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Thread: Welcome to "Simple Living" - Chapters 1 and 2

  1. #1

    Welcome to "Simple Living" - Chapters 1 and 2

    Dear All,

    Welcome to our "Simple Living" Practice Circle, based on the little book entitled "The Art of Simple Living: 100 Daily Practices from a Japanese Zen Monk for a Lifetime of Calm and Joy" by Rev. Shunmyo Masuno (https://www.amazon.com/Art-Simple-Li.../dp/B07FC2BNM3). My small review of the book is here:

    This is a wonderful, wise and unique book. The Soto Priest and noted Japanese garden designer, Shunmyo Masuno, has put together 100 little lessons (each one is less than a page long), stories and tiny practices to bring a drop of Zen Wisdom and Compassion to our day (e.g., "plant a single seed, water it, and watch it closely each day as it grows" or "don't throw away, and completely repurpose, something you were about to toss in the trash.") Most of the practices take no time at all, can be done only once, or now and then, or as a permanent habit, and are very simple.

    Will it be life changing? Well, it will change this one moment, and lead you to notice and experience aspects of life that might have slipped by you in our daily hustle and bustle. It is about slowing down, appreciating the small things, accepting the ups and downs of ordinary life a little bit more. I think that such small drops of change and stillness will have a positive and cumulative effect, yes. Each small practice or insight adds to bigger changes in our hearts. (Do make it a habit to say "thank you" when life hands you something even unwelcome, do try to really listen to a friend or stranger for a minute although you are otherwise distracted).

    He does not mean for us to do all 100 practices each day, but maybe some only once, some now and then, and some might really stick to us and become a regular part of life. Try them and see.

    The book seems to be available as "Zen your life: Kleine Veränderungen mit großer Wirkung" in German. It seems to also be available in English under the alternative title, "Zen: The Art of Simple Living."

    A nice article profiling Rev. Masuno is here: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture...1#.XQrOtegzaUl
    I thought we would try a couple of little tasks each week. Some you may do just once, some you may do a few times, some you might continue ... a few may last a lifetime! Let's see! Most of the activities are short and should only require a few minutes. Enjoy them, they are to bring lightness to life. All the "chapters" of the book are less than a page long.

    If you are joining this circle "late," there is no "late" ... jump in anywhere! I am hoping that we will go through the book in a cycle each year, and I will plan to post a new couple of tasks each week,

    I will include chapter headings, as we discovered some differences between the US and UK editions regarding chapter order.

    Chapter 1 - Make Time For Emptiness - Your assignment is "Sit Zazen for a few minutes." (Hopefully, you would be sitting Zazen anyway! )

    Chapter 2 - Wake Up Fifteen Minutes Earlier - Wake up 15 minutes early one morning, lengthen your spine, stretch your muscles and take deep breaths for a couple of minutes, then spend a few minutes just looking deeply at the sky or listening deeply to the birds, thinking nothing particularly at all. You can drink tea or coffee etc. too.


    Please write your experiences with the little activities below, although perhaps not much to say.

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-11-2019 at 12:36 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Thanks Jundo, starting tomorrow morning at 7:00am. Need to get to bed now.

    gassho, Shokai

    stlah
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    May we all grow together in our knowledge of the Dharma

  3. #3
    Started a few weeks ago. My wife or I read a Chapter out loud at night...not every night due to scheduling but moving forward.

    First time my wife is sitting 10 minutes and now 12.

    A pleasant, peaceful thing to share with my wife

    Doshin
    St

  4. #4
    Thank you ... I will be reading along.

    Have have had this book for awhile and read it once already, but great book, so will be nice to go through it once more.

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Doshin View Post
    A pleasant, peaceful thing to share with my wife
    I agree with you Doshin. My wife sits with me most days and it is wonderful to share this with her.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  6. #6
    Usually it is my practice to sit zazen 20 min. I set the timer for 28 min, find myself peeking at about 20 min. Yesterday at about 4:30 I began before breakfast as some advice given, but stomach growled. This morning before breakfast sat zazen about 20 min before breakfast but ready at kitchen table to begin eating as soon as all was over. Found not good to sit zazen in kitchen but tomorrow move to cushion before breakfast. I will simplify. Perhaps I won't sit zazen so long, better for stomach.

    Tai Shi
    sat
    Gassho
    "Faith is one with the fruit of enlightenment; the fruit of enlightenment is one with faith." Eihei Dogen: Mystical Realist

  7. #7
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    St. John's Newfoundland, Canada.
    Neat! I'm in too.

    Gassho
    Hoseki
    Sattoday/lah

  8. #8
    Thank you for getting this going, Jundo.

    Gassho,
    Anant
    SaT

  9. #9
    I'm joining too and I'm looking forward to read about your experiences

    Gassho,
    Jack
    Sattoday/lah

  10. #10
    I’m in!

    Gassho
    Kendrick
    Sat

  11. #11
    This.

    gassho
    doyu stlah
    特別な人ではない

  12. #12
    Member Seishin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    La Croix-Avranchin, Basse Normandie, France
    Hi Jundo, I'm interested in jumping on the back of this one. Can you confirm this is the same book ?
    https://www.amazon.com/Zen-Simple-Li...ZX78FQC0R2R6R1
    Its the only Kindle version I could find on Amazon.fr. Thought I'd check, as its title is slightly different.


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  13. #13
    I just got the book and will be joining in as well.

    Gassho,

    Junkyo
    SAT

    Sent from my SM-G955W using Tapatalk

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Seishin View Post
    Hi Jundo, I'm interested in jumping on the back of this one. Can you confirm this is the same book ?
    https://www.amazon.com/Zen-Simple-Li...ZX78FQC0R2R6R1
    Its the only Kindle version I could find on Amazon.fr. Thought I'd check, as its title is slightly different.
    Yes. Not sure why they published with 2 titles. Complicates the simple.

    Gassho, J

    STlah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    My wife and I tried these two exercises this morning. Of course the sitting Zazen part was easy given that it is part of our Sunday morning routine. I am hearing impaired so listening to the birds required a bit of extra attention but more importantly trying to not create a problem with expectations and disappointment. The very fresh air (10 degrees this morning) was lovely.

    My wife said she "thoroughly enjoyed it."

    I suspect this is a keeper.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah

  16. #16
    Is there room for one more?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  17. #17
    I tried today and it was lovely. The birds were there, but were not singing for some reason. The air was hot as usual, but easy to breathe and the sky was completely blue, no cloud in the horizon.
    Gassho,
    Mateus
    Sat today/LAH

  18. #18
    Member Seishin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    La Croix-Avranchin, Basse Normandie, France
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Yes. Not sure why they published with 2 titles. Complicates the simple.

    Gassho, J

    STlah
    Thank you Jundo, will get the ebook version and catch up with folks.

    As to the exercises above, daily zazen of least one session is a given, usually accompanied by the bird song from our courtyard, which gets quite boisterous mid-spring but never interferes with sitting, as its now just an integral part, alone with my dog Sophie snoring alongside me. At my age stretching is a given when getting up by I often take time to look as the sky. Be it just standing gazing or observing when out walking the dog, mowing the lawn or fields. Never the same always different. Even on a run of scorching clear blue skies each day there are subtle nuances of colour and shade. But to me the biggest draw, although I shouldn't get attached, is the night time sky, putting the dog out for one last time before bed. When she's done I'll turn the courtyard light off and either stand or just sit (not zazen sitting ) starring skywards and drinking in the universe. It reminds me of how small I am but that I am also part of the whole magical display, giving me a sense of well being and purpose. First shooting star or satellite and its off to bed. Wash rinse repeat.


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  19. #19
    Member Seishin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    La Croix-Avranchin, Basse Normandie, France
    Birdsong just after the rain has stopped falling.


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  20. #20
    1. Sat zazen yesterday. Not much to say since this is regular routine - I did have a lot of worries last night about a health issue though.

    2. Woke up early this morning. I laid in bed for the first 5 or 10 minutes and listened to the birds and crickets just before sunrise. Brings back a lot of memories of when I was a kid and stayed at my grandparent's farm a lot - they always got up very early and began making breakfast at this time so waking up to kitchen sounds, food smells, and those sounds is fairly ingrained in my memory. I made my way out of bed and went to the kitchen to view the now emerging sunrise, looks rainy again today. I grabbed my phone and took a photo of the view, and then went into the living room for some brief yoga before I shifted into my normal morning routine getting ready for the day. I was really nice to have the extra time this morning to wake up more slowly. Depending on how sleepy I feel today I may do this more often.

    Gassho /\
    Kendrick
    Sat

  21. #21
    Thank you Jundo! I'll buy the book as soon as I can and I'll join in.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Sat/LAH
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  22. #22
    Thank you. Sounds like a lovely series of practices. My book just arrived today.

    Gassho

    Anne
    ~lahst~

  23. #23
    I read the first chapter. This book is exactly what I need to restart my practice


    ST

  24. #24
    Jumping in with y'all! This is very similar to my morning parking lot Zazen that I still do before work some days. There are birds singing even around a suburban parking lot every day, and usually no one is paying them any mind at all, a full choral concert with no audience except themselves.

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    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).

  25. #25
    They start the concert when they see your car pulling in

    Gassho Kyotai
    ST

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
    I am a student at Treeleaf. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. Gassho

  26. #26
    This sounds great, looking forward to joining in.

    Gassho,

    Neil

    StLaH

  27. #27
    We will be moving on tomorrow, but there is no "catching up." Just a big annual loop of just this and now. So, jump in anywhere when we do.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  28. #28
    Practice is always humbling. Tried this today, and found that even for all my daily sitting routine, my mind still sometimes laughs at my folly and has other plans, resisting and wanting to get a head start on an avalanche of "have-to-do's". Kept returning stubbornly to the beautiful morning and the birdsong, then took some extra time afterward to LAH to my daughter with one of the horses that needs medication. Then set off to the errands in a calmer, more grateful state of mind. Just goes to show how even more important it is to make that time to JUST SIT when you are "TOO BUSY!"

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    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).

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