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Thread: Moving on from zazen.

  1. #1

    Moving on from zazen.

    Hello,

    This is partly an introductory post, and partly to open up a discussion.
    My name is Zoe. My introduction to zazen was about 7 years ago. I transitioned from Rinzai-style to shikintaza about a year ago, and engaged in daily practice for a few months. A couple of months ago, I stopped practicing zazen.

    I have found that with each passing day, life itself is all the teacher and all the practice that I seem to need. Life is so packed with different moments, different situations -- times to act, times to observe, times to be patient -- that zazen seems completely superfluous at this point.

    There is that Buddhist parable about dropping the boat once you're on the other side of the river - yet to apply this to zazen practice seems practically verboten.

    What do other people here think? I appreciate your observations.

  2. #2

    Re: Moving on from zazen.

    I would agree with emptyzen on this.
    another thing i might add is this...
    i feel just like you describe, yes life is cramped to the point there is no more cramming with opportunities to learn and study...

    as it says on the page here, Life is our temple.
    it is true that life is the greatest teacher and all we do and all we practice is just life. sometimes when i stop doing zazen for a while because i am busy today, or to tired and fall asleep, or just skip on it because i dont feel like it. i begin feeling that something is missing, and i get a very deep appreciation for zazen all over again.the thing is that zazen wont make me better or give me anything, but i do again from it.
    i can not say what i gain since it is nothing but it is a part of my life, and my life is a part of zazen.

    everything i do in life is effected by zazen and my practice, it is so subtle that i can not point my finger and say how or where it comes in to effect...
    so i will just say this... life, zazen, the universe, you, me, everything is just what it is.

    in the words of Nike's advertisements " just do it "

    Gassho, Daniel ( who is trying to do it, whatever it means... ).

  3. #3

    Re: Moving on from zazen.

    Fukanzazengi
    'Principles of Seated Meditation'
    Eihei Dogen
    Translated by Carl Bielefeldt

    Fundamentally speaking, the basis of the Way is perfectly pervasive; how could it be contingent on practice and verification?.. Surely the whole being is far beyond defilement; who could believe in a method to polish it? Never is it apart from this very place; what is the use of a pilgrimage to practice it?.. Though you are proud of your understanding and replete with insight, getting hold of the wisdom that knows at a glance, though you attain the Way and clarify the mind, giving rise to the spirit that assults the heavens, you may loiter in the precints of the entrance and still lack something of the vital path of liberation. Even in the case of the one of Jetavana, innately wise though he was, we can still see the traces of his six years sitting erect; and in the case of the one of Shoalin, though he suceeded to the mind seal, we still hear the fame of his nine years facing the wall...

    I know what you mean, 'no hope'. This very moment, you and me, are Buddha nature itself, always...so why sit? But maybe you shouldn't quit sitting too easily, especially if you are asking the question whether you should sit or not... In any case, take another look at Fukanzazengi because it seems to be addressing your point.

    Gassho,
    David

  4. #4
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Moving on from zazen.

    For NOW, you are not sitting; for LATER, who knows?

    I recently had a few days where I did not sit at all, as I was just too busy to "bother" with it. I made some discoveries during that break, however. One, it had become too much of a routine to just sit every morning. I found that sitting had become somewhat of a rut, an empty (not in the good way) practice, some motions I was just going through that were devoid of much meaning or importance. In short, it was nice to not sit for a few days, and my Buddhism was done no discernible harm. Two, I missed sitting zazen every morning. By realizing I had fallen into a rut, I rediscovered the importance and meaning of sitting every morning. In short, I regained my appreciation of sitting.

    When sitting every day, then sit every day.
    When not sitting every day, then live life as sitting every day.
    When sitting every day, then live life as sitting every day.
    or something like that.

  5. #5

    Re: Moving on from zazen.

    Quote Originally Posted by nohope
    Hello,

    This is partly an introductory post, and partly to open up a discussion.
    My name is Zoe. My introduction to zazen was about 7 years ago. I transitioned from Rinzai-style to shikintaza about a year ago, and engaged in daily practice for a few months. A couple of months ago, I stopped practicing zazen.

    I have found that with each passing day, life itself is all the teacher and all the practice that I seem to need. Life is so packed with different moments, different situations -- times to act, times to observe, times to be patient -- that zazen seems completely superfluous at this point.

    There is that Buddhist parable about dropping the boat once you're on the other side of the river - yet to apply this to zazen practice seems practically verboten.

    What do other people here think? I appreciate your observations.
    Hi "nohope" (who I think has a lot of hope).

    Only a few folks responded to your question about the value of Zazen ... but I think if you look around all the other threads and discussions on this Forum, you will get a true sense about how folks feel about the issue.

    I find that Zazen is not strictly necessary to life (like eating or breathing), but it has come to complete my life, and to provide balance and good perspective. Now, in fact, it has become as natural and irreplaceable in my life as eating and breathing. From Zazen (as I wrote yesterday on the blog) I learn to approach the up and downs of life as just what they are, allowing things to just be, no judging, not resisting, just with the flow, allowing 'happy' days to be happy and 'sad' days to be sad, all while dropping all idea of 'happy' and 'sad', whether really enjoying or really not enjoying ... fully dropping away any and all thought of living life 'right' or living life 'wrong' (even as, hand in hand, I seek to live life right! ... we are always working on many levels here!) ... with no resistance, and a great sense of balance even amid the chaos and craziness of daily life. I attribute that to Zazen.

    You asked if Zazen really "does anything", and if it is just a form of "self-delusion".

    I wrote you to say that I think that Zazen really "does nothing". But we think that such "does nothing" is a positive result, which overcomes a kind of self-delusion. Specifically, people always go through life seeking something, and to be some way and some place other than right at home where they are. Our "does nothing" via goalless, non-attaining Zazen teaches us that we are always at home in this life, right here wherever we are, with nothing to add or take away from that. In fact, we are not apart from that, and it is just our life. We drop all seeking, radically to the marrow, and just embrace life as-it-is. We do so even as we are constantly moving forward and living life, so the result is a kind of 'stillness amid the motion'. We have goals and attainments even as we (from another perspectives) drop all goals and attainments ... that is why we call this way "non-attaining" (as opposed to "not attaining").

    And the "self-delusion" that Buddhism overcomes is to think that there is a "self", with all its desires, demands, judgments and dissatisfactions with the rest of the world. Drop that sense of 'self', and all the friction and conflict with a world that you consider 'not my self' vanishes. (Don't worry, there is still a 'you' there when you do that).

    But otherwise, you are correct ... the true Practice Place is life.

    I have found that with each passing day, life itself is all the teacher and all the practice that I seem to need. Life is so packed with different moments, different situations -- times to act, times to observe, times to be patient --
    So, I hope, 'no hope', that you will give 'Just Sitting' another go. It does not take away from the lessons and moments of life that you describe ... but completes and fulfills them. I believe.

    Gassho, J

  6. #6

    Re: Moving on from zazen.

    Hi,

    Maybe good to stop practicing zazen and just sit instead.

    Cheers,

    Paul

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