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Thread: Just a little reminder: Shikantaza Zazen is --not-- "Meditating"

  1. #1

    Just a little reminder: Shikantaza Zazen is --not-- "Meditating"

    Shikantaza Zazen is --not-- meditating, nor a matter of posture or time. (Yes, this is the kind of statement about Shikantaza that really bothers folks. Unfortunately, so many people teach it as meditating in a certain posture for a certain time). It is not "meditating" because we sit in RADICAL goallessness in which there is nothing to attain, nothing lacking or more needed, but the sitting of sitting itself. Yes, we let thoughts go, do not grab on or become tangled in thoughts. Yes, a nice balanced posture is best so that we can also forget about the body and just let it go too. However, even if we sit for some minutes ... forget about time too, and let measuring go.

    Why do we sit this way?

    Very simple: In the delusion of life, we live always feeling we have to "do" something, that something is missing or needs adding, that we need to ponder and judge, that there are endless goals to obtain, things to fix, people to see and places to be. that time is money and more more more is better than less. Zazen is not that. Zazen is sitting as the one place to be, the one action needed in that time of sitting, nothing lacking and no other place to be or go. It is a "non-tool" for "non-fixing" beyond fixing or not fixing. Zazen is not a matter of time, thus we sit for certain lengths of time. Zazen is the way a Buddha sits sitting Buddha to sit Buddha sitting.

    Just a little reminder.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-01-2019 at 12:31 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Thank you for this reminder. Hopefully, it is okay for me to reply.

    Recently, I realized that even trying to ‘let go’ of thoughts during my zazen is counterintuitive. As I am a beginner, I often start out by following my breath and then slowly ‘letting go’ of the thoughts & feelings that arise. However, I often end up focusing so much on letting go that I cannot actually ‘let go.’ Even if I say ‘okay’ to most of my thoughts and then move on, I still feel attached to something.

    I think my best ‘sits’ are ones where, upon the bell ringing at the end, I realize I have lost my sense of time, but it is difficult to achieve that consistently.

    I hope that makes sense.

    Gassho
    Krissy
    Sat/lah today

  3. #3
    Hi Krissy,


    I sometimes compare what we do to those trick Chinese finger cuffs. Remember those?


    You pull and you pull, thinking you must escape or obtain something ... and the cuffs just tighten. However, completely give up, relax, stop trying ... and you slip right out. Well, the way to relax and be still is not to try to "relax and be still" ... but to do nothing, relax and be still. Let it be, let it go ...

    We don't try not to hit ourselves in the head with a hammer of thoughts. We just relax and put the hammer down. One of the Beginner's Series is about that ...

    Sit-a-Long with Jundo: Zazen for Beginners (2)
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...inners-%282%29

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Shikantaza Zazen is --not-- meditating, nor a matter of posture or time. (Yes, this is the kind of statement about Shikantaza that really bothers folks. Unfortunately, so many people teach it as meditating in a certain posture for a certain time). It is not "meditating" because we sit in RADICAL goallessness in which there is nothing to attain, nothing lacking or more needed, but the sitting of sitting itself. Yes, we let thoughts go, do not grab on or become tangled in thoughts. Yes, a nice balanced posture is best so that we can also forget about the body and just let it go too. However, even if we sit for some minutes ... forget about time too, and let measuring go.

    Why do we sit this way?

    Very simple: In the delusion of life, we live always feeling we have to "do" something, that something is missing or needs adding, that we need to ponder and judge, that there are endless goals to obtain, things to fix, people to see and places to be. that time is money and more more more is better than less. Zazen is not that. Zazen is sitting as the one place to be, the one action needed in that time of sitting, nothing lacking and no other place to be or go. It is a "non-tool" for "non-fixing" beyond fixing or not fixing. Zazen is not a matter of time, thus we sit for certain lengths of time. Zazen is the way a Buddha sits sitting Buddha to sit Buddha sitting.

    Just a little reminder.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Thank you for this.


    kim
    st lh

    Sent from my SM-G930U using Tapatalk

  5. #5

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

  6. #6
    Thank you, Jundo. /\

    Gassho
    Kendrick
    Sat(and about to again)

  7. #7
    Lovely, thank you Jundo ... a timeless reminder. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  8. #8
    Thanks Jundo!

    Gassho,

    Junkyo
    SAT

    Sent from my SM-G955W using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Thanks, Jundo. Of late it's been hitting me that just sitting is just sitting. No concepts, ideas, striving, targets. Not even really trying. I know we are all taught that but I only get flashes and bits of this clarity. Nothing that really sustains. Then I get flashes and bits of thoughts. Not runaway movies, just little blips. I toggle back and forth. Later I think, well maybe this is as good as it gets. It's like when just sitting really happens, I notice it. I am a guy doing it, not just the "itness" anymore. Then have to start over again. It's like a slippery fish in my hands.

    Gassho
    STlah
    James

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
    Thanks, Jundo. Of late it's been hitting me that just sitting is just sitting. No concepts, ideas, striving, targets. Not even really trying. I know we are all taught that but I only get flashes and bits of this clarity. Nothing that really sustains. Then I get flashes and bits of thoughts. Not runaway movies, just little blips. I toggle back and forth. Later I think, well maybe this is as good as it gets. It's like when just sitting really happens, I notice it. I am a guy doing it, not just the "itness" anymore. Then have to start over again. It's like a slippery fish in my hands.

    Gassho
    STlah
    James
    Slippery fish jumps right into the boat. No traps or nets can hold it, yet it is always yours.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-01-2019 at 05:44 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  11. #11
    Thank you.
    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  12. #12
    Thank you for the reminder, Jundo

    Gassho
    Washin
    sattoday
    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'.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Shikantaza Zazen is --not-- meditating, nor a matter of posture or time. (Yes, this is the kind of statement about Shikantaza that really bothers folks. Unfortunately, so many people teach it as meditating in a certain posture for a certain time). It is not "meditating" because we sit in RADICAL goallessness in which there is nothing to attain, nothing lacking or more needed, but the sitting of sitting itself. Yes, we let thoughts go, do not grab on or become tangled in thoughts. Yes, a nice balanced posture is best so that we can also forget about the body and just let it go too. However, even if we sit for some minutes ... forget about time too, and let measuring go.

    Why do we sit this way?

    Very simple: In the delusion of life, we live always feeling we have to "do" something, that something is missing or needs adding, that we need to ponder and judge, that there are endless goals to obtain, things to fix, people to see and places to be. that time is money and more more more is better than less. Zazen is not that. Zazen is sitting as the one place to be, the one action needed in that time of sitting, nothing lacking and no other place to be or go. It is a "non-tool" for "non-fixing" beyond fixing or not fixing. Zazen is not a matter of time, thus we sit for certain lengths of time. Zazen is the way a Buddha sits sitting Buddha to sit Buddha sitting.

    Just a little reminder.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Thank you for this teaching Jundo

    Gassho,
    Jack
    Sattoday/lah

  14. #14


    Doshin
    St

  15. #15
    Thank you Jundo for this insightful reminder.

    Gassho
    Van
    Sat+lah

    Sent from my LYA-L09 using Tapatalk

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Shikantaza Zazen is --not-- meditating, nor a matter of posture or time. (Yes, this is the kind of statement about Shikantaza that really bothers folks. Unfortunately, so many people teach it as meditating in a certain posture for a certain time). It is not "meditating" because we sit in RADICAL goallessness in which there is nothing to attain, nothing lacking or more needed, but the sitting of sitting itself. Yes, we let thoughts go, do not grab on or become tangled in thoughts. Yes, a nice balanced posture is best so that we can also forget about the body and just let it go too. However, even if we sit for some minutes ... forget about time too, and let measuring go.
    I sit at least once a day and my “Insight” tracker says 893 consecutive days since Feb. 2017...
    Yet, I still don’t know if I am doing anything right.
    The “Yes, we let thoughts go, do not grab on or become tangled in thoughts.” Is a constant battle for me. If I do not realy concentrate on not getting tangled in thoughts, and I mean “realy concentrate” on noticing thoughts entering my mind to then let them go, I am lost in yet the next thaught... And than I think I should not concentrate on that and than the next thought is there.... and than I let go, and than I try not to concentrate on nothing and than I start thinking about that and than I think I’m useless. And than I think it is all good, and than I still don’t know if I am doing anything right... So I keep trying not trying... Will something happen some day? There seems to be very little progress. Should there be progress?
    ???
    But I keep sitting every single day... Am I stupid?

    (And these are my “todays” reflexions. Sometimes it is worse and sometimes I don’t worry so much...)

    Gassho/SatToday
    流道
    Ryū Dou

  17. #17
    I am still new to sitting.
    I've found that I start off very empty of thoughts or at the least, a little 'whisper' here and there. But after about 10 to 15 minutes, I find that thoughts simply pop into my head. I try to just be aware of them so that I don't begin an internal dialog with them, stay clam, keep breathing and do my best to let them melt away by their own volition. By the time I'm done (20 mins), it's started to be a battle with them but I think even though I may never be completely devoid of thoughts, they will lessen as my monkey mind gets tamed...

    Gassho.
    Rob.

    ST

  18. #18
    Thank you Roshi for that reminder


    Quote Originally Posted by Ryudo View Post
    I sit at least once a day and my “Insight” tracker says 893 consecutive days since Feb. 2017...
    Yet, I still don’t know if I am doing anything right.
    The “Yes, we let thoughts go, do not grab on or become tangled in thoughts.” Is a constant battle for me. If I do not realy concentrate on not getting tangled in thoughts, and I mean “realy concentrate” on noticing thoughts entering my mind to then let them go, I am lost in yet the next thaught... And than I think I should not concentrate on that and than the next thought is there.... and than I let go, and than I try not to concentrate on nothing and than I start thinking about that and than I think I’m useless. And than I think it is all good, and than I still don’t know if I am doing anything right... So I keep trying not trying... Will something happen some day? There seems to be very little progress. Should there be progress?
    ???
    But I keep sitting every single day... Am I stupid?

    (And these are my “todays” reflexions. Sometimes it is worse and sometimes I don’t worry so much...)

    Gassho/SatToday
    Hi Ryudo,
    you don't know how to do it right, and that's good. In my opinion, the moment we know about doing it right, we compare our experiences. We judge between good and bad, try to archieve anything. I still dont know about right or wrong zazen too. Don't try to possess zazen.. don't make it a method, don't intellectualize it... It will become a dead practice. Every moment, ever sit on the zafu is utterly new, was never there before..how can you know about it? The eternal beginners mind don't know anything. Neither about doing something right nor is it concerned with doing anything wrong.
    I got very distracted when I experienced the first satori like states, no mind, bliss... These moments I labeled as right zazen, as attainment... Other moments like thoughts arising and being tired, day dreaming or other common states I labeled as bad... But it's not about the mind state, not about the content or the appearance of this moment. It is the moment itself you encounter and embrace. If there's being concerned about the practice, let there be these thoughts of being concerned...if there's boredom, sit with boredom... If there's absence of thoughts, let there be this state. If you catch yourself in day dreaming, thinking or entanglement, you already returned...just come back to sitting. It doesn't matter at all. it's just the acceptance of what arises...therefore also progress is not relevant. But accepting the things that arise doesn't mean that we deal with the arisings in any way


    Gassho
    Ben


    Stlah


    Enviado desde mi PLK-L01 mediante Tapatalk

  19. #19
    Thank you for this reminder. I have been guilty at times of referring to Shikantaza Zazen as “meditation” to friends for convenience sake to avoid their blank looks and sometimes lengthy explanation.

    Gassho,
    Meredith
    _/STLAH\_

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Meredith View Post
    Thank you for this reminder. I have been guilty at times of referring to Shikantaza Zazen as “meditation” to friends for convenience sake to avoid their blank looks and sometimes lengthy explanation.

    Gassho,
    Meredith
    _/STLAH\_
    Oh, I just once in awhile say something shocking like "Zazen is not meditation" as a medicine to counter-act the usual idea that Zazen is meditation, i.e., a tool, a means, something with a purpose or goal, be it "enlightenment" or "relaxation" or "insight" or anything in between. Truly, Zazen thoroughly-is-yet-is-thoroughly-beyond all dichotomies such as "meditation vs. not meditation" "Jundo vs. Meredith" "Birth and Death" etc etc.

    We sit diligently and alert in radical equanimity with absolutely nothing to attain but the marvel of just sitting itself, sitting for sitting's sake as the one activity required in all of life in that time of sitting. It is not a tool, a key, a means or method, and thus opens the door that does not need opening, fixes all beyond fixing or not fixing in dropping all thought of "broken" or "not broken." It is radical sitting in no need to change. That "no need to change" --is-- a radical change from our usual deluded consciousness which always "needs" and wants to "change" and fix and "bring about" and "relate to" and adjust.

    Gassho, J

    STLah

    PS - I am not a big Alan Watts fan on all things (there were quite a few misunderstandings about Zen in his early writings, back in the 50's), but a nice quote I came across from him yesterday:
    =======
    “We could say that meditation doesn't have a reason or doesn't have a purpose. In this respect it's unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.”

    PPS - Very nice description of Shikantaza from Ben/Hishiryo above.
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-02-2019 at 06:27 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  21. #21

    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Shikantaza Zazen is --not-- meditating, nor a matter of posture or time. (Yes, this is the kind of statement about Shikantaza that really bothers folks. Unfortunately, so many people teach it as meditating in a certain posture for a certain time). It is not "meditating" because we sit in RADICAL goallessness in which there is nothing to attain, nothing lacking or more needed, but the sitting of sitting itself. Yes, we let thoughts go, do not grab on or become tangled in thoughts. Yes, a nice balanced posture is best so that we can also forget about the body and just let it go too. However, even if we sit for some minutes ... forget about time too, and let measuring go.

    Why do we sit this way?

    Very simple: In the delusion of life, we live always feeling we have to "do" something, that something is missing or needs adding, that we need to ponder and judge, that there are endless goals to obtain, things to fix, people to see and places to be. that time is money and more more more is better than less. Zazen is not that. Zazen is sitting as the one place to be, the one action needed in that time of sitting, nothing lacking and no other place to be or go. It is a "non-tool" for "non-fixing" beyond fixing or not fixing. Zazen is not a matter of time, thus we sit for certain lengths of time. Zazen is the way a Buddha sits sitting Buddha to sit Buddha sitting.

    Just a little reminder.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Hey Jundo,

    Thanks for the post!

    I was wondering, if you can better explain the difference between 'inclusive awareness' non-focus on one thing, no fixation, no goals, just being and 'exclusive awareness' fixed are of focus like breath, nose etc.

    I have my own ideas but am looking for a new perspective. I am exercising my beginner mind.

    Thanks in advance Jundo,

    Gassho,

    Brad

    Sat Lah

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Oh, I just once in awhile say something shocking like "Zazen is not meditation" as a medicine to counter-act the usual idea that Zazen is meditation, i.e., a tool, a means, something with a purpose or goal, be it "enlightenment" or "relaxation" or "insight" or anything in between. Truly, Zazen thoroughly-is-yet-is-thoroughly-beyond all dichotomies such as "meditation vs. not meditation" "Jundo vs. Meredith" "Birth and Death" etc etc.

    We sit diligently and alert in radical equanimity with absolutely nothing to attain but the marvel of just sitting itself, sitting for sitting's sake as the one activity required in all of life in that time of sitting. It is not a tool, a key, a means or method, and thus opens the door that does not need opening, fixes all beyond fixing or not fixing in dropping all thought of "broken" or "not broken." It is radical sitting in no need to change. That "no need to change" --is-- a radical change from our usual deluded consciousness which always "needs" and wants to "change" and fix and "bring about" and "relate to" and adjust.

    Gassho, J

    STLah

    PS - I am not a big Alan Watts fan on all things (there were quite a few misunderstandings about Zen in his early writings, back in the 50's), but a nice quote I came across from him yesterday:
    =======
    “We could say that meditation doesn't have a reason or doesn't have a purpose. In this respect it's unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.”

    PPS - Very nice description of Shikantaza from Ben/Hishiryo above.
    Alan Watts has always been kind of hit and miss with me but this analogy about music and dance is a hit. I am now going out to mow the lawn which is not something I enjoy and usually can't wait to get to the end of it. I'll take the above approach and see.

    Gassho
    STlah
    James

  23. #23
    - Nothing more is needed.

    SAT TODAY
    Shozan

  24. #24
    Thank you for the reminder, I too sometimes use the word meditation for convenience when talking to others, in future I'll try to clarify.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattodaylah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  25. #25
    Jundo, would you say that Shikantaza Zazen is a form of mediation, or something completely different?

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by BradR89 View Post

    I was wondering, if you can better explain the difference between 'inclusive awareness' non-focus on one thing, no fixation, no goals, just being and 'exclusive awareness' fixed are of focus like breath, nose etc.

    I have my own ideas but am looking for a new perspective. I am exercising my beginner mind.
    Quote Originally Posted by Shinshi View Post
    Jundo, would you say that Shikantaza Zazen is a form of mediation, or something completely different?
    Hi Brad,

    If I understand your question, I believe that "inclusive awareness" is about the same as what is often called "open awareness" ... sitting beyond judgments, in equanimity, letting thoughts go, with the the "object of attention" being no one thing in particular. We sit in such way. However, sometimes folks may follow the breath or bring attention to the posture, the hara (the area below the belly), the palm of the hands or the like. That is helpful for folks, especially newer folks, who need a bit of an anchor because their mind really wanders in thoughts, and they need to build a modicum of attention and settling. When the mind settles a bit, I do advice folks to try moving into "open awareness" when they can, just letting thoughts go without grabbing on, focused on "everything, and nothing in particular" as the object of attention. Even when folks sit following the breath or the like in Shikantaza, we do not overly obsess, do so in a relaxed way, and are not seeking deep concentration states (although they sometimes happen) or special exotic mental states (they do sometimes happen too, but many things happen).

    The reason I say that Shikantaza is -not- "meditation is not that, but rather that the sitting itself is the point, the pinnacle, the reason, the goal realized, the Buddha doin' Buddha.

    Neither are we just "sittin' there like a bump on a log", just twiddling our thumbs and passing our time.

    No, Shikantaza is sincere and alert sitting in which we sit upright in radical equanimity, letting thoughts go, but with the conviction in the bones that this mere act of sitting is a sacred and complete act, the one act to do and one place to be in the whole of time and space in that moment. Just sitting is the cat's meow, the cream in the coffee, with nothing lacking.

    Thus, to be technical (and to answer Shinshi), Shikantaza obviously has aspect of meditation (we are sitting in a nice posture, letting thoughts go etc). But it is not meditation too. Meditation-not-meditation perhaps. Obviously we have a goal in sitting, but that goal is to radically drop all goals and needs and feelings of lack, whereby merely sitting with legs crossed (or other nice posture) is the only goal and is fully attained just by doing so, nothing more needed and not one thing lacking. So, non-goal-goals.

    Does that make sense ... in a Zenny way? :-)

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  27. #27

    Thank you

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Brad,

    If I understand your question, I believe that "inclusive awareness" is about the same as what is often called "open awareness" ... sitting beyond judgments, in equanimity, letting thoughts go, with the the "object of attention" being no one thing in particular. We sit in such way. However, sometimes folks may follow the breath or bring attention to the posture, the hara (the area below the belly), the palm of the hands or the like. That is helpful for folks, especially newer folks, who need a bit of an anchor because their mind really wanders in thoughts, and they need to build a modicum of attention and settling. When the mind settles a bit, I do advice folks to try moving into "open awareness" when they can, just letting thoughts go without grabbing on, focused on "everything, and nothing in particular" as the object of attention. Even when folks sit following the breath or the like in Shikantaza, we do not overly obsess, do so in a relaxed way, and are not seeking deep concentration states (although they sometimes happen) or special exotic mental states (they do sometimes happen too, but many things happen).

    The reason I say that Shikantaza is -not- "meditation is not that, but rather that the sitting itself is the point, the pinnacle, the reason, the goal realized, the Buddha doin' Buddha.

    Neither are we just "sittin' there like a bump on a log", just twiddling our thumbs and passing our time.

    No, Shikantaza is sincere and alert sitting in which we sit upright in radical equanimity, letting thoughts go, but with the conviction in the bones that this mere act of sitting is a sacred and complete act, the one act to do and one place to be in the whole of time and space in that moment. Just sitting is the cat's meow, the cream in the coffee, with nothing lacking.

    Thus, to be technical (and to answer Shinshi), Shikantaza obviously has aspect of meditation (we are sitting in a nice posture, letting thoughts go etc). But it is not meditation too. Meditation-not-meditation perhaps. Obviously we have a goal in sitting, but that goal is to radically drop all goals and needs and feelings of lack, whereby merely sitting with legs crossed (or other nice posture) is the only goal and is fully attained just by doing so, nothing more needed and not one thing lacking. So, non-goal-goals.

    Does that make sense ... in a Zenny way? :-)

    Gassho, J

    STLah

    Hey Jundo,

    Thank you for clarifying this. Yes, it does make sense in a very Zenny way . See you Monday!

    Gassho,

    Brad

    SatToday

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Brad,

    If I understand your question, I believe that "inclusive awareness" is about the same as what is often called "open awareness" ... sitting beyond judgments, in equanimity, letting thoughts go, with the the "object of attention" being no one thing in particular. We sit in such way. However, sometimes folks may follow the breath or bring attention to the posture, the hara (the area below the belly), the palm of the hands or the like. That is helpful for folks, especially newer folks, who need a bit of an anchor because their mind really wanders in thoughts, and they need to build a modicum of attention and settling. When the mind settles a bit, I do advice folks to try moving into "open awareness" when they can, just letting thoughts go without grabbing on, focused on "everything, and nothing in particular" as the object of attention. Even when folks sit following the breath or the like in Shikantaza, we do not overly obsess, do so in a relaxed way, and are not seeking deep concentration states (although they sometimes happen) or special exotic mental states (they do sometimes happen too, but many things happen).

    The reason I say that Shikantaza is -not- "meditation is not that, but rather that the sitting itself is the point, the pinnacle, the reason, the goal realized, the Buddha doin' Buddha.

    Neither are we just "sittin' there like a bump on a log", just twiddling our thumbs and passing our time.

    No, Shikantaza is sincere and alert sitting in which we sit upright in radical equanimity, letting thoughts go, but with the conviction in the bones that this mere act of sitting is a sacred and complete act, the one act to do and one place to be in the whole of time and space in that moment. Just sitting is the cat's meow, the cream in the coffee, with nothing lacking.

    Thus, to be technical (and to answer Shinshi), Shikantaza obviously has aspect of meditation (we are sitting in a nice posture, letting thoughts go etc). But it is not meditation too. Meditation-not-meditation perhaps. Obviously we have a goal in sitting, but that goal is to radically drop all goals and needs and feelings of lack, whereby merely sitting with legs crossed (or other nice posture) is the only goal and is fully attained just by doing so, nothing more needed and not one thing lacking. So, non-goal-goals.

    Does that make sense ... in a Zenny way? :-)

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Thank you Jundo. Makes perfect sense - in a Zenny way.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  29. #29
    Thanks jundo. Here’s a pic I took yesterday of a lotus just sitting


    Sat/lah


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

    I may be wrong and not knowing is acceptable

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Thanks jundo. Here’s a pic I took yesterday of a lotus just sitting
    Thank you Rich. The lotus is --not-- a flower. It is all the Buddhas just blossoming.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  31. #31
    Where I lived in Fuchu Cho (a suburb of Hiroshima; just across the street actually) there was a Lotus garden beside where I parked my car. The blossoming of a Lotus flower was an event to watch for. The garden was tended by a farmer who grew the Lotus for the delicious root (ringo). The blossoms don't last long but, their aroma is to experience.

    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

  32. #32
    Very nice description of Shikantaza from Ben/Hishiryo above.


    deep bows in 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

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by krissydear View Post
    Thank you for this reminder. Hopefully, it is okay for me to reply.

    Recently, I realized that even trying to ‘let go’ of thoughts during my zazen is counterintuitive. As I am a beginner, I often start out by following my breath and then slowly ‘letting go’ of the thoughts & feelings that arise. However, I often end up focusing so much on letting go that I cannot actually ‘let go.’ Even if I say ‘okay’ to most of my thoughts and then move on, I still feel attached to something.
    Letting go of letting go is a mindbender. Then letting go of even that...

    Shinshou (Daniel)
    Sat Today

  34. #34
    Hello everyone,
    not posting here for long, just to say how much your reminder touched me and shad a different light on zazen. Thank you Jundo. Also wanting to send a virtual hug to Ryudo, what you wrote resonates so much with me, I could have written it. For me a breakthrough was to see how pointless that circulating is, but we are all different.
    Be well & Gassho
    Myoku
    sat

  35. #35
    Hi Myoku

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  36. #36
    Oh... what's the use!

    Gassho
    Ishin
    Sat Today Lah
    Grateful for your practice

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Ishin View Post
    Oh... what's the use!

    Gassho
    Ishin
    Sat Today Lah
    What's the use in what Ishin?

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Shingen View Post
    What's the use in what Ishin?

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    Joking about the usefulness of Zazen

    Gassho
    Ishin
    Sat Today Lah
    Grateful for your practice

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Ishin View Post
    Joking about the usefulness of Zazen

    Gassho
    Ishin
    Sat Today Lah


    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  40. #40
    I also used to get attached to the little flashes of satori or feelings of bliss and would then chase and crave those feelings, thinking I'd failed if they didn't materialise again. But, mostly due to Jundo's teaching, I've come to see the error in that approach. I've come to see sitting now as a radical way to to stare existence in the face without shying away and without judgment - I've come to see it like being a rock in the sea with the waves of reality crashing upon it - the sea is sometimes calm and sometimes stormy but the rock is steady whatever the weather.

    Oh, and I am also guilty of using the term 'meditation' to non Zen people just as ease of reference. I think if I told my wife I'm practising being a rock in the sea every morning she'd think I'd lost my marbles!

    Gassho,

    Neil

    StLaH

  41. #41
    I personally sit with the feeling that sitting (there facing the wall) is the only thing for me to do. Anytime I catch myself "caught up" in thoughts, I am (already) back to this sitting. I am aware that my sitting is perfectly useless and I am sitting there just to warm the cushion

    Gassho,
    Sat/Lah

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by shikantazen View Post
    I personally sit with the feeling that sitting (there facing the wall) is the only thing for me to do. Anytime I catch myself "caught up" in thoughts, I am (already) back to this sitting. I am aware that my sitting is perfectly useless and I am sitting there just to warm the cushion

    Gassho,
    Sat/Lah
    And that testimony from "Shikataza Zen" itself!

    But would you do me a couple of favors, old timer? To help make this place a bit more personal? Would you sign a human first name to your posts, and also have an avatar photo of a human face (not only empty Zafu and wall, although I understand the sentiment. ). Helps us look each other in the eye in one of the precious ways we have around here. Thank you.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  43. #43
    Hi, Tai Shi here. I have been trying to practice Shikantaza for about 5 years. I do what I'm kind of told. I sit upright with feet on floor though not always flat on the floor. In the years preceding Treeleaf there was a lot of (CD) guided meditations, and breathe counting as I sought relief from pain. When I came to Treeleaf I began to sit a combination of guided meditations, and Shikantaza. Then during an Ango, a priest-in-training told me to treat breathing like a cow chewing its cud, Another told me to focus on my pain which can be intense. I was also told to let go, to focus at first on breathing, and let thoughts fall away. Now my pain is worse, and I can't sit up by myself, so I prop myself against a wall, and sit on a cushion on my chair, and as always, I rest my hands in lap in a relaxed mudra, but I also lie in bed, and sit in my cushioned easy chair recliner. So what is right? To help with pain, I will continue with guided meditations, and I will sit Shikantaza as I can. Does this sound okay? I hope my attitudes change as I ever continue the student. Is this also okay?

    Tai Shi
    Gassho
    sat
    "We cannot enjoy life if we spend a lot of time worrying about what happened yesterday and what will happen tomorrow." Thich Nhat Hanh

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Tai Shi View Post
    Hi, Tai Shi here. I have been trying to practice Shikantaza for about 5 years. I do what I'm kind of told. I sit upright with feet on floor though not always flat on the floor. In the years preceding Treeleaf there was a lot of (CD) guided meditations, and breathe counting as I sought relief from pain. When I came to Treeleaf I began to sit a combination of guided meditations, and Shikantaza. Then during an Ango, a priest-in-training told me to treat breathing like a cow chewing its cud, Another told me to focus on my pain which can be intense. I was also told to let go, to focus at first on breathing, and let thoughts fall away. Now my pain is worse, and I can't sit up by myself, so I prop myself against a wall, and sit on a cushion on my chair, and as always, I rest my hands in lap in a relaxed mudra, but I also lie in bed, and sit in my cushioned easy chair recliner. So what is right? To help with pain, I will continue with guided meditations, and I will sit Shikantaza as I can. Does this sound okay? I hope my attitudes change as I ever continue the student. Is this also okay?

    Tai Shi
    Gassho
    sat
    Sounds okay.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Sounds okay.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Yes it’s okay!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    "We cannot enjoy life if we spend a lot of time worrying about what happened yesterday and what will happen tomorrow." Thich Nhat Hanh

  46. #46
    Thank you for this reminder, Jundo. It is really important for me to revisit it now that Ango has begun.
    I used to be able to distinguish the thoughts that came from the thoughts I consciously fed. I always try to let go of my thoughts. But they keep coming back. Now it became more difficult to do so and I end up in a long stream of thoughts until I realize that my mind has found a way to trick me into the thoughts. I return to the hara and the breath for some time, and there goes my mind again tricking me.
    Nowadays it is really difficult to experience samadhi during zazen. And I think I’ve never experience anything like satori, which, I have to confess, I crave to experience many times while sitting.
    While at it, I keep siting and reminding me that I have no other goal than to sit. Clouds or no clouds, the blue sky is there.
    Gassho,
    Mateus
    Sat today/LAH
    Last edited by mateus.baldin; 09-08-2019 at 03:02 PM. Reason: Correcting bad English again.

  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by mateus.baldin View Post
    Nowadays it is really difficult to experience samadhi during zazen. And I think I’ve never experience anything like satori, which, I have to confess, I crave to experience many times while sitting.
    Oh, you want this, you want that. What is the peace and freedom of being "free of wanting" like?

    Gassho, Jundo
    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Oh, you want this, you want that. What is the peace and freedom of being "free of wanting" like?
    I don't know, but it sounds like something I want.

    This is a challenge for me also, to sit with the intent of just sitting without having the intent of just sitting. I feel there's a line there I have to surf by feel without thinking and words. I'll get up on the wave and as soon as I have a good 2-3 seconds my mind goes "I'm surfing!" and then I crash.

    Gassho
    Kevin
    Sat

  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Oh, you want this, you want that. What is the peace and freedom of being "free of wanting" like?

    Gassho, Jundo
    STLah

    Mateus
    Sat today/LAH

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin M View Post
    I don't know, but it sounds like something I want.

    This is a challenge for me also, to sit with the intent of just sitting without having the intent of just sitting. I feel there's a line there I have to surf by feel without thinking and words. I'll get up on the wave and as soon as I have a good 2-3 seconds my mind goes "I'm surfing!" and then I crash.

    Gassho
    Kevin
    Sat
    It sounds like you are seeking a special state of mind that you can crash from. Sounds like you are still confusing Shikantaza with other meditation styles in which one seeks to attain and hold some samadhi state. Where is the "place" that one cannot fall from or fall into? (A clue: you are always "here," realized or not.)

    In Shikantaza, one needs the "intent" to get one's ass on the cushion each day. One needs whatever "intent" is required just to sit upright without falling off the cushion (although there is "no place to fall," one's ass can fall off a Zafu ... a Koan). However, it does not really take any conscious intent to keep one's ass on the Zafu, so once on the Zafu please drop all intent, need, grabbing on to thoughts, need for "samadhi" or "satori" or anything at all. Nothing is lacking, and one's ass on the cushion is Buddha's ass on the cushion.

    Does a rock or a mountain need "intent" to sit as a rock or a mountain? What are they seeking? Do they wish for "samadhi" or to find their True Rock or Buddha Mountain? Neither is this dead sitting, like a bag of rocks, because we are alert, aware, awake. However, while alert, aware, awake one is also complete, whole, equanimious and accepting like a mirror.

    Just Sit.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-09-2019 at 12:45 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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