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Thread: zazen

  1. #1

    zazen

    I've been doing Zazen (faithfully) for about two weeks now. At first, it was such a relief just to sit in that still place, nothing to do, nowhere to go. I had tried so many types of meditation in the past and all of them were exhausting in some way or another, always a distant goal to reach. Zazen was uniquely refreshing. Now it's not so simple. I find myself competing with previous days experiences. I am aggressive lately, irritable. I have tension in my neck. I feel like I have tricked myself into taking the "diver's seat" in my zazen, only there is nothing to drive. I just sit there feeling all wrong about it. I analyze it before, during, and after. How can I become simple again?

    Gassho,
    Greg

  2. #2

    Re: zazen

    Hiya Greg!

    I know what ya mean there it goes like that some times from my own experience. Just going to say zazen is zazen, just sitting, that's it... I mean you were uniquely refreshed and now your not - irritated, sore neck and all!
    Probably im going to irritate ya just a bit more and say.....

    Just sit anyways.

    Easier said then done it seems some days! Perhaps you should check out the "Zazen for beginners" (we are all beginners!!!) sit-a-longs posted, if you haven't already. Very helpful! May or may not help irritability but could help you with your sore neck! I know there will be a lot more sage advice following..but hey I was up

    Gassho
    Shohei

  3. #3

    Re: zazen

    Hi.

    First don't panic.

    "When this happens do this, when that happens do that."

    Just watch what happens.
    It will pass, or not.
    Either way, just sit.
    It will work itself out.

    Lastly, dont panic.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  4. #4

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    I've been doing Zazen (faithfully) for about two weeks now. At first, it was such a relief just to sit in that still place, nothing to do, nowhere to go. I had tried so many types of meditation in the past and all of them were exhausting in some way or another, always a distant goal to reach. Zazen was uniquely refreshing. Now it's not so simple. I find myself competing with previous days experiences. I am aggressive lately, irritable. I have tension in my neck. I feel like I have tricked myself into taking the "diver's seat" in my zazen, only there is nothing to drive. I just sit there feeling all wrong about it. I analyze it before, during, and after. How can I become simple again?

    Gassho,
    Greg
    Sounds like you're making great progress :-). You are simple again, you always were. It's astoundingly simple. You don't have to be concerned with any of that stuff. That apparent person in the driver's seat ... that's okay, that's something that arises. Sometimes it lasts for a long time, but in this moment it's just there.

  5. #5

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    I've been doing Zazen (faithfully) for about two weeks now. At first, it was such a relief just to sit in that still place, nothing to do, nowhere to go. I had tried so many types of meditation in the past and all of them were exhausting in some way or another, always a distant goal to reach. Zazen was uniquely refreshing. Now it's not so simple. I find myself competing with previous days experiences. I am aggressive lately, irritable. I have tension in my neck. I feel like I have tricked myself into taking the "diver's seat" in my zazen, only there is nothing to drive. I just sit there feeling all wrong about it. I analyze it before, during, and after. How can I become simple again?

    Gassho,
    Greg
    Hi Greg,

    Today's sit-a-long happens to be connected to this subject. Would you have a look, let me know if there is something helpful there.

    http://www.shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p ... more-14544

    There is no "bad" Zazen ... even the really bad Zazen! :shock:

    Gassho, Jundo

  6. #6

    Re: zazen

    Ok. Lotsa good advice here. Thank you Dirk, Fugen, Scott, and Jundo.

    1. "Sit anyway." (Because what else can I do? Run? Where would I go?)

    2. " Don't panic." (As I so often do when things don't go MY WAY!)

    3. "Just be with whatever rises." (Aha! Here's where staring at that wall makes me sweat!)

    Thanks guys. Now all that's left is to put this encouraging advice into practice. grrr...

    And Jundo, today's sit along was just what I needed. I've been having a "cloudy day" in my practice lately, forgetting all about the "clear blue sky." I like the idea of just sitting with all of the
    junk as it comes, as it goes. I also went back and watched the talk from sit along Part V. I need
    to relax and enjoy the journey. I often visit Mt. Cheha, the tallest peak in Alabama, and hike or
    just sit on Bald Rock. When you talk about walking in the woods just for the sake of walking it really
    puts the proper attitude of zazen practice into perspective for me. Today at work I was thinking
    about zazen (I know, I know, live in the present moment, even at work!!!) and about how absurd it is to
    have to ask how to sit, facing a wall, nowhere to go, nothing to do. Facing that wall is like coming
    up against something I can't figure out or get past without just surrendering to the fact that it is
    the end of the road as far as searching goes. For a control freak, not so easy. But having the support
    of this sangha helps so much more than I could ever put into words. Thanks!

    Gassho,
    Greg

  7. #7

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    (I know, I know, live in the present moment, even at work!!!)
    Thank you, Greg.

    I do need to pick up this one comment though. Sometimes, to "be in the present moment" at work is to focus exclusively on work and the present moment. But sometimes, to "be in the present moment" at work is to be thinking in the present moment about yesterday, today or tomorrow, Zazen or your loved one or your favorite TV show. Both are being "in the present moment" (for when and where else can you be)?

    Folks sometimes misunderstand "being in the moment" as only the first kind. And, truly, that is a useful skill (there are certainly appropriate times to have all our attention focused on the action right in front of us ... at work, only doing work ... watching a sunset, just the sunset ...)

    But there are times for the second type, and that is "being in the present moment too" and very appropriate and a fine part of life at many times of the day (we do not live by work alone, thinking of "right now" alone).

    For this reason, I prefer to say "being at one with the present moment", whatever it contains, is more important that "being in the moment". Being amid conditions of life X, but overly wishing to be instead amid conditions Y, is --not-- "being at one with the moment". Allowing and being embraced by conditions X when in X (even if part of X is that you simultaneously would not mind at all if things were Y instead!! :shock: ) --is-- being at one with the present moment, however it is.

    So, when working, just do that. When thinking about tv, just do that. When thinking about Zazen, just do that. In fact, when thinking about and wishing to watch tv even when you should be working or doing Zazen... well, that is human, so just do that.

    Nonetheless, if thinking about tv or work while doing Zazen ... turn again and again to the clear, spacious, luminous sky. Just do that. :shock: :shock:

    Gassho, Jundo

  8. #8

    Re: zazen

    Jundo, thanks. I am grateful for your time and teaching.

    Gassho,
    Greg

  9. #9
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: zazen

    Hey Greg,

    I'm a bit late to offer any advice since everything has really been said, but I will tell you the first thought that crossed my mind as I read your post:

    "Seems to be taking to this path quite well!"

    I remember back to when I was a few weeks in and I was driving myself crazy with questions about posture, sitting length, what time the hot water heater was going to be installed, is the lawn too wet to mow...I was driving myself crazy insane.

    And that's "good"...no good or bad really...it just takes awhile, but I think you are headed in a good direction.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  10. #10
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: zazen

    Thanks Al. I t is wonderdul to witness that people sometimes get a profound understanding and deepen their practice. You are pretty close to what the old fool is saying on his vid about sitting with the body-mind and leeting Buddha do the job.

    gassho


    Taigu

  11. #11

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by Al Coleman
    We are sitting down at the dinner table with everything else in the universe and minding our manners. Everything else in the universe doesn't really have to make this non-effort because only humans have brains.
    I agree. And this made me smile. Gassho, Jundo

  12. #12

    Re: zazen

    I've been talking to Jundo about some of the things that keep popping up and affecting my mindframe lately. He just kept on telling me to sit, let go. Lots of stress, lots of thoughts, lots of "clouds". But yesterday, I sat zazen and just tried to let things go, and for a moment, I'm not sure how long, but for a moment I really just felt "whole". Not really anything else. The stressfull situations were still there, and the zazen didn't make them go away, they were still waiting for me when the bell rang again, but I was ok with that. I accepted the thoughts and let them just move by, sort of like standing on the side of the road and a car passes by. The passage of the car may rock you a bit, but then it's gone past and quiet and wholeness returns. I was really pleased with that feeling.

  13. #13

    Re: zazen

    Wow! Thanks for such an incredible response! There is so much wisdom here. I am humbled, encouraged, and inspired by these replies. It is a testimony to the value of zazen practice. Deep bows to all!

    So, I should just sit, eyes opened, staring at a wall, not counting breaths, not labeling thoughts, expecting nothing and resisting nothing, right?

    How long is recommended for a beginner?

    And what about when I'm not on the zafu? I know some teachers have their students pay special attention to special things (the breath, the body, what is going on, etc.).

    I ask alot of questions. :?

    Gassho,
    Greg

  14. #14
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: zazen

    Greg,

    The obvious answer to your question is, "Go Sit!"

    I think you will find many of the answers if you poke around the forum and watch the sit a longs (every vid has the same suggested sitting length written into the post). Asking questions is a good thing, yes, but go sit, see what happens and what doesn't, and then drop all of it.

    Sit. Rinse. Repeat.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  15. #15

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    Asking questions is a good thing, yes, but go sit, see what happens and what doesn't, and then drop all of it.
    That's a very very good advice! Probably the best...
    It reminds me about Josshu, when a disciple asked him about the essence of buddhism he answered

    "Have you eaten your rice porridge?"

    "Yes, I have," replied the monk.

    "Then you had better wash your bowl," said Joshu.


    Deep Gassho,

    Luis
    ps: Just sit as a common friend says :wink:

  16. #16

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    So, I should just sit, eyes opened, staring at a wall, not counting breaths, not labeling thoughts, expecting nothing and resisting nothing, right?
    That is right, eyes half or 1/3 open. Taigu or I will talk about it on the "sit-a-long" in the coming days, but I only recommend counting or following the breath as "training wheels" or a temporary measure for someone who really really really cannot get the mind settled, is lost in stormy clouds and needs something to help them settle down a bit.

    Generally, in Soto Zen, we teach counting the breaths, or observing the breath, merely as a way to settle the mind for beginners who are truly inexperienced and struggling with having the mind settle down. After a few weeks or months, the training wheels come off, and different teachers will recommend different things

    So, for that reason, I recommend that folks only count breaths until they feel that the mind is more settled, as if feeling like stirred up water in a jar that has settled down. When you feel rather calm and composed, and the thoughts have slowed to those drifting clouds ... then I recommend sitting then with open, spacious awareness ... focused on everything and nothing in particular, sitting with the whole world but without being lost in trains of thought (which I also sometimes describe as having the mind focused on "no place and everyplace at once"). My reason for that is simply that I believe it makes it a bit easier to take this practice off the Zafu and out into the world. (Also, on aggitated days, when the mind won't settle down, no harm in going back to counting the breaths for a few minutes ... but when calm is restored, we return to open, spacious sitting).

    So, the breath counting is just training wheels on the bike, and I would avoid that if not needed. In addition, even if you do count for a time, you should take the training wheels off as soon as you feel that you can sit with some calm and concentration, the mind pretty settled and focused, not lost in long chains of thought, daydreams and wild emotions.

    Blanche Hartman of SFZC tells a nice Suzuki Roshi story on this ...

    When I began to practice with Suzuki Roshi... I had become quite concentrated on my breath. I was quite pleased with myself and said, "Roshi, I can count my breath now without missing any. What do I do now?" I think I expected him to say, Good for you, or something like that. Instead, he became very fierce and said, "Don't ever think that you can sit Zazen. That's a big mistake. Zazen sits Zazen!!"

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    How long is recommended for a beginner?
    A lifetime! 8)

    But I recommend at least 15 minutes a sitting minimum, but ideally 20 to 35 minutes. Twice a day is suggested, but I will also be talking soon about something I call Jundo's patented "Insta-Zazen" ©, which is basically Zazen out in the world, any place any time ...

    I would also like to encourage everybody to try Jundo's Patented "Insta-Zazen" © throughout each day. You don't even have to "sit" for these "sittings", but can sit while standing, lying down, jumping on the bed or hanging by one's feet. "Insta-Zazen" © can be of any length, starting from but a moment until infinite time (which may be the same!). We "Insta-Sit" © at times in our day when just a bit of "Zen Mind"© will change our perspective on all things, when a touch of balance will bring life into balance ...

    Just standing in a creeping postal line, in the dentist's chair, when the car won't start on a cold morning, when driving and stuck in traffic, when the computer crashes, wherever and whenever ... just do what you do in Zazen, with the Lotus Position fully optional (it tends to get in the way while driving or having a root canal, although it might work in the postal line if you keep pushing along.).
    read more here ...

    viewtopic.php?p=29890#p29890

    And what about when I'm not on the zafu? I know some teachers have their students pay special attention to special things (the breath, the body, what is going on, etc.).
    Insta-Zazen! All of life is "Zazen" in its wider meaning, even though only sitting on the cushion each day is "Zazen".

    I ask alot of questions. :?
    That is what you are supposed to do, even if there are sometimes answers and sometimes none and always "just sit".

    Gassho, Jundo

  17. #17

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by Al Coleman
    Here is a newsletter article from my teachers Dharma sister. This article really sparked something in me, maybe it will for someone here: http://www.milwaukeezencenter.org/final ... s_9-09.pdf

    Gassho,

    Al
    Thank you, Al. Tonen O'Connor is one of my favorite people, a very down to earth teacher. A lovely description ... She says there,

    Suchness is doing or being, but not doing or being for.

    But just because there is not purpose, does not mean it is a waste of time ...

    Shikantaza is the practice of undertaking what's to be done, without reference to reward or failure. It is a practice we can transfer to our life's activities. It is a liberating practice of doing whatever is to be done and gives us strength to face hard and sometimes pointless things

    Shikantaza is the Dharma Gate of great repose and bliss, but only if we don't try to use it to get there.

  18. #18

    Re: zazen

    ^^Thank you Al!
    A very good thread! Still learning plenty!

    Deep bows all,
    Shohei

  19. #19

    Re: zazen

    The whole thing about the anger issues, the frustration, that I wrote about in the original post is something that didn't come up until I started zazen. I'm not blaming zazen. But kinda I am. I have alot on my plate right now. My wife and I have been trying to get pregnant for almost a year now. Nothing is happening. The company I work for is closing its doors in March. I can't leave or I will loose my severance pay. My father has lung cancer. I'm short. I could go on and on, as all of you probably could. Don't mean to be a downer here. It's just that until zazen I didn't have to face any of that. I could kick the cat or curse a stop light or something. Now I sit facing a wall and sometimes it feels like really being up against a wall. Nowhere to go. Nobody to blame. No escape. Just sitting there with everyting not being the way I want it to be. That pisses me off. I read today in Hardcore Zen where the author said that when he first started practicing zazen he more or less hated it. But like quitting smoking he knew somewhere deep inside that it was good for him so he continued to practice. I don't hate it. I don't love it. But I know that somewhere down the road I'll stop looking for the exit and just be happy to be on the road. Just maybe.

    Gassho,
    Greg

  20. #20

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    The whole thing about the anger issues, the frustration, that I wrote about in the original post is something that didn't come up until I started zazen. I'm not blaming zazen. But kinda I am. I have alot on my plate right now. My wife and I have been trying to get pregnant for almost a year now. Nothing is happening. The company I work for is closing its doors in March. I can't leave or I will loose my severance pay. My father has lung cancer. I'm short. I could go on and on, as all of you probably could. Don't mean to be a downer here. It's just that until zazen I didn't have to face any of that. I could kick the cat or curse a stop light or something. Now I sit facing a wall and sometimes it feels like really being up against a wall. Nowhere to go. Nobody to blame. No escape. Just sitting there with everyting not being the way I want it to be. That pisses me off. I read today in Hardcore Zen where the author said that when he first started practicing zazen he more or less hated it. But like quitting smoking he knew somewhere deep inside that it was good for him so he continued to practice. I don't hate it. I don't love it. But I know that somewhere down the road I'll stop looking for the exit and just be happy to be on the road. Just maybe.

    Gassho,
    Greg
    No escape.

  21. #21

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    The whole thing about the anger issues, the frustration, that I wrote about in the original post is something that didn't come up until I started zazen. I'm not blaming zazen. But kinda I am. I have alot on my plate right now. My wife and I have been trying to get pregnant for almost a year now. Nothing is happening. The company I work for is closing its doors in March. I can't leave or I will loose my severance pay. My father has lung cancer. I'm short. I could go on and on, as all of you probably could. Don't mean to be a downer here. It's just that until zazen I didn't have to face any of that. I could kick the cat or curse a stop light or something. Now I sit facing a wall and sometimes it feels like really being up against a wall. Nowhere to go.
    You know, as a country music fan ... well, the Dharma is often preached with a steel guitar. Here is a good one ... please have a listen ...

    Craig Morgan - This Ain't Nothin LYRICS:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-W4w1dMoB4[/video]]

    He was standing in the rubble of an old farmhouse outside Birmingham
    When some on the scene reporter stuck a camera in the face of that old man
    He said "tell the folks please mister, what are you gonna do
    Now that this twister has taken all that's there to you"
    The old man just smiled and said "boy let me tell you something, this ain't nothing"

    He said I lost my daddy, when I was eight years old,
    That cave-in at the Kincaid mine left a big old hole,
    And I lost my baby brother, my best friend and my left hand
    In a no win situation in a place called Vietnam
    And last year I watched my loving wife, of fifty years waste away and die
    And I held her hand til her heart of gold stopped pumping,
    So this ain't nothin'

    He said I learned at an early age,
    There's things that matter and there's things that don't
    So if you're waiting here for me to cry,
    I hate to disappoint you boy, but I won't

    Then he reached down in the rubble and picked up a photograph
    Wiped the dirt off of it with the hand that he still had
    He put it to his lips and said man she was something
    But this ain't nothin'

    He said I lost my daddy, when I was eight years old,
    That cave-in at the Kincaid mine left a big old hole,
    And I lost my baby brother, my best friend and my left hand
    In a no win situation in a place called Vietnam
    And last year I watched my loving wife, of fifty years waste away and die
    We were holding hands when her heart of gold stopped pumping
    So this ain't nothin'

    This ain't nothin' time won't erase
    And this ain't nothin' money can't replace
    He said you sit and watch your loving wife fifty years fighting for her life
    Then you hold her hand til her heart of gold stops pumping
    Yeah boy that's something,
    So this ain't nothin'
    Yeah this ain't nothin'
    Here's another one with a similar theme, very Buddhist (except for the whiskey) ...

    Darryl Worley - sounds like life to me LYRICS

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Geg6_-3jPzI[/video]]

    Got a call last night from an old friends wife, said, I hate to bother you
    But Johnny Ray fell off the wagon, hed been gone all afternoon
    Well, I know my buddy, so I drove to Scullys and found him at the bar
    Said, Hey Man, whats goin on, He said, I dont know where to start
    Sarah's old car startin to fall apart and the washer quit last week
    We had to put Mama in the nursing home and the baby's cuttin teeth

    Sounds Like Life To Me
    I didnt get much work this week and I got bills to pay
    I said, I know this aint what you wanna hear but its what Im gonna say
    Sounds like life to me, it aint no fantasy
    It just a common case of everyday reality
    Man, I know its tough but you gotta suck it up
    To hear you talk youre caught up in some tragedy
    It sounds like life to me

    Well, his face turned red and he shook his head
    He said, you dont understand, three kids and a wife depend on me
    And Im just one man, top it off we just found out that Sarahs two months late
    I said, Hey, bartender, set us up a round, we gotta celebrate
    Sounds like life to me, aint no destiny
    Yeah, the only thing for certain is uncertainty
    You gotta hold on tight, just enjoy the ride
    Get used to all this unpredictability, sounds like life
    Man, I know its tough but you gotta suck it up
    To hear you talk youre caught up in some tragedy
    Sounds like life to me (sounds like life to me)
    Sounds like life
    And here is one of the great ones out there right now ... give it a good 'ol listen ...

    Kenny Chesney » I'm Alive Lyrics

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tex0U7qS7h4[/video]]

    So damn easy to say that life's so hard
    Everybody's got their share of battle scars
    As for me I'd like to thank my lucky stars that
    I'm alive and well

    It'd be easy to add up all the pain
    And all the dreams you've sat and watch go up in flames
    Dwell on the wreckage as it smolders in the rain
    But not me... I'm alive

    And today you know that's good enough for me
    Breathing in and out's a blessing can't you see
    Today's the first day of the rest of my life
    And I'm alive and well
    I'm alive and well

    Stars are dancin' on the water here tonight
    It's good for the soul when there's not a soul in sight
    This boat has caught its wind and brought me back to life
    Now I'm alive and well

    And today you know that's good enough for me
    Breathing in and out's a blessing can't you see
    Today's the first day of the rest of my life
    Now I'm alive and well
    Yeah I'm alive and well

  22. #22

    Re: zazen

    One of my favorite Buddhist sayings, and I even attached it as my signature on my emails at work, goes like this:

    Let us all be thankful, for if we did not learn alot today, at least we learned a little. And if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick. And if we got sick, at least we didn't die. So, let us all be thankful.

  23. #23

    Re: zazen

    Thanks Jundo!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    He was standing in the rubble of an old farmhouse outside Birmingham
    Not far from where I live. About forty five minutes. It's where all the cool stuff happens. Saw KISS there twice. Ted Nugent. Skid Row. The Foo Fighters. Coldplay. The Rolling Stones. Now there's some lyrics for ya..."I can't get no (da da da) no satisfaction!

    I would like to say that my sitting has been going well lately. Once I stopped trying to make zazen into
    something it's not (a means to an end) everything just clicked! Been reading where Ushiyama says to
    just aim at the zazen posture with your flesh and bones. Put it into practice. Up to that point I had
    been worrying about all the content in my head. He says that if you bring your attention back to the
    simple AND REAL fact that you're just sitting then thought just vanishes on its own. Like you said,
    the goal isn't to become thought-less, like a rock, but just to bring your mind back to sitting, over
    and over and over again. I think you said it best when you said, "Just sit!" :wink:

    Anyway, thanks for everything. Up til now my only teachers have been in books. It's nice having one
    who answers questions (and listens to country music!).

    And thanks to my fellow "Treeleaves." Your responses to my beginner's questions have been so helpful!
    Up til now my sangha consisted of just two of us...myself and my cat!


    Gasho,
    Greg

  24. #24

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    Been reading where Ushiyama says to
    just aim at the zazen posture with your flesh and bones. Put it into practice. Up to that point I had
    been worrying about all the content in my head. He says that if you bring your attention back to the
    simple AND REAL fact that you're just sitting then thought just vanishes on its own. Like you said,
    the goal isn't to become thought-less, like a rock, but just to bring your mind back to sitting, over
    and over and over again. I think you said it best when you said, "Just sit!" :wink:
    Yes, Uchiyama Roshi was a "bring your attention back to the posture" guy. Nishijima Roshi is a "focus on keeping the spine straight" fellow, and there are others who emphasize focusing on the breath or the Hara (also called the "Tanden", the traditional "center of gravity" of the body, and a center of Qi energy in traditional Chinese medicine) ...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dantian

    all forms of Shikantaza really. All forms of Shikantaza have an "object of meditation", a place to focus or place the mind to build concentration and quiet the thoughts (hopefully to soften the border and pass through "object" and "subject"), while dropping all effort to attain and releasing all judgements.

    At Treeleaf, I recommend open, spacious sitting centered on everything and nothing at all, on all things, and nothing in particular. I will speak more on the "sit-a-long" later this week about why, but it is (in my view) easier to bring out into the world ... and to be "at one" with the world without pushing it away. Taigu is also giving a good series of talks about posture, and it touches upon why the Japanese can be a bit obsessed about posture (as an aspect of their culture, even more than Buddhist meditators about anywhere else in Asia). I once wrote this ...

    Some Japanese lineages (much more than the Koreans, Chinese, Tibetans and other Buddhists), tend to obsess about holding a stern, rigid, optimal Lotus Position. (I have spoken about this before). Please read this link too, about Japanese and "Kata" (and some other misconceptions about Shikantaza) ...

    viewtopic.php?p=12161#p12161

    If you need a place to feel you are "placing the mind", I recommend on the top of the palm in the left hand while in the Mudra. Yet, keep that "spacious, unobstructed, everywhere and no one place" emphasis.

    Some Japanese teachers and lineages can be a bit too focused on the sitting posture itself, as a fetish ... as if the posture of the Lotus itself has some mystical power. Shikantaza has a wider meaning than that, that sweeps in all of reality. It is Shikantaza, even if one is sitting in a chair or standing on a train.(I mean, it is a wonderful posture conducive to balance and Zazen ... but not alone the central point of Zazen.
    But Uchiyama has one of the most elegant "diagrams" of Shikantaza's way in his book "Openning the Hand of Thought". Lovely.

    EVERYONE, go here, search the word "line", find page 52, entitled "Waking Up To Life", and read to page 60 (about the diagram drawing on page 54) ... notice especially the part where he says "Zazen is not being glued to line ZZ'" (what I might call "returning to the clear, open, blue sky 10,00 times and 10,000 times again")

    http://books.google.com/books?id=fOU_1v ... ne&f=false

    Gassho, Jundo

  25. #25

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    At Treeleaf, I recommend open, spacious sitting centered on everything and nothing at all, on all things, and nothing in particular.
    Oh boy. More questions.

    So I don't focus on my posture? Am I trying to attain a state of bare awareness? How do I focus on
    everything and nothing at once? Do I listen to sounds? Do I allow myself to slip away when I feel still and
    see where that takes me or do I pull myself back? And if I pull myself back then what to? If I am focusing
    on nothing? Wow. My head is a highway right now. I'm sure I'm making simple things confusing.

    Also, must I do zazen in the morning? I have to be at work at 5:45 a.m. Much easier to meditate before bed. Is this alright?

    Should I be doing anything else? Reciting the Heart Sutra daily, etc???

    Gassho,
    Greg

  26. #26

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    At Treeleaf, I recommend open, spacious sitting centered on everything and nothing at all, on all things, and nothing in particular.
    Oh boy. More questions.

    So I don't focus on my posture? Am I trying to attain a state of bare awareness?
    Whether you focus on the posture, the breath, the top of the left hand, the Hara, or the sensation of clear, open blue sky (with clouds drifting out) that I recommend ... one should eventually sometimes attain to an open, unobstructed, holding everything without discrimination or division feeling ... What Uchiyama calls "line ZZ" in his essay, and what I call clear open sky.

    However, I say "sometimes" (and Uchiyama says "don't stay glued to ZZ") because the whole thing is the trip, reject nothing ... not the thoughts and emotions that drag you away from ZZ", not the clouds which sometimes block the clear blue sky. It is all life, all perfectly what it is. Sometimes it will be "bare awareness", sometimes awareness of this or that. Drop all judgments, drop all goals and need to get someplace else or to be any other way.

    Yet, nonetheless, return again and again to ZZ, to the clear blue sky (allowing the thoughts and emotion clouds to drift away). If you notice you are engaged in trains of thought, release them, drop them, and return to ZZ. Repeat endlessly.

    All that, at once, is "Shikantaza".

    How do I focus on everything and nothing at once?
    Yes, well, this is one reason it is called "practice" ... trial and error. It is like asking "how do I play the piano"? Start by practicing your scales.

    Do I listen to sounds?
    You will hear sounds. When you notice that you are thinking about sounds you are hearing (oh, nice birdy outside, I wonder what kind of birdy, I wonder if it will poop on my car, I need to get a car wash) .... release, return to "Just Sitting" Sometimes, you cannot, and will be lost in thoughts worried about your dirty car. Sometimes you may even be without any thought of "bird" and "you" and "sounds" and "hear" (and "poop" and "car"!) ... If so, Just Keep Sitting!

    All that, at once, is "Shikantaza".

    Do I allow myself to slip away when I feel still and
    see where that takes me or do I pull myself back?
    Return 10,000 times and 10,000 times again to open, aware, illuminated, spacious sitting.

    Wow. My head is a highway right now. I'm sure I'm making simple things confusing.
    Ah, progress! :P Yes, our heads are busy highways, rushing here and there. Nice sometimes just to sit or just to drive, no where to go.

    Also, must I do zazen in the morning? I have to be at work at 5:45 a.m. Much easier to meditate before bed. Is this alright?
    Yes, many folks sit before bed. Sometimes it is harder, because we are sleepy then and rather worn out. Even mid-day (during a lunch break) is good. But sit at least once a day (plus Jundo's patented "Insta-Zazen" ©, which I will talk about on the sit-a-long in the coming days)

    Should I be doing anything else? Reciting the Heart Sutra daily, etc???
    Daily Zazen is the only practice that is truly indispensable. Sitting daily on the cushion, practicing Shikantaza.++

    (then, on top of that, everything ... changing diapers to reciting the Heart Sutra ... is also seen as 'Zazen' in its wider meaning.)

    Gassho, Jundo

    ++ PS - Oh, and keep studying about Buddhism and Zen Practice, such as you are.

  27. #27

    Re: zazen

    So, it sounds like what you are saying is that shikantaza is sort of like practice for the mind. Like if you have bad posture, and you keep practicing standing up straight, after a while you stand up straight without needing to consiously think about it. It just happens. So when you do that, you can just be. The mind stops creating a difference between bird and car and you and it's just all rolled together in one big birdcaryou. I may be overthinking again but, that's kind of how I envision "suchness" as just an all pervading, all encompassing sense of just being. Everything from the floor beneath your rear end to the passing thoughts about the balance of your checkbook (which you let go and drift away) is being. Or "suchness" or shikantaza.

    Am I way off base here?

  28. #28
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    I would like to say that my sitting has been going well lately.
    I know what you mean, but one thing that really helped me: Just as there is no "bad" zazen, there is no "good" zazen as its opposite. A sitting is neither good nor bad, it is a sitting and focusing on the supposedly positive can be just as detrimental as focusing on the seemingly negative.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    And thanks to my fellow "Treeleaves."
    You're welcome, but it's Treeleafers.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  29. #29

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    You're welcome, but it's Treeleafers.
    Oops... ops: Thanks for the correction!

    Jundo,

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Drop all judgments, drop all goals and need to get someplace else or to be any other way.
    If I could do that I would be teaching! :lol:

    In one of your talks you said that sitting is a perfect and complete act. Then why so many teachings? Why so
    many different views on how to do it? And how can it be perfect? If I am "already there" then why sit? Why the need for instruction and practice? Why practice being what I already am? Maybe I screwed myself up by practicing other techniques of meditation in the past. Maybe I should just "empty the cup." But I want to get this thing. I want to understand this more than I've ever wanted anything in my life. As soon as I think I've got it it slips away, or I am contradicted.

    So...

    Let's say I've never heard of shikantaza or any of this mess. I come to you completely ignorant of all this (NOT FAR FROM THE TRUTH NOW!!!) and ask you to give me instructions in how to practice zazen...what would you say?

    Gassho,
    Greg

  30. #30
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    You're welcome, but it's Treeleafers.
    Oops... ops: Thanks for the correction!
    Hey Greg,

    Although the term has always been Treeleafers (to my knowledge anyway), I was attempting some humor and didn't mean it as a correction. My apologies and I actually think Treeleaves is an interesting way to think of the sangha.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  31. #31

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    In one of your talks you said that sitting is a perfect and complete act. Then why so many teachings? Why so
    many different views on how to do it? And how can it be perfect? If I am "already there" then why sit? Why the need for instruction and practice? Why practice being what I already am?
    Let me quote someone else:

    As I study both the exoteric and the esoteric schools of Buddhism, they maintain that human beings are endowed with Dharma-nature by birth. If this is the case, why did the Buddhas of all ages—undoubtedly in possession of enlightenment—find it necessary to seek enlightenment and engage in spiritual practice?
    That's Dogen, and eventually that question sent him to China.

  32. #32

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop

    In one of your talks you said that sitting is a perfect and complete act. Then why so many teachings? Why so
    many different views on how to do it?
    Many chefs, and many recipes for how to cook a meatloaf.

    And how can it be perfect? If I am "already there" then why sit? Why the need for instruction and practice? Why practice being what I already am?
    Yes, this is the Koan that sent Dogen to China ... If we are all already Buddha ... why the need to practice?

    Or put another way, "if this moment is ever perfectly this moment, if our every action is just perfectly what it is, and if there is not a thing to add or take away from this life and world ... then what does it matter how we act in this moment, or do or don't do in this life and world?" Seemingly, it is all the same, all "perfectly just-what-it-is".

    In a nutshell, Dogen's answer was this: Because what we do with this moment makes all the difference in the world! How we act makes our life.

    Knowing that there is "no place to go, no destination", does not mean that there are not paths in life more conducive than others to a balanced life and Buddhist practice (remember, in Zen practice, we are often seeing things simultaneously from several seemingly contradictory angles ... for example, "no place to go, but good and bad ways to get there" :shock: )

    Simple example ...

    Perhaps a fellow sits down to Zazen for the first time who is a wife-beater, thief and alcoholic. He hears that "all is Buddha just as it is", so thinks that Zen practice says "all is a jewel just as it is, so thus maybe I can simply stay that way, just drink and beat my wife and rob banks". Well, no, because while a thief and wife-beater is just that ... a thief and wife-beater, yet a Buddha nonetheless ... still, someone filled with such anger and greed and empty holes to fill in their psyche is not really "at peace with how things are" (or he would not beat and steal and need to self-medicate). In other words, he takes and craves and acts out anger and frustration because he does not truly understand "peace with this life as it is" ... cause if he did, he would not need to be those violent, punishing ways.

    As well, one simply cannot taste the fruits of Buddhist practice if one is so filled with anger, violence, pain and need that one is violent, abusive, clutching! That is why the Precepts, as guidelines to a balanced and moderate, healthful life, support our practice and make it easier to realize the fruits there. Simply put, someone filled with peace and non-violence and simplicity is more likely to understand the meaning of "peace with this world as it is" than someone who is daily violent and angry. Thus, the Precepts direct us to be the former, not the latter.

    If the angry, violent fellow truly knew "completeness", truly had "no hole in need of filling" everything "complete just as it is" ... well, he simply would not have need to do violence, steal and take drugs to cover his inner pain.

    You see ... kind of a self-fulfilling Catch-22.

    This "goalless sitting", by the way is --not-- merely sitting on our butts, self-satisfied, feeling that we "just have to sit here and we are Buddha". Far from it. It is, instead, too-the-marrow dropping of all need and lack. That is very different. Someone's "just sitting around" doing nothing, going no where, complacent or resigned, giving up, eating one's fill, is not in any way the same as "Just Sitting" practice wherein nothing need be done, with no where that we can go or need go, for all is faced 'head on' and energetically as already whole and complete ... even while we realize that the choices we make in life have consequences, that how we choose to walk the walk in this life, and the directions we choose to go, do make a difference!

    For this reason, through our Zazen practice, we can taste that each second of life is a perfect arriving, there is no place to go or to which we need go. Yet, we have to know that, despite having ever and always arrived, we keep living nonetheless, and how we do that is very important. The choices we make have consequences. So, if someone were to think I am saying, "All you need to do in Zazen is sit down on one's hindquarters, and that's enough ... just twiddle your thumbs in the 'Cosmic Mudra' and you are Buddha" then, respectfully, I believe they do not get my point. But if they understand, "There is absolutely no place to be, where one needs to be or elsewhere where one can be, than on that Zafu in that moment, and that moment itself is all complete, all-encompassing, always at home, the total doing of All Life, Time and Space fully realized" ... they are closer to the flavor. . Then, if they rise up from the Zafu ... sensing that they are "Buddha" ... and then try to act in life a bit more how a Buddha would act, they get the point.


    Zazen seeks no change, needs no change, is complete and whole ... and that realization works a revolutionary change.

    But saying "there is nothing in need of change, we are always whole and completely who we are" ... does not mean that there is not much about us in need of change to allow us to live well! (Zen Masters talk out of both sides of no sided mouth! ) We can live seeing life from both angles... as complete, yet sometimes with much perhaps to repair ... as all paths the same, but with some that lead off a cliff ... at once.

    Does that make sense ... in a Zenny way?


    Gassho, J

  33. #33

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Does that make sense ... in a Zenny way?
    Indeed. Finally, I am speechless. I will put less energy into my mouth (asking asking aksing) and more into my butt (sitting sitting sitting). Thank you Jundo.

    Gassho,
    Greg

    P.S.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    I was attempting some humor and didn't mean it as a correction.
    I got the humor. Thanks for the response. I guess correction was the wrong word. Anyway,
    Treeleaves does sound kinda silly now that I think of it. ops:

  34. #34

    Re: zazen

    I just wanted to thank you all for the wonderful teaching you gave here! It was a pleasure to hear you asking and answering and pointing.

    Gassho,
    Agata

  35. #35

    Re: zazen

    Jundo,

    Just wanted to say thanks for todays talk, Zazen for Beginners (Part XIV).

    It went straight to the heart of what I've been asking about for the past
    week or so. If I may quote...

    "When we experience that we are sitting as the Buddha sitting, as the Buddha sitting,
    the seperation between us and the world vanishes...the anger, the greed, can be
    no more."

    If I ever do get a tattoo...well, I can't think of any finer words to carry around with me
    for the rest of my life. :wink:

    Gassho,
    Greg

    P.S.

    In Not Always So, Shunryu Suzuki quotes Dogen saying, "To have right practice is to have
    a good teacher and to receive right guidance." Just wanted to say again how thankful I am that
    Treeleaf exists. Bows to all.

  36. #36

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    If I ever do get a tattoo...well, I can't think of any finer words to carry around with me
    for the rest of my life. :wink:

    Gassho,
    Greg

    P.S.

    In Not Always So, Shunryu Suzuki quotes Dogen saying, "To have right practice is to have
    a good teacher and to receive right guidance." Just wanted to say again how thankful I am that
    Treeleaf exists. Bows to all.
    Well, don't get a tattoo with my name on it. The honeymoon can't last forever. 8)

  37. #37
    Senior Member Hogo's Avatar
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    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    Well, don't get a tattoo with my name on it. The honeymoon can't last forever. 8)
    :lol: :lol: :lol:

  38. #38
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    If I ever do get a tattoo...well, I can't think of any finer words to carry around with me
    for the rest of my life. :wink:

    Gassho,
    Greg

    P.S.

    In Not Always So, Shunryu Suzuki quotes Dogen saying, "To have right practice is to have
    a good teacher and to receive right guidance." Just wanted to say again how thankful I am that
    Treeleaf exists. Bows to all.
    Well, don't get a tattoo with my name on it. The honeymoon can't last forever. 8)
    That's what big red circles with a diagonal line through them are for...tattoos of former zen teachers and girlfriends named Muffy.

  39. #39

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    If I ever do get a tattoo...well, I can't think of any finer words to carry around with me
    for the rest of my life. :wink:

    Gassho,
    Greg

    P.S.

    In Not Always So, Shunryu Suzuki quotes Dogen saying, "To have right practice is to have
    a good teacher and to receive right guidance." Just wanted to say again how thankful I am that
    Treeleaf exists. Bows to all.
    Well, don't get a tattoo with my name on it. The honeymoon can't last forever. 8)
    That's what big red circles with a diagonal line through them are for...tattoos of former zen teachers and girlfriends named Muffy.

    Everyone knows that the tattoo of the Zen Teacher's name is the death blow of the relationship.

  40. #40

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    Everyone knows that the tattoo of the Zen Teacher's name is the death blow of the relationship.
    I meant the quote, not the name... ops: ops: ops:

    :lol:

  41. #41

    Re: zazen

    A monk asked Chao-chou:
    "Does a dog have Buddha-nature or not?"
    Chao-chou replied: "He does not."

    Sometimes I think of Buddha-nature as a little puppy,
    I may think I have lost it, but it is never far away.



    Attached files

  42. #42

    Re: zazen

    Hi.

    Lengthy article on the story here.
    http://www.everydayzen.org/index.php?It ... ext-135-94

    It appears both in the mumonkan and the book of serenity, slightly different, but same, same...

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  43. #43

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    Hi.

    Lengthy article on the story here.
    http://www.everydayzen.org/index.php?It ... ext-135-94

    It appears both in the mumonkan and the book of serenity, slightly different, but same, same...

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen
    Thanks Fugen!

    This paragraph really spoke to me...

    "We have no Buddha Nature" expresses the tragic side of our lives. Terrible things happen, we cause them or we don't, and we suffer. Why do they happen? Because we have a mind, because we are sentient, expressing, desiring, creatures and we cannot escape this nature. If we were stones or trees no one could murder us or diminish us. Even a great hurricane would not harm us. But since we are human beings with human minds even a cross word can wound our souls. Knowing this is how we are, and through long reflection on our experience finding patience with it, through the suffering and bitterness we feel, we finally come to forgiveness. We forgive ourselves and each other. We forgive the world. We know there is a way to live, a way to make effort for the good, in this world as it really is. We see through our stories and the stories of others, hearing the music in them, without being much annoyed by the noise. We are more willing to be amazed, to listen, to be sympathetic, even to our enemies."


    Gassho,
    Greg

  44. #44

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Yes, Uchiyama Roshi was a "bring your attention back to the posture" guy. Nishijima Roshi is a "focus on keeping the spine straight" fellow...all forms of Shikantaza really.
    At Treeleaf, I recommend open, spacious sitting centered on everything and nothing at all, on all things, and nothing in particular.
    Jundo,

    Since Nishijima was your teacher and you obviously practiced "his way" of zazen for a time at least, at what
    point did you change from this to practicing "your way" of open, spacious sitting? I hope this doesn't come
    across wrong. I am simply curious as to what led you to practicing this way as opposed to the former? I am
    curious about the process of growing to a point of self-trust as opposed to tediously following "rules." I feel
    so nervous at times about doing everything "right" in my practice that I feel like it does more harm than good.
    Anyway, maybe I'm still missing the point. Curious all the same. Thanks.

    Gassho,
    Greg

  45. #45

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Yes, Uchiyama Roshi was a "bring your attention back to the posture" guy. Nishijima Roshi is a "focus on keeping the spine straight" fellow...all forms of Shikantaza really.
    At Treeleaf, I recommend open, spacious sitting centered on everything and nothing at all, on all things, and nothing in particular.
    Jundo,

    Since Nishijima was your teacher and you obviously practiced "his way" of zazen for a time at least, at what
    point did you change from this to practicing "your way" of open, spacious sitting? I hope this doesn't come
    across wrong. I am simply curious as to what led you to practicing this way as opposed to the former? I am
    curious about the process of growing to a point of self-trust as opposed to tediously following "rules." I feel
    so nervous at times about doing everything "right" in my practice that I feel like it does more harm than good.
    Anyway, maybe I'm still missing the point. Curious all the same. Thanks.

    Gassho,
    Greg
    Hi Greg,

    Oh, I still consider that I am practicing in Nishijima Roshi's way, and certainly in keeping with the "Homeless Kodo" Sawaki-Uchiyama Roshi corner of Soto Zen we fall in, and certainly within Soto Zen, Zen, Buddhism ... etc.

    You know, there is something quite close about our Practice and the Practice of learning to be, for example, a classical pianist in a conservatory (I actually have a couple of those in my family). I may play the same black and white keys, and the same 'Bach and Beethoven' as my teacher ... but everyone phrases the music in their way of expression. Same tune, same instrument. Otherwise, Buddhism would have changed not a drop over the centuries (which it did, even though the heart is unchanged)

    I am a guy who grew up in the 70's in America, Nishijima Roshi and Sawaki Roshi in 1930's Japan ... (and, of course, Dogen in the 13th century, and Buddha 2500 years ago in Ancient India) ... so same music, but different ears and voices. I actually have practiced Soto Zen with a few "music teachers" in addition to Nishijima Roshi, and learned from all of them

    (if you want the whole boring "Jundo Story", I post it from time to time) ...
    viewtopic.php?p=27865#p27865

    In the Zen world, it is fine to learn from many teachers ... small children and fools are teachers ... rocks and trees are our teachers ...

    So, yes, Nishijima Roshi emphasizes more placing the mind on keeping the backbone straight, I emphasize focusing the mind on "open, spacious" sitting ... both traditional approaches to Shikantaza (like focusing on the Hara, the breath, etc.), like one pianist holds his hand one way, and another another way, on the keys. Same difference, pros and cons in dropping all thought of "pros and cons" ...

    I hope that someday you learn to play a heck of a piano in your style. In the meantime, keep practicing your scales.

    Let me know if that answers the question.

    Gassho, Jundo

  46. #46
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    ...I recommend open, spacious sitting centered on everything and nothing at all, on all things, and nothing in particular.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    I am curious about the process of growing to a point of self-trust as opposed to tediously following "rules." I feel
    so nervous at times about doing everything "right" in my practice that I feel like it does more harm than good.
    I like Jundo's method. I don't need to count my breaths to focus on my breathing, and I don't need to focus on my breathing to attain spaciousness. There are many who do. Some traditional techniques distract me. I don't like to force anything wasteful inside.

    The first time that you learn something you enjoy, you feel a bit like a master. You only know the basics, but somehow that's all you need. It 'clicks' inside of you. That is like 'no mind.' When we study and methodize, we tend to lose this flow and replace it with calculation.

    Doctrine is only words. Words are just someone's thoughts. The feelings of inspiration that accompanied those thoughts were no different from the same feelings you receive when you awaken to your own Buddha nature.

    [

  47. #47

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia

    I like Jundo's method. I don't need to count my breaths to focus on my breathing, and I don't need to focus on my breathing to attain spaciousness. There are many who do. Some traditional techniques distract me. I don't like to force anything wasteful inside.

    The first time that you learn something you enjoy, you feel a bit like a master. You only know the basics, but somehow that's all you need. It 'clicks' inside of you. That is like 'no mind.' When we study and methodize, we tend to lose this flow and replace it with calculation.

    Doctrine is only words. Words are just someone's thoughts. The feelings of inspiration that accompanied those thoughts were no different from the same feelings you receive when you awaken to your own Buddha nature.

    [
    Very beautiful. Thank you, Amelia. Gassho, Jundo

  48. #48
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Very beautiful. Thank you, Amelia. Gassho, Jundo
    No, thank you. :lol:

    Gassho.

  49. #49

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    I hope that someday you learn to play a heck of a piano in your style. In the meantime, keep practicing your scales.
    Hi Jundo.

    Thanks for answering my question. Again, I hope I didn't come off as rude for asking.
    IN NO WAY did I mean for it to seem like I was questioning your personal practice or
    method of teaching. What the heck do I know? I was speaking more from a viewpoint
    of gaining confidence in one's own practice, something I seem to be having difficulty
    doing. It's as if I want someone to more or less say, "Do this and do that and all will
    turn out perfectly." I know this is immaturity on my part and would probably go away
    if I would just shut up and sit down. Anyway, thanks again. Gassho.


    Quote Originally Posted by Al Coleman
    The incessant feeling of needing to find the object drove me batty and forced me to compare objects as better or worse.
    Hi Al. Your post really spoke to me. I do indeed feel like I'm driving myself "batty." Things
    that were not an issue before I started practicing (right and wrong practice, etc.) have
    become stumbling blocks lately. It's nice to know others have been through this beginning
    period and made it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Al Coleman
    The wonderful thing about the blue sky analogy is that you can never force the clouds to part so that you can see the open blue sky. They will drift apart on their own. If you sit there and simply allow the sky to be what it is, the idea of discriminating any thing in the sky as good or bad starts to become a little ridiculous. The blue sky never went anywhere and there is nothing wrong with clouds(white, gray, or black). Its all the sky and all your life.
    It's insight like that that gives me hope and keeps me sitting. Maybe I'll "get there" one day. Thanks.

    Gassho,
    Greg

  50. #50

    Re: zazen

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    Hi Jundo.

    Thanks for answering my question. Again, I hope I didn't come off as rude for asking.
    IN NO WAY did I mean for it to seem like I was questioning your personal practice or
    method of teaching.
    No, it is good, and you should, ask questions like that.

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