Results 1 to 29 of 29

Thread: Forgetting Zazen?

  1. #1

    Forgetting Zazen?

    A funny thing has been happeneing lately and I would like to know if anyone has had similiar experiences. I generally sit in the morning (for the most part), then go about my day, work, chores, the daily grind and then sometimes ask myself.....did I sit today? Sometimes it's like it never happened. I know that I did, but sometimes it is like it never happened. Weird or normal?

    Gassho,

    Matt

  2. #2
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    687

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Same here. I don't think it's weird. I think it means that sitting has become a normal part of my day like brushing my teeth.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    2,024

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    What's Zazen?

    Sorry with a title like that I couldn't resist :twisted:
    I haven't experienced this. I do my sitting in the late evening so there isn't an opportunity afterwards to go about my busy day only to look back and ponder whether I've done it or not. If I sat in the morning, like you, I'm sure it would happen at some point.
    I have had something else happen which is kind of similar. Sometimes I'll wake up with this overwhelming sensation that I've forgotten to feed or walk the dog. Well that alone is not so weird, but the fact that he passed away 3 or so years ago certainly makes it!

    Gassho,
    John

  4. #4

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Hello,

    I usually sit in the morning and in the evening and know the exact same feeling you just described. Since it's nearly always the same place, the same cushion, the same smells (unless one of our cats has felt the need to mark their territory...which technically shouldn't include the house since they do not even pay any rent...but hey, what can you do )....I guess my short term memory seems to get lazy once in a while and assumes that I definitely did sit Usually I can really feel the difference though, especially after a long day at the office.

    To cut the long story short, I think it's perfectly normal to have that feeling once in a while.


    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen

  5. #5

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Just to add some thoughts,

    It might be that your zazen is becoming just another habit, and you might not be really engaged in your practice. Maybe throw it some chants and bows to truly bring yourself back to what you are doing. Shinkantaza has a trap, it can very quickly become a dead body on a round zafu...


    Just some thoughts...

  6. #6

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Thanks everyone.....Seiryu-san....I think you are right, good insight, maybe time to time it IS becoming just that..habitual in a sense.

  7. #7

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu
    Just to add some thoughts,

    It might be that your zazen is becoming just another habit, and you might not be really engaged in your practice. Maybe throw it some chants and bows to truly bring yourself back to what you are doing. Shinkantaza has a trap, it can very quickly become a dead body on a round zafu...


    Just some thoughts...
    In the same way, maybe it's not. What's so special about zazen? It's just brushing your teeth, taking a walk, getting the paper. No need to make it special, because everything is special. Yes, it can become a dead body by not truly applying oneself, but it can also become a dead body by assigning some magical importance to it.

    Zazen is a complete waste of time, and that's why it's unique. But again, just my thoughts as well

  8. #8

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu
    Just to add some thoughts,

    It might be that your zazen is becoming just another habit, and you might not be really engaged in your practice. Maybe throw it some chants and bows to truly bring yourself back to what you are doing. Shinkantaza has a trap, it can very quickly become a dead body on a round zafu...


    Just some thoughts...
    Hi Seiryu,

    While I agree with this point, that Zazen can become a trap of complacency, that we can just come to take it for granted or start sitting like a bump on a dead log, twiddling our thumbs while the time passes ...

    ... yet I would not seek to add anything to Zazen to make it more, even to make it more "alive" in some way. Rather, I would stop and truly sit. That is the life of Zazen. I sometimes write this about Zazen:

    So, if someone were to think I am saying, "All you need to do in Zazen is sit down on one's hindquarters, and that's enough ... just twiddle your thumbs in the 'Cosmic Mudra' and you are Buddha" then, respectfully, I believe they do not get my point. But if they understand, "There is absolutely no place to be, where one needs to be or elsewhere where one can be, than on that Zafu in that moment, and that moment itself is all complete, all-encompassing, always at home, the total doing of All Life, Time and Space fully realized" ... they are closer to the flavor. . Then, if they rise up from the Zafu ... sensing that they are "Buddha" ... and then try to act in life a bit more how a Buddha would act, they get the point.


    Zazen seeks no change, needs no change, is complete and whole ... and that realization works a revolutionary change. ...

    Does that make sense ... in a Zenny way?
    So, instead of adding more decoration to Zazen, and instead of trying to take away from Zazen something that is displeasing ... just sit with/in/as the above attitude. That's all one needs.

    I very much accord with Taylor in this:

    What's so special about zazen? It's just brushing your teeth, taking a walk, getting the paper. No need to make it special, because everything is special. Yes, it can become a dead body by not truly applying oneself, but it can also become a dead body by assigning some magical importance to it.

    Zazen is a complete waste of time, and that's why it's unique. But again, just my thoughts as well


    Gassho, Jundo

  9. #9
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Sarnia, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    2,049
    Blog Entries
    119

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Sorry to disappoint anyone but I have been cursed with this memory that many people have remarked about. After seventy years it is becoming slightly fuzzy around the edges but I find the sit every morning helps to sharpen it up.

  10. #10

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor
    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu
    Just to add some thoughts,

    It might be that your zazen is becoming just another habit, and you might not be really engaged in your practice. Maybe throw it some chants and bows to truly bring yourself back to what you are doing. Shinkantaza has a trap, it can very quickly become a dead body on a round zafu...


    Just some thoughts...
    In the same way, maybe it's not. What's so special about zazen? It's just brushing your teeth, taking a walk, getting the paper. No need to make it special, because everything is special. Yes, it can become a dead body by not truly applying oneself, but it can also become a dead body by assigning some magical importance to it.

    Zazen is a complete waste of time, and that's why it's unique. But again, just my thoughts as well


    Zazen is a complete waste of time, yes indeed. Bringing yourself back to practice with more intensity is not giving zazen any magical importance at all. In fact it is taking some magical importance away. To sit zazen with out really being present to it is like expecting the mere fact of sitting to do all the work.


    Zazen is just zazen. Treating it as something special, or saying it is not something special, is still adding to it. When you approach zazen with a concept of what it should be it is no longer zazen, it is just another idea...drop even the idea of zazen completely...

    just some more thoughts... :mrgreen:

  11. #11

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu

    Zazen is a complete waste of time, yes indeed. Bringing yourself back to practice with more intensity is not giving zazen any magical importance at all. In fact it is taking some magical importance away. To sit zazen with out really being present to it is like expecting the mere fact of sitting to do all the work.


    Zazen is just zazen. Treating it as something special, or saying it is not something special, is still adding to it. When you approach zazen with a concept of what it should be it is no longer zazen, it is just another idea...drop even the idea of zazen completely...

    just some more thoughts... :mrgreen:
    'Tis a tricky thing, everyone here right in a way.

    To sit intently seeking more intensity in sitting is -not- Zazen. (or perhaps, better said, since all of life is Zazen, 'tis a narrow Zazen)

    To sit intently, neither seeking intensly or seeking anything at all ... radically allowing intense moments to be intense ... dull moments to be dull ... is intense Zazen. Intensely seek non-seeking.

    Tricky!

    For newcomers to Shikantaza, more on such tricky tricks here:

    viewtopic.php?p=20605#p20605

    Gassho, J

  12. #12

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Taylor said ...

    Zazen is a complete waste of time, and that's why it's unique.

    Fortunately, we Zen folks really don't believe in time, or anything in the universe possibly to waste. Now, don't waste time and get to it! 8)

    Life can never be more life, whether an intense moment or a dull moment ... all life. Life can never be more full, and our mind makes it seem empty. Life is always emptiness, which is full of life!

    Now, intensely realize that fact, and live a full life!

    Tricky!

    Gassho, J

  13. #13

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    'Tis a tricky thing, everyone here right in a way.

    To sit intently seeking more intensity in sitting is -not- Zazen. (or perhaps, better said, since all of life is Zazen, 'tis a narrow Zazen)

    To sit intently, neither seeking intensly or seeking anything at all ... radically allowing intense moments to be intense ... dull moments to be dull ... is intense Zazen. Intensely seek non-seeking.

    Tricky!
    Gassho!

  14. #14

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    just a question:

    To allow the intense moment to just be and the dull moments to just be, doesn't that require us to be fully aware of them. To see the moments as thus, and to let them be?

    I can think of two kinds of just letting be. One in awareness, and one in LaLa land. Where we let things be just because we weren't paying attention to them....

  15. #15

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    'Tis a tricky thing, everyone here right in a way.

    To sit intently seeking more intensity in sitting is -not- Zazen. (or perhaps, better said, since all of life is Zazen, 'tis a narrow Zazen)

    To sit intently, neither seeking intensly or seeking anything at all ... radically allowing intense moments to be intense ... dull moments to be dull ... is intense Zazen. Intensely seek non-seeking.

    Tricky!
    Gassho!
    And one to you as well, mon amie.

  16. #16

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu
    just a question:

    To allow the intense moment to just be and the dull moments to just be, doesn't that require us to be fully aware of them. To see the moments as thus, and to let them be?

    I can think of two kinds of just letting be. One in awareness, and one in LaLa land. Where we let things be just because we weren't paying attention to them....
    Hi Seiryu,

    It is a tricky question. Our way is not to daydream on the cushion, or to be in Lala land ... although sometimes we may be. Neither is our way to intensively seek to not be daydreaming or in lala land, as if that were some failure of Zazen (Zazen has no failure, even when going wrong! :shock: ). Sometimes we are fully aware, sometimes not, yet all Zazen. When not fully aware, or when daydreaming ... gently come back again and again to not be distracted by daydreaming. Repeat. Repeat. Zazen is complete in all cases.

    And when off the cushion and daydreaming ... just enjoy your daydream! That is part of life too! Same when off the cushion and aware. Just be aware.

    The best description of this is perhaps by Uchiyama Roshi, here (about ZZ' BB' CC' ... and there is a diagram if you follow the book link too)

    viewtopic.php?p=20645#p20645

    Gassho, J

  17. #17

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Those of you who are using the word "waste," what do you mean?

  18. #18
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Sarnia, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    2,049
    Blog Entries
    119

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Thank you Jundo-oso, Seiryu, Taylor, Chris and all else of the contributors to this here thread;

    To set up what you like against what you dislike
    is the disease of the mind.
    Evil, evil, thinking mind :mrgreen:
    what do you mean? when you say, "what do you mean?"
    Words, the Way is beyond language, for in it there is
    no such thing as time :shock:

    I'm just skipping along the "ZZ" line here folks; la,la,la...... lalala :lol:
    Mindfulness matters; don't "waste" it !!

  19. #19

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA
    Those of you who are using the word "waste," what do you mean?
    Let's see if I can guide this in a way that won't bastardize it, shall we (no easy task)? :P

    Certain things are considered productive uses of our time. They build things, plan things, produce things. Society gives us the thumbs up for being a "good working citizen" and we keep at it. Nothing wrong with that! It's when we think that we HAVE to get something, HAVE to get somewhere, HAVE to get something, some merit badge that says, "Go you you productive citizen!". We crave that addictive pat on the back that says "YES YES YES! YOU'VE DONE IT!"

    Zazen gives us none of that. We gain nothing, we produce nothing, we move nowhere. Do we settle into life a bit easier? Maybe. Do we meet every day with a bit more acceptance? Maybe. But we certainly haven't gained anything, or done anything. We're just living life.

    So yes, zazen is a waste of time. But can you think of anything else that is more vital than just living life as it is? It's part of that grand Genjokoan we face every single day.

  20. #20

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor
    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA
    Those of you who are using the word "waste," what do you mean?
    Let's see if I can guide this in a way that won't bastardize it, shall we (no easy task)? :P

    Certain things are considered productive uses of our time. They build things, plan things, produce things. Society gives us the thumbs up for being a "good working citizen" and we keep at it. Nothing wrong with that! It's when we think that we HAVE to get something, HAVE to get somewhere, HAVE to get something, some merit badge that says, "Go you you productive citizen!". We crave that addictive pat on the back that says "YES YES YES! YOU'VE DONE IT!"

    Zazen gives us none of that. We gain nothing, we produce nothing, we move nowhere. Do we settle into life a bit easier? ...
    One point that always needs to be always emphasized though (because otherwise some may interpret such words to mean that Zazen requires a life without doing ... just staying in bed all day, just constant 'stopping to smell the roses' with no work done to plant and weed those roses!) is that ...

    ... one can move in stillness, go forward diligently needing to get somewhere with -simultaneously- no place in need of getting, work to achieve goals while simultaneously dropping all goals.

    So long as we have these little bodies and minds, we have places to go, things to do, people to see. If one goes to visit a typical Zen monastery, ya might be very surprised about how busy those folks are ... how much they need to do ... to maintain the place. There is a time to sit Zazen, a time to plant roses and cook the meals. If a person had no need or desire to achieve something, you would never get out of bed, never feed yourself ... humankind would have never even discovered fire to heat their caves!

    How to reconcile the two?

    Well, our Zen Way ... although about sitting still ... has never been about spending one's life still. There is stillness in motion, peace amid the moving ahead. There is no place to get to ... even as we get up in the morning, get out of bed and head out that door to pay the bills (or get to our college classes like you, Taylor).

    I wrote the following once, and it is a subject very close to my heart for the reasons explained:

    As a card carrying member of "Type A Personalities Anonymous" (I just got my 15 year chip), I will say this about "achievement". The Buddha, Dogen, all the teachers were people who accomplished things ... be it building a monastery or teaching thousands of students or writing some great book, or all of the above! They had goals and plans. They were not folks to sit on their lotus leaf and contemplate their navel (at least, not all during the day).

    So, Zen is not opposed to accomplishment.

    However, we might offer a few neat perspectives on the subject:

    First, it is possible to have "goals" on one channel, while simultaneously dropping all "goals" on another channel, not two. This is "thinking not thinking", or more precisely, "goaling not goaling". Work your project, create your plans, make your choices ... but know that there is nothing in need of improving, nothing to choose, not a thing to plan. This is the lesson of Zazen amid life!

    Second, there really is no "place to get to". Life is lived for its own sake. So, whether you build a skyscraper, or write the next great novel, or compose the greatest piece of music of all time ... or whether you just sit on your butt staring at a butterfly, or at a sunset, or at the tv ... it makes no difference. It is all just your life, as you choose to live it. So, write that novel or just read one ... there is "no place to get to". "Be one" with whatever path you choose, what you are doing -- or not doing -- in your life at a particular moment. However, also get done what needs to get done ... and we need folks to build and compose, so do that too if you feel the calling! (If it weren't for folks getting up and trying to accomplish things ... we would not have so much of this wondrous modern world we live in. We would not even have Buddhism if the Buddha had not decided to rise from the Lotus Position and teach). Be diligent. Build things, work hard, and make this world a little better!

    There is a time to stop and smell the roses ... there is a time to get one's shovel, plant and water and weed the roses.

    Third, do as you can to live by "Right Livelihood", the 5th link of the Eightfold Noble Path. Live so as not to harm others, not to harm yourself, and in a manner helpful and healthful to both (they are not two). Provide for yourself and your family, keep them fed and educated and clothed and housed, but do not be seeking material success or be be attached to material things. Money, fame and power are not the point of life. (We will discuss this in much greater detail when we prepare for the Jukai and study the Precepts). If they, however, come to you ... fine. But then, do not be entrapped by them, and use them skillfully and for good.

    Know the difference between what you think you need to live, what is helpful and healthful ... and the "stuff" you crave which you only think you need to be "happy". Even with the former, know moderation ... for even good things, in excess, lead to attachment and harm.

    Gassho, Jundo

  21. #21

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    I like what Taylor wrote.

    Zazen isn't a means to an end. Zazen is an end on to itself. Just like life. And yet many people live life as a means to some end, and in this they miss all the beauty. Zazen shows us clearly the wholeness and complete ness of everything.

    A random thought....

  22. #22

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu
    I like what Taylor wrote.

    Zazen isn't a means to an end. Zazen is an end on to itself. Just like life. And yet many people live life as a means to some end, and in this they miss all the beauty. Zazen shows us clearly the wholeness and complete ness of everything.

    A random thought....
    Yes, lovely. lovely. Thank you, Taylor and Seiryu. Gassho, J

  23. #23

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Gassho for this series of posts. Reading them was no waste of time!

  24. #24

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Dear Senseis and friends,
    When I am in a good zazen (it doesn´t happen frequently, unhappily :? ) I feel like a fortress in my head that protect me of my own wild thoughts, and permit focus me in the now and in the dharma (“hear the voice of the masters in his own head”, said an old text)...What time I can stay in this state when I am in zazen? A very short time, unhappily :cry: But sometimes it keeps more time, and sometimes (it is not very often but happens), this state can continues when the PC/Ipod/zendo´s bell rings. Then I can stand up of my zafu, and the fortress keeps on...and I can move me around the world in zanshin (martial arts alert) and be focused, usually for a few seconds or maybe minutes...Then I return to my usual state of the wild thoughts empire, and I feel I am forgetting zazen...
    And I forget, and I forget, again, and again.
    Teacher Joko Beck said that this is common fact, because I am a beginner, but the same Joko said that sometimes, with an enough time of practice (around 20 years, to begin :shock: ) this state of the fortress (or something like that) could going on longer and longer...I don´t know if this is truth but I trust, and I hope to continue with zazen, without expectative, for the time was necessary to not forgetting zazen anymore.
    Gasho
    Senryu

  25. #25

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Quote Originally Posted by senryu
    Dear Senseis and friends,
    When I am in a good zazen (it doesn´t happen frequently, unhappily :? ) I feel like a fortress in my head that protect me of my own wild thoughts, and permit focus me in the now and in the dharma (“hear the voice of the masters in his own head”, said an old text)...What time I can stay in this state when I am in zazen? A very short time, unhappily :cry: But sometimes it keeps more time, and sometimes (it is not very often but happens), this state can continues when the PC/Ipod/zendo´s bell rings. Then I can stand up of my zafu, and the fortress keeps on...and I can move me around the world in zanshin (martial arts alert) and be focused, usually for a few seconds or maybe minutes...Then I return to my usual state of the wild thoughts empire, and I feel I am forgetting zazen...
    And I forget, and I forget, again, and again.
    Teacher Joko Beck said that this is common fact, because I am a beginner, but the same Joko said that sometimes, with an enough time of practice (around 20 years, to begin :shock: ) this state of the fortress (or something like that) could going on longer and longer...I don´t know if this is truth but I trust, and I hope to continue with zazen, without expectative, for the time was necessary to not forgetting zazen anymore.
    Gasho
    Senryu
    Gassho Senryu, glad to have you here.

    I wouldn't worry about "good" zazen or "bad" zazen. These are just our judgements of what zazen should be, and it shouldn't be anything! Yes, there are moments of intense focus. Yes, there are times of wild thoughts. Both are just you being completely you. Don't reach so far for "good zazen" or you might miss the moment right now!

  26. #26

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    What Taylor said! I'd also suggest that your un/happiness may similarly be getting in the way of, you know, just this.

  27. #27

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor

    I wouldn't worry about "good" zazen or "bad" zazen. These are just our judgements of what zazen should be, and it shouldn't be anything! Yes, there are moments of intense focus. Yes, there are times of wild thoughts. Both are just you being completely you. Don't reach so far for "good zazen" or you might miss the moment right now!
    Yes. We Shikantaza folks have a strange and wonderful conception of "good Zazen" as Zazen beyond all human judgments of "good vs. bad Zazen".

    And, even though there is no place to go and nothing to attain ... and though there is nothing in this life-world-self to get "better" ... as we walk the path of Practice, darn right that we do get better as the months and years pass in getting to this "no place in need of getting" and attaining this "nothing in need of attaining"! TRICKY! This profound realization of "nothing to get better" is really getting better, and as the days and years it shows more and more in one's practice and we get somewhere (by getting to no where to get, no time to not arrive). Truly mastering this "nothing to get better" ... and living life in a better way, more wise and gentle ... is getting better. Truly realizing this ... making it real in one's life ... is the "fortress" of which Joko Roshi speaks.

    Truly piercing this fact is "Good Zazen"! Truly living such way is Good Life!

    It is not about more and more maintaining "martial arts alertness", as Senryu described, though we be so sometimes. Senryu, everyone, please have a read of this even if you know it well ...

    "Right" Zazen and "Wrong" Zazen

    I would like to repost something that I think is important to really really really pierce ... about "right" Zazen and "wrong" Zazen. Someone wrote to ask if there was a general "litmus test" for when we are Practicing "right". It is also a good time to briefly review just what is "just sitting" Shikantaza, good for new folks and old folks too:

    Don't think we don't make progress in our Zen Practice even as we toss out all thought of anywhere to get. Don't think that we reach no true attainments, and that our life does not radically change, even as we drop all idea of "attainment" or a "need to change". Remember too that this "getting to nowhere to get" all takes time and diligent Practice, even as we give up all worry about "time".

    The following is the closest I come to a "litmus test" for someone's Practice, a couple of things I wrote awhile back ...

    viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2783
    Tricky, yet simple as simple can be!

    Gassho, Jundo

  28. #28
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Southeastern Wisconsin
    Posts
    570

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    This thread is very helpful. I have a type "A" personality also with a tendency to be overly driven. It definitely has improved over the years but still needs more letting go.

    Thanks,
    Jodi

  29. #29

    Re: Forgetting Zazen?

    Thanks a lot sensei Jundo,
    I really appreciate your words. Actually, I have some doubts about this was the path or I am only was deluding me. Now I know that I need to go beyond this beginner point.
    It´s really a good thing to have a teacher to reflect with us about our zen experiences...
    I promise (especially to me) to persist.
    Gassho
    Senryu

Similar Threads

  1. SPECIAL REPOST: Right Zazen and Wrong Zazen
    By Jundo in forum VITAL POINTS of 'SHIKANTAZA' ZAZEN
    Replies: 27
    Last Post: 01-31-2013, 07:34 PM
  2. Sitting Zazen, not Seated Zazen
    By Keishin in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-22-2010, 12:38 AM
  3. SPECIAL REPOST: Right Zazen and Wrong Zazen
    By Jundo in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 11-29-2009, 06:55 PM
  4. Forgetting/remembering
    By disastermouse in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 04-10-2009, 01:01 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •