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Thread: Announcement: The 15-minute sit

  1. #1

    Announcement: The 15-minute sit

    Hi,

    After much thought and non-thought to the matter, Taigu and I are making a new recommendation. It may be a little controversial in the Zenny world (not the first time for something around Treeleaf :wink: ). It only applies to those for whom it feels right or who need such (IF YOU ARE NOW SITTING LONGER, AND COMFORTABLE WITH THAT, IF THAT FEELS RIGHT IN ONE'S LIFE ... KEEP AT IT!)

    So, presenting ...

    "THE 15-MINUTE SIT!"

    Read more here in a new addition to our "Always Beginners" series:

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...%28Part-XXI%29

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-15-2012 at 01:50 AM.

  2. #2

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: THE 15-MINUTE SIT

    Jundo - nice. I am able to sit longer periods during present life style. However, I feel quite disturbed on reading the typical attrition rate amongst those introduced to Zen in many centres. It does not have to be like that. I hope this initiative works for many.
    Regards
    m

  3. #3

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: THE 15-MINUTE SIT

    Quote Originally Posted by michaeljc
    Jundo - nice. I am able to sit longer periods during present life style. However, I feel quite disturbed on reading the typical attrition rate amongst those introduced to Zen in many centres. It does not have to be like that. I hope this initiative works for many.
    Regards
    m
    Truly, I think that some folks have the personality to be Olympic marathon runners, some 5K runners, and some are more for a steady daily jog.

    But the one thing special about the "Zen Race" is there is no place to get, the "finish line" is ever under foot, and it is not a matter of long or short, fast or slow (as a matter of fact, the race is One and Won in the very instant of dropping all human categories such as "long vs. short" "fast or slow" "win and lose")!

    (another 'Beginner's' talk I came across today on that topic) ...

    viewtopic.php?p=41804#p41804

    In every case, it it according to that particular runner's needs.

    And sometimes, all of us can benefit from pushing our self a bit to go that extra mile for the golden cup, all to realize that there was nothing to attain.

    Gassho, J

  4. #4

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: THE 15-MINUTE SIT

    and also:

    I would point out, “Keeping to the Precepts and leading a pure life are
    standard customs in the Zen tradition and are the habitual conduct of the Buddhas and Ancestors. However, for those who have not yet formally taken the Precepts, or who have broken them, we cannot say that their seated meditation is without value or merit.”

    Not my quote, but Master Dogen's

    m

  5. #5

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: THE 15-MINUTE SIT

    Thank you for this Jundo, but maybe not for the reason intended.

    When I first watched this I was in a bit of a quandary. I was concerned of the risk of over-simplifying the practice. That though we were making it palatable and accessible for everyone, we may be sacrificing something. I questioned in my mind if 15 minutes would really be sufficient.........

    Then I sat morning zazen. All my questions afterwards almost seemed humorous to me. A wonderfully horrible mirror of my-self.

    Practice is as practice does. The pointless poisoned arrows of speculation combined with my ego and arrogance made me protective of my practice. Justifying and validating. But through practice, even that drops away.

    The message of establishing a consistent practice is a beautiful gift. Thank you for this reminder.

    Deep gassho,

    Dokan

    PS - Posted up to podcast now.

  6. #6

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: THE 15-MINUTE SIT

    I'm really glad you posted this and a little taken aback that anyone would think that 'nothing' can be achieved in a '15-minute sit'.

    It is impossible for me to 'sit' longer than this - and most times I'm lying down or semi-lying down - because of physical illness/disability. Well - I've been doing meditation this way for 21 years now - more formal study of Buddhism the past two years - and I can assure any doubters that it is possible to clear the mind in a 15 minute sit. I try to do this several times a day - and feel in a beneficial rhythm now - because there is a constant sense of awareness (trying to focus on the precepts and how this is expressed in everyday living) and coming back to the quietness of mind that is necessary to experience emptiness/universal unity.

    This way of being - which is surely the true focus of Zazen - is beautifully expressed in the work of Thich Nhat Hanh, who seems to understand that in a busy, modern world most people do not have the time/opportunity to do daily long sits. And - of course - there are many other reasons apart from the pressures of modern living.

    I feel individuals must do whatever feels necessary and good for them to live a spiritual and useful life - but I am not surprised that many fall away from Zen and zasen if made to feel that they are failing - or not doing things properly - because they are unable to sit for long periods. Surely the 'proof' is in the outcome of how people live their lives and how they feel within themselves - there is after all no empirical observation that can prove that a 'long sitter' is closer than a 'short sitter' to an enlightened state.

    So - I'm all for the 15minute sit - and feel sure that those who stay with this will increase the time - naturally - at their own rate - when they feel comfortable to. The whole physical pain - pushing thru discomfort aspect - feels unnecessary to me ......... but then I'm in a lot of physical pain anyway ..... so I don't need to reach for it!

    Hope this doesn't offend anybody - all good wishes to 'short' and 'long' sitters, Willow

  7. #7

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: THE 15-MINUTE SIT

    Quote Originally Posted by Dokan
    Thank you for this Jundo, but maybe not for the reason intended.

    When I first watched this I was in a bit of a quandary. I was concerned of the risk of over-simplifying the practice. That though we were making it palatable and accessible for everyone, we may be sacrificing something. I questioned in my mind if 15 minutes would really be sufficient.........

    Then I sat morning zazen. All my questions afterwards almost seemed humorous to me. A wonderfully horrible mirror of my-self.

    Practice is as practice does. The pointless poisoned arrows of speculation combined with my ego and arrogance made me protective of my practice. Justifying and validating. But through practice, even that drops away.

    The message of establishing a consistent practice is a beautiful gift. Thank you for this reminder.

    Deep gassho,

    Dokan

    PS - Should be posted to podcast shortly, Internet is moving slowly this morning.
    Well said Dokan! Thanks for sharing. I fully agree!
    Practice is not ascetism. It is better to start slowly, find a consistant practice and then let it evolve slowly, naturally.
    I had a similar insight into my ego... ops: I thought "Great! People will now say that not only does Treeleaf have hundreds of Sangha members, now you only need to sit for 15 minutes too! Real MacZen!" Luckily it only lasted a few seconds before I woke up.

    /Pontus

  8. #8

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: THE 15-MINUTE SIT

    Right on! Sometimes I find it best to ease into things too.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: THE 15-MINUTE SIT

    Thank you Jundo Sensei I can relate to everything which was said in this talk!!

    I agree that consistancy of practice is more important than the duration of any individual sit. I switched to a daily practice of 15 minutes after the first recommendation Rev. Jundo made(about 6 months or so ago). Prior to that I was doing 30 minute sits. The problem with that plan was that I was really inconsistent. Finding 30 minutes a day, just for myself, is incredibly challenging! Working full time and maintaining a family life consume almost ALL of your time. 15 minutes is also much easier ammount of time to negotiate with my wife :wink:

    Gassho,
    John

  10. #10

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: THE 15-MINUTE SIT

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Thank you Jundo Sensei I can relate to everything which was said in this talk!!

    I agree that consistancy of practice is more important than the duration of any individual sit. I switched to a daily practice of 15 minutes after the first recommendation Rev. Jundo made(about 6 months or so ago). Prior to that I was doing 30 minute sits. The problem with that plan was that I was really inconsistent. Finding 30 minutes a day, just for myself, is incredibly challenging! Working full time and maintaining a family life consume almost ALL of your time. 15 minutes is also much easier ammount of time to negotiate with my wife :wink:

    Gassho,
    John
    I agree with John. While I dont have 20-30 min a day to SIT zazen EVERYDAY, I always find time to fit some consistency in. Just yesterday, I had just enough time to get to the gym after some inconsistency there (some reason that is getting harder to do :lol: ). While on the elliptical in a quite room I found myself doing what I just do while sitting. Before you know it 30 min were up and I felt as if I had just sat on my cushion for the same time. A more active kihin maybe? So, exercise and "kinhin-ish". I felt it was a good "sit". While I get on my cushion most days during the week, it felt like a good temporary alternative.

    Gassho,

    Matt

  11. #11

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: THE 15-MINUTE SIT

    Very nice encouragement to everyone of us!
    I also like the talk, very direct! "if that 15min is timeless, than it is a good 15 min of Zazen".

    And I'm happy, to be honest, that you also made clear that, if possible, one should ALSO practice zazenkais or sesshins... Everyone does as he TRULY can!
    It is a very open point of view to start from sincerity in practice, beyond the egotic game of "I'm so good, I sat for 45 min in a row" or "I just suck at this"...

    Anyway, thanks to everyone,
    deep gassho,
    Jinyu

  12. #12
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: THE 15-MINUTE SIT

    I think 15 minutes mark is pretty good and I totally see the point on what has been said.

    Not all people who practice find appealing to sit for more than 10 minutes at the beginning, so to make 15 minutes a good starting point gives practitioners solid ground to build up the habit.

    IMHO after a couple of weeks sitting only 15 minutes, you first start to feel very comfortable. Then it slowly starts to feel somewhat little time. Afterwards you just need to hop to the 20 minutes mark.

    Thank you for this teaching, Jundo.

    And thanks all for the comments.

  13. #13

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: THE 15-MINUTE SIT

    Actually, I yesterday asked the question over at the Soto Zen Teachers forum (yes, there is one) ... about what others are doing in their Sangha, and if anyone thinks our recommendation here truly misguided. Results of the survey are still sparse (and I cannot reveal names and details due to confidentiality) ...

    ... but I am content to say that the reaction so far has been positive and, in fact, other teachers sometimes recommend even 5 or 10 minute sittings to beginners if they seem to be struggling (although their is a general encouragement to build to longer times over time). Consistency each day, and sitting with a sense of timelessness and completeness, is much much better than sitting once in awhile.

    Gassho, J

  14. #14
    Senior Member Shawn's Avatar
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    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: THE 15-MINUTE SIT

    I currently sit 20 minutes twice daily. Working shift work, the time of day always changes, but I always attempt a sit after I awake (whatever time that may be) and before I go to sleep. Although the times change, my sit in relation to my sleep always stays the same. I cannot say that my zazen is at the consistant level of presence that it could be, but I have seen a very positive change in my energy/attitude and happiness in my life, since I moved up to 40 minutes per day, from 20 previously.

    For me, I feel it should be said, my zazen practice has gotten better over time (that is, those periods in between thoughts, where I am present) The longer my sit, the more time I have to practice. However, I think if one could commit to only 15 minutes of practice, and was truly mindful and present, that would be more then enough. Those new to zazen in particular.

    I do have a busy schedule, family, job, volunteer etc, but I normally wake up early (sacrifice a little sleep) to fit zazen in, if my schedule does not permit. I also have a very understanding wife. The benefits I receive, reduced anxiety, more effective at my job and the countless other benefits meditation brings, is why my practice will remain at 40 minutes while it is convenient for me.

    Shawn

  15. #15

    Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: THE 15-MINUTE SIT

    I think it was Yasutani roshi who said something to the effect that it was far preferable to sit 5 minutes a day, seven days a week, than to sit 1 hour once a week.

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