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Thread: Need Tips to sit in Full Lotus & Hand Mudra question

  1. #1

    Need Tips to sit in Full Lotus & Hand Mudra question

    I am currently sitting in Burmese position. Sometimes I do half lotus with minor pain (when left leg is up). I have sat in full lotus a few times and every time I end up with more leg pain and sometimes even pain in left side of the neck. But I find the half lotus and full lotus seem to bring an immediate stillness and sense of calm to the body. I need some tips on how you went from burmese or half lotus to full lotus. Are there any exercises or yoga postures?

    Second question on hand mudra: I read somewhere that the middle knuckles should overlap when we place hand mudra. I see that some teachers do sit that way while others don't. I find doing that a bit uncomfortable. I usually bring my hands together till my thumbs touch slightly and leave like that. It is more relaxed and feels more natural. what do you suggest

    gassho,
    sam

  2. #2
    Senior Member Juki's Avatar
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    Hello,

    There is nothing wrong with sitting Burmese, sitting Seiza or sitting in a chair. I am a yoga teacher, and I sit Burmese or occasionally half-lotus. The problem with leg pain in lotus or half lotus generally traces back to the fact that, for most men, we do not have a lot of natural hip flexibility. Women have more natural flexibility in both the hips and hamstrings, and they can find the lotus positions easier.

    There are many, many yoga exercises for the hips. Pigeon. The Dragon Series. Gomukasana. Even Butterfly pose helps the hips somewhat. Brad Warner has drawings of most of these positions on his site.

    the hips do NOT stretch quickly in men. It will take about a year of dedicated yoga practice just to achieve a good degree of flexibility. In the process, if you try to force yourself into lotus too early, you are only going to blow out one or both knees. Be careful.

    gassho,
    william
    Last edited by Juki; 10-25-2013 at 03:57 PM.
    "First you have to give up." Tyler Durden

  3. #3
    Hello Sam,

    regarding your first question:

    1: Make a 1-3 year plan to give yourself some realistic time frame for developing the ability to sit in Full Lotus (whether one should try so hard to be able to do it is a different topic).

    2: Join a real life Yoga class for a few months and ask the teacher to show you (in a non rushed way) what exercises you should do and how you should do them to open the hips more over a period of time.

    3: Create a habit of performing these exercises repeatedly, but do not overdo them.

    4: Take visual internet advice with a grain of salt. Unless you are in deep financial trouble, joining a Yoga class should not be an issue if you are serious about the Full Lotus. I am only saying this because I know a lot of people who go on about not having any money for dharma or general religious activities, but somehow they always have enough money to be able to spend 80 dollars on a concert ticket.

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Last edited by Hans; 10-25-2013 at 03:48 PM.
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  4. #4
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Hi, Sam!

    I mainly sit in burmese, but I am slowly working towards achieving full lotus. 10 minutes before sitting I practice this yoga video and it's been great help.

    Right now I can do half lotus with less pain than before.

    Hope it's useful for you too:



    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

  5. #5
    Hi Sam,
    I went from full lotus, to half to burmese!
    If you are experiencing pain then there is no point! Nothing special in the way you sit, exactly.

    You can of course just sit Burmese as always and still do yoga for the exercise and flexiblity.

    What I will say is any stillness you find quickly in lotus can be found in any posture that is comfortable and stable. Then again stillness is not found in any position, its in your all in your head.
    Taigu has a great vid (actually few in a series)on this subject:



    (the whole series of vids are found here)
    On mudra yeah, hand over lapping and thumbs touching lightly.
    click image to enlarge
    kesastitchesmudra.jpg

    Gassho

    Shohei

  6. #6
    Hey there Sam,

    Some great advice here for sure. Me, I sit either half-lotus or burmese ... most times my physical body tells me which way I will be sitting, so I go with that. I too do yoga for all sorts of reasons, but it has helped in doing zazen as it opens the hips and keeps things from getting to tight. It most cases ... I just listen to my body ... it too is a great teacher.

    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.

  7. #7
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    The mudra shown above is not specifically mine , it is a seal that has been transmitted through generations of teachers, it is the mudra of Nishijima, Deshimaru, Sawaki Kodo, Daishi, Menzan, Keizan, Dogen, Nyojo, Eno, Daruma, Nagarjuna, Shakyamuni and beyond...
    The stitches above are not mine , they are the stitches you have been lazy about and that are sewn by the people preparing for jukai and tokudo in the THREE times.

    SO THIS MUDRA IS NOT YOURS EITHER!!!

    Please respect it , you cannot leave it like that, you have to takecqre of it, confortable or not, Until after years or centuries of practice, you finally understand it, that is to say you become not one not two with it.

    As to the lotus, follow Mongen pointers, Hans is an excellent voice and a very good guide.

    Take care

    Gassho

    T.
    Last edited by Taigu; 10-26-2013 at 02:30 AM.
    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 all for all the helpful advice and links

    Gassho
    Sam

  9. #9
    Senior Member Tiwala's Avatar
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    Hello,

    I have a similar question.

    My leg often falls asleep with full lotus after some 20 mins. I don't think this is an issue of flexibility though. Anyone have a solution?

    Gassho, Ben
    Gassho
    Ben

  10. #10
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Keep doing it for twenty or thirty years, might go might not,

    Solution? Maybe not being so focused on your legs falling asleep or not.

    Something like that,

    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.

  11. #11
    Friend of Treeleaf Daido's Avatar
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    Some really good advice here especially about taking it slow. I used to sit in full lotus, half and burmese. Very stable positions. It ended up being really painful but stubbornness and determination got me through it. In the end I had to have knee surgery and I believe that my "forcing it" was a contributing factor to my knee problems (as well as a lifetime of sports). I now sit seiza but also have sat in a chair out of necessity. In the end it was a great learning experience for me. - letting go of the idea of this is the position the buddha sat in and thinking it was the "only way".

    That being said don't give up and good luck.

    Gassho,

    Daido
    Jiken Daido - Unsui at Treeleaf's Brother Sangha, the Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage.

    Do not just accept what I say. Decide for yourself if it rings true for you

  12. #12
    Once you get into the full lotus, you might not be able to get out of it. Then you have to learn to walk with your hands, dragging your legs around like a useless pretzel. It's a sorry sight.

    Gassho
    Daizan
    大山

  13. #13
    It took me 46 yeas of a lot of hard work to achieve the degree of flexibility I have. I will be disappointed if I can't do the full lotus in 47 years. :-)

    Gassho, John
    Last edited by Jishin; 10-26-2013 at 03:13 PM.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member ZenHarmony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    Solution? Maybe not being so focused on your legs falling asleep or not.
    *Some* of us (with diabetes) don't have the luxury of not focusing on whether our legs fall asleep or not, since that way leads to amputation.

    Gassho,

    Lisaq

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by ZenHarmony View Post
    *Some* of us (with diabetes) don't have the luxury of not focusing on whether our legs fall asleep or not, since that way leads to amputation.

    Gassho,

    Lisaq
    Then don't sit that way! Find a way that is balanced, comfortable and HEALTHY!

    It is my view that the Full Lotus is best suited to skinny Yogis and thin legged ancient Asians ...



    ... though even many of them seemed to prefer the Half Lotus or Burmese ...



    Gee, I guess one could also sit like this if suiting one's body!!!!!!

    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  16. #16
    If traditional Buddhist images like this are any indication, the Buddha himself did not always sit "Full Lotus" ...



    When sick and physically limited, the Buddha reclined ...



    When I sat at a monastery in China a couple of years back, I found the monks sitting in all manner of positions ... please watch here from the 6:30 mark (also, you can catch my big cameos at about the 00:20 and 02:50 marks, in the inside "slow lane" during the very fast Kinhin) ...



    Many Japanese tend to FETISHIZE the Lotus Posture. Yes, that is what is said .... "FETISHIZE", as Japanese culture often gets caught up in appearance and "form for the sake of form" more than substance sometimes. I have written about this before ...

    Sorry that this comment is a bit long, but worth going into in detail I think ...

    Posture is vital. But I think we have to keep a couple of things in mind about the history of the Lotus Position itself, its real benefits and purposes, monastery life, the Japanese tendency to fetishize the "correct" way (yarikata) to do things, and the Buddha's and Dogen's central philosophical perspectives on Practice.

    Yes, the Lotus Position has been the traditional yogic position for meditation for thousands of years, even before the time of the Buddha. And certainly the Buddha sat that way (as every statue of a sitting Buddha demonstrates). And certainly there are tremendous benefits to the posture in providing balance and stability conducive to 'dropping body and mind' and engaging in balanced, stable Zazen. In that posture, we literally can give no thought to the body. The comfort and balance of the body is directly connected, and conducive to, comfort and balance of mind.

    But I would hesitate to go much further in attributing any special power or physical effect to the position itself.

    First off, I believe the Buddha himself sat that way because, well, he needed to sit some way for hours on end -- and the "lotus position" was then the custom in India for how people sat on the ground and very good for marathon sitting. It is a good way to sit on a rock or under a tree, which is what folks did back then (in fact, he may have sat with his posterior flat on the ground, by the way, without a cushion or 'Zafu' ... which is very different from how we sit). As I said, it is very balanced and stable. But there is no evidence in the early Sutras and Shastras that he himself ever focused on the position itself as having some special power, always emphasizing the philosophical and psychological aspects of Buddhist philosophy far over the purely physical. Certainly, he did not encourage engaging in any other yoga positions as were common in India at the time (e.g., we do not stand on our heads as a normal part of practice), so I do not think he was a great proponent of the positional type of yoga itself.

    When Buddhism spread to China, Japan and other countries, I believe that people continued to follow the custom. However, even then there has been a tremendous degree of small variations in the details of the Lotus Posture, e.g., hand position, back angle and such.

    Now, when Zazen came to Dogen, well, it came to a fellow who also left us with detailed instructions about how to carry our towels in the washroom, clean our nose, bow, place incense, use a pillow while sleeping and wipe ourselves in the toilet. Dogen, like many Japanese of ancient and modern times, was something of a control freak who emphasized that there is "one right way" to do things (the aforementioned (yarikata). I have seen Japanese get the same way about the proper way to wear socks and enter an elevator. Here is that wonderful short film that makes fun of it (I know that you have seen it 100 times):



    and here is another



    Now, that is not a bad thing, mind you, for Zen Practice. Don't get me wrong. It is the same mentality exactly as in "Oryoki" meal taking in a Zen monastery by which the simple act of eating requires dozens and dozens of set gestures that must be mastered in the body memory. It is conducive to many aspects of Practice, including focused mindfulness. Sitting in a set way such as the Lotus Posture has the same benefits of allowing the action itself to be forgotten as it is mastered by the body memory.

    Also, of course, in a monastery ... like in army boot camp ... you don't want folks just running around and flopping down any which way they feel, eating and sleeping whenever they wish. Quite the contrary. Discipline is required, so naturally, is the demand that everyone march around the monastery and sit in exactly the same way.

    If you look at Shobogenzo and other writings by Dogen, he actually spends very little time explaining the details of how to sit. In Fukanzazengi, for example, he explains the barebones act of sitting on a cushion, crossing the legs and such ... but for sentence after sentence after sentence he is focused on the "cosmic significance" of Zazen and the mental game. It is much the same when he describes how to carry a towel in the bath, wear our robes, bow or go to the toilet. He describes the procedure, but then is much more focused on the philosophical view of the act.

    Bouncing a ball or changing a tire --is-- Zazen itself. Dogen was clear on that. Of course, you do not have monks changing tires or bouncing balls too much in daily monastery life, so Dogen did not talk about those. But he did talk about the equivalent for monastery life, namely, cooking food as the Tenzo, washing the floors, etc. Dogen was crystal clear that the Lotus Position is the whole universe, the whole universe and all the Buddhas and Ancestors are sitting in the Lotus Position when you and I so sit ... but he was also clear that EVERYTHING is the Lotus Position. It is clear that Dogen, too, loved the perfection of the Lotus Posture ... but there is very little talk, if any, in his writing about the power of the position itself (do not confuse statements about the philosophical power of the position with his asserting that some energy or effect arises from the position itself ... you will not find much of that).

    In my view, Dogen's real message ... and the real message of Zen practice ... is not that there is only "one way" to do something in this vast universe. It is that "one thing" should be done with our whole heart-mind as the "one and only act in that one moment" in this vast universe. That is what Dogen was saying.

    My teacher, Nishijima, considers the Lotus Position a pure action, one pure thing. He recommends everyone to sit in the Lotus Position if at all possible. I do too (too many westerners get lazy or scared and don't really try, or give it sufficient time). But these days, in Zazen, Westerners have begun sitting other ways such as in seiza or on chairs, all fine is balanced and comfortable such that the body can be let be. I believe that body-mind can be dropped away in those positions too if done with balance and stability.

    An overly fetishized focus on the miracles of the Lotus Position itself is misplaced and misunderstands Dogen's intent.

    Anyway, that is my position (pun intended). I won't budge.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-27-2013 at 03:38 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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  17. #17
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Lisaq,

    My deep aplogies to people with diabetes then.

    And then if we instruct to do the mudra, we are not really including people with one or two arms missing, if we instruct people that cannot see to set the gaze without fixing, we are kind of insulting the very people that cannot see...

    Lovely politically correct world unless...

    Your ironical tone fails to disguise your own frustration, lisaq.

    So, why don t you target yourself? Why don t you ask yourself why what i said pisses you? Who in you is pissed? That would be zen practice, a wonderful exercise in inquiry.

    Take geat care of yourself

    And question your lovely thoughts

    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.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post

    And then if we instruct to do the mudra, we are not really including people with one or two arms missing, if we instruct people that cannot see to set the gaze without fixing, we are kind of insulting the very people that cannot see...
    One armed woman should sit with one arm, legless man flies, wooden man sings as stone woman dances, blind man does not require eyes to see.



    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-27-2013 at 04:34 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  19. #19
    Senior Member ZenHarmony's Avatar
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    My apologies for having a tone, Teacher. I know full well why I was "pissed" as you say—my apologies for not letting it go by without comment.

    And it's Lisa, by the way, no q at the end, that was simply a typo (I'm not perfect and I've never claimed to be, but you should know my name by now, you'd think.)


  20. #20
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Sorry Lisa,

    you are welcome always. Even pissed, angry and upset. you offer us a great teaching reminding eevrybody, teacher included, no to buy our thoughts, not to think our thoughts are real.

    gassho

    Indeed, indeed...Jundo

    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.

  21. #21
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Hi Lisa,
    In general, I think a respectful tone is appropriate in this forum. Our teachers offer these teachings for free. They spend many hours every week in service to this Sangha. I think they do not deserve to be met with an aggressive and disrespectful tone here.
    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."

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myozan Kodo View Post
    I think they do not deserve to be met with an aggressive and disrespectful tone here.
    I think no one does. can aggressiveness and disrespectful tones ever be part of skillful means, of anything?

    gassho,

    Robt
    Last edited by Oheso; 10-28-2013 at 03:28 AM.
    The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me. -​Meister Eckhart

  23. #23
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Hi Oheso,

    I hope you are well. When I'm having a conversation, I prefer not to be in the dark.

    Who are you? Why no picture with your profile?

    Gassho
    Myozan

    PS you can PM me if you want...
    Last edited by Myozan Kodo; 10-27-2013 at 09:46 PM.
    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
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Hi
    Thanks for the message Oheso. Deep bows to you.

    Yes. Everyone deserves respect. I agree with that.

    And sometimes we all need a little push, a harsh word, to be corrected. This, of course, should be done with respect too.

    That's my inexperienced view, at any rate.

    Gassho
    Myozan
    Last edited by Myozan Kodo; 10-28-2013 at 09:52 AM.
    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."

  25. #25
    I have the same problem but with my hands. My hands and arms are not able to flex in a way that I may be allowed to have my hands face down mudralike without disconfort, and some pain. I have tried but, to be able to relax, in the longrun, I end up with myhands face down and on my hips. I feel bad because I would like to be able to put my hands in the mudra possition like most of everyone elase. Any pointers?

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Ricky Ramos View Post
    I have the same problem but with my hands. My hands and arms are not able to flex in a way that I may be allowed to have my hands face down mudralike without disconfort, and some pain. I have tried but, to be able to relax, in the longrun, I end up with myhands face down and on my hips. I feel bad because I would like to be able to put my hands in the mudra possition like most of everyone elase. Any pointers?
    Might you send neck down a photo of your trying to sit in Mudra? Do you have a large mid-section or shorter arms by any chance? Unusual lack of flex in the wrists?

    It is best as so ....



    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-28-2013 at 12:31 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  27. #27
    Hello Ricky,

    we all can only work with the physical hardware we have. It's a little bit hard (at least for me) to visualize the exact problem you have with your hands, but I know the mudra can be problematic due to some people sitting with me in my local Zen group. Can you maybe make a video?

    Btw. a photograph in your profile and a heartfelt "Gassho" or "kind regards" at the end of your posts would be very much appreciated.

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  28. #28
    Let me mention that Hans Mongen is our Head Seat to lead our Ango this month and offer guidance to folks. Please welcome him in that hard role.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  29. #29
    Welcome, Hans!!! Gassho

  30. #30
    Senior Member Nameless's Avatar
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    Great thread everyone! I tend to sit in the Seiza posture, though I will resort to Burmese when discomfort seems to allude to physical harm. The Way is practice. Like any kind or practice, one just has to practice, practice, practice. Initially I could only keep the Seiza posture for five minutes or so. After repeating it over and over, the time (haha... time) increases (haha... increases). That being said, this body is not a Lotus position kinda body, unless I make some kind of sophisticated machine to lock my legs in place. I would just suggest to sit naturally. A little discomfort can be beneficial from time to time, but you'll know when it's too much. The hurdle I deal with most when sitting is keeping the eyes partially open. Relaxation can tempt you into closing the eyes and going with it. On the surface, that's not terrible, but when the lids fall shut the mind takes it as a cue to wander into a dream state, which is not our practice.

    Gassho, John

  31. #31
    Sorry I didn't want to be disrespectful in any way by not finishing my posts with saying Gassho, nor by not having my picture in my avatar. Will try to put a picture in my avatar as soon as I get home and will be more careful with the courtesy in this forum. Gassho


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  32. #32
    Senior Member Koshin's Avatar
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    Oh no, it is not so easy my friend, you now have to pay with something for such grave offense.... you go and sit facing the wall 30 minutes .

    Gassho

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    P.S. Yup, I know, my English sucks

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myozan Kodo View Post

    And sometimes we all need a little push, a harsh word, to be corrected. This, of course, should be done with respect too.
    thank you for your reply Myozan Kodo. I realize I'm veering off-topic here, so will conclude with this post.

    can more be said about the use of the harsh word in our tradition? doubtless due to my personal psychological bent, this often seems to become an issue for me, at times in fact, a real show-stopper. I recognize this as pointing directly at something I must realize doesn't exist, but don't see it getting bullied away anytime soon.

    deep bows back at ya,

    gassho,

    Robt
    Last edited by Oheso; 10-29-2013 at 02:13 AM.
    The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me. -​Meister Eckhart

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Oheso View Post
    thank you for your reply Myozan Kodo. I realize I'm veering off-topic here, so will conclude with this post.

    can more be said about the use of the harsh word in our tradition? doubtless due to my personal psychological bent, this often seems to become an issue for me, at times in fact, a real show-stopper. I recognize this as pointing directly at something I must realize doesn't exist, but don't see it getting bullied away anytime soon.

    deep bows back at ya,

    gassho,

    Robt
    Hi Rob,

    This has come up from time to time ...

    Ummon suddenly raised his voice and said, "I spare you thirty
    blows. You may now retire." Tokusan used to swing
    his big stick whenever he came out to preach in the
    hall, saying, "If you utter a word I will give you thirty
    blows; if you utter not a word, just the same, thirty
    blows on your head." This was all he would say.


    I wrote this awhile back ...

    [The mildly violent] flavor is mostly associated with the "hard" style of some Rinzai lineages, but also some people in the Soto school. The Harada-Yasutani Lineage, for example, is known for traditionally being "tough".

    Others in Zen Buddhism ... seek the way of non-violence, gentleness, peace. The ego is tamed and transcended, not by a frontal assault, but by removing the fuel which fires it. This is perhaps the majority view now. I am of that school (Nishijima even refuses to use the Kyosaku stick, and I do too). As I sometimes say ...

    A trickle of water and easy wind can pierce a stone wall or a mountain, as can dynamite. But the latter often ends up making a broken mess of things, and pieces hard to put back together.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post25261
    I also recently wrote this ...

    But different patients require finely prescribed medicines, expedient means. One Zafu does not fit all. Some require a firm hand, some a gentle encouragement. One may need to tightly rope and strike a wild bull, yet offer sugar to catch a bird.

    Taigu often has a tongue like a Kyosaku stick! He is not afraid to verbally slap all of us when we need to be set right. We don't physically slap around here, largely because our "beyond distance" format makes that impossible, but also because we believe that physical violence can be like playing with dynamite and easily abused. Even verbal chastising crossing into abuse and manipulation is a risk, so a firm tongue lashing should be carefully done.

    I prefer mostly positive encouragement and calm explanation, although I can be quite firm myself (just ask my son what happens when he doesn't feed the cat after reminding!) In fact, me, Taigu and most Teachers I know switch off according to the situation ... the same fellow sometimes offering a slap on the backside, sometimes a gentle hand on the shoulder, sometimes an embrace.
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...l=1#post113375
    Dogen cautioned this, while recognizing that there are times for "tough love" and a grandmother's scolding tongue ...

    In an evening talk Dogen said,

    Do not use foul language to scold or slander monks. Even if they are bad or dishonest, do not harbor hatred against them nor abuse them thoughtlessly. First of all, no matter how bad they may be, when more than four monks gather together [the traditional number considered a Buddhist community], they form a sangha, which is a priceless treasure of the country. This should be most highly respected and honored. If you are an abbot or a senior priest or even a master or a teacher, if your disciples are wrong, you have to instruct and guide them with a compassionate and parental [grandmotherly] heart. In doing so, however, when you slap those who should be slapped or scold those who should be scolded, do not allow yourself to vilify them or arouse feelings of hatred.

    When my late master Nyojo [Dogen's Teacher in China] was the abbot of Tendo Monastery, while the monks were sitting zazen in the sodo (monks hall), he slapped them with his slipper or scolded them with harsh words in order to keep them awake. Yet each of them was thankful to be hit and highly respected him.

    Once in a formal speech he said, “I have gotten old. I should have retired from the monastery and moved into a hermitage to care for myself in my old age. Nevertheless, I am the abbot and your teacher, whose duty is to break the delusions of each one of you and to transmit the Way; therefore, I sometimes use harsh language to scold you, or beat you with the bamboo stick. I regret having to do this. However, this is the way to enable the dharma to flourish in place of the Buddha. Brothers, please have compassion on me and forgive me for my deeds.”

    Upon hearing these words, all of us shed tears. Only with such a spirit can you teach and propagate the dharma. Even though you may be an abbot or senior priest, it is wrong to govern the community and abuse the monks as if they were your personal belongings. Further, if you are not in such a position, you should not point out others’ faults or speak ill of them. You must be very, very careful.

    When you see someone’s faults and think they are wrong and wish to instruct them with compassion, you must find a skillful means to avoid arousing their anger, and do so as if you were talking about something else.
    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-29-2013 at 04:51 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  35. #35
    Thanks, Koshin, you crack me up !!! Gassho

  36. #36
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    thank you, Sensei, for your answer.

    gassho,

    Robt
    The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me. -​Meister Eckhart

  37. #37
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Spiritual friend is very appropriate. Dropping "my".

    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.

  38. #38
    Sensei, Roshi, (spiritual) friend, I don't know...
    IMHO the highest form of respect one can show is to put the teachings of ones teachers into practice, to fully live by them (or at least to try it as good as possible).
    Titles are categories, words, hulls.

    When I give Jundo or Taigu a title, don't I reduce them to a certain role? They are more than teachers, they are fathers, sons, men, etc.
    So why not stick with just Jundo and Taigu? It's short, it's simple, it's not formal, it's open.
    To each their own, of course, that's just my view.

    Gassho,

    Timo
    no thing needs to be added

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