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Thread: Grass Hut - 20 - "Steady Practice"

  1. #1

    Grass Hut - 20 - "Steady Practice"

    Dear All,

    We now move to the first portion of Chapter 16, "The Foundations of Freedom: Steady Practice".

    I agree that steady practice is vital to our way. The daily monkish routine in a monastery is tightly scheduled, steady practice, one event or job or lecture or Zazen sitting or meal following the next.

    It is probably not necessary (or possible) for you to develop a rigid, morning to night steady practice. However, have you been able to develop some stability and routine to your practice?

    Is Zazen your anchor in the storm?

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-20-2015 at 03:19 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Just following the schedule of whatever needs doing today is where I try to practice. Going with the flow, but with curiousity and awareness. What is it like to be here-now? What's alive right now, for me and for the other person? Slowing down to the speed of my life helps.

    _/\_ Shinzan
    sattoday

  3. #3
    Joyo
    Guest
    This part of chapter 16 makes me want to sit, and sit, and sit some more. Yes, I have a daily practice that is part of my routine, and actually my entire day is my practice as I am aware of it frequently throughout the day. My biggest struggle is the "being at ease" part. I have to remind myself to accept things as they are, equanimity, being aware of the big mind/small mind/cramped attic. Zazen is slowly helping me with this.

    Zazen, for me, is like a strong tree in a wind storm. It may bend in the direction the wind pushes it, but it is firmly planted in the ground.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

  4. #4
    Nindo
    Guest
    Jundo, the title of this thread seems to refer to a different chapter - could you fix that please?
    I really have to catch up with reading ...

    Gassho
    Nindo

  5. #5
    Member ForestDweller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Beltrami Island Forest in Minnesota
    Creating a routine that suits life in the Forest is, admittedly, much easier that it was when we lived in the city. That said, the more routine I integrate into daily/weekly life, the more freedom arises -- even freedom to deviate from the routine, as appropriate. It's dangerous to have too many "projects" going at once, so we're careful to keep our lives/work simple enough so that such projects remain at a sane level. How many activities are really important enough to include in life every day/week anyway? Also, within a routine lies more opportunity to practice because mind isn't so cluttered with fragments of a "to do" list. Clarity of a mind,, less cluttered, makes way to see the practice opportunities. Life is finite. Great care should be exercised when allowing an activity or project to enter our space and time. Keep the routine as clean and clear as possible - only the best survives such a test. -
    ^^ForestSatToday^^

  6. #6
    Hi,

    Is Zazen an anchor in the storm? Yes. How so? It just is. No need to say more. No urge to say more.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I agree that steady practice is vital to our way. The daily monkish routine in a monastery is tightly scheduled, steady practice, one event or job or lecture or Zazen sitting or meal following the next.

    It is probably not necessary (or possible) for you to develop a rigid, morning to night steady practice. However, have you been able to develop some stability and routine to your practice?

    Is Zazen your anchor in the storm?
    Thank you Jundo,

    For me, sitting each morning, evening, and maybe moments within a day, where needed, allows me to fully be the boatman on this sea of life. Zazen is truly the anchor in ruff seas. It allows me to be grounded, to not get caught up in the storm and float away, but rather, to flow with it ... to ride the waves and know the storm too will pass. I also feel this practice, just sitting, gives me the confidence to know that all will be ok, even when I see the storm brewing up a head - to be both open and inviting. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    However, have you been able to develop some stability and routine to your practice?

    Is Zazen your anchor in the storm?

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatToday
    It comes and goes. Sometimes strong, sometimes week. This year has been unsteady for me. I feel like a pretty crappy practitioner at this point. I'm very busy, but I also have a lot of excuses. Often I have the time but not the mental or physical energy. So my sitting is not as regular as it should be. Or I should say "formal" sitting. I try to at least do five minutes of bedside zazen on days when I am just drained. Excuses, excuses. I keep at it.

    -satToday
    Thanks,
    Kaishin (Open Heart)
    Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

  9. #9
    Zazen seems to create time and space, so sitting every evening is a habit that for me, luckily, is not hard to stick to.

    Gassho
    Jeremy
    SatToday

  10. #10
    In steady practice not moving is established in the eye of the storm.

    SAT today
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    I may be wrong and not knowing is acceptable

  11. #11
    Zazen is the anchor, and the anchor of the anchor is group practice. I couldn't do it alone unless it was really alone in the woods. In the middle of family and work the anchor is practice with Sangha.

    Gassho
    Daizan


    sat today

  12. #12
    Member ForestDweller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Beltrami Island Forest in Minnesota
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin View Post
    It comes and goes. Sometimes strong, sometimes week. This year has been unsteady for me. I feel like a pretty crappy practitioner at this point. I'm very busy, but I also have a lot of excuses. Often I have the time but not the mental or physical energy. So my sitting is not as regular as it should be. Or I should say "formal" sitting. I try to at least do five minutes of bedside zazen on days when I am just drained. Excuses, excuses. I keep at it.

    -satToday
    Kaishin - whoever and wherever you are, you seem to be pretty hard on yourself. I can feel you bashing yourself and it hurts. Just being aware that you view yourself as a "crappy practitioner" means you ARE AWARE. That is a beginning. Between the lines, it seems you are expecting perfection -- the right mental and physical energy to SIT, no "excuses" to SIT, that your SITTING should be "formal." Shikan Taza is JUST SITTING - just that - no perfection required. No particular time duration to SIT, no particular formalities to SIT, and (careful here) no particular regularity to sit (as in always at this time, every day, for x amount of time). Perhaps consider letting all the oughts/shoulds/musts drop away and simply SIT whenever and for however long you can. Also maybe keep in mind that our practice is ALWAYS happening whatever we do, so opportunities for regularity are limitless. It's good to hear that you "keep at it." Easy, easy, and just SIT.
    ^^ForestSatToday^^ - CatherineS/Forest Dweller

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Daizan View Post
    Zazen is the anchor, and the anchor of the anchor is group practice. I couldn't do it alone unless it was really alone in the woods. In the middle of family and work the anchor is practice with Sangha.

    Gassho
    Daizan


    sat today


    Even though I'm not present with Treeleaf, I'm always present with Treeleaf. The group here supports me in tons of ways and has been vital in not letting my questioning question me right out of practice.

    I just read a really cool book called "Stumbling Towards Enlightenment" by a practitioner Geri Larkin, who practices in a Korean lineage of Zen. It's really good -- I don't agree with all of it necessarily, but it talks about this. I have found practice to be an anchor, and it's especially vital to sit when I don't want to sit.

    I've been thinking about (and not to bring this up again) trusting in practice. I trust in practice by practicing. No matter the circumstances, if I'm to follow this practice, then I need to practice this practice. If I'm having a "bad" day, or I don't like how things are going, it's still a good day if I can practice. Practice is limitless.. but it's also very personal.

    Gassho,

    Risho
    -sattoday

    Edit: I absolutely love the Lex Hixon quote -- Zen practice is dirty, grimy... it's not running away from, it's staying put and facing things.. facing our anger, fear, lust, etc. so we can see it for what it is, and by doing that we feel a bond to others because we know others by knowing ourselves, and we learn how this practice then benefits others (Not two) -- sorry for the edit -- just got pumped up. lol
    Last edited by Risho; 07-22-2015 at 11:15 PM.

  14. #14
    Thank you, Catherine
    Thanks,
    Kaishin (Open Heart)
    Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post


    Even though I'm not present with Treeleaf, I'm always present with Treeleaf. The group here supports me in tons of ways and has been vital in not letting my questioning question me right out of practice.

    I just read a really cool book called "Stumbling Towards Enlightenment" by a practitioner Geri Larkin, who practices in a Korean lineage of Zen. It's really good -- I don't agree with all of it necessarily, but it talks about this. I have found practice to be an anchor, and it's especially vital to sit when I don't want to sit.

    I've been thinking about (and not to bring this up again) trusting in practice. I trust in practice by practicing. No matter the circumstances, if I'm to follow this practice, then I need to practice this practice. If I'm having a "bad" day, or I don't like how things are going, it's still a good day if I can practice. Practice is limitless.. but it's also very personal.

    Gassho,

    Risho
    -sattoday

    Edit: I absolutely love the Lex Hixon quote -- Zen practice is dirty, grimy... it's not running away from, it's staying put and facing things.. facing our anger, fear, lust, etc. so we can see it for what it is, and by doing that we feel a bond to others because we know others by knowing ourselves, and we learn how this practice then benefits others (Not two) -- sorry for the edit -- just got pumped up. lol
    Hi Risho. Larkin's teacher was my first zen teacher. Over a five year period I never really felt connected to him, never felt like his student... he could be sweet, and really tough too. He used to say he was a tiger, not a dog, so he would not follow any stick someone throws but go straight for the thrower. This meant experiencing crushing humiliation sometimes in front of the sangha. Then he would smile and be nice. It is not for everyone, and a very different style than Treeleaf. I learned to sit through anything and had a lot of meaningful experiences, but always fell back on a form of "just sitting" taught by (of all people) a Theravadin friend. Treeleaf picks up where that gentle friend left off. Maybe sitting with sangha as an anchor comes from that time. Group practice offline or online (amazingly not so different) is just more powerful in my experience..

    Just some thoughts.

    Gassho
    Daizan

    sat today
    Last edited by RichardH; 07-23-2015 at 01:16 AM.

  16. #16
    It is probably not necessary (or possible) for you to develop a rigid, morning to night steady practice. However, have you been able to develop some stability and routine to your practice?
    Yes to some stability in my practice that involves much more than just sitting. As for Zazen, I try to sit every day, but sometimes I skip on days i am not feeling well, and sometimes I just get busy and forget. But whether I sit or not on any particular day, my practice continues. Steady feels like a better word for me than stable, as in my practice is steady. Trying (and non-trying) to live up the the precepts daily, my progress is slow and steady, with steps backward and sideways on occasion, but always moving forward overall. And those backwards, sideways, and forward steps are all practice anyway when anchored by Zazen.

    Is Zazen your anchor in the storm?
    Zazent keeps me grounded. Not that I don't fly off or go adrift on occasion, but I always come back to Zazen at some point. Even when I am off adrift, I am aware enough to know it's only a matter of time until I go back to Zazen. I like that. I like that a lot. Anchors can get loose, you know, but eventually they catch on something and steady (rather than unsteady) practice resumes.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today

  17. #17
    Yes, finally. I sit almost every day.
    My practice now has traction, demands are soft.

    Sat2day
    "Know that the practice of zazen is the complete path of buddha-dharma and nothing can be compared to it....it is not the practice of one or two buddhas but all the buddha ancestors practice this way."
    Dogen zenji in Bendowa






  18. #18
    During my last days of travelling I had the opportunity to watch this a bit.
    I find it easier to stick to my routines sitting zazen at home, requiring my zafu, and the corner of my bedroom.
    (Yes, now I admit too, the "inflatable travelling zafu" is instable and squeeky.)
    I have used rolled up towels as zafu and a towel as zabuton, which is great when staying with people who have a spare bedroom and leave you alone there.
    However, I feel embarassed when friends' children peep into my room to see if I am ready to play (i.e. awake) and ask "Why are you sitting on that towel?".
    Or if, sleeping on a couch, there is no private space at all.

    I was quite happy to be given some gardening work, weeding the garden path by hand.

    On other occasions, my mental practice is lacking. I just run away if people "drive me crazy".

    Gassho,
    Danny
    #sattoday

  19. #19
    I've spent so much of my life playing victim to my contradictions. When inner uncertainty presented itself I have the unfortunate tendency to let it run over me and take whatever scraps it left behind. So caught up in being confused and desperately trying to make sense out of what cannot make sense because it already makes sense... I get distracted and frustrated. Leads to more of the same.

    Daily sitting has helped enormously. Some days I sit a lot. Some days I sit a little. But regardless of what life is throwing me that day I sit. It has been a sort of anchor in that it gives me the opportunity to examine those personal problems without the nagging feeling that I must make sense out of them. Or that these all need to be worked with on a rigid timeline. At the same time it makes me even more aware that I cannot ignore these issues either.

    Zazen has been equal parts an anchor and the releasing of an anchor.

    Recently a Christian friend posted a very candid declaration of faith in Facebook made an interesting observation. To him, the greatest teaching of Christianity is that the true state of reality is that of peace. I saw that his anchor was also mine, though the finer details are often very different. If there is a common thread to all spiritual practices perhaps this idea may be the anchor. Or maybe not. I dunno.

    Gassho

    Sat Today

  20. #20
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    Hi,

    Like a few above posters, Zazen has been a constant for me for many years. Now I am married and have children the content of my day is different, but the Dawn and the Midnight are still mine for Practice.

    One interesting thing is living in the southern hemisphere, im sitting my nightly session with your Kessa mornig session, and my morning is your nightly. Its been very freeing indeed!.

    Is it my anchor in the storm? I dont know. But developing an ability to appreciate quietly sitting still has been the most vocal and dynamic answer to most existential problems ive carried through life.

    As Santana said, Spiritual and Essential will never go out of style on this planet.

    Gassho,
    Geoff

    SatToday
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

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