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  1. #1

    eyes

    Do you have your eyes open or closed when you meditate?

    gassho
    Ola

  2. #2
    When I sit zazen, I occasionally experience an involuntary eye twitching, usually during the "inner and outer" hallucinations. It's as if my eyes are trying to find a place to focus. Does anyone else get this? It can be quite distracting.

  3. #3
    Sounds perfectly normal to me! If your attention is drawn to your eyes, it's OK. There's nothing wrong with that. It's not as if you were doing something terribly important that you were distracted from.

    When you just sit with what is, without a specific focus, the search light of the mind will jump from here to there. Usually that settles down spontaneously, so there's no need to do something special about it. But if you get trapped in a circle of thoughts and emotions regarding your eyes and what to do with them, just stop that, let go and return to just sitting.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
    you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
    now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
    the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

  4. #4
    I do as I feel lead, I do open, 1/2, or closed. I don't have a preference...
    --Washu
    和 Harmony
    秀 Excellence

    "Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body" George Carlin Roshi

    https://threethirty.us || https://zenat330.wordpress.com

  5. #5
    Hi threethirty,

    We sit Zen with half closed eyes for a very good reason, wide open you run the risk to be pulled outside or over tense, closed you may become dreamy. You write: 'I do as I feel lead' , this is not our practice. We do follow a precise form.

    Gassho

    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    Hi threethirty,

    We sit Zen with half closed eyes for a very good reason, wide open you run the risk to be pulled outside or over tense, closed you may become dreamy. You write: 'I do as I feel lead' , this is not our practice. We do follow a precise form.

    Gassho

    Taigu
    Sometimes I "lose focus" in the eyes, and it seems to me that I'm not particularly looking at anything, as if I have lost connection with my visual processors. Other times I seem to focus on a single point. Usually I sort of fade between these two states quite automatically. Which is correct?

    Duane

  7. #7
    Eyes open, always, but never forced. Never fixed. Relaxed, yet alert. I have found that if I fix my gaze on a point my eyes tend to get tired, which of course, rapidly ruins my zazen.
    Neika / Ian Adams

    寧 Nei - Peaceful/Courteous
    火 Ka - Fire

    Look for Buddha outside your own mind, and Buddha becomes the devil. --Dogen

  8. #8
    Duane,

    Don't focus on a particular point. Rather let your eyes gently rest in space, not focusing, just embracing everything and yet nothing.

    Gassho


    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  9. #9
    Thank you Taigu. You are an inspiration to me

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    Duane,

    Don't focus on a particular point. Rather let your eyes gently rest in space, not focusing, just embracing everything and yet nothing.

    Gassho


    Taigu
    I agree ... Focusing on one specific point or thing, for me, just creates fatigue.

    Gassho
    Michael



    If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?
    ~ Dogen Zenji

  11. #11
    Treeleaf Unsui Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Hi
    I guess it's not about our preferences, it's about giving our self over to the practice ... eyes and all.

    Just my understanding.
    Gassho
    Myozan
    Myozan Kodo
    Ordained Soto Zen Priest in Training
    Dublin, Ireland

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.
    "Here the way unfolds."

  12. #12
    Yes, Myozan,

    Not focusing is not a matter of preference or choice, closed eyes is not an option but here, we have on the forum, some people who think they know what is best.

    NOW once and for good, as we sit, we don't close nour eyes or focus on any particular point. Doing so, dear bunch of relunctant students, you cultivate in a dynamic way the very first lines of the Shin Jin Mei ( dig it yourself, if you have any interest in this path!!!) , you open your gaze as Kannon and Jizo are opening their arms and mind to all ( Kannon and Jizo are nobody but yourself), and, your eye balls are doing the very end of the heart sutra is proclaiming and your opinions about practice are of no importance at all. I know, this is not cool, this is not fair and looking very mean, but the general impression in this forum is that the teachers and elders, namely the priests, are busy repeating the same directions to guys only interested in their own opinions.

    If you had ears to listen to what I am really saying, you would find that this is the kindest answer ever!

    Gassho


    Taigu
    Last edited by Taigu; 12-02-2012 at 09:53 AM.
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  13. #13
    Taigu, with his mean Bodhidharma glare ...



    Bodhidharma kept his eyes open too, so much the legend goes that his eyelids fell off (or he cut them off!!)!



    However, we keep our eyes open about 1/3 or 1/2. I did hear one Soto Teacher from Japan once say that he closed his eyes sometimes, but said he recommended that only after many many years of Practice and once in awhile. Even then, it is not a common opinion to close the eyes, nor to hold them fully open. The Middle Way. Here is a good example, the eyes of Kodo Sawaki Roshi ...



    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-02-2012 at 10:01 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    The gaze
    Neither focused
    Nor carried away,
    Neither dwelling inside nor outside,
    That gaze is SHOBOGENZO
    Treasury of the true Dharma eye
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  15. #15
    Thank you for this living shobogenzo sitting in the rags and flesh of Kodo.

    Gassho


    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    I usually sit with my eyes half closed. Open too wide and I get easily distracted. Closed my mind wonders off on it's own. As others have mentioned, i do sometimes feel the eyelids get heavier and it's a struggle to keep them open.

    I don't really have a blank anything to loosely gaze upon. My eyes usually lok down. I percieve my surroundings without getting wrapped up in them. But I do get distracted at times. The more I get used to sittin on the zafu again, the less the individual things tend to distract me.

    _/\_ Dave

  17. #17
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    _/\_
    Heisoku
    平 息

  18. #18
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Eyes open

    Mind opens

    Light washes

    Thoughts adrift

    Immensity of emptiness
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  19. #19
    Yeah!
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  20. #20
    To me, Zazen is a dynamic process. Just as I let a long breath be long and a short breath be short without trying to control my breathing, my eyes are sometimes more open and sometimes more closed. If I try too hard to follow perfect form, then there is checking, worry, self-consciousness, imprisonment. If attention is drawn to the fact that I'm sitting with wide open or closed eyes, I return to half closed, then let go of caring about what my eyes are doing again. Just as with thoughts, I don't try to keep a close watch on them. I leave them to their own natural functioning. If a certain spot on the wall comes into awareness, to my attention, my eyes will focus on it. I don't think there's any reason to fight it, just return to Zazen, time after time again.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
    you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
    now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
    the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    To me, Zazen is a dynamic process. Just as I let a long breath be long and a short breath be short without trying to control my breathing, my eyes are sometimes more open and sometimes more closed. If I try too hard to follow perfect form, then there is checking, worry, self-consciousness, imprisonment. If attention is drawn to the fact that I'm sitting with wide open or closed eyes, I return to half closed, then let go of caring about what my eyes are doing again. Just as with thoughts, I don't try to keep a close watch on them. I leave them to their own natural functioning. If a certain spot on the wall comes into awareness, to my attention, my eyes will focus on it. I don't think there's any reason to fight it, just return to Zazen, time after time again.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    I feel that is a more accurate description of what is actually what's going on when we say "eyes 1/3 open". Thank you Pontus for the clarification.

    Likewise, we sit in the Lotus or one of the other basic postures (such as Burmese and Seiza), and that is the base and standard we maintain ... but the posture also somewhat changes and flows during a sitting, and we just flow with the changes. More on that in this book and Taigu's wonderful talks in the Beginner's series ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-OF-MEDITATION

    If the body is "right and balanced" such that it drops from mind and we don't have to pay it (to use an Americanism) "no never mind", then such is right sitting.

    However, don't close the eyes, and don't move too far off from the basic postures, even as we let things flow.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  22. #22
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    I'm late to this party, but I'll jump in anyways. I started meditating eyes closed. I switched to eyes open after reading that closing your eyes lets your mind's movie projector run wild (which was certainly true in my case) Now, I just keep them open. For a while I tried to keep them open 1/3rd or 2/3rds of the way, but I'm bad at fractions and like my sittings to be math free. So now I just sit with my eyes however they want to be. Usually this is wide open in the morning, very close to shut at night, and everywhere in between during the day. I stare at a blank wall for the most part so focus hasn't been much of a problem. I guess if I don't get enlightened soon, I can always try the cutting off the eyelids trick and see if that helps! hahaha (I love stories like that, not because they are true, but because they remind you that you can always do just a little bit more)
    "You yourself must strive. The Buddhas only point the way." - Shakyamuni Buddha

  23. #23
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    After having let my eyes do whatever they want for a time, I wouldn't recommend it. The quality of my shikantaza is not the same with eyes closed.
    迎 Geika

  24. #24
    I have nothing pertinent to add to this discussion.

    However, I was struck by how unnerving the topic of posture and eyes can be for a lot of us. Western minds seem to worry and get hung up on the slightest things. Our minds run wild with the tiniest bit of fuel feeding our anxieties. This has lead my mind to run away from sitting.

    We can work ourselves up so easily. No wonder big-pharma makes so much in profits /cue political diatribeLOL

    Letting go of this worry though has lead me to embrace it as learning experience.

    Cheri Huber's and Steve Hagen's books helped me a lot with this aspect of the monkey mind.

    Now instead of worrying about my mudra, eyelids or posture. I just sit.

  25. #25
    Great one but...are you the red bearded barbarian, the shaolin hero, the mythical guy we are all searching for?!!!...just post a real picture, much better to meet something that looks like you. Don t you think or not think?

    Your take is good: we worry too much,..the issue being here that you speak as a man of experience and sounds as a man of none.

    Phrasing far too good to be true.

    Sit, really sit on this butt of yours and get the post, posing and picture out of the window.


    Gassho


    Taigu
    Last edited by Taigu; 12-11-2012 at 12:26 PM.
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  26. #26
    Empty-fullness,

    My wacking was a bit much and if I did hurt your feelings, I sincerely apologize.
    The point I was trying to make is that we are all talking too much sometimes and that we would be glad to have an avatar closer to your real self-non self.

    Gassho


    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

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