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Thread: How do you sit at home?

  1. #1

    How do you sit at home?

    Yes, I know that you sit on your butts (at least I hope you do), so let's get the obvious out of the way.

    This was touched upon a bit in the Meditation Schtuff thread, but I'm interested in what you do when you sit at home. In other words, besides sitting, do you incorporate other practices such as bowing and chanting? Do you sit facing a wall or not? Do you ring any bells/chimes? Do you light incense and/or a candle? If you chant, what do you chant? If you bow, what types of bows do you do (gassho, full body prostrations)?

    I know all of that is unnecessary in our practice of shikantaza, but I also realize that there is diversity in folks' home practice that may facilitate their sitting.

    Gassho,
    Keith

  2. #2

    Re: How do you sit at home?

    How do you sit at home?....

    Yes, I know that you sit on your butts (at least I hope you do),

    I know all of that is unnecessary in our practice of shikantaza, but I also realize that there is diversity in folks' home practice that may facilitate their sitting.
    Yeah. Usually on the butt.

    Actually Keith, when we bow we pretty much are bowing to the universe, ourself , and everything in between. I bow when I enter or leave a room. When I sit I bow towards the cushion. When finished sitting I bow towards the cushion and also give a bow to the universe (Towards the window). I always say the meal chant before eating, and bow towards the meal. When finished, I bow. The gassho is perhaps a great additon to practice because it brings us a little more intimate with everything because we are not necessarily bowing to anything in particular.

    I don't recite or chant Sutras too much at the moment, but sometimes. I think it's a good addition perhaps.

    No incense. Stopped that a while ago.

    I Gassho quite a bit. Hard to say as it's a moment to moment thing. Sometimes I might Gassho while cooking lunch or Supper, after washing dishes, to the computer after reading something, different things here and there. It's just as a reminder to be grateful and remember that things are all things sort of.

    As for bell or gong, I just recently lost the little cheap watch that I've been using as a timer for months. I'm using the Treeleaf gong right now and sometimes no gong (my schedule is pretty open at the moment, so I just let go and stop sitting when I stop)

    Gassho Will

  3. #3
    Stephanie
    Guest

    Re: How do you sit at home?

    I sit on a blue zabuton and buckwheat zafu set I bought from Four Gates in 2003 that is still in good condition. I almost always sit for half an hour, though sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. I sit facing an altar with an incense bowl, a statue of Kannon, and two seashells. Before I sit, I always bow to the altar, then the zafu (or sometimes in reverse order). I take some time to adjust my posture and then begin sitting. I used to use a timer, now I just glance at a nearby clock (I generally only have to glance at it a couple of times as I've developed an intuitive sense for the way time unfolds during a sitting period).

    Sometimes I light a stick of incense (I figure I've breathed too much secondhand cigarette smoke, and then too much of the air in Los Angeles and New York City, to care that much about the purported negative effects of breathing incense smoke); it depends on where I'm living. If I do, I generally hold one hand in gassho while lighting the incense, then touch the bottom of the stick to my forehead before placing it in the bowl. It's an expression of reverence and identity with Kannon. I generally prefer Japanese incense, particularly the eminently affordable and aromatic Viva Pine sandalwood incense (available at Zen Mountain Monastery's online store and probably other places as well).

    Sometimes, if I'm particularly restless or proud or miserable, I'll do some full prostrations before I sit. I generally don't chant though I have at some points, in which case I've chanted the Heart Sutra, Identity of Relative and Absolute, and/or Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo. Which I pretty much have memorized, though I also keep a liturgy book from Zen Mountain Monastery next to my cushion.

    When I'm sitting alone at home, I enjoy the luxury of being able to take a quick pause halfway through the sitting period to do a few simple yoga stretches to release soreness and tension, which then helps me settle into the second half of the sitting period.

  4. #4

    Re: How do you sit at home?

    In the morning, I bow to my Buddha statue and chant the Heart Sutra (or sing along with Will's). Then I usually do some kinhin outside instead of sitting (or sometimes some yoga or qigong). If I wake up early enough, I'll sit too but that doesn't happen much during the week. I do sit in the morning on weekends (or join the gang on Sat. morning if I'm free).

    At night I crank up the computer and go into the sitting room (sometimes I forget that part). I bow to the Buddha, pull out the zafu, I bow to it, turn clockwise and bow outward. Then I turn on Jundo. If I remember, I chant the verse of atonement and the Boddhisatva vow. Bow to zafu. Put away. Bow to Buddha. Turn off computer. Time for bed.

    You know what where one of the best zazen's I've had? On a plane. You'd think with all that noise that it would be difficult but, I don't know, it was great.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Martin's Avatar
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    Re: How do you sit at home?

    I sit mornings in my office. I have a small buddha and two candles in the corner and I sit there, on a black zafu plus support cushions to make it higher (otherwise I can't get my knees down) plus zabuton. I light the candles plus bow to the Buddha beforehand, and afterwards. The same at home in the evenings, in a corner of the bedroom.

    Gassho

    Martin

  6. #6

    Re: How do you sit at home?

    I used to have a shrine room set up with statues and pictures of various buddhas until my son moved back home for a while so the room became his bedroom and the buddhas had to move out! After he left I simply could'nt be bothered to set it up again and so I meditate in the bedroom using a kneeling bench most of the time. Sometimes I use a gong to start sitting but most of the time now I just sit. I do have a buddha statue. I try to keep it simple now but one thing that I always do is dedicate my practice for the benefit of all sentient beings.

    lora

  7. #7

    Re: How do you sit at home?

    I usually sit in my bed room. not facing the wall. I have no zabuton, so I make my own seat, sometimes use pillow.
    If I'm not rush, I usually start with Gassho, and continue it with chant the heart sutra. I use my cell phone for the alarm. I sit for 30-40 minutes, with 10 minutes kinhin.

    But if I'm in a hurry, I don't chant, I just sit without any alarm, maybe about 20 minutes. I start with bowing 3 times, and end the sitting with bowing also. And I don't do a kinhin.

    Gassho, Shui Di

  8. #8

    Re: How do you sit at home?

    Thanks, Keith for your question.

    I've been mulling it over all day and lots of thoughts as to why I stopped formally sitting occurred. One reason was, as I mentioned, my son moving back in for a while and then I got lazy. After that I was involved in an auto accident and I literally could'nt sit so I did the best that I could, even when it meant lying in my bed.

    Now, though, your question has posed the question to me, what's my excuse now!?

    I'm will get back into the formal way of bowing, etc. because I remember it being so fulfilling as well as setting the pace for the rest of my day in a very positive manner. I think it sets apart the more mundane traditions I practice, such as brushing teeth, getting dressed etc. and moves it into being a special communication with Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

    Many blessings,
    lora

  9. #9

    Re: How do you sit at home?

    From http://gudoblog-e.blogspot.com/2006_08_01_archive.html

    Nishijima Roshi:

    At the same time, I think that the most excellent point of Master Kodo Sawaki's Buddhism was his absolutely pure attitude to pursue the Truth. In Shobogenzo there is a chapter which is called "Ju-un-do Shiki." And in it Master Dogen described that "A person, who has the Will to the Truth,
    and who has idea to throw away Fame and Profit, can enter. A person, who does not have sincerity to the Truth, should not enter. If someone, who does not have sincerity, has entered (into the dormitory), we should discuss the problem, and after consideration, it is necessary for us to expel him (from the dormitory.) We should notice that if we have begun to have the Will to the Truth, we can suddenly become free from Fame and Profit perfectly."....
    Kodo Sawaki: "You must love this Zazen."

    Gassho Will

  10. #10

    Re: How do you sit at home?

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    From http://gudoblog-e.blogspot.com/2006_08_01_archive.html


    And in it Master Dogen described that "A person, who has the Will to the Truth,
    and who has idea to throw away Fame and Profit, can enter.
    Thank you, Will to the Truth Will :wink:

  11. #11

    Re: How do you sit at home?

    Thanks to everyone who posted about their home practice. I find it all very interesting.

    Some things in my home practice have stayed pretty constant, and other things wax and wan depending on my mood. The things that wax and wan are wearing my rakusu, full-body prostrations, ringing my singing bowl, and chanting the Heart Sutra. All wonderful practices, but the things that have remained pretty constant are:

    - gassho to my simple, little altar with my Buddha statue next to my bed
    - bow to my zafu
    - sit facing the wall
    - sway from side to side a few times
    - push the button on my little digital watch (just the face, no straps - I keep it next to me on the floor)
    - sit for 30 minutes
    - hear the beep, beep, beep
    - gassho
    - recite the Four Vows
    - gassho
    - rub my left foot, which inevitable becomes completely numb
    - stand up and go about my business

    Gassho,
    Keith

  12. #12

    Re: How do you sit at home?

    Hi,

    My sitting practice has evolved over time and currently consists of the following:
    - Recite the Repentance verse
    - Recite the 4 Vows
    - Place mat/cushion in place for sitting facing the wall
    - Prepare countdown timer on digital stopwatch (usually weekdays 40 min., weekends 20 min.)
    - Take refuge in the 3 Jewels (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha), each 3x
    - Bow in gassho facing cushion, turn 180 deg. clockwise, bow in gassho, turn 180 deg. clockwise back to cushion
    - Start countdown timer
    - Assume (full) lotus position, sway left, right, back, forth, place hands in cosmic mudra
    - Sit
    - After the beep, bow in gassho, reciting Namu Shakyamuni Butsu
    - Untangle my legs and sway as needed
    - Stand up and bow in gassho facing cushion, turn 180 deg. clockwise, bow in gassho, turn 180 deg. clockwise back to cushion
    - Place mat/cushion back to where they're kept
    - Voila, that's it

    Gassho
    Ken

    p.s. I usually recite the Heart Sutra at least once a day as well, but not as part of my Zazen 'ritual'. Since I've memorized it I can do it anywhere.

  13. #13

    Re: How do you sit at home?

    wash
    rinse
    repeat...
    :wink:

    gassho,
    xander

  14. #14

    Re: How do you sit at home?

    Spare bedroom
    Facing wall
    Black zafu & zabuton
    Burmese position
    Breathe
    7 - 7.28am every week day

  15. #15

    Re: How do you sit at home?

    Lora said

    I used to have a shrine room set up with statues and pictures of various buddhas until my son moved back home for a while so the room became his bedroom and the buddhas had to move out!
    I love this: the real buddha moved in!!!

    I go between a regular zafu with an extra cushion for burmese and a seiza bench. I bow once, dispensing unapologetically with any further ceremony: when I'm alone, there is just one thing and my devotion for it is undivided; when I'm with others, there is just one thing as well but I can happily participate in the tradition of acknowledging different manifestations of it.

    No sutras, no surrogates of the real thing ( however, I go and sit some Sundays with a sangha that does enough chanting for a few kalpas, just to keep my antichurchiness at bay). I burn incense just because I like it, so it has nothing to do with my practice. I actually burn so much that impermanence may come and get me before shcedule. I'm certain it has carcinogens, just like just about everything else.

    For timing I use a PDA that Santa brought me a couple of years ago, and that really was never of much use to me other than for this. So now it is devoted exclusively as my Doan with the following settings: Little self -20 min, Nishijima - 30 min, Knee buster- 40 min, Uchiyama -50 min.

    I never sit along with Jundo. I listen to his talks but then turn off the computer and sit with my timer(there are people dying because of our demands for energy, I tell my little self. Later, I'll drive to work on an SUV. How is that for being full of shit?)

    Gassho

  16. #16

    Re: How do you sit at home?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alberto
    How is that for being full of shit?
    We're all full of our share of it. It's good to realize it, though. :wink:

    Gassho,
    Keith

  17. #17

    Re: How do you sit at home?

    i just sit in front of the wall.
    i listen to one of Jundo's sit along talks.
    pull out my zabuton position a couple of sitting cushions on it for the right height ( couldn't find a zafu in Israel ). turn on the tree life timer i downloaded ( mp3 )
    and sit for 20 minutes.
    then i get up, place the zabuton in its place and go on with my day.

  18. #18

    Re: How do you sit at home?

    Hi,

    The real buddha (my son) moved back out so now I'm left with my rottie?
    Does a rottie have Buddha nature?

    MU.

    Many blessings,
    lora

  19. #19
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    East Texas
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    Re: How do you sit at home?

    No cushion, except the one in my wheelchair.
    I developed a mantra of sorts a while back that goes:
    "Faith/trust
    Courage/love
    Awareness/action"
    Each line is an in/out breath that I use to get my breathing under control. I repeat the last line three times. I do the whole thing while making one long, deep bow/prostration (becasue doing three bows is too hard for me).
    Then I light a candle on my little altar and recite the following:
    "Abandon evildoing;
    Practice virtue well;
    Subdue your mind;
    This is the Buddha’s teaching

    Like a star, an optical illusion, or a flame,
    A magical illusion, a dewdrop, or a bubble,
    Like a dream, a flash of lightning, or a cloud –
    So should one consider all compounded things.

    Heart Sutra
    Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form;
    Form does not differ from Emptiness,
    Emptiness does not differ from Form;
    - whatever is Empty, that is Form,
    - whatever is Form, that is Empty!

    Bodhisattva Vow
    However innumerable sentient beings are,
    I vow to save them.
    However inexhaustible the defilements are,
    I vow to extinguish them.
    However immeasurable the dharmas are,
    I vow to master them.
    However incomparable enlightenment is,
    I vow to attain it.

    Gaté,
    Gaté,
    Paragaté,
    Parasamgaté
    Bodhi!
    Svaha!"

    Then I sit for 30 minutes using my new enso timer. When that goes off I repeat the Gate, gate, etc. with another long bow and put out the candle before going on about my day, as zazen is the first thing I do every morning.

    I used to also do some reading of a Buddhist book from my library, but I gave that up for daily Jundo instead.

  20. #20

    Re: How do you sit at home?

    Quote Originally Posted by zoukithustra
    Wow! Sounds almost exactly like my practice right now, but the digital watch is a cell-phone, and 30min. is 10-20 in the morning and 5-10 at night, usually. Also refuges instead of vows. Just like you though, the rakusu comes and goes. Lately I've decided to try the Heart Sutra once a week, as well. Twice if I make it to the local zendo.
    Very cool! It's funny, after I wrote that, I find myself chanting the Heart Sutra daily. Along with Jundo's talks, I just finished rereading TNH's commentary (The Heart Of Understanding), and I guess the sutra is really resonating with me.

    By the way, regarding your rakusu, where did you take the Precepts?

    Gassho,
    Keith

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