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Thread: Schedule Rigidity

  1. #1

    Schedule Rigidity

    Hi everyone,

    Often i've read that maintaining a set zazen schedule is very important, and I agree! I sit twice daily, once in the morning/early afternoon and once before bed (which sometimes is the late late late evening!). But how rigid is too rigid or not rigid enough?

    My thoughts are that a set schedule is good, it forces us to practice regardless of how we're feeling. Zazen at 9:00 AM means zazen at 9:00 AM. Sleepy? Sit with it. That sort of thing. But I can also see how this could be an issue if we end up getting attached to that time. Suddenly 9:00 AM becomes some holy hour where nothing else could possibly interrupt us. If something/someone does we feel as though we are being robbed of our zazen time. I believe the teaching of the lute, neither too tight nor too loose is a good mentality here. What are your thoughts?

    Gassho,
    A sleepy student who managed to sleep through both of his "Zazen time!" alarms

  2. #2

    Re: Schedule Rigidity

    I'm interested in other's posts on this as well. I have been guilty of never having a schedule in my previous years of practice and just sat when I had time or was seeking to alleviate some stress in life. One commitment I made to myself this year was try to sit every day for 30 minutes at 5am. While so far I have been successful in sitting every day, there have been variance in the durations (sometimes longer/shorter or at different times of the day).

    I think in the end the point should be to make a conscious effort to carve out time for zazen. For me, that effort is directed at 5am for 30 minutes. If I don't, it's OK, there's always right now.

    One other thing came to mind, is that I understand that it's ok to sit where you are. I've sat while my 2 year old daughter was watching Sesame Street next to me ("C is for Cookie" was my mantra for that sit) and that still 'counts'. While I try to have my sittings be more formal/structured, I think this is ok as well.

    Gassho,

    Shawn

  3. #3

    Re: Schedule Rigidity

    I'm kind of like you - once in the morning and once in the evening. In general the morning sit happens somewhere between 7 - 9 and the evening also between 7 - 9. Occasionally events change my schedule. I'm flexible about it. The sittings are around 25 minutes.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: Schedule Rigidity

    The one thing that I am grateful to Treeleaf for (of the many!) is the emphasis of 'only shikantaza'.
    This to me means that all teachings can only be realized through shikantaza.
    Hence I sit 35 mins every morning and when I can the same in the evenings. The zazenkai has changed my weekends, so I now make time on a Saturday or Sunday morning. I do miss the live sit but (due to the start being at 12am) I would more than likely be asleep during the first zazen session. However knowing that others are sitting is great spur on most days. Thanks to all for helping me sharpen my practice. Deep bows.

  5. #5

    Re: Schedule Rigidity

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor
    Hi everyone,

    But I can also see how this could be an issue if we end up getting attached to that time. Suddenly 9:00 AM becomes some holy hour where nothing else could possibly interrupt us. If something/someone does we feel as though we are being robbed of our zazen time. I believe the teaching of the lute, neither too tight nor too loose is a good mentality here. What are your thoughts?
    I agree with you here. I tend to be an all or nothing type person, so I can get attached quite easily. So I just try to sit first thing before anything else starts that could interrupt me.

  6. #6

    Re: Schedule Rigidity

    Hi,

    I think it depends on personality type. Some folks benefit more from a fixed schedule for sitting. They may need that to keep them on track. Others can be a bit more fluid ... but neither should one be negligent.

    I am a bit of both.

    When in a Sesshin or like monastic setting, I follow the rigid schedule. When we have the "live" netcast each Saturday at a fixed time in the morning, I am there. On the other hand, I sit at other times when the opportunity and feeling strikes me each day ... sometimes in the morning, sometimes before bed, sometimes wherever and whenever.

    In any case, whatever type you are ... be diligent, and also please remember the philosophy around here, that we seek to sit in a "quiet room" ... but we also can sit wherever, whenever andwhatever. The true "quiet room" is both within and without.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/sit-a-long/with ... -room.html

    As well, no matter which kind of sitter, recall that we highly recommend to everyone, hand-in-hand with sitting sitting, JUNDO's PATENTED "INSTA-ZAZEN" throughout each day.

    You don't even have to "sit" for these "Insta-sittings." Also, an Insta-Zazen can be of any length, starting from but a moment until infinite time (really the same when all is timeless!). We do Insta-Zazen at points in our day when just a bit of "Zen Mind" will change our perspective on all things, when a touch of balance will bring life into balance...
    .
    Just standing in a creeping postal line, in the dentist's chair, when the car won't start on a cold morning, when driving and stuck in traffic, when the computer crashes, the baby is teething, waiting for the crossing light to change, the toast to toast, wherever and whenever... just do what you do in Zazen, with the Lotus Position fully optional (It tends to get in the way while driving or having a root canal, although it might work in the postal line if you keep pushing along.).

    http://www.treeleaf.org/sit-a-long/with ... zazen.html

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - Just a legal disclaimer that JUNDO's PATENTED "INSTA-ZAZEN" and "ZEN MIND" should --not-- be confused with "BIG MIND" :roll:

  7. #7
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Schedule Rigidity

    Taylor,

    I had never thought about getting a bit too comfortable with a time, although I did get that way with a place! As for schedule, mine is whenever I can find time which is usually different every day.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  8. #8

    Re: Schedule Rigidity

    For me, a rigid schedule doesn't work at all. That just feels like standing at a factory's assembly line, then punching out when the work day is over. That's why nowadays I never (when doing zazen outside of a formal setting) set a timer. That would just seem strange. OK, time is up, now I can go watch TV! So I sit when I get a chance. Sometimes it will be for 20 minutes, sometimes for an hour and a half. Sometimes three times a day, sometimes one.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    Re: Schedule Rigidity

    Yeah, I'm not big on a set schedule either, although I do use a timer (so I don't have to think about how much time may or may not have passed). Sometimes afternoon, sometimes evening. Saturday mornings I like to be doing the recorded zazenkai by 8 am. Sundays I might watch an old dharma talk or sit-a-long video and do metta practice.

    What's really become increasingly important to me is the way it's affecting my everyday things: hey. Pay attention. Look around. See what you're doing right now? Those moments are like mini-zazens.

    Gassho

    Jennifer

  10. #10

    Re: Schedule Rigidity

    I am reluctantly rigid. I don't want to be. It irritates me when I am rigid with my scheduled, but sometimes I can't help myself.

    So, I sit around 9pm every night. Sometimes I sit earlier. Sometimes I sit later, but mostly around 9pm. And I find my head functions pretty well as a chronometer. I can tell when 20 minutes has passed somehow! And it's very hard to let go after the 20 minutes is up!

  11. #11

    Re: Schedule Rigidity

    Quote Originally Posted by anista
    For me, a rigid schedule doesn't work at all. That just feels like standing at a factory's assembly line, then punching out when the work day is over. That's why nowadays I never (when doing zazen outside of a formal setting) set a timer. That would just seem strange. OK, time is up, now I can go watch TV! So I sit when I get a chance. Sometimes it will be for 20 minutes, sometimes for an hour and a half. Sometimes three times a day, sometimes one.
    Rigid schedules don't work for me either. I've been trying the "network" option in the "Zen Timer" application for mobile phones, which keeps statistics on how often you sit, how many consecutives sits and so on, and I just got obsessed with the statistics and wasn't enjoying my sitting, so I stop using that option.
    I try to sit everyday, and so far I succeed 95% of the times, but not on a fixed time of the day.
    However, I do need a timer. Otherwise I quit too early
    I also do a lot Sesame Street zazen. My son's favorite character is Elmo, and I can't help but observing that Elmo always speaking of himself in third person has a Buddhist thing in it

    Rimon Gasshos
    Rimon is Rimon

  12. #12
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Schedule Rigidity

    For years I sat first thing every morning. When I got up may change, but sitting right away did not. So how rigid is that? Anyway, lately, as an unanticipated result of Ango, I have been trying to sit in the middle of the day on weekends while keeping my first-thing sit on week days. For a while I ended up missing sits entirely on weekends as I adjusted to this, but lately I am doing much better. I like the variety of the different times, and I do a slightly different "pre- and post-game" for each sit, and that variety is also nice. All that being said, it doesn't matter; just sit.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Re: Schedule Rigidity

    Quote Originally Posted by Rimon
    I've been trying the "network" option in the "Zen Timer" application for mobile phones, which keeps statistics on how often you sit, how many consecutives sits and so on, and I just got obsessed with the statistics ....
    LOL that is hilarious - I love stats too, but not for my sitting!

    Taylor, I found interesting how you say "Suddenly 9:00 AM becomes some holy hour ...". Why holy? Certainly you have other commitments that happen at a set time, but are not holy. On Tuesday nights at 7 I have to be at band practice - because I signed up for it and they need the tenor sax. If something comes up so that I really cannot go, I don't go. I see practice time the same way - make a commitment, stick to it. If you are sick, if somebody needs you, reschedule for that day. Nothing holy.

    With regard to timers, I have used the microwave in the kitchen that has a countdown timer and makes a nice far-away beep. Also used a stop watch and mobile phone that both had a countdown function. Friends in New Zealand make a wonderful timer with a real bell inside, which was one of the best things I ever bought: http://www.dharma.net/monstore/produ...oducts_id=2133

  14. #14

    Re: Schedule Rigidity

    Quote Originally Posted by Rimon
    I've been trying the "network" option in the "Zen Timer" application for mobile phones, which keeps statistics on how often you sit, how many consecutives sits and so on, and I just got obsessed with the statistics and wasn't enjoying my sitting, so I stop using that option.
    Heh this is a risk with it I guess. I don't like the consecutive sits either. I had one day in January where my sitting went over midnight and so it said I missed a day...I was a bit perturbed but then let it go. I do however seem to find some affirmation when i see my monthly totals and such..but then again I'm a numbers kinda guy.

    Gassho,

    Shawn

  15. #15
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: Schedule Rigidity

    I try and sit the same time every day. If something comes up, something comes up. I was always under the impression that sitting whether you "feel" like it or not was kind of the point. When it's time to sit, I just sit. I know with me, if I don't have a set time, I'm more likely to blow it off. I also realize I need to be careful about making it into a "this is zen time and everything else is not zen time" kind of thing.

    Ron

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