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Thread: WHAT IS ZEN? - Chap 2 Zazen - P. 17 to end.

  1. #1

    WHAT IS ZEN? - Chap 2 Zazen - P. 17 to end.

    I am pleased to announce that SUSAN MOON has agreed to lead a Zazenkai as a Guest Teacher sometime very soon. We are working out the details now. I will also soon be recommending her other book on aging and disablility, THIS IS GETTING OLD (I am just in the middle). It is great, funny and poignant. That book makes clear that one should sit Zazen in the posture that the body and health allows.

    For today, we turn to the rest of Chapter 2, from Page 17 to the end.

    Comments on some points he discusses:

    While we usually seek to sit in a quiet and comfortable room, because stillness in environment helps the mind settle, we actually sit where we are, in whatever condition, as it is. In fact, I recommend to seek out and sit in a disturbing or busy environment every few weeks.

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...nners-%2821%29

    Most teachers recommend not closing the eyes. 1/3 open, neither running from the world, nor running towards it.

    On time, whether sitting for 1 minute or 1000 years, please remember to sit beyond time. It may sound strange, but every moment holds all time, and is beyond time too. So, we sit each day for some minutes in order to settle, and realize such fact.

    Norman says, like me, "there's no such thing as good better best Zazen." In fact, when sitting beyond good vs. bad, then "good" Zazen is good and "bad" Zazen days are good.

    Notice that he says "Zazen is a religious act," and that is so no matter what happens so long as you make a sincere effort. I believe that this is the same as what I usually say about sitting Zazen as a sacred act, the one act needed in that moment in the world world, that is complete and whole no matter what happens.

    He discusses preferences. I like to say that Zen is not learning to live with no preferences. It is much more subtle. It is learning to live with no preferences AND having preferences (although not their prisoner) all at once, as if seeing the world through two eyes that bring clarity when open together. No Preferences and Preferences at once, as one.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-22-2018 at 02:40 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Excellent. Looking forward to Susan Moon

    SAT today

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
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    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    I may be wrong and not knowing is acceptable

  3. #3
    It's nice to set aside some time each day to having the goal of no goal; to take a break from "getting something" in exchange for our time and effort.

    Gassho,
    Hōkō
    #SatToday
    LAH

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
    法 Dharma
    口 Mouth

  4. #4
    This is awesome news that Susan Moon is coming, thank you Jundo. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  5. #5
    Great news about Susan Moon, I'm a big fan. I love that book too.

    Gassho
    Meitou
    satwithyoualltoday/lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  6. #6
    Thank you, Jundo. I look forward to the zazenkai led by Susan Moon. I also enjoyed the second half of the second chapter of the book we are reading here.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat

  7. #7
    Yes, Susan Moon!


    Sat2day

  8. #8
    I am glad we are reading this book...which is especially useful to me as someone just getting underway. I was a little bit surprized to read the discussion about individuals who have sat zazen many years sometimes reaching a point where it was no longer the right practice for them. That is, it doesn’t surprise me that people, even long-time practitioners, would have an on-again off-again relation to zazen...but I was caught by surprise at the way Fischer spoke about the case of someone reaching a point where not sitting anymore might be, so to speak, a good choice. (I appreciate that he takes a very open approach to how people understand their own relation to Zen.)

    Gassho—
    Deborah

    SatToday
    Last edited by Beldame; 07-26-2018 at 03:43 AM.

  9. #9
    I'm looking forward to sitting zazenkai with Susan Moon.
    And I'm enjoying this book pretty much. Thank you Jundo.

    Gassho,
    Washin
    sat, no lah yet
    Kaido (有道) Every Way
    Washin (和信) Harmony Trust
    ----
    I am a novice priest-in-training. Anything what I say must not be considered as teaching
    and should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

  10. #10
    Eishuu
    Guest
    I noticed that he mentioned returning to the breath quite a few times, 'focus', and 'concentration' and that you 'keep trying'. This sounds like it is slightly different from what we do.

    I liked what he said about preferences. I've noticed recently in daily life that I don't react as much to things and seem more centred. I'm finding it a bit disconcerting, as though there is something missing that I'm used to, like there's less 'me' there. I'm used to feeling things much more. Is this a normal experience with regular practice?

    Gassho
    Eishuu
    ST/LAH

  11. #11
    Looks like Susan Moon will be here August 4th. Details to come.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Looks like Susan Moon will be here August 4th. Details to come.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    Awesome! Thanks for making this possible Jundo.

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Eishuu View Post
    I've noticed recently in daily life that I don't react as much to things and seem more centred. I'm finding it a bit disconcerting, as though there is something missing that I'm used to, like there's less 'me' there. I'm used to feeling things much more. Is this a normal experience with regular practice?
    This has been my experience too. Events in life are less likely to send me to emotional extremes and high jack my brain for long periods of time. I actually prefer it this way because I find it a peaceful way to live. I was surprised in the book when he said some practitioners stop meditating after years of meditation. Zazen is central to my practice and well being, it is hard to imagine this ever being the case for me but who knows.


    Sat2day

  14. #14
    Member Seishin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eishuu View Post
    I noticed that he mentioned returning to the breath quite a few times, 'focus', and 'concentration' and that you 'keep trying'. This sounds like it is slightly different from what we do.

    I liked what he said about preferences. I've noticed recently in daily life that I don't react as much to things and seem more centred. I'm finding it a bit disconcerting, as though there is something missing that I'm used to, like there's less 'me' there. I'm used to feeling things much more. Is this a normal experience with regular practice?

    Gassho
    Eishuu
    ST/LAH
    The references to focus and concentration stood out for me as well. Those terms seem at odds with sitting as it is or suchness. But I get the returning to the breath element, as I find sometimes its the only way to get rid of a sticky monkey.

    As to preferences, I also found this a useful description. I too have been trying to accept and let go of all the little things that I used to find irritating or that made me out right angry. Its work in progress and I guess always will be but I like the way he covered the subject.


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  15. #15
    Last part was really nice.

    Gassho
    Rosui
    st

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Eishuu View Post
    I noticed that he mentioned returning to the breath quite a few times, 'focus', and 'concentration' and that you 'keep trying'. This sounds like it is slightly different from what we do.

    I liked what he said about preferences. I've noticed recently in daily life that I don't react as much to things and seem more centred. I'm finding it a bit disconcerting, as though there is something missing that I'm used to, like there's less 'me' there. I'm used to feeling things much more. Is this a normal experience with regular practice?

    Gassho
    Eishuu
    ST/LAH
    Yes, I've also had this experience Eishuu, and although I've viewed it positively as beginning to loosen grip on the concept of self, it can be an unnerving and sometimes frightening experience. It reminds me of those old cartoons when a character runs off a cliff, suddenly sees there is no ground beneath her/him and is suspended for a moment in the air. I've felt exactly like I was in that moment - it was a scary feeling but exciting to explore further.
    I was particularly interested in the question about creativity. I've also noticed ideas about a drawing or a piece of writing spring to mind while sitting; this has never surprised me as I've assumed it's all part of the mind relaxing and opening but it's hard not to let that creative narrative take place. I'm not as confident as Fischer that if an idea is good then it will naturally come back to me and this is something that I need to build confidence in as I can understand how not following that narrative can be of greater benefit to creativity, even as that appears to be a contradiction. I liked the analogy to turning the soil ready for plants to grow and flourish.
    I also liked the question about noise. I've often commented here on how I rarely sit in a quiet environment, my ambient meditation music consists of cars, scooters, buses, espresso machines, people shouting, and more recently building site music, drills, hammers, the crane working etc. I hear all of this when sitting but the act of just sitting with what is has in itself helped me to hear all of this with equanimity. I'm not finding that so easy with seagulls cackling on the building site crane at 3.00am, that's a work in progress
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Satwithyoualltoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  17. #17
    Eishuu
    Guest
    Meitou,
    I also found the part on creativity interesting. I often find that it is times when I am relaxing that ideas pop up. If I can have other times like this in the day other than Zazen then it is not such a flood of creativity when I sit. I must confess to stopping Zazen momentarily on the odd occasion to write down a haiku (because in my experience they don't always come back).

    With the not reacting so much thing, I think I have been trying to work out how it feels different from a numbness or repressed state where you are also feeling less. I don't think it's the same as I'm more relaxed, and when I do feel emotions deeply they are over quickly and there's no repression. It's something that's concerned me for a while.

    Gassho
    Eishuu
    ST/LAH

  18. #18
    Eishuu, Meitou,

    thank you for writing about that 'less me', 'off the cliff' experience.
    I think, I know that one... just that it felt more like dark, empty space.
    Frightening, but from time to time, I still catch myself, hunting for that experience again.
    Hmm. I think there is no 'less me', but that 'me' is maybe expanded much further, than we're used to.
    Balancing the mind, looking more into the 'all one bright pearl, me within' direction might feel freeing.
    Looking more from the direction of the 'self', it is a serious loss ;-).

    Regarding Zen and creativity, a talk on youtube from one of the Monty Pythons about creativity comes to my mind.
    He said, that a non-judging, non discriminating, error allowing, 'nothing is wrong or inappropriate', open environment and mindset is necessary for creativity. Working sessions with this mindset should have a start and an end. A fixed time length for creativity practice.
    Sounds strangely familiar :-).
    I enjoyed, reading John Daido Loori's book 'The Zen of Creativity / Cultivating Your Artistic Life' on this subject.

    Quite some of the Zen-Arts seem to be build upon the relation of these two.
    Playing with the 'me', the 'self', accepting that part of the final artwork will not be controlled by your conscious 'self'.

    Thank you all for reading together.
    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  19. #19
    Eishuu
    Guest
    Kotei, that bit about the 'me' expanding further than we are used to and the reminder of 'one bright pearl' was really helpful...thank you!

    Gassho
    Eishuu
    ST/LAH

  20. #20
    A recent Video Blog entry from Brad Warner from 3 days ago. Seemed appropriate to the conversation...



    Gassho,
    Hōkō
    #SatToday
    LAH

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
    法 Dharma
    口 Mouth

  21. #21
    Treeleaf Unsui Geika's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    San Diego County, California
    I have been trying to practice this kind of way of art lately, exploring what I really want to do with a pen when I let myself. Some of the results are surprising.

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

  22. #22
    I think somewhere very deep in the archives on here might be a post from me complaining about the noise from my refrigerator when I sit zazen, which seems comical to me now. I've gotten over it. Sometimes it bothers my zazen now, other times it helps it, and times like when I sat today it is just there without much effect at all. I appreciated the inside/outside comments, and there is a Suzuki video about this that helped me a lot back then.

    As for preferences changing, zen, and I guess by extension zazen, has somewhat ruined sports for me. No longer are they as important, as vital, as maddening or loving as they used to be. I still "love" to watch my teams, but I have lessened my attachments to the point that I no longer live and die by them the way I used to. The Cubs winning the World Series in 2016 is an exception, however.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today

  23. #23
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  24. #24
    Haha, as I recall, my thinking was much more that refrigerator sounds were BAD, but bird sounds outside were GOOD, and these days when I sit, like today, they are all just sounds.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa View Post
    The Cubs winning the World Series in 2016 is an exception, however.
    As a die-hard Cardinals fan, I urge you to let go of your attachment

    Shinshou (Daniel)
    Sat Today

  26. #26
    As a die-hard Cardinals fan, I urge you to let go of your attachment
    Sitting with our aversions, like I did today, takes the fun away from sports rivalries. Based on recent Cubs WS history, Cardinal fans are only slightly less deluded buddhas than Cubs fans
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa View Post
    Sitting with our aversions, like I did today, takes the fun away from sports rivalries. Based on recent Cubs WS history, Cardinal fans are only slightly less deluded buddhas than Cubs fans
    Please remember Al ...

    Part of our ritual here, Al, is to put "sattoday" on our posts, so I ask that you do. We shall have sat Zazen before posting and chat.

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  28. #28
    Please include it with your signature because it encourages others. We practice for helping and encouraging others. Thank you. Al.

    So, yes, "SatToday“ is our ritual and rule around here. One of the few that we have. It is not about you so much, but about encouraging the group and reluctant sitters. I appreciate it.

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...ore-Forum-Chat

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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