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Thread: Hung up on "live" ?

  1. #1

    Hung up on "live" ?

    Hi.

    Requesting some help here. I am writing an essay for Net of Indra .org... the site I hope to have up in January, that (fingers crossed) may become a creative laboratory for developing this medium for Sangha activity. One issue I would like to run by Treeleafers is.... "live vs. memorex" Recently, on the Zazenkai thread , Jundo said this in response to a concern about not being there up for live sitting....


    Don't overdo if not your natural waking time. The Zazenkai is intended to be sat in any time, any time zone, no difference. Don't get caught up in "live" or not.

    Variation on a famous Koan ...

    Zen master taps a computer screen with his stick and asks, "live or not? I won't say, I won't say."
    This is beautiful, and I'm glad I wouldn't feel disconnected because I cannot sit live. In the "absolute" we all sit together anywhere anytime we sit.

    However, in writing on this subject, and on the concerns that bricks and mortar traditionalists have (which are fair enough), there is a flip side to making no distinction in time and space. It is a new twist on the long history of conveniently invoking the Absolute. Saying "anywhere anytime it makes no difference, we sit together" can very easily slide from including those with out-of-sync schedules, into becoming a device for sanctifying practice at my convenience. Where I do not have move out of my comfort zone in any way. The result is a "together" of people sitting with recordings or empty "hangouts" ...."doing my own thing". This is surely a concern of people who see online practice as lacking real commitment, and therefore not worth recognizing. Including concerns of the traditional Zendo is a important part of this project.

    I appreciate any help or feedback on this issue from the sangha... where is the practical balance? Thank you.

    Gassho, kojip
    Last edited by Daizan; 11-26-2012 at 03:44 PM.
    大山

  2. #2
    Kojip,
    Well, being a "not live" sitter I feel that the "right way" is doing it "soon afterwards". This is pretty delicate, as it can be misunderstood and is vague, but I feel when one "tries to be with the sangha" in a sense of doing it altogether as it happens, even when delayed by a few hours or a few days thats the right spirit. Moreover Live can be tricky and when I cannot do it, well, then I cannot do it, but just as you say, it should not slip into a "at my convenience" in the sense of I do it when I'm in the mood to do so (or the like). Also "Right Intention" comes to my mind. Not sure if this of much help to you,
    Gassho and thank you for your project
    Myoku

  3. #3
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Before Google +, it was not so visible that nobody joined you (as in empty hangouts mentioned above). You just sat and trusted that someone, somewhere was also sitting. I still approach it in this way and rarely have Google + on, unless making it to a live sit hosted by Jundo.

    Freeing up 1.5 to 4 hours on a regular basis for zazenkai, and hopefully further time for daily sits, would probably move most people "out of their comfort zone"? Sure does for me. Whether you keep up a regular practice with the scheduled time of a group, or on your own, there has to be similar commitment. So I don't see an issue here.

    Of course you can take shortcuts with the recorded version .... like skipping the chanting or cooking breakfast during kinhin time ... but that's another thing, isn't it?
    --- In every moment of our sitting all beings are receiving the ultimate help; they are all achieving perfect peace and perfect rest. --- Norman Fischer

  4. #4
    Hi Kojip,

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    Saying "anywhere anytime it makes no difference, we sit together" can very easily slide from including those with out-of-sync schedules, into becoming a device for sanctifying practice at my convenience. Where I do not have move out of my comfort zone in any way. The result is a "together" of people sitting with recordings or empty "hangouts" ...."doing my own thing". This is surely a concern of people who see online practice as lacking real commitment, and therefore not worth recognizing. Including concerns of the traditional Zendo is a important part of this project.

    I appreciate any help or feedback on this issue from the sangha... where is the practical balance? Thank you.
    I think this is an individual thing again. I personally have never had a problem with motivation. Not just concerning zazen.
    I don't like to lie to myself. And when I have the opportunity to sit live I won't give myself reasons not to do it - whenever I smell self-deluding the alarm bell rings in my head.

    Where is the practical balance?
    That's for you to decide. Everyone has a different kind of life. I know people who are glad they can spare 10 - 15 mins per day, and that's fine.
    Just trust your feeling! Listen to yourself, you know best what's reasonable.
    I consider you as someone who does not take our practice too lightly, I can see that you really mean it.
    Just trust yourself and everything is alright.
    You'll know immediately for yourself when you "cheat".

    Gassho,

    Timo
    no thing needs to be added

  5. #5
    Hi. Thank you for these responses.

    Personally I tend to the conservative side of the spectrum on this issue, and naturally have my own wishes for an online practice environment. .. but that may not be where things go. The main motivation for doing this project is to see the many different views and ideas. Currently what I encounter is a wide spectrum .. from people who think the internet is inherently limited, and who can't imagine it replacing physical presence, to the way expressed by Jundo above. Somehow there is an innovative way for online practice to include the whole spectrum. The point will not be to debate the legitimacy of online practice but, given its acceptance in principle, looking creatively at the issues.

    Thanks.. again. Gassho. kojip
    Last edited by Daizan; 11-26-2012 at 10:19 PM.
    大山

  6. #6
    Senior Member Shujin's Avatar
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    Hi Kojip, you've raised some important points here, so I wanted to chime in a bit late. My view is somewhat cliche, in that there is room for both online and physical elements. Intention and circumstance are what separate flexibility from laziness.

    In my career, I work rotating shifts and days off. The local zen group, by contrast, meets once a week on Sunday morning. The vast majority of the time I'm either working, or have just come off a night shift. So, I sit online. Unfortunately, as you illustrated, this tends towards an empty hangout. While the morning G+ folks sit I'm usually putting on my uniform and walking out the door, or on shift already.

    I hope I can synthesize these elements. On my work days I will most likely continue to sit alone on G+ (except for the occasional person who is able to join). On days off I should make a greater effort to sit with a group, be it Myoku/Shokai, Kojip/Ron, or some of the European folks at (my) mid-day.

    After reading the above, I'm not really sure how it will advance anything in your essay. I hope something in it is helpful. If not, well.... it's time to sit anyhow.

    Gassho,
    Shujin

  7. #7
    Treeleaf Unsui Daido's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shujin View Post
    Hi Kojip, you've raised some important points here, so I wanted to chime in a bit late. My view is somewhat cliche, in that there is room for both online and physical elements. Intention and circumstance are what separate flexibility from laziness.

    In my career, I work rotating shifts and days off. The local zen group, by contrast, meets once a week on Sunday morning. The vast majority of the time I'm either working, or have just come off a night shift. So, I sit online. Unfortunately, as you illustrated, this tends towards an empty hangout. While the morning G+ folks sit I'm usually putting on my uniform and walking out the door, or on shift already.

    I hope I can synthesize these elements. On my work days I will most likely continue to sit alone on G+ (except for the occasional person who is able to join). On days off I should make a greater effort to sit with a group, be it Myoku/Shokai, Kojip/Ron, or some of the European folks at (my) mid-day.

    After reading the above, I'm not really sure how it will advance anything in your essay. I hope something in it is helpful. If not, well.... it's time to sit anyhow.

    Gassho,
    Shujin
    Gassho,

    Daido


  8. #8
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Because of my lack of privacy and space, I tend to sit when I am alone. This can be every day to sometimes three days in-between. I never really know when the opportunity to sit will arise. When the time does come, I put up the video for the latest zazenkai and continue from where I left off. I usually manage to get them done over a two-sit period. Even though I am often a week behind, I at least am glad I am not missing any of them any more.

    I love all of you. Sitting with you is good, and I feel I have sat with you, though I am rarely there live.
    迎 Geika

  9. #9
    If I might quote a line from Shitou - Though the hut is small, it includes the whole world.

    How does this relate to sitting via the internet? Sitting alone - or in a group - the intention seems to be the same?

    For myself, I have a sense of our sangha in my heart - the sense of relationship comes from getting to know members by sharing thoughts via the message board. I believe this message board is a form of true communication - (and yes - at times - also a form of distraction) but in essence - true in spirit and intention.

    I have a few 'difficulties' with the 'live' sit - which have pushed me to question whether this is an authentic way for me and whether it truly helps my practice. (By live sit I mean essentially being connected via the computer to either a live/recorded sit - where others are visible/on camera/screen.

    1 - I really struggle with the drumming that accompanies chanting (ear/hearing problem) so I turn the sound down and chant the heart sutra silently.

    2 - physically I can't sustain sitting and 'am not in an upright position. I am full of awe seeing the image of those of you who can do this - but I also feel a bit inadequate.

    3 - In my mind - I automatically encompass those members present (and not present). I feel as Amelia regarding this. Sitting the recorded version doesn't result in my feeling a greater sense of community - focusing on Tree Leaf has the same effect.

    Feeling this, I can't see the point of my keep going back to the original recording (because I sit in segments). I started to question why I would do this - when you are all present in my mind anyway. The first time I go to the recorded sit I have a strong sense of you all but on returning it's almost like expecting the computer to play some magic trick.

    For me - there is no live or not live - but the awareness of our community that resides in the heart - ever present.

    This probably isn't adding to the discussion or helping you Kojip. I can understand that for some zazen feels more authentic/present/alive when sat with others but I guess I'm on that end of the spectrum where it's not an issue for me.

    (This has been edited - keep going back to it as thinking on things




    Gassho

    Willow
    Last edited by willow; 11-28-2012 at 06:39 AM.

  10. #10
    Hi Willow,

    Quote Originally Posted by willow View Post
    A live sit wouldn't work for me - I am glad to be invisible.
    I thought sitting live does not necessarily mean to use a camera. At the moment I also prefer to sit live without a camera (in fact, I don't own a webcam).

    Quote Originally Posted by willow View Post
    3 - In my mind - I automatically encompass those members present (and not present).
    I think that's the most important thing - the feeling of "connection".

    Gassho,

    Timo
    no thing needs to be added

  11. #11
    Hi Timo - I was thinking of google hang-outs etc (though I'm not sure members are visibly present?).

    But you are correct when you say sitting live does not necessarily mean to use a camera - my statements are personal to me rather than generalisations - I'm beginning to realise that the use of internet regarding sitting (as a form of presence - or commitment to presence) is perhaps problematic for me.

    Need to think more on this.

    Gassho

    Willow

  12. #12
    While I understand what Kojip was getting at, I wonder if perhaps it matters whether or not our sitting is "at our convenience" or is structured to an outside time-frame. If we sit regularly, and I emphasize the regularly, does it matter if it is convenient? In fact, for some of us, being able to sit zazen when it is convenient may be the only thing that keeps us doing it, at least at first.

    Gassho, Ian.
    Neika / Ian Adams

    寧 Nei - Peaceful/Courteous
    火 Ka - Fire

    Look for Buddha outside your own mind, and Buddha becomes the devil. --Dogen

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by ianadams View Post
    While I understand what Kojip was getting at, I wonder if perhaps it matters whether or not our sitting is "at our convenience" or is structured to an outside time-frame. If we sit regularly, and I emphasize the regularly, does it matter if it is convenient? In fact, for some of us, being able to sit zazen when it is convenient may be the only thing that keeps us doing it, at least at first.

    Gassho, Ian.
    Hi Ian. In the general context of this project, it matters to some, not to others. There is a spectrum of views and issues with Bodhidharma going online.

    ..another is what Willow is expressing, and how that is included. ...and thank you, Willow, that is very helpful.


    There are also plenty of technical and design issues... which will be a focus. For instance chanting is (for some) an important part of group practice. There is something about that shared sonic resonance in everyone's chest that facilitates sitting with one heart (IMHO). Trying that on Google + would result in a feedback tsunami, and it would also depend on whatever sound system each person has...etc.

    So there are lots of interesting dimensions to the development of online practce. Too many thats why I'm doing this project in baby steps and not thinking too much..hopefully.


    Gassho, kojip
    Last edited by Daizan; 11-28-2012 at 01:48 PM.
    大山

  14. #14
    Hi. just looking over this thread I think I aught to clarify something here. First of all thank you for the feedback and help.

    This project is inspired by, and encouraged by, Treeleaf ..... but it is not about how Treeleaf or Treeleafers do things. I'm just another member here (... and haven't even taken Jukai yet!) and have no business commenting on how this Sangha works apart from being another opinion on this board. The Indra project is about Buddhist practice online in general... and hopefully will focus mainly on the design and technical aspects of that development.


    Gassho. kojip.
    大山

  15. #15
    Kojip you are doing fine. To me it is a blessing running into self-initiators and good, open hearted leaders. I was one but now I just sit and sit whereever I can. My sangha being 60 miles away forces me to improvised.
    Looking forward to Net of Indra.
    I do silent illumination or shikantaza, call it either. I like to sit at 5 AM and then whatever time is available since we are 5.5 people in a small house. The half is a 2.5 years old dude that dropped in suddenly and has taken over house and heart, my grandson and tormentor.
    I sit anywhere and any other time too but mostly my work is off cushion nowa days, taking mindfulness for a wide, long ride daily. Learning that still.

    Peace, Ed
    Last edited by Ed; 11-29-2012 at 01:08 PM.
    "Know that the practice of zazen is the complete path of buddha-dharma and nothing can be compared to it....it is not the practice of one or two buddhas but all the buddha ancestors practice this way."
    Dogen zenji in Bendowa






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