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Jundo
06-15-2019, 04:50 AM
In Zazen, we seek to sit each day. There are times to sit long and times to sit short. Perhaps we will sit for hours and hours, day after day, in Retreat. Or, perhaps, on a busy day, we might "sit" Zazen for a few minutes while holding the strap on the bus while commuting to work, or before hurrying to make breakfast for the kids. However, we must never forget that, whether sitting for 1 week or 1 minute or second, Zazen is never a matter of "long vs. short." One should sit beyond all measure of time, as well as thoughts of "before" or "after" Zazen. In such way, if one is sitting for hours or days but watching the clock, turning sitting into a race of achievement, thinking that the more one sits, the more points one racks up, then one may be wasting one's time no matter how long one sits. On the other hand, if one sits but a few minutes, yet with a sense that all time (and Timeless) is held fully in each moment, that there is no other place to go, nothing lacking, nothing more to gain, then every tick of the clock holds endless Kalpa and all the universe. One sits for some minutes each day precisely to embody and carve into the bones this timeless Truth.

But that is not all. Times of --NOT-- sitting are as vital to the Zen Path as times of sitting.

Of course, there is the fact that, after sitting Zazen, we then get up from the sitting cushion and get on with life: work to do, places to go, the kids to feed, doctors to see and walls to paint. This is all Zazen too, and our Practice, in its widest, boundless meaning. Perhaps in our doing so, the "non-doing" and Timeless "no place to go, and nothing lacking" of Zazen in our bones will carry with us as we run to makes those appointments and get the jobs done on time. Master Dogen spoke of Practice-Enlightenment, and bringing Enlightenment to life on and off the cushion.

But beyond that, I am also speaking of the times of NOT sitting when we completely put down and rest from Zazen and this Practice completely. We put Practice down, we walk away. Doing so is sometimes vital too.

It is okay to miss Zazen for many days, even weeks, even more perhaps ... ... forgetting about Zen and Buddhas and bells and Emptiness for spans of time ... so long as one is consistent in coming back, getting on the horse again. Being away and coming back may all be aspects of the practice. However, it is that "coming back" that is vital too, indispensable, and the difference between a rest and truly quitting. The coming back and coming back, over the long haul, is vital, and is the difference between a respite and real quitting.

Please do not misunderstand: Sitting each day, day after day without a miss, is excellent too (even sitting many times a day, for hours and hours, on a no miss basis) --IF-- that is really what seems right, good and balanced in one's life. Everyone's heart and needs are different. Some folks describe themselves sitting through rain or sun, thick or thin, getting their arse down on the cushion come hell or high water, and that is marvelous if that is what they need, and what works well for their life. If it makes one's life truly better, healthy and wholesome, one should know it by the feeling as one lives it of being good, healthy and wholesome. Doing so shows grit, strength, determination, persistence which is cherished on this Path as a Virtue.

On the other hand, however, if one is sitting so as an obsession, clutching, fixated, off balance in mind, then perhaps something is amiss. This Shikantaza way is not about racking up points, or chasing after goals, but is about sitting for sitting's sake beyond measure, lack and striving for attainments. Better to be a little "hooked" on Zazen instead of drugs, alcohol or gambling, but even Zazen might become an addiction, a sick and obsessive attachment for some. We sit persistently and diligently, but without clutching or striving. Only your heart can tell you what type of sitter you are, and why you are sitting so hard every day ... for the right reasons or wrong. The obsessed or unbalanced sitter may actually have to force themselves -NOT- to sit sometimes, and that also takes grit and strength to do.

And if we go to the other extreme, and are truly negligent in sitting, sit too little and too many days between (you will know how many is 'too many' because it seems like too many), are an escaper who simply runs from anything a little unpleasant, that is not good either. There is an aspect to Zen practice, and our dropping likes and dislikes, aversions and attractions, that requires us to sit many days when we do not wish to do so. (So many Saturday mornings, for our weekly Treeleaf Zazenkai, I have thought of just staying in bed and letting somebody else handle it. However, in about 12 years, I do not think that I have, except when really sick or called away urgently. It has sometimes been wonderfully-terrible to drag my ass to Zazen some of those days, but always terribly-wonderful in the end [gassholook] ). The value of this came to me when I was hospitalized for my big surgery, did not want to be there, was frustrated and uncomfortable ... yet had learned to be beyond my fears and resistance, likes and dislikes too. I sat (reclined) beautiful Zazen in the hospital bed, unable to escape yet not wishing to escape. There are also times to push hard in retreat, at Sesshin, in which we rise in the middle of the night, sit for hours, day after day, all to realize the true meaning of "nothing to attain." Then, returning home, Sesshin over, we may slack off for some days. No big deal.

You must know and judge by one's own heart, by listening to yourself, when you are at the extreme of sitting TOO MUCH, a Zazen prisoner, or at the other extreme of not sitting enough, TOO LITTLE, being just an armchair Buddhist who sits few and far between. Are you sitting, or not sitting, in a healthy balance?

There are also times to step back a bit for physical or psychological reasons. If one has a headache, if it is too emotionally trying some days, one may need to take a rest, like a runner who needs to heal before getting back on the road. We may not want to slack off, take a break, but we have to. And even if in good health, and when life is well, we might just want to take a break. No reason.

I would go so far as saying that "slipping up" or stepping back from sitting Zazen is part of the path and process of "no loss no gain" that makes all the difference in the world. Feeling the contrast between sitting and not sitting, and COMING BACK, COMING HOME AGAIN are all vital ... like a prodigal child who only realizes the value of home after being away, like a hiker or martial artist who only realizes the value of the walk or her skill by sometime getting lost or falling. So, for such folks, it is okay to come and go, sit some days but not others. Not everyone has to sit every day. It is the persistent coming back and coming back, going away yet coming back, that is the litmus test.

Thus. ours is the Middle Way, neither too lose nor too slack, and so we make lovely harmony like the stings of a lute or violin. There is a time to pick up the instrument, and a time to put it down. As long as one picks it up again, and knows that every note and pause holds all the beauty and silence, one is playing well.

Gassho, Jundo
SatTodayLAH

PS - Nonetheless, even if one is "taking a break," we still ask you to sit for a few minutes before posting to our Forum (unless taking a break for health reasons or a life emergency that prevents sitting). gassho1

Signing "SatToday" - Please "Sat" before Forum "Chat"
https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?12995-Signing-SatToday-Please-Sat-before-Forum-Chat

Tairin
06-15-2019, 07:35 PM
gassho2
Tairin
Sat today and lah

Shinshi
06-15-2019, 11:14 PM
Thank you Jundo.

gassho2

Gassho, Shinshi

SaT-LaH

Jakuden
06-16-2019, 12:43 AM
Thank you Jundo!

I don’t know if I am maybe completely off the mark, but I have felt for awhile that this was the point of all Thich Nhat Hanh’s “mindfulness” teachings. Not so much modern mindfulness, having to “stay in the moment” constantly... but the continual process of coming back, coming back to oneself and the present moment, over and over. There is a subtle difference.

Gassho
Jakuden
SatToday/LAH


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Doshin
06-16-2019, 03:57 AM
That is all good. Thank you.

Doshin
St

Washin
06-16-2019, 07:52 AM
gassho2

Washin
sat today

newby_x86
06-17-2019, 11:02 AM
Thank you for this post, Jundo. gassho1

Gassho
Anant
SaT

Junkyo
06-17-2019, 01:45 PM
Thank you for your teaching Jundo!

Gassho,

Junkyo
SAT

Meitou
06-17-2019, 07:39 PM
Thank you Jundo!

I don’t know if I am maybe completely off the mark, but I have felt for awhile that this was the point of all Thich Nhat Hanh’s “mindfulness” teachings. Not so much modern mindfulness, having to “stay in the moment” constantly... but the continual process of coming back, coming back to oneself and the present moment, over and over. There is a subtle difference.

Gassho
Jakuden
SatToday/LAH


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Yes! Thank you Jakuden and Jundo
Gassho
Meitou
sattodaylah

Heiso
06-18-2019, 11:54 AM
Thank you Jundo!

I don’t know if I am maybe completely off the mark, but I have felt for awhile that this was the point of all Thich Nhat Hanh’s “mindfulness” teachings. Not so much modern mindfulness, having to “stay in the moment” constantly... but the continual process of coming back, coming back to oneself and the present moment, over and over. There is a subtle difference.

Gassho
Jakuden
SatToday/LAH


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Jakuden - this comment reminded me of something I read written maybe by Shohaku Okumura (or possibly Jundo) along the lines of that enlightenment happens in each moment of coming back to the present when sitting zazen.

Thank you Jundo gassho1

Gassho,

Neil

Hoseki
06-18-2019, 06:24 PM
Thank you Jundo!

This is one issue that's often on my mind.

Sattoday

Troy
06-25-2019, 11:32 AM
Thank you Jundo. This spoke to me. I think I fit all those descriptions from time to time [emoji1374]

ST


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silence
06-25-2019, 04:24 PM
Thank you!

Sattoday

Kenny
06-26-2019, 03:53 AM
gassho2

Kenny

Sat Today

Nenka
06-26-2019, 03:17 PM
Thank you for this, Jundo. It's timely. I come and go so often I don't even post in the "I'm going away but coming back" thread. But I'm always here, even when I'm not.

Gassho

Jen

I sat today

Geika
06-26-2019, 09:34 PM
Hey Nenka!!

Gassho

Sat today, lah

Jundo
06-26-2019, 11:49 PM
Thank you for this, Jundo. It's timely. I come and go so often I don't even post in the "I'm going away but coming back" thread. But I'm always here, even when I'm not.

Gassho

Jen

I sat today

[wave]gassho2

Meian
06-27-2019, 02:19 PM
I have done all of the above over the years, sometimes unintentionally -- sitting, not sitting, wandering and "letting things gestate" .....

Thank you for this teaching, Jundo. :)

gassho
kim
st lh

Gero
07-02-2019, 12:17 PM
Thank you for this teaching. When I turn it upside down or inside out, it fits my current situation: After decades of being that armchair Buddhist I have now come to the point where I do not skip sitting. Actually, I have been absent "invisible" at Treeleaf, because I would much rather just sit than to read or write.
Hope that is okay, too.
Now I will try to catch up with what has been going on araound here in June.

Gassho
Gero (sat today)

Jundo
07-02-2019, 01:05 PM
. Actually, I have been absent "invisible" at Treeleaf, because I would much rather just sit than to read or write.
Hope that is okay, too.


Yes, if it feels right and balanced in your life/practice, then it is probably right for your life/practice.

Gassho, J

STLah

Tai Shi
07-04-2019, 06:13 PM
Hello Jundo and Jakuden and all, I know about Bill Wilson and only a little, what Jundo tells us, about Master Dogen. I want to know more about Dogen, and for now, Bill Wilson said after I took 12 steps to the best of my ability that "Having had a spiritual experience as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other alcoholics, and practice these principles in all our affairs." I have been trying to practice these principles of When I make a mistake, I make it right to the best of my ability. When at the end of the day I can count something good along with correcting the not so good, then I've had a good day. When I can spend some time in prayer and meditation, as I can, Shicantaza, then it's been a good day, and for me sometimes other than Shikantaza in my meditation. When I can say I have helped one sentient being, or turned my attention to the earth, then it's been a good day. Yes, this for me is the balance sheet at the end of the day. About two years and three months ago I began carrying this message. And for me it meant as Bill Wilson said, "Entering again into the mainstream of life," and I have not regretted a single moment on the cushion (For me, as Jundo knows, a cushioned chair).

Tai Shi
sat/lah
Gassho

Onkai
07-05-2019, 02:36 PM
gassho2

Gassho,
Onkai (Warm Sea)
Sat/LAH

Getchi
07-09-2019, 04:59 AM
Thankyou again for this teaching Jundo,

Ive just returned home from being out bush. The chances to Sit were limited, between 4C nights and full days of work, I started feeling a little left behind. Still I "sat" under a blanket, in a tent, in the pitch dark.

Then I realised that I never stop Sitting as long as I keep living a skillful life. This particular teaching kept reminding me that even if I dont believe, still the Universe sets me out to see myself. All without any self to see. Or something.

TaiShi - The freedom felt during recovery is a very special thing - Im so glad you are doing well. We must never forget also "One Day At A Time" - (maybe even just this one hour at a time!)


Gassho,
Geoff.

SatToday
LaH.

Ola Nelsson
07-13-2019, 10:25 PM
Thanks i have be en away fot long. But im back
//Ola

Jundo
07-13-2019, 11:05 PM
Thanks i have be en away fot long. But im back
//Ola

This has been like "Old Timers" week around Treeleaf! Ola (as they say in Spain) Ola! [gassholook]

Gassho, Jundo

STLah

Tai Shi
07-14-2019, 12:49 AM
Hi Getchi, This is a fellow traveler I think.

For over the past 32 years, on July 22nd at about 8:30 am Mountain Time USA, I have entered each day without alcohol, and I was at first very unsteady. I remained so until about Oct. 3rd 2011, and here I came very close to death; a gastric hemorrhage requiring 10 units of blood, 4 units of platelets and dozens of units of anti-anxiety medication over a 5-day period made me begin to realize how important people are. I spent 3 days in I.C.U. then moved one floor below to critical care. I was still a belligerent know it all. BUT, something remarkable had begun. At age 60 I was removed from the diagnosis of a schizophrenia-like diseases and told that for more than 40 yrs doctors had been wrong and I have bipolar disorder and could be treated accordingly. This opened a final chapter of my life, and about 10 mo ago my therapist said "You've put me out of a job." I still have psych checkups, take two med.s one for thinking, one for mood. And, I employ techniques of CBT. I sit in meditation anywhere from 8 to 14 times a week, and I work with other alcoholics, not to say you are one, but I allow my day to be one day at a time. Today, I'm fairly normal.

Tai Shi
sat/lah
Gassho

Getchi
07-15-2019, 10:28 AM
TaiShi, yes, we travel a same path we do.

English - not sa greeat.

Human- I tries even now!!!

I had a time, at some place, but who remembers??? NO, I wont survive, I lay there nearly dead and then --- OOH; you will survive after all!!!

BIGGEST mis-label in me life !!!! Buddha was never wrong, HE says what I need, describe what I sees, no. BoSatsu was right!

Hell, Heaven? Who knows???

Jundo makes me, and my family better!!!




SatToday (twicew)

LaH (PM me for ideas!!!)



NOW - I help other family recognise love in the fighting - - there is only family , indivudual isd not so big. Hoping this is right english!!!!!

CBT onl;y point to Freud; Im hope you can learn to Jung!!

Tai Shi
07-16-2019, 05:39 AM
Jundo yes gently the point of sitting is sitting


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk I know there are diagnostic manuals Auf Deutsck.

sat
Gassho

Ekai
07-31-2019, 12:54 PM
Thank you for this. These words spoke to me today.

Gassho,
Ekai
SatToday

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Tai Shi
07-31-2019, 11:45 PM
There are usually physical reasons for headaches. C B T is cognitive behavioral therapy growing, sometimes used R B T rational emotive therapy. Look these up on Wikipedia, IS FAR AWAY FROM Freud. Ti's based on thinking, and then feeling follows. This uses a 3 and 4 part model teaching that faulty thinking can be self diagnosed, with resting the impasse, or problem in the thoughts that make the problem. What might have taken 20 years, can take 6 or 7. My therapy took about 6 years for my therapist to pronounce me fairly normal. I went from values of 3 on anxiety and depression scales to 9 almost none. I am a secure stable man, and I know my limits. Generally I just walk away from altercations. I'm sure there are diagnostic manuals in many languages. SO do not worry about English language. Find something in your own language. AND Jundo makes us all better, he is a great man, great teacher-- Jundo Roshi

Tai Shi
sat/lah
Gassho

Nenka
08-01-2019, 05:15 PM
There are usually physical reasons for headaches. C B T is cognitive behavioral therapy growing, sometimes used R B T rational emotive therapy. Look these up on Wikipedia, IS FAR AWAY FROM Freud. Ti's based on thinking, and then feeling follows. This uses a 3 and 4 part model teaching that faulty thinking can be self diagnosed, with resting the impasse, or problem in the thoughts that make the problem. What might have taken 20 years, can take 6 or 7. My therapy took about 6 years for my therapist to pronounce me fairly normal. I went from values of 3 on anxiety and depression scales to 9 almost none. I am a secure stable man, and I know my limits. Generally I just walk away from altercations. I'm sure there are diagnostic manuals in many languages. SO do not worry about English language. Find something in your own language. AND Jundo makes us all better, he is a great man, great teacher-- Jundo Roshi

Tai Shi
sat/lah
Gassho

Yes! I'm a big fan of RBT. I usually read Albert Ellis when I'm having a spell of anxiety and it helps.

Also, hey there Ola and Ekai! [wave] It's getting like a class reunion up in here.

Gassho

Jen

ST

Tai Shi
08-01-2019, 06:11 PM
Hi all I’m returning to sitting later today. I’ve been laid up from an operation that saved my walking. I was slowly becoming used to meditation then I found Treelief Zendo and Jukai but most of all simple nonjudgment teaching about the easiest ways to learn sitting. Zen was no longer stepped in mystic clouds but a straight forward way of sitting Zazen. Actually the rituals are beautiful and yet the practice is easy it’s the doing that’s hard. But dear I say this there is so much love and compassion in all these words! I only wonder about folks who cannot learn English, or write or have no computer skills to save all sentient beings


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Onka
08-14-2019, 06:52 AM
Thank you Jundo.

I preface what I say below by mentioning that for me 'sitting' Zazen in the traditional sense of on Zafu with legs wrapped up like pretzels is not possible for me due to spinal disabilities. My sitting is on a cushion with a cutaway so that there is minimal pressure of any kind on my spine whilst also sitting on a chair with a high backrest. Oftentimes it's also reclined in order to take more pressure off of my spine. And sometimes my sitting is laying down.

To date I've caught myself holding a lot of tension, especially in my legs as I try to keep stability in my spine, and spend a few moments concentrating on letting the tension go, which I'm doing ok with. Now I find myself letting my breathing slip in that instead of deep yogic breaths from the diaphragm I easily slip into more relaxed shallow breathing.
I am worried that if, through pain, discomfort and the distractions above how the hell I'm going to ever be able to participate in the weekly Zazenkai let alone the expectations of Ango. The pressure I place on myself is pretty ridiculous even I'll admit but how do I stop mixing my ambition with my ability? LOL! In all seriousness though, I have recognised that I, and others benefit from me sitting Zazen, being a student of this Sangha and the associated discipline it entails.
I appreciate any and all contributions to my learning.

For the record, I seem to be a better 'doing' Zen practitioner as it is generally a LOT less painful on my spine. Anyway...

Gassho, Anna.

ST/LAH

Kevin M
08-14-2019, 11:43 AM
Zazenkai is recorded. You could just “sit” it via the recording over a longer period, taking breaks if it gets too much.
Just a thought

Gassho,
Kevin
SAT


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Jundo
08-14-2019, 12:16 PM
Thank you Jundo.

I preface what I say below by mentioning that for me 'sitting' Zazen in the traditional sense of on Zafu with legs wrapped up like pretzels is not possible for me due to spinal disabilities. My sitting is on a cushion with a cutaway so that there is minimal pressure of any kind on my spine whilst also sitting on a chair with a high backrest. Oftentimes it's also reclined in order to take more pressure off of my spine. And sometimes my sitting is laying down.

To date I've caught myself holding a lot of tension, especially in my legs as I try to keep stability in my spine, and spend a few moments concentrating on letting the tension go, which I'm doing ok with. Now I find myself letting my breathing slip in that instead of deep yogic breaths from the diaphragm I easily slip into more relaxed shallow breathing.
I am worried that if, through pain, discomfort and the distractions above how the hell I'm going to ever be able to participate in the weekly Zazenkai let alone the expectations of Ango. The pressure I place on myself is pretty ridiculous even I'll admit but how do I stop mixing my ambition with my ability? LOL! In all seriousness though, I have recognised that I, and others benefit from me sitting Zazen, being a student of this Sangha and the associated discipline it entails.
I appreciate any and all contributions to my learning.

For the record, I seem to be a better 'doing' Zen practitioner as it is generally a LOT less painful on my spine. Anyway...

Gassho, Anna.

ST/LAH

Hi Anna,

Join Zaznekai in bits, or if live, recline or change positions from time to time. All good. Just find some reasonable comfortable positions sitting, reclining, standing or on you head! :-)

And even then ... if it is only physically possible for you to sit 5 minutes, then sit 5 minutes with the attitude that it holds and embodies all the universe since the Big Bang.

Capiche?

Gassho, J

STLah

Onka
08-14-2019, 01:44 PM
Capiche :)
Currently sitting 30 mins at least once a
day most days. Minimum 20 minutes every day.
Ango goal is 45 minutes morning and evening.

Gassho, Anna

ST/LAH

Risho
08-18-2019, 01:42 AM
Thank you for this; I took a long break; getting back on the horse

gassho

Risho
st

Tai Shi
08-18-2019, 07:44 PM
My knees are titanium, the newest fastened into femur and tibia with rods so expensive, into bone, and my spine is nearly rigid, my neck sometime on fire from pain, and truly I control deep nerve damage with collars of ice, Sometimes our mattress is lined with Ice packs, the fire of my pain simmers into pool of cool relief, but early, yes before my medications at 5 a.m. I sit when pain is minimal. And, straight backed chair with chair Buddha cushion made in monastery, this I purchased for $40. I have found sometimes, not often but much, three times fully there on camera for Sangha of our Zazenkai. Much in thanks for recorded rituals, and together sitting, and by 11 inch (ca. 28 cm) Chromebook on my altar where I can sit and see our Zazenkai, other times when back needs more support in front of my 22 inch (0.56 m) screen for my desktop computer, I sit in padded office chair with sides padded, so I don't fall out, and pain is minimal. Ah, recordings, ice, cushions specifically for my chair before my alter, and sessions can take place in segments without so much pain, otherwise blades of steel would cut my nerves to pottery shards. My accommodations will let me partake of sitting, just sitting, just practice Shikantaza with my gift of Rakusu, with my computer Zendo, so how do some partake with no computer, no brick or wood Sangha near? This year for Ango, I'm giving up nine years of Facebook, giving it up for good, I'm sitting more regularly, increasing daily Shikantaza as I can. Loving my wife by obeying as I never have so much-- she has the gift of common sense. Letting my daughter explain, paying closer attention to her words at our weekly, family speaker phone calls, the three of us, mom anthropologist quality control in retirement, daughter, soon doctor Laurel, and dad, poet anonymous but gifted. Laurels reserved for our only miracle child, so difficult to be fully present, but this I will try.

Tai Shi
sat
Gassho

Seishin
08-18-2019, 11:30 PM
Deep bows and metta Tai Shi for all your suffering.

Sat / lah

Onka
08-19-2019, 05:21 AM
Thank you for sharing how you are able to participate Tai Shi.
I am humbled by your efforts and in many ways can truly empathise with your challenges.

Gassho
Anna

Sat today

Tomek
08-20-2019, 09:07 PM
Thank you Jundo.

Gassho 🙏🏻
Tomek

SatToday

Nengei
08-21-2019, 02:36 AM
Thank you, Jundo.

gassho2

然芸 Nengei
Sat today. LAH.

You deserve to be happy.
You deserve to be loved.

Gukan
08-26-2019, 05:53 PM
Belatedly, thank you Jundo. This teaching was very helpful.

Gassho,
Libby
ST