Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Zen Mind, Struggling Mind

  1. #1
    Matt_12
    Guest

    Zen Mind, Struggling Mind

    Hi All,

    I am new to Shikantaza. Been practicing (Tibetan) buddhist meditation techniques for around a year now. Whilst this was going farely well, I felt like there was always something 'missing'. That is why I decided to pursue Zazen, where everything is perfect as it is, 'bad' practice (thinking mind, hehe), its okay - 'good' practice, its okay. Dropping al resistance or craving, whilst not easy, is the way to expres our true nature.

    In light of my own introduction, I wanted to share my own struggles and open up. Why? Because in meditation we not need to take ourselves too seriously, like I have a tendency to (you will probably experience this soon enough). Whilst following (Tibetan) meditation techniques, I was going from one technique to another, always looking for the 'one'. Switching from breathing meditation to compassion meditation and back around. It even came to the point that I was so caught up with deciding what meditation technique I 'should' do and what books I 'should' read, I became irritated just thinking about it and it was even keeping me awake at night - counterintuitive but it sounds so simple, but could you imagine?! Ordering, returning and cancelling 10's of books due to the fact that I couldn't make a choice. The supplier must of have gone mad. Not realizing it was my inability to let go of 'pursue'/'getting somewhere'/'and striving'. I noticed that I was (unconscious) habitually holding on to things. This show to what extend we humans can hold on to and how serious we can take ourselves.

    I wanted to ask fellow practitioners to share some funny/insightful stories in what you encountered during your Zazen to keep everyone realize we all have a shared human condition and the importance from not taking themselves, their mind and their practice too seriously and thus experiencing life lightly, joyfully and with open-awareness. Especially in these (difficult) current situation we are all in.

    Because in the end, keeping a 'Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind' is 'the most' important thing (whilst not clinging, craving or resisting).


    Gassho, Warm Wishes,

    Matt
    Sat - (sorry for going over 3)

  2. #2
    Welcome to the Sangha Matt,

    I suffer from the same struggles you mention. There are some great practitioners here who I am sure will be able to give you great advice and support. I posted something very similar in August with many great responses! https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...rn-of-behavior

    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat&LaH

  3. #3
    Hi Matt,
    Welcome—and I can relate. Not too long ago it would be difficult to discover the Dharma at all and now we have so many choices. It’s really tough to get out of a consumer mind set and stop shopping around. I had the same struggles with Tibetan practices—there are so many and they are available for us to pursue (but in the past they likely would have been chosen for you by your teacher).

    I still consider myself very much a Zazen newbie, and I have a tendency to monitor what/how I’m doing. For months, I had a “helpful” inner coach. Just as my mind would begin to settle, Coach would boom, “OPEN SPACIOUS AWARENESS YEEEEESSSSS!” Now I have a quieter but still persistent posture nag who reminds me to sit up straight. If you’ve ever watched the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel you might guess what she says... These moments do make me laugh and take myself less seriously. And they are becoming much less of a distraction as I continue to practice.

    Thanks for sharing your struggles. (And sorry for running long..)
    Gassho,
    Krista
    st

  4. #4
    In Tibetan Buddhism we are taught that compassion is something we should cultivate, which is all well and good and I fully support those who do this; we even have a tonglen practice circle here at Treeleaf! The thing about zazen, interestingly, is that when the mind is allowed to just be as it is and when we don't try to do anything special with it, it naturally becomes clear and in that clarity compassion naturally arises all on its own without the need to willfully cultivate it. I have grown to really appreciate that about this practice.

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

  5. #5
    Hi Matt

    I came from Tibetan Buddhism and found the same thing - there are just too many practices to choose from! Eventually I narrowed it down to about six that I did regularly but it was still too much really.

    Having one practice which is done both by students on their first day in the Zendo and masters on their last day on earth, is a quite lovely thing I think.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    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
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    Having one practice which is done both by students on their first day in the Zendo and masters on their last day on earth, is a quite lovely thing I think.
    Beautifully said

    Gassho,
    Jesse
    ST

  7. #7
    I completely identify with your words, Matt. It's something I've been struggling with for two years (since I've been practicing). In the end I always return to Dogen and Shikantaza and simply rest from looking for something new or more striking. It happens when my doubt feels impossible to bear. In some way I feel in my bones that stopping the search IS the Way. All my support with your struggle (and mine too).
    Gassho
    V.
    SatTodayLAH

  8. #8
    Member Onka's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    rural queensland australia.
    Hey Matt
    I've been fortunate to be very unwell this year. When faced with death at any moment as it is commonly understood I got to 'sit' a LOT. On a couple of occasions while doing acute care cardiac ward Shikantaza I experienced genuine equanimity with everything and a falling away of the barriers or walls that we build around us through our lives. These were the times that solidified my Shikantaza practice as the simplest of practices and most important. I honestly feel that I could read a thousand books and try to intellectualise our practice but no book can convey Dogen's, or even the Buddha's teachings more than Shikantaza. My compassion for others, especially others who are a challenge to spend time with has increased as a result of Shikantaza and a growing analysis and understanding of the Heart Sutra.
    Honestly Matt, my daily practice is ridiculously simple and my life is easier when my practice is put to work in the chaos and uncertainty of the day to day. No book can do that for me.
    Gassho
    Onka
    Sat today/acknowledging more than 3 sentences. I endeavor to do and be better.
    穏 On (Calm)
    火 Ka (Fires)
    aka Anna Kissed.
    Pronouns She/Her They/Them.
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.
    No Gods No Masters.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt_12 View Post
    ... I felt like there was always something 'missing'. That is why I decided to pursue Zazen, where everything is perfect as it is, 'bad' practice (thinking mind, hehe), its okay - 'good' practice, its okay. Dropping al resistance or craving, whilst not easy, is the way to expres our true nature.

    ... I was going from one technique to another, always looking for the 'one'. Switching from breathing meditation to compassion meditation and back around. It even came to the point that I was so caught up with deciding what meditation technique I 'should' do and what books I 'should' read, I became irritated just thinking about it and it was even keeping me awake at night - counterintuitive but it sounds so simple, but could you imagine?! ...
    It is truly nice to see someone who newly arrives here and seens to have the counter-intuitive, wise-crazy trick of Shikantaza already 1/2 figured out. I mean that, not kidding.

    Yes, there is something powerfully clarifying, releasing, freeing about stopping the dog chasing its tail. Lovely.

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH

    PS - One can still add Tonglen and other nice things into the mix at other times when not sitting Zazen. Soto folks do one thing ... Just Sitting ... but then also do other things in life when not Just Sitting.
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-18-2020 at 01:49 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  10. #10
    Matt_12
    Guest
    Thanks everyone for the kind replies. And thanks Tomás for the link, provided great insight.

    Nothing exists but momentarily in its present form and color. One thing flows into another and cannot be grasped. Even under the heavy snow we see snowdrops and some new growth. In Japan in the spring we eat cucumbers.

    Warm wishes,

    Matt

  11. #11
    No words of wisdom.

    Just simple encouragement.

    Keep sitting, easy

    Gassho

    Dick

    SAT/lah

Posting Permissions

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