Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Pete’s Good Question

Pete’s Question:

Hi Mike,
“If you practice the ineffable for a long time, you will be ineffable”.
How is it posssible to practce without endgaining when Master Dogen seems to be saying there will be a reward for our efforts. Does he mean that if we practice the balanced state we will become balanced? I have just written that sentence but I don’t know what it means.

My Answer:

Vital question, Pete -- thank you. Thank you very much.

The point is to inhibit the desire to go directly for the end, relying on old vestibular circuits that are wrong, IN ORDER TO create a space for the new conscious means that will reliably take us to the end.

In learning to swim without stress, for example, the challenge for the nervous non-swimmer is to inhibit the desire to touch the side by relying on his old non-swimming ways, IN ORDER TO allow the easy gliding movement that will cause the other side to seem to touch him. It is a very simple principle, but not easy for a non-swimmer to understand without help from a good teacher who can help the non-swimmer overcome the fear which, unless assuaged, will fuck up the whole learning process. (See for example my brother’s webpage at www.swimmingwithoutstress.co.uk)

In sitting-zen, when the thought of enlightenment causes us to stiffen up, we are like a nervous swimmer splashing about ineptly, but when we just sit easily and joyfully, this is just the practice and experience that gets to the bottom of the Buddha’s enlightenment. The old wrong messages, mediated by the inner-ear, are tied up with fear. The new means is characterized by fearlessness.

The 3rd noble truth, the truth of stopping suffering, does not mean to give up the desire for enlightenment; it rather means to suppress the urge to grasp for enlightenment relying on wrong instinctive means, IN ORDER THAT all living beings may reliably cross over, relying on true conscious means, to the far shore of the Buddha’s enlightenment.


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