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Jundo
10-01-2017, 11:35 AM
Dear Everyone,

Treeleaf is an online sangha, designed with the intention of providing a place for people to practice Zen who are not able to physically access a ‘bricks and mortar’ dharma centre. Reasons for not being able to attend a physical centre include reasons of geography, life circumstances (such as working hours, caring for young children or sick relatives) and, also, having physical illness or disability.

As such, we welcome members who have physical challenges in their everyday lives which also apply to some aspects of practicing Zen. This information is intended to answer some of the most frequently asked questions which may cause people with varying physical abilities to think they cannot practice Zen or cannot do so ‘properly’, and also provide some resources on the topic from Zen and Buddhist teachers and organisations. Even if we are currently healthy, illness and aging are a certainty in life so at some point we will have to modify our practice to accommodate physical frailties.

Although some of us in the sangha already practice with disability and/or physical illness, the challenges we face may not be the challenges that you face. While we have attempted to be as inclusive as we can, please let us know if you require information or assistance that is not here, and applies to your particular situation. By doing this, we can increase the scope of support offered.


SITTING POSTURE
Zen can be a very physical practice. To begin with, being able to sustain posture on the cushion can be very demanding for anyone with challenges to their physical health. When we see rows of students sitting in the lotus posture, or half-lotus, Burmese etc, that can seem like the correct way to do things. However, forcing yourself into a posture which is more than a little uncomfortable (postures can initially feel odd as your body adjusts to them) is not conducive to good sitting and this is even more true if trying to do so might cause you long-term damage through pushing your body too hard.

If you can do the traditional postures but need support in the form of additional cushions, a neck brace, back support and such like, it is completely fine to do this.

Alternative postures to the standard zafu sitting include sitting in a chair (often with a cushion or zafu under your feet so if they do not naturally reach the floor), lying on your side (such as the Buddha’s parinirvana posture (https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/--mv8ivkKS4M/TYQjGHw8ZbI/AAAAAAAAALk/QlXHIp3EuQA/s1600/Parinirvana+Buddha-Fanyun+Enterprises+Co+LTD.jpg)) and lying on your back (including support under your knees) such as in the yoga śavāsana (https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/corpse-pose#!) (corpse) pose.

This article (http://www.sonima.com/meditation/meditation-positions/) gives some advice on alternative postures.

It is perfectly fine to attend zazenkai and other sits and ceremonies in supported or reclining postures.


BOWING
Bowing, especially full-length prostrations, can be physically demanding. If prostrations are required in the weekly zazenkai or other ceremony, you can instead visualise doing this with your hands held in gassho (if you are able). If the gassho position (palms together and held with the base of the thumbs in the centre of the chest) cannot be achieved or maintained, it is okay just to visualise doing this also. If your physical ability necessitates a one-handed gassho, this is completely acceptable.


KINHIN
Kinhin (mindful walking) occurs between sessions of zazen in the weekly and monthly zazenkai. If you are unable to walk, then this can be replaced with some mindful stretching. Part of the function of kinhin is to stretch the muscles after zazen in addition to being aware of our body as it moves. Stretching also achieves both of these things.

If stretching is not possible then consider watching the movement of the breth.

If you are able to do a brief amount of kinhin then please do this for as long as you are able and then either stretch or watch the breath as above.


SEWING
Jukai (taking the precepts) and Shukke Tokudo (homeleaving ordination) both require sewing as part of the preparation for the ceremony. Before Jukai, participants sew a rakusu. Before Shukke Tokudo a kesa is sewn. These sewing activities are part of a commitment to the practice and the ceremony about to happen but rely on the sangha member being sufficiently able to sew.

If you require assistance or modifications to the normal method to be able to sew (such as using a machine rather than hand stitching) this should almost always be possible. If no sewing, or very limited sewing is possible, then a family member or sangha friend can make part or whole of the rakusu or kesa for you. We do not wish someone who wishes to be part of the sangha and take the precepts to be prevented from doing so because of this.


PAIN
Here at Treeleaf, we sit zazen in the traditional Sōtō style, in full completeness with nothing lacking. However, while it is not the aim of practice, it has been noticed that levels of pain during and after sitting can feel reduced. This may be of benefit to sangha members who experience pain, especially chronic pain.

Jundo talks about sitting with pain and alternative postures here (https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?14879-Sit-a-Long-with-Jundo-Zazen-for-Beginners-%2817%29).


TIME AWAY FROM THE SANGHA
Some people with illness and disability find it hard to sustain a consistent interaction with Treeleaf or need periods of time away when their health becomes bad. Firstly, many able-bodied members have life circumstances which mean that they also struggle to keep up with the sangha on a day-to-day basis and many also take time away for personal reasons, so you are not alone in this. Secondly, there is a thread on the forum (https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?5641-The-I-am-going-away-but-coming-back-thread) for letting us know if you are going to be away for a while. Also, please let one of the unsui know or a sangha friend if you would like us to be in contact and support you while you are away. It is often the times that you need to be away from the sangha that you might need us most.


SANGHA CONTACT POINT
If you wish to discuss any issues around disability and/or physical illness and how you can be supported in your practice then please contact Kokuu. He has been practicing with chronic illness himself for 21 years. Also let him know if you wish to suggest modifications and improvements for this resource guide.

It is also important to be very careful if you feel or suspect that you might have a present physical or mental condition that might interfere with Zazen or other activities in our Sangha. If you are not sure, then you should consult with a doctor or mental health professional and only participate with their approval, guidance and oversight. Although Zen Practice should be safe for most people if you do not do more than your body or condition allows you, if there could be any doubt, please check with your physician first before undertaking any activity.


RESOURCES

Articles
Buddhism and Disability (https://www.vermande.us/tim/308.html)
Handicapped Buddhism (http://www.angelfire.com/electronic/awakening101/ada-buddhism.html) by Richard Louis Bruno

Books
Body of Radiant Knots (book chapter) by Joan Iten Sutherland, in Being Bodies (edited by Lenore Friedman and Susan Moon).
Healing, The Universal Medicine (book chapter) by Pat Enkyo O'Hara in her own book, Most Intimate.
How To Be Sick by Toni Bernhard (and please do check out our How to be Sick reading and practice group (https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?179-How-to-be-Sick-Practice-Group))
Lotus in the Fire: the healing power of Zen by Jim Bedard
Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
The Only Way I Know of to Alleviate Suffering (book chapter) by Darlene Cohen, also in Being Bodies.
This Is Getting Old. Zen Thoughts on Aging with Humor and Dignity by Susan Moon
Turning Suffering Inside Out by Darlene Cohen

Talks
Dongshan is Unwell (http://everydayzen.org/teachings/2011/dongshan-unwell-practicing-illness) (Norman Fischer)
Radical Acceptance (http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/175/talk/1907/) and Practicing Radical Acceptance (http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/175/talk/1889/) (Tara Brach)
Suffering and Gratitude (http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/134/talk/26188/) (Norman Fischer)
Transforming Illness Through Love and Letting Go (https://www.upaya.org/2014/09/susan-bauer-wu-09-10-2014-transforming-illness-love-letting-go/) (Susan Bauer-Wu)

Gassho, Jundo
SatTodayLAH

Thank you to Kokuu for drafting the above and shepherding this project.

Geika
10-01-2017, 11:01 PM
How nice of you to put all this together, Jundo. I'm sure it will be really helpful and a nice relief for our new members with some physical difficulties, not to mention some long time friends around here.

Gassho, sat today, lah

Jundo
10-02-2017, 01:07 AM
How nice of you to put all this together, Jundo. I'm sure it will be really helpful and a nice relief for our new members with some physical difficulties, not to mention some long time friends around here.

Gassho, sat today, lah

Kokuu is the person who built this and put it together, I just posted it for the Sangha.

Gassho, J

SatTodayLAH

Geika
10-02-2017, 03:23 AM
Then many bows to Kokuu! Good job.

Gassho, sat today, lah

Koki
10-02-2017, 01:30 PM
This is very motivational..I'd love to began this path to Jukai and Shukke Tokudo.

Would connecting with a mentor be a good way to guide me and point me along this road?

I've been sitting nearly 47 years...

Frank

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Geika
10-03-2017, 03:04 AM
Kunzang,

Here is what is usually brought up when someone wants to know where to start on taking Shukke Tokudo.

https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?15540-SPLIT-THREAD-Of-Priests-and-Priest-Training-at-Treeleaf

Gassho, sat today, lah

Koki
10-03-2017, 01:28 PM
Kunzang,

Here is what is usually brought up when someone wants to know where to start on taking Shukke Tokudo.

https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?15540-SPLIT-THREAD-Of-Priests-and-Priest-Training-at-Treeleaf

Gassho, sat today, lahThank you Geika

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dsaly1969
10-04-2017, 11:15 PM
Thanks so much for this posting! As someone with increasingly restrictive physical mobility I have found these suggestions on how to continue practice to be invaluable.

Gassho, sat today, lah.

Mokuhů
12-29-2017, 03:51 AM
I had suffer a cerebral stroke, i have hemiplegia in my body, im practice zen in mexico since 14 years ago with a group of sotozen lineage, but its very strictly, im sad because i canít do it all activities like zazenkai or sesshins, my master dont accept my votes like a dharma integrant because my participation is limited, this notes that write master Jundo its very important note, because its inclusive...thanks for consider disability...i sat today, mokuho

Jundo
12-29-2017, 03:59 AM
I had suffer a cerebral stroke, i have hemiplegia in my body, im practice zen in mexico since 14 years ago with a group of sotozen lineage, but its very strictly, im sad because i can’t do it all activities like zazenkai or sesshins, my master dont accept my votes like a dharma integrant because my participation is limited, this notes that write master Jundo its very important note, because its inclusive...thanks for consider disability...i sat today, mokuho

No body is excluded for such things here. The universe excludes nobody too.

Gassho, J

SatTodayLAH

Kyotai
12-29-2017, 05:29 AM
I had suffer a cerebral stroke, i have hemiplegia in my body, im practice zen in mexico since 14 years ago with a group of sotozen lineage, but its very strictly, im sad because i canít do it all activities like zazenkai or sesshins, my master dont accept my votes like a dharma integrant because my participation is limited, this notes that write master Jundo its very important note, because its inclusive...thanks for consider disability...i sat today, mokuhoYour vote counts here Mokuho. Thank you for your practice and wish you well.

Gassho Kyotai
ST

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Kokuu
12-29-2017, 11:18 PM
I had suffer a cerebral stroke, i have hemiplegia in my body, im practice zen in mexico since 14 years ago with a group of sotozen lineage, but its very strictly, im sad because i can’t do it all activities like zazenkai or sesshins, my master dont accept my votes like a dharma integrant because my participation is limited, this notes that write master Jundo its very important note, because its inclusive...thanks for consider disability...i sat today, mokuho

You are very welcome here, Mokuhů, and your participation is whole and complete however much you are able or not able to do.

Please let us know if there is anything more we can do to include you here. The above guidelines are designed to be modified as we learn more about the requirements of different medical conditions and disabilities.

Gassho
Kokuu

Byokan
01-02-2018, 06:57 PM
Grateful for everyone's practice. gassho2

Gassho
Byōkan
sat + lah

Meian
02-10-2018, 11:40 PM
I guess this is why I found this thread now - I will review Jundo's post and follow his suggestions ...... I don't know if this posted in a different forum also (if so, I apologize), but this is what I was about to post:

"sitting with lupus"

hello everyone,

I can spare the details of how this came about, but this past week I was diagnosed with lupus SLE (systemic lupus erythematous) by my rheumatologist. It kind of hit me from left field, but in reality, the signs were probably there for a while, but had not yet appeared on the blood test (it did this week).

If anyone has any suggestions or thoughts on sitting zazen (or reclining, or anything) with an illness such as lupus, I am open to it. I know similar topics have been discussed before, just not sure if it's the same or if there are specific suggestions. gassho2

thank you in advance

gassho
kim
st/lh

Jundo
02-11-2018, 12:31 AM
I can spare the details of how this came about, but this past week I was diagnosed with lupus SLE (systemic lupus erythematous) by my rheumatologist. It kind of hit me from left field, but in reality, the signs were probably there for a while, but had not yet appeared on the blood test (it did this week).


I will just offer that we will all be Sitting for your health and peace with your condition, Kim.

Gassho, Jundo

SatTodayLAH

Jakuden
02-11-2018, 02:32 AM
I guess this is why I found this thread now - I will review Jundo's post and follow his suggestions ...... I don't know if this posted in a different forum also (if so, I apologize), but this is what I was about to post:

"sitting with lupus"

hello everyone,

I can spare the details of how this came about, but this past week I was diagnosed with lupus SLE (systemic lupus erythematous) by my rheumatologist. It kind of hit me from left field, but in reality, the signs were probably there for a while, but had not yet appeared on the blood test (it did this week).

If anyone has any suggestions or thoughts on sitting zazen (or reclining, or anything) with an illness such as lupus, I am open to it. I know similar topics have been discussed before, just not sure if it's the same or if there are specific suggestions. gassho2

thank you in advance

gassho
kim
st/lh

[emoji853] Sorry to hear this, sending Metta Kim. I hope it can be managed to minimize symptoms or put it into remission.

I know in animals lupus can present in many ways and can attack many body systems, is it the same in humans? If so, I would imagine that your particular adjustments would depend on what effects the illness has on you on any given day. Sorry if thatís a no-sh*t-Sherlock statement [emoji13] I know there are lots of folks here with good advice about practicing with different illness manifestations such as weakness, all types of pain, and mobility and coordination issues.

Wishing you peace,

Gassho
Jakuden
SatToday/LAH




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Seishin
02-11-2018, 11:19 AM
Kim I cannot offer advice but will offer metta.

Tairin
02-11-2018, 02:27 PM
Metta to you Kim.

gassho2
Tairin
Sat today

Eishuu
02-11-2018, 04:00 PM
Sorry to hear this, Kim. I'm not sure that I have any suggestions about lying down zazen. I do all of my zazen lying down at the moment. I'd say find a position that is comfortable - it may take a bit of getting used to. In terms of pain, I just let it be there. I think there are various Buddhist resources about meditating with pain but I find zazen helps - it helps me let go of that second layer of suffering, all the aversion and thoughts around pain.

I also find that sometimes my energy gets flat and I struggle with concentration whilst lying down so sometimes I add in some breath meditation too.

Sending you lots of metta.

Gassho
Eishuu
ST/LAH

Meitou
02-13-2018, 07:59 AM
Sitting for you Kim
Metta and Gassho
Meitou
Satwithyoualltoday lah

Jishin
02-13-2018, 01:02 PM
I think it is wonderful that we all try to be supportive of members with physical disabilities. That said, we do not do a good job of people with psychiatric difficulties.

Of the top of my head, here are some for consideration:

Perceptual distortions:

Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Bipolar Type, Schizoaffective Depressive Type

Mood Disorders:

Bipolar type I with and without psychotic features, Bipolar type II, Major depression with and without psychotic features, Persistent Depressive Disorder

Anxiety Disorders:

Generalized Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Panic Disorder with and without agoraphobia, PTSD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Developmental disorders:

ADHD, Intellectual Development Disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder

Personality disorders including Borderline, Obsessive and Narcissistic Personality Disorders

Substance Use Disorders

Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders and many others not mentioned that I can not remember right now.

It's flat out discrimination when we tend to be supportive of all physical disabilities, depressive and most anxiety disabilities, but do not do such a good job with the others.

My 2 cents.

Gassho, Jishin, ST, LAH

Jinyo
02-13-2018, 10:10 PM
Hello Jishin,

when you say 'we' do you mean society in general or here at Tree Leaf?

I think society in general is not very supportive of anything that constitutes 'other' or 'difference' right across the board.
We have quite a culture of blame - even towards physical illnesses and disabilities. There is little help (at least here in the UK) for depressive illnesses
and anxiety which is expected to miraculously get better with six sessions of CBT and perhaps a pharmaceutical pill. As for Mindfullness it is the new Utopia
and sadly somewhat removed from much of what is taught here.

Do you have any suggestions as to how we might do better here or out in the wider world?

It is a subject close to my heart,

Gassho

Jinyo

ST

Kokuu
02-13-2018, 10:30 PM
It's flat out discrimination when we tend to be supportive of all physical disabilities, depressive and most anxiety disabilities, but do not do such a good job with the others.

Hi Jishin

This has been raised among Jundo and the unsui and, while we want to be completely open and supportive to people with mental health conditions and those who are neuro atypical, it was felt that we lack the expertise to offer any suggestions around this. It was discussed in detail when these guidelines were being put together.

The best we could do is state words to that effect and give information so that an individual could discuss their practice with those involved in their ongoing support and treatment.

Basically, we do not ignore this group and wish to make them very welcome here. However, we are very aware of the limitations of our knowledge and prefer to err on the side of not interfering with conditions we know little about. If you wanted to talk about this further with Jundo or any of us, I am sure we would be open to it.

Gassho
Kokuu
-sattoday/lah-

Jishin
02-13-2018, 11:14 PM
Hello Jishin,

when you say 'we' do you mean society in general or here at Tree Leaf?

I think society in general is not very supportive of anything that constitutes 'other' or 'difference' right across the board.
We have quite a culture of blame - even towards physical illnesses and disabilities. There is little help (at least here in the UK) for depressive illnesses
and anxiety which is expected to miraculously get better with six sessions of CBT and perhaps a pharmaceutical pill. As for Mindfullness it is the new Utopia
and sadly somewhat removed from much of what is taught here.

Do you have any suggestions as to how we might do better here or out in the wider world?

It is a subject close to my heart,

Gassho

Jinyo

ST

Hi Jinyo,

This is a very complex subject. The best I can do is to point it out.

Gassho, Jishin, ST, LAH

Jishin
02-13-2018, 11:18 PM
Hi Jishin

This has been raised among Jundo and the unsui and, while we want to be completely open and supportive to people with mental health conditions and those who are neuro atypical, it was felt that we lack the expertise to offer any suggestions around this. It was discussed in detail when these guidelines were being put together.

The best we could do is state words to that effect and give information so that an individual could discuss their practice with those involved in their ongoing support and treatment.

Basically, we do not ignore this group and wish to make them very welcome here. However, we are very aware of the limitations of our knowledge and prefer to err on the side of not interfering with conditions we know little about. If you wanted to talk about this further with Jundo or any of us, I am sure we would be open to it.

Gassho
Kokuu
-sattoday/lah-

Hi Kokku,

Again, a very complex subject with lots of angles. It does good to call attention to the issue.

Gassho, Jishin, ST, LAH

Kokuu
02-13-2018, 11:33 PM
Hi Jishin

I will raise the subject again with Jundo and the other unsui. It may be we can make a post that makes it clear that people with mental health and neurological issues are very welcome at Treeleaf without offering specific advice.

Recent posts make it clear that we already have members of this description who hopefully feel supported and considered here.

Gassho
Kokuu

Jundo
02-14-2018, 12:59 AM
Hi Jishin

I will raise the subject again with Jundo and the other unsui. It may be we can make a post that makes it clear that people with mental health and neurological issues are very welcome at Treeleaf without offering specific advice.

Recent posts make it clear that we already have members of this description who hopefully feel supported and considered here.

Gassho
Kokuu

My advice for all these conditions, including for other conditions involving physical illness or disability, has to be the same:

Please seek treatment and counseling by a medical or mental health professional in your community with expertise in treating your condition. If the doctor recommends or approves of your participating here, and sitting Zazen, then you are more than welcome to do so. If the doctor recommends against it, then we request the person not to do so.

That is all we can do, given that the patient and doctor are the ones who truly understand the person's condition.

If a person is approved and able to sit with us, then it is fine that he/she adjust the way of sitting and participation according to his/her needs. (For example, we actually had a person participate who had a condition involving sudden movements and 'Tourettes' like sudden vocalizations. Our Sangha was the first that the person felt comfortable in sitting with "live" because they could simply turn off the microphone and sit a bit away from the camera. Another person needs to get up from time to time and walk a bit, again, no problem for our group). To the degree we can, each person is accepted for who they/we are. I feel this is one of the wonderful qualities that Treeleaf has, it is like a refuge, a safe place to come and put down the labels and categories, and just be who you need to be as much as we can figure out a way.

I wish that we could do more to alleviate peoples' illness, but that is all that is possible for us.

If approved by their medical or mental health professional, people with mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, alcohol recovery and so forth, and neurological conditions, are welcome at Treeleaf.

In such case, we are happy to advise on how to practice and offer information about meditation and Zen practice for you to give to your medical professionals. However, while we can offer some support with normal day-to-day issues just as we do with all of our membership here, we do not have any specific training in dealing with psychological and neurological conditions and do not wish to interfere with any support or treatment you are receiving elsewhere.

Whereas mindfulness and other forms of meditation have in some cases been demonstrated to help mild to moderate depression and anxiety amongst other conditions, this is not universally so. It is for you to discuss with your medical professionals whether they think this is suitable for you.

I always say this on Zazen often going hand-in-hand with other treatment:


Zazen is -NOT- a cure for many things ... it will not fix a bad tooth (just allow you to be present with the toothache ... you had better see a dentist, not a Zen teacher), cure cancer (although it may have some healthful effects and make one more attune to the process of chemotherapy and/or dying), etc. Zen practice will not cure your acne on your face, or fix your flat tire. All it will do is let one "be at one, and whole" ... TRULY ONE ... with one's pimples and punctured wheel, accepting and embracing of each, WHOLLY WHOLE with/as each one. There are many psychological problems or psycho/medical problems such as alcoholism that may require other therapies, although Zen can be part of a 12-Step program or such (a few Zen teachers in America with a drinking problem had to seek outside help). My feeling is that some things are probably best handled by medical, psychological or psychiatric treatment, not Zen teachers.

My feeling is that receiving outside treatment, medication AND "just sitting" can all work together.

Zazen should be easy and harmless for most people, but everyone is different. Some people may have conditions which make them particularly sensitive. Follow the expert's guidance and advice and do not engage in Zazen if they do not recommend your doing so.

Gassho, Jundo

SatTodayLAH

Jinyo
02-14-2018, 10:37 AM
My advice for all these conditions, including for other conditions involving physical illness or disability, has to be the same:

Please seek treatment and counseling by a medical or mental health professional in your community with expertise in treating your condition. If the doctor recommends or approves of your participating here, and sitting Zazen, then you are more than welcome to do so. If the doctor recommends against it, then we request the person not to do so.

That is all we can do, given that the patient and doctor are the ones who truly understand the person's condition.

If a person is approved and able to sit with us, then it is fine that he/she adjust the way of sitting and participation according to his/her needs. (For example, we actually had a person participate who had a condition involving sudden movements and 'Tourettes' like sudden vocalizations. Our Sangha was the first that the person felt comfortable in sitting with "live" because they could simply turn off the microphone and sit a bit away from the camera. Another person needs to get up from time to time and walk a bit, again, no problem for our group). To the degree we can, each person is accepted for who they/we are. I feel this is one of the wonderful qualities that Treeleaf has, it is like a refuge, a safe place to come and put down the labels and categories, and just be who you need to be as much as we can figure out a way.

I wish that we could do more to alleviate peoples' illness, but that is all that is possible for us.

If approved by their medical or mental health professional, people with mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, alcohol recovery and so forth, and neurological conditions, are welcome at Treeleaf.

In such case, we are happy to advise on how to practice and offer information about meditation and Zen practice for you to give to your medical professionals. However, while we can offer some support with normal day-to-day issues just as we do with all of our membership here, we do not have any specific training in dealing with psychological and neurological conditions and do not wish to interfere with any support or treatment you are receiving elsewhere.

Whereas mindfulness and other forms of meditation have in some cases been demonstrated to help mild to moderate depression and anxiety amongst other conditions, this is not universally so. It is for you to discuss with your medical professionals whether they think this is suitable for you.

I always say this on Zazen often going hand-in-hand with other treatment:



Zazen should be easy and harmless for most people, but everyone is different. Some people may have conditions which make them particularly sensitive. Follow the expert's guidance and advice and do not engage in Zazen if they do not recommend your doing so.

Gassho, Jundo

SatTodayLAH

A wise statement Jundo - and thank you Kokuu - totally agree.

Things get very messy when any of us go beyond our abilities and I can only think that Treeleaf is very inclusive and welcoming to all.

Gassho

Jinyo

ST

Jishin
02-14-2018, 01:04 PM
Hi,

I think Treeleaf is very inclusive but we as a group take liberties and doll out advice for people with certain conditions but not others. I think Jundoís policy and restatement of it here is nice.

Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_ , LAH


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Kokuu
02-14-2018, 03:32 PM
I think Treeleaf is very inclusive but we as a group take liberties and doll out advice for people with certain conditions but not others.

The fact is that advice for someone who can't bow or sit cross-legged due to physical disability is pretty functional and easy. You can't do this - try this.

Psychological and neurological conditions are less easy to do that with.

Sorry if that feels exclusive. It is not the intention. We do our very best to support everyone here.

Gassho
Kokuu

Jishin
02-14-2018, 03:43 PM
The fact is that advice for someone who can't bow or sit cross-legged due to physical disability is pretty functional and easy. You can't do this - try this.

Psychological and neurological conditions are less easy to do that with.

Sorry if that feels exclusive. It is not the intention. We do our very best to support everyone here.

Gassho
Kokuu

I know. It's hard to make a distinction at times though.

Gasho, Jishin, ST, LAH

Jundo
02-15-2018, 02:24 AM
I know. It's hard to make a distinction at times though.

Gasho, Jishin, ST, LAH

Thank you, Jishin, for your input on this. I also thank a couple of our other mental health professionals who have PM'd me with some input.

Basically, our policy has to be that we keep the doors open here, and show people how to sit Shikantaza. However, if anyone has a condition ... physical and mental ... follow their doctor's advice first and foremost. If the doctor says that a practice is okay, then try it. If the doctor says that a practice is not okay, then don't do it.

It is a bit like having a public pool and people coming to swim, some of them having medical conditions. We don't close the pool, but ask everyone to be cautious. We can't know exactly everyone's health state hidden inside, and we are not medical professionals, so ask them to check with their doctor before swimming (and to know themselves, and only do what they feel is beneficial). Shikantaza is a gentle way of meditation (unlike some very intense forms that people sometimes engage in) which should not be harmful in any way to the vast majority of people, but their are always people with particular conditions that make them sensitive. Follow your doctor's advice.

People here offer advice to be helpful, just like any neighbor or someone you meet in the check-out line at the grocery. I offer general advice suitable for most people, but I cannot know everyone's unique syndrome and situation. Thus, listen to your doctor first before you listen to me or anyone around here. After that, you can start to listen to me. :)

Gassho, Jundo

SatTodayLAH

Meishin
02-15-2018, 06:09 PM
People here offer advice to be helpful, just like any neighbor or someone you meet in the check-out line at the grocery. I offer general advice suitable for most people, but I cannot know everyone's unique syndrome and situation. Thus, listen to your doctor first before you listen to me or anyone around here. After that, you can start to listen to me.

Sounds good. Thanks Jundo.

Gassho
meishin
Sat Today LAH

Jinyo
02-15-2018, 07:35 PM
Sounds good. Thanks Jundo.

Gassho
meishin
Sat Today LAH

gassho2

Jinyo

ST

Tai Shi
02-20-2018, 01:16 AM
I had surgery on my knee, a total knee. I am already disabled from rheumatoid arthritis of the spine. So sometimes I just sit on a strait back chair and rhythmically breath. Lately I fall asleep. It not because of posture or want of intent. So for a while I will lie on my back and hope that I stay awake.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Jundo
02-20-2018, 01:45 AM
I had surgery on my knee, a total knee. I am already disabled from rheumatoid arthritis of the spine. So sometimes I just sit on a strait back chair and rhythmically breath. Lately I fall asleep. It not because of posture or want of intent. So for a while I will lie on my back and hope that I stay awake.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Hi Taishi,

I hope that you are up and around very soon. In the meantime, a little more "sitting" than you wish.

I am glad that the surgery seems to have gone well.

Gassho, Jundo

SatTodayLAH

Eishuu
02-20-2018, 09:16 AM
I had surgery on my knee, a total knee. I am already disabled from rheumatoid arthritis of the spine. So sometimes I just sit on a strait back chair and rhythmically breath. Lately I fall asleep. It not because of posture or want of intent. So for a while I will lie on my back and hope that I stay awake.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I hope the recovery goes well Tai Shi.

Gassho
Eishuu
ST/LAH

Onka
06-28-2019, 03:15 AM
My comment here is nothing more than 'ping' so that people read it regularly. Thanks to Kokuu for compiling this policy of sorts and thank you Jundo again for providing this space. Without it and without it being as accepting and flexible as it is I would not be able to be a member of a Sangha. Thanks too to Jishin for reminding us that so many disabilities are not just invisible but are all too often regarded as being too difficult for even the most 'inclusive' space to accommodate. We can all do better every day by actively seeking out information about disabilities and differences that we don't fully understand. You'd be surprised at just how often you encounter people IRL who have to manage/battle various challenges when you are a wee bit more informed. You'll also be surprised at how your IRL and online interactions with these folk changes.
Almost every single person I interact with IRL are the so-called misfits of society and even though there are times when I'm too much for them or they're too much for me I love them as the perfectly imperfect misfits that they are.
Be kind to yourselves and look out for each other.

Gassho
Anna

Sat today/Lent a hand

Meian
07-01-2019, 11:04 AM
Anna, thank you for bumping this thread again.

gassho1

Gassho
Kim
St Lh

Byokan
07-03-2019, 08:23 AM
Yes, excellent bump, thanks Anna! gassho2

Gassho
Byokan

Shonin
07-11-2019, 11:05 PM
Good read very insightful since I have several things wrong with my back and neck. None of which are currently being treated. I cant zafu sit. I was always hoping to adjust because I like my zafu and now it just sits in the closet. When I sit ( which comes and goes for reasons I wont get into) I chair sit. I do the "proper" chair sit with back straight for as long as I can but usually around 10 min I have to use the back of the chair like one would normally sit. So, it's always encouraging to see posts like this and helps me accept that I will never be able to sit traditionally even though I really want to.

_/\_ Dave

Jundo
07-11-2019, 11:21 PM
Good read very insightful since I have several things wrong with my back and neck. None of which are currently being treated. I cant zafu sit. I was always hoping to adjust because I like my zafu and now it just sits in the closet. When I sit ( which comes and goes for reasons I wont get into) I chair sit. I do the "proper" chair sit with back straight for as long as I can but usually around 10 min I have to use the back of the chair like one would normally sit. So, it's always encouraging to see posts like this and helps me accept that I will never be able to sit traditionally even though I really want to.

_/\_ Dave

Shonin! One of our original Treeleaf folks, 10 years on now! gassho2

Gassho, Jundo

SattodayLAH

Shonin
07-12-2019, 01:20 AM
Always a pleasure, Jundo. Great to see you again.I follow a lot of your posts on Facebook. Im just a quiet member.
_/\_ ST/LAH

Tai Shi
07-12-2019, 07:49 PM
Hi men, and women members. Right now as I sit before computer screen, my neck and shoulders are surrounded with frozen gel pack. I buy, not to endorse, on Amazon. No drug can begin to touch my pain right now, but the gel pack, collar, helps, and sometimes I can sit for 20 min, or even 30 min, I've been sitting for some time daily or so as I have the time. A little less than 20 yrs ago my conditions made it possible to go on Social Security Disability Insurance and when I applied, I had it in the unheard time of 60 days. This is the minimum. Because I have both bipolar type one, and Ankylosing Spondylitis, a rear form of arthritis of the spine, my eyes, lungs, and even heart affected. So, this was not so lucky, because it brought with it two artificial knees. I worked along with S.S.D.I. and almost lost the less than $10,000 a year I was expected to live on, and Jundo knows, I am married to a more than wonderful wife who has made it possible to drive a new car, pay for a home, and send a brilliant daughter to a "best" college. All considered I would have rather worked full-time-- never in my wildest dreams possible. I sit in a straight back chair with left shoulder propped against basement wall. My alter stretches out before my chair with Buddhist meditation cushion, Amazon again. AA's meetings take out of our home, and the occasional movie. But, most days find me typing with one finger and thumb. And, left index finger to shift. I am lucky again, because my wife's job and on int retirement has meant the best medical care. Hence, I am 67. I was not expected to live much beyond 60. I am now a committed Buddhist. Stuff happens.

Tai Shi
sat/lah
Gassho

Emmet
08-26-2019, 01:28 PM
I'm over 60, with multiple herniated lumbar discs, a neurological disorder that affects my balance, and a badly healed torn meniscus in my right knee; which back in the day was damaged further by months of obstinate sitting on a zafu despite the pain.
I've a Kennedy rocker in the corner of my zendo for reading. One day as I was sitting there, I really tuned in to what an admirable chair it is; at equilibrium, with both feet flat on the floor, thighs level, back straight; touching just enough in the lumbar spine to offer just enough support; arms low enough to not interfere with my Dhyana mudra, yet sturdy enough to help me out of my chair, it's actually the perfect chair for meditation; at least it is for me.
It occurred to me that at this time in my life I no longer need to conform; there isn't a sangha for over 100 miles in any direction; I sit alone. So now I sit zazen quite comfortably in my rocker. My body can now sit longer than my mind; it actually feels like "the Dharma gate of joyous ease".

My second favorite zazen chair is a rough wooden bench at the summit of Jackrabbit Mountain in the Nantahala National Forest. I try to sit there a couple of times a week on my forest 'kinh hanh' rambles, but that's another story.

Sat today...in a chair

Shokai
08-26-2019, 01:32 PM
gassho2 mw too

Onka
08-26-2019, 08:02 PM
I'm over 60, with multiple herniated lumbar discs, a neurological disorder that affects my balance, and a badly healed torn meniscus in my right knee; which back in the day was damaged further by months of obstinate sitting on a zafu despite the pain.
I've a Kennedy rocker in the corner of my zendo for reading. One day as I was sitting there, I really tuned in to what an admirable chair it is; at equilibrium, with both feet flat on the floor, thighs level, back straight; touching just enough in the lumbar spine to offer just enough support; arms low enough to not interfere with my Dhyana mudra, yet sturdy enough to help me out of my chair, it's actually the perfect chair for meditation; at least it is for me.
It occurred to me that at this time in my life I no longer need to conform; there isn't a sangha for over 100 miles in any direction; I sit alone. So now I sit zazen quite comfortably in my rocker. My body can now sit longer than my mind; it actually feels like "the Dharma gate of joyous ease".

My second favorite zazen chair is a rough wooden bench at the summit of Jackrabbit Mountain in the Nantahala National Forest. I try to sit there a couple of times a week on my forest 'kinh hanh' rambles, but that's another story.

Sat today...in a chair

I too sit in a chair for Zazen Emmet.
My partner and I recently found a cheap reclining chair at a charity shop which has transformed my ability to 'sit'. We also managed to find an outdoor type chair that can recline. With my fancy cushion that has a cutaway to take pressure off of my spine I can now even do Zazen outdoors. Although I am still regularly sitting while lying down in the laying Buddha type position being able to recline has been a game changer. Without these chairs there is no way I would be able to prepare for Jukai this year or sew a Rakusu.
Solidarity to you comrade and all others with challenges that make traditional sitting impossible, particularly those of us with less visible disabilities.
Gassho
Anna
ST

mateus.baldin
08-26-2019, 10:42 PM
gassho1
Mateus
Sat today/LAH

brucef
08-27-2019, 04:23 AM
Not just a chair. I once rested my hands on my walking stick! No one said anything for which I was thankful. That was a bad day though. Bottom line is, you do what you can because Zazen in a chair is better than no Zazen.

ST/LAH (gave the dog her medication)

Jundo
08-27-2019, 02:43 PM
Not just a chair. I once rested my hands on my walking stick! No one said anything for which I was thankful. That was a bad day though. Bottom line is, you do what you can because Zazen in a chair is better than no Zazen.

ST/LAH (gave the dog her medication)

Zazen in a chair or in the air or on a bear or on the stairs or with Fred Astaire is still perfectly lovely wonderful complete Zazen ... if the mind feels it so.

Zazen in brilliant full Lotus is bad Zazen if the mind is judging "good vs. bad."

Gassho, J

STLah

Shokai
08-27-2019, 08:26 PM
Zazen in a chair or in the air or on a bear or on the stairs or with Fred

Nice Dr. Seuss imitation but, don't give up the day job just yet :D[claps]

gassho, shokai

stlah

Onka
08-28-2019, 12:19 AM
Zazen in a chair or in the air or on a bear or on the stairs or with Fred Astaire is still perfectly lovely wonderful complete Zazen ... if the mind feels it so.

Zazen in brilliant full Lotus is bad Zazen if the mind is judging "good vs. bad."

Gassho, J

STLah

🙏

Tai Shi
09-29-2019, 12:18 AM
Today I am very sad. As a person with bipolar 1, with psychotic features, and until someone mentioned my exact diagnosis, I was afraid, tell me of what? I am about to cry because I am subject to snap decisions, gotten me in deep trouble in the past. My therapist says I am fairly normal. These are words a patient longs to hear. But, sometimes I am still making bad decisions. For example, I got into trouble with a credit card, and now my wife is allowing me to dig myself out. So far has not affected good credit. Then again recently I expelled myself from Treeleaf writing to Jundo in no uncertain terms. 15 minutes later found me almost in a panic attack thinking I had abandoned one of the few places I could begin to understand anything. To make things worse, took a walk down two streets only to find I could not walk home, so called my angle wife to come and get me (new total knee, not going so well) so see, my Ankylosing Spondylitis can lead me to think I'm getting better when I'm not, then the nerve wrapped around a bone stabs me in the neck. Oh! Sure, you can say this is because of age (68) but I've had bipolar since 22, and AS has been noted since age 41. These diseases are not well understood. It is certain, there are no cures, only drugs, for a while, in addition to getting daily 22 pills, I was giving myself shots twice a week, now just every 4 weeks, then there are the periodic IV s of iron, saline, and yet another biological. These are just the medications, then there're the therapies since age 22. When a man suffers from added C.O.P.D. and does three inhalers. These are the facts of several chronic illness. I spend much of my time in treatment. It's wonderful that a man and wife have a three-day respite from driving into town every day, about 14 miles (22.53 km) to hospitals. Don't forget alcoholism 32 years in remission, and rejection by jobs one is trained for. That's what we have now. 3 days off. I'm relaxed sitting in my easy chair, listening to music. AND, writing, my passion.
Tai Shi
sat/lah
Gassho

Onka
09-29-2019, 08:40 AM
Today I am very sad. As a person with bipolar 1, with psychotic features, and until someone mentioned my exact diagnosis, I was afraid, tell me of what? I am about to cry because I am subject to snap decisions, gotten me in deep trouble in the past. My therapist says I am fairly normal. These are words a patient longs to hear. But, sometimes I am still making bad decisions. For example, I got into trouble with a credit card, and now my wife is allowing me to dig myself out. So far has not affected good credit. Then again recently I expelled myself from Treeleaf writing to Jundo in no uncertain terms. 15 minutes later found me almost in a panic attack thinking I had abandoned one of the few places I could begin to understand anything. To make things worse, took a walk down two streets only to find I could not walk home, so called my angle wife to come and get me (new total knee, not going so well) so see, my Ankylosing Spondylitis can lead me to think I'm getting better when I'm not, then the nerve wrapped around a bone stabs me in the neck. Oh! Sure, you can say this is because of age (68) but I've had bipolar since 22, and AS has been noted since age 41. These diseases are not well understood. It is certain, there are no cures, only drugs, for a while, in addition to getting daily 22 pills, I was giving myself shots twice a week, now just every 4 weeks, then there are the periodic IV s of iron, saline, and yet another biological. These are just the medications, then there're the therapies since age 22. When a man suffers from added C.O.P.D. and does three inhalers. These are the facts of several chronic illness. I spend much of my time in treatment. It's wonderful that a man and wife have a three-day respite from driving into town every day, about 14 miles (22.53 km) to hospitals. Don't forget alcoholism 32 years in remission, and rejection by jobs one is trained for. That's what we have now. 3 days off. I'm relaxed sitting in my easy chair, listening to music. AND, writing, my passion.
Tai Shi
sat/lah
Gassho

In my humble opinion Tai Shi you are perfectly imperfect like the rest of us misfits.
One of my mates is Bipolar and her swings from reckless and dangerous behaviour to physically debilitating depression make being her friend quite difficult at times. In saying that, I've learnt over the years that when I need a break from her I can be brutally honest and tell her straight. Her hospital stays can often be many months at a time and are a huge burden on her family so I try to ease the pressure on them by visiting her almost daily and assisting her to understand how her expectations are affecting her relationships (for some reason I can get through to her when she's at her most manic and most depressed, maybe because I don't put up with bullsh*t).
As for my own bullsh*t... I don't tend to burn bridges Tai Shi, I tend to blow them to pieces lol. Being Autistic with bonus ADHD I am more than capable of losing my sh*t - regularly! and more than this, I'm regularly in a position where I feel the need to apologise profusely for my behaviour and actions. Friends and loved ones understand my actions and behaviour but rightfully don't excuse them, and more to the point I don't ask to be excused either.
Of course you are going to do things you regret Tai Shi, your brain is wired in a way that is out of your control. This doesn't give you the green light to be a dick but it should... SHOULD give you permission to be kind to yourself.
Take it easy Tai Shi.
Gassho
Anna

ST

Shōnin Risa Bear
09-30-2019, 02:11 AM
Right, Anna! A kindness to oneself is a kindness to all, Dogen said, or something like it, somewhere ... also one does not know what one might say, even in anger or anguish, that may prove to be a dharma moment to someone -- we see, for example, your wife's kind acts in many of your posts, Tai Shi, and so unknown to us but through you, she through you and with you blesses us all. _()_

gassho
doyu sat/LAH today

sjlabat
09-30-2019, 09:14 PM
Tai Shi, Anna,
Thanks for your notes here - what to do with the koan of pain?
gasho
sean
sat. lah

Onka
10-01-2019, 04:07 AM
With a sh*tload of meds my pain is managed as best as can be. This is nowhere near enough so I'm learning to *sit* with my pain and reluctantly accept that this is 'it'. For the pain that meds still leave me with I reluctantly, kicking and screaming have been forced to be smarter. I got a cheap reclining chair at a charity shop so I can now 'sit' Zazen easier although I often have to spend a lot of time lying down. The recliner has allowed me to start sewing a Rakusu too which is awesome. I walk 3km every afternoon with an elderly bloke who lives near by. 3km takes us around 1-1.5hrs so the pace is very slow. This turns out to be great for me because without my elderly mate I'd be doing stupid sh*t like trying to run lol. This last sentence is particularly silly because I walk with the use of a cane lolol. But yeah, at 48 years of age I'm finally starting to accept my limitations and work *with* my constant pain instead of fighting it. It's not all beer and skittles but there's always someone who is doing it tougher.
Not sure if this in any way addresses your enquiry but hey...

Gassho
Anna

STLAH

Geika
10-01-2019, 04:34 AM
...For the pain that meds still leave me with I reluctantly, kicking and screaming have been forced to be smarter... I walk 3km every afternoon with an elderly bloke who lives near by. 3km takes us around 1-1.5hrs so the pace is very slow. This turns out to be great for me because without my elderly mate I'd be doing stupid sh*t like trying to run lol. This last sentence is particularly silly because I walk with the use of a cane lolol. But yeah, at 48 years of age I'm finally starting to accept my limitations and work *with* my constant pain instead of fighting it. It's not all beer and skittles but there's always someone who is doing it tougher...

_/\_ _/\_ _/\_

Gassho
Sat today, lah

Tai Shi
10-10-2019, 04:08 PM
What I can say is I take two narcotics one a low dose patch the other a medium strength pill and I have hopes of lowering the dose of both but my doctor says I will be on them for the rest of my life. I have only the choice to live in agony! Anna my A1C is 5.8 I have diabetes type 2


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Tai Shi
10-10-2019, 04:40 PM
What A1C1 at 5.8 or 5.9 is that means I’m in the normal range just slightly. Yet, I still have diabetes type 2 so I brought this down from 6.5 with diet and exercise! In 3 months it might be back up! I have to watch my body like a child’s chemistry set. Life ain’t half bad in fact, it’s very good. Narcotics be damned for I made it to age 68 and some of my friends are dead! My doctor says I’m expected to live into my 80s but anything can happen. Truth be told, we all must die sooner or later. I’ve been ready for death for some time. I really am old not too old but old! Death will be is a pleasant surprise. I’ll be free of pain. I still have bad level 7 pain my waking hours. I have learned to live with my pain and enjoy life. Wham I came to Treeleaf Zendo to practice Zazen I was not very happy. Ask Jundo. I was prone to broad generalizations and sweeping exaggerated expressions. I’ve looked over my old posts from 5 years or so ago. I was not very honest. Ask my wife. Most of the time I was lying through my teeth. I’m am happy to say I am honest most of the time. We are who we are and most of us cannot escape that. You and I are kindred spirits. Be well, and don’t try too much. Just keep sitting as I do. Something is bound to happen. There's a new picture of me, I mean my face, floating around the Sangha someplace, and two fall pictures. So nice to get to know your phone and Tapatalk, nice phone app, and good people here all around here.
Taishi
sat/lah
Gassho
Am I the only one posting to this thread? Who has anything to say?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Tai Shi
10-25-2019, 03:23 PM
As of about 30 minutes ago, Marjorie applied the patch 12.5 micg lower than the previous 37.5 micro-grams/hr. At the same time she applied my Lidocain patches chest and upper back, the front and back patches are non-opiate, the first being one from lowest dose opiate available. This is an experiment in attitude. Am I the only one posting to this thread? Does anyone else have anything at all to say?
Thank you Anna-- as usual you have geared toward the "walk," this without raising my hands 10 cm above my head thereby aggravating my neck. Has Any one something to say? My walk will be slow and deliberate, one foot before the other as in Zazen.
Something?
Tai Shi
_/|\_
sat/lah
Gassho

Kokuu
10-25-2019, 03:42 PM
Hi Tai Shi

The post was set up mostly to provide suggestions to people who practice with pain.

It is fine if people want to discuss this but there is only a small subset of us I think who practice with clinical levels of pain on a daily basis so it was never intended to be particularly active in the same way that other threads are.

That of course doesn't mean you shouldn't feel free to post and others may or may not join in.

Gassho
Kokuu
-sattoday/lah-

Onka
10-25-2019, 07:44 PM
As usual Tai Shi you are doing brilliantly. Always striving to live with pain rather than let pain determine how you live.
Gassho
Anna
st

Sent from my Lenovo TB-8304F1 using Tapatalk

Onka
10-29-2019, 06:01 AM
Dear Everyone,

Treeleaf is an online sangha, designed with the intention of providing a place for people to practice Zen who are not able to physically access a Ďbricks and mortarí dharma centre. Reasons for not being able to attend a physical centre include reasons of geography, life circumstances (such as working hours, caring for young children or sick relatives) and, also, having physical illness or disability.

As such, we welcome members who have physical challenges in their everyday lives which also apply to some aspects of practicing Zen. This information is intended to answer some of the most frequently asked questions which may cause people with varying physical abilities to think they cannot practice Zen or cannot do so Ďproperlyí, and also provide some resources on the topic from Zen and Buddhist teachers and organisations. Even if we are currently healthy, illness and aging are a certainty in life so at some point we will have to modify our practice to accommodate physical frailties.

Although some of us in the sangha already practice with disability and/or physical illness, the challenges we face may not be the challenges that you face. While we have attempted to be as inclusive as we can, please let us know if you require information or assistance that is not here, and applies to your particular situation. By doing this, we can increase the scope of support offered.


SITTING POSTURE
Zen can be a very physical practice. To begin with, being able to sustain posture on the cushion can be very demanding for anyone with challenges to their physical health. When we see rows of students sitting in the lotus posture, or half-lotus, Burmese etc, that can seem like the correct way to do things. However, forcing yourself into a posture which is more than a little uncomfortable (postures can initially feel odd as your body adjusts to them) is not conducive to good sitting and this is even more true if trying to do so might cause you long-term damage through pushing your body too hard.

If you can do the traditional postures but need support in the form of additional cushions, a neck brace, back support and such like, it is completely fine to do this.

Alternative postures to the standard zafu sitting include sitting in a chair (often with a cushion or zafu under your feet so if they do not naturally reach the floor), lying on your side (such as the Buddhaís parinirvana posture (https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/--mv8ivkKS4M/TYQjGHw8ZbI/AAAAAAAAALk/QlXHIp3EuQA/s1600/Parinirvana+Buddha-Fanyun+Enterprises+Co+LTD.jpg)) and lying on your back (including support under your knees) such as in the yoga śavāsana (https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/corpse-pose#!) (corpse) pose.

This article (http://www.sonima.com/meditation/meditation-positions/) gives some advice on alternative postures.

It is perfectly fine to attend zazenkai and other sits and ceremonies in supported or reclining postures.


BOWING
Bowing, especially full-length prostrations, can be physically demanding. If prostrations are required in the weekly zazenkai or other ceremony, you can instead visualise doing this with your hands held in gassho (if you are able). If the gassho position (palms together and held with the base of the thumbs in the centre of the chest) cannot be achieved or maintained, it is okay just to visualise doing this also. If your physical ability necessitates a one-handed gassho, this is completely acceptable.


KINHIN
Kinhin (mindful walking) occurs between sessions of zazen in the weekly and monthly zazenkai. If you are unable to walk, then this can be replaced with some mindful stretching. Part of the function of kinhin is to stretch the muscles after zazen in addition to being aware of our body as it moves. Stretching also achieves both of these things.

If stretching is not possible then consider watching the movement of the breth.

If you are able to do a brief amount of kinhin then please do this for as long as you are able and then either stretch or watch the breath as above.


SEWING
Jukai (taking the precepts) and Shukke Tokudo (homeleaving ordination) both require sewing as part of the preparation for the ceremony. Before Jukai, participants sew a rakusu. Before Shukke Tokudo a kesa is sewn. These sewing activities are part of a commitment to the practice and the ceremony about to happen but rely on the sangha member being sufficiently able to sew.

If you require assistance or modifications to the normal method to be able to sew (such as using a machine rather than hand stitching) this should almost always be possible. If no sewing, or very limited sewing is possible, then a family member or sangha friend can make part or whole of the rakusu or kesa for you. We do not wish someone who wishes to be part of the sangha and take the precepts to be prevented from doing so because of this.


PAIN
Here at Treeleaf, we sit zazen in the traditional Sōtō style, in full completeness with nothing lacking. However, while it is not the aim of practice, it has been noticed that levels of pain during and after sitting can feel reduced. This may be of benefit to sangha members who experience pain, especially chronic pain.

Jundo talks about sitting with pain and alternative postures here (https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?14879-Sit-a-Long-with-Jundo-Zazen-for-Beginners-%2817%29).


TIME AWAY FROM THE SANGHA
Some people with illness and disability find it hard to sustain a consistent interaction with Treeleaf or need periods of time away when their health becomes bad. Firstly, many able-bodied members have life circumstances which mean that they also struggle to keep up with the sangha on a day-to-day basis and many also take time away for personal reasons, so you are not alone in this. Secondly, there is a thread on the forum (https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?5641-The-I-am-going-away-but-coming-back-thread) for letting us know if you are going to be away for a while. Also, please let one of the unsui know or a sangha friend if you would like us to be in contact and support you while you are away. It is often the times that you need to be away from the sangha that you might need us most.


SANGHA CONTACT POINT
If you wish to discuss any issues around disability and/or physical illness and how you can be supported in your practice then please contact Kokuu. He has been practicing with chronic illness himself for 21 years. Also let him know if you wish to suggest modifications and improvements for this resource guide.

It is also important to be very careful if you feel or suspect that you might have a present physical or mental condition that might interfere with Zazen or other activities in our Sangha. If you are not sure, then you should consult with a doctor or mental health professional and only participate with their approval, guidance and oversight. Although Zen Practice should be safe for most people if you do not do more than your body or condition allows you, if there could be any doubt, please check with your physician first before undertaking any activity.


RESOURCES

Articles
Buddhism and Disability (https://www.vermande.us/tim/308.html)
Handicapped Buddhism (http://www.angelfire.com/electronic/awakening101/ada-buddhism.html) by Richard Louis Bruno

Books
How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness: A Mindful Guide by Toni Bernhard
Lotus in the Fire: the healing power of Zen by Jim Bedard
Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
Rogue Monk: A Memoir About Zen, Disability, and Work by Mugan Sozan Peter Schellin (provisional)
This Is Getting Old. Zen Thoughts on Aging with Humor and Dignity by Susan Moon
Turning Suffering Inside Out by Darlene Cohen

Talks
Dongshan is Unwell (http://everydayzen.org/teachings/2011/dongshan-unwell-practicing-illness) (Norman Fischer)
Radical Acceptance (http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/175/talk/1907/) and Practicing Radical Acceptance (http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/175/talk/1889/) (Tara Brach)
Suffering and Gratitude (http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/134/talk/26188/) (Norman Fischer)
Transforming Illness Through Love and Letting Go (https://www.upaya.org/2014/09/susan-bauer-wu-09-10-2014-transforming-illness-love-letting-go/) (Susan Bauer-Wu)

Gassho, Jundo
SatTodayLAH

Thank you to Kokuu for drafting the above and shepherding this project.Good afternoon folks.
Just thought I'd draw everyone's attention to this post by Jundo (drafted by Kokuu), as it is one I revisit regularly as someone with physical limitations.
Western Zen Buddhism in general is pretty sensitive to practice with disabilities (different abilities) but Treeleaf is in my humble opinion leading the way.
It's easy to talk inclusion but to truly put inclusion into a real every day manifestation, let alone have inclusion beyond disabilities to be essentially your mission statement is revolutionary.
I mean this. Treeleaf Zendo and Sangha is revolutionary in the most beautiful, peaceful and deliberate way.
While others talk, Treeleaf does. And does with sensitivity!
Being sensitive and respectful to and of the lineage, history, teaching, teachers and continuity of Soto Zen Buddhism would be hard enough. Doing all this while making it almost universally available thanks to technology to those who for whatever reason, again beyond disabilities is a genuine treasure that I sincerely hope is recognised beyond these virtual walls.
I revisit this post because it is important to me.
Even though I'm welcome, even though the core values of this Zendo and Sangha of inclusiveness are clear I regularly revisit it.
Buddhist history is rich, as is Soto Zen Buddhist history. Our contemporary teaching resources reflect this but also reflect progress. They often include mention of various postures one can sit 'proper' Zazen in which we believe that within the big four - Full Lotus, Half Lotus, Burmese and Chair (strictly no resting against the back!) anyone can practice. They are not only enough but are the only ones by which 'enlightenment'[emoji769] will be possible.
That's because our modern, progressive voices are also predominantly able bodied and I say that with the greatest respect.
It's my opinion that historical figures like the Buddha, JC, Mohammed and Dogen were revolutionaries in that they weren't afraid to rock the boat, to shake up the system, to upset the status quo in order to bring people the truth and for that truth to be accessible.
I believe that Treeleaf does this too in the most gentle, respectful and sensitive way by practicing its teaching, holding a mirror up to itself and being fearless in openness to change.
For all of the above reasons Treeleaf is my home Sangha, Jundo is my teacher, and everyone that contributes to the continued success of Treeleaf are folk I offer the deepest bows I can.
In relation to practice (life) I do what I can, when I can, however I can, and that is fluid depending on what day or even what part of a day that is.
I try not to place limitations on myself but society in general does a pretty good job at reminding me that I should. Treeleaf doesn't and I am thankful beyond words.
Gassho
Anna
Sat today (reclined in a chair that has a cushion on it with a cut out so there's limited pressure on my spine, supported with a pillow behind my lower back and a small cushion behind my neck. I also did kinhin with the aid of a long bamboo pole as I needed extra support today)/Lent a hand by driving my partner who has MS to a nearby town to get her out of the house as a bit of a pick-me-up.


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Jinyo
10-29-2019, 10:40 AM
Thank you Anna - I agree with all that you say.
I don't think Buddhist meditation will ever be totally free of a defining trope based on the upright sitting position.
I accept this as an important aspect of its history but feel we're still in a very early phase of turning this round so that it
doesn't seem at all unusual to witness individuals 'sitting' zazen reclining, with back supported or lying down.
The very term 'to sit' is deeply embedded and maybe's that would need to change. I'm not sure what would be a good alternative
- any suggestions?
Reading Okumura today he mentions the four instances of Prajna - namely standing, walking, sitting and lying down. Lying down is no barrier
to actualization and this is my main position when meditating - and in much of life!
I think maybe we should lose the emphasis on body position - I'm not saying it isn't relevant but the body is after all one of the aggregates and as such empty.
I am so pleased that you have found a home at Treeleaf. For me it has also been life changing.

Gassho

Jinyo

engaged in meditation today :)

Meian
10-30-2019, 06:35 PM
Hello all,

I am someone else who lives with varying levels of chronic pain daily, along with chronic fatigue (my own definition - docs say "just exercise more" or "take this pill" - nope).

I've grown frustrated with western medicine in the illnesses I live with. I choose to handle things my way. I don't like talking about my illnesses much unless discussing them will help someone with a certain situation. Otherwise I just feel like I'm dwelling on what I cannot change. Why complain? I know how I feel, and others can't fix it. [emoji4]

I pace myself, and I live how I live. It's an issue if someone makes it one. Otherwise, I live more slowly, and some things I cannot do.

The nature of my illnesses is that I've adapted Buddhism to what I can handle. If that means I am never a "full Buddhist" -- so be it. I've come to accept that possibility, as I have lost much since last year -- I do what I can do. I can still practice and learn, and formalities are not necessary for me to continue on my journey. Nice. But not needed.

Gassho2
Kim
St. Lh

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Kokuu
10-30-2019, 08:01 PM
Hi Anna

It is to our great advantage that Jundo has made such a point of inclusivity for people drawn to Zen who have challenges of physical health, sometimes to quite a severe extent. As an online sangha, I imagine it was always going to be the case that such people were able to access training here (which again is totally revolutionary, even now, a decade after Treeleaf's establishment) and that would be necessary but the degree to which Jundo keeps on pushing the SZBA (Soto Zen Buddhist Association) and others to increase their disability awareness and accessibility is incredible.

A year or so ago (maybe longer), Zenmei researched a lineage of Buddhist and Zen ancestors with disability in order to produce an additional lineage chart to include those folk, just as happened with the female ancestor lineage only five years ago (https://tricycle.org/magazine/roused-dream/). As yet, despite their apparent push for inclusivity (which does at least seem to have made strides in terms of sexuality and gender if not elsewhere), the SZBA has not responded well to calls to include the lineage of disabled ancestors as part of the overall Zen lineage or suggestions that there might be parts of the current ordination requirements (such as needing to sit certain amounts of physical sesshin at a recognised centre) that may represent a barrier to some individuals who would otherwise make good Zen priests and need to have a degree of flexibility around them to accommodate such students.

Jundo and I also submitted articles on this to two well-known Buddhist magazines and they were rejected within hours suggesting that there is a lack of interest in those quarters also despite what Risho might term their considerable liberal bias! There seemed to be no interest in modifying them or producing something similar but outright and immediate rejection suggesting that we are not exactly pushing at an open door.

So, for now we have decided not to go all out but keep pushing gently but very firmly at the door from time to time as many of us believe that the inclusion of disabled and physically challenged folk will have to happen sooner or later.

It is also to be noted that the portrayal of Zen in the media is almost 100% able-bodied. How many photos have you seen of disabled Buddhists? At some point I intend to get a photo of me in robes in a wheelchair that can at least be found somewhere on the internet. Yoga has, for some years, embraced inclusion of wheelchair users in practice and you would think that would be much more of a challenge than for Zen.

At Treeleaf, we are not subjected to the obstruction of others so are able to work to include people with physical challenges as best we can, and to have both the female and disabled ancestor lineages (https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=5455&d=1543764651) included as part of Jukai together with the traditional lineage and chant their names in our annual Jukai retreat: https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?16649-First-Recital-of-the-LINEAGE-of-DIFFERENTLY-ABLED-ANCESTORS

However, we are not resting on our laurels and if you have any ideas as to how we can improve our efforts even further then please let us know. We revisit our ideas and resources from time to time to make sure they are still the best they can possibly be but we are not experts on all forms of disability and physical issues that may arrive in practice so rely on others who experience problems we have yet included to help us out on that.

No one here is anything less than a full Buddhist regardless of whether they sit on a cushion, in a chair, reclining or whatever else, or can bow, half bow or make some form of a gassho either physically or mentally. Awakening is not predicated on having a fully functioning body and we are all completely whole just as we are, standing (or sitting or lying!) equally with our dharma brothers and sisters.

Gassho
Kokuu
-sattoday-

Onka
10-30-2019, 08:34 PM
Hi Anna

It is to our great advantage that Jundo has made such a point of inclusivity for people drawn to Zen who have challenges of physical health, sometimes to quite a severe extent. As an online sangha, I imagine it was always going to be the case that such people were able to access training here (which again is totally revolutionary, even now, a decade after Treeleaf's establishment) and that would be necessary but the degree to which Jundo keeps on pushing the SZBA (Soto Zen Buddhist Association) and others to increase their disability awareness and accessibility is incredible.

A year or so ago (maybe longer), Zenmei researched a lineage of Buddhist and Zen ancestors with disability in order to produce an additional lineage chart to include those folk, just as happened with the female ancestor lineage only five years ago (https://tricycle.org/magazine/making-sangha-whole-again/). As yet, despite their apparent push for inclusivity (which does at least seem to have made strides in terms of sexuality and gender if not elsewhere), the SZBA has not responded well to calls to include the lineage of disabled ancestors as part of the overall Zen lineage or suggestions that there might be parts of the current ordination requirements (such as needing to sit certain amounts of physical sesshin at a recognised centre) that may represent a barrier to some individuals who would otherwise make good Zen priests and need to have a degree of flexibility around them to accommodate such students.

Jundo and I also submitted articles on this to two well-known Buddhist magazines and they were rejected within hours suggesting that there is a lack of interest in those quarters also despite what Risho might term their considerable liberal bias! There seemed to be no interest in modifying them or producing something similar but outright and immediate rejection suggesting that we are not exactly pushing at an open door.

So, for now we have decided not to go all out but keep pushing gently but very firmly at the door from time to time as many of us believe that the inclusion of disabled and physically challenged folk will have to happen sooner or later.

It is also to be noted that the portrayal of Zen in the media is almost 100% able-bodied. How many photos have you seen of disabled Buddhists? At some point I intend to get a photo of me in robes in a wheelchair that can at least be found somewhere on the internet. Yoga has, for some years, embraced inclusion of wheelchair users in practice and you would think that would be much more of a challenge than for Zen.

At Treeleaf, we are not subjected to the obstruction of others so are able to work to include people with physical challenges as best we can, and to have both the female and disabled ancestor lineages (https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=5455&d=1543764651) included as part of Jukai together with the traditional lineage and chant their names in our annual Jukai retreat: https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?16649-First-Recital-of-the-LINEAGE-of-DIFFERENTLY-ABLED-ANCESTORS

However, we are not resting on our laurels and if you have any ideas as to how we can improve our efforts even further then please let us know. We revisit our ideas and resources from time to time to make sure they are still the best they can possibly be but we are not experts on all forms of disability and physical issues that may arrive in practice so rely on others who experience problems we have yet included to help us out on that.

No one here is anything less than a full Buddhist regardless of whether they sit on a cushion, in a chair, reclining or whatever else, or can bow, half bow or make some form of a gassho either physically or mentally. Awakening is not predicated on having a fully functioning body and we are all completely whole just as we are, standing (or sitting or lying!) equally with our dharma brothers and sisters.

Gassho
Kokuu
-sattoday-Deepest bows to you and of course Jundo. And again, respect and thanks to those who keep Treeleaf going, from tech wizards to regular contributors. I'm another who feels their purpose is to become a Zen Priest. Perhaps things will change in the years between now and when/if Jundo feels I'm suitable to begin that journey.
Gassho
Anna
st

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Kokuu
10-30-2019, 08:44 PM
Perhaps things will change in the years between now and when/if Jundo feels I'm suitable to begin that journey.

Even if it doesn't it wouldn't stop you being ordained here as I have. It just means that you don't get the official approval of the SZBA as things stand. We have also faced issues over face-to-face ordination and Jukai vs. online. You might think that Zen folk would be quite flexible but in reality they are a pretty conservative bunch. I guess holding authority of the western Soto line in your hands probably breeds a certain degree of caution but you also have to move with the times.

Anyway, I don't feel I am sticking my neck out terribly far in guessing that the approval of establishment organisations is probably not something you are totally bothered about! ;)

Gassho
Kokuu
-sattoday-

Meian
10-31-2019, 02:16 AM
I am baffled on why they have such an issue over disabilities, neurodiversity, and gender differences. A prime directive is may all sentient beings be liberated from suffering -- guess I should consider ignorance to be a form of suffering as well.

The day to day is challenging enough without having to defend why we should have a voice and a place in the zendo.

Thank you, Kokuu, for all that you, Jundo, and others are doing. Would it be helpful or advisable for more of us to speak to them about acknowledging our existence?

Gassho2
Kim
St lh

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Tai Shi
11-18-2019, 01:51 AM
Hi Kokuu, I'm not sure exactly what I did wrong with my cacophony of my various illness and or ailments. Certainly we all know that you have a sleep disorder, yet have been selected to speak for all disabilities because maybe you are better read than the rest of us, and a Ph.D. in biology does not lend merit to psychiatry, psychology, social work, counseling, neurology, brain disorders, or even arthritis doctors of all types. I ask you kindly to speak only from your own experience, and I know that severe fatigue to the point of fainting, inability to take nourishment, or attend to matters of hygiene, or even taking care of the very personal. I stand corrected, with my three advanced degrees, made almost entirely with no accommodation, and that truly might be the case. Though familiar with Haiku and having tried my hand at writing a few, this medium seems better suited to you, so with your vast experience in poetry, your knowledge of Great British poetry, I would no more trample the feet of the expert, then go the extra 1000 miles (1,609.34 km) to obtain the Ph.D. in and study of language or literature including Japanese Literature which my daughter studies to the point of someday have this hope-- Dr. Laurel will dad call her as I have an MFA creative writing poetry and now her already expert command with MFA Asian literary translation, Japanese, so I will refrain from mentioning anything at all about my personal accommodations to sit zazen-- and you?
taishi
sat/lah
Gassho

brucef
11-18-2019, 06:34 AM
I am baffled on why they have such an issue over disabilities, neurodiversity, and gender differences. A prime directive is may all sentient beings be liberated from suffering -- guess I should consider ignorance to be a form of suffering as well.

The day to day is challenging enough without having to defend why we should have a voice and a place in the zendo.

Thank you, Kokuu, for all that you, Jundo, and others are doing. Would it be helpful or advisable for more of us to speak to them about acknowledging our existence?

Gassho2
Kim
St lh

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I agree totally. I always thought the Mahayana was a great (Maha) vehicle (Yana) because it was for ALL sentient beings, that it was the BIG raft that could ferry EVERYONE to the other shore, leaving none behind.

Gassho
Bruce
st/lah

Kokuu
11-18-2019, 10:12 AM
Hi Tai Shi

It is completely fine for you to talk about your experiences of practice with illness.

I am sorry if I gave the impression otherwise.

Gassho
Kokuu
-sattoday-

Jishin
11-18-2019, 12:25 PM
Hi Kokuu, I'm not sure exactly what I did wrong with my cacophony of my various illness and or ailments. Certainly we all know that you have a sleep disorder, yet have been selected to speak for all disabilities because maybe you are better read than the rest of us, and a Ph.D. in biology does not lend merit to psychiatry, psychology, social work, counseling, neurology, brain disorders, or even arthritis doctors of all types. I as you kindly to speak only from your own experience, and I know that severe fatigue to the point of fainting, inability to take nourishment, or attend to matters of hygiene, or even taking care of the very personal. I stand corrected, with my three advanced degrees, made almost entirely with no accommodation, and that truly might be the case. Though familiar with Haiku and having tried my hand at writing a few, this medium seems better suited to you, so with your vast experience in poetry, your knowledge of Great British poetry, I would no more trample the feet of the expert, then go the extra 1000 miles (1,609.34 km) to obtain the Ph.D. in and study of language or literature including Japanese Literature which my daughter studies to the point of someday have this hope-- Dr. Laurel will dad call her as I have an MFA creative writing poetry and now her already expert command with MFA Asian literary translation, Japanese, so I will refrain from mentioning anything at all about my personal accommodations to sit zazen-- and you?
taishi
sat/lah
Gassho

Hi Tai Shi,

If it true that attachment causes suffering because all things change then attachment to any aspect of our person causes suffering. This includes attachment to being healthy or attachment to being ill. There is nothing wrong about sharing experiences of suffering IF it leads to lessened suffering (yours and others). Use good judgment.

I counted to 30 before posting this.

Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

Rich
11-18-2019, 09:18 PM
We are all in the process of wearing out and dying and itís ok. Thatís the nature of things. The Buddha nature is eternal.

[emoji120]
Sat/lah


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Tai Shi
12-29-2019, 08:46 PM
Thank you Jishin for advice to use good judgement here!!!

Itís several, many, pages back. I said that I Am Not a Doctor. I cannot talk toward treatment modalities, medication, or even type of hospital or any institution. What works for one might be just what his or her, of full Rainbow of people. How could I ever presume to know anything about medicine, social work, or therapy!!! All must e careful, at least me, that I do not prescribe in any way!!! In mental health, though I have had varied experiences, most if not all are individual to me. Therefore throughout my postings I only need to post what has been only individual to me!!!
Jishin is absolutely right! I will take care!
sat
Gassho
Deep bows
Gassho


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Tai Shi
02-18-2020, 10:29 AM
Iím very happy to say that exercise and diet diet have helped me raise my ams and hands fully above my head. Medications augmented exercise. Yet, exercise alone would be extremely painful. It depends on my pain tolerance, above seven Iím uncomfortable. Talk therapy and medications together have brought me this far, but Kokuu and sleep and or fatigue syndrome even there itís not The same. So my situation is entirely different from Kokuu, so I must speak entirely from my experience and the help of doctors and therapists and especially my beloved. Remember I can primarily have the help of my mate. My primary care physician says Marjorie has saved my life many times each time. However, push comes to shove, I am my own best judge. So, I must report everything to my physician-because there needs to.be one qualified primary care doctor to put it all together. I rely on this person to put it all together, from Marjorie to psychiatry to therapy to even social worker. Primary was the first to recognize irregular heart pattern, and primary recognized type 2 diabetes and even. Intestinal problems long before onset of possible illnesses. Primary practices chemistry, physiology, even psychiatry. Though heís not knowledgeable in depth he or she can put it all together. Always qualify your situation by reporting honest self appraisal to primary care and thereby the whol team of doctors and therapists. If you cannot afford a team, always report to your family practice doctor or general practitioner and also in there an athletic coach all
In all go for what money can buy, or socialized medicine.
Tai Shi
sat/lah
Gassho


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Geika
02-18-2020, 09:30 PM
gassho1

Sat today, lah

Meian
02-19-2020, 01:29 AM
Had the experience today, again, of trying to explain to a relative that I was waiting for a delivery of another hand/wrist brace because the ones i bought at the pharmacy were mismatched, and the odds of my getting back there any time soon to exchange (or find the correct size in stock) were slim:none. need the same size for both hands/wrists.

the pharmacy is close by, but the mental and physical energy required to drive there, look for the product, (remember everything), interact with everyone, exchange things, answer questions, etc., ....... i need to be having a *really* good energetic day to accomplish what would be a normal task for anyone else. Years ago -- no problem.

So my relative knew what i was trying to say, but God help the word-salad that came out of my mouth :D I have to laugh at it because otherwise i'll cry sometimes. i have times when my memory is sharp and clear, and I have times when I can do what i do every day with no problem -- just don't ask me to form coherent sentences or answer with anything except slowed speech and long pauses. Frustrating for anyone to listen to, and infuriating for me. I;m in another one of those periods again -- as evidenced this week when I apparently forgot everything i ever knew about Soto Zen and just started from scratch again. I don't know? Yet with the kind and compassionate answers given here, I started to remember/relearn some of it and started again. Realized I was okay, I was not kicked out of the family for forgetting (terrible thing to forget what you know -- how do you know if you ever knew to begin with?) or being unable to do certain things (part of the forgetting). it's quite terrifying when it comes and goes .....

Then the word salad conversation ..... allong with muscle cramps, my hands spasming again, and when exhaustion took over and I needed to lay down, shivering chills taking over on an unusually warm day. At this point I've decided, work needs a break also, I can't teach like this (word loss, chills, exhaustion). My daughter has another appointment tomorrow that I need to take her to ..... this is three long appointments/meetings in three days, a lot for me to handle.

yes i know i need more medical testing (including for carpal tunnel), but each of my things takes a few hours at a time, and this all will take months to sort out. my kids are much faster, and will resolve quicker. can't see the sense of making them wait while Mom gets her endless testing done when we already know (probably) what's going on and none of it can be fixed anyway, so .... i'm taking care of what CAN be fixed and i'll get to my nightmares when i can fit them in. my junk isn't going anywhere.

this evening, when i realized i needed to rest and the chills took over, i remembered what Jundo said yesterday. i did recline position and thought of Buddha when they were ill or tired. i did drift a while, not sleep, but my body's exhaustion and cold did take over and i felt like was weightless for some time. no complaints there, briefly i don't recall any pain, i was just blank aside from occasional chills and shivering. i don't know how long i was like this, but i was conscious the whole time, just quiet.

then i was able to eat and have even warmed up some (no chills for now). i don't get fevers during these chills -- my body temperature drops, often below 96 degrees. i've stopped asking why, no one knows, one of the medical mysteries of my illnesses. happens so often that i just burrow under heavy blankets and wear multiple layers for as long as it takes until my body warms to a tolerable level again (usually about 97). Sometimes this takes a few hours.

so i am grateful that there are a few ways to sit shikantaza.

sorry for the long message, just thought i'd share some of what goes on -- this is a regular part of my "normal" ..... i don't think i usualy share this part.

gassho, meian
st

Kokuu
02-19-2020, 11:10 AM
this evening, when i realized i needed to rest and the chills took over, i remembered what Jundo said yesterday. i did recline position and thought of Buddha when they were ill or tired. i did drift a while, not sleep, but my body's exhaustion and cold did take over and i felt like was weightless for some time. no complaints there, briefly i don't recall any pain, i was just blank aside from occasional chills and shivering. i don't know how long i was like this, but i was conscious the whole time, just quiet.

then i was able to eat and have even warmed up some (no chills for now). i don't get fevers during these chills -- my body temperature drops, often below 96 degrees. i've stopped asking why, no one knows, one of the medical mysteries of my illnesses. happens so often that i just burrow under heavy blankets and wear multiple layers for as long as it takes until my body warms to a tolerable level again (usually about 97). Sometimes this takes a few hours.

so i am grateful that there are a few ways to sit shikantaza.

sorry for the long message, just thought i'd share some of what goes on -- this is a regular part of my "normal" ..... i don't think i usualy share this part.

Thank you, Meian.

I think it is good for people to read the parts of practice when things are not so pretty.

gassho2
Kokuu
-sattoday/lah-

Heitou
02-24-2020, 06:51 AM
I have been studying Zen for three years, i studied Christianity for a few years before and have since denounced Christianity for Buddhism, but my studies of Buddhism has all been by myself with books nothing formal until now since I have found you guys, anyway here's my problem, I know that when you sit both knees should touch the ground and you place your feet in certain positions depending on the position that is used (lotus, half lotus etc.) or if you sit chair zazen both feet need to touch the ground. Ok my problem is I have a prosthetic leg so when I sit i take it off so that both knees touch the ground so I kind of sit Burmese style. My question is whether or not it's ok since I only have one foot and can't place two feet in the required positons, also i do not prefer to sit chair zazen at all it doesn't feel right to me although I do know that if I happen to go to a Center somewhere i will be forced to sit chair zazen since it would be rude for me to take my pants off to remove my prosthetic. What do you guys think?

Gassho
John
Sat today

Jundo
02-24-2020, 08:49 AM
I have been studying Zen for three years, i studied Christianity for a few years before and have since denounced Christianity for Buddhism, but my studies of Buddhism has all been by myself with books nothing formal until now since I have found you guys, anyway here's my problem, I know that when you sit both knees should touch the ground and you place your feet in certain positions depending on the position that is used (lotus, half lotus etc.) or if you sit chair zazen both feet need to touch the ground. Ok my problem is I have a prosthetic leg so when I sit i take it off so that both knees touch the ground so I kind of sit Burmese style. My question is whether or not it's ok since I only have one foot and can't place two feet in the required positons, also i do not prefer to sit chair zazen at all it doesn't feel right to me although I do know that if I happen to go to a Center somewhere i will be forced to sit chair zazen since it would be rude for me to take my pants off to remove my prosthetic. What do you guys think?

Hi (would you mind signing a human first name, and eventually, putting a human face photo when you are comfortable to do so? It helps keep things a little bit more human around here. Write me if any question about that. Thank you.)

Our philosophy around here is that every "body" is different, and if you find a way to sit that basically feels balanced, comfortable and stable such that you can sit for extended times and not be obsessed with the body, then that is a good posture (or postures, as there may be more than one and at different times) for you. You need to experiment with your own body to find that balance, comfort and stability. If it feels uncomfortable, unstable or a persistent pain to do, then that ain't it. :)

Some Zen folks are rather obsessed with "right" and "one size fits all" posture, but not us.

Gassho, J

STLah

Onka
03-05-2020, 01:47 AM
I have been studying Zen for three years, i studied Christianity for a few years before and have since denounced Christianity for Buddhism, but my studies of Buddhism has all been by myself with books nothing formal until now since I have found you guys, anyway here's my problem, I know that when you sit both knees should touch the ground and you place your feet in certain positions depending on the position that is used (lotus, half lotus etc.) or if you sit chair zazen both feet need to touch the ground. Ok my problem is I have a prosthetic leg so when I sit i take it off so that both knees touch the ground so I kind of sit Burmese style. My question is whether or not it's ok since I only have one foot and can't place two feet in the required positons, also i do not prefer to sit chair zazen at all it doesn't feel right to me although I do know that if I happen to go to a Center somewhere i will be forced to sit chair zazen since it would be rude for me to take my pants off to remove my prosthetic. What do you guys think?

Gassho
John
Sat todayHi John
I just wanted to reinforce what Jundo said about sitting positions for Zazen.
My sitting is most often in a recliner chair or lying down on my bed, often shifting position regularly to alleviate pain.
Before finding Treeleaf I sat sporadically with a Sangha in the big smoke. The teacher there, like Jundo, emphasised sitting however you can. I tended to do Zazen wearing whatever I wore on my motorcycle to get there, others discreetly changed into comfortable clothing in a corner, outside, or in a storeroom. What I'm trying to say is that I would be disappointed if you found that visiting a Zendo was not a positive experience where removing your prosthetic was no big deal. Afterall you should sit how you need to.
You're in great company here comrade. Possibly one of the most inclusive environments I've been part of.
Be well.
Gassho
Onka
stlah

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Heitou
03-05-2020, 04:49 AM
Thank You so much, I really appreciate all that have posted it helps me so much also I feel at home here and I am very comfortable here as well, once again thank you all.

Gassho
John
Sat Today

Meian
03-25-2020, 05:58 PM
I am having trouble with this.

The lockdown, I just saw one of my doctors by video chat yesterday (went okay), I'm still working but minimal hours by choice ..... I am exhausted. I explained this the doctor yesterday (she's the main specialist, tends to go by "labs only"), but I took Kokuu's advice and was better prepared this time [emoji4] except for cognitive dysfunction.

My last class of my graduate program.... group work (don't like it), I seem to be the only one with a multi-generational family and chronic illness. Not that I discuss it, but I feel like I am dealing with corporate America in classmates and I've given up on that. The stress of meeting their expectations was too much, so I contacted my professor and just explained briefly what my situation is. He's a good guy, had him before. He's cool with it. I'm getting stonewalled now by my teammates, but I'm beyond caring ..... too tired and not feeling well. Think they see me as "the weakest link" -- well, I am. Oh well. But I will never place myself in an office, never get in their actual way, and life is as it is.

Compassion is a choice. "When we know better, we do better." (Paraphrase of Maya Angelou)

So I've chosen to step back from the situation for now, and rest. Going to take a day off from work also, i need to sleep.

This may sound depressing. I'm not. It's deep fatigue and I am unwell. I shikantaza without realizing it.

Is this Zen ..... for me Zen is often an approach to dilemmas and challenges, and often the result of shikantaza. Literally the practice of my life and the combat sport that is living with illness. I'm probably not communicating my meaning well .... sorry. Covered that yesterday also.

Gassho, Meian st

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Onka
03-25-2020, 09:25 PM
I am having trouble with this.

The lockdown, I just saw one of my doctors by video chat yesterday (went okay), I'm still working but minimal hours by choice ..... I am exhausted. I explained this the doctor yesterday (she's the main specialist, tends to go by "labs only"), but I took Kokuu's advice and was better prepared this time [emoji4] except for cognitive dysfunction.

My last class of my graduate program.... group work (don't like it), I seem to be the only one with a multi-generational family and chronic illness. Not that I discuss it, but I feel like I am dealing with corporate America in classmates and I've given up on that. The stress of meeting their expectations was too much, so I contacted my professor and just explained briefly what my situation is. He's a good guy, had him before. He's cool with it. I'm getting stonewalled now by my teammates, but I'm beyond caring ..... too tired and not feeling well. Think they see me as "the weakest link" -- well, I am. Oh well. But I will never place myself in an office, never get in their actual way, and life is as it is.

Compassion is a choice. "When we know better, we do better." (Paraphrase of Maya Angelou)

So I've chosen to step back from the situation for now, and rest. Going to take a day off from work also, i need to sleep.

This may sound depressing. I'm not. It's deep fatigue and I am unwell. I shikantaza without realizing it.

Is this Zen ..... for me Zen is often an approach to dilemmas and challenges, and often the result of shikantaza. Literally the practice of my life and the combat sport that is living with illness. I'm probably not communicating my meaning well .... sorry. Covered that yesterday also.

Gassho, Meian st

Sent from my SM-G975U using TapatalkMost things you write resonate strongly with the lived experience of my partner and myself but you know that already.
I hope that you also know that I'm here for you in any way I'm able to be and even in virtual solidarity you're not ever alone.
Gassho
Anna
ST

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Kokuu
03-25-2020, 09:53 PM
Hi Meian

For me, part of Zen is about being where you are rather than where you want to be. If you are exhausted, you need to take care of that, whether or not it conflicts with assignments or work.

Although it is great to be able to fulfill all of our duties and responsibilities, with ongoing illness that is often impossible so we have to pick and prioritise what is most important and deal with the rest.

You have spoken to your professor and are working minimal hours so it sounds like you are meeting it head on and doing what you need to do as far as I am concerned.

If you have the time and inclination, would it feel good to just let your classmates know why you are dipping out?

Much metta. You have done so well juggling all of this.

Gassho
Kokuu
-sattoday/lah-

Meian
03-30-2020, 01:55 PM
Gassho2

Meian st lh

Tamagotchi_Tofur
01-22-2021, 04:33 PM
Iím grateful that this community exists and that you are so understanding in treating those of us who are disabled as part of the sangha and so kind in sharing resources that help us still continue to practice. I was part of tree leaf years ago and cancer and associated ailments pretty much kept me from practicing and doing Jukai after sewing a kesa and rakusu I missed out and I finally got an ok from doctors and felt strong enough to get back into being a part of this awesome community (sangha) and a few days after Jundo emailed me saying my registration was back up and gave me some advice on Jukai I was re-hospitalized (my cancer moved to me liver and spleen). The long and short of it is I think I missed out on Jukai again but Iím out of hospital and look forward to practicing and discussing practice in all its myriad types of forms. I was wondering if it is ok to practice while on pain medicine? The Iím on a fentanyl patch and oxycodone. Without these medications I am unable to do anything because the pain. In using the medication I really donít experience any cognitive change because I have taken these for or similar medications for awhile now and my pain levels are my still really high so the medications donít make me groggy. Iím sure itís ok but figured I would ask.

Meian
01-22-2021, 04:39 PM
Iím grateful that this community exists and that you are so understanding in treating those of us who are disabled as part of the sangha and so kind in sharing resources that help us still continue to practice. I was part of tree leaf years ago and cancer and associated ailments pretty much kept me from practicing and doing Jukai after sewing a kesa and rakusu I missed out and I finally got an ok from doctors and felt strong enough to get back into being a part of this awesome community (sangha) and a few days after Jundo emailed me saying my registration was back up and gave me some advice on Jukai I was re-hospitalized (my cancer moved to me liver and spleen). The long and short of it is I think I missed out on Jukai again but Iím out of hospital and look forward to practicing and discussing practice in all its myriad types of forms. I was wondering if it is ok to practice while on pain medicine? The Iím on a fentanyl patch and oxycodone. Without these medications I am unable to do anything because the pain. In using the medication I really donít experience any cognitive change because I have taken these for or similar medications for awhile now and my pain levels are my still really high so the medications donít make me groggy. Iím sure itís ok but figured I would ask.Welcome back, and please sit / recline with us any time.

Much metta to you.

Deep Bows, meian st lh

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Shonin
01-22-2021, 06:49 PM
I asked the same question awhile ago but my situation is a little different. The meds I take are to balance my brain chemicals to make me function normally.I can't speak for the powers that be here but they gave me the green light. I have been on xanax a few years and no longer have any form of intoxication but it does make me groggy sometimes. I try not to sit when i take it but sometimes it's the only way i can settle my mind from extreme anxiety. I think the problem is more about if it intoxicates you or not. If you arent intoxicated I dont think they would see a problem. But will wait to see what they have to say as it would apply to my anxiety med as well( have also had other med changes so my brain is a lil wonky beyond the norm).
Davegassho1
SAT/LAH Much metta to you.

Onka
01-22-2021, 10:57 PM
I’m grateful that this community exists and that you are so understanding in treating those of us who are disabled as part of the sangha and so kind in sharing resources that help us still continue to practice. I was part of tree leaf years ago and cancer and associated ailments pretty much kept me from practicing and doing Jukai after sewing a kesa and rakusu I missed out and I finally got an ok from doctors and felt strong enough to get back into being a part of this awesome community (sangha) and a few days after Jundo emailed me saying my registration was back up and gave me some advice on Jukai I was re-hospitalized (my cancer moved to me liver and spleen). The long and short of it is I think I missed out on Jukai again but I’m out of hospital and look forward to practicing and discussing practice in all its myriad types of forms. I was wondering if it is ok to practice while on pain medicine? The I’m on a fentanyl patch and oxycodone. Without these medications I am unable to do anything because the pain. In using the medication I really don’t experience any cognitive change because I have taken these for or similar medications for awhile now and my pain levels are my still really high so the medications don’t make me groggy. I’m sure it’s ok but figured I would ask.

Hey there.
As one of many here with physical, emotional, or psychological challenges I can say that if your medical.professional prescribes it, take it. If your pain meds mean you may doze off while sitting Zazen then doze off. Personally speaking I couldn't function at any reasonable level let alone sit Zazen without a cocktail of prescribed drugs and by sitting I mean reclining in a chair or laying down.
Re: practicing with a disability Kokuu, one of our Priests here has just started a discussion group on Toni Bernhardt's book : How to be Sick - a Buddhist inspired guide for the chronically ill and their caregivers.
If you.are interested in joining us perhaps shoot Kokuu a message.

Gassho
Onka
Sat today

Tamagotchi_Tofur
01-23-2021, 08:29 AM
Thank you I will check out the group when I get a chance. Iím still in that adjustment period of time getting used to not having my schedule fully planned out for me by the hospital. Also want to thank everyone who responded to my post as well. A Gassho filled with the great sentiment it is good to be back and welcomed

Jundo
01-23-2021, 09:03 AM
Thank you I will check out the group when I get a chance. I’m still in that adjustment period of time getting used to not having my schedule fully planned out for me by the hospital. Also want to thank everyone who responded to my post as well. A Gassho filled with the great sentiment it is good to be back and welcomed

Welcome home. gassho2


I was wondering if it is ok to practice while on pain medicine? The I’m on a fentanyl patch and oxycodone. Without these medications I am unable to do anything because the pain. In using the medication I really don’t experience any cognitive change because I have taken these for or similar medications for awhile now and my pain levels are my still really high so the medications don’t make me groggy. I’m sure it’s ok but figured I would ask.

We sit as what is. If that "what is" is the need to take these medications for medical reasons, then one sits (or reclines, or walks Kinhin, or does as the body needs) with these medications. No problem.

Gassho, J

STlah