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Thread: [Zen Teachings in Challenging Times] - (1) - Blowing in the Wind - Grace Schireson

  1. #1

    [Zen Teachings in Challenging Times] - (1) - Blowing in the Wind - Grace Schireson

    Dear All,

    We move on to Grace Schireson's very wise "Blowing in the Wind: Facing Challenges with Zen Practice." It starts from page 21. She discusses the traditional "Eight Winds" of Suffering (Dukkha) in modern terms, and how they manifest in life from infancy to old age. She speaks of rediscovering balance when we are blown away by those winds.

    She recommends eight practices and insights to help us do so. Really, they are all faces of our one and the same Shikantaza practice, perhaps, sitting and living with equanimity, acceptance, allowing impermanence, releasing desires, finding such within ourselves, and the like.

    I have made a PDF version available here for those waiting for their ordered book, or those unable to afford or obtain the book:

    Grace was hoping to come to speak with us about her essay, but is not feeling so well herself right now. She sends her good thoughts and her thanks to all those participating in reading this great book.

    ADVANCED NOTICE: However, I am pleased to say that we will have a live teaching by Shosan Victoria Austin, a wonderful teacher at San Francisco Zen Center, regarding the next essay ("Impact: Accidental Zen") on her experiences in practice after experiencing grave injury in accidents. I hope folks will participate in that. It is likely to happen Saturday March 4th from 8am, California time, for an hour or so. Stay tuned for details.

    Gassho, Jundo

    Last edited by Jundo; 02-19-2023 at 05:40 AM.

  2. #2
    This chapter is incredibly meaningful to me at this stage in my life. It's one that I'm sure I will revisit in the future.


  3. #3
    i liked the combination of the four pairs of winds to the four life periods.. i am in the last one now and looking back it's quite familiar..



    hobo kore dojo / 歩歩是道場 / step, step, there is my place of practice

    Aprāpti (अप्राप्ति) non-attainment

  4. #4
    Hi all

    This is a lovely heartfelt look at human experience and Buddhist practice, mirrored in developmental psychology to some degree. Fabulous essay, very touching.

    Gassho, Tokan

    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

  5. #5
    I really enjoyed this chapter. At first I thought it was a bit of an oversimplification to say you can tell which of the eight winds are blowing in any given moment, but in the hours after reading it I found myself paying a lot of attention to this and was much more aware of when I was being pushed and pulled in a particular direction, so it's already had an impact on my practice. I can see myself revisiting this chapter from time to time.


  6. #6
    Really nice chapter! Practice 5 - Not looking Outside for Affirmation - was a little difficult for me to digest in the beginning. I think we all need some praise from time to time. It helps us see the positive things in ourselves that we don't always recognize and also recognize the appreciation of other people for the things we do good. But then I read the last sentence of this paragraph:

    If you find yourself craving the affirmation of others, and avoiding their criticism, how can you return to feeling your own presence?
    I am of course guilty of avoiding the criticism of others, but I am even more guilty of craving the affirmation of others. This is a practice that I really have to work with.

    Gassho, Kiri
    希 rare
    理 principle

  7. #7
    This was a compassionate lesson. Seeing how the eight practices correspond to the eight winds was helpful. I've been blown by all of the winds at some point or other. The section "Understanding That All Humans Have Cravings" was especially comforting and clear.

    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.

  8. #8
    I enjoyed reading this chapter. It was written with clarity and simplicity. This quote stood out for me, on the practice of finding time for secluded contemplation:

    We cannot solely base our time for secluded contemplation on a faraway place...We can develop an unwholesome craving for seclusion if we don't balance our silent retreat time with our ability to step back and breathe mindfully in everyday activity.
    Sometimes I can fall into the trap to think that practice is just about the cushion, when it should imbue all aspects of life.

    Sat today, LAH

  9. #9
    What a great description of eight inevitable winds, and how zen practice can allow us to recognize and face the wind rather than get blown away. So relevant to all of life.

  10. #10
    The eight winds can create some strong hurricanes. Most of my news sources and
    magazines I read like The Nation, The Progressive, In These Times and Mother Jones
    then to point out the damage of one or more of these winds. My current wind is to
    grumble about inflation after going to grocery stores. Are eggs now coming with gold leaf
    on the shells? Different winds blow us off balance at various places in life.
    Gassho, peace, Paul Ashby sat lah

  11. #11
    Treeleaf Unsui Nengei's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Minnesota's Driftless Area
    Myoan Roshi's brief essay did a nice job of introducing the concepts of Daishonin's Eight Winds and the Eight Awakenings as described by Dogen Zenji. Being aware of these is an important step in developing a good practice, I think. I was particularly interested in Myoan Roshi's ideas about not seeking affirmation outside oneself. She referenced, but did not cite, an idea from Uchiyama Roshi about settling the self on the self. Is anyone aware of the source of this?

    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.

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