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Thread: How Long Do You Sit?

  1. #1

    How Long Do You Sit?

    I'm trying to restart my practice after a serious accident. A LOT of dumb questions are popping up. The first is: how long do most people on here sit? I used to sit one hour in the morning and another at night, but my body (and mind) isn't up to that yet. I'd be interested in what other are doing.



    Fugu

  2. #2
    I try and sit for 20 minutes each night. It's difficult to sit for the same amount each night especially being with family for the weekend. I'd say sit at least 5 minutes then work your way up from there.

    Gassho
    Javier


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  3. #3
    Senior Member Shawn's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear of your accident, I agree with Javier.

    Gassho

    Shawn

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    I am relatively new to zen. Please keep that in mind and take what I say with a truck load of salt.

  4. #4
    Sorry to hear at about your accident Fugu and I agree with Javier, start small and work your way along. But please remember it is not about "doing" it for a long time ... if your zazen is going well, then get up and carry that on within your life. =)

    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.

  5. #5
    Hi Javier,

    I am sorry to hear about your accident too, but we sit ... or recline or stand or roll ... as life finds us.

    Strange as this may sound, sitting is not a matter of "long" or "short" ... and we should sit putting aside all thought of time or seconds passed as if sitting were a taxi meter. Nonetheless, we sit for a certain time each day ... sometimes long and sometimes short.

    Here is part of our Beginners (We're All Beginners) Series on time ... right on time ...

    Sit-a-Long with Jundo: Zazen for Beginners (Part XXI)
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...%28Part-XXI%29

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    Senior Member Entai's Avatar
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    Sit until you stand up again.

    Gassho,
    Bill

    Entai (Bill)
    "Be kind - for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle" - Plato

  7. #7
    Senior Member Nameless's Avatar
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    Metta to you Fugen. Hope you are recovering well from the accident. I tend to sit 20-30 minutes each session, but I don't use a timer anymore. Found that it distracts me more than anything, so I just let intuition tell me when to get up. Intuition can tell you when to rise too whether it's five minutes or 45 minutes, all's well.

    Gassho, John

  8. #8
    Senior Member Joyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shingen View Post
    Sorry to hear at about your accident Fugu and I agree with Javier, start small and work your way along. But please remember it is not about "doing" it for a long time ... if your zazen is going well, then get up and carry that on within your life. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen
    Yes, as Shingen said, make zazen your life, at least this is what I try to do When I first started sitting, 15 min felt like an hr, so start slow and try to not worry about the min.

    For me, I sit anywhere from 5 min to 1/2 an hr at a time. But doing dishes can become zazen, cooking, cleaning, walking the dog, etc. etc.

    As for your accident, sending you much metta, I hope you are healing and back to health real soon.

    Gassho,
    Treena

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Javier,

    I am sorry to hear about your accident...
    I do have to say that I'm not the originator of this topic. I hope you get well soon Fugu. Much metta to you. C:

    Gassho
    Javier


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  10. #10
    Senior Member Heion's Avatar
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    A lot of wise words have been said! Generally, I sit around 15 minutes.

    Off the cushion, I try to incorporate little moments of Zazen in very menial tasks, such as eating or cleaning. Besides this, I try to have a loose schedule in my day. Not as a rigid book of laws, but as a guide.

    Like Jundo says, I am now not so much concerned with time. I think zazen must be felt, not counted with minute increments.

    With metta,
    Alex

  11. #11
    With my sangha, I sit as long as we all sit; usually 35 minute rounds plus kinhin. If I'm using an MP3 I made of inkin bells as a timer, either 20 or 30 minutes. If it's early morning kyoten zazen, as long as the incense burns; usually around 40-45 minutes (it would be inconsiderate to wake anyone with my bells). If I'm sitting a streetcorner vigil with the local peaceniks or anti-death-penalty people, an hour or so. If I'm sitting with my mate, I sit as long as she does. None of the above is particularly meaningful. As someone who's been stove in and busted up myself, I'd suggest listening deeply to your body; sit as you need to sit, walk as you need to walk, lie down as you need to lie down. There's nothing to gain, and nothing to prove. In all of your comings and goings, carry your zazen forward with you.
    Last edited by Piobair; 12-26-2013 at 12:47 PM.
    May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind
    quickly be freed from their illnesses.
    May those frightened cease to be afraid
    and may those bound be free.
    May the powerless find power
    and may people think of befriending one another.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    I sit from 5-30 minutes once or twice a day. My practice during this holiday is not quite as consistent as I would like it to be, however, that is really just a chance to work on dropping the attachment to wanting my practice to be a certain way. It is all good practice.

    Some days I get one really long sit in during a nap time and other days I sit a few short periods as I get the chance. Like the others here I try to make all of my chores zazen, all of my meals an exercise in gratitude, and all of my interaction with others an exercise in compassion and kindness. So, I guess if I were you I would sit for as long as I could and not much longer

    Wishing you have a speedy recovery!

    Nengyo
    Try not to be a jerk-- one of the Buddhas

  13. #13
    Senior Member bayamo's Avatar
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    I sit 15 in the morning and twenty-twenty five at night. As time permits, I squeeze in 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there through out the day
    Oh, yeah. If I didn't have inner peace, I'd go completely psycho on all you guys all the time.
    Carl Carlson

  14. #14
    Senior Member Joyo's Avatar
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    I really like the concept of sitting without timing how long. I think I will go try that right now, thx to those who posted this as a suggestion

    Gassho,
    Treena

  15. #15
    Senior Member Daijo's Avatar
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    Daily I try to sit 20 minutes each morning and sometimes an additional 20 minutes at night if life allows. Twice a week I sit with a group of people and we generally follow the schedule of 30 minutes zazen/10 minutes kinhin/30 minutes zazen.

  16. #16
    Hello Fugu,

    Sitting for me consists of my morning 30mins and my evening sit of 30mins. My morning sit sometimes can be a bit shorter depending on how busy my day is ... I usually sit on my own. My evening sit is mostly via Google+ with Sangha members, or on my own. I do not have a local sitting group here yet, but you never know what the future brings. =)

    I also have been known to sneak in a 5 min zazen between classes to clear my mind. =)

    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.

  17. #17
    Hello Fugu. Much metta, and hope you have a speedy recovery. I sit 30 minutes twice a day during the week, and double that, with kinhin, on my weekends. Except when I don't.
    Neika / Ian Adams

    寧 Nei - Peaceful/Courteous
    火 Ka - Fire

    Look for Buddha outside your own mind, and Buddha becomes the devil. --Dogen

  18. #18
    Hi Fugu,

    Perhaps you can sit for as long as you are comfortable? Why rush or overthink it?

    Sending you much metta for a speedy recovery!

    Gassho,

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

  19. #19
    Thanks to all for the answers, and double thanks for the metta. When I started I couldn't even sit up for 5 mins., but now I'm doing 30 mins. in the morning and 30 mins. at night. That, plus yoga and walking for my body, seems to be working well. My mind (consciousness, It, whatever...) wants to continue past 30 mins. but I think it would be wrong for my body. I'll just have to wait until my body catches up with my mind.

    I think I'm a little shell-shocked from having just read 'Mindfullness In Plain English' on the web and th author said "most beginners, when they start to meditate are gung-ho and meditate for 15 hours a day". I'm lying on the floor with a damp rag on my head going 15 HOURS A DAY??????

    I can remember, when I was with the RZC, sitting for 50 mins., walking for 10, sitting for 50, etc. For days upon end. I'm a bit sad to think I'll never get back to that/ Ah, well, as that famous Buddhist monk said, "whatever".



    Fugu

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
    I'm trying to restart my practice after a serious accident. A LOT of dumb questions are popping up. The first is: how long do most people on here sit? I used to sit one hour in the morning and another at night, but my body (and mind) isn't up to that yet. I'd be interested in what other are doing.



    Fugu
    Hi Fugu,
    My friend in the Dharma Inshu Frederic Baylot, draw a comic "Zem learner Zen Master." He has published on its website the answer to your
    question:




    - How long meditate daily ?

    - From 10 to 12 hours?

    - I suppose 10 minutes is already very good!




    To see the comments he publishes on its website it's here :

    http://zemapprentimaitrezen.wordpres.../12/30/zem-16/


    Gasshô
    Anshu
    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

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
    Thanks to all for the answers, and double thanks for the metta. When I started I couldn't even sit up for 5 mins., but now I'm doing 30 mins. in the morning and 30 mins. at night. That, plus yoga and walking for my body, seems to be working well. My mind (consciousness, It, whatever...) wants to continue past 30 mins. but I think it would be wrong for my body. I'll just have to wait until my body catches up with my mind.

    I think I'm a little shell-shocked from having just read 'Mindfullness In Plain English' on the web and th author said "most beginners, when they start to meditate are gung-ho and meditate for 15 hours a day". I'm lying on the floor with a damp rag on my head going 15 HOURS A DAY??????

    I can remember, when I was with the RZC, sitting for 50 mins., walking for 10, sitting for 50, etc. For days upon end. I'm a bit sad to think I'll never get back to that/ Ah, well, as that famous Buddhist monk said, "whatever".



    Fugu

    Hello Fugu,

    I was just wondering if the book you refer to is written by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana? I have his second book 'Beyond Mindfulness - in Plain English' - but only to read out of interest as it is a different tradition and seems to concentrate on jhana states.

    I'm not entirely sure that I fully understand Dogen's teaching on dropping off body and mind, but it seems to intimate that the mind catching up with the body - or the body catching up with the mind is not the emphasis.

    As I've mentioned here before (don't want to keep on about it) I have a physical disability that prevents me from physically sitting. Through the teaching here I have dropped all attachment to that particular notion of sitting. I understand that recovering from an injury causes one to think on the past and at times to reach for the past (in terms of ability/achievement) and this is a natural part of a grieving process. But my advice would be to not judge your present Zazen by this but perhaps investigate the feelings and frustrations that come up. I learnt a lot about my drive towards omnipotence and control through this process.

    I wish you well and hope you continue to make a good recovery.

    Gassho

    Willow

  22. #22
    Senior Member bayamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WilliamD View Post
    Sit until you stand up again.

    Gassho,
    Bill
    sounds good to me..
    Oh, yeah. If I didn't have inner peace, I'd go completely psycho on all you guys all the time.
    Carl Carlson

  23. #23
    Senior Member TimF's Avatar
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    For now I am lucky to get in 15 minutes in either the morning or evening. On rare days I get 15 in the morning AND before bed. My wife and I try to get at least 15 minutes in daily via gentle encouragement!

    Gassho,
    Tim
    "The moment has priority". ~ Bon Haeng

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by willow View Post
    Hello Fugu,

    I was just wondering if the book you refer to is written by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana? I have his second book 'Beyond Mindfulness - in Plain English' - but only to read out of interest as it is a different tradition and seems to concentrate on jhana states.

    I'm not entirely sure that I fully understand Dogen's teaching on dropping off body and mind, but it seems to intimate that the mind catching up with the body - or the body catching up with the mind is not the emphasis.

    As I've mentioned here before (don't want to keep on about it) I have a physical disability that prevents me from physically sitting. Through the teaching here I have dropped all attachment to that particular notion of sitting. I understand that recovering from an injury causes one to think on the past and at times to reach for the past (in terms of ability/achievement) and this is a natural part of a grieving process. But my advice would be to not judge your present Zazen by this but perhaps investigate the feelings and frustrations that come up. I learnt a lot about my drive towards omnipotence and control through this process.

    I wish you well and hope you continue to make a good recovery.

    Gassho

    Willow
    Willow:

    Yes, that was the book I read. Found it surfing on the web. I went thru it just for interest, but the comment about 15 hours a day stopped me dead. Is the 'Beyond Mindfullness' any good?

    I'm not taking my past to the mat with me anymore, but I am hitting the wall of physical pain. Trying to figure out just how to handle that. I want to get around/over/thru it so I am more meditation and less pain, if that makes any sense. Tonight I went ahead and moved the bad leg out straight for 5 mins. and then went back to normal cross-legged. That seemed to help quite a bit, I think that will ease up on all the FEAR that is presently arising......the knowledge that I can work with it, if need be and still be mostly present for the meditation.

    Thank you for your kind wishes. I'm trying to view this as just another piece of the practice, and try to sit for everyone that is suffering pain, not just for myself.

    Gassho,

    Fugu

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by willow View Post
    Hello Fugu,

    I was just wondering if the book you refer to is written by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana? I have his second book 'Beyond Mindfulness - in Plain English' - but only to read out of interest as it is a different tradition and seems to concentrate on jhana states.
    Yes, it is another lovely approach ... Karate to our Aikido. All good Ways, but sometimes quite different.

    However, it is worth noting that Soto folks have times when we might sit (or recline if needed) 15 hours a day ... or 24 hours a day ... or countless Ages a day. I posted the following when someone linked to the 15 hours of Zazen sat at Antaiji, the temple of Kodo Sawaki and Uchiyama Roshi, during monthly Sesshin ...

    http://antaiji.org/?page_id=4877&lang=en

    ===============

    Yes, there is a time to sit long, there is a time to sit short ... but most vital is to always sit beyond and right through "long vs short". Sit longly short, and shortly long ... softly hard and hardly soft.

    For all folks (who can) or at some times, it is good to sit sometimes behind monastery walls away from the day to day. For all of us, one can sit day to day beyond all thought of "inside vs. out", "in or away" ... knocking down the walls between the ears. Long or short, here or there ... always sit free of "Gaining" mind.

    Let me mention that Taigu and I strongly encourage folks ... if you can find the time ... to go for retreats for a weekend, but better a few days or full Sesshin (even a full week or two if you can) at places, and "traditional" (i.e., very Japanese style) retreats and Sesshin are good experiences. There are several good places to experience that in North America and Europe, and it is good to be in a place where one can rub shoulders with others, living together for a few days. If someone can't go to a bricks and mortar location for such a retreat, we have our Annual "All Online" two-day Retreat too (each December, via live netcast) at Treeleaf Sangha ... traditional (yet "fully online" ... and available to sit any timeless, all year round) ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/sit-a-long/w...reeleafat.html

    ... but this is a case where it is actually good to go to a retreat center and practice with folks for a time (if at all possible ... which it ain't for everybody).

    Taigu and I strongly encourage folks to go for retreats for intensive sittings, Sesshin, of many days ... even a week or two or longer ... waking early in the morning, sitting late into the evening. All Zen Teachers that I know do. Why? I usually write this:

    Now, someone might ask too, "if each moment is all time and space, and Zazen is 'good for nothing', what is the purpose of an intensive Sesshin?" Well, I often say that, sometimes, we need to practice a bit long and hard, morning to night ... sitting and wrestling with 'me, my self and I' ... all to achieve nothing to attain, and taste the good of 'good for nothing'! Going to Retreats, Sesshin and such is a powerful facet of this Practice and not to be missed.
    At most Zen Sesshin I know, folks sit many times a day, for 30, 40 or 45 minutes at a time, two or three times back to back, in many sets each day. Most intersperse work periods, lecture periods, eating periods, break periods, sleep period, chanting periods ... but all are one, continuous flowing Zazen in its wider meaning. Most still have lots and lots of sitting on the Zafu sitting (especially in Soto Zen).

    It is really not a matter of long or short, start or finish ... and thus it is very good to sometimes sit long. I truly recommend it as integral to this Practice. We sit long and hard sometimes because it truly is not a matter of quantity or the clock or anything to gain!

    Strange, huh!?

    It is also not a matter of place ... and we should "sit Zazen" too in the hospital bed, death bed, nursery room, grocery line, city bus. Nonetheless, we go to the Retreat at the Zen Center or temple or monastery to sit in a room on a Zafu, precisely because it is not a matter of "where" or "place."

    Strange, huh!?

    However, if people can't go to a Sesshin because of a physical limitation or other impossibility, that is okay too! If really it is not possible, sit right where one is (or if in that hospital bed, have one's sesshin reclining right there!)

    Strange, huh!?

    If one sits with greed and desire to attain, than it does not matter if it is 5 seconds or 50 hours or 5000 years ... a waste of time.

    If one sits free of greed and desire to attain, than a second is a second of Buddha, 5000 years just 5000 years of Buddha.

    This we sit each day ... beyond and right through-and-through the ticking clock. If done with greed, 50 minutes 14 times a day is much too long and much too short AT ONCE! ... what Sawaki Roshi called "sitting with a thief's mind".

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - By the way, let me mention that Taigu will be leading a 6-Day Retreat in the Washington D.C. area next August (9th to 14th, 2014) and I hear it will be pretty darn strict. Everyone should plan to attend who can!
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-31-2013 at 12:45 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  26. #26
    Senior Member Troy's Avatar
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    I usually meditate 20 min a day. At first, it seemed like forever, but it now feels like I am just getting started. If I have time I will meditate longer (maybe once a week). As Emmy suggested, take zazen in to your day to day activities like walking, cleaning, etc. It will give you more meditation time even if it is for a few seconds and will increase the benefits you get from meditating. Hope you get to feeling better soon. Peace be with you my friend.


    Metta, Troy

  27. #27
    So sorry to see you were in an accident. I use the insight timer app. When I got started I probably put too much thought into the question of how long. Ultimately I just decided to set it for 30 minutes as a guidepost...Sometimes I don't make it...Sometimes I sit for a little longer. Either is okay by me.

    Gassho,

    W


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