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Thread: How soon is too soon?

  1. #1

    How soon is too soon?

    Hello everyone,

    I have been studying Buddhism for about a year, and have been practicing Zazen a little since then. In the past few weeks my time spent sitting has increased dramatically. I am sitting every day, twice a day, and for slightly longer periods of time.

    Since I have been reading about Zen, soto in particular, and visiting this forum I have been finding many answers to my questions. In fact it surprises me sometimes how simple Zen is for me to feel like I understand.

    I'll also state that the idea of being a Zen teacher in some capacity has been something that I've wanted to do since before I even finished reading my first book on Zen.

    I haven't been practicing for very long so it feels like I should be struggling more. Should this even be a struggle? Or is it just one realization after another after another? I expect the experience is different for everyone I just wonder if I am feeling like I am "getting it" too soon and missing something(s) because of it.

    Thank you very much

    Gassho,
    Joe

  2. #2
    Hi Joe,

    You will see in a year ... then see in ten years ... then twenty years ...

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    Layman P’ang ‘was sitting in his thatched cottage one day. “Difficult, difficult, difficult,” he suddenly exclaimed, “like trying to scatter ten measures of sesame seed all over a tree!”
    “Easy, easy, easy,” returned Mrs P’ang, “just like touching your feet to the ground when you get out of bed.”
    “Neither difficult nor easy.” said (their daughter) Ling Zhao.”On the hundred grass-tips, The Ancestors’ meaning.”


    Welcome on board, Joe!

    Andy

  4. #4
    I would encourage you to continue to sit twice a day regardless of whether you get it or struggle with it.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    I would encourage you to continue to sit twice a day regardless of whether you get it or struggle with it.
    Twice a day is good if you have the energy, time and inclination.

    Once a day is good for people busy with life ... especially if they bring Shikantaza out into the world too ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ighlight=insta

    Everyone should try to sit long retreats of several days or a week or two from time to time ... if one can find the time ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post98267

    15 minutes is fine, 45 minutes is fine, endless Kalpa (ages of the universe) is fine, ages upon ages is fine, a single moment within a moment is fine ... so long as one realizes the Timeless Wholeness of even a single immediate instant of Zazen. A second or a century of Zazen is a second and a century of Boundless Buddha.

    ... However, because it takes a moment to swing into such a Timeless mindset, we recommend sitting for at least 15 to 35 minutes at a time ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ighlight=insta

    A beginner in Zazen on the first day (even before the first day) is already Buddha. Someone sitting a year, 10 years or 100 years is, no more and no less, already Buddha. However, the fellow sitting for 10 years is probably better at realizing and living such fact than the Buddha sitting 10 minutes or 10 days.

    This is not a race, not a sprint ... but a wonderful, long hike through the mountains ... step by step, ever wholly right where one stands, every step total arrival ... both the ups and downs and even falls in the mud. The Buddha-mountain and Buddha-you ... just Buddha in every step by step forward. Keep going!

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-06-2013 at 04:57 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    This is not a race, not a sprint ... but a wonderful, long hike through the mountains ... step by step, ever wholly right where one stands, every step total arrival ... both the ups and downs and even falls in the mud. The Buddha-mountain and Buddha-you ... just Buddha in every step by step forward ....
    Beautiful Jundo.

    Gassho
    Shingen
    真 眼

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

  7. #7
    As my Bro says...

    The timeless.

    Being a Zen teacher?

    As long as there is somebody longing, forget it; once ambition dropped, doesn t matter anymore

    Hence the following koan:

    "If you have got a stick.,I ll give you one
    If you haven t any, I will take it from you"

    Buddha all along
    Hopeless at every step
    Same thing here


    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.

  8. #8
    Thank you everyone,

    I will continue to practice so I can continue to practice.

    Gassho,
    Joe

  9. #9
    Practice is , practice undoes I, practice only

    gassho


    T.
    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.

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    To drop all plans and objectives and to just sit with what is.

    What's the hurry? We don't know if we'll even wake up tomorrow in the first place.

    The Now is all we got.

    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

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    To drop all plans and objectives and to just sit with what is.

    What's the hurry? We don't know if we'll even wake up tomorrow in the first place.

    The Now is all we got.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Beautifully put and so true Kyonin.

    Gassho
    Shingen
    真 眼

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

  12. #12
    Senior Member Joyo's Avatar
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    Hi Joe, do you think perhaps it is just part of your personality? My husband is not a Buddhist, but he acts more zen than I do most days. He has such a way of just being able to accept whatever comes his way and not struggle with life. I, on the other hand, let's just say I need zazen to keep me in a peaceful state

    Maybe you are just one of those who is naturally more calm?

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Emmy View Post
    Hi Joe, do you think perhaps it is just part of your personality? My husband is not a Buddhist, but he acts more zen than I do most days. He has such a way of just being able to accept whatever comes his way and not struggle with life. I, on the other hand, let's just say I need zazen to keep me in a peaceful state

    Maybe you are just one of those who is naturally more calm?
    It could be the case. I used to be everywhere emotionally, mainly sad and angry and excited. I think at some point (before discovering Buddhism) I realized that it was better to just let things go. So then when I started studying Zen books and ideas it just made sense.

    Another part of it might be (and this is a little embarrassing) it might just have to do with the romanticism we in the west have for "Eastern" things. The idea of Zen was just so COOL that I WANTED to do it right. Which as Taigu has pointed out, is not so good for practice. I know this now, but it might have had something to do with my laser focus at the beginning. I noticed myself doing the same thing when I started learning Kung Fu as well.

    I really like that you brought up that it could just be part of my personality. Rather than worrying about right and wrong, fast and slow, easy or hard, I should just sit with what is. (As Kyonin said).

    Gassho,
    Joe

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe View Post

    I'll also state that the idea of being a Zen teacher in some capacity has been something that I've wanted to do since before I even finished reading my first book on Zen.

    Joe
    You can not not teach.
    You can not not learn.
    Learning and teaching happen at once and at once...are dropped.

    Thank you for your teachings.

    Gassho, John

  15. #15
    Senior Member Joyo's Avatar
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    Another part of it might be (and this is a little embarrassing) it might just have to do with the romanticism we in the west have for "Eastern" things. The idea of Zen was just so COOL that I WANTED to do it right. Which as Taigu has pointed out, is not so good for practice. I know this now, but it might have had something to do with my laser focus at the beginning. I noticed myself doing the same thing when I started learning Kung Fu as well.

    I know exactly what you mean. I am always hesistant to tell someone from the west (I live in Canada) that I practice Zen Buddhism because it sounds like I"m must following the trend and trying to be cool. Which, of course, is not true at all. In fact, I credit Zen to saving my life in so many ways.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Emmy View Post
    Another part of it might be (and this is a little embarrassing) it might just have to do with the romanticism we in the west have for "Eastern" things. The idea of Zen was just so COOL that I WANTED to do it right. Which as Taigu has pointed out, is not so good for practice. I know this now, but it might have had something to do with my laser focus at the beginning. I noticed myself doing the same thing when I started learning Kung Fu as well.

    I know exactly what you mean. I am always hesistant to tell someone from the west (I live in Canada) that I practice Zen Buddhism because it sounds like I"m must following the trend and trying to be cool. Which, of course, is not true at all. In fact, I credit Zen to saving my life in so many ways.
    Hi Emmy. It is actually an interesting thing. Zen is very cool as far as popular perception goes. Just look at the use of "Zen" in high end spa advertising. Zen is also the coolest in terms of look. It looks great with that fine minimalism. Theravada Buddhism is frumpy, and Tibetan Buddhism is very baroque (the opposite of simple looking). Yet if you go to a Zen centre near where you live.. pretty much any one, you'll see that the pop appeal of Zen is very limited, and that very few people practice. The exotic or glamorous quality of Zen does not survive the cushion for long. It is "disappointing".

    gahan-wilson-nothing-happens-next-this-is-it-new-yorker-cartoon.jpg

    Gassho Daizan
    Last edited by Daizan; 06-08-2013 at 03:40 PM.
    大山

  17. #17
    Senior Member Joyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daizan View Post
    Hi Emmy. It is actually an interesting thing. Zen is very cool as far as popular perception goes. Just look at the use of "Zen" in high end spa advertising. Zen is also the coolest in terms of look. It looks great with that fine minimalism. Theravada Buddhism is frumpy, and Tibetan Buddhism is very baroque (the opposite of simple looking). Yet if you go to a Zen centre near where you live.. pretty much any one, you'll see that the pop appeal of Zen is very limited, and that very few people practice. The exotic or glamorous quality of Zen does not survive the cushion for long. It is "disappointing".


    gahan-wilson-nothing-happens-next-this-is-it-new-yorker-cartoon.jpg

    Gassho Daizan

    Yes, I agree it won't last long if you are attracting to Zen for being cool. I've never been very cool anyway, in high school, or out in the real world. I would very much like to go to a Zen Centre, unfortunately I live far away from one. When my children are older, I do plan on visiting one. I have also found that there is really nothing glamorous about real Zen, it's just living in the moment, lots of sitting. And for me, personally, I find my Zen practice gives me very little, if anytime for pop culture stuff like music, tv, and movies. When my children are (finally) asleep, I'd rather be sitting, than doing anything else. NOw, that is not cool but it is better.

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