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Thread: Zafu

  1. #1

    Zafu

    I have never used a zafu before. I am 5'9 and about 220lbs. Not the most flexible, but willing to cahange that. I had been using a stack of regular pillows for sitting, but they are very unstable and have led to some back pain. I was wondering if anyone has any information on size, filling contents, and if a zabuton is worth purchasing. Where do people generally buy these? Are there good dealers who you've done buisness with before?
    Novice inside.

    Gassho,

    Jonathan

  2. #2
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: Zafu

    If I remember right i just got mine from the zafu store. Biggg difference between that and pillows/folded blankets. I did not purchase a zabuton tho. As i understand it the stuffing is really a matter of personal preferrence. Which kinda irk'ed me when i was asking the same question a lil over a year ago. Most of the random websites i looked at seemed to have somehwere on the site recommendations as far as height. i don't believe the weight matters. And most of this info was in the product description so no digging.

  3. #3

    Re: Zafu

    I got mine for a gift, but the contents are buckwheat hulls so the support is awesome. Before I was using a round pillow / cushion /thing and the difference is amazing. We paid around $50.00 US for it online.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: Zafu

    Is it the sag in a pillow or blanket that cause the lack of support? Do zafus sag at all over time?

  5. #5

    Re: Zafu

    If you get a buckwheat hull-filled zafu, you should do well. I can relate to back problems! --but I find the buckwheat zafu gives wonderful support. It is firm, but not hard. Actually I was quite surprised at how good it really felt-- it makes a huge difference! Sometimes I will do my reading while sitting on the zafu as well. I bought mine on Amazon a few months back for about $50 (the company was ZafuStore).

    () josh

  6. #6

    Re: Zafu

    I'm actually thinking about splurging on a 'Tibetan Mountain Seat'. Does anyone have experience with this one? I have one of foam, and one with seeds or something in them, and both just are too low for me. I think i want more height. But, thinking causes it's own problems, so i should probably just watch the thoughts and let them go. :wink:

    ann

  7. #7

    Re: Zafu

    Jonathan,

    I've used a number of zafu - single, double stacked, single with extra cushion and a few home-made seiza benches over the past but I currently use, and like the most, a crescent shaped zafu. It retains its lift with over 200 pounds on it and the front "sides" of the crescent provide some leg support in burmese for comfort. Unfortunately it doesn't have a tag inside with a brand name and it's probably a good ten years old now. Anyway, I've found the basic shape pretty useful.

    Gassho,
    Tainin

  8. #8

    Re: Zafu

    :idea: How do you guys feel about making your own? Have any tried? The crescent zafu might fit my body type better than the round. Does anyone have or know of a pattern for this?

  9. #9

    Re: Zafu

    Here's one idea for making your own crescent:

    http://www.ehow.com/how_7689006_make-cr ... -zafu.html

    Ann

  10. #10
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: Zafu

    Quote Originally Posted by chessie
    Here's one idea for making your own crescent:

    http://www.ehow.com/how_7689006_make-cr ... -zafu.html
    Thanks!

  11. #11
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: Zafu

    Amelia, a zafu will sag some when sitting, you usally fluff it like a pillow before and after. Given time they will wear out, but many can just be restuffed. Some of the stores that carry zafus carry both the buckwheat and kapok to be able to do so.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: Zafu

    Quote Originally Posted by Shonin
    Amelia, a zafu will sag some when sitting, you usally fluff it like a pillow before and after. Given time they will wear out, but many can just be restuffed. Some of the stores that carry zafus carry both the buckwheat and kapok to be able to do so.
    Thanks. I was just watching the "Ho Ho Ho" Zazenkai and noticed a lady fluffing up her zafu. Nice that those stores carry refills. I think the metaphysical shop near my house used to have that, but they went out of business not too long ago...

    Making my own is really starting to be the way I think I'm going to do it, unless the universe slams me into nicely priced one while I am out shopping one of these days.

  13. #13

    Re: Zafu

    Hi there;

    I'm somewhat heavier than you (240 lbs) and have used a zafu and zabuton for sometime, but I have found that using a meditation bench is easier on the joints than a cushion; my legs don't fall asleep, and keeping my posture is easier. Hope this helps!

    -Jim

  14. #14
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: Zafu

    I think with shipping from the zafustore mine was around $90. I had to get the big boy size. Maybe just order the buckwheat or kapok online. Do the rest yourself. Plus once ya made one it'll be easier to size it more personally.

  15. #15

    Re: Zafu

    The Sanshin Zen Community, (Rev. Shohaku Okumura's group) sells them, and they could really use the patronage as their donations have ben gut down by about 50% due to the economy. http://sanshinji.org/cushions/ A little more pricey than you may find elseware on line, but for a noble cause.

  16. #16

    Re: Zafu

    Hi everyone!

    I'll just throw my two cents (does that mean something? :lol: )...
    For sure, I'll get a better, nicer, easier, ... zafu if you buy it. It can help some dharma groups and can also be part of a kind of "Dana", and encouraging our fellows from other Sanghas is always a great thing.

    But, there are so much advices and "how to" on how to sew a zafu on the Internet, that you may think about sewing your own!
    It is not difficult, it doesn't really take a long time, and it is quite fun! And sewing is so rewarding, when you look at it, sewing a zafu is sewing the Buddha's seat! What an opportunity!
    And when you are done, you can sit on it and drop all conceptions about it (is it the right color, size, ...) :mrgreen:

    At the end the most important is keeping our butts on the cushion everyday! No matter if we buy it or made it!

    gassho,
    Jinyu

  17. #17

    Re: Zafu

    Thank you all for ideas and encouragement! I have decided to make one. Already made the pattern and cut the pieces. I think I even have enough fabric left over to make a zabuton! This will be a challenge. I've never hand sewn anything.

  18. #18
    Senior Member murasaki's Avatar
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    Re: Zafu

    Make sure the height of the zafu is right for you. I kept thinking I should do like everyone else, and sit on a high, tightly stuffed one perched on a zabuton -- but my legs fell asleep horribly every time. At home, I was using one of those stuffed chairbacks turned on its back, to the same effect.

    Once I just grabbed a folded blanket and sat on the edge, because I was tired of the chairback thingy. No pins and needles that time until much later, and they were less severe. The lower seat allowed the circulation to flow longer. Since then, my zafu has been my favorite blanket, folded up.

    Perhaps one day when I have cash to spend on it, I'll get a zabuton by itself -- the height seems about the same.

    gassho
    Julia

  19. #19

    Re: Zafu

    i'm a big fan of the buckwheat zafu. I sit seiza on a zabuton and lay the zafu on its end. the buckwheat holds its form really well.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: Zafu

    All this zafu talk has got me in the mood to sit.

    :wink:

  21. #21

    Re: Zafu

    I guess it comes down to being open to the process of change and discovery. That openness is light and I find it really exciting!

  22. #22
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: Zafu

    I get what you're saying. But i think it's more about being open to the idea of, because none of us really know what we're getting into until one day on the cushion (or not) it hits us the face like a pimp trying to get his money.

  23. #23

    Re: Zafu

    I got a kapok zafu from dharmafield.org. Like you, I'm not at all flexible and also have a knee problem in one leg and an addled ankle in the other! I use a zabuton and a support cushion in between it and the zafu. Usually I sit half lotus (alternating legs) and sometimes burmese, and this setup works fine for me. They do take some breaking in. It is a bit of a risk to buy one since they're not cheap... It took me several weeks of regular sitting and stretching to be able to sit comfortably, but definitely better than the stack of pillows I was using previously!

  24. #24
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Zafu

    Matto mentioned getting his zafu from Dharma Field. I know them well as they are in here in Minnesota. They are hand made by sangha members and have a 30 day unconditional guarantee (minus shipping)!! So how can you go wrong? Concidering what an important part sitting is to our practice it's worth it to have a nice seat for the countless hours that will be spent sitting on it.
    As for what filling to go with. Curently I use a buckwheat zafu at home but have also sat on the cotton filled at Green Gulch in California. Either one works well for me to sit half lotus on but I'm small framed and only weigh 135lbs.

    Gassho
    John

  25. #25
    Friends of Treeleaf Dokan's Avatar
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    Re: Zafu

    Should you be so motivated, you can also sew your own zafu!

    There are some instructions on such a practice in Kosho Uchiyama's book Opening the Hand of Thought.

    PS - It's a great book as well to read so you get two benefits in one purchase!

    Gassho,

    Shawn

  26. #26

    Re: Zafu

    Quote Originally Posted by mcurtiss
    i'm a big fan of the buckwheat zafu. I sit seiza on a zabuton and lay the zafu on its end. the buckwheat holds its form really well.
    Still a fan, but during Ango, in my extended sits, the buckwheat has not been as supportive as I'd like. As I've mentioned elsewhere, my legs don't do well in Burmese, so I sit seiza on a zafu turned on its sides. Seems to elevate the hips to a position where I'm pretty steady. As the buckwheat spreads out, my bum lowers to the ground, so to speak and I have to shift back up.

    Not having ever used a kapok zafu, I'm wondering if it would cure some of these "issues" since from what I've read, its a little more firm.

  27. #27

    Re: Zafu

    Not really, in my experience its even worse for what you intend it to use for. Why dont you go with a bench ?
    _()_
    Peter

  28. #28

    Re: Zafu

    mainly because I've never tried one and that it doesn't seem as portable (though a zafu takes up space as well) though that seems to be the way I'll be going.

  29. #29

    Re: Zafu

    another idea, which may be cheaper is to get some extra buckwheat hulls. hmmm....decisions decisions.

  30. #30
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: Zafu

    Here is a link for building your own seiza bench. (It's been posted several times before - one of the measurements is off) I built one out of scraps of wood from my garage and have been using it for a couple of years.

    http://www.michiganbuddhist.com/seiza/

    Ron

  31. #31
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    Re: Zafu

    I used the Michigan Buddhist instructions as well to make one for my shakuhachi playing. It was pretty easy and came out nicely:



    Only thing to note is that one of their measurements seems off. The legs they have listed as being 14.5 but in reality are only 13 (5.75 + 7.25).

    Good luck!

  32. #32
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Zafu

    Mine's not nearly as pretty as Shawn's! (But it works) :-)

    Ron

  33. #33

    Re: Zafu

    Wow Shawn, that looks sweet!

  34. #34
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: Zafu

    I've been itching to try a seiza bench for some weeks now. I think I have enough scrap wood around... 8) Easier for me to build than a zafu at this time...

  35. #35
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    Re: Re: Zafu

    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia
    I've been itching to try a seiza bench for some weeks now. I think I have enough scrap wood around... 8) Easier for me to build than a zafu at this time...
    Yeah was basically a 2x8 piece of wood with six screws and some wood glue. Spent most of the time sanding and staining. I also sewed a thin cushion for the top.

    Really like the body position for playing.

    Gassho and thanks!

    S

    Sent from my SGH-I897 using Tapatalk

  36. #36
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: Zafu

    A guilty pleasure of mine is sitting with no cushion. My body loves it. I feel sturdy, straight and still this way. Many advise finding "the sweet spot". My sweet spot is no cushion, lotus, half lotus or Burmese. I think I could sit for a long time on any surface with just my butt... but the moment I bring a zafu into things, it gets complicated for me.

  37. #37
    Senior Member murasaki's Avatar
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    Re: Zafu

    Amelia, I'm the same way, almost. Zafu are always way too high, and my legs seem to fall asleep worse than other ways I sit.

    I usually sit on a folded blanket, just flat on it. Cushioning, but no hip elevation. It might not be as good for my back, but I really can't stand how badly my legs fall asleep. I can never get up and do kinhin along with everyone afterwards, when I am in a group sit.

    Maybe I just have bad circulation, but I am convinced something about the cushion makes it worse; maybe it presses on a certain point, I don't know. Do you have this problem, is that why you like to sit flat?

  38. #38
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: Zafu

    Doesn't matter what you sit on as long as you make a tripod of tail bone, left and right knees with the straight spine at a right angle to the floor; perhaps even more importantly, hold a nice round mudra with thumbs slightly touching to remind yourself of the wholeness

  39. #39

    Re: Zafu

    How does the person with no arms or legs sit zazen?

  40. #40
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: Zafu

    Quote Originally Posted by murasaki
    Amelia, I'm the same way, almost. Zafu are always way too high, and my legs seem to fall asleep worse than other ways I sit.

    I usually sit on a folded blanket, just flat on it. Cushioning, but no hip elevation. It might not be as good for my back, but I really can't stand how badly my legs fall asleep. I can never get up and do kinhin along with everyone afterwards, when I am in a group sit.

    Maybe I just have bad circulation, but I am convinced something about the cushion makes it worse; maybe it presses on a certain point, I don't know. Do you have this problem, is that why you like to sit flat?
    Sometimes, I do have that problem, and it does happen more often when I'm elevated. Mostly, I like to sit flat because it seems to make it so I have to put less effort into sitting up straight, even though my knees are elevated as opposed to anchored on the ground. I am practicing more with cushions, though, just to make a practice out of the resisting it, and to see if I eventually get used to it. That's why I want to try a bench, maybe it will solve my problem.

  41. #41

    Re: Zafu

    Thanks to this topic -- and to rewatching Taigu's excellent video on the subject -- I tried tweaking my zafu arrangement for my 200 lb/6 foot 1 inch form, turning the buckwheat zafu I have on its side. It is an immediately apparent improvement: since doing it I've maintained my half-lotus with no discomfort or fidgeting for a good 20-30 minutes. That'll change, no doubt, but the little tweak has really helped.

    I also purchased a zabuton to replace a small cushion I had been using, and ordered a "jumbo" one just in case. Good thing: I clearly need the entire expanse of the zabuton.

    Gassho, everyone!

  42. #42

    Re: Zafu

    I think I found my "one ring to rule them all" cushion

    The Seifu!!!!






    100 beans, though. gotta put it on my list.

  43. #43
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: Zafu

    Awesome beauty; I think it's going on my list tooo :lol:

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