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Thread: Why do you (as in you personally) do zazen

  1. #1

    Why do you (as in you personally) do zazen

    Hi again,

    Another query popped into my head. I'm not expecting concrete answers but if anyone has any opinions please share them. It was inspired by a short clip of Master Seung Sahn - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6rXK_Z6Rco[/video]]

    So why do you (as in you personally) do zazen?

    Master SS " Your direction clear, your meditation clear, your whole life clear. Your direction not clear, then meditation not clear. Everything not clear.

    So why you (do) meditation? That's the point"

    The reason for asking this is what should the direction be?

    I am not naive to think that if I find the direction then life will be great but this point has been irking me for a whole. I know nevertheless to just stick to the practice but (which I intend to keep on doing in my haphazard inconsitent manner (yes want to be more committed, but am lazy (yes I want to be less lazy too))) but any feedback on thoughts and opinions wud be cool.

    Mettha.

    Aswini.

  2. #2

    Re: Why do you (as in you personally) do zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by Aswini

    The reason for asking this is what should the direction be?

    I am not naive to think that if I find the direction then life will be great but this point has been irking me for a whole. I know nevertheless to just stick to the practice but (which I intend to keep on doing in my haphazard inconsitent manner (yes want to be more committed, but am lazy (yes I want to be less lazy too))) but any feedback on thoughts and opinions wud be cool.
    Go directly, intently, whole-heartedly and with complete determination ... directly to your Zafu ... and the Way of Not Going, Always Arriving, No Place to Go, Nothing in Need of Achieving, Nothing Lacking, Just Sitting.

    Then leading your life, be a good husband, wife, father, mother, friend.

    That is where I would put my energies.

    Gassho, Jundo

  3. #3

    Re: Why do you (as in you personally) do zazen

    when i read the post i thought why do i sit?
    the truth is, i just sit.
    there is no reason for it anymore. i just sit.

    when i started doing zazen it was for relaxation. with time it changed, i began sitting for better understanding of myself.
    every time i sit i just sit, no more no less. yet every time i sit it is different sometimes it might be for relaxation sometimes for understanding and some time for any other number of things.
    but it changes nothing in the sitting. i just sit. and as soon as im done sitting i get up and go do whatever needs to be done.
    sometimes i feel more relaxed sometimes i feel more aware or not feel nothing at all.

    the thing is zazen is apart of my life, no thing to gain or lose, no reason for it anymore, i just sit.

  4. #4

    Re: Why do you (as in you personally) do zazen

    I do zazen precisely because at times my life and my meditation is not clear. In meditation, I allow it to be unclear where too often I otherwise do not allow that. Somedays, I do not even have to sit to allow it to be unclear. Then, my life is not my life. It is my life. I often hope this is clear. Sitting on these days, clear is not clear. It is clear.

    best,
    Kshetra

  5. #5

    Re: Why do you (as in you personally) do zazen

    Hi Kshetra....

    Nice question....

    Why I sit?

    Of course, for the first time I do Zazen, I do it because I want to understand some thing that really Good such as Buddha Dharma, about Zen, .....etc... . well, although in ZAzen there is neither understand nor not-understand, because every thing just as it is, so we just Sit entirely.

    Why I do Zazen? For now, I have no reason to do that. Because if I have a reason, than it's not Zazen again.

    Gassho, Shui Di

  6. #6

    Re: Why do you (as in you personally) do zazen

    The reason for asking this is what should the direction be?
    The direction should be the cushion, shouldn't it? And a green zabuton if you can get it :wink: .

    The direction should be just sitting. Abandoning directions. That should be the direction. The hard part is to get there, because we've been trained forever in the art of getting something in exchange for anything we do. So we start trying to have peace, control stress, cure depression, change things in our life that we perceive as shameful, and an endless list of conscious and unconscioud agendas. No problem with that, cause that's been our habit forever and pretending that we got rid of it would be a waste of time and energy. So we just sit, and if we think there is direction we just look at us trying to have direction, and if we think this is bull we look at ourselves thinking this is bull., and, without judging or making a big fuss, go back to just being there, sitting.

    The direction should be realizing that zazen is good for nothing, so asking anything from it just ain't very bright.

    But back to your original question: I personally do zazen because, in a way that I can't describe, I know I'm home.

    Gassho, Alberto

  7. #7
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Why do you (as in you personally) do zazen

    In my case, I started sitting about 20 years ago, after reading a book on Buddhism, which resonated deeply within me. I had actually read a couple of zen books 5 years earlier, inspired by John Cage, but didn't go any further at the time. One thing that led me in this direction was experiences I had from hallucinogenic (and other) drugs in the 1970s; I had many glimpses of emptiness back then, and just tasting that led me to want to get there again. It didn't take long for me to realize that this goal wouldn't get me anywhere, though.

    After some time without sitting - many years - I started again about the time that Jundo set up this sangha, in part because I needed grounding, and in part because of health problems. My goals were both utilitarian and not. Now I understand that there is no goal, and I think that after all this time, I have reached the realization that I sit just to sit.

    Kirk

  8. #8
    Senior Member Martin's Avatar
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    Re: Why do you (as in you personally) do zazen

    Interesting question, Aswini.

    Like others who have answered, I know (more or less) why I started sitting zazen. I read a book, and thought that I would get something out of doing it. Peace, insight, whatever. Now, I don't know why I sit. Sure, I sit to just sit, but, actually, why sit to just sit? I don't know. In the context of sitting, the question doesn't seem to have a lot of meaning. Which is a bit stupid, no? It's just that I can't imagine not doing it.

    Gassho

    Martin

  9. #9
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Why do you (as in you personally) do zazen

    I think that, after a while, we just internalize something about sitting, we find a way that is right, and the sitting seems right. I don't ask myself why I sit anymore, though sometimes I still have to prod myself to do so regularly.

    Kirk

  10. #10

    Re: Why do you (as in you personally) do zazen

    some time ago, about a year or so actually i felt i have come a point i cant go further with my practice alone and that i have hit a wall.
    i reached a certain point that i could not move beyond. i had nothing to gain or to learn that i didnt know already. i thought that maybe i lost my love for zen and that it became so mundane for me that it didnt mean anything at all.

    i know realize that it became such a part of me that no matter if i sit or dont it is rooted inside me. it is part of me no matter what i do. at this moment while i am writing this all i do is write this.
    it is a very deep feeling i can not even begin to relate in to words. i guess i just do without thinking anymore why i do what i do, but just do it. yet i know what i do and i trust in what i do since it is generated by me.

    i guess what i wanted to say is the same that everyone else...

    I sit.
    not even just sit.
    I sit.

  11. #11

    Re: Why do you (as in you personally) do zazen

    Hmm.......thanx everyone. Wow, so many great answers. Don't want to point out any response because each one has been helpful or opens up another point of view.

    It certainly is interesting, because i don't clearly know why I sit zazen. Certainly as a means of regulation it is both very calming, peaceful, insightful and practicable in applying what you notice to daily life. At the same time I am wondering if there is a goal not that i am trying to achieve anything in a certain way. Because I can feel a tangible if subtle difference from when I sit for a consitent period of time (e.g. 10 days) compared to how I operate and feel when I have skipped entirely for say up to a week.

    Yes, I do too do zazen just for zazen, just to sit. Yet something is on the edge of my knowing, not graspable, yet that is I know is there and perhaps important or perhaps just something imagined.


    I personally do zazen because, in a way that I can't describe, I know I'm home.
    That was nice, plenty of cool things from other ppl too.

    And Jundo, yes.......

    Go directly, intently, whole-heartedly and with complete determination ... directly to your Zafu ... and the Way of Not Going, Always Arriving, No Place to Go, Nothing in Need of Achieving, Nothing Lacking, Just Sitting.

    Then leading your life, be a good husband, wife, father, mother, friend.

    This always arriving, not going, just being and not being stuff is kind of beginning to become noticeable in some strange not experienced before way. It certainly is curious to see flashes of this every now and then. So it would seem to being to lead to being more wholesome when one begins to see what is what intrisically.

    Anyways, thanks everyone. Will report back from the funny adventure called life and zazen should anything strike me.

    Hehe.........Direction still not clear (me).

    Mettha.

    Aswini.

  12. #12
    Stephanie
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    Re: Why do you (as in you personally) do zazen

    Refuge from the horrors of the world;
    Refuge from the horrors of my mind.

    What joy to realize that I can let go of it all.

    I might have ended up in a psych ward, on drugs, or dead, if it weren't for zazen.

    But thanks to the power of ZazenTM, instead of suffering from insanity, I can enjoy it :wink:

    I can also try to do something productive with it. I take the Bodhisattva Vow quite seriously. I could not translate that vow from Idea to Action if it weren't for zazen.

    So--yay for zazen

  13. #13

    Re: Why do you (as in you personally) do zazen

    I take the Bodhisattva Vow quite seriously. I could not translate that vow from Idea to Action if it weren't for zazen.
    Yep. Same here.

    My reason for zazen is very simple. It's part of my practice to help me be a more compassionate person (mettamettamettamettametta). I didn't even think about it until, about a year ago, my husband said I lack empathy. It really surprised me because I enjoy life and I like people. Then I realized that he's right! Since I'm pretty even-steven (like Seinfeld), I don't understand sad people. When someone tells me something that's bothering them, I immediately want to fix it. Little did I know that I've been annoying the heck out of people. They don't want me to fix it. They want me to just listen and understand. Well, that's just hard, dang it! Sort of embarrassing to realize that I get on everyone's nerves. ops:

    According to my Mom, husband and daughter, I'm getting better. I think I've been a better professor too. I have much fewer fantasies of strangling my colleagues and students ( :mrgreen: ) even though our school is going through some serious changes and my career is very fragile right now.

    I think I've mentioned all this twice before but, you know, writing it down is a good reminder for me.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed reading this thread. Thanks for starting it, Aswini.

  14. #14

    Re: Why do you (as in you personally) do zazen

    .

  15. #15

    Re: Why do you (as in you personally) do zazen

    I don't really know anymore :lol: It just seems a good thing to do :wink:

    Following Buddhism also seems a good thing to do.

    In gassho, Kev

  16. #16

    Re: Why do you (as in you personally) do zazen

    Nice question and nice answers too.

    I started doing Zazen about 7 years ago because I guess I admired people who were calm, relaxed, friendly, kind and open. More than admired, I thought they were cool. Like super-heroes, to me. And I did yoga at uni and the teacher was nice. When I met Zen priests or saw them in the street in Tokyo, I wanted to be like them. I stayed a day at Eiheiji and met a really nice monk who just seemed to me to be everything that was good in this world and even though he wasn't remarkable in any way apart from being nice and easy-going, this seemed enough...I visited lots of temples and sat with lots of groups and it just suited me. The smell, the free green tea, the Japanese sweets
    Now I guess I do it pretty much for the same reasons: To keep calm, be happy and be nice to people. Probably not the right reasons, but if I'm honest that's why I do it.

    Hmm.
    :P

  17. #17

    Re: Why do you (as in you personally) do zazen

    Because a day without zazen is a day without zazen

  18. #18

    Re: Why do you (as in you personally) do zazen

    Well, I used to have all kinds of reasons.

    This guy says to me "I should go sit." You know this guy tells me a lot of things, gives me lots of reasons. I don't listen to him as much anymore.

    Sit to sit.

    You just know. You know that you can't chase after it, but you should be doing it, as Dogen might say "Often".

    Probably during a sesshin (I've never done one) you might ask yourself just that question. "Why in the H*** am I doing this?"

    But we keep sitting.

    I get up, take a shower, then sit (usually in that order). As time goes on, I find I'm sitting more often. But I don't contemplate why I brush my teeth.

    Actualizing the depth of wordless words spoken by countless Zen teachers could be a reason. Actualizing the Shobogenzo could be a reason. However, I read them very little now. I think Dogen would have preferred it if we didn't have to read the Shobogenzo.

    G,W

  19. #19

    Re: Why do you (as in you personally) do zazen

    I'm also learning little by little, there's much I don't know or understand. Which is preferable.

    W

  20. #20

    Re: Why do you (as in you personally) do zazen

    The Buddha-Dharma can only be brought into existence through realization. Apart from sincere practice, there is no Buddha-Dharma. That is why I practice Zazen.

    Gassho
    Ken

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