Results 1 to 30 of 30

Thread: Sitting with, without and beyond TIMERS?

  1. #1

    Sitting with, without and beyond TIMERS?

    Hi all,
    I think there is a reason why we use all sorts of timers and bells and keep a schedule on our sitting.
    But then, I sometimes sit in a beautiful place in a park, or on a crowded train, and I don't set a timer for that. Moments of timeless sitting can happen in both, the difference is that a timer is like a commitment to sit for a certain time and drop all thoughts of getting back to other tasks before the bell.
    Without a timer of course, something makes me sooner or later decide to stop.

    What are your experiences and thoughts on that?
    Is sitting without a timer counterproductive to our practice?
    I personally find it refreshing (in addition to more formal sits). My only concern is that it will keep my thoughts checking if there is some external timing or not. (Absolutely relatively spoken; when I'm getting cold on a park bench, because the sun has moved, that's external timing too)

    Gassho,
    Danny
    #timedtoday

  2. #2
    Hi.

    Sometime, it is good to sit with a timer.
    Sometime, it is good to sit without a timer.
    Sometime it is good just to sit.

    That being said, i, myself, get an ich in my legs when i have sat approximately 23 minutes, which is kinda funny...
    I also almost never use a timer when i sit by myself, only when i sit with others in different constellations.
    I have also had this discussion, and noticed the concern when people are timekeepers, about their concern about the timer and the practice, so this is going to be an excellent discussion, thank you for that.

    Lastly, in my humble view, you will find that it is all good practice, all in each place at the same time, you just need to find that out...

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

    #Sat2day
    Life is our temple and its all good practice
    Blog: http://fugenblog.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
    Hi !

    For me, timers are linked with a sense of responsability. It's a way to engage in the practice : "during the 30 next minutes, whatever happens, i'll just sit". It allows to be responsible of your practice : if you feel that you wasted your time thinking about that girl you saw in the street earlier, during those 30 minutes, well, you still have to get up in the end, and next time you'll try not to waste your time and just practice.

    Sitting without timers is fine too, i do it also in trains etc. But it's not the same thing for me. When i do it on the train for example, it is because i'm seeking relief, or i want/need to relax - which is fine, i guess, but makes it kind of a "tool" to gain relief for ME. But formal, timed practice, takes place wether i want to relax or seek relief or not : it's not linked to my conditioned situation. And since zazen is about being free from conditions, i would say it is "better", or at least more effective in that regard.

    Gassho,

    Ugrok

    Sat Today
    Last edited by Ugrok; 08-14-2015 at 09:19 AM.

  4. #4
    Hi,

    Relative time cannot be ignored because we live in a relative world. This being so, the clock is always ticking. Time can be defined as the distance that it takes to arrive from point A to point B in the relative world. We are not in the same place before and after sitting. We have moved in relation to something. So we cannot sit without a timer, man made or not.

    Just my opinion.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  5. #5
    'Sitting' in trains? When I am in a train, I am usually scanning for threats and taking up a defensive posture near an exit...

    Gassho,
    Anshu

    -sat today-

  6. #6
    Lol oh my Anshu. What trains have you been riding? 😜

    Gassho

    #SatToday

    Sent from my LGMS345 using Tapatalk
    Forever is so very temporary...

  7. #7
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    Great question and some really interesting answers!

    Always be prepared Anshu My old teacher used to say "Never Be Last" but its a pretty intensive lifestyle!

    Trying to avoid a reliance on anythign in particular is probably a great idea Danny, and just like Fugen said its good to be able to sit under all circumstance (all terrain training).

    Jishin thats a very interesting idea, existence is its own timer. A fact we perhaps forget so easily.

    For myself, I used to keep a timer. Now its only for sitting in a group. When im on my own ill light a stick of incense and just sit. Until it feels natural to stop. Most times its somewhere over 30-40 minutes (I know because the stick is burned out) and sometimes when I stop there's just a little left to enjoy. I guess I try to keep sitting until I feel that "deathless" state (im unsure the word around here).

    No matter what happens, its always worth it


    GAssho
    Geoff.
    SatToday.
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  8. #8
    Mp
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen View Post
    Sometime, it is good to sit with a timer.
    Sometime, it is good to sit without a timer.
    Sometime it is good just to sit.
    Hello Danny,

    Great questions ... for the most part if I am sitting at home, there is a clock somewhere. But if I am out in the world, the experiences are my timer non-timer - but if I am sitting with a group, a timer is good to manage time for all who are sitting. =)

    When it comes to sitting there is a time for that, but there is also a time to get up off the cushion and engage the world with the heart and mind of sitting.

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday without a timer

  9. #9
    Nindo
    Guest
    Let me respond with one of my old haiku


    I realized
    my meditation was over
    when the bell didn't ring


    Gassho
    Nindo
    sattoday without a timer looking at a morning cloud

  10. #10
    Hello Anshu,

    Ah yes, the mind of a security professional at work! As you know from our private messages I am a retired Special Agent with the Diplomatic Security Service. Whenever I'm on an outing with my family I still assess the security environment whenever we're out in public. Primary/secondary escape routes, defensive firing positions, hold rooms, etc. I've become better at letting go of such a mind frame, but I still find myself at the grocery store periodically turning around while pushing the cart through the aisles or grabbing a bunch of bananas and doing a quick scan for potential threats. Well, that's one way of living in the moment!

    Take care!
    Gassho,
    Ian
    Sat today

    -sat today-[/QUOTE]

    [QUOTE=Anshu Bryson;158977]'Sitting' in trains? When I am in a train, I am usually scanning for threats and taking up a defensive posture near an exit...

    Gassho,
    Anshu
    Last edited by Ian; 08-14-2015 at 03:06 PM.
    日々是好日/Everyday is a good day.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Nindo View Post
    I realized
    my meditation was over
    when the bell didn't ring
    Thank you

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  12. #12
    Hi Danny.

    I am used to sit for really long times, so my timer is essential. Without it I'd spend a few hours sitting without noticing.

    I sit before dawn when everything is quiet, but only for 40 minutes. In weekends I sit for 2 hours sometimes.

    Once I sat the whole waiting time while doing a government thing and I had to wait 4 hours sitting on a chair. Oh, and when I travel to see my parents I sit on the bus for 6 hours.

    But what is time? Here is the Doctor to remind us



    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  13. #13
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    Gassho Kyonin, my wife and I love the Doctor (that one especially!)


    Geoff,
    SatToday
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  14. #14
    Thank you all for such a variety of answers.

    I thought I was doing something against the rules - sigh! - will continue sitting and non-think about time, timers and... stuff.

    PS small kids are great timers too, I found out during the last few days: the moment the sound goes from laughing or bickering into "OMG I bumped my head and my brother's foot is in my mouth", you know, seated zazen is over.

    Deep bows to all parents, 24/7 Shikantaza
    Danny
    #yawn

  15. #15
    Joyo
    Guest
    When I sit with the timer, I just sit with the timer. When I sit without the timer (usually in a more informal way during the day) I just sit without a timer. I do agree that a timer does require one to be accountable. I once had a chance to talk to a wonderful, young author of a very popular book. He said he tried Buddhism but he didn't like being told he had to sit for a certain amount of time. I disagree with that. I've found it's good for the ego. But, with that being said, ego can turn timer/no-timer into an issue, so middle way thinking is best.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

  16. #16
    Whether we sit with a clock or no clock ... one always sit right beyond and thru all measures of time.

    In the old days, before the mechanical clock, time was not so fixed ... the shadows of the sun changing with the season, the time it took for an incense stick to burn ... these were the measure.

    Dogen's Being-Time

    Do not think that time merely flies away. Do not see flying away as the only function of time. If time merely flies away, you would be separated from time. The reason you do not clearly understand the time-being is that you
    think of time only as passing. In essence, all things in the entire world are linked with one another as moments. Because all moments are the time-being, they are your time-being.

    The time-being has the quality of flowing. So-called today flows into tomorrow, today flows into yesterday, yesterday flows into today. And today flows into today, tomorrow flows into tomorrow. Because flowing is a quality of time, moments of past and present do not overlap or line up side by side. ...

    You may suppose that time is only passing away, and not understand that time never arrives. Although understanding itself is time, understanding does not depend on its own arrival. People only see time's coming and going, and do not thoroughly understand that the time-being abides in each moment. This being so, when can they penetrate the barrier? Even if people recognized the time-being in each moment, who could give expression to this recognition? Even if they could give expression to this recognition for a long time, who could stop looking for the realization of the original face? According to ordinary people's view of the time-being, even enlightenment and nirvana as the time-being would be merely aspects of coming and going.

    ... Do not think flowing is like wind and rain moving from east to west. The entire world is not unchangeable, is not immovable. It flows. Flowing is like spring. Spring with all its numerous aspects is called flowing. When spring flows there is nothing outside of spring. Study this in detail. Spring invariably flows through spring. Although flowing itself is not spring, flowing occurs throughout spring. Thus, flowing is completed at just this moment of spring. ...
    Gassho, J

    Sat(being)today
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-20-2015 at 04:07 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Danny B View Post
    PS small kids are great timers too, I found out during the last few days: the moment the sound goes from laughing or bickering into "OMG I bumped my head and my brother's foot is in my mouth", you know, seated zazen is over.

    Deep bows to all parents, 24/7 Shikantaza
    Danny
    #yawn
    Hilarious! My days of this are over, although I have a 13-year-old who frequently wanders in to chat while I do Zazen--and I never shoo her away, it is part of the practice, as far as I am concerned. Enjoy your small ones while they are small... and somehow that seems to fit with the quote Jundo posted here, so it's "time" to go ponder that now!

    Gassho,
    Sierra
    SatToday

  18. #18
    Good question...in my youth i had to have a timer to 'meassure' my archivement. Man, i was the only 16-year-old uy taking pride in sitting quietly. And i told nobody. Today, when i am in a life-period of Zazen, i stop whenever i feel it is fine. Usually, it is a minute before the alarm would ring :-). In a group a timer is good. But even then i feel like the guy in charge could have fallen asleep and i get restless.
    Last edited by stratoflash; 08-24-2015 at 10:57 PM.

  19. #19
    I always use a timer for formal sitting. Never use a timer riding the train, etc. When the train stops, that's when it's time to get up. Although, I don't really do "formal sitting" on a train, I do "train riding" on a train. I guess you could call it "train riding meditation". Similar to dish washing meditation or food cooking meditation, etc.

  20. #20
    I went looking for this thread, because another question came up... (Hi Danny! I didn't realize it had been your question) Sometimes I sit with the timer, sometimes by a clock, sometimes without anything. However, I realized that if the bell rings or my set time period is up, and I feel like I have had a "poor session," as in my mind was wandering the whole time, I will sometimes reset the timer or say "I have to start over" and pick another time on the clock to stop. More often than not, I don't achieve whatever ideal state I must have been aiming for during that next time period.

    So, am I right in thinking I should probably just end the session as planned regardless of what transpired during the sit?

    Gassho,
    Sierra
    SatToday

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Sierra529 View Post
    I went looking for this thread, because another question came up... (Hi Danny! I didn't realize it had been your question) Sometimes I sit with the timer, sometimes by a clock, sometimes without anything. However, I realized that if the bell rings or my set time period is up, and I feel like I have had a "poor session," as in my mind was wandering the whole time, I will sometimes reset the timer or say "I have to start over" and pick another time on the clock to stop. More often than not, I don't achieve whatever ideal state I must have been aiming for during that next time period.

    So, am I right in thinking I should probably just end the session as planned regardless of what transpired during the sit?

    Gassho,
    Sierra
    SatToday
    I would say that all Zazen is the "ideal" state, even the Zazen less than ideal. One does not get a do-over to "make it right". It is not about "being in the Zone" or having every Zazen bright and clear.

    SPECIAL REPOST: Right Zazen and Wrong Zazen
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...nd-Wrong-Zazen

    I like bright and clear minded Zazen as much as the next fellow ...

    ... but the wise-strangeness of this Practice is to be beyond all judgments and discriminations. So, why are you judging and discriminating your "successful" Zazen from the Zenfails?

    Yes, we cease clutching thoughts and appreciate to sit in clarity and wholeness. Yes, the times of balance and illumination are wonderful! But if you run after such times, you completely miss the point. You must also celebrate and dance the times of cloudy weather and even storm, not only the sunny days and blue skies.

    Understand?

    The Illumination of True Clarity shines through both clear skies and clouds.

    When the bell rings, get up.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-09-2015 at 06:59 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  22. #22
    Got it! Thank you Jundo. I would say, in my case, this is a pitfall of sitting without timers, because I think I fell into this habit when I would sit without one, which left things too open-ended. If sitting without a defined ending point, there is a risk of judging the quality of the sit to decide when to end. So, I think I will try to do my "regular" sits with timers and if I sit other times, I will make sure not to form an attachment to it conforming to some imagined ideal.

    Gassho,
    Sierra
    SatToday

  23. #23
    Thank you Sierra for asking these questions. These are exactly the same things I've been struggling with of late and something I discuss regularly with my Ango partner, Simon.
    And thank you Jundo for your answer which is a really helpful elaboration of your thread on good/ bad zazen. At the moment, this is the heart of my practice and something I'm struggling with. Even now, after eight years of sitting, I still ask myself the question; am I doing this right, am I missing something that everyone else gets? I still play over the first practice question, " Why do we sit zazen? " And after any sit I wonder; if I sit another 10 minutes will I finally get it?
    I realise that if there's any "it" to get, it's that there's no "it" to get. But that doesn't stop another chunk of my mind thinking; have I got it?
    Maddening! But also quite funny, like watching a dog chase its tail.

    Martyn

    Sat today

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by martyrob View Post
    Even now, after eight years of sitting, I still ask myself the question; am I doing this right, am I missing something that everyone else gets? I still play over the first practice question, " Why do we sit zazen? " And after any sit I wonder; if I sit another 10 minutes will I finally get it?
    I realise that if there's any "it" to get, it's that there's no "it" to get. But that doesn't stop another chunk of my mind thinking; have I got it?
    Maddening! But also quite funny, like watching a dog chase its tail.
    Yes, that is why I sometimes compare this Practice to those Chinese Finger Handcuffs. You know those, the little kids toy where the tighter you pull, and try and struggle, the tighter they become and the further away release? You pull and you pull, thinking you must escape or obtain something ... and the cuffs just tighten. However, completely give up, relax, stop trying ...


    My attempt to explain more here on the non-method to the non-madness ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post22153

    I also recommend to sit with "Mirror Mind", an ancient metaphor to describe Zazen through the centuries. Mirror Mind sits with equanimity and wholeness whatever passes to be reflected in the mirror ... thoughts or no thoughts, happy or sad, beautiful or ugly. Sit as a mirror ... ... not judging good or bad, not rejecting any of what transpired, yet sitting with a great shining crystal clarity which hold all.

    The mirror does not push away nor run toward, does not rate as beautiful or ugly, whatever is shown within ... a glass which is clear and illuminated in all directions.

    (There was a talk on mirror mind this and that a couple of months ago ) ... the talk is from 1:49:00

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ur-ZAZENKAI%21


    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-10-2015 at 03:37 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  25. #25
    I would say that all Zazen is the "ideal" state, even the Zazen less than ideal. One does not get a do-over to "make it right". It is not about "being in the Zone" or having every Zazen bright and clear.
    Yes, that is why I sometimes compare this Practice to those Chinese Finger Handcuffs. You know those, the little kids toy where the tighter you pull, and try and struggle, the tighter they become and the further away release? You pull and you pull, thinking you must escape or obtain something ... and the cuffs just tighten. However, completely give up, relax, stop trying ...
    Thank you Jundo. This all is very helpful for me too.
    Even though I do realize there're times of "clarity" and "clouds" and all of this is zazen, it seems I still have that slightly nagging feeling somewhere on the background of my mind that I'm possibly not doing it all right, or being not "deep enough" into zazen and just cutting corners by flowing "on the surface" etc. Yes, now I understand I must relax and try let it all go....

    Thank you Sierra and Martyn for your comments too.

    Gassho
    Sergey
    sat-today (P.S. always sit with timers)

  26. #26
    Thank you Jundo,

    Much appreciation and gratitude for those teachings.

    Martyn

    Sat today.

  27. #27
    It's interesting to read this thread again.

    How I see it is that sitting with a timer, the bell marks the beginning and the bell marks the end. This way, there is no decision about when Zazen starts and ends (sort of ).

    step lightly... stay free...
    Jeremy
    st

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
    It's interesting to read this thread again.

    How I see it is that sitting with a timer, the bell marks the beginning and the bell marks the end. This way, there is no decision about when Zazen starts and ends (sort of ).

    step lightly... stay free...
    Jeremy
    st
    Of course there is a decision! Otherwise, one would choose to ignore the bell and remain with one's rump on the Zafu all day long, or get up half way through the sit!

    However, please learn the art of Decision without Decision ... sometimes making a choice of what is right and what is needed, all while also shining beyond and through all choice and need and right and wrong.

    When the bell rings, who is ringing but you? From where does the strike come, to where do the vibrations fade? Master Dogen once reminded us ...

    If a bell is not struck, it does not ring; if a drum is not struck, it does not resound.

    Another old Koan says, “Stop the sound of the temple bell far in the distance.” Koun Yamada commented, "As long as you think you are here, listening to the sound of the bell in the distance, you will never be able to stop it. It cannot be stopped in the world of phenomena. You cannot do so unless you become one with it. And when you do, there is neither the one who is listening nor that which is listened to. What is the fact, then?"

    Nonetheless, when the time comes we choose to get up and leave the bell behind. Places to go, people to see.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-14-2015 at 02:18 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  29. #29
    Thank you, Jundo. Gassho

    Sat today
    求道芸化 Kyūdō Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

  30. #30

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •