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Thread: Shikantaza: The Non-Benefits of Zazen

  1. #1

    Shikantaza: The Non-Benefits of Zazen


    If one is sitting Shikantaza Zazen, waiting for something to happen, thinking it a tool to eventually produce some effect or result (such as peace, calm, wisdom, enlightenment), treating Shikantaza like a medicine judged by its efficacy and efficiency to cure one's suffering or to reveal the universe ... if one considers Shikantaza a "technique" or "method" by which, just by keeping the right posture, breathing the proper way, not grabbing thoughts and staying diligent in sitting each day, one need but wait for the good payoff and promised reward ...

    ... then, oh then, one is sitting Shikantaza WRONG!

    If there is, however, the sitting of Shikantaza for sitting's sake, sitting as the self-fulfillment of sitting itself (a non-self fulfilling prophesy), with FAITH & TRUST, unvoiced deep in the bones, that nothing is lacking from sitting, that this place and instant of sitting sweeps in all space and time and nothing is lacking anywhere ... that sitting itself is a sacred act, all Buddhas and Ancestors sitting in this one instant of sitting ... that nothing more need happen, not one drop need be added or removed from this moment of sitting, that all is as it is ... then the hungry, judging little self is put out of a job, as the hard borders and frictions between oneself and all the world begin to soften, sometimes fully drop away. One sits beyond all judgements of "right vs. wrong" in the abiding equanimity of sitting itself ...

    ... and thus Shikantaza is RIGHT!

    Zazen is just Zazen, and the world is just the world. Consider Zazen as but another tool or secret to fix something in life that's incomplete, and, sure enough, Zazen and the world are incomplete. Sit with CONVICTION that Zazen is whole and complete, and all is rendered whole and complete. Shikantaza Zazen is made by the attitude and FAITH brought to it ... namely, a faith and awareness that there is no making of a Buddha, nothing to bring or take away ... which very Wisdom is what Buddhas know and the makings of Buddhas!

    Then, getting up from the cushion, returning to a world of goals and problems to fix, getting back to work and back to our vows to make this world better, living gently and compassionately but pushing on, the light of wholeness and completion will shine in one's heart too.

    Heck, one might actually find that, through this non-doing, giving up the hunt and goal driven hunger for payoffs even as one keeps walking forward in life, gettin' er done, one does become more patient, content, confident, joyous, peaceful and all the rest, freed from suffering ... and there is awakening too.

    Zazen is tricky that way.

    Gassho, Jundo


    Sorry to run long
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-03-2021 at 02:39 AM.

  2. #2
    Wonderful elucidation of the non-benefits of zazen.


    Sent from my SM-G998B using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Thank you.

    May all beings be happy,

  4. #4
    Thank you Jundo

    Sat today and lah
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  5. #5
    Thank you Jundo for another beautiful reminder.

    Keep on hammering...

    Gassho, Yokai sat/lah
    Last edited by Yokai; 08-04-2021 at 04:49 AM.

  6. #6
    Thank you Jundo



  7. #7

    Kotei sat/lah today.

    義道 冴庭 / Gidō Kotei.
    Being a novice priest doesn't mean that my writing about the Dharma is more substantial than yours. Actually, it might well be the other way round.

  8. #8

    Kaidō (皆道) Every Way
    Washin (和信) Harmony Trust
    I am a novice priest-in-training. Anything that I say must not be considered as teaching
    and should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

  9. #9
    Thank you!



  10. #10
    Member Kaisui's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Australia (past username - coriander)
    Very helpful, thank you


  11. #11
    Thank you.

    sat today and lah
    "First you have to give up." Tyler Durden

  12. #12
    I tend to think of shikantaza not as a technique or a thing you do but as a description. If I call a sunrise "beautiful" that doesn't mean "it's doing a beauty". In my practice, I've found value in stripping away the cushion and the posture, to really just sit without any of the things my mind wants to make a ceremony or ritual out of (not saying rituals aren't useful or good - we all know they are - I'm just re-training my mind to dissociate "just sitting" and "something special" ... of course shikantaza is special but ... not like that).

    kyō (bridge) | sen (river)

  13. #13
    Thank you, Jundo.

    On (Warm)
    Kai (Sea)
    I have a lot to learn; take anything I say that sounds like teaching with a grain of salt.

  14. #14
    Thank you Jundo.
    So simple but so easy to make it hard.

  15. #15
    Thank you. I come here seeking. I seek nothing now.
    sat/ lah
    Tai Shi
    As lay member of Treeleaf Zendo, each year I try to understand our Buddhist traditions Dogen and the Buddha. If can help I will.

  16. #16
    Thank you Jundo!



  17. #17
    Yes, not in the looking forward; as nothing to attain. No history or future. Perhaps rather than histories, forward looking science in hope for humans. Exactly nothing to look forward, not even the not looking forward, and not what gives over, but now, nothing looking forward or behind, not even words.
    sat/ lah
    Tai Shi
    As lay member of Treeleaf Zendo, each year I try to understand our Buddhist traditions Dogen and the Buddha. If can help I will.

  18. #18
    Thank you, Jundo.


  19. #19
    Thank you for this message.
    Sat/lah today

  20. #20
    This practice is tricky! hahahaha Thank you for this teaching.



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