Lore: The idea “This is my business” showed up to push myself go further
—- Sharing on 3-day retreat (3R2), 2014/12/13 ~ 15
The last retreat of 2014 was a three-day retreat, but I could only attend for 2 days. Though it is a pity that I could not complete the entire program, when leaving earlier than other classmates on Sunday evening, I was extremely excited.
On both mornings of Dec. 13 and 14, strangely I got up very early. It was not because of any problem with the bedroom or the bed, but something hanging in my mind made me couldn’t sleep well. That something was so strange and made me feel everything went wrong, but I didn’t know what it is. When the last session ended up on Dec 13, I made a decision keenly that I won’t get up the next morning until I hear the knocking on the door! But again I awoke before 5 AM on Dec. 14. Since I had already woken up, I had no other way but went down the stairs and started my practice.
From the evening of Dec. 12, I practiced concentrating on the question “Is this me no-self? “ I focused on “I don’t know what no-self is but I really want to know it, because this is my business.” It is ridiculous that until I was aware everyone gets the limitation of his lifespan, and I do not have much time left to find out my true nature, I really started to feel the pressure. Before the retreat, my teacher said, “What is your problem of meditation? Every problem is the problem of your mind! The point is you have to take it as your own business!” I finally made up my mind to take the responsibility on my own and ask the question ” What on earth is no-self?” from the bottom of my heart no matter what happens. I think just work on it is not enough. (Just work on it for whom? And even this is no-self, too?! What is no self?) However, things went out of my expectation. The result of my procrastination and also the first truth came to my face was—- the question I thought I asked really earnestly actually does not matter in my mind. I am not anything closer to what I think I am! Suddenly I felt strong panic, but at the same time I still asked “This is no-self, too? What is no self?” I was so confused. I had to admit I really don’t know anything. Everything was covered under and draw into the “I don’t know”, nothing exceptional.
Because my entire world turned into chaos, and I didn’t know how to deal with it, I went to Linda for solution. However, suddenly I couldn’t speak a word. Words and phrases stuck in my throat, but I couldn’t make them into rational sentences. Linda said, “How come the doubt could be tasteless? Now it brings you so many flavors. Only practicing in this way, you are facing yourself. No matter you like ‘you’ or not, accept ‘you’ or not, they are all ‘you’. All of them are you, how come they are all no-self? This is the most difficult part of Zen practice; you must face every one of them, every and each you.”
The following sessions consisted of three main factors: all kinds of indescribable chaos, falling asleep and fighting with my leg pain. In short, there was nothing wonderful; in fact, all were annoying!
During the break before the last session in the evening of Dec. 13, my teacher exhorted me, “You must keep facing yourself. Keep asking ‘what is no-self?’ from the bottom of your heart. Just doubt on your frustration, because this is your real feeling now!” I undertook it silently. But things changed the next day. The feeling of “I don’t know” became not as strong as the day before, but I did not catch up with the change. I thought the same intensive feeling of doubt should be remained. I tried hard to generate my doubt, I looked for strong feeling, but in my mind I wished I don’t have to undertake the same intensity of torment. I let these thought flee away but didn’t aware “these are all me”, nor doubted on them. Drowsiness and blank came more often. Sometimes I did ask the question “what is no-self?”, but I know many of them were blank cartridges; they are hollow questions. Later in a break period, I was called to see my teacher again. Linda said, “Where’s your insistence? You should have always continued. Always continue to face yourself!”
I had no choice but to apply the method and ask the question again. I asked “Is this me no-self? What is no self?” no matter what happened. Being aware of myself, I asked “what is no-self?” and faced the “I don’t know” again and again. Sometimes it became like I was chanting and did not know what I was doing. Upon discovering this, I asked the no-self question again. I kept doing in this way in the afternoon. Even when my leg pain united with my menstrual cramps, I kept asking. When smelling the odors of the restrooms, I doubted again. My wandering thoughts reduced, but sometimes I still dozed off. However, from time to time the idea that “This is my business” showed up to push myself go further. It was still very difficult, but I knew I don’t have any excuse to pause off.
Before I left at night on Dec. 14, Linda said” Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!” to me happily. Suddenly tons of mixed up feelings arose in my heart, but I till chose to play dead, pretend nothing happened and ask, ” What is no self?” again in my mind secretly. **** check more students’ sharing ****