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Thread: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

  1. #101
    Senior Member KellyRok's Avatar
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    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Hello Jundo and all,

    Jundo, thank you for the reminder on reciting the meal chant...I really needed it. I seem to forget too often, but have now written the meal chant on an index card and placed it on the table. I will try to do better with this.

    I have been sitting everyday and have managed to maintain my "no peanut butter" rule - it's especially hard to resist while packing my sons' lunches for school. However, my boys know that I have given up peanut butter and watch me like a hawk to make sure I don't cheat. :lol: But I've maintained.

    I am reading the Shobogenzo, although I don't always post. I also follow the daily sittings on Beliefnet before I sit each day. I'm not very active on the forum, but I do check in daily. This goes along with trying to stay off my computer and be more engaged in the world around me. I've completed a few of the weekend zazenkai - the recorded versions though...and usually a few days later. I would like to commit to them all, but my children are in sports activities on the weekends and I'm job hunting...excuses, I know but this is the best I can do at this time.

    I'm trying to open my heart more to strangers and acquaintenances (who I have a difficult time with)- and I practice Metta daily. I'm looking forward to beginning the precepts study period again with all of you.

    Keep sitting, keep smiling, keep practicing...
    Gassho,
    Kelly (Jinmei)

  2. #102
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Okay, I'll work on the Meal Gatha as it is. I need to do a little work on Metta practice as well - I do it most days, but doing it for other people still feels a little odd.

    I sit every day - a couple of days, less than the 30 minutes but still every day.

    I know when I did Tricycle's "Big Sit" in the spring (90 days of daily sitting), I had a little trouble about 1/2 way through. Jundo gave me a pep talk and I've only missed one day of sitting since then. (Thanks again Jundo) I don't think it will be an issue this time.

    I'm having some trouble finding the time to do everything I'd like to do, but that is part of life.

    I'll just keep sitting for another 9 years or so and see what happens.

    Ron

  3. #103
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Actually as much as not remembering the metta chants and the meal chants has come up since Ango started, I find it is all helping me to remember. Seems like my idea to keep the chant in my wallet is a win. Sometimes I take a few bites, laugh at myself and then recite the chant. So, still a work in progress, but slowly it is becoming more and more familiar.

    Dave _/_

  4. #104

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Quote Originally Posted by JeanVB
    Have been enjoying the Tenzo kyokun sit-a-longs and have re-watched the documentary, ďHow to Cook Your Life,Ē about Ed Brown, cook and Zen priest ordained by Suzuki Roshi. The people who cook for one of the Zen centers in the movie chant the entire Tenzo kyokun before they start cooking! They also show dana/samu in action when the cooks from San Francisco Zen Center prepare and deliver meals to some of the Cityís underserved folks. Nice Dogen teachings throughout. For those interested, itís available on Netflix http://www.netflix.com/Movie/How_to_...6596a423_0_srl.
    Jean,

    Thank you for mentioning this film. I just watched it again on your reminder. I sure wish that folks could get a copy as part of our talks on the "Instructions for the Cook", but all I can find online is a preview ...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJwTG2cEMBQ[/video]]

    Wonderful profile of a real Zen character, wise teacher, living Tenzo, and great cook.

    Gassho, J

  5. #105
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    If it's that cool, I can make time to watch it at somepoint for Ango. Netflix not only carries it, but they have it available for instant watch, So noone has to bump "Wolverine" down a spot. *chuckles as he is probably one of the few interested in that movie*

    Dave _/_

  6. #106

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by JeanVB
    Have been enjoying the Tenzo kyokun sit-a-longs and have re-watched the documentary, ďHow to Cook Your Life,Ē about Ed Brown, cook and Zen priest ordained by Suzuki Roshi. The people who cook for one of the Zen centers in the movie chant the entire Tenzo kyokun before they start cooking! They also show dana/samu in action when the cooks from San Francisco Zen Center prepare and deliver meals to some of the Cityís underserved folks. Nice Dogen teachings throughout. For those interested, itís available on Netflix http://www.netflix.com/Movie/How_to_...6596a423_0_srl.
    Jean,

    Thank you for mentioning this film. I just watched it again on your reminder. I sure wish that folks could get a copy as part of our talks on the "Instructions for the Cook", but all I can find online is a preview ...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJwTG2cEMBQ[/video]]

    Wonderful profile of a real Zen character, wise teacher, living Tenzo, and great cook.

    Gassho, J
    Hi Jundo,

    You are most welcome! Thank you for the talks, which reminded me to watch the movie again. The footage of Suzuki Roshi lecturing is priceless.

    Gassho, Jean

  7. #107

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Quote Originally Posted by ZenDave
    If it's that cool, I can make time to watch it at somepoint for Ango. Netflix not only carries it, but they have it available for instant watch, So noone has to bump "Wolverine" down a spot. *chuckles as he is probably one of the few interested in that movie*

    Dave _/_
    Oh, then I highly recommend everyone watch it as we talk about "Instructions for the Cook" ... even if you have to sign up for their "free trial" :-)

    http://www.netflix.com/Movie/How_to_Coo ... a423_0_srl

    Oh, and "X-Men" has its place too! 8)

  8. #108

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Hey everyone.

    How's the Ango getting along so far?

    i have not yet posted anything here and i know i should of done so earlier.
    i have not taken many commitments onto myself.


    sit zazen each day no matter what, for 20 minutes each day. ( failed it only once as i had a very busy day and had no choice but to sit on a bus, after 10 minutes my back began to hurt since there were no place to sit normally and i had to stop after 15 minutes ).

    i dont sit the zazenkai since saturday is the only day i have in the entire week that i have some free time to spend with my girlfriend, family and friends, and i use it to spend it with them... so not much time for a an hour long sit.

    i dont chant but i do have the opportunity for a lot of samu, i work as a nurse in a geriatric hospital and that is my job and samu ( although i sometimes dont enjoy it and bitch about it, i am always reminded of no resistance to it and just do it ).

    i am thinking of adding 10 more minutes to my sits and increase it to 30 minutes.

    i gave up cigarettes ( i dont smoke for many years but lately i have been allowing myself to smoke a few cigarettes here and there, i could smoke a whole pack in one night and not go back to smoking... i dont do it often maybe once in every few month. ) i think the fact my girlfriend always steals hits from cigarettes and the fact that she likes to smoke sometimes made me smoke myself sometimes.
    well i broke that yesterday night knowingly that i will do that. i was in a wedding of one of my oldest friends, im very happy for them!!!
    so i saw a lot of all friends and had a lot of fun and a lot to drink so i just allowed myself to smoke as much as i wanted.
    but now im back to not smoking.

    anyway i guess i am happy for slipping a bit since it reminds me that im only human and can fall off but im also able to keep at it afterwards, get up and keep going.

    Gassho, Dojin.

  9. #109

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Hi everyone!

    Everything is fine over here!
    I haven't been in trouble with the meal gatha, no problems dealing with cigarettes,...
    But on the other side, I'm working a lot, sleeping 5 hours/night but I haven't the choice for the moment!
    I just hade to split my zazen time into 30 min zazen + 5 min kinhin in the morning and the same in the evening... + the "Insta-zazen" on the train, bus, elevators, ...

    I also try to practice metta meditation twice a week during my midday pause... but unfortunately it's difficult with the schedule as it is to practice it everyday ...

    I'm just having some "back" problems (sitting on a bad chair all day! :evil: ) so I've been practicing zazen on a chair, with a soft cusshion, all week.

    Also have been doing some samu work, I've been painting an appartment for a lady and his two childs during the week and this morning I'm going to help someone to move as a samu (I don't really know the guy but a friend told me he really needs help so...).

    That's everything for the moment!

    Hope you guys are OK ! :wink:

    Gassho,

    Luis

  10. #110
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    This week was a lil better than the last two. Things are falling more into a pattern. Did much better with the metta verse and meal chant. Still keeping to my vows ( other than the aforementioned energy drink problems). Getting less excercise than I was hoping, some days i just run out of time when i have some "extras" in life.

    Sticking to my vegetarian diet. Other than an oops where I remembered our potato salad had diced hard-boiled eggs in it. I was like " DOH!" All Homer Simpson style.
    So strike that off the list of things to eat.

    Sitting has been going well. Been very good about keeping up on my sitting. Yesterday, I was literally so busy my sitting never happened ( today is looking about the same). I was zipping around after work picking up some things from Wal-Mart. Then back out later to spend an hour at Hobby Lobby getting all my fabrics and sewing materials, which takes significantly longer when you have no clue what you're doing, looking for or purchasing. am good now. Rotary boards = expensive. Cardboard for me $6.99 DING! WINNER!! vs. like $27 bucks on on.

    Couldn't find a clear yard/meter stick. Closest they had was inches only. *shrug* But over in another section of the store I found a nice thin metal one for about $7. Had both inches and centimeters. Almost bought a T-Square instead.

    Dave _/_

  11. #111

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Hi.

    Had two interesting meetings this week with "baldheaded guys with "Bibs"".
    And of course we discussed my current situation. The funny thing is how they conveyed the situation and the advice they gave me. One was cool and laughed a lot, the other more serious and came with sound advice.
    And the funny thing is, they're both right. All i can do in the current situation is see what really happens and do something (as i always like to say, when this happens, do this. When that happens do that.)
    What i really wanted to convey through this is how valuable our practice is and that we have such wondruous people to do it with. That is one experience that has been really highlighted with this Ango for me, especially since i have been sitting more online and having more online meetings.

    Other than that, things are as they should.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  12. #112
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    I seem to be getting a bit complacent in my commitment to Ango - too much time on the computer, not doing the meal chant, just going through the motions during zazen and metta etc.

    Reading the Jukai thread, and seeing all the excitement there with all the people receiving Jukai this year has been a boost - so thank you to everyone that has posted.

    This evening I am going to do the 2 hour Jukai sit to kind of reconfirm my commitment to Ango.

    Ron

  13. #113

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Ango for me has been up and down. I have been sitting every day, and have recently increased my sitting time to 25 minutes. I have also added a daily metta practice at the end of each sitting.

    However, the meal chant is still a problem, though I do pause for a kind of thanksgiving/chant. I just need to memorize the meal gatha, I guess. I have raised my voice in anger a few times. I've had some issues with illness due to a change in a medication I'm taking, which has affected my mood, as well. I've noticed it happening, but sometimes not until after I've yelled. However, I'm doing better. While I have felt my ire rise, it has only progressed to yelling once or twice, and then only mild yelling. I consider that an improvement.

    With a birthday a couple of weeks ago, gift cards for gifts, and so on, I have slipped into consumer mode a bit. Stumbled there. Getting sucked back into my church for a bit has thrown me for a loop, too, but it is turning out to be a very useful point of practice for me. It's helping me to clarify my beliefs, but also helping me practice loving kindness.

    Gassho,
    Kevin

  14. #114

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Ango progressing fine, I'm bit later in writing my update this week as, like a lot of folks it seems, I've been pushed for time. However, I haven't missed a sitting yet, although I have been 'sitting with my tiredness' quite a few nights recently. The dust is settling again now, which I'm happy about. I am doing the metta practice everyday and I've only found myself freezing mid-mouthful having realised I'd forgotten the meal chant a couple of times.
    One development this week: usually when I return to the consciousness of just sitting there's always a little reprimand in the back of my head, "where were you? you shouldn't be off daydreaming like that!" But this week, for some reason, the reprimand wasn't there; maybe the invigilator got bored and went home? Anyway, I just returned to sitting and the whole process felt a lot... smoother.
    Also, (force of habit), I've noticed that after the metta practice and the meal chant I'm always expecting myself to say 'Amen'!

    Michael

  15. #115

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Quote Originally Posted by monkton
    One development this week: usually when I return to the consciousness of just sitting there's always a little reprimand in the back of my head, "where were you? you shouldn't be off daydreaming like that!" But this week, for some reason, the reprimand wasn't there; maybe the invigilator got bored and went home? Anyway, I just returned to sitting and the whole process felt a lot... smoother.
    There ya go.

    Just return as naturally as water settles.

  16. #116

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Hi folks!

    Just a few words between two courses (still don't have internet at home...).
    These days have been a bit more difficult, sitting is still painful and the schedule is very tigh!
    I've got to sit in churches, because I take the train too early to do it at home before leaving... But it also has some advantages... sitting in a 16th century church is not a very awful thing, and they've got free chairs :lol:
    I had some extra "Insta-zazen" when it's possible, especially between two courses ... when I'm not chatting whit other people :P

    On the other hand, giving up cigarette his also a bit difficult for the moment, I had some especially in the moment were the schedule was too tigh :?

    I also try to practice metta in the train twice a day... and it goes pretty well, but it's always better when it's "fully" done at home, in a longer version than 15min...

    I hope you guys are having a "nice" practice!

    Gassho,

    Luis

  17. #117

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Hi everyone,

    Ango has been going well for me. My food commitments have become more stringent this past week as Iíve embarked on an elimination diet (looking for food allergies). So, at our house itís pretty much lentils, chickpeas, oats, brown rice and steamed veggies. At least I was vegan to start with.

    Iíve been doing the Metta practice twice daily, and the meal chant at each meal. I really like the words used in Jundoís meal chant, so Iíve stopped using the Five Contemplations, which Iíve done for years. Iíve also started chanting the Heart Sutra before my morning sit, and the Verse of Atonement and Four Vows at the end. All very supportive of my practice and a great way to set the tone for the day. Plus, one of my cats comes to listen to the Heart Sutra every day; she sits there looking up at me with rapt attention.

    Before starting Ango, I was aware of coming back to the practice again and again throughout the day (Insta-Zazen or re-centering myself on my breath while performing a difficult task, etc.). Now it seems that I am aware that everything I do (or donít do) is there within the framework of practice. The practice is always there, but now itís more in my awareness. I know what I mean, but in trying to articulate it here - it doesnít even make sense to me. Letís just say Iím finding the intensified practice period beneficial.

    And I misspoke in an earlier post - Iím currently getting up at 0430 to sit live with the monthly four hour Zazenkai, so with the time change at the end of next month, Iíll be getting up at 0330! Not to mention the other Saturday Zazenkais will move to 0430. :shock: Now, if I can only apply that discipline to starting my rakusu...

    Gassho, Jean

  18. #118

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Thank you Sangha members for presenting this opportunity to deepen my practice. Before my commitment to Ango, my sitting practice was spotty at best; never any consistency. My committing to Ango corresponded with my two week vacation from work and I was able to kick-off Ango with the prior 4 hr Zazenkai.

    My commitment to Ango is as follows:
    1. 20 Minute daily sitting
    2. Every Saturday Zazenkai
    3. Daily Metta verse practice
    4. Daily Nurturing Seeds practice
    5. Listening to the daily Sit-a-long
    6. Participation in the online forum
    7. Skype Jundo or Taigu
    8. Commit to Jukai readings, rakusu, and all
    9. Dogen's "Instructions for the Cook"
    10. No food past 6:00 PM & no comfort food eating
    11. Meal chant & mindful eating
    12. Increased charitable contributions
    13. I am committed to the special two-day Rohatsu Retreat
    14. FInally, my Ango period will continue until December 12

    While away from work for two weeks, I was able to participate in the 4 Hr. Zazenkai in addition to sitting twice daily. I did not think that two sits a day was something that I would be able to continue after my return to work, but so far the twice-a-day habit seems to be sticking. I have also noticed that my mind is quite active in the morning, presumably with dream thinking momentum, but I am getting to the point where I can just sit with what ever comes up and then let it go. One morning I repeated the Metta verse, but under the condition that If I caught my mind running off, I would start the verse again. This created quite mental conflict between my Mind and my mind. My ego kept trying to remind me that I had a limited time before which I needed to prepare for work; when I caught this, I started over. Eventually my mind stood harumpfed in the corner with arms crossed, but silent. It took me 25 minutes to complete the Metta verse and I still had to sit 20 min. zazen.

  19. #119
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    So me and Ango, on the one hand I failed in some commitments here and there. Felt kinda bad about it. Kinda dreaded comin in here and saying " Well I missed this or that" thought about why I failed on some of these things when I failed on them ( am horrrid about the excercise). Thought about the virus i've had this week. Did it stop me or did I stop myself because it made everything else difficult ?

    But I think it's been more of a learning week than the others have been. More of an eye opener. I began to reflect during the week and especially today at various points about discipline and me vs. discipline. I realized even with the support of this wonderful Sangha, it's all about pushing yourself into the difficulty. not dreading it, or trying to fit it in, or scheduling, but just about getting down and dirty with the Practice. Enjoying the strengthening moments of what has been at times seriously difficult commitments ( varies which ones on which days).

    I've come to the conclusion that me and discipline don't go so well together. Not a missed point in my life mind you. But it became a bit clearer. I am dodging the suffering when I feel it will be too much , without knowing if it is or isn't. I can ratioanlize all the reasons why it was " okay" to miss this or that. Or to sneak lil bits of meat this week. Not from a craving but more from convenience, am hungry now this is available eat that...sorry Vow..eat now or don't eat.

    But it struck me how cheating on the Vow was a loss at a chance to grow and improve. To not escape the hardships. But to jump headlong into them and call them Life Sensei. To hug them and thank them for the opportunity to grow.

    Alot of times I've been saying " I just cannn't do this. It's too much of a pain right now. Am about at wits end." but realizing it was just skipping around the difficulty. Failing to look the laziness in the eye and squash it like a bug. But if i'm giving up before I even try then how do I know if I can't do it or not. If i'm justifying not doing it and rationalizing it , all i'm really doing is convincing myself it's too difficult.

    It also made me think about having to work hard for what we really want. I really wanted to take part in this Ango when it was mentioned. It's the kind of thing that lets you know what you're made of. I was excited. I still am. I had to think about how important my Practice really is to me. It's given alot to me in this last 1/2 year or so.

    Time to give a bit more back than what I have been. Stop making the excuses. Wipe the nose, down the coffee, get my priorities straight. Look down at the swirling mass of "I don't know's" and " I can't" and say "I really have no idea what you're about." then dive in to see what exists beneath them.

    If what I want is to , as they say " Arrouse the Way seeking Mind." then this IS the way to do it. If I really want it, then I just gotta do the work.

    The only real obstacle is my own mentally concocted BS.

    Dave _/_

  20. #120
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Thank you Dave! Great post! I needed a little pep talk.

    Ron

  21. #121

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Hi Leafers!

    Checking in while on the train passing the long bridge between Denmark and Sweden - amazing light over the water and a tribute to the human mind. Meanwhile, I am training mine to settle in with what is. One thing at a time.

    Thank you Jundo for reminding about the meal chant - I keep doing that whenever I remember and just sit silently for a bit if I forget the words.The wording of it resonates with me.

    These days I look forward to sitting. Metta chant on the other hand is not going so well :-(.

    Gassho,

    Irina

  22. #122

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Hi everyone!

    Just a little post to say hello... Hello! :lol:
    I'm sick these days, so it's not very easy to practice... but I still do it from my bed
    More seriously, it has been a bit more difficult to practice "meal gatha" or even to practice metta. I'm litteraly stuck in bed for two or three more days, but I take it well, just another "kind" of practice...
    At the same time, the Rakusu sewing work is stopped for the next days, it isn't evident to sew when you're coughing and snoring all time...

    Hope you guys are Ok! take care!

    Gassho to everyone,

    Luis

  23. #123

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Just logging in with my Ango report...
    I think that my not-particularly-ambitious level of ango committment seems to be paying off, in that daily sitting, meal chant and metta practice seem to have become very much part of my daily routine this week. Maybe that's just because I haven't had as much to contend with as some of us (I haven't been sick - get well soon Luis! Work has been quiet - maybe a little too quiet for a small company but that follows a very busy period; and things on the domestic front are all OK). So, now I seem to have established a new base line, I've found myself being able to extend practice into other areas of daily life, which (maybe) is the idea?

    I don't want to finish Ango and just go, "Phew, thank goodness that's over, now I can go back to sitting three or four times a week, maybe doing metta once a week and not doing the meal chant at all". I get the impression that this should be a gradual ratcheting-up of practice and committments - small increment and hold, another small increment and hold etc. with no ultimate end in sight.

    Anyway, next week life will probably throw the inevitable curve ball and we'll see how secure my ratcheting is then...

    gassho to all,
    Michael

  24. #124

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Hi,

    Luis - take good care and get well soon. That's part of our Practice, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by monkton
    I get the impression that this should be a gradual ratcheting-up of practice and committments - small increment and hold, another small increment and hold etc. with no ultimate end in sight.
    I like that analogy, Michael. My Ango Practice is also going fine at the moment, just ratcheting along...

    Gassho
    Bansho

  25. #125
    Member shogyo's Avatar
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    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Hi Everyone It feels good to be sharing this ango with you.

    I'm enjoying the zazan although I never cease to be amazed at the things my mind can get up to. Unfortunately, due to work commitments I never seem able to join in the weekly retreat at the same time as everyone else, hopefully this will change soon.

    I've been finding the metta practice very helpful and starting to try to understand a bit more clearly the importance of compassion and trying to even out my emotions as I interact with the world around me.

    Gassho
    Brian

  26. #126

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    For me, zazen is a funny thing... sometimes I have to really force myself to do it (my times are right after getting up in the morning and right before bed at night). Once I actually get seated and begin, it's not bad at all. But some mornings, jeez, that extra few minutes of dozing before REALLY having to get up to avoid being late for work... :-) So far, so good, though.

  27. #127
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Hi all,

    It's been an up and down time with my commitments, although the one I made to cut back on sweets has been very consistent and I've actually lost a few pounds! As for my sitting, it has gotten more erratic but I think that's natural as my wife headed back to work this past week and my open time has been cut way back. I suppose I should have counted on that but I didn't want to make too many assumptions about what life would be like with two little ones. Metta and meal chanting still tends to elude me somehow since my brain doesn't really have time to slow down right now. And times when I used to sit late at night now find me sleeping instead.

    The interesting thing is that I always saw Ango as a time to start practices that I want to continue beyond the 100 days. If anything, I've been shown the value of the various commitments and see the impact they have on my life in so many areas, I think I'm motivated more than ever to make sitting, chanting, samu, and charity a permanent fixture in my daily activities. Now it's finding the time, but once I get a routine down with the baby I will find time. I've also just allowed myself to take time to not just be with my son, but to BE with him in that moment, fully and truly. I'm not sure I took the time to do that with our first and it's not something I would have contemplated before learning about zen and buddhism.

    What's been the hardest is the social isolation that's begun, not only from the outside world but in getting used to my wife not being there everyday. I've tried to get out more, but mother's groups have been very closed to fathers and dads groups have been nonexistant. And with my extremely shy nature I've never been the type to get any group started. What I'd love is a mixed group, but that seems a very unlikely reality. Why do I mention these things? As I noted in another thread recently, beyond my wife and my boys Treeleaf is really my only connection to the outside world and as a result my commitments are very important to me. I try to look at it as a time to be a bit of a monk and lay a foundation for a lifetime of practice.

    So, the adventure continues.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  28. #128

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Dosho, I can appreciate your feelings somewhat. While I work from home, and so have contact with the outside world through that outlet, I also manage our two kids, ages 8 and 5, while my wife is at work (she's gone ~ 12 hours a day, when you factor in travel time). It's not so bad when my oldest is in school all day and my youngest has half-day kindergarten, but our school is on a track system (45 days on, 15 days off, year-round), so they're both home all day for the next three weeks. It's only been two days and I've already broken several times my vow not to raise my voice in anger ops: . Even with the work outlet, I, too, feel pretty isolated. I'm a fairly reserved person, too, and I've found that the moms in the neighborhood, while friendly, don't seem to know what to make of me, so it's always a little uncomfortable.

    I've upped my sittings to 40 mins per day (in one sitting with a break halfway to switch the top leg in the half-lotus posture) with 5 mins of kinhin to top it off. It's working surprisingly well. Also doing metta chant almost every day. Meal chant has been a problem, but I'm trying to commit it to memory. I can remember to say it, but I never have the paper handy, so I'm just gonna try to memorize it.

    Also managing to sit the weekly Zazenkai, though I haven't yet made it through a 4hr one. Tomorrow is another opportunity.

    For some reason, whether it's the tension of having two bored kids around all day, or the fact that I hate my job of seven years (and have hated it for about 6.5yrs), or the fact that the dosage of my head meds have been messed with lately, I'm finding myself in a very negative frame of mind, and muscle tension in my neck and shoulders is giving me splitting headaches and mild nausea by the end of the day each day. So, I'm trying to practice with that, but it's not helping me keep my vow of not yelling. I'm trying to extend metta to the "angry me" in the "person you hate" portion of the metta chant. Hopefully, things will improve soon.

    Gassho,
    Kevin

  29. #129
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    This week has been a lil better for me. I haven't been perfect for sure. But it's been kicked up a few notches. Squeezed an extra bit out. Has some probs sitting the whole 4 hours. Sat a bit over half then just couldn't make myself sit still. I tried and tried for another twenty minutes, couldn't keep myself down in the chair. My zafu will be here this week though. Am excited to get back to floor sitting. Since I kept hurting my leg I had to stop for a bit. This should help with that.

    Still no beer.

    Working harder at my job since it's otherwise hard to find time to excercise with the other commitments. Had a lil bit of meat, again it was an eat meat or go hungry for 4 more hours while i was already extremely hungry. No veggie option available so I ate what was. And I snuck about two bites of pot roast at work. I just grabbed it and popped it in my mouth without thinking.

    Am still squeezing in extra excercise though ( walked to the convenient store today for instance, instead of taking the car).

    Friday was the only day I didn't sit at all. Kind of did some insta-zazen while watching a TV program i've waited 8 months for, let it slide because i'm not doing much else other than work and Ango/Jukai related things.

    Got last weeks Jukai readings done. Got my rakusu cho and tan cut. Excited about getting started on the sewing part.

    Am significantly better about the metta verse and meal chant. If I missed one, I did it the second I remembered and did it twice for my oops.

    Can't say i didn't get ill mannered at work at all. Had a run-in with an employee that just refused to cooperate at all with anything even going so far as to saying she didn't care about me having to do it by myself.

    Much to my surprise i've spent several moments like the following, minus the physical bowing. Especially when I start my work for the day.

    http://davefisher86.blogspot.com/2009/0 ... tenzo.html

    But two co-workers lunch and helped another co-worker in a time of need. Yesterday some ass decided to smash her driver's side car window in while we were in the middle of lunch, knocked out the whole window, broke the casing off the passenger side mirror trying to get into the the car from that side and stole her purse which was under some other things. and had already spent $74 from her bank card before the card got cut off ( charge is taken care of I believe). So I gave her $40 bucks out of my vacation pay to help her recover a lil bit from the incident. It's not much , but was the best I could do to help and told her not to even worry about paying me back. I'll make it till next payday( gonna be a lil close, but of course i didn't mention that).

    Dave _/_

  30. #130
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Still sitting. No beer in about 3 weeks. The rest has been kind of a train-wreck. I can't seem to get into a consistent pattern. Last year, I was able to sew my rakusu. do the readings and keep up with the forum without much problem so I'm not sure what is going on this year. Tomorrow is a new day.

    Ron

  31. #131
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Maybe a lil shifty in the brain from reduced to no beer?

    Dave _/_

  32. #132
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Quote Originally Posted by ZenDave
    Maybe a lil shifty in the brain from reduced to no beer?

    Dave _/_
    :lol:

  33. #133
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Thanks Dave. I took your advise and had a beer and now I'm perfect :wink: .

    I have done a little better this week - getting into a little more of a groove. Still can't seem to remember that d%mn meal chant. Started doing the metta chant again. I'm considering sitting in the morning as well as the evening. The zen-hall has been a help. I've noticed that if I sign up, I have a really hard time not sitting.

    How is everyone else doing?

    Ron

  34. #134
    Treeleaf Unsui Kyrillos's Avatar
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    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Hello Sangha,

    I have been incorporating some of the extra practices into my daily monastic routine and as strange as it may seem I actually have to "make room" for them in the schedule. I've already had a regular horairum or typicon that schedules my prayers, so I had to add regular times for zazen along with these. If I can ever figure out what time Jundo is actually "live", I will tryto schedule that time for one of the zazen sessions.

    I especially like the Metta practice and use the "prayer list" I have submitted to me for the subjects of these compassionate thoughts.

    My monastic tradition is summed up by the phrase "Ora et Labora" - Pray and Work, so Samu is something that is expected, but I hope to be able to add a little to it during the coming holiday season. We will also begin a particular fast in December that coincides with the preparation for the Feast of Christmas, called Advent and I will dedicate that fast this year as part of the Ango also and the preparation for Jukai.

    It is interesting that monastic traditions have these particular times set aside in their yearly cycles, and that they also seem to overlap between traditions. It actually gives me a more familiar feeling with Buddhist practice than I would have expected.


    Gassho,

    Denis

  35. #135
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Hi all,

    Over the past week or so I've allowed many of my commitments to languish, so much so that I really haven't been sitting. However, it is the perfect opportunity to build them back up again as if I were doing each for the first time. The meal chant still never comes to mind before a meal, which on the one hand shows that I'm not eating mindfully during that meal, but with so many of us having the same issue I'm really curious as to why.

    So, today I sat, did metta, caught up on forum topics, and will read this week's precepts study in-between baby cries and the resulting feeding and/or diaper change. I'm also really wanting to get back on track with the kesa sewing.

    Hope others will post their experiences and a big thank you to Ron for his weekly sittings in the Zen hall. I have missed much of them, only sitting the last half hour or so, but I really think I would have totally disconnected if not for them.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  36. #136

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Hi Dosho,

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    The meal chant still never comes to mind before a meal, which on the one hand shows that I'm not eating mindfully during that meal, but with so many of us having the same issue I'm really curious as to why.
    I think it takes some time for the meal gatha to move from the head to the heart. In other words, when we first take up the practice, we have to rely on our intellect - which is notoriously unreliable. With some determination and sincere effort it gradually becomes flesh and blood. That's been my experience.

    Gassho
    Bansho

  37. #137

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Hi all,

    just a quick update. All going OK - I'm still sitting daily (or, more usually, nightly), for 20 mins followed by the metta practice. The metta practice really seems to make a lot of sense. For the last week or so I've been remembering someone who really did a lot of damage in my life about 10 years ago, and who I had done a very good job of wiping from my day-to-day brain altogether. It's taken this many weeks of ango practice for them to appear as someone I can practice with. Going against my natural instinct and not only thinking about them again, but actually wishing them well causes all sorts of gears to crash inside but I can feel that it's of benefit to 'me-them-the world' when those pointless teeth get sheared off.

    I know other folks may have bigger and more immediate ogres in their lives - I have tried to imagine what it would be like if someone said to me 10 years ago, "include them in your nightly metta practice". Difficult. I'm not sure if I could, but with the luxury of distance from the events, it feels like the right thing to do. I'd be interested to hear if any of you folks have been able to/not been able to include someone in your metta practice who has really hurt you recently.

    If the metta practice sets up a sort of feedback loop starting from inside me, moving out 'there', and then bouncing back and forth and blurring between the two; the meal chant is beginning to do something similar, but starting from 'there' (the food in front of me and all the processes that brought it there) and moving into me (physically - yum!) but also as the 'medicine that nourishes my practice'. So they are beginning to feel quite symmetrical and complementary practices.

    Gassho,
    Michael

  38. #138

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    After sitting daily for a couple of months, things at work and in general got a little hectic, and, as usual, my sitting routine suffered. I've sat perhaps three times in the last two weeks . No metta, no meal chants, either :cry: .

    Things have settled down again, however, and I will get back on track starting today.

    One of these days I'll figure out how to integrate my sitting into my daily life even when things get crazy. I do the Insta-Zens, but when my job gets frantic, it can be tough to muster the energy and stillness (yes, it seems easier to be frantic than to be still) to practice. Another koan...

    Gassho,
    Kevin

  39. #139
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    I'm taking a short Ango break. tonight i'll be telling my wife I want a divorce I'm tired of her crap. After I nap and calm down for work my plans include whiskey and cola while moving her belongings ( nicely mind you) into the back bedroom she's been sleeping in for the past 2 1/2 months( when the idea of divorce was first mentioned. I'm absolutely stressed the f*** out and fuming right now and don't see myself settling down for a few days. I don't plan on stopping Ango ( or Jukai for that matter) but will have some lax days ( hopefully no more than this week, and i'm not plannin on dropping all vows and practices..more just adjusting to my current GRRRRRR state of mind until I settle down a bit). So that is this week's Ango update.

    My mantra of inspiration today is " I will not urinate on her stuff. I will NOT urinate on her stuff". Me? Cranky? Neverrrrr.

    Dave _/_

  40. #140

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Hi Dave,

    THE Koan. Life Koan, Divorce Koan. Ya know, "life" is the only real place of practice ... the rest is time in the flight simulator.

    I would say ... even amid the crap ... do your best to know when you are lost in thoughts and emotions, even when doing what you need to do. Try not to rush things, try not to do things that do more harm than good. Take your time. One should not rush into marriage ... nor rush out of marriage.

    The rest ... well, we are all here for you.

    Gassho, J

  41. #141
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Hang in there Dave! Like Jundo said, we are all here for you.

    Ron

  42. #142
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    I appreciate it. but it's been a long time coming. I definitely have some mixed emotions. But once things settle down I should be good to go.

    Dave _/_

  43. #143
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Not an easy thing to be sure...as Jundo and Ron said, we'll leave a light on for you.

  44. #144

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Hey everyone.

    i just want to report that a few days ago i broke down a bit.
    i went to a friend's house with my girlfriend, i planned to sit zazen after i get back. but a few more people came by and brought a bottle of scotch.
    we ended up sitting up until 5 in the morning drinking and laughing... when i got home i didnt sit because i was too tired.
    i have also smoked a bit although i decided not to do it at all during the ango.

    i must admit it bothered me that i did not sit since i have sat everyday so far... but when i gave it some though i am glad it didnt get a chance to sit for the following reason...
    1. it is a reminder of why i sit and how important it is to me.
    2. life is not always how we plan it to be and we must sometimes make changes in our plans according to the situation.

    in the end i guess it is alright since i am only human and we all slip from time to time... got back to sitting the next day and never looked back.

    Gassho, Dojin.

  45. #145

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Hi everyone!

    Just a few words to say where I'm with the Ango...
    First of all, Courage Dave! :wink:

    About my practice this week... Well it has been a sour and sweet week. My zazen practice was ponctual and regular, so no problem for this. I followed the rakusu sewing and didn't "forgot", not even one day, so... no problem with the sewing.
    But it has been really difficult to take care in general. I mean it was difficult to chant or even take the time before eating. I also feel it is more difficult for me these days to be calm and aware of people or things around me... a bit sad Thus even Metta practice was quite difficult this week ... must be my asocial week...

    On the other hand, I'm sick about not having internet at home!
    First, I paid months ago. Second, I NEED it to work! Third, because I'm still waiting for it, I can't be as active as a want to be. I'm always late for the Precepts Study, I only sit recorded versions of the zazenkai, And I just feel I can't participate fully in the forum's life... And I feel sad about it too, because being "active" in the sangha is something important for me... Well, they promised I'll have my connection "ready to surf" Friday...

    Untill there, I hope you folks are OK!

    Gassho to everyone!

    Luis

  46. #146

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    It all will work out for the best Dave! How ever things land. Sorry not much else to add but you know I/we're here for you.

    Gassho

  47. #147
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Thanks, everyone you guys rock. The day after was not so cool, but we got along really well that night. so yesterday was mucchhh better.

  48. #148

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Quote Originally Posted by Shinkai
    My dog is joining me often for morning sits (she thinks they're morning naps). So far so good!
    Every evening at 5:30 my wife and I sit, and the smallest of our cats curls up in the V that my legs make. She looks forward to it, and stares at us impatiently if we're late. I look forward to seeing your dog.

  49. #149

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    it has not gone as well as I would like ....weekends are hard as the kids aren't in school so sometimes I let things slide ops: . I am going to try and get up earlier on the weekend so I can do Zazen before the kids get up. The meal gatha has been easier to remember to do I had some trouble in the beginning. I am grateful for the Ango period as I think it will help me to develop better habits when it come to Zazen etc. Will it be a yearly thing or maybe twice a year? -Andrea

  50. #150

    Re: Experiencing Ango - PLEASE SHARE YOUR ANGO EXPERIENCES HERE

    Quote Originally Posted by berrykat
    I am grateful for the Ango period as I think it will help me to develop better habits when it come to Zazen etc. Will it be a yearly thing or maybe twice a year? -Andrea
    Hi Andrea,

    I think, for now, it will be once a year .. with just "Practice" the rest of the days.

    You know, I recently described Zazen as just your "self" sitting with its "self" ... me, myself and I (and not-I, in the Buddhist case). Your self wresting with its "selfish" self. We learn (and un-learn, in the Buddhist case) all kind of things ... hopefully un-learning the harmful (greed, anger, ignorance).

    Well, "Ango" is also such a wrestling match. We learn as much from the successes as the failures. We benefit as much from the "easy" parts as tripping up on the "hard".

    I sometimes describe our Zen practice as much like an airplane pilot stepping into a flight simulator, practicing for all kinds of circumstances ... both smooth air, clear skies ... and storms and disasters. Then, stepping out of the simulator (rising from the Zafu) we bring that training and experience to life.

    You know, the pilot who landed his plane in the Hudson River? He may not know it, but he is a Great Zen Master.

    Gassho, J

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