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Thread: Sit-a-Long with Jundo: Zazen for Beginners (Part XXIV)

  1. #1

    Sit-a-Long with Jundo: Zazen for Beginners (Part XXIV)

    — Final Exam

    Jundo and Taigu’s series on Zazen for Beginners — for, we are all always beginners — concludes today, although truly never ending, never beginning.

    The most important thing to take with you, in this “race to nowhere but here,” is to keep on sitting. And though this practice is beyond all thought of time and space, give it time! Already, a few beginner folks have written me to express disappointment at not yet seeing the expected inner peace, wisdom and harmony that they thought comes within a few days from Zazen practice. Keep on sitting, give it some time!

    Zazen is not that different from many skills in that way
    , such as learning to play the piano, speak a new language. So, some frustration is to be expected, and is even part of the process as the little “self” resists being put “out of a job”… for the self resists dropping resistance, does not like to give up its likes and dislikes, selfishly fights losing its selfishness, does not know how to truly be still without need to keep moving. “Enlightenment” is neither sudden nor gradual, and thus is a lifetime practice. Things take time… do not happen overnight… and need to become a natural part of the body-mind.

    The “harmony and balance” of Zazen greatly derives from learning to accept the moment with all the body-and-mind, being “at one” with what is as we drop demands and resistance to changing circumstances, thus going with the flow and being just the very flowing itself, finding stillness even as and through the motion of life, dropping desires and demands for how the frustrated “me/myself/I”‘ self wants things to “should be” vs. “life just as we find life”. Yes, if you are having difficulty to sit still, and to drop demands and judgments of “how things should be”… it is because the self resists.

    However, although there is no where to go in this practice, “nothing to attain,” we do get better at it with constant practice!

    As I have been heard to say many times, there is no way to do Zazen “wrong“ — even when you are doing it completely “wrong.” That does not mean, though, that there is not a “right” and “wrong” way to “do” it!!



    So, how does one know when one is doing it right!?! The following is the closest I can make to a litmus test for someone’s Practice:

    Allowing things to just be the way they are, not judging, not resisting, being with the flow, allowing “happy” days to be happy and “sad” days to be sad, all while dropping all idea of “happy” and “sad,” whether really enjoying or really not enjoying… fully dropping away any and all thought of doing Zazen “right” or “wrong”… THIS IS DOING IT RIGHT. And when you are doing it right, it will usually feel like you are doing it right, for there is no resistance, and a great sense of balance.

    Fighting things, wishing things were some other way that how they are, judging, resisting, going against the grain and the flow, wishing sad days were happy or happy days were happier… filled with a sense of self bumping up against all the other “selfs,” with a mind held by thoughts of doing Zazen right or doing it wrong… THIS IS DOING ZAZEN WRONG. And when you are doing it wrong, it will usually feel like you are doing it wrong, for there is resistance, and a sense of imbalance.

    But as well, even at those times when Zazen feels wrong, when there is resistance or imbalance… it is still right, still Zazen, still just what it is. IT CANNOT BE WRONG. This last point is vital to understanding.

    So, we have to work very diligently to sit every day, and strive with great effort, all to realize that there is nothing to attain… It is the way of effortless effort. We must aim carefully for the goalless goal!

    Being the “Buddha” all along, and having not a thing about you that is in need of change… that does not mean you don’t have some work to do to realize truly that you are the Buddha without need of change. To realize that you are never, from the outset, in need of change is a TREMENDOUS CHANGE! There is absolutely nothing about you and the universe (not two!) to add or take away, and tasting that there is “nothing to add” is an important addition!

    AND HOW DOES ONE REALIZE THAT NON-REALIZATION?

    By Just Sitting to-the-marrow, radically dropping all goals, judgments, attempts to get somewhere or to achieve some realization. That gets you somewhere… a REVOLUTIONARY REALIZATION! A REVOLUTION IN LIFE!

    CLICK HERE for today’s Sit-A-Long video.



    Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 15 to 35 minutes is recommended.
    Last edited by Jundo; 02-03-2013 at 12:42 AM.

  2. #2

    Re: Sit-a-Long with Jundo: Zazen for Beginners (Part XXIV)

    Hello Jundo and Taigu, and thank you for a very helpful and informative series of rudimentary review and introduction. In this last video, you mention that these talks are meant to be studied in conjunction with the blog at Shamhala SunSpace, but I was wondering if this was still the case seeing as this video was originally authored over two years ago.

    Thank you again.
    -Lou

  3. #3

    Re: Sit-a-Long with Jundo: Zazen for Beginners (Part XXIV)

    Quote Originally Posted by mr.Lou
    In this last video, you mention that these talks are meant to be studied in conjunction with the blog at Shamhala SunSpace, but I was wondering if this was still the case seeing as this video was originally authored over two years ago.

    Thank you again.
    -Lou
    Hi Lou,

    The blog is archived and published now here in our forum, with a second copy over at SweepingZen.com.

    The Shambhala Sun folks were very nice, but they began to place restrictions on what Taigu and I could say in order to please their pan-Buddhist readership, and also on the style of our presentation in order to make it glossier (to sell magazines, I suppose). So, we came back here where we have freedom to say and teach as we feel we need to say and teach.

    Gassho, Jundo

  4. #4

    The expectation of quick results through zazen

    Had to laugh over Jundo's statement that "a few beginner folks have written me to express disappointment at not yet seeing the expected inner peace, wisdom and harmony that they thought comes within a few days from Zazen practice." I have been meditating zazen-style for a number of years. I am not laughing at these beginners, but in thinking about Jundo's statement in conjunction with the fact that I recently went through a three-month period of instense tension, low energy, and negativity, followed by a deeper realization of a conflict in my life and its resolution ("the seeing of it is the ending of it," as Krishnamurti says).

    Krishnamurti claims that society conditions us to avoid our conflicts and to avoid self-knowledge, instead concentrating on some ideal it has inculcated.

    Then, when we start practicing a meditation like zazen, we are suddenly faced with all the conflict and fear we have suppressed. The result is that we often feel worse, not better.

    Truly, to free one's self from all conditioning is a great work, a work we may not fully accomplish even in a lifetime, but it is the only way to live. Slowly and almost imperceptably, we become less conditioned and more alive and responsive. The alternative is to become more conditioned and less alive and responsive day by day.

    Gassho,
    Dave

  5. #5
    Senior Member Nameless's Avatar
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    Thank you very much Jundo and Taigu for all of this knowledge that you've given us. I just reached the end of your talks for beginners (we're all beginners) and I'm thrilled with what I've learned. Although still new to the practice, I feel like I've returned home even though I never really left, and I will make Zazen a part of my life on and off of my zafu without end.

    Gassho,
    John

  6. #6
    Junior Member Rick's Avatar
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    Jundo and Taigu,
    Thank you very much for these videos. Since joining Treeleaf, I have studied one video each day and have sat for 15 - 30 minutes (usually 20 or 30) each day. I haven't missed any days. I am so glad I found this place. I can already see that it is really going to help me sit consistently.
    Gassho,
    Rick

  7. #7
    Senior Member Troy's Avatar
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    Hi everyone! I join the sangha a couple weeks ago. Glad to be here! Prior to joining, I had been practicing breath/mantra meditation for about two years, and I really enjoyed it. When I joined, I had never heard of Shikatanza meditation before. I read through the beginning posts and I will admit they made no sense at first. The goal of no-goal? There is no wrong way of doing it? But there is a wrong way? What? I tried to figure it out, but was still confused. So, I just tried it without worrying about how to do it. Eventually, little by little, it started to make more sense. My advice to beginners (and I am beginner and will always be a beginner), is just do it and try not to analyze it too much like I did. What Jundo said in this post is true, you will know when you "get it". You will also know there is much more to get as you progress in the practice. Kinda like a flower slowly opening its pedals. Meditate every day, even if it is only for a short time. Consistency really pays off.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk - now Free

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Troy View Post
    Hi everyone! I join the sangha a couple weeks ago. Glad to be here! Prior to joining, I had been practicing breath/mantra meditation for about two years, and I really enjoyed it. When I joined, I had never heard of Shikatanza meditation before. I read through the beginning posts and I will admit they made no sense at first. The goal of no-goal? There is no wrong way of doing it? But there is a wrong way? What? I tried to figure it out, but was still confused. So, I just tried it without worrying about how to do it. Eventually, little by little, it started to make more sense. My advice to beginners (and I am beginner and will always be a beginner), is just do it and try not to analyze it too much like I did. What Jundo said in this post is true, you will know when you "get it". You will also know there is much more to get as you progress in the practice. Kinda like a flower slowly opening its pedals. Meditate every day, even if it is only for a short time. Consistency really pays off.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk - now Free
    Thanks Troy. I feel that about sums it up!

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    Hello Jundo and Taigu,

    I finished the series of talks for new folks this evening. My life has been a winding road to this path and I have greatly enjoyed this series. Many of these concepts have come through other ways, which means to me that "truth is truth" and there are many paths. It seems that I was born a seeker and have added to and discarded "this and that". Although I have studied buddhism, to greater and lesser degrees, I must say this series has helped to fill in some of what I was not getting, mostly Humor! Not taking oneself too seriously Also it also is a bonus that you are both easy on the eyes I look forward to being a part of this sangha!

    Gassho,
    Ellen

  10. #10
    Senior Member Troy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Thanks Troy. I feel that about sums it up!

    Gassho, Jundo
    Thanks Jundo😀


    Metta, Troy

  11. #11
    Senior Member Heion's Avatar
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    Jundo,
    This is exactly what I needed to hear after a break from formal zazen sitting. I feel that it is very important to remind yourself of this. Just one question: should I really be concerned with the technical aspects of Buddhism (such as attending many of the talks you give, I don't yet have a cam, and Zazenkai, every other talk on here )? I took some time off because I wanted to live as if I was not bound by anything, I shall now try encompassing the boundless bounds of 20 minutes of Zazen sitting a day in my life.

    gassho,
    Alex

  12. #12
    Jundo and Taigu,

    Thank you so much for all of these videos. Both of you are really incredible teachers and have a knack for providing insight and articulating things that appear inexplicable (although there are things that simply are inexplicable). As someone who has only been practicing Zazen for a few weeks, these videos have helped me embrace the practice, absorb many enlightening ideas and teachings, and motivate me to stay on the course. I also want to share an experience that happened to me yesterday while Sitting.

    As a person with a long history of obsessive, compulsive, addictive tendencies, it has been a constant struggle for me to still the mind and body (as they are one as I am learning) not only during Zazen but in life as a whole (also one and the same I now see). Often times I get caught up in tangential thinking where a simple thought turns into a long diatribe of who-knows-what. Additionally, when I find myself participating in this, I have a habit of then beating myself up with self-defeating thoughts, feelings, behaviors, etc. It's kind of a pendulum of over-thinking, then getting down on myself for over-thinking, and the cycle continues.

    Anyway, yesterday, about 5-10 minutes into my Sitting I had a pretty strong itch on my nose. I have come to learn that the body and mind really do act as one and reflect one another, as this usually happens when I'm getting mentally antsy - my body will manifest it with an itch or a mild pain or something like that. So at first I was going to itch it with my hand and disrupt the stillness of my Sitting. While this probably would not have been the end of the world, something that I have been working towards since I started Sitting was not giving in to miniscule itches, annoyances, and so forth. So I didn't itch my nose, but instead I found myself harshly and intensely not itching it, with continuous demanding thoughts, "DON'T ITCH IT DON'T ITCH IT DON'T ITCH IT," over and over. I was then able to metaphorically take a step back, and observe this destructive tug-of-war going on in my head. By doing so, I inherently came to the conclusion that I do not need to itch it, and I also do not need to not-itch it. This made me aware of a lot of the topics in these videos, especially the tenet of thinking non-thinking, realizing non-realization, and others. Perhaps, by letting go and trying to unconditionally accept the moment, I was obviously not itching my nose as I did not raise my fingers to my face, I was also itching it at the same time by letting the itch be and die a natural death, and doing neither at the same time. Does that make any sense? Does it even need to make sense?

    While I feel a little silly writing so much about a little itch on my nose, I do believe that the "itch" is a very powerful metaphor in many ways within the human experience. Thanks again!

    Gassho,
    Sean
    Last edited by atropis88; 02-07-2014 at 05:58 PM.

  13. #13
    Hi Sean,

    See how that goes. Sounds good. Seems like it non-scratches the non-itch!

    We have a couple of threads that may interest you, one a recent discussion of overthinking during Zazen ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...l=1#post121411

    ... and one an older thread of general advice on when to scratch, not scratch, run from the earthquakes, sit through the earthquakes ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-move-when-not

    Hang in there!

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    Senior Member Jakudo's Avatar
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    Wonderful stuff this is!

    Sent from my GT-N8010 using Tapatalk
    Gassho, Shawn Jakudo Hinton
    It all begins when we say, “I”. Everything that follows is illusion.
    "Even to speak the word Buddha is dragging in the mud soaking wet; Even to say the word Zen is a total embarrassment."
    寂道

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Lou,

    The blog is archived and published now here in our forum, with a second copy over at SweepingZen.com.

    The Shambhala Sun folks were very nice, but they began to place restrictions on what Taigu and I could say in order to please their pan-Buddhist readership, and also on the style of our presentation in order to make it glossier (to sell magazines, I suppose). So, we came back here where we have freedom to say and teach as we feel we need to say and teach.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Hi Jundo,

    The blog you are talking about, where can I find it? I am unable to find a forum for blogs... (#23 was cut off after 30 sec.)


  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas View Post
    Hi Jundo,

    The blog you are talking about, where can I find it? I am unable to find a forum for blogs... (#23 was cut off after 30 sec.)
    Hi Thomas,

    I believe this is what we meant by the old "blog" ... all the stuff in here ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forum...by-JUNDO-TAIGU

    As to 23 ... do not be disturbed! As it says there ...

    Following is our sitting today, in downtown Tokyo. Unfortunately, the broadcast signal cut out after only 30 seconds (just another disturbance of life that we sit with). So, the talk and starting bells are gone. However, what I wrote above is pretty much the point, and you can join me sitting with some such disturbance-non-disturbance in your own life.
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...8Part-XXIII%29

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Thomas,

    I believe this is what we meant by the old "blog" ... all the stuff in here ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forum...by-JUNDO-TAIGU

    As to 23 ... do not be disturbed! As it says there ...



    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...8Part-XXIII%29

    Gassho, Jundo
    Gassho, Thomas


  18. #18
    So far all my travels reading "religious" stuff online trying to see where I fit in. I find these videos are simple and really hit the "nail on the head"
    .
    like that.. Thanks

  19. #19
    The first time I ever meditated I had horrible things come up in my mind.. I cried.. then I laughed. Seems everything came to the surface.. When I went within and started cleaning house all the monsters came out of my closet I think..

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Marj View Post
    The first time I ever meditated I had horrible things come up in my mind.. I cried.. then I laughed. Seems everything came to the surface.. When I went within and started cleaning house all the monsters came out of my closet I think..
    Perhaps a vital part of our Practice is to recognize all the stuff in our heads as kind of a movie ... but it is a movie which is our life. Then, we can learn to let some of the movie be, let some of it go ... not buy into the bad parts, fast forward through other parts, pause here and there, nurture the good parts. Grab some popcorn, and enjoy the whole film.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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