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Thread: Public Sitting

  1. #1

    Public Sitting

    Ok, I think Alan is right, on a number of things. I should simply act. So here's what I'm going to do. I am going to start a public sitting project, starting in the Spring time frame. If anyone wants to join me, then please PM me or email me or leave a message here in this thread. If I don't have anyone who wants to sit, then I will pick a cause and I will develope a flier that talks about the cause and what people can do to help. I will not collect any money. I will send it to Jundo and Taigu for approval, and for whether or not they want Treeleaf listed anywhere on it, but either way, I'd like their opinion.

    If people do want to join me, then we'll all discuss these things, assign tasks to those with the time, means, and talent to complete, and one the designated day or days, we will sit. Any other particulars can be worked out with those who wish to participate, and if you don't want to sit, I'd still like any opinions on materials we use, dates or locations we choose, help in researching to make sure charities and organizations we list won't rob the people who contribute money to them blind, etc.

    I will post a date that I will sit, or if there are others, a schedule of when we will sit, and generally keep the sangha updated on what happens with the project.

    This is, of course, all pending Jundo and Taigu's approval.

  2. #2

    Re: Public Sitting

    Hi everyone!
    Sounds great!
    But can you explain what you have exactly in mind? ... I can't really understand how it works :roll:

    thanks for sharing!

    gassho,
    Jinyu

  3. #3

    Re: Public Sitting

    Hello Chris,

    I would be more than happy to offer my services in whatever capacity you deem necessary.

    Metta,

    Perry

  4. #4

    Re: Public Sitting

    Hiyas
    Interesting Idea Christopher, glad your making making a commitment!

    If you do not mind, Fugen and I were just reading this while meeting and we would like to humbly offer a suggestion.
    It would be good to get organized and get people together, working as a group (many hands, right?) and moving forward our suggestion is this:

    Rather than pm how about keeping things in the open, by posting in this thread (maybe as a sticky thread or even as its own sub forum?). This way as new folks (and old) to Treeleaf come to Treeleaf, they will see and have the opportunity to join and have the information needed to make take the leap with you. Hope that makes sense?

    Gassho & Mtfbwy
    Shohei & Fugen

  5. #5

    Re: Public Sitting

    Quote Originally Posted by Shohei
    Hiyas
    Interesting Idea Christopher, glad your making making a commitment!

    If you do not mind, Fugen and I were just reading this while meeting and we would like to humbly offer a suggestion.
    It would be good to get organized and get people together, working as a group (many hands, right?) and moving forward our suggestion is this:

    Rather than pm how about keeping things in the open, by posting in this thread (maybe as a sticky thread or even as its own sub forum?). This way as new folks (and old) to Treeleaf come to Treeleaf, they will see and have the opportunity to join and have the information needed to make take the leap with you. Hope that makes sense?

    Gassho & Mtfbwy
    Shohei & Fugen
    Well, I had tried to do that in the Socially Engaged Buddhism thread, and there seemed to be some push back. As to keeping it in the open, I'm all for it and I'd love to have this as a sticky thread (ummm, maybe you could help me out with that, don't know how it's done).

    As to the details, I will see how many folks "sign up" by the 21st. That should be enough time for a preliminary group of people. Then we can decide what we are going to sit for, what days we will sit (weather depending, not every one is in the same season at the same time). We can come up with an informative flier about the cause we are sitting for, group approve it, Jundo and Taigu approve it and off we go. We'll post results and pics.

    Sound good so far?

  6. #6
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Public Sitting

    Quote Originally Posted by Shohei
    Hiyas
    Interesting Idea Christopher, glad your making making a commitment!

    If you do not mind, Fugen and I were just reading this while meeting and we would like to humbly offer a suggestion.
    It would be good to get organized and get people together, working as a group (many hands, right?) and moving forward our suggestion is this:

    Rather than pm how about keeping things in the open, by posting in this thread (maybe as a sticky thread or even as its own sub forum?). This way as new folks (and old) to Treeleaf come to Treeleaf, they will see and have the opportunity to join and have the information needed to make take the leap with you. Hope that makes sense?

    Gassho & Mtfbwy
    Shohei & Fugen
    We had a socially engaged Buddhism thread that evolved into this public sitting thread, and the herding cats thread has evolved into another activity idea thread. So, what about having a whole new forum for socially engaged Buddhist activities? On the good side, it might be a place where people can post their ideas and recruit people to those activities. On the bad side, it might become an exercise in ego gratification. I don't know, so I am just throwing it out there.

  7. #7

    Re: Public Sitting

    Here is a link to how one group approaches public sitting, and some guidelines. Of course, as previously mentioned, this should have input from Jundo and Taigu.

    http://clearmindzen.org/streetzen.html

    Gassho,

    Ann

  8. #8
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: Public Sitting

    Here is link to another example of public sitting;
    http://buddhismnow.wordpress.com/201...hur-braverman/
    I'm not sure how this would stack up in the west but....

    Gassho

    Heisoku

  9. #9

    Re: Public Sitting

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    Quote Originally Posted by Shohei
    Hiyas
    Interesting Idea Christopher, glad your making making a commitment!

    If you do not mind, Fugen and I were just reading this while meeting and we would like to humbly offer a suggestion.
    It would be good to get organized and get people together, working as a group (many hands, right?) and moving forward our suggestion is this:

    Rather than pm how about keeping things in the open, by posting in this thread (maybe as a sticky thread or even as its own sub forum?). This way as new folks (and old) to Treeleaf come to Treeleaf, they will see and have the opportunity to join and have the information needed to make take the leap with you. Hope that makes sense?

    Gassho & Mtfbwy
    Shohei & Fugen
    We had a socially engaged Buddhism thread that evolved into this public sitting thread, and the herding cats thread has evolved into another activity idea thread. So, what about having a whole new forum for socially engaged Buddhist activities? On the good side, it might be a place where people can post their ideas and recruit people to those activities. On the bad side, it might become an exercise in ego gratification. I don't know, so I am just throwing it out there.
    On the idea of forum for say Engaged Buddhism or what not I think is solid Idea worth looking into. Since we have some solid threads now with lots of thoughts and topics being discussed in one huge thread(s).

    As for Ego gratification - Any thing can be an exercise in that...really anything! Funny what the ego will inflate itself over. I say this as it popped up in my mind too.
    Sometimes we have to get off the bench, pick a play and go out and give it a try! (not that I am here to say what is bench warming and what is not, or in any way capable to do so)
    Perhaps we should all approach these topics as with a bit of an optimists take on the post and give the benefit of the doubt for the intentions of the poster.


    Gassho
    Shohei

  10. #10

    Re: Public Sitting

    This thread reminded me of a small incident from years back, which may be humorous in hindsight. I was having work done on my car at a small shop which was a building located in the middle of a parking lot of a large shopping center. Across from the entrance was an island with grass and a tree, next to parked cars. After my car was checked in, I lay down on the grass, enjoying the chatter of shoppers, the breeze on my face, watching the helicopter fly around over head..., and I must have dozed off. I *saw* the helicopter...and shortly thereafter I was awakened by a policeman asking if I was all right, and what I was doing there. I really didn't see what the problem was, but he suggested I use the waiting room inside the building until they were done with my car.

    Since then, I guess I'm a little more careful what I do, and how and where I do things outside the house. ops:

    I still don't get it...it was a nice sunny day :?

    Gassho, Ann

  11. #11

    Re: Public Sitting

    Quote Originally Posted by Nigel99
    Here is link to another example of public sitting;
    http://buddhismnow.wordpress.com/201...hur-braverman/
    I'm not sure how this would stack up in the west but....

    Gassho

    Heisoku
    Sodo Yokoyama, the Japanese priest who is described in the article ... sitting in the park for years, offering tea and little songs played on leaf harps ... was a priest of Antaiji of Homeless Kodo Sawaki (and Kosho Uchiyama) who each so much inspire our own Lineage.

    The book under discussion is very much recommended for introducing this bunch of madmen and free spirits, and is on our recommended readings list ...

    Living and Dying in Zazen (Biographies of Sawaki Roshi, Uchiyama Roshi and others associated with Antai-ji) by Arthur Braverman

    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=889

    Unfortunately, it seems that Antaiji of late has become a bit more bound in monastic ways and fixed in place, but one can sit Zazen in the park, in a parking space, on a roller coaster in an amusement park, in space, anywhere.

    Gassho, J

  12. #12

    Re: Public Sitting

    Thanks to everyone for all the input and those links to public sitting were very informative and beneficial. As it gets warmer, what I believe I will do is review information on my area regarding children who are fighting against cancer. I have a special inclination toward problems that effect children and I think that this would be a good starting point for me, before moving on to something as large or something outside the impact of my locality. My plan is to sit in a public area, there are several parks, but one close by that is very open (we have a lot of parks here but most of them are tree heaven!) that many people visit and there is a large waterfall there that I find particularly beautiful. Plus, I'd like to have the experience of sitting near that waterfall to see how I sit with the rushing of the water as a background noise. There are, I believe, some local-ish charities and organizations that work specifically for and with children with cancer, and we have had some children in this area that have developed various forms of the disease.

    Even though, the instructions from Chessie were to only include instructions for sitting zazen, I would like to review some of these organizations and ensure that they are credable, and honest, and put together a small pamphlet that talks about what types of childhood cancers are most prevelent, how they affect children and their families, the struggles they go through both emotionally and financially, and to list some resources available (without suggesting one over the other, because I'm not trying to push a particular organization over another) that help these children and their families with medical care, counseling, financial help, etc. And to list ways that the public could contribute, either by donating to these organizations, volunteering time, advocating them on the internet through blogging, or if they have programs where people can contribute time in some way, or even just a reminder that if they know someone in this situation, opening their heart to them and listening to them and being there for them emotionally would be a tremendous help.

    If it would be OK with Jundo and Taigu, after I compile this information and edit it for content and spelling and the like, I would like to place a small statement on the back of the pamphlet to the effect of:

    This information has been compiled and distributed by members of Treeleaf Sangha, an online Soto Zen community, for the purpose of information and compassionate action. Treeleaf Sangha does not endorse, nor is it affiliated with any organization listed herein. If you would like general information on Treeleaf, or Soto Zen, please consider reviewing http://www.treeleaf.org, and some of the links in our Resources section.

    I know this is a little bit of a can of worms, but as compassionate practicioners, it is our duty to open that can of worms to let the poor little guys out. That was an attempt at humor........ ops:

  13. #13
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Public Sitting

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    If it would be OK with Jundo and Taigu, after I compile this information and edit it for content and spelling and the like, I would like to place a small statement on the back of the pamphlet to the effect of:

    This information has been compiled and distributed by members of Treeleaf Sangha, an online Soto Zen community, for the purpose of information and compassionate action. Treeleaf Sangha does not endorse, nor is it affiliated with any organization listed herein. If you would like general information on Treeleaf, or Soto Zen, please consider reviewing http://www.treeleaf.org, and some of the links in our Resources section.

    I know this is a little bit of a can of worms, but as compassionate practicioners, it is our duty to open that can of worms to let the poor little guys out. That was an attempt at humor........ ops:
    Hi Chris,

    I continue to applaud your efforts in spreading the dharma, but I also still don't understand why you feel that including references to Treeleaf are required to undertake such a task. You keep referring to what we need to do, but it sounds to me like these are things that in your mind you have to do.

    I will of course wait to see what Jundo and Taigu have to say on this matter, but as a member of the sangha I feel very strongly that the pamphlet you have proposed using is not apporpriate to what we do here. That is just my opinion and is but a single voice among many. However, a project such as the one you propose in its current form would be the first effort at Treeleaf that I could not support in good conscience.

    Whether or not Taigu and Jundo ultimately approve your project, I strongly suggest that you undertake your effort without the apparent safety net of a Treeleaf endorsement and see how that goes. And, in any case, I hope your efforts bring you the results you are seeking.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  14. #14

    Re: Public Sitting

    If you don't mind, I'll just address your major concerns in a somewhat quick manner, I'm not feeling to well at the moment (kids love to share, especially germs).

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    I continue to applaud your efforts in spreading the dharma, but I also still don't understand why you feel that including references to Treeleaf are required to undertake such a task. You keep referring to what we need to do, but it sounds to me like these are things that in your mind you have to do.
    The only thing I referenced needing to do was open a can of worms to let the worms out. That was just a really, really, bad attempt at a joke. Sorry, the next one will be funny....maybe. I make no promises.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    I will of course wait to see what Jundo and Taigu have to say on this matter, but as a member of the sangha I feel very strongly that the pamphlet you have proposed using is not apporpriate to what we do here.
    What do we do here? From my understanding, we practice seated zazen, and everything else zazen, we work on the Genjokoan every day, we try to save all sentient beings, and we live the Bodhisattva vows while ensuring the Teachings do not die, but find fertile soil in our foot prints. How is what I have proposed in conflict with that? If there is conflict with our Way, please correct me and I will be more than happy to listen and learn.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    Whether or not Taigu and Jundo ultimately approve your project, I strongly suggest that you undertake your effort without the apparent safety net of a Treeleaf endorsement and see how that goes. And, in any case, I hope your efforts bring you the results you are seeking.
    I don't view a Treeleaf endorsement as a safety net, and the endorsement would only be in the form of "Yes it is ok to put that on the pamphlet." I will sit, and try to raise awareness about childhood cancer if Jundo allows me to put that on the pamphlet or not. The only difference is whether people might read the Treeleaf web address because it's on the back of the pamphlet, or they won't because it isn't. As for results, well....I sincerely hope people are moved to help kids with cancer, such a thing would be a wonderful expression of compassion from others. What I am "seeking", I suppose, is that someone out of all the people who see me or take information from me, begins to want to do more than I have suggested, and begins to actively search out ways to decrease the suffering of others. Eventually, that person might even look at the back of that pamphlet, and find the way to Treeleaf and the Way of the Tathagatha.

    Or not. But, if I don't sit and I don't try to engage people, then I can be a lot more sure that they won't.

  15. #15

    Re: Public Sitting

    again, I'm not critical of doing things for causes you believe in (and I'm not against public sitting per se); but sitting for the purpose of raising awareness for a cause seems to go against the "radical goalessness" that we aim towards.

  16. #16
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Public Sitting

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    I don't view a Treeleaf endorsement as a safety net, and the endorsement would only be in the form of "Yes it is ok to put that on the pamphlet." I will sit, and try to raise awareness about childhood cancer if Jundo allows me to put that on the pamphlet or not.
    Then why haven't you done it already?

  17. #17

    Re: Public Sitting

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    I don't view a Treeleaf endorsement as a safety net, and the endorsement would only be in the form of "Yes it is ok to put that on the pamphlet." I will sit, and try to raise awareness about childhood cancer if Jundo allows me to put that on the pamphlet or not.
    Then why haven't you done it already?

    It's winter, and my butt would freeze to my zafu.

    I plan on raising awareness not risking hypothermia. Plus I'd like to give others the chance to join in, and see if Jundo is cool with me name dropping.

  18. #18

    Re: Public Sitting

    Quote Originally Posted by mcurtiss
    again, I'm not critical of doing things for causes you believe in (and I'm not against public sitting per se); but sitting for the purpose of raising awareness for a cause seems to go against the "radical goalessness" that we aim towards.
    This was written by Jundo on another thread:

    Hi Peter,

    I wish I were so optimistic about that, but I have seen enough examples of experienced and gifted Buddhists "falling down" to think it not so simple.

    Some changes happen just through sitting ... to wit, our sense of "self" in conflict with "other" softens and sometimes fades fully away. Real, abiding changes occur to us "automatically" through this Practice.

    But as far as keeping to the Precepts ... avoiding excess attachments, lust, anger, gluttony etc etc ... the Zazen sure helps and, sometimes, may be all that is needed. But at other times when temptations are in front of us, much work and willpower may be required too ... though facilitated by Zazen. I have seen few (really, I doubt any) living breathing cases of someone who "got enlightened and was thus 100% free of greed, anger, etc. and that was the end of it" outside of Buddhist story books and their hagiographies of long dead Buddhists.

    The subject of "hagiography" came up on another thread today.

    viewtopic.php?p=39761#p39761

    Ah, sure, maybe we will all be "Perfect Golden Buddhas" one day, some lives down the road ... but in the meantime, we are just Bodhisattva Bozos on the Bus, doing what we can each day.

    That does not mean this Practice is not worth it, however. It is, and is radically life changing. It is just that one must stay "on one's toes" a bit. I sometimes compare Dogen's view of ongoing "practice-enlightenment" more to an ongoing dance or "bicycle ride" than a fixed "once and for all you are done" state. Life is an ongoing dance and, no matter how gifted the ballerina, there is always the chance of a stumble at the next turn ... with some days smooth and some days more a struggle. Same with riding a bike ...

    http://www.shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=15407

    But don't give up dancing or bike riding, my friend, just because ya might take a small spill now and then! (at least, of course, until we are all perfect Golden Buddha Ballerinas and Bike Riders).

    (By the way, some folks get real real mad at me when I say they should drop the dream of "perfect Buddhas and Ancestors" and "once and for all enlightenment". However, that is the only way to be at one with this perfectly what it is life ... and to realize that we have the choice of "Buddha" or "delusion" in each new moment, with each new step. It is up to us with each new day.)

    Gassho, Jundo
    Yes shikantaza is a radical sitting method of goal-less goal, but we should also remember that even though zazen is complete, we have no "goal" and essentially life is perfectly "what it is" - we still have much work to do, which requires being mindful of certain goals, and life is far from perfect. It's a koan, like life itself.

  19. #19

    Re: Public Sitting

    I have to agree with Dosho and mcurtiss; I am very uncomfortable with the proposal as presented for several reasons. First, and this could just be my naive idealism coming into play, but I think of Zazen as the 'pure and whole' practise. To combine it with anything would detract from both the purity and the wholeness, and render it un-zazen. I'm not sure of what you meant with Jundo's quote, but I read it as saying there is Zazen in life, but there is also other stuff in life. He is not saying, and I believe he usually advocates against mixing Zazen with anything else.

    Secondly, on a purely practical basis: I have absolutely no objections to, and I would fully support both public sitting and raising cancer awareness. But, think of your audience. The folks who pass by and think 'oh, it's a cancer fundraiser or information deal, but that's not my charity of choice' will walk away and miss the opportunity to witness/observe/learn about zazen. Also, the folks who pass by and say 'oh, it's a Buddhist thing' will walk away and miss the information on the cancer pamphlet. You lose both factions, rather than gaining awareness on either side. I really don't mean to imply that you are doing this, but I hate the appearance of hijacking zazen as a means to gain attention for any cause whatsoever.

    In church, there is worship and prayer, and there are social programs. The social programs may be motivated by the worship and prayer, but you don't see much in the way of fundraising or information sessions on Sunday morning for social programs *outside* of the church (in other words, the tithe is not earmarked for the Heart Association, for example).

    I rarely read Brad's Harcore Zen blog, but I glanced at it last night, and one thing really resonated with me: (quote) Do we really need to put a big huge "I'M A BUDDHIST, LOOK AT ME!!!" button on for absolutely every occasion? (end quote). I don't believe you have a passion for this particular cause because you are Buddhist, but rather because you are YOU.

    Don't mix and match. Zazen when zazen,and samu when samu.

    With respect and deep bows, Ann

  20. #20

    Re: Public Sitting

    Quote Originally Posted by chessie
    I have to agree with Dosho; I am very uncomfortable with the proposal as presented for several reasons. First, and this could just be my naive idealism coming into play, but I think of Zazen as the 'pure and whole' practise. To combine it with anything would detract from both the purity and the wholeness, and render it un-zazen. I'm not sure of what you meant with Jundo's quote, but I read it as saying there is Zazen in life, but there is also other stuff in life. He is not saying, and I believe he usually advocates against mixing Zazen with anything else.

    Secondly, on a purely practical basis: I have absolutely no objections to, and I would fully support both public sitting and raising cancer awareness. But, think of your audience. The folks who pass by and think 'oh, it's a cancer fundraiser or information deal, but that's not my charity of choice' will walk away and miss the opportunity to witness/observe/learn about zazen. Also, the folks who pass by and say 'oh, it's a Buddhist thing' will walk away and miss the information on the cancer pamphlet. You lose both factions, rather than gaining awareness on either side. I really don't mean to imply that you are doing this, but I hate the appearance of hijacking zazen as a means to gain attention for any cause whatsoever.

    In church, there is worship and prayer, and there are social programs. The social programs may be motivated by the worship and prayer, but you don't see much in the way of fundraising or information sessions on Sunday morning for social programs *outside* of the church (in other words, the tithe is not earmarked for the Heart Association, for example).

    I rarely read Brad's Harcore Zen blog, but I glanced at it last night, and one thing really resonated with me: (quote) Do we really need to put a big huge "I'M A BUDDHIST, LOOK AT ME!!!" button on for absolutely every occasion? (end quote). I don't believe you have a passion for this particular cause because you are Buddhist, but rather because you are YOU.

    Don't mix and match. Zazen when zazen,and samu when samu.

    With respect and deep bows, Ann
    I'm afraid I'll have to respectfully disagree on some points here. From what I've learned from Jundo and Taigu is that zazen is a whole and complete practice, but everything can be zazen. I don't believe you can avoid mixing zazen and "other stuff" especially when you find the sacred in the everyday. The act of zazen is one that we do, not only because it is the highest expression of our Way, but also for the salvation of all sentient beings, that makes it samu in my book. I can see what you are saying about tailoring the presentation to the audience, but I'm not interested in simply one or the other faction. I'm interested in them all. If someone happens by with the "oh, it's a cancer thing." it might not be their chosen fundraiser, but when they get home, they might remember seeing me sit earlier and send their chosen fund a little extra. Or they might give to one of the ones listed or they might do nothing at all. If they go the Buddhist thing route, that's fine with me too, because they might find the Way and the Teachings resonate with them and they might go on to truly help others, or they might do nothing at all. Church may do things one way with their services on Sundays and "fundraisers" apart, but this isn't church.

    I would rather say instead, don't make distinctions, don't create separations. When zazen, samu, when samu, dana. This practice is a way of living the entirety of life, and life is woven from as many bits and pieces as the kesa, so how can one not mix? Zazen is "pure and whole" but so is all of life, and every action, no mater how large or small. Zazen is NOT something that occurs only on a zafu, and Jundo has advocated more than once, not leaving what we learn on our cushions, on our cushions, but rather bringing this practice into our every day life, and our every action.

  21. #21

    Re: Public Sitting

    Hello,

    when thinking about how to express the compassionate activity of Kanzeon, I am always reminded of Master Ungan Muju's description of the great Bodhisattva of Compassion's activity:

    "He is like a person in the night reaching back with a hand to grope for a pillow."

    When discussing things like public sittings, we should also not forget that there are very distinct cultural differences between us Treeleafers. These differences do not speak of right and wrong, but of different cultural perspectives that were formed resting on countless developments in the last couple of hundred years. The whole notion of e.g. "doing good and talking about it"....or even just pointing out who did it is very alien to a lot of people in my culture (one cannot generalise).

    My local hospice group raises awareness about dying and death. Although they receive help from local churches, they don't turn it into a church thing...which was a main factor why I dared to join their volunteer training program.

    All I'm saying is that we have to take the local cultural code into account, which is why I have no idea how people would receive this in an American setting.

    Gassho to all those who wish to express Kanzeon's countless arms through their lives,

    Hans

  22. #22

    Re: Public Sitting

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    We don't "proselytize" (at least, I don't wish to) or pull people in off the street with promises of a free toaster. However, I do believe in making the beauties of Zen Practice overall, and the available resources of this place and other Sangha, known to anyone with whom it might resonate.
    http://clearmindzen.org/streetzen.html
    It is permissible to have a small sign that reads PEACE or Peace Witness or Earth Witness.
    It is not permissible to seek converts to Zen as a religion. It is permissible to offer instruction in the practice of Zazen.
    If people address you during your practice period, place your hands together, bow and receive their question. Answer simply and directly without politics or debate. If someone is antagonistic, simply place your hands together, bow, and resume your Zazen.
    I don't feel that many aspects of my practice are sacred. I don't chant, I don't own a buddha statue, I don't light incense. Zazen and manifesting life in my ordinary life is my practice. But I feel my Zazen is sacred. I could very well be deluded, but because I feel my Zazen is sacred, I am also a little sensitive to how Zazen is used, especially in the Sangha that I have chosen to belong to. I feel that using Zazen for a purpose is wrong, no matter how noble, and that it is tainting it in a way.

    As Hans says, there are also cultural differences. If instead of just sitting, I would dress up in a clown costume, sit Zazen and let passers by throw pies at me for a small amount of money, would that be good practise? It could be fun. It could bring in some serious money for the children. And it would be less potentially ego gratifying than sitting serenly by a waterfall, handing out pamphlets for a good cause, spreading the dharma. A less appealing self-image for sure. A certain dharma brother of Jundo would perhaps even find it cool and refreshing! :mrgreen: But for most of us it just wouldn't feel right. And for me it's the same with the suggested public sitting, just to a lesser degree.

    For me, it is also an intimacy thing. For me, Zazen is something I do alone or with like-minded people I trust. I understand that not everybody feels the same. Maybe I'm just shy, maybe I don't want to proselytize, maybe I don't want to risk turning people away from the way. I like to hug my family and friends, but I usually don't hug strangers. Perhaps I could give hugs to passers by and hand them a pamphlet. Maybe some of the people I had hugged would feel a little bit happier or more compassionate that day? I wouldn't feel entirely comfortable with it, but I'd rather do that than the public Zazen for a noble cause thing.

    Because I have a hard time identifying with this idea personally, I'm sure not sure I would be happy to see the Treeleaf name on any pamphlets. It just isn't my style or my practice. If our teachers sanction it, I will accept it of course. But I would rather see the word about our Sangha spread in articles like the one Jundo just posted, from mouth to mouth or by good example.

    I wish you luck and for your practice to be pure. Good luck in this and any other endevours!

  23. #23

    Re: Public Sitting

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    I don't feel that many aspects of my practice are sacred. I don't chant, I don't own a buddha statue, I don't light incense. Zazen and manifesting life in my ordinary life is my practice. But I feel my Zazen is sacred. I could very well be deluded, but because I feel my Zazen is sacred, I am also a little sensitive to how Zazen is used, especially in the Sangha that I have chosen to belong to. I feel that using Zazen for a purpose is wrong, no matter how noble, and that it is tainting it in a way.
    Just remember, zazen cannot be anything other then zazen. Remember Bodhidharma's response to Emperor of Wu of China when he asked what is the essence of the holy teaching? It was "Vast emptiness, nothing holy" Was Bodhidharma saying that there was nothing to his practice? No, he was saying that there was no special magical thing about his practice that elevated him or the teachings above the holiness of everyday life itself. People keep trying to discriminate the "holy" from the "profane" of life, but we as Zen Buddhists know that ther is no separation, that all is "holy", all is sacred. You don't have to chant, your practice is loud enough to be heard throughout the universe. You don't have to own a statue of Shakyamuni or Amita Buddha or Kannon, Manjusuri, or anyone else, they are with you, part of you, and all around you anyway. They are you. You don't have to light incense, I know I don't, the stuff smells to high heaven. Zazen cannot be "used" it can only be experienced.

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    If instead of just sitting, I would dress up in a clown costume, sit Zazen and let passers by throw pies at me for a small amount of money, would that be good practise? It could be fun. It could bring in some serious money for the children. And it would be less potentially ego gratifying than sitting serenly by a waterfall, handing out pamphlets for a good cause, spreading the dharma. A less appealing self-image for sure. A certain dharma brother of Jundo would perhaps even find it cool and refreshing! But for most of us it just wouldn't feel right. And for me it's the same with the suggested public sitting, just to a lesser degree.
    Maybe it would be good practice, who am I to judge? But if you don't feel right doing it, or any other form of public sitting , don't do it. This is not mandatory, but it would certainly be helpful and have a greater impact with more people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    For me, it is also an intimacy thing. For me, Zazen is something I do alone or with like-minded people I trust. I understand that not everybody feels the same. Maybe I'm just shy, maybe I don't want to proselytize, maybe I don't want to risk turning people away from the way.
    So then let that be what it is for you. But no one said that there would be any proselytizing, no one is recruiting, no one is inducing membership in club Buddha. We would be offering people information that they may look at if they so wish, and either look more into the Teachings or line their garbage cans with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    Because I have a hard time identifying with this idea personally, I'm sure not sure I would be happy to see the Treeleaf name on any pamphlets. It just isn't my style or my practice.
    Identifying with something implies the existance of a "self" which would identify. Since there is no self, how can one identify or not with an aspect of the Practice? The practice comes in infinite forms that are all one form, Indra's Net reflecting infinite jewels reflecting them back. If you do not feel that this aspect of practice resonates with you personnally, then by all means, continue with what does.

    Thank you for your opinion and your practice, I look forward to more talks!

  24. #24

    Re: Public Sitting

    *deleted.

  25. #25

    Re: Public Sitting

    Ummm......sorry about the double post. Don't know what happened or how to fix it. Jundo, could you or one of the moderators maybe fix that? ops: ops: ops:

  26. #26

    Re: Public Sitting

    Press EDIT next to Quote above your message!

  27. #27

    Re: Public Sitting

    Like so?

  28. #28
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: Public Sitting

    I still like the idea of the public sitting, and possible awareness for a charity. But like others i am unsure why the idea to place Treeleaf name and website comes into play. You've adequately made your point about it. However, I feel it may come across to others as kind of self promoting.

  29. #29

    Re: Public Sitting

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    Just remember, zazen cannot be anything other then zazen. Remember Bodhidharma's response to Emperor of Wu of China when he asked what is the essence of the holy teaching? It was "Vast emptiness, nothing holy" Was Bodhidharma saying that there was nothing to his practice? No, he was saying that there was no special magical thing about his practice that elevated him or the teachings above the holiness of everyday life itself. People keep trying to discriminate the "holy" from the "profane" of life, but we as Zen Buddhists know that ther is no separation, that all is "holy", all is sacred. You don't have to chant, your practice is loud enough to be heard throughout the universe. You don't have to own a statue of Shakyamuni or Amita Buddha or Kannon, Manjusuri, or anyone else, they are with you, part of you, and all around you anyway. They are you. You don't have to light incense, I know I don't, the stuff smells to high heaven. Zazen cannot be "used" it can only be experienced.
    Zazen cannot be anything other than Zazen and there is no bad Zazen and no good Zazen. At the same time there is a bad Zazen where you constantly get hit in the face with pies and a good Zazen where you sit in a relaxed position in a quiet room and more easily stop grasping and chasing after thoughts and emotions. I agree that everything and nothing is holy. Maybe I should have said that "Zazen is the most important aspect of my practice as the key to manifesting the universal self in ordinary life" to avoid any confusion. I don't need a statue, I don't need to chant, I don't need to light incense and I don't need to sit publically for a noble cause to be a buddhist. I don't think you should sit Zazen with a purpose. I think you should just sit Zazen for Zazen.

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    If instead of just sitting, I would dress up in a clown costume, sit Zazen and let passers by throw pies at me for a small amount of money, would that be good practise? It could be fun. It could bring in some serious money for the children. And it would be less potentially ego gratifying than sitting serenly by a waterfall, handing out pamphlets for a good cause, spreading the dharma. A less appealing self-image for sure. A certain dharma brother of Jundo would perhaps even find it cool and refreshing! But for most of us it just wouldn't feel right. And for me it's the same with the suggested public sitting, just to a lesser degree.
    Maybe it would be good practice, who am I to judge? But if you don't feel right doing it, or any other form of public sitting , don't do it. This is not mandatory, but it would certainly be helpful and have a greater impact with more people.
    Maybe it would be good practice, for me personally. But I would feel like I was embarrassing the whole Zen community while I was doing it and therefore I wouldn't do it. But if I did and handed out a pamphlet saying "Welcome to Treeleaf, this is what we do!", would you feel you were represented in the right way?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    So then let that be what it is for you. But no one said that there would be any proselytizing, no one is recruiting, no one is inducing membership in club Buddha. We would be offering people information that they may look at if they so wish, and either look more into the Teachings or line their garbage cans with.
    For me, that is bordering on proselytizing. For someone else knocking on doors and handing out Sutras may not be proselytizing. That too would be "offering people information that they may look at if they so wish, and either look more into the Teachings or line their garbage cans with it".

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    Because I have a hard time identifying with this idea personally, I'm sure not sure I would be happy to see the Treeleaf name on any pamphlets. It just isn't my style or my practice.
    Identifying with something implies the existance of a "self" which would identify. Since there is no self, how can one identify or not with an aspect of the Practice? The practice comes in infinite forms that are all one form, Indra's Net reflecting infinite jewels reflecting them back. If you do not feel that this aspect of practice resonates with you personnally, then by all means, continue with what does.
    Yes, "that this aspect of practice doesn't resonate with me personally" is a better way of putting it, thank you! English isn't my first language, so I'm sometimes struggling to find the right expression. I have by no means realized full Buddhahood, which means I am still for the most part shackled by my desires and delusions. This unenlightened self that is "me" but not my universal self does not identify with this aspect of practice. In my current state I have no means of deciding if this is due to delusion or seeing the truth.

    Thank you for the interesting discussion!

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  30. #30

    Re: Public Sitting

    Hi everyone!

    Wow, you folks have been discussing the subject that is great!

    To be honest, I'm always uncomfortable when money and Dharma are together... doesn't feel right to me!
    But I guess... We are oblige to deal with money!

    My project was way more simple... I just had the thought of sharing the practice of zazen with people. Not trying to convert anyone, ... just sharing a the "taste of Zazen". Like "degustation" in a supermarket... just to have an idea of the taste of it, to face people with the question: Is this a practice that is right for me? To give some people the possibility to ask some basic questions.
    The first time I "meditate" the thing felt right! I knew that was going to be something significant in my life... with no idea of school or tradition... just the fact of sitting, taking the time to be present... And I want to share this with people, to give them a place to experiment. There are a lot of very good places for it... but they won't go! Most people don't want to do the first step to "meditation", many reasons for that! but at least they will have an idea of what meditation really is!
    Some years ago the AZI made some events like these, they teach zazen to people in trains, in the parcs,... it was a wonderful idea!

    If people want to give money that is great and it will go for a local charity... but I won't ask! Having the name Treeleaf Sangha associated in this kind of thing is important! Not for me, but for people! In fact, I think that it is easier for them to take 20 minutes to try something new if the guy who shows it belong to someplace. If he is just a guy sharing ... they may have more difficulties! Of course, Treeleaf is to be mentioned when asked... it is not a "golden umbrella" that makes us more special or gives us more ability to share the sitting of Zazen...

    Well, of course this is just my view on this subject and I hope we will discuss it more!

    gassho,
    Jinyu

  31. #31

    Re: Public Sitting

    i know this is a totally infeasible idea, but i was trying to glean whatever guidance jundo might've given on this subject in his "dana" post. it ends with:

    Both donations and Samu work should be a bit beyond the point where it starts to hurt. In fact, it is even good to choose a volunteer activity that you resist ... hands on work with the sick, the abused or suffering.
    choose an activity you resist! perhaps those who stand against a public, structured treeleaf sponsored activity should be the ones who ought to be doing it, and those who want to do it should specifically "not-do" it and instead do unstructured, abstract, private acts of samu that they resist in some way, "to the point where it starts to hurt."

    i'll be here all week folks.

    -neal

    ps
    that would definitely require me to do some public thing, which i really don't even want to think about! there's absolutely no way i could do that, i have so much other stuff to do, and i sort of don't believe these things accomplish very much, i think it's truly a misinterpretation of zen, i dont think buddha did that.. etc etc... quite spectacular...

  32. #32

    Re: Public Sitting

    ps
    that would definitely require me to do some public thing, which i really don't even want to think about! there's absolutely no way i could do that, i have so much other stuff to do, and i sort of don't believe these things accomplish very much, i think it's truly a misinterpretation of zen, i dont think buddha did that.. etc etc... quite spectacular...

    Spectacular? Please. It cou;d be the simplest thing in the world. It wouldn't require you to do anything but to actually want to do something, and follow up.

  33. #33

    Re: Public Sitting

    If people want to give money that is great and it will go for a local charity... but I won't ask! Having the name Treeleaf Sangha associated in this kind of thing is important!
    Following the example Jundo has set from day one, I personally don't think anyone should ever donate a penny to Treeleaf. It's what we happy, sitting Zensters DO that matters.

  34. #34

    Re: Public Sitting

    For me, that is bordering on proselytizing. For someone else knocking on doors and handing out Sutras may not be proselytizing. That too would be "offering people information that they may look at if they so wish, and either look more into the Teachings or line their garbage cans with it".


    "Proselytizing." It has such an unbelievably negative ring, doesn't it?
    How did we all hear about the Dharma? Because at some point, someone somewhere decided to DO something or SAY something or TEACH something in the Buddha's name.
    We're not talikng about going door to door with magazines or Bibles. We're talking about helping people in a real, present way, where they are, right now.

    About "proselytizing," the New Testament itself teaches, "If you say, "Go your way... be clothed... be filled!" but do not offer food or clothing, you have done nothing." I feel that way about most of the Weekend Warriors who knock at the door at ten A.M. on a Saturday in June. But what we are talking about is helping real people in real life, "where the rubber meets the road," (to use an expression of Jundo's.) There's a tremendous difference.

  35. #35

    Re: Public Sitting

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    Maybe it would be good practice, for me personally. But I would feel like I was embarrassing the whole Zen community while I was doing it and therefore I wouldn't do it. But if I did and handed out a pamphlet saying "Welcome to Treeleaf, this is what we do!", would you feel you were represented in the right way?
    I've been thinking about this question since you asked it, rolling it around in my mind. Here's what I have to say about it:

    If this was for a good cause, and it generated real and true funds or interest or volunteers, or even people to be active in their own personal lives to support it (like the "Going Green" movement where you can switch out light bulbs for CFLs and watch water usage) I don't think I would want to be a part of a Zen community that became embarrassed over it. In that scenario, I would view the sangha as having confused the finger for the moon, finding it more necessary to protect and promote some sort of serious and solemn ideal of what a Zen priest or practitioner should be, instead of suffering (even though suffering in a tasty way) in order to act in a way that really helped others. I would probably say that if I saw a Zen Buddhist do such a thing, my first thought would be "Do you see him/her? Their practice is indeed deep. This person has dropped all thoughts of self and ego and simply sees a need in the world that they can help fill. This person is doing this without thought to reward or even comfort for themselves. I could learn something from this person." So, I suppose my answer would be "yes", I would feel that I was being represented in the right way, first by the fact that "I" personally am not being represented at all, as "I" is an ego creation. Second because this person would truly be living the bodhisattva vows.

    Don't forget our first master became our first master because he laughed when Shakyamuni held a flower. Zen practitioners have been laughing ever since.

    I'd like your opinion on this. Yes I know I will stir up another hornets nest, but perhaps a few hornets buzzing around reminding us that they are there is a good thing. Do you suppose that there are people who look at Thich Quang Duc (since we mentioned him not that long ago) and say, "Well, I don't like the man, he killed himself which is obviously un-Buddhist." Even though his sacrifice brought attention to the plight of Buddhists in Vietnam, and helped to correct social injustices that were every day occurrences for some? Do you feel that he did not represent Buddhism well because he violated the precept on not killing?

  36. #36

    Re: Public Sitting

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    So, I suppose my answer would be "yes", I would feel that I was being represented in the right way, first by the fact that "I" personally am not being represented at all, as "I" is an ego creation. Second because this person would truly be living the bodhisattva vows.
    Yes, I can see you really put some thought into this!
    I don't think I would think any less of this particular buddhist with pie in his face either, and I find it liberating that you would feel you were being well represented by him or her. You say you are not being representated at all because "I" is an ego creation. This would mean that a) you have no ego, b) you are free from the influence of your ego or c) you have an ego that influences your feelings, but you refuse to acknowledge it due to delusion. Personally I have less of a problem with the pie throwing Zazen, because the picture I get of that practice is less self or ego promoting than the picture of the lonely Zen buddhist sitting serenly by a waterfall, spreading the dharma and collecting funds for a noble cause.

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    I'd like your opinion on this. Yes I know I will stir up another hornets nest, but perhaps a few hornets buzzing around reminding us that they are there is a good thing. Do you suppose that there are people who look at Thich Quang Duc (since we mentioned him not that long ago) and say, "Well, I don't like the man, he killed himself which is obviously un-Buddhist." Even though his sacrifice brought attention to the plight of Buddhists in Vietnam, and helped to correct social injustices that were every day occurrences for some? Do you feel that he did not represent Buddhism well because he violated the precept on not killing?
    The hornets are mostly delusions anyway I suspect, so don't be afraid to stir them up! They may sting our egos for a while, but the pain will go away and as you say, it will remind us that they are there, even when they are hidden inside a nest. Generally speaking, I believe the precepts are not commandments, but general rules and recommendations that show us a what is in most cases a safe way up the mountain. But I'm sure there are better paths in some particular situations and terrains. And an expert mountain guide probably wouldn't have much use for these recommendations. He would know instantaniously and intuitively what path to take.

    In general, I don't think suicide is good buddhistic practice, no. But I would delude myself if I thought I could judge in this particular case. Maybe you should make a separate thread? Or perhaps there is one already?

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  37. #37

    Re: Public Sitting

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    You say you are not being representated at all because "I" is an ego creation. This would mean that a) you have no ego, b) you are free from the influence of your ego or c) you have an ego that influences your feelings, but you refuse to acknowledge it due to delusion.
    Let us say that I am aware that it is there and I do my best to think from a place of clarity where the ego does not take control of my thoughts. I am certainly not yet free of it, just aware that it is there, and is a tricky little devil.

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    In general, I don't think suicide is good buddhistic practice, no. But I would delude myself if I thought I could judge in this particular case. Maybe you should make a separate thread? Or perhaps there is one already?
    Oh, goodness. Yes there is indeed a thread on this already and it's a doozy. A touchy subject to say the least but many good conversations and perhaps no little understanding came from it. Though I may have forgotten to be mindful on a few of my posts.........

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3253

  38. #38

    Re: Public Sitting

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    Personally I have less of a problem with the pie throwing Zazen, because the picture I get of that practice is less self or ego promoting than the picture of the lonely Zen buddhist sitting serenly by a waterfall, spreading the dharma and collecting funds for a noble cause.
    Just to clarify, I would not be accepting money. No donations or anything like that. I would give the info to those who wanted it, and I would accept questions from those who ask them.

    Quote Originally Posted by gongli
    i know this is a totally infeasible idea, but i was trying to glean whatever guidance jundo might've given on this subject in his "dana" post. it ends with:

    Both donations and Samu work should be a bit beyond the point where it starts to hurt. In fact, it is even good to choose a volunteer activity that you resist ... hands on work with the sick, the abused or suffering.
    choose an activity you resist! perhaps those who stand against a public, structured treeleaf sponsored activity should be the ones who ought to be doing it, and those who want to do it should specifically "not-do" it and instead do unstructured, abstract, private acts of samu that they resist in some way, "to the point where it starts to hurt."

    i'll be here all week folks.

    -neal

    ps
    that would definitely require me to do some public thing, which i really don't even want to think about! there's absolutely no way i could do that, i have so much other stuff to do, and i sort of don't believe these things accomplish very much, i think it's truly a misinterpretation of zen, i dont think buddha did that.. etc etc... quite spectacular...
    I think that these things leave an impression on people, especially in the West, where a sitting buddhist is not commonplace. That thought of seeing a person sitting zazen with a sign that said "Sitting for Children with Cancer" might stay in the back of their mind, and someone who wouldn't have given any consideration to helping before, might remember the time they saw a person sitting zazen and think about donating a little time or money. As for it being a misinterpretation of zen, the Buddha did exactly that. He only sat in public places where the suttras say hundreds of monks would attend his tieshos, where he would remind them of their Bodhisattva vows of charity and compassion.

  39. #39

    Re: Public Sitting

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    Let us say that I am aware that it is there and I do my best to think from a place of clarity where the ego does not take control of my thoughts. I am certainly not yet free of it, just aware that it is there, and is a tricky little devil.
    OK.

    Oh, goodness. Yes there is indeed a thread on this already and it's a doozy. A touchy subject to say the least but many good conversations and perhaps no little understanding came from it. Though I may have forgotten to be mindful on a few of my posts.........
    Ah! I will read it some time! Many things to read and all the time in the world, but only one moment at the time... Suicide is difficult subject in most religions and philosophies.

    I have a special interest in the matter of life and death and precept of not killing through my line of work as an ICU doctor. You could say I have "killed" many people over the years. Never with the intent to kill though, only with the intent to do good. And luckily, so far I have been able to avoid killing anyone directly by mistake. But one day I know I will. And I have probably shortened the lives of several people unknowingly by making mistakes that I am still not aware of.

    I hope and believe we have both gained at least some little understanding of the other person's practice and opinions. I feel I have said what I needed to say and I think you have been able to express your view as well, so for now I plan to withdraw from this interesting conversation. Otherwise it will only become an ego measurement contest and no good will come of it.

    Good luck with the sitting!

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  40. #40

    Re: Public Sitting

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    Just to clarify, I would not be accepting money. No donations or anything like that. I would give the info to those who wanted it, and I would accept questions from those who ask them.
    Ah, OK. Maybe I misread!

  41. #41
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: Public Sitting

    Christopher, what about simply sitting zazen with the sign representing yoru cause ( i believe you mentioned children with cancer). No pamphlet distribution. Let those who are curious come to you ( as i believe you mentioned) answer the questions as best you can and perhaps suggest something simple like " well if you are interested to know more then doing a simple search on google or whichever search engine you preferr is sure to come up with many resources and if you choose to give you can find a charity of your liking instead of me representing my personal choice".

  42. #42

    Re: Public Sitting

    That is also a good idea. The reason for the pamphlet would really be for informative purposes on how the disease affects children, the impact it has locally and or nationally, and that there are ways people can help, so I could just say something like

    "Performing an internet search will return several charities and organizations that provide assistance. Please ensure you do your due diligence and check them out on your state's Secretary of State website and the Better Business Bureau."

    That would leave the choice of charity much more in the hands of whoever came by.

    I don't know that I'd want to get rid of the pamphlet all together though, because some folks may not realize the reach, hardship, or extent of childhood cancer, and providing that information may help them to realize how wide spread of a problem it truly is.

    Great Idea, though. I think that I will go the route you suggest with the charities.

  43. #43
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: Public Sitting

    I think the main idea being not to look like someone's "representative" ya know what i mean? May or may not make folks a lil more open.

  44. #44
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    Re: Public Sitting

    Thank you Jundo for pointing to 'Living and Dying in Zazen'.
    The story of Sodo Yokoyama is truly inspiring, particularly since he started monk training at 52ish years old!
    It contains great teachings about being 'ordinary', 'eternal limitless zazen' and 'this limitless Buddha Way'.

    Many thanks. _/_

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