Treeleaf Zen

Treeleaf Zen


Gratitude Trust & A Willingness to Yield

posted by Jundo Cohen


(for technical reasons, there will be no sitting broadcast today)

This is something I preach from time to time, but I thought it worth saying again. Perhaps it is good to shout it
clearly. Namely, in Buddhism, we have a strange attitude toward life
and the universe …

I would not call us “theists“. And I would not call us “atheists“. Yet we have a very definite gratitude, faith and confidence in this realm in which we live.

For
we see and experience clearly the deep interconnection of all phenomena
of this world, taste that our birth in sentient form was not but random
outcome, sense a reason and direction to human life and all of
creation, honor this place, express deep gratitude, trust and a
willingness to allow all to be.

We are not “theists”,
for we do not ultimately require or cling to a particular ‘god’ or
‘gods’ to run the show. (That’s not to say that we can’t if we wish,
and one can be a Zen Buddhist or Zennist while a Christian, Muslim, Jew
or the like. We can. We neither require a “god”, nor push any god
away.).

We are not “atheists“,
as we do not see reality through nihilistic eyes, as merely cold, dead,
chaotic, random and pointless, without guiding hand, system or path.
(Again, one might combine Zen practice with such an outlook, but it
might make one’s practice something cold and dead in result).

I
sometimes compare our attitude to that of innocent babes with a deep
trust in this source and world that birthed us, that feeds us and which
somehow allows us air to breathe. Sure, it is not a perfect place as we
might always wish it to be (and certainly, if I were in charge of its
making, I might choose to do things a bit differently), but it is an
amazing place and a miracle that we are here. Do you know all that was
involved in allowing that to be, in allowing you to be … from the
stars … to the flowers and trees … every twist and turn of history
and natural conditions that allowed you to be?

No, as the spring
time comes following the winter, and life returns … I say that we are
grateful to that which allows it all to be, and us to be. Thank you.

In
dropping our sense of separate self, we trade our limited perspective
(as but tiny cogs, pointlessly spinning) for a vision of the whole
“Universal Machine” … ’tis precisely us, and we are that. Amazing!! AMAZING!

Perhaps
what we have is a deep faith in “god” … but without the need or
demand to know her name, her story or all that she wishes of us. We
place no demands upon her, even the demand that she be “god”.

We
are alive, so I expect we should live! Gee, if something or someone
went to all the trouble to let that be possible, then we should just go
ahead with it and live our life well

and,
though I think it unlikely, even if it all just happened for no purpose
at all, we had best go ahead with it and live our life well!
. In any case, live life well!

Seemingly,
when we think of all the endless crossroads at which history might have
gone otherwise … all that was necessary for our lives to be here and
now … we should not be here. Yet here we are … leading to the
conclusion that we should be here. And whatever brought us here, we trust. Thank you.

We express a willingness to yield, to allow, to embrace. We Celebrate and Sink Right In!

AMAZING! Shout it from the Rooftops!

Endless deep bows of gratitude.



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Comments read comments(10)
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Ingrid

posted April 14, 2009 at 3:13 pm


Thank you! I think it is wonderful that you share such beautiful thoughts with us.
YES AMAZING!!!!!AMAZING!!!!Iam shouting it!!!!:-)
Thank you!



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Mumon

posted April 14, 2009 at 4:01 pm


Jundo, this:

We are not “atheists”, as we do not see reality through nihilistic eyes, as merely cold, dead, chaotic, random and pointless, without guiding hand, system or path.

posits a straw-man view of atheists, borne out of a theistic caricature of them.
The Buddhism that I practice is “nontheistic,” as per basically what Shakyamuni himself inferred: these ideas are superfluous if you’re on the task of transcending dukkha.
As such, an atheist’s practice of zen, like any other Buddhists, wouldn’t be “cold, dead, chaotic, random [ah, if only nonspecialists knew that “random” implies “structure” to us probabilists!] and pointless” but directed and targetted towards the illnesses of greed, suffering, and delusion.



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Carl

posted April 14, 2009 at 6:04 pm


This is completely perfect! Nothing needs adding, nothing more needs to be said, just perfect.



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Tim

posted April 15, 2009 at 6:15 am


Its all very well if your not dying of starvation in a refugee camp I suppose. But then perhaps Buddhism is not for them…



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Jundo

posted April 15, 2009 at 8:02 am


Hi Tim,
That is a very interesting question, about the suffering in this world.
I have spoken about that before, but will do so again soon.
My view is very simple: In this life, as in a garden, there are flowers and weeds, that which is beautiful to our eyes and that which is not. There are also things that grow strong and tall, and those which never have the chance.
In our Zen Practice, we accept it all … flowers and weeds. The garden is yet an amazing place for all the bits of ugliness here and there (though the weed does not think itself ugly, and only the human eye judges it so … we do have a perspective in our practice by which there is no suffering when the mind is still).
However, while we accept both the flowers and the weeds, we can still seek to nurture the flowers and pull the weeds … fighting war, disease, hunger and all suffering in this world. We accept each even as we do not, and do what we can to sooth the suffering.
Anyway, I talk about that too from time to time.
Gassho, Jundo



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RJ

posted April 15, 2009 at 10:05 am


Today especially, I needed your message.
Thank you!



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Rosie

posted April 15, 2009 at 10:32 am


Thank you Jundo.
You have precisely expressed my beliefs and provided comfort along my fumbling journey towards the gateless gate.
Endless deep bows of gratitude



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Tim

posted April 15, 2009 at 5:17 pm


Hi Jundo,
Thank you for the reply, I appreciate it.
I suppose I think that you would struggle to hold that worldview if you were the one struggling to survive in the camp.
Is there also no love and no relationship when the mind is still? There is still suffering. Just not for the one sleeping. I want to live.
Again many thanks for your reply. I hope I do not come across as rude, I do not wish to.
Tim Kwant



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Jundo

posted April 15, 2009 at 9:58 pm


Hi Tim,
I recently gave another talk on this subject, when I spoke of “Hassidic Jews giving thanks and praise to their God while standing to march into the ovens during the Holocaust. Simple thanks for the time they had, and all until that moment. Asking nothing, needing nothing more.”
Please do me the honor of having a look …
http://blog.beliefnet.com/treeleafzen/2009/04/embrace-celebrate-and-sink-rig.html
And I think that our practice cultivates compassion, love, connection, relationship of our self, all beings, the world.
Gassho, Jundo



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Daniel Brenton

posted April 18, 2009 at 3:56 am


This post was highlighted in the April 17 edition of “Gratitude Watch.”
http://www.danielbrenton.com/2009/04-17/gratitude-watch-2009-04-17/
Thank YOU for promoting the value of gratitude.



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