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Thread: Muho on Pain

  1. #1

    Muho on Pain

    Bion pointed me to an especially powerful teaching by Muho, former Abbot of Antaiji and a friend of Treeleaf, on sitting with pain. It is a teaching on radical equanity, and I recommend it.

    His point is that, in cases of ordinary pain while sitting (i.e., not pain that represents that you are doing something that is damaging to the body in the short or long term), it is best to yield to the pain ... neither run from it nor to take pride in fighting it.

    Lovely.



    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    That’s a valuable message from Muho


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah

  3. #3
    Also, by substituting so many of his words, a powerful message about our efforts to embrace those who cannot « do » zen training the way « it should be done ». Radical equanimity indeed.

    Gassho.


    ((sat))
    東西 - Tōsei - East West
    there is only what is, and it is all miraculous

  4. #4
    This is very interesting. It is so true with emotions and thoughts as well. The more we fight them, the more they stick to us. We should just succumb to whatever comes up. This was a powerful video.

    Gassho,
    Sat-Lah,
    Suuko.
    Has been known as Guish since 2017 on the forum here.

  5. #5
    Lovely !

    Thank you !

    Gassho
    The memories are shadows of what I have experienced, they are not the experiences.
    The experiences have gone, but the memories remain. - 安知 Anchi


    STLah

  6. #6
    During the last Rohatsu retreat my mind, after some sitting, was focused on how stiff my muscles were. I later realized that maybe it's a good idea to spend some time stretching before and after each sitting period. Muho himself is doing yoga before sitting. I am sure this helps a little bit.

    Gassho, Kiri
    Sat/Lah
    希 rare
    理 principle
    (Nikos)

  7. #7


    Gassho,
    Nengei
    Sat today. LAH.

  8. #8
    If I am too far back on the cushion, left leg is asleep after 20 minutes. If I am too far forward, right leg is asleep after 20 minutes. Then, I found the middle way.

    Gassho,
    Neil
    ./sat

  9. #9
    The more I sit the more I experience the jiggle before you begin is so important! Rock side to side, front to back, to get into a comfortable position and then begin. Otherwise, my sits are typically cut short due to painful sensations.

    Gassho
    Rousei
    ST
    浪省 - RouSei - Wandering Introspection

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Rousei View Post
    The more I sit the more I experience the jiggle before you begin is so important! Rock side to side, front to back, to get into a comfortable position and then begin. Otherwise, my sits are typically cut short due to painful sensations.

    Gassho
    Rousei
    ST
    Also, zafu size, arch of the back, lack of tenseness (not tension) and placement of the foot on the thigh.

    Sat Today
    Bion
    美音

    -------------------------
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  11. #11
    Member Hokin's Avatar
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    Oct 2019
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    Ixtlahuacan De Los Membrillos, Mexico
    Very helpful. Thank you Jundo & Bion, for sharing this.
    Reminded me a bit of this Pali Sutta from the Samyutta Nikaya...may I suggest you this quick read of one teaching from the very mouth (perhaps) of Good Ol' Shakyamuni himself? Or at least, from the very mouth of, who knows... Ananda...?
    Here:
    https://suttacentral.net/sn35.31/en/...ipt=Devanagari

    Enjoy...and hope this can deepen and strenghten further still this late, beautiful message from Muho!

    Gassho.
    Hokin.
    SAT&LAH.
    法 金
    (Dharma)(Metal)
    Wisdom Is Compassion & Compassion Is Wisdom.

  12. #12
    Member Hokin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Ixtlahuacan De Los Membrillos, Mexico
    There is this sentence that Muho said that echoed so deep within me...he said "We cannot deal with Zazen!"
    Huge!

    Gassho.
    Hokin.
    SAT&LAH.
    法 金
    (Dharma)(Metal)
    Wisdom Is Compassion & Compassion Is Wisdom.

  13. #13
    This kind of advice not only has been beneficial for my physical pain, but especially for my emotional pain. Just like Jundo's blender in session 1 for beginners, when I recognize I am caught in the blender, I return to just sitting

    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat

  14. #14
    Although I am addicted to zazen and really enjoy sitting for hours.
    l am sitting 4 hrs per day ( plus ) in one session is enough to take breaks for Kinhin.

    It all depends on where the pain is? Knees, lower leg, neck or back ?
    Certainly I advise yoga stretch before sitting and also leg massage both before and after any period of sitting.
    Try to limit sitting to max 1 hr. or 45 min.
    Also, remember it is not necessary to sit crossed legged.
    You can sit in a chair, you can lay down, you can sit classic knees bent zazen style, and you can also do Burmese style.
    In fact, it is good to vary it and not to put strain on the body.
    That is not Ahimsa if we are forcing the body to sit and making pain for ourselves.

    The Buddha clearly stated that meditation can be done sitting, laying or standing! So try to vary.

    It is not endless sitting that gives enlightenment, but the mind dropping away to reveal true nature.


    l talking about my own experience....maybe this helps....

    Sorry for running a bit long.

    Gassho
    The memories are shadows of what I have experienced, they are not the experiences.
    The experiences have gone, but the memories remain. - 安知 Anchi


    STLah

  15. #15
    Thank you for posting that.
    Cyclists/runners/lifters etc... call it going into your pain cave.
    As a personal trainer I frequently give similar advice to clients, calling it "temporary discomfort", to distinguish from pain that may be injurious.
    Being new to zazen I find it more challenging on the zafu than biking up a mountain, so figure I need to sit more!
    Gassho,
    Chris
    Sat

  16. #16
    One advantage, if you can call it that, to having two different chronic pain conditions, is that, while I may have some pain during zazen, I also have pain driving a car, cooking, playing the ukulele, walking, sleeping and putting my shoes on. So pain during zazen doesn't really matter that much.

    Muho's video reminds me a bit of Toni Bernhard's book, How To Be Sick, which we covered a while back, where the thing is this attitude of fight, fight, fight and claim some victory against pain and illness may not be the best approach.

    The only time pain during zazen became a bit of an issue was during the final hours of Rohatsu where, during the breaks and video talks, I'd lie down, legs elevated with an ice pack on my lower back. (I hope that wasn't cheating!).

    Gassho
    st-lah
    Shoki

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Shoki View Post

    The only time pain during zazen became a bit of an issue was during the final hours of Rohatsu where, during the breaks and video talks, I'd lie down, legs elevated with an ice pack on my lower back. (I hope that wasn't cheating!).
    No, not cheating, and you could have reclined or stood up even before getting into the situation. If one has non-gaining mind, posture is not vital.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  18. #18
    Thank you, Jundo and Bion, for the video. I'm glad for that perspective. There are going to be things out of control and a practice that allows for that is going to be helpful.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat/lah
    美道 Bidou Beautiful Way
    恩海 Onkai Merciful/Kind Ocean

    I have a lot to learn; take anything I say that sounds like teaching with a grain of salt.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    No, not cheating, and you could have reclined or stood up even before getting into the situation. If one has non-gaining mind, posture is not vital.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Actually, this is where I disagree a bit with Muho and many in Japan who are into very "correct" posture, especially emphasizing Lotus postures.

    I believe that a balanced, stable, comfortable posture facilitates a balanced, stable, calm mind ... but it is not strictly the key to that, nor "one size fits all." Yes, body and mind are connected, so that balance and stability in posture aids balance and stability in mind.

    The Lotus Posture is wonderful, for those who can manage (without long term knee damage), and I sit Full Lotus once a month or so, but mostly Half Lotus or Burmese now ... but there are many postures, suited to different bodies, which are balanced, stable, comfortable. That is why we very regularly recommend this book around here:

    Book Recommendation: - THE POSTURE OF MEDITATION
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...-OF-MEDITATION

    Find the postures right for you, and sometimes they evolve with time or even during a single day ...

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  20. #20
    Thanks for the response, Jundo as I was going to ask about your stance on posture vs. other teachers who are more adamant about it.

    As for personal experience, I badly sprained my ankle playing basketball many years ago and I had to switch from usual half-lotus to Seiza for about a year.

    When I went back to half-lotus again, I really saw no difference in my practice changing postures and then going back again.


    Gassho
    STLAH
    Shoki

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