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Thread: It really is just sitting, isn't it.

  1. #1

    It really is just sitting, isn't it.

    It really is just sitting.

    The idea is to sit and just observe the thoughts, emotions, sensations, ad infinitum, but to just observe them without getting stuck in them.

    I often do get stuck in them but then try to go back to observing the breath.

    We aren't really looking for a specific mind state, bliss, or anything.

    We're just sitting (or trying to just sit).

    It seems so easy, yet it also seems so profound, and difficult at the same time.

    Gassho.

    Kevin

    Sat today

  2. #2
    Member Onka's Avatar
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    May 2019
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    Rural Queensland, Australia
    Indeed!
    The initial draw for me towards Soto Zen Buddhism was the 'just sitting' part. I thought "YAHTZEE! Buddhism without bullsh*t" and started just sitting.
    Then I bought Nishijima's translation of the Shobogenzo and read the first few chapters of Vol.1.
    Then I was hooked haha but still saw it as 'just sitting'.
    Now, having found Treeleaf, my home Zendo, Sangha and Teacher I see that 'just sitting' is just the tip of the iceberg and now I want to be a student of Buddhism based in the Soto Zen Buddhist tradition but more broadly a student of the Way of the Buddha/student of Me.

    Gassho
    Anna
    ST

    Sent from my Lenovo TB-8304F1 using Tapatalk
    On Ka
    穏 火
    aka Anna Kissed.
    No Gods No Masters.
    Life is too serious to be taken seriously.

  3. #3
    Yes! My advice as a rather new-ish ZaZen practitioner is take it easy on yourself. When sitting just sit, if you find yourself getting caught up in thinking just go back to sitting. Be gentle on yourself, avoiding frustration, and don't get caught up in thinking this is a GOOD or BAD sit either.

    Gassho
    Ishin
    Sat/lah
    Grateful for your practice

  4. #4
    In my opinion, we should drop all the ideas and expectations of just sitting, even the just sitting itself. When we sit, we cannot be any other way as we already are. We may struggle with thoughts and ideas and expectations of how just sitting should be, we may compare experiences of ourself or others with the present moment, we try to regulate and manipulate our experience with focussing on particular objects and so on. But at least everything that appears is just the way it is. So we encounter, we face the reality of being and every attempt to force it another way is struggling and suffering. There's no need to "just sit", to be empty of thoughts or to experience certain states. We are just with ourselves and the surroundings, with the world, aware of all the perceptions. We accept all we perceive without trying to intervene, to correct our experience. How can anything disturb us ultimately? How can a nice or ugly reflection disturb the mirror?

    At least that's my last few cents.

    Gassho
    Ben

    Stlah

    Gesendet von meinem PLK-L01 mit Tapatalk

  5. #5
    In my opinion, we should drop all the ideas and expectations of just sitting, even the just sitting itself. When we sit, we cannot be any other way as we already are. We may struggle with thoughts and ideas and expectations of how just sitting should be, we may compare experiences of ourself or others with the present moment, we try to regulate and manipulate our experience with focussing on particular objects and so on. But at least everything that appears is just the way it is. So we encounter, we face the reality of being and every attempt to force it another way is struggling and suffering. There's no need to "just sit", to be empty of thoughts or to experience certain states. We are just with ourselves and the surroundings, with the world, aware of all the perceptions. We accept all we perceive without trying to intervene, to correct our experience. How can anything disturb us ultimately? How can a nice or ugly reflection disturb the mirror?

    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    ------------------------------------
    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.

  6. #6
    Thanks to all of you.

    In the past I have always practiced without the input of others. This led to sporadic efforts and more reading than sitting. (Of course, there are a lot of books written on Zen. This amuses me as I consider that Zen cannot be grasped intellectually )

    Having people like you all to provide quick feedback and encouragement makes my desire to sit even stronger. "Off the cushion" as Jundo says, I "feel" more in touch with the present moment. I'm a psychotherapist (Licensed Professional Counselor) by trade, and find that I am better able to focus on the people I see along with an increase in empathy and acceptance. That said, I also understand that while these things are good, they are not the principal aim of our aimless practice."

    Some may be interested to know that there is quite a bit of similarity between Cognitive Therapy and Buddhist, thought: Namely, that we create our misery via our thinking. This might be a thread for another day, though.

    Anna, I too, like Shikan-Taza as taught here. I have had interesting experiences with two koans in the past, but something draws me to Shiken-Taza.

    Ishin and Hishiryo: Thanks for pointing out that it is possible to have expectations about "just sitting" as well. There seems to be endless layers of expectations. I will try not be hard on myself as I know, but do not yet perceive, that there is no "myself" to be hard on.

    Gassho!

    Kevin

    Sat today.

  7. #7
    Such lovely responses, and a lovely description from Kevin. Yes.

    I also like to remind folks that "just sitting" is also not just sitting around, twiddling one's thumbs. We sit with a soft and subtle trust in our hearts that this "Just Sitting" is the one act in need of doing, the one place to be in all the world with nothing lacking, during this moment of sitting. It is truly a Buddha sitting. Thus, it is so very unlike much of our life in which we need to go, do, fix and grab more.

    If you would like to read my wild ramblings on this ...

    WHAT’S MISSING FROM SHIKANTAZA
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...A-EXPLANATIONS

    Shikantaza Zazen must be sat, for the time it is sat, with the student profoundly trusting deep in her bones that sitting itself is a complete and sacred act, the one and only action that need be done in the whole universe in that instant of sitting. This truth should not be thought about or voiced in so many words, but must be silently and subtly felt deep down. The student must taste vibrantly that the mere act of sitting Zazen, in that moment, is whole and thoroughly complete, the total fruition of life’s goals, with nothing lacking and nothing to be added to the bare fact of sitting here and now. There must be a sense that the single performance of crossing the legs (or sitting in some other balanced posture) is the realization of all that was ever sought, that there is simply no other place to go in the world nor thing left to do besides sitting in such posture. ...

    ... The ability to be at rest completely, to realize the preciousness and wholeness of life in this moment is a skill we have lost in this busy world. We chase after achievements, are overwhelmed with jobs that feel undone, and feel that there are endless places to go and people to see. The world can seem a broken and hopeless place. Thus, it is vital that we learn to sit each day with no other place in need of going, no feeling of brokenness nor judgment of lack, nothing more in need of achieving in that time but sitting itself. We sit with the sense that there is nothing to fix or place in need of getting, because this “not needing” is a wisdom that we so rarely taste. How tragic if we instead turn our Zazen or other meditation into just one more battle for achievement, a race to get some peaceful place, attain some craved prize or spiritual reward.
    ... and you can find me saying much the same, again and again, here ...
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/foru...IKANTAZA-ZAZEN

    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.
    Keep sitting! We truly have all the time in the world.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-19-2019 at 03:16 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    Thanks Jundo.

    Thank-you for Treeleaf!

    Gassho.

    klb.

    Sat today

  9. #9
    In my opinion, we should drop all the ideas and expectations of just sitting, even the just sitting itself. When we sit, we cannot be any other way as we already are. We may struggle with thoughts and ideas and expectations of how just sitting should be, we may compare experiences of ourself or others with the present moment, we try to regulate and manipulate our experience with focussing on particular objects and so on. But at least everything that appears is just the way it is. So we encounter, we face the reality of being and every attempt to force it another way is struggling and suffering. There's no need to "just sit", to be empty of thoughts or to experience certain states. We are just with ourselves and the surroundings, with the world, aware of all the perceptions. We accept all we perceive without trying to intervene, to correct our experience. How can anything disturb us ultimately? How can a nice or ugly reflection disturb the mirror?

    At least that's my last few cents.

    Gassho
    Ben

    Stlah

    Gesendet von meinem PLK-L01 mit Tapatalk
    Thank you Hishiryo

    Gassho
    Washin
    ST
    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
    The interesting thing about just sitting is....it's just sitting. Even subtle goals and self encouragement during zazen, like c'mon now mind, focus, that was a good breath do another one like that, concentrate on the now, stop daydreaming, Stop thinking, etc. just get me focusing on goals and the goals become the thing. Just got back to the sitting 10,000 times if you have to. Then it just starts to flow.

    Like Anna, I was very specific about where I felt I needed to be with practice. I sat with a couple of other groups off and on going way back to about 1993. One was sort of OK I guess and one was definitely was not OK.

    Zen. Soto. Shikantaza. Treeleaf.

    Gassho
    STlah
    James

    Gassho
    STlah
    James

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