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Thread: The Courage of Zazen

  1. #1
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    The Courage of Zazen

    I was at a full-day zazenkai yesterday and the dharma talk caused me to reflect:

    There is the courage of the soldier, and the courage of the mother holding the child. There's the courage of the father and the farmer and doctor - the everyday courage of facing things.

    There is the courage of zazen - and it takes a lot of courage - to still still and be alone with whatever comes up - watching it go by - and letting it go. There are times when I want to get up and run away screaming - but I sit in place. There re times when tears stream from my eyes - like yesterday - and I found the strength to sit.

    The courage of zazen - it is there for us - sitting together throughout time and space. Thank you for practicing with us, with one another, with me. I used to be a solitary sitter - alone with my fears, delusions, and narrative. Now I sit with others - it is very powerful, and it encourages me to show up on days and at times when I would rather be distracted and hide in my fears.

    I am only now discovering how powerful it is to sit in a Sangha - it enriches one's own practice and there are times when in turn we are really "there" for someone else who is struggling or having difficulty in practice or in life. When we take a vow to "end suffering" our act of zazen is a realization of that vow.

    Deep bows
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 08-25-2013 at 02:08 PM.
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  2. #2
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Amen.


    Gassho,
    Edward
    Practice with humility, respect all beings, avoid attachments, give rise to prajña from your own awareness, put an end to delusions - Hui-neng

  3. #3
    Senior Member Joyo's Avatar
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    Everything that you said, so true!!

    gassho,
    Treena

  4. #4
    Thank you for sharing.

    Deep bows,
    Kia

  5. #5
    Senior Member rculver's Avatar
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    The books put it in the head, sitting with Sangha, puts it in the heart.


    Shugen
    Shugen

  6. #6
    This is wonderful Yugen ... I know for me when I have had a bad day, it is my zafu I seek. When tears need to come, I don't watch a sappy movie, but again seek the comfort of my zafu.

    Sitting alone upon this ball of cotton has given me great courage as well, to sit with all of you.

    Gassho
    Shingen



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

  7. #7
    Hi Yugen. I have found a big difference between sitting alone in a kuti in the woods, without social stimulation, and sitting alone in the world, with many interactions and responsibilities. Alone in the woods is easy, attractive, but it also brings to mind the line from Hamlet."O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space". Sitting alone in the world is very different, and very hard, and although there is nowhere to slide back to, backsliding happens anyway. I need the ritual and shared effort. It makes no real difference whether it is bricks and mortar or online, it is all concrete enough. All the times of real transformation and deepening of practice have been times of deep Sangha involvement.

    Gassho Daizan
    Last edited by Daizan; 08-25-2013 at 11:27 PM.
    大山

  8. #8
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing this Yugen. It also takes courage to share what you did. Daizan, very well said. Such amazing sincere people here.
    Gassho to all

    C

  9. #9
    Thank you Yugen.

    Gassho,
    joe

  10. #10
    Thank you brother Yugen.

    Mending robes, sitting in mountains made of steel or rocks, giving up everything even for a little while, all this is but our ultimate ineffable time-being.

    Crying, laughing, happy or sad, others and me, the circle of sitting embraces the many faces if this life into one huge hug.

    Gassho


    T.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Yugen View Post
    I was at a full-day zazenkai yesterday and the dharma talk caused me to reflect:

    There is the courage of the soldier, and the courage of the mother holding the child. There's the courage of the father and the farmer and doctor - the everyday courage of facing things.

    There is the courage of zazen - and it takes a lot of courage - to still still and be alone with whatever comes up - watching it go by - and letting it go. There are times when I want to get up and run away screaming - but I sit in place. There re times when tears stream from my eyes - like yesterday - and I found the strength to sit.

    The courage of zazen - it is there for us - sitting together throughout time and space. Thank you for practicing with us, with one another, with me. I used to be a solitary sitter - alone with my fears, delusions, and narrative. Now I sit with others - it is very powerful, and it encourages me to show up on days and at times when I would rather be distracted and hide in my fears.

    I am only now discovering how powerful it is to sit in a Sangha - it enriches one's own practice and there are times when in turn we are really "there" for someone else who is struggling or having difficulty in practice or in life. When we take a vow to "end suffering" our act of zazen is a realization of that vow.

    Deep bows
    Yugen
    It does take ALOT of courage doesn't it? I remember one sitting,liking it to climbing mount everest twice over. I remember that's how i felt, I remember thinking to myself in the midst of the storm of sitting still that that's what climbing mount everest twice over might feel like.LOL, In hindsight perhaps that's a major exaggeration, but i sure as heck remember feeling that was true when i i felt it.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    Daizan, very well said. Such amazing sincere people here.
    Not always so amazing and sincere, Clark. I have not worn the Rakusu sown here for some time, and have sat mostly alone and offline. Only coming around here to peck out thoughtful words from time to time. The words are from a real enough place, but life is messier than text, and it adds up to insincerity. With apologies and respect.
    大山

  13. #13
    Senior Member Genshin's Avatar
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    Thank you Yugen.

    Gassho
    Matt

  14. #14
    Hello Yugen,
    Thank you for your testimony, which touched me deeply.
    I practiced zazen alone for some time, but it did not satisfy me. It was for me as "Hinayana", since my heart is open to the path of greatness.
    The Sangha is very important to practice zazen with a joyful spirit (kishin).
    Le secret consiste donc seulement à dire "OUI" et à se jeter dans le vide. Dès lors, il n'y a plus de problème. Il s'agit d'être soi-même dans l'instant présent, toujours soi-même, sans s'accrocher à son vieux moi.
    Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

  15. #15
    Thank you Yugen,
    for this very personal reflection.
    Gassho
    Myoku

  16. #16
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Yugen,

    Thank you for this. The only thing I'll add is something I said on the tea party yesterday. Sitting in a group is great, but sitting alone is great too. There is no difference except in our minds. It is about pushing our boundaries and if sitting in a group terrifies you at first, it is ok to sit alone (but never alone). This practice is not the same without a sangha, but for those who have taken a giant leap just to come here and sit at all, it is ok to work on that before taking another giant step to sitting with folks. In the end you will come to see the enrichment that Yugen speaks of...but in time. Just being at Treeleaf and reading posts like these is always big step and a giant one for folks like me 5 years ago!

    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.

  17. #17
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing Yugen.

    Gassho.
    Seimyo

    明 Seimyō (Christhatischris)

  18. #18
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    When we take a vow to "end suffering" our act of zazen is a realization of that vow.
    Great stuff Yugen, thank you for sharing

    gassho,
    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.

  19. #19
    Treeleaf Unsui Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Deep bows of thanks.
    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."

  20. #20
    Thank you. I agree.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Daizan View Post
    Not always so amazing and sincere, Clark. I have not worn the Rakusu sown here for some time, and have sat mostly alone and offline. Only coming around here to peck out thoughtful words from time to time. The words are from a real enough place, but life is messier than text, and it adds up to insincerity. With apologies and respect.
    Yeah, but even your insincerity is sincere.

    gassho
    Shōmon

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r View Post
    Yeah, but even your insincerity is sincere.

    gassho

    Can't win....uh, lose.


    Gassho Daizan
    大山

  23. #23
    You speak to & from my heart Yugen

    Gassho

    David

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