Thursday, 5 June 2008


If comments received on the previous post are representative of who is reading my blog, I would like to give up. In so doing, I shall state my conclusion, as follows:

When a person who has unreliable sensory appreciation (centred on vestibular dysfunction) goes directly for an end in view, this grasping or "endgaining" attitude brings into play that person's habitual manner of misusing himself, so that unintended and undesirable consequences are bound to result as a side-effect of the person's end-gaining, and the person in question will invariably find, sooner or later, that he has fallen out of the groove (if he ever was in it in the first place).

Quad Erat Demonstrandum


Plato said...

Hi Mike!
Your posts are great, they bring light in to our ignorance, in our delusions. They try to clarify the essential, without any worries about personal image! For me the Shobogenzo was always impenetrable, with your help it makes more sense! Here is a question I have though!
What does master Dogen mean with this?

"...any instance of thinking into the no thinking zone invariably makes use of non-thinking"

I thought you said that thinking in to the no-thinking zone is a bridge to non-thinking, but here master Dogen says, I think, that we use non-thinking to think in to the zone of no thinking.

I hope the question makes some sense!

Take care!


Jordan said...

I think that someone once said something like this; when what we want is different than what is, this can cause suffering.

Mike, I am so sorry things are not like you want them to be.
Suck it up, be a man, and quit your whining you silly git.

Take good care of yourself,

Mike Cross said...

What Marjory taught me is this:

When the desire to respond to a stimulus to gain an end comes back into awareness, say: NO!

It is not saying NO! to the stimulus. It is saying NO! to the end-gaining reaction, associated with falling out of the groove.

What we want, in order to cross over all living beings first, is to get and stay in the groove. We want ease. We want flow We want undoing. We want release. We want the neck to be free, to let the head release out, to let the spine release into length and the back to widen, and to let arms and legs out of the back.

After a while working like this, Marjory sometimes used to say: "That's it. That's what we want. The whole body informed with thought."

Mike Cross said...

To give it to you straight, Jordan, I have absolutely had it with tangling with time-wasting Zen dabblers -- like Harry, Gniz, Mike H... and I might even add Pierre Turlur who, in spite of my effort to wake him up to the unreliability of his own feelings, still thinks he might be one whose own French ear is true.

My interest is in people who I sense have the potential to lead others in sitting-zen -- people like you. So why don't you get your straight-laced, fundamentalist southern gentleman, US marine arse over here to France for a week or two, right this summer. If you want to bring your wife and kid with you, that's OK -- there is a caravan here for you.

I practise what I preach, which is nothing but the lifeblood. And I preach what I practise, which is nothing but the lifeblood. In a world of Zen hypocrites, I have been continuing just to practise what I preach, and just continuing to preach what I practise -- not compassion, not precepts, not acting as buddha, not polite arse-licking of a Buddhist patriarch, not any fucking other thing. Just full lotus sitting with body, with mind, and as body and mind dropping off. That is my teaching for you. If you want it, come and get it.

As you rightly suggest, it is time to piss or get off the pot.

Pierre Turlur said...

I appreciate your efforts, but really, what s the point? Add me to your list if you wish. Who is relying on disturbed feelings? Who is chewing endlessly the dear betrayal of his girlfriend and teacher? Who is addicted to pain and going from one extreme to the other, from sorry to go and F yourself. Who is posing as mister wrong who is right for he knows he is wrong? BLablabla...Sure, I rather belong to this list if you wish. For the moment, enjoy the ride, the hellish visions and bitterness. When you want to know what true music is about, just be quiet for a while and give up swearing, it sometimes gets in the way.

When you wake up, come and see me, let s sit and simply be. We have never ceased to do that, and it will never cease. Ceaseless practice of just being. Your flaws and mine, just masks and mirrors. What lives beyond, beyond the other shore, in the being-time of now, is not judgmental.

When we wake up from the dream, when we both wake up, let s just sit and be joyful.

Mike Cross said...

You say you appreciate my efforts, Pierre, but my perception is precisely that you do not appreciate my efforts.

Jordan said...

Harry, Gniz, Mike H, and even Pierre Turlur may be some good indicators of how you are being perceived. Mirrors, if you will.
As to me I am making efforts on a smaller scale. Some hippies say think globally, act locally. That seems to be best for me at the moment. The internet is only so good and has some serious limitations. In fact, I am not even from the south; I grew up in a suburb of Chicago in America’s heartland. As to coming to France, I think not. There are three things that might bring me there:

1. Orders from Headquarters Marine Corps to serve with the embassy or orders Marine Forces Europe.
2. To fight the next land war in Europe and ensure the looser has to keep France as penance.
3. Too show my wife once and for all that how she imagines Paris to be and how Paris actually is differs radically. That is a delusion I would particularly enjoy smashing.

Humor aside I do appreciate the invitation. However, my summer leave plan is taking me to the great state of Texas to spend time with my pensioning parents, visit the ranch and teach the girls how to ride ponies, count chickens and fend off fire ants.

I have little doubt you practice what you preach. I have had the pleasure of learning a bit of what you preach here by way of a music teacher, I am particularly appreciative of what he has shown me in regards to allowing the neck to be free. And I must say he also has keen ears. And while this teacher is schooled in Sitting Zen and Alexander Technique, we have never spoken about either of them. I thought that was particularly compassionate.

So I will piss, and then move along, thank you very much.
So sorry to be yet another in a long list of disappointments for you.

All the best,

Will said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Cross said...

About non-thinking, to Plato:

I deeply appreciate your sincere efforts to clarify what non-thinking is. Even though you and I have not understood yet what non-thinking is, I appreciate your sincere efforts to clarify it, for self and for others. Your struggle is my struggle. We are not separate from each other. We are together, at the beginning of a wonderful adventure of clarification.

To my so-called Dharma-heir Pierre:

Even though you give the impression in public of having understood, I clearly know in private that you have not understood at all. You have reverted to your former role of acting Buddhist -- just like James Cohen. You were led to Japan not by your desire to clarify what Sitting is, but by another kind of desire altogether. In that case, how is there any chance of you clarifying what Sitting is? You are an expert on sitting down and sewing the kesa. But have you glimpsed Sitting itself, even for one moment, even in a dream? No, you only know your own Buddhist habits, just like all the so-called Japanese Zen Masters of the past 750 years. Do not think that you have deceived me, even for a minute.

Mike Cross said...

All the best, Jordan. Sounds like the means are already available for you to pass water. Must be the effect of accumulating good karma through your service of others. Glad to know that you are in safe hands.

gniz said...

Like teacher like student, I guess.
Gudo dismissed you because you didnt see things his way, wanted him to take other views into consideration (such as AT), and you dismiss people like me and Mike and Pierre because we dont agree with you.

So now you'll go hide your head in the sand, just like your teacher does.

Mike Cross said...

Through the work of translating Shobogenzo into English, I was shown what to seek: clarity in regard to what Sitting is.

People who, through desire for self-gratification, have become knowers, not seekers, I totally dismiss and disown. They are my enemies -- even if they transmitted the Dharma to me, even if I transmitted the Dharma to them.

I belong with other seekers of clarity. My blogging effort has brought one such person to me. So it has all been worth it. Je ne regret rien.

Jules said...

Hi Mike.
On a whim I thought I'd see what's been happening with you over the past two years. I feel like I've been transported back in time; nothing has changed. Good luck to you.


Mike Cross said...

As FM Alexander said, "The most difficult things to get rid of are the ones that don't exist."

Aircraft fly low overhead, and something seems not to like it. Something seems to react. Something seems to make the joints tighten, to close, to contract. But, no, it is not that. That there is something is not it. The so-called something that seems to take the aircraft noise as a personal affront, might be not a thing but a tendency, an endgaining tendency on a very deep level -- deep, deep non-detachment. And at the same time, deep vestibular dysfunction.

When I express the desire to clarify what Sitting is, that is only me, a man of deeply unreliable sensory appreciation, expressing a habitual delusion. Sitting is not subject to clarification. Whatever I think or say Sitting is, it is always not that.

"Not that!" Should we call it non-thinking. Or should we call it anti-thinking?

Again and again and again, not that. That something changes, is not it. Weeds grow and flowers die. In the face of that, hands in sitting-zen can truly express nothing but helplessness.

Thus, although it is not that something changes, little by little it becomes clearer what Sitting IS NOT, and a real desire to communicate that clarity is born. But to say that it is born, again, is not it.

What Master Dogen allowed to emerge in the words of his mother tongue I have been allowing to emerge, for better or worse, in the words of my mother tongue. If my translation work has become more real, more spontaneous, less concerned with authenticity, more careless, it is not that something changed. That something changes, is not it. That nothing changes, also, is not it.

oxeye said...

Hi Mike, If you have decided to end this, and I hope you do not, don't blame your regular readers and their comments for the decision.

Communication never seems to go as expected, but thanks for trying to help out. It worked without a doubt. Maybe not exactly as you anticipated. But the problem was in the anticipation, not the effort. The effort meant everything.

Mike Cross said...

Hi Oxeye,

When I look back on my blogging efforts, I think I started off with the idea of finding a middle way through my differences with Gudo -- hence blog no. 1, The Middle Way. Then it became clear to me that my idea of such a middle way had only been an idea, without basis in fact. Disappointed and shaken, I retreated into the security of Fukan-zazengi, and its teaching of the backward step -- hence blog no.2, Fukan-zazengi. Out of the backward step, I found some kind of courage to recognize that my end-gaining had and does lead me astray, the courage to really "look the bugger in the eye" -- hence this blog no.3, Errata. And out of this blog I recovered the will, after a dislocation of more than 10 years, to get back into translation work. Hence blog no.4, Treasury of the Eye of True Siting, which evolved into Mining Ashvaghosha's Gold.

With the previous three blogs there was a constant sense of being unsure where I stood, largely because of difficulties in my relationship with Gudo. But in Mining Ashvaghosha's Gold, I have much more of a calm and clear sense of where I am going.

Having more of a sense now of being sure of who I am serving, I hope that I am gradually becoming better able to deal with comments in a less reactive, more intelligent and compassionate way.... very gradually!

All the best,


daniel said...

It's a very late night at the office trying to finish some work (2:32am). Procrastination has brought me here. There is an honesty I sense, you sound like you put your neck out, Mike, but is there really a sense in it, in this virtual world? I hope to be able to visit you and Chie in Aylesbury one day, but it's quite a hike from Melbourne, so it may take a year or two. There is so much more that transpires when people actually meet than this exchange of projections that seems to inevitably end up as crossed lines, knots and tangles. Still even in the midst of all that honesty does shine through, perhaps. Be well!