Lore: A tasteless guava is still a guava
——– Sharing on the 2-day retreat (2R6) from Oct. 4th to 5th, 2014
This is my third retreat. On the ride of my classmates’ at Friday night, I said, “this is the first time I feel the things we are going to do is totally insane and unreasonable.” It seems that “nervous” is not enough to describe my anxiety, “absurd” is more proper.
Being the last one to enter the meditation hall on 10/4, I found all my classmates had already started their meditation when I stepped into the room. I was very nervous. I asked myself ” This is no-self, too! What is no-self?” However, the doubt feeling didn’t become stronger because of this dramatic situation. Before this retreat, my symptom of “no feeling” had lasted for a while. Upon thinking of that I have to immerse in “no feeling” for two days and even I sense of nothing I still have to continue, I just wanted to run away though I knew running away is useless. So I decided to ask my teacher for answers, and to see if there is any other way. Linda said “You just don’t know what no self is whether you feel profound doubt or nothing. So no matter how bored you are, you just keep on asking. Then maybe things would be different, but no guarantee. Whether interesting or boring, you must face yourself. A tasteless guava is still a guava.”
So I kept chewing tasteless guava. I chewed when I was awake, and when I was asleep, simply because there is nothing else. I felt it’s like walking in an infinite desert, and there I only have two choices, one is keep moving, another, wait to dry out and die. Complain about the dull scenery is useless, and I only have tasteless guava to eat. It is crazily weird like walking at end of the world! The whole morning was mostly composed by such a plain and tasteless plate, no any side dishes. Sometimes I fell asleep and then woke up and continued.
After lunch, we weeded the grass in the forecourt. I knew I should keep asking my question when I was weeding, but my focus shifted from one thing to another from time to time. I couldn’t focus on my physical movements when I was weeding. I discovered this but didn’t continue to face myself when this happening. The first session in the afternoon, drowsiness came again. Sometimes I was half asleep, sometimes I not only slept but also dreamed a lot. I also asked, ” What is no-self?” However, these questions were just some weightless sentences and blew away by my drowsiness in a couple of seconds right after I asked the question. The following sessions of the day I went back to chew tasteless guava. It is still very boring, but I could continually work on my dull duty more.
When I woke up on 10/5, I saw the daylight penetrating from window. So I freshened up and went down the stairs directly. I was very surprised that I was the first student to enter the meditation hall. Last night before we went to sleep, our teacher reminded us to start meditation right after having some water when we woke up in the second morning. I followed her instructions but felt this session a little bit long. After breakfast, we were allowed to do some exercises on a sloping grass filed nearby. Before the second session started, our teacher compared the determination of Zen practice to the spirit of revolution, and questioned us what we are willing to pay for the answer of our true nature. “Everything!” The word emerged from my mind immediately, and a shiver racked me at the same time. But I knew I only “say it” intellectually and logically without any decisive mindset, for a moment ago I just followed my habits and played around on the grass field. After that session, Linda asked me about my practice. I replied, “I was in a tug of war.” At the end of the talk, she instructed me to sit continually without taking break for the following two sessions. Linda told me that I had already sat for 103 minutes in the first session in the morning to convince me that I can sit. I finally knew how long I sat in the morning until this moment.
I won’t consider sitting for two consecutive sessions if I have any options. However, I was told I must implement; I have no way out, so I sat for 2 consecutive sessions. In the first part of it, everything was under my control, I was very competent. But the second half was totally different, I could not even sustain in the later part. I was crushed by the pressure that I was not aware at all. My legs hurt; my body was stiff, I couldn’t help but struggle all the way. I felt I was going to decompose! At last minutes, I even used my hands to push the ground in order to support my body, and my head rolled down. But Linda immediately moved my head back and pulled my hands up from the ground and put them back. Though the bell rang just seconds later, I had fallen apart. This proved I didn’t face the challenge, and my “gong-fu”, my meditative level, was so poor. When the real pain was back, the fact revealed.
Before the last session started, I thought “maybe this is again a twin session”, but what would it matter? All I should do is doubt with all my strength, everything! Otherwise, how can I do? In the beginning, I fell drowsy for a while. I asked “what is no-self?” and “this is the perfect revelation of my true nature? What is my true nature” even when I fell drowsy. Again, I pushed and pulled, but then I really felt that I don’t know, and I want to know. I tried to face myself truthfully, and then the focus gathered up onto the question/doubt, even the pain couldn’t affect me. The doubt continued until the last bell rang. Until this moment, I realized it’s different when I doubt with all my strength! Now I finally get to know why the teacher always emphasizes and asks us to doubt, to investigate our true nature, like a “real man”. ****check more Students’ Sharing****