Jeremy Yo: My entire body from top down and inside out was doubting
——– Sharing on the 2-day retreat (2R6) from Oct. 4th to 5th, 2014
Perhaps because this is my third retreat, I was not that nervous like before. I wrote Zen diary every day since one week before the retreat, and Linda said that I was preparing myself for it. Yes, maybe, work hard and probably gain more. Even gain nothing, I would get through smoothly, at least, I would not be as miserable as I was before.
For me, the most scaring thing is leg pain but as anticipated, I did not feel unendurable when I completed the sitting session in Friday evening and the first session on Saturday morning. I still felt pain, but at least I could ask and I could investigate Zen. Whether it was because my body was getting accommodated to the sitting posture or my mind was getting concentrated, I had no problem to pass through the test of sitting. But it would be passive if we only think things in this way.
In the following sessions, Linda shortened the time length of session break, and we were only allowed to change legs and go to the loo. Of course, the loading was increased, also the drowsiness, distraction, and leg pain, but I still concentrated on “what is no self?” I was not losing my focus, though I doubt was fragmented. In one session, Linda reminded us to relax and feel no pressure to doubt. I followed her instructions and even found that I could doubt “without using my mind”, like we were taught in class “when you are using your mind, you have no mind to use”. It really felt not bad when “don’t know anything” became the only thing left.
In Sunday morning, Linda told me I was not allowed to take any break in the following two sessions. At that time, I was so no naïve, thinking ““well, just not allowed to change legs.” I acted recklessly and replied, “Yes. I got it.“ In the first part, it was okay, just like prior sessions. Onto the second part, my gosh, it would be nothing if you feel your legs is pain to blow up! Until now I still do not get it, I do not know what exactly happen to me. I mean isn’t that I was just sitting there to investigate Zen, how come I could be so exhausted. The thing is, my neck could not support my head, so my head was just hanging there swinging back and forth. My waist could not support my upper body, so my upper part was totally out of control leaning right to left, and left to right. My entire person was totally broken down. I seemed heard Linda’s shouting about “be brave and face it” or sort of things, hey, I was in such a miserable situation, how could I be brave, and face what? Then, Linda used her Zen stick to press against my back. Like a drowning man grabbing on a flat board, I laid the whole weight of my upper body on the stick. Wow, it was so comfortable! Of course, this cheeky trick was found immediately; Linda withdrew the stick right away and seemed shouting “on your own, not relying others” or so, and that was so unrelenting. So my head continued hanging there and swinging, my body, leaning. I would fail myself if I did not ask “what is no self?” right at this miserable situation. Although I did not have profound doubt feeling, I just kept on, “how is it possible that this broken body no self? Whom to lie? This broken one is in fulfillment? Same to the Buddha? I don’t buy it! “Finally the wonderful end-up bell rang. I was saved. I laid down my body horizontally, care not whether embarrassing or to be blamed. So good to be alive!
This paragraph is an add-on, quite interesting. My sharing was rejected and returned. Linda said my last paragraph was just “written for fun” and it didn’t count. I was required to describe my experiences in detail. All I can say is my gosh! Is this a typical teaching of Zen school, not establishing any doctrines and theories? Is this a Gong-an? (Ch: Gong-an, Jp: Koan, a dialog between teacher and student to inspire the student to find out the true nature) She just pushed me to breakdown and then asked me to tell, to share what I got. What could I say? Should I say that Jeremy Yo got enlightened right at the moment when he heard it? What a shame that I did not. I sat in front of my laptop for a long, long, time before I put myself together, and found it is very difficult to describe my experience specifically. It seemed like I was settled; along with an exhausted body, all my wandering thoughts fell down. On the appearance, I suffered a breakdown but in my mind I was very clear. Clear about what? I could not really tell, just felt very strange, weird, like something always there bothering me. I needed no language to ask any questions; instead, my entire body from top down and inside out was doubting “how is it possible? What is it?” The whole world was so quiet. Did this “don’t know” become the only thing left? Not quite. I still have wondering thoughts but very, very, few, like imagining it would be even better to lay on a bed in an ambulance rather than sit on my cushion. But the thought just flashed in and out, and I just knew it came over and went away, nothing more than this. I was totally bothered by “how is it possible? What is it?” a thought is a thought, why bother to deal with it?
Here came the last session. The prior session was such a shock, and reminded me the lines I had read before, something like the body is composed by four elements, but we take it faultily as ‘Mine’. Does it mean this? Well, it does not matter anyway; I was more like to know what no self is, so I kept on asking. Although I was in half sleep and found it was so wonderful to be drowsy, in the later part my doubt returned in its fragmented forms when I resumed my energy from the rest. And that’s the end of the 2-day retreat. I am curious about what would happen if the retreat continues for more days. But forget it, I dare not to imagine. Just leave it to the future. **** check more Students’ Sharing ****