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Thread: Becoming a student...

  1. #1

    Becoming a student...

    Hello all,

    I must admit that I have become quite taken with the practice of shikantaza. Each day after my 15 minute sit I feel more strongly that this style of practice is extremely worthwhile and helps me to see things in way and with a clarity that I haven't before. Forgive me for my ignorance but how does one more seriously commit to this practice here? Is there a process to become a formal student? Any direction would be appreciated.

    As an aside, many Theravada Buddhists are celebrating the Buddha's birthday today so Happy Vesak! Metta!

    Mike

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: Becoming a student...

    Mike;

    I am sure Jundo and Taigu will advise you. Meanwhile, consider taking Jukai (the opportunity comes at the end of summer. We study the Bodisattva Precepts September thru December, sew a Rakusu during the same period and hold intense practice period known as Ango. You can look through the associated forums for more detailed explanations http://www.treeleaf.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=7 gassho

  3. #3
    Senior Member Koshin's Avatar
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    Re: Becoming a student...

    I am a newbie on Zen (just a few months sitting and reading about it), my practice is to sit half an hour in the morning and usually half an hour in the afternoon, regularly monitor the forums and especially the excellent videos in the Talks and Teachings subforum, even I have organized my notes in OneNote and I check them often. I have read a couple books recommended here... I even dont think I managed to get a decent posture in sitting ops: But somehow, the things I see and read here makes so much sense to me...Im loving it

    I tend to be a very systematic and analytical guy, but gradually I realized I should leave a little to one side the analytical mind and try a little more the intuitive, non-verbal. So I do not think one can speak of a formal process to study, something like the degrees in school, but being the newbie I am, surely I'm wrong. It frustrates me a little, I'm very used to the "formal system" study, .... but I suspect that in Zen it will not work properly, it may be more like a mixture between self-taught and guided lessons. I want to participate in the Jukai to strengthen my practice, I hope to see you there.

    Gassho

  4. #4

    Re: Becoming a student...

    Shokai and lipor thank you both for your replies.

    Gassho,

    Mike

  5. #5

    Re: Becoming a student...

    Leo wrote

    I'm very used to the "formal system" study, .... but I suspect that in Zen it will not work properly, it may be more like a mixture between self-taught and guided lessons. I want to participate in the Jukai to strengthen my practice, I hope to see you there.

    Hi Leo - I'm fairly new here as well. I agree with the above (though I gave up formal study a long way back and much prefer to meander my own path). Hope to
    participate in Jukai too.

    Gassho

    Willow

  6. #6
    disastermouse
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    Re: Becoming a student...

    Formal study without zazen is like eating a book - generally dissatisfying but you may come away with the mistaken perception that you actually know something.

    Zazen with no formal study is like building a house with only a screwdriver - there are tools available that you're not using.

    IMHO.

  7. #7

    Re: Becoming a student...

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Formal study without zazen is like eating a book
    Gassho Chet.

    Dokan

  8. #8

    Re: Becoming a student...

    Quote Originally Posted by Khalil Bodhi
    Hello all,

    I must admit that I have become quite taken with the practice of shikantaza. Each day after my 15 minute sit I feel more strongly that this style of practice is extremely worthwhile and helps me to see things in way and with a clarity that I haven't before. Forgive me for my ignorance but how does one more seriously commit to this practice here? Is there a process to become a formal student? Any direction would be appreciated.

    As an aside, many Theravada Buddhists are celebrating the Buddha's birthday today so Happy Vesak! Metta!

    Mike
    Hi Mike,

    Well, one becomes a "formal student" by ... sitting Zazen each day, studying and reflecting on the Buddhist Teachings (including the Precepts) and finding how to incorporate all in one's life. That's about it as far as I know ... no fancy costume, beads, labels or even particular ceremony is necessary. If one feels a particular affinity for a particular Sangha and Teachers, just sit and study with them ... but one should learn from many Teachers too.

    That being said, we do have our annual Jukai each fall wherein we do study and reflect on each of the Precepts (vowing to avoid harm to self and others ... which are not separate, by the way), sew a Rakusu (a rich and rewarding non-Practice ... Zazen with a needle) and some other actions. We do, as part of the ceremony in January, vow to uphold and live by those Precepts as we can. We also symbolically take our place in this generation of the Lineage of Buddhists before us ... actually a circle unbroken.

    However, in my view, the ceremony is not itself the point, but is a celebration and public declaration of the actions I described in the first sentence above ... the sitting, study, reflection, incorporation and avoidance of harm that one seeks to do all the time.

    I hope you will consider to join Jukai this year.

    Gassho, Jundo

  9. #9

    Re: Becoming a student...

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Formal study without zazen is like eating a book - generally dissatisfying but you may come away with the mistaken perception that you actually know something.

    Zazen with no formal study is like building a house with only a screwdriver - there are tools available that you're not using.

    IMHO.
    I am going to plagiarize this. Thank you, Chet. Nicely put.

    Gassho, J

  10. #10

    Re: Becoming a student...

    Jundo et al,

    Thank you guys for the great replies. I will certainly join Jukai this year-I have been a 5 precept lay person for years but have never undertaken the bodhisattva precepts and never studied and practiced in the Soto tradition for any length of time. Any other recommendations would be welcome. Thankk you for sharing your practice and good counsel. Mettaya.

    Gassho,

    Mike

  11. #11
    Senior Member Marek's Avatar
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    Re: Becoming a student...

    Hello!

    This place gave me a lot. More than I ever expected. That is why I totally agree with your words Chet:

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Formal study without zazen is like eating a book - generally dissatisfying but you may come away with the mistaken perception that you actually know something.

    Zazen with no formal study is like building a house with only a screwdriver - there are tools available that you're not using.

    IMHO.
    And that is why I want to participate in Jukai this year too.

    _/_

  12. #12

    Re: Becoming a student...

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Formal study without zazen is like eating a book - generally dissatisfying but you may come away with the mistaken perception that you actually know something.

    Zazen with no formal study is like building a house with only a screwdriver - there are tools available that you're not using.

    IMHO.
    Haha, this is wonderful!

  13. #13

    Re: Becoming a student...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Well, one becomes a "formal student" by ... sitting Zazen each day, studying and reflecting on the Buddhist Teachings (including the Precepts) and finding how to incorporate all in one's life. That's about it as far as I know ... no fancy costume, beads, labels or even particular ceremony is necessary. If one feels a particular affinity for a particular Sangha and Teachers, just sit and study with them ... but one should learn from many Teachers too.
    _()_
    Myoku

  14. #14

    Re: Becoming a student...

    becoming a student is
    to be a child of the Buddha
    nothing else

    gassho


    Taigu

  15. #15
    Senior Member Koshin's Avatar
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    Re: Becoming a student...

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    becoming a student is
    to be a child of the Buddha
    nothing else

    gassho


    Taigu

    Then again, simple and clear. Thank you teacher

    Gassho

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