No Speaking of Past Regrets

regretA thousand years ago, when I first started studying Zen, I came across a set of precepts that included one that went, “No speaking of past regrets.”

I have a very clear and distinct memory of reading this. I even remember it being part of a list in which each precept was explained. But, in the case of this one, the precept was just re-stated instead of explained. It went something like, “The precept of not speaking of past regrets means no speaking of past regrets.”

Over the years I have done a number of searches through the Interwebs and through my collection of Buddhist books and papers to try to find this precept again, but I’ve never been able to locate it. I don’t know if I just made it up myself or dreamed it. But there you go. Somewhere, though perhaps only in the Land of My Dreams, there is a Buddhist precept of not speaking of past regrets.

I have a number of regrets in my life. I’m sure everyone does. Even Frank Sinatra had a few. I’ve done things I shouldn’t have done and said things I shouldn’t have said. You have too, I’m sure. Sometimes you do and say these things without really understanding that they are going to go wrong. Sometimes you might have had an idea they may wrong but decided to do/say them anyway. Sometimes you were just an asshole, doing or saying something deliberately intended to hurt someone. If you have a conscience at all, you regret these things.

Sometimes people write and ask me for advice about regrets. They seem to think I might have some magic Buddhist formula for dealing with them. But the Buddhist advice on regrets is pretty conventional.

The fact that you even have regrets is a good thing. It means you are aware of your own wrongdoing. Lots of people never even get that far. So, good for you!

If you are weighed down by regrets, that’s a problem. But it’s not a problem specifically related to regretting things. It’s more a problem of the way we allow our minds to be dominated by recurring thoughts that we use to define our “selves” to ourselves.

Some people define themselves according to their talents, abilities, and all of the great contributions they’ve made to humanity. Others define themselves according to their flaws, incompetency, and past mistakes.

Conventionally we define the former as boosting one’s ego and the latter as tearing it down. However, the way ego is defined in Buddhism both strategies are involved in building up and inflating a false sense of self. For those of us who favor the latter strategy, regrets are a far better ego boost than counting up the things you’re satisfied with about your self.

The advice you’re likely to get from Buddhist literature and from Buddhist teachers specifically relating to regrets is likely to be pretty obvious stuff. There is no need to dwell upon your regrets. That doesn’t do anyone any good. Just acknowledge that you did something wrong and do your best to try to put it right. Sometimes that means apologizing, but sometimes an apology can just make things worse. Sometimes that means trying to repair the damage done, but sometimes your attempts to repair the damage just create more damage. It’s tricky and you are always the one in the best position to know what strategy will work in your specific case.

In my own life, right at this very second, I have a handful of regrets. In two cases that come to mind as I write this, I did something wrong to someone and later apologized and made efforts to right those wrongs. In both cases the people who I have wronged responded by trying to use my admission of wrongdoing as a way to leverage more guilt from me and to demand that I do more to compensate them. In both cases, they have not made any specific requests or have made requests they know I can’t fulfill, thus making it impossible to comply. I have to assume this is deliberate even if it’s being done unconsciously. This allows them to continue to feel I owe them something and to resent me for it.*

I only understand this strategy because I have used it myself. Which is something else I regret. Whenever I see myself pursuing this strategy these days I immediately stop. Which is how I deal with that particular species of regret.

In these specific cases, there’s simply nothing more I can do. At least nothing I can come up with. It’s clear that becoming further entangled in the drama these individuals are seeking to perpetuate won’t help anything. So my only strategy is to stay out of the drama.

In one of these cases it means that I have stopped communicating at all with the person in question. In the other case, circumstances have continuously forced me into communicating with the person in question. So I have made my efforts to try to have as normal and un-dramatic a relationship as possible. I have already offered my apologies and done a few things to try to put things right. Apart from that, there’s nothing more to be done.

If there was some magic solution or mantra that would make things right, I’d use it. But there isn’t. Or if there is, I don’t know it.

But I have learned that the best overall strategy is to not do things you’re going to regret.

I know this is easier said than done. None of us knows the future. You always have to act with only the knowledge you possess at the moment. You’re going to make mistakes. When you’ve made a mistake and hurt someone, it’s best to apologize or try to put it right in some other way as soon as possible. Often it’s not possible to do very much. And sometimes, as in the cases I referred to above, the other person seizes upon the apology or your attempts to make things right as a way to try to leverage some kind of gain for themselves. And that’s always difficult to deal with. I wish I could do more than commiserate and say that it’s happened to me too, and that it feels shitty, but that’s pretty much all I can do.

The holiday season may bring you in contact with somebody you’ve wronged in the past. If you haven’t apologized yet, now is your chance. Use it. It may not come again. If you already have apologized, then just do your best to try not to do other things you’ll regret in the future and do what you can to try to get the relationship back to whatever level of normalcy you can manage. Or end the relationship if that’s what is best.

If you’ve done that much, then there’s no sense hanging on to any regrets. If you find yourself hanging on to regrets anyway, my best advice is to sit with your regrets.

See if you can avoid dwelling on your regrets. See if you can avoid the urge to wallow in them like a pig in a mud puddle. See if you can just let them come, let them stay as long as they need to and, most importantly, let them go when it’s time for them to go. Don’t try to figure them out. Just leave them be.

If you do that, you just might discover what you really need to do about them.

 

  • You are definitely not one of the people I’m writing about, dear reader. Neither of them read this blog — ever. Get over yourself. (smiley face emoticon here)

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113 Responses

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  1. Dogen
    Dogen December 21, 2015 at 12:10 pm |

    You are definitely not one of the people I’m writing about, dear reader. Neither of them read this blog — ever. Get over yourself. (smiley face emoticon here)

    I know, it’s about Jundo. Don’t sweat it, just about anything gets him pissy.

  2. mb
    mb December 21, 2015 at 12:18 pm |

    magic Buddhist formula

    “You are in conflict with someone. Pretend the opponent is not Joe Blow but rather Buddha in disguise – a Divine Incarnation slumming in a human body. Continue the conflict with the Buddha. Notice how the game changes.”

    1. Dogen
      Dogen December 21, 2015 at 3:22 pm |

      Buddha wouldn’t leverage guilt to his advantage, or would he? What an asshat!

      1. Fred
        Fred December 21, 2015 at 3:45 pm |

        The self where Buddhahood is manifesting could be an asshole. Seeing your own assholeness, and not clinging to it, there would be no point to leveraging guilt or not leveraging guilt. You are just flowing through the shit/not shit of life. It’s all the same.

        1. Dogen
          Dogen December 22, 2015 at 2:09 pm |

          shit/not shit… It’s all the same.

          Nevertheless, your shit still stinks, fella.

        2. Khru 2.0
          Khru 2.0 December 28, 2015 at 4:40 pm |

          Nicely stated, Fred.

  3. senorchupacabra
    senorchupacabra December 21, 2015 at 1:22 pm |

    In those situations where I feel like there is no easy, simple or accessible solution, I have found one mantra that never seems to fail.

    “Fuck it dude, let’s go bowling.” (or, “…go write poetry” or “…go watch X-Files” or “…go read some Chuang Tzu” or, “…go get soda” etc.).

    It never fails.

    But nobody ever listens to me.

    1. Fred
      Fred December 21, 2015 at 3:51 pm |
      1. senorchupacabra
        senorchupacabra December 25, 2015 at 9:47 am |

        See! Those guys get it.

    2. Khru 2.0
      Khru 2.0 December 29, 2015 at 6:20 pm |

      Nice marmot.

  4. tuberrose
    tuberrose December 21, 2015 at 4:51 pm |

    You can also regret all the things you didn’t do.

  5. Mumbles
    Mumbles December 21, 2015 at 4:53 pm |

    If It Should Ever Come
    By Edward Dorn

    And we are all there together
    time will wave as willows do
    and adios will be truly, yes,

    laughing at what is forgotten
    and talking of what’s new
    admiring the roses you brought.
    How sad.

    You didn’t know you were at the end
    thought it was your bright pear
    the earth, yes

    another affair to have been kept
    and gazed back on
    when you had slept
    to have been stored
    as a squirrel will a nut, and half
    forgotten,
    there were so many, many
    from the newly fallen.

    Edward Dorn, “If it Should Ever Come” from The Collected Poems: 1956-1974 (Four Seasons Foundation, 1975)

  6. RickMatz
    RickMatz December 21, 2015 at 5:13 pm |

    +1

  7. Harlan
    Harlan December 22, 2015 at 7:00 am |

    “Show me someone without an ego, and I’ll show you a loser.”

    “What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate.”

    “You know, it really doesn’t matter what people think as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”

    “Some people call me lucky, but I know better.”

    From the Sutra of Donald J. Trump

  8. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon December 22, 2015 at 3:51 pm |

    Once Again Zen, Episode #3,
    Depression, Art, and Meditation
    https://vimeo.com/149707477

    1. Fred
      Fred December 22, 2015 at 4:30 pm |

      Depression isn’t the state where there is an absence of an activity high.

      Depression is a biological, neurochemical state. You see a doctor, not a psychologist to treat it.

      If you are entertaining thoughts of killing yourself, you take meds to treat the symptoms.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ht672-wYelc

      1. Fred
        Fred December 22, 2015 at 5:29 pm |

        Nope, there isn’t a point ” where you have to get off the fucking drug ” because the levels are toxic to your body.

        Depression is a biochemical problem with the machine that you are sitting in, a problem with the chemistry of the machine where you, a culturally, conditioned program is stored.

        1. Used-rugs
          Used-rugs December 22, 2015 at 5:39 pm |

          Life is a biological, neurochemical state. Like this.

          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3n3YhPK-440

        2. Shinchan Ohara
          Shinchan Ohara December 22, 2015 at 9:11 pm |

          The biochemical machine can get messed up by negative feedback from a buggy ‘culturally conditioned program’ too, though. Or repaired by it.

          Neurochemistry is ‘firmware’ that gets patched by the thinking ‘software’ … if we must use this silly post-human metaphor. The only component approximating to ‘hardware’ is the thick skull that holds it all in place.

          But, yeah, I’d let a physician decide when to cut the meds.

        3. The Grand Canyon
          The Grand Canyon December 23, 2015 at 4:22 am |
      2. senorchupacabra
        senorchupacabra December 25, 2015 at 9:55 am |

        Hunger is a biological, chemical state. Do you give a hungry person a pill or do you give them a sandwich?

        The bio-chemical activities in the brain are in reaction to both external cues. It’s no coincidence that Americans are the most depressed people on the planet. More than any other country we continue to value cutthroat competitiveness and the accumulation of matter over interpersonal relationships. A lot of people counter with the argument “Well, other countries don’t have access to the mental health resources that we do, so it’s just underdiagnosed,” but studies routinely prove that people in impoverished 3rd-world countries are genuinely happier than we are, probably because they are forced to value their relationships and other intrinsic factors. Check out this study on the Garbage Pickers in Nicaragua. These people live what seems to me to be one of the most miserable existences I can imagine and yet they are happier than we are.

        http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/04/17/down-in-the-dumps-garbage-pickers-with-a-happy-life/

        Treatment of depression with pills has proven to be less effective than simple psychotherapy. Although, admittedly, psychotherapy in conjunction with pharmacological methods seem to get slightly better results than psychotherapy itself.

        The purely “bio-chemical” explanation of depression has long been debunked. The pharmaceutical industry had discovered as much themselves, that is why they have never released the full findings of any of their research into their various cocktails.

  9. Khru 2.0
    Khru 2.0 December 22, 2015 at 5:22 pm |

    “Trees fall when they are old, and countless beings make their homes in the rotting logs.”

    1. Shinchan Ohara
      Shinchan Ohara December 22, 2015 at 11:22 pm |

      66 years sinning against the heavens.
      Now springing upwards
      I dive living into hell.
      Wow!
      And I thought life and death were unrelated.

  10. french-roast
    french-roast December 23, 2015 at 1:29 am |

    ‘No speaking of past regret’.

    Does not mean the same thing as not to regret past speaking. I do regret of past and actual speaking. In fact, there isn’t a single day in my life in which in one way or the other I can say with some satisfaction that today I behave in an exemplary way. How can one stay out of the drama? Well, mine are quite often joyful drama, I never try to be a good person, I never try to do good. I never try to deny that I harm people once and a while. If our willingness to help out, to only do what is good is strong, then surely will will hurt a lot of people. It simply rest on a simple assumption; That I know what good is, which truly and very deeply I do not. If you truly and deeply do not know what is good and bad, only one thing will happen, you will act and react to actual situation as you will actually do, not as it should or ought to be.

    Zen moral ‘codes’ or ethic, is still a very mysterious thing for me. One of the reason is that it does not have rigid codes, rules of proper conduct. It is like a river with river banks, most religions and philosophies sees their life as flowing, from birth to death, just like a river in one direction. But look at and from some kind of absolute, fix and stable core teaching by which they can have a sense of direction, meaning and purpose; the river banks. In Zen, our river banks are like the river itself, they also flow. Many people need to have fix and stable buoys or river banks, fix set of rules which define clearly what is good and what is bad, not in Zen. Zen to me anyway appears to deal with the totality of the actual situation itself (and Buddha nature, let us not forget about that one) as it come and go. Just imagine yourself being in a river where the banks themselves are also flowing. How would you feel? Where will you rest?

    ‘my best advice is to let the banks flow’
    All the while joyfully chanting out-load:

    All evil actions that I have done since immemorial time,
    arising from greed, anger, and ignorance,
    and manifested through body, speech, and mind.
    I now repent having committed.

    Thanks Brad for being who you are!
    There is still some hope for Zen in america!

  11. Dogen
    Dogen December 23, 2015 at 8:14 am |

    Do not follow the ideas of others, but learn to listen to the voice within yourself. Your body and mind will become clear and you will regret the unity of all things.

    1. Mumbles
      Mumbles December 23, 2015 at 8:27 am |

      “For the operation is not to sacrifice oneself as a poet and at that moment as a madman to the whole world, but to allow oneself to be penetrated and violated by the consciousness of the whole world in such a way that one is in one’s body merely the slave of the ideas and reactions of everybody.” -Antonin Artaud, from: “Letter About Lautreamont” (1948)

    2. Shinchan Ohara
      Shinchan Ohara December 23, 2015 at 10:09 am |

      Do not follow the ideas of others, but learn to listen to the voice within yourself.

      ~ Doggone

      Shouldn’t that be “voices” in your case? Dogging/Zafucles/Judo… or whoever you really are?

  12. mtto
    mtto December 23, 2015 at 10:38 am |
  13. Brian
    Brian December 23, 2015 at 5:17 pm |

    I haven’t been here for a few years because as much as I’ve learned from Brad for close to a decade the overly agressive commenting trolls kept me away. Seems much more civilized now, thankfully.

    If I wanted to I could drown myself in regrets but I’m not prone to feeling sorry for myself. I’ve done some (a lot) of incredible thoughtless and hurtful things which I can never change but don’t beat myself up over them; much like learning any skill I now know what to do and not do in relationships and interactions with others.

    Still, I sometimes do stupid things. They don’t cause regrets but opportunities to learn and grow. Regrets for things not done? Anything done differently would have led to a place other than where I am doing things other than I am now doing. The big here and the long now is just where I belong. It’s perfect.

  14. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon December 24, 2015 at 6:26 am |

    “If today was Christmas Eve and tomorrow was Christmas Day,
    Oh, wouldn’t we have a time, baby…”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UVgH9JqSnQ

  15. Mumbles
    Mumbles December 24, 2015 at 6:45 am |

    Said Santa to a boy child “What have you been longing for?”
    “All I want for Christmas is a Rock and Roll electric guitar”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDMDMLF2j1A

    1. The Grand Canyon
      The Grand Canyon December 24, 2015 at 7:50 am |
  16. Shinchan Ohara
    Shinchan Ohara December 24, 2015 at 10:03 pm |
  17. Jinzang
    Jinzang December 25, 2015 at 5:49 am |

    Christmas music by the Roche sisters.

  18. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 25, 2015 at 12:39 pm |

    Thanks, guys, for run run hellhound & non, Je ne regrette nada.

    “No speaking of past regrets”: like the myth of Persephone, to speak of past regrets is to abandon the real experience that walks with us by taking a glance backward.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaSSyxHTmmw

    1. shade
      shade December 25, 2015 at 3:45 pm |

      I think you might be thinking of Orpheus and Eurydice. The taboo placed on Persephone had to do with pomegranate seeds. Not sure what precept that would fall under.

      1. The Grand Canyon
        The Grand Canyon December 26, 2015 at 8:30 am |

        I think Mark might have meant the goddess Calliope.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQkErWOeLPA

      2. Mark Foote
        Mark Foote December 26, 2015 at 2:07 pm |

        Yer right, thanks shade!

    2. Cygni
      Cygni December 25, 2015 at 4:44 pm |

      Now I know your years were never wasted

      https://vimeo.com/74707220

      1. Fred
        Fred December 26, 2015 at 7:21 am |

        “The zazen I speak of is not learning meditation. It is simply the Dharma gate of repose and bliss, the practice-realization of totally culminated enlightenment. It is the manifestation of ultimate reality. Traps and snares can never reach it. Once its heart is grasped, you are like the dragon when he gains the water, like the tiger when she enters the mountain. For you must know that just there (in zazen) the right Dharma is manifesting itself and that, from the first, dullness and distraction are struck aside.”

        1. Fred
          Fred December 26, 2015 at 7:24 am |

          striking aside distraction
          thinking non-thinking

          the pain of what
          you are carrying
          is a distraction

          thinking non-thinking

  19. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 26, 2015 at 2:12 pm |

    the bad horse running
    the whip falling heavily
    Icabod’s escape

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yo8_U2sCA74

    1. Cygni
      Cygni December 27, 2015 at 5:45 am |
  20. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon December 27, 2015 at 5:52 am |

    Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s00MV1sY37c

  21. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 27, 2015 at 1:01 pm |

    travis picking, extraordinaire.

    “It’s too bad he couldn’t visit that old wizard of Oz and get some good advice.”

    “Too bad we all can’t, baby.”

    I have revised the conclusion of my post, concerning French Roast’s comment a few threads back:

    With regard to your statement:

    “What fuels the fire (at the lower end of my belly), what gives it intensity as strange as it may sound, is pain.”

    When things get painful with regard to the stretch around that boiler in the lower abdomen, I look for a sense of the fluid ball that is pressurized by activity throughout the body, and I move to comprehending the long or short of inhalation and exhalation. If I draw a blank, nothing doing, then I rest in the resile of ligaments and the cessation of habitual activity, and there I find the movement of breath.

    ‘Concentration, contemplation: response to “French Roast”‘

    That last would be the 15th & 16th of Gautama’s “way of living” returning to the 1st and 2nd, in my humble estimation.

    1. french-roast
      french-roast December 28, 2015 at 2:11 am |

      Strange, I am not in a mood to write or talk, especially not in the mood to start to explain why hara or fluid ball practice is a waste of precious time in our practice, as an experiment it might be ok, but don’t pursue this experience too long, on the long run the only thing you will gain, is a low center of gravity and a more energetic deeper voice which will only be good to scare young children away as you talk to them or in chanting the Tibetan way in order to charm a few tourist. But it does sometimes help to maintain a decent posture for a longer time, but in no way is it going to help you in seeing that zazen is truly useless and good for absolutely nothing. If you find anything useful while doing zazen, if you feel that you are in the right direction, if anything happens, better stop doing zazen, you are only feeding in more delusional ideas, which is the opposite of what zazen is. We can waste years and years of practicing neurotic ideas, holding on very strongly to what is complete garbage. Only when you start seeing no-direction within your practice, only when you start to panic and have cold sweat when you don’t even know what this practice is or is not, what it is made of or not made of, only when you get bore to death of practicing such a useless practice, it is only then that real practice begins, because it is only then that we start letting go of our illusions which we cherish so much. One of the reason why ‘following the breath’ is given to beginners, is that it too is useless, it too has nothing special into it. There is nothing special in breathing, same as having two eyes, a mouth and a nose. Everything else is cosmetics which we add on to foul ourselves and seduce others. A much better practice would be to start following your nose or the eye balls, it would take much less time to find out that it is useless.

      1. The Grand Canyon
        The Grand Canyon December 28, 2015 at 3:43 am |
  22. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon December 27, 2015 at 3:40 pm |

    Exiar & Ziria: Real Aliens healing Meditation with Cows
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThestJwCgCc

    1. Cygni
      Cygni December 28, 2015 at 7:01 pm |
  23. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 28, 2015 at 9:01 am |

    I am indebted to Kodo Sawaki and his heirs, no doubt (probably to aliens with cows, as well). I can barely sit 40 minutes in the lotus without pain or numbness, and that only once a day, usually. Who am I, to say we are moving on now from eyebrows that are horizontal and a nose that is vertical, to “two eyes, a mouth and a nose” (diagonals, too)!

    “But tell me, is it better to let go, or is it better to hold still?”

    (Yuanwu, from the Blue Cliff Record, 4th Case)

    I would agree, that there is making sense and there is sense.

    “Roshi-sama is said to be a master of this wide practice of shikantaza, the objectless meditation characteristic of the Soto school. But he insists, again and again, weeping at my deafness, shouting at my stubbornness, that hara focus is precisely shikantaza. That it makes no sense makes it no less inspiring; it is his presence, not his words, that I believe.”

    (Jiryu Mark Rutschman-Byler, http://shoresofzen.com/index_htm_files/TwoShoresofZenExcerpts.pdf, pg 4-5)

    whaddya gonna do, cross over?

    I talk to myself out loud, here in this comments section, and lately I’ve been exploring the lack of contradiction between the two viewpoints Jiryu Mark Rutschman-Byler expressed in the excerpt above.

    If I don’t feel like talking, if I don’t feel like thinking, then I will have to talk fast and think fast, is it not so?

  24. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 28, 2015 at 9:36 am |

    “Concentration always imply a something, a point of focus, we make use of the discriminative mind in order to accomplish this, we do this in order to focus the mind, to make it rest on a single point or something. ”

    I turn the light around, and I find the place where I am tilting, whirling, tipping. Horizontal, vertical, diagonal, where I am moves. I fall asleep and wake up where I am. Have no coughing or sighing in the mind, with the mind like a wall the millstone turns but the mind does not.

    “Although actualized immediately, the inconceivable may not be apparent” (“not difficult, not easy—eating when hungry, sleeping when tired”)— Do I know that this is so?

    Thank you.

  25. Fred
    Fred December 28, 2015 at 1:07 pm |

    ” that hara focus is precisely shikantaza ”

    hocus pocus
    the hara is the focus
    hocus pocus

    no locus for a focus
    turning the light around
    no locus for a focus

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vnoz5uBEWOA

  26. garretthimes
    garretthimes December 28, 2015 at 8:56 pm |

    when I get too poetic I like to talk to my mom. Happy New Year!

  27. B0b0
    B0b0 December 28, 2015 at 11:22 pm |

    With the season of New Years’ resolutions approaching, and inspired by Brad’s reference to old lists of rules for living, here are a few rules from Soyen Shaku, via that ancient work from the 1950’s, “Zen Flesh, Zen Bones”, by Paul Reps, from within the “101 Zen Stories” section:
    _____________________________
    22. My Heart Burns Like Fire

    Soyen Shaku, the first Zen teacher to come to America, said: ‘My heart burns like fire but my eyes are as cold as dead ashes.’ He made the following rules, which he practiced every day of his life.

    In the morning before dressing, light incense and meditate.

    Retire at a regular hour.

    Partake of food at regular intervals. Eat with moderation and never to the point of satisfaction.

    Receive a guest with the same attitude you have when alone. When alone, maintain the same attitude you have in receiving guests.

    Watch what you say, and whatever you say, practice it.

    When an opportunity comes do not let it pass by, yet always think twice before acting.

    Do not regret the past. Look to the future.

    Have the fearless attitude of a hero and the loving heart of a child.

    Upon retiring, sleep as if you had entered your last sleep. Upon awakening, leave your bed behind you instantly as if you had cast away a pair of old shoes.
    _______________
    Admittedly, this obviously isn’t Brad’s list (“Do not regret the past. Look to the future.” clearly lacks the flare of “The precept of not speaking of past regrets means no speaking of past regrets.”). But, on the other hand, “Zen Flesh Zen Bones” is one of those Zen books no one reads anymore, long ago put out to pasture in favor of more practical and informative books on zazen posture and the details of Zen practice. In this season of Auld Lang Syne, it seems only fitting, and charitable, to drag old Soyen Shaku out to take one last bow!

    Happy New Year, all!

  28. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon December 29, 2015 at 3:44 am |

    “Death is an inevitability, isn’t it? You become more aware of that when you get to my age. I don’t worry about it. I’m ready for it. When I go, I want to go doing what I do best. If I died tomorrow, I couldn’t complain. It’s been good.” – Lemmy Kilmister

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YevVhXFzcs

  29. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 29, 2015 at 11:10 am |

    “It’s one of those things, you have to make up your mind between rock and roll or your beloved one. Sex only lasts- what- half an hour, at the very top?- rock ‘n roll set lasts for an hour and a half- so I think we got that one sorted out.”

  30. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon December 29, 2015 at 1:48 pm |
  31. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 29, 2015 at 2:52 pm |

    “Testing Gaddum’s idea of antagonism between LSD and serotonin in humans, Montanari and Tonini found that intramuscular injections of serotonin antagonized the psychological effects of LSD. Other drugs, especially other ergot derivatives, were more successful than LSD in blocking the effects of serotonin (Dubach and Gsell, 1962).

    …Aldous Huxley was one of the first people to think about the general biological meaning of drugs such as LSD. Referring to the ideas of Henri Bergson and William Blake, he suggested that the brain usually acts as a filter, or “reducing valve,” to make us disregard most of the information we are receiving through our senses, and that the psychedelic drugs temporarily remove the filter, or open the sensory reducing valve. Bergson had suggested that the filter was a practical measure needed to allow us to focus on practical survival needs; Blake had suggested that the doors of perception were kept closed for cultural reasons.

    Some recent reviews have discussed the evidence supporting the serotonin system as primarily inhibitory and protective (Anne Frederickson, 1998, Neil Goodman, 2002)…”

    (from here)

    1. Cygni
      Cygni December 29, 2015 at 3:35 pm |
      1. Cygni
        Cygni December 29, 2015 at 3:44 pm |
  32. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 29, 2015 at 8:02 pm |

    Vanja Palmers in the list of sources, that’s Kobun’s chief dharma heir.

    I can’t begin to look at your study, Cygni. Maybe I have too much serotonin, but I’m not as wild as in my younger days. Interesting about microdosing those ergot derivatives that are serotonin antagonists, and migraines.

  33. Used-rugs
    Used-rugs December 29, 2015 at 8:46 pm |

    Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. Which means in terms of scientism: don’t worry it’s not the environment, or your life choices, or anything having to do with modern life as it is normally lived; it’s just some chemicals going off in your brain is all. Now take this pill, and a life that would otherwise be intolerable will become tolerable once more. Eat, drink, consume, and die.

  34. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 29, 2015 at 9:04 pm |

    Is LSD an SSRI?

    How about: you were born damaged by xenoestrogins in the womb at three weeks, rub this topical progesterone on every day for three weeks, then pause for a week, then repeat (or die).

    (Xenoestrogens, one cause on the “long list of causes of estrogen dominance”, mentioned here: review, “Hormone Balance for Men”)

    1. Mark Foote
      Mark Foote December 30, 2015 at 8:26 am |

      No, of course LSD is not an SSRI, what was I thinking; it’s an antagonist. Maybe through promotion of MAO-A, like progesterone.

  35. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon December 30, 2015 at 1:36 pm |
    1. Mumbles
      Mumbles January 1, 2016 at 12:50 pm |
  36. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon December 31, 2015 at 10:39 am |

    Ganges Delta Blues Slide Guitar.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0-fWkt2b-c

    1. Le Petit Canyon
      Le Petit Canyon December 31, 2015 at 3:17 pm |
      1. Fred
        Fred December 31, 2015 at 4:53 pm |

        Mark, LSD, mescaline and magic mushrooms are serotonin-2A receptor ( 5Ht2A ) receptor agonists.

        http://www.cell.com/neuron/abstract/S0896-6273(07)00028-1?_returnURL=http%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0896627307000281%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

        Dropping acid to go for a trip isn’t quite the same as dropping the body-mind, seeing through the ego, no-self upon the absolute.

        1. Mark Foote
          Mark Foote January 1, 2016 at 1:09 am |

          Thas’ intrestin’.

          “Hallucinogens Recruit Specific Cortical 5-HT2A Receptor-Mediated Signaling Pathways to Affect Behavior”; they wave flags and inspire the pathways to sign up.

          I’m writing to myself about meditative states (elsewhere, for now), and I am struck by what I take to be early descriptions of the four musings, especially the fourth that feels like cloth around the head. Something Blanke and Mohr said, about the temporal-mandibular joints and out of body experience- funny how Suzuki and whomever was Jiryu Mark Rutschman-Byler’s “Roshi” talk about the jaw in connection with posture. So did Yuanwu, as in “bite through here and now”.

          These teeth don’t come together without about 35 minutes of sitting, for me- if I’m lucky. I don’t think tripping would help. Why my jaw tends to hang open and to the left until I’ve sat for 35 minutes, undoubtedly my ancient and twisted karma, but it won’t do just to make the teeth touch gently (as the correct placement is so often described). It happens, and the transverse muscles seem to be involved, like hands on a bow when the string is stretched.

  37. Fred
    Fred January 1, 2016 at 10:14 am |

    “All those with conditioned minds are as far apart from true reality as the sky is from the earth. Right now, if you cannot pass through the barrier, it is obviously because your mind has many serious attachments.

    You must strive with all your might to bite through here and cut off conditioned habits of mind. Be like a person who has died the great death: after your breath is cut off, then you come back to life. Only then do you realize that it is as open as empty space. Only then do you reach the point where your feet are walking on the ground of reality.”

    Biting through here is the wall of conditioned supports propping. up this self. Just sitting and seeing all the serious attachments forming the I in each moment.

    1. Cygni
      Cygni January 3, 2016 at 10:01 am |
  38. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote January 1, 2016 at 1:02 pm |

    Aye, there’s the rub, relating the distinction of the senses to the casting away of latent conceits that “I am the doer, mine is the doer” and to the effect of the placement of the chin.

    “”Neuroimaging studies support the role of the TPJ (temporo-parietal junction, a location in the brain just above the ears) in vestibular processing, multisensory integration as well as the perception of human bodies or body parts. …Several neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies suggest the implication of the TPJ and cortical areas …in combining tactile, proprioceptive, and visual information in a coordinated reference frame.

    …the TPJ has also been involved in functions of self processing such as egocentric visuo-spatial perspective taking, agency (the feeling of being the agent of one’s actions and thoughts), as well as self-other distinction (the capacity by which one distinguishes between oneself and other conspecifics).”

    (http://lnco.epfl.ch/webdav/site/lnco/shared/publications/lnco/2005_Blanke_BRR_obe%20heautoscopy%20and%20autoscopic%20hallucination%20of%20neurological%20origin.pdf)

    “And pull your chin in. This is a very important point. If you sit in this way (head tilted up) you will never gain strength in your posture.”

    (Shunryu Suzuki Lecture, August 12 1965 Los Altos- from cuke.com)

    why am I rubbing my chin…

  39. Mumbles
    Mumbles January 1, 2016 at 10:02 pm |
    1. The Grand Canyon
      The Grand Canyon January 2, 2016 at 3:24 am |

      Oh, Yoko! I could use some new ears after that video.
      As far as it being a “new year,” that depends on how you keep track of that sort of thing. It all seems pretty arbitrary to me.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_calendars

  40. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon January 2, 2016 at 4:57 am |

    David Godman speaking about Sri Ramana Maharshi’s practice of self-enquiry.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDVQC_uHRCI

  41. Fred Jr.
    Fred Jr. January 3, 2016 at 5:58 pm |

    This explains everything.

    1. mb
      mb January 3, 2016 at 6:37 pm |

      indexing psychosis at work

  42. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon January 5, 2016 at 4:00 am |
    1. Cygni
      Cygni January 5, 2016 at 3:43 pm |
      1. The Grand Canyon
        The Grand Canyon January 6, 2016 at 3:44 am |

        It seems like that comic is saying that schizophrenia makes it harder to understand quantum physics. That sounds like an insult to all the schizophrenic quantum physicists.

        1. Cygni
          Cygni January 6, 2016 at 4:29 am |

          It’s rather weird that you interpreted the comic that way Grand Canyon.

          A wise Zen teacher once said…

          “Zen says that both the materialistic and the spiritual view are incomplete and mistaken, that we are neither body nor mind, that our actual reality cannot be defined in such narrow terms. Even the word God is too limiting. Or as Dogen says, “Even the whole universe in ten directions is just a small part of the supreme truth.” The supreme truth is, to me, another name for God.”

      2. Cygni
        Cygni January 6, 2016 at 6:17 am |

        Some hairless apes think “All is Matter”, some think “All is Mind”…

        Some hairy bipeds think “All is God”, some think “All is Clock”…

        http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?id=3978

        imgur.com/l4aIPQw

        1. The Grand Canyon
          The Grand Canyon January 6, 2016 at 7:32 am |

          O_O

          1. The Grand Canyon
            The Grand Canyon January 6, 2016 at 11:07 am |

            O_O

          2. Cygni
            Cygni January 6, 2016 at 1:15 pm |
          3. Cygni
            Cygni January 13, 2016 at 7:10 pm |
  43. Mumbles
    Mumbles January 6, 2016 at 8:05 pm |

    Just acquired one of these….FUN.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MYI7AVw7nk

  44. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon January 7, 2016 at 3:44 am |

    Memorial Service and Celebration of
    Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister
    Live Streaming on YouTube
    Saturday, January 9, 2016
    5:30 PM PST
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSAXVdIj6jY

    1. The Grand Canyon
      The Grand Canyon January 7, 2016 at 4:44 am |

      Correction:
      5:30 PM EASTERN Standard Time (10:30 PM UTC/GMT)

      https://www.facebook.com/officialmotorhead

      1. The Grand Canyon
        The Grand Canyon January 7, 2016 at 7:37 am |

        O_O

    1. mb
      mb January 7, 2016 at 12:00 pm |
      1. The Grand Canyon
        The Grand Canyon January 7, 2016 at 1:55 pm |
        1. mb
          mb January 7, 2016 at 3:37 pm |

          http://en.mediamass.net/people/mick-jagger/deathhoax.html

          I guess dying in a jet-ski accident is popular these days…

  45. Quotes | Zen Mischief January 15, 2016 at 9:51 am |

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