Irina, I would love to sit in the meditation hall together with you. Denmark & Sweden - same time! What do you think?Originally Posted by CinnamonGal
Irina, I would love to sit in the meditation hall together with you. Denmark & Sweden - same time! What do you think?Originally Posted by CinnamonGal
Originally Posted by agata
We're all on the same time.
Just let me know and we will try...
That would be great!Originally Posted by Fugen
Let's try to arrange someting.
Hi Irina, Agata, Fugen
I'm also in Central Europian Time here in the Netherlands and would love to join in sitting with you guys. I will be leaving Sunday for Massive Central (France) for a couple of weeks, limited internect connection there might limit my participation for that period, but I'll join in when possible. I'll watch out for your time schedule.
Hey Agata, Fugen and Nadi (and everyone else!)
The more - the merrier. I will PM you guys! Will try to sit both morning and evening during the week ends.
Even if we cannot all sit at the same time maybe we can be close enough to sit one after another and "inhabit" the Zen Hall, make it warmer .
Nadi, look out for the time in the schedule and have a great time in France! A bientŰt, j'espŤre! Tot ziens!
Sitting is going fine.
I keep forgetting the meal chant but I am getting a little more comfortable with the metta.
I never realized how much time I waste on the internet (I'm kind of driving my wife crazy with all my "free" time, she's probably going to come up with a chore list to keep me from pestering her )
Haven't missed the beer - have missed the coffee.
Sitting everyday is going well. Keep forgetting to eat mindfully, as I'm usually either eating at my desk during work or eating standing up after making sure my kids are fed.
I gave up unnecessary consumer purchases, but find myself looking for justifications. For example, buying an upgrade to the newest Mac operating system is a necessity, right? :lol:
My biggest problem has come from my "other" religion. While Jundo has said in the past that Zen allows for a practitioner to also practice other faiths, my "other" faith is not so understanding. I've been drifting away, but, because I live in a community so saturated with this faith, because my beloved father-in-law was (he just passed away a few weeks ago) an ardent practitioner, and because there's a fair amount of guilt and fear involved with the religion (similar to my experiences growing up Roman Catholic), I haven't been willing to just cut the ties. Recently, a good friend of mine was given a position of local authority in the church and asked me to participate more actively by being in charge of all the teaching, and presenting the teaching myself. This happens to be the one thing I like doing the most in that church. Because of this, and because he's my friend, after much anxious deliberation, I agreed.
That was Sunday. Since then, all week, I've been completely off-kilter. Dukkha, dukkha, dukkha, whereas for the two weeks or so prior, as my Zazen practice was solidifying into a steady "routine", I had been feeling very centered, very present. Now, all week, I've been irritable, confused, tired, sleeping poorly, etc.
This other religion is very judgmental, considering itself the "one true faith" and all others, by implication, false (though it somewhat condescendingly allows that there is "some truth" in most other faiths). I have always found that position untenable, if only because we humans so often get things wrong. And, besides, Christ himself said not to judge (Matt 7:1). I have found myself, since joining this church, supporting all of the points of doctrine (there are a lot of them, surprisingly) that agree with basic Buddhist principles (non-judgment, compassion, focusing on the present, etc) and urging others to do the same, while the way the religion is practiced around me focuses more on judging others, looking pious, and all of the stuff, it seems to me, that Christ was so upset about.
Anyway, enough of my rant. That's how my Ango has been this week. I think I may up my daily sit from 20 mins to 30 mins, just to try to get more practice, as well as trying harder to stay present amidst all this internal turmoil.
Quick (as im on a short lunch break - and i said i would be focusing more on the duty/task at hand so this is typing time :P)
Sitting is okay, tv and some other stuffs is okay but like Ron and Kevin said im forgetting the meal gatha as im ramming food in to my mouth while feeding our son and prodding our girl to "eat up hun" with a half fulll mouth. I remembered half way through supper last night and just dropped my food and did the deal then continued - i do not think better late than never really applies in this case. Squeezing in the reading i set out for myself has been tough but im doing it. For dana ive doubled my giving -pinches the pockets but hey - i used to smoke 2 packs a day... and i always managed to scrape up the dough. Sewing Im fixing some thing on my kesa and aim to be starting on a new one, from pure scraps, once i have the house sided and deck back on in 2 weeks.
:lol:Originally Posted by rculver
Ah, more chances for Samu! 8)Originally Posted by rculver
For the moment everything is OK with the Ango!
The sitting is excellent, even if the last extra 10 min are a bit difficult in the morning when I'm hungry :lol:
The only little difficulty is about the meal gatha, I'm having a lot of interviews and lunchs for my job and my studies those times, and sometimes it's not easy to take the time to recite the gatha (even in my head).
For example today at the lunch, the school director I was with didn't understand why I stop talking during a minute, and why I was "doing something with my hands" ( gassho), but finally I explain everything and he understood, in fact he seemed interested, and I think I'll work with his school for some weeks... maybe it's because of the "open talk" after the "gatha affair"...
I hope you folks have good practice too! :wink:
Gassho to all of you!
First week of Ango has been good. A few time crunches here and there. Today was payday ( a decent one too for a change !!!!) so made a lil contribution to a project I wanted to help out. My attitude towards and at work has been better. Managed to keep my vows thus far( I actually had three beers in the fridge which I finished off so they wouldn't be there but after mon.I have been completely on track..a tiny stutter at the front but should be good for now) And if it wasn't for the vow then I would not be excercising today. Butttt the extra and the time crunch are all a part of it. So off I go.
Bike ride every day, 4 miles...
Sitting daily, though not for long enough (yet)
I'm inspired by everyones' enthusiasm,
and humbled by my own meager effort in comparison.
I started out on fire for this zazen thing,
then cooled off and missed about a month of sitting,
now trying to re-center myself and remember why I'm here.
think what you think.
This is a personal issue, and each person can decide for him/herself. I tend to feel that, when in a social, work or family setting in which some "explaining will be necessary" and not everyone may understand ... I might choose to do a practice inwardly, silently, to oneself.Originally Posted by Luis
Each person needs to decide this personally. Certainly, we don't wear our religion on our sleeve (meaning "force it into the face of others") ... neither do we hide it.
However, discussions and demonstrations of religion and politics, for example, are not always appropriate in a work setting, for example.
Tough issue. I would feel it is the same issue for any religion, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, in a social situation. Not everyone might understand if someone pulled out their prayer rug or Jewish prayer shawl during an important business meeting. (although, in most other Western countries, there is a duty on employers to reasonably tolerate and accomodate employee religious practices such as daily prayer).
Am I off on this?
Not at all Jundo!Originally Posted by Jundo
In fact, I'm not a very "ostensible" person, I don't have the habit to extend myself in front of people. But the director I was talking too, was director in a very catholic school, that's also why I decide to do entirely my practice in front of him... Because in a way, he did the same reciting is own prayer ( is a "Jťsuite"). But I certainly won't do the same in front of a "laic" school director...
Gassho to everyone!
Today I just wanted to share a moment of misunderstanding I had this morning on the train with an old friend from a "traditional sangha" in Brussels .
We were talking about life and the difficulty of practice in everyday life. I explained that I coudn't be so often in the zendo in Brussels because I moved and because of the work I've to do.
And I simply told him about my practice with you folks here at Treeleaf. How it worked for me, how I'm more serious in my daily practice and that I feel more free and at the same time more encouraged by the atmosphere at Treeleaf.... And finaly, I told him about the Ango we are having...
And suddenly, I saw in his eyes something like "poor boy, what are you doing....". He just said how "bizarre" it was to him, but I felt he totaly changed his attitude. I felt very disapointed and I still don't understand why such attitude. :?
Some months ago, (last time I spoke to him) I wasn't Ok at all, my practice was very painfull, and I wasn't able to deal with it seriously and now I'm very well with my sitting, and I'm able to practice it seriously again, he rejected me (that's what I felt)... :|
The "worst" for me is that he said 10 minutes before, that he was very bad with his practice, that he lost the habit of sitting, the only thing he still makes is reading some Zen books... And suddenly, he just juged me like an heretic, because I was fine but outside of our traditional sangha :shock: ... I saw that for him, being with you in here was a kind of desertion. The fact that the practice could be "stronger" or just more serious for me didn't count for him...
Well I know I'm out of the subject with this... but it began when I talked about Ango, in fact I said "home retreat"...
Hope your day began under better auspices :wink:
Gassho to everyone,
ps: a few minutes after writing this message, I was asking myself how to deal with this situation when I'll see him again, and then I listen to the teaching Jundo give this sunday on the sit-a-long about peace... And it just answer to my questions...
Thank you Jundo _/_
Thanks for your support and kindness. Your friend is right and so are you.The Dharma may indeed take very traditional forms, the kind of stuff you have been doing and Jundo and I did for quite a lomg time ( "propper sangha and practice and sutra recitation and mondo and..."), and some new form, through this media, namely the internet. And the Dharma is always the Dharma. Of course, there is no desertion, how could it be when the whole universe can be studied in a speck of dust, in a blade of grass? You are always in the palm of the Buddha, and Buddha always in your palm. So is your friend.
Tu es un type tres pur et serieux, toujours si juste avec tes mots et ta compassion nous touche tous. Next time you see him? Just be Luis.
And shall tell you something...Everytime I go back and sit with the sangha I used to sit with 20 year ago ( AZI), well, I just experience the same thing as you did: rejection, you don't belong. These can be the byproduct of our anxious mind ( as you know, we are pretty well equiped to really screw it up...) or real (it is so sometimes, a bit of misunderstanding and also the fear of the unknown).
It is OK, no need to be sad, disappointed or unadequate.
Luis, you are just perfect as imperfect as you are.
well, I've realised that I absolutely fall on my food. At the moment I'll remember the chant as I'm carrying the food to the table, but once I'm sitting down I just dive on in and I'm only remembering the meal chant before the meal about half of the time, but as the week has gone on I'm becoming more mindful of it, so the outlook on that one is improving. I wonder if during 100 days I will pass through occasional awareness, full awareness, and then on into mindless habit on the other side.
One funny thing has been that while I've been sitting - which I have managed everyday - I have a new thought that keeps on popping up: "Now, I wonder if I'll have something to report back on this week?" And a few times I have begun composing this mail while I've been sitting. Always ready to accommodate a new distraction...
I'm working my way through "Opening the Hand of Thought" and cross referencing it with the comments that were made in the book club and I'm really enjoying (are we supposed to be enjoying this?).
Generally I catch glimpses of where I can bring more mindfulness into everyday life - it's usually just at the moment that I've acted/reacted on autopilot and missed the opportunity but it's a start, and hopefully as the days progress, like the food chant, I'll move in the right direction.
Monk, yeah I have problems with the meal chant and metta verse in that respect. I think it's a matter of having to condition ourselves to adding something new. I shrug off the moments of forgetting and remind myself that it is something new, i'm not perfect and each time I say them I am nurturing that bit of compassion. Seeds take time to grow.
I can be quite the flighty type and a few times my mind will switch channels while sitting and i find myself impulsively moving to do something else before it hits me that i'm supposed to be sitting. *shrug* But when I catch myself I try to pull back into line. That's just the best I can do.
A little update.
- Sitting 30 min a day; 2x30 on a week end (although I overslept yesterday morning ops: and was not able to be in the Zen hall in time);
- Sat with Agata and Will (was it Will?) last week and was really inspired by it;
- More difficulty with the Metta verse than I imagined would be. It just doesn't feel "right". Occasionally I catch myself wishing all this in a different wording when sitting on a commuter train and wishing well to all the people or when thinking of anyone in particular the way I sometimes do which is more of a spontaneous thing but right now it is hard to make it into something I do when I decide to do it and it that praticular order; I will keep trying it.
-Still forget the food chant most of the time!
- Heart Sutra too has found its way into my daily life but at this point I don't recite it 7 times a day. I find myself chanting the mantra even when walking down the street, but maybe more because of the catchy tune :roll:.
Catching up on posting my Ango commitments:
Adding time to each sitting.
Mindful eating and meal gathas
Catch EVERY sit-a-long (I see most of them already)
Skype w/Jundo and/or Taigu
Increase my kesa-sewing time
Samu, samu, samu
Cut down on sweets
Rohatsu retreat and zazenkais
There are a couple of these that I foresee being a real challenge (the sweets!!!!!)
PS--Today marks two years since I joined Treeleaf and I'm proud to say that in that time I've only missed about 5 days of sitting practice since that day (illness each time). I think I would have had much more sporadic practice if I hadn't joined Treeleaf. Jundo, Taigu, and all of you here inspire me and remind me to keep at it. Thanks!
WOOHOO!!!! Happy Treeleaf B-day, Eika!!!
Wow! That's amazing, Bill! I hope I can say the same someday. You've inspired me.Originally Posted by Eika
In accordance with the food-related messages, I must say that I've just spent the weekend hosting my parents from out of town, and we've spent much of the time eating in restaurants and so on, eating very rich foods. I generally find mindful eating tough due to years upon years of "corporate eating habits" (ie. work through your lunch break). After eating so much rich food for so many days, my stomach is completely out of whack. I'm committing to not only say the meal chant, but to eat mindfully, particularly in trying to better gauge when my body has eaten enough. It's tough to do, because the satiation response takes a while to get to your brain. If you eat quickly, like I've learned to do, you're spending that time stuffing your face, until, by the time the satiation signal kicks in, you've already eaten way too much. I'll be working on eating a smaller amount of food slowly and mindfully, then waiting for the signal, then eating a bit more if it's not there, until my body tells me it's satisfied.
So, how's it going? I'm doing fairly well with my commitments, the biggest one having sat at least an hour a day since we began. I've remembered to do metta about half the time and haven't remembered to do the meal chat yet, but that seems to be common and I agree with one person who said it's very different from what many of us are used to in daily life. Forum and book club participation have been good and although I've only done a little work on my kesa, I think all things considered I'm doing well having a 5 week old in the house! TV watching and sweets are way down, watching the sit alongs on time is up, and I have cut back on internet browsing too. I have made a couple donations and am doing my best to think before I speak; the latter is very hard for me.
The biggest thing that's happened is the amount of think time I've had during zazen, especially towards the end when my back and knees feel ready to give out. At that point the mind drifts into thought more as they come with a little more emphasis than at the beginning. When I began sitting regularly about a year ago I had trouble with so much time for thoughts to come and go, but I was able to find a equilibrium that suited my 30 minutes a day. So, it's understandable that doubling my sit time would bring some emotions to the surface and that's been a bit rough at times. I've really allowed myself to dive deep into my past experiences which haven't always been rosy. At times I've felt really down, but I felt that way back when we had our first son and I wasn't sitting back then. Listening to a baby cry and feeling like you don't know how to help him is a terrible feeling, but fortunately it's happening less and less as we go to know each other.
So, pretty good.
Just 'checking-in' with some reflections on my Ango Practice.
As someone with a garden full of weeds I love to hate, there's always ample opportunity for samu. Why are there some activities which we prefer over others? Yesterday evening I was doing some weeding after a long day at the office, thinking I'd rather be doing something else, noticing a sense of impatience, wanting to be done with it. Labeling weeding 'work' and imagining that what I could be doing otherwise as somehow more enjoyable, classifiying whatever that may be as 'after-work', thinking I've worked all day, now I want some 'free-time'. Then I took notice of these thoughts. Stop.
Did you ever have the experience of being in a darkened room - not pitch black, just enough indirect light to cast an array of shadows - and you catch something in the corner of your eye which is somehow indiscernable, but leaves you with the feeling that it warrants further attention? Wanting to find out what it is, to make that 'unknown' known, you turn your head, focus your vision and...it's gone. Nothing out of the ordinary, nothing unusual remains - except for the feeling that you had somehow conjured up that nebulous phantom whatever-it-was yourself.
That's just what happened when I took notice of the thoughts I was having while weeding. Thoughts of weeding, work, free-time, etc. were exposed; naked phantoms without any substance, the jig is up! At that very moment, it makes no difference whatsoever what I am doing. It's not that I suddenly like what I'm doing. There is no 'better' or 'worse', no wanting to be 'there' rather than 'here' doing 'that' rather than 'this'. Nothing matters, there is nothing apart from just that doing. Absence of valuation. Raw activity.
And after a while I invariably get distracted and forget all that, likes and dislikes creep back into my consciousness, I fall asleep in my Practice... until the next time I take notice and wake up. Not just having the passing thought of dropping all thoughts, but really getting jolted and waking up to that raw activity beyond likes and dislikes. This is something that I go through over and over and over. It's never done, it's never achieved, but rather it's a continuous Practice of falling asleep and waking up. If we didn't fall asleep, how could we possibly wake up?
This is one of the things that strikes me about Ango Practice. Peaceful dwelling. Letting go of some harmful habits and taking on some beneficial activities. This is essentially widening the scope and deepening our Practice of "not doing harm" and "doing good", two of the three Universal Precepts. But both of these have something in common, something which I think must be a pre-requisite for the third Universal Precept, "to liberate all sentient beings". Whether it be doing (good) or not-doing (harm), or liberating sentient beings, we must first just simply take notice. What are we doing, just now? Take notice, again and again and again. Take notice that we've made a commitment to do this and not to do that. When it's time to eat we recall that it's time to recite the meal gatha. When the desire to do something we've vowed to give up arises, we take notice and dissolve our desires by seeing through them. It doesn't matter whether we've forgotten our commitments in the past or whether we think we'll be able to keep them in the future. What matters is that we call them to mind now. And in taking notice now, we wake up, our dreamy likes and dislikes vanish in an instant and just for that moment - no longer dwelling with demons - we dwell peacefully.
Iím meditating twice a day for 20 minutes each sitting. My problem is that muscle tension in my neck has over the last two months caused me a lot of pain while sitting. Iím going to a chiropractor and doing stretching, but it hasnít helped much. Everything is impermanent; therefore, I know the pain will pass, however, at times experiencing this nagging pain makes me not want to continue meditating. Or even sit on the cushion at all. But I do it.
I've recently had some posture 'problems' and I don't know if this will help but I do stretch my spine and neck upwards and back more and my head feels more balanced on my neck and spine. The other tendency I had was to turn into the leaning tower of pisa, which I think is from an unbalanced half lotus.Originally Posted by Rehn
That's a big teaching you give us Bansho!Originally Posted by Bansho
Thank you because it really fit (is it the right word?) with the last days I've got!
Thanks to you too Taigu, your teaching is very helpfull! (as they always are!) especially when I couple it with your monday Teaching on Suchness! In fact, for me it also "resonates" with what Bansho said!Originally Posted by Taigu
Thanks to both of you!
Take care Rehn! We are all human and our impermanent body is sometimes capricious, as you seem to experience it for the moment. But we must show respect to him! if it hurts too much maybe it's a bad idea to follow doing things the same way... I mean maybe you should try another position, or sit in a bench or even in a chair...Originally Posted by Rehn
I know it isn't so easy to find how to faces these pain issues! And I hope you'll find something that work for you!
Gassho to all of you,
so far it seems, some days just have to be energy drink days : / . I was ready to fall asleep after a cappucino. Had an energy drink and still couldn't wake up. So will try to keep them to a minimum but some days it seems coffee won't cut it( I take vitamins daily).
Sitting is going fine. I'm back to doing an occasional half lotus instead of always using the bench.
I don't seem to be able to make myself do the meal chant. (I think I'll have to come up with one of my own - if that is okay)
Doing better with the metta.
Broke down and had a latte on Monday (Starbucks is Evil! :evil: )
Trying to go meatless at least one day of the week.
Not pestering my wife as much - more Samu for me.
I've noticed that if I check the forum before I sit, I spend half the time thinking about what is posted, who posted it etc. etc. So it's better for me to sit first, then read.
I'm doing a pretty good job of staying off the internet - which makes for a long day at work.
I've got more bad habits than I thought.
Just wanted to let everyone know that to help integrate cushion and off cushion I added 5 "Insta-Zazens everyday. Seems to have some benefit. I remember reading in one of Tich Nat Han's books that one of the greatest enemies of practice is forgetfulness. The "Insta-Zazens©" seem to help combat this problem.
Ron, if it helps any, I recently read that a large Starbucks latte has as much sugar as four scoops of ice cream. And you thought you were drinking coffee :roll:Broke down and had a latte on Monday (Starbucks is Evil! :evil: )
My new favorite sandwich: (from the bottom up) toasted french bread, low-fat mayo/wasabi, tomato slices, avacado slices, mozarella cheese, basil leaf (fresh), toasted french bread... surprisingly filling and ultra-tasty.
I was an ass to my kids this evening. I started cleaning out my garage, and in the midst of picking up/dropping off/picking up again from football practices, I felt rushed and constricted, and took it out on an 11 yr old boy. And a 13 yr old boy. I tried to apologize to the older one, but he made an issue of it, and then I was an ass again. I have not upheld my vow to release anger before it hurts someone. So at this point, I vow to apologize sincerely before they go to bed.
gassho (and 3 penitent bows)
I don't think that makes me feel any better .Ron, if it helps any, I recently read that a large Starbucks latte has as much sugar as four scoops of ice cream. And you thought you were drinking coffee
I had the results from the local surgery on my cholesterol level yesterday. Seems it has crept up to 6 so I was sent in to see the doctor. He did not want to put me on medication yet but said I should watch my diet and exercise more. So now I am adding to my pledge and apart from a cholesterol lowering drink, I am going back to a full vegan diet.
Surprisingly, as I am in my 70th year, the doc advised me to take up cycling. My wife was not very happy about it. She says "The roads are too dangerous, you`ll get run over". "OK", I said, "I`ll cycle round the park." "No, you`ll get mugged". Sometimes it seems you just can`t win :cry: .
I like Ron`s idea about the cushion. I normally use a bench probably (no definitely) because I have been too lazy to persevere with a cushion ops: so I will try it again with more effort.
Brianw is right about forgetfulness,. That`s my biggest enemy.
:lol:Originally Posted by BrianP
I bought a bike back in the summer and I love it. It is a great low-impact way to get my heart-rate up . . . plus I feel a bit like a kid again zipping around on it, great fun.
So far, so good.
I can see that remembering the meal gatha is going to be a tough one. The hardest one will be carving out room to make EVERY zazenkai. I've always been hit-and-miss with those because of my strange working hours on the weekends (for instance, today I have to drive over to the next city to pick up some sheet music for a rehearsal tomorrow). I may have to push the recorded zazenkais into the evenings on Sunday or Monday to find the hours for them. We'll see how that goes.
Tobi, I know how ya feel about letting go of the anger. Work is burning me up ( nothing new there). Other than that Ango seems to be goin well. Been getting my excercise in ( not every day but keeping up with it in general which was the intention), no beer, staying veggie. Still forget my metta verse and meal chant most times. On the subject of the meal chant, I just wrote it on a small piece of paper to keep in my wallet. A lil reminder. : )
As for work, welll tommorrow I am going to write, "Let it go, it's all okay." on my hand as a reminder to just breathe when co-worker's drive me nuts. when I otherwise am stressed by workload I have been pretty good at taking a brewath, exhaling and saying " there is just me in this sandwhich, me and this pasta" or even "me and this (specfic ingredient for food item one at a time). That helps immensely.
Things are getting a bit difficult for the moment. I started a new "teacher formation" today, then I've got to get up earlier and my schedule is totally full because of the job I've got on the side... But I'll try to still sit 50min (2x 25) each morning!
I'll began another rakusu, because I've nothing to sew for the moment and it was a part of my commitments, I'll go for the fabric this week (if I can find some time for it :? ).
I smoked two cigarettes this morning :evil: I was totally scared about this new formation in a new private school... I'm so use to go to the university, now it's finished I'm a bit lost...
Hope you folks are Ok!
Gassho to everyone,
So far the experience has been much exactly the same as regular practice and daily life.
Im forgetting to chant (silently or out loud) the meal gathas. Im still angry and distracted by times. I do not sit 2x daily and about the only thing im doing okay on is giving. I give my time, money and what ever else i can. I do it with out expectation of anything good and its been the most balanced part of my practice as of late. Im still stage 1 hypertensive so im "working" at that to be honest.
Well every moment is a new start (of course no beginning and no end) so ill update again in a week. I wont bother saying im recommitting to anything until ive done so.
Deep bows to you all, participating or not - 3 deep bows.
One thing this has shown me is that im a much more angry person than i allow my self to express. Angry is not healthy when not expressed in a productive manner and released in a productive manner. This is just a life lesson not specific to practice, but again show me the separation of life and practice!
Starting over again
I think I'm doing well, having kept myself away from sweets since the beginning and come away with an apparent benefit of cleared up acne! I suppose that's all right though since I wasn't seeking it (and something mothers everywhere knew already). I only remember to do metta about half the time, but after Taigu's talk today I think that rate will improve of its own accord. As for the meal chant, I've only remembered to do it once...and I coudn't find the post-it I'd written it down on! I've tried to give generously, mostly of my time since my day job doesn't pay real dollars, but still have given in that way too. Sitting has generaly gone well, but I hurt my back yesterday working outside, so that combined with some weakness from doubling my sit time has put me back a bit there. Any recommendations for stretching exercises are welcome.
However, it's all a chance to start over again in each day, hour, and moment. Even now, a moment to practice.
I participated in this "Walk for Life" charity race to support AIDS patients on Sunday as part of my dana practice for Ango. 'Nuff said.
Bringing awareness to my consumption habits also brought up realisation that with every little thing in my hands - wether created by nature or by men - the whole planet passes through my hands and my body. I clearly saw that I often take for granted all the wonderful things that surroud me and in which both the planet and sentient beings have invested a lot of energy. Sometimes even lives. This really was a wake up call. I have been recycling of course and do not eat meat or fish but this has really broguht my attention to all the other levels of consumption I was not even thinking of as consumption.
To contribute to the commubity so far I:
- volunteered as a host for an international filmmaker for the week of the upcming Uppsala International Short film Festival;'
- joined the group of enthusiastic and creative people who would like to organise a few cultural events in my town next year;
On the less bright side (it might seem):
- broke up with my boy friend in England on the second day of Ando period (that's the spirit and that was not even on my list of commitments :roll: )
- in the end of last week I got a really "bad" talk with my boss at my dayjob and it came down to her saying she is on her way of getting rid of me => I might lose my job any day now;
In other words, things are moving pretty fast here for a quiet autumn. 8)
Have a steady week of practice everyone!
Was away for the weekend and stayed in a hotel. The bathroom served as quite a nice zendo. It even had a coffee maker.
So many times what I think will happen, never happens. I am taking concrete action to deal with some issues that will improve my life.
Well, my small efforts are going OK so far. Sitting everyday, metta practice everyday, meal chant about 95% of the time. (I think my problem with this is that I'm always cooking for myself so I'm tasting as I go, so with a mouthful of flavours, eating seems to be a continuation of the cooking and I will have to make a break between cooking/chanting/eating). I'm Reading every other day. Have 'finished' (I think I'll be dipping back into it on a regular basis though) 'Opening the Hand of Thought' , so I'll look at some of the other sections around 'Instructions for the Cook'.
I've had a couple of metta practice queries which I'd be interested in getting advice on: 1. sometimes I run out of people that I'm having trouble with, so I've been substituting people that I don't actualy know but who I hear about on the news. 2. sometimes people that I love dearly are also folks that really drive me mad, so I've occasionally used the same person twice in one practice - just thinking about the aspects of them that I love first time round, and the aspects of them that I have trouble with second time round.
I enjoy the opportunity of just selecting some random punter that I say 'hi' to in the street or who serves me in shop to be my 'neutral' person for metta practice.
Or you could try it by smell.(I think my problem with this is that I'm always cooking for myself so I'm tasting as I go, so with a mouthful of flavours, eating seems to be a continuation of the cooking and I will have to make a break between cooking/chanting/eating
Michael, I'm no authority mind you but i'll answer as best I can.
I know Jundo substituted someone from the news the other day. My understanding is to find someone who is difficult to be compassionate towards. When I remember to do it I've found i have to use the same person several times( just not in the same recitation of the verse). I don't have that kind of animosity towards many. So I understand the struggle. Or like you said with someone you normally get along with that pissed you off.
I wonder myself if groups count.
As for the meal chant, maybe do it before you begin cooking and when you start your actual meal? *shrug* Be in the moment when you cook and be grateful for having the food and for being able to cook for yourself and/or for others. Appreciate the hard work it took someone else to get it to the store for you to acquire. Appreciate the ingredients. Love it all. At that point, i think the chant just becomes a chant. It's purpose fulfilled. But that's just me.
Hmmm. I see no reason not to think of the same persons many times in Metta ... although we should also try to spread the love around too.
I think that there are some folks who can use multiple doses of love and compassion.
Some highlights of my Ango experience thus far:
Iíve kept all of my commitments without too much struggle. Surprisingly havenít missed chocolate and peanut butter
The second sit Iíve been doing right before bed, but until Iím more disciplined about getting to bed earlier, I may move it to after dinner. I get very sleepy, and I just sit with that.
Iíve enjoyed sitting the Zazenkaiís live (when available) and aspire to continue even after the time changes; then the 4 hour one might be a bit challenging as it will require me to get up at 0430. Iíve participated in the recorded ones before, but there is something about doing it live that felt special, but itís all special and not special, too.
Iím new to a regular metta practice and have been doing it first thing when I wake up and right when I get into bed in the evening. In addition to consciously generating feelings of loving-kindness, I notice the practice start to dissolve any sense of ďother,Ē especially when itís my ďdifficultĒ person. Nice!
Iím not contributing to the forums much, but that will change when we start sewing our rakusus and reading ďMind of Clover.Ē
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.
I have had no problem remembering the meal chant because I have been using Thich Nhat Hanhís Five Contemplations before meals for years http://www.plumvillage.org/practice.html?start=6. Now I use Jundoís meal chant for meals eaten within range of the card I wrote the chant on.
Iíve purchased fabric for the rakusu and have watched half of Taiguís videos, so Iím getting ready to dive in with my needle and thread.
Thanks for sharing your experiences so freely.
Let me encourage those who are having trouble to remember to recite the Meal Gattha before eating ... please keep trying, make it a habit. Even if you recite it silently within, and even if the particular wording we use does not "ring your bell". Try to keep with that wording (or maybe the words recommended by another Buddhist teacher), and not write your own too much.
And if you truly cannot in a given situation, or forget the words ... a moment of silence can be fine too as a temporary measure.
PS - If we were in a monastery, or even a neighborhood retreat center in the West, you would be expected to chant when everyone chants. In Asian countries, more than the West, everyone does what the group does. Maybe the teacher will even throw the soup over someone's head who doesn't chant what they are supposed to chant.
But here at Treeleaf, we work on the "honor system". It is a good practice, bringing awareness into each meal ... therefore, I strongly encourage that.
By the way, one portion of the Meal Gatha ...Originally Posted by Jundo
We offer this meal of many virtues and tastes ...
is the subject of the sit-a-long talk yesterday:
http://blog.beliefnet.com/treeleafzen/2 ... ucket.html
Overturing the Rice Bucket
( Dogen's Instructions for the Cook - IV )
In this passage, the "six flavors" are bitter, sour, sweet, salty, mild and hot.
The "three virtues" are to be light & gentle, pure & healthy, and prepared correctly.