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Thread: reminders and other parts of practice

  1. #1

    reminders and other parts of practice

    When I light incense before I sit I get on my knees and bow like I was taught before, then I put the stick of incense in a wine glass filled with salt. Before I eat I say a meal verse. Before I go to bed I say a chant. When I wake up (usually) I say a chant. When I leave a room I bow. When I am standing in the kitchen perhaps waiting for something to cook, I put my hands in the mudra that we use for kinhin and pay attention. I chant the Heart Sutra sometimes before I sit. I sometimes say to myself: may all being be happy, be peaceful, be free.

    We run through our day and rarely take the time to stop and bow or just stop. I think these things are here for a reason. They help practice. As to the actual effect of them I can't say. I just think they help. Perhaps they help us change along with our Zazen.

    What do you guys think?


    Gassho Will

  2. #2
    Hi Will,

    I do some of that too, to remind myself to be mindful. I really like the meal gatha because it makes me think of everything that goes into my food and where it comes from. I light incense because that physical stimulus also makes me mindful during zazen. I also bow when lighting the incense to remind myself that I should be humble and open enough to learn something from my zazen.

    I think all these little behaviors are valuable cues to help us bring the still point off the zafu and into our living world.

    Of course, different things work for different people.

    Gassho,

    Linda

  3. #3
    I think all these little behaviors are valuable cues to help us bring the still point off the zafu and into our living world.
    That's a good point. Most of the time for me that stillpoint doesn't even visit the cushion. But sometimes...

    Gassho

  4. #4
    Linda
    Of course, different things work for different people.
    Absolutely. Over time I think our path or practice starts to become more clear. It seems a teacher can teach what has worked for them, then it's the students job to try it out. Zen practice seems also catered to each person individually and yet universal, but methods differ in achieving that understanding. One method that holds true and is central to our practice though is sitting. I think perhaps some have got it and need that extra nudge that sitting gives them and others sit relentlessly trying to find it. Then a teacher smacks them in the head, then smiles, yells Katz, holds up a flower, gives them a koan, and says nothing. Which I should probably do. Time for bed.

    Makura OM


    Gassho

  5. #5
    Hi Will,

    Some of what you described reminds me of what Diane Eshin Rizzetto (Waking Up to What You Do) calls the dead spot. The term comes from a trapeze artist who described the point at the end of a swing when the bar stops moving in one direction and starts moving in the other direction. The idea is to use that change to create the trick the creative action. Rizzetto expands on the metaphor of the dead spot to include letting go of the bar between swings.

    Taking pause can interrupt our habitual patterns of thought and reaction so that we can be attentive and see the freshness of the moment.

    Regards,

    Janice

  6. #6
    That''s a great description Thanks Janice

    Gassho Will

  7. #7
    Hi Janice,

    Wow I got chills reading your description of the dead spot. It's kind of a chilly word (dead) to use for it, but I totally get it, and the thought of that's where the fire of creation burns the hottest...WOW WOW WOW. I really connect to that and I want to run to the cushion right now just to hit the zone.

    Hi Will,

    Thanks for this topic. I think of these things you mention as points of ritual or touchstones thank anchor me back to the "dead" zone (I could also call it the still point, zazen, the zero point, balance, etc). I love repeating these things thru the day (a practice I also do, whether it is bowing or making a mudra while sitting at a red light). They help keep me centered whether life is just ok that day or if I'm just trying to find the center of the cyclone.

  8. #8
    Hi Shane Welcome to the Leaf.

    Gassho

  9. #9

    Re: reminders and other parts of practice

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    When I light incense before I sit I get on my knees and bow like I was taught before, then I put the stick of incense in a wine glass filled with salt. Before I eat I say a meal verse. Before I go to bed I say a chant. When I wake up (usually) I say a chant. When I leave a room I bow. When I am standing in the kitchen perhaps waiting for something to cook, I put my hands in the mudra that we use for kinhin and pay attention. I chant the Heart Sutra sometimes before I sit. I sometimes say to myself: may all being be happy, be peaceful, be free.

    We run through our day and rarely take the time to stop and bow or just stop. I think these things are here for a reason. They help practice. As to the actual effect of them I can't say. I just think they help. Perhaps they help us change along with our Zazen.

    What do you guys think?


    Gassho Will
    Beautiful, Will.

  10. #10
    "10,000 times I return..." I've heard Jundo say something along those lines a few times now, but can't find it.

    I'd be happy to return half a dozen times in a day. Work to do

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