Dogen Sangha Blog

  by Gudo NISHIJIMA

Japanese / German

Friday, April 3, 2009

Information

April 4th and 5th, I will go to Osaka for my lecture, and so it is impossible for me to send Dogen Sangha Blog for those two days.

14 Comments:

Blogger Harry said...

Dear Roshi,

I hope you are keeping well today.

How does the practice of Zazen effect us at what Freud described as the 'unconscious level'?

Regards,

Harry.

3:18 AM, April 16, 2009  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

Dear Hrry San,

Thank you very much for your question.

Sigmund Freud has found the existence of ANS in human body and mind. And the unconciousness of body and mind occurs when our ANS is balanced. Therefore by practicing Zazen, when we have entered into the balanced state of ANS, we can get the state of Action, in which we are just sittng by throwing away our consideration and perception in our regulated posture of Zazen.

12:16 PM, April 16, 2009  
Blogger Regina said...

Dear Nishijima Roshi,

I just listened to your talks which Markus Laitinen has recorded recently and published in his blog. In this episode about anger you recommended to just stop it, the anger.

I think unfortunately daily life provides us with lots of disturbances that keep us apart from the balanced state.

I'm looking forward to meeting you in September.

Best wishes
Regina

6:38 PM, April 16, 2009  
Blogger Harry said...

Thank-you Roshi,

In classic Freudian terms it is usually the conscious and pre-conscious levels which we are considered as being aware of.

Can we say that Zazen is a direct experience of, and expression of, the unconscious?

Regards,

Harry.

8:36 PM, April 16, 2009  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

Dear Regina San,

Thank you very much for your opinion about anger.

However thinking about our daily life, when we have finished making our ANS balanced, and if we continue the practice of Zazen without stopping, we can alway keep our autonomic nervous system balanced, and so it is impossible for us to lose the balanced state of the autonomic nervous system without fail.

The change of situation in ANS will usually occur by practice of Zazen for 3 months every morning and every night, and so I would like to ask you to practice Zazen every morning and evening without fail.

If it is very difficult for you to continue your everyday practice, it is not necessary for you to become sorry or angry, and if you will begin the practice of Zazen again just on the nextday of your failure, it can be sure for you to practise of daily Zazen, and after failures of continuing Zazen it is sure for you to be successful to continue the daily practice at last.

I expect to see you again in the September.

9:26 PM, April 16, 2009  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

Dear Harry San,

I think that in classic Freudian terms we can find usually consciousness, half- consciousness, and non-consciousness.

But it is completely impossible for us to say that Zazen is a direct experience of, the unconscious.

However the state of Zazen is just the perfect consciousness of body and mind themselves.

Therefore in the case of Zazen it is the perfect balance between SNS and PNS,
and so the state of Zazen is similar to the state of equality between SNS and PNS, and so the state of SNS/PNS seems to be as if it were plus/minus equal 0.

10:07 PM, April 16, 2009  
Blogger Al said...

Dear Roshi,

I was wondering if you could comment on breathing in zazen. It seems as though in most Buddhist traditions breathing is heavily stressed as a concentration device, while Dogen only vaguely mentions it.

What instructions do you give on breathing in zazen?

Regards,

Al

11:42 PM, April 16, 2009  
Blogger Harry said...

Dear Roshi,

Thank-you for this answer.

I was referring to Freud's 'iceberg model' of the psyche (i.e. the tip of the iceberg being the obvious 'conscious level', the 'preconscious' being material just below the conscious level which can be intentionally recalled, and the unconscious being that material well below 'surface' consciousness which may be difficult to access or retrieve.)

While it would merely be a matter of theory and relative explanations it might nevertheless be interesting to know how a Freudian psychoanalyst/therapist would interpret the 'zero' of the 'plus/minus= zero' equation because Freud's theories have had such a profound impact on how we have come to view ourselves as sentient beings.

The classic Freudian approach might generally be criticised by a humanist psychologist because the latter would likely emphasise free will and the human potential for positive change in individuals whereas the classic Freudian perspective might see all behaviors as determined by unconscious Id drives.

The humanist approach (Maslow, Rogers etc) seems theoretically closer to Buddhist action/practice as it allows for free will in the present moment available to the individual through his or her own actions.

One thing that seems clear to me about Zazen is that I become consciously aware of material that I would not have been aware of had I not practiced Zazen. I don't think this is the central matter of Zazen, it is just an observation.

Thanks & Regards,

Harry.

11:47 PM, April 16, 2009  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

Dear Al San,

My intruction of breathing in Zazen, as Master Dogen taught us that "the breathing air should go through the nostrils quietly."

The idealistic Buddhist explanation they insist the necessity of concentration, but what is the necessity of concentration.

The concentration usually suggests the strength of SNS, and so it does not indicate the balance between SNS and PNS.

Therefore I interprete that the strength of concentration is rather misleading the true situation of Zazen.

It was very natural that before 20 Century such kinds of misunderstandings existed.

But since the 21st Centuries such a kind of anti-scientific interpretation can not be permisible.


Dear Harry San,

I think that the Freudian metaphor of "iceberg model" is nice method, but under the surface of water it might be the area of unconsciousness. Therefore I think that the area of unconsciousnes should be considered as the problem of ANS, SNS, and PNS.

Therefore I think that in the metaphor of ice the area under the surface of the water is directly indicating the area of ANS, and so it does not have a direct relation with matter.

But I do not agree with Freudian idea of Id. The function of ANS is always related with both SNS and PNS, therefore I think that all kinds of human problems should be considered on the balance between SNS and PNS.

I think that the problem between Human Freedom and The Rule of Cause and Effect has been a very famous Enigma since the Ancient Greco-Roman Civilization, and so I have explained Gautama Buddha's solution of the problem in my answer, which I have explained in this Dogen Sangha Blog for Sylvie San, April 03, 2009. Therefore if you check such a kind of explanation, I will feel very happy.

Therefore I think that it is completely impossible for me to think that to practice Zazen is to become consciously aware of material, but Zazen is just Action, which is always done at the present moment.

1:56 PM, April 17, 2009  
Blogger Harry said...

Dear Roshi,

Thank you for your interesting reply.

I agree that the classic Id theory seems incorrect, it seems too static and therefore unrealistic.

The theory of ANS/SNS/PNS does seem to explain a real truth of the practice of Zazen. At the same time I cannot deny my experience of 'remembering' and becoming aware of mental things during Zazen (very old memories, realising certain habitual patterns of thinking etc). While I do not consider this an essential aspect of zazen, and do not think it is something to pursue or consciously initiate, still it just happens to me.

I fully agree that Zazen is really action in the present moment. It seems to me though that our unintentional arising thoughts can become free and untangled through this real action and that this experience is meaningful.

Regards,

Harry.

8:09 PM, April 17, 2009  
Blogger Regina said...

Dear Nishijima Roshi,

Thank you for your explanations in detail. Can we say that without this praxis of zazen we tend to get self-centered and with our daily sitting we stay in the balanced state and are openminded to all the occurences of daily life? Then we can experience true sympathy and equanimity.

Best wishes
Regina

5:30 AM, April 18, 2009  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

Dear Harry San,

I agree your opinion that Id theory is incorrect and unrealistic.

Even in Zazen when SNS is stronger, when PNS is stronger, and when ANS balanced, our mind and body manifest themselve, spiritual, physical, or balanced.

Therefore even in Zazen, sometimes we are thinking, sometimes we are perceiving, and sometimes we are in the balamced state. Therefore we should think that even in the practice of Zazen, sometimes we are thinking, sometimes we are perceiving, and sometimes we are practicing Zazen.

And so I think that even though just in Zazen we are sometimes thinking, sometimes perceiving, and sometimes we are practicing Zazen.

Therefore if we notice that we are just thinking, we should stop thinking, or if we notice that we are perceiving, we should stop perception.


Dear Regina San,

Therefore we have to think that we are sometimes thinking something, we are sometimes perceiving something, and we are sometimes keeping our ANS balanced.

So we need always to get balanced ANS for keeping our SNS and PNS balanced.

9:51 PM, April 20, 2009  
Blogger Harry said...

Dear Roshi,

Thank-you very much for this useful explanation.

Regards,

Harry.

12:23 AM, April 21, 2009  
Blogger Sylvie said...

Dear Roshi,
Iv’e begun to read through your blog from the very beginning and came upon a passage where you express your good fortune for living in the 20th & 21st century because of the scientific discovery of ANS.
I humbly wish to express my own gratitude for living in this time which enabled me to discover Buddhism through Eric Rommeluère last year and then by recently taking refuge I discovered his lineage which you represent with the many other masters of the past.
With awe and reverence, I hope to follow your and their example as best as I can,
May you keep in good health,
best wishes
Sylvie

6:56 PM, April 21, 2009  

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