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Thread: Dropping the Mike on "Dropping Body-Mind"

  1. #1

    Dropping the Mike on "Dropping Body-Mind"

    Master Dogen often spoke of Shikantaza Zazen as a way of "dropping body-mind". For example, in the Genjo Koan, he famously wrote the words, "To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by the myriad things. When actualized by the myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away."

    But what exactly is this state to which he refers?

    l have heard a variety of explanations, many of which seem on the money, some far from the mark. Actually, l do not feel it so hard to explain despite the confusion. "Dropping bodymind" is not so hard to explain at all if we just recall the division, fear, friction and longing of the human condition (Dukkha) that is the basic disease that sentient beings are to be liberated from on this Buddhist Path. ln a nutshell, sentient beings feel fundamentally separate and individual from the rest of the "not self" world, some of which "others" we love and long for, some of which we fear and run from, often feeling friction and conflict (and sometimes anger toward) so many of the things and other people in that "not-self" world. We fear for our deaths, feel loss and gain. We are constantly judging the things, people and experiences of life according to how they please us or do not please us (and to what degrees). This sense of a judging, sometime happy and sometimes sad, sometimes content but often discontent, "separate self" manifests through our body (things it craves such as air, water, food and sex, freedom from pain and much more) and the 10,000 things endlessly craved or judged by the thoughts and emotions of the mind. (Actually, it is wrong to speak of body and mind individually because they are integrated, thus Buddhists tend to speak of "body-mind.")

    "Dropping body-mind" is simply to cure, reverse or drop away all the separation and discontent described above. lt ain't rocket science.

    lt begins as the hard borders that separate self/not-self soften, or fully drop away. lt takes two to tangle, conflict and feel friction, and a singularity just cannot conflict and war with itself. The whole of reality is found to flow in and out of the whole of reality, as so thoroughly a singularity and wholeness that tension and conflict are impossible. Friction is replaced by flowing in which, not only are we individuals flowing along, but moreso are the flowing itself flowing. Death is not possible (nor is birth), because the whole does not truly come and go (only the appearances of separate things come and go). There is nothing to long for because, in the wholeness of the all which is all, nothing can be lacking, and all is just as it is. The separate self with its longings, dissatisfactions and fears (arising in the body and mind) is put out of a job. All is as it is, nothing lacking, nothing more in need of doing.

    Shikantaza is our method to drop the longings, dissatisfactions and fears of body-mind because we sit as total completion, with nothing more to attain, no other place to be, no more to do, total equanimity, nothing lacking in sitting itself. (Thus we call this a "non-method," because a "method" is a means to get or attain something, and this sitting as Buddha sitting sitting Buddha is the very dropping away of all need to get, to go, to grab, to reach and attain. Furthermore, this is so much beyond some simple "being in the zone" like a runner or soldier (l have heard such descriptions), because it is truly the experience of being the whole of reality, the whole universe and every moment of time, every tiny atom and the farthest star as this body of tongue, eyes, heart and hand. Every atom and instant of time is fully held in every other atom and instant of time flowing flowing (the "Zone" is truly boundless, the whole universe and then some) ... and that includes every atom and instant of our world and our life.

    ln Shikantaza, one assumes a stable, balanced, comfortable posture and then "just forget about it." Resistance to the state of the body is dropped away or forgotten. This is "dropping off body." ln Shikantaza, we drop away all desires, needs, feelings of lack, demands and hopes for what "should be," fears for what may be (fully content in the equanimity of "just what is.") Thoughts and emotions are not grabbed or entangling, and we are not their prisoner. We let them go and "pay em no nevermind." This is "dropping of mind."

    Bodymind dropped away, dropped away bodymind. This is the power of Shikantaza, Just Sitting, without a drop lacking.

    Of course, getting up from the Zazen sitting cushion, we return to this daily life and ordinary world of self and other, me and you, things we love and things we do not, ups and downs, goals and striving, lack and hunger, win and loose, war and peace, sickness and health, birth and death ... even though, we now realize, these are not other than the Wholeness of division dropped away in other guise. No birth and death, and yet birth and death (death yet no death as one!), and all the rest are "not two," and never have been all along.

    Our Practice is just to figure out how it all fits together, as this "dropped away bodymind" resumes the day-to-day in a world of bodies and minds, lack, fear, coming and going and all the rest.

    Very simple.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-26-2019 at 01:06 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    ln a nutshell, sentient beings feel fundamentally separate and individual from the rest of the "not self" world ... We are constantly judging the things, people and experiences of life according to how the please us or do not please us (and to what degrees). ...

    "Dropping body-mind" is simply to cure, reverse or drop away all the separation and discontent described above. lt ain't rocket science. :-) ...

    Shikantaza is our method to drop the longings, dissatisfactions and fears of body-mind because we sit as total completion ... ln Shikantaza, one assumes a stable, balanced, comfortable posture and then "forget about it." ...

    Of course, getting up from the Zazen sitting cushion, we return to this daily life and ordinary world of self and other ... Our Practice is just to figure out how it all fits together as this "dropped away bodymind" resumes is day-to-day in a world of bodies and minds, lack, fear, coming and going and all the rest.
    Great way to start Sunday. Thank you Jundo

    Gassho,
    Kevin
    #S@2Day

  3. #3
    beautiful, jundo.
    thanks for that great explanation.

    few days ago, i just read something by sekkei harada, that i found very interesting about shikantaza and dropping off body and mind:

    Consider a vase of flowers. On seeing these flowers—in the first instant you perceive them—you probably did not think “beautiful” or “these flowers suit me” or “these are such and such kinds of flowers.” You simply saw them. This is what we call “right seeing,” the most correct way these six functions to be as they are is the most peaceful condition for human beings.
    There is a method of zazen called “shikantaza,” which means “to sit single-mindedly.” Shikantaza is to sit entrusting yourself to thoughts as they arise. It is to sit in a dignified matter, without being moved by what is seen, heard, or thought; shikantaza is to sit without being bothered in any way by these things. By continuing to entrust yourself in this way to the six sense functions as they are, it is possible to know that you are one with things. This is what we call “casting off body and mind.” In China, Dogen practiced with Zen Master Nyojo, and he cast off body and mind doing this kind of zazen. He went to Nyojo and said, “I have cast off body and mind.” Nyojo said, “No. It must be ‘body and mind cast off.’” The reason why “cast off body and mind” is not correct is that from the beginning, body and mind have already been cast off. Consequently, Nyojo explained that casting off body and mind is wholly unnecessary.

    Gassho,

    Ben

    stlah

  4. #4
    Member Anna's Avatar
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    Gassho
    Anna

    ST
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.
    No Gods No Masters.

  5. #5
    Simple


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

  6. #6
    Thank you

    Gassho, Kyotai
    ST LaH
    I am a student at Treeleaf. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. Gassho

  7. #7


    Gassho
    Washin
    sat today
    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'.

  8. #8
    Member mundi's Avatar
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    Gassho

    dean

    sattoday

  9. #9
    Thank you Jundo. Very nicely summed up. Although I can't "just forget about it." As I prefer to "juss fuggetta boutit!"

    Gassho
    STlah
    James

  10. #10
    Thank you, Jundo. /\

    Gassho
    Kendrick
    Sat/Lah
    ďLife and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost. Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken! Take heed, do not squander your life.Ē ― Dōgen

  11. #11
    Thank you, Roshi.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Sat/LAH
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  12. #12
    Thank you.
    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  13. #13
    Member Seishin's Avatar
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    Thank you.

    Sat / lah


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  14. #14
    It make me thing of something Neil deGrasse Tyson said: “We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.”
    Anyway, thank you Jundo
    Sat

  15. #15


    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.

  16. #16
    Thank you Jundo

    _()_
    sosen
    stlah

  17. #17
    Thank you Jundo!

    Gassho,

    Junkyo
    SAT

  18. #18
    This isnít quite the right place for this question so if someone could point me to the correct thread...

    Suddenly Iím having the worst time with keeping my eyes open during Zazen. I would definitely get bonked with the stick... my eye lids become lead and I have to close them. Then I am spending too much time fussing with myself to try to keep them open that Iím not really feeling like Iím zazening correctly. Iíve tried different times of day and nothing is making an impact. Perhaps I just need to rest more in my life in general. Iím starting a new business and have been working intensively. Thank you
    Sara
    ST
    Last edited by sreed; 08-31-2019 at 10:14 PM.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by sreed View Post
    This isn’t quite the right place for this question so if someone could point me to the correct thread...

    Suddenly I’m having the worst time with keeping my eyes open during Zazen. I would definitely get bonked with the stick... my eye lids become lead and I have to close them. Then I am spending too much time fussing with myself to try to keep them open that I’m not really feeling like I’m zazening correctly. I’ve tried different times of day and nothing is making an impact. Perhaps I just need to rest more in my life in general. I’m starting a new business and have been working intensively. Thank you
    Sara
    ST
    You are probably just sleepy. It is important to get enough sleep, not only for Zazen. This is also why Zen folks through the centuries love their tea!

    We have had a few threads with some tips, and maybe something can help:

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...ll=1#post43274

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...sleep-deprived

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...eep-dozing-off

    In the really dozing off case, walk some Kinhin instead of sitting when getting very tired.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  20. #20
    This is very helpful. Thank you, Jundo.
    Sara
    ST

  21. #21
    Member Anna's Avatar
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    Sara, while I've only been sitting zazen for just under a year the game changer for me was in the breathing. I noticed that the times I either dozed off or nearly dozed off my breathing had become relaxed and shallow. When I do the deeper yogic breathing from the diaphragm I tend to stay more alert. When I first started sitting a teacher suggested that when I needed to 'reset' I should focus on my breath, get back on track with the yogic breaths counting each exhale. I was told that I should never get to 10 and that if I did it meant I was focusing on my breathing instead of just sitting. To date I've only ever gotten to 4 before I had essentially reset. I also find that not being completely comfortable also helps.
    Not sure if this is helpful or even sound advice tbh but hey...
    Gassho
    Anna

    Sat today/lent a hand
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.
    No Gods No Masters.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Anna View Post
    Sara, while I've only been sitting zazen for just under a year the game changer for me was in the breathing. I noticed that the times I either dozed off or nearly dozed off my breathing had become relaxed and shallow. When I do the deeper yogic breathing from the diaphragm I tend to stay more alert. When I first started sitting a teacher suggested that when I needed to 'reset' I should focus on my breath, get back on track with the yogic breaths counting each exhale. I was told that I should never get to 10 and that if I did it meant I was focusing on my breathing instead of just sitting. To date I've only ever gotten to 4 before I had essentially reset. I also find that not being completely comfortable also helps.
    Not sure if this is helpful or even sound advice tbh but hey...
    Gassho
    Anna

    Sat today/lent a hand
    Anna, this is great advice. I was trying to go back to my breath and count but still taking shallow breaths. Deeper sounds better.
    Thank you,
    -Sara
    ST
    ďEmpty your cup so that it may be filled; become devoid to gain totality.Ē

    ― Bruce Lee

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by sreed View Post
    Anna, this is great advice. I was trying to go back to my breath and count but still taking shallow breaths. Deeper sounds better.
    Thank you,
    -Sara
    ST
    Yes, breathe from the diaphram or, as we say traditionally, the Hara (the area just below the navel) as if the breath was actually originating from there.

    Also, stretch the neck straighter and lengthen the spine a bit (i.e, don't slouch).

    Also, it may sound like blasphemy to the "Zazen is about time quantity" crowd, but if you are really tired on a certain day, do not forget that Zazen is not about "long or short." A short sitting is fine, even for some moments, if you forget all about measures of time. Get some rest! I talk about that here ...

    How Long To Sit? INTRODUCING the 15-Minute Sit
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...091#post189091

    and

    Watching The Clock Rackin Up Points
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...ckin-Up-Points

    Gassho, J
    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  24. #24
    Member Anna's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Rural Queensland, Australia
    Thank you Jundo.
    I didn't know about the Hara. And yes, time is interesting in regard to sitting.
    I used to metaphorically beat myself up for not being able to sit for extended periods of time. It's only been very recently that I can say to myself that it's ok that I didn't sit for a certain amount of time. It also helped that with the meditation timer I use I use 3 bells to begin and set a finish bell for some ridiculous amount of time later. That way the pressure of achieving a certain goal is gone. If i sit for 40 minutes, great. If i sit for 10 minutes, just as great.
    Thanks again Jundo.
    Gassho
    Anna

    Sat today - 33 minutes lol
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.
    No Gods No Masters.

  25. #25
    Thank you, Jundo, for this lesson.
    Sara, some months ago Jundo recommended me to drink some tea before zazen. I made this into a daily habit, although some days I drink coffee instead. Perhaps it can also help you.
    Gassho,
    Mateus
    Sat today/LAH

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by mateus.baldin View Post
    Thank you, Jundo, for this lesson.
    Sara, some months ago Jundo recommended me to drink some tea before zazen. I made this into a daily habit, although some days I drink coffee instead. Perhaps it can also help you.
    Gassho,
    Mateus
    Sat today/LAH
    But then when you get older and drink tea before Zazen, you are awake but then need to run to the bathroom! Oh, ya can't win!

    But, when sitting just sitting, when walking Kinhin just walk, when running to the bathroom ... just run!

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Yes, breathe from the diaphram or, as we say traditionally, the Hara (the area just below the navel) as if the breath was actually originating from there.

    Also, stretch the neck straighter and lengthen the spine a bit (i.e, don't slouch).

    Also, it may sound like blasphemy to the "Zazen is about time quantity" crowd, but if you are really tired on a certain day, do not forget that Zazen is not about "long or short." A short sitting is fine, even for some moments, if you forget all about measures of time. Get some rest! I talk about that here ...

    How Long To Sit? INTRODUCING the 15-Minute Sit
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...091#post189091

    and

    Watching The Clock Rackin Up Points
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...ckin-Up-Points

    Gassho, J
    STLah
    Yes, I learned a while ago that I'm usually unable to do longer zazen with chronic illness (the deep pain and lingering side effects aren't worth the struggle).

    However, it was Jundo's suggestion to do shorter zazen and to try a few short sessions a day, which is how I evolved into mini-sessions and was able to develop a regular daily practice. It works for me.

    Gassho2
    Kim
    St lh

    Sent from my SM-G930U using Tapatalk
    no destination, no goal

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