• SIT-A-LONG with Jundo - TO ALL SOLO PRACTITIONERS: Don't Be A Selfish Pratyeka-buddha

    Many times I hear folks say that they want to practice on their own, and not join in a Buddhist Community, because doing so gets in the way of their own practicing and sitting. They say that other people or having a teacher are a distraction, take up "my" precious time, are not a benefit to "me".

    Well, I say: Don't be a selfish sitter, a Pratyeka-buddha.

    There is an obligation, a face of the Bodhisattva Vow and taking refuge in Sangha, to support the Practice of others and not to be a Pratyeka-buddha. Ours is a Path beyond one's personal needs and wants. It is not a matter simply about what "I" want, what "I" need to do or learn, staring into my own navel.


    In Buddhism, one who attains enlightenment through his own efforts rather than by listening to the teachings of a buddha. The way of the self-enlightened buddha was criticized in Mahayana Buddhism, which rejects the path of self-enlightenment as too limiting and embraces the ideal of the Bodhisattva, who postpones final enlightenment to work for the rescue of others.
    It is much like family and children, who we tend to and spend time with ... whether we selfishly always want to or not, and whether or not we would rather run away. Community activity is vital. Sure, there is a place for "time alone" (whether in my "man cave" in the house or my "Bodhidharma cave" in the mountains), but in the end we have a duty to the community ... and to ourself ... to help and be together.

    Self and other are 'not two', and the community leaves us all stronger.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: SIT-A-LONG with Jundo - TO ALL SOLO PRACTITIONERS: Don't Be A Selfish Pratyeka-buddha started by Jundo View original post
    Comments 56 Comments
    1. Marcelo de Valnisio's Avatar
      Marcelo de Valnisio -
      Thank you.

    1. Dosho's Avatar
      Dosho -
      Thank you Jundo.

    1. Geika's Avatar
      Geika -
      Thank you, Jundo.
    1. Marla567's Avatar
      Marla567 -
      Thank you Jundo.

      Before joining a group of people I try to think about, if I want to get something or if I want to give something. Because I heard the statement, that a bodhisattva goes out in the world to give whereas most people go out in the world to get something. Most of the time it is both - giving and getting. When I feel, that I only want other people to make me happy, it often turns out that they can't really do this.

    1. Yugen's Avatar
      Yugen -
      Quote Originally Posted by adrianbkelly View Post
      I've really missed the support of this wonderful Sangha & could't help but smile when I logged in & saw lot's of familiar, friendly faces (as well as lots of new ones!) If you'll have me back, I'd love to start sitting with you again!
      Pull up a zafu and join us! It is our privilege to have you practicing with us! Thank you for your honest commentary. I too have had periods where I withdraw and want to sit alone. It allows me to "hide" and go to all sorts of peculiar places. When we sit together I feel all of your presence, and the practice belongs to all of us - we support one another. It has a nice feeling.

      Deep bows
    1. Kyonin's Avatar
      Kyonin -
      So true.

      I used to practice alone for many years and you spin all over until you settle with a Sangha.

      Sharing practice with the community is super important.

      Thanks for this teaching.


    1. Bobby's Avatar
      Bobby -
    1. Ugrok's Avatar
      Ugrok -
      Hello !

      I am sad to say that i stopped going to my local zendo. It seems that right now it's too hard for me to sit with other people, I end up exhausted and completely tense and fearful. I know i should go beyond those feelings, i kinda feel guilty not doing so, but at the same time i am not practicing zazen to feel bad ; life is hard enough like it is, ahah. So what I do is practice zazen alone, and try to share zazen in other places, like in the aikido dojo where i feel good and can help and participate with others, helping and offering a kind, compassionate view of this martial art. Not a perfect solution, not even a good one, i guess, but I feel it's okay to do what one can. I'll try to get back to group practice someday...


      Ugrok, sat today
    1. Jishin's Avatar
      Jishin -

      I'm not sure if I practice alone when I hang with you.

      Gassho, Jishin

    1. Shingen's Avatar
      Shingen -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ugrok View Post
      Not a perfect solution, not even a good one, i guess, but I feel it's okay to do what one can. I'll try to get back to group practice someday...
      Hello Ogrok,

      It is not about right or wrong, good or bad. It is about trying your best. Sometimes we walk this path and sometimes we walk the other path, yet still walking up the same mountain. If you are feeling uncomfortable sitting with your local group, then take a break. It is good to encourage ourselves to step outside our comfort zone once and awhile, but also take it easy too and don't push too hard.

      Sometimes stepping back from a situation gives us a better view of the place we are actually meant to be. =)


      Sat Today
    1. Yugen's Avatar
      Yugen -
      We do the best we can with what we have on a particular day. It is important to practice with a Sangha, with a community, but if feelings of tension and fearfulness arise, it's important to examine these and try to understand their origins. Sitting in a zendo obviously will not be a joyous and willing activity if you are constantly tense.

      So I have a question for you: what is the difference between the dojo and the Zendo? You feel good practicing aikido with others - Aikido is moving meditation - perhaps it's helpful to understand the different mental states in each?

      My sensei tells me that when he is teaching kata he is really teaching students zen, but doesn't tell them that. Martial arts and zen are one - I think it is helpful to bring the same demeanor to the Zendo as to the dojo - one of openness, sharing, and lack of resistance.

      It might be helpful to ask why it is that your feel differently in your Zendo than in Aikido practice.

      By the way, Zazen is neat because in the act of breathing in and out we are uke and nage, giving and receiving with the breath. That can be pretty powerful in your practice. If I can help, please don't hesitate to PM.

      Deep bows

      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    1. Ugrok's Avatar
      Ugrok -
      Well, it's simple (but it also derails the thread... sorry) : in aikido, i totally forget myself and i just practice. I have to do so to interact correctly with my partner. The body sensations i have to work with are so rich and precise that i cannot think about something else. And it's made by two people rather than one, too. In aikido, I am forced to let go, somehow, because if not, i might harm or be harmed ! Roles are quite precise, the structure is there, i blend in it with no problem. And since i'm a bit more experienced now, i can help beginners find ways of doing things that they did not know they were able to do, which feels great. Thinking about it, and it really is very paradoxical, it is also because i have no choice at all that i feel free and joyous : the teacher offers a technique to work on, i don't have to think about what i'm doing, i just do it. I can't stand there and think about stuff : there is someone in front of me, there is something to be done, so, well, i do it. Don't know how to explain it clearly.

      Sitting in the zendo, I constantly feel threatened and i constantly fear that i will disturb others and that i am gonna do something wrong. Only thing i want is get up and leave, while knowing that i should not and cannot and struggling not to do it. Maybe it also has to do about the people in the zendo, i don't know, this is the only one i tried ; but they are overly serious, and say new agey stuff and pretend to be great quiet beings, and that just makes me want to kill everybody, ahahah. In aikido everyone is relaxed and jokes and is smiling, mistakes are not a big deal.

      Writing this allows me to understand that, maybe, it is the total freedom that scares me ? Since i'm alone in my head, i can create tons of problems and have no way of knowing how others perceive me, if i'm doing good or not, etc. I know this is precisely the thing to drop, but it seems, right now, that i feel more comfortable in an environment where i know what to do and how to do it. Practicing zazen alone is not as much of a problem for me.

      Thanks for making me think about this


      Ugrok, sat today
    1. Yugen's Avatar
      Yugen -
      This is very helpful, thank you for your honesty.

      It helps to isolate variables in your experience - it may be as simple as finding a Zendo whose style works for you - I too struggle with Sanghas where people take themselves very seriously .... Is there another sitting group or Zendo near you that you can try? It would be interesting to see if you have the same reaction.

      Another possibility is to try sitting with Treeleafers online? Perhaps that environment will help you feel more at ease.... You will be sitting in your own physical space and with others at the same time.

      It sounds as if you are accepted the way you are in your aikido practice. It is important to practice in a place where you feel comfortable.

      Just a couple of ideas - I wish for your practice to be light and joyful - while we deal with suffering as a fact of life that doesn't mean we have to suffer in doing so! Patience and joy are available to us every moment.

      Deep bows

      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    1. Ugrok's Avatar
      Ugrok -
      Thanks a lot Yugen. I'll try sitting online with folks from here. We will see.
    1. Cumminjd's Avatar
      Cumminjd -
      Just watched this teaching (slowly re-watching all the teachings, almost like audiobooks ) I for one would not still be practicing without the support of this Sangha. Even when there are large periods of inactivity, mainly when at college. Even when sitting on +google, I know we are always sitting together. This Sangha has helped me through some of the toughest parts of my life. And i know the same is true for others. Thank you all very much,

      Feeling extra grateful for this Sangha

      Sat Today!
    1. Theophan's Avatar
      Theophan -
      Thank you.
      I am so grateful to be accepted into our sangha.
      I will certainly support the sangha as best I can.

      Sat Today
    1. FabianS's Avatar
      FabianS -
      Jundo and everyone,
      we have a place here, where I just call myself at home. I'm grateful for being accepted here and for the teachings, reminders and much more that help me very much with practise and daily life!

      Gassho, Fabian
    1. Rich's Avatar
      Rich -
      When your "l" feels threatened just sit with that.
      Sat today
    1. Tai Shi's Avatar
      Tai Shi -
      I too am feeling accepted by folks willing to reach out. I am happy to have a place to practice. The closest Zendo is 200 miles away from Sioux Falls. I have heard that occasionally monks come the Twin Cities, and I receive so much help here. We have a great place to practice here.
    1. Tai Shi's Avatar
      Tai Shi -
      sat today
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