Welcome, and thank you for 'Sitting-a-long'. I think that I have pushed all the buttons, so you are 'officially' admitted to the 'Community Forum' of the Treeleaf Sangha. If you have a chance, please post a short introduction in the thread called 'Greetings by New Folks' (found at the top of our "Topics about All of Life" forum). It will give others an opportunity to meet you.
We have some very wise, experienced people on the Forum, some nice folks ... so I hope you will join in the discussions frequently. There are some very sincere and experienced sitters, and many beginners (we are all always beginners). And I hope you will join me (and Rev. Taigu, our other teacher at Treeleaf) for our short talks and Zazen sittings posted several times a week:
Taigu and I have made a special series of talks for beginners (we are all beginners!). Here is the first of those (there are 23 !! in the series, a few minutes each). I ask that you do look at those, even if you have been practicing forever or are new to practice, and hope they are helpful. Please have a look to get a taste of the style of Shikantaza Zazen emphasized here ...
(this thread may also be helpful) ...
Our "Treeleaf Forum" is divided (one forum, some divisions ... like all reality) into a forum for topics about"Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!". That is to discuss "matters of Practice" ... "How to" Zazen, Zen, Sutras, Buddhist Philosophy, Incense, Bell Ringing, Bows, Zafus, Robes and Roshis ... all of that Zen jazz. Oh, and of course, MORE ZAZEN! ...
... and a forum for topics on "All of Life" ... music, family, kids, work, society, art, science, happy things and sad things, your favorite color ... whatever.
Please post accordingly. If you are not sure what topic goes where ... it does not matter, as Zazen is all of life, all of life just Zazen!
What is the best way to keep up with new postings? You'll see a place to click called "View active topics" on the upper left of the main forum screen. I recommend clicking on that first each time when you visit.
This place is not meant as merely an "internet forum," and we are trying to nurture here everything that can be experienced in a Sangha community made of wood or bricks. We are an ordinary Zen Sangha. Treeleaf was designed specifically as an online practice place for Zen practitioners who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health concerns, living in remote areas, or work, childcare and family needs, and seeks to provide Zazen sittings, retreats, discussion, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Zen Buddhist Sangha, all fully online. Please feel and be at home here.
I have a 'live' sitting (90 minutes long) I host each Saturday via a link posted in the Forum each week. On the first Saturday of each month, I also host a live 4 hour retreat ... information here:
We hold an annual course, starting each Fall, of Precepts Study and 'Rakusu' sewing for our "Jukai" (Undertaking the Precepts Ceremony) held each year in January.
We are also trying (because the technology is not so dependable yet) live "see each other" sittings in our new Zazen "Always Open Zen Hall" .... Some people like to sit together there at times they arrange (you will find more information on this in the Forum) ...
We are also developing our ENGAGED & CHARITABLE PROJECTS CENTER, a forum for the creative development of charitable and socially engaged projects and practices seeking to aid and assist our fellow sentient beings in this world. Please have a look around there:
We would also invite you to join in a casual discussion on practice and life every Sunday 21:00 swedish time (click on the link to figure out when that is :-) ) at the "Treeleaf Tea Party" via Skype, for Treeleaf Sangha members like you! When you are settled in and are ready, simply contact Fugen or Shohei (you will see them around the Forum) with your Skype name. Also know that one Sunday every month (20:00 swedish time) we hold a "Treeleaf Beginners Mind Tea Party" for you to ask questions on practice, technical help, get to know the format and what you can expect at the weekly Treeleaf Tea Party.
And before I forget, a word on CONFIDENTIALITY AND PRIVACY: BECAUSE WE WISH OUR FORUM TO BE A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE CAN DISCUSS ANYTHING OPENLY, even very personal matters, we ask everyone to take SOME SIMPLE STEPS TO HELP SECURE PRIVACY while simultaneously allowing openness and frankness too. PLEASE QUICKLY REVIEW THE FOLLOWING 'TIPS' BEFORE YOU BEGIN POSTING IN OUR FORUM:
Let me mention that our Practice here, and our Lineage, are centered on 'Just Sitting' Shikantaza and the teaching of Master Dogen. I mention that because, sometimes, we get folks here from other traditions and styles of meditation (e.g., Vipassana or Koan centered Zazen), and they want to practice "Karate" in our "Ai-ki-do" Dojo. People from all traditions and practices are welcome to sit here, but our teaching and this Sangha are focused only on Shikantaza, and that is what we are teaching through the Sangha.
I do ask folks who participate in our Sangha to be sitting in the style of 'Just Sitting' Shikantaza at least once per day. Please try to do so (otherwise it is much like reading about 'swimming' without jumping in the water and ... swimming swimming!)
Please write to me here at any time if I can help with something. The only 'rule' on the Forum, besides "Just Sitting" Zazen each day, is to be kind to each other and mutually maintain “gentle speech” in all communication, even when voices disagree on hot issues. Perhaps more than anything, this allows a warm, welcoming atmosphere for new and old, where people can open up without fear.
Gassho, Jundo (and Taigu too)