Sam: Devoting my most effort to doubt, and it worked well! ( the 3-day retreat experience in March 2014)
Although I just attended 2 days in the 3-day retreat, I gained some meditative experience and benefited from this intensive training. Upon the most was I experienced and realized the reason why I should doubt with my whole life. It was just like Monk Boshan said,” In the beginning, one should have a strong determination to break through the arising-ceasing mind”, and one should “stick the character ‘death’ on one’s forehead”.
In the first day, I used my six roots to doubt on “what is no self?” “I do see flowers, hear birds singing, and sense the breeze blowing over my body, how come there are no eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and consciousness?”Just like before, my doubt, wondering thoughts, and drowsiness twisted together. For many times, I worked so hard to doubt, like stepping on the accelerator to fuel up, but my doubt was just like an old scooter that I could not feel any engine power at all. In one session in the afternoon, I doubted slightly (now I know it was not qualified to be called doubt), and I felt I was in quite stillness. I did not want to get off my cushion when the time ended up. A thought rising up in my mind, said that “I shall not pay too much strength on doubting. I shall doubt slightly to reach stillness.”(What a fault!) In the second morning, I spent my time in a similar way.
Compared to retreats held by other meditation centers, we had very tight schedule filled up with many sitting sessions. When it came to the second afternoon, we had already sat so many sessions as people taking their three-or-four-day retreat. I felt so painful that I would rather die. Early in that morning, I had felt slight pain in my legs which went well with my slight doubt. At that time, I felt safe. However, the teacher found that I had some small movements, like swallowing salvia, taking deep breaths, and moving body slightly, which caused by leg pain, impatience or boredom yet I was not aware at all.
In one of her lectures in that afternoon, the teacher pointed out my situation (like she addressed it for me, personally), which was so helpful. She said, “You have no way out”, and “When the pain bites you, all you can do is bite hard on your doubt.”
When I encountered the terrible pain shaking my whole body, I realized thoroughly that my previous doubt was just like a game, so powerless like a girl fight which could not bear a real hit. I used to think I was right and I thought that “doubt is nothing but just like this.”Yet at that moment, all I could do was devoting my most effort to doubt, focusing on my doubt and forgetting the shaking pain. I tried to doubt on things that bothered and trapped me most in my life, by asking “what is the realm of life? What is the true nature of life?”I used my most difficult life experience to stimulate the strongest doubt, and it worked! I felt two streams struggling in my body-and-mind. It seemed that if I laid down and took a break for a little bit, the doubt would just turn into nothing but a loud slogan. In this session, I experienced “powerful doubt”, and I hoped and encouraged myself to continue my practice in this way.
I also experienced that my attitudes of pursuing the true nature was like enjoying desserts after formal meals—-may or may not be needed. And this was why I did not get progress before. So when I heard about Linda expressing her respect and appreciation to her teacher, Master Guoru, and her attitude of pursuing the true nature—-not wasting any single second, I was so ashamed of myself.
Probably I would need to attend 7-day retreat to have the same number of sitting sessions but I had no chance to attend any 7-day to experience the shaking pain, and consequently I just held a casual or an unconcerned attitude on my practice and no wonder that I could not get any progress. I was so happy to attend this 3-day retreat though I needed to leave one day prior. In my mind I envied my fellow students who could stay for the whole three days because I knew that they would have deeper experience. I realized the teacher in The None Zen Center who designed this tight schedule for the intensive training was “not abode to worldly reason”, just like Monk Boshan said, “You should investigate Zen straightly, strongly, and powerfully, not amendable to any worldly reason. If you follow the worldly reason, you could not investigate Zen truthfully. As time goes by, you would become a vulgar monk. “ ***** check for more Students’ Sharing *****