24.12.07

Song Of Freedom Breakdown, lines 46-48





Birth and death follow each other ceaselessly. Awaken directly to Unborn Reality

and be free from joy about fame or sorrow over loss.


Stay in hermitages in mountains and valleys amongst the pines.



The first line here I think I have talked about a lot already,

The second line “be Free!” from joy and sorrow, I think it is very important to point out that the goal of practice is not to be detached any more than it is to become attached. We talk a lot about non-attachment and I think a lot about cessation but at the same time the goal is not to be some Zen Zombie. It is not realistic. But just don’t cling to the emotions. When you feel joy feel it, but get over it too. If you are craving joy than you are suffering. Same goes for sorrow or depression, there are times to be sad, just get over it and don’t be attached to it, let it fall off of you like sand in the shower, wash it away and purify your mind often.

The third in this set makes me wistful, a small fantasy of mine is to drop secular life altogether and live as a hermit, but what good would that do?



I welcome comments, but I may integrate them into the commentary.

I hope that my efforts are helpful in clearing my own delusion as well as that of others, I recognise that I set myself up as a kind of teacher here in this commentary, I am not your zen master, you are!
Jordan

Acknowledgments

5 comments:

Yamakoa said...

Jordan,
Just wanted to wish you and your family "una feliz navidad (Merry xmas)."
Hopefully you haven't been too naughty and good ole St. Nick will stuff your stockings with Shobogenzo and Blue Cliff Records instead of coal or in my case neck ties ad nauseum.

Jordan said...

Yamakoa,
Thank you very much, and happy holidays to you as well. I drew a picture for you (and the rest of the universe) in the next post.

Take care,
Jordan

Will said...

Jordan, thanks for the opportunity to study these lines.

Birth and death follow each other ceaselessly.

Yes indeed. Aitken Roshi translates this line as "Many births, many deaths; I am serene in this cycle, -- there is no end to it."

To reach this serenity, be free from joy about fame or sorrow over loss.

I recently heard a talk by Kusla, a Korean Zen monastic living in LA, say "Death is my co-pilot." He saw death as a motivating factor in his everyday life. It reminded him to stay up a little later and get out of bed a little earlier and to follow his heart. I find this good advice.

Stay in hermitages in mountains and valleys amongst the pines.

This does sound so spiritually romantic or nostalgic. My practice is to live in my community. In a way, I can sometimes move through my community as if I was resting in "my hermitage". When I imagine my state of being staying in hermitages in mountains and valleys amongst the pines, I sense a pervasive peace as presence of awareness focused on the moment. I try to carry this feeling with me into the world.

We don't have to wait till we reside in some remote hermitage, we can practice that way now.

My disposition is geared to being a hermit. This is a trap I have to watch for. We have to be careful about spiritual materialism or spiritual anti-materialism, which is the other sided of the same coin.

My knowledge is less than perfect. I look forward to being straightened out by my friends.

oxeye said...

"I think it is very important to point out that the goal of practice is not to be detached any more than it is to become attached."

you are right jordan.. attachments become more obvious I think. but detachment is also a means of protection. when you are detached your ego is safe.

Jordan said...

Will, Jeff, thanks for your comments.

Take care,
Jordan

Thanks for looking!