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Thread: Ango Commitment Thread

  1. #1

    Ango Commitment Thread

    I was talking with Fugen and he mentioned that I could make a list of things I'm willing to commit to during the Ango and post them. Then others can post what commitments they're willing to make if they want to here.

    Thus far, I've decided on giving up coffee and diet soda. Also I will commit to eating three meals a day, which will be challenging for me considering my very difficult situation with food and not being very willing to eat. I'll also get a bucket, put it on my altar, and every day that I manage not to smoke cigarettes, I'll place some money in the bucket.

    So, if you'd like, share what you're willing to commit to during the Ango.

  2. #2

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Oh wow.. quitting smoking and coffee? I applaud your courage. Seriously if you need any motivation, etc I'm here. I quit both, not together though.

    For Ango, I will be giving up drinking alcohol (not drinking altogether; I do need water :P). I will also be giving up sweets. Finally, I will be giving up complaining. I realize I complain a lot sometimes using a sarcastic wit to seduce others into my line of thinking. But in the end complaining to me is just another rejection of what is, so instead of being a complainer I will be a fixer with nothing to fix.

    Gassho,

    Risho

  3. #3

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Hello friends,

    I was going to give up caffeine altogether. However, it has recently come to my attention that caffeine consumption is, in fact, an alternative therapy for some stuff that I'm dealing with at the moment. So out that goes.

    I'm going to give up desserts, snacking, etc., as food is definitely a large attachment for me. Additionally, I'm committing to half an hour of yoga every day, and at least 2 total hours of Zazen daily. And focus very hard on right speech in the workplace. That's another big one for me.

    Metta and Gassho,

    Saijun

  4. #4
    disastermouse
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    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    My ango commitment is simple - daily zazen practice - regardless of whether I'm working or not.

    Chet

  5. #5

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    A commitment to two zazen periods daily. Sutra/Text study twice a week. And an emphasis on my judgement of others and how to reduce it/ the underlying causes of it.

    Simple enough, I think.

    Gassho,
    Taylor

  6. #6
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Ango Commitment Thread

    A commitment to daily Zazen practice and a reduction of alcohol and caffeine intake by half.

    Ron

  7. #7

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor
    A commitment to two zazen periods daily. Sutra/Text study twice a week. And an emphasis on my judgement of others and how to reduce it/ the underlying causes of it.

    Simple enough, I think.

    Gassho,
    Taylor
    Hello Taylor,

    If I may ask, which Sutra(s) will you be going through? Just curious.

    Metta and Gassho,

    Saijun

  8. #8

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Thank you for starting this thread, Mari. I haven't worked out everything I plan to do for Ango, but I am definitely committing to daily zazen of 30 minutes and participating in all zazenkai. I will likely give up sweets/junk food (something I should do permanently really). Also some type of formal mindfulness practice at work, where I tend to get very stressed and irritable.

  9. #9

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    A commitment to Daily Zazen and Dharma study!

    Gassho

    Seiryu

  10. #10

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Hi,

    Let me add that really the following suggestions for the Ango are not "optional", and are asked of everyone absent some true extenuating circumstances which render them a total and complete impossibility! 8)

    As I wrote ...

    I believe that Ango participants should commit to all or most of the following. In all cases, the emphasis will be on increasing ... not raw quantity ... but the sincerity, commitment, vigor and seriousness of what we undertake:
    MARKED IN BOLDFACE


    + Add a minimum of 5 minutes per sitting to however long one's current sitting time, and commit to sit that time - at least daily - without missing a single day. As well, for those who can and whose schedule will realistically allow ... consider adding an additional full sitting period per day to however many times per day one is now sitting Zazen. Whatever your commitment, be realistic about what you can maintain ... and then (absent sheer impossibility) stick with it, without missing a single day

    + Join in each and every 90 minute Saturday Treeleaf Zazenkai, and 4-hour monthly Treeleaf Zazenkai netcast without fail. However, as always, each will be available in recorded form (so may be joined at a time to fit your schedule).

    + Add, if you can, Metta Verse Practice ( viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1199 ) and Nurturing Seeds Practice ( viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1730 ) to your routine each day.

    + Listen, as possible, to each 'Sit-a-Long' Talk (to be presented by Jundo and Taigu) during the practice period, also all available in recorded form to meet your schedule. A special series of talks will be presented during the Ango and Jukai period.

    + Join in our weekly Practice Partner Exercises, a series of short assignments to be led by our novice-priests at Treeleaf, and to be undertaken in pairs with another Ango participant (details later).

    + Join frequently in online discussions in our Jukai/Ango Forum of the content and Ango experiences, sharing the ups and downs and middles.

    + If technically possible, commit to meet with Jundo or Taigu by Skype video at least once per month during the Ango.

    + If simultaneously studying for Jukai, complete and participate in each of the readings and discussions each week regarding the individual Precepts, as well as complete Rakusu sewing.

    + Make formal study on the meaning and philosophy of Samu (work practice, the central theme of Dogen's "Instructions for the Cook"), and apply such perspectives and attitudes in your family and work duties each day.

    + Commit to give up one or two items or passions one truly loves during the Practice period, for example, sweets after meals, luxurious meals, cigarettes, television, consumer purchases of luxury items.

    + Commit to mindful eating, and silently or orally recite one short meal chant before all meals (here is one I suggest).

    (Hands in Gassho) This food comes from the efforts
    of all sentient beings past and present,
    and is medicine for nourishment of our Practice.
    We offer this meal of many virtues and tastes
    to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha,
    and to all life in every realm of existence.
    May all sentient beings in the universe
    be sufficiently nourished.


    + Commit a portion of your weekly income during the period to extra charitable donations (assuming you have the financial ability). We do not accept any "Dana" financial contributions for Treeleaf, as we now have sufficient resources for what we are doing. However, we do encourage people to make financial donations to charities that help folks, e.g., feeding the poor, finding a cure for a disease. Both donations and Samu work should be a bit beyond the point where it starts to hurt. If you have the time, consider extra volunteer activities in your community as well.

    + Commit to sit our SPECIAL NETCAST ROHATSU RETREAT (to be held online, currently scheduled for netcast the weekend of December 3rd & 4th and/or Taigu's Kannon Retreat in Europe in late December) at the culmination of the Ango. Again, it would be good to participate "live", but the Rohatsu Netcast will be available in recorded form to fit schedules. The retreat will likely be similar to last year's schedule and content:

    http://www.treeleaf.org/sit-a-long/with ... 10---.html
    The other activities, not marked in BOLDFACE are merely "strongly suggested". :twisted:

    Gassho, Jundo

  11. #11

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    two zazen periods a day
    no soda (a lunchtime favorite)

  12. #12

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Zazen daily, before class and in the evening. No cigarettes, no soft drinks. No way am I giving up coffee, though - surviving school without it is definitely outside the realm of possibility. I lack the the financial means for charitable donations, but will be putting in some extra effort as an anatomy TA.

    More importantly, however, I'm committing to doing the practice - ALL of it, including chanting and prostrations and other things I'm averse to, no ifs, ands, or buts. Something tells me that's going to be much more difficult than giving up the bad habits, but it's going to be an interesting learning experience.

    EDIT: On second thought, no prostrations - gotta keep it at least somewhat within the realm of possibility. And I'm definitely all prostrated out after my Christian days - that just brings me full circle to a very negative place that I'm definitely not ready to revisit. Not now. Perhaps not ever.

  13. #13
    Senior Member murasaki's Avatar
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    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    I would like to commit to two zazen periods per day of no less than 10 minutes, and the meal chants and mindful eating.

    There are a lot of things I would like to give up or commit to doing for Ango, but since I am trying already to replace some negative/counterproductive habits with positive ones in other areas of my life, and this is a slow and gradual process, I don't want to overwhelm myself. I would say that the most important thing for me (besides zazen and taking better care of myself) for Ango would be to reduce my complaining, like Risho has committed to doing. I noticed that I do that a lot...big non-acceptance issues there.

    Not to be a copycat...well, actually, copying is the sincerest form of flattery. No, seriously, I need to work on the complaining.

    So...zazen, mindful eating, and no whining. Even about the hot weather. Especially about the hot weather. Whew, I'm in trouble...

    gassho
    Julia

  14. #14
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Hi All,

    I didn't reply to this thread yet because I was kind of confused about what its point was? When I signed up for Ango I was agreeing to do all that Jundo Sensei said was mandatory. So I guess there isn't much to write about for me because what I'm going to be doing what has already been clearly spelled out.

    Gassho,
    John

  15. #15

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Yeah I hear ya. I was thinking when I wrote those things that they were the things I would do in addition to what is mandatory for Treeleaf Ango, per Jundo sensei. Also, it sort of fits in with the things to give up (like sweets and other indulgences, large purchases, television, etc).

    Gassho,

    Risho

  16. #16
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Risho
    Yeah I hear ya. I was thinking when I wrote those things that they were the things I would do in addition to what is mandatory for Treeleaf Ango, per Jundo sensei. Also, it sort of fits in with the things to give up (like sweets and other indulgences, large purchases, television, etc).

    Gassho,

    Risho
    That makes sense _/_

  17. #17

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Saijun
    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor
    A commitment to two zazen periods daily. Sutra/Text study twice a week. And an emphasis on my judgement of others and how to reduce it/ the underlying causes of it.

    Simple enough, I think.

    Gassho,
    Taylor
    Hello Taylor,

    If I may ask, which Sutra(s) will you be going through? Just curious.

    Metta and Gassho,

    Saijun
    Diamond, Vimalakirti, Heart Sutra, Hui-Neng, and Lotus

    The shorter sutras will be gone through line by line. Chewing, digesting, assimilating, integrating, being.

    And yes, Jundo, all of those bold things as well :P

    Gassho,
    Myoken

  18. #18

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Hi.

    My additional Angocomittment this year will be to eat a kilo of candy.
    I will also write, read, and sew more.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  19. #19

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    I've been contemplating this thread and for me I see two separate things for my commitment. One is in line with Jundo's posts on Ango (something to give up). The other is something I'd like to commit to, that I actually enjoy but would like to be more consistent with.

    - Will commit to proceeding clearly and abstain from caffeine, sodas & alcohol. (Honestly not too painful as I typically only drink a cup of coffee in morning and occasionally a beer at night, but it's something!)
    - Will commit to honoring the body and abstain from any sexual impropriety. (Simply keeping my thoughts and actions pure and within the confines of my commitment to my wife.)
    - Will commit to 30 minutes per day of sewing & shakuhachi practices (alternating practice between days)

    Gassho,

    Shawn

  20. #20
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    My additional Angocomittment this year will be to eat a kilo of candy.
    NOW WE'RE TALKIN'! :twisted:

    But, alas, I think I'll be giving up chocolate for a while (edited to add) because it's the one thing I eat absolutely mindlessly.

    And video games. That will give more time for all the, you know, boldface stuff up there.

    Jen

  21. #21
    Treeleaf Unsui Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    I will try and live what I believe in, not what habit drives me to do. It is a commitment, moment to moment.
    Gassho
    Soen

  22. #22

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Well, of course, as Jundo's early advice to me was whenever I asked any question about any topic (at one point it got to be like a punch line!) "MORE ZAZEN!"
    In addition to that, I'll do what I did for my wife during Lent (she's Catholic,) and what I did last year and give up breakfast in exchange for sitting. It was tough, but I've gotten through it and gained some personal insights, and no doubt will again.

  23. #23
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Well, I'll be practicing the Bold Typeface List of Doom, but also I will be giving up two things: bread (all types of bread, cookies, crackers, tortillas, etc) and videogames.

    Tough stuff for me. Lets see how I handle all. :lol:

  24. #24
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    I think I will relinquish my life of Spartan self-denial and also sit evening zazen regardless.
    My other foible is the same as Taylor's, so I will attempt to reduce any judgementalism of myself and others and let the suchness be!

  25. #25

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by KvonNJ
    what I did last year and give up breakfast in exchange for sitting. It was tough, but I've gotten through it and gained some personal insights, and no doubt will again.
    Don't do anything unhealthy in this practice. Even the Buddha and Dogen made sure to have breakfast.

    My additional Angocomittment this year will be to eat a kilo of candy.

    Har har.

    Gassho, J

  26. #26

    Re: Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by chugai
    I'm thinking maybe I'll only get on the computer one hour a week during Ango, that would be interesting ...
    Wow didn't think about that one! I am connected from waking up to going to bed...either with smart phone, desktop or laptop. Maybe I'll do something with this as well. Would help with one of my other commitments as well. Thanks for the idea Chugai!

    Gassho,
    S

  27. #27

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Hi.

    Hi, even though just an Unsui, and no authority of any kind, there is one thing i'd like to bring up here...

    Ango is not about cutting away your "ten pounds of flesh", Ango is about living life.
    Don't take away breakfast, add an extra slice of bread.
    Don't take away being with your family, add an extra 5 minutes a day.
    It's ok to add an extra bit of reading of sutras, of chanting, of...
    But the main thing is, Ango is about living life to the fullest, don't miss that.
    Don't strip your life, add to it.
    Live it.

    And if you fail, so what?
    It's all part of the practice.
    You will sometimes fail.
    I failed miserably last year with one of my comittments.
    That doesn't stop me from doing the same comittment this year.
    The main point is not trying, but doing and comitting yourself to living life as fully as you can.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  28. #28

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    But the main thing is, Ango is about living life to the fullest, don't miss that.
    Don't strip your life, add to it.
    Live it.
    Wonderful...thank you Fugen.

    Gassho,

    s

  29. #29
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Fugen wrote:
    Don't strip your life, add to it.
    This is exactly my view towards what Ango means to me! I have been thinking more in terms of adding to my practice VS taking away from my life. However I do understand the importance of also giving something up as well.

    Gassho,
    John

  30. #30

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Fugen wrote:
    Don't strip your life, add to it.
    This is exactly my view towards what Ango means to me! I have been thinking more in terms of adding to my practice VS taking away from my life. However I do understand the importance of also giving something up as well.

    Gassho,
    John
    addition by subtraction is a valuable thing indeed.

  31. #31

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Fugen is pointing the real thing. Ango is not asceticism. Ango is not about sacrifice and dramatic stuff. It is a call to live your life as fully as possible.
    Thank you Fugen


    gassho


    Taigu

  32. #32

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Fugen is pointing the real thing. Ango is not asceticism. Ango is not about sacrifice and dramatic stuff. It is a call to live your life as fully as possible.
    Thank you Fugen


    gassho


    Taigu
    Beautiful! To me Ango is an invitation to return home, the home we are always present to, yet sometimes have trouble seeing.

  33. #33

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    Ango is not about cutting away your "ten pounds of flesh"
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Fugen is pointing the real thing. Ango is not asceticism. Ango is not about sacrifice and dramatic stuff. It is a call to live your life as fully as possible.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Commit to give up one or two items or passions one truly loves during the Practice period, for example, sweets after meals, luxurious meals, cigarettes, television, consumer purchases of luxury items.
    So which is it? I ask out of genuine curiosity. For example, smoking is bad for me and it is, in theory, a good thing to give up for the duration (and ever after). Except that it drives my productivity through the roof in times of absolute exhaustion and stress (I don't mean a little tired, I mean total collapse), and enriches my life by keeping me in touch with a whole different culture and the people who are part of it. This amounts to living more fully, while I'm young enough to still recover from all the damage, as well as keeping me firmly in touch with the impermanence of my own existence. Conflicting thoughts!

    All these commitments are making me feel like we're making New Year's resolutions.

  34. #34

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Echo
    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    Ango is not about cutting away your "ten pounds of flesh"
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Fugen is pointing the real thing. Ango is not asceticism. Ango is not about sacrifice and dramatic stuff. It is a call to live your life as fully as possible.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Commit to give up one or two items or passions one truly loves during the Practice period, for example, sweets after meals, luxurious meals, cigarettes, television, consumer purchases of luxury items.
    So which is it? I ask out of genuine curiosity. For example, smoking is bad for me and it is, in theory, a good thing to give up for the duration (and ever after). Except that it drives my productivity through the roof in times of absolute exhaustion and stress (I don't mean a little tired, I mean total collapse), and enriches my life by keeping me in touch with a whole different culture and the people who are part of it. This amounts to living more fully, while I'm young enough to still recover from all the damage, as well as keeping me firmly in touch with the impermanence of my own existence. Conflicting thoughts!

    All these commitments are making me feel like we're making New Year's resolutions.
    Instead of smoking with an absent mind, try smoking with full awareness. Each inhalation, each exhalation. Be fully aware of each and every acton, each and every thought. Ango is a chance to fully and completely re-enter our lives. The point is not to just give something up like a new year's resolutions, just to drop doing the things we like with no awareness. It is so easy to get lost in sweets, drinking, sex etc...give up the act of not being aware, and allow yourself to be fully present to each and everything you enjoy....in this way you will walk, sleep, eat, drink, fully in Shinkantaza, it will no longer be just a practice, it will be your very life...

    Just some thoughts on this...

  35. #35

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu

    Ango is a chance to fully and completely re-enter our lives. The point is not to just give something up like a new year's resolutions, just to drop doing the things we like with no awareness. It is so easy to get lost in sweets, drinking, sex etc...give up the act of not being aware, and allow yourself to be fully present to each and everything you enjoy....in this way you will walk, sleep, eat, drink, fully in Shinkantaza, it will no longer be just a practice, it will be your very life...

    Just some thoughts on this...
    (Italics mine)

    This is how I understood it as it was explained to me.

    I guess I could offer the context in which the subject was brought up, and maybe that could help. Fugen had asked me if I was going to participate in Ango, and I had initially said no, though I had been thinking about it. My reason was that I didn't know how I'd be doing in September because I've lost a great deal of weight due to my illness and have gotten near the point where it is too low. There's lots of stuff there, too much to explain and I want to be brief about it. Bottom line is, I've been focusing all of my energy and thoughts on losing weight and maintaining an iron-clad grip on this idea that I have to measure up to something, some outside/inside ideal (I was given "homework" to get a ruler to help me remember to stop measuring ) self that I'm "supposed" to be and then everything will be "perfect".

    The things that I'm giving up (coffee and diet sodas) are appetite suppressants. Committing to eating three meals a day is an attempt to commit to actually living my life, rather than have it be dictated by abstractions and measurements, "safe foods" and "bad foods", incredibly distorted and dangerous thoughts that I cling to and chase after. Chain smoking (another appetite suppressant) is something I do when I'm very nervous, doing that rather than accepting being nervous and just letting that be there. What I'm doing now is asceticism, sacrifice, and dramatic stuff. Right now, I'm not living my life fully at all. So my commitments are me trying to actually give myself that opportunity to live my life genuinely. I'm seeing it as more of a release than a burden I'm taking up.

  36. #36

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Well, I will offer this ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    Hi.

    Hi, even though just an Unsui, and no authority of any kind, there is one thing i'd like to bring up here...

    Ango is not about cutting away your "ten pounds of flesh", Ango is about living life.
    Don't take away breakfast, add an extra slice of bread.
    As someone who could use to loose that extra "ten pounds" of love handles, I would say it is sometimes very very good to take the extra bread away (even if having some breakfast is healthy). On the other hand, if one needs to eat more for health ... do that. Balance and Health!

    Also, yes, I would give up for ango a couple of things one likes/loves ... as a lovely practice in release and non-attachment. Good if it stings a little to do so. Some Zen teachers these days are having a loving conversation on this, and I believe it important. We should wrestle a bit with non-attachment, release, and renunciation!

    I would not say that our Zen way of "living life every moment" necessarily means that one has to go out and start living like in a magazine, climbing Mt. Everest, skydiving, writing that novel, going back to college to get an MD, running for President. I mean, one can do any (or all!) of those thing, but not as if one -has to- do any of those things to make life full and complete. Life is always full and complete, right as it is, when known as such ... full and complete when climbing Mt. Everest, full and complete when at the foot of Mt. Everest not climbing but admiring the mountain. So, climb or no climb ... keep living!

    And sometimes simplifying, giving up ... is more. Simplify! Toss out! Less is often more.

    Finally, giving up smoking is a good idea .... ANY TIME! Not just as Zen practice.

    Gassho, Jundo

  37. #37

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Let me add a little more specifically about what Mari said ...

    If one needs to eat more, or eat less, for health ... do that. If one is being too ascetic and self-punishing ... stop that, and add. If one is self-punishing by doing something in excess and it is impacting one's life and health ... reduce.

    The middle way, all things in balance. The Buddha originally tried punishing the body to the point of being anorexic ... and gave it up in favor of eating to restore health, but not in excess.

    (A statue showing that 'pre-enlightenment' phase ...)



    ... but probably not this either!



    And we work goalessly. A ZEN DIET: No thought of gain or loss (even as we may cut or add the calories to get healthy) ... nothing to achieve, even as we stick with it. Nothing to measure, even as we check the scale.

    Sieryu said ...

    ... allow yourself to be fully present to each and everything you enjoy...

    ... but allow yourself to be fully present even to all the parts of life you do not enjoy (and even if you wish they were not so).

    Be 'at one' with the good ... be 'at one' with the bad (even as you try to make some of it good).

    Be 'at one' with the bad you can change ... be 'at one' with the bad you can't.

    Simple as pie (which, by the way, I am giving up for Ango, as well as most sweets).

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - Oh, and on the cigarettes ... I know lots and lots of Zen monks/teachers who smoke cigarettes (especially in China and Japan). No precept against it. When smoking, just smoke.

    On the other hand, I know several Zen teachers who have died from cigarettes ... John Daido Loori perhaps the most recent, of lung cancer (he had a multi-pack a day habit for many years, even after becoming a teacher). Any addiction or need like that is probably best dropped.

  38. #38

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    So I take it I should return my Cilice? :mrgreen:

  39. #39

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    I've decided to sort of distill my commitment into a phrase:

    Listen fully, give freely.

    It means a lot to me, mainly because I thought of it :P . But in all seriousness, it sums up my "goalless goals" for Ango. To understand another we must listen fully, adding nothing and taking away nothing. To give freely is to cut the expectation of return. Self and other fade slowly in either case. It's a tough commitment, but so is living life right here right now, and they're not one not two.

  40. #40

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    Sieryu said ...

    ... allow yourself to be fully present to each and everything you enjoy...

    ... but allow yourself to be fully present even to all the parts of life you do not enjoy (and even if you wish they were not so).

    Be 'at one' with the good ... be 'at one' with the bad (even as you try to make some of it good).

    Be 'at one' with the bad you can change ... be 'at one' with the bad you can't.

    Simple as pie (which, by the way, I am giving up for Ango, as well as most sweets).

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - Oh, and on the cigarettes ... I know lots and lots of Zen monks/teachers who smoke cigarettes (especially in China and Japan). No precept against it. When smoking, just smoke.

    On the other hand, I know several Zen teachers who have died from cigarettes ... John Daido Loori perhaps the most recent, of lung cancer (he had a multi-pack a day habit for many years, even after becoming a teacher). Any addition or need like that is probably best dropped.
    I used Ango last year to quit drinking coffee (and all caffeine, but to me caffeine is synonymous with coffee since that's where I got it from). I used to be addicted to cigarettes. From 18 to 25 I smoked over a pack a day. I have an addictive personality. Fortunately I'm not an alcoholic like my father, uncle and grandfather, but those addictive tendencies find expression in many facets of my life. I've also never been addicted to drugs. But I know the pain of addiction, and I know how hard it is to quit smoking and drinking coffee.

    I use food or caffeine, or anything I can find, to self-medicate to fill a gap. That gap is normal and healthy (it's just space; at least this is what I've gathered from study and zen practice), but I'm an addict and that bugs me. I've got to "fix" that space. Zazen has helped relieve this greatly by just making me aware of these tendencies.

    In any case this post made me think of this. Last year's Ango was my first. I failed commitments as Fugen mentioned (thank you for sharing that Fugen; one of my character traits is to beat myself up when I don't meet rigid demands [a form of self-sabotage my ego does to get me back into old habits] I set on myself so if you're also failing commitments it is inspiring not to quit.).

    In any case, Ango is really awesome. In some ways Ango starts in September, but in others I've brought that with me from last throughout my practice. It's really something special this Ango; it enriches my practice by showing me what practice is. It fits right in with the Rakusu so beautifully. Sewing that Rakusu is like SLAP, here are your self-imposed limits of what you think your life experience should and should not be!!!! Boom right there. You can go back to old habits or you can just sew through them with your being and let this space take place. What will happen?

    Jundo and Taigu, thank you for sharing this practice with us.

    Gassho,

    Risho

  41. #41
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    And sometimes simplifying, giving up ... is more. Simplify! Toss out! Less is often more.
    This is exactly how I live my life now a days. I cut a lot of stuff in order to achieve a more simple way of living and so far I think I managed it pretty well.

    I have never been into anything like Ango, but I truly believe I can benefit of getting rid of two obstacles in my life: my addiction to bread/cookies and my wasting time in video games.

  42. #42

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by chocobuda
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    I have never been into anything like Ango, but I truly believe I can benefit of getting rid of two obstacles in my life: my addiction to bread/cookies and my wasting time in video games.
    Sometimes time isn't wasted, where might it go if it were, the time dump? :P I'm kidding, of course, but I'd like to reiterate what Fugen said earlier (and a hefty gassho to him). And let me be clear, I'm not judging anyone's commitment, do whatcha gotta do! It's just something to be aware of that I've noticed in my own practice:

    What is wasted time? Is it that time spent watching TV? Is it time spent sitting outside for no apparent purpose? Is it, prepare yourself, time spent sitting? Time spent sewing the kesa?. What is wasted time?

    For me, wasted time is time spent running away from life. TV, video games, basking outside, sitting, sewing, can all be wasted time if they're used to avoid meeting life. At the same time, doing these things just to do them can also not be wasted time. Yes, I waste time all the time on the internet when I have a paper to write, or correspondence to catch up on, or club meetings to plan. That is me, knowing life is waiting, saying, "Eh, not right now. Facebook instead." When life is just living life? Fine, Youtube it is for a bit! The line here is a fluid, changing, existantly-non-existant line. The only hard and fast rule is that there aren't any hard and fast rules!

    Again, just my experience. Have a splendid day!

  43. #43

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Hi.

    Quote Originally Posted by Risho
    In any case this post made me think of this. Last year's Ango was my first. I failed commitments as Fugen mentioned (thank you for sharing that Fugen; one of my character traits is to beat myself up when I don't meet rigid demands [a form of self-sabotage my ego does to get me back into old habits] I set on myself so if you're also failing commitments it is inspiring not to quit.).
    I'm just an Unsui and no authority of any kind, but the point here is not to beat yourself up about failing one commitment or falling for the craving of an cup of coffee...
    It happens.
    It's part of the practice.
    Just see it for what it is, get up, brush your knees and continue.
    Don't give up Ango for one thing.
    Don't quit.
    It happens.
    It's ok.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  44. #44
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Taylor wrote:
    For me, wasted time is time spent running away from life. TV, video games, basking outside, sitting, sewing, can all be wasted time if they're used to avoid meeting life.
    Nice one!!
    _/_

  45. #45

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    My extras are, going to sleep at a reasonable time and I will give up caffine. Though I suspect one will be helping the other.

  46. #46
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    I am still undecided on what I am giving up. I am going give up something to allow more time for sewing, reading, etc. I feel it will be worth it and very fulfilling to create more time for the Ango commitments.

    Thanks,
    Jodi

  47. #47
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    I just wanted to post a link to a great article in Tricycle about temptation, restraint and dignity by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
    http://www.tricycle.com/dharma-talk/...raint?page=0,0

    This is why so much of the training lies in learning to put this aside, put that aside, give this up, give that up. Developing this habit on the external level makes us reflect on the internal level: Which attachments in the mind would be good to give up? Could our mind survive perfectly well without the things we tend to crave?
    The mind is even more independent when you develop the discernment that’s able to dig out the source of those impulses and see where they come from, to the point where the whole issue of temptation is no longer an issue because there’s nothing tempting. You look at the things that would pull the mind out of its stillness, out of its independence, and you realize they’re just not worth it. In the past you were training the mind in a sense of hunger—that’s what we do when we keep giving in to impulses: we’re training ourselves in hunger. But now you train the mind in the direction of having enough, of being free, and you realize that the sense of hunger that you used to cultivate is really a major source of suffering. You’re much better off without it.

  48. #48

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Wow! Great excerpts! Gassho!

  49. #49

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    Ditto on that, those are really good!

  50. #50

    Re: Ango Commitment Thread

    I know that most of the items below are just repetitions of the general ango commitments, but some have been tweaked a bit and -- to be honest -- if I post this out to the sangha I'm more likely to stick to it! finally, I like stating them as very clear commitments.

    I also should say that I'm very interested to see how others frame this....

    [quote]I commit to shikantaza zazen and/or kinhin for
    [list]20 minutes each morning,
    20 minutes each evening, and
    10 minutes each midday.

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