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

  1. #251
    Thank you, Jundo. This is the third time I've done this series since coming to Treeleaf in 2014. Each time is deeper. Please allow me to encourage other perpetual beginners to drop by.

    Gassho
    Meishin
    stlah

  2. #252
    I too am enjoying these sit-a-long videos, I'm up to about video 12 at the moment. I keep coming back to video 5, 'the goal is in each step' - I love that. I've reminded myself of it a few times while sitting and found it helpful... although, I find it tricky to balance the idea of a reminder thought being helpful while I am shifting my focus away from thoughts.

    Gassho, Charity
    sat today

  3. #253
    Quote Originally Posted by coriander View Post
    I too am enjoying these sit-a-long videos, I'm up to about video 12 at the moment. I keep coming back to video 5, 'the goal is in each step' - I love that. I've reminded myself of it a few times while sitting and found it helpful... although, I find it tricky to balance the idea of a reminder thought being helpful while I am shifting my focus away from thoughts.

    Gassho, Charity
    sat today
    Don't try to shift from thoughts, nor run toward thoughts and grab on while getting tangled in them. Just leave them be without wallowing in them.

    It is fine to remind yourself of "just this place" from time to time too, then let that thought go as well.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #254
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Don't try to shift from thoughts, nor run toward thoughts and grab on while getting tangled in them. Just leave them be without wallowing in them.
    Thank you, that was very helpful for me when sitting this morning. The thoughts are part of what is, so I leave them be, like with the mirror.

    Gassho,
    Charity
    sat today

  5. #255
    Quote Originally Posted by coriander View Post
    ... The thoughts are part of what is, so I leave them be, like with the mirror.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #256
    Thank you Jundo for these wonderful videos. I have completed the last beginner's lesson today, and I am sure I will go back to each of them again to see if I can gain new insights.

    A thing that has been on my mind is how to properly set the focus of my eyes. I would always find myself staring down at 45 degrees and focusing too hard at the wall in front of me. Would that be similar to focusing on one's breath, and I should try not to do it? One thing I did do today was visualize myself looking at the blue sky with my "inner" eyes and think of the view of the wall in front of me as if it was a fog obstructing the sky. I was able to gradually drop my focus away from the wall in this way.

    I very much enjoy my practice thus far, and thank you all for helping us along.

    Gassho,
    Sachi
    Sat

  7. #257
    Quote Originally Posted by Sachi View Post
    Thank you Jundo for these wonderful videos. I have completed the last beginner's lesson today, and I am sure I will go back to each of them again to see if I can gain new insights.

    A thing that has been on my mind is how to properly set the focus of my eyes. I would always find myself staring down at 45 degrees and focusing too hard at the wall in front of me. Would that be similar to focusing on one's breath, and I should try not to do it? One thing I did do today was visualize myself looking at the blue sky with my "inner" eyes and think of the view of the wall in front of me as if it was a fog obstructing the sky. I was able to gradually drop my focus away from the wall in this way.

    I very much enjoy my practice thus far, and thank you all for helping us along.

    Gassho,
    Sachi
    Sat
    Hi Sachi,

    We have some discussions on this from time to time. Basically, the eyes are just looking and natural, like driving a car seeing the road, but without being lost in thought about what one is seeing.

    I would not try to think of the wall as obstructing the sky, but just not be bothered by any of it. Let wall be wall, sky by sky, for ultimately sky and wall are not two. Sky is wall in the sky, wall is sky as a wall.

    Cast your eyes here (pun intended):

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...l=1#post280418

    also:

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...l=1#post250886

    and:

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

    Please report back if you see what we are getting at.

    Gassho, J

    STLah

    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #258
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Sachi,

    We have some discussions on this from time to time. Basically, the eyes are just looking and natural, like driving a car seeing the road, but without being lost in thought about what one is seeing.

    I would not try to think of the wall as obstructing the sky, but just not be bothered by any of it. Let wall be wall, sky by sky, for ultimately sky and wall are not two. Sky is wall in the sky, wall is sky as a wall.

    Cast your eyes here (pun intended):
    Hi Jundo,

    Your car driving analogy was very helpful in letting go of my focus on visual cues. Instead of visualizing ways of letting go, putting my mind in a state similar to what I recall from driving my car seems to immediately let me get away from thoughts about what I am seeing. My eyes did return to focus somewhere midway during my sitting, but I was able to drop away from that focus after a few seconds.

    One thing I noticed is that since I was less preoccupied with what I am seeing, I had a lot more random thoughts pop into my head as compared to before. Also, I do two sittings per day, once in the morning, and another at night, and I noted that I am much more prone to wandering into thoughts/tangents during my evening sessions.

    Thank you,
    Sachi
    Sat today

  9. #259
    Quote Originally Posted by Sachi View Post
    ... My eyes did return to focus somewhere midway during my sitting, but I was able to drop away from that focus after a few seconds.
    Hi Sachi,

    Your eyes should focus on this and that, just like when driving. It is just that you do not get tangled up with what you are seeing, getting caught in trains of thought about what is seen. Your eyes should not be out of focus nor intentionally trying to see everything at once without thinking anything at all.

    One thing I noticed is that since I was less preoccupied with what I am seeing, I had a lot more random thoughts pop into my head as compared to before.
    Thoughts come and go, just do not get hooked on. Pay em no nevermind. Maybe you should focus on the breath as it enters and exits the nose for awhile. Just place your attention there. Thoughts will still come and go, but pretend that you are just watching them without particular concern as if you were just watching a live cam of traffic passing on the road, not getting concerned about what is happening in each car, who the driver is, where it is going, and you sure don't get in to ride!



    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  10. #260
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Sachi,

    Your eyes should focus on this and that, just like when driving. It is just that you do not get tangled up with what you are seeing, getting caught in trains of thought about what is seen. Your eyes should not be out of focus nor intentionally trying to see everything at once without thinking anything at all.



    Thoughts come and go, just do not get hooked on. Pay em no nevermind. Maybe you should focus on the breath as it enters and exits the nose for awhile. Just place your attention there. Thoughts will still come and go, but pretend that you are just watching them without particular concern as if you were just watching a live cam of traffic passing on the road, not getting concerned about what is happening in each car, who the driver is, where it is going, and you sure don't get in to ride!


    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Thank you so much for the clarification on what I should be doing with my eyes. I have sat the past few days while taking your advice to heart. I don't always get sidetracked too much by wandering thoughts, but in those instances where that has happened, I was able to focus on my breath for a few moments, until I was able to let those thoughts drop away.


    Gassho,
    Sachi
    Sat today

  11. #261
    I struggle often with distracting thoughts and am working on using these tips. Right now the only thing that seems to work right away almost every time is for me to close my eyes and focus on my breath for a moment then return to seeing/not seeing with my eyes partially open. Even though this works for me, is it detrimental to my Zazen practice?

    Gassho
    Jd

    Sat today

  12. #262
    Quote Originally Posted by _Jd_ View Post
    I struggle often with distracting thoughts and am working on using these tips. Right now the only thing that seems to work right away almost every time is for me to close my eyes and focus on my breath for a moment then return to seeing/not seeing with my eyes partially open. Even though this works for me, is it detrimental to my Zazen practice?

    Gassho
    Jd

    Sat today
    No, not at all. Do that for some minutes until you settle. and the thoughts grow small and translucent and just pass without bother (they do not need to totally vanish, just grow unintrusive and simple.) You can even follow the breath as it enters and exits the tip of the nose, such placing your attention there. We usually don't encourage closing the eyes, but it is okay if just for awhile if you really need.

    Then, as you mature in this practice, move to open, spacious awareness with the eyes partly open.

    Whenever you need to settle a bit, repeat going back and forth until you can sit in open awareness for longer periods. However, even then you may have troubled days when it is good to follow the breath or the like.

    Gassho, J

    SATTODAYLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  13. #263
    Re: lesson 3

    This one was somewhat hard for me yet very beneficial: I'd say one of the biggest struggles in my practice has been being too attached to 100% traditional, "samurai style" posture.
    In fact, I was aggravating an ankle injury I have, because I insisted on sitting on the floor.

    Now I realize that this was just me not accepting things as they are, and using images of old Japanese masters as an excuse to justify it. Today I sat in a chair and the practice was just as good. Thank you Jundo for these teachings.


    Alex
    Sat today/LAH

  14. #264
    Hi Jundo, About the eyes being natural, does this mean gaze straight ahead, are the eyelids partly closed? I have trouble with some explanations. Also My Unitarian Universalist minister, being certified Rieke practitioner, uses Rieke with me, helpful for pain. I can sit 1/2 to 1 hour, now in straight back chair for Shikantaza. What do you advise for Zazenkai? I have used a padded office chair with arms. As far as thoughts go, what you explain is what I experience.
    Gassho
    sat/ lah
    Tai Shi
    Last edited by Tai Shi; 08-09-2021 at 07:07 PM. Reason: typo
    ...Thought and action/ your life would never experience, (even before you were born), But he also being the Devine Cannot, He etched every moment of your existence, With His own hand... Haifiz

  15. #265
    Quote Originally Posted by Tai Shi View Post
    Hi Jundo, About the eyes being natural, does this mean gaze straight ahead, are the eyelids partly closed?
    Soto folks usually recommend eyes about 1/3 open, looking slightly downward at maybe a 45 degree angle, facing a bare wall or bare floor if possible.


    I can sit 1/2 to 1 hour, now in straight back chair for Shikantaza. What do you advise for Zazenkai? I have used a padded office chair with arms. As far as thoughts go, what you explain is what I experience.
    Gassho
    sat/ lah
    Tai Shi
    Sit, recline or stand as you need too, and as feels as balanced and comfortable as possible, switch positions as you need (you bother nobody by moving), take breaks, don't overdo. You know your own body and what it needs best.

    Gassho, J

    STlah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #266
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Sit, recline or stand as you need too, and as feels as balanced and comfortable as possible, switch positions as you need (you bother nobody by moving), take breaks, don't overdo. You know your own body and what it needs best.
    This is good to know Jundo. I found it difficult not to switch my legs around in the second part of sitting with the recorded zazenkai last night, thanks

    Gassho,
    Dan
    Sat today

  17. #267
    Quote Originally Posted by DanM View Post
    This is good to know Jundo. I found it difficult not to switch my legs around in the second part of sitting with the recorded zazenkai last night, thanks

    Gassho,
    Dan
    Sat today
    There is an element of this practice of learning that, sometimes, we (1) truly need to move because it is truly painful or harmful to the body, and sometimes (2) we just need to "bear up" and relax the mind, because the problem is actually more just the mind telling itself it needs to fidget. Please know which is which. In the case of (2), it is good practice to let the mind rest in equanimity, and not have to move so much. But if it is (1), please Gassho, then gently change positions.

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  18. #268
    Thank you Jundo. It was possibly a mixture of both if I'm honest. Partly fidgeting because I'm not used to doing a 2nd sit of that duration so close to the first, but I was also concerned about knee pain at one point. I will keep this in mind.

    Gassho, Dan
    Sat today

  19. #269
    I am finding what you explained for my eyes correct, and the padded office chair now has a new desk and computer riser so I can look directly into the camera and I do plan to be at Friday night Zazenkai and I can easily practice (point we are not practicing at all) for 40 minutes. Occasional Sunday sit, an occasional sit with older citizens, and near daily with Onkai has helped me get ready for an actual 3 hour zazenkai. I hope to be there Friday night/ Saturday morning.
    Gassho
    Deep bows
    sat/ lah
    Tai Shi
    ...Thought and action/ your life would never experience, (even before you were born), But he also being the Devine Cannot, He etched every moment of your existence, With His own hand... Haifiz

  20. #270

    We are all beginners.

    Jundo, thank you! I have now heard all 22 lessons for beginners. For those wondering if something has changed after practicing sitting, I have a little story. As I unloaded groceries in my cart, I saw that all my blueberries had spilled from their box to the sack. In the past, this would have sent me into a snit. But this time, I looked at the blueberries scattered among other groceries. I began putting them back in the box, one by one. No stress! This is just one stress free happening I have noticed since I began this journey. Others should take heart. It works!

    Gassho,
    Hedy



    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Dear All,

    Kindly post all comments, questions, impressions and objections regarding this Series and any of the videos in this thread. (I have had to do so to keep the lessons in sequence).

    If refrencing a particular talk, it woud be nice to mention which one. Thank you so much.

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-20-2021 at 04:24 AM.

  21. #271
    That's lovely, Hedy. Most of the time, it really is all about how we handle the little things.

    Gassho
    Sat, lah
    求道芸化 Kyūdō Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

  22. #272
    Hi Jundo,

    I just finished the series including the other two parts 'Buddha-Basics' and 'Boddhisattva-Basics'.
    They all helped me a lot and I learned from them.

    It was also very enjoyable to read and watch all with your interpretations.

    I highly recommend them to everybody.
    Thank you very much again.

    Gassho,
    SatToday,

    Enis

  23. #273
    That's excellent Enis - I agree with you; I think these are more than Basics; they are fundamentals and are good to watch over from time to time

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah

  24. #274
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    That's excellent Enis - I agree with you; I think these are more than Basics; they are fundamentals and are good to watch over from time to time

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah
    This is so true in Zen. Everyday I listen to the "Beginners mind" by Suzuki and there's always a new thing I catch.

    Gassho,
    Sat today,
    Guish.

    Sent from my PAR-LX1M using Tapatalk

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