Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: Discipline

  1. #1

    Discipline

    I realise that discipline is important in Buddhist path. I was rather raised free range, without any boundaries, and I lack self discipline. Monastic life appeals to me because everything is decided for you, from the time when you wake up to what and when you eat, there's little room for likes and dislikes, no choises. I feel that I would thrive in such environment (as I did during hard core volleyball camps with 3 daily trainings in the mountains, I would probably like army too if not for the violance and war factor). The recent scenery of my life is 3 months lockdown, being confined in a flat with the family, homeschooling, lack of nature and very little possibility to go out. I see it as a fertile ground for learning. I sit daily but I'd like to use this opportunity to work with this scenery and deepen my practice further, to turn my flat into a temple, but I'm not sure how to. I want to avoid falling into sloth, comfort eating and laziness. How do you discipline yourself in your practice? How has Covid and lockdowns changed your daily practice? Do you think that dedicating some days for certain things (like half a day fast, dana days, etc.) may be a good idea? I would appreciate any tips on developing self discipline.


    Sorry I could not discipline myself to three sentences.

    Gassho
    Sat

  2. #2
    Hi Ania

    I agree with you. Discipline is an important and often underrated part of practice. This is why monastic environments are like they are. Consistency of effort and a known schedule means that practice just happens. Zen is often thought of as spontaneous but that spontaneity comes out of hours of disciplined practice, just as a jazz saxophonist can only improvise based on years of learning.

    As well as daily sitting, could you add in a short time (20 mins or so) for some dharma study or listening to a podcast teaching? I find that taking refuge in the morning is nice and doesn't take long, likewise saying the evening gatha before bed. The meal chant can be quietly recited before meals.

    I like observing Ryaku Fusatsu on full moon days which is a ceremony to rededicate to the precepts, and I recite the ceremony in the morning together with the lineages of ancestors.

    That said, turning your flat into a temple is tough when there are children involved! My practice is much more flexible when my kids are here. But even then we can usually find a structure that works around family life.

    Thank you for your practice, Ania.

    Apologies for going long.

    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.

  3. #3
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    St. John's Newfoundland, Canada.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    Hi Ania

    I agree with you. Discipline is an important and often underrated part of practice. This is why monastic environments are like they are. Consistency of effort and a known schedule means that practice just happens. Zen is often thought of as spontaneous but that spontaneity comes out of hours of disciplined practice, just as a jazz saxophonist can only improvise based on years of learning.

    As well as daily sitting, could you add in a short time (20 mins or so) for some dharma study or listening to a podcast teaching? I find that taking refuge in the morning is nice and doesn't take long, likewise saying the evening gatha before bed. The meal chant can be quietly recited before meals.

    I like observing Ryaku Fusatsu on full moon days which is a ceremony to rededicate to the precepts, and I recite the ceremony in the morning together with the lineages of ancestors.

    That said, turning your flat into a temple is tough when there are children involved! My practice is much more flexible when my kids are here. But even then we can usually find a structure that works around family life.

    Thank you for your practice, Ania.

    Apologies for going long.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    Hi Kokuu,

    Is there a specific version of Ryaku Fusatsu that you practice? I'm assuming there are a number of different translations.

    Thank you!

    Gassho
    Hoseki
    Sattoday

  4. #4
    When I went on medical leave in 2019-2020, what helped me was to block off every hour from the time I woke up to the time I went to sleep in my calendar. I used a Zen temple’s residency schedule as a base and fit it to my goals.

    I included two blocks for sitting, two one-hour blocks for Buddhist study, and blocks for my own writing/projects. Aside from giving me a core to work with, it helped establish routine and consistency. After some time, it became habitual and I didn’t need to look at the calendar to know what was coming next.

    Of course, you have to work with your own circumstances. If you’re around family or have to care for obligations, that’s OK. That’s a part of practice too.

    Apologies for the length,
    Gassho,
    Jesse
    ST

  5. #5
    Hi Kokuu,

    Is there a specific version of Ryaku Fusatsu that you practice? I'm assuming there are a number of different translations.
    Hi Hoseki

    Yes, there is a Treeleaf version we came up with some years back. There may be a link to the file somewhere but would be happy to email to you if you PM me your email address.

    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
    As the Buddha said: I practice like my head was on fire. The world is on fire. The 3 fires of greed, hatred and delusion are LIT. And to be honest, the more I practice, the more I realize the amount of suffering that I carry and my loved ones carry. Nevertheless, I must say that lockdown and my mother's illness has challenged my capacity to sit every day and have discipline. And that's okay. I feel like kindness and understanding have to be in the mix of things.

    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat&LaH
    Last edited by Tomás Sard; 01-11-2021 at 07:14 PM.

  7. #7
    Ania - good advice here - I would recommend a couple of books about habits, and how to be more effective changing our habits based on our personal tendencies.

    I would read Better Than Before and then The Four Tendencies in that order. What works for me, may or may not work for you. But once you know your tendencies you can basically program things more effectively in your life by following a strategy that will work for you.

    Personally I set up certain non-negotiable; things that I will prioritize above anything else. Jesse's idea of scheduling a calendar works for me at work too; I feel that if I don't block my calendar, someone will block it for me SO I like to make sure I take control of my schedule. That being said, for some, that type of rigid calendar would be a prison sentence.

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah

  8. #8
    Kyotai
    Guest
    The joys of homeschooling kids remotely. I have two school age and a two year old. This year has been a challenge. We are currently in lock down in my province and schools are closed at least until the end of the month. My son is sitting next to me at his desk on "teams" while i work at my workstation. As far as zen practice, I try and keep things simple. I sit in the morning, that's it. Others might offer more advice. But for the discipline, I use a nutrition app to keep my diet in check, and I do daily push ups and sit ups to try and stay healthy. I think the important thing is having a routine and sticking to it.

    Gassho, Kyotai
    ST

  9. #9
    My routine changes often as I get stir crazy, but lately, my "discipline" is centered around what my lifestyle goals are. These are simple things, like keeping up with my practice and housework, and some hobbies. If I am regularly checking in with the things I find most important, there is less time wasted on things that just fill spacs, especially if part of my goals is to experience space more directly.

    Gassho,
    Sat, lah
    求道芸化 Kyudo Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

  10. #10
    I think discipline is very important in our practice.

    Do not remember the name of a Zen teacher who said this but I like this particularly among others.
    It goes like, "Discipline is not the opposite of freedom; it is the natural condition under which freedom flowers".

    Self discipline is one of the reasons I volunteer hosting zazen 5 days a week. The others are trying to
    encourage and stay connected more often with our community.

    Also I consider the Insight Timer isn't just for counting and registering your sits but rather another means
    to support each other on the path.

    As to practice itself, some good advices given here. The Ryaku Fusatsu mentioned by Kokuu is a lovely ceremony.
    Quite often I shorten it to simply reciting the Verse of Atonement and 4 Vows with sometimes adding
    Sampai (3 or 9 bows) on the other than full moon days. During the Ango I try to keep it up daily.

    Gassho,
    Washin
    stlah
    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'.

  11. #11
    Hi Ania,

    My only qualification for posting is that like you, I locked down with my kids and wife. As the Treeleaf motto goes: "Life is our Temple". Under lockdown, life becomes largely family, so investing in them intensively with compassion and patience is already disciplined, sacred practice. I think you are doing it! Other than that, it's about carving out times for yourself to sit zazen, do some study and invest in some practices suggested by folks above.

    Once you decide on a routine that suits your circumstances (and you that enjoy!), my only advice is to try building up habit, but don't beat yourself up if you capsize or life's currents pull you away - I think our practice is also about embracing family life's chaotic flow and getting back in the boat and carrying on.

    Much Metta to you and your family

    Gassho, Chris satlah

  12. #12
    Thank you all for sharing your wonderful ideas.


    Gassho
    Sat

  13. #13
    I am not at all disciplined, and I think a lot of this comes from the fact that I have been a freelancer, working from home, for 25 years. On the plus side, this makes the covid lockdown easy to manage - plus I'm an introvert, so I don't mind avoiding the world - but on the minus side, there is little structure to my work life. The only time-sensitive tasks I have are podcasts that I record, since they depend on others. Aside from that, I work the hours I want, as long as I accomplish what I need to.

    So on the one hand, I appreciate the freedom; I can stop work when I want, go out when the weather is nice, or take a break to read or play music. On the other hand, I don't have a regular routine. These past few months, when I have had a lot of work, and the pressures of the craziness of the world have been weighing on me a bit, my schedule has become even more irregular, and I'm trying to rein it in again. (I have been going to sleep very late recently; I've always been an night person, but in the depths of winter, when the days are short, I'd rather not get up very late as I have.)

    Gassho,

    Kirk

    sat
    -----

    流文

    I know nothing.

  14. #14
    discipline has been a problem for me all my life, including the years that i practice.. now i found some kind of balance. I do sit twice a day for 30 minutes, but not always on the same time. i made a little ritual for both periods, one in Japanese, one in Dutch. Covid did not change my life a lot, only my volunteer jobs i cannot do at the moment.

    and - toys for the boys - the insight timer app helps me to sit every day..



    aprapti

    std
    Last edited by aprapti; 01-12-2021 at 09:33 PM.

    Let silence take you to the core of life (Rumi)


    Aprāpti (अप्राप्ति) non-attainment

  15. #15
    The best tip I have for developing routines in general is to do one activity as a "trigger" for a subsequent activity (googling around a bit these are also called "cues" or "habit cues").

    So, for example: when we go to bed, I clean the litter boxes, then brush my teeth, then sit for the evening while my wife brushes her teeth, then we go to bed. Always in that order. Soon enough, I manage to do it all without even thinking.

    I'm sure much more strict, explicit schedules create the same kind of effortlessness in the end. This should help if you can't or don't want to make a time-stamped schedule but still want a routine.

    This might be trailing a little bit off topic, but one of my best friends provided a very simple productivity habit if you're feeling sluggish:
    - At the beginning of the day, say or write down what you will try to do for the day
    - At the end of the day, say or write down what you accomplished (don't worry about trying to get it to match your plan)
    - If you're working at desk, get a second monitor

    Simply keeping track of what you are doing, rather than doing stuff just as a side effect of being awake, for me helps with fighting two unhelpful impulses: getting distracted first thing in the morning and not realizing it until lunch, and the feeling of not getting anything done.

    Apologies for going a bit long (had to come back and edit, forgot the rule! :X)


    Kenny
    Sat Today
    Last edited by Sekiyuu; 01-12-2021 at 08:21 PM. Reason: trimmed down a bit

  16. #16
    Hi Ania - I actually did join the army and enjoyed the structured lifestyle... for a while. Looking back I think of it as outsourcing all responsibility and I question whether doing something because you are being told to is discipline after all.

    I am in a very similar boat to you at the moment. A 4 year old, a 7 month told, homeschooling and working from home in a small flat. I aim for 30 mins zazen in the morning with the euro crew in the SSR, 15 mins Qigong or yoga and a some time studying of a Zen or other Buddhist text. I then try and fit some exercise in at some point in the afternoon or early evening.

    I have always taken a lot of comfort from routines, particularly in the morning but I have had to accept that due to the current circumstances I'm probably going to be interrupted and not going to achieve all that, the one thing I make sure I do is fit some zazen in. Somewhere. Somehow.

    Sorry, I also overran!

    Gassho,

    heiso.

    StLah

Posting Permissions

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