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Thread: Suggestions for Introductory Topics for our "Beginner's Space"

  1. #1

    Suggestions for Introductory Topics for our "Beginner's Space"

    Dear All,

    Regarding this discussion ...

    I am going to see if I can develop one or two more introductory "curricula" within the Beginner's Place, in addition to what we have now:

    - A SERIES OF TALKS FOR NEW FOLKS
    - Buddha-Basics
    - Bodhisattva-Basics

    I will be starting a separate thread to ask all our members about what additional topics, not covered by the above, might be included in such an introductory curricula.
    What topics would you suggest that might deserve special treatment or mention in some introductory course for newcomers to Treeleaf or to Zazen? All suggestions are welcome. This includes helpful topics for folks who are 'neuro-diverse,' as well as for any newcomers here.

    I post below the topics already covered in the above three series, but it is okay if they overlap or want more expansion.

    Thank you for your advice.

    Gassho, Jundo

    stlah

    =====

    - A SERIES OF TALKS FOR NEW FOLKS

    SET I - BASIC INTRODUCTION TO THE MIND AND BODY IN ZAZEN
    - Zazen for Beginners (1) - Turning Down The Noise (LINK)

    - Zazen for Beginners (2) - Put The Hammer Down (LINK)

    - Zazen for Beginners (3) - Basic Postures and The Mechanics of Sitting (LINK)


    SET II - BASIC INTRODUCTION TO "JUST SITTING"
    - Zazen for Beginners (4) - Giving Up The Chase (LINK)

    - Zazen for Beginners (5) - The Race To Right Here (LINK)

    - Zazen for Beginners (6) - Acceptance-Without-Acceptance (LINK)

    - Zazen for Beginners (7) - Not Grabbing The Thoughts (LINK)

    - Zazen for Beginners (8) - Alternative Postures of Zazen (LINK)


    SET III - TRADITIONAL MODELS of THE MIND IN ZAZEN
    - Zazen for Beginners (9) - Drifting Clouds of Thoughts and Emotion (LINK)

    - Zazen for Beginners (10) - Mirrormind (LINK)


    SET IV - VARIOUS POINTS ABOUT ZAZEN
    - Zazen for Beginners (11) - The Breath (LINK)

    - Zazen for Beginners (12) - Basic Zendo Decorum At Home (LINK)

    - Zazen for Beginners (13) - Anywhere, Anytime INSTA-ZAZEN!© (LINK)

    - Zazen for Beginners (14) - How Long To Sit? INTRODUCING the 15-Minute Sit (LINK)


    SET V - ALL THINGS 'AS THEY ARE'
    - Zazen for Beginners (15) - Yield, Let Go, Allow (LINK)

    - Zazen for Beginners (16) - Letting The Weather Be The Weather (LINK)

    - Zazen for Beginners (17) - Sitting With Pain & Illness (LINK)


    SET VI - THE PRECEPTS, COMPASSION and THE 'BODHISATTVA VOW'
    - Zazen for Beginners (18) - Nothing To Fix, So Ya Better Fix It! (LINK)

    - Zazen for Beginners (19) - The Precepts & Wholesome Living (LINK)

    - Zazen for Beginners (20) - Compassion & The Bodhisattva Vow (LINK)


    SET VII - FINAL WORDS
    - Zazen for Beginners (21) - The True 'Quiet Room' (LINK)

    - Zazen for Beginners (22) - End of the Beginningless Beginning (LINK)

    - Buddha-Basics

    1- Dukkha
    2- Four Noble Truths
    3- Eightfold Path
    4- Right View
    5- Right Aspiration
    6- Right Speach
    7- Right Action
    8- Right Livelihood
    9- Right Effort
    10- Right Mindfulness
    11- Right Zazen
    12- All Things Are Change (Impermanence)
    13- No Self
    14- Twelve-Fold Chain
    15- Karma
    16- Rebirth?
    17- Emptiness
    - Bodhisattva-Basics

    What's a "Bodhisattva"?
    Bodhisattva Virtues = Generosity, Morality (Precepts), Patience, Effort, Meditation, Wisdom, Skillful Means, Vow & Commitment, Mystical Powers, Knowledge

    The Great Bodhisattvas = Shakyamuni, Mara, Manjushri, Samantabhadra, Kannon, Jizo, Maitreya, Vimalakīrti
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    I just did some research on the topic. Based upon my familiarity with the videos and the research, I did not find any new topics to address.

    Gassho, Jishin, ST, LAH

  3. #3
    Hi.
    Have we got any resources that could help beginners who are completely new to Zen and/or Buddhism deal with family and friends?
    (I may have missed something that's already there.)

    Sat this morning.
    Gassho!
    護道 安海

    -Godo Ankai

    I'm still just starting to learn. I'm not a teacher. Please don't take anything I say too seriously. I already take myself too seriously!

  4. #4
    A video like this would be nice:



    Gassho, Jishin, ST, LAH

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui Nengei's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Minnesota's Driftless Area
    Zen practice, two jobs, four kids, and a dog… what gives?

    Is Zen relevant in today’s world?

    Zen practice can save the world.

    One-hour Zen, 10-minute Zen, 5-minute Zen, and 1-minute Zen.

    Zen practice, learning, and service.

    Taking refuge… what does it mean?

    Emptiness… what does it mean?

    Just a few suggestions.

    Gassho,
    Nengei
    Sat today. LAH.

    Please forgive any indication that I am trying to teach anything. I am a priest in training with no qualifications for teaching Zen practice or the Dharma.

  6. #6
    I think the Why Zen Golks FAIL series could be great in an introductory course.

    I also think that some talk or video on the home liturgy could be great. I don’t know if others are like me, but I visit there a lot and I have a tendency to feel obligated to do every practice there is instead of focusing on a few more personally significant; sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the number of suggested practices — maybe other beginners and old members are also like me on this.

    Gassho,
    Tai Do (Mateus)
    Satlah

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Nengei View Post
    Zen practice, two jobs, four kids, and a dog… what gives?

    Is Zen relevant in today’s world?

    Zen practice can save the world.

    One-hour Zen, 10-minute Zen, 5-minute Zen, and 1-minute Zen.

    Zen practice, learning, and service.

    Taking refuge… what does it mean?

    Emptiness… what does it mean?

    Just a few suggestions.

    Gassho,
    Nengei
    Sat today. LAH.

    Please forgive any indication that I am trying to teach anything. I am a priest in training with no qualifications for teaching Zen practice or the Dharma.
    We’ve covered a number of those topics on the Zen of Everything podcast. It’s a shame that we can’t embed a podcast player in forum posts.

    Gassho,
    Ryūmon (Kirk)
    Sat
    流文

    I know nothing.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryumon View Post
    We’ve covered a number of those topics on the Zen of Everything podcast. It’s a shame that we can’t embed a podcast player in forum posts.

    Gassho,
    Ryūmon (Kirk)
    Sat
    Well, we can link to episodes, of course.

    Gassho, J

    stlah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    One thing I've been a little confused by (but got the hang of through practice) is the ceremony stuff (when/why we bow, what the chants mean etc) and Kinhin (what AM I supposed to be doing with my feet?) Considering that everyone is tiny on my tablet screen in an itty bitty zoom window, it's difficult to see. I'd love to see a video explaining all this (and maybe a camera angle showing what Jundo is actually doing at the altar during ceremony).

    Gassho,
    SatLah
    Kelly

  10. #10
    Hey all

    To me the list already in existence seems very comprehensive, having been developed over a period of years, though I guess there is always room for extras. It seems to me that this is perhaps where the sangha buddy programme is perhaps worth expanding, just people who can show you around. If we try to answer every question with a thread we'll end up back where we started I suspect. Just my thoughts.

    Gassho, Tokan

    satlah
    平道 島看 Heidou Tokan (Balanced Way Island Nurse)
    I enjoy learning from everyone, I simply hope to be a friend along the way

  11. #11
    Would it be possible to introduce new members to sitting by actually sitting or observing others online?
    Perhaps a beginners live introductory online sit? Say five then ten minute intervals with questions in between?
    Maybe a voiced guide on circular breathing, observing/counting breath, longer out breath, checking posture and other things you are doing but not doing during zazen?
    I have been sitting on FSR occasionally for a year and recently joined Kaiku session on Monday and Tuesday
    and I am finding very helpful after daily sitting on my own for most of that year.
    Then from the Zendo Etiquette thread I find I have not been using best practice so now I get to practice doing it better as well.

    Gassho

    MichaelW

    sat

  12. #12
    Dear All,

    As a first step in creating an expanded "curriculum" for new members of the Sangha, and adding some of your other recommendations above, you will notice a new link which reads ...

    Other Talks & Discussions - Recommended for Newer Folks
    A collection of other past Talks on Shikantaza and Zen Practice which may be of special help to new folks.
    ... easy to spot, I think, if you scroll down here:

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/foru...GINNER-s-PLACE

    It is still under construction, and I have probably added too many topics (and probably missed some other important ones). If you notice any topic missing there, please let me know, and I will add some thing.

    I will also be adding threads and talks about many of your suggestions above, such as expanded explanations of some liturgy and rituals.

    Gassho, Jundo

    stlah
    Last edited by Jundo; 02-19-2023 at 09:00 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  13. #13
    Hi.
    If it's already here, I missed it and I apologize... How about maybe once or twice a month, a "live" sitting group for newbies, with instructions, a ten minute sitting, and discussion? Not, like, deep Dharma talks or teaching or anything, just some direct demonstration, shorter sits and a sense of "Am i doing it right" for the newbies...That's how I used to do the "Sit-A-Long" meetings I facilitated in the old days.
    Might also be good for folks in training to get used to leading a bit in a less formal way.
    Just a thought.

    Gassho
    Sat today. Going to sit some more.

    -Karl
    Gassho!
    護道 安海

    -Godo Ankai

    I'm still just starting to learn. I'm not a teacher. Please don't take anything I say too seriously. I already take myself too seriously!

  14. #14
    Member Onsho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2022
    Location
    they/them. Markdale Ontario, Canada
    When I first joined Treeleaf I required a lot of clarification for the sitting rooms. I joined specifically so that I could sit with other people and the procedure did not fully reveal itself to me with practice.
    A guide to sitting room conduct being readily available would have been amazing. While we have all grown very used to the idea, sitting with a priest or people in robes, can be a very significant, exciting, overwhelming and intimidating thing to try out. I was lucky enough that my first few experiences were positive enough for me to keep returning.

    "A New To Treeleaf Sitting Room Guide".
    -come 2-3 minutes early
    -Bow to everyone that is there, and to people that arrive
    -Direction for what gassho is
    -information on the robe verse
    -what is that thing on their head?/ around their neck? Why is it there?
    -why do people have these sick names on their zoom screen?
    -bow after the robe verse
    -brief sitting instruction
    -at the end, bow at the two bells
    -bow at the sitters
    And take what you have not attained off the mat and with you for the rest of the day.

    I would be happy to take part in developing such a guide. Easing anxious and awkward feeling folks is important to me.

    Gassho
    Taihoku
    Satlah

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Taihoku View Post
    When I first joined Treeleaf I required a lot of clarification for the sitting rooms. I joined specifically so that I could sit with other people and the procedure did not fully reveal itself to me with practice.
    A guide to sitting room conduct being readily available would have been amazing. While we have all grown very used to the idea, sitting with a priest or people in robes, can be a very significant, exciting, overwhelming and intimidating thing to try out. I was lucky enough that my first few experiences were positive enough for me to keep returning.

    "A New To Treeleaf Sitting Room Guide".
    -come 2-3 minutes early
    -Bow to everyone that is there, and to people that arrive
    -Direction for what gassho is
    -information on the robe verse
    -what is that thing on their head?/ around their neck? Why is it there?
    -why do people have these sick names on their zoom screen?
    -bow after the robe verse
    -brief sitting instruction
    -at the end, bow at the two bells
    -bow at the sitters
    And take what you have not attained off the mat and with you for the rest of the day.

    I would be happy to take part in developing such a guide. Easing anxious and awkward feeling folks is important to me.

    Gassho
    Taihoku
    Satlah
    It seems like an excellent suggestion, Tai. Maybe do it first as a paper guide, then maybe it will even lend itself to a short video.

    Let me see if any of the priests want to pair with you on drafting something.

    Gassho, Jundo

    stlah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    It seems like an excellent suggestion, Tai. Maybe do it first as a paper guide, then maybe it will even lend itself to a short video.

    Let me see if any of the priests want to pair with you on drafting something.

    Gassho, Jundo

    stlah
    I’d be happy to

    Gassho
    Sat and lah
    Bion
    -------------------------
    When you put Buddha’s activity into practice, only then are you a buddha. When you act like a fool, then you’re a fool.

  17. #17
    Member Onsho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2022
    Location
    they/them. Markdale Ontario, Canada
    Thank you both Jundo and Bion
    In that case, I will throw together a draft for a one page survival guide and work shop it with Bion.

    Gassho
    Satlah

  18. #18
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  19. #19
    Treeleaf Unsui Nengei's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Minnesota's Driftless Area
    Quote Originally Posted by Taihoku View Post
    When I first joined Treeleaf I required a lot of clarification for the sitting rooms. I joined specifically so that I could sit with other people and the procedure did not fully reveal itself to me with practice.
    A guide to sitting room conduct being readily available would have been amazing. While we have all grown very used to the idea, sitting with a priest or people in robes, can be a very significant, exciting, overwhelming and intimidating thing to try out. I was lucky enough that my first few experiences were positive enough for me to keep returning.

    "A New To Treeleaf Sitting Room Guide".
    -come 2-3 minutes early
    -Bow to everyone that is there, and to people that arrive
    -Direction for what gassho is
    -information on the robe verse
    -what is that thing on their head?/ around their neck? Why is it there?
    -why do people have these sick names on their zoom screen?
    -bow after the robe verse
    -brief sitting instruction
    -at the end, bow at the two bells
    -bow at the sitters
    And take what you have not attained off the mat and with you for the rest of the day.

    I would be happy to take part in developing such a guide. Easing anxious and awkward feeling folks is important to me.

    Gassho
    Taihoku
    Satlah
    This is a beautiful idea. I have great difficulty going into any new situation, no matter how simple or benign it may be. Instructions like “how to ride the bus” and “how to order food in our restaurant” can really help a lot.

    Gassho,
    Nengei
    Sat today. LAH.
    遜道念芸 Sondō Nengei (he/him)

    Please excuse any indication that I am trying to teach anything. I am a priest in training and have no qualifications or credentials to teach Zen practice or the Dharma.

  20. #20
    Hello, has the "A New To Treeleaf Sitting Room Guide" been made?

    I typed it into the search but can't seem to find it?

    Thank you

    Gasshō, Ryker
    Sat

    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryker View Post
    Hello, has the "A New To Treeleaf Sitting Room Guide" been made?

    I typed it into the search but can't seem to find it?

    Thank you

    Gasshō, Ryker
    Sat

    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk
    It has. We’ll make it available shortly!

    Gassho
    Sat and lah
    Bion
    -------------------------
    When you put Buddha’s activity into practice, only then are you a buddha. When you act like a fool, then you’re a fool.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryker View Post
    Hello, has the "A New To Treeleaf Sitting Room Guide" been made?

    I typed it into the search but can't seem to find it?

    Thank you

    Gasshō, Ryker
    Sat

    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk
    Hello again. Coming back to this to give an update. Our Treeleaf Zendo Forms and Etiquette guide is available now directly on the NOW page treeleaf.org/now as you can see here:



    And directly here: https://www.treeleaf.org/downloads/p...-Etiquette.pdf

    A special thank you to Onshō who came up with the idea and created a first draft that was great at understanding what doubts should be cleared up with this document.

    We hope this extra bit of information will make it easier for lots of folks to feel more comfortable with clicking that “Join Meeting” button and participate in our scheduled sits.

    Gassho
    Sat and lah
    Bion
    -------------------------
    When you put Buddha’s activity into practice, only then are you a buddha. When you act like a fool, then you’re a fool.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Bion View Post
    Hello again. Coming back to this to give an update. Our Treeleaf Zendo Forms and Etiquette guide is available now directly on the NOW page treeleaf.org/now as you can see here:



    And directly here: https://www.treeleaf.org/downloads/p...-Etiquette.pdf

    A special thank you to Onshō who came up with the idea and created a first draft that was great at understanding what doubts should be cleared up with this document.

    We hope this extra bit of information will make it easier for lots of folks to feel more comfortable with clicking that “Join Meeting” button and participate in our scheduled sits.

    Gassho
    Sat and lah

    Thank you

    Doshin
    Stlah

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