessions. Although I had been intellectually
            Message 5 of 8 , May 24, 2006
              Weasel Tracks said:
              At the old Soto Temple in Chicago, it was chanted before and after
              the two forty-minute zazen sessions. Although I had been
              intellectually convinced that Zen was a true way -- perhaps, I
              thought at the time, the *only* true way -- into the Great Matter, a
              deeper level of my being was convinced by noticing the difference in
              the chanting after the zazen from before. That pesky subconscious
              demands evidence from actions, not words!
               
              Great observation!

              Yet even the words of the Sutra do mysterious things under the hood!
               
              I agree.

              Such a marvelously designed psychic tool! It begins with an
              experience of a mode of being/perception that seems to deny the truth
              and very existence of every category of teaching of Buddhism, and
              ends with an irrational declaration of a magic formula as the highest
              truth! What a grand non seqitur! It just tickles the hell out of the
              hulking id, that cynically watches the rational mind insisting on
              making sense out of the world!
               
              I asked my teacher why the two verses which follow the first long one are so contradictory to the first. These last two reintroduce time, effort, and the whole world again; and at W.T. noted, are a grand non sequitur. He said he thought the last two were added after the first one by those who did not see as clearly. It would be even better if they were deliberately added to tickle us.
               
              This sutra was helpful to me recently. I memorized it long ago and recite it every day. It's old and familiar, and there is something about it that I love, but I couldn't say what it is. It just "does things under the hood." My teacher died last December and a couple of months after that something came up during meditation that I wanted help with. After I described my question to one of the priests at the monastery, he said maybe you need to ask a Tibetan.  That week a friend handed me a flier promoting a talk in a nearby town by Venerable Robina Courtain, a Gelugpa nun for 20 years. I thought "If a Tibetan falls in your lap, maybe you should go and ask her." I did, but she couldn't answer. She graciously offered to put me in touch with someone who could. E-mails went back and forth between Robina and me and then I had an email address. I sent the question off. That was almost two months ago, and still there is no answer.
               
              Then one day I was chanting the Heart Sutra and this line just hit me as the answer:  "In the three worlds, all the Buddhas depend on Prajna Paramita." It was one of those things where you just know---something hits you. I knew that in this question I had about stepping into something in meditation, I could depend on Prajna Paramita. Hey, if all the Buddhas in all the three worlds could depend on it, I could too.
               
              I guess this is why I chant this sutra every day. It's not my favorite---that's the Lankavatara. But it is so deep and continues to inform in a way that bypasses my thinking mind.
               
              Pat

               
               
               
            • Weasel Tracks
              ... I believe that I heard there were two accretions -- one talking about the mantra, and then the mantra itself. It s believable that those that added the
              Message 6 of 8 , May 24, 2006
                At 8:51 AM -0700 06/05/24, Pat Stacy wrote:
                >I asked my teacher why the two verses which
                >follow the first long one are so contradictory
                >to the first. These last two reintroduce time,
                >effort, and the whole world again; and at W.T.
                >noted, are a grand non sequitur. He said he
                >thought the last two were added after the first
                >one by those who did not see as clearly. It
                >would be even better if they were deliberately
                >added to tickle us.

                I believe that I heard there were two accretions
                -- one talking about the mantra, and then the
                mantra itself.

                It's believable that those that added the
                accretions were less awake, but generations of
                practitioners saw value in them, and so retained
                them. Anyway, it works as it is.

                I had a question about another fortuitous mistake
                that has become a Zen formula. I asked two
                prominent Zen writers about whether it was truly
                fortuitous or intentional. Perhaps the list may
                be interested in the exchange.

                I wrote to David Chadwick:
                >Since I sat with Ed Brown in the dim past, and
                >he knew Suzuki-roshi, I asked him this:
                >I was speaking with someone about favorite Zen
                >catchphrases and mentioned "Zen can be summed up
                >in two words: Not always so!" My friend is of
                >the opinion that it was a lucky piece of broken
                >English. Indeed, my own [immigrant] parents
                >would come up with some inventive gems without
                >being fully aware of the humor or aptness of
                >their own creations. I don't remember reading
                >any discussion in books by you or David Chadwick
                >or elsewhere about how deliberate a construction
                >that was. If you can point me to one, great! If
                >not, what do you think?
                >Edward thought it likely that it was fortuitous,
                >but suggested that you might know better.

                He replied:
                >Definitely an accident. It's two in Japanese. He
                >said something like "just two words - two in
                >Japanese, three in English. We have milked it
                >for the humor but it wasn't intentional. Hey - I
                >just realized that I just put that very lecture
                >on my web site. Let me go look. Here, from the
                >verbatim version of that lecture:
                >The secret of So-to- Zen is, you know, just two
                >words: "Not always so." Oh—oh—three words
                >[laughs, laughter] in English. In Japanese, two
                >words. "Not always so." This is secret of the
                >teaching. If you understand thing in that
                >way—you don't ignore, you know. "It may be so,
                >but it is not always so.
                >
                >There you go.

                The lecture is at
                http://www.cuke.com/Cucumber%20Project/lectures/one%20lecture.html

                Fortuity happens so often in spiritual
                traditions, one might almost believe a guiding
                spirit informs them.

                ---Weasel Tracks
              • Louis-Dominique Dubeau
                ... I have a different take on this. Whether the mantra was present from the start or added later I m guessing that there was at least one person who thought
                Message 7 of 8 , May 25, 2006
                  Weasel Tracks <weaseltrax@...> writes:

                  > Yet even the words of the Sutra do mysterious things under the hood!
                  > Such a marvelously designed psychic tool! It begins with an
                  > experience of a mode of being/perception that seems to deny the truth
                  > and very existence of every category of teaching of Buddhism, and
                  > ends with an irrational declaration of a magic formula as the highest
                  > truth! What a grand non seqitur! It just tickles the hell out of the
                  > hulking id, that cynically watches the rational mind insisting on
                  > making sense out of the world!

                  I have a different take on this.

                  Whether the mantra was present from the start or added later I'm
                  guessing that there was at least one person who thought the mantra
                  belonged there. Also, the meaning of "o.m gate gate paaragate
                  paarasa.mgate bodhi svaahaa" is fairly clear to me. It is simply
                  included here as a mantric reformulation of the earlier assertion that
                  Bodhisattvas attain enlightenment by relying on the Consummation of
                  Insight (praj~naapaaramitaa), namely:

                  Om, when one has arrived (bis), when one has arrived to the other
                  shore, when one has utterly arrived to the other shore, there is
                  enlightenment. Oh yeah!

                  Paaragata (here appearing in the locative masculine singular
                  paaragate) is synonymous with paaramita: gone to the other shore.
                  From paaramita comes paaramitaa: going to the other shore, perfection,
                  consummation, etc. This is the same paaramitaa that appears in
                  praj~naapaaramitaa, Consummation of Insight. So more
                  interpretatively, "when one attains the consummation [of insight],
                  there is enlightenment", "enlightenment happens by reliance on
                  consummation [of insight]".

                  Maitrena,
                  Louis
                • Ralph Palmer
                  Came across this upon cleaning out some of my email mailboxes. I don’t believe I ever responded. I’m grateful for your time and help, Pat, Ralph *From:*
                  Message 8 of 8 , Apr 20 6:51 AM

                    Came across this upon cleaning out some of my email mailboxes. I don’t believe I ever responded.

                     

                    I’m grateful for your time and help, Pat,

                     

                    Ralph

                     

                    From: U-Zendo@yahoogroups.com [mailto:U-Zendo@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Pat Stacy
                    Sent: Friday, July 27, 2007 1:17 AM
                    To: U-Zendo@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [U-Zendo] Addictive behaviors

                     

                    Hi Ralph,

                     

                    Advice on addictive behavior:

                     

                    Don't try to change anything at first. Understand that the behavior, whatever it is, exists to protect you from something. It's most likely something you don't need protection from, but that's not how it feels. Use the behavior itself to wake up.

                     

                    As you find yourself moving toward the addictive action, pause. This could be as you first have a thought about it, or it can be whenever you find yourself once again engaged in something you feel is not helpful. With that pause, ask yourself, "What would I have to feel now if I did not do this?" There might be more than one answer to that question. Let all of them come up. Don't move until you get at least one answer. At this point you might just go ahead and continue the behavior, but you might also continue your investigation. Are there any thoughts associated with the feeling that is being covered up? Is there tension in some part of your body that is connected to the feeling?Can you release it? Does this change the urge to indulge in the addiction? Keep being curious, investigation lessens the addictive urge.

                     

                    Pat

                     

                    --

                    Hi -

                    I have some addictive behaviors that are interfering with my practice.
                    I'm guessing some of you have been through this. How did or do you deal
                    with addictive behaviors that "get in the way"? Any suggestions or
                    advice?

                    Peace,

                    Ralph
                    +++++++++++++++++++++++++
                    Ralph Palmer
                    Keene, NH, and Greenfield, MA
                    USA
                    rpalmer@...



                    --
                    Ralph Palmer
                    Montague City, MA
                    USA
                    palmer.r.violin@...
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