Diggin' for Gold.
How often is it recommended? I tried to google search for Dogen's recommendation cuz I thought I once read he recommended doing zazen 4 times a day at 45 mins each sit. Can anyone clear that up? Is it too much? I'm not a beginner or anything. Just wanted to know if Dogen actually recommended that.
I do not recall such a specific instruction anywhere in Dogen's writings. However, I am sure he had his men at Eiheiji sitting several times a day, more during Sesshin. But in any event, Dogen was writing for monks living full time in a monastic setting. Truly, Zazen ... plus Chanting, Samu work, eating Oryoki and the like were how they lived.
For working people with jobs and families, my recommendation is not so much for most folks, most days ... so long as one sits beyond time, not bound by the clock ... and so long as one finds "Zazen" both on the cushion and in all life's daily activities ... and so long as one sits "long" at a Zazenkai, Sesshin etc. once in awhile.
You will find discussion of that is our "We're All Beginners" video series, which I hope you are going through.
I did find a reference in Dogen to "Four Hours Zazen", shorthand for the total sitting time each day in many monasteries of the Sung and the custom Dogen had observed in China (page 143 here) ...
However, again, what is good for Dogen and his boys in his day is one thing. What is right in this moment for you is one thing.
Dogen constantly reminds us that True Sitting is beyond long or short time. In Zanmai-o-Zanmai he taught ...
The Buddha Śākyamuni, sitting with legs crossed under the bodhi tree, passed fifty small kalpas, passed sixty kalpas, passed countless kalpas. Sitting with legs crossed for twenty-one days, sitting cross-legged for one time — this is turning the wheel of the wondrous dharma; this is the buddha’s proselytizing of a lifetime. There is nothing lacking. This is the yellow roll and vermillion roller [holding all the Sutras]. The buddha seeing the buddha is this time. This is precisely the time when beings attain buddhahood.
Upon coming from the west, the First Ancestor, the worthy Bodhidharma, passed nine autumns in seated meditation with legs crossed facing a wall at Shaolin monastery at Shaoshi Peak. Thereafter, his head and eyes have filled the world of the land of Cīnasthāna till now. The vital artery of the First Ancestor is just sitting with legs crossed. Prior to the First Ancestor’s coming from the west, beings in the eastern lands had not known sitting with legs crossed; after the ancestral master came from the west, they knew it. Therefore, for one life or ten thousand lives, grasping the tail and taking the head [i.e., from head to tail], without leaving the “grove” [right where one is], just sitting with legs crossed day and night, without other business — this is the king of samādhis samādhi.
I plan to practice like this:
3-4 times daily
Sit with a group and teacher on both days for 1-2 sittings in addition to my regular sittings.
In addition to that at least one day of the weekend, preferrably Saturday, plan to follow the retreat schedule:
7 am to 11 am: Zazen #1, Kinhin, Zazen #2, Kinhin, Zazen #3, Kinhin .......
11 am to 12: Samu
12:30-2: Free Period
2-7 pm: Zazen #1, Kinhin, Zazen #2, Kinhin, Zazen #3, Kinhin ......
Total: 13 Sittings in the day
- Maintain Silence throughout the day
- No reading/browsing/movies/going out
That is ambitious of you, Shikantazen. With that kind of schedule, you can start referring to your home as a monastery. [monk]
Hmmmmmmm. What are you aiming for in this?
Indeed, Enkyo. Hence my use of the word "ambitious." I am wondering if there is a gaining idea behind this.
I sensed that yeah [morehappy]
Nothing wrong with giving the old horse a spur once in a while shikantazen! Especialy this lesser one ( pointing at oneself). But we must be carefull not to do damage to "motivation" ( I believe there is a word for it in zen? The inner drive to sit? It escapes me at the moment). Like Suzuki sensei once said: The horsemaster must know exactly what load the animal can carry. Too much and he will breack the back of the horse. Too litle and he is not making use of the full capability of the horse. ( Or something like it).
If you think you can take it, well done! But what if you don't?
Thanks Jundo, I guess I perceived zazen as an act of setting down a snow globe. Eventually the snow settles and the more often its set down and kept still,the more often its kept settled, Leaving the snow globe more clear.
Originally Posted by Jundo
Perhaps our Practice is to finally come to realize that the clear, pristine water is always present both when the globe is shaken or when it is still. The water never changes. In fact, all are the Total Buddha Snow Globe!
Originally Posted by WokiTheCat
So, we sit for a time to let the snow of thoughts settle, letting us see clarity a bit better. But also we come to find the Stillness (Big "S") which is not a matter of shaken or still, and holds snow and water. True Clarity is beyond and shining right as both quiet or disturbance, as one.
And in life, maybe we learn to not shake the snowball of greed, anger, illusion, jealousy and all the rest so much.
(I have a tendency to run with analogies!) [monk]
I recently read this in Steve Hagen's book "Buddhism Is Not What You Think" and thought it relevant
One of the most common questions I receive when I give meditation instruction is, “How much should I meditate?” It’s not an unreasonable question, and there’s nothing wrong with it. But it reflects our usual approach and expectations. What’s important is not how much meditation you do but the regularity and the spirit with which you do it. If you take it up wholeheartedly and regularly, you’ll begin to cultivate the mind I’m speaking of. So don’t worry about how much you should do this practice. Being present isn’t based on the amount of time you force yourself to sit on the cushion. In fact, if you look for a moment at the very attitude and approach that says “more is better,” you’ll see it’s a greedy, grasping, fragmented mind, not an integrated one.
In Zen practice we simply attend to right now, to this moment—without concern for making the mind better or more focused or more concentrated or enlightened. It’s not a matter of trying to wrestle our mind into submission or forcing ourselves to sit on a cushion. (Actually, many of us start out this way, but sooner or later this approach has got to end, either with realization or with giving up.)
Daido, you speak my mind.
Beautiful Daido! :)
Originally Posted by Daido
Deep bows of gratitude for this teaching.
I will take this and use it.
Originally Posted by Daido