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Thread: 3/14 - How to Do Zazen p. 41

  1. #1

    3/14 - How to Do Zazen p. 41

    Back to basics ... always back to basics ...

    (Please be sure to read the footnotes ... especially No. 22)

    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #2

    Re: 3/14 - How to Do Zazen p. 41

    Tanden :?:

  3. #3

    Re: 3/14 - How to Do Zazen p. 41

    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan
    Tanden :?:
    Hi Jordan,

    The "Tanden" is an old concept of Taoism and Chinese Medicine related to Ki flow. To make a long story short, in centuries past, this is how educated Chinese and Japanese thought the body worked (and many still do). I will not comment on Ki/Chi, acupuncture, Chinese medicine and the like. All I will say is that many older or more traditional Chinese and Japanese still think in those terms.

    Personally, having living in Japan and China for about 20 years, I do not think there is an actual "Tanden" or "Hara" that functions as a specific organ of the body, and I have seen little evidence for its relevance apart from the general feel of being the "center of gravity" for the body. (In my wife's Ai-Ki-Do classes, I believe it is the same, with many teachers staying with the traditional meaning and others treating it as just the "center of gravity"). Although I once had painless dental work done in China by an dentist who merely placed a few pins in my ankles and ears, I have great doubts "Ki" actually exists. So, I just take "breathing from the Tanden" to mean a deep breath that expands the stomach and "feels" almost like it is coming from down below the navel, encompassing all body mind and the whole universe!

    I am still open minded on the subject though.

    Of course, if you are actually breathing from below your navel, I would call a doctor immediately and get yourself fixed! :wink:

    Here is some information from a completely unverifiable source:


    The Seika tanden (commonly referred to simply as the tanden) is an energy 'centre' or area - about the size of a grapefruit - located deep inside the 'hara', roughly mid way between the top of the pubic bone and the navel.

    The term Seika simply refers to 'below the Navel'. The word Tanden is the Japanese equivalent of the Chinese: Tan Tien (also: dan tian) or 'field of the elixir'.

    Seika Tanden is also known as the Kikai ('Ocean of Ki') Tanden, and as Seika no Itten (the 'One Point' below the Navel)
    [In some western Energy Disciplines it is referred to as the 'Lunar Plexus'.]

    Physically speaking it is the body's center of gravity.

    It is said that Ki is moved by the mind "... where the attention goes, ki flows..."

    To effortlessly focus the awareness* (thought-feeling) in seika tanden is to place one's energy there.

    Also, by placing effortless emphasis and energy at this area in the lower abdomen, integration of body and mind is deepened and strengthened, and the Spirit is dynamically grounded in the Present Moment.

    _______
    *
    http://www.aetw.org/d_seika_tanden.html
    Also ...

    Dantian or Tan t'ien (Chinese: D?ntin ??; Japanese: Tanden ??; Korean: ?? DanJeon ??; Thai Dantian ????????) which literally means "cinnabar or red field" and is loosely translated as "elixir field". It is described as an important focal point for internal meditative techniques and refers specifically to the physical center of gravity located in the abdomen three finger widths below and two finger widths behind the navel.

    The dantian is important in qigong, neigong, tao yin and other breathing techniques, as well as for traditional Chinese medicine and is also widely used throughout East Asian meditation and martial arts theory, especially the neijia school of Chinese martial arts.

    The dantian is sometimes divided into sections. The lower dantian (at the navel as described above) is associated with physical energy and sometimes sexuality. The middle dantian (at the solar plexus) deals with respiration and the health of internal organs. The upper dantian (at the third eye) relates to consciousness or intent, spirit or shen, and the brain.

    In speaking specifically of the lower of the three points, the term dantian is often used interchangeably with the Japanese word hara (?; Chinese: f) which literally means simply "belly". In Chinese and Japanese tradition, it is considered the physical center of gravity for the human body and by extension the seat of one's internal energy (qi). A master of calligraphy, swordsmanship, tea ceremony, martial arts or comparable disciplines is held in the Japanese tradition to be "acting from the hara". The one-point (seika no itten, kikai tanden) is also a central element in Japanese yoga, Ki-Aikido, and other traditional arts.

    Buddhist teachers often instruct their students to center their mind in dantian, held to aid control of thoughts and emotions. Therefore, acting from the dantian is considered to be related to the state of samadhi.

    The dantian also roughly corresponds to the Indian concept of the manipura, or third chakra in yoga philosophy, thought to be the seat of prana that radiates outwards to the entire body.

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

  4. #4

    Re: 3/14 - How to Do Zazen p. 41

    Wow, you know allot about the tanden. I kind of thought it was not to important.

  5. #5

    Re: 3/14 - How to Do Zazen p. 41

    For the last few months since I started sitting, I've been sitting on a stack of three throw pillows in lack of a zafu. I feel comfortable with it, but is there a reason why I should look into getting a zafu?


    Gassho,

    Tony

  6. #6

    Re: 3/14 - How to Do Zazen p. 41

    Hi,

    The Zafu is good for firmly supporting and lifting up, while I would think throw pillows are likely soft and squash down. When on the road, a tightly folded bed blanket will often work for me.

    There are now some very "hi tech" Zafus ... I do not have personal experience with the "Mountain Seat", but the testimonials sound interesting.

    http://www.dharma.net/monstore/category ... ededdf14fd

    Any other folks with Zafu tips?

    Gassho, Jundo

  7. #7

    Re: 3/14 - How to Do Zazen p. 41

    I always thought that breathing from the hara was metaphorical. I sort of visualize a sense of openness and total relaxation. I once heard a Zen teacher say that you could recognize a Zen practitioner from how they walked into a room. Perhaps it was because they were mindful not to bang the door but I got the impression it was because they maintained the relaxed state of moving from the hara. I've never been able to bring that open feeling off the cushion, however.


    Linda

  8. #8

    Re: 3/14 - How to Do Zazen p. 41

    Quote Originally Posted by Uchiyama
    Zazen is the act of throwing away the calculating way of thinking that supposes that as long as there is an aim there must be a target........This seeming problem is exactly why zazen is so wonderful. This small self, this foolish self, easily becomes satisfied or complacent....However, in our zazen, it is precisely at the point where our small foolish self remains unsatisfied, or completely bewildered, that immeasurable natural life beyond the thoughts of that self take place.
    Its so hard to grasp this idea of goallessness and practice it for me anyway. Were never really happy unless we can reduce things to levels and stages and measure our progress thereby. So what do you say when someone asks you how your zazen practice is going? How do we judge this when it is our small self that does the judging? Its like a drunk man who thinks he is perfectly able to drive. So we just have to do our best with it without judgement. Intention, Intention, Intention as Lynn said. My small self tells me I am talking rubbish and it is probably right. :?

    Gassho,
    John

  9. #9

    Re: 3/14 - How to Do Zazen p. 41

    John, please take this with a smile:

    Quote Originally Posted by John
    Its so hard to grasp this idea of goallessness and practice it ...
    I would say, don't grasp it :wink:

    So what do you say when someone asks you how your zazen practice is going?
    It is :!:

    How do we judge this when it is our small self that does the judging?
    Don't :!:

    its like a drunk man who thinks he is perfectly able to drive. So we just have to do our best with it without judgement. Intention, Intention, Intention as Lynn said. My small self tells me I am talking rubbish and it is probably right. :?

    Gassho,
    John
    I like that, Gassho
    Jordan

  10. #10

    Re: 3/14 - How to Do Zazen p. 41

    My "small foolish self " will have to remain unsatisfied, I guess.

    Gassho,
    John

  11. #11

    Re: 3/14 - How to Do Zazen p. 41

    Hi,

    Quote Originally Posted by John
    So what do you say when someone asks you how your zazen practice is going?
    Wasn't it Woody Allen who said that there is really no such thing as bad sex? I think the same applies to Zazen - it's always good.

    Gassho
    Ken

  12. #12

    Re: 3/14 - How to Do Zazen p. 41

    "So what do you say when someone asks you how your zazen practice is going? "

    I'd like to avoid asking that to myself.

    Gassho,

    Tony

  13. #13

    Re: 3/14 - How to Do Zazen p. 41

    If our zazen is always perfect zazen (see Jundo's talk from back when he had a cold), then any time somebody asks how it's going, we can say "Perfect!"

    Heh.

  14. #14

    Re: 3/14 - How to Do Zazen p. 41

    Actually, I haven't read the book, because I've not bought it. But I just want to give my opinion here.

    "So what do you say when someone asks you how your zazen practice is going? "

    I'd like to answer: nothing. Just as it is.

    If you feel it's difficult to accept "everything as it is", Then see your "difficult to accept as it is" just as it is.
    So, what should we do then? The answer: Nothing

    Gassho, Shui Di

  15. #15

    Re: 3/14 - How to Do Zazen p. 41

    Shui DI, I like your style!

  16. #16
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: 3/14 - How to Do Zazen p. 41

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    Any other folks with Zafu tips?
    I have a bench that I used to use to sit all the time - when my son was young, we'd all sit together at a low table in the living room, my wife and I on benches, and my son on a small chair. I haven't tried using it for meditation, because it doesn't seem that not being cross-legged is a good thing. Any thoughts? If it helped my knee and back pain, however, it might be worth trying... I'll see if I can find it in the basement.

    Kirk

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