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Thread: Vids about sitting

  1. #1

    Vids about sitting

    This is the Fuji just sitting caught yesterday from the shinkansen, just after the Rohatsu...

    Jundo kindly asked me to make a video about just stting. I foolishly accepted. Not that he is a man of poor judgement, but I am certainly a man of shallow practice. And I really mean it. Nevertheless, let's have a go.

    Now let me tell you a very simple story. I was plagued with back pain since my early teens, with two knees injured after various ski adventures...Not a good place to start sitting. And since day one I was in hell on the cushion. Burning hellish pain. And the intimate knowing it was home. Received the precepts, sat and sat and sat and sat, received Tokudo, and sat, and sat and sat...Was taught a very rigid form of practice, the Deshimaru way, and was given very harmful instructions. When I moved to England, the pain was there everytime. I bumped into volume one of Shobogenzo, the Nishijima Cross tranlation and just noticed on the back that the guy was an Alexander Technique teacher. Got in touch. Became his student. And everything I thought about sitting I had to let go. It was not an easy ride, the guy is uncompromizing, fierce and tender, mighty and soft, and he made it very clear through our meetings, I was a pure mess. I am still, but i know I am to a certain extent. Thanks to this great practice, the pain in my back simply vanished and sitting became...painless. And still is. We fell apart although I am eternally grateful to him and would say his living understanding of sitting in one piece cannot be matched by anybody. Period. You may argue that he is using abusive language and things are not perfect, well, let me tell you, in his company the real dragon is never far.

    I am not an Alexander teacher, I am not a physio therapist and I belong to a very strange and wild lineage which does not give me the full authority to say I am a teacher. I could not care less, really. I am a nobody. That is for me, much more than roshi this, certificate there and all the blablabla. I received transmission from a wild rebel who gave me a pearl.

    I want to share a bit of this insight with you. No tricks, gimmicks, fixing involved. If you are in real pain and stuck, apart from watching the vids to come (useless form the point of view of end gaining), the basic advice is the following: find a decent Alexander technique teacher ( as hard to find as a Zen teacher) and take lessons. If the guy is arrogant and has no heart, leave. If he is humble but fierce in pointing your flaws. Stay. Whatever. Let him take you into the chair. And out. Forward and up. Inhibit. Come back to baby basics.

    If you can't take lessons, no problem, although it might take a looooooooooooooooong time... then observe, look around. Use a mirror. How does water flow? How does a cat move? Look at very young children, walking free. Leaves falling. Flowers in bloom. Dip your very eyeballs in the space around. Don't get carried away, too intense. Learn from being just present to what is.

    A last word of caution that might sound a bit harsh.If you want answers to fix things, these vids are useless. If you think you know, you live in blissful and hellish ignorance. Not ready to learn, don't hang around these teachings. Do things your way. I don't want to loose your time.

    See you soon



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  2. #2

    Re: Vids about sitting

    My back and kness already feel better just knowing this is coming!!!!

    Gassho X9


  3. #3

    Re: Vids about sitting

    I've heard of the Alexander Technique....was taught a little bit of Feldenkrais.

    Maybe this is a very good idea. There may not be an Alexander teacher here, but I don't know how long I'll be here. If I head back towards Lost Angeles, I'm sure I'll find one.


  4. #4

    Re: Vids about sitting

    Hi Chet

    It is really worth a try. It just saved my practice. Some of us don t need it. But I believe many of us will benefit from this path of non-doing. Many priests both in Japan and the States are taking lessons or applying Alexander principles. Not just Mike although he dedicates his life to this work and cleared most of the ground. But again, it is important to meet an excellent teacher, with some experience of just sitting. If you call Zen centers, you may find someone.
    Check this ... praker.htm

    Good luck



  5. #5

    Re: Vids about sitting

    thanks Taigu for sharing your experience, but can you tell us with your words what the AT "gives" to the practice of shikantaza for you? Is it just another aspect, another point of view to look at things? ... I don't really get it...

    I must confess, I knew Mr Cross (and yourself, and Jundo) from old gudo's blog (long before I knew about our sangha), where the polemic was sometimes a bit rude (it's true that Mr Cross has not got his tongue in his pocket as we say...). And I remember, some talks between Mr Cross and Nishijima roshi arguing about the place to give to AT, and the true meaning of shikantaza... It was a bit difficult, but very very interesting!
    In fact, without Nishijima's blog and this kind of discussions about the practice in the commentaries I probably wouldn't know Jundo ( who was always very respectfull and down to earth in his answers), and probably wouldn't be here at Treeleaf!



  6. #6

    Re: Vids about sitting

    Hi Luis,

    Thank you for your kind words.

    First let me make this clear: treeleaf has nothing to do with AT, is neither for nor against AT, it is a wonderful sangha with two teachers, kind of referees and helpers, and a great bunch of sitters coming from the four directions. Treeleaf is a place where sitting zen, zazen is taught. I am not as experienced and involved as Mike. He was my teacher and pointed something I could have never have even dreamt before. But my take on this is very different. He is very adamant, to say the least, and yes sometimes he uses strong language. Not my style here and now. And I don't think AT is the answer. It was and is still a very helpful tool for me. Not for everybody. Maybe not for you. So take it easy and with great caution.

    Jundo asked me to make vids for beginners. For people like you or me. 5 years or 30 years, what is the difference?

    What I will do just will be what i will do. There is no agenda here. Because my point is the following:
    if there is an agenda, a will, something extra you-me-everybody will end up with rigidity in thoughts and body.
    The very translation of this rigidity is found in language and action. The Zen world is permeated with shouting sons and daughters, going at each other like mad dogs...
    And the fact is also that many people see zazen as the Dharma gate but hate the pain that seems to go with it.
    And there are ways not to be in pain. Yoga is one. Rolfing another. AT... Many ways, many tools. I cannot speak about tools I have never used.
    I know a tiny bit about a way that is free of doing.
    That is how I sit now.
    And disagree with the violence of "this is it", " you should do it my way" " AT is the answer" " and the likes.

    So I will do my best ( should be my worst then ) to convey a teaching of sitting beyond chapels, churches and gospels.

    Find your own way. But please, be disturbed, challenged, tossed by others. Otherwise...rigidity. In other words: practice tolerance.

    If you don't get is a very good start. I cannot tell you what AT gives to the pratice of shikantaza. Because it is USELESS. Sitting in this has no other taste than sitting in this.

    What you learn in what we call the real world is that we do one thing to get another.

    In Zen, you undo something to get nothing.

    And yet



  7. #7

    Re: Vids about sitting

    Hi Taigu!

    Seems like the teaching already began or never stopped :wink:
    Thank you for your explanation... to say the truth I didn't understood at first what vids means :roll: ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    So I will do my best ( should be my worst then ) to convey a teaching of sitting beyond chapels, churches and gospels.
    I'm sure you will!

    Thank you Taigu,


  8. #8

    Re: Vids about sitting

    Hi all,

    I am planning to record these vids around Christmas ( Nope, I am not Santa ). The thing is that my schedule is now making it impossible.



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