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Thread: Zazen for Beginners Series: THREAD for QUESTIONS, COMMENTS

  1. #301
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    To each there own body. Just do not obsess about which way is better.

    But, when the bell rings until the bell rings again, try not to switch unless there is really necessity.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Yes, within a session I really try to not move at all "whatever happens" so to speak i.e. I push through some discomfort...

    At the beginning I did not want to alternate legs from session to session, but as from today I have started to do so in order to avoid potential longterm problems...for some reason the discomfort in my left hip is larger and comes quicker around the corner when my left leg is upper in half lotus...I will continue to stretch my hips regularly and maybe it will get better over time.

    Preferrably I did not want to have to alternate legs from session to session (as said) because I think that it might be easier for the brain to only need to "know" one posture to really make it "second nature". But on the other hand 2 postures (still half lotus but alternating legs) should be a small enough number so that one should hopefully not have trouble to make those postures "second nature".

    I will just observe how it goes within the next few weeks - in case the discomfort and pain will not be reduced in a few weeks despite stretching and what not, I just might switch to a quarter lotus which I personally prefer to a burmese posture since it gives my knees less pressure...

    PS.: The hand mudra I do not alternate by the way and hope that's fine - this means, no matter if my left or right leg is upper,
    always my left hand is on top of the right hand.


    Sorry for the long post.

    Gassho
    Chris
    Sat today

  2. #302
    At the beginning I did not want to alternate legs from session to session, but as from today I have started to do so in order to avoid potential longterm problems...for some reason the discomfort in my left hip is larger and comes quicker around the corner when my left leg is upper in half lotus...I will continue to stretch my hips regularly and maybe it will get better over time.
    I think that is a good idea, Chris. I used to do the same when I started sitting for a reasonable length of time and it was helpful to my longer-term comfort in the posture(s).

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  3. #303
    Quote Originally Posted by Zrebna View Post
    Yes, within a session I really try to not move at all "whatever happens" so to speak i.e. I push through some discomfort...

    At the beginning I did not want to alternate legs from session to session, but as from today I have started to do so in order to avoid potential longterm problems...for some reason the discomfort in my left hip is larger and comes quicker around the corner when my left leg is upper in half lotus...I will continue to stretch my hips regularly and maybe it will get better over time.

    Preferrably I did not want to have to alternate legs from session to session (as said) because I think that it might be easier for the brain to only need to "know" one posture to really make it "second nature". But on the other hand 2 postures (still half lotus but alternating legs) should be a small enough number so that one should hopefully not have trouble to make those postures "second nature".

    I will just observe how it goes within the next few weeks - in case the discomfort and pain will not be reduced in a few weeks despite stretching and what not, I just might switch to a quarter lotus which I personally prefer to a burmese posture since it gives my knees less pressure...

    PS.: The hand mudra I do not alternate by the way and hope that's fine - this means, no matter if my left or right leg is upper,
    always my left hand is on top of the right hand.


    Sorry for the long post.

    Gassho
    Chris
    Sat today
    The mudra never changes!

    Let me just say, for the posture to “become second nature”, all you need to do it sit in it.. day in and day out. It’s not about “thinking” it or worrying about it, cause we don’t stop and think of how we use our hands to eat, or how we step when we walk, or how we breathe, right? We simply do. Zazen is like that.

    Sat Today (and ran a little long as well)
    Bion
    美音

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    Please consider whatever I might say as my own ideas, experiences and understanding, and not zen doctrine.
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  4. #304
    Quote Originally Posted by Bion View Post
    The mudra never changes!
    As the father of a leftie, I think that there is some discrimination here.

    Tradition smadition, I don't think it matters whether left over right or right over left.

    By the way, did you ever look closely at the mudra of most Buddha statues?? Notice which hand is on the bottom??



    Gassho, J

    STlah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #305
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    As the father of a leftie, I think that there is some discrimination here.

    Tradition smadition, I don't think it matters whether left over right or right over left.

    By the way, did you ever look closely at the mudra of most Buddha statues?? Notice which hand is on the bottom??



    Gassho, J

    STlah
    Ha! Nice one! Even better then!!! I stand totally corrected!

    Sat Today
    Bion
    美音

    -------------------------
    Please consider whatever I might say as my own ideas, experiences and understanding, and not zen doctrine.
    Join me on Insight Timer
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  6. #306
    Husband and older daughter are both lefties.

    Gassho, meian stlh

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
    迷安 Mei An

  7. #307
    Quote Originally Posted by Bion View Post
    Ha! Nice one! Even better then!!! I stand totally corrected!

    Sat Today
    A traditional point may have been that only a full blown Buddha can sit so ... we are not allowed to.

    But here is more on the topic of anti-south paw discrimination that you probably care (or need) to know ...

    ~~~~


    In Fukanzazengi, Master Dogen writes ...

    Then place your right hand on your left leg and your left hand on your right palm, thumb-tips lightly touching.

    A respected Buddhist art historian says:

    Zenjō-in 禅定印 [meaning “Meditation Mudra”] ... Made by placing both hands in the lap, right on top of left, with palms turned upward and thumbs touching to form a circle. It symbolizes the Buddha in a state of meditation. ... In addition, Zen artwork frequently portrays Shaka (the Historical Buddha) with the ordinary meditation mudra, but the position of both hands is often reversed (left on top of right, not right on top of left). This is called Zenshūyō-no-Shaka (Shaka in the Style of the Zen Sect).
    But does it matter? In some areas of traditional Chinese medicine, some people make a big deal of this (the same prejudice found in the west for the "sinister" left). I would not make a big deal of this. I have heard some other Zen teachers of many years experience commenting on it. Let me briefly quote from the article by the current abbot of Antaiji, Muho Noelke, for those who don't know ...

    In the "introduction to Zazen"... Sawaki Roshi [ states that] " ... . First you should know the difference between two ways of sitting: Gômaza, the "posture that subdues demons", and kichijôza, the "auspicious posture". Even in old texts, there is quite some confusion about the two postures. In short, the right side represents the ascending, active (yang) aspect. The left side represents the descending, passive (yin) aspect. When the right foot rests on the left thigh, that represents the ascending activity that subdues the demons (gômaza). When the left foot rests on the right thigh, that is a descending, passive activity which is auspicious (kichijôza).
    You might think that this is only true for the half lotus. But that is not the case: In full lotus as well, if you first place your right foot on top of the left thigh, that is called gômaza. Gômaza also means to place the right hand first on the left foot. When the right hand is covered next with the left hand, that settles down the mind. In kichijôza on the other hand, the left foot is placed first on the right thigh (and then the right foot on the left thight) and the left hand is placed on top of the right foot, then the right hand on top of the left hand. That means that we speak of kichijôza in the case of half lotus as Dogen Zenji describes it - left foot placed on right thigh - while we speak of gômaza in the case of the full lotus (with right foot placed on left thigh first, then left foot placed on right thigh)."

    Although Sawaki Roshi tries to clear up the confusion with these words, I have doubts that he is successful. It seems strange that Dogen Zenji should recommend kichijôza for half lotus and gômaza for full lotus. Sawaki Roshi does not tell us why we should sit one way in half lotus and the other way in full lotus. It is interesting but even more confusing that Sawaki also speaks about the hands. In the case of the hands, we should have them in the gômaza-posture regardless of half or full lotus - according to Dogen read in the way Sawaki does. I am afraid that Sawaki's way of reading Dogen though is not only confusing, but probably wrong altogether.
    Personally, I think the who thing is a bunch of hogwash, based upon bits of ancient Chinese medicine and ideas of Ki, Yin Yang, traditional "left side/right side" ideas and superstitions, and the prejudice of of "right" handed folks against the "sinister" left. It is a quaint idea, nothing more.

    Several respected older Western Zen teachers were discussing the article recently, and don't see the difference between left and right. I usually favor the right, as I am right handed. It feels strange for to place the hands, for example, with the left hand on the bottom. However, I do not see any magic property in sitting one way or the other. If something feels strange about one side or the other, it is the same strangeness of a left hander trying to play tennis with a right handed grip and visa versa.



    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #308
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    A traditional point may have been that only a full blown Buddha can sit so ... we are not allowed to.

    But here is more on the topic of anti-south paw discrimination that you probably care (or need) to know ...

    ~~~~


    In Fukanzazengi, Master Dogen writes ...

    Then place your right hand on your left leg and your left hand on your right palm, thumb-tips lightly touching.

    A respected Buddhist art historian says:



    But does it matter? In some areas of traditional Chinese medicine, some people make a big deal of this (the same prejudice found in the west for the "sinister" left). I would not make a big deal of this. I have heard some other Zen teachers of many years experience commenting on it. Let me briefly quote from the article by the current abbot of Antaiji, Muho Noelke, for those who don't know ...



    Personally, I think the who thing is a bunch of hogwash, based upon bits of ancient Chinese medicine and ideas of Ki, Yin Yang, traditional "left side/right side" ideas and superstitions, and the prejudice of of "right" handed folks against the "sinister" left. It is a quaint idea, nothing more.

    Several respected older Western Zen teachers were discussing the article recently, and don't see the difference between left and right. I usually favor the right, as I am right handed. It feels strange for to place the hands, for example, with the left hand on the bottom. However, I do not see any magic property in sitting one way or the other. If something feels strange about one side or the other, it is the same strangeness of a left hander trying to play tennis with a right handed grip and visa versa.



    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    Wow, thanks for that information. I’ve never pondered as to why the mudra is left over right, so that’s good to know. For me it’s always been about respecting the teaching passed down through generations, with no regard for the “benefit” of one over the other: it’s just how we do it.
    In reality, I do it cause I have two hands and can sit on two legs, but my zazen, I feel, would be in no way superior to that of someone without arms or legs, who can’t form the mudra.

    Thank you for being the benevolent and patient encyclopedia you are

    Sat Today ( and used too many words.. which I apologize for)
    Bion
    美音

    -------------------------
    Please consider whatever I might say as my own ideas, experiences and understanding, and not zen doctrine.
    Join me on Insight Timer
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  9. #309
    Really interesting stuff on the "how to form the mudra"-topic.
    I also do not believe that there is something "magical" going on i.e. that it really would matter (if left on right or vice versa) and in addition to that it's somewhat amusing that in other big tradtions such as within the Theravada School it is apparently completely the opposite i.e. there the default/"official" recommendation seems to be to place the right hand on the left hand - also the fingers are fully stretched and the thumbs would not touch...

    Anyways, thanks for the input, as usual.

    Gassho
    Chris
    Sat today

  10. #310
    When one hears a sound, one does not need to make an effort to hear it, it comes naturally. Could the same principle be applied to Shikantaza? Think not-thinking, by going beyond thinking and just abiding in a continuous flow of experiencing without grasping or rejecting anything. Does that make sense?

    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat&LaH

  11. #311
    Ha, Buddha was a south paw. As in baseball, there is a myth that south paws are harder to hit against. But, in my opinion, when you face enough left handed pitchers, you get where their coming from.

    gasho, Shokai
    stlah
    合掌 仁道 生開 - gassho, Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    日々是好日 【nichi nichi korego nichi】Every Day is a Good Day!!

  12. #312


    For what it's worth... I place left on top of right on purpose because it does feel unnatural (I'm right-handed), in order to be acutely aware of what I'm doing. It reminds me that I am placing my hands in a particular position on purpose. I do the same thing when exercising or doing yoga- left side first just to make a point to myself and be aware. Anyway.


    Kodo Tobiishi stlah
    It occurs to me that my attachment to this body is entirely arbitrary. All the evidence is subjective.

  13. #313
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomás ESP View Post
    When one hears a sound, one does not need to make an effort to hear it, it comes naturally. Could the same principle be applied to Shikantaza? Think not-thinking, by going beyond thinking and just abiding in a continuous flow of experiencing without grasping or rejecting anything. Does that make sense?

    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat&LaH
    Yes.

    I don't try to hear it or force it, and just relax and listen.

    If I may compare this to being at a classical music concert, saying to oneself "I really want to hear this music, I really want to hear this music." One will not really hear the music. But, when one truly relaxes, and just does not think or try much of anything, the music just washes through one ... and one might even become the sound, and the sound is just you.

    Something like that.

    My only quibble with some views of meditation is with the view that "it is only real meditation, going well, when I am completely swept up in the music, forgetting myself." I don't think so. Such moments are precious, and not to be ignored ... they enrich us and are necessary to this Path. However, they are not the entire, wonderful "concert experience!" I like driving to the theatre, getting stuck in traffic on the way, buying popcorn in the lobby (do that have that at classical concerts? if not, cheese ), sitting there sometimes lost in thought about other things yet the music and my thoughts blend together ... then remembering where I am, and coming back again and again to the performance. I even love when the show is over, the curtain comes down and it is time to come home.

    ALL of this is "enlightenment" to the wise ear in Dogen's arrangement. It is not only the moments when we are swept up in, and become, the music.

    What is more, on the way back into the world, when the orchestra has gone silent, the theatre is shut, and we are thrown again into the noise and clamor of the city or our messy lives, hopefully the beauty and harmony of the symphony is still in our bones. It is all LIFE'S SYMPHONY to the Buddha's Ear.

    Something like that. I hope it makes sense.

    Sorry to run long.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-20-2022 at 05:32 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #314
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomás ESP View Post
    When one hears a sound, one does not need to make an effort to hear it, it comes naturally. Could the same principle be applied to Shikantaza? Think not-thinking, by going beyond thinking and just abiding in a continuous flow of experiencing without grasping or rejecting anything. Does that make sense?

    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat&LaH
    This makes perfect sense to me, Tomás

    Perhaps shikantaza could even be thought of as a way to practice "not experiencing" --- but that statement is in the same spirit as what you posted. Words are hard for this stuff!

    If we are not defining the sound, and it "just is", your analogy seems like a really good one to me

    Gassho,

    Bokugan
    SatToday
    墨眼 | Bokugan | Sumi Ink Eye
    Ryan-S | zazenlibrarian.com

  15. #315
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Yes.

    I don't try to hear it or force it, and just relax and listen.

    If I may compare this to being at a classical music concert, saying to oneself "I really want to hear this music, I really want to hear this music." One will not really hear the music. But, when one truly relaxes, and just does not think or try much of anything, the music just washes through one ... and one might even become the sound, and the sound is just you.

    Something like that.

    My only quibble with some views of meditation is with the view that "it is only real meditation, going well, when I am completely swept up in the music, forgetting myself." I don't think so. Such moments are precious, and not to be ignored ... they enrich us and are necessary to this Path. However, they are not the entire, wonderful "concert experience!" I like driving to the theatre, getting stuck in traffic on the way, buying popcorn in the lobby (do that have that at classical concerts? if not, cheese and wine ), sitting there sometimes lost in thought about other things yet the music and my thoughts blend together ... then remembering where I am, and coming back again and again to the performance. I even love when the show is over, the curtain comes down and it is time to come home.

    ALL of this is "enlightenment" to the wise ear in Dogen's arrangement. It is not only the moments when we are swept up in, and become, the music.

    What is more, on the way back into the world, when the orchestra has gone silent, the theatre is shut, and we are thrown again into the noise and clamor of the city or our messy lives, hopefully the beauty and harmony of the symphony is still in our bones. It is all LIFE'S SYMPHONY to the Buddha's Ear.

    Something like that. I hope it makes sense.

    Sorry to run long.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah


    I did not see Jundo's response until after I posted! This is wonderful: "hopefully the beauty and harmony of the symphony is still in our bones"

    Our shikantaza practice helps us to be in tune with the whole wonderful "concert experience", even the traffic jams.

    Thank you

    Gassho,
    Bokugan
    墨眼 | Bokugan | Sumi Ink Eye
    Ryan-S | zazenlibrarian.com

  16. #316
    Thank you very much for your input Bokugan (beautiful Dharma name by the way, loved the story you shared on the forum about it).

    And Jundo, what you share resonates so much with me. Embracing all of it. I can feel you love life in a deep and meaningful way, with all its nuts and bolts. This is what I aspire to, not to make Samsara into Nirvana, but to recognize that Samsara is already Nirvana (just to take up the classical formula), to really live deeply. Really grateful for your sharings

    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat

  17. #317
    I'm happy for your appreciation of music, a way of speaking quite beautiful. I have been a lover of music since grade school, sure people who play musical instruments feel deeply about music. I remember when our 5th grade class went to a concert, how I was swept up in The New World Symphony. Dogen must have had musical appreciation.
    Gassho
    sat/ lah
    Lay member, be loving kindness; just a guy. sometimes Calm supportive and hopeful. Ubasoku

  18. #318
    Jundo, your comment about how "somedays we will have bad days of zazen and somedays we will have good ones, but it is still zazen." Really hit home for me. In many areas of my life, I have been waiting for perfection in order to start. I realize that things can never be perfect . Thank you for all that you do.
    Floyd
    ST

  19. #319
    Quote Originally Posted by Beautyseeker2224 View Post
    Jundo, your comment about how "somedays we will have bad days of zazen and somedays we will have good ones, but it is still zazen." Really hit home for me. In many areas of my life, I have been waiting for perfection in order to start. I realize that things can never be perfect . Thank you for all that you do.
    Floyd
    ST
    In our practice we leap through human subjective judgements and dichotomies of "good vs. bad" "perfect vs, imperfect" and all measure of "flaws" ...

    ... and thus discover a kind of Big P Perfection that shines right through all human times of good or bad, perfection and imperfection. It is kind of a light which shines even through the flaws. The bad days remain, the problems of life remain ... but so does the light.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  20. #320
    hello Jundo Sensei,

    thank you for the lesson, it is really helpfull.
    i have a question I betray meself that my eyes are moving more to chest level height after a while. when i realize this i correct them. are there any focus points or is that not a problem?

    Thank you,

    Diana
    *SatToDAy*

  21. #321
    Quote Originally Posted by DGF View Post
    hello Jundo Sensei,

    thank you for the lesson, it is really helpfull.
    i have a question I betray meself that my eyes are moving more to chest level height after a while. when i realize this i correct them. are there any focus points or is that not a problem?

    Thank you,

    Diana
    *SatToDAy*
    Hi Diana,

    The eyes may travel in their ordinary way, not fixated, resting here and resting there. I compare it to normal vision when driving a car. No need to do anything strange with the eyes. Generally, we are looking about 45 degrees downward, looking down toward the floor or at an open wall, but not trying to be so precise about it.

    The only difference from normal vision is that we don't think much ABOUT what we might see. Here is what I usually say on this:

    I just sit, looking out through my half open eyes, no differently than if I were sitting at my kitchen table looking at the room or driving a car looking at the road. If looking at the wall, I am just looking as if looking at any scenery. Normal vision, but I just am not particularly thinking about, pondering or concentrating on what I am seeing. I describe it as "staring at everything and nothing in particular". My eyes take in the room or the floor or wall quiet naturally, but I do not latch onto anything mentally to think about what I am seeing. For example, my eyes may rest on a chair or on some spots on the wall, but I just do not get lost in thoughts such as "ugly chair, need to go chair shopping" or "those dots look just like a giraffe"

    My focus just wanders from point to point to point quite naturally, resting where they rest, on this or that, then moving on when they move on.

    What a room looks like before Zazen ...


    What the room looks like during Zazen (but just not thinking particularly thoughts like "ugly sofa, nice chair, wish I were outside, need to clean this dirty floor ... "


    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  22. #322
    Thank you very much Jundo Sensei


    Diana
    SatToDay

  23. #323
    Re-visited the beginners section, one lesson a day. Really worth re-watching if your practice is shaky (or not!)

    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat

  24. #324
    goodmorning/day/evening,

    maybe i missed it while searching my way in this school, when do i have to Start Zazen online or Zazenkai? is it after all the beginners series?


    SatToday
    Diana

  25. #325
    Quote Originally Posted by DGF View Post
    goodmorning/day/evening,

    maybe i missed it while searching my way in this school, when do i have to Start Zazen online or Zazenkai? is it after all the beginners series?


    SatToday
    Diana
    Oh no! You can join at any time, Diana! Just look at the NOW page and join whatever scheduled sit you wish!! Please do!

    Sat Today
    Bion
    美音

    -------------------------
    Please consider whatever I might say as my own ideas, experiences and understanding, and not zen doctrine.
    Join me on Insight Timer
    Help me feed those in need by joining my Share The Meal team HERE

  26. #326
    Quote Originally Posted by DGF View Post
    goodmorning/day/evening,

    maybe i missed it while searching my way in this school, when do i have to Start Zazen online or Zazenkai? is it after all the beginners series?


    SatToday
    Diana
    And you do not "have to," although it is strongly encouraged. It is just wonderful to sit with other folks as a group.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  27. #327
    Thank you sensei and Bion, as soon i finished the beginners series i like to sit with others.

    Gassho
    Diana
    SaToDay
    Last edited by DGF; 02-20-2022 at 03:25 PM.

  28. #328
    Quote Originally Posted by DGF View Post
    Thank you sensei and Bion, as soon i finished the beginners series i like to sit with others.

    Gassho
    Diana
    SaToDay
    Find a scheduled sitting that works for you and the next time you sit, just go to the Free Sitting Room ( I believe that is a good habit to develop, truly ) cause you never know who might already be there sitting or who might come in while you sit and offer you company and also have the lovely surprise of receiving your company.

    Sat Today
    Bion
    美音

    -------------------------
    Please consider whatever I might say as my own ideas, experiences and understanding, and not zen doctrine.
    Join me on Insight Timer
    Help me feed those in need by joining my Share The Meal team HERE

  29. #329
    hello everyone,

    i wanted to share something i dont really know where to post it,
    i had a very nice Zazen. while just sitting, something popped up i kept it a side for later. so now

    this came up:

    you dont have to be on a mountain,to be on a mountain!

    Gassho,
    Diana
    SaTTODay

  30. #330
    Quote Originally Posted by DGF View Post
    hello everyone,

    i wanted to share something i dont really know where to post it,
    i had a very nice Zazen. while just sitting, something popped up i kept it a side for later. so now

    this came up:

    you dont have to be on a mountain,to be on a mountain!

    Gassho,
    Diana
    SaTTODay


    Wonderful insight!

    Gassho,

    Bokugan
    SatToday
    墨眼 | Bokugan | Sumi Ink Eye
    Ryan-S | zazenlibrarian.com

  31. #331
    This reminds me of another quote from Kung Fu panda. "When the wind blows, the mountain doesn't move".

    Gassho,
    Sat-Lah,
    Suuko.

    Sent from my M2101K7BNY using Tapatalk
    Has been known as Guish since 2017 on the forum here.

  32. #332
    Quote Originally Posted by DGF View Post
    ...

    you dont have to be on a mountain,to be on a mountain!
    ... or to be the mountain, and the mountain to be you, wherever you are.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  33. #333
    Feeling happy, managed to transition from sitting on a chair to Seiza for the first time today. I didn't think this would be possible due to my bone problems, but funny enough, what ended up hurting the most was my butt, not my knees. I can manage butt pain for now

    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat

  34. #334
    How could I have known I foretold my own beauty, my own luminescence with Dogen and his Music, how it sweeps me up yet delivers my friendships. "Yes," means friends, one who seeks is never alone.
    Gassho
    st/lah
    Lay member, be loving kindness; just a guy. sometimes Calm supportive and hopeful. Ubasoku

  35. #335
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomás ESP View Post
    Feeling happy, managed to transition from sitting on a chair to Seiza for the first time today. I didn't think this would be possible due to my bone problems, but funny enough, what ended up hurting the most was my butt, not my knees. I can manage butt pain for now

    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat
    That is awesome
    Gassho
    Seth
    sattoday, lah

  36. #336

    insta-zazen: just do whatever you're doing

    I think I get it.

    "Just sitting" zazen is not so much a form of meditation as it is an opportunity to practice non-grasping of thoughts. By sitting zazen in this way we train ourselves not to grasp so that it is easier to continue not to grasp while we are doing other things in life. The experience of non-grasping during "just sitting" makes "just driving", "just folding laundry", "just cooking supper", "just playing with the kids" easier; it comes more naturally because of shikantaza.

    I hope I'm making sense.

    Gassho
    Seth
    st, lah

  37. #337
    My zazen is very simple and happy not at time. As I sit I like to visualize as Jundo teaches. I am driving down the road looking neither right or left. I think my breath helps me move forward. I do take note as I move by the country side and breathe but If get stuck, I count breath and begin to move. Then I am there. For me a while time stands still.
    Gassho
    st/lah


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Lay member, be loving kindness; just a guy. sometimes Calm supportive and hopeful. Ubasoku

  38. #338
    Quote Originally Posted by Seth David View Post
    The experience of non-grasping during "just sitting" makes "just driving", "just folding laundry", "just cooking supper", "just playing with the kids" easier; it comes more naturally because of shikantaza.
    It is more a radical equanimity with all of life, even when the laundry needs doing, the supper gets burned, the car has a flat. We sometimes need to think while doing those things, and we feel emotions, but we are not a prisoner of thoughts and emotions.

    That said, please don't do anything strange with the mind while driving. Just drive, with the ordinary awakeness and attention of driving. Don't crash the car while trying to be "mindful" or something.

    In fact, I have this other essay in which I compare Shikantaza to driving ...

    Drivin' Dogen - Understanding "Open Spacious Awareness"
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...ious-Awareness

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  39. #339
    Anyone got any tips from transitioning from sitting in seiza to burmese? I'm quite an athletic person but have always had awful flexibility...

    When I first tried sitting, I got my sitting all wrong (not understanding what 'acceptable' sitting positions were) and was sitting in a generaly cross legged position (I understand why it's not recommended as it was not nice to sit in for such a long period of time...). Once I realised this was wrong, I just sat in seiza, as I couldn't do anything else. I was trying to improve this but quite quickly injured my hip , so held off for a while.

    As I don't really have any real medical conditions or bad injuries, feel I should be able to sit in a position that requires more flexibility with a bit of effort. I have a fairly decent knowledge of things like this as I'm a PE teacher and practiced yoga on and off for a few years. Looking more for specific stretches in a yoga routine or modified sitting positions that I could do while reading or relaxing. Or even some tips that might help actually sitting burmese a bit easier.

    Just tried sitting in burmese now though, and it's the closest I've ever been to sitting in an almost comfortable position, but wouldn't be able to do it for more than 5 minutes still

    * Edited just to say it feels like my right psoas is really tight when sitting burmese, so seems like a problem relating to that

    Sorry to run long

    Gassho
    Ross
    stlah
    Last edited by Ross; 04-26-2022 at 12:37 PM.
    至 道 無 難 , 唯 嫌 揀 擇 。

  40. #340
    Quote Originally Posted by Ross View Post
    Anyone got any tips from transitioning from sitting in seiza to burmese? I'm quite an athletic person but have always had awful flexibility...

    When I first tried sitting, I got my sitting all wrong (not understanding what 'acceptable' sitting positions were) and was sitting in a generaly cross legged position (I understand why it's not recommended as it was not nice to sit in for such a long period of time...). Once I realised this was wrong, I just sat in seiza, as I couldn't do anything else. I was trying to improve this but quite quickly injured my hip , so held off for a while.

    As I don't really have any real medical conditions or bad injuries, feel I should be able to sit in a position that requires more flexibility with a bit of effort. I have a fairly decent knowledge of things like this as I'm a PE teacher and practiced yoga on and off for a few years. Looking more for specific stretches in a yoga routine or modified sitting positions that I could do while reading or relaxing. Or even some tips that might help actually sitting burmese a bit easier.

    Just tried sitting in burmese now though, and it's the closest I've ever been to sitting in an almost comfortable position, but wouldn't be able to do it for more than 5 minutes still

    * Edited just to say it feels like my right psoas is really tight when sitting burmese, so seems like a problem relating to that

    Sorry to run long

    Gassho
    Ross
    stlah
    Well, burmese can get pretty uncomfortable, and I say that from experience, cause for me it’s bad when I try it. I sit half lotus and I find the secret to a moderately comfortable sit lies in the position and placement on the cushion, as well as the cushion itself. If you get too much angling on the hips cause of height while sitting, your thighs are gonna kill you during 30 mins. So, first off, stretch before sitting, ALWAYS and then once seated, sway, turn, move and make sure there’s not much tenseness (not tension) in your hips and thighs. Allow the body to rest comfortably on itself, rather than trying to hold it in the posture by clenching and tightening muscles.
    Ultimately, only you can correct your posture by constantly observing and understanding the pain.

    Sat Today
    Bion
    美音

    -------------------------
    Please consider whatever I might say as my own ideas, experiences and understanding, and not zen doctrine.
    Join me on Insight Timer
    Help me feed those in need by joining my Share The Meal team HERE

  41. #341
    Quote Originally Posted by Ross View Post
    Anyone got any tips from transitioning from sitting in seiza to burmese? I'm quite an athletic person but have always had awful flexibility...

    When I first tried sitting, I got my sitting all wrong (not understanding what 'acceptable' sitting positions were) and was sitting in a generaly cross legged position (I understand why it's not recommended as it was not nice to sit in for such a long period of time...). Once I realised this was wrong, I just sat in seiza, as I couldn't do anything else. I was trying to improve this but quite quickly injured my hip , so held off for a while.

    As I don't really have any real medical conditions or bad injuries, feel I should be able to sit in a position that requires more flexibility with a bit of effort. I have a fairly decent knowledge of things like this as I'm a PE teacher and practiced yoga on and off for a few years. Looking more for specific stretches in a yoga routine or modified sitting positions that I could do while reading or relaxing. Or even some tips that might help actually sitting burmese a bit easier.

    Just tried sitting in burmese now though, and it's the closest I've ever been to sitting in an almost comfortable position, but wouldn't be able to do it for more than 5 minutes still

    * Edited just to say it feels like my right psoas is really tight when sitting burmese, so seems like a problem relating to that

    Sorry to run long

    Gassho
    Ross
    stlah
    You're going to want to spend a whole bunch of time doing the butterfly stretch!

    But really you don't need to spend a crazy amount of time on it -- there is no rush (unless you're training for some Antaiji level sesshin where they're going to force you to sit on a 1cm high Zafu? ) What worked for me (so far) was getting an extra high Zafu, and sitting Quarter Lotus (I find more comfortable than Burmese) but even then, after 30 minutes or so I still get the odd dead leg. When I am sitting longer, I use a bench (which genuinely, feels more stable than even half lotus for me... *shrug*) but I try to do one sitting a day on the Zafu, and during that one I just sit until the legs get so distracting that I stop -- gradually they'll open up!

    Just be sure to switch which leg is on top, which I didn't do, and have completely unbalanced hips now

    Don't overdo it!

    Gassho,
    ./sat
    N

  42. #342
    Thanks for the tips. My hips are so unflexible that half lotus is a distant dream at the moment, so just going to have to concentrate to getting to burmese for now

    Gassho
    Ross
    stlah
    至 道 無 難 , 唯 嫌 揀 擇 。

  43. #343

    Zazen for Beginners Series: THREAD for QUESTIONS, COMMENTS

    I have never been athletic and I can’t bend over. I can’t sit cross leges. However I can sit in a chair with my feet firmly on the floor and my hands together in my lap in cosmic mudra. This is tall mountain pose perfect for sitting meditation or any old or disabled or anyone meditation.
    Gassho
    sat/ lah


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Lay member, be loving kindness; just a guy. sometimes Calm supportive and hopeful. Ubasoku

  44. #344
    Quote Originally Posted by Ross View Post
    Anyone got any tips from transitioning from sitting in seiza to burmese? I'm quite an athletic person but have always had awful flexibility...

    When I first tried sitting, I got my sitting all wrong (not understanding what 'acceptable' sitting positions were) and was sitting in a generaly cross legged position (I understand why it's not recommended as it was not nice to sit in for such a long period of time...). Once I realised this was wrong, I just sat in seiza, as I couldn't do anything else. I was trying to improve this but quite quickly injured my hip , so held off for a while.

    As I don't really have any real medical conditions or bad injuries, feel I should be able to sit in a position that requires more flexibility with a bit of effort. I have a fairly decent knowledge of things like this as I'm a PE teacher and practiced yoga on and off for a few years. Looking more for specific stretches in a yoga routine or modified sitting positions that I could do while reading or relaxing. Or even some tips that might help actually sitting burmese a bit easier.

    Just tried sitting in burmese now though, and it's the closest I've ever been to sitting in an almost comfortable position, but wouldn't be able to do it for more than 5 minutes still

    * Edited just to say it feels like my right psoas is really tight when sitting burmese, so seems like a problem relating to that

    Sorry to run long

    Gassho
    Ross
    stlah
    When you tried seiza, were you using a bench? Those help tremendously imho. As for specific yoga stretches, I find Agnistambhasana (double-pigeon or firelog pose) quite helpful for the hips. It is easy to vary the intensity by leaning forward or back in the pose. If you are inflexible, you will definitely feel an intense stretch in your hips!

    Don't think that a specific posture should be a "goal" -- work with your own body and its limitations. More flexibility is nice, but there's nothing magical in the full lotus. I used to be able to sit that way but can't anymore due to injuries. That upset me at first, but I just had to let go of that unnecessary attachment. Fwiw, I find half lotus unbalanced and uncomfortable. Burmese tends to make my back ache. Generally I will sit seiza or in Siddhasana (sometimes called quarter lotus).

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

  45. #345
    I had sat half lotus for years. Simultaneously, I had back pain..sometimes bad...sometimes not so bad....Always got worse when sitting for long periods. Then I switched to Burmese (The Taoists call this the Immortal Posture) and my back pain went away during long sits. I had to accept that my body changed and I found it a good thing to listen to the body. I found that as long as the posture is stable and supports my body and mind to keep still, it supports my practice. I still will use half-lotus from time to time, but not my primary way anymore.

    Gassho,

    Wondo

    Sat Today
    Last edited by Wondo; 05-04-2022 at 12:29 PM.

  46. #346
    I've just finished lesson 4 and I have a question: can someone clarify the distinction between zazen and shikantaza? Having read and listened to the talks, they seem to be used interchangeably at times but also to mean different things.

    Gassho
    SatToday

    -Kelly

  47. #347
    Quote Originally Posted by KellyLM View Post
    I've just finished lesson 4 and I have a question: can someone clarify the distinction between zazen and shikantaza? Having read and listened to the talks, they seem to be used interchangeably at times but also to mean different things.

    Gassho
    SatToday

    -Kelly
    Hi Kelly,

    Well, there are basically two main flavors of Zazen in the Zen world:

    In Soto Zen, as is practiced here, our way is "Shikantaza" (which means something like "Just Sitting that Hits the Mark").

    In Rinzai Zen, and some mixed Rinzai-Soto groups often found in the west, the focus tends to be on "Koan Introspection Zazen," in which the practice is to sit focused on a Koan or phrase from a Koan, typically anticipating a "Kensho" breakthrough experience. Such groups often also practice something which they may call "Shikantaza," but it is often a secondary practice to Koan Introspection, or taught merely as sitting following the breath and not much more.

    There are also some other kinds of Zazen focused on repeating a Mantra or reciting the name of a Buddha, often found in Chinese style Chan (Zen), but those are less common in the west.

    All lovely ways, same but different. In our Sangha, we practice Shikantaza.

    Let me know if you have more questions.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  48. #348
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Kelly,

    Well, there are basically two main flavors of Zazen in the Zen world:

    In Soto Zen, as is practiced here, our way is "Shikantaza" (which means something like "Just Sitting that Hits the Mark").

    In Rinzai Zen, and some mixed Rinzai-Soto groups often found in the west, the focus tends to be on "Koan Introspection Zazen," in which the practice is to sit focused on a Koan or phrase from a Koan, typically anticipating a "Kensho" breakthrough experience. Such groups often also practice something which they may call "Shikantaza," but it is often a secondary practice to Koan Introspection, or taught merely as sitting following the breath and not much more.

    There are also some other kinds of Zazen focused on repeating a Mantra or reciting the name of a Buddha, often found in Chinese style Chan (Zen), but those are less common in the west.

    All lovely ways, same but different. In our Sangha, we practice Shikantaza.

    Let me know if you have more questions.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Thank you for your answer!

    To check my understanding: Zazen is the practice overall, and shikantaza is the specific type of zazen that we practice, do I understand correctly?

    Gassho
    SatToday

    -Kelly

  49. #349
    That is correct, Kelly.

    And, of course, there are many kinds of "meditation" in the world, of which Zazen is just one flavor.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  50. #350
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Kelly,

    Well, there are basically two main flavors of Zazen in the Zen world:

    In Soto Zen, as is practiced here, our way is "Shikantaza" (which means something like "Just Sitting that Hits the Mark").

    In Rinzai Zen, and some mixed Rinzai-Soto groups often found in the west, the focus tends to be on "Koan Introspection Zazen," in which the practice is to sit focused on a Koan or phrase from a Koan, typically anticipating a "Kensho" breakthrough experience. Such groups often also practice something which they may call "Shikantaza," but it is often a secondary practice to Koan Introspection, or taught merely as sitting following the breath and not much more.

    There are also some other kinds of Zazen focused on repeating a Mantra or reciting the name of a Buddha, often found in Chinese style Chan (Zen), but those are less common in the west.

    All lovely ways, same but different. In our Sangha, we practice Shikantaza.

    Let me know if you have more questions.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Thank you Jundo for this clarification. My experience with Shikantaza has been similar. Even when I encountered those variations of zazen, I never stopped practicing Shikantaza. It just always made the most sense to me…like a knowing you are home. It is such a beautiful practice and very simple yet very profound. Thank you for creating this place where we can all come as a community and share in such a wonderful way of practicing zazen.

    Gassho,

    Wondo

    Sat Today/LAH
    Last edited by Wondo; 05-09-2022 at 12:15 PM.

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