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Thread: An Essay on Shikantaza that 'Get's Sit Right!' by Lou Richmond Roshi

  1. #1

    An Essay on Shikantaza that 'Get's Sit Right!' by Lou Richmond Roshi

    Dear All,

    PLEASE READ THIS!

    Someone posted in a Zen group on Facebook an essay on Shikantaza Zazen by Chikudo Lewis Richmond, a great teacher in the Suzuki Lineage. LOVELY! Simply, it gets Shikantaza right ... "Gets Sit Right!"

    So much less and more than all the mere "sit up straight, follow the breath, let thoughts go, be in the moment" tepid or misleading descriptions that are out there. WONDERFUL WONDERFUL! I believe that I first read it a couple of years ago, and recommended it as much then too.

    ============

    Lion's Roar
    Just Sitting, Going Nowhere


    Most people new to zazen think that it’s a skill that can be learned, like tai chi. We come to zazen instruction and are told to sit a certain way, hold the hands just so, keep the eyes open, and pay attention to the breath. It seems rather easy; we look forward to becoming more accomplished in it. But Dogen admonishes us, “Zazen is not learning to do concentration.” He seems to be implying that our ambitions to improve are not quite on the mark. ...

    ... Dogen [] means that we’re not trying to stop our thinking, but we’re also not paying particular attention to it or trying to do anything with it. Instead there’s a kind of deep acceptance or tolerance about everything. Thus we come to rest not in the track of our thinking, but in that which thinks. But who or what is that? We are back to some deep ineffable question at the root of our existence, our just-awareness. This means that in the midst of our childlike ease and joy, there is also some unusual and subtle effort—an inquiry that is beyond ratiocination or cogitation.
    More here ...

    https://www-lionsroar-com.cdn.amppro...ing-nowhere%2F

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Thank you Jundo

    gassho, Shokai
    stlah
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    May we all grow together in our knowledge of the Dharma

  3. #3
    Thank you

    Gassho, C stlah

  4. #4
    Thank you.
    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  5. #5
    Great essay, and now I remember reading it when it was issued!
    Thank you
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Sattoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  6. #6
    Thank you so much for this. A truly inspiration read. I particularly liked the following...


    Buddhist life is sometimes thought of as rather passive: sitting quietly, not saying or expressing anything, not celebrating things, not dancing, not playing music, not going to the movies. That understanding is a little too much back-of-the-hand. Zazen is not to reject one side of the hand or the other, but to equalize both sides so that the basis of our life has some deep compassionate support, some backdrop. We’re not trying to suck the joy out of our experience and live a drab, black-robed life, but to round out our life so it can become deeply and authentically compassionate and joyous. This includes everything—joy, sorrow, birth, death, delusion, enlightenment.

    The quote about who's putting the garbage it also hit home. How is it that zazen always knows when it is Tuesday morning in order to prod that thought forward!

    Gassho
    Martyn
    st


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Member Onka's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Rural Queensland, Australia
    Thank you Jundo.
    I wonder though, in your experience of living in Japan for 30 odd years yet teaching many Westerners, is it a particularly Western trait to chase things or seek more than what just is? I ask this because many in the West are brought up in societies where they're chasing access to some kind of incredible afterlife.
    Gassho
    Onka
    ST
    On Ka
    穏 火
    No Gods No Masters
    "In whatever condition I find myself, I simply live my own life, a life connected with all the things in the universe." - Shohaku Okumura

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Onka View Post
    Thank you Jundo.
    I wonder though, in your experience of living in Japan for 30 odd years yet teaching many Westerners, is it a particularly Western trait to chase things or seek more than what just is? I ask this because many in the West are brought up in societies where they're chasing access to some kind of incredible afterlife.
    Gassho
    Onka
    ST
    Or they're/we're chasing some incredible 'this-life'!

    Gassho
    Martyn
    st


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Onka View Post
    Thank you Jundo.
    I wonder though, in your experience of living in Japan for 30 odd years yet teaching many Westerners, is it a particularly Western trait to chase things or seek more than what just is? I ask this because many in the West are brought up in societies where they're chasing access to some kind of incredible afterlife.
    Gassho
    Onka
    ST
    I think it is a universal human trait to seek attainments and more more more, though probably made extreme by modern opportunities of capitalist/consumer culture as now found in all the western countries, as well Japan, China etc. today.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-23-2020 at 08:24 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  10. #10
    Member Onka's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Rural Queensland, Australia
    I must have missed this memo lol.
    Thank you Jundo.
    Gassho
    Onka
    ST
    On Ka
    穏 火
    No Gods No Masters
    "In whatever condition I find myself, I simply live my own life, a life connected with all the things in the universe." - Shohaku Okumura

  11. #11
    Wonderful prose. I agree that the phase just-awareness as opposed to just sitting is able to capture the essence of Shikantaza more fully.

    Gassho _/\_
    Van
    Sat (too early for lah but will do so later )

    Sent from my HD1913 using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    Yes, thank you Jundo.

    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.

  13. #13
    Thank you Jundo, what a well written article. I feel like zazen is one of those things where one word of explanation is too much, but a million words are nowhere near enough. My favorite line is basically "zazen is simple, it's the human mind that's complicated" or something close to that (I accidentally closed the window before I could quote it!)

    Gassho,

    Joshua
    SatToday/lah

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

  14. #14
    That’s a wonderful essay. Thank you for posting it here Jundo. I have bookmarked it for future reference.

    the essence practice of Buddhism—which is what zazen is—really is simple. It is we human beings who are complicated.
    I like this quote too Joshua


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

  15. #15
    Thank you Jundo. Wonderful.



    Ghasso
    Bobby
    ST
    "When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."
    Shunryu Suzuki

  16. #16
    Thank you


    Gassho/SatToday
    流道
    Ryū Dou

  17. #17
    Thank you Jundo.

    Ghasso
    SatToday

  18. #18
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    St. John's Newfoundland, Canada.
    Thank you Jundo!

    Gassho

    Hoseki
    Sattoday

  19. #19
    Member Seishin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    La Croix-Avranchin, Basse Normandie, France
    Wonderfully perspective. Thank you for sharing.

    Sat


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  20. #20
    Marvelous essay. I think I'll read it often. Thank you Jundo.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Sat/LAH
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  21. #21
    Wonderful!
    "Zazen practice is the practice of the whole hand." That's lovely.

    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).

  22. #22
    Absolutely wonderful. Thank you Jundo.

    Sat Today Lah
    John

  23. #23
    Appreciate this very much! I am reading Opening the Hand of Thought right now and this article is a great supplement to that material.

    For a time, I was certainly in the mindset the author mentions some practicioners falling into; that Zazen was about "stopping one's thinking."

    I also found this to be well said:

    That understanding is a little too much back-of-the-hand. Zazen is not to reject one side of the hand or the other, but to equalize both sides so that the basis of our life has some deep compassionate support, some backdrop. We’re not trying to suck the joy out of our experience and live a drab, black-robed life, but to round out our life so it can become deeply and authentically compassionate and joyous. This includes everything—joy, sorrow, birth, death, delusion, enlightenment.
    Right now, what I get is that it is not an effort to attain/experience or not attain/experience, it's a practice that seeps into all life, encouraging compassion and joy that can benefit all beings.

    Gassho

    Ryan
    Sat Today

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