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Thread: Shikantaza Question

  1. #1

    Shikantaza Question

    Hey All,

    Just a quick question for clarification: Is it good form to use a questoon such as "Where is the mind?" one when realizes that the attention has shifted to chasing down trails of thought? Metta!

    Gassho,

    KB
    To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
    -Dhp. 183
    My Practice Blog

  2. #2
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    I don't know - I've never thought about that. I suppose you could use it the way some teachers - like Nishijima Roshi if I'm not mistaken - tell their students to just correct their posture once they realize their attention has gone wandering. Then again, while I do use the posture thing, I've also found that as soon as I realize my attention has wandered, that moment of realization usually just sort of takes care of everything - at least until the next moment my attention wavers again. I mean, as soon as I realize my attention has wandered, that realization has already brought me back from my wanderings so what else do I need to do?

    So, speaking from my own practice: on the one hand maybe asking the question is unnecessary. On the other hand, maybe it will help - much like adjusting the posture or the mudra helps.


    Rafael

  3. #3
    Where is the mind? Here!

    Gassho

    Enkyo

  4. #4
    Thank you both! Great replies!
    To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
    -Dhp. 183
    My Practice Blog

  5. #5
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Enkyo...you love answers, don't you? Another propper form would have been: where else than here could it be?

    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.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Khalil Bodhi View Post
    Hey All,

    Just a quick question for clarification: Is it good form to use a questoon such as "Where is the mind?" one when realizes that the attention has shifted to chasing down trails of thought? Metta!

    Gassho,

    KB
    Hi KB,

    I would say, no, not during seated Shikantaza. When one notices that one is lost in thought, let it go ... return to Just Sitting. Repeat and repeat as needed.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #7
    Senior Member JeffreyB's Avatar
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    The mind is no-where.
    Gassho, Jeffrey
    "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
    Henry David Thoreau, Walden

  8. #8
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    Jundo, I'm sure this has been taken up before, but how is this different from adjusting the posture? I seem to recall Brad Warner and Nishijima Roshi recommending it - I think Brad said Nishijima said so or something. Or is it that mentally asking "where is the mind" is - well, mental and therefore just adding to the mental activity while adjusting the posture when slumping (something that tends to happen when one is lost in thought) is just something you do without thought?


    Rafael

  9. #9
    I attend some of Brad sittings nearby my place and this is what he teaches

    "He talks about the physical posture and then says just sit like this and look at the wall. He also adds leave the mind to do whatever it needs to do"

    On some occasions he also says

    "you don't need to do anything other than sit like this. The physical posture is the most important thing. what you do with your mind is not so important. some people sit like this and quit after some time thinking this is not working for them or nothing is happening"

    Gassho,
    Sam

  10. #10
    A couple of very interesting questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by shikantazen View Post
    I attend some of Brad sittings nearby my place and this is what he teaches

    "He talks about the physical posture and then says just sit like this and look at the wall. He also adds leave the mind to do whatever it needs to do"

    On some occasions he also says

    "you don't need to do anything other than sit like this. The physical posture is the most important thing. what you do with your mind is not so important. some people sit like this and quit after some time thinking this is not working for them or nothing is happening"

    Gassho,
    Sam
    Sam, where exactly do those quotes come from, because they seem not in harmony with what I quote Brad as saying below in the next post.

    Anyway, our Teacher, Nishijima Roshi, was of the opinion that sitting in the Lotus Position by itself, straightening the spine, works a physiological effect that balances the mind and carries through one's day and life ... which he calls "balance of the autonomic nervous system." I too, as do about all Zen folks anywhere, believe fully that a balanced and stable posture does aid in allowing a balanced and stable mind ... as body-mind is intimately connected and whole. However, I believe that Nishijima Roshi's theories on the marvelous effects of sitting in Lotus Posture itself and straightening the spine go a bit too far sometimes. I have written a bit more about that here ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post70852

    I think Brad may be more a posture fellow than me, like Nishijima.

    But I believe that if one goes through Dogen's writings, one will find some references to maintaining a balanced posture, but also the mental aspect hand in hand. Neither is to be neglected, and in fact, the physical aspect of sitting may just be a means to support or nurture the mental aspect. Here is a quick sample from Dogen's Fukanzazengi, and I have boldfaced what I consider advice on mental attitudes such as not judging "good and bad, true or false", dropping goals of becoming enlightened, dropping measures and views, etc. ...

    For practicing Zen, a quiet room is suitable. Eat and drink moderately. Put aside all involvements [in the world] and suspend all affairs. Do not think "good" or "bad." Do not judge true or false. Give up the operations of mind, intellect, and consciousness; stop measuring with thoughts, ideas, and views. Have no designs on becoming a Buddha. How could that be limited to sitting or lying down?

    At your sitting place, spread out a thick mat and put a cushion on it. Sit either in the full-lotus or half-lotus position. In the full-lotus position, first place your right foot on your left thigh, then your left foot on your right thigh. In the half-lotus, simply place your left foot on your right thigh. Tie your robes loosely and arrange them neatly. Then place your right hand on your left leg and your left hand on your right palm, thumb-tips lightly touching. Straighten your body and sit upright, leaning neither left nor right, neither forward nor backward. Align your ears with your shoulders and your nose with your navel. Rest the tip of your tongue against the front of the roof of your mouth, with teeth together and lips shut. Always keep your eyes open, and breathe softly through your nose.

    Once you have adjusted your posture, take a breath and exhale fully, rock your body right and left, and settle into steady, immovable sitting. Think of not thinking. Not thinking-what kind of thinking is that? Nonthinking. This is the essential art of zazen.
    Nishijima Roshi (as does Brad) emphasizes that "non-thinking" and "non-judging" aspect as much as I do, but might have a little more faith than I do in the ability of proper posture alone to bring that about.

    This leads to Rafael's question (by the way, Raf, I hope all are well in your family from today's earthquake) ...

    Quote Originally Posted by pinoybuddhist View Post
    Jundo, I'm sure this has been taken up before, but how is this different from adjusting the posture? I seem to recall Brad Warner and Nishijima Roshi recommending it - I think Brad said Nishijima said so or something. Or is it that mentally asking "where is the mind" is - well, mental and therefore just adding to the mental activity while adjusting the posture when slumping (something that tends to happen when one is lost in thought) is just something you do without thought?
    Generally, we do not ponder any intellectual question in Shikantaza, nor do we focus on a Koan in the manner of Koan centered Zazen such as "Who Am I" or the like. I believe that Nishijima Roshi recommended returning to posture for the reasons I describe above, but also because it is not an intellectual exercise. This is the same reason that other Soto Teachers will generally advise to return to following the breath, or return to "open awareness" (as I do here). All of us agree that in Shikantaza, we open the hand of thought, and let thoughts go without grabbing on (Brad always says that too when I have read his descriptions of Zazen). We do not think about a question.

    I have written more about the various locations (and non-locations) to "place the mind" during Zazen, and my reasons for favoring "open spacious awareness".

    As I usually say, there are many small variations in Shikantaza, teacher to teacher. One has to place and focus (and simultaneously not place/focus) the mind somewhere!

    So, for example, Uchiyama Roshi was a "bring your attention back to the posture" guy. Nishijima Roshi is a "focus on keeping the spine straight" fellow, and there are others who emphasize focusing on the breath or the Hara (also called the "Tanden", the traditional "center of gravity" of the body, and a center of Qi energy in traditional Chinese medicine) ...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dantian

    ...

    All are forms of Shikantaza ... so long as the objectless nature of sitting is maintained even if focused on an object.

    In fact, all forms of Shikantaza have an "object of meditation", a place to focus or place the mind to build concentration and quiet the thoughts (hopefully to soften the border and pass through "object" and "subject"), while dropping all effort to attain and releasing all judgments. At Treeleaf, ... as our central "objectless" object of meditation, I recommend open, spacious sitting centered on everything and nothing at all ... sitting with open, spacious awareness ... sitting with the whole world but without being lost in trains of thought (which I also sometimes describe as having the mind focused on "no place and everyplace at once"). That open stillness is our "object of concentration". [Jundo Note: In my view, our practice is not so much about keeping "one's mind on the here and now", but rather, about fully allowing the "here and now" so that the barriers of separation with the "here and now" drop away.] Another reason for that is that I believe it makes it a bit easier to take this practice off the Zafu and out into the world.
    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-22-2013 at 02:38 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  11. #11
    I looked up what Nishijima and Brad would say about thoughts during Zazen, as I recalled them basically saying what I say about "letting them go without grabbing on". I was correct :

    Peter Rocca, one of the students closest to Nishijima for many years, recalls ...

    I came across some notes I took about practicing zazen from a talk at one of Nishijima Roshi's Zazen retreats. ... But when you sit down on your cushion and start doing zazen you can be pretty sure you'll be thinking lots of stuff. So what to do? Well, you might have heard this before but, when thoughts come up just let them go. Don't focus on your thoughts so much. Just let them come and go and come and go. Nishijima's advice is that if you find yourself thinking about something during zazen, just straighten your spine and concentrate on sitting with a straight posture. That might happen several times during one zazen period, but that's normal and just keep going. Thoughts come up, just let them go, straighten your spine, and after a while more thoughts come up and so on. That basically is the way it works. If you sit fairly regularly you might notice that the pace of your thoughts slows down after a while, or that's there's a change in the thoughts that come up.
    http://thestupidway.blogspot.jp/2008...-on-zazen.html
    Nishijima said so himself always ...

    Zazen should not have any motivation, and so just to sit is the True Zazen. Therefore your Zazen is just the True Zazen.

    So we should think that having no motivation is the true Zazen, and so in practicing Zazen, having no motivation, just to sit making our efforts toward the right posture, letting go all thoughts, to just sit, is Zazen,
    http://gudoblog-e.blogspot.jp/2009/0...79924675674546
    Brad too recently approved the following description of Zazen as about what he usually tells folks ...

    The instruction for shikantaza that I have heard is that you take up one of the zazen postures and just sit, thinking about nothing in particular or focusing on anything, not directing your mind on this or that, and when a thought arises you observe it without grasping on to it or getting lost in it, and when that eventually disappears you return to just sitting like before, thinking about nothing in particular or focusing on anything. Thoughts come and go and you just watch, grasping to none of them. There is no goal to it, but it is not lost or zoned out, it’s an active practice. Observing the movements of the mind.

    ...

    That’s pretty much what I tell folks to do.
    http://hardcorezen.info/back-in-the-...#comment-59064

    Brad should be here in a few weeks to lead a Zazenkai, so you can ask him yourself.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-16-2013 at 03:00 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  12. #12
    Thank you ... looking forward to sitting with Brad.

    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.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by shikantazen View Post
    I attend some of Brad sittings nearby my place and this is what he teaches

    "He talks about the physical posture and then says just sit like this and look at the wall. He also adds leave the mind to do whatever it needs to do"

    On some occasions he also says

    "you don't need to do anything other than sit like this. The physical posture is the most important thing. what you do with your mind is not so important. some people sit like this and quit after some time thinking this is not working for them or nothing is happening"

    Gassho,
    Sam
    Sam can you provide me the source of those Brad quotes? These do not seem completely in harmony with what I quoted Brad as saying in the above post about not grasping thoughts.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    Hi Jundo,

    During the saturday sittings at Dogen Sangha Los Angeles whenever Brad gives instructions (especially if there is atleast one new person who hasn't done zazen before), that is what he says. I have heard this instruction many times so I clearly remember. Each time it may vary a bit but the essential instruction is same. He always said "let the mind do whatever it needs to do". He sometimes adds "that doesn't mean to sit and try to solve a problem" (intentionally think about something).

    I don't remember him talking about "not grasping thoughts" or "trying to wake up from thought and come back to posture" though he may not disagree with that approach. The first time I met him I told him I used to do a mantra style of practice (repeating a mantra inwardly and whenever I am off it, just come back to mantra) and if shikantaza is similar except that we don't have anything to come back to. He said that is fine and I can sit that way. So from what I understand he is a bit more accepting of closer methods and doesn't try to strictly correct them. May be he believes as we sit more things will become clearer. So not grasping thoughts or coming back to posture (like Uchiyama says) might be one way to do zazen which brad may not disagree with but basing on what I heard Brad teach his way is "hold the posture and sit and leave the mind to do its thing"

    Gassho,
    Sam
    Last edited by shikantazen; 10-15-2013 at 06:37 PM. Reason: grammar corrections

  15. #15
    Hi guys,

    Jundo , quick question about what you are teaching us above ( and at any time) about "thinking not-thinking". After a few years of practice there seems to be two ways to go about this quieting the mind, a bit like flipping a switch. One choice is like closing the door or "make a thought blocking bubble" and the mind just goes blank. The other choice is to let thoughts come by like floating garbage in a river. Things comes into view and then pass by, all good because I don't have to do anything with it. Watch it go but don't grab it. As I understand now, this is Shikantaza.

    What I'm curious about is your take on this blocking thing. I that case all goes quiet too but it takes force, energy. It is an active process of "wrestling down" the thinking mind. Can it be said that a good way to define if we are at least in the ball park of correct shikantaza practice, is that it should be an effortless and gentle practice? Or does the other method also have value in our practice too?

    Gassho

    Enkyo

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Enkyo View Post
    Hi guys,

    Jundo , quick question about what you are teaching us above ( and at any time) about "thinking not-thinking". After a few years of practice there seems to be two ways to go about this quieting the mind, a bit like flipping a switch. One choice is like closing the door or "make a thought blocking bubble" and the mind just goes blank. The other choice is to let thoughts come by like floating garbage in a river. Things comes into view and then pass by, all good because I don't have to do anything with it. Watch it go but don't grab it. As I understand now, this is Shikantaza.

    What I'm curious about is your take on this blocking thing. I that case all goes quiet too but it takes force, energy. It is an active process of "wrestling down" the thinking mind. Can it be said that a good way to define if we are at least in the ball park of correct shikantaza practice, is that it should be an effortless and gentle practice? Or does the other method also have value in our practice too?

    Gassho

    Enkyo
    Sorry, Enkyo. We do not make a "thought blocking bubble", and the mind does not go "blank". (I mean, it may sometimes go "blank", but not usually or as our goal). There is no resistance, and we just let thoughts settle ... like stirred up, turbid water in a jar ... by putting the jar down.

    Nor do we see "floating garbage" go by. "Garbage" is a value judgment, very negative. Some of what floats by may be harmful garbage, some pretty rose pedals. All kinds of thoughts float by.

    I would say, thoughts just float by ... and also, there are long stretches of clear water where nothing floats by.

    But here is what "think not thinking = non-thinking" is. It comes from an old Koan which Dogen often quoted [Nishijima-Cross Translation]:

    While Great Master Yakusan Kōdō is sitting, a monk asks him, “What
    are you thinking in the still-still state?” The master says, “Thinking the concrete
    state of not thinking.” The monk says, “How can the state of not thinking
    be thought?” The master says, “It is non-thinking.”
    Thinking ... Not Thinking (不思量 fushuryo in Japanenese) ... Non Thinking (非思量 hishiryo) ... What is the difference, this "not" and "non" ...

    First there is thinking, our head filled with thoughts. Some thoughts may be lovely (like flowers floating by), some neutral, some horrid (garbage floating by). That is the ordinary experience of people, morning until night, head filled with thoughts.

    Next, we experience what Dogen described in Fukanzazengi and elsewhere, when we are free of all that thinking ... free of aversions and attractions, thoughts of good vs. bad, today tomorrow and yesterday, our fears, me vs. you, the self vs. everything not the self ... and one finds Clear Boundless Illumination, the Interpenetrating Flowing Wholeness of Emptiness (which is anything but empty!).

    Yet that's not all, for on the Zafu ... and hopefully through all of life ... we come to experience "thinking not thinking" also called "non thinking". Simply said, the Clear Boundless Illumination shines through the thoughts, in the thoughts, between the thoughts, AS the thoughts. Thoughts and being free of thoughts are "not two", i.e., even thoughts are free of thoughts. In a world of "good vs. bad, today tomorrow and yesterday" we simultaneously find that which is Timeless as Time, a Good which holds all small human judgments of good vs. bad. There is a Peace and Wholeness which hold all of life's broken pieces. In a world which has me and you and the other guy there is SIMULTANEOUSLY the Interpenetrating Flowing Wholeness through, in and AS all of us.

    One finds that the flowing river, the items flowing in the river and the very flowing are One beyond One ... Flowing Flowing Flowing.

    Perhaps I can say that life's garbage AND lovely flower pedals that come floating along are, each and all, seen as simultaneously Buddha Lotus Pedals.

    Does that help?

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-17-2013 at 05:15 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  17. #17
    Oh yes! Thank you! It was more a curious technical question about something I noticed really . "No bubbles in my Zendo" I knew you'd say that! ( There are times however that the mind did go blank because the timer goes off and 30 minutes time just vanished and this is only noticed afterwards, but that is besides the point here.)

    You are quite right, "garbage" is a poor choice of words. Apologies. Not all of it is garbage, oh dear, far from it but even the flower has to be allowed to pass by. I meant debris though, stuff that floats in a river in general. Flowers, wood, a box of jewels or a whole house, no matter. It comes into view and we let it go by again, without stopping on it. I like the picture because after a storm there is a lot in the river and at other times not so much. Then there is just the river (rare in my humble case).

    Good point though. A value judgement while observing stuff going by is made all too quickly. I will look into this.

    Thank you Jundo

    Gassho

    E.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Enkyo View Post
    Oh yes! Thank you! It was more a curious technical question about something I noticed really . "No bubbles in my Zendo" I knew you'd say that! ( There are times however that the mind did go blank because the timer goes off and 30 minutes time just vanished and this is only noticed afterwards, but that is besides the point here.)
    Yes, this has happened many many no time-times!

    So have those sittings where time seemed to be creeping so slowly to me, that 30 minutes seemed like hours.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-16-2013 at 02:13 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  19. #19
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    Thank you for your answer Jundo. And don't worry, we're ok - the earthquake hit somewhere else although some people also felt it here. I didn't even know there had been an earthquake until I checked Facebook.


    Rafael


    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    A couple of very interesting questions!



    Sam, where exactly do those quotes come from, because they seem not in harmony with what I quote Brad as saying below in the next post.

    Anyway, our Teacher, Nishijima Roshi, was of the opinion that sitting in the Lotus Position by itself, straightening the spine, works a physiological effect that balances the mind and carries through one's day and life ... which he calls "balance of the autonomic nervous system." I too, as do about all Zen folks anywhere, believe fully that a balanced and stable posture does aid in allowing a balanced and stable mind ... as body-mind is intimately connected and whole. However, I believe that Nishijima Roshi's theories on the marvelous effects of sitting in Lotus Posture itself and straightening the spine go a bit too far sometimes. I have written a bit more about that here ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post70852

    I think Brad may be more a posture fellow than me, like Nishijima.

    But I believe that if one goes through Dogen's writings, one will find some references to maintaining a balanced posture, but also the mental aspect hand in hand. Neither is to be neglected, and in fact, the physical aspect of sitting may just be a means to support or nurture the mental aspect. Here is a quick sample from Dogen's Fukanzazengi, and I have boldfaced what I consider advice on mental attitudes such as not judging "good and bad, true or false", dropping goals of becoming enlightened, dropping measures and views, etc. ...



    Nishijima Roshi (as does Brad) emphasizes that "non-thinking" and "non-judging" aspect as much as I do, but might have a little more faith than I do in the ability of proper posture alone to bring that about.

    This leads to Rafael's question (by the way, Raf, I hope all are well in your family from today's earthquake) ...



    Generally, we do not ponder any intellectual question in Shikantaza, nor do we focus on a Koan in the manner of Koan centered Zazen such as "Who Am I" or the like. I believe that Nishijima Roshi recommended returning to posture for the reasons I describe above, but also because it is not an intellectual exercise. This is the same reason that other Soto Teachers will generally advise to return to following the breath, or return to "open awareness" (as I do here). All of us agree that in Shikantaza, we open the hand of thought, and let thoughts go without grabbing on (Brad always says that too when I have read is descriptions of Zazen). We do not think about a question.

    I have written more about the various locations (and non-locations) to "place the mind" during Zazen, and my reasons for favoring "open spacious awareness".



    Gassho, J

  20. #20
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    In my case, sometimes a minute seems like forever - and I only usually sit 15, 20 at the most. I remember the first time I sat Zazenkai - ARRRRGH!



    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Yes, this has happened many many no time-times!

    So have those sitting where time seemed to be creeping so slowly to me, that 30 minutes seemed like hours.

    Gassho, J

  21. #21
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Grateful to all.


    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

  22. #22
    Thank you Rev. Jundo and all who have taken the time to discuss this. I think I just needed a course correction.
    To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
    -Dhp. 183
    My Practice Blog

  23. #23
    OHHHHHHH , those endless 30 minutes sessions of wrestling with the self. Usually the best ones , lol

    Gassho

    E.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Tiwala's Avatar
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    Sounds like a huatou. Chinese Chan makes use of them to cultivate a doubting mind, or questioning, curious mind. I think other ways people have said it is Seung Sahn's don't know mind, Shunryu Suzuki's beginner's mind etc. The goal, in contrast to Zen koans, is not to answer it. Any effort to intellectualize it is actually wrong, although in my experience, my intellect chewed at it relentlessly and mercilessly until my its fangs shattered, causing a massive spilling of blood which rendered it unconscious for awhile.

    I dunno if Jundo agrees, but I use it for supplementary practice with shikantaza. However, when sitting, I don't bring it up. I just sit.

    Gassho,
    Ben
    Last edited by Tiwala; 10-17-2013 at 04:25 AM.
    Gassho
    Ben

  25. #25
    Hi KB,

    You asked a question and certainly received responses!

    I don't have much to add, although I feel that when we assume the posture, and just sit, and just be, the question that you are asking will naturally reveal itself. Other practices such as self-enquiry use the question, "Who am I?" But even then, it's not so much a direct question to actually be asked, but an inner-awareness that traces the source point from where thoughts arise. But this is not zazen.

    When I sit, and my thoughts begin to subside. There are moments of quiet gaps between the thoughts. Much like......../\.............../\...................../\............

    Those quiet moments reveal to me our inner true nature. That which is without judgement, opinions, or ego.

    ,

    Lu
    Shinjin datsuraku, datsuraku shinjin..Body-mind drop off, mind-body drop off..

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Tiwala View Post
    Sounds like a huatou. Chinese Chan makes use of them to cultivate a doubting mind, or questioning, curious mind. I think other ways people have said it is Seung Sahn's don't know mind, Shunryu Suzuki's beginner's mind etc. The goal, in contrast to Zen koans, is not to answer it. Any effort to intellectualize it is actually wrong, although in my experience, my intellect chewed at it relentlessly and mercilessly until my its fangs shattered, causing a massive spilling of blood which rendered it unconscious for awhile.

    I dunno if Jundo agrees, but I use it for supplementary practice with shikantaza. However, when sitting, I don't bring it up. I just sit.

    Gassho,
    Ben
    Hi Ben,

    I am sure that Suzuki Roshi's "Beginner's Mind" was not meant as a Koan or a phrase or idea to contemplate during Zazen. Suzuki was as Shikantaza as Shikantaza can be, "Mr. Just Sitting".

    Now, what one does off the cushion ... on one's own time ... is up to you. You can hold a Hua-tou, pray to Jesus or Amida Buddha, read science books, watch Seinfeld reruns, do the laundry ... or any combination thereof or something else. All "Shikantaza" too when practices as a Whole and Sacred Act.

    All Buddha Buddhaing Buddha.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-17-2013 at 05:37 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  27. #27
    I sent a message to Brad on facebook and this is his response:


    hi brad, one question on just sitting. During the sitting which of the following is true? a) Let the mind do whatever it needs to do. Ofcourse don't intentionally try to think something but otherwise dont try to control the mind in anyway b) whenever you realize you are caught up bring the mind back; in other words keep waking up from thought
    which of a) or b) do you recommend during sitting

    8 hours ago

    Both.

    2 hours ago

    Thanks Brad. to be more specific, i am sitting in a). i.e., leaving thoughts as is without trying to wake up; but again without any intentional thinking. I don't specifically try to wake up from thoughts or try to bring the mind back. I somehow feel trying wake up from thoughts sets up a goal oriented attitude to my sitting. just sitting and leaving the mind seems more natural and shikantaza like to me. Please let me know if what I am doing sounds correct. Thanks very much for your time

    41 minutes ago

    It sounds correct. The thing is there's no way around having a bit of intention in your practice, even though the practice itself is ideally without intention.

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    ...When one notices that one is lost in thought, let it go ... return to Just Sitting. Repeat and repeat as needed.
    Thank you. Nothing else seems needed to me, no opinions on or insights in mind, nothing else.
    Gassho
    Myoku

  29. #29
    Hi Sam,

    I find that good Zen teachers are worthless. In the end I just ignore them and sit. :-)

    Gassho, John
    治 Ji (Healing)
    心​ Shin (Heart-Mind)

  30. #30
    IMHO one of the best descriptions of Shikantaza can be found in the book "Opening the Hand of Thought". It includes a nice diagram as well.
    However, I think the introductory Treeleaf Beginner's Series videos contain everything one needs to know.

    Gassho,

    Timo
    no thing needs to be added

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by LimoLama View Post
    IMHO one of the best descriptions of Shikantaza can be found in the book "Opening the Hand of Thought". It includes a nice diagram as well.
    However, I think the introductory Treeleaf Beginner's Series videos contain everything one needs to know.

    Gassho,

    Timo
    Hi Timo,

    I like these worthless teachers. :-)

    Gassho, John
    治 Ji (Healing)
    心​ Shin (Heart-Mind)

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by John C. View Post
    Hi Sam,

    I find that good Zen teachers are worthless. In the end I just ignore them and sit. :-)

    Gassho, John
    Oh yeah! Kill the worthless Teachers, kill that Worthless Buddha too ... Just Sit Worthlessly, for all its worth.

    And speaking of worthless Teachers, I am about three talks into the series on Shikantaza that was introduced on another thread. Wonderfully Worthless, and I very much recommend such to all. The feel of the seminar can be a bit "Californy-loosey-goosey" at times to my taste, but Fischer Roshi truly conveys Dogen's Vision of Whole, Complete, Worthless Sitting.

    These talks are very much recommended and not a waste of time though Thoroughly Totally Worthless too ...


    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...Dogen-podcasts

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-19-2013 at 03:50 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by shikantazen View Post
    I sent a message to Brad on facebook and this is his response:


    hi brad, one question on just sitting. During the sitting which of the following is true? a) Let the mind do whatever it needs to do. Ofcourse don't intentionally try to think something but otherwise dont try to control the mind in anyway b) whenever you realize you are caught up bring the mind back; in other words keep waking up from thought
    which of a) or b) do you recommend during sitting

    8 hours ago

    Both.

    2 hours ago

    Thanks Brad. to be more specific, i am sitting in a). i.e., leaving thoughts as is without trying to wake up; but again without any intentional thinking. I don't specifically try to wake up from thoughts or try to bring the mind back. I somehow feel trying wake up from thoughts sets up a goal oriented attitude to my sitting. just sitting and leaving the mind seems more natural and shikantaza like to me. Please let me know if what I am doing sounds correct. Thanks very much for your time

    41 minutes ago

    It sounds correct. The thing is there's no way around having a bit of intention in your practice, even though the practice itself is ideally without intention.
    Hmmm. Read this a few times, sounds like he is telling you either/or both and neither, yes/no and "what's the question again?".

    Very Zen I guess.

    You should give the Norm Fischer talks a listen, emphasizing the Whole, Vibrant, Alive, Buddha Realized-Realizing, Dedicated, Goallessly Intentional, All Thus Universe Sitting nature of Shikantaza.

    While we do not get tangled or wallow in the thoughts that come and go, it is also so much more ... EVERYTHING in fact. Shikantaza ain't some "technique" ... and that's the Technique.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  34. #34
    This is such a "heavy" thread with such great content.

    Gassho,

    Lu
    Shinjin datsuraku, datsuraku shinjin..Body-mind drop off, mind-body drop off..

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