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Thread: The Zen Master's Dance - 7 - Fukan Zazengi (p. 32 to middle of p. 37)

  1. #1

    The Zen Master's Dance - 7 - Fukan Zazengi (p. 32 to middle of p. 37)

    We continue from page 32, "We can still see the traces of the Buddha Sakyamuni," stopping right BEFORE page 37, "Give up even the aim of becoming a Buddha."

    Dogen says that we should generally have a quiet and clean room in which to sit, not too hot or cold. Yet, we should be able to sit ANYWHERE when the heart becomes a "quiet and clean space, not too hot or cold." Please describe Zazen mind in a difficult or uncomfortable place or circumstance, when the heart became a "quiet and clean space, not too hot or cold."

    Perhaps, this week, as homework, sit in a rather disturbing place with the heart a "quiet and clean space, not too hot or cold."

    Also, rain is just rain, yet a farmer may welcome it, while a picnicker will despise it.

    Can you describe a difficult time in your life which you absolutely despised ... yet also describe how its rain is just rain?

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-25-2021 at 01:43 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    For me, it will be me on the bed of the clinic when I had surgery. I was given painkillers and something to sleep and none worked. So, I put my hands in the mudra and did Zazen laying on the bed. There was no point feeling miserable about the situation. It was just what it was. When I accepted my situation fully, I felt peace on the bed.

    Gassho,
    Sat today,
    Guish.

    Sent from my PAR-LX1M using Tapatalk
    Has been known as Guish since 2017 on the forum here.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Please describe Zazen mind in a difficult or uncomfortable place or circumstance, when the heart became a "quiet and clean space, not to hot or cold."
    I think the most difficult and uncomfortable place I sat in quite often was actually my last flat in Birmingham, UK. I lived there in a quite difficult and deprived area (Small Heath). The backside of the house (where I was sitting in the living room in the morning) was directly next to a small park where the drug users regularly injected their drugs, fought about the drugs, relieved themselves or just got drunk. Everything right below our window. Sometimes I sat in our bedroom, which was on the front side. There was a little porch of the church next door which was also quite popular with the drug users for injecting, arguing and getting drunk (again right below the window). And on the street in front of the bedroom was the main meeting place between the drug dealer and their customers, coming by car and through honking letting their customers know that they are there. But anyway as I was sitting there for one and a half years, I got quite used to all the noise, the screaming and arguing and learned to find the quiet place in my heart. Of course sometimes I got annoyed by all the noise outside but then I realized that this annoyance is just moving the noise from the outside to my inside. So I went back to my breath.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Can you describe a difficult time in your life which you absolutely despised ... yet also describe how its rain is just rain?
    I think the most difficult time was when I realized a year ago, that I had lost 75 percent of my eye sight on one eye after retinal detachment, that the other retina was also already damaged even though it still works 100 percent and that I pick up nearly every possible complication on the way. One year later I've given up my plan to do a PhD and to try to stay in academia afterwards. At the moment I'm waiting for surgery no. 5 which probably will need to be done before Christmas. This will be my sixth time in the eye hospital for a couple of days since the end of May. Sometimes it just sucks. So yes I absolutely despise this situation and actually struggled with depression for a while. But in the end Buddhist and Zen philosophy and zazen practice helped me so much to come back to the perspective that life is just living me and not I'm living the life. Through this I could come to the acceptance, that rain is just rain, illness is just illness and eyesight just eyesight, of which some people have more and others less.

    Gassho,
    Stephan

    Sat

    Sent from my Nokia 6.1 using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    When I first started sitting, I had been out of work for a while, not eating much, and facing eviction. I started sitting following the directions of a chanting and recitation book from Thich Nhat Hanh's community. I found through sitting that I had hostile voices in my head, and I was afraid of things that weren't there. The realization of what I was reacting to eased some of the suffering. I then found equanimity about losing the place I had been living for over twenty years. My period of practice and the insight it gave me made me open to receiving psychiatric treatment not long after. It also allowed me to reunite with my parents and brother. My practice stopped until I was resettled and my treatment was working, but much of the equanimity remained.

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

  5. #5
    Two years ago i moved. I lived in an apartment on the first floor, with a quiet little zendo. For several reasons I moved to an apartment on the ground floor, again with a little zendo. On the first morning i was sitting there, i heard two neighbours chatting before the window of my zendo. " OMG" . But ever since it was always very quiet, those ladies only chatted once there, on that time..



    aprapti

    sat

    hobo kore dojo / 歩々これ道場 / step, step there is my place of practice


    Aprāpti (अप्राप्ति) non-attainment

  6. #6
    My apartment building is one block from a beach. In the summer, especially in the evenings, it is very noisy with motorcycle traffic, kids screaming and shouting as they enjoy the water, and fireworks, lots of fireworks. During our July monthly zazenkis, I often can’t hear the dharma talk because of the constant barrage of fireworks going off. I have noticed that if I have any expectations of zazen being peaceful or a certain sort of experience, then I am going to be unhappily distracted and disturbed by the noise. If I am sitting with what is, without any goal or expectations, then the noise is just there.

    Ah, a difficult time in my life was a couple of years ago when I was facing surgery as the only treatment option left for my illness. I flatly refused to even consider it for years. I was repulsed by the idea of being permanently altered. This time, though, when presented with the recommendation I just felt a very spacious, cool, acceptance. Perhaps I was just too sick to argue, but I give my practice a lot of the credit.
    Gassho,
    Naiko
    st lah

  7. #7
    Now, in autumn, my little quiet Zendo is surrounded by the "mating songs of the leaf blowers", as I started calling it. In spring, it’s the mating songs of the different birds, I am always pleased to hear.
    I am sitting around sunrise, so the leaf blowers start around mid-sitting.
    Almost always, I feel a bit of anger arising when they start and then watch it fade again.
    It is much more difficult, feeling equanimity about the songs of the birds, I love so much.

    I "adopted" a small memorial, made to remember the deportation of Jewish people. The place, where it stands played a role in it.
    It’s just two minutes walk from my home, some meters into the woods and near a street.
    With a diameter of maybe 4 meters, it is basically a roof and a concrete base with wooden bars in between, forming a cage with an open doorway. It looks a bit like a rain shelter for hikers.
    Once inside, you notice the names of the dead, carved into the wooden bars.
    The floor is often covered with leaves, sometimes trash and slippery from algae and moss. Snow and ice in winter.
    I go there once a week and rake the leaves and scrub the floor, clean it from snow and ice, so the mainly older visitors don’t slip.
    After cleaning, I sit or stand Zazen inside that cage.
    The sound of the cars on the nearby street mixes with an inner tumult of memories.
    My grandfather, who was not only a nice old man, but also a former Nazi, always tried to convince me to see the world his way. Even as I was quite active in an antifascist group in my teens.
    The passing cars and seeing what greed, anger and ignorance can do to people - him - them and noticing the seeds in myself - is quite loud out- and inside my head.
    I am sitting there until this all softens and a certain calmness and quietness sneaks in.

    Running at least 5 days a week through forest and fields in Northern Germany makes you accept the literal sun and rain as they come. ;-)

    Gassho,
    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
    8 years ago, at the end of my 2 year military service, I began having problems with vertigo. It's a problem that both my father and grandmother have. The symptoms I usually experience start with a feeling of tiredness which grows into a mild headache. If I am lucky, this is where things stop (with the help of some coffee or some medicine). If not, I start having a feeling of dizziness, that the room I am in is spinning, and also a feeling of vomiting. If I get to that point, there is only one thing that can make me feel better - to lay down in a certain position, with no lights at all. Usually this means that I can't do anything for the rest of the day.
    At the peak of the problem through the years, it could happen once or twice a month. It was tiring and upsetting. I would get angry with myself that I didn't do anything to prevent it and I would start crying because I couldn't do anything productive or fun.
    After some time, I realized that it is what it is and that there aren't many things I can do when it hits me. I can only try to prevent it when I see the symptoms coming. As much as I hate being in that situation, I know that it is definitely not the end of the world. Eventually the next day will come and it will be like it never happened. That it is just like a storm that will eventually go away.

    Thankfully, I learned what situations can cause vertigo so I can easily prevent it. The last 3 years it happened only 4 or 5 times.

    Gassho, Nikolas
    Sat/Lah

  9. #9
    Can you describe a difficult time in your life which you absolutely despised ... yet also describe how its rain is just rain?
    I described possibly the worst period of my recent life back in Section 4 of this reading where I had lost my job and the next day my wife ended up in the hospital. It was a painful one. I sat with a lot of emotions, “what ifs” and “what nexts” for several weeks. Yet I knew that the sun would continue to rise. My family would continue to rely on me and frankly I powered through knowing that it wasn’t some conspiracy against me. It was literally just stuff that had happened. Call it equanimity. Call it perspective.


    It’s difficult to do the homework of sitting in a noisy or uncomfortable place with COVID etc but I have in the past sat in a busy airport or in a mall or in a hospital room. For me the video of Jundo sitting in downtown Tokyo was transformative. If I hadn’t seen that video I might still be waiting for the perfect (whatever that means) set of circumstances before I sat.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah

  10. #10
    This is an interesting one because I simply don't remember.

    I know I would have sat through whatever time I was experiencing but I don't dwell on the past much.

    I tend to only consider things that I can actually change.

    Stewart
    Sat

  11. #11
    Please describe Zazen mind in a difficult or uncomfortable place or circumstance, when the heart became a "quiet and clean space, not too hot or cold."
    I live dead-center in the middle of my city. It's an area that is both surrounded by $500,000USD homes and $10,000USD shotgun houses from the late 1800's and poorer conditions. On any given night, while sitting, the sounds of firearms can be heard. Sometimes close enough to lay down for cover momentarily—usually far enough away to not have to worry in my direction. In all cases, adrenaline rushes, fear and worry (for all) arise; however, (once any danger may pass), there's stillness found in sitting. A realization, as Bernie Glassman said, "Since we’re all interdependent, nothing is small, trivial, or inconsequential. Not even a string of beads. Not even one bullet—or one word." When this happens the causes and conditions of suffering may be all-around; yet, so is the action of zazen, in the same place.

    Can you describe a difficult time in your life which you absolutely despised ... yet also describe how its rain is just rain?
    Prior to resigning at my last job, I had to take medical leave due to stress/health complications brought about by an extremely-increased workload and change of culture/leadership during a company merger. While I took two months, seeking treatment and taking things day by day—my employees took the lesson that was me having to leave due to overwork and found numerous positions outside of the department that were less-stressful, paid more, and had a better work/life balance. Bad rain for me picnicking, good for the farmers. All a part of life, corporate America, and the line of work I chose. Close to two years later, everyone is better off than before the rain, myself included.

    Gassho,
    Koushi
    STLaH
    広髭 Koushi (Vast Beard)

    Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

  12. #12
    Man, I have spent quite a lot of time trying to come up with answers for these questions. Reading some of the other responses I feel like I have lived a particularly sheltered existence, and my trials and tribulations seem to shrink away.

    Please describe Zazen mind in a difficult or uncomfortable place or circumstance, when the heart became a "quiet and clean space, not too hot or cold.
    The best I can come up with for this one is from a couple weeks back or so. I went to a McDonald's to pick up some food. Personally I try not to go to fast food, but my partner asked me to go and my dogs love the chicken nuggets
    I digress. I wound up sitting there for about fourty minutes, it was about twenty minutes after I ordered before anyone said a word to me about my food. A puddle formed beneath me from the rain which had clung to me. The lobby itself was frighteningly chilly; I was wearing two heavy coats to stay dry and was still shivering. It was dirty, and loud.

    And empty. While I sat there - a little more annoyed than I would like to admit - dripping wet and shivering, I became very aware that I was the only one in the lobby. And then I became very aware of the things in the lobby. The handmade Halloween decorations someone had hung. The textbooks one of the employees had open on a spare table. The conversations of the people working behind the counter. Everything in this place was special in its own way. I realized that I had nothing to do but wait, and that being irritated about waiting would be nothing short of wishing my time away. I tried my best to get into half lotus in the hard plastic bench, and I just sat Zazen in the lobby with the beeping of the fryers in the background.

    Can you describe a difficult time in your life which you absolutely despised ... yet also describe how its rain is just rain?
    This one is very hard for me, and I will shy away from the details. When I was very young my parents divorced. Eventually my father remarried. In this way I have had two abusive mothers, to different degrees. I don't mean that I was ever physically wounded. I've seen many recounts of children whose parents chain them to beds, or worse. I was always thankful to not have any physical abuse. But mental trauma is still trauma. Being neglected by the person in the world who is supposed to care for you the most can be a very painful experience in itself.
    And yet, this is all in the past. There is nothing I can do to change what happened, only learn from the experience and wish metta. I can be struck by an arrow and not suffer the discomfort of wishing I had not been struck by the arrow, but just the discomfort of the arrow itself.

    Gassho,
    William
    Sat

  13. #13
    My family and I had just finished a day out. It was cold and windy -- not ideal conditions for my health. Usually my family walks ahead, I walk behind, as my health makes me slower, and I prefer this. So my family was already at the car, and I faced an uphill walk in the cold and wind. Within moments, I began wheezing. Chest tightening followed, until I slowed and stopped. I was alone and out of sight.

    I had a thought that I refused to die like my mother did in a similar situation. I had to find a way through it.

    I leaned against a pillar, calmed my mind, and slowed my breathing -- without thinking about it. I stood zazen as I felt my body calm and my mind clear. I stood back, still focused breathing, and started walking again. I reached the car. I was a dizzy wheezy mess, but I reached the car, and was able to use my inhaler.

    I've been learning to do this often -- insta-zazen through many situations that have no answers.

    Gassho, meian stlh
    (she/her/they/them)
    Last edited by Meian; 11-29-2021 at 08:38 PM.
    迷安 Mei An (Wandering At Rest) | 優婆塞 Ubasoku
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    Living and practicing at the pace of chronic illness.

  14. #14
    My difficult moment happened just a few mornings ago. My senior doggie Neo had some dental extractions the night before, and he was understandably not feeling too great after anesthesia. Sometime in the night, he crawled onto my side of the bed, pooped a little, and then fell asleep in it. I woke up with my foot out of the covers and all in the mess. It was very early in the morning, still dark, but I saw the dark shadows on the bed and realized what was going on. I think I sat up and groggily said, "...nightmare..."

    My dog was hard to rouse, when he started waking up he was scattering the mess even more. That was the moment I was thinking, "This is the worst thing that's happened to me in a long time," which is funny, because I have had one hell of a month with a lot of things in it that could be considered much worse, having to take him in for surgery being one of them. But I guess that moment was just an overwhelming tip of the iceburg for me. I was very upset.

    I got up, hopped on one foot to the bathroom, and began to handle the mess without somehow waking my husband up too much. I started feeling better.

    Poop is just poop.

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

  15. #15
    Member Kaisui's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Australia (past username - coriander)
    For homework I sat on the train on the way to uni. It wasn't too difficult, I must admit, but there were a few challenges. Another passenger, who I think was in a difficult mental space, would intermittently say things to other passengers, like "get out of my way." I wondered if I could do something to help her, but I didn't know what. I was sleepy from leaving so early, the sun was shining into my face brightly, leading me to want to close my eyes. When I did close my eyes I would dose a little... only to be reminded somewhere from my dreamlike state that I’m doing Zazen, so I open my eyes again, accept what is happening and just sit with it all, no other place to be or thing to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Meian View Post
    My family and I had just finished a day out. It was cold and windy -- not ideal conditions for my health. Usually my family walks ahead, I walk behind, as my health makes me slower, and I prefer this. So my family was already at the car, and I faced an uphill walk in the cold and wind. Within moments, I began wheezing. Chest tightening followed, until I slowed and stopped. I was alone and out of sight.

    I had a thought that I refused to die like my mother did in a similar situation. I had to find a way through it.

    I leaned against a pillar, calmed my mind, and slowed my breathing -- without thinking about it. I stood zazen as I felt my body calm and my mind clear. I stood back, still focused breathing, and started walking again. I reached the car. I was a dizzy wheezy mess, but I reached the car, and was able to use my inhaler.

    I've been learning to do this often -- insta-zazen through many situations that have no answers.

    Gassho, meian stlh
    (she/her/they/them)
    That sounds so very scary, and I'm glad you found a way through it. It's inspiring to hear how you are using insta-zazen in your daily life, with "situations that have no answers." I will look out for such situations in my own life, hopefully something small will occur to start with, to give this a try.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geika View Post
    Poop is just poop.
    Well said.

    Gassho,
    Charity
    sat/lah

  16. #16
    When my parents moved here a couple months back, my Dads terminalcancer diagnosis, scrambling to find my parents a place to live…

    The older I get, the more I realize that I cannot set the parameters of my life but I can embrace and accept them and only when I do am I free; I think the aim of being an adult and Bodhisattva is accepting and taking responsibility and taking care of ouselves and others: not one, not two. It is a daily practice, and only by getting out of our own way, dropping the small self and acting will we ever live a complete life.

    True joy, not happiness but fulfilling joy is the path of this practice, and it requires us to drop the separation of sone imagined expectation with what is; we are truly healed and heal others by dropping our expectations and taking up our true mantle of bodhisattvas

    gassho

    Risho
    -stlah

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    When my parents moved here a couple months back, my Dads terminalcancer diagnosis, scrambling to find my parents a place to live…

    The older I get, the more I realize that I cannot set the parameters of my life but I can embrace and accept them and only when I do am I free; I think the aim of being an adult and Bodhisattva is accepting and taking responsibility and taking care of ouselves and others: not one, not two. It is a daily practice, and only by getting out of our own way, dropping the small self and acting will we ever live a complete life.

    True joy, not happiness but fulfilling joy is the path of this practice, and it requires us to drop the separation of sone imagined expectation with what is; we are truly healed and heal others by dropping our expectations and taking up our true mantle of bodhisattvas

    gassho

    Risho
    -stlah


    Lovely.

    Sitting for your dad.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  18. #18
    Thank you

    Risho
    -stlah

  19. #19
    Member Seishin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    La Croix-Avranchin, Basse Normandie, France
    Bit late on this one but like Stewart I have found it hard to recall. And I would also say I'm finding it difficult to recall anything that I absolutely despised in my own personal life but there again I don't tend to dwell on the past, as there is nothing I can do about it. Now politicians and politics, well that is a different matter and not for here.

    As to sitting in a hectic noisy environment, is another difficult one for me, given our rural location and lack of agricultural activity this time of year. With covid I rarely venture out, bar in and out shopping, as my wife was classed a high risk with her underlying heart condition and that was before last year's 2 attacks. And she has recently had another "cardiac event" and will finally see her specialist once she gets her 3rd jab now Omicron is muddying the waters. I supposed I could despise all of that and the pandemic stopping her getting an immediate follow up, with the hospitals being a petri-dish environment but what would be the point, so I sit with it or without it.

    The wheat harvest in the field 20m from the study was an early morning one this year and the double glazing doesn't blank out the sound of a Claas combine at full revs at 0730 in the morning ! I could have despised that, as I sat knowing my wife's much needed rest would have been disturbed but we chose the location. So ? You guessed it, I just sat with. Seems to be the answer to many things. Funny that isn't it.

    Sat (quietly)


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  20. #20
    Metta to you and your wife, Seishin.

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

  21. #21
    Interesting assignments. Well timed in I had a few Zazen experiences in less than ideal circumstances this last week. 1) catching a nasty cold from my kids and sitting with that not feeling well or being able to breath through my nose. 2) Earlier in the week I had gotten out of work early and had house to myself. Felt it would be the perfect opportunity for peaceful Zazen. When I got home a bunch of work trucks and excavators pulled in front of my house and began digging up my sidewalk and yard to install new underground cables. The machines and men made a racket. But i just sat with it and accepted it. Was a very "good" Zazen session despite all of it.
    Last edited by Gregor; 12-29-2021 at 07:43 PM.
    Jukai '09 Dharma Name: Shinko 慎重(Prudent Calm)

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