Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Four Reflexes & Eight Precepts

Perhaps, when our hands are released from the tight grip of the Moro/palmar reflex, when loving ears are open, when the intention actually to help others is established firmly, and when we realize as human beings that we are all in the same big boat... perhaps it is then that we can begin to relate to each other as Enlightenment-Beings, as beings whose true nature is Gautama Buddha's state of enlightenment -- as Bodhisattvas.

Going further, Gautama Buddha bequeathed to us his ultimate teaching in the form of eight precepts, namely:

When the Moro reflex is aberrant, we are liable to be temporarily hyper-active, or over-motivated, and all the senses are liable to be too open, as a result of the release of adrenaline and other stimulating neuro-transmitters.

SHOYOKU, on the other hand, means to have small desire, or not to be greedy, not to grasp -- either for objects of the senses or for desired results.
CHISOKU means to know satisfaction, to be content.

Gautama Buddha's ultimate teaching was:

When the Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex is unduly excited, the inner ear is over-stimulated, so that we are liable to be disturbed by internal and external noise, and to feel disoriented.

GYOJAKUJO means to enjoy peace and quiet.
GON-SHOJIN means to get on with some work, to carry on with some actual, real, non-abstract job -- with one's feet on the ground.

Gautama Buddha's ultimate teaching was:

The Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex has to do with pointing in a definite direction and, by extension, it has to do with concrete intention; the concrete intention to do something.

FU-BONEN means not to lose mindfulness, attention, awareness. At the same time, it may mean not to lose desire, volition, intention.
SHU-ZENJO means to practice Zen-balance, Zen-stillness; in other words, it expresses the concrete act of practicing sitting-Zen.

Gautama Buddha's ultimate teaching was:

Inhibition of the Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex has to do with bridging the gap between the more or less subconsciously-controlled state of a monkey and the state of a conscious human being.

SHU-CHIE means to practice the intuitive wisdom (called prajna in Sanskrit) that is associated with sitting-Zen practice.
FU-KERON means not to engage in idle discussion.

Having a strong tendency to get lost in idle dreams and tangential discussions, I wake up feeling shattered; I go back to square one.

When something within us cries "Pick me up!" but the call goes unanswered, just there, in the raging fire of a raw Moro reflex, SHOYOKU-CHISOKU may be a blue lotus opening.

In other words, just in not being too greedy to get out of the fire, there may be a bit of Nirvana already.

Thus, an eternal buddha named Marjory Barlow said to me: "Listen, love. Being prepared to be wrong is the golden key."


Blogger Michael Kendo Tait said...

Is it being prepared to be wrong or actually experiencing wrongness?

Recently an ordinary bloke and I met to practise zazen and we talked about Fukanzazengi. In particular this final phrase as you have translated:

'If you practice the ineffable for a long time, you will be ineffable. The treasure-house will naturally open, for you to receive and use as you like.'

The wish to achieve is so strong, the wish to be right, to open the treasure house. But it can only open for those who live without such designs, to those who know and experience wrongness, to non-Buddha as you put it.

The world is not often as we would have it but it is as it is. I cannot imagine that a Buddha exists if it does not know and experience wrongness. Perhaps that's just my lack of imagination.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Hi Michael,

In principle, the treasure house might be naturally open (I will address that principle shortly on the next post) but when I awoke early this morning from vivid dreams, not having slept well, it didn't feel to me at all like a treasure house was open for me. It felt like I was weighed down by black karma.

However, today I have been not only sitting but also plastering through the day, with the emphasis on GON-SHOJIN, and also lying down a couple of times, and I am struck afresh by how practical the eight precepts are.
In particular, they guide us where to start -- with non end-gaining.
A great thing to recognize, I think, is the tendency we have to fear being wrong, which I am suggesting has a lot to do with an unruly Moro reflex.
Fear of being wrong is very real, and greedily trying to be right, or grasping for security (e.g. financial security, or security of knowing) is often a corollary of it. I see that in myself increasingly clearly.

Marjory Barlow once said to me: "Mike, you are an inveterate worrier, aren't you? I know, because I am too." Tellingly, I think, Marjory never crawled as a baby. Gudo, constitutionally, is not a worrier. Marjory was Marjory. Gudo is Gudo.

FM Alexander said our greatest evil is fixing. Ironically, it is often the very fear of being wrong that leads me to commit this greatest of wrongs.

Perhaps I seem fearless in my criticism of Gudo. In truth every step has been accompanied for more than 20 years by fear that I am wrong, that I a treacherous, ungrateful upstart, publicly to criticize the Buddhist master who has been so generous to me with his teaching and with his valuable time. And sometimes anger is a very crude way that I use to overcome this fear of being wrong.

SHOYOKU-CHISOKU can be used as an effective antidote to the poison of fixing. For example, my sitting is a bit stiff, my joints are a bit fixed, and so my breathing is a bit shallow... That's OK. Enjoy it as it is.

Thanks for listening,


(Written Tuesday night/Wed. morning; posted Wednesday morning)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007  

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