Jeremy Yo: I asked the question and ran far far away from it
—- Sharing on the 3-day retreat (3R4), 2015/06/13 ~ 15
To prepare for this retreat, I worked so hard. I waked up at 4:30 AM, sat for 80 minutes, and wrote Zen diary every day. I practiced doubting meditation whether on or off the cushion. I fused my doubting meditation with my daily life. I was so confident that I thought I would be fine this time; I would have a breakthrough this time.
A couple of days before the retreat, teacher Linda asked me whether I believed I could know the answer of no self. I felt I was lacked confidence upon hearing that. Before the sitting sessions started, teacher Linda asked me the same question again, and she continued, “Do you believe that everyone could know the answer of no self?” I was even less confident at that point. However, I did not have time to think about that question because a serious of intensive training was about to begin. A warrior should go to the battlefield when the time comes, otherwise where to go?
I thought I did work hard from Friday evening to Sunday morning. I worked so hard to manipulate the meditation method. But teacher Linda kept shouting “Continue! Continue!” and stabbing me with her Zen stick again and again, harder and harder. Most of the time, the stabbing is a sign to show students of incorrect meditation. I was confused and felt angry, thinking “So annoying! I am asking the doubting question. How can I be wrong?” Until teacher Linda blamed me after that session, I found my problem was “waiting for enlightenment”, asking the question and waiting for the answer falling from the heaven. Would there be such a good thing in this world? Of course not! But the question was how should I do? Between two phrases of “what is no self?” how long should I wait? How short the interval should be that I would not become “waiting for enlightenment”? I was so stupid to make a decision that I should ask the question one after another intensively, not stopped and waited there.
So from Sunday morning to Monday morning, I asked the question “what is no self?” intensively. I asked as intensively as possible, and I continued until I felt my body twisted. It was so intensive that I was totally overwhelmed but still I asked “what is no self?” Certainly I was blamed again. Linda said that I was not even reaching the basic concentration level and asked me what I did during sitting session. Naively and fragilely, I answered that I was asking the doubting question. Teacher Linda replied coldly, “You just pursue the true nature outside of your nature.” I yelled in my mind, “Ah…I got an electric shock. I was finished.” Then I had a second thought, “No way. I still have one morning and one afternoon. I need to correct my practice.”
I tried every effort to correct my practice from Monday morning to the end of the retreat. I tried to be more simple and concentrated, but the fact was I came near a breakdown that I could not really ask the doubt question. I asked the question and ran away from it, very very far away. When teacher Linda told me that I was correct in the beginning but incorrect at the end of the session, I just felt confused. After the retreat, I reviewed my practice and I still did not get a clue. Was it like Linda said that I drew perfect and invisible limitation lines, one after another, to prevent myself from 100% engagement? Did I reserve myself? Did I save my energy? Or did I doubt skittishly like Linda said? I did not have any idea. The only thing I knew was it is I who can save myself. The teacher didn’t say much but left me with the slogans of Nike, the sports brand, “Just do it!” and “All in or nothing!” What does it mean? This is what I need to work on. **** Check for more Students’ Sharing ****