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Thread: Four Missing Instructions

  1. #1

    Four Missing Instructions

    The following four aspects are vital, yet not clearly stated in many introductions to sitting Shikantaza Zazen. Their absence makes all the difference in the world:

    First, we sit with a radical non-demanding and self-fulfillment in Zazen, unvoiced yet felt deep in the bones, a trust and faith that sitting itself is the fulfillment of sitting, with not one drop lacking, not one thing to add, no other thing to do or place to go in all the universe, apart from this moment of sitting itself. We say that sitting itself is Buddha sitting, and the whole world is sitting as our sitting. Sitting is the flowering, Just As It Is, of all life. It is the medicine for our endless human need to add, remove, fix, change, do, get somewhere, attain some reward. Yet this freedom from bottomless desire for reward, attaining, change and need to arrive somewhere is a Grand Reward and Wondrous Change Thus Attained, in each step True Arrival.

    Second, we let thoughts go, do not grab on, step back from stirring up and wallowing in emotions. However, we also have a trust that Shikantaza is like the weather, sometimes clear and open, sometimes cloudy or downright stormy some days. Yet, even on stormy or cloudy days, we have deep faith that the sun and sky are still present and shining, seen or unseen. Don't think that Zazen is only 'good and right' when it feels good, calm, peaceful and right. It is 'good and right' even on those days when it goes wrong. Then perhaps the light will emerge even from within the dark or rainy clouds, which somehow become translucent. Even the clouds are the sky, the sky is also sometimes raining. Next day, maybe the sky is clear and open without a single cloud again, then maybe next day the weather changes again ... but the sky and sun are always present all days. Do not cling to or demand pleasure, calm, bliss, silence or peace, for they may come and go. Realizing such is True Peace shining at the heart of all the world's noise and calamity, the Still Still point at the center of all coming and going.

    Third, for the time of sitting, radically drop all thought of points, progress and "more time is better." Rather, Zazen is always good, nothing to measure, and each second of Zazen is infinite and timeless. Just let thoughts go, without grabbing on, put aside other judgments, measures and weighing, and know that Zazen is always complete. Although Zazen is beyond all measure and time, we still sit each day for a certain time (not a paradox to Zen folks).

    Fourth, learn that one can see through and drop away one's ego, thoroughly and completely, and experience a reality free of an individual ego, without a separate sense of self, and beyond all the frictions and fears which a separate self creates between our ears when it bumps into the other seeming separate selves of the world, or desires something, or fears for its own non-existence. However, as strange as it sounds, one can experience so, thoroughly and completely even while one retains a human ego for living day to day (also not a paradox for us). For Zen folks, a cup can be totally empty, open and perfectly clear, while also full to the rim with tea, much as the sun shines even during the darkest night. The result is not some nihilistic nothing, not loss of life, but a wholeness, fullness and flowing that sweeps in and through all separate things.

    Further, we learn to keep balance in the self which remains, less a prisoner of the push and pull of our desires and drives, excess emotions and runaway, destructive thoughts, so that our thoughts are moderate, balanced, like an ox well tamed. We can do all this at once, as one, as if encountering the world through two eyes which, both open, give perspective and clarity: A moderated self which picks and chooses AND no-self at once, each infusing and perfuming the other, both seen at once as one, a new and clear perspective. (Even so, some days, that ox will still get away from us, and life will still knock us out of the saddle, vision cloudy. That's okay. Dust off, wipe one's eyes, grab the reins again, get back on the ox! Get back on the Zafu! )

    Zazen is crossing the legs, sitting upright, breathing and letting thoughts go for some time each day, and yet that alone is not the beginning nor the end of Zazen.

    Ride and rider, empty circle and space, not same not different, up and down, moving on yet no place to go ... Shikantaza.


    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-01-2021 at 12:17 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Thanks for reminding me of these importante aspects!! Always a beginner in zazen

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 02-27-2021 at 06:09 AM.
    Bion
    美音

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  3. #3
    Member Seishin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    La Croix-Avranchin, Basse Normandie, France
    Thank you for this clarity Jundo, despite this being said many times in subtly different ways, in your teaching. Always good to go back to basics.

    sat


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  4. #4
    Wonderful teaching and reminder - the essence of Shikantaza.

    Deep Gassho,

    Van

  5. #5
    Gassho, roshi.





    Gassho,

    Ryūmon

    sat
    -----

    流文

    I know nothing.

  6. #6


    As always, thank you.

    Doshin
    St

  7. #7


    Gassho,
    Kevin
    SAT LAH

  8. #8
    Member Seikan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Massachusetts, United States
    Thank you Jundo.

    This is one of those teachings that I wish I had encountered years ago. No time like the present though, right?

    Gassho,
    Seikan

    -stlah-


    Sent from my Pixel 4a (5G) using Tapatalk
    聖簡 Seikan (Sacred Simplicity)

  9. #9
    Thank you, Jundo.

    Naiko
    st

  10. #10
    Thank you.

    Gassho,
    Mags
    ST

  11. #11
    Thank you Jundo. Your timing is perfect. How’d you know I needed to hear this message?


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

  12. #12




    aprapti

    std

    Let silence take you to the core of life


    Aprāpti (अप्राप्ति) non-attainment

  13. #13
    Beautiful, Jundo!

    Is this going to be in a forthcoming book? If not, I would definitely submit it to Tricycle or Lion's Roar. A lot of people could benefit from these words.

    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.

  14. #14


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

  15. #15
    This is it.

    Thank you for your teaching, Jundoshi.

    Gassho
    Nengei
    Sat today. LAH.

  16. #16
    Ooops, forget to add the Ox-herding picture that accompanies the last line ...

    Ride and rider, empty circle and space, not same not different, up and down, moving on yet no place to go ... Shikantaza.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  17. #17
    Thank you Jundo,
    Gassho,

    Horin

    Stlah

    Enviado desde mi BLA-L29 mediante Tapatalk

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Ooops, forget to add the Ox-herding picture that accompanies the last line ...



    Gassho, J

    STLah
    I love this. Moving on and yet no place to go. It's like we do our best everyday even if deep down, we accept things the way they are. Maybe not so perfect but maybe perfect for practice.

    Gassho,
    Sat today,
    Geerish.

    Sent from my PAR-LX1M using Tapatalk

  19. #19
    Wonderful description. Thank you, Jundo.

    Gassho, Jim
    ST/LaH

    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

  20. #20
    Thank you so much Jundo
    Gassho, Nikolas
    Sat/Lah

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Seishin View Post
    Thank you for this clarity Jundo, despite this being said many times in subtly different ways, in your teaching. Always good to go back to basics.

    sat
    hahahah yep

    Thank you Jundo

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah

  22. #22
    Thank you Jundo

    Gassho,
    Seibu
    Sattoday/lah

  23. #23
    Thank you for this teaching Jundo.
    Gassho
    sat/ lah
    Tai Shi
    The reason we are foolish enough to make ourselves suffer and make the other person suffer is that we forget that we and the other person are impermanent. Someday when we die, we will lose all our possessions, our power, our family, everything. Our freedom, peace, and joy in the present moment is the most important thing we have. But without an awakened understanding of impermanence, it is not possible to be happy. Thich Nhat Hanh, The Tiger Within. p 119.

  24. #24
    Thank you Jundo!


    Gassho
    Koutoku
    SAT
    Koutoku

  25. #25
    Thank you

    Gassho
    Sat
    SatToday

  26. #26
    Thank you Jundo

    SatTodayLAH
    Gassho
    Bobby


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    "When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."
    Shunryu Suzuki

  27. #27
    Member Onka's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    rural queensland australia.
    Thank you Jundo
    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.

  28. #28
    I understand this teaching Jundo. Thank you for this teaching.
    Gassho
    sat/ lah
    Tai Shi
    The reason we are foolish enough to make ourselves suffer and make the other person suffer is that we forget that we and the other person are impermanent. Someday when we die, we will lose all our possessions, our power, our family, everything. Our freedom, peace, and joy in the present moment is the most important thing we have. But without an awakened understanding of impermanence, it is not possible to be happy. Thich Nhat Hanh, The Tiger Within. p 119.

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