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Thread: Kekkafuza posture questions

  1. #1

    Kekkafuza posture questions

    Hi all
    I am looking for precise instructions for placement of legs and hands in kekkafuza (full lotus). The instructions in Uchiyamas' "Opening the Hand of Thought" are rudimentary and when I search the internet, what I am looking for doesn't come up, so thought I would ask here. I am well aware that out bodies are different, and that we each have to find our posture on the given day, and that it may change over time, but still I think a discussion on instructions could be fruitful. And please remember that my questions are for kekkafuza alone, not any other way of sitting.

    1) placement of legs: usually it just said "place right foot on left thigh and left foot on right thigh. But where on the thigh? There might not be that much room, but where one place the right and second foot greatly impacts how the rest of the posture is expressed. Is there a guideline that elucidates this anywhere? The usual drawings in zen books and pictures are not very helpfull, since they don't exactly follow the wording. Ex. in Uchiyama the usual instruction is given, but figure 4 show the person sitting with feet on his shins (lower leg beneath knees) and not thighs.

    2) placement of hands: cosmic mudra (what is the sanskrit and/or japanese name for this?), in front of the tanden. Hands resting at the crease of the hips. So behind the heels or on top of the heels? How one positions ones legs greatly affects how one can sit with ones hands. Ex. if I rest my hands on the heels, there will be an imbalance, since my heels are not level, how could the be when on lig is on top of the other?

    Mucho from Antaiji, wrote a long description of different taks on kekkafuza and posture in general a while back, but the images linked are no longer functional.

    If interested I can try and post pictures of my questions. But will wait to see if this discussion is of interest to anyone.

    If my questions in this post already has been answered in another post, please point my to it.
    Gassho
    Jesper
    #sattoday

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by somanaut View Post
    Hi all
    I am looking for precise instructions for placement of legs and hands in kekkafuza (full lotus). The instructions in Uchiyamas' "Opening the Hand of Thought" are rudimentary and when I search the internet, what I am looking for doesn't come up, so thought I would ask here. I am well aware that out bodies are different, and that we each have to find our posture on the given day, and that it may change over time, but still I think a discussion on instructions could be fruitful. And please remember that my questions are for kekkafuza alone, not any other way of sitting.

    1) placement of legs: usually it just said "place right foot on left thigh and left foot on right thigh. But where on the thigh? There might not be that much room, but where one place the right and second foot greatly impacts how the rest of the posture is expressed. Is there a guideline that elucidates this anywhere? The usual drawings in zen books and pictures are not very helpfull, since they don't exactly follow the wording. Ex. in Uchiyama the usual instruction is given, but figure 4 show the person sitting with feet on his shins (lower leg beneath knees) and not thighs.

    2) placement of hands: cosmic mudra (what is the sanskrit and/or japanese name for this?), in front of the tanden. Hands resting at the crease of the hips. So behind the heels or on top of the heels? How one positions ones legs greatly affects how one can sit with ones hands. Ex. if I rest my hands on the heels, there will be an imbalance, since my heels are not level, how could the be when on lig is on top of the other?

    Mucho from Antaiji, wrote a long description of different taks on kekkafuza and posture in general a while back, but the images linked are no longer functional.

    If interested I can try and post pictures of my questions. But will wait to see if this discussion is of interest to anyone.

    If my questions in this post already has been answered in another post, please point my to it.
    Gassho
    Jesper
    #sattoday
    Hi Jesper,

    Sorry, I am not a "one size fits all" kind of fellow. Please experiment and find the balanced, comfortable position(s) for yourself (I say "positions" in the plural, for posture may settle or adjust during even a single sit).

    Don't fetishize the posture as if exactly where you place the ankles on the thigh will make all the difference (your thigh shape may not be mine or the next guy in any event).

    We have very general sitting instructions in our introductory booklet (no need to be exactly like the very limber fellow in the photos there) ...

    https://sites.google.com/site/jundot...edirects=0&d=1

    More about posture here ... please read it carefully ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post86943
    and
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-OF-MEDITATION

    I do put the hands (hokkai-join/法界定印) next to the belly, in the lap, pretty much surround the navel ... but again, that is just my body type. Despite all the esoteric interpretations that one might find to the contrary, in the end it is just a comfortable place to put the hands and forget about 'em.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-27-2016 at 10:11 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    Thanks for the reply Jundo. And thanks for the links, plenty of material for me to use to investigate posture.
    Wil continue to experiment then:-)
    Best Regards
    Jesper
    #sattoda

  4. #4
    For me, posture is about finding a really stable, relaxed place for the body. The mind follows the body, so then the mind can be stable and relaxed. At different times, my not so young body needs different postures to stay alert and present. I have an assortment of cushions, bench etc. It's more like finding attunement with body-mind than conforming to an ideal.
    Just my 2 cents.
    _/st\_ Shinzan

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Shinzan View Post
    The mind follows the body, so then the mind can be stable and relaxed.
    Thank you Shinzan, yes, the mind and body are interconnected in so many ways. One can affect the other both in a positive way, but also in a negative way. Finding that balance I feel is also a very personal thing ... one size doesn't fit all so to speak, we have to discover what works for us. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  6. #6
    @Shinzan and @Shingen
    I am not talking about conforming to an ideal, or how all should sit. And don't see how my post can be construed as such since i wrote:
    "I am well aware that out bodies are different, and that we each have to find our posture on the given day, and that it may change over time...".
    I am asking questions about certain instructions, since they seem imprecise, and might actually cause harm and be physically impossible for certain lengths and widths of bone and connective tissue. I am not advocating that we should all sit a certain way or that there is something esoteric about any kind of posture (including mudra) or that kekka fuza is preferable to any other kind. I happen to like kekka fuzz/padmasana/full lotus, and have the bone structure and flexibility to get in to and sit in it relatively comfortably for lengths of time. And I am simply curious if those more experienced than me in kekka fuza had some thoughts about where to try and place legs and hands. Just tips and thoughts about the physical side of the posture. And also that there seems to be a lack of detailed instructions online and in books about how we sit. And yes such things do matter.
    Best Regards
    Jesper
    #sattoday

  7. #7
    Hi Jesper,

    If such is the case, probably most useful to reference many photos from varied sources. Of course, there is still some bias to the models being ideal flexible people.

    http://www.google.co.jp/search?q=%E7...BTCA0Q_AUIBigB


    Gassho, Jundo

    SatToday Burmese
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-28-2016 at 08:42 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    Hi Jundo
    Thanks for the reply. I get the sense, that perhaps you and the other posters (also in the Uchiyama thread), think my questions or observations are off key. To me it seems, that I am asking very simple and concrete questions, but somehow isn't perceived as that. I get that we are after breaking or at least living an alternative to rationalistic subject-object dichotomies. But it seems I can't even ask if there is any more tea without being told to sit with that or that I shouldn't think about such things, and that me and the tea are one. I met the same thing in yoga, and it was partly why I am on hiatus from that scene. Just don't understand the (to my eyes) miscommunication.
    To me I am asking a very simple question: what options does those, that are more experienced than me in this shikantaza practise think about the various ways of placing hands and feet and consequences thereof in the short and long run. I am not asking for an ideal, just experiences and opinions on basic physical postural configurations. You gave a helpfull reply and useful links, to help me figure it out. But I still get the sense that I am being perceived as asking the wrong question. If that is the case, I honestly don't understand, why it's being perceived in such a way...
    I guess I will sit with that tonight.
    Best Regards
    Jesper
    #sattoday

  9. #9
    Hi Jesper,

    I have many years sitting and I still can't do full lotus. My yoga practice has helped a lot and I work at the posture a little every day. These days I sit half lotus and eventually I'll get full lotus.

    Everyone's body is different. So try your own version of full lotus at your own pace.

    This video helps a lot.



    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by somanaut View Post
    To me I am asking a very simple question: what options does those, that are more experienced than me in this shikantaza practise think about the various ways of placing hands and feet and consequences thereof in the short and long run. I am not asking for an ideal, just experiences and opinions on basic physical postural configurations. You gave a helpfull reply and useful links, to help me figure it out. But I still get the sense that I am being perceived as asking the wrong question. If that is the case, I honestly don't understand, why it's being perceived in such a way...
    I guess I will sit with that tonight.
    Best Regards
    Jesper
    #sattoday
    Hi Jesper,

    I cannot speak for others (I hope folks will offer you their experiences), but I thought I had been giving you very concrete responses. Everybody's body is different, so in the end you must find out for yourself ... and it can keep changing even during a single sitting. The effect for thin Harry of placing the hands a certain place will not be the same for large Mary, Tuesday morning may not be the same as Tuesday night.

    In my view, Lotus is a bit over-emphasized in Japan, and while an amazing posture, any way of sitting balanced and comfortable in which the body is feeling poised and can be paid "no nevermind" is fine (we have several options in the introductory booklet I provided from Lotus to Burmese to Seiza to sitting without slouching in a chair).

    The Johnson book provides several tests and methods to find a good posture(s) to suit you.

    The one consistent point in any posture is that, if physically possible (because some people with health issues may have difficulty even there), we sit upright, back straight but not rigid, not too tight and not too lose, generally supporting the back with a Zafu or bench or seat.

    Am I still missing something that you are asking?

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatToday (Half Lotus)
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-29-2016 at 03:18 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Everybody's body is different, so in the end you must find out for yourself ... and it can keep changing even during a single sitting.
    Hello Jesper,

    Jundo makes a very important point here ... one needs to find their own balance in their own sitting. Whatever was works for you, then do that ... but also don't become stuck to that posture, as it will change. I can sit full-lotus, half-lotus, or burmese and have to say I prefer either half-lotus or burmese. Full-lotus I find overtime is hard on the knees and because of that, I do my best not to risk my practice just for the sake of a posture.

    Also, I feel posture is not just your body, but also your mind. If you are sitting for the purpose to obtain the "proper" or "right way" posture, then I feel you are missing the mark to zazen. Zazen allows us to open up and be present to this very moment regardless of what is here. Regardless of whether we sit full-lotus or not ... whether we sit for 5mins or 40mins. Zazen is just zazen; full-lotus is just full-lotus, half-lotus is just half-lotus, and burmese is just burmese - there is no difference, they are all the same if we remove that barrier within our minds. Again, this does not just apply to upright sitting, it applies to a seiza bench, a hospital bed, a dentist chair, our death bed, etc ... does that help? =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday to in #half-lotus
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  12. #12
    @Kyonin: Thanks for the link. I have seen it before, and didn't find it useful for my situation. I was looking for a more thorough investigation of the biomechanics involved in kekka fuza.
    @Jundo: You did give practical advice, and again thank you for that. It was more the difference in perspective (what and how I ask questions, and the reactions there upon) that I was wondering about, and I wasn't being disingenuous when I wrote that I should sit on that. I am honestly frustrated about the gap between my "reality" and the "reality" of others mediated through signs. Words seem to create just as much trouble in one area of life, as it relieves in others.
    @Kyonin: I understand (I think) what you are saying. But for a "somanaut" such as me, grounding in the body is the only way "into" this sitting. Especially since I am sitting alone. Yes the postures are just tools and are really no different, but in this particular manifestation they are important. One day body will drop away, but until then...

    So the conclusion from you who have sat much longer than me is: kekka fuzza is too hard on the knees in the long run, and hence you don't really recommend it. I.e. stop trying to work on it single-mindedly and just sit as relaxed and attentive as possible, graduating towards just sitting.

    Musing: Technical knowledge (in this case anatomical) is very alluring. And one can hide behind it to obscure the very frustrating truth of reality.
    Best Regards
    Jesper
    #sattoday

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by somanaut View Post
    Yes the postures are just tools and are really no different, but in this particular manifestation they are important. One day body will drop away, but until then...
    Hi Jesper,

    I am curious as to what you believe that "body will drop away" means, and what you are looking for.

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-29-2016 at 09:08 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    If you had no legs, then what would be the proper way to ground yourself in order to become grounded in mind? I don't think a legless person would get caught up in proper leg positions. So why are we?

    Kyle,
    Sat2day.

  15. #15
    Hi Jesper,

    I am 49 years old and 6'2. My entire life I have had to look down to talk to most people. I spend a lot of time in front of a computer at work with bad posture, partly because of my body type and partly because of being absent minded over the years. When I was a teenager in Brazil, it was also "cool" to walk hunched over. I also used to lift heavy weighs when younger and this further modified my body. I have never sat on the floor for a good portion of my normal siting like they did many centuries ago. I have chronic back pain.

    I have created a world (with my mind) where the lotus is not wise. Others create a world where the lotus must be a part of it.

    We get to create our own worlds and then live in them. Cool, huh?

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  16. #16
    Thanks for the input.
    Best Regards
    Jesper
    #sattoday

  17. #17
    Hi Jesper,
    live tried many positions over the years also.
    when I was younger, full lotus or half lotus was fine.
    my knees have been pretty beat up,over the years,(48 years of martial arts, 14 years running in boots in the Army, powerlifting, and just plain old getting older) so,I sit comfortably.
    if that means Burmese, supporting my back, in a chair, whatever allows me to be comfortable.

    IMO, I wouldn't get too caught up in the details of your posture.
    if it is pulling your mind away from shikantaza, let it drop away.

    I admire you,for asking questions. It is wisdom that is seeking wisdom.

    Gassho
    Frank

    Sat today

  18. #18
    In the little talk during today's Zazen, I touched on what can be called "True Lotus Posture". This "True Lotus Posture" is not a matter of crossing or not crossing the legs.

    Of course, we want to find a balanced, easy, comfortable, supporting position, for such nurtures a balanced mind. It may vary by person to person, even day to day or sitting to sitting. Some of us have health conditions that mean that whatever posture we take, it can never be truly "easy and comfortable" in ordinary sense.

    However, if one is sitting in the most graceful and beautiful lotus posture, like some golden buddha statue, but one's mind has even the slightest judgment about it, comparisons with less beautiful and graceful ways to sit, goals for reaching some "dropping away of body-mind" state, then one is far far away from the "True Lotus Posture" no matter how lovely. Mind and body are not dropped.

    On the other hand, if one sits as best one can, in sickness or health, in a gorgeous lotus or in traction in a hospital bed, in a chair or seiza, standing sitting walking or flat on one's back ... but beyond all judgments of grace or disgrace, ugly and beautiful, sitting as nicely as one can but dropping away all goals of some better state to reach ... then one embodies a Golden Buddha in True Lotus Posture. Of course, do as one can do sit in a comfortable, balanced, quiet way ... but know the True Comfort Balance Quiet that sweeps in all comfort and discomfort, silence and noise, and which can never be unbalanced even in a typhoon at sea. Understand? In such sitting, mind-body ... the mind and body of judgments and goal and hunger and feelings of lack ... is dropped away.

    True Lotus Posture ...

    (Please have a listen if you can, from about 56:30 I think) ...




    Gassho, Jundo

    Sat Today (but needed to get up twice to fix the netcast ... all good sitting)
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-30-2016 at 03:18 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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