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Jundo
06-12-2009, 03:50 PM
Hi,

Sometimes the simplest of practices can be most effective.

The following is based on teachings by Thich Nhat Hahn as well as many others. It's roots stretch back to the very origins of Buddhism. It is a simple and common sense approach to changing how we think and feel ... realizing that our experience of life is always shaped through the various thoughts and emotions that we impose upon life within our little heads, like a bit of mental theatre the script for which we are constantly writing for ourselves. This technique is an instantaneous means to replace harmful, negative, destructive thoughts and emotions with constructive, positive, wholesome thoughts and emotions.

Of course, this practice is not meant as a substitute for "Zazen", our core activity. Far from it! All is hand-in-hand. Yet, just as with our other "Recommended Daily Practice", the recitation of Metta (Loving Kindness) ...

http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?6020-RECOMMENDED-DAILY-Metta-PRACTICE

... this "Nurturing Seeds" practice should be undertaken daily and, in fact, in any situation in which harmful or negative thoughts and emotions begin to take control.

Here is how it works ... very simple ...

Traditional Buddhist psychology describes our thoughts, emotions and actions as arising from a kind of "Seed Consciousness" within us, which is said to hold the "seeds" of all our emotional and thought reactions to experiences (and our actions that arise from those) ... love, hate, peace, violence, calm, irritability, confidence, fear, you name it. Whether we take these "seeds" as literally existing, or (just as fine) merely as symbolic descriptions for the workings of the mind, each serves as a surprisingly elegant image for how thoughts and emotions arise within us. For example, when we are feeling anger in a particular situation or in reaction to some person, an "angry seed" might be said to be sprouting within us. If we water that seed, and allow it to take root and bloom, anger thus blooms. Further anger seeds may be planted within us for the future too. However, if we can instead replace that "angry seed" with, for example, a "loving kindness seed" and a "tolerance seed" ... watering those inner seeds instead, actually summoning such emotions within ourself ... then we may react to the very same situation and person with compassion and patience instead of anger.

Simple as that.

Thich Nhat Hahn has written the following ...

In Buddhist texts, consciousness is said to be a field, a plot of land in which every kind of seed is planted--seeds of suffering, happiness, joy, sorrow, fear, anger, and hope. The quality of our life depends on which of these seeds we water. The practice of mindfulness is to recognize each seed as it sprouts and to water the most wholesome seeds whenever possible.

...

In Buddhist psychology, we speak of consciousness in terms of seeds. We have a seed of anger in us [for example]. We have a seed of compassion in us. The practice is to help the seed of compassion to grow and the seed of anger to shrink. When you express your anger you think that you are getting anger out of your system, but that's not true. When you express your anger, either verbally or with physical violence, you are feeding the seed of anger, and it becomes stronger in you. It's a dangerous practice.

That's why recognizing the seed of anger and trying to neutralize it with understanding and compassion is the only way to reduce the anger in us. If you don't understand the cause of your anger, you can never transform it.

...

What is important is that you continue to plant new seeds, the kind of seeds that are both refreshing and healing.

---------------

Here is how the recommended practice works:

Step 1 - Become sensitive and mindful to the arising of harmful, negative seeds within you. For example, when feeling angry or resentful, do not simply fall into those emotions. Instead, learn to say to yourself, "Oh, now I see anger in me ... a seed of anger and a seed of resentment are welling up within me, so I am --temporarily-- feeling anger and resentment in this situation. It need not be so."

Become good at spotting the emotions as they begin to arise within you, especially the harmful ones, before they really catch you and wrap you up. Before the emotion really gets hold of you (or even after, although it is harder), choose to go another way,

Step 2 - Identify what would be the positive or wholesome seed which would be the opposite or counter-balance to the harmful, negative seed. For example, following is a list of common negative thoughts and emotions in Buddhist psychology, as well as several opposites and counter-balances (this list, by the way, is tentative and open to suggestions as we develop this daily practice) ... Maybe print the following on a little card and carry it in your wallet for easy reference! ...

Greed - Contentment, Generosity
Anger - Tolerance, Contentment, Loving Kindness
Fear - Courage, Equanimity
Discontent - Serenity, Contentment
Sloth - Energy, Joyful Effort
Jealousy - Respect
Sadness - Joy, Acceptance
Egotism - Modesty, Humility
Frustration - Acceptance, Contentment

Step 3 - Make the conscious choice not to "water" the harmful seed as you feel it begin to sprout within you, and instead to nourish and water the wholesome seed that can take its place. Actually feel that the harmful seed has been physically removed from its ground within you, and replaced by a wholesome seed. Actually try to feel within the emotion which the wholesome seed represents (for example, if feeling "greed" ... actually try to summon and hold feelings of contentment and generosity instead). Focus on the breath, and feel the sensation of the positive, wholesome emotion arise within you with each exhalation. Feel the positive, wholesome seed coming to flower.

And that's it!

At first, commit yourself to try your best to "replace a seed" 4 or 5 times a day. For example, if you start to sense a bit of anger, worry, discouragement or sadness wallowing up in you sometime during a normal day ... take that as an opportunity to do a bit of inner gardening! Try to replace that seed, visualizing and actually feeling the old seed being removed from you and the new sensations coming to flower. You may be surprised at the results! (It may not turn every weed in your garden into a rose, but it may more often than you think).

Please keep us posted on this forum on how this practice goes for you.

Gassho, Jundo

SatTodayLAH

Joyo
06-02-2013, 02:41 PM
I just read about this in a book I am reading by Thich Nhat Hahn. It takes a bit of effort to train your mind to do this, but I have already found the benefits are so worth it.

Maresolaris
06-05-2013, 10:29 AM
Dear Jundo (and co-author Taigu),

At the present moment I am torn a little, due to circumstances at work. Worry starts to take over the thinking. Then I browsed Treeleaf, and came across this wondeful advice. Replacing the seed of something bad with something good is indeed a splendid exercise. Even reading and trying it out a bit made a difference. Even this afternoon, at 1 30pm, I will have an important meeting with my employer (probably soon-to-be-ex).

Courage instead of fear and worry does not make the situation better, but it works miracles to my attitude towards it.

Again, I feel a deep gratitude towards you, Taigu and the treeleaf sangha.

Gassho,
gassho2
Marcel Berkien (Maresolaris)

Daijo
06-06-2013, 08:42 PM
Thank you for this. For a long time I carried a little card in my wallet with this printed on it:
Greed - Contentment, Generosity
Anger - Tolerance, Contentment, Loving Kindness
Fear - Courage, Equanimity
Discontent - Serenity, Contentment
Sloth - Energy, Joyful Effort
Jealousy - Respect
Sadness - Joy, Acceptance
Egotism - Modesty, Humility
Frustration - Acceptance, Contentment

It was a helpful reminder and I think I'll start doing that again.

Seimyo
06-06-2013, 09:11 PM
That's very helpful Chuck. I should almost get it tattooed to my wrist.

G.
Seimyo

Jundo
06-07-2013, 01:14 AM
That's very helpful Chuck. I should almost get it tattooed to my wrist.

G.
Seimyo

That is very helpful Chuck. Excellent suggestion.

Chris, perhaps best to tattoo it right here, where the arrow points ...


http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=1021&d=1370402284


Gassho, J

Joyo
06-11-2013, 05:10 AM
Thank you for this. For a long time I carried a little card in my wallet with this printed on it:
Greed - Contentment, Generosity
Anger - Tolerance, Contentment, Loving Kindness
Fear - Courage, Equanimity
Discontent - Serenity, Contentment
Sloth - Energy, Joyful Effort
Jealousy - Respect
Sadness - Joy, Acceptance
Egotism - Modesty, Humility
Frustration - Acceptance, Contentment

It was a helpful reminder and I think I'll start doing that again.

this is awesome advice, thanks for sharing!! I have struggled with depression ever since I was a child, it has gotten a lot better since practicing Zen. I now feel in control, even when it hits me. I am no longer in the passenger's seat, so to speak. When it starts to come, I actually talk to it (I got this idea from the book Buddhism for Mothers) I will say "oh, hello depression, you are back again" and then I will start to think of all the good things in my life and start practicing mindfulness. It's not always an easy, quick fix, but it brings results, like I said, I now feel like I am in control.

Matt
06-27-2013, 04:06 PM
Thank you for sharing this practice. I have printed the card and look forward to incorporating this into my daily life. Deep bows, Matt J

glow
06-29-2013, 08:45 PM
This practice has been very helpful for me.

Gassho,

Glow (Kikai)

Shonin
09-08-2013, 01:48 AM
I have practiced this in my own way for awhile. But a different version. I was in a way condemning myself for the negative feelings ( "I shouldn't be so irritable" blah blah) while trying to uproot the other. I think the way this is worded is more acceptance and saying it is normal and okay , but we are making a conscious decision to let it go and become something more positive. It's more being patient with one's self than how I was doing it. Was good to read it the way it's presented here. Sheds a new light on it. A slight mental change in attitude. I'll remind myself to be patient with "me" and see how it goes.

_/\_ Dave

bayamo
12-09-2013, 12:07 PM
It always gets me when I read things like this & I find myself saying 'why didn't I ever think of this before?!?!' thanks!

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6yx
05-06-2014, 12:45 PM
I'm grateful I read this
I'm grateful you wrote it

I'll start my practice.

Gassho
Chris

Theophan
02-06-2015, 11:59 PM
Jundo,
Thank you for this excellent practice to turn around our negative thoughts. I needed this.

Gassho
Theophan
Sat Today

Joryu
02-11-2015, 01:42 PM
This was exactly what I needed to hear. I was thinking I could physically practice this when weeding my garden - naming the weeds then with love and tenderness towards them, pull them up. Once I have tossed the "weed" in the weed pile I could then consider that harmful thought weeded...in its place I can plant a sunflower seed....possibly, depending on daily situations, I could end up with a beautiful garden of sunflowers :D deep bows for all the above postings and in a few months I'll post some pics of my sunflower "field" :p gassho, sattoday/ nandi

Shokai
02-13-2015, 03:08 AM
Once upon a time I found this flower in a field. It is considered to be a wild flower; yet, it does have a name. It is called a yellow goat's beard.
2369
Then some flowers grow in our garden that have names as well but they are not 'wild'

Shokai
02-13-2015, 03:11 AM
Yet, the bee doesn't appear to mind
2371

Shingen
02-13-2015, 05:02 AM
Yet, the bee doesn't appear to mind
2371

Wonderful Shokai! No division, just acceptance. =)

Gassho
Shingen

Sattoday

Rich
02-18-2015, 11:43 PM
That's great Elgwyn. All these good things you are doing will help you be completely with this moment in joy and ease.


Sat today

Risho
03-01-2015, 03:38 PM
gassho2

Gassho,

Risho
-sattoday

Theophan
05-12-2015, 01:36 AM
Jundo
Thank You. I will add this to my practice.
Gassho
Theophan
Sat Today

alkds1989
07-28-2015, 02:06 PM
I just wanted to say that what was said in this post got me over a rough couple of weeks. I found myself in a financial bind due to bills and car issues. Instead of freaking out ,and having another panic attack, I remembered this thread and replaced the "anxiety" seeds with "calm" seeds. Don't get me wrong, I'm still on my anxiety medication, but this helped a lot.

Gassho,

josh

sattoday:encouragement:

Jundo
07-28-2015, 02:09 PM
Glad to hear that Josh. It is called "Practice", so keep with it and it does begin to sink in.

Gassho, J

Luciana
09-04-2015, 02:24 AM
Is there an opposing seed for the seed of Despair?

Thank you.

L. _/\_

sat2day

Jundo
09-04-2015, 02:56 AM
Is there an opposing seed for the seed of Despair?

Thank you.

L. _/\_

sat2day

Joy

Gassho, J

SatToday

Luciana
09-05-2015, 04:45 AM
Opera!

L. _/\_

Chiko
10-03-2015, 01:50 PM
Greed - Contentment, Generosity
Anger - Tolerance, Contentment, Loving Kindness
Fear - Courage, Equanimity
Discontent - Serenity, Contentment
Sloth - Energy, Joyful Effort
Jealousy - Respect
Sadness - Joy, Acceptance
Egotism - Modesty, Humility
Frustration - Acceptance, Contentment

I put this practice into action this morning, and had such a great day with my family, despite waking up in a sour mood. Any moment can be transformed. Imagine someone who embodied these characteristics all the time...they'd practically be a buddha! :D

_/\_
Matt sat today!

tlap
10-08-2015, 02:59 PM
Resentment - Gratitude, Contentment

I have one Cormo fleece that still has to be washed this season. I know I have been avoiding it. It's greasy, heavy, and dirty. Carrying buckets of water is backbreaking. This fleece will need three times the water as most.

I know I can't approach it until I am in a place of right thinking, or at least on the path toward it, watering and nurturing the right seeds. I must be fully present in the work, separating each lock of wool, wasting nothing that is usable, placing each lock, fibers parallel, onto the netting, and then rolling the netting into bundles.

Then, soaking and washing the bundles, working gently, never agitating them, always watching the temperature of the water--too hot will felt the wool, and too cold will not rinse out the grease.

I think I'm good with that part. Then comes carrying all the buckets of dirty water outside, and emptying them into a ditch.

Repeat at least two more times. Maybe more. Repeat until the wool emerges, clean, creamy white and soft. Bucket upon bucket.

I have a couple more weeks to prepare myself for the task. Seeds of gratitude, for the wool is truly the finest and best I have seen, and seeds of contentment. That should crowd out the resentment, and even a bit of the ego. Get a bucket with wheels and stop whining about it, right?

Gassho
trish
sat today

Jakuden
10-08-2015, 09:59 PM
Maybe look at Jundo's sit-a-long series on Dogen's "Instructions for the Cook." Sounds like the teachings would apply very well to wool-washing! :)

Gassho,
Sierra
SatToday

tlap
10-09-2015, 02:08 PM
Thank you, Sierra. That is an interesting recommendation and I am going to take a look.

Gassho
trish
sat today

Meian
03-15-2016, 11:53 AM
Thank you for this. For a long time I carried a little card in my wallet with this printed on it:
Greed - Contentment, Generosity
Anger - Tolerance, Contentment, Loving Kindness
Fear - Courage, Equanimity
Discontent - Serenity, Contentment
Sloth - Energy, Joyful Effort
Jealousy - Respect
Sadness - Joy, Acceptance
Egotism - Modesty, Humility
Frustration - Acceptance, Contentment

It was a helpful reminder and I think I'll start doing that again.

I am copying this one and think I will do the same, good antidotes. :)

Ryudo
05-12-2017, 08:07 AM
Thank you for this.
For me it is a challenge that may be applied in many fields, mostly in little things that might seem only unimportant details.

Gassho
Marcus

SatToday

Nengei
04-21-2018, 06:05 AM
Reading this thread--for which I am filled with appreciation and gratitude--and then the one on daily liturgy and gatha, I find myself thinking about using gatha practice as a ground for nurturing seeds practice, and wonder if others are aware of anything published about this, or perhaps a list of gatha directed toward negative-to-positive emotional responses.

I notice the seed of anger in myself.
Seeing anger, I choose instead to nurture the seed of compassion.
Through compassion, I act with loving-kindness.
With loving kindness, I heal my being.

I feel the seed of fear sprouting.
Instead of fear, I turn to courage-awareness.
In courage, I find the essence of well-being.
Joy and peace fill my heart.

This seems like a logical, practice-based way to short-circuit the growth of negative response seeds and turn attention toward positive responses.

Just my late-night thinking.

Gassho,
Joseph

sat today - lah

SNPII
05-05-2018, 02:29 AM
I absolutely love the way this is written! And I just bought a bunch of gardening flowered plants and herbs today for the outside landscape and am impatient for the seeds in the indoor to grow! The metaphor of seedlings to growing and which ones a person chooses to feed and not feed is quite profound for me right now! Thank You!gassho2

Rob H
07-10-2019, 04:22 PM
I'm glad that I found this post again!
In the last few days, things have been emotionally tough at home and I have been fortunate enough to just be starting out in my noticing of negative feelings arising and being very conscious of it. I will do my best to stick to the three steps listed above.

Gassho

ST/Lah

Tai Shi
07-11-2019, 02:01 PM
Old and new friends, hello! And, this corner has been a long time coming. Apparently I posted here when I was new in the Sangha, and for more than a year, I was Elgwyn in our Sangha. I have come to revere and even love the people here. Even through my conversion to Christianity, our Treeleaf Sangha has been here for me, listening, advising, and even admonishing as I nearly had to leave in personal disgrace. In my home, anger has often "got" the best of me, and this sensitive poet loses his temper. I am truly ashamed of some of my behavior toward those I love. I have recently actually begun to listen to my wife of 37+ years who I love with all my heart. In the past I often turned on her, spent money our family did not have, behaved recklessly toward my lovely wife and brilliant daughter. Last week, I took steps to correct my credit behavior, largely because my wife has made sure my credit is in order. I refinanced large debt with my own disposable money. If I can pay off this loan, without spending even $10 on credit, then I will have saved more that $2200 and salvaged many feelings in my family. I can no longer find excuse, after excuse for my behavior, for at age 67, I vow to take hold of negative seeds in my Buddhist mind, in my own personal behavior. My positive seeds are now responsibility, equanimity, understanding, and acceptance. These anger seeds can be supplanted, and ask my Sangha to help me learn to pay my bill of about $163.00 a little less each month. I know that greed and control are the opposite of generosity, and surrender. Generosity and surrender are necessary for successful family, and Buddhist behavior. These and loyalty I wish to be my seeds of Buddhist behavior. I have come to believe Buddhism is my plan of life, not some esoteric philosophy. Please Sangha members, help me be responsible, and find actual peace and love before I die, Please allow me to fulfill my vows to die a gentle and sober man. With all the gratitude I can find. Thank you
Tai Shi
sat
Gassho

Seishin
08-12-2019, 10:20 AM
Thank you for bringing this back to focus in the Genjokoan discussion. I've neglected this practice for a while now and allowed things to get on top of me, especially anger and frustration. So I have created a new list for my phone along with Nengei's gatha. I am sure I'll be using it a lot in the roll up to Brexit or whatever happens in the UK and the knock effect to UK folks living in the EU.

Deep Bows

Sat / lah

Kyotai
08-12-2019, 03:59 PM
I once heard a zen talk focusing on a phrase something along the lines of "you give, you get."

Meaning, you put anxiety, negativity, pessimism and hate out into the world, that is exactly what you get back..many times over.

However, if you put kindness, Love, compassion and Peace into the world (in your job, your relationships, your day to day life) that is exactly what you get back..10 fold.

How true this is.

This works hand in hand with nurturing seeds practice. No time for negativity when your focus is, how can I make someones day a little better with each interaction.

I am someone who needs to pay close attention to my thoughts and reactions to those thoughts. I am prone to falling into the abyss and for me, sometimes zazen is not enough and we must engage with the world too.

Gassho Kyotai
ST

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Teiro
08-16-2019, 09:40 AM
This reminds me of a story all of you are probably familiar with:
There are two wolves 🐺 fighting inside everyone, a good (= positive seeds) and a bad one (= negative seeds).
Which one will win?
The one you feed.

Gassho
Teiro

Sat/Lah

sreed
08-24-2019, 03:34 AM
This thread is very powerful for me at this moment. I will be bookmarking so that I can practice and come back to it often.
-Sara
ST/LAH

Tai Shi
11-17-2019, 10:57 AM
Seishin, Hi, I am Tai Shi, and I will consider a move from the Unitarian Universalist church to Episcopalian, and remain with Treeleaf Sangha. My wife and I are apart, and much of the time I do not communicate with her. We have shared a game Pokémon go. Sometimes I try to touch her, and she moves away, and she does not understand my preoccupation with religion. She is agnostic or atheist, and she does support my membership in Treeleaf Sangha and she knows enough about Soto Zen Buddhism to know that it is atheist in some ways, and actually when I admit this to myself, this is where I stand too, and I too am atheist or agnostic, and I've been hurt enough by religion to want a big change in my life, and I maybe can truly breath better when I admit this to myself. Zen Buddhism is so very important as I have read Uchiyama's book and I can focus on my own practice. I have read How to Cook Your Life and I see the vast sea of being;"in- the moment," and of the first three chapters of GenjoKoan, I understand and float into the vast ocean of life. I understand that Let there be Songs to fill the air, ripple in still waters. may your cup be filled-- no simple highway, my path for my steps alone So I see and feel it is not me but my attention to concepts as God which may not exist. Now for me the morning feels right. It is 4:38 a.m. and I have spent the night thinking this through, and Maybe it's not me but churches that are wrong. And, it's not a matter of my wife. All I know is a bird sings a while then flies off. I know why a tune is sweet, and why I need not cry anymore. A bird sings then flies off. I know snow and rain, and there is freedom in yes, freedom in morning depth and light. My knees are gone I am old. I don't care. My body is all I have. Sometimes when the moon is high a full moon, my neck bones are old and cannot look up, and from moon beams I know the moon is there. The sun shines, and clouds come. Water flows and fish swim. The song plays, this tune is mine, and I have nothing. I am nothing, am body and form, no matter I am sea foam I am sky and there is no why, there is no if. There is sky, there is earth, there is what Suzuki would say just sit, no more just sit.

Tai Shi
just sit
Gassho

Tai Shi
07-14-2020, 09:30 PM
And now I am UU and an agnostic because after reasoned and calm discussion with my wife, on good Zen teacher she says that “What are you but an agnostic?” Yes I do not know for sure, and perhaps, I don’t know anything for sure. I know two things that I have undertaken the precepts of my And our Sangha, which follows the ideas of the Buddha, these are reasonable for the second thing I know today, just for today, I am sober.
Tai Shi
ssat/ lah
Gassho


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Onka
07-20-2020, 08:11 PM
Gassho Onka
sat today

Gokai
10-27-2020, 11:53 AM
A very beautiful and powerful practice. Often difficult to put into practice, but that is the way.
Gassho, Gokai
Sat today