Results 1 to 27 of 27

Thread: Of Shikantaza and "Mindfulness"

  1. #1

    Of Shikantaza and "Mindfulness"

    The question comes up from time to time on the differences (and samenesses) between Shikantaza and "mindfulness" meditation.

    In part, that depends on how one defines "mindfulness," and the particular way a certain book or teacher presents "mindfulness meditation."

    If one means "mindfulness" as being the practice of scanning and labeling thoughts and emotions as they arise, it is a wonderful practice very much for all Buddhists ... but we do not actively engage in such practice during the sitting of Shikantaza Zazen. In Shikantaza, one simply lets thoughts go without identifying and labeling their type, or particularly trying to witness (as found in some kinds of Vipassana meditation) their source of arising. In Shikantaza, one lets thoughts pass without grabbing on or stirring up, perhaps finding that there is also stillness between ... and within ... the thoughts too. At other times in life, it is lovely to become aware of one's thoughts and emotions more, identify them so as not to buy into what they are selling so much. However, not during the sitting of Shikantaza Zazen. (We have a recommended daily practice here at Treeleaf based on such mindfulness of our thoughts and emotions: Nurturing Seeds PRACTICE)

    Some types of modern "mindfulness" meditation are closer to such "scanning and labeling," but others are closer in various ways to (and have been influenced to some degree by) Shikantaza/Just Sitting. However. if one is following the breath in order to intentionally "feel peaceful" or to intentionally relax, then that is not really Shikantaza. In Shikantaza, one radically drops all need and intents, even to feel peaceful or relax. The only need and intent is to sit for sitting's sake, with that a complete and fulfilled act in and of itself. (However, strange as it may sound, this very dropping of need and intent ... even to feel peace or relax ... leads to its own profound Peace because that very hunger and need is what causes human beings to feel lack and dis-ease in the first place!)

    If one is sitting a kind of mindfulness "letting thoughts go, accepting the moment, no goals or demands" then that is obviously very very Shikantaza-ish! However, even then, what might be missing? I would say that one might still be subtly sitting in order to get that "peace and relaxation" pay-off (which actually robs one of the real treasure). Second, there is a certain power to Shikantaza when one sits as a kind of "sacred act," feeling that one is sitting "the one place to be. and the one action that needs to be done in that momentless moment of sitting in all time and space." One is truly a Buddha sitting sitting Buddha in that instant of sitting. One is sitting as a shining jewel at the center of all reality that is a shining jewel, wherein all things and moments are shining jewels shining in and out of shining jewels. Furthermore, the point of the sitting is not just to feel "peace and relax," but rather, the hard borders that separate onself and the "not myself" world should begin to soften, or even fully drop away, such that one experiences the whole of the universe, and all the things, people and moments of time of the universe, flowing in and out and as each other ... and as you and me too, and you and me just them. Then the true conflict between your "you" and the rest of the world (plus things like birth and death too) drop away as the separation and resulting frictions evaporate. Modern "mindfulness" training sometimes skips around such things, tending to be content with the pay-off of "just feel some peace and relax a bit." That is a shame.

    Other important aspects of Buddhist training may be left out, or undervalued, in Mindfulness courses, but they rob this Path of much that is important. As one example, the Precepts on avoiding the taking of life, not being greedy with excess desires, and the like may be undervalued (thus, for example, "mindfulness" courses are sometimes used to train soldiers to be colder killers, and business people to be more efficient and greedier money machines). Other Buddhist teachings, on how the universe is "Empty" and "Impermanent" free of only "individual self" (which is actually also its flowing Wholeness), our lives constantly reborn with every step, and the like may be neglected. As well, the aspects about how we must continue to bring freedom from excess desire, anger and divided thinking off the cushion and out into life, even after Zazen time is over, may be neglected.

    Oh, and one more thing: Sometimes folks understand "Mindfulness" to mean learning to do and experience one thing in one moment only, e.g., "when drinking tea, just drink tea; when washing the dishes, just wash the dishes." It is a bit off topic, but I also emphasize to people that such is just a skill that we learn to live sometimes, when appropriate, not as our way to be every waking moment. It would be a bit crazy, and many things would not get done ... it might even be dangerous and deadly ... to try to live such way all the time. Even most Zen monks I know often "multitask" (so I say "when needing to multitask, just multitask ... for that is what is happening in that moment too). One might say that our way is more about allowing the moment to be the moment, even if that moment is sometimes crazy busy or unpleasant sometimes. (I spoke a little more about this difference between being "in the moment" and "allowing the moment to be the moment" in an old post here: Being mindful of 'mindful' )

    So, those are some of the potential differences I feel.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-29-2019 at 02:40 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2


    Doshin
    St

  3. #3
    Thank you, Jundo

    Gassho
    Kendrick
    Sat/LAH
    “Life 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.” ― Dōgen

  4. #4
    Member Anna's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Rural Queensland, Australia
    Thanks Jundo
    Gassho
    Anna
    ST/LAH
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.
    No Gods No Masters.

  5. #5
    Thank you Roshi, for that wonderful teaching.

    Gassho,
    Ben

    St

    Gesendet von meinem PLK-L01 mit Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Thank you Jundo

    Gassho,

    Neil

    StLah

  7. #7

    Tairin
    Sat today
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  8. #8
    Member mundi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    lutruwita/Tasmania, Australia
    Thank you Jundo, this spoke strongly to me.

    I have taught in the 'contemporary mindfulness' world, after being invited to train in and teach Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) about 5 years ago. I taught two rounds of 8 week classes in a facility attached to the local hospital, and had some very satisfied participants.

    I also concur with pretty much all you said.

    The instrumental (ie. 'stress reduction') attributes of MBSR combined with the transactional (eg. paying significant sums for this stress-reduction) meant I felt obliged not to enter into wider conversation and exploration of this practice when teaching. Indeed, most, but not all, of my students were not interested in this at all - I know, as I couldn't help going there sometimes, or at least dropping a few hints. (The few who did become curious about non-self and the 'flow of all as wholeness', and all else this might offer, would talk to me after class - all a bit awkwardly at first, as if there was some shame present, almost like 'coming out'. Similarly, a sense of joy/relief would often follow!).

    Some fellow teachers told me I was silly and of course I could 'go there' and open up this conversation. Ethically, I felt this wasn't what participants were paying for - indeed, some would have been horrified. In the end, I discontinued for this reason, and to tend more wholeheartedly to this practice we share.

    There's much more to say, and I don't want to get into a rant or be ungenerous about something that seems to help lots of people. For example, I could carry on about how contemporary mindfulness has taken on, and perpetuates, many of the unhelpful attributes of neoliberalism and late capitalism, etc etc etc...

    The Dharma will continue to take many forms, and is eminently adaptable which is remarkable (and not at all). Precepts seem vital, and help ensure this doesn't go into less helpful places such as those you've noted (eg. becoming skilful killing machines, something that Zen hasn't been immune to either). It's taken me many years to appreciate this. The opportunity to study the precepts with others during the coming Ango is therefore appreciated immensely.

    gassho

    dean

    sattoday/lah

  9. #9
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    In Shikantaza, one simply lets thoughts go without identifying and labeling [them] ... one lets thoughts pass without grabbing on or stirring up, perhaps finding that there is also stillness between ... and within ... the thoughts too.
    ...
    In Shikantaza, one radically drops all need and intents, even to feel peaceful or relax. The only need and intent is to sit for sitting's sake, with that a complete and fulfilled act in and of itself.
    ...
    There is a certain power to Shikantaza when one sits as a kind of "sacred act," feeling that one is sitting "the one place to be. and the one action that needs to be done in that momentless moment of sitting in all time and space." One is sitting as a shining jewel at the center of all reality that is a shining jewel, wherein all things and moments are shining jewels shining in and out of shining jewels.
    [T]he point of the sitting is not just to feel "peace and relax," but rather, the hard borders that separate onself and the "not myself" world should begin to soften, or even fully drop away, such that one experiences the whole of the universe, and all the things, people and moments of time of the universe, flowing in and out and as each other ... and as you and me too, and you and me just them.
    ...
    One might say that our way is more about allowing the moment to be the moment, even if that moment is sometimes crazy busy or unpleasant sometimes.

    Thank you Jundo.




    Gassho,
    Kevin
    Sat

  11. #11
    You know you can't market a self help workshop series if your underlying premise is there IS no self, and nothing to be attained. I feel duped. All this time I am sitting only to learn I have not learned mindfulness, and have just become a master of... nothing!

    ( Kidding)

    This is a great an poignant post Jundo, thank you! Also thanks for the reminder of Nuturing Seeds practice. I will bring it up in the upcoming Ango posts if nobody else does.

    Gassho
    Sat /Lah
    Grateful for your practice

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Ishin View Post
    You know you can't market a self help workshop series if your underlying premise is there IS no self, and nothing to be attained.
    and I do think this is partly why self help never really seems to work!

    Gassho
    Kevin
    Sat


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Ishin View Post
    You know you can't market a self help workshop series if your underlying premise is there IS no self, and nothing to be attained. I feel duped.
    One can if one charges nothing, but then one gets nothing in return.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-29-2019 at 03:10 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    Thank you Jundo. The thing about this practice that appeals to me is that there is nothing to grab on to. No mantra, no prayer, no visualization, no object, no idols. You just get down to the itness of it.

    Gassho
    STLah
    James

  15. #15
    Thank you Jundo. I love the image of the jewels reflecting and reflecting and reflecting...
    I came across a lovely quote from D.T Suzuki recently,"When it [Zen] had to have recourse to intellection, it was a good friend of the Hua-yen philosophy". It's good to know it still is...
    The great thing about the 'Mindfulness' movement is that it answers to something missing from many people's lives, the search for presence and meaning or even just some peace and quiet.
    The less-great thing is that it doesn't answer it fully...
    I tend to think of the contemporary iterations of 'mindfulness' as being tools which can be of genuine help to folk who are suffering physical or emotional pain and that is how I use them in my work as a health professional. They're good tools but not the whole kit and from a Buddhist perspective you could say that they have indeed been uprooted from their living context and this appropriation makes me feel a bit queasy.
    And yes, it's become an industry.
    IMHO.
    Gassho to all
    Mark
    Sat/LAH

  16. #16
    Thank you for this teaching, Jundo. And thanks to all who have commented on the post today as it gave me an opportunity to see it. This answers some of my questions. I had been wondering if I should maintain an awareness of my body/sensations as I had been instructed during mindfulness training.
    Gassho,
    Krista
    ST
    Last edited by KristaB; 08-30-2019 at 12:08 AM. Reason: Forgot to add sat today

  17. #17
    Member Anna's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Rural Queensland, Australia
    I was just doing my 2nd zazen sitting for today and I thought of this post. Mainly because I am forever surprised at some of the bollocks that pops into my head while sitting. Today's highlight was an accurate recollection of a discussion that took place 20 odd years ago within an anarchist group I was involved in lol. They come, they go, I just sit haha.

    Gassho
    Anna

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

  18. #18
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    St. John's Newfoundland, Canada.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    The question comes up from time to time on the differences (and samenesses) between Shikantaza and "mindfulness" meditation.

    In part, that depends on how one defines "mindfulness," and the particular way a certain book or teacher presents "mindfulness meditation."

    If one means "mindfulness" as being the practice of scanning and labeling thoughts and emotions as they arise, it is a wonderful practice very much for all Buddhists ... but we do not actively engage in such practice during the sitting of Shikantaza Zazen. In Shikantaza, one simply lets thoughts go without identifying and labeling their type, or particularly trying to witness (as found in some kinds of Vipassana meditation) their source of arising. In Shikantaza, one lets thoughts pass without grabbing on or stirring up, perhaps finding that there is also stillness between ... and within ... the thoughts too. At other times in life, it is lovely to become aware of one's thoughts and emotions more, identify them so as not to buy into what they are selling so much. However, not during the sitting of Shikantaza Zazen. (We have a recommended daily practice here at Treeleaf based on such mindfulness of our thoughts and emotions: Nurturing Seeds PRACTICE)

    Some types of modern "mindfulness" meditation are closer to such "scanning and labeling," but others are closer in various ways to (and have been influenced to some degree by) Shikantaza/Just Sitting. However. if one is following the breath in order to intentionally "feel peaceful" or to intentionally relax, then that is not really Shikantaza. In Shikantaza, one radically drops all need and intents, even to feel peaceful or relax. The only need and intent is to sit for sitting's sake, with that a complete and fulfilled act in and of itself. (However, strange as it may sound, this very dropping of need and intent ... even to feel peace or relax ... leads to its own profound Peace because that very hunger and need is what causes human beings to feel lack and dis-ease in the first place!)

    If one is sitting a kind of mindfulness "letting thoughts go, accepting the moment, no goals or demands" then that is obviously very very Shikantaza-ish! However, even then, what might be missing? I would say that one might still be subtly sitting in order to get that "peace and relaxation" pay-off (which actually robs one of the real treasure). Second, there is a certain power to Shikantaza when one sits as a kind of "sacred act," feeling that one is sitting "the one place to be. and the one action that needs to be done in that momentless moment of sitting in all time and space." One is truly a Buddha sitting sitting Buddha in that instant of sitting. One is sitting as a shining jewel at the center of all reality that is a shining jewel, wherein all things and moments are shining jewels shining in and out of shining jewels. Furthermore, the point of the sitting is not just to feel "peace and relax," but rather, the hard borders that separate onself and the "not myself" world should begin to soften, or even fully drop away, such that one experiences the whole of the universe, and all the things, people and moments of time of the universe, flowing in and out and as each other ... and as you and me too, and you and me just them. Then the true conflict between your "you" and the rest of the world (plus things like birth and death too) drop away as the separation and resulting frictions evaporate. Modern "mindfulness" training sometimes skips around such things, tending to be content with the pay-off of "just feel some peace and relax a bit." That is a shame.

    Other important aspects of Buddhist training may be left out, or undervalued, in Mindfulness courses, but they rob this Path of much that is important. As one example, the Precepts on avoiding the taking of life, not being greedy with excess desires, and the like may be undervalued (thus, for example, "mindfulness" courses are sometimes used to train soldiers to be colder killers, and business people to be more efficient and greedier money machines). Other Buddhist teachings, on how the universe is "Empty" and "Impermanent" free of only "individual self" (which is actually also its flowing Wholeness), our lives constantly reborn with every step, and the like may be neglected. As well, the aspects about how we must continue to bring freedom from excess desire, anger and divided thinking off the cushion and out into life, even after Zazen time is over, may be neglected.

    Oh, and one more thing: Sometimes folks understand "Mindfulness" to mean learning to do and experience one thing in one moment only, e.g., "when drinking tea, just drink tea; when washing the dishes, just wash the dishes." It is a bit off topic, but I also emphasize to people that such is just a skill that we learn to live sometimes, when appropriate, not as our way to be every waking moment. It would be a bit crazy, and many things would not get done ... it might even be dangerous and deadly ... to try to live such way all the time. Even most Zen monks I know often "multitask" (so I say "when needing to multitask, just multitask ... for that is what is happening in that moment too). One might say that our way is more about allowing the moment to be the moment, even if that moment is sometimes crazy busy or unpleasant sometimes. (I spoke a little more about this difference between being "in the moment" and "allowing the moment to be the moment" in an old post here: Being mindful of 'mindful' )

    So, those are some of the potential differences I feel.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Hi Jundo,

    Can you recommend any resources on scanning and note taking?

    Thanks!

    Gassho
    Sattoday
    Hoseki


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Hoseki View Post
    Hi Jundo,

    Can you recommend any resources on scanning and note taking?

    Thanks!

    Gassho
    Sattoday
    Hoseki


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Hi Hoseki,

    I am not sure what you are asking. You mean the way of Vipassana practice I mention in the essay (beyond "Nurturing Seeds")?

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  20. #20
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    St. John's Newfoundland, Canada.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Hoseki,

    I am not sure what you are asking. You mean the way of Vipassana practice I mention in the essay (beyond "Nurturing Seeds")?

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Hi Jundo,

    Sorry about that. I’m in the middle of doing an online group session for anxiety. One of the big things that came up was paying attention to thoughts we’re experiencing and then noticing how feelings arise after the thoughts. As well as challenging those thoughts if they were unrealistic. It struck me as very much like the Nurturing Seeds practice. Replacing unhealthy thoughts with healthy (realistic) thoughts.

    So I was wondering what types instructions one might be given regarding observing our thoughts and feelings in some of the Buddhist traditions.

    As a side note did you write an essay in Beyond Nurturing Seeds? If so I must have missed it.


    Thanks,

    Gassho
    Hoseki
    Sattoday



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Hoseki View Post
    Hi Jundo,

    Sorry about that. I’m in the middle of doing an online group session for anxiety. One of the big things that came up was paying attention to thoughts we’re experiencing and then noticing how feelings arise after the thoughts. As well as challenging those thoughts if they were unrealistic. It struck me as very much like the Nurturing Seeds practice. Replacing unhealthy thoughts with healthy (realistic) thoughts.

    So I was wondering what types instructions one might be given regarding observing our thoughts and feelings in some of the Buddhist traditions.

    As a side note did you write an essay in Beyond Nurturing Seeds? If so I must have missed it.


    Thanks,

    Gassho
    Hoseki
    Sattoday



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Hi Hoseki,

    What you describe strikes me as like "Nurturing Seeds" and a lovely practice too. l would listen to those teachers. l am more the "Shikantaza" fellow. When Shikantaza, just Shikantaza, but then getting up from Shikantaza, it is fine to try some other practices that you find helpful with your anxiety. Do what works! lf labeling and noting is helping, then it has my complete support. But when sitting Shikantaza, just sit Shikantaza during the time of Shikantaza, and be aware how Shikantaza is not that.

    As to Nurturing Seeds ...

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...Seeds-PRACTICE

    Someone also wrote me to ask if l mean the mindfullness meditation is "bad" for everyone. NOT AT ALL! l would rather have people who are suffering with stress or physical pain do that more than nothing at all. lf it helps someone, it has my 1000% support.

    l just merely want to point out that Shikantaza is a bit more than "mindfulness." That is all.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  22. #22
    When Shikantaza, just Shikantaza,

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

  23. #23
    Hello.

    Jundo suggested that I post the PM I sent to him concerning this thread, voicing my concerns regarding judging other forms of meditation practices.

    Dear Jundo,

    I appreciate and enjoyed your post on mindfulness vs. shinkantaza.

    Periodically over my years with Treeleaf someone will post a pejorative piece on the mindfulness movement and that has concerned me deeply. (BTW I do not consider your post pejorative). I feel I need to write you a PM. Too long and convoluted to post on the thread.

    Many years ago, I read Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book Full Catastrophe Living. He pretty much started the mindfulness movement. The book, which you are probably familiar with, documents his work with Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. I was deeply moved how teaching people to be present for their lives enhanced their health, and in some cases saved their lives. Like any movement the mindfulness movement can be used for unsavory ends (as you note). But basically, I feel that if someone can be present for a cup of tea they might also wake up in a moment of passion and stop themselves from harming another, by words or hand. I applaud any effort for people to stop and witness their breath, their life, their emotions.

    I was raised in a religion that taught that it was the ONLY WAY. So, I’m nervous whenever Buddhists talk about our way is the only way. My husband (Dick) and I have both encountered over the years harsh criticism from fundamentalist Buddhists. (He had his phone hacked and email messed with by one such person. And you might remember my art project being attacked in vile and frightening terms. And I will always be grateful to you for coming to my defense.) Just letting you know where I am coming from in this message. I appreciate and have studied the precepts, in fact took them as my wedding vow when we were married 32 years ago. But I also know many folks who abide by these precepts that are not Buddhists. Nor even know what a ‘precept’ is.

    As far as I am concerned there is nothing wrong with the mindfulness movement, only good can come from living consciously. If someone wants more, then that’s wonderful. I just do not like the underlying cynicism that our way is the only way. Again, I’ve not heard that from you, but I have from others in the forum over the years. And to be honest it scares me, and it makes me move away from Treeleaf for a bit.

    Thank you for letting me get this off my chest!


    Gassho
    Anne
    ~lahst~

  24. #24
    Hi Anne.

    Thank you, Anne. As in art, one way is not the only way.

    As I said above, I do not think that the mindfulness movement is a bad thing for those it helps.

    l would rather have people who are suffering with stress or physical pain do that more than nothing at all. lf it helps someone, it has my 1000% support.

    l just merely want to point out that Shikantaza is a bit more than "mindfulness." That is all.


    I think that mindfulness might help the hearts of many people who benefit from what it offers. However, it is also limited in what it offers.

    It is much like the modern yoga movement, which is lovely, helpful and healthful in many ways for many people, but is also quite different from the traditions of yoga in India.

    In this Sangha, we practice Shikantaza, and so it is important to make clear to folks how that is a bit more than mindfulness.

    Room for all, and I would rather have someone sooth their heart through mindfulness that to suffer more or practice nothing at all.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah

    PS - I would be hard pressed to believe the story about the "fundamentalist Buddhists," except that I have run into such people myself from time to time (some who became very irate when I wrote somewhere recently my belief that one can practice Zen and Christianity if one's heart is wide to both. Oh, they called me names including "not Buddhist" and "sick" and a devil in robes, Oh well. our "Zen of Everything" podcast next week will be about the sad experience.)
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-31-2019 at 03:51 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  25. #25
    Hi Anne,

    I like that you raised this in private first and that Jundo encouraged you to take it public. That is a healthy conversation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    In this Sangha, we practice Shikantaza, and so it is important to make clear to folks how that is a bit more than mindfulness.
    Hi Jundo,

    I thought a lot about your post this last couple of days. I hadn't quite heard that distinction before and it helped bring things into sharper focus for me. I now think I get what "Zazen is life, life is Zazen" means, as (at least this is how I currently see it) fundamentally it's about opening up to all of life in total security, rather than practicing to narrow our focus.

    Gassho,
    Kevin
    Sat

  26. #26
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    St. John's Newfoundland, Canada.
    Hi folks,

    I'm going to chime in again here. I think its helpful to tease out some of the different criticisms of mindfulness. While there are certainly people who feel its not enough but there are always people who say that kind of thing. What is or isn't enough really depends on what one is trying to accomplish. I think that's the kind of criticism Anne mentioned. There is another type of criticism comes from the way mindfulness is being used (or seen to be used) as a means to create more productive workers. While finding work less crappy is a good thing when an employer is doing it to improve the productivity of their workers its exploitative. So that's not a criticism of mindfulness itself so much as how its being used.

    At least that's how I see that kind of thing. As for a comparison of Shikantaza and mindfulness as its been popularized (and possible its use before) I think the distinction lays in its radically non-instrumental nature. When someone is practicing mindfulness and are noting there experiences they are doing X to get Y. They are noting their thoughts to be more relaxed. Or like in the example I mentioned earlier about my experience with online counseling I'm noting my thoughts to identify when they are making me anxious so I can challenge them and hopefully lesson my anxiety and replace those thoughts with those that are neutral or reaffirming. But with Shikantaza I'm not trying to do anything. I just have to let things arise and fad away again. Its both the X and Y, the action and the goal are one in the same. It's not a practice that leads to another practice or effect. That's not to say it doesn't have effects its just not really the point.

    At least that's how I understand it. If I'm mistaken I would appreciate it if someone would correct me.

    Now with all this said I do feel like Shikantaza is something special. I'm not really able to explain it and I don't really think I need to. Sometimes it might be better to not try and look behind the curtain so to speak.

    Gassho,

    Sattoday
    Hoseki

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Hoseki View Post
    There is another type of criticism comes from the way mindfulness is being used (or seen to be used) as a means to create more productive workers. While finding work less crappy is a good thing when an employer is doing it to improve the productivity of their workers its exploitative.
    Not only that, many employers are offering "mindfulness" classes while otherwise creating inhospitable work environments that are the actual problem. It is a bit like causing employees to be physically injured because of unsafe work conditions in a factory, but offering free bandaids.

    At least that's how I see that kind of thing. As for a comparison of Shikantaza and mindfulness as its been popularized (and possible its use before) I think the distinction lays in its radically non-instrumental nature. When someone is practicing mindfulness and are noting there experiences they are doing X to get Y. They are noting their thoughts to be more relaxed. Or like in the example I mentioned earlier about my experience with online counseling I'm noting my thoughts to identify when they are making me anxious so I can challenge them and hopefully lesson my anxiety and replace those thoughts with those that are neutral or reaffirming. But with Shikantaza I'm not trying to do anything. I just have to let things arise and fad away again. Its both the X and Y, the action and the goal are one in the same. It's not a practice that leads to another practice or effect. That's not to say it doesn't have effects its just not really the point.
    As I said, and while I am not a mental health professional, the first practice of noting thoughts seems a wise and excellent tool for dealing with something like anxiety. If it is helping, then that is all the evidence one needs. Do that when doing that. Our Nurturing Seeds practice is very much the same.

    And I would also say to Just Sit Shikantaza when sitting Shikantaza. As you say, that also is its own very unique way, and offers much to relieve the real route of human suffering. In the times of sitting Shikantaza, just sit Shikantaza. Radically dropping goals, sitting in fullness and equanimity, letting the hard borders of friction and dis-ease between self and the world soften ... this goes to the real root of human angst.

    I will sit Metta for your anxiety, Hoseki (by the way, the Metta and Tonglen practices we have around here may also do their part for anxiety and so much more) ...

    RECOMMENDED DAILY Metta PRACTICE
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...Metta-PRACTICE

    Tonglen Practice Circle
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/foru...ractice-Circle

    Even tossing oneself into the ballet dance of Oryoki can bear fruit ...

    Oryoki Practice Circle
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/foru...ractice-Circle

    Just because many of these practices are to be done "without goal" and seeking nothing, that does not mean that nothing is found!

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-01-2019 at 01:15 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •