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Thread: Advice for a Beginner

  1. #1

    Advice for a Beginner

    Hi everyone,
    I am a complete beginner, and would love suggestions from all of you about ways to be effective in my practice. Thank you in advance!
    -Billabong

  2. #2
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    I can't post a link because I am on my Kindle, but there is series of talks for beginners posted on this site. I'm sure someone will post them if you can't find them.
    迎 Geika

  3. #3
    My best suggestion is to develop a regular daily sitting practice, and stick with it. Zazen is the sine qua non of Zen.
    My second-best suggestion is to turn off the TV and read. I like "Taking the Path of Zen", followed by "Mind of Clover", by Robert Aitken Roshi.

    Perhaps that's too many words...and I should refer you to Ikkyu's advice:
    "Attention"
    "Attention"
    "Attention"
    May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind
    quickly be freed from their illnesses.
    May those frightened cease to be afraid
    and may those bound be free.
    May the powerless find power
    and may people think of befriending one another.

  4. #4
    Hi Billabong!

    I'm new to the practice as well but the talks and teachings Jundo and Taigu posted in the talks and teachings forum helped me understand a lot more about zazen and the basics of buddhism. I'm on my phone but I'll try post the link.

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

    Also I went to a Half Priced Books store and found a few books geared toward beginners after I researched reviews. Jundo and Taigu also have a list of books they recommend to read as well but I don't have the link to that forum.

    What's helped me is that I try to sit daily and increase the amount of time over time. I also read a book and watch the teachings of Jundo and Taigu daily.

    Hopefully that helps a little bit!

    Gassho
    Kia

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Don't try to be effective in your practice...just practice.

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
    With your help and guidance from Jundo & Taigu
    I am learning, but please take what I say with a
    grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma.

  6. #6
    Don t rush into being experienced, relax and pay attention.

    Gassho


    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  7. #7
    Hi,

    Yes, as many said above, here is our "always beginners series" ...

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

    Also, here is a little pamphlet on basic sitting that I should have sent you when you came (did you receive that mail from me)? ...

    https://sites.google.com/site/jundot...edirects=0&d=1

    We also have some "in a nutshell" talks on basic Buddhist Teachings ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forum...-Buddha-Basics

    There is a lot more in this forum too. Oh, and as was mentioned, a book list focused on the flavor of Soto Zen that we Practice in this Dojo ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...REELEAF-SANGHA

    Quote Originally Posted by Piobair View Post
    My second-best suggestion is to turn off the TV and read. I like "Taking the Path of Zen", followed by "Mind of Clover", by Robert Aitken Roshi.
    'Taking the Path of Zen' and other books by Aitken Roshi, though wonderful (and although we turn to 'Mind of Clover' in our Precepts study) are a bit of another flavor of Zen Practice from Shikantaza as we sit here. Zen, like many things in life, comes in several flavors ... all the same but sometimes very different, each different yet at heart the same. It is a bit like many ways to cook chicken soup (anyway, what chicken?). Here our focus is on sitting Shikantaza and Soto Zen Teachings. You can read a bit more about the various flavors of Buddhism and Zen in a couple of book chapters I posted awhile back to help the folks new to Buddhism and to Zen understand all the many "same but often different" ways of cooking. All delicious, although one should be skillful in mixing and matching flavors. These essays do paint with too broad a brush and are a bit stereotyped sometimes, but are generally helpful for those who might think Zen is Zen is Zen (which it is, by the way ... except when not )

    SPECIAL READING - ONCE BORN TWICE BORN ZEN (Part 1)
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...N-%28Part-1%29

    SPECIAL READING - (MORE) ONCE BORN TWICE BORN ZEN
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...twice-born-zen

    SPECIAL READING - EIGHT TYPES OF ENLIGHTENMENT
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-enlightenment

    That should keep ya busy for awhile. And as Taigu said above ...

    Don t rush into being experienced, relax and pay attention.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-07-2013 at 12:54 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    I would like to add my 2c, Billabong,
    the key - to me - is being steady, having a regular practice, and when falling out of my rhythm, coming back to regular practice,
    _()_
    Myoku

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Myoku View Post
    I would like to add my 2c, Billabong,
    the key - to me - is being steady, having a regular practice, and when falling out of my rhythm, coming back to regular practice,
    _()_
    Myoku
    x2

    Gassho
    大山

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Myoku View Post
    I would like to add my 2c, Billabong,
    the key - to me - is being steady, having a regular practice, and when falling out of my rhythm, coming back to regular practice,
    _()_
    Myoku
    Yes, x3.

    Gassho
    Michael



    If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?
    ~ Dogen Zenji

  11. #11
    Senior Member Juki's Avatar
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    It is also helpful if you have something in your house to remind you to practice. I have a formal altar in my sitting area, but I also have a small shrine in the hallway near the front door. It's the first thing I see when I come home, and the last thing I see when I leave. It's not really formal at all: a small Buddha, a small statue of Kannon, a tiny candle and a few pictures of friends. But, it centers me and reminds me to take my practice out into the world.

    Gassho
    William

  12. #12

  13. #13
    Thanks Piobair!
    Seeing as the New Year has begun, I think I can definitely develop a habit of daily sitting. And I love to read, so I definitely will be looking into getting those books.

  14. #14
    Hi all,
    I apologize that it has taken me multiple posts to figure out where my responses are showing up. Thank you all so much for the help and support! I am so happy to have found this site. I will definitely be taking all of your advice into account, and look forward to the journey ahead of me.
    Gassho,
    Billabong

  15. #15
    Senior Member YuimaSLC's Avatar
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    Hello Billabong,

    Please give your time on the cushion the priority. If it's a choice between only a sitting session or a reading session, I would recommend you make it a sitting session. It's so easy for many of us to dive into the book-learnin'.
    Remember that Ananda, Shakyamuni Buddha's loyal scholarly disciple, was not the direct Dharma successor. Mahakasyapa was.

    Welcome and kindest regards

    Richard

  16. #16
    Senior Member YuimaSLC's Avatar
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    Can I make one more recommendation, something that I am utilizing each day: reading as training-encouragement.
    Most monasteries and centers have daily talks which have as one principle focus, to encourage training.
    Thus, most of what I read, which usually follows a sitting session, is about 15-20 minutes long.

    Many of the writings of teachers such as Roshi(s) Uchiyama, Maezumi, Katagiri, Suzuki, and Okumura, to name a handful,
    are actually taken from talks/lectures given by them. And thus, just like Rev. Jundo's and Taigu's video talks (often of similar, modest length that I mention) they are encouragements and guidance to training.

    Take them as helpful medicine, just like we consume food when hungry that is just the right proportion to help us, not overwhelm or overindulge appetites.

    In gassho

    Richard

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by YuimaSLC View Post
    Can I make one more recommendation, something that I am utilizing each day: reading as training-encouragement.
    Most monasteries and centers have daily talks which have as one principle focus, to encourage training.
    Thus, most of what I read, which usually follows a sitting session, is about 15-20 minutes long.

    Many of the writings of teachers such as Roshi(s) Uchiyama, Maezumi, Katagiri, Suzuki, and Okumura, to name a handful,
    are actually taken from talks/lectures given by them. And thus, just like Rev. Jundo's and Taigu's video talks (often of similar, modest length that I mention) they are encouragements and guidance to training.

    Take them as helpful medicine, just like we consume food when hungry that is just the right proportion to help us, not overwhelm or overindulge appetites.

    In gassho

    Richard
    Excellent advice.

    Sit, study a bit, work Practice, Sit, eating, everything in life, playing with the kids, Sit ... in balance, each in its proper place and a healthy portion.

    This "Way beyond words and letters", by the way, was never completely beyond book study and "words and letters" (except for some rare radicals of centuries past). Primarily it meant to take the Sutras and other writings in small doses, not getting tangled in them, seeing right through them to the light which shines through and as the words. Know when to pick a book up, know when to put it down. Sit on a Zafu, not only in an armchair. Dogen, Bodhidharma, even 6th Ancestor Hui-Neng (though supposedly illiterate) were extremely well read and studied in the Buddhist texts. Perhaps it is better to say that we burn the books ... but only after we have read them!.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  18. #18
    A belly tattoo like this is a good reminder to sit daily!

    image.jpg


  19. #19
    Just sit!
    Neika / Ian Adams

    寧 Nei - Peaceful/Courteous
    火 Ka - Fire

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

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