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Thread: Zazen with a smile

  1. #1

    Zazen with a smile

    No, not the slogan of some new sudo-zen fast-food chain

    During zazenkai today I often jolted myself out of my own thoughts, I was caught up in many of them, often so deeply that I wasn't even paying attention to the wall in front of me. Being human, and a bit of perfectionist, I was hard on myself for being like this. Many reprimanding thoughts of how I should be during zazen, more focused, more this, more that. Needless to say I had to wake myself up out of those thoughts too :roll:

    After a few moments of this I took notice of my facial expression: furrowed, tense, serious. So I decided for the rest of the sit to imitate the Buddha, a serene, half smile. It felt much more natural than the expressionless face I was striving for.

    This may remind you of the recent talk about "namby-pamby zen". Well I don't believe it is. A giant toothy grin :mrgreen: may be faking it, but a simple half-smile doesn't say "Everything is AWESOME! WOOHOO ZAZEN!" it says, "I am home, I am ok." So often I find myself being hard on myself for the "quality of my zazen", for not being this way or that. But it is ok to not be this way or that, I am just being simple, deluded, day-dreaming me.

    It has something to do with Dogen's three mind philosophy, Joyful Mind specifically, if we remain joyful even when we are sad or angry, then we are just ok. I also find that maintaining one of these minds, the other two are maintained simultaneously. But anyways, this is my 3 cents on practice and mindset. Thoughts, opinions?

    Gassho and a smile
    Taylor

  2. #2
    Senior Member Hogo's Avatar
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    Re: Zazen with a smile

    Hi Taylor,
    Your post reminded me of this one posted recently by Amelia:
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forum/viewto...n+smile+buddha

    A long time ago I actually played with a little half smile during my long stressful days at work, or when something was bugging me, at first it seemed almost silly and a bit fake, but the act seemed to influence the emotion a bit, and for me did have a clear calming effect.
    I have no idea why, but it works.
    *edit* Jundo explains it well in the above linked post.
    Gassho ~ Dave.

  3. #3

    Re: Zazen with a smile

    AH! Well yes that does cover all the bases, almost word for word sometimes :P Gasshooooooooooooooo

  4. #4

    Re: Zazen with a smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor
    During zazenkai today I often jolted myself out of my own thoughts, I was caught up in many of them, often so deeply that I wasn't even paying attention to the wall in front of me. Being human, and a bit of perfectionist, I was hard on myself for being like this. Many reprimanding thoughts of how I should be during zazen, more focused, more this, more that. Needless to say I had to wake myself up out of those thoughts too
    I like your post.
    I have to ask myself often, "What's wrong with thinking?"
    "Isn't that what a healthy brain is supposed to do?"
    Then I hear a voice somewhere in the back of my mind...
    "Everyday Mind is BuddhaMind..."
    All I can do is sit...
    Accept...
    Open...
    Be...

    gassho
    Greg

  5. #5

    Re: Zazen with a smile

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    All I can do is sit...
    Accept...
    Open...
    Be...
    "Wash the dishes,
    Love your wife,
    Eat your cornflakes,
    ... and also sit"

    You seem very thoughtful these times my friend Greg!
    Sitting is a beautifull gate but it can't be separated from the rest of life... same thinking and non-thinking by the way.
    How many patriarchs had a "satori experience" when just looking to a plum tree, drinking tea, or hitting a stone with his foot? Satori is not our goal (wich goal really?) but, the attitude of "wide openness" in zazen is also possible, and sometimes easier, when one is washing dishes or shaving... by doing nothing more than "just" washing dishes or shaving.
    Well, don't "take me wrong", I'm also saying this for me (Also too thoughful these times) :lol:

    Nice post by the way, thank you Taylor!
    gassho,
    Jinyu

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