You’re not doing anything other than sitting there. Of course when we come to zazen, we want all of these things like peace of mind, concentration, tranquility, and so on. And then the asshole teacher just tells you to sit with your back straight and get rid of any hope of enlightenment? Lame! I totally understand people’s confusion.
I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about not knowing what to do in zazen and thinking I am not doing it “right.” I think everyone must go through this. So when I am talking to people with questions about zazen, I am very aware that nothing I can say or do is going to help them. I’ve had the same questions as they, and nothing anyone told me helped at all. The only thing that helped was sitting more zazen. The only good advice I ever go about zazen is: “It takes time.” I never wanted to believe this, but I think it’s the only advice that anyone gives that is actually true. you just have to sit for a long time, for many years, and then wisdom and trust develop.
sit. notice how to sit. release sitting. sit again.
inquiry for today~ we spin our webs and call it enlightenment……
It’s natural to be disappointed that you haven’t been able to vanquish your own worst faults. But do you have to continue feeling that way? The teachings of lojong say: No, you don’t have to continue feeling that way. In fact, you can use the mistakes you make to propel yourself further along the path. Lojong, which means “mind training” in Tibetan, is the term for a set of meditations and daily life disciplines that tame and transform our mental afflictions, simultaneously uprooting the source of our suffering- our ego-fixation. The practice set consists of 59 aphorisms written by the 12th century Tibetan saint Chekhawa Yeshe Dorje; they’re also known as the Seven Points of Mind Training.
Every one of us has ego-fixation. The Buddha’s teaching about this goes all the way back to the 2nd of the 4 noble truths- that the cause of suffering is clinging and fixation, of suffering is clinging and fixation, and the greatest of these is fixation and the greatest of these is fixation on our concept of self. Once we conceive of it, seeing it as a solid and separate entity, we spend all of our time trying to protect and gratify it. Fixation is the engine that makes it “go.”
But beyond the self, we can cling to anything- people, possessions, situations, ideas- and sometimes we may feel as though we’ll never gain control over ourselves. When we make a mistake as a result of attachment, we often beat ourselves up about it. Oh, there I go again, we may think. But then I remember something my teacher, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, taught me, my favorite slogan:
Three objects, three poisons, three seeds of virtue.
The master, Jamgon Kongtrul explains the 3 poisons- attachment, aversion, and ignorance which are always arising in the mind in response to the 3 objects- things you like, things you don’t like, and things you’re indifferent toward.
To take control of these poisons, we should notice them as soon as they arise. We may not actually be able to notice them as soon as they arise, but pehaps we can catch them after five minutes, or even two weeks.It’s as though you see the mental affliction as raw material, the way a potter would view clay. You don’t see clay as a problem; you see it as an opportunity to create something.
Kongtrul’s technique allows us to take the energy away from our mental afflictions and transform that energy into an aspiration for goodness: May I be good, may all things be good, and may all beings be free.
~Lama Kathy Wesley