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Thread: True benefits of Zazen

  1. #1

    True benefits of Zazen

    Hello
    Am new here,I have a lot of questions..Please bear with me. Thank You in advance.
    So here goes...
    I do zazen almost everyday and sometimes when I do skip it, I feel guilty so I get back to my practice pretty soon. And after sitting..I feel quite peaceful and content, almost congratulate myself for getting back on track. I was wondering if these good feelings that arise after a sitting, Are they due to zazen itself or is it just me feeling happy for sticking to the discipline and hence just another activity that feeds my little ego.
    have any one of you experienced this?
    Please help.
    Thanks again.

  2. #2
    Hi Sridevi,

    Nice to meet you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sridevi View Post
    I do zazen almost everyday and sometimes when I do skip it, I feel guilty so I get back to my practice pretty soon.
    If you skip a sitting, no reason to feel guilty. If you sit everyday, no reason to congratulate yourself.
    Sincerely try to sit every day, but don't be attached to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sridevi View Post
    And after sitting..I feel quite peaceful and content, almost congratulate myself for getting back on track. I was wondering if these good feelings that arise after a sitting, Are they due to zazen itself or is it just me feeling happy for sticking to the discipline and hence just another activity that feeds my little ego.
    Can be both - just ignore this and just sit without judging your sitting.
    Let go, relax, and just be content with existing.

    Gassho,

    Daitetsu
    no thing needs to be added

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Daitetsu View Post
    If you skip a sitting, no reason to feel guilty. If you sit everyday, no reason to congratulate yourself.
    Sincerely try to sit every day, but don't be attached to it.
    Yes.

    Hi Sridevi,

    Nothing wrong for patting yourself on the back for sitting each day, but it is vitally important that you realize that there is no merit in Zazen, no points, reward or benefits to it. So, you must congratulate yourself for sitting that is completely worthless. At the same time, Zazen is the most precious and valuable jewel in the universe.

    So, congratulations! ... but the reward is no merit at all. (And so the Reward is received!)

    Worthless ... yet the most precious jewel.

    Pat yourself on the back ... but what "self" is doing the patting of whom?

    Confused a little? Good.

    Please take a sit with our beginners series (we are all always beginners) and it may help with some of this.
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forum...-FOR-NEW-FOLKS

    The famous Japanese Zen Master Kodo Sawaki said ...

    As long as you say zazen is a good thing, something isn’t quite right. Unstained zazen is absolutely nothing special. It isn’t even necessary to be grateful for it.
    Wouldn’t it be strange if a baby said to its mother, “Please have understanding for the fact that I’m always shitting in my diapers.”
    Without knowledge, without consciousness, everything is as it should be.
    Don’t stain your zazen by saying that you’ve progressed, feel better or have become more confident through zazen.
    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 02-20-2014 at 04:30 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  4. #4
    First question already is a very good one . Welcome and nice to meet you!

    My two cents: Even a butterfly or bumblebee has to take a rest every once and a while. So it is with our mind. It is only natural we feel better after zazen but is must not become the goal of our practice. Especially when you do not get that nice peaceful feeling afterwards, it is important not to worry about or stick to that either. Good feeling is OK not so good feeling , also OK. Sitting can be hard work and be confronting at times and in my opinion, it is just fine to have a sense of accomplishment after sitting sometimes. Especially if your favorite show or game is on TV or you had a extra hard day at work and you did your sitting anyway. Good! Let Buddha give Buddha a Buddha pat on the back for that once in a while, just don't start craving this or chasing it .

    Gassho

    MyoHo

  5. #5
    Thank You all for your replies. I understand that chasing after this good feeling is futile and as Jundo pointed out it stains the practice. Just have keep reminding myself not to look forward to any benefits otherwise practise would be another goal oriented activity.
    Will be back with more questions!!
    Last edited by Jundo; 02-20-2014 at 04:31 PM.

  6. #6

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Daitetsu View Post
    If you skip a sitting, no reason to feel guilty. If you sit everyday, no reason to congratulate yourself.
    Sincerely try to sit every day, but don't be attached to it.
    Hello Sridevi ... Daitetsu has said it beautifully. =)

    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.

  8. #8
    Sridevi, How do you sit? May be the way you sit is contributing to increasing your expectations.

    Gassho,
    Sam

  9. #9
    My only goal during zazen is to keep from hurting my back since I have chronic back pain. Other than that zazen is a complete waste of time. :-)

    Gassho
    Jishin
    治 Ji
    心​ Shin
    #SatToday

  10. #10
    How do I sit? just the way it is prescribed..but without the cushion..I haven't bought one yet! other than that..I follow everything else.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Tiwala's Avatar
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    I use two throw pillows as my zafu. Also let thoughts about gain and loss, good, and bad, etc drop and just meet this moment as it is. No words or ideas about it is necessary to do so. Sounds simple and stupid, doesn't it.

    Gassho, Ben
    Gassho
    Ben

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Tiwala View Post
    I use two throw pillows as my zafu. Also let thoughts about gain and loss, good, and bad, etc drop and just meet this moment as it is. No words or ideas about it is necessary to do so. Sounds simple and stupid, doesn't it.

    Gassho, Ben
    Hi,

    Folded blankets may be a bit firmer than a bed pillow. In our way, we tend to raise up the body so it does not sink. Make sure you sit with your buttocks on the forward third of your cushion so your back is properly supported by the resulting wedge shape. Sridevi, have you had a chance to look at our "How to Sit" booklet? You can download here.

    https://sites.google.com/site/jundot...edirects=0&d=1

    But a good Zafu is worth it, if one plans to be spending long hours sitting. You can sew a Zafu as well. Here is a recent thread on this topic, and a comment by Yugen:

    To make a potentially long answer short; your choice of pillow or zafu makes a huge difference as well - the investment in a zafu is well worth it. I have used pillows and find they "float" or are too squishy and unstable for me. The amount of time and energy my lower back muscles spend stabilizing my core is excessive when sitting on a pillow. I use a buckwheat hull-filled zafu. I would suggest one of these. ... I would suggest buckwheat hull filling as compared to kapok filling. I think it gives a more stable support, and can adjust to your anatomy when you settle into position. The difference between zafu and pillow will also become more obvious when you sit over the course of several periods of zazen, such as in a zazenkai or sesshin.
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-Zafu-Question

    My understanding, Sridevi, is that most folks in India sit on the ground or very low compared to our way, which raises the body and back.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  13. #13
    Hello..yep folks in India are comfortable sitting on the floor! I will try and get one Zafu soon.
    Gassho, Sridevi

  14. #14
    Hi,

    I asked Taigu to comment here. In the meantime, I feel that the butt and back are the ultimate judge!

    Actually, Chan sitters in China and Vietnam (and some other Rinzai folks) sit on cushions much like these, often piling two on top of each other. They are very thin by Japanese standards.



    Some just take a Zabuton, and double it over ... but still seems too thin and not supporting the back ...



    So I personally do not recommend so. My butt and back appreciate the ol' Zafu.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  15. #15
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    I am far from being an expert but this is my take on the subject:

    The more tense and unflexible your pelvis and hips are, the higher the cushion will need to be( this is my case). Old school Japanese people or korean used to sit on the floor and not on chairs, just need a very thin layer to sit. Deshimaru roshis cushion was like a pancake. Nevertheless, it is always recommanded to use even a thin layer to help the pelvis to rotate and free the back. Sitting straight on the floor is not a good idea for zazen. It is very clear that the Buddha used a cushion made of straw or something similar as he sat under the Bodhi tree. And for a very good reason.
    The ultimate guide in this matter is yourself, your ease and experience as you sit. So you should explore with the cushion and explore different sizes until you find something really nice and comfortable. And remeber that the best way to use a cushion in sitting is to use it at and angle as i demonstrated in an old vid.

    Take care

    Gassho

    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Thank you.


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

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