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

  1. #201
    I sat today.

    I have a question about the eyes. My eyes are very dry and it is difficult to keep them open with minimal blinking during zazen. Any advice?

    Kevin

  2. #202
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Benbow View Post
    I sat today.

    I have a question about the eyes. My eyes are very dry and it is difficult to keep them open with minimal blinking during zazen. Any advice?

    Kevin
    It is okay to blink if you need to. I have some trouble with dry eyes also, I will sometimes close them for just a bit until they feel better. Sometimes focusing on a particular spot on the wall and letting the offending body part be forgotten is the solution to many of the little irritants!

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  3. #203

  4. #204
    Thank you, Jundo, for having these talks up. For Ango, I'm listening to a sit-a-longs followed by fifteen minutes sitting. I listened to the Sit-a-longs a few years ago Listening to them again has renewed my practice.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat/LAH

  5. #205
    Jakuden's suggestions for my dry eyes have been very helpful.

    I have yet another question about the eyes. I find that if I focus on one spot for an extended period that my eyes lose focus, everything goes white and then they simply refocus. Is it preferable to just let this happen, or is it better to just let the eyes move from spot to spot as they will?

    I understand that the idea is to just sit and just accept whatever happens, but I'd like to hear from someone with more experience than me.

    Gassho.

    Sat today

    Klb

  6. #206
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Benbow View Post
    Jakuden's suggestions for my dry eyes have been very helpful.

    I have yet another question about the eyes. I find that if I focus on one spot for an extended period that my eyes lose focus, everything goes white and then they simply refocus. Is it preferable to just let this happen, or is it better to just let the eyes move from spot to spot as they will?

    I understand that the idea is to just sit and just accept whatever happens, but I'd like to hear from someone with more experience than me.

    Gassho.

    Sat today

    Klb
    Hi Kevin!
    I probably should have said “look” at one spot on the wall, rather than “focus” on one spot. Looking is allowing your eyes to naturally look at something without forcing yourself to focus continuously on it. The eyes naturally wander a bit when they are looking. It’s best to forget them, and just be seeing and hearing and feeling and smelling...

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  7. #207
    Member Anna's Avatar
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    Rural Queensland, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    Hi Kevin!
    I probably should have said “look” at one spot on the wall, rather than “focus” on one spot. Looking is allowing your eyes to naturally look at something without forcing yourself to focus continuously on it. The eyes naturally wander a bit when they are looking. It’s best to forget them, and just be seeing and hearing and feeling and smelling...

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    When I first started sitting I was told to have "soft eyes". Not sure why but it made sense to me to the point where I can see other things going on in my periphery but am softly focused on nothing in particular in front of me while sitting zazen or doing kinhin. Not sure if I've just muddied the waters more or not.
    Gassho
    Anna

    Sat and done

    Sent from my Lenovo TB-8304F1 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Anna; 10-14-2019 at 01:48 AM.
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.
    No Gods No Masters.

  8. #208
    Quote Originally Posted by Anna View Post
    When I first started sitting I was told to have "soft eyes". Not sure why but it made sense to me to the point where I can see other things going on in my periphery but am softly focused on nothing in particular in front of me

    Sent from my Lenovo TB-8304F1 using Tapatalk
    good description Anna!

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  9. #209

  10. #210
    Lovely descriptions. The following is what I usually say when this comes up ...

    =============


    I personally am not staring fixedly at a "point" or a dot ... nor am I staring so unfocused that my eyes go blurry. 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 particular I am seeing. "Staring wide eyed into space" may be a good description. Maybe 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.

    I do not see particular harm in staring at a fixed spot the whole time, except that it is a little unnatural. Even when facing the wall, I do not fixate like glue on a single spot.

    Let me just say that, in our Shikantaza way with the eyes about 1/3 open, there should be nothing particularly unusual or out of focus about the vision. It is seeing normally, but just not thinking about and judging what one is seeing. Otherwise, nothing usually particularly strange about the vision.

    Monks in monasteries would sometimes sit in sunlight during the day, weak candlelit rooms at night, so I don't think that is the problem.

    If you are doing something to excess (such as forcing the eyes to fixedly stare, failing to naturally blink, allowing them to really go out of focus or the like) then you are kinda "trying to hard". It is rather like riding a bike: If you relax, it is easy. If you try to hard, you lose your balance and fall.

    Gassho, J

    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 ... "



    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  11. #211
    Thanks Jundo.

    I took this stance today and it seemed more natural.

    Gassho

    Klb

    Sat today

  12. #212
    I sometimes compare it to driving too ... staring out the wind screen, alert and aware, taking all in calmly, relaxed, but without focusing on any particular point although our eyes may alight here or there for a time.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  13. #213

  14. #214
    Member Arya's Avatar
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    Ixtlahuacan De Los Membrillos, Mexico
    Hello Sangha!
    I have a little question...:
    The thing is...I try sit Zazen every time I can...but at least I sit once in the morning before anything else and once befor going to sleep...
    Now...these, you should have guessed, are my "principal" sittings during my every day...
    The "problem"(and I don't know if I should call it like that, actually...and you'll find out why...) is that since two months ago my family and I moved to live in a new house for rent which has a very "loud" neighborhood (and remember, especially if you don't know firsthand, that the word "loud" here in Mexico has a superpowerful connotation, given the fact that here everybody can do what he or she pleases without bothering if that could ever be "irrespectful" towards other's situation...and anyway police won't do...if you thought of it).
    So...the thing is they (Yes, "they", because there are so many!) play music and shout and make any possible noise imaginable (I mean it...I am not overdoing anything!)...and almost all day long, but especially at those times when I actually can sit Zazen.
    Now...I am just sticking to Zazen and going through all that and my emotions and opinions and breathing and letting go, breathing, accepting, embracing, breathing and just sitting...just sitting with Mexican popular music playing loud just outside the window and the shouts and the loud talk...and there I am...just sitting...with all that...and even so...just trying to keep Zazen easy and pure "just sitting" with no thought of gain or expectations about it at all...and I sometimes actually "succeed" in wholeheartedly accepting and being one with it.
    Actually I feel that it all is making me every time a little bit more tolerant and open to welcome (or at least accept) "what I don't like".
    As Yoka Daishi wrote: "A lotus lives in the midst of the fire". (Kind of, we could say, I'm trying to fake the lotus until I make it!)
    But in the meanwhile still persists a more or less "strong" resistance in me, specially at times, and a certain kind of doubt concerning if I am actually doing it right...but the thing is, I don't or can't see many alternatives.
    One could be, "I quit practicing Zazen"(and to that I firmly answer a rotund "NO, NEVER! ")
    The other is "Change house"...but who will convince my wife?! (Careful if you ever give it a try...! Lol)
    And the other is I can play some kind of stuff such as "nature sounds" track on the stereo and sort of half-drown the noise outside...which i tried...but then I feel as though I were running away from the truth of the here and now and that i doubt is "the Way"...so I keep it "natural"(which doesn't mean birds and singing wind throuh pines, but "Mexican Town" "natural" kind of stuff...i.e.: ranch music and yelling drunkards and so on...don't know if I should cry or laugh out loud...I prefer the latter...)
    Now...there is so much more that could (and maybe "should") be said...but I'll leave it at that...i hope i am made mysel clear...for now...
    I genuinely trust your intuition and experience (even though not everybody among you has ever dealt with Mexico...I guess)...
    I just want to know your thougts/advises/suggestions/guidance with respect to this situation I'm facing with in this period of my life/practice (And now more than ever I sense how these two are so inseparably linked!...and maybe that's the answer...but I want to receive feedback from you...some different opinions and reflections about it all...)

    Thank you beforehand.

    Gassho.
    Arya.
    ST&LAH.

  15. #215
    Member Arya's Avatar
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    Yes...you are right...it was no "little question" at all, in the end...but you see..."big" and "little" are just a concept...and a very relative one at that!

    Lol

    Gassho.

  16. #216
    Quote Originally Posted by Arya View Post
    ...
    The "problem"(and I don't know if I should call it like that, actually...and you'll find out why...) is that since two months ago my family and I moved to live in a new house for rent which has a very "loud" neighborhood
    Ah, you are fortunate to have the best Zendo!

    Recall that the true "Silent Room" is in one's heart and between one's ears, not outside them. This is for you ...

    - Zazen for Beginners (21) - The True 'Quiet Room' (LINK)
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...nners-%2821%29

    You can run to a new house, but where can you run? Stay where one is, and know one's True Home.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  17. #217
    Member Arya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Ah, you are fortunate to have the best Zendo!

    Recall that the true "Silent Room" is in one's heart and between one's ears, not outside them. This is for you ...

    - Zazen for Beginners (21) - The True 'Quiet Room' (LINK)
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...nners-%2821%29

    You can run to a new house, but where can you run? Stay where one is, and know one's True Home.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Wow Jundo.
    Thank you very much!
    I can't tell you how much I needed to hear exactly that!
    There was already something deep within me suggesting that THAT was the right answer...but as I said...I needed some feedback...It kinda helps me disperse those doubts I nurtured at times...

    Thank you, Jundo.
    Now I will of course appreciate evermore my True Home.
    So...Back to the Zafu!

    GASSHO.
    Arya.
    ST&LAH.

  18. #218
    Member Arya's Avatar
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    Ixtlahuacan De Los Membrillos, Mexico
    Oh...and that link you suggested I watch...that'll be my "Dharma talk" tonight, before Zazen!

    Thank you again, GASSHO

  19. #219
    Member Koki's Avatar
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    Thank you Jundo!
    You are quite the "Realtor" at pointing out our TRUE HOME

    Gassho
    Koki
    Sattoday

  20. #220
    Quote Originally Posted by Koki View Post
    Thank you Jundo!
    You are quite the "Realtor" at pointing out our TRUE HOME

    Gassho
    Koki
    Sattoday
    l get 6% for every closing ... and opening.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  21. #221
    Hello
    I have some questions about video 20 - what can it actually mean to save another sentient being?
    How can anyone "save" anyone else?
    Aren't we "saved" when we sit?
    So if someone refuses to sit?.....

    As I understand it in Mahayana the Bodhisatva vow is usually some form of "May I attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings".
    Is it the same/similar in this tradition?
    If so, I save other sentient beings by attaining my own buddhahood? (Hhmmm truly talking in two directions at the same time - I am slowly starting to pick this zen thing up!)


    Also, how is compassion defined in this tradition?
    If I want to be "compassionate" then knowing what constitutes that is kind of important!
    Previously, I heard from a teacher (different tradition) who defined compassion as seeing the source of a persons suffering; so, a compassionate act is always one that diminishes suffering; this means to assist a suffering person to see their cause of suffering as a result of being in conflict (somewhere along the line) with, or denial of, the four noble truths - the remedy being the Noble Eightfold Path (a self-referential feedback loop for the four noble truths). Is it the same in zen or am I looking for some emotional content based around "heart"?
    (I am compassionate in daily life - ask all my rescue dogs! - and I put the flies outside too)

    Thanks
    Gassho
    Scott

  22. #222
    Quote Originally Posted by DogBreath View Post
    Hello
    I have some questions about video 20 - what can it actually mean to save another sentient being?
    How can anyone "save" anyone else?
    Aren't we "saved" when we sit?
    So if someone refuses to sit?.....

    As I understand it in Mahayana the Bodhisatva vow is usually some form of "May I attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings".
    Is it the same/similar in this tradition?
    If so, I save other sentient beings by attaining my own buddhahood? (Hhmmm truly talking in two directions at the same time - I am slowly starting to pick this zen thing up!)


    Also, how is compassion defined in this tradition?
    If I want to be "compassionate" then knowing what constitutes that is kind of important!
    Previously, I heard from a teacher (different tradition) who defined compassion as seeing the source of a persons suffering; so, a compassionate act is always one that diminishes suffering; this means to assist a suffering person to see their cause of suffering as a result of being in conflict (somewhere along the line) with, or denial of, the four noble truths - the remedy being the Noble Eightfold Path (a self-referential feedback loop for the four noble truths). Is it the same in zen or am I looking for some emotional content based around "heart"?
    (I am compassionate in daily life - ask all my rescue dogs! - and I put the flies outside too)

    Thanks
    Gassho
    Scott
    Hi Scott,

    First, may I ask you to change your photo from a dog to a human face? Although a dog has Buddha Nature, and although we love dogs, there is something about a human face that let's us look each other in the eyes and be a bit warmer here. Thank you.

    Next, on saving sentient beings ... although, truly there were never any sentient beings from the first in need of saving ... I usually tell folks this:

    This wise-crazy [Mahayana] Way is to realize, and allow other sentient beings to realize, that there have never been (ultimately) any sentient beings from the start, and thus (in the Wholeness which is "Emptiness") no conflict or lack from the start in need of repairing and rescuing! In the Wholeness which is emptiness, there is no lack in need of filling. Allowing sentient being to experience so in this world of separate beings who conflict and lack is how we rescue-non-rescue these beings-non-beings.

    However, so long as they/we are alive ("birth and death", by the way, are also ultimately only one way to view things), the sentient beings still need to live in this complicated, sometimes beautiful and sometimes ugly world, so another way to rescue sentient beings is to help them master how to live in the interplay of these two ways of viewing ... lack and no lack, fear and nothing originally to fear, conflicts and no individuals to conflict, death but no death etc. It's tricky!

    Finally, in modern times, many Buddhists have become a bit more focused on "rescuing sentient beings" by material actions in this world, e.g., feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, etc. It was not that Buddhists would not have liked to do such in the past (and there were many ancient Buddhists who did good charitable work like that in the past), but it was much harder in the medieval, agricultural, traditional, class bound kingdoms and empires of old Asia. So, a lot of Buddhists took the attitude that this world was just hopeless, best to "get out of Dodge," either by escaping rebirth completely or just building a wall and shutting the monastery gates. Now, today, in modern societies, "engaged" Buddhist efforts to make an impact on the problems of society such as hunger, war and poverty are possible for the first time, so many Buddhists (Treeleaf folks among them) are more socially involved.

    Many ways to rescue even if ... ultimately ... nobody in need of rescue. Even if there are no hungry mouths to feed "ultimately" ... there are hungry mouths to feed in this world, so let's feed them!
    It is not merely a matter of compelling others to sit Zazen (I don't know that it would be legal!), nor even something that we can even accomplish. However, the above also tells us that, while we keep working, there was never anything to "accomplish" from the start. Thus our crazy-wise Bodhisattva Vows which many of us recite say this ...

    To save all sentient beings, though beings numberless

    To transform all delusions, though delusions inexhaustible

    To perceive Reality, though Reality is boundless

    To attain the Enlightened Way, a Way non-attainable

    As to Compassion, it is really all of the above too, and has many facets. First, reality is already "Compassionate" because there is not suffering from the startless start. Yet, sentient beings in their broken vision of the world do not realize this, so we are Compassionate when we seek to get suffering sentient beings to realize this Wholeness of Emptiness. We are also Compassionate when we reach out to aid people in their earthly needs and pains. Alas, it is an endless road, yet we have never but arrived!

    Does that make any sense?

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  23. #223

  24. #224
    I am experiencing some issues with sitting - my eyelids seem to want to ‘hover’ or ‘flutter’ every couple of minutes or so and I have to go back to full open eyes before returning to 1/3 rd open eyes - also after 10 minutes my eyes feel “strained” and I’ve even had them run. I think ‘soft gaze’ but without any effect.
    There’s no bad Zazen - so am I doing it wrong?
    Any help, advice, instruction will be truly appreciated!
    Gassho
    Scott

  25. #225
    Quote Originally Posted by DogBreath View Post
    I am experiencing some issues with sitting - my eyelids seem to want to ‘hover’ or ‘flutter’ every couple of minutes or so and I have to go back to full open eyes before returning to 1/3 rd open eyes - also after 10 minutes my eyes feel “strained” and I’ve even had them run. I think ‘soft gaze’ but without any effect.
    There’s no bad Zazen - so am I doing it wrong?
    Any help, advice, instruction will be truly appreciated!
    Gassho
    Scott
    Hi Scott,

    See if these threads help. You may be sitting in some unnatural way with the eyes, or trying too hard to hold them exactly 1/3 open. There should be no strain. However, if it persists, just sit with normally open eyes in a room with sedate lighting.

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...l=1#post200444

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...ious-Awareness

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah

    PS - Don't forget about the photo please.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  26. #226
    Yes, that makes sense.
    Thanks.
    Gassho
    Scott
    I will try to upload another photo - the dog was supposed to be my avatar but then I found the avatar had to be 80x80 pixels, so will have to keep searching for one. As for a profile pic I tried to upload one of myself (and dog - there's a reason I chose that name!) but was unable to - I will try again.

  27. #227
    Thanks, I will check out the links and try to upload another photo.
    Gassho
    Scott

  28. #228
    Hello Jundo
    Profile pic:-
    I just went to my profile page and the second photo I tried to upload is there - is that one ok, or would you prefer a different one without the dog and shades? Please let me know if I need to change it or not.
    avatar image:-
    I assume I still need to upload a 80x80 pixel photo? Am not sure how to find something so small (I'm a Luddite by choice which can be a problem when you actually need to use the machine!) - I will work on that later today.
    Gassho
    Scott

  29. #229
    Quote Originally Posted by DogBreath View Post
    Hello Jundo
    Profile pic:-
    I just went to my profile page and the second photo I tried to upload is there - is that one ok, or would you prefer a different one without the dog and shades? Please let me know if I need to change it or not.
    avatar image:-
    I assume I still need to upload a 80x80 pixel photo? Am not sure how to find something so small (I'm a Luddite by choice which can be a problem when you actually need to use the machine!) - I will work on that later today.
    Gassho
    Scott
    Hi Scott,

    I love dogs (honestly, well, I am more of a cat fellow although dogs are great too!), but would prefer a human face. It helps keep things warm and human (not furry) around here. Thank you.

    Instructions are here ...

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...n-Avatar-Photo

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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