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Thread: Sitting as "What Is" when the house is on fire ...

  1. #1

    Sitting as "What Is" when the house is on fire ...

    Someone asked about sitting Zazen and feeling very bored. THAT IS EASY! When bored, just be bored, When excited, just be excited. When sick, just be sick. When healthy, just be healthy. When young just be young, when old just be old. Sitting as "What Is," sitting is the still pivot point of boredom and excitement, beyond sickness and healthy, the timeless that is both young and old.

    Of course, when sick just be sick, but that does not mean you do not call an ambulance when feeling chest pains. When cold there is only cold. However, at a certain point it is okay to put on a blanket too! When there is fire let there be fire, yet if the house is on fire, it is okay to get up from Zazen, grab a hose and save the cat. On the other hand, when there is boredom, just let there be boredom. Just sit as boredom, for bored is what is in that moment.

    What is the difference?

    Zazen respects safety and health in urgent need. Boredom will not kill you, but extreme cold, a heart attack or a fire might. However, as soon as the blanket is found, the heart restarted and the cat is saved from the fire, resume sitting. All is as it is. Boredom, on the other hand, is no emergency. Most of life's problems in the world, work or family, can wait for sitting to end. On the other hand, sometimes a crying child needs attention right now, and we do not hesitate to spring from the Zafu! I have sat in 300 year old temple buildings during earthquakes, and in house closets during hurricanes. Sometimes one just sits through the shaking and blowing, sometimes one gets up to run or deal. No problem, for when sitting just sit, when running for cover or to save the baby, just run for cover and just save the baby.

    Oh, one moment is fire, the next is ashes. One day is hot, the next is cold. Boredom is just the passing condition in this moment, and we can never know what the next moment brings. There is a stillness that holds all the ground's shaking, a silence that sings as the noisiest wind. The problems of life and the world are just what they are, and we sit in equanimity with their happening. Although some things like fire or coronary cannot wait, most problems can wait. (In fact, we can learn to retain that equanimity deep down even as the adrenaline pumps, we run for the fire hose or call 911 ... or 119 here in Japan. 112 in Europe, 999 in UK. When calling 911, get your ass in gear and just call friggin 911! 911 is just 911!). Sit beyond hot and cold, life and death, sickness and health. boredom or excitement too. A famous Koan from the Blue Cliff Record:

    ===

    A monk asked Tozan “How can we escape the cold and heat?”

    Tozan replied, “Why not go where there is no cold and heat?”

    “Is there such a place?” the monk asked.

    Tozan commented, “When cold, be thoroughly cold; when hot, be hot through and through.”

    (alternative wording, but same meaning: "“When it is cold, the cold kills you. When it is hot, the heat kills you."
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-22-2019 at 10:55 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Unsui Geika's Avatar
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    Gassho

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

  3. #3
    Hmmm I think that part about sitting through excitement too is a very important one. Sometimes I think people use practice as escapism when things are bad (Ishin is guilty of this). But what about when things are “awesome”? I’m learning this is about embracism, not escapism.

    Gassho
    Ishin
    Sat lah
    Grateful for your practice

  4. #4


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

  5. #5
    _()_ _()_ _()_

    gassho
    doyu sat today/lah
    特別な人ではない

  6. #6


    Wondrous
    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

  7. #7
    Deep gratitude for this teaching, Jundo. /\

    Gassho
    Kendrick
    Sat
    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

  8. #8


    Thank you for your teaching, Jundoshi.

    Gassho,
    Nengei
    Sat. LAH.

  9. #9


    Gassho
    Washin
    just sat
    Kaido (有道) Every Way
    Washin (和信) Harmony Trust
    ----
    I am a novice priest-in-training. Anything what I say must not be considered as teaching
    and should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

  10. #10

  11. #11


    Kokuu
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  12. #12
    Member Getchi's Avatar
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    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    THankyou Jundo.

    I am very grateful for these teachings.

    Gassho
    Geoff.

    SatToday
    LaH
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  13. #13
    Someone asked what to do when there is a threat to health or life, but no escape? Oh, for example, when one is on one's death bed, or in a battle with no place to go. ln such case, that is just what is ... sit Zazen right there with no place to go.

    Many a Zen master of old faced such times, perhaps on their own death bed. They used to write poems with their final breaths. ... For example, Zen master Kozan Ichikyo:

    Empty handed I entered the world.
    Barefoot I leave it.
    My coming, my going-
    Two simple happenings
    That got entangled.


    After he finished, Kozan gently put down his brush, and then died. He was still sitting upright.

    A monk names Shinsui said ...

    Like dew drops
    on a lotus leaf
    I vanish.


    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    Gassho,


    Ben

    Stlah

    Gesendet von meinem PLK-L01 mit Tapatalk

  15. #15
    Thank you Jundo.

    Gassho,

    Junkyo
    SAT

  16. #16


    Doshin
    St

  17. #17
    Thank you Jundo Roshi. I think it was Isaac Asimov who famously predicted that boredom would be a prevalent disease of mankind in the future, and when thinking about it, it does seem like the root of so much deluded thought in our times. Even though we are so "busy," we still are bored by our lives and seeking a different kind of stimulation. Perhaps fueled by advertising and materialism in a capitalist society?

    This resonates with me especially as someone with mild autism and ADHD, because it is said we have "interest-based" minds. Our executive thought-processes are always roaming, seeking change and novelty, instead of returning naturally to routines and habits the way most minds do. The discipline and routine of Zen is excruciating sometimes, like continually trying to fit that square peg into a round hole. Perhaps this was not a disease in other eras, when individuals with these qualities could be either more nomadic and adventurous or hyper-focused on the subjects they were skilled in, without going completely against the grain of society.

    Today, though, being more aware of what our minds are doing and learning to be less self-focused, IMHO, helps us suffer less in a world of increasing interdependence. Sitting with boredom allows us to learn that we don't NEED to act on our every thought, as Jundo says, the world is going to go on (and perhaps be a little bit better off for us not rushing off doing some compulsive activity). I don't know if it will ever cease to be a struggle, but I will continue to sit with the struggle and see what happens. I feel like there are fewer bored mind-tantrums now than there used to be, but they certainly still occur.

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  18. #18
    Member Anna's Avatar
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    Rural Queensland, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    Thank you Jundo Roshi. I think it was Isaac Asimov who famously predicted that boredom would be a prevalent disease of mankind in the future, and when thinking about it, it does seem like the root of so much deluded thought in our times. Even though we are so "busy," we still are bored by our lives and seeking a different kind of stimulation. Perhaps fueled by advertising and materialism in a capitalist society?

    This resonates with me especially as someone with mild autism and ADHD, because it is said we have "interest-based" minds. Our executive thought-processes are always roaming, seeking change and novelty, instead of returning naturally to routines and habits the way most minds do. The discipline and routine of Zen is excruciating sometimes, like continually trying to fit that square peg into a round hole. Perhaps this was not a disease in other eras, when individuals with these qualities could be either more nomadic and adventurous or hyper-focused on the subjects they were skilled in, without going completely against the grain of society.

    Today, though, being more aware of what our minds are doing and learning to be less self-focused, IMHO, helps us suffer less in a world of increasing interdependence. Sitting with boredom allows us to learn that we don't NEED to act on our every thought, as Jundo says, the world is going to go on (and perhaps be a little bit better off for us not rushing off doing some compulsive activity). I don't know if it will ever cease to be a struggle, but I will continue to sit with the struggle and see what happens. I feel like there are fewer bored mind-tantrums now than there used to be, but they certainly still occur.

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    THIS!!!

    Gassho
    Anna

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

  19. #19
    this is an excellent thread!

    I suffer from boredom and anxiety; I think itís a subtle inability of mine or resistance to accept what is

    something that came to mind for some reason after reading through this is something Iím going to practice with

    I have read this, I think in Dogen, but we die moment to moment. we are something new. we drop off what we were and are something else; itís this holding on that I struggle with and it actualizes itself as boredom and anxiety, but who is it that is beyond that? thatís something i need to sit with.


    gassho

    Risho
    -st/lah

  20. #20
    Thank you Jundo Roshi. I think it was Isaac Asimov who famously predicted that boredom would be a prevalent disease of mankind in the future, and when thinking about it, it does seem like the root of so much deluded thought in our times. Even though we are so "busy," we still are bored by our lives and seeking a different kind of stimulation. Perhaps fueled by advertising and materialism in a capitalist society?

    This resonates with me especially as someone with mild autism and ADHD, because it is said we have "interest-based" minds. Our executive thought-processes are always roaming, seeking change and novelty, instead of returning naturally to routines and habits the way most minds do. The discipline and routine of Zen is excruciating sometimes, like continually trying to fit that square peg into a round hole. Perhaps this was not a disease in other eras, when individuals with these qualities could be either more nomadic and adventurous or hyper-focused on the subjects they were skilled in, without going completely against the grain of society.

    Today, though, being more aware of what our minds are doing and learning to be less self-focused, IMHO, helps us suffer less in a world of increasing interdependence. Sitting with boredom allows us to learn that we don't NEED to act on our every thought, as Jundo says, the world is going to go on (and perhaps be a little bit better off for us not rushing off doing some compulsive activity). I don't know if it will ever cease to be a struggle, but I will continue to sit with the struggle and see what happens. I feel like there are fewer bored mind-tantrums now than there used to be, but they certainly still occur.

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    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'.

  21. #21
    Thank you Jundo for these words.
    The last days I often feel bored while I sit. Bored because I couldn't make it to let my thoughts go. It annoyed me. Also that my neighbors child was crying all the time...
    But tomorrow I will try to accept it. If my thoughts don't want to go, they do not want to. If my neighbors child is crying, it crys and there is nothing I can do. Like there are some days with a lot of clouds in the sky and other day with a clear blue sky.
    Thanks a lot

    Gassho
    Marwin
    SatToday and LaH

    Gesendet von meinem STF-L09 mit Tapatalk

  22. #22
    Just sitting with boredom allows it to transform. Just like everything changes. IMO the root cause is craving which is always wanting to do something. Even in the midst of doing is a quiet place of non doing

    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

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Just sitting with boredom allows it to transform. Just like everything changes. IMO the root cause is craving which is always wanting to do something. Even in the midst of doing is a quiet place of non doing

    Sat/lah


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Yes, this I've looked at my own boredom and found it to stem from that agitating mind that is looking for a goal, wanting to move on to the next Big Thing. But of course the Big Thing is just to let go of any idea of Big and Thing, sit and let it be.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattodaylah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  24. #24
    What a great topic, Jundo-Roshi!

    Boredom is a great opportunity! It's a disguised opportunity to practice. When we're bored, we think we have nothing to do - but if we have nothing to do, then there's room in our life to practice!

    The universe will exist for trillions and trillions and trillions of years and, if we're lucky, we get to be around for 80 or so years. We're here for a very brief period of time. How fortunately we are when boredom comes along because it means we have the time and space in our lives to devote some of our very brief lives to practice, and practice is one of the most wholesome and beneficial things we can do for ourselves and others.

    May all beings be blessed with boredom! May all beings be free from too much busy-ness!

    Gassho,
    Sen
    SatToday

  25. #25

    Kotei sat/lah today,
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  26. #26
    Member Anna's Avatar
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    Gassho
    Anna

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

  27. #27
    Member brucef's Avatar
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    Jan 2016
    Location
    Encounter Bay, South Australia, Australia
    Dogen said that “All the worlds in the Ten Directions are One Bright Pearl”. That’s been going around my head lately like a koan. To me it means, among other things, that there is nothing that’s not part of that luminosity – and that the weeds of this life “belong” as much as the flowers. But also, that there’s nothing that’s not suitable for Dharma practice! Even boredom.

    Before sitting, I don’t think it hurts to contemplate death. The fact of our death is certain, but the time of our death is uncertain. For all we know, each time we sit could be the last time we sit (either in this life, or forever, depending on whether rebirth is true or not). So, even if it’s boring, it’s a precious moment that might not come again.

    My heart attack on the 4th of December 2016 changed me. It left me feeling fragile, and scared, anxious and depressed, because it taught me that you really can’t trust your own body. A heart attack is like being betrayed from within. One moment you’re having a morning cup of tea, and the next you’re in an ambulance. Everything can change so suddenly. But in retrospect, perhaps I was lucky to have been given that teaching. I no longer take anything for granted. Even on those rare occasions I’m bored, at least I’m alive.

    Gassho
    Bruce

    ST

  28. #28
    Treeleaf Unsui Geika's Avatar
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    San Diego County, California
    Lovely, Bruce. It is true, every moment is uncertain, and it is scary, but also gives us cause to be grateful.

    Gassho

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

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