• 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

    35/108 Gates of Dharma Illumination

    The Thirty-fifth Gate

    The nonarising of ill-will is a gate of Dharma illumination; for [with
    it] we protect ourselves and protect others.


    ill-will
    hostile feeling;...

    Shokai Yesterday 03:34 AM
    Shokai

    34/108 Gates of Dharma Illumination

    The Thirty-fourth Gate

    Inhibition of self-conceit is a gate of Dharma illumination; for [with
    it] wisdom is fulfilled.

    Self-conceit
    an excessively favorable opinion of oneself,...

    Shokai 01-23-2017 12:35 AM
    Shokai

    33/108 Gates of Dharma Illumination

    The Thirty-third Gate

    Awareness of time is a gate of Dharma illumination; for [with it] we
    do not treat spoken teaching lightly.

    Awareness of time :
    to leave completely and...

    Shokai 01-22-2017 04:26 AM
    Shokai

    32/108 Gates of Dharma Illumination

    The Thirty-second Gate

    To work for the Dharma is a gate of Dharma illumination; for we act
    in conformity with the Dharma...

    the Dharma :
    reality just as it is

    May we,...

    Shokai 01-21-2017 01:04 AM
    Shokai

    31/108 Gates of Dharma Illumination

    The Thirty-first Gate

    To work for living beings is a gate of Dharma illumination; for we
    do not blame others..


    Living beings :
    all living, breathing creatures

    Shokai 01-20-2017 03:13 AM
  • Recent Forum Posts

    Koushu

    How do people die???

    Very true, Shingen, very true. Are time is now, not tomorrow, not yesterday, not 30 seconds from now or before, but now. Everything will be fulfilled

    Koushu Today, 01:18 AM Go to last post
    Koushu

    How do people die???

    Agreed Jundo. But I think the point of the matter is everything has its time, to this satori will appear when the moment is fruitful within us, so will

    Koushu Today, 01:13 AM Go to last post
    Shingen

    How do people die???

    Thank you Koushu ... and yet, even though we die, there is no point in rushing it - we should do our best to take care as best we can. =)

    Shingen Today, 01:07 AM Go to last post
    Jakuden

    How do people die???

    Thank you Koushu! My younger daughter is a lot like Ikkyu... she can talk her way out of anything.
    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday

    Jakuden Today, 01:07 AM Go to last post
    Jundo

    How do people die???

    That doesn't mean that Ikkyu did not have to pay for his misdeed!

    Thank you for the story.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday

    Jundo Today, 01:04 AM Go to last post