Results 1 to 23 of 23

Thread: Is my Zazen working???

  1. #1

    Is my Zazen working???

    I sit in the mornings for 15 minutes and stare at the wall. It does however just feel like I am just spending 15 mins sitting quietly while I carry on my normal thoughts. I then go about my day not feeling any difference than a day I do not sit.

    So am I doing something wrong or is this it???

    Sat today

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewH View Post
    I sit in the mornings for 15 minutes and stare at the wall. It does however just feel like I am just spending 15 mins sitting quietly while I carry on my normal thoughts. I then go about my day not feeling any difference than a day I do not sit.

    So am I doing something wrong or is this it???

    Sat today
    Hello,

    You are new to this, so may not realize that Zazen is not simply sitting around. It is not just sitting there, having thoughts, twiddling the thumbs.

    Please read this, and it will show you the subtle nature of this, and what needs to be in sitting.

    WHAT's OFTEN MISSING in SHIKANTAZA EXPLANATIONS ....
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...A-EXPLANATIONS

    It is vastly different from just sitting around like a bump on a log.

    For, in Shikantaza, one sits with a trust deep in the bones that this sitting is a Buddha sitting, not one more thing to do, nothing lacking, no other place one can be, the sitting as all the universe sitting, with radical equanimity that all that is is just as it is.

    Sit, let thoughts come, but do not grab on, do not get tangled in long trains of thought, do not stir them up. Just let them come and let them go like passing clouds. Sit in radical equanimity, but with conviction that Zazen is complete, with no other place to be in that moment, nothing more in need of doing.

    If you feel that Zazen is missing something, then it is missing something. If you feel that Zazen is complete as Zazen, and that it hits the spot, then Zazen hits the spot. The reason is that Zazen is just Zazen, like life and the world are just life and the world. All the judging, rating, feeling something missing is done between your ears. You are looking for pay-offs, when the greatest pay-off is no longer to feel need for there is no sense of lack.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-13-2022 at 09:33 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    There is no good zazen nor is there any bad zazen; it's just Your Zazen !

    合掌
    stlah
    合掌 仁道 生開 - gassho, Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    日々是好日 【nichi nichi korego nichi】Every Day is a Good Day!!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Shokai View Post
    There is no good zazen nor is there any bad zazen; it's just Your Zazen !

    合掌
    stlah
    Yes, this is vitally important too! How often we live in a world of constantly rating and judging "good vs. bad," so how to "rate" a practice which involves our dropping the constant judging of "good vs. bad"??

    Right Zazen and Wrong Zazen

    [A]llowing things to just be the way they are, no judging, not resisting, being with the flow, allowing 'happy' days to be happy and 'sad' days to be sad, all while dropping all idea of 'happy' and 'sad', whether really enjoying or really not enjoying ... fully dropping away any and all thought of doing Zazen 'right' or doing it 'wrong' ... THIS IS DOING IT RIGHT. And when you are doing it right, it will usually feel like you are doing it right, for there is no resistance, and a great sense of balance, insight and brilliance..

    Fighting things, wishing things were some other way that how they are, judging, resisting, going against the grain and the flow, wishing 'sad' days were happy or 'happy' days were happier ... filled with a sense of self bumping up against all the other 'selfs', with a mind held by thoughts of doing Zazen 'right' or doing it 'wrong' ... THIS IS DOING ZAZEN WRONG. And when you are doing it wrong, it will usually feel like you are doing it wrong, for there is resistance, and a sense of imbalance, cloudiness, greyness.

    But as well, even at those times when Zazen feels 'wrong', when there is resistance or imbalance ... it is still 'right', still 'Zazen', still just what it is. IT CANNOT BE WRONG. This last point is vital to understanding.
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...nd-Wrong-Zazen
    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    Thank you both very helpful
    Gassho
    Sat

  6. #6
    In rereading the link you posted Jundo, I am a bit confused. We are not to seek anything, yet you mention things like "nurture these feeling", and certain ways of thinking about zazen. Wouldn't this be seeking them, in a way? How are we to nurture feelings, when we arent supposed to feel anything in zazen?

    Gassho

    John

    STLah
    Gassho

    John

    SATToday

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnS View Post
    In rereading the link you posted Jundo, I am a bit confused. We are not to seek anything, yet you mention things like "nurture these feeling", and certain ways of thinking about zazen. Wouldn't this be seeking them, in a way? How are we to nurture feelings, when we arent supposed to feel anything in zazen?

    Gassho

    John

    STLah
    Nurture the feeling of nothing more to nurture, nothing lacking.

    Where in heck did you get the idea that we are not supposed to feel anything in Zazen? That's not true! Perhaps we could say that we do not get swept away by extreme emotions (especially negative or harmful emotions, like anger), which also sitting in a calm and still place too that is the core of emotions.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    Whenever I sit zazen, after I get up (slowly!), I silently say to myself, "That was the content of my zazen."
    108 bows of gratitude to Sawaki Roshi and Uchiyama Roshi for this perspective.

    Max
    おつかれさまです

  9. #9
    I would like to add that the following sentences from Dogen Zenji's Bendowa fascicle help me whenever this very question starts popping up in my head. Maybe it can be a source of motivation for someone else:

    "Zazen, even if it is only one human being sitting for one moment, thus enters into mystical cooperation with all dharmas, and completely penetrates all times; and it, therefore, performs, within the limitless universe, the eternal work of the Buddha’s guiding influence in the past, future, and present. For everyone, it is completely the same practice and the same experience."
    And, thank you Jundo for your answer. Your explanation is really a helpful one and this "radical equanimity" idea really seems like a vital point to realizing the essential nature of Zazen. Sometimes, I feel that I am connected with this radical equanimity to an extent; and other times, when my mind is quite scattered or when I'm just conquered by some kind of expectation, I recall this phrase. Most of the time it helps but again, sometimes, my sitting turns into almost a kind of object-focused meditation, or even sometimes my mind quickly turns this phrase into a mantra. I keep repeating "Radical equanimity", "There's no bad zazen", "No other place I can be"... And neither contemplating about equanimity nor repeating the word equanimity can be a form of equanimity, let alone radical equanimity. So I wonder if there's anything that you can recommend. Thanks a lot.

    Gassho, Doğukan.
    Sat.

  10. #10
    I keep repeating "Radical equanimity", "There's no bad zazen", "No other place I can be"... And neither contemplating about equanimity nor repeating the word equanimity can be a form of equanimity, let alone radical equanimity. So I wonder if there's anything that you can recommend. Thanks a lot.
    Just radically accept with equanimity that sometimes you struggle to feel equanimity, and do not feel equanimity. Equanimity about no equanimity.

    (By the way, your short "mantra" practice is interesting, and is acceptable for a few minutes, or on very stormy days, to settle a bit. It is like following the breath for some minutes. Then, after reciting or following the breath, I encourage folks to sit in open awareness if they can.)

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-17-2022 at 09:57 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Just radically accept with equanimity that sometimes you struggle to feel equanimity, and do not feel equanimity. Equanimity about no equanimity.

    (By the way, your short "mantra" practice is interesting, and is acceptable for a few minutes, or on very stormy days, to settle a bit. It is like following the breath for some minutes. Then, after reciting or following the breath, I encourage folks to sit in open awareness if they can.)

    Gassho, J

    STLah


    Doğukan,
    Sat.
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-17-2022 at 09:57 AM.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewH View Post
    I sit in the mornings for 15 minutes and stare at the wall. It does however just feel like I am just spending 15 mins sitting quietly while I carry on my normal thoughts. I then go about my day not feeling any difference than a day I do not sit.

    So am I doing something wrong or is this it???

    Sat today
    The mind is habituated to achieving, acquiring, grasping anything and everything. When your center becomes stronger you may notice the joy of doing nothing. Until then keep practicing



    Sat/lah


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    I may be wrong and not knowing is acceptable

  13. #13
    Since we have been talking about Muho on other threads I think this fits here nicely. . .





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

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Gregor View Post
    Since we have been talking about Muho on other threads I think this fits here nicely. . .
    Wow his look is intense like that of a tiger yet calm and serene, very striking. As for the message, I agree. The more time I put into the practice, the more deluded I realize I am

    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat&LaH
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-20-2022 at 08:44 PM.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Gregor View Post
    Since we have been talking about Muho on other threads I think this fits here nicely. . .
    Lovely! So, makes one wonder why Muho and the Antaiji folks sit their sesshin for 50 minutes a sit, 15 hours a day, if "good for nothing, nothing to attain"? Hmmm. It is a Koan. Muho is also Rinzai trained, and is a tough guy with a taste for very hard sitting (you should hear his stories about being in the Rinzai monastery, and having to defecate on the Zafu because not allowed to move, and pity the people sitting next to you when that happens! Then, they can't even wash up afterwards.)

    I like to say that, sometimes, one must sit very very long, and very very hard, all to realize the real meaning of this "good for nothing, nothing to attain." It is something like climbing a great mountain, not to get to the top, but for the climb itself, every step of the way its own summit!

    On the other hand, sitting a very short time, any place, is also the summit, and the whole mountain, "good for nothing, nothing to attain."

    Many years ago, Muho saw a video of me sitting Zazen by the side of a busy highway, sitting in my car for a few minutes. I had to explain to him that one can sit anywhere, not only in the Lotus Posture, and that the busy highway is quiet when the heart is quiet. So, we have a little bit of a different in approach about where and when, and for how long, is always necessary for this "good for nothing, nothing to attain." I think that, recently, he has come to realize this a little more, so Treeleaf had a good effect on Muho too.

    Sometimes sit long, sometimes sit short, sometimes sit hard, sometimes sit soft ... always sit beyond time and measure.

    One can defecate on the Zafu, sit for 15 hours, or sit quietly in a car by the busy highway ... all "good for nothing, nothing to attain."

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-21-2022 at 12:47 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #16
    Defecate on the zafu? That’s extreme. Like fraternity hazing. That type of militaristic training sitting 15 hours a day is not for me and not necessary imo



    Sat/lah


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    I may be wrong and not knowing is acceptable

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Defecate on the zafu? That’s extreme. Like fraternity hazing. That type of militaristic training sitting 15 hours a day is not for me and not necessary imo
    I am sure that military guys in foxholes have been their countless times too.

    I went to find the story. It is from an interview. He was at Tofukuji, a Rinzai monastery ...

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

    In Tofukuji, you get up before 3am. Then you do sutra chanting from 3am-4am. Then breakfast at 4.30am. Then there’s zazen and the first dokusan meeting with the roshi. You do zazen until the sun rises, in the winter it’s longer than the summer. After sunrise, you clean the whole temple precincts. That can take two hours, because it’s huge.

    Then you do takuhatsu [mendicancy] until 10am. Then it’s lunch. After lunch, the newest monks do toilet cleaning, while the older monks can take a nap. From 1am there is samu or, if the roshi has guests, you have to cater for them. Dinner is around 4.30pm and then around 5pm, there is zazen again until 9pm.

    Officially, at 9pm, you lie down and sleep but that is only a show. You lie down for a minute or two, then get out of the futon. You take your cushion and then sit outside under the hondo roof facing the garden until 10pm. Then the oldest monk leaves. Then, every five minutes, the next in the hierarchy can leave. In my time, there was around 11 monks, so it took one hour until I could go to bed – so 11pm. That means you only have four hours to sleep.

    Also, you have to memorise the sutras for chanting. In the first few months. The sutra-chanting is done in a ridiculously fast way – like a machine gun. It sounds like gurgling. So you try to imitate these sounds. And they say, hey you’re not chanting fast enough. They are also quite free-wheeling with slapping you in the face. Or sometimes they will punch you, if you get the chanting wrong. Basically, you have to stay up after 11pm and use a flashlight to memorise the sutras. But if you only have four hours to sleep, even if you stay up until midnight, the next morning it’s all gone. Your brain doesn’t absorb anything in that situation.

    For any mistake, if your slippers are not straight by a millimetre, you get punched for that. Also, you can’t go to the toilet without permission. And if things are busy, or your senpai is in a bad mood, he says no. Then you have to eat this ridiculous amount of stuff. These three bowls filled with rice and three bowls of soup. The lowest one in the hierarchy has to eat all the leftover rice, and the second lowest has to drink all the leftover soup. In the beginning, I had to eat all the rice, which was a lot. And in the summer, I drank all the soup. I was lucky it was that way round. If it’s the opposite, you have to eat all this rice in the heat and drink all this liquid when it’s cold.

    When you have to eat all the left-overs, you have to go to the toilet quite frequently and sooner or later you’d get diarrhoea. Each time you have to ask your senpai for permission. If you’re not allowed to go to the toilet, you have no choice but to shit in your pants. But then it’s not, “oh please go take a shower and change your clothes!”. You have to somehow escape behind the hondo and dispose your pants and wash yourself at night in the pond. Ofuro [bath] is only every two weeks. And ofuro for the monks at the bottom of the ladder means you have to wash the backs of your senpai. They enter the ofuro for 10 to 15 minutes, they finish, look at their watch and say, oh there’s no more time, get out. So you don’t even have your ofuro.

    This means that when you go for takuhatsu, and it’s the rush hour, you enter a train and it’s normally like a sardine can. But because we were stinking so much, we would enter a train and have more than enough space to stand.

    [Interviewer]: Like a blast radius?

    Muho: Exactly. We didn’t notice it any more. You’re always in this stink. I only have respect for the roshi meeting us during dokusan.

    Then in zazen you are always sleeping because you’re so tired. Everything is so surreal that you pass out the minute the bell strikes. But there’s always one person patrolling with a stick. And when you sleep, you get hammered on. Usually, it’s four strikes in the summer, and eight in the winter. Half on each shoulder. People take pride in how many of these sticks they can break. In sesshin, it could be five or six sticks they break.

    For the people that get beaten it means that after a while, the shoulders swell up and the skin breaks and you start to bleed. When you bleed, it means they don’t hit you on the shoulders anymore, they hit you in the belly. You sit facing the room and the guy is hitting you in the belly like he’s playing baseball.

    At first, I thought this can’t be real. It was like some crazy movie. But after six months, I was still alive – surprised but happy to be alive. It was an experience that was completely new to me because I was always a melancholic depressive when I was young. I was like, why did my mother have me? How much less suffering would it have been if she had aborted me when I was born?

    After six months at that place, I realised it is actually a miracle that I am still alive. Wow it is great; there’s the sun out there and I can breath. I have to ask my senpai each day if I can take a pee but, at the end of the day, I can even take a pee here. Isn’t that wonderful?

    https://antaiji.org/en/essays/1-13/
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-20-2022 at 10:13 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  18. #18
    Oh because of my age I would get an afternoon nap. That’s cool. Where do i sign up ? Lol

    Sat/lah




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    I may be wrong and not knowing is acceptable

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Oh because of my age I would get an afternoon nap. That’s cool. Where do i sign up ? Lol
    Sorry, that probably refers to Ordination age, i.e., seniority by Ordination time. You would still be at the bottom.

    By the way, I know you have an interest in Korean Zen. Korean Rinzai sesshin are about as intense. They go for a week without sleeping ...

    During yongmaeng chôngjin, the monks in meditation hall do not sleep for seven
    straight days, breaking from their practice only for meals. They even skip the
    dinner ritual in the main Buddha hall so as to devote themselves completely to their
    meditation. In this intensive period, the monks face one another in two separate
    rows down the middle of the meditation hall, rather than facing away as they
    usually do. ... Otherwise the meditation sessions take place pretty much as
    always, with fifty-minute sitting periods followed by ten minutes of walking. But if
    the succentor feels people are tiring, he might quicken the pace to twenty-five
    minutes sitting followed by five minutes walking, walk for longer periods, or try
    any number of other stratagems to keep his charges vibrant (or at least awake).
    Other than its obvious interminableness, the major difference between
    yongmaeng chôngjin and regular meditation periods is that the large warning stick
    (changgun chukpi) is in use constantly throughout each sitting period....
    If the drowsy monk does not react to the guard's presence, the guard taps
    him on the shoulder with the stick and gives him one round of blows.

    As grueling as yongmaeng chôngjin might seem to the uninitiated, its purpose is
    not to torture the monks. Rather it provides an incredibly intense, but still carefully
    controlled, environment in which to meditate. The hope is that several days of
    sleeplessness will apply enough pressure on the meditators that they will be able to
    have a genuine breakthrough into their meditation topics, or hwadu ("critical
    phrase" [of a Koan, such as "MU"]). Just before yongmaeng chôngjin begins, the Son master tries to impress
    upon the meditators that the only way they will be able to survive the week is to
    remain concentrated at all times on their hwadu and to arouse the sensation of
    doubt. From my own experience, the sheer enormity of the task of remaining
    awake for seven straight days was enough to frighten me into focussing on the
    hwadu, as if I were clinging to it for dear life. The instant the mind wavers, you are
    bludgeoned by bone-numbing fatigue, so the only hope you have of getting through
    the week is to maintain your concentration.

    ... I remember several times being
    totally confused as to whether the guard carrying the stick was actually
    hitting me, or whether I was dreaming the whole thing. During walking
    meditation I might as well have been walking in space, so ungrounded
    and amorphous did I feel. I was not alone in that. During one walking
    session, one of the other monks fell asleep while rounding the corner of
    the room and walked straight through one of the wood-and-paper doors
    along the side of the hall. He was rudely awakened as he toppled onto the
    wooden veranda outside. At the end of the retreat when we were finally
    allowed to sleep, I collapsed at my seat, utterly exhausted. Although we
    were supposed to awaken at three in the morning to begin anew our reg- ular meditation schedule, I could not be roused. The monks left me laid out on my cushion and sat and walked around me. It was not until just
    before the late-morning meditation period began at eight that I finally
    awoke. Fortunately, in subsequent retreats my practice had matured to the point where I could maintain extended periods of concentration on
    the hwadu. Then it really was quite remarkable how effective—even al- most refreshing, in a bizarre sort of way—such intensive practice could
    be.

    https://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/buswell-experience.pdf
    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-20-2022 at 10:49 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  20. #20
    Maybe that’s in Korea. The American version is watered down with 6 hours sleep and the stick is voluntary. But usually welcomed




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    I may be wrong and not knowing is acceptable

  21. #21
    I find that the Buddha pointed towards the middle way for a reason. From my own perspective, extremes aren't what the Buddha taught, and having to defecate on a zafu after sitting for 15 hours with almost nothing else to do sounds extreme. That's not to say that I am against retreats with many hours of sitting, I am sure that the zazen that is good for nothing sinks even further into your marrow, but one must be able to go to the bathroom if needed, since we are humans after all

    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat

  22. #22
    This discussion reminds me of why I found The Three Pillars of Zen to be such a turn off. Different strokes for different folks but I don’t feel that this sort of intensity is necessary.

    I agree there is benefits to sitting long but pooping on the Zafu?


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

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Tairin View Post
    This discussion reminds me of why I found The Three Pillars of Zen to be such a turn off. Different strokes for different folks but I don’t feel that this sort of intensity is necessary.

    I agree there is benefits to sitting long but pooping on the Zafu?


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    From what I understand from reading the long multipart memoir on the Antaiji website, "In my Teacher's House", those extreme experiences as the Rinzai monestary were part of his "searching" days. Now it seems he is talking about coming full circle.

    I know the Zazen sessions as Antaiji seem extreme to us but definetly a middleway in relation to Zafu pooping or extreme astecism (think emaciated Buddha).

    Hopefully I can share a more informed opinion about their style of practice once the snow melts and I make it up the mountain to Pioneer Valley Zendo for a Zazenkai. 1/2 a day I think I am up for. A five day Sesshien there, not likely.

    Gassho,

    Greg
    STlah

    Sent from my SM-N981U using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Gregor; 01-22-2022 at 07:54 PM.
    Jukai '09 Dharma Name: Shinko 慎重(Prudent Calm)

Posting Permissions

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