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Mdkaek
02-23-2021, 08:01 PM
Good afternoon everyone.

I may have overlooked it but I was wondering if there is a graduated study guide within the Zendo?

Something with suggested reading and possibly discussion with folks further along the path or even with teachers.

I know I could ask questions based on things I'm reading but I'm sure in a traditional "in person" setting there would be a starting point and progression that students would take - so we don't run before we walk!

Interested to read any responses - guess I'm looking for a dharma buddy of sorts!

Risho
02-23-2021, 08:44 PM
Hey there- I would recommend starting with the Beginner talks. There are also recommended books, a podcast, etc.

But as Kodo Sawaki roshi eloquently puts "All of Buddhism is a footnote to zazen".

Study is important, but make sure that you have a solid and consistent zazen practice. That is the key thing - now I think the minimum recommended dosage is 15 minutes, but perfection is the enemy of the good; if you can only swing 5 minutes -that's fine - just do it every day. There's nothing to gain here.

Anyway- I'm sure that Jundo or one of the priests will have more official recommendations, but that is my humble opinion :)

Gassho

Risho
-stlah

Mdkaek
02-23-2021, 08:51 PM
Thanks for the response. I am sitting daily for 30 minutes, reading and studying and I try to listen to a dharma talk every few days. It's a practice - just not particularly graduated. The recommended booklist looks interesting.

Risho
02-23-2021, 08:59 PM
Ah I see what you are saying; I'm not aware that there is a formalized graduated practice; I would be interested in what others have to say here too.

However, if you look at the recommended book's list you'll see there are beginners and more advanced books. But we are all beginners; always.

I think naturally I've seen in my practice that certain books started resonating more the longer I practiced, but then there's Dogen. hahhahahaha

Gassho

Risho
-stlah

Kokuu
02-23-2021, 09:29 PM
Hi there

There is not any sort of graduated study although, as Risho says, there are some books that are recommended for people at the beginning of the path. Of these I would suggest:

Kosho Uchiyama - Opening the Hand of Thought (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1010952.Opening_the_Hand_of_Thought)
Shunryu Suzuki - Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/402843.Zen_Mind_Beginner_s_Mind)
Gudo Nishijima (our Zen 'grandfather') - To Meet the Real Dragon (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6774156-to-meet-the-real-dragon)
What is Zen? - Norman Fischer and Susan Moon (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25614387-what-is-zen)

Then there are the Zen chants and this book is very good on those and practice also:

Shohaku Okumura - Living by Vow
(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13239373-living-by-vow)
In our Soto tradition, the writings of Eihei Dogen (1200-1253) are of central importance and I would recommend:

Fukanzazengi (universally recommended instructions for Zazen) (https://web.stanford.edu/~funn/zazen_instructions/Fukanzazengi.pdf) - a short piece on how to sit
Kaz Tanahashi - Moon in a Dewdrop (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41464.Moon_in_a_Dewdrop) - translations of some of his most important works
Jundo Cohen - The Zen Master's Dance (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55495085-the-zen-master-s-dance) - an excellent introduction to Dogen's thinking by our teacher here
Kosho Uchiyama - How to Cook Your Life (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/672535.How_to_Cook_Your_Life) - a fabulous commentary on Dogen's essay Tenzo kyokun (Instructions for the Tenzo (Zen cook)) which applies to all of life
Shohaku Okumura - Realizing Genjokoan (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8110088-realizing-genjokoan) - an in depth look at one of Dogen's central writings.


You may find others who would like to study along with you and I know that some folk here have paired up in that way.

We also have the 'Beyond Words & Letters' Book Club (https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?55-BEYOND-WORDS-LETTERS-BOOK-CLUB) in which we all read a book together. The present text is Zen Women by Grace Schireson and led by the female priests-in-training - Shoka, Byokan, Jakuden and Geika.

A parallel study group is looking at Toni Bernhard's Buddhist inspired guide to living with chronic illness - How to be Sick (https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?179-How-to-be-Sick-Practice-Group).

Jundo will often talk about other texts during his talk at the monthly Zazenkai and you can explore past book club studies here:https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?149-LIBRARY-of-PAST-READINGS

Another option is to work your way through Domyo Burk's Zen Studies Podcast which is more of a graduated study taking in a number of topics and texts along the way: https://zenstudiespodcast.com/


Gassho
Kokuu
-sattoday-

Bion
02-23-2021, 09:46 PM
Good afternoon everyone.

I may have overlooked it but I was wondering if there is a graduated study guide within the Zendo?

Something with suggested reading and possibly discussion with folks further along the path or even with teachers.

I know I could ask questions based on things I'm reading but I'm sure in a traditional "in person" setting there would be a starting point and progression that students would take - so we don't run before we walk!

Interested to read any responses - guess I'm looking for a dharma buddy of sorts!

Hi! Consider it as a “learn as you go” type of thing. There’s nothing to graduate from since we never stop gaining understanding and having realizations of our own. So we sit, and practice, and keep learning and regardless of how many years someone’s been dedicated to the practice of Zen, when we sit together there are no differences, no levels, no better or worse.

[emoji1374] SatToday lah

Jundo
02-24-2021, 01:34 AM
Ah, is a walk through the hills graduated? Is breathing graduated? Is the sun shining in the sky graduated?

We are all always beginners, there is no place to go. Just right here, this step, this foot after the next, always right here and here and then here.

It is so hard for human beings to get this into their hearts, because we wish to go, get more, progress, attain, grab. Sorry, there is no graduated course.

Just Sit, putting it all down, all need for next and more and prizes. This is what comes next and the PRIZE of ALL PRIZES!

Sorry, there is no path of stages, no levels, no signs of progress, nothing to attain. The fellow who sets out on the first day of the endless trek is walking the exact same Buddha Mountain as the experienced hiker walking 30 years. And yet, the fellow starting out is looking for the destination while, hopefully, the fellow walking 30 years is 30 years more understanding of the true attainment of this "Nothing to Attain," and understands that each step on the path is arrival.

Gassho, J
SAT TODAY

PS - Okay, here are two things you should read as the next step:

WHAT's NEXT!?!
https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?9471-SIT-A-LONG-with-Jundo-WHAT-s-NEXT%21-%21

Watching The Clock Rackin Up Points
https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?13634-SIT-A-LONG-with-Jundo-Why-Zen-Folks-FAIL%21%21-%285%29-Watching-The-Clock-Rackin-Up-Points

Mdkaek
02-24-2021, 01:56 AM
Thank you Jundo. “Nothing to attain” is going to be my new mantra! [morehappy]. I will accept that my practice is my path and other than guidance I have everything I need to walk it.

Gassho gassho1

Jundo
02-24-2021, 02:01 AM
Thank you Jundo. “Nothing to attain” is going to be my new mantra! [morehappy]. I will accept that my practice is my path and other than guidance I have everything I need to walk it.

Gassho gassho1

And yet, neither sit too long, nor walk too long without sitting. Avoid the poison ivy and mud holes, try not to fall off a cliff (even though there is ultimately no place to fall). Keep on good and solid paths in healthy directions, and ... keep going.

Gassho, J

STLah

Risho
02-24-2021, 05:27 PM
There is nothing to attain here, but I still don't fully believe it. And that is why I'm a beginner; I'm always trying to get something gassho2

Gassho

Risho
-stlah

Jishin
02-24-2021, 05:31 PM
[emoji3]