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Thread: If you have to pick one zen book, what is it?

  1. #1

    If you have to pick one zen book, what is it?

    Recently a colleague of mine who was brand new to meditation and buddhism asked me to suggest one book that he can read to know more and may be start practicing.

    He asked me this a bit suddenly and I just picked these two

    Zen: Zen mind Beginner's Mind
    Theravada / Vipassana: Mastering the core teachings of buddha by daniel ingram (author made it freely available on his website: https://www.integrateddaniel.info/book)

    I have read the second one and it is very practical and pretty good. The first one though I didn't read. I started reading it and to my surprise found it was not very practical and hard to understand (especially for those new to zen). It is a series of talks compiled into book. I regret suggesting that book. I then started wondering what would be one such book that you would suggest.

    I can think of below but please suggest your picks

    - opening hand of thought (I'm a bit skeptical as they don't use breath counting etc as is traditionally used in zen)
    - practical zen (not popular but read it in a library and found it to be very practical and good https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1848193637)

    Gassho,
    Sam
    st

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Unsui Geika's Avatar
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    Funny enough, my first thought was Zen Mind Beginner's Mind: everytime I read it something chimes.

    My second choice is hard... either Instructions to the Cook by Glassman or Taking the Path of Zen by Aitken.

    EDIT: My answers are based on my own personal collection of books and not necessarily the right choices for a beginner. I realize that Aitken is tricky if you're studying Soto as a newcomer. And the Glassman book is just a book I really enjoy written from a Zen perspective. But neither are good beginner books for a student of Soto for study.

    Gassho
    Sat today, lah

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Geika; 12-29-2019 at 02:38 AM.
    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
    Oh, that is easy!

    THE ZEN MASTERíS DANCE


    A Guide to Understanding Dōgen
    and Who You Are in the Universe


    by

    Jundo Cohen

    ... due out from Wisdom Publications this coming summer!

    Gassho, Jundo Cohen

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    In all seriousness, anything by Daniel Ingram will mess up someone's life. That guy is simply a meditation extremist seeking to push the envelope of weird meditation experiences to explore the brain at its limits. He admits it in various interviews I have heard with him. It is one of the last things I would recommend to anyone. In my understanding, his recommendations are considered quirky even in the Theravada/Insight neck of the woods.

    I would recommend "Opening the Hand of Thought" and "Instructions for the Cook (aka "From The Zen Kitchen To Enlightenment: Refining Your Life by Eihei Dogen")" both by Uchiyama Roshi (not to be confused with the like titled book by Bernie Glassman that Geika recommends. That Glassman book is not really a book about "how to" Zen, and more about his social work projects, so I am not sure why Geika listed that. Am I confused about that, Geika, as it has been awhile since I read it?) As a Soto fellow, I cannot really recommend "Taking the Path of Zen" by Aitken Roshi either, because it is centered on the Koan Introspection style of the Sambokyodan with its heavy emphasis on Kensho, and I think it mispresents aspects of Shikantaza.

    "Hardcore Zen" by Bro. Brad Warner is really good.

    "WHAT IS ZEN?" by Norman Fischer and Susan Moon - Perhaps one of the best books explaining "the basics" for folks new to Zen Practice, but also goes on to offer Fischer Roshi's almost "rabbinical" wisdom on many many topics and questions of interest even to very experienced practitioners. Wonderful for everyone.

    "Simple Guide to Zen Buddhism" by Diana St. Ruth (Jundo Review: For folks who are completely new, puzzled and perplexed about Zen Buddhism's history and practices of various flavors. It is detailed in its explanation, balanced and quite comprehensive in the many topics it covers. I would not recommend the book for anyone who had been practicing for even a few months, but it may still answer some questions and be good to give to your dad or sister who is completely confused by what we are doing here ... and may think that we are wearing bed sheets while dancing in drum circles with the Dalai Lama during the Soltice. As with any book, it is not perfect. It could still do even a better job in explaining the various different approaches of Soto and Rinzai, Koan Centered Zazen and Shikantaza ... but they are touched upon. But compared to most other books on the subject, it is well researched, comprehensive, very balanced and gets it right.)

    Yes, "Zen Mind Beginners Mind" is also good, but it is not really a "How To" Zazen book, and more a record of Suzuki Roshi's talks. As well, because he struggled with English, it is something of a rambling and twisty thing more than people sometimes want to admit, and not always so clear. I agree in your assessment, Sam.

    I do not know the Skinner book. It is not often mentioned for some reason. **

    By the way ...

    - opening hand of thought (I'm a bit skeptical as they don't use breath counting etc as is traditionally used in zen)
    Don't be skeptical. It is a classic. One of the best explanations of how to sit Shikantaza.

    Gassho, J

    STLah

    ** I just looked through the Skinner book briefly. He is from the OBC Lineage but, boy, he recommends quite some unique things in that book as I see, including a Koan Introspection Practice that the Soto based OBC is not known for, and something called "Soft Ointment Meditation." I am thinking that the book is not often cited because it does not look that standard.

    *** Ah, sorry, I mispoke ... Rev. Skinner began with OBC, but then trained and was made a teacher in a Rinzai lineage. That explains the meditation techniques and discussion in the book ("soft ointment/melting butter" is something that Hakuin Zenji sometimes practiced). I cannot comment because it is a Rinzai based practice.
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-29-2019 at 01:41 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shikantazen View Post
    Recently a colleague of mine who was brand new to meditation and buddhism asked me to suggest one book that he can read to know more and may be start practicing.

    He asked me this a bit suddenly and I just picked these two

    Zen: Zen mind Beginner's Mind
    Theravada / Vipassana: Mastering the core teachings of buddha by daniel ingram (author made it freely available on his website: https://www.integrateddaniel.info/book)

    I have read the second one and it is very practical and pretty good. The first one though I didn't read. I started reading it and to my surprise found it was not very practical and hard to understand (especially for those new to zen). It is a series of talks compiled into book. I regret suggesting that book. I then started wondering what would be one such book that you would suggest.

    I can think of below but please suggest your picks

    - opening hand of thought (I'm a bit skeptical as they don't use breath counting etc as is traditionally used in zen)
    - practical zen (not popular but read it in a library and found it to be very practical and good https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1848193637)

    Gassho,
    Sam
    st
    Hi,

    I canít speak to Jundoís book as itís not out yet. But personally I found Opening the Hand of Thought to be the book that I got the most out of. But like most things it sort of depends on where you are when you read it.

    Not sure this helps as your already kind of skeptical about it but that was my experience.

    Did you get the chance to check out the book list? Jundo has a number of them marked for beginners.

    Gassho
    Hoseki
    Sattoday/lah


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    I'm new to zen and started with "Zen mind, beginner's mind" and found to be very "zen" I enjoyed the book, but it not one I would recommend for my wife. She would find it confusing and give up very quickly.

    I've also read "Why Buddhism is True" by Robert Wright. I found it very interesting. He links dukkha to feelings and then feelings to our original coding to survive and expand our DNA into the next generation. That while those feeling and drives were very useful to early man and were even vital to survial that they are no longer valid and those feeling now cause the wrong actions or state of mind.

    For my wife I feel the best introduction will be the series of 22 talks by Jundo. https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...-Begin-Here%21
    of course until the book by Jundo is published.

    Gassho,
    Drew

  7. #7
    Hi Sam,

    I found the book "The wholehearted way (aka Bendowa) with a commentary by Uchiyama roshi and translated by Shohaku Okumura" one of the best books I have ever read. It explains the practice of Shikantaza very well. After reading this book, I really believe if you want to understand Soto Zen, you have to study Bendowa as Dogen answered many common questions in this essay.

    Jundo - I can't wait for your book. Any chance I can prebook? :-))))

    Sattoday

    Sent from my HD1913 using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    I would pick also kosho Uchiyama - opening the hand of thought!

    Gassho

    Ben

    Stlah

    Enviado desde mi PLK-L01 mediante Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by vanbui View Post
    Hi Sam,

    I found the book "The wholehearted way (aka Bendowa) with a commentary by Uchiyama roshi and translated by Shohaku Okumura" one of the best books I have ever read. It explains the practice of Shikantaza very well. After reading this book, I really believe if you want to understand Soto Zen, you have to study Bendowa as Dogen answered many common questions in this essay.

    Jundo - I can't wait for your book. Any chance I can prebook? :-))))

    Sattoday

    Sent from my HD1913 using Tapatalk
    I recommended the other two Uchiyama books (Opening the Hand of Thought and Instructions for the Cook) but, honestly, I found the "Wholehearted Way" to be suffering from the same troubles of meandering and English issues as Zen Mind Beginner's Mind. I read it twice several years ago, and found it not up to the other two. I would not recommend that one among the Uchiyama books as a starting place, although it is worth reading at some point and is a treasure. I will read it again sometime soon and see if my earlier impression changes.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-29-2019 at 01:42 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  10. #10
    Honestly I probably would suggest someone watch Jundoís beginners series rather than read any specific book.

    They are a highly accessible intro to Zen.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah

  11. #11
    Tairin is right. _()_

    Anything by Uchiyama works for me ... but I've been reading this stuff (without really acting on it until five years ago) since the fall of Rome. What was available back then was D.T. Suzuki mostly, along with whatever Snyder and Reps and Kapleau were going on about.

    What about Everyday Zen by Charlotte Joko Beck? or Thich Nhat Hanh's The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: “Why wander all over the world looking for something you already have?”

    gassho
    doyu sat and lah today
    Last edited by Doyū; 12-28-2019 at 07:15 PM. Reason: added acknowledgement of Tairin's remark
    自己を忘れ、他人のために生きる

  12. #12
    Member Onka's Avatar
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    I wouldn't recommend any. Everyone is different and has different ways that they engage best with a subject. If your friend is fair dinkum about exploring Zen they'll find a book/video series/YouTube channel that speaks to them.
    Gassho
    Anna
    st
    On Ka
    穏 火
    aka Anna Kissed.
    No Gods No Masters.
    Life is too serious to be taken seriously.

  13. #13
    I have not read many zen books but Jindo Shokai has one called "the search for self". It is well written and worth reading.
    Gassho
    David
    Sat/lah

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by serenewolf View Post
    I have not read many zen books but Jindo Shokai has one called "the search for self". It is well written and worth reading.
    Gassho
    David
    Sat/lah
    Ah, our Shokai did write a lovely book that I recommend to all who love him. It is not really a "how to" Zen book at all, but his personal biography from memories in his mother's kitchen, through a variety of careers ranging from Canada to Saudi Arabia to funeral director in Japan (!), all leading to Zen priest and one very cool dude. Such an interesting life, and such a good man:

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...writing-a-book

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    PS - Sorry, I mispoke about the book Sam mentioned called "Practical Zen: Meditation and Beyond." The author, Rev. Skinner began with the Soto-baased OBC, but then trained and was made a teacher in a Rinzai lineage. That explains the meditation techniques and discussion in the book, including various Koan approaches developed by Hakuin Zenji such as the "soft ointment" meditation that he discusses. I cannot comment because it is a Rinzai based practice.
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-29-2019 at 01:36 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #16
    Treeleaf Unsui Geika's Avatar
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    The books I recommended are based on my own personal re-reading. I seem to go back to them the most. Glassman's book applies the practice of Zen to his practical work on greyston bakery and aitkens book has some passages in it that really strike me, even though it is not Soto.

    Gassho
    Sat today, lah

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
    求道芸化 Kyudo Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Anna View Post
    I wouldn't recommend any. Everyone is different and has different ways that they engage best with a subject. If your friend is fair dinkum about exploring Zen they'll find a book/video series/YouTube channel that speaks to them.
    Gassho
    Anna
    st
    Yes, but, one must recommend something when requested.

    As I am a football coach, I will hesitate to recommend books on swimming although it may suit someone. However, even so, I will steer folks away from a few things, such as books that recommend diving into an empty pool without a helmet to see the effect on one's head (Daniel Ingram ) .

    If you just tell someone to wander around the trash heap of youtube until they find something that strikes them ... it is spiritual anarchy!! (Oh, sorry, I forgot you are cool with that, Anna! )

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-29-2019 at 01:45 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  18. #18
    Member Onka's Avatar
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    *blows raspberry*
    On Ka
    穏 火
    aka Anna Kissed.
    No Gods No Masters.
    Life is too serious to be taken seriously.

  19. #19
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  20. #20
    Another book I really like is
    The essence of zen: the teachings of Sekkei Harada (Rumme/Harada).
    I feel it's also for (eternal) beginners.

    Gassho
    Ben

    Stlah

    Enviado desde mi PLK-L01 mediante Tapatalk

  21. #21
    Hi Sam

    One Zen book is a hard ask. Since no one else has mentioned it, I will go with Returning to Silence by Dainin Katagiri. Or, more poetically, Ryōkan's One Robe One Bowl.

    Gassho
    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.

  22. #22
    Not Soto but ďDropping Ashes on the Buddha: The Teachings of Zen Master Seung SahnĒ is a fun one.

    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  23. #23
    Great recommendations everyone. Thank you. Looks like Opening the hand of thought is a safe one to recommend if we have to pick just one.

    I'll try reading the other recommendations myself starting with the cook book

    Gassho,
    Sam
    st

  24. #24
    I don’t often feel qualified to comment on many threads, but I do here as I am very much a beginner to Zen practice. I second Jundo’s recommendation of What Is Zen? by Norman Fischer and Susan Moon. It is a series of questions and answers about Zen and really covers so much. And the authors are old friends, so the warm, conversational tone is delightful. I found it most helpful.
    Gassho,
    Krista
    st/lah

  25. #25
    It's been a while since I read it and, IIRC, it had a somewhat larger emphasis on Rinzai practice, but I thought The Three Pillars of Zen was a decent book. It contained excerpts from different texts, letters between students and teachers, exposition on Zen, and detailed zazen instructions including photos of how to sit. I thought it was very practical for that reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    ... due out from Wisdom Publications this coming summer!
    How exciting!

    Gassho
    Kyōsen
    Sat|LAH
    橋川
    kyō (bridge) | sen (river)

  26. #26
    As always Living Buddha, Living Christ by Tich Nhat Hanh the book that brought me aid when no other could cross culturally show me my simple practice! Let rain fall.
    Taishi
    sat
    Gassho


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    My apology for presumptions. I am human seeking Buddha, like/ Christ, like behavior, and I welcome all in Treeleaf who wish to walk beside me.

  27. #27
    .. due out from Wisdom Publications this coming summer!
    Do you think Jundo will remember to tell us when ??

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned 'Realizing Genjo Koan' by Shohaku Okumura , Although it may not be considered a real beginner's book. I go along with Tairin and Doyu in recommending Jundo's Beginner's Videos before you get into a whole pile of words in books.

    Btw, thanks for the link back to the intro to my book, I read quickly through the thread and had a few laughs at the banter between Kotei and Daiyo of the illegal pre-staging of the internet. They must have bumped into Al Gore there somewhere .

    Seriously, I can't remember my first Zen book. I just remember Kapleau and D.T. didn't do it for me.

    gassho, Shokai
    stlah
    Last edited by Shokai; 12-30-2019 at 01:00 AM.
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    May we all grow together in our knowledge of the Dharma

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Sen View Post
    ... I thought The Three Pillars of Zen was a decent book. It contained excerpts from different texts, letters between students and teachers, exposition on Zen, and detailed zazen instructions including photos of how to sit. I thought it was very practical for that reason.
    It was a popular book, but the popularity has declined among most Zen teachers in recent decades. The emphasis of that particular Buddhist group (Sambokyodan and the Yasutani-Harada lineage) at that time (I think they have softened themselves in recent years) on intense Koan Centered Zazen leading to a big, BOOMING Kensho experience caused a lot of misunderstandings in the Zen world I think. Our understanding of history and tradition has also come far during the about 60 years since that book was written. So, I would hesitate to recommend it.

    If you are interested in reading more on this topic, I have some essays and such which discuss it. Here is a review of that book, called "Zen Teaching, Zen Practice: Philip Kapleau and The Three Pillars of Zen" edited by Kenneth Kraft, a long time student of Kapleau Roshi ...

    Kraft points out that Kapleau’s book is “in large measure a book about kensho” (p.14) which in itself is problematic as for many, including some of the authors of the essays, this led to “inflated expectations… [and] [t]he discrepancy between anticipatory visions of enlightenment and actual experiences of insight”. (p.15) This disjuncture between what Kapleau wrote and the actual experiences of Zen students has led to some criticisms of The Three Pillars of Zen as a book that gives an unrealistic picture of what to expect from zazen. ...

    While this emphasis on and almost inevitability of kensho is, I think, a fair criticism of The Three Pillars of Zen, there is little doubt that Kapleau’s book brought many people to the study and practice of Zen Buddhism and for that we should be grateful. It is also necessary that we understand where and how Kapleau learned his Zen practice to better understand why he wrote and taught the way he did.
    http://www.thezensite.com/ZenBookRev...enpractice.htm
    You can also read a bit more on Kapleau and Yasutani Roshis' approach at the two "One Born, Twice Born Zen" links:

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...8part-not-1%29
    and
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...8part-not-2%29


    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-30-2019 at 01:53 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by KristaB View Post
    I don’t often feel qualified to comment on many threads, but I do here as I am very much a beginner to Zen practice. I second Jundo’s recommendation of What Is Zen? by Norman Fischer and Susan Moon. It is a series of questions and answers about Zen and really covers so much. And the authors are old friends, so the warm, conversational tone is delightful. I found it most helpful.
    Gassho,
    Krista
    st/lah
    That really is the best choice for a "first Zen book."

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  30. #30
    Thank you for letting me that about Kapleau's book, Jundo! It's been a long time since I read it (2006 I think) and I can certainly see why it would have fallen out of popularity given what you bring up. An over-emphasis on kensho doesn't sound like a very sustainable way to introduce Zen to others, seems that it would set them up with some expectations that would steer them in the wrong direction. Thank you for those links, I'm going to give those threads a look.

    Gassho
    Kyōsen
    Sat|LAH
    橋川
    kyō (bridge) | sen (river)

  31. #31
    I would recommend "Opening the Hand of Thought" and "Instructions for the Cook (aka "From The Zen Kitchen To Enlightenment: Refining Your Life by Eihei Dogen")" both by Uchiyama Roshi
    I recently had the opportunity to do this. Coincidentally (or not!), I recommended the same as Jundo.

    - opening hand of thought (I'm a bit skeptical as they don't use breath counting etc as is traditionally used in zen)
    It's not a universal method. Strange to throw out a whole book because of a simple aspect of technique.

    I'm new to zen and started with "Zen mind, beginner's mind" and found to be very "zen" I enjoyed the book, but it not one I would recommend for my wife. She would find it confusing and give up very quickly.
    Agreed. While this was my first book, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else as a starting book for reasons Jundo gave.
    Last edited by Ryushi; 12-30-2019 at 02:52 AM.


    No merit. Vast emptiness; nothing holy. I don't know.

  32. #32
    For a real beginner, someone totally new to Zen, I'd recommend one of Steve Hagen's books. I don't have them handy, but either Buddhism Plain and Simple or Buddhism Is Not What You Think. I don't recall there being a lot of meditation instruction, but these books cover the basics.

    Gassho,

    Kirk

    SAT
    I know nothing.

  33. #33
    Interesting question Sam,
    took me a while but finally came to

    Njanatiloka - the words of the buddha

    which is not strictly "zen-book" but theravada. It is a really to the core summarization of buddha's words from different scriptures. I would say you find many if not all concepts of zen philosophy covered, just partly with different terminology.
    Gassho
    Myoku
    sat

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Not Soto but ¬ďDropping Ashes on the Buddha: The Teachings of Zen Master Seung Sahn¬Ē is a fun one.
    This is also one of my all time favourites - however, I would not recommend it as a first read. (all these mentions of stick hitting... )

    Someone completely new to the Zen world (esp. Soto) would probably have a nice introduction with "Hardcore Zen" or "Sit down and shut up" by Brad Warner.

    Gassho,

    Daitetsu

    #sat2day
    no thing needs to be added

  35. #35
    Who am i to disagree with Jundo, but i think "Taking the Path of Zen" by Aitken Roshi is a very good book to begin with. It gives a lot of information and techniques about why and how to sit, in eight interesting chapters. And than, indeed, one chapter about koans, so i don't think it's centered on the Koan Introspection...

    But of course we are all waiting for the book that will make all other zen book superfluous : THE ZEN MASTERíS DANCE ..



    aprapti

    std

    Let silence take you to the core of life

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Doyū View Post
    Tairin is right. _()_

    Anything by Uchiyama works for me ... but I've been reading this stuff (without really acting on it until five years ago) since the fall of Rome. What was available back then was D.T. Suzuki mostly, along with whatever Snyder and Reps and Kapleau were going on about.

    What about Everyday Zen by Charlotte Joko Beck? or Thich Nhat Hanh's The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: “Why wander all over the world looking for something you already have?”

    gassho
    doyu sat and lah today
    I am quite fond of Everyday Zen. It was one of the first Zen books I encountered. There is also Steve Hagen's book: Buddhism Plain and Simple

    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.

  37. #37
    I always find that books have a way of presenting themselves when you most need them.
    In this vein I have enjoyed every one of my zen books, but I always go back to the one that started me off back in Ď88í when I didnít have a clue. It has become a touchstone for me ever since and resulted in a trip that ended on the Pacific coast of Japan and a wife and family.
    No other than, ĎMoon in a Dewdropí - Dogen, Ed. K. Tanahashií.

    Gassho
    Heisoku
    Stlah
    PS. Still donít have a clue.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Heisoku 平 息
    Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. (Basho)

  38. #38
    I know Treeleaf has been with Brad Warner. He recommends members of our Zendo and all members ofall Sangas in each of all Western Cultures are becoming leaders in the Zen World. Jundo Choen our teacher has been honored with the title Jundo Roshi, and I trust Jundo explicitly with my growth and direction. I am 68-years old, and I have been told I will live into my 80s; durning that time I intend to be Jundoís student. If he should die before me I will stay with Treeleaf and study with whoever becomes priest or priests of Treeleaf Zendo. I am inconsistent in my practice because if health issues. I have regained much good health in the last five years. I hope my doctor is right and I am healthier than I have been in a long time. Because we live far from a Soto Zendo, I find Treeleaf good and excellent in my practice. I have come to care about the people in our computer Zendo.
    Tai Shi
    sat/lah
    Gassho


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    My apology for presumptions. I am human seeking Buddha, like/ Christ, like behavior, and I welcome all in Treeleaf who wish to walk beside me.

  39. #39
    Beautiful, Tai Shi! Thank you for sharing your inspiration and aspiration, I feel the same way.

    I think it's good for each of us to become leaders (by leading-through-example) in our respective cultures and countries and communities. The best way to lead is by example, of course. Leading doesn't mean you have to lead a group or conduct ceremonies - it means living in accordance with your values and doing so without worrying what others may think of that. You show people the way by walking it yourself and supporting those who want to walk with you in whatever way you can, even if it's just words of encouragement. The best leaders are those who don't think of themselves as such, but who also acknowledge what role they play in others' stories, I think.

    In any case, I am grateful to be learning from and practicing Jundo-Roshi as well as all the Unsui and Precept-Holders and everyone else who is part of this Sangha: Past, present, and future. The Sangha is very precious

    Gassho
    Kyōsen
    Sat|LAH
    橋川
    kyō (bridge) | sen (river)

  40. #40

    Gassho
    Kyōsen
    Sat|LAH
    Not "Kyosen" yet. ... until the Ceremony next week. :-)

    Gassho J

    stlah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  41. #41
    Haven't finished the book yet but Realizing Genjo Koan by Shohaku Okumura is amazing and it has really helped me to make some sense of this practice. I would recommend it to everyone.

    My first ever book on Zen was either There is No God and He is Always with You by Brad Warner or Work: How to Find Joy and Meaning in Each Hour of the Day by Thich Nhat Hanh. The "Work" book is short and really helped me to learn to try to develop compassion for those who bring me discontent and focusing on the moment. A little more "mindfulness" based then I currently like, but nonetheless a really good entry level for dealing with workplace stress. Brad's book would be for someone like me (who at that time) was struggling with agnosticism when coming from a theistic religious upbringing and wanted to learn more about Zen.

    Gassho,
    Tyler

    SatToday

  42. #42
    In Chinese practice before Dogen, work formed an important part of practice, and in some Zendo monks were expected to work 3 hrs a day as part of practice in the walls of the monastery. Dogen also explains the necessity of work in practice. I am retired from the word of physical labor. Yet, I am a sponsor in AA with three men:! This by itself forms my work. The remainder is family, and attention to my practice. Before I joined Treeleaf I was often out of balance giving attention to one or the other too much. But since my great personal upheaval about 9 yrs ago, attention to all parts of life have been important to me. Before giving personally to the three men I sponsor, I volunteered in a coffee shop at a senior center and for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The point being. The world of work is so important to practice, look at our teacher who works as translator and attorney. All find great satisfaction in work well done. In Western Zen, thatís us, many find work necessary to practice AND to make livelihood. My wife and I are both retired, and have pulled back from the world of labor, but we both find great satisfaction b in our personal work. You will often see me end my ďsatĒ with ďlAHĒ and this means lend a hand. My work is with the men in AA, a small amount of money to NAMI, our Zendo, and for me and my wife yearly to The Nature Conservancy, so both of us practice. She supports my attention to Sangha, to Interbeing. Plumb Village! We even exercise three b times a week at the local gym: we make our Zen life together.
    Tai Shi
    sat/lah
    Gassho


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    My apology for presumptions. I am human seeking Buddha, like/ Christ, like behavior, and I welcome all in Treeleaf who wish to walk beside me.

  43. #43
    This above neglected my favorite Zen book, I like very much Opening the Hand of Thought written by a senior Zen master. This incorporates all the parts I wrote of above. Plus, it gives direction for sitting practice. I can no longer ďsit,Ē I am 68 with two artificial knees, and advanced arthritis, but all parts of this book by master Uchiyama, apply to me. I just sit in a chair or recline on a recliner focus on the breathe, posture, and mind just as Jundo instructs me. Jundo and Uchiyama are in complete agreement. So as a senior, and a married practitioner, I sit as Uchiyama instructs, and try to find balance in my life this is the middle way as the Buddha instructs.
    Tai Shi
    sat/lah
    Gassho


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    My apology for presumptions. I am human seeking Buddha, like/ Christ, like behavior, and I welcome all in Treeleaf who wish to walk beside me.

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Tai Shi View Post
    In Chinese practice before Dogen, work formed an important part of practice, and in some Zendo monks were expected to work 3 hrs a day as part of practice in the walls of the monastery. Dogen also explains the necessity of work in practice. I am retired from the word of physical labor. Yet, I am a sponsor in AA with three men:! This by itself forms my work. The remainder is family, and attention to my practice. Before I joined Treeleaf I was often out of balance giving attention to one or the other too much. But since my great personal upheaval about 9 yrs ago, attention to all parts of life have been important to me. Before giving personally to the three men I sponsor, I volunteered in a coffee shop at a senior center and for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The point being. The world of work is so important to practice, look at our teacher who works as translator and attorney. All find great satisfaction in work well done. In Western Zen, that’s us, many find work necessary to practice AND to make livelihood. My wife and I are both retired, and have pulled back from the world of labor, but we both find great satisfaction b in our personal work. You will often see me end my “sat” with “lAH” and this means lend a hand. My work is with the men in AA, a small amount of money to NAMI, our Zendo, and for me and my wife yearly to The Nature Conservancy, so both of us practice. She supports my attention to Sangha, to Interbeing. Plumb Village! We even exercise three b times a week at the local gym: we make our Zen life together.
    Tai Shi
    sat/lah
    Gassho


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Thank you for your practice.

    Gassho,
    Tyler

    SatToday
    Last edited by TyZa; 01-04-2020 at 02:56 AM.

  45. #45
    In Chinese practice before Dogen, work formed an important part of practice, and in some Zendo monks were expected to work 3 hrs a day as part of practice in the walls of the monastery. Dogen also explains the necessity of work in practice. I am retired from the word of physical labor. Yet, I am a sponsor in AA with three men:! This by itself forms my work. The remainder is family, and attention to my practice. Before I joined Treeleaf I was often out of balance giving attention to one or the other too much. But since my great personal upheaval about 9 yrs ago, attention to all parts of life have been important to me. Before giving personally to the three men I sponsor, I volunteered in a coffee shop at a senior center and for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The point being. The world of work is so important to practice, look at our teacher who works as translator and attorney. All find great satisfaction in work well done. In Western Zen, that’s us, many find work necessary to practice AND to make livelihood. My wife and I are both retired, and have pulled back from the world of labor, but we both find great satisfaction b in our personal work. You will often see me end my “sat” with “lAH” and this means lend a hand. My work is with the men in AA, a small amount of money to NAMI, our Zendo, and for me and my wife yearly to The Nature Conservancy, so both of us practice. She supports my attention to Sangha, to Interbeing. Plumb Village! We even exercise three b times a week at the local gym: we make our Zen life together.
    Tai Shi
    sat/lah
    Gassho

    Washin
    st-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'.

  46. #46
    Not to change subject but my Shikantaza my be out of balance and Iím not sure Iím driving the car! Quit a problem! Is it possible to view beginner videos on phone? Would I go to You Tube? Hope something is right !!!???
    sat???
    Tai Shi
    Gassho
    Deep bows


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    My apology for presumptions. I am human seeking Buddha, like/ Christ, like behavior, and I welcome all in Treeleaf who wish to walk beside me.

  47. #47
    Iíve read the car analogy and parts of it donít make sense Iíve been a passenger for some yearsóI donít drive anymore and old sofa and chair look the same in both pictures. What is a simple definition of equanimity I canít seem to get it. I have emphysema because I smoked cigs and pot for many years. Iíve been smoke free doing two heavy inhalers, and third rescue inhaler. I almost never use third inhaler. When I was young, smoking was almost expected. The aids gave away packs of cigs in hospital. Then folks began to take surgeon general report seriously giving up smokes was almost as hard as booze and I tried many times. Iím 68 and this year will mark 18 in March two days before daughterís birthday but I need a few pointers about Zazen, this has been bugging me for some time if Iím doing Shikantaza right, Iím embarrassed because Iíve been with Treeleaf more than 5 years. I use breath counting sometimes, and sometimes 20 min has passed and it feels like 5 min, am I doing anything right?,


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    My apology for presumptions. I am human seeking Buddha, like/ Christ, like behavior, and I welcome all in Treeleaf who wish to walk beside me.

  48. #48



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    My apology for presumptions. I am human seeking Buddha, like/ Christ, like behavior, and I welcome all in Treeleaf who wish to walk beside me.

  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by Tai Shi View Post
    I’ve read the car analogy and parts of it don’t make sense I’ve been a passenger for some years—I don’t drive anymore and old sofa and chair look the same in both pictures. What is a simple definition of equanimity I can’t seem to get it. I have emphysema because I smoked cigs and pot for many years. I’ve been smoke free doing two heavy inhalers, and third rescue inhaler. I almost never use third inhaler. When I was young, smoking was almost expected. The aids gave away packs of cigs in hospital. Then folks began to take surgeon general report seriously giving up smokes was almost as hard as booze and I tried many times. I’m 68 and this year will mark 18 in March two days before daughter’s birthday but I need a few pointers about Zazen, this has been bugging me for some time if I’m doing Shikantaza right, I’m embarrassed because I’ve been with Treeleaf more than 5 years. I use breath counting sometimes, and sometimes 20 min has passed and it feels like 5 min, am I doing anything right?,


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Yes, equinimity is vital. Accept all as is, both that which we can change and that which we cannot. We do what we can to fix our problems, but accept them too. Equanimity. If one is not sitting in equanimity, one is not sitting Shikantaza right. If one accepts that life has good days and bad, that Zazen has good days and bad, that sometimes we feel peaceful and that sometimes we do not ... that is equanimity.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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