Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Intending to Allow the Ineffable

The real point of Alexander work is to allow the possibility of action which is different from thinking and liberated from habit. If you permit me to describe this action as "THE INEFFABLE," then I would like to express my understanding as follows:

THE INEFFABLE is something totally unintentional.

THE INEFFABLE is a spontaneous, unintentional response. Therefore we should not intend to do it and we should not intend to regulate it. All we can do is to allow it. Our practice is to allow it. Our intention is to allow it. We endeavor to allow it totally, with our whole being, through action which includes the acceptance and use of the whole of our being.

As Buddhists, we intend to obey Gautama Buddha's teaching, which is just to liberate ourselves from thinking and from habit. Zazen is the concrete, physical, real manifestation of Gautama Buddha's intention. So one moment of manifesting THE INEFFABLE in Zazen is the real, total, and utter manifestation of Gautama Buddha's intention.

In the Zazen of a Buddha, this intention exists. A veteran Buddhist Master says that "There is not any kind of intention in Zazen." But I say that in the Zazen of a Buddha, this real intention exists. To have got this intention is to be like a dragon that has found water. The Zazen of a person who has got this intention (for one example, Pierre Turlur) is never the same as the Zazen of a person who has not got this strong and clear intention.

I think I understand what the veteran Buddhist Master is trying to say, and I agree with him. Just to sit in Zazen, and not to have any other intention, is just the attitude which ALLOWS THE INEFFABLE TO HAPPEN. So it is needless for a Buddhist to have any intention in Zazen other than to sit in Zazen. Because sitting in Zazen is already inclusive of 84,000 Buddhist intentions.

I want to hit the target, and I want there to be no doubt that I hit the target--like catching a rugby ball and not dropping it, or like kicking an unduly aggressive karate opponent in the head and knocking him out. That is how I am. It is not even that I want to hit the target. I want to be the one who hits the very centre of the bull's eye. Thus I have continued my stubborn effort to hit the bull's eye, forgetting about breakfast, and it is the afternoon already.

I am a fool, a selfish fool doing his own thing. Like a golfer spending all morning trying to get a hole in one on a par-4 hole. Thank God there has been at least one person on this earth, Pierre Turlur, who didn't mind being taught Buddhism by a selfish fool.

12 Comments:

Blogger reallynotimportant said...

"I want to hit the target, and I want there to be no doubt that I hit the target..."

This is where I think you are going astray and explains your progress to date. You are fighting with yourself to achieve something when there should be no fight. The wanting is the problem. You cannot want and accept. They are incompatible.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005  
Blogger reallynotimportant said...

P.S. Much better post, more heart, less mind.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

If I paraphrase Master Dogen, a person who is able to see his or her grasping tendency as it is might be a Buddha; a person who expects to extinguish his or her grasping tendency might be an ordinary deluded being.

Nirodha-satya, the third noble truth, the truth of stopping, does not mean, in my view, to stop being an imperfect human being. It means to stop trying to be something else.

I refer you to Pierre Turlur's comments on the meaning of "Just wake up." I know what state Pierre was in when he wrote those words. He wrote them with tears rolling down his face, with his stomach knotted with emotion. He wrote them as Buddha.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005  
Blogger Michael Tait said...

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Thursday, December 22, 2005  
Blogger Michael Tait said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Thursday, December 22, 2005  
Blogger reallynotimportant said...

"If I paraphrase Master Dogen, a person who is able to see his or her grasping tendency as it is might be a Buddha; a person who expects to extinguish his or her grasping tendency might be an ordinary deluded being"

You are correct and also misunderstand!

That you understand the tendency to graspis good. That is the start. That you tend to glory in it is not so good. You can have a tendency to grasp and not act on it. Not acting on an 'unhealthy' it is the start of wisdom.

The way of Buddhism (Bud-Do???) is to not seek to extinguish or to deny who you are but to acknowledge it in fullness.

I find two things interesting (I may of course be wrong):

1. Sometimes when you want to say something, instead of saying it directly you will quote some dead bloke.

2. You and Pierre seem to work a double act. Each quoting the other to support your respective beliefs. I wonder then if you have run out of dead guys.

Thursday, December 22, 2005  
Blogger reallynotimportant said...

Part of your buddha nature is your warrior spirit and aggressive nature (the two are entwined but not the same BTW). Does that mean that when you walk down a street you occaisonally beat the crap out of someone? Or does it instead mean that you find another way to express it which does not involve such direction? Or does it mean that you acknowledge it but choose not to express it?

In myself, I acknowledge some things but choose not always to express them.

Thursday, December 22, 2005  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

RNI, To use me as a mirror is fine. The challenge is to see yourself without reacting to what you see. What you see in the mirror is a stimulus for your habitual reaction, your habitual wrong-doing. To continue receiving the stimulus, not to run from the stimulus but to keep receiving it, and to try to stop reacting to it: this is the challenge.

Try investigating for yourself how difficult it is not to react to a stimulus, to stop reacting to a stimulus.

Master Dogen said: "Just sit upright." How do you react to that?

This is Alexander work and this is Buddhist work. There is no difference. Gautama Buddha called it DUKHA-NIRODHA-SATYA, "the truth of stopping suffering." FM Alexander called it the principle of inhibition of habitual reaction.

Friday, December 23, 2005  
Blogger Chris said...

Mike said-"This is Alexander work and this is Buddhist work. There is no difference."

hmmmm.....

RNI said:(concerning mike cross)"Given all that you claim to be and do I just get an image of a guy who spends lots of time in zazen or on the web (maybe locked in a room) and somehow manages to ignore all that is around him and therefore fails to live the life that he has."

Our assumptions and images are not always so...

Friday, December 23, 2005  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Chris h,your skepticism is healthy.

What I am saying is this:

It seems to me to be a universal truth that it is useless to try to establish new ways without first giving up one's old ways.

Before we endeavor to practice the right, we should first endeavor to eliminate the wrong.

Nowadays I see this fundamental truth expressed in the third of the Buddha's four noble truths, the truth of stopping suffering.

It is Alexander work that has caused me to see this truth more clearly. In Alexander work this truth is explicitly recognized as the cornerstone of all work on the self.

I think that this truth is also implicit in the teaching of Gudo Nishijima. But in his case it is not recognized so explicitly. His understanding of it is more intuitive. Therefore he has not been able to transmit it decisively to any of his so-called Dharma-heirs, including me.

The difference between Nishijima Roshi's other Dharma-heirs and me, is that I have had the benefit of input from some truly enlightened Alexander masters.

So on this point, Chris h, I am confident that I am just telling you the truth. And I am telling you the truth more clearly than either Nishijima Roshi himself or any of his so-called Dharma-heirs are able to tell it.

But don't take my word for it. You check it out for yourself and, in the words of a true Alexander master, "See if I am talking through my hat."

Friday, December 23, 2005  
Blogger Chris said...

Mike- I apologize for the short comment. My "hmmm" simply meant that yes of course they are the same- at least for you it seems.

Different fingers- same moon...

When one finger points me towards the truth, I no longer need the finger, do I? Nor do I need to confirm the truth by searching for more fingers pointing to the same thing.

mike cross said-"The difference between Nishijima Roshi's other Dharma-heirs and me, is that I have had the benefit of input from some truly enlightened Alexander masters."

I take it that what you're saying is that Nishijima's finger's aim is off and Alexander teachers' fingers' aim are dead-on. "Truly enlightened Alexander masters"? I have yet to reach that chapter in my practice.

mike cross also said-"I think that this truth is also implicit in the teaching of Gudo Nishijima."

Same truth? Or no? You say so but you imply not.

you also said-"...I am telling you the truth more clearly than either Nishijima Roshi himself or any of his so-called Dharma-heirs are able to tell it."

I can only let those words speak for themselves...

Any way these are simply my thoughts...

Friday, December 23, 2005  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Chris h,

In the matter of correcting my Zazen posture when I was in my early 20s, Nishijima Roshi clearly showed me that he was not enlightened. An enlightened teacher begins by guiding the student towards an understanding of what NOT to do.

Saturday, December 24, 2005  

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