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Thread: Beginner Meditation How-To

  1. #1

    Beginner Meditation How-To

    o/

    I've made an "I've returned post," but now it's time to actually return.

    There was a suggestion by Shawn (zen_rook) to ease into my meditation practice 5 minutes a day.

    I find this tip agreeable and think I will try to act on it - but here's my problem...

    So this whole, you know, core of the practice thing... shikantaza...


    I have no idea how to do it. Well, that's only half-true, I suppose. I've made this post because I have no zafu, and I know nothing of the lotus position or why positions are important. In my perusal of the forums, I've found lots of stuff talking about the positions, but I don't really understand them, or why they're necessary, or how my practice will suffer if I join the 6:30am sessions while sitting on my busted computer chair.

    Perhaps my search has not been thorough enough - is there someplace on the forums where I can find an explanation of basic meditation techniques? Having basically stepped away for three years, I know nothing of meditation. What is the best place for me to go to get started? For now, I will continue as I have previously on the few occasions I managed to meditate - just sitting, in my own way.

    Thanks in advance for any help!
    "and if i claim to be a wise man, it surely means that i don't know"

  2. #2
    Hey Frank,

    Since it has been awhile, let me post our entire "welcome" letter ... including information on our "we're all beginners" series of video talks ...

    --------------------------

    WELCOME, and thank you for 'Sitting-a-long'. I think that I have pushed all the buttons, so you are 'officially' admitted to the 'Community Forum' of the TREELEAF SANGHA. If you have a chance, please post a short introduction in the thread called 'Greetings by New Folks' (found at the top of our "Topics about All of Life" forum). It will give others an opportunity to meet you.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...s-%28August%29

    WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO FIND HELPFUL POSTINGS? The best place to go each day as your first stop is the area called "TAIGU and JUNDO RECOMMEND THESE THREADS TODAY", where we list ongoing topics that we encourage folks to read.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forum...-JUNDO-&-TAIGU

    You can also click the "New Posts" button in the upper left corner of the Forum screen to see all the topics which are active since your last visit.

    Taigu and I have made a special series of TALKS FOR BEGINNERS (we are all beginners!). Here is the first of those (there are 24 !! in the series, a few minutes each). I ask that you do look at those, even if you have been practicing forever or are new to practice, and hope they are helpful. Please have a look to get a taste of the style of Shikantaza Zazen emphasized here ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forum...-FOR-NEW-FOLKS

    Our "Treeleaf Forum" is divided (one forum, some divisions ... like all reality) into a forum for topics about "ZAZEN, ZEN, BUDDHISM & MORE ZAZEN!". That is to discuss "matters of Practice" ... "How to" Zazen, Zen, Sutras, Buddhist Philosophy, Incense, Bell Ringing, Bows, Zafus, Robes and Roshis ... all of that Zen jazz. Oh, and of course, MORE ZAZEN! ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forum...m-&-MORE-ZAZEN!

    ... and a forum for topics on "ALL OF LIFE" ... music, family, kids, work, society, art, science, happy things and sad things, your favorite color ... whatever.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forum...ut-All-of-Life

    Please post accordingly. If you are not sure what topic goes where ... it does not matter, as Zazen is all of life, all of life just Zazen!


    We have a 'LIVE' NETCAST ZAZEN SITTING (90 minutes long ... not all that time sitting! ) each /Friday/Saturday via a link posted in the Forum each week. On the first Saturday of each month, I also host a 'live' FOUR-HOUR RETREAT ... information here:

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forum...ENKAI-NETCASTS

    Those sitting are recorded, and may also be sat any time after the netcast.

    Many of our members like to sit together via "Google+" video at times they arrange (you will find more information on this in the Forum) ... and our CALENDAR shows who is sitting today, so that you can join when you wish ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/calendar.php

    We hold an annual course, starting each Fall, of Precepts Study and 'Rakusu' sewing for our "JUKAI" (Undertaking the Precepts Ceremony) held each year in January. Information about that will be available in the late summer.

    We are also developing our ENGAGED & CHARITABLE PROJECTS CENTER, a forum for the creative development of charitable and socially engaged projects and practices seeking to aid and assist our fellow sentient beings in this world. That will be more active soon, and you will hear out it.

    And before I forget, a word on CONFIDENTIALITY AND PRIVACY: BECAUSE WE WISH OUR FORUM TO BE A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE CAN DISCUSS ANYTHING OPENLY, even very personal matters, we ask everyone to take SOME SIMPLE STEPS TO HELP SECURE PRIVACY while simultaneously allowing openness and frankness too. PLEASE QUICKLY REVIEW THE FOLLOWING 'TIPS' BEFORE YOU BEGIN POSTING IN OUR FORUM:

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...Sangha-Members

    This place is not meant as merely an "internet forum," and we are trying to nurture here everything that can be experienced in a Sangha community made of wood or bricks. We are an ordinary Zen Sangha. Please feel and be at home here.

    Let me mention that our Practice here, and our Lineage, are centered on 'Just Sitting' Shikantaza and the teaching of Master Dogen. I mention that because, sometimes, we get folks here from other traditions and styles of meditation (e.g., Vipassana or Koan centered Zazen), and they want to practice "Karate" in our "Ai-ki-do" Dojo. People from all traditions and practices are welcome to sit here, but our teaching and this Sangha are focused only on Shikantaza, and that is what we are teaching through the Sangha.

    I do ask folks who participate in our Sangha to be sitting in the style of 'Just Sitting' Shikantaza at least once per day. Please try to do so (otherwise it is much like reading about 'swimming' without jumping in the water and swimming!)

    Please write to me here at any time if I can help with something. The only 'rule' on the Forum, besides "Just Sitting" Zazen each day, is to be kind to each other and mutually maintain “gentle speech” in all communication, even when voices disagree on hot issues. Perhaps more than anything, this allows a warm, welcoming atmosphere for new and old, where people can open up without fear.

    Gassho, Jundo (and Taigu too)
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  3. #3
    Shinkantaza- just sitting. which is just another way of saying, just being.

    Allowing oneself just to be, with whatever comes up, to just be with ourselves. With all of our quirks and perceived peculiarities. Whether sitting, walking, lying down, on the way to work....our formal practice can be used as a tool to remind us to allow ourselves to just be, fully present with each moment. Just as it is.

    Frank, you have no zafu, allow yourself to be with that. If you decide to get one, allow yourself to be with that as well. Just as it is.
    Busted computer chair. That too is perfect and complete just as it is. Allow yourself to be with that as well.

    Then you will find that although you may just be sitting a formal period of five minutes, whereas in actuality, every moment of your day is this practice.
    Not two...

    Forgive my ramblings as I truly do not really know what I am saying

    Humbly,

    Seiryu
    Humbly,
    Seiryu

  4. #4
    Thank you for this Welcome Letter Jundo - an excellent little guide to Treeleaf and to help get that Beginner's Mind of mine a bit more direction

    Gassho,

    Josh

  5. #5
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Hi again, Frank,
    chairs are fine for sitting. If you want to try the floor, it's easiest to start in a kneeling position. Put a blanket on the floor, kneel on it, then put another rolled up blanket or a stack of towels or something like that under your bum. The higher up you are, the easier it is on the knees.

    All the beginner instructions are in this thread:
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forum...-FOR-NEW-FOLKS


    Nindo

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu View Post
    Shinkantaza- just sitting. which is just another way of saying, just being.

    Allowing oneself just to be, with whatever comes up, to just be with ourselves. With all of our quirks and perceived peculiarities. Whether sitting, walking, lying down, on the way to work....our formal practice can be used as a tool to remind us to allow ourselves to just be, fully present with each moment. Just as it is.
    I Seiryu,

    That is a very good description of Shikantaza.

    (I know, Seiryu, that you already know this) but as I often remind folks, letting ourselves "just be" does not always mean we can let ourselves "just be". Sometimes, we need to change in order to properly taste "nothing in need of changing".

    We are perfectly-imperfectly just what we are ... beyond all thought of perfection and imperfection ... with not a thing to add or take away. But that doesn't mean that there aren't things to add or take away, and no bad habits and imperfections in need of fixing! Saying that “nothing is in need of change” does—not—mean that “nothing is in need of change.” There are, and we can always do better ... freer of greed, anger, ignorance ... . Don't see things from only one angle.

    More here (a talk in the Beginner's series) ...
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...%28Part-XIV%29
    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-16-2012 at 03:44 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

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