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Thread: Broken Record: Zazen is Not Meditation

  1. #1

    Broken Record: Zazen is Not Meditation

    (Here I am again, saying about the same thing I always say, like a broken music record that is stuck in the grove. However, that is because my advice never changes! Please, all the folks sitting our Rohatsu Retreat this weekend, make it the theme of your sitting!)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Here is why I say that "Shikantaza Zazen is not meditation":

    "Meditation" implies that there is some utilitarian function to Zazen, that it is a tool to get something, attain something, fix something. In fact, the disease of suffering, Dukkha, that we human beings live with morning to night is our constant need to get a prize, attain a reward, fix life from how it is. So, one sits Zazen as a ritual of wholeness in which the fruition of sitting is sitting itself, nothing more to attain, grab, fix. That is the medicine for our constant hunger to change and get. Sitting itself is complete and whole, nothing more to get, attain or fix when sitting.

    Yes, there are aspects of meditation, such as crossing the legs, following the breath or sitting in open awareness, letting thoughts go. If deep Samadhi arises or anything arises, cherish so and let it be, neither running toward nor running away. But the vital point of Shikantaza is that there is nothing to attain, nothing in need of attaining.

    That is how a Buddha sits, and what we emulate in Zazen. The Buddha saw the morning star simply shining, nothing to fix, nothing to keep distant. When the little self, with its constant judgements, dissatisfactions and hunger to get/attain/fix is given a rest, the little self drops away ... nothing more in need of getting, attain, fixing ... no separate self to pursue the getting, attaining, fixing ... and no separate other to be gotten, attained or fixed.

    Dropping the constant need to get, attain, fix is really attaining some wisdom wonderful to get, the fix for what ails us.

    Even many Zen teachers cannot help to present Zazen as some tool to get something.

    Shikantaza is not meditation.
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-06-2021 at 02:21 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    (Here I am again, saying about the same thing I always say, like a broken music record that is stuck in the grove. However, that is because my advice never changes! Please, all the folks sitting our Rohatsu Retreat this weekend, make it the theme of your sitting!)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Here is why I say that "Shikantaza Zazen is not meditation":

    "Meditation" implies that there is some utilitarian function to Zazen, that it is a tool to get something, attain something, fix something. In fact, the disease of suffering, Dukkha, that we human beings live with morning to night is our constant need to get a prize, attain a reward, fix life from how it is. So, one sits Zazen as a ritual of wholeness in which the fruition of sitting is sitting itself, nothing more to attain, grab, fix. That is the medicine for our constant hunger to change and get. Sitting itself is complete and whole, nothing more to get, attain or fix when sitting.

    Yes, there are aspects of meditation, such as crossing the legs, following the breath or sitting in open awareness, letting thoughts go. If deep Samadhi arises or anything arises, cherish so and let it be, neither running toward nor running away. But the vital point of Shikantaza is that there is nothing to attain, nothing in need of attaining.

    That is how a Buddha sits, and what we emulate in Zazen. The Buddha saw the morning star simply shining, nothing to fix, nothing to keep distant. When the little self, with its constant judgements, dissatisfactions and hunger to get/attain/fix is given a rest, the little self drops away ... nothing more in need of getting, attain, fixing ... no separate self to pursue the getting, attaining, fixing ... and no separate other to be gotten, attained or fixed.

    Dropping the constant need to get, attain, fix is really attaining some wisdom wonderful to get, the fix for what ails us.

    Even many Zen teachers cannot help to present Zazen as some tool to get something.

    Shikantaza is not meditation.
    This is the way.

    Thank you for the "good for nothing" advice.


    Gassho,

    Greg
    STLAH

    Sent from my SM-N981U using Tapatalk
    Jukai '09 Dharma Name: Shinko 慎重(Prudent Calm)

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Gregor View Post

    Thank you for the "good for nothing" advice.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    Thank you Jundo


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    the vital point of Shikantaza is that there is nothing to attain, nothing in need of attaining.


    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat&LaH

  6. #6


    This theme is repeated over and over with different words on Treeleaf, and I'm trying, I really am... it seems to me to be an issue of perception (?) and not effort or any focus on method. I continuously try to take incremental steps back from "effort" and then keep one eye on myself to see if something clicks in my brain to let me know I've finally "got it" and found the sweet spot of not attaining anything. And I cringe typing these words because I know I've used too many phrases that miss the point!

    Gassho
    Kodo Tobiishi sat today
    You can't help but exist in the present moment, all the time. It's the only place you ever are. Once you realize this, it kinda takes the anxiety out of the whole thing.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Tobiishi View Post


    This theme is repeated over and over with different words on Treeleaf, and I'm trying, I really am... it seems to me to be an issue of perception (?) and not effort or any focus on method. I continuously try to take incremental steps back from "effort" and then keep one eye on myself to see if something clicks in my brain to let me know I've finally "got it" and found the sweet spot of not attaining anything. And I cringe typing these words because I know I've used too many phrases that miss the point!

    Gassho
    Kodo Tobiishi sat today
    Yes, sounds like you are trying awfully hard not to attain something!

    Just sit, in the completeness of just sitting. If you think that something lacks from your sitting, then it lacks. If you think that nothing lacks from your sitting than nothing lacks. When you write ...

    I continuously try to take incremental steps back from "effort"

    Stop this "continuously try to ... step back" and Just Sit with no need but to sit.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Yes, sounds like you are trying awfully hard not to attain something!

    Just sit, in the completeness of just sitting. If you think that something lacks from your sitting, then it lacks. If you think that nothing lacks from your sitting than nothing lacks. When you write ...

    I continuously try to take incremental steps back from "effort"

    Stop this "continuously try to ... step back" and Just Sit with no need but to sit.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Well, OK then.
    You can't help but exist in the present moment, all the time. It's the only place you ever are. Once you realize this, it kinda takes the anxiety out of the whole thing.

  9. #9

    I continuously try to take incremental steps back from "effort"


    This comment actually gave me a new insight on the old Koan about Bodhidharma and Huike ...

    Huike said, “My mind has no peace as yet! I beg you, master, please pacify my mind!”

    “Bring your mind here and I will pacify it for you,” replied Bodhidharma.

    “I have searched for my mind, and I cannot take hold of it,” said the Second Patriarch.

    “Now your mind is pacified,” said Bodhidharma.
    I never cared for that Koan, and it did not make sense to me for a long time, until a few years ago.

    But if one realizes that one needs to STOP searching, stop TRYING to pacify the mind ... stop trying to grab phantom targets ..

    ... and simply give up the searching, the trying, the effort, the grabbing and ...

    ... all is pacified.

    If hitting oneself in the head with a hammer, one does not need to make effort to stop hammering. The effort is the hammering, and not hammering is no effort.

    It was the reaching, the trying to fix, to grab, to hammer down, that is the very problem.

    Gassho, J

    STLah

    Sorry to run long.
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-11-2021 at 12:08 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  10. #10
    I’ve read that koan before, but it never made sense. Today it does- thank you.
    Gassho
    K.T. sat, helped

  11. #11
    Indeed, it's an insightful Koan.

    Gassho,
    Sat today,
    Guish.

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

  12. #12
    just what I needed to read this morning
    Gassho
    rob

    sat today, LAH
    “Be humble; you are made of dust. Be noble; you are made of stars”

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