• Sit-a-Long with Jundo: Zazen for Beginners (Part XI)

    What’s the most important thing to remember about ‘breathing‘ during Zazen?

    DON’T STOP!

    Last time, I spoke about how there is no “bad” Zazen, even on those days when the mind is very cloudy with thoughts and emotions. But in fact, there are a couple of things we can do to settle down when the mind is really, really, really, stirred up with tangled thoughts, wild emotions and confusion.

    We can count the breaths, for example, counting from 1 to 10 at each inhalation and exhalation, then coming back to one and starting all over when we reach ten (which we rarely do) or lose track. Or we can simply follow the breath without counting, for example, observing effortlessly as it enters and exits the nose. These are excellent practices, and will calm the mind (itself a form of Shikantaza that some people pursue, even for a lifetime!). HOWEVER, for reasons I will discuss, I recommend such practices only as temporary measures for true beginners with no experience of how to let the mind calm at all, or others on those sometime days when the mind really, really, really is upset and disturbed. AS SOON AS the mind settles a bit, I advise the we return our attention to “the clear, blue, spacious sky that holds all“, letting clouds of thought and emotion drift from mind, focused on what can be called “everything, and nothing at all” or “no place and everyplace at once.” I will explain why in today’s talk.

    One we return to sitting focused on “everything, and nothing at all,” letting all things “just be” … we let the breath “just be” and give it no mind, too. We do not try to do anything artificial with the breath, and just let “long breaths be long, and short breaths be short,” the breath finding its natural rhythm. Pay the breath no mind, give it no thought, and even (as Master Dogen advises) drop all thought of “long” or “short”! In doing so, as we calm, the breath will calm as well … finding a natural rhythm.

    We may even come to experience that there is really no separate “I” breathing, no separate air being breathed, no separate world to receive our cast out breaths … and we experience breathing as as boundless as that vast, open sky. Thus Dogen’s teacher Master Tendo said, “it is not that this breath comes from somewhere … it is not possible to say where this breath goes. For that reason, it is neither long nor short.”

    Shunryu Suzuki Roshi once said this about the breath …

    If you think, “I breathe,” the “I” is extra. There is no you to say “I.” What we call “I” is just a swinging door which moves when we inhale and when we exhale. It just moves; that is all. When your mind is pure and calm enough to follow this movement, there is nothing: no “I,” no world, no mind nor body: just a swinging door.
    We might say that the breath, too, isno place and everyplace at once.”

    CLICK HERE for today’s Sit-A-Long video.

    [youtube] [/youtube]

    Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 15 to 35 minutes is recommended.
  • Recent Blog Posts

    Shokai

    Dharma Gate Review

    Once again we have completed the 108 day vigil from Winter Soltice to Vesak. I trust if you have been following along that it helped in your practice. I look forward todo this again starting on...

    Shokai 04-09-2017 01:43 AM
    Shokai

    109/108 Gates of Dharma Illumination

    The One Hundred and ninth Gate
    The state in which water is sprinkled on the head is a gate of Dharma illumination; for [with it], following birth in a family, we are at last able to realize...

    Shokai 04-09-2017 01:24 AM
    Shokai

    108/108 Gates of Dharma Illumination

    The One Hundred and eighth Gate
    The wisdom that leads us from one state to another state is a gate of Dharma illumination; for [with it], having water sprinkled on the head, we accomplish...

    Shokai 04-08-2017 02:35 AM
    Shokai

    107/108 Gates of Dharma Illumination

    The One Hundred and Seventh Gate
    The state beyond regressing and straying is a gate of Dharma illumination; for it is replete with the Dharma of past buddhas..

    [B]The state beyond...

    Shokai 04-07-2017 02:56 AM
    Shokai

    106/108 Gates of Dharma Illumination

    The One Hundred and Sixth Gate
    Attainment of realization of the Dharma of nonappearance is a gate of Dharma illumination; for [with it] we attain affirmation.

    [B]The Dharma of...

    Shokai 04-06-2017 02:46 AM
  • Recent Forum Posts

    Komorebi

    Pronouciation of "svaha"

    Hello fellow Sanghinis,
    I realize getting hung up on pronounciation defeats the purpose of "getting into the groove" of feeling the chant/mantra/sutra,

    Komorebi Today, 02:47 AM Go to last post
    Risho

    New Buddhist Path - Challenge, Good v Evil, Ignorance v Awakening - PP 105 - 117

    There is a lot here. just some thoughts. First, there is evil in the world. There are people who think they are doing good by killing, or raping women

    Risho Today, 02:22 AM Go to last post
    Jundo

    April 25th. Recommended Threads

    I encourage looking at these threads, topics and posts today ...

    Next Sunday, please join in! ... Special Zazenkai SUNDAY April 30th with

    Jundo Today, 02:20 AM Go to last post
    Jundo

    Buddha is a photographer

    Hi Mike,

    Thank you. I would advise just more sitting now, putting the camera down and the thinking about cameras down ... then just look

    Jundo Today, 02:09 AM Go to last post
    Anka

    April 21st-22nd Treeleaf Weekly Zazenkai - 'Bring On Da Funk'

    Sat with all you silly funky people tonight. I think we should get our own Broadway show.
    James F
    Sat5minutesago

    Sent from

    Anka Yesterday, 10:45 PM Go to last post