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Thread: Dropping Breath

  1. #1

    Dropping Breath

    The state of mind during zazen is described as "dropping all thought." I have come to find that if one can "drop all breathing," it is much easier to drop all thoughts, desires, etc... and be in the present moment during zazen.

    Don't try to inhale or exhale, just stop breathing, sit with no breath for a few moments, and when you are ready to take a breath your body will do so. Its suprising to see how much "extra" breathing we actually do in a day.

    Even though the Soto sect does not focus on counting breaths, and focuses more on simply sitting in the moment, it seems to me that we can learn alot by observing breath in a non-judgmental way (but, of course, not to the exclusion of our environment).

  2. #2

    Re: Dropping Breath

    Hi Mushin
    I remember one of the talks given by Gil Fronsdal, where he talk about the moment between breaths as being the place where the greatest stillness of thought could be found.
    Kindest regards

  3. #3

    Re: Dropping Breath

    Before starting to sit I'd spent time doing various yogic and non-yogic breathing exercises may be only doing as little as 1 breath a minute and the thing i always noticed was that the holds before inhalation and before exhalation were the 'magic' times in terms of my mind settling. When I first started to sit I started to use these pauses to 'drop off mind' until I realised that that wasn't the point. But yeh, it is a time when it seems the mind drops off whether you look for it or not.

    _/_ Kev

  4. #4

    Re: Dropping Breath

    If I'd have only known that the secret to enlightenment was holding my breath....*smacks head*

    Kidding, of course.


  5. #5

    Re: Dropping Breath


    Counting the breaths, following the breaths or doing the practice described by Mushin is fine before we begin Shikantaza. If you are very agitated, on some days, you may want to try counting or following the breaths for a few minutes to let the "waters calm" a bit. But then, drop that and return to the non-attaining.

    Also, for the practice that Mushin describes, it is not Shikantaza (although I do it too sometimes when not engaged in Shikantaza ... finding the space between breaths, words, notes of music, clouds of thought). In Shikantaza, we allow the breath to find the breath's natural rhythm ... and then forget about the breath, leaving the breath to the breath.

    There is no "present moment" we can't be in or not be in. A Koan there.

    Gassho, Jundo

  6. #6

    Re: Dropping Breath


    I've tried this... and it's a good way to calm my mind.... Thanks for the posting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    There is no "present moment" we can't be in or not be in. A Koan there.

    Gassho, Jundo
    I think that because "present moment" can't be enter or leave....
    Everything is just at the present moment...

    Gassho, Shuidi... :wink:

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