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Thread: Buckwheat zafu

  1. #1
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Buckwheat zafu

    I just got a buckwheat zafu that I ordered from an Amazon marketplace seller in the UK. It's very high, and the buckwheat is solid.

    http://www.bluebanyan.co.uk/jsp/main.jsp?lnk=117

    I have a lot of trouble sitting on a cushion - at least the one I have - because of arthritis in my knees, and the cushion not being high enough gives me back and neck pain. I could immediately feel, trying this cushion out, that not only does the additional height make me more comfortable, but the buckwheat gives a much more solid base. (I've been sleeping with a buckwheat-filled pillow for more than ten years, and it's wonderful.)

    So, anyone who finds a standard zafu uncomfortable might want to try one like this...

  2. #2
    Friends of Treeleaf Dokan's Avatar
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    Re: Buckwheat zafu

    I use the same. Mine is pretty flat, but I love how solid it is. Only issue I've experienced is that during the winter retreat my butt would fall asleep on occasion.

    Gassho,

    Dokan

  3. #3

    Re: Buckwheat zafu

    With a kapok zafu, I put a cushion under the back to give it (and my pelvis) a bit of a forward tilt, otherwise my back hurts. The few times I've tried buckwheat ones, they seem to assume this tilt more naturally.

  4. #4
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Buckwheat zafu

    Quote Originally Posted by Piobair
    With a kapok zafu, I put a cushion under the back to give it (and my pelvis) a bit of a forward tilt, otherwise my back hurts. The few times I've tried buckwheat ones, they seem to assume this tilt more naturally.
    I used to put a thick book under the back of my kapok zafu, but it wasn't ideal. A better solution would be a wedge-shaped thing, which would provide better support. But the buckwheat seems like it will be fine. My back and knees are happy.

  5. #5

    Re: Buckwheat zafu

    Another suggestion from my doctor regarding arthritic knees; change position frequently. When sitting all day, I alternate between a zafu and a meditation bench, with kinhin in between (or sometimes a little stretching/yoga/qigong). While this helps enormously, I still usually end up in a chair by the end of the day; simply too many herniated and degenerated discs.
    My teacher suggested alternating which leg is in front (I sit Burmese), but alas the right knee only bends one way.

  6. #6
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Buckwheat zafu

    Quote Originally Posted by Piobair
    Another suggestion from my doctor regarding arthritic knees; change position frequently. When sitting all day, I alternate between a zafu and a meditation bench, with kinhin in between (or sometimes a little stretching/yoga/qigong). While this helps enormously, I still usually end up in a chair by the end of the day; simply too many herniated and degenerated discs.
    My teacher suggested alternating which leg is in front (I sit Burmese), but alas the right knee only bends one way.
    Yes, I can only sit one way in Burmese (which is how I sit). If I try changing, I fall over. :-)

  7. #7

    Re: Buckwheat zafu

    I bought the buckwheat cushion from Zen Mountain Monastery. Luckily I like it I say luckily because, I have to admit, when I got it a couple years back I was in my Zen honeymoon phase, so I was just so excited to get it. Actually I still get giddy looking at it. I really like it a lot.

    I do find that my lower quadrant falls asleep too. ahhhaha

  8. #8

    Re: Buckwheat zafu

    Taigu has a video (somewhere on here) where he shows how he recommends that when you sit, lean forward and "wedge" the zafu at an angle underneath you to provide better support. I've been doing that with my kapok zafu ever since and it's made a big difference.

    Though I'd like to try that large zafu just to see how it compares. Most of my discomfort when sitting, if I'm really honest with myself, from the fact that I'm inflexible and overweight. Maybe I should work on that first

  9. #9
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Buckwheat zafu

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin

    Though I'd like to try that large zafu just to see how it compares. Most of my discomfort when sitting, if I'm really honest with myself, from the fact that I'm inflexible and overweight. Maybe I should work on that first
    That may be part of my problem, but also I'm tall (well, 6 feet), and I have arthritis in my knees and back, so sitting a bit higher really makes a difference. It allows my legs to be less tight, and my back to be looser as well.

  10. #10

    Re: Buckwheat zafu

    I'm still lusting after a seifu as my flexibility has never been there for me. the cost is a bit prohibitive, so I've depended on overstuffing my zafu with extra buckwheat

    http://www.dharma.net/monstore/category ... th=104_107




  11. #11

    Buckwheat zafu

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin
    Taigu has a video (somewhere on here) where he shows how he recommends that when you sit, lean forward and "wedge" the zafu at an angle underneath you to provide better support. I've been doing that with my kapok zafu ever since and it's made a big difference.
    I agree! It makes a ton of difference. Sit only on the front half and try to wedge it so that your pelvis is tilted slightly forward. Helps with both back pain and sleepy buttocks!

    /Pontus

  12. #12

    Re: Buckwheat zafu

    I found Taigu's video: viewtopic.php?f=41&t=4200

    FFWD to about 2:40 for the "angling" technique.

  13. #13

    Re: Buckwheat zafu

    Quote Originally Posted by Dokan
    Mine is pretty flat,
    Is that from normal use, or did you remove some of the buckwheat?

  14. #14
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Buckwheat zafu

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin
    Quote Originally Posted by Dokan
    Mine is pretty flat,
    Is that from normal use, or did you remove some of the buckwheat?
    I also sit on a buckwheat Zafu so I'm going to chime in on this one.
    Mine has flattened out from normal(well as normal as endlessly sitting on your butt in front of a blank wall can be considered :lol: ) sitting. The hulls just break down over time. Even to the point of powderizing and breaching the Zafu fabric. Kind of dusty
    I decided my next one will be cotton to avoid this issue!

    Gassho,
    Hoyu(John)

  15. #15
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Buckwheat zafu

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoyu
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin
    Quote Originally Posted by Dokan
    Mine is pretty flat,
    Is that from normal use, or did you remove some of the buckwheat?
    I also sit on a buckwheat Zafu so I'm going to chime in on this one.
    Mine has flattened out from normal(well as normal as endlessly sitting on your butt in front of a blank wall can be considered :lol: ) sitting. The hulls just break down over time. Even to the point of powderizing and breaching the Zafu fabric. Kind of dusty
    I decided my next one will be cotton to avoid this issue!

    Gassho,
    Hoyu(John)
    But you can replace the buckwheat; it's a lot easier than replacing kapok.

    I have used a buckwheat-filled pillow for about 15 years, and every couple of years I replace the filling. I even noticed on Amazon FR that marketplace sellers sell buckwheat to fill pillows and zafus.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Buckwheat zafu

    Kirk wrote:
    But you can replace the buckwheat; it's a lot easier than replacing kapok.
    Oh sure. The flattening out hasn't bothered me and once it gets too flat I know it can be refilled. The thing which I dislike most is that over time, when it does break down, fine buckwheat powder begins to sift through the cotton fabric. The dust gets on clothing etc.

    Gassho,
    Hoyu(John)

  17. #17
    Friends of Treeleaf Dokan's Avatar
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    Re: Re: Buckwheat zafu

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin
    Quote Originally Posted by Dokan
    Mine is pretty flat,
    Is that from normal use, or did you remove some of the buckwheat?
    Yeah like Hoyu said I think its from use. I do the "lean forward and pull up the back" technique which I think flattens even more the front side.

    Gassho

    Dokan

  18. #18
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Buckwheat zafu

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoyu
    The hulls just break down over time. Even to the point of powderizing and breaching the Zafu fabric. Kind of dusty
    I decided my next one will be cotton to avoid this issue!
    Hoyu,

    I can say from experience that cotton does not hold up very well at all as my first zafu was stuffed that way and it flattened VERY quickly. I have since stuffed it (really over stuffed it) with buckwheat hulls and it is much improved. Yes, there is always a bit of the dust problem, but the issue could be more about the zafu's type of material. Mine has a very tight weave and the dust doesn't go through it at all. I really only have to deal with the dust when I go to add some extra hulls.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  19. #19

    Re: Buckwheat zafu

    Kapok seems to hold it's shape pretty well (make sure you are "fluffing" after each sit) and fairly easy to add more (at least to my zafu). Although it is a bit messy as well.

    Hogen's got me interested in that SeiFu now too... :mrgreen:

  20. #20

    Re: Buckwheat zafu

    Wow, I've never seen a seifu before! I am excited to try one out. I am a slightly bigger dude - around 280lbs, and I think this could help with some of my lower back problems I experience during zazen. Thanks for sharing!

  21. #21

    Re: Buckwheat zafu

    Quote Originally Posted by pdxrain
    Wow, I've never seen a seifu before! I am excited to try one out. I am a slightly bigger dude - around 280lbs, and I think this could help with some of my lower back problems I experience during zazen. Thanks for sharing!
    If you get one, let us know! I can't justify the expense since my current zafu works OK.

    P.S. I lived in PDX for a couple of years in the mid-2000s... pretty awesome city, I miss it!

  22. #22

    Re: Buckwheat zafu

    I just stuffed another half-pound of kapok into my zafu. Makes a big difference. I experimented a bit as well, adding another support cushion underneath. The extra height really helps with longer sits.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Re: Buckwheat zafu

    Matt, where do you get the kapok?

  24. #24

    Re: Buckwheat zafu

    Nindo, I got it from the MRO store at dharma.net/monstore

    They sell by the pound

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