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Thread: Zazen and everyday life

  1. #1
    Matt_12
    Guest

    Zazen and everyday life

    Hi Sangha,

    I got a 'question' (while Zazen is beyond the thinking mind) what do they mean by (for example) 'when eating, just eat'. How do I approach daily life with 'big mind', and thus applying Zazen to everything? I know that everything is Zazen, and life off the cushion and on the cushion are no different, but how to 'actively'/be 'aware' of Big Mind during life? How do you guys/girls apply Zazen into everyday life? Do you apply more 'insta Zazen moments' (i.e., whenever you switch from major task during the day you take a few seconds to apply an insta Zazen to be more 'aware')?

    Let's take 'when eat, just eat' for example. Do I remain in consciousness awareness when eating or do I focus on physical sensations (i.e., like feeling the chair, feet on the ground, warmth of the meal, texture of the meal etc. etc.) to 'step out' of my thinking mind (small mind) and into Big Mind - although they are one?

    Or another example; like writing this message. Do I focus on the physical sensation of my hands touching the keyboard, posture, temperature to step out of the thinking mind, or do I take it all in and stay within my consciousness awareness?

    What do I do when my mind 'wanders away' during the day, do I step out and rest in open awareness like the big blue sky mentioned in the 'beginners talk' or do I shift my attention gently to physical sensations to let the thought, emotion or feeling go and be in the present moment without thinking about it?

    Realizing I am running long here, but nonetheless;

    Warm wishes,

    Matt

  2. #2
    I think we should drop idealism to encounter or realize some certain states like experiencing "big mind" all the time. When it comes it's great but don't expect it.
    When we eat we try to be with the act of eating and if we become entangled in thoughts we may return. Also with everything else.. And who says that caught up in thoughts is bad at all? Sure, we better do not become entangled in thinking while driving a car, or something like that.. But in daily life, as long as we don't be driven by greed or anger it's OK imo. And zazen teaches us how to return from these unwholesomeness and use it in daily life and to embrace all the states and phenomena without attachment to it..

    I'm curious how roshi and the others answer your question tho


    .. And sorry for more than 3 sentences


    Gassho

    Horin

    Stlah

    Enviado desde mi BLA-L29 mediante Tapatalk

  3. #3

    Zazen and everyday life

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt_12 View Post
    Hi Sangha,

    I got a 'question' (while Zazen is beyond the thinking mind) what do they mean by (for example) 'when eating, just eat'. How do I approach daily life with 'big mind', and thus applying Zazen to everything? I know that everything is Zazen, and life off the cushion and on the cushion are no different, but how to 'actively'/be 'aware' of Big Mind during life? How do you guys/girls apply Zazen into everyday life? Do you apply more 'insta Zazen moments' (i.e., whenever you switch from major task during the day you take a few seconds to apply an insta Zazen to be more 'aware')?

    Let's take 'when eat, just eat' for example. Do I remain in consciousness awareness when eating or do I focus on physical sensations (i.e., like feeling the chair, feet on the ground, warmth of the meal, texture of the meal etc. etc.) to 'step out' of my thinking mind (small mind) and into Big Mind - although they are one?

    Or another example; like writing this message. Do I focus on the physical sensation of my hands touching the keyboard, posture, temperature to step out of the thinking mind, or do I take it all in and stay within my consciousness awareness?

    What do I do when my mind 'wanders away' during the day, do I step out and rest in open awareness like the big blue sky mentioned in the 'beginners talk' or do I shift my attention gently to physical sensations to let the thought, emotion or feeling go and be in the present moment without thinking about it?

    Realizing I am running long here, but nonetheless;

    Warm wishes,

    Matt
    Hi. For me, it means that one should be fully present in whatever it is we do. Each action is complete and lacks nothing, so the issue is when instead of experiencing moments for what they are, we deem them incomplete and discriminate them based on preferences: this meal would be so much better if only X was here to share it with me or if only I had this extra thing to make it tastier. That judging of things is how we remove ourselves from what is.
    So when eating, just eat.. Don’t eat and wish you were eating something else, or something better, or somewhere else. Eat and reflect on the effort that brought you that food and consider how it came to you. Appreciate it and experience it fully. It’ll not turn that meal into an unpleasant action. That same thing can be applied to anything else. Whatever we do, we should be aware of ourselves and of what we do. Nishijima Roshi said that “the true teaching of Buddhism is to be sincere in our conduct in the present moment.” So that’s a great way to look at it and a good place to start. It doesn’t need to be a Thich Nhat Han kind of exercise, where you should chew the food at least 20 times before swallowing, gazing into the skies while doing it. If you eat in a hurry, fine. If you eat slowly, fine. But be there doing it, completely.

    Sorry for the “novel” I wrote up there!!!

    SatToday lah


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Bion; 12-25-2020 at 01:05 AM.
    Bion
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  4. #4
    Hi Matt,

    As was said, I don't feel the goal is to be "in the moment" every moment (in fact, it would be a very strange and limiting way to live so most of the time, if one truly considers it), but this is a wonderful power we develop to be so sometimes (e.g., I try to be so when playing with my kids, but my mind wants to be "somewhere else.") Also, one can still be "in the moment" with the fact that the phone is ringing, the doorbell too, the neighbors yelling and the baby crying ... for even multi-tasking, which we must sometimes do in this busy world (even busy Zen monks!) ... is just what is happening in that moment! I think it a great misinterpretation of the whole 'mindfulness' movement that one is supposed to always be 'in the moment.'

    More powerful than being "in the moment" is, in my feeling, to be what the moment is, radically allowing the moment to be the moment ... even if not the pleasant moment we might wish. I wrote a bit more about this here:

    Being mindful of 'mindful'
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...ll=1#post45224

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt_12 View Post
    Let's take 'when eat, just eat' for example. Do I remain in consciousness awareness when eating or do I focus on physical sensations (i.e., like feeling the chair, feet on the ground, warmth of the meal, texture of the meal etc. etc.) to 'step out' of my thinking mind (small mind) and into Big Mind - although they are one?

    Or another example; like writing this message. Do I focus on the physical sensation of my hands touching the keyboard, posture, temperature to step out of the thinking mind, or do I take it all in and stay within my consciousness awareness?
    To focus on physical sensations strikes me as Vipassana practices which some recommend as "mindfulness." In Zazen, our way is a bit different, and involves simply not wallowing in thoughts and judgements about the moment. One focuses on the breath for awhile, without grabbing thoughts and in equanimity, or one can sit in "open spacious awareness."

    Yes, Shikantaza Zazen 'on the cushion,' just allowing each moment to be that moment without judgement or comparison or resistance, is our practice, and then we take that off the cushion, to many (not all) times through the day when things happen ... caught in traffic, when the dog needs a walk, the car won't start on a cold morning, the doctor hands us the test result, both moments that are pleasing and those that are not. Yes, for a moment, let go of thoughts and comparisons, judgements and resistance, even if for a second.

    - Zazen for Beginners (13) - Anywhere, Anytime INSTA-ZAZEN!
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...nners-%2813%29

    It is actually a traditional practice, the same as when monks 1000 years ago took this practice off the cushion to face the ups and downs of their own life. But don't expect that the goal of this practice is to be experiencing some ideal "Zen Mind" beyond time and troubles, 7/24/365.

    Let us know what you feel after looking at those.

    Sorry to have run momentarily longer than 3 sentences.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-25-2020 at 01:03 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    Member Onka's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    rural queensland australia.
    Hi Matt
    I'm a huge fan of Jundo's Insta-Zazen so definitely check out the link above.
    My Practice is ridiculously simple and therefore my life is ridiculously simple. I do what I can, when I can, how I can, with what I can. I don't put pressure on myself to be uber-zenny or anything other than authentic. I'd suggest that there aren't too many at Treeleaf who haven't noticed my Practice evolution in the short time I've been practicing. That's because the only goal I ever had was to sit WITH pain rather than try to escape it. I didn't have enlightenment goals or any expectations, I just started practicing Shikantaza. If it helped me sit WITH pain, terrific, if all I got was yet another relaxation technique then that was fine too. As it turned out I got quite a bit more out of it than I had hoped but that's just me, a Zen muppet who I wouldn't necessarily take too much notice of haha.
    Gassho
    Onka
    Sat today
    Last edited by Onka; 12-25-2020 at 03:07 AM. Reason: Apology for length of post
    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.

  6. #6
    In many ways. sitting Zazen is like developing a "tool", a mental "muscle memory". The more I sit Zazen, the more easily I can produce Jundo's Insta-Zazen during my off-cushion times. After years of striving, working, pressing myself to achieve "something", I agree 1000% with Onka - I try to keep my practice, and my life simple. It works!

    Gassho
    Dick
    Sat/lah

  7. #7
    I agree with the Dick. I notice that when I maintain a diligent practice it's like a mental workout. As the days ,turn to weeks, turn to months the longer i stick with the practice the easier it is to be in that "sweet spot" on the zafu(well I chair sit) which carries over into the rest of my life. I am now starting to dig deeper into the Way. I keep it simple. try to follow the precepts and sit. Even if a period of no sitting I still keep the precepts in mind and this has changed who I am. Or as some would say more authentic.
    Dave
    SAT/LAH

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