Lore: I was filled up with the “I-ness” but without any sincerity to face it
——– Sharing on the 2-day retreat (2R5) from June 14th to 15th, 2014
The None Zen Center’s first two-day retreat at Yangmingshan finally ended up, whooo!
I encountered many unexpected difficulties, so to me, this time, it was eventually a big challenge. ompared to my classmates, before the formal beginning, my retreat had already started without notice.
I am not that kind of persons who likes to be a leader. I would not volunteer nor fight for, and prefer not to take responsibility. But when there is a time that things come to you, the thing you should do is complete it; this is your only and indispensable option, and this is not up to your likes or dislikes. Before this retreat, there were some unexpected things happened, so I needed to plan, adjust, manage, and handle most of preparatory things for the retreat. I did not have the mindset of doing my best, but continued my possession that I had done all I was supposed to do. I was filled up with the “I-ness” but without any sincerity to face it. Consequently, I was scolded by my teacher for many times. Of course it was uncomfortable when being scolded, but I knew it was because “my wall” has been hit again.
It is a wall named “Reservation”. With this wall, I block out things that may end up with the result that I dislike, and things that sound to me are not necessary. I add on my likes and dislikes, emotions, recognitions, positions, and notions to decorate the wall, and make the wall look more glamorous and real. It was the most important protection and security facility of my personal, private and tiny prison. Being for so long in this prison, I get used to the limitation and feel extremely hesitant and panic to erase the virtual boundary lining between the inner and outer world of the prison. But I have no option anymore unless I quit my Zen practice; this is totally out of my consideration.
Therefore, all I can do is to face myself. During the two days I spent a lot of effort to ask myself: “I already learned that the point is not my likes, dislikes, nor my position, what is my true nature? I always grab on this or that excuses, cling on this or that, what on earth is no self? With reason or not, I sometimes feel happy, sometimes dissatisfied, so what is no self? So what on earth is no self? “
Most of the time, I could focus on my doubt and keep on doubting, knowing what happened around me and what happened inside of my mind simultaneously. Sometimes I could even focus on one point (doubt) only, and even needed not to ask questions so the frequency of asking questions was reduced to very low. (This situation often emerged in the later part of a section when my doubt became stronger.) Sometimes, I hardly felt my doubt or could not doubt at all. For both two days, in the first session after lunch, I felt drowsy and almost fell asleep for half of the session. The most helpless thing was my left leg became numb in the afternoon of June the fourteenth. I could not feel anything below my left calf and it lasted overnight until the noon of June the fifteenth. I worried about this but my practice was not affected; my doubt was more important after all. (I should ask the insurance company if I could claim for the payment on this, haha…)
I could not doubt at all after the second session in the morning on July the fifteenth. During the session break, I went to ask my teacher how to deal with it. My teacher answered, “If you cannot doubt, you just cannot doubt. But you must be aware that ‘I ‘ cannot doubt, ‘I’get bored, ‘I’ want to end this, ‘I’am worry about what if I cannot get progress in these two days. You must be aware and admit that ‘I’am always there. It is so obviously that I am always there, how come there is no self? What is no self? You do not need to ask the whole questions, but you need to start your first step to be aware of “I”. Once you are aware of “I”, you would begin to generate doubt. “ I practiced accordingly and found it worked! I could apply the method to doubt. Simply being aware of “I” was good enough to generate doubt. When I continued to be aware of “I”, I could continue to doubt. Even asking question became redundant because I had no time to ask questions. “
For me, to face myself is not an easy, nor a comfortable thing, and it requires me to conquer my endless fear and anxiety. But to tell the truth, there was nothing horrible happened to me when every time I made up my mind to stay on the ground with eyes wildly open and even go deeper (into my Zen practice). My teacher said that when you see through yourself, you see through the entire would. I am not there yet. I still have fear but finally with the faith and confidence to move on. ****check more Students’ Sharing****