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Thread: Standing shikantaza

  1. #1
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Standing shikantaza

    I was wondering if there's any tradition of doing shikantaza when standing. I've been trying it a bit lately, and, while posture is certainly an issue, it feels, well, interesting, for want of a better word.

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: Standing shikantaza

    Move your feet and you can cll it Kinhin

  3. #3

    Re: Standing shikantaza

    Hello Kirk,

    maybe in a way one could see Kin-Hin as standing Shikantaza before you move your foot again. Being a pedantic German however, I feel that one should distinguish between practising and expressing the dharma...or applying the spirit of Shikantaza whilst standing....and the actual word.

    To my knowledge the last Kanji character is always "za" for sitting. To Treeleafers in particular it may and does make sense to say "I am practising Shikantaza while standing"....but to use the term too freely might lead to confusion in the future...because what you're saying is akin to saying " I am practising sitting while standing." in a way. It does have a nice zenny ring to it, but I personally just wouldn't call it Shikantaza but standing Zen practise. That's just my personal two cents though and I think Jundo likes to use it more freely and he's the teacher around here.


    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen

  4. #4

    Re: Standing shikantaza

    Hiyas
    I do not know if there is a tradition of Standing shikantaza or not but in my own experience I found it doable but not for too long of a time and it was more stable when moving in my case (as Shokai and Mongen pointed out, move you feet ya got kinhin!).
    I would pass on the wonderful suggestion, if you are so inclined, I was given by Taigu, that was horizontal shikantaza! naturally your balanced and its very sustainable (keep them eyes open though ). flat on your back, knees up, bent, feet flat on the floor provided of course you are able to do so.

    Gassho
    Shohei

  5. #5

    Re: Standing shikantaza

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans
    Hello Kirk,

    maybe in a way one could see Kin-Hin as standing Shikantaza before you move your foot again. Being a pedantic German however, I feel that one should distinguish between practising and expressing the dharma...or applying the spirit of Shikantaza whilst standing....and the actual word.

    To my knowledge the last Kanji character is always "za" for sitting. To Treeleafers in particular it may and does make sense to say "I am practising Shikantaza while standing"....but to use the term too freely might lead to confusion in the future...because what you're saying is akin to saying " I am practising sitting while standing." in a way. It does have a nice zenny ring to it, but I personally just wouldn't call it Shikantaza but standing Zen practise. That's just my personal two cents though and I think Jundo likes to use it more freely and he's the teacher around here.


    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Hi Hans,

    This is exactly right ... and also completely limited thinking. :? (I assume, though, that you are just commenting on the word, not the real meaning).

    The "Za" of "Zazen" means "sitting" ... and only sitting Zazen is Zazen, so we sit each day. Sitting is the posture of Buddhas ... a sacred act.

    And, simultaneously, "Zazen" in its boundless meaning is the whole world, sitting, standing, walking running and flying through the air. Thus all gestures and situations are "Zazen."

    Both true at once, as one: Only Zazen "on the cushion" is Zazen ... and all of life on or off the cushion is Zazen too. Another Zen non-paradox! :shock:

    Same for the "Za" of "Shikantaza" ... that radical seeking non-seeking and attaining non-attaining ... which can be found in all life situations when perceived as such.

    One might stand "Shikantaza" ... but I would only recommend so "standing Zen" if there is a health necessity (I used to sit with a group with a fellow with a spinal injury that required this) or once in awhile for a "change of pace". But, truly, it is just Kinhin ... moving Shikantaza ... with steps so small as to be barely noticed. Some Soto groups in Japan stand still for a few minutes before beginning to step Kinhin. I also practice this Shikantaza many times on crowded subway trains in Tokyo, hanging onto the strap.

    Frankly, I think such long standing prone to wobbling and rather unstable to hold over many minutes with eyes half open, so I would not consider it an ideal position.

    Gassho, Jundo

  6. #6
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Standing shikantaza

    Okay, so standing meditation, instead of standing shikantaza...

    There are similar practices in qigong, and other techniques. I find that I can remain stable without wobbling, but that's probably, in part, my (long ago) experience with the Alexander technique.

  7. #7

    Re: Standing shikantaza

    Hello Jundo,


    you do assume correctly that I wanted to mention the word itself, because I knew I could count on you and others to talk about the meaning here at Treeleaf. What counts is to practise truthfully, but when talking to people outside of this sangha at some point, it might make sense to know a bit about the words one is using as well. I still cringe when thinking about some comments left on Brad's blog that were written in order to defend Mr. Merzel stating something like " ....Brad Warner is not even a Sensei.", obviously written by someone who didn't know how commonplace the word sensei is in Japan - although some western Zen groups use it as some kind of hierarchical term.


    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen

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