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Thread: I dont practice Zen anymore

  1. #1

    I dont practice Zen anymore

    today as i was sitting my daily zazen i suddenly realized something. I dont practice Zen anymore.
    i dont hang around treeleaf as much as i used to. when i do, i dont really read that much of the posts (they are too many and there is too little time). i dont study text, dont contemplate the precepts or the eightfold path, hell i dont even remember all of them from the top of my head. i dont do metta. i dont study sutras, i dont find the time to join the weekly zazenkai. i havent touched my kesa sawing for over a year and i am just at the beginning of it.
    i barely practice anything but sitting zazen. and that too has lost all its charm and it is nothing special! i dont know why i sit anymore. i just sit because its part of me. im used to it so i keep doing it. when i dont sit i feel wrong but sitting or no sitting changes nothing. i live my life just like any other person. zen or no zen. i just live my life moment to moment. nothing special and nothing magical about it. i have become a dad 12 days ago. i am sleepless, took some time of work. i change dippers i take care of my son. but i just do it. i accept my life the way they are. there are many things i dont like, even get annoyed by. but its nothing special, just life. i accept it. im fine with it.
    i realize that i will get angry, will get in to fights with people close to me. hurt them and get hurt by them. have problems, have good days and bad days. when i sit, i sit. when i dont sit i go and do what needs to be done, what i want to do, what i dont want to do. i try to avoid things i dont like and do things i like.
    im just an ordinary human being. nothing more nothing less. zen has nothing to do with. i break precepts sometimes, i fall off the horse so to speak. i get back up and keep on going. i try to be a good man, living life as best i can.

    after 10 years of practice i finally realized zen is not a practice, it is just life. it is in everything i do and it is nothing at all.
    i guess i realized that practice is no different from life. when i finish sitting zazen i get up from the cushion and go on.

    i am reminded of an old koan i once read and liked and finally feel that i truly understand it.

    MOUNTAIN AND WATER
    Ching-yuan Wei-hsin, a Chinese Ch'an master, once said this:
    Thirty years ago, when having not studied Ch'an,
    this monk saw mountain was mountains and water was water.

    Later, when following the good teacher's guide, this monk could enter the gate of Ch'an,
    and saw mountain was not mountain and water was not water.

    Now, in the realm of joy and peace and tranquility where everything as-it-is,
    this monk sees mountain is just mountain and water is just water.
    Jundo, i must say that i always liked the phrase
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
    but i finally get it on a different level. and i think there is no more fitting motto for treeleaf, i can see why you chose it. thank you.

    Gashho, Dojin (finally feeling like i dont need to understand this practice).
    I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment
    - the Buddha

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Hi Dojin.

    It seems to me your practice is pretty strong.

    Maybe you don't have the time to read or to sew, but you are sewing life.

    Nothing special. That's all it is.

    But that's just my silly and non expert opinion.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin.
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  3. #3
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    What Kyonin said.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

    P.S. Don't be a stranger...at least pop in from time to time to let us know how you are doing. Pretty please?
    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.

  4. #4
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Love this post, almost word for word it applies to my life and my being here.
    I do what I do as I have been heavily influenced by my being here in this sangha, this forum.
    I find silence to be the best answer to all the anguish encountered,
    Because words just don't work in zen, at least not the words I can speak,
    Because Jundo and Taigu speak them better than I,
    So i take faith and trust in the action of this sangha every day.
    My studying of the dharma has devolved into the idea that
    Something is clearly missing,
    And I am good with that...
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

  5. #5
    treeleaf is like a home to me. and i will always be here. i just dont read much or write much. since there are too many posts. Dosho, we joined treeleaf pretty much at the same time. i dont know if you remember but it used to be a much smaller group and there were maybe 5-15 posts a day. it was possible to read them all and really give them a thought and replay. now days i think we get over 50 posts a day. and everything i would be able to add has already been said so i dont replay to posts as much as i used too. and also its way to many posts to read everything now.

    as for my post, I guess it does sound a bit bleak. i didnt mean that my practice isnt strong or anything. i just meant that i felt something a kin to peace. i guess i finally feel like its ok.
    like my practice has grown in to something else. its not practice anymore. its just life! i wrote a very long post (for me at least) trying to explain what i suddenly feel. but as always words fail to express what is really on my mind, or lack of things on my mind if you will.

    let me offer you just a small bow and a smile.
    and a simple thank you.

    Gassho, Dojin.

    P.S. I am not going anywhere... so you wont get the chance to miss me.
    but i definitely should start participating more in treeleaf, so you might see me more often
    I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment
    - the Buddha

  6. #6
    Hi Dojin,

    Sometimes I ask a little bit like this, I don't know if i'm enough involved in zen, and sometimes I think that there is not a taste with zen, if I can live my life fully it is zen.
    Zen is not how to live and how to die?

    I can't answer, the teachers will surely their point of view. It's a quite difficult topic
    If I remember well Taigu said that the most important is the quest, questioning, not the final aswer.

    Gassho

    Myoshin
    Myoshin 妙 心
    "A person who receives the Buddhist Precepts enters the state of Buddha at once. They stand at the same level as Gautama Buddha. We can say they are a child of the Buddha." Jundo

  7. #7
    Al, sorry i have seen your post only after i posted again.

    thank you. i agree with everything you said. especially the last part

    My studying of the dharma has devolved into the idea that
    Something is clearly missing,
    And I am good with that...
    Myoshin, thats the whole point. there are no more questions, since there are no need for answers.
    dont think of this post as a sad thing, it is the other way around. i just realized that practice is no different from anything else. its just a part of life.
    no need for philosophy or understanding. its just... well... ok.

    Gassho, Dojin.
    I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment
    - the Buddha

  8. #8
    Waw Dojin, if you can make no distinction between life and zen your practice is "far". I try to do it but it seems sometimes difficult.
    For sure you have more practice than me, and I admire the point you "reached"

    A big gassho
    and happy you stay with us.

    Myoshin
    Myoshin 妙 心
    "A person who receives the Buddhist Precepts enters the state of Buddha at once. They stand at the same level as Gautama Buddha. We can say they are a child of the Buddha." Jundo

  9. #9
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    To be at ease with the idea that "I've got it" as wrong is so shameless,
    And to understand that as a shame is freedom.
    There is a balance there,
    But to speak of it is to fall.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Myoshin View Post
    Waw Dojin, if you can make no distinction between life and zen your practice is "far". I try to do it but it seems sometimes difficult.
    For sure you have more practice than me, and I admire the point you "reached"

    A big gassho
    and happy you stay with us.

    Myoshin
    Myoshin, Thank you.
    its is nice to be complemented and it definitely strokes my ego a bit. but i must tell you i feel kinda wrong about what you said. its not a question of far or who has more practice. and not even a point reached.
    i have "reached" many... points in my practice and will probably "reach" many more. but its a process. as a person, not even a zen practitioner you are constantly shaped by your experiences. sometimes your view, understanding and even perception might change with age/time. it is not that i make no distinction between zen or life. i just dont try to do so anymore. i guess when you stop trying to gain something from this practice you truly do gain everything.
    and yes i have said it to myself many times, and really meant it. i understood it with my intellectual brain, and convinced myself of it.
    but never really tasted it.

    your comment is probably the most constructive here for me at least. it makes me feel wise and "zen" like so to speak. makes me feel special, progressed, far in my practice, a man who has reached some insight and understanding... but it also reminds me that its all bullshit... i dont need to feel like that because in the end i didnt reach anything, i am not wise or special. i just keep on keeping on so to speak. even when you realize something if you say to yourself i am this is and that. i dont need to do anything anymore and stop. you havent realized anything. and if you dont stop and keep practicing you still havent realized anything.

    i guess the only thing i can really say is
    its ok.

    p.s. reading this it all seems like rumbling without really saying anything, which it really is.

    Gassho, Dojin (who talks a lot but says nothing at all).
    I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment
    - the Buddha

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Dojin View Post
    i dont know why i sit anymore. i just sit because its part of me.
    Nice!

    All those books, posts, lectures, etc. are just different fingers pointing to the same moon. Only you know what you need and/or can do for your own practice.
    Just don't be attached - not even to sitting.

    Gassho,

    Timo
    no thing needs to be added

  12. #12
    Beautiful post Dojin ...

    Deep bows
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Jakudo's Avatar
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    I understand what you mean (I think). Zazen is not something you "do" anymore, it's a part of you're body/mind like breathing..or a bowel movement. The reasons for sitting zazen have rubbed off you and your just left with sitting..Awesome!
    Gassho, Shawn Jakudo Hinton
    It all begins when we say, I. Everything that follows is illusion.
    "Even to speak the word Buddha is dragging in the mud soaking wet; Even to say the word Zen is a total embarrassment."
    寂道

  14. #14
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater, though.
    迎 Geika

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia View Post
    Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater, though.
    Word to that. hahahah

    Dojin, I feel ya man. I'm trying to just soak it in now and practice.. just as you articulated.... less chatter more practice I guess. Didn't Elvis say "a little less talk, a lot more zazen?" lol

    But practice/zazen is everything we do here... posting here to support the Sangha and share our practice (it is nice to drop a line once in a while so we know we are all here ), sewing the kesa, sitting zazenkai's, etc. I absolutely don't do as much as I should either, so I feel ya man... it's an ongoing challenge. I'm just glad to see you posting again And congratulations!

    Gassho,

    Risho

    P.S. Congrats on becoming a dad!

  16. #16
    Can't speak for anyone else , but in my experience there is getting lulled. Sometimes things flow for while, peoples, places, relationships, health, ... "the world" is pretty stable for some years. The bumps and rises and falls, the disappointments and hurts, are all within the parameters of "My life ". Then one day the stool gets kicked out from under me, and my life falls apart.. and I realize it has been fair weather Buddhism. I'm not saying this is what's happening , I'm just reflecting, and tossing in old age, disease, and Death.

    ed. I hope that doesn't come across as harsh.. It feels almost impolite now to mention old age, disease , and death. It just seems normal to bring that up in a Buddhist context.

    Gassho
    Daizan
    Last edited by Daizan; 04-10-2013 at 02:07 AM.
    大山

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Dojin View Post
    i dont study text, dont contemplate the precepts or the eightfold path, hell i dont even remember all of them from the top of my head. i dont do metta. i dont study sutras, i dont find the time to join the weekly zazenkai. i havent touched my kesa sawing for over a year and i am just at the beginning of it.
    i barely practice anything but sitting zazen. and that too has lost all its charm and it is nothing special! i dont know why i sit anymore. i just sit because its part of me. im used to it so i keep doing it. when i dont sit i feel wrong but sitting or no sitting changes nothing. i live my life just like any other person. zen or no zen. i just live my life moment to moment. nothing special and nothing magical about it.
    Lovely post Dojin. I appreciate this. Nothing-everything special.

    And if and when the time comes for a bit of Dharma, Precepts, Metta, Sewing, Bowing ... all the rest ... it is waiting for you too. Also everything-nothing special. There is a time for those just as there is a time to change diapers, a time to go to the park, and time (in the future) to get the young man ready for school. Everything in its time ... when the baby cries, we pick him up and do not wait ... when the baby sleeps we let him and do not disturb the quiet.

    Maybe a good time for everything in its time, a time to pick up and a time to put down, a time to hold and a time to let go ... a time to stand and a time to sit. Zazen.

    Gassho, J

    PS - Can we know the baby's name now?
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-10-2013 at 02:35 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    Word to that. hahahah

    Dojin, I feel ya man. I'm trying to just soak it in now and practice.. just as you articulated.... less chatter more practice I guess. Didn't Elvis say "a little less talk, a lot more zazen?" lol

    But practice/zazen is everything we do here... posting here to support the Sangha and share our practice (it is nice to drop a line once in a while so we know we are all here ), sewing the kesa, sitting zazenkai's, etc. I absolutely don't do as much as I should either, so I feel ya man... it's an ongoing challenge. I'm just glad to see you posting again And congratulations!

    Gassho,

    Risho

    P.S. Congrats on becoming a dad!
    as a nurse currently working in an operation room, and before that i used to work with a lot of palliative patients i saw my share of old age disease and death. had people die in my arms and am quite used to it.
    had a friend that turned in to a vegetable a few years ago. so life wasnt a picnic. of-course things like that on a personal level do hurt and test you in all areas of life.
    but my life hasnt been perfect. its just that i finally feel like its ok.

    Gassho, Dojin.
    I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment
    - the Buddha

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Lovely post Dojin. I appreciate this. Nothing-everything special.

    And if and when the time comes for a bit of Dharma, Precepts, Metta, Sewing, Bowing ... all the rest ... it is waiting for you too. Also everything-nothing special. There is a time for those just as there is a time to change diapers, a time to go to the park, and time (in the future) to get the young man ready for school. Everything in its time ... when the baby cries, we pick him up and do not wait ... when the baby sleeps we let him and do not disturb the quiet.

    Maybe a good time for everything in its time, a time to pick up and a time to put down, a time to hold and a time to let go ... a time to stand and a time to sit. Zazen.

    Gassho, J

    PS - Can we know the baby's name now?
    actually i think the time has come. after realizing it. i decided to put more effort in to this non practice. its a never ending path... and as you said there is a time for everything. and i think its time i got more involved again.

    Gassho, Dojin.

    p.s.

    as for the name, i will tell everyone on friday. we postponed the circumcision because he was a bit small.
    I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment
    - the Buddha

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Maybe a good time for everything in its time, a time to pick up and a time to put down, a time to hold and a time to let go ... a time to stand and a time to sit. Zazen.
    Oh yes Jundo.

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  21. #21
    Great post, Dojin.

    Gassho
    Eika


    Sent from tapatalk
    [size=150:m8cet5u6]??[/size:m8cet5u6] We are involved in a life that passes understanding and our highest business is our daily life---John Cage

  22. #22
    Wonderful thread - it all resonates.

    Gassho

    Willow

  23. #23
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Gassho,
    Myozan
    Myozan Kodo
    Ordained Soto Zen Priest in Training
    Dublin, Ireland

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.
    "Here the way unfolds."

  24. #24
    If I may say, one has to ask whether Practice is too loose or too tight. Or just right ... like Goldilocks!

    For example, it is fine to just put it all down, be simple, let the breeze move and the rain fall ... nothing more needed. (Fact is, I wish I could do so more, except I have this Treeleaf place to tend to each day ).

    However, the above needs to be contrasted with simply being negligent, putting it off, doing things half way, avoiding what should be done etc., closing your ears to what you don't want to hear etc. .... Only the person knows which applies.

    Also, in the other direction, one can be diligent, sometimes engaging in hard practice, taking care sincerely and carefully of what needs to be done like at Sesshin ...

    Versus being an obsessive tight ass, rigid, compulsive. That is not good either. (I was just reading about Uchiyama Roshi who went through a period where they would sit for days 20 hours daily, sleeping only two ... and that in the Lotus Posture ... ... ... until he realized it was just too much and too greedy, which story I will post soon) Only the person knows which applies.

    And, by the way, it is not particularly good too to run from one extreme to another ... like some folks I know who "commit" on Tuesday, "quit" by Thursday. Slow and steady wins this race to nowhere (in fact, a lot like parenting a child in that way, or even learning the piano! ).

    Time again to tell of Sona and the Lute ...

    [The Buddha said], "Sona, you were a musician and you used to play the lute. Tell me, Sona, did you produce good music when the lute string was well tuned, neither too tight nor too loose?"

    "I was able to produce good music, Lord," replied Sona.

    "What happened when the strings were too tightly wound up?"

    "I could not produce any music, Lord," said Sona.

    "What happened when the strings were too slack?"

    "I could not produce any music at all, Lord," replied Sona

    "Sona ... You have been straining too hard in your meditation. Do it in a relaxed way, but without being slack. Try it again and you will experience the good result."
    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-11-2013 at 01:03 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  25. #25
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Oh my, some great teaching here, true wisdom; thank you all. Real glad to hear the baby was not thrown out (just a bit small )
    Seriously, thank you Dojin for this thread and for your sharing. However, I have to doubt you leave out the metta, truly! Once any of us has invested so much time and energy into learning about empathy and compassion; whether you follow the liturgy to the letter or just live, you are bound to be leaning to you vows. So, you can't recall what the eighth precept is, or you forgot to repeat "together with all sentient beings"; I still recognize you as Dojin. When Lillian and I sit down before each meal we join our hands in gassho and say, "いっただきます" (ittadakimasu) which means i/we am/are thankful for the blessings we receive or in other "words":
    This food we are about to receive comes to us through the efforts of all sentient beings; past and present.
    It is medicine for the nourishment of our practice.
    We offer this meal of its many tastes and virtues to all living beings in every realm of existence.
    May all sentient beings throughout the universe be sufficiently nourished.
    A kind of shorthand if you will; we do this whereever we are, in our own kitchen, in a restaurant or at a family dinner including infidels, gaijins, atheists of just unruly and suspecting Christians. We do it because we sort of lean toward the thinking of Buddhas; because it's how we feel and who we are as a result of our lives together, amen.

    peace and gassho, Shokai

    Shall we dance or wait for the music?
    Last edited by Shokai; 04-10-2013 at 01:05 PM.
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

  26. #26
    Shokai i really liked the thing you and your wife do. i think that's great.
    in israel its not very practical to share you are buddhist atleast not in the general public or place of work. people here tend to be a bit intolerant of other religions jewish, since its the jewish state they have no problem accepting the 3 big monotheist religions or even buddhism as long as its practiced by someone asain. i am quite open about it but i learned not to flaunt it. i once said something and was looked wierd upon. and someone even told me once i should tell people that since it will get me ostracized. anyhow i liked the idea of a watered down version of metta and giving thanks in life.

    Jundo maybe we should find a shortened version so people can do without drawing too much attention and on the go. kinda like the instant zazen you patented

    Gassho, D.
    I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment
    - the Buddha

  27. #27
    Senior Member Daisho's Avatar
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    Dojin, you began the teaching I needed to hear and to learn. Many thanks.
    Gassho,

    Daisho


    (Jack K.)

  28. #28
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Dojin; I hear you. I spent some time in the middle east and saw first hand the cultural sacred cows. from time to time I have family members who look at me weirdly and ask how i am I just felt I needed to mention that informal/innate intentions are as valid as structured. They're all mind constructs any way, aren't they?

    thanks and gassho, Shokai
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

  29. #29
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    I have good days and bad days. Thanks to zen, I now have vastly more good days than bad days. Quite honestly, the other day posting on here was a bad day. But all days, good and bad, are just days, and zen has taught me how to keep a wider perspective than just good/bad day any day. Good days pass, and so do bad days. When I have a bad day, I just have a bad day, and then it passes and good days return, only to eventually have the pattern repeat in some way. In this sense, I no longer "practice" zen; I just live it. But if it weren't for all that daily practice I do then that ratio of good/bad days would be different. So I am thankful for my practice as a dropping of practice in order to just live this particular day.

    Now I need to get to work or this will be a bad day, not that getting all my necessary work done will make it a good day, but it surely will help pass the day in a better than bad way.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Dojin View Post
    Jundo maybe we should find a shortened version so people can do without drawing too much attention and on the go. kinda like the instant zazen you patented
    You could say a gatha silently (without uttering the words aloud) just before eating, for example.
    The important thing is the intention: to pause, to be mindful of the food in front of you, and to express your appreciation/gratitude. It is not necessary to display it openly or to follow an "official ceremony" in my arrogant opinion.
    Before I eat I just take a short moment and silently recite a short gatha. Does not draw any attention at all. I am not into displaying such things either...

    Gassho,

    Timo
    no thing needs to be added

  31. #31
    I posted a little essay by Uchiyama Roshi that touches on what we are talking about here perhaps ...

    Uchiyama Roshi: Right now, right here, I live simply
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...8844#post98844

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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