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Thread: Bowing from the beginning

  1. #1
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Bowing from the beginning

    How and when do we bow during practice? Unless I missed it in the other thread. then just slap me and send me over there.

    Dave

  2. #2

    Re: Bowing from the beginning

    Depends.

    Bowing has no real goal so...

    In monasteries, you Gassho someone when you meet them.

    You can do full prostration bows daily, or just do them during Sesshin or Zazenkai.

    I was going to let Jundo respond, but I'll talk anyway. Before Zazen, I bow to the Rupa, and then bow to the cushion. Sometimes I bow while on the cushion before sitting Zazen.

    You can gassho when entering or leaving a room, before eating, and before doing Samu or some kind of chores. It's really not a big deal.

    Gassho (there you go)

    W

  3. #3

    Re: Bowing from the beginning

    After that post I noticed that I actually bow quite frequently.

    To set it down, here's when I bow:

    Entering/Leaving a room (including the washroom)
    Before eating
    To the Rupa (randomly, like when I get up from the computer)
    To the Rupa before sitting
    To the cushion before sitting
    At the end of Zazen period
    Getting up from Zazen
    Before doing chores
    And other times just random

    Sometimes it's a full Gassho, and sometimes it's just a quick one. Sometimes a nod of the head.


    W

  4. #4

    Re: Bowing from the beginning

    I sit in different places depending on if my wife is asleep or at work, time of day, weather etc.- point being, I often have no buddha before me, so I pick some random thing, try to recognize my connection to it and bow to that. Yesterday I bowed reverently to a red plastic cup one of the kids left out.

    I have not had to do my sitting in the bathroom yet... :wink:

    gassho
    tobiishi

  5. #5

    Re: Bowing from the beginning

    It's funny. There's no goal to the bow, yet when we bow, we bow to the universe and the universe bows with us. That really sounds grand, but it's actually not like that. Bowing is as difficult to describe from a Zen point of view as any other thing we do (including Zazen).

    Someone might say that a bow is humility, but it's not quite like that. If we try to be humble, it's not really Zen practice. (To express the core of the inexpressible. Not through "our" action, but by allowing our self to be what we are at this moment. To allow Bigmind to flourish.)

    It all seems really fancy. It is, and it isn't.

    So, there might be humility in the bow, but it is not there because "we" try to do it. A bow can be a bow without us needing to force it.

    Zen is a path of non-discrimination.

    Gassho

    W

  6. #6
    Treeleaf Unsui Shohei's Avatar
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    Re: Bowing from the beginning

    /me bows to you all as he enters the conversation to say...

    lol, ^^ what they said and ... always an "and or plus" with me, lately... anywho
    In my head.. i bow plenty. No better way to say it but i bow in my head with my eyes to people. I sometimes bow by yielding some in conversation in which there is that drive to be acknowledged or right... shut my pie hole and mental bow. thanks for the lesson!

    When prior/during/after sitting i bow to the cats/the wall/noisy tv/universe/you guys and gals. I bow to the sitalongs (A coworker asked i was praying for the computer to work right :P),at lots and at nothing. @ work and such i dont often bow "out loud". some times i do. sometimes its an automatic Gassho

    If we try to be humble, it's not really Zen practice
    hehe not always! sometimes trying or "faking it" is a really good thing. sometimes.( i work with people as i provide services and goods to clients... believe me, i have had to try to be humble in that moment . after the moment had past and the client had left it got me to see who was really going to be more difficult and that was a bit humbling.

    Gassho (and bowing outloud towards you all, facing my screen.)
    Shohei

  7. #7

    Re: Bowing from the beginning

    Quote Originally Posted by ZenDave
    How and when do we bow during practice? Unless I missed it in the other thread. then just slap me and send me over there.

    Dave
    Hi,

    During our 4 hour Zazenkai tomorrow (Saturday, recorded version available thereafter), I will make it a point to try to talk through both the way of bowing and how to hold the hands (Gassho and Shashu). Basically, when walking through a Zen hall from place to place, hands are in Shashu. When greeting others (as Will says) you give a brief Gassho. Otherwise, just follow along.

    For Kinhin, we had some practice (and an explanation of Shashu) here.

    http://blog.beliefnet.com/treeleafzen/2 ... eat-4.html

    For full prostrations, follow along. However, we had some practice here in how to do it (position the hands and such)

    http://blog.beliefnet.com/treeleafzen/2 ... eat-3.html

    If you ever visit various Zen centers and temples, you will find that no two places do such things exactly alike (although everyone claims to be doing it the orthodox way, nobody is ever quite the same) ... so, when in Rome ...

    Gassho, Jundo

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