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Thread: REMINDER FROM JUNDO: THE (NON)NEED FOR SITTING ZAZEN

  1. #1

    REMINDER FROM JUNDO: THE (NON)NEED FOR SITTING ZAZEN

    I posted this on another thread, but it is important to shout from the rooftops ...

    Someone asked ...

    [D]oes one truly need to sit zazen - yes it`s helpful for practice, but if life is ``just this``, why would we practice and not simply do or be what we are [?]

    One does not need to sit Zazen ... thus we sit. Sitting oneself on one's Zafu is The Whole and Total Selfless Action, With Not A Thing More To Do, No Other Place To Go ... and thus needs to be practiced.

    If one cannot find the time for that, even a few minutes ... then it is all so much harder for our little self to get through its self, to know all of this life, on or off the Zafu (although the Zafu can never truly be stepped off) as The Whole and Total Selfless Action, With Not A Thing More To Do, No Other Place To Go. If one cannot sit still and quiet for a little time, how will one learn to encounter the Timeless Stillness Selfless Quiet that is in both stillness and movement, quiet and noise?

    If one cannot find in life a short moment, Whole and Timeless, to sit Zazen ... then how much harder to find Zazen that is all of life ... even in the things we must do and do not wish to do?


    Gassho, J

  2. #2
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: REMINDER FROM JUNDO: THE (NON)NEED FOR SITTING ZAZEN

    One does not need to sit Zazen ... thus we sit.
    That's the beauty in it!
    _/_

  3. #3

    Re: REMINDER FROM JUNDO: THE (NON)NEED FOR SITTING ZAZEN

    Jundo said, ďIf one cannot find in life a short moment, Whole and Timeless, to sit Zazen ... then how much harder to find Zazen that is all of life ... even in the things we must do and do not wish to do? ď

    I cannot disagree with his statement. And please understand that I am not criticizing zazen practice (I do it myself), nor am I saying that zazen is a waste of time or that itís somehow difficult to squeeze it into daily life. And further, I apologize to anybody whom I may have mislead.

    What I meant to say is that zazen is not THE ONLY way to discover universal truths. There are numerous spiritual traditions and practices where zazen does not figure into the equation (albeit, there are many forms of ďprayerĒ Ė semantics, perhaps?).

    Iím not knocking Buddhism, but just like mathematics, there are many ways to arrive at the same answer. We use zazen because it is familiar and comfortable, but itís not THE ONLY way.

    Although I follow the Buddhist path, itís not the only path. Itís just a choice. Itís neither the best or worst practice, itís just what we choose to do, nothing more.

    Now, having said that, I should have worded my original posted entry differently to be more precise in meaning Ė my fault for any misperceptions. Iím sure itís not the last time my smart-ass mouth will land me in hot water. But we must accept the fact that zazen is not the only way Ė go ahead, sit with it! Youíll see what I mean!

  4. #4

    Re: REMINDER FROM JUNDO: THE (NON)NEED FOR SITTING ZAZEN

    Quote Originally Posted by Sloppy_Zen
    Jundo said, ďIf one cannot find in life a short moment, Whole and Timeless, to sit Zazen ... then how much harder to find Zazen that is all of life ... even in the things we must do and do not wish to do? ď

    I cannot disagree with his statement. And please understand that I am not criticizing zazen practice (I do it myself), nor am I saying that zazen is a waste of time or that itís somehow difficult to squeeze it into daily life. And further, I apologize to anybody whom I may have mislead.

    What I meant to say is that zazen is not THE ONLY way to discover universal truths. There are numerous spiritual traditions and practices where zazen does not figure into the equation (albeit, there are many forms of ďprayerĒ Ė semantics, perhaps?).

    Iím not knocking Buddhism, but just like mathematics, there are many ways to arrive at the same answer. We use zazen because it is familiar and comfortable, but itís not THE ONLY way.

    Although I follow the Buddhist path, itís not the only path. Itís just a choice. Itís neither the best or worst practice, itís just what we choose to do, nothing more.

    Now, having said that, I should have worded my original posted entry differently to be more precise in meaning Ė my fault for any misperceptions. Iím sure itís not the last time my smart-ass mouth will land me in hot water. But we must accept the fact that zazen is not the only way Ė go ahead, sit with it! Youíll see what I mean!
    Only way to what? Don't know

    Thanks for the post.

    Gassho _/_

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: REMINDER FROM JUNDO: THE (NON)NEED FOR SITTING ZAZEN

    With all this shouting the cat will awake

    However, thanks Jundo, for the reminder

  6. #6

    Re: REMINDER FROM JUNDO: THE (NON)NEED FOR SITTING ZAZEN

    Quote Originally Posted by Sloppy_Zen
    What I meant to say is that zazen is not THE ONLY way to discover universal truths. There are numerous spiritual traditions and practices where zazen does not figure into the equation (albeit, there are many forms of ďprayerĒ Ė semantics, perhaps?).

    Iím not knocking Buddhism, but just like mathematics, there are many ways to arrive at the same answer. We use zazen because it is familiar and comfortable, but itís not THE ONLY way.

    Although I follow the Buddhist path, itís not the only path. Itís just a choice. Itís neither the best or worst practice, itís just what we choose to do, nothing more.
    Hi Sloppy,

    Oh, many ways up the mountain, no suit of clothes fits every individual. Different medicines for different patients.

    However, there is something quite unique about Shikantaza which, I feel, makes it truly special even among other so-called "spiritual practices". This is, to wit, the radical non-attaining, dropping of all need for anything else, release of any other action in need of doing, any place to be but on this Zafu ... which Zafu thus sweeps in the whole world, which action fulfills all time and space. The attaining of all that ever could be attained is attained from the first ... for never was a single hair lacking, a Buddha on the tip of every single hair!

    Thereby, it is a climbing of the mountain whereby each step by step is total arrival, and the mountain is climbing us! In fact, just mountain mountaining mountain. This suit of clothes is boundless, covering all, vast robe of liberation, formless field of benefaction. Thus is the perfect medicine for the disease of Dukkha, which ails human beings.

    Most spiritual practices seek to attain some special mystical state or power or heaven apart from this world and weak human body, the magic key which will bring happiness, peace, riches. They pray to some god or buddha for assistance in times of need. Or, they ask for forgiveness and cleansing of our failings and faults, the sins we have done. Such practices are each fine and good for those who may need those things.

    However, Shikantaza is unique in finding the most special state right here all along when all closed-ness and resistance is let go, when we stop to run from here in search of answers found just over the ever more distant horizon. The miracle is the most ordinary through and through, just this moment as pure magic when tasted such. Thus, there is an overall Joy which sweeps in and comes to life as the happy days and the sad, a Peace of One Piece that holds and heals both peace and foolish wars, all the broken pieces. One is Rich in Treasure free of lack or gain, unlocked by a key always in hand.

    One may still, from time to time, pray to an outside power for aid ... but all the while knowing that there is truly no outside or inside, nothing to gain or lacking even in our greatest times of despair and need. We may polish the mirror to free it from grime and dust, always seeing however that the mirror constantly reflects all within it without rejection or judgment. (So we clean, but free of all thought of clean verses dirty ... all just the mirror, us too). Though we seek to repair our failings and faults, to restore the damage we may have done, hammer out the dents we may have caused, picking up the broken pieces ... we also know that This of All Shapes cannot be damaged or bent or broken.

    All that from a most unique Practice, of sitting sitting sit ... letting thoughts of this and that, "should be" and "if only would be" drop from mind, "me vs. not-me-world" forgotten for a timeless time. (Human beings have simply lost the ability to non-do so in their daily life, and few practices so clearly restore us to "just non-being"). Then, rising from the cushion, perhaps we can see and live Non-This even among this and that, fulfilled even as our human "should be's" and "wish they would be's", Whole just as one "me" making our way through the minefield that is our whole complex world. There is Illumination in darkness or light, Silence in stillness or noise.

    Yes, my language today is a bit flowery, but I simply do not know many ways of "non-being" or "spiritual practices" that are quite so. When perceived and pierced of such, ANYTHING can be Shikantaza ... from praying to God/Buddha to chanting the Rosary to sweeping leaves to changing the baby's nappies. But ONLY Shikantaza is Shikantaza ... and the clearest non-place to non-encounter such is non-sitting non-quietly for a non-moment-moment, letting all the mind's storms and disturbances instantly settle and clear even as they rage.

    Something like that.

    Gassho, J

  7. #7

    Re: REMINDER FROM JUNDO: THE (NON)NEED FOR SITTING ZAZEN

    Seriously, I don't think anyone really needs to study or practice Zen. However, like Jundo said that's why we practice it. My small self centered Zen practice opens when it does. "My" dogs (who are not my dogs), don't practice Zen. They sleep, run, sniff, and watch. Though, as Suzuki said "we are not dogs" (You figure that one out).

    The breeze is blowing, samu, Zazen, samu, Zazen, action, peace, and so on. That's my beginners perspective.

    Gassho

    W

  8. #8

    Re: REMINDER FROM JUNDO: THE (NON)NEED FOR SITTING ZAZEN

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Seriously, I don't think anyone really needs to study or practice Zen. However, like Jundo said that's why we practice it. My small self centered Zen practice opens when it does. "My" dogs (who are not my dogs), don't practice Zen. They sleep, run, sniff, and watch. Though, as Suzuki said "we are not dogs" (You figure that one out).

    The breeze is blowing, samu, Zazen, samu, Zazen, action, peace, and so on. That's my beginners perspective.

    Gassho

    W
    I don't know, "sleep, run, sniff, watch." ......Sounds like dog Zen practice to me.

    When you are wholly who and what you are, free from the bondage of delusion and attachment, faithful to your true self, your original Buddha nature, then you have no need to practice Zen. You are Zen, Zen is you, your entire life is the practice of Zen, and Zen is practicing you. You don't need to practice Zen, because you are practicing Zen, even when there is no longer any "Zen" to practice because you've dropped that also.

    My posts end with "Gassho", if a dog could write his would probably end with "woof". Means the same thing. :mrgreen:

  9. #9

    Re: REMINDER FROM JUNDO: THE (NON)NEED FOR SITTING ZAZEN

    Beautiful music will only manifest if the musician practices.

    Gassho,
    Eika

  10. #10

    Re: REMINDER FROM JUNDO: THE (NON)NEED FOR SITTING ZAZEN

    We can talk all about it, but lets do the laundry.

    Gassho Breakfast

    Will

  11. #11

    Re: REMINDER FROM JUNDO: THE (NON)NEED FOR SITTING ZAZEN

    When the laundry is dirty, wash it. Such is the essence of Zen.

  12. #12
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: REMINDER FROM JUNDO: THE (NON)NEED FOR SITTING ZAZEN

    Maybe I'm missing the point here, but would it be helpful to look at the question of "need" to sit zazen from a different angle? I will grant there may be other ways to peace, enlightenment, nirvana, etc. than zazen, but why would you, or anyone, Not sit? Why would any of us Not include the practice of zazen in our overall practice?

  13. #13

    Re: REMINDER FROM JUNDO: THE (NON)NEED FOR SITTING ZAZEN

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    Maybe I'm missing the point here, but would it be helpful to look at the question of "need" to sit zazen from a different angle? I will grant there may be other ways to peace, enlightenment, nirvana, etc. than zazen, but why would you, or anyone, Not sit? Why would any of us Not include the practice of zazen in our overall practice?
    Great point, Alan. Zazen is, after all, the ol' Shaky himself did it.

  14. #14
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: REMINDER FROM JUNDO: THE (NON)NEED FOR SITTING ZAZEN

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    Maybe I'm missing the point here, but would it be helpful to look at the question of "need" to sit zazen from a different angle? I will grant there may be other ways to peace, enlightenment, nirvana, etc. than zazen, but why would you, or anyone, Not sit? Why would any of us Not include the practice of zazen in our overall practice?
    I would exclude it or lessen its frequency if I was either using it in an obsessive way or as a means to avoid the interactions of daily life. Now, for me that's unlikely since I tend to resist sitting more than samu or other practices and am more likely get engrossed in samu (say either yard work or sewing the kesa), thus making it something to distract from living amongst people or where I am missing the point and trying to attain a goal or some specific end. When that happens I switch my emphasis to other practices, usually more sitting. However, I could envision a time when the reverse would be true, especially if I were trying to achieve kensho or satori and have gotten off track so to speak. If that were to happen I'd probably do more samu than sitting.

    Despite all that, I think there is a reason it usually comes back to sitting, especially where shikantaza is so central to what we do here. I'm not sure why that is exactly...heck, I don't know what zen is exactly, but I can say that over the long term doing just samu probably wouldn't work and any switch would just be temporary. I speak from recent experience, since I have been sitting less frequently the last few weeks and doing more samu. And let's just say that it's beginning to show. I honestly think in the reverse situation (avoiding samu and doing lots of sitting) it would not be as much of an issue, but I can't really provide a clear explanation of why.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  15. #15
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Re: REMINDER FROM JUNDO: THE (NON)NEED FOR SITTING ZAZEN

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    However, Shikantaza is unique in finding the most special state right here all along when all closed-ness and resistance is let go, when we stop to run from here in search of answers found just over the ever more distant horizon. The miracle is the most ordinary through and through, just this moment as pure magic when tasted such. Thus, there is an overall Joy which sweeps in and comes to life as the happy days and the sad, a Peace of One Piece that holds and heals both peace and foolish wars, all the broken pieces. One is Rich in Treasure free of lack or gain, unlocked by a key always in hand.
    Jundo,

    This is so beautifully put. I totally agree. You can pray to any supreme power, but when it comes down to it and dig reality, our only tool is sitting.

    Believing in gods may work for a lot of people indeed, but being here and now and shut your mind's noise for a bit, on a daily basis is what we need tu see the mines on the minefield.

    Thank you.

    I will sit on this today.

    Deep bows.

  16. #16

    Re: REMINDER FROM JUNDO: THE (NON)NEED FOR SITTING ZAZEN

    Quote Originally Posted by chocobuda
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    However, Shikantaza is unique in finding the most special state right here all along when all closed-ness and resistance is let go, when we stop to run from here in search of answers found just over the ever more distant horizon. The miracle is the most ordinary through and through, just this moment as pure magic when tasted such. Thus, there is an overall Joy which sweeps in and comes to life as the happy days and the sad, a Peace of One Piece that holds and heals both peace and foolish wars, all the broken pieces. One is Rich in Treasure free of lack or gain, unlocked by a key always in hand.
    Jundo,

    This is so beautifully put. I totally agree. You can pray to any supreme power, but when it comes down to it and dig reality, our only tool is sitting.

    Believing in gods may work for a lot of people indeed, but being here and now and shut your mind's noise for a bit, on a daily basis is what we need tu see the mines on the minefield.

    Thank you.

    I will sit on this today.

    Deep bows.
    Hi Choco,

    Well, it might be just the same with or without believing in God, gods or other supreme power.

    If there is a God or Gods, sit with that ... that is what is.

    If there is no God or Gods, sit with that ... that is what is.

    In all cases, sit as what is.

    Gassho, J

  17. #17
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: REMINDER FROM JUNDO: THE (NON)NEED FOR SITTING ZAZEN

    Jundo wrote:
    In all cases, sit as what is.
    Best advice ever! Simple yet profound is the way of no way.

    Gassho,
    John

  18. #18
    disastermouse
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    Re: REMINDER FROM JUNDO: THE (NON)NEED FOR SITTING ZAZEN

    Until recently, I haven't been sitting zazen as much lately - so even as a hypocrite, my view is still that daily zazen practice is VITAL to our path of zazen. More vital than kenshos or satories, more vital than dana, or scripture study, or samu, or any other of the myriad other ways we practice.

    You can misuse zazen, but done properly under guidance of a true teacher, it's still the single most non-egoic (not anti-egoic) practice one can undertake. As a laggard and often confused person, it's still my humble opinion.

    Chet

  19. #19
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: REMINDER FROM JUNDO: THE (NON)NEED FOR SITTING ZAZEN

    Chet wrote:
    You can misuse zazen, but done properly under guidance of a true teacher, it's still the single most non-egoic (not anti-egoic) practice one can undertake. As a laggard and often confused person, it's still my humble opinion.
    Hi Chet,
    I personally agree in the need for the guidance of a teacher. Even for Zazen. However I once heard in a Dharma talk that Dogen said one does not need a teacher for Zazen. Only if one wishes to study Buddhism is a teacher necessary. Just something to ponder...

    Gassho,
    John

  20. #20

    Re: REMINDER FROM JUNDO: THE (NON)NEED FOR SITTING ZAZEN

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    However I once heard in a Dharma talk that Dogen said one does not need a teacher for Zazen. Only if one wishes to study Buddhism is a teacher necessary. Just something to ponder...

    Gassho,
    John

    Hi, John.

    I've always interpreted that as meaning that zazen does not require any ongoing instruction; once you've been shown how to do it, there's not much more to teach . . . Zen/Buddhism as a larger entity is a different matter (not to mention one's life). Perhaps that's not what Dogen meant, but that's been my interpretation of it.

    Gassho,
    Eika

  21. #21

    Re: REMINDER FROM JUNDO: THE (NON)NEED FOR SITTING ZAZEN

    I'm reading Moon in a Dewdrop now and can provide a relevant quote in the section titled "You should seek a true teacher to practice Zen and study the way." Note "true teacher," and also note the historical/geographic references Dogen makes to Japan and China:

    In this small, remote nation buddha-dharma has not yet spread widely. True masters have not appeared here. If you wish to study the unsurpassed buddha way, you have to travel a great distance to call on the masters in Song China, and you have to reflect deeply on the vital road outside thought. Until you have a true teacher, it is better not to study.
    I've read a lot of references to that last sentence in which the modifier "true" is ignored, and given the broader context of the Guidelines for Studying the Way, I think it's vital.

    I mean, I think that Dogen was looking around Japan and seeing a bunch of teachers who were letting "people neglect the root and go out on the limbs," as he says. He thus was advocating for quality teachers who could provide the "special transmission" of which Bodhidharma spoke. I think.

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