Zazen and Breathing

Moderator: Spiritual Do-gooder

User avatar
jundocohen
Posts: 592
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:30 pm

Zazen and Breathing

Post by jundocohen » Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:45 am

Shikantaza Zazen is sitting in non-seeking, and the way of breathing instructed by Master Dogen and other early Soto Zen Ancestors according to the teachings which they have left us is breathing non-seeking. This non-seeking breath is a natural breathing. It is deep from the abdomen, from the area known as the “Hara” or “Tanden” (the region down in the belly, below the navel) and it is best if not a shallow breathing. That is simply for the same reason that anyone, from runners to opera singers to ordinary folks, should best avoid too shallow or rapid breathing not fully using lung capacity. It is simply healthful, allowing proper oxygenation of the body. However, there are many statements which indicate quite clearly that Master Dogen, and his immediate successors in the Japanese Soto Tradition, did not intend any additional technique or pattern with the breath beyond that.

What the founders did also emphasize in their instructions on Zazen (because they are Zen teachers) was breathing which is transcendent of breathing: By this is meant breathing in which “long breaths are long, short breaths are short,” but at the same time one sits placing aside from mind all human measuring of “long vs. short.” Breaths come in and out, yet one also knows that they neither arise nor go anywhere, as out is in and in is out. Inside is outside and outside flows to in. As Suzuki Shunryu Roshi expressed it in a more modern Teaching (from Zen Mind, Beginners Mind):
When we inhale, the air comes into the inner world. When we exhale, the air goes out to the outer world. The inner world is limitless, and the outer world is also limitless. We say “inner world” or “outer world,” but actually there is just one whole world. In this limitless world, our throat is like a swinging door. The air comes in and goes out like someone passing through a swinging door. If you think, “I breathe,” the “I” is extra. There is no you to say”I.” What we call “I” is just a swinging door which moves when we inhale and when we exhale. It just moves; that is all. When your mind is pure and calm enough to follow this movement, there is nothing: no “I,” no world, no mind nor body; just a swinging door.
https://www.dailyzen.com/journal/zen-mi ... nners-mind
The one instruction in which Master Dogen might possibly be interpreted as opening the door to some manipulation or special use of the Tanden is the follow, from his Eihei Koroku. However, as I will show, other comments by his immediate Successors (such as Masters Eijo and Keizan) and by Dogen himself show that he likely meant just allowing the breath to assume its natural rhythm, although deep from the belly. The words in the following transition in which Master Dogen speaks of “regulating” the breath (息を整へ / totonoe) may also be translated as “putting in order” or “settling” the breath, and seems to consist only of (1) deep breathing from the abdomen and (2) allowing a natural rhythm to be found. Such breathing is to settle into its natural rhythm, “allowing long breaths to be long, short breaths to be short,” but at the same time “neither long nor short” (by the dropping of such measures and divisions of source and goal in the mind of Zazen). Dogen wrote (Dharma Hall Discourse 390):
In the zazen of patch-robed monks, first you should sit correctly with upright posture. Then regulate [put in order/settle] your breath and settle your mind (坐を正すを先とし、然るのちに息を整へ、心を致せ). In the lesser vehicle originally there were two gateways, which were counting breaths and contemplating impurity. In the lesser vehicle, people used counting to regulate their breath. However, the buddha ancestors’ engaging of the way always differed from the lesser vehicle. A buddha ancestor said, “Even if you arouse the mind of a leprous wild fox, never practice the self-regulation of the two vehicles.” (白癩の野干の心を発すといへども、二乗の自調の行を作す莫れ) The two vehicles refer to such [non-Mahayana schools] as the school of the four-part vinaya, and the [Abhidharma] Kosa school, which have spread in the world these days.

In the Mahayana there is also a method for regulating breath, which is knowing that one breath is long, another breath is short. The breath reaches the tanden and comes up from the tanden. Although exhale and inhale differ, both of them occur depending on the tanden. Impermanence is easy to clarify, and regulating the mind is easy to accomplish.

My late teacher Tiantong [Master Rujing] said, “Breath enters and reaches the tanden, and yet there is no place from which it comes. (息入り来たりて、丹田に至る。雖然、従り来る処無し) Therefore it is neither long nor short. Breath emerges from the tanden, and yet there is nowhere it goes. Therefore it is neither short nor long.” (所以に、長からず、短かからず。息、丹田を出で去く。雖然、去き得る処無し。所以に、短かからず、長からず。) My late teacher said it like that. Suppose someone were to ask Eihei, “Master, how do you regulate your breath?” I would simply say to him: Although it is not the great vehicle, it differs from the lesser vehicle. Although it is not the lesser vehicle, it differs from the great vehicle. Suppose that person inquired again, “Ultimately, what is it?” I would say to him: Exhale and inhale are neither long nor short.
https://terebess.hu/zen/dogen/EiheiKoroku.pdf
Apart from such simple descriptions, there is no special rhythm, pattern, focus or concentration on the breath described by any of the founders despite their otherwise very detailed descriptions of the position and use of the body and mind during Zazen. In this case, absence of such instructions despite otherwise detailed descriptions on what to do with the body during Zazen indicates quite clearly that such special manipulations were not being taught. Dogen’s meaning of “totonoe” as “putting in order” or “settling” the breath, and breathing from the “Tanden,” becomes a bit clearer when we look at some of his other writings.

Dogen, in his guide to Zazen known as Fukanzazengi, simply instructs (Tanahashi):
Rest the tongue against the roof of the mouth, with lips and teeth closed. Keep the eyes open and breathe gently through the nose. Having adjusted your body in this manner, take a breath and exhale fully, then sway your body to left and right. Now sit steadfastly and think not-thinking. How do you think not-thinking? Beyond thinking. This is the essential art of zazen.
In his Shobogenzo-Zazenshin, Dogen was quite critical of monks who write manuals of meditations emphasizing manipulative methods:
The writings they have collected up are merely an outer show of ‘coming back to the Source’, or ‘returning to the Origin’, or convey useless methods for concentrating on one’s breathing or for focusing on tranquility.
http://pvzen.org/fukanzazengi-eng.html
Ejo Zenji, Master Dogen's faithful successor and “right hand man,” leaves us these instruction in his long and detailed ode to Zazen, “Absorption in the Treasury of Light” (Komyozo):
Plunging body and mind into the great treasury of light without looking back "sit gradually under
the eaves" without seeking enlightenment, without trying to to get rid of illusions, without aversion to the rising of thoughts, and yet without fondly continuing thoughts. If you do not continue thoughts, thoughts cannot arise by themselves. Like an empty space, like a mass of fire, letting your breathing flow naturally out and in, sit decisively without getting involved in anything at all.
https://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/Ejo-Ab ... -Light.pdf
In the 3rd Generation after Dogen, Keizan Zenji wrote (Zazen Yojinki):
Sometimes when you are sitting you may feel hot or cold, discomfort or ease, stiff or loose, heavy or light, or sometimes startled. These sensations arise through disharmonies of mind and breath-energy. Harmonize your breath in this way: open your mouth slightly, allow long breaths to be long and short breaths to be short and it will harmonize naturally. Follow it for awhile until a sense of awareness arises and your breath will be natural. After this, continue to breathe through the nose.

Sit straight without leaning to left or right, front or back. Ears and shoulders, nose and navel should be aligned. Place the tongue on the palate and breathe through the nose. The mouth should be closed. The eyes should be open but not too wide nor too slight. Harmonizing the body in this way, breathe deeply with the mouth once or twice. Sitting steadily, sway the torso seven or eight times in decreasing movements. Sit straight and alert.
https://wwzc.org/dharma-text/zazen-yoji ... ware-zazen
What the founders did also emphasize in their instructions on Zazen was breathing which is transcendant of breathing: By this is meant breathing in which “long breaths are long, short breaths are short,” but at the same time one sits placing aside from mind all human measuring of “long vs. short.” Breaths come in and out, yet one also knows that they neither arise nor go anywhere, as out is in and in is out. Inside is outside and outside flows to in.

Furthermore, the early Japanese disciples of Dogen emphasize Zazen with a radical “non-gaining” idea. Any manipulation of the breath to attain some special effect or state risks introduction of the gaining mind. This becomes clear when we look at other descriptions of Zazen and surrounding words by Ejo in his Komyozo:
Monks, do not all of the strategies of cultivating something or of mystical principles or subtle states all fall within either thinking or not-thinking? Since it is not a matter of thinking or not-thinking, right now, give up on deluded views of attaining or rejecting. … From the very beginning, seeking concentration states and viewing practice and realization as two different things is different from the realised-practice of the harmonies and vast activity of the Transmission of luminosity. …However, looking around at monks these days, because they base everything on their own narrow views although they polish it day and night, they are just trying to rub through to get to something. Others try to swat away wandering thoughts, hoping to clear things up by beating out the flames, so that some mysteriously silent light will shine. If you think it is just a matter of stopping thoughts then don't wood, stones, and mud already do it better than you can? …I feel a great respect from the depths of my compassion for you who continue the practice of zazen in the state of mind that I will now describe: without grasping anything [without being pulled around by states or objects] or having any goal … Do not seek satori enlightenment. Do not try to hide or be rid of illusion. Do not hate the thoughts that arise, do not love them either and above all, do not nourish them, without aversion to the rising of thoughts, and yet without fondly continuing them. In every way, you must practice the great sitting, here and now. If you do not nourish a thought, it will not come back by itself. Like an empty space like a mass of fire, letting your breathing flow naturally out and in, sit decisively without getting involved in anything at all. If you have no expectations about what you are doing and refuse to consider anything, you can cut everything off through zazen alone. … Breathing in, breathing out, hearing, touching, without thoughts of separation, is just the silent illumination of luminosity in which body and mind are single. Thus, when someone calls, you immediately answer …Thus, from breath to breath, your profound nature, like your sensory nature, will unconsciously, naturally become non-knowing, non-understanding. From that point, everything can naturally become calm, the radiance of komyo in the unity of body and mind. …
At various times in the history of Soto Zen in later centuries, some have sort to introduce artifical practices to manipulate the breath in various way, probably due to the influence of various esoteric (Tendai/Shingon) Buddhist practices, Rinzai/Obaku Zen contacts or Daoist/Nativist beliefs, and Chinese traditional medicine concepts which were introduced into Japanese Soto in later centuries, an age when the Teachings of the early founders in Japan were neglected if not forgotten. Such special techniques of the age of “Kirigami” (secret esoteric practices introduced into late medieval Soto from such outside influences) represent the infiltration of “gaining mind” into Shikantaza Zazen Practice, turning it into a form of meditation aimed at realizing special states and mystical sensations and interpretations. These ideas carried over into later centuries as well, even into the modern day, resulting in even some modern teachers who confuse these later infiltrations of ideas and practices with original Soto Practice. One example is the rather eccentric, yet brilliant, 19th Century Soto Zen priest Hara Tanzan, who was also a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine, and an advocate of a rather unusual theory of bodily systems (“He claimed both bodily illness and mental suffering were the product of a kind of mucus called Dana which he thought was running up from the hipbone through the spinal column up to the brain. According to his theory, if this flow of mucus were to be shut up by the power of Zen, brain would be cleared away and complete health would be gained.” https://ci.nii.ac.jp/naid/110007154619) It is true that he recommended various special breathing practices as part of his quaint theory of “Dana” mucus.

The founders each cautioned against such an attitude, reminding us that the most special of special state and sensation is simply liberation from the hunger and need to manipulate, to attain, to change.

These days, sometimes modern students come seeking advise on breathing in Shikantaza and the Soto tradition, and are denied all the history. Unfortunately, sometimes the advice given them is based on limited information which confuses various esoteric, Rinzai Zen, Chinese medicine and other mystical “Kirigami” interpretations with traditional Soto ways as advocated by Dogen and the early founders. (At the other extreme, they are often presented nothing more than following or counting the breath to become centered or as a relaxation technique, not true Shikantaza). That is a shame, and anyone who fails to present the complete picture, and wider information to the student, may be merely introducing their own narrow biases favoring their own teachers and traditions, and guilty of intentional manipulation themselves. It denies the student the right to all relevant information.

(I would simply add one final note: In this Shikantaza Practice, we sit radically with "what is," dropping all resistance to how we would change and manipulate life to be "as we think it should be." By doing so, we realize the peace of the dropping of all division and friction with life conditions, thus the dropping of desire, anger, divided thinking in ignorance. Thus, in those cases where the body does not allow ... for example, for someone with pulmonary issues such as asthma or lung cancer ... one then sits Zazen just breathing as one can breathe, all "should be's" dropped. Then, even one's huffing and wheezing from high up in the chest, if that is all one can muster, is beyond deep or shallow, good or bad, and from the heart of the universe's own breath).

Gassho, Jundo

PS - Another respected modern Teacher, Shohaku Okumura, presents this explanation of the breath in Zazen, the kind of information that such an inquiring student should hear ...
Next I will explain how to breathe in zazen; breathing is one of the most important points in any kind of meditation practice. When your posture is stable, frst exhale from the mouth completely, letting the air inside your body completely out. When you have completely exhaled, you close your mouth, place your tongue on the roof of you mouth, and inhale through your nose. When you do this, you will feel the fresh air come in through your nose. Also, when you sit in meditation, breathe abdominally. Keeping your tongue on the roof of your mouth, breathe easily and naturally with the air coming into your body through your nose and down to your abdomen,. When we breathe in this way, the belly moves as the air comes in and as it goes out. Keep the breath deep, smooth, and peaceful. It is best if the exhalation is longer than the inhalation in zazen. Just slowly and completely exhale all of the air, and then air will naturally come back into your lungs. It is not necessary to make any special effort to regulate your breathing; just keep breathing naturally through the nose, so naturally that you forget about breathing. In some traditions, sometimes even in the Zen tradition, some teachers teach the meditation technique of counting the breath. In this method the practitioner counts the breaths from one to ten, repeating the count over again after each series of ten breaths. Some teachers also teach watching the breath – paying special attention to the air as it comes in and goes out of the body. In my tradition we don’t count or watch the breath, we just breathe naturally, deeply and quietly.
http://antaiji.org/en/dharma/okumura-mind-and-zazen/
Last edited by jundocohen on Tue Apr 03, 2018 5:39 am, edited 11 times in total.
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

User avatar
michaeljc
Posts: 134
Joined: Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:15 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Zazen and Breathing

Post by michaeljc » Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:06 am

Thank you for introducing this subject Jundo

It is of great interest to me. I will input later

:namaste:

m

User avatar
michaeljc
Posts: 134
Joined: Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:15 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Zazen and Breathing

Post by michaeljc » Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:23 am

Here’s my penny’s worth

I got a post deleted and my hand smacked some years ago in ZFI. I dared to suggest that most training practices such as bowing, chanting, following breath, kinhin and even shikantaza originated as natural fruits of zazen

During my last sesshin I would hunker away alone under a tree during rest period. After the last rest period I bowed to that tree. After 7 days it had become my friend, privy to the strange state one gets in during sesshin

I am with Guo Gu when he says that Shikantaza is a fruit of practice, not a method. I am on record as saying such 5 years ago. This is further substantiated by no one can explain how to do it! I am sorry Jundo, but your posts have all the hallmarks of someone describing a state, not a method (IMO). I cannot see how singing its praises can help a student. "Just sitting" I can relate to as a method which may lead to shikantaza, or may not

Breathing? – this is tricky because breath counting or following is clearly a highly regarded introductive method for beginners. Some even adopt breath as a complete method for life. But, are they controlling breath? I don’t believe so. Breath following is a product of zazen and should (and does for some of us) occur naturally

Only me – one student – but it is a rare sit when the mind does not settle, and I am simply following breath with no thoughts. This lasts as long as it lasts. One does not need to force or seek it

I have always suffered pain in my knees during prolonged sits – at times excruciating. During last sesshin I discovered that by allowing the outward breath to flow down through my legs the pain could be controlled and would even disappear, occasionally. This went on for days of intense concentration (NOT controlling) of breath. That sesshin resulted in happenings I can never forget – all because of breath

Just one ignorant old student’s story

m

User avatar
Nothing
Posts: 113
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:04 am
Location: Skopje, Republic of Macedonia

Re: Zazen and Breathing

Post by Nothing » Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:32 am

michaeljc wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:23 am
I am with Guo Gu when he says that Shikantaza is a fruit of practice, not a method. I am on record as saying such 5 years ago. This is further substantiated by no one can explain how to do it! I am sorry Jundo, but your posts have all the hallmarks of someone describing a state, not a method (IMO). I cannot see how singing its praises can help a student. "Just sitting" I can relate to as a method which may lead to shikantaza, or may not
I agree and think that is should be stressed more often, that Silent Illumination and Shikantaza are the fruit or the realization of the practice, i.e. the actual awakening or insight into our true nature, and not a method of practice.

Gassho

Victor

User avatar
fuki
Posts: 1397
Joined: Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:02 am
Location: Zandvoort, The Netherlands

Re: Zazen and Breathing

Post by fuki » Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:32 am

Jundo wrote: (I would simply add one final note: In this Shikantaza Practice, we sit radically with "what is," dropping all resistance to how we would change and manipulate life to be "as we think it should be." By doing so, we realize the peace of the dropping of all division and friction with life conditions, thus the dropping of desire, anger, divided thinking in ignorance. Thus, in those cases where the body does not allow ... for example, for someone with pulmonary issues such as asthma or lung cancer ... one then sits Zazen just breathing as one can breathe, all "should be's" dropped. Then, even one's huffing and wheezing from high up in the chest, if that is all one can muster, is beyond deep or shallow, good or bad, and from the heart of the universe's own breath). 
Thanks Jundo, yes too much manipulation on the breath or posture and all "should be's" etc can result in seperating life from practise.
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen.
https://meldpuntbg.nl/

IZIhttp://www.zeninstitute.org/en/iziae/main.html

User avatar
jundocohen
Posts: 592
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:30 pm

Re: Zazen and Breathing

Post by jundocohen » Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:52 am

michaeljc wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:23 am
... I am sorry Jundo, but your posts have all the hallmarks of someone describing a state, not a method (IMO).
Hi Michael,

I apologize. This is just due to my poor abilities to explain. Let me try again.

In Shikantaza, on just sits, putting aside all judgments such as good vs. bad (besides trust in the goodness of sitting), and thoughts of some other place in need of going or act to do (besides sitting), or concerns about before and after (this moment which is just this time of sitting is the only time of concern). One just sits in which the sitting itself is all good, and there is not one other place in need of going, not one other act in need of doing in the whole universe besides the sacred act of sitting. One puts aside judgments of fullness or lack, past and future, and simply trusts as an act of faith in one's heart that sitting itself is the fullness which never lacks, and has no before or after to the time of sitting. There is not goal apart from sitting, there is no prize or place to go beside here and now. There is nothing to achieve, because simply sitting is the one thing to achieve that is needed in the whole world just then. There is only sitting.

As one sits with such trust and conviction, let thoughts come and go ... of good and bad, things to do or places to see ... but simply do not grab on. Let them come but seek not to be tangled in them. Have a mind like the mirror, in which things appear and nothing is judged or rejected, nor particularly thought about. The mirror contains whatever appears before it. A clarity will manifest. Clarity will manifest, but it is neither something we seek or long for. Let all things be just as they are ... sickness and health, youth and old age, birth and death ... as just things which appear and disappear in the mirror. All is just "as it is," nothing to reject, run toward or away. This is the wonder of Just Sitting that Ejo and Keizan describe.

Why do we do this? Because we human beings do not know how to be fulfilled fully in just the doing of one thing, thus the source of Dukkha as we run around chasing this and that, filled with feelings of lack and things left undone.

Assume a balanced and stable posture as best one can, then forget about it. (If the body's physical condition is not cooperating, assume the most comfortable position on can ... and just accept one's discomfort as best one can, as just one more thing appearing in the equanimity of the mirror).

As to breathing, let breathing just be breathing in the manner Okumura Roshi describes in my post above.

Yes, this is a "method." But, because it is a method without a goal (besides the goal of sitting, which is a goal totally fulfilled just by sitting which is the one thing to do in the whole universe in that time of sitting) and there is no place to go and nothing lacking, we call it the ""method of no method" or a "non-method method."

I hope that is a bit easier to understand. Those are very specific steps and practices to realize just this, just sitting as the one thing which needs to be done in the time of sitting. Is something still unclear?


As to counting or following breaths, I also have very new people follow the breath until they develop some modicum of ability to not be tangled in thoughts, and to let the mind settle and judgments drop away. I also say that anyone can have days of disturbance and distraction when they may need to follow the breath for awhile to settle down a bit. However, as soon as one has, I encourage them to try to transition to "open spacious awareness." I just find that open awareness makes it easier to take this off the cushion, bringing the equanimity and "no place to go, nothing to do" off the cushion into this busy life of places to go and problems to solve and things to do.

Following the breath and being pleased when one attains feelings of peace, concentration and calm is nice, but is not really Shikantaza. Why? Because one seems to have a goal, and to be pleased, by attaining peace, concentration and calm. It may be a little hard to fathom, but the true Big P Peace of Shikantaza transcends small human peace or disturbance, concentration or distraction, calm or chaos. Those are just passing thoughts and emotions themselves, more objects in the mirror. In fact, we are the mirror, whole and at Peace, which encounters within peace or disturbance, concentration or distraction, calm or chaos with equanimity. We do not try to attain the goal of peace, concentration and calm, nor flee from disturbance, distraction and chaos. As strange as it sounds, such total acceptance and equanimity leads to Big P Peace. This is what separates Shikantaza from most ordinary types of meditation which seek to induce peace and be rid of disturbance, concentration without distraction, and feelings of calm instead of worry etc. The real Freedom comes in being the mirror, not running toward or away from any of that. If one uses the breath to bring about such peace, concentration and calm, one is not really breathing in a goalless way.

If you have pain as you describe, and you need to focus on the breath to deal with the pain ... just do that. That is also just what is. Bring the mirror mind to the pain as much as you can, but also accept one's gripes and complaints about the pain as well (because, when seen correctly, the gripes and complaints themselves are also just two more things in the mirror not to reject).

I hope that is a bit easier to understand now. I am sorry for being a poor explainer of the "method-non-method" which is Shikantaza. If there is something unclear above, just ask and I will do my best to do better.

Gassho, Jundo
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

User avatar
jundocohen
Posts: 592
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:30 pm

Re: Zazen and Breathing

Post by jundocohen » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:29 am

I noticed that I wrote this above ...
Those are very specific steps and practices to realize just this, just sitting as the one thing which needs to be done in the time of sitting.
It is interesting after our recent discussions in the Forum of Shikantaza as without stages and aims.

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=256

But is it truly a "step" or a "stage" when all one is doing is practicing to arrive always right here, right where on is, with no other place to go, when just where one sits is the total arrival at where one needs or wishes to be? Shikantaza is each and all of the departing and the voyage and the total arriving all at once in each moment of just sitting! As the Sandokai sings ...

Walking forward in the way
You draw no nearer, progress no farther.
One who fails to see this truth
Is mountains and rivers away.


So, in our Practice, we walk forward and walk forward in daily life, avoiding the traps of excess desire, anger and divided thinking in ignorance ... all while knowing that there is just here with nothing lacking and no other place one can ever go. The Zafu is the unmoving staircase of the stepless step. You cannot step off this step, nor go up or down, even as we get up to walk through this life of many ups and downs. Thus we speak of the "method of no method."

Gassho, J
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

User avatar
fuki
Posts: 1397
Joined: Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:02 am
Location: Zandvoort, The Netherlands

Re: Zazen and Breathing

Post by fuki » Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:43 am

KeithA wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:24 am
To practice with an aim or destination in mind is a fruitless pursuit.
Image
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen.
https://meldpuntbg.nl/

IZIhttp://www.zeninstitute.org/en/iziae/main.html

User avatar
bokki
Posts: 333
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:31 pm

Re: Zazen and Breathing

Post by bokki » Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:18 pm

yes, ok
about this non seeking...

if that is true...
seek to not eat 4 a month.
or better, seek to not drink water
4 a week.
d delirium ull experience will make u reconsider.

not enough/
?
seek to not breath 4 10 minutes.
and tell me how was that,


say,
every and each 1
fell out
from between our mothers legs.
not seeking 2 breath, to drink our mothers milk,
and nnot to exist?


is that ur method?sooo, y do u posst pages and pages
thousand words..
bout non seeking?
who is the teacher that told u so..

---edited by mod (parts of post removed for ad hom)
Another log on the fire,
10,000 frogs singing in the rain,
burst into flames.
- Linda Anderson

User avatar
jundocohen
Posts: 592
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:30 pm

Re: Zazen and Breathing

Post by jundocohen » Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:05 pm

KeithA wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:24 am

Actually, to practice with koans is also a "goallessness" and "non-attaining" practice. To practice with an aim or destination in mind is a fruitless pursuit.

_/|\_
Hi Keith,

Perhaps for you, and as your way of Koan Practice. That is lovely.

However, would you tell me how expressions such as "whether we go by the ladder or in one jump, everything depends on one's determination to reach the top. Unfortunately, the human will is so weak that unless it is forced to make desperate efforts it is often too lazy to use all its strength and courage to reach the peak" represent a "goalless" and "non-attaining" practice.? Thank you for helping me understand.

In any case, the topic here is breath and Zazen in the Soto way. What Mr. Sekida describes, no matter its value as a method, is not that.

Gassho, Jundo
Last edited by jundocohen on Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:19 pm, edited 6 times in total.
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

User avatar
bokki
Posts: 333
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:31 pm

Re: Zazen and Breathing

Post by bokki » Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:53 pm

ok, got your non seeking message.
no1 is here..
u did not post a ton of
nonseeking words.
thnx.
i did not hear u
since u
do not exist.
neither
ur words.
post some more
words
about
nonexistence
seek to teach
us
about
nonseeking.
thnx.
Another log on the fire,
10,000 frogs singing in the rain,
burst into flames.
- Linda Anderson

User avatar
bokki
Posts: 333
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:31 pm

Re: Zazen and Breathing

Post by bokki » Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:00 pm

besides,
are you the
owner
of
the
shikantaza
?
you
are
or you
are not?
its your
or
not.
?
Another log on the fire,
10,000 frogs singing in the rain,
burst into flames.
- Linda Anderson

Caodemarte
Posts: 378
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:02 pm
Location: Lilburn, GA, USA

Re: Zazen and Breathing

Post by Caodemarte » Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:29 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:12 pm
.....BTW, this is not a Soto forum, Jundo, though you endeavor to claim. Nor is it otherwise. But I hope it's Human. :hatsoff: ...
Nice to see you again!

However, just a reminder that this section of the forum is the Soto section and the topic here is specifically breathing and zazen in Soto. No imperialism here! :110:

User avatar
KeithA
Posts: 231
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:19 am

Re: Zazen and Breathing

Post by KeithA » Fri Apr 06, 2018 6:18 pm

jundocohen wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:05 pm
KeithA wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:24 am

Actually, to practice with koans is also a "goallessness" and "non-attaining" practice. To practice with an aim or destination in mind is a fruitless pursuit.

_/|\_
Hi Keith,

Perhaps for you, and as your way of Koan Practice. That is lovely.

However, would you tell me how expressions such as "whether we go by the ladder or in one jump, everything depends on one's determination to reach the top. Unfortunately, the human will is so weak that unless it is forced to make desperate efforts it is often too lazy to use all its strength and courage to reach the peak" represent a "goalless" and "non-attaining" practice.? Thank you for helping me understand.

In any case, the topic here is breath and Zazen in the Soto way. What Mr. Sekida describes, no matter its value as a method, is not that.

Gassho, Jundo
Hi Jundo,

Being that this is a Soto thread, I will trouble you no more, except to suggest that there is no difference, other than sectarian, between the two practices. Whether koans or shikantaza, just practice and see what happens.

_/|\_
You make, you get.

New Haven Zen Center

User avatar
desert_woodworker
Posts: 705
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:20 am
Location: Southern Arizona desert, USA

Re: Zazen and Breathing

Post by desert_woodworker » Fri Apr 06, 2018 7:04 pm

Hi, All,
KeithA wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 6:18 pm

Being that this is a Soto thread, I will trouble you no more, except to suggest that there is no difference, other than sectarian, between the two practices. Whether koans or shikantaza, just practice and see what happens.
I must say, I am an inveterate subscriber to the Keith-ian view and reality, there. (gee, now where is that old emoticon of a person prostrating, such as we used to have on the board at ZFI? Dang... ).

Of course, lineages and their traditions are to be respected and encouraged, because they are the (only) vessels of skilful-means, and the avenues of Salvation, carrying true Wisdom and true Compassion and Dharma into the Present, and into the Future. Without them, there is only "mush" ("moosh"). Just look at "New-Age" stuff: "mush", I call it. And still-born.

Oh, but thanks for being here too, Jundo! :hatsoff: :lol: :namaste:

Three full bows, Keith, Jundo, and All,

Yours,

--Joe
Last edited by desert_woodworker on Fri Apr 06, 2018 7:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us". – Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

User avatar
desert_woodworker
Posts: 705
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:20 am
Location: Southern Arizona desert, USA

Re: Zazen and Breathing

Post by desert_woodworker » Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:31 pm

Yeah, a snip from Kodera's (1980) book (the book based on his PhD dissertation at my Alma Mater) about Zen Master Dogen's formative years in China.

Well, this is more about the (Chinese political) history of the dichotomy between "Silent Illumination" and k'ung-an practice. Best, --Joe

p.s. Hmm-m. "Age of Uncertainty"... . A bit like ours, now? Thus, are Rinzai methods soon to be preferred by the masses over Soto method(s)?, for "good reason"?

Kodera_1980_p93_Dogen_Formative_Years_China.jpg
Kodera_1980_p93_Dogen_Formative_Years_China.jpg (156.13 KiB) Viewed 317 times
Attachments
Kodera_re_Dogen_formative_yrs_China.jpg
Very fine book; recommended!
Kodera_re_Dogen_formative_yrs_China.jpg (32.01 KiB) Viewed 293 times
"There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us". – Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

User avatar
jundocohen
Posts: 592
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:30 pm

Re: Zazen and Breathing

Post by jundocohen » Sat Apr 07, 2018 3:35 am

Here is a better book to tell the story, free of some of the early hagiography that sometimes appears in Kodera's thesis ...

https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=WQX ... navlinks_s

Image
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

User avatar
desert_woodworker
Posts: 705
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:20 am
Location: Southern Arizona desert, USA

Re: Zazen and Breathing

Post by desert_woodworker » Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:37 pm

I've been enjoying a copy of the Schlutter as well for a few months.

The Kodera is a fine book, and I can recommend it.

--Joe
"There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us". – Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Caodemarte
Posts: 378
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:02 pm
Location: Lilburn, GA, USA

Re: Zazen and Breathing

Post by Caodemarte » Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:55 pm

This thread seems to have come to its natural end. We are well off topic, breathing in zazen in Soto, into new territory. Unless someone has something to add on point, shall we start new threads rather than stuff too much up into this?

User avatar
bokki
Posts: 333
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:31 pm

Re: Zazen and Breathing

Post by bokki » Sat Apr 07, 2018 3:36 pm

why, please, cao, highly interesting topic,thread, y y y would u think of closing it???
b
:namaste:
Another log on the fire,
10,000 frogs singing in the rain,
burst into flames.
- Linda Anderson

Post Reply