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Thread: Shikantaza before my coffee...

  1. #1

    Shikantaza before my coffee...

    Up front admission: this is a newbie topic, cause I think I'm the youngest one here in terms of Zen experience. I've been sitting for about a week now, so beat that! I've had a serious interest in Buddhism for years, but never pursued it because of feelings of obligation toward the Other White Religion... (uh, that was a pork/fish joke, not a race joke :wink: ) and now that I have access to a community of like-minded folken, I figured I had no excuse to hold back.

    So, I've spent the last few days raking through posts here and trying to get to know everyone by their teeny pictures, and I still have a question which seems important to me: what is Shikantaza? I got the sitting part, I even face the closet door in my bedroom, but what specifically am I supposed to be doing? The only form of meditation I've researched is Vipassana (sp?) and I've gotten the impression that ain't it.

    And can I have my coffee first? :shock:

    I guess I just need someone to throw a link at me with pop-up pages and the little buttons down the side that make noises for the story... yeah, that would do me just fine...

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Shikantaza before my coffee...

    Hey Tobiah,

    Glad to have you hear at Treeleaf!

    You ask some very fundamental questions that all of us are still trying to answer. In many ways all of us are beginners so I wouldn't put that aside...it is an exciting time filled with possibility. It is cliche, but really what you need to do is to keep sitting and expect nothing...which doesn't mean nothing will happen. As for coffee before zazen, what do you think? That's probably a better qualified person to ask than any of us (but keep the questions coming).

    You have the rest of your life to discover what shikantaza is and, trust me when I say, don't rush. That's what I spent most of my time learning not to do.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  3. #3

    Re: Shikantaza before my coffee...

    I just found Jundo's videos for beginners, duh... still, I would like to hear what anyone else has to say about what sitting is for them.

  4. #4

    Re: Shikantaza before my coffee...

    Just sit.

    Don't worry about it. Just sit.

    I can't do it, but just sit.

  5. #5

    Re: Shikantaza before my coffee...

    I'm glad you're here, Tobiah. Your posts are really funny. Yeah, definitely have your coffee. Falling asleep during zazen is a real problem. Starbucks Doubleshots with a smidgen of crystal meth usually does the trick (KIDDING!).

  6. #6

    Re: Shikantaza before my coffee...

    i normally have coffee after I sit in the mornings because my brain is always flowing with thoughts and such, even worse in the morning. i'm afraid the coffee would make me more anxious to get my tasks for the day started even more than before! i'll normally start the pot before i sit thou

    but again, i think i may not be the norm when it comes to the mornings :mrgreen:

  7. #7

    Re: Shikantaza before my coffee...

    so somewhta on the same lines as this question of what is shikantaza, but not, i am wondering if it makes a difference as to when we sit. i know most say to sit in the morning, however i have a hard time with that and normally sit in the evening....is this a no-no? or just not the best case scenario???? enquiring minds want to know!

    Gassho,

    Steve

  8. #8

    Re: Shikantaza before my coffee...

    Quote Originally Posted by aksteve
    so somewhta on the same lines as this question of what is shikantaza, but not, i am wondering if it makes a difference as to when we sit. i know most say to sit in the morning, however i have a hard time with that and normally sit in the evening....is this a no-no? or just not the best case scenario???? enquiring minds want to know!

    Gassho,

    Steve
    The evening is fine, before bed can make for a good sleep. Nishijima Roshi wrote in his book that, before he was ordained (and decided to be celibate) : ... "after love making, I might have a bit of a nice bath, followed by my Zazen, then off to sleep ."

    Morning coffee is probably better AFTER morning Zazen, and certainly not DURING Zazen! (Zen monks have a long love affair with caffeine. Hey, they first brought tea to Japan!)

    http://www.sotozen-net.or.jp/kokusai/fr ... 1/feat.htm

    Yes, please sit with our "Zazen for Beginners" sit-a-long series ... especially if a Beginner!

    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=447

    Now, time to get some coffee!

    Gassho, J

  9. #9

    Re: Shikantaza before my coffee...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    (Zen monks have a long love affair with caffeine. Hey, they first brought tea to Japan!)
    ...and am guessing some monks have a love affair for their smokes:




    :mrgreen:

  10. #10

    Re: Shikantaza before my coffee...

    I make myself a vanilla latte every morning, and I prefer to drink it before I sit. The reason for this is that it actually works differently with my mind. Coffee and caffiene in general don't get me worked up and/or anxious, but actually have a calming affect and help me focus. When I sit BEFORE coffee my mind is racing a million miles an hour and the days that I sit AFTER my coffee, my mind is only racing a hundred miles an hour and it's much easier for me to not follow my thoughts as much.

    I always thought this was interesting, and my wife always thought it was odd that I could have a triple shot of espresso right before going to sleep.

    I was however diagnosed with ADHD last week and my therapist said he's not surprised at all that coffee before my meditation is helpful.

  11. #11

    Re: Shikantaza before my coffee...

    I usually find it most helpful if I sit before I sit.
    While I am sitting, the sitting I just did before is helpful to the sitting I am doing right now.
    Kind of like the wave that just came up on the beach is helpful to the wave on the beach right now.

    Coffee, matcha, whatever
    bowing, lighting the incense, ringing the gong

    sure

    getting out of bed, peeing, putting on a sweatshirt/sweatpants

    all these are various forms of 'getting ready'' and getting ready to sit surely is part of the sitting itself

    but I find that sitting itself gets me the readiest for sitting: whatever is the body/mind at that moment, is the body/mind at that moment
    I am not aiming for my thoughts to fall within any range

    ScottyDoo: I think it is excellent self-awareness for you to understand how certain substances affect you.
    When you have the means to modulate this, this is good. When you don't have the means to do so (say one morning there is no coffee in the house!!), sitting sits.

  12. #12

    Re: Shikantaza before my coffee...

    Quote Originally Posted by Keishin
    ScottyDoo: I think it is excellent self-awareness for you to understand how certain substances affect you.
    When you have the means to modulate this, this is good. When you don't have the means to do so (say one morning there is no coffee in the house!!), sitting sits.
    There are definitely mornings with no coffee, and of course I sit anyway, afterall it's those mornings that helped my awareness =)

  13. #13

    Re: Shikantaza before my coffee...

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottyDoo
    I make myself a vanilla latte every morning, and I prefer to drink it before I sit. The reason for this is that it actually works differently with my mind. Coffee and caffiene in general don't get me worked up and/or anxious, but actually have a calming affect and help me focus. When I sit BEFORE coffee my mind is racing a million miles an hour and the days that I sit AFTER my coffee, my mind is only racing a hundred miles an hour and it's much easier for me to not follow my thoughts as much.

    I always thought this was interesting, and my wife always thought it was odd that I could have a triple shot of espresso right before going to sleep.

    I was however diagnosed with ADHD last week and my therapist said he's not surprised at all that coffee before my meditation is helpful.
    yep, i can relate. the caffene used to do the same thing to me.i have ADD too....i think that does have something to do with it. ive been off the caffene now though..(not by choice! :evil: ) i know, i am too attached to it!

    it did help me concentrate beter and relax. its weird.

    Gassho,

    Steve

  14. #14

    Re: Shikantaza before my coffee...

    Quote Originally Posted by Keishin
    I usually find it most helpful if I sit before I sit.
    While I am sitting, the sitting I just did before is helpful to the sitting I am doing right now.
    Kind of like the wave that just came up on the beach is helpful to the wave on the beach right now.

    Coffee, matcha, whatever
    bowing, lighting the incense, ringing the gong

    sure

    getting out of bed, peeing, putting on a sweatshirt/sweatpants

    all these are various forms of 'getting ready'' and getting ready to sit surely is part of the sitting itself

    but I find that sitting itself gets me the readiest for sitting: whatever is the body/mind at that moment, is the body/mind at that moment
    I am not aiming for my thoughts to fall within any range

    ScottyDoo: I think it is excellent self-awareness for you to understand how certain substances affect you.
    When you have the means to modulate this, this is good. When you don't have the means to do so (say one morning there is no coffee in the house!!), sitting sits.

    I do believe this is my new favorite post... this one just relaxed me all over.

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