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

  1. #401
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Oh, stlah is our crazy little "tradition" around this Sangha ...

    You are still new here, so don't really need to be concerned until more settled in, after a few month. However, "st/sat/sattoday" is this ...
    Sure, I can see the point of that, we can all use a bit of encouragement from time to time.

    sttdy

  2. #402
    Listened the lesson - acceptance without acceptance - and though it's interesting I am quite confused, it seems that one statement goes against the other, what am I missing?
    As I understand it is that advanced person who sitting in Zazen shouldn't have been crying, because although he/she accept the situation and is in peace with it, there is still an attachment
    to that particular situation, otherwise why would one cry. Although I don't like the idea of numbness of feelings, I still have problem to grasp it.

    In fact, the whole Zen puzzle me, until quite recently I had idea what Zen is all about (and thought I know I shouldn't have fix myself to idea, I need to know what it is),
    but that was before I start reading - zen mind beginner's mind and Shobogenzo. Now I feel I don't understand a thing I always thought that Zen is about present moment, but not sure about it now.
    I had also a hard time explaining to family what is Zen, so I said it's unexplainable, that with each attempt to grasp it you're losing it, and it's basically about one's practice and experience.
    How would you explain to stranger what is Zen about?

    Erinis
    Sat today
    Gassho

  3. #403
    Hi Erinis,

    Quote Originally Posted by Erinis View Post
    Listened the lesson - acceptance without acceptance - and though it's interesting I am quite confused, it seems that one statement goes against the other, what am I missing?
    As I understand it is that advanced person who sitting in Zazen shouldn't have been crying, because although he/she accept the situation and is in peace with it, there is still an attachment
    to that particular situation, otherwise why would one cry. Although I don't like the idea of numbness of feelings, I still have problem to grasp it.
    Zen Wisdom can be like seeing life out of two eyes, each eye seeing their own way, but when both eyes are open there is clarity.

    For example, out of one eye, we cry in times of sadness: I believe, based on their poetry and such, that the old Zen Masters found that there are times to cry, and that is good and human. For example, Master Dogen himself wrote this on the death of one of his priest disciples:

    Dharma Hall Discourse on Behalf of the Deceased Head Monk Sokai

    ... How profusely the cloud and water monks have been crying! Although I see you [Sokai] down to the [ocean] bottom, tears fill my breast like an overflowing lake. ...


    I would not want to live as a human being who could not cry. However, neither do I want to be a prisoner of depression, wallowing in grief. There is a time to cry, a time to smile too. Cry, grieve as is natural and human, but also know balance and moderation in life.

    HOWEVER, out of the other eye, Zen folks do not even quite believe in death and loss! All is flowing, such that, though the waves on the sea rise and fall, the sea itself remains without losing a single drop! We are the waves, but also we are the seas' flowing. In this eye, there is radical Peace and Equinimity, Completeness, never loss.

    Then, open BOTH EYES AT ONCE AS ONE, and this is a Buddha's Eye! There is loss, yet no loss ... death yet no death ... Peace even amid the chaos and sadness. Acceptance and Not Accepting as one.

    In fact, the whole Zen puzzle me, until quite recently I had idea what Zen is all about (and thought I know I shouldn't have fix myself to idea, I need to know what it is),
    but that was before I start reading - zen mind beginner's mind and Shobogenzo. Now I feel I don't understand a thing I always thought that Zen is about present moment, but not sure about it now.
    I had also a hard time explaining to family what is Zen, so I said it's unexplainable, that with each attempt to grasp it you're losing it, and it's basically about one's practice and experience.
    How would you explain to stranger what is Zen about?
    I believe that Zen, like most of the Buddhist path, is about seeing through our feeling of division and separation in life (especially self/other ... me/not me), and finding the radical Wholeness and Flowing (often called "Emptiness," because all the separate people, things and moments are also without separate self-exitance.) Then, realizing this, we return to live in a world of separate people, things and moments, win and lose, birth and death ... but also knowing the flowing Wholeness too that is free of all the friction, division. While alive, we also learn to live gently, freer of excess desires, anger, violence, jealousy and such.

    On top of that, Zen is many things, but that is the central issue. It is what Dogen was writing about in all his crazy prose in Shobogenzo, and the heart of "Beginners Mind" too.

    I would say that Zen is not so much about just "being in the moment" (although there are time to do so too, such as "when seeing the sunset, just see the sunset," "when drinking tea, just drink tea.") Instead, I would say that Zen teaches more about how to let "each moment be just that particular moment," for example, when sad moment, just let it be sad moment ... happy moment is just happy moment ... all seen with a Buddha's Eye, which is a Joy that sweeps right through all small worldly "happy vs. sad" too.

    Gassho, Jundo

    stlah
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-20-2023 at 04:50 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #404
    Quote Originally Posted by Erinis View Post
    Listened the lesson - acceptance without acceptance - and though it's interesting I am quite confused, it seems that one statement goes against the other, what am I missing?
    As I understand it is that advanced person who sitting in Zazen shouldn't have been crying, because although he/she accept the situation and is in peace with it, there is still an attachment
    to that particular situation, otherwise why would one cry. Although I don't like the idea of numbness of feelings, I still have problem to grasp it.

    In fact, the whole Zen puzzle me, until quite recently I had idea what Zen is all about (and thought I know I shouldn't have fix myself to idea, I need to know what it is),
    but that was before I start reading - zen mind beginner's mind and Shobogenzo. Now I feel I don't understand a thing I always thought that Zen is about present moment, but not sure about it now.
    I had also a hard time explaining to family what is Zen, so I said it's unexplainable, that with each attempt to grasp it you're losing it, and it's basically about one's practice and experience.
    How would you explain to stranger what is Zen about?

    Erinis
    Sat today
    Gassho

    Hi Erinis

    I am not a teacher here but I would like to share my experience with you in the hope that it gives you...well, some hope!

    Zen often seems paradoxical or contradictory, and that is because we first try to resolve these 'problems' with the discriminating mind. We try to rationalise our way out of a paradox or contradiction. I practiced this for quite some time before I felt the mental tension ease. Through the Zen practice of zazen (just sitting), I found I could both hold and not-hold these positions at the same time without it being a contradiction. For example, a friend died. I had lots of thoughts and emotions, sadness, anger, denial, grief, and all the joy and happy memories of their life and time we had spent together. I cried for the loss of my friend (which might be considered the relative position), but I also understood that each of us will die, no-one fully knows when or how, and that we embrace the rolling moment-to-moment dance of this life with just that tension hovering in the air (the absolute position). So I allowed the grief to be but also allowed the grief to pass. I clung to no emotion, thought or memory tightly, letting them all be and all fade, respecting their place in my life at that time.

    I have practiced and studied Zen for many years, you can study it but only through practice do you come to know it, to understand what I have expressed about my own experience above. This is not something you would wish to 'rush' to understand, much like we expect to be experts after three years at university! Progress is rarely linear, and it can be hard to know sometimes just where the hell you are (in terms of progress). This is another reason why we return to the cushion, dropping these concerns as well, dropping all concerns (unless there's a tornado or tsunami heading our way!) My understanding of the present moment awareness is also like this. We can work with the past and future, they are only good or bad if we attach value judgements to them, but (again) we do so with a light touch, so that we can plan a holiday or a new career, to write a shopping list or bucket list. The present moment, to me, is simply where we experience these things as they arrive.

    Gassho, Tokan

    satlah
    Tokan (Island Nurse)
    I enjoy learning from everyone, I simply hope to be a friend along the way

  5. #405
    Quote Originally Posted by Tokan View Post

    Zen often seems paradoxical or contradictory, and that is because we first try to resolve these 'problems' with the discriminating mind. We try to rationalise our way out of a paradox or contradiction. I practiced this for quite some time before I felt the mental tension ease. Through the Zen practice of zazen (just sitting), I found I could both hold and not-hold these positions at the same time without it being a contradiction. For example, a friend died. I had lots of thoughts and emotions, sadness, anger, denial, grief, and all the joy and happy memories of their life and time we had spent together. I cried for the loss of my friend (which might be considered the relative position), but I also understood that each of us will die, no-one fully knows when or how, and that we embrace the rolling moment-to-moment dance of this life with just that tension hovering in the air (the absolute position). So I allowed the grief to be but also allowed the grief to pass. I clung to no emotion, thought or memory tightly, letting them all be and all fade, respecting their place in my life at that time.
    This is lovely.

    I would also encourage the knowing of such which is beyond birth and death, friend and self, all separation too. Such knowing also is embodied in sitting.

    Gassho, J

    stlah
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-20-2023 at 01:35 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #406
    Quote Originally Posted by Erinis View Post
    Listened the lesson - acceptance without acceptance - and though it's interesting I am quite confused, it seems that one statement goes against the other, what am I missing?
    As I understand it is that advanced person who sitting in Zazen shouldn't have been crying, because although he/she accept the situation and is in peace with it, there is still an attachment
    to that particular situation, otherwise why would one cry. Although I don't like the idea of numbness of feelings, I still have problem to grasp it.

    In fact, the whole Zen puzzle me, until quite recently I had idea what Zen is all about (and thought I know I shouldn't have fix myself to idea, I need to know what it is),
    but that was before I start reading - zen mind beginner's mind and Shobogenzo. Now I feel I don't understand a thing I always thought that Zen is about present moment, but not sure about it now.
    I had also a hard time explaining to family what is Zen, so I said it's unexplainable, that with each attempt to grasp it you're losing it, and it's basically about one's practice and experience.
    How would you explain to stranger what is Zen about?

    Erinis
    Sat today
    Gassho
    Hi!
    Iíll chirp in for a moment because I am someone that does quite a bit of crying and I do it out of compassion and empathy, not out of desperation or deep suffering.

    It saddens me to see someone go through rough times, especially if they have no tools to navigate them like we do. A bodhisattva is continuously ready to partake in anyoneís suffering though we canít always ease it, so sometimes all we can do is cry with our fellow humans. Being sad is normal, and then wiping off the tears and moving on with the acceptance that suffering exists and will smack all of us on the head at some point is also normal.

    A bodhisattva does not fully drop all attachments, but willingly holds on to them for the benefit of all beings, all the while knowing attachments could be dropped at any moment ( which we do as we sit in zazen). It is quite a conundrum, I guess. Anyway, I am being too wordy, my apologies.

    Sat Today
    Bion
    美音

    -------------------------
    "Put on the okesa and do zazen - That's all!"

  7. #407
    Thank you all for sharing , I think I am beginning to understand, although Zen itself is indescribable, because experience through practice is something, that if it's bounded and squeezed into words, the essence is lost.
    As I understand it, Zen is about seeing with both eyes open, as it is, an ordinary practice of sitting Zazen in nature of Buddha. Perhaps I am just making mistake trying to frame it, and don't know if
    I understand it properly, correct me please if I am wrong, or maybe asking for correction is also false Zen, trying to get template to form same understanding of it.

    Erinis
    Gassho,

    Sat Today

  8. #408
    Quote Originally Posted by Erinis View Post
    Thank you all for sharing , I think I am beginning to understand, although Zen itself is indescribable, because experience through practice is something, that if it's bounded and squeezed into words, the essence is lost.
    As I understand it, Zen is about seeing with both eyes open, as it is, an ordinary practice of sitting Zazen in nature of Buddha. Perhaps I am just making mistake trying to frame it, and don't know if
    I understand it properly, correct me please if I am wrong, or maybe asking for correction is also false Zen, trying to get template to form same understanding of it.

    Erinis
    Gassho,

    Sat Today
    Hey Erinis

    As you can tell from the responses, they are the same but different, and that is one of the great things about asking questions in the treeleaf forums! Everyone here has their own perspective and aspects of practice that resonate more deeply for them. We do tend to stay away from 'right' and 'wrong' if we can, all of us continue to practice and learn as we go, aiming to be more skillful. Although we try not to grasp onto words or cling to insight, even Master Dogen was a double PhD academic! So we read, learn about and consider our path more resolutely while 'off the cushion,' as zazen is a sacred practice and is sat with 'nothing to attain.' The good news is that when we sit zazen it is the universe sitting, so no distinction is either necessary or present, so no need to worry. Like how water erodes rock, we do not sit to erode the rock, just to flow like the water, until the rock dissolves.

    As always, just my views, bows!



    Gassho, Tokan

    satlah
    Tokan (Island Nurse)
    I enjoy learning from everyone, I simply hope to be a friend along the way

  9. #409
    I think I can by now understand the acceptance without acceptance,

    I've been sitting in Zazen and for the first time my breath flowed naturally, in my previous sittings I made too much effort trying to not make mistake,
    and then my breath was partly controlled and restless. I was sitting with effort without effort.

    Today I had a new experience while practicing that while sitting I felt like being at home, it was like everything was perfect the way it is. Never felt like this before.



    Gassho, Erinis
    Sat Today

  10. #410
    Quote Originally Posted by Erinis View Post
    I think I can by now understand the acceptance without acceptance,

    I've been sitting in Zazen and for the first time my breath flowed naturally, in my previous sittings I made too much effort trying to not make mistake,
    and then my breath was partly controlled and restless. I was sitting with effort without effort.

    Today I had a new experience while practicing that while sitting I felt like being at home, it was like everything was perfect the way it is. Never felt like this before.



    Gassho, Erinis
    Sat Today


    Gassho, Tokan

    satlah
    Tokan (Island Nurse)
    I enjoy learning from everyone, I simply hope to be a friend along the way

  11. #411
    Quote Originally Posted by Erinis View Post
    I think I can by now understand the acceptance without acceptance,

    I've been sitting in Zazen and for the first time my breath flowed naturally, in my previous sittings I made too much effort trying to not make mistake,
    and then my breath was partly controlled and restless. I was sitting with effort without effort.

    Today I had a new experience while practicing that while sitting I felt like being at home, it was like everything was perfect the way it is. Never felt like this before.



    Gassho, Erinis
    Sat Today
    Yes, Zen sitting is what I call "non-effort," "non-trying." That does not mean that we are not sitting nicely, with a balanced, comfortable posture, letting thoughts go. Rather, we "relax" into doing so. I have tried to think of analogies, and the best I can think of is like a tightrope walker who actually has to take care and pay attention, but also totally relax to cross the wire, because stress and strain is what will be his defeat. Or the sword master who is not careless, but also must not think of life and death in combat, and actually must semi-relax and just do. Or maybe like learning to ride a bike, which is literally child's play when we finally learn to relax and just ride (but is scary, unpleasant, dangerous and off balance when we panic and are too tight as a beginning rider). Something like that. It is an influence of the Chinese and Japanese knew as Wu-Wei (Mu-i) ...


    HOWEVER, one CAUTION about Wu-Wei!! Don't then stress and strain to stay "Wu-Wei!" Nor should you try to ALWAYS be "Wu-Wei." That would be as silly as stressing and straining to achieve relaxing! Just let "Wu-Wei" happen naturally, when it happens, and so do not try to force it always. Even more, do not think that "this is bad Zazen" when not "Wu-Wei." Zazen is always good, just like sometimes it is raining, sometimes sunny, sometimes snowing or stormy ... but the sky is always present.

    Also, one more analogy I recently came up with for "acceptance without acceptance." Suppose there is a life situation that is causing you natural worry or sadness, like your cat dies, the bills are not paid, you are worried about a medical test ... Our brains are hard-wired to feel some grief or fear sometimes, and (although EXCESS or constant panic and depression are not healthy, and that is different) ordinary sadness and fear is human and okay.

    However, imagine that one chamber of your heart is filled with RADICAL acceptance, completion and equanimity, flowing with conditions, as we taste sometimes in Zazen. Then imagine that the other chamber is filled with that natural worry or sadness. Both beat together in the one heart, mixing and oxygenating each other, becoming a single flow of life through us. That is "accepting-non-accepting."



    Gassho, J

    stlah
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-26-2023 at 12:52 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  12. #412
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Yes, Zen sitting is what I call "non-effort," "non-trying." That does not mean that we are not sitting nicely, with a balanced, comfortable posture, letting thoughts go. Rather, we "relax" into doing so. I have tried to think of analogies, and the best I can think of is like a tightrope walker who actually has to take care and pay attention, but also totally relax to cross the wire, because stress and strain is what will be his defeat. Or the sword master who is not careless, but also must not think of life and death in combat, and actually must semi-relax and just do. Or maybe like learning to ride a bike, which is literally child's play when we finally learn to relax and just ride (but is scary, unpleasant, dangerous and off balance when we panic and are too tight as a beginning rider). Something like that. It is an influence of the Chinese and Japanese knew as Wu-Wei (Mu-i) ...

    HOWEVER, one CAUTION about Wu-Wei!! Don't then stress and strain to stay "Wu-Wei!" Nor should you try to ALWAYS be "Wu-Wei." That would be as silly as stressing and straining to achieve relaxing! Just let "Wu-Wei" happen naturally, when it happens, and so do not try to force it always. Even more, do not think that "this is bad Zazen" when not "Wu-Wei." Zazen is always good, just like sometimes it is raining, sometimes sunny, sometimes snowing or stormy ... but the sky is always present.

    Also, one more analogy I recently came up with for "acceptance without acceptance." Suppose there is a life situation that is causing you natural worry or sadness, like your cat dies, the bills are not paid, you are worried about a medical test ... Our brains are hard-wired to feel some grief or fear sometimes, and (although EXCESS or constant panic and depression are not healthy, and that is different) ordinary sadness and fear is human and okay.

    However, imagine that one chamber of your heart is filled with RADICAL acceptance, completion and equanimity, flowing with conditions, as we taste sometimes in Zazen. Then imagine that the other chamber is filled with that natural worry or sadness. Both beat together in the one heart, mixing and oxygenating each other, becoming a single flow of life through us. That is "accepting-non-accepting."



    Gassho, J

    stlah
    Thank you for bringing it closer to me to better understand it . Lately I've tried far too much be Wu-Wei with attempt to control Wu-wei itself, although I am not surprised, I failed, I still do struggle with being natural and let go of things, just like you mentioned on the example with bike. But I am sure I will or am learning to ride a bike.

    I have decided to no longer making notes of Zazen in the terms of discriminating mind, it's just as it is, sometimes sunny sometimes rainy or snowy. But although I don't write it, I still to certain extent judge it, it's simply our human nature to analyse, or rather survive, or not? Sometimes I wonder when I say or hear anybody to utter resolute statement, have to chuckle in heart

    I hope the text isn't much disorganised, monkey mind jumps from one thing to another.

    Gassho, Erinis
    Sat Today

  13. #413
    Sit-a-Long with Jundo: Zazen for Beginners (1) / Impressions

    I very much enjoyed the blasting noise from the blender as the introduction. What a wonderful and unique way to grab the viewer's attention. I've sat a long time in many places and this was the most captivating introduction I have ever seen ! Very much appreciate the reminder to keep a beginner's mind as well. Looking forward to delving into the next videos.

    -Kyle

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