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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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  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

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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 (Wandering At Rest) | 優婆塞 Ubasoku
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    Living and practicing at the pace of chronic illness.

  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

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    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
    You can't help but exist in the present moment, all the time. It's the only place you ever are. Once you realize this, it kinda takes the anxiety out of the whole thing.

  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
    Bokugan 墨眼 [Ryan-S]

    "Moment after moment, everyone comes out of nothingness. This is the true joy of life." -Shunryu Suzuki _/|\_

  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
    Bokugan 墨眼 [Ryan-S]

    "Moment after moment, everyone comes out of nothingness. This is the true joy of life." -Shunryu Suzuki _/|\_

  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
    As lay member of Treeleaf Zendo, each year I try to understand our Buddhist traditions Dogen and the Buddha. If can help I will.

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