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Thread: Sitting with eyes open

  1. #1

    Sitting with eyes open

    Hi there
    I am sharing my experience today. I have been sitting with eyes closed during almost 35 years and I thought that if I sit with my eyes open I wasn’t meditating but today after talking with Jundo I did sit for 2 times with eyes looking at the ground and I have got surprised that I could be just sitting in open awareness. From now on I will be sitting without close my eyes.
    Thank you Jundo for your kindness


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  2. #2
    Gassho1

    Horin

    Stlah

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  3. #3
    Member Seishin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    La Croix-Avranchin, Basse Normandie, France
    No doubt Jundo would say you are not meditating, just sitting zazen or shikantaza. Deep bows for your discovery.

    sat eyes open


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Seishin View Post
    No doubt Jundo would say you are not meditating, just sitting zazen or shikantaza. Deep bows for your discovery.

    sat eyes open
    Tank you


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Hi Jomano,

    Welcome again.

    In Shikantaza, we sit with eyes about half or 1/3 open for several reasons. First, we are not running away, nor running toward, the world, and just see what is seen without judgement or mentally becoming entangled with it. Most meditation takes us away from the outside world, but we believe that there is not "inside" or "outside" that are apart.

    We also do not seek deep concentration states, deep calm, states of bliss, other unusual mental states (they happen however, and it is fine and we cherish when they happen ... but we neither run toward nor away from them either). We sit in the equanimity and wholeness of Zazen, complete as it is, without demands.

    Next, it makes it easier to take this practice off the cushion into our active lives, where we don't expect to suddenly close our eyes and be removed from it all. The stillness and equanimity of Zazen is present in our bones even as, in daily life, we witness all the complexity and noise of the busy world. Stillness that is chaos, chaos just stillness, silence in all the noise.

    It also is a way to help stay alert, without falling asleep.

    So, Shikantaza is a little unlike what is usually called "meditation." I use the car driving example to better explain (hopefully, you don't close your eyes then either! ) ...

    Drivin' Dogen - Understanding "Open Spacious Awareness"
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...ious-Awareness

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    So, Shikantaza is a little unlike what is usually called "meditation." I use the car driving example to better explain (hopefully, you don't close your eyes then either! ) ...

    Drivin' Dogen - Understanding "Open Spacious Awareness"
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...ious-Awareness

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Thank you for re-posting this teaching.

    Gassho
    Meredith
    _ST_

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Jomano,

    Welcome again.

    In Shikantaza, we sit with eyes about half or 1/3 open for several reasons. First, we are not running away, nor running toward, the world, and just see what is seen without judgement or mentally becoming entangled with it. Most meditation takes us away from the outside world, but we believe that there is not "inside" or "outside" that are apart.

    We also do not seek deep concentration states, deep calm, states of bliss, other unusual mental states (they happen however, and it is fine and we cherish when they happen ... but we neither run toward nor away from them either). We sit in the equanimity and wholeness of Zazen, complete as it is, without demands.

    Next, it makes it easier to take this practice off the cushion into our active lives, where we don't expect to suddenly close our eyes and be removed from it all. The stillness and equanimity of Zazen is present in our bones even as, in daily life, we witness all the complexity and noise of the busy world. Stillness that is chaos, chaos just stillness, silence in all the noise.

    It also is a way to help stay alert, without falling asleep.

    So, Shikantaza is a little unlike what is usually called "meditation." I use the car driving example to better explain (hopefully, you don't close your eyes then either! ) ...

    Drivin' Dogen - Understanding "Open Spacious Awareness"
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...ious-Awareness

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Thank you so much


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    I find my eyes get very irritated when I sit with them open. (I've had some eye issues over the last decade, so I'm not sure if that's why.) In one sense, sure, I'm sitting, my eyes start getting irritated, I start blinking, they start watering - I'm just sitting there with sore watery eyes, everything is perfectly what it is in that moment. "Just eye irritation" is part of "just sitting."
    But in another sense, my knees can take about 15 - 20 minutes sitting on a cushion before they are screaming at me, so if I'm sitting for 40 or 50 minutes, I'm going to use a chair.
    So, my question, is doing zazen with my eyes closed not following the practice, or is it modifying the practice based on the reality of my body, same as choosing to sit in a way that works for one's body?
    Thank you.
    Gassho,
    Jim
    Stlah



    Sent from my SM-T510 using Tapatalk
    No matter how much zazen we do, poor people do not become wealthy, and poverty does not become something easy to endure.
    Kōshō Uchiyama, Opening the Hand of Thought

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by JimInBC View Post
    I find my eyes get very irritated when I sit with them open. (I've had some eye issues over the last decade, so I'm not sure if that's why.) In one sense, sure, I'm sitting, my eyes start getting irritated, I start blinking, they start watering - I'm just sitting there with sore watery eyes, everything is perfectly what it is in that moment. "Just eye irritation" is part of "just sitting."
    But in another sense, my knees can take about 15 - 20 minutes sitting on a cushion before they are screaming at me, so if I'm sitting for 40 or 50 minutes, I'm going to use a chair.
    So, my question, is doing zazen with my eyes closed not following the practice, or is it modifying the practice based on the reality of my body, same as choosing to sit in a way that works for one's body?
    Thank you.
    Gassho,
    Jim
    Stlah



    Sent from my SM-T510 using Tapatalk
    Our eyes are partly open because we don't close ourselves to reality in front of us. It's an essential part of Zazen as in other practices, the eyes are fully closed as you try to go within to find something. While you shouldn't strain your eyes, you should find it comfortable if you slightly have them opened as you continue practising.

    Some eye rotation exercises may help.

    Gassho,
    Sat today,
    Geerish.

    Sent from my PAR-LX1M using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by JimInBC View Post
    I find my eyes get very irritated when I sit with them open. (I've had some eye issues over the last decade, so I'm not sure if that's why.) In one sense, sure, I'm sitting, my eyes start getting irritated, I start blinking, they start watering - I'm just sitting there with sore watery eyes, everything is perfectly what it is in that moment. "Just eye irritation" is part of "just sitting."
    But in another sense, my knees can take about 15 - 20 minutes sitting on a cushion before they are screaming at me, so if I'm sitting for 40 or 50 minutes, I'm going to use a chair.
    So, my question, is doing zazen with my eyes closed not following the practice, or is it modifying the practice based on the reality of my body, same as choosing to sit in a way that works for one's body?
    Thank you.
    Gassho,
    Jim
    Stlah



    Sent from my SM-T510 using Tapatalk
    I think while there are guidelines, as long as we are doing our best is all that matters; if something is uncomfortable or not good for your joints, etc I would not do it; there is that fine line with sitting with discomfort as a practice, but you have to listen to your body and not overdo it because sitting isn't about doing what is harmful either; that's not good practice; it's being too rigid. imho of course.

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    I think while there are guidelines, as long as we are doing our best is all that matters; if something is uncomfortable or not good for your joints, etc I would not do it; there is that fine line with sitting with discomfort as a practice, but you have to listen to your body and not overdo it because sitting isn't about doing what is harmful either; that's not good practice; it's being too rigid. imho of course.

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah
    Yes. I have had days of dry eye, or irritation during pollen season. While we generally aspire to keep eyes open, not running from the world or away, do what must be if there is medical need.

    Okay, here is a Koan: Keep the eyes beyond open and closed, both open and closed at once!

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Yes. I have had days of dry eye, or irritation during pollen season. While we generally aspire to keep eyes open, not running from the world or away, do what must be if there is medical need.

    Okay, here is a Koan: Keep the eyes beyond open and closed, both open and closed at once!

    Gassho, J

    STLah

  13. #13
    Thank you @Jundo and @Risho! That was very helpful. And encouraging.

    Gassho,
    Jim
    STlah

    Sent from my SM-T510 using Tapatalk
    No matter how much zazen we do, poor people do not become wealthy, and poverty does not become something easy to endure.
    Kōshō Uchiyama, Opening the Hand of Thought

  14. #14
    Member Onka's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    rural queensland australia.
    Jomano
    When I first came to Shikantaza the teacher said that I should sit with soft eyes, focused on nothing but seeing everything. I don't know why but this description resonates more with me than others. Nonetheless I'm happy to hear of your breakthrough.
    Gassho
    Onka
    ST
    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.

  15. #15
    Thank you all for this lesson

    Gassho,

    lauren
    (sat today)

  16. #16


    Gassho
    Sat
    SatToday

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