Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: "Do Nothing" Meditation

  1. #1

    "Do Nothing" Meditation

    I have found this description about Shikantaza to be very helpful and just wanted to share it with you all



    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat&LaH

  2. #2
    Well, that was a great deal of words just to give instruction on how to “do nothing”. I sometimes find many people over-complicate an action, like zazen for example, by dividing it into infinite notions, goals and processes. The mere fact that he refers to this practice as a ‘technique’, implies it is meant to achieve something, and then he ads that ones does that “in time”.

    SatToday
    Bion
    美音

    -------------------------
    Join me on Insight Timer
    Help me feed those in need by joining my Share The Meal team HERE

  3. #3
    Thank you, Tomas.

    I have to say that, generally, I am not a Shinzen Young fan. I find that he over-intellectualizes many practices with pseudo-scientific models and questionable systems of his own invention. I fear that this is an example. I do not know about this "circuit of attention" which, with time, turns itself off. He describes some "technique" in which "as soon as you are aware of an intention to control your attention, drop that intention." That sounds like a lot of complicated words for "just don't grab thoughts." It seems to want to describe some functional technique, which is not Shikantaza.

    Furthermore, he omits the heart of Shikantaza:

    Shikantaza is just sacred sitting in which there is not one more thing to do, no other place to be, nothing lacking from sitting itself, sitting for sitting's sake. We sit with a trust in such fulfilled nature of Zazen, and it becomes a self-fulfilling fact. Do not grab thoughts, sit in equanimity, knowing that nothing is lacking. That is all. It is not a "technique," there is radically nothing to attain, nothing in need of attaining ... a rare experience for human beings who are always running and chasing the goal of trying to attain, fix or change something in life.

    Sorry to run long.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 05-12-2021 at 06:53 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4


    From the recommendation in the podcast episode on koans, I picked up "The Book of Mu", and I feel that your definition of Shikantaza is also what Mu is pointing to but maybe from a different point of view. Very interesting.

    I need to hear this type of reminder quite often; I'm always looking for something to gain from practice. I guess that's why I keep practicing to realize just this is it, or to keep sitting until I know it.

    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah

  5. #5
    Thank you for sharing your perspectives. I do not know much about Shinzen, other than that he has practiced in different traditions, such as Rinzai and with Vipassana techniques. He is someone who clearly practices with a goal in mind. Nevertheless, I find that his distinction of attention and intention is useful. I feel like he rambles a bit and goes into subtleties because many practitioners tend to be "unable" to just sit and come up with all sorts of questions during the practice.

    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomás Sard View Post
    Thank you for sharing your perspectives. I do not know much about Shinzen, other than that he has practiced in different traditions, such as Rinzai and with Vipassana techniques. He is someone who clearly practices with a goal in mind. Nevertheless, I find that his distinction of attention and intention is useful. I feel like he rambles a bit and goes into subtleties because many practitioners tend to be "unable" to just sit and come up with all sorts of questions during the practice.

    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat
    I also came across opinions (even in soto circles) that true Shikantaza, Dogchen or Chan Silent Illumination are practices based on initial awakening, and that begginers cannot do it because they often don't have sufficiently developed samatha. That they waste their time sitting in a cloudy state of mind, doing nothing just hoping for "mind and body dropping off" eventually.
    I don't know about all that, personally Shikantaza is the only practice I've ever tried that brings me back every day to the cushion and keeps revealing itself in mysterious ways.
    BTW - a question : how does Bodaishin( way seeking mind) differ from goal oriented mind in Zen practice?
    Gassho
    Sat
    Last edited by Inshin; 05-12-2021 at 07:21 AM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Inshin View Post
    I also came across opinions (even in soto circles) that true Shikantaza, Dogchen or Chan Silent Illumination are practices based on initial awakening, and that begginers cannot do it because they often don't have sufficiently developed samatha.
    Usually (not always) some of the folks in the mixed Soto-Rinzai Lineages, and a few other folks who cannot help but interpret Shikantaza as a technique to attain some state of concentration free of thoughts.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Inshin View Post
    I also came across opinions (even in soto circles) that true Shikantaza, Dogchen or Chan Silent Illumination are practices based on initial awakening, and that begginers cannot do it because they often don't have sufficiently developed samatha. That they waste their time sitting in a cloudy state of mind, doing nothing just hoping for "mind and body dropping off" eventually.
    I don't know about all that, personally Shikantaza is the only practice I've ever tried that brings me back every day to the cushion and keeps revealing itself in mysterious ways.
    BTW - a question : how does Bodaishin( way seeking mind) differ from goal oriented mind in Zen practice?
    Gassho
    Sat
    Yes I have also came across those opinions. I think their logic is that the experience is so ordinary that it will be missed or taken for granted by someone that hasn't struggled with quieting the mind through goal oriented practice. I don't agree with them because Shikantaza is the only practice that brings me back to the cushion too. So much is between the ears that I feel like if you take any practice seriously enough, you won't need prerequisites like struggling to count the breath until the mind calms down.

    Gassho,
    Tom

    SatLah
    “Do what’s hard to do when it is the right thing to do.”- Robert Sopalsky

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Inshin View Post
    I also came across opinions (even in soto circles) that true Shikantaza, Dogchen or Chan Silent Illumination are practices based on initial awakening, and that begginers cannot do it because they often don't have sufficiently developed samatha. That they waste their time sitting in a cloudy state of mind, doing nothing just hoping for "mind and body dropping off" eventually.
    I don't know about all that, personally Shikantaza is the only practice I've ever tried that brings me back every day to the cushion and keeps revealing itself in mysterious ways.
    BTW - a question : how does Bodaishin( way seeking mind) differ from goal oriented mind in Zen practice?
    Gassho
    Sat
    I have also found this in some circles within Tibetan Buddhism, where one recognizes Rigpa, the nature of mind, before being able to rest in it without object. In a relative sense, I assume the experience feels different, but each school is coming at it from different perspectives. I have seen many people who cling and become very attached to this sense of bliss that comes with the recognition and they are far from equanimity or acceptance.

    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat&LaH

  10. #10
    Member Seikan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Massachusetts, United States
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Usually (not always) some of the folks in the mixed Soto-Rinzai Lineages, and a few other folks who cannot help but interpret Shikantaza as a technique to attain some state of concentration free of thoughts.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    <raises hand> Guilty! Count me as one of those folks, except for me it was years of Vipassana training/practice that made all forms of "meditation" into a means to an end. Even the "choiceless awareness" practice in Vipassana circles is usually done with the "goal" of attaining a calm, luminous mind of awareness. The real trouble is that choiceless awareness practice shares enough similarities with shikantaza to make it difficult (for me anyway) to not fall back into the habit of comparing my state of mind during zazen with some sort of "ideal" state.

    The good news is that by consciously shifting my attitude away from that goal-oriented practice to the radical and direct "just this!" of shikantaza, that comparing mind seems to be slowly dissipating. Sometimes the more subtle changes are the most difficult, yet also the most rewarding—in a completely goalless sense, that is...

    Gassho,
    Seikan

    -stlah-

    (apologies for running a bit long)
    聖簡 Seikan (Sacred Simplicity)

  11. #11
    There are many forms of Buddhist and other meditation practices aimed at attaining "a calm, luminous mind of awareness," often in a deep concentration state with the mind free of thoughts. Sometimes these also emphasize attaining states of bliss or very deep peace accompanied by a sense of 'oneness' or the like. Dzogchen seems to often emphasize such, and the kind of 'silent illumination' taught by Rev. Shengyen seems to head in that way, many others.

    That is all good for people who find their joy there (pun intended). Others may mistake that from some pleasant feeling that they must reach, not unlike what any drug might provide and be craved for.

    But I believe that Shikantaza is rather otherwise, as is a profound equanimity, allowing, sense of completion in the act of sitting itself, not seeking to stifle thoughts but untangled from runaway thoughts and emotions. In fact, when Dogen headed to China way long ago, I believe that even 'silent illumination' was closer to so, sitting silently but with thoughts drifting by, a natural illumination and clarity rising from within. Then, life and our thoughts and problems remain, yet this light and allowing reveals life and our thoughts and problems as not quite like they were experienced before. The little self's desires and frictions with the non-self world will soften, and perhaps fully drop away ...

    In any case, that is what we practice here at Treeleaf.

    Sorry, many words.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 05-12-2021 at 08:42 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  12. #12
    Member Seikan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Massachusetts, United States
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    But I believe that Shikantaza is rather otherwise, as is a profound equanimity, allowing, sense of completion in the act of sitting itself, not seeking to stifle thoughts but untangled from runaway thoughts and emotions. In fact, when Dogen headed to China way long ago, I believe that even 'silent illumination' was closer to so, sitting silently but with thoughts drifting by, a natural illumination and clarity rising from within. Then, life and our thoughts and problems remain, yet this light and allowing reveals life and our thoughts and problems as not quite like they were experienced before. The little self's desires and frictions with the non-self world will soften, and perhaps fully drop away ...

    In any case, that is what we practice here at Treeleaf.

    And this is why I stick around... (also for the hokey pokey)

    Gassho,
    Seikan

    -stlah-
    Last edited by Seikan; 05-13-2021 at 03:59 AM.
    聖簡 Seikan (Sacred Simplicity)

Posting Permissions

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