Sunday, January 01, 2006

Broken bowl

There is a great poem written by Tosui and reported by Menzan Zuiho in his "Story of master Tosui", it goes like this in the translation of P. Haskel:That is what my life is likeThis is what it's like, broad and freeA worn-out robe, a broken bowlhow peaceful and calm!When hungry, I eat, when thirsty, I drinkThat's all I knowI've got nothing to do with the world's "right and wrong"You certainly know it. Fabulous stuff. I've heard it countless times and everytime, it sounds different. Like clear and refreshing water. Typical uncomplicated direction of the good old and new ancestors. In fact, that's what my whole life points at, that's what my eyes are made of and long to see, that what my clumsy hands trace in the mudra-seal of sitting and so on and so on. That is also what I spend my time resisting, repairing my bowl, filling it up with notions and potions, ignoring the good old kesa of the whole thing that covers every corner of this. Funny, isn'it? Sometimes, very sad. when i read these lines, I just don't read something that has got to do with the romantic picture of an unsui, a homeless monk floating like cloud or water in medieval Japan, I see a provocative statement challenging people like me, now, here.When I allow myself to stop trying to be right and avoiding being wrong, what is left? Who is left? When I give evrything a rest including the good old me-mine, what then shines in the empty treasure-room?I still don't know and this is the direction of my dirty-dusty practice.

12 Comments:

Blogger oxeye said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:53 PM  
Blogger Pierre Turlur said...

Dear Oxeye,

Thank you for your kind reply. You are right about my good old self, romantic, deluded, too much of this, not enough of that. Yes, I am a kind of broken bowl. I would like to add that the kesa ( Buddhist robe) is not something japanese and certainly not a prop, the bowl is not japanese, and Tosui's poem is just relevant here and now. I might also say that poetry is what comes closer to the real thing for it breaks the preconcieved ideas about reality ( give Shobogenzo a try). And japanese, in my limited experience, can be incredibly materialistic or idealistic.

And again, you are dead right, you'll see plenty of flowers in my eyes.

9:47 PM  
Blogger Jules said...

Pierre,
On Nishijima-sensei's blog, you wrote:

Jules, virtual whatever Matt and co,

It doesn't take more than one second to understand that your theory about action is as valuable as my pathetic and deluded practice. If you are put to the real test, what will be left of your highly intellectual and spiritual blablabla?

Your views are teenage views, often expressed in cheap and cool jokes. School chatter.Dharma with spots. Clones of the great Brad.

I like Jundo's voice because there is a weakness there, there is a truthful touch to his words. There is the shadow of the great doubt.

If we had any clear idea of our wrong our practice can be, we would be ashamed of expressing all these views.

Brad coined the expression : "Sit down and shut up!" And this is very direct, beautiful and valuable. May all of us practice this. I would add the following: "and allow".

You may say, I am wrong. And I clearly don't mind.

All these years of practice took me to a place whare all I can say is : I don't know.

You may guess that a bunch of preachers hidden behind modern rags and cool stuff don't fool me.

Sitting, sewing the kesa and shaving our heads. It also means be humble, mend our life which is in pieces, and cut our old habits, get rid of our obsolete views.

When we practice this, we stand a chance not to always speak bullshit.


I respond here because I am so very tired of seeing you and Mike filling up Nishijima-sensei's blog with confrontational flamewars and insults.

I did end my comment with the phrase, "That's my understanding, at least...?" in the hopes that someone would add some constructive criticism. Your insults don't make your criticism very easy to swallow.

You correctly point out that my 'theory' is not the moon. Very insightful. But is my 'theory' pointing at the moon, or is it pointing in the wrong direction? I don't know. I ask for constructive criticism. You don't even try to say whether it's pointing in the right direction, instead, you hurl insults and then talk about humility, and suggest that no teaching is worthwhile except just to sit.

The fact that Dogen, Nagarjuna, and others have written so eloquently and prolifically about the Buddha Dharma suggests that other teaching is useful besides just sitting, shaving heads, and sewing kesas.

Sure, anything said about Zen is intellectual blablabla bullshit, especially my 'theory', so you're absolutely right. But just sitting, shaving heads, and sewing kesas doesn't make for much of a blog.

You bring up shaving heads and wearing kesas a lot. Be careful you're not attached to the symbols of non-attachment.

11:28 AM  
Blogger oxeye said...

I wonder what Gudo Nishijima makes of these bizarre side issues. He just carries on trying to impart what he knows of Buddhism to us. He most likely dismisses most of what he reads as being stupid nonsense. I'm beginning to think blogging cannot be good for Buddhist practice. It seems like a good idea in the abstract but it stirs up the emotions and people get caught up in things they know nothing about. We read 10 inane comments for every one that has a little value. I will write about 10 inane comments for every one that makes just a little sense. But I keep hoping that my next post will be wonderful and that everyone will appreciate and nod in agreement with it’s wisdom. It is fucking embarrassingly stupid. And I should know better. As should you Pierre. I am coming to the end of my blogging days. It is too entertaining and too distracting.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

oxeye: ain't that the truth. i really need to find a real life sangha. no one would be saying half the stuff they say to eachother on these blogs face to face. its just ridiculous.

12:05 PM  
Blogger household goddess said...

Oxeye:
You are so right about this. yours is the first sensible post I've read for a long time! I end up wasting a ton load of time reading the 'next episode' in Brad Warner's blog, Nishijima's blog etc. and really I'd be better off doing half an hour of zazen instead. Reading blogs can be addictive - maybe they should come with (mental) health warnings. You've inspired me to knock it on the head, thanks!

1:48 PM  
Blogger Jules said...

Pierre,
Would it be wrong of me to assume you were writing with a sense of defending Mike's honor? I could understand that, except I wasn't one of the people who was arguing with him.

He seems like he's suffering, and I wish there was something I could do to help. But he won't listen, so there's nothing I can do. I've just been ignoring him for weeks now. When a kid sticks his hand in the fire and he gets burned, one expects that he will eventually stop sticking his hand in the fire. He says he's a fool for sticking his hand in the fire, but then he keeps doing it again and again. I don't know what he hopes to achieve. He finally takes a step back, seemingly taking a moment to think about where his pain is coming from. Then you step in, angrily berating the fire for causing your friend's pain... sigh.

2:11 PM  
Blogger Jules said...

Oxeye, Dan, HG:
I think blogs CAN be a great way for people to exchange ideas and communicate. Unfortunately, it really is easy to get wrapped up in arguments and confrontation, if people don't set aside their agendas, and make an effort to understand each other.

I believe it's really possible to have some wonderful conversations too. But you're right, it really can be a time-waster.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

I think that, sometimes, the frustration I experience with blogging arises from my not receiving the pat little answers I'd like to receive, answers that confirm what I would like to have confirmed. I'm looking for reality as I'd like it to be, not as it is.
I don't mean this in regard to the flaming that has been going on, because I find that counterproductive. I think it succeeds only in impeding the dharma (although some would argue, and quite convincingly, that it also promotes it, and I'd be inclined to agree).
Personally, I enjoy reading what everyone has to say. I weigh it and either retain it or cast it aside.
Still, I find it valuable to realize that there are other viewpoints besides mine, and that even those viewpoints with which I vehemently disagree can open up doors of understanding to other ways of seeing things.
The dharma, like compassion, doesn't always involve being polite.

4:28 PM  
Blogger MikeDoe said...

Pierre:
"Your views are teenage views, often expressed in cheap and cool jokes. School chatter.Dharma with spots. "

[I have contemplated on this for some time now]

I did not like the tone of what you wrote. My liking or not liking is unimportant.

What you said is true. However, it is also true of yourself.

There are lots of people including yourself behaving like a bunch of teenagers - teenagers in love.
When a teenager has their first love it is special. No-one else can possibly understand them. They now know more about love than anyone else. They want to share with everyone their new great love.

The teenager I see in both you and mike is the one that says "No-one loves me. Everyone hates me. I am just a useless pile of shit."

I am not going to even bother about the who is and is not enlightened debate. It again is like teenagers talking about sex. "I've done it six times, you haven't done it at all." Ultimately who gives a shit. It doesn't matter. It is really difficult to stress how much it does not matter.

On all the blogs that I monitor, and all the blogs that I post the one question I do not ask is "Is x enlightened?" The question I do ask is "Can I learn from X?" It does not matter whether or not I think that X is a compete and utter asshole. I am not looking for friends or to be liked. I am just looking.

I find yourself and MC hard work. Both of you speak the Dharma from time to time and show true understanding. Unfortunately, it is often buried under a huge pile of steaming brown shit (merde) that both you and mike seem to love to wallow in. I don't know whether it is the browness, the warmth or the smellyness but it does get in the way.

Where is the "nothing-special"? When there is "nothing-special" there is no need for talk.

1:46 AM  
Blogger Jules said...

"He abused me, he hurt me, he defeated me, he robbed me." In those who harbour such thoughts, hatred will not cease.

"He abused me, he hurt me, he defeated me, he robbed me." In those who do not harbour such thoughts, hatred will cease.

Hatred does not cease by hatred at any time. Hatred ceases by love. This is an old rule.

The world does not know we must all come to an end. For those who know it, their quarrels cease at once.

From Dhammapada, chapter 1

1:40 PM  
Blogger Michael Tait said...

Dear Pierre,

I have missed your presence in this muddy pool. My sincere hope is that you are well and managing to stay afloat.

Please would you translate the post in French which you've written. My French is good enough to know I'd like to read it but not good enough to actually do so.

7:56 AM  

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