Whats your practice?

Discussion of Zen Buddhism, Soto Zen, Rinzai Zen, Chan, Seon and Thien.

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Caodemarte
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by Caodemarte » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:05 pm

I aim to practice Buddhism (specifically a daily sitting practice, weekly sittings with a local Zen group, supplemented with retreats with a Rinzai Zen teacher 1-2 times a year when he visits the US).

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SunWuKong
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by SunWuKong » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:27 am

So hmm mostly I do sitting Zazen but I’m trying to do the sitting standing walking lying down rotation too. To the best of my ability Shikantaza style, but in Southern Thein were taught samatha style minding the breath. Keeping in mind also 3 marks if existence, 4 Noble truth, 8 fold path! I’m exploring a number of local sangha, for the time being I’m under Thich Nhat Hanhs wing although I’ve never actually met him. I read a variety of Sūtras, not much into chanting. Do Zazen about an hour per day. I’m following all 5 precepts including no meat or alcohol for 2018, this is my 2nd year for boycotting all unnecessary purchases. I’m protesting the economy as well as observing non-possession to a slight degree. I prefer ancient texts but I’ll read these forums anyway. At least as long as I post here.thanks
--- Eric H., also know as Sun Wu Kong, "an authentic genuine human being"
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Wayfarer
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:04 am

My form of practice is 'just sitting', zazen. I have committed to sitting daily this year, 45 minute sessions. And actually I have been finding it difficult lately - uncomfortable and boring. So I wrote that to someone, and as soon as i sent it, I realised why I'm having that problem - it's because I'm drinking wine in the evening. Not much, but that's not the point; I think it just means that I am not 'tuned in' to sitting. When you're tuned in, then the level of discomfort and the associated feelings fall away a lot more. You literally have to learn to park the body, as if it were a bike not being used. Just put it there. I'm finding that when you're able to do that, and real mindfulness kicks in, then there is a subtle kind of joy associated with it. Not that you can do anything to seek that joy, other than just keep sitting. But I think this is why a sattvic diet and the associated lifestyle is required. That is what I need to resolve to work on now - developing a rhythm.

Breathe in, breathe out.....
The most important thing is not at all important.

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Crystal
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by Crystal » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:50 am

My practice has always been about living and working in the modern world and meditating according to one-to-one instructions given to me by three Vajrayana teachers (I had one main Tibetan teacher for a number of years and then he died)... and two Theravada teachers.

Other than that, I don't discuss the details of my practice or my teachers in public, sorry.

I am also interested in investigating the Zen approach to the Dharma, which is why I'm here.

:namaste:

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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by el gatito » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:41 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:04 am
... it's because I'm drinking wine in the evening. Not much, but that's not the point...
In my experience -- this is irrelevant. Regardless of this (or anything else related to what you call "tune-in") I can sit from almost none to 5 to 6 hours a day (or night), and this is not about artificially "tuning yourself in" but rather you just cannot resist to the unknown to you driving force that is unavoidably leading you. On the early stages people may relate the origins of this force to just their life circumstances, suffering, unfulfilled desire for something not entirely clear, "unsatisfactory-ness", or what not.. but it is just a force behind all that -- it is rooted way deeper than one generally can dig.

EDIT: just read Keith's quoted text (bolded), it is related somehow: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=147
Wayfarer wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:04 am
... You literally have to learn to park the body, as if it were a bike not being used...
In my experience -- the body is absolutely and totally being used.

Edit: I will video comment:



What you are referring to is definitely doable, and has its merits (if I understand it rightly), but for me it can only make a tiny part of all the varieties of "practice".

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Wayfarer
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:50 pm

Well, that’s different from my experience. What I find, is that sitting zazen is generally uncomfortable. The reason I can’t sit for longer than 45 minutes is simply that the discomfort becomes completely intolerable. The idea of being able to maintain that pose for any number of hours seems completely unreal. Maybe it requires some quality of ascetic discipline that I don’t have - maybe yogis are able to leave behind all sense of physical discomfort. I have read of such accounts, but they seem from a different world. But I am not giving up, because I think that learning to live with the discomfort is part of the practice.

I see your point about the plant (and, thanks for the video!) I guess what I mean is, that when I am sitting, I have a natural inclination to get up and move around (unlike a plant :D ). I mean, the feeling is that almost anything is preferable to ‘sitting still with your legs crossed’. So I don’t want to give in to the body’s inclination to want to get up and do something else.

There was a story a few years back by Lewis Richmond, called Most Buddhists Don’t Meditate. It said:
One Zen monk from Japan who was visiting a Zen retreat center in America observed the enthusiasm and numbers of meditators with astonishment. “How do you get them to meditate without beating them?” he asked. In his training temple in Japan, the young monks disliked meditation, and saw it as an unpleasant burden.
The most important thing is not at all important.

el gatito
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by el gatito » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:31 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:50 pm
...Well, that’s different from my experience. What I find, is that sitting zazen is generally uncomfortable. The reason I can’t sit for longer than 45 minutes is simply that the discomfort becomes completely intolerable. The idea of being able to maintain that pose for any number of hours seems completely unreal. Maybe it requires some quality of ascetic discipline that I don’t have - maybe yogis are able to leave behind all sense of physical discomfort. I have read of such accounts, but they seem from a different world. But I am not giving up, because I think that learning to live with the discomfort is part of the practice...
If I were you -- I'd forget about "Zen", "zazen", "meditation" (but not about the resolving the great matter!)... and give myself a complete freedom, allowing the body to place itself in whatever way and posture it naturally "wants", formally or not, cross-legged or not, just for the sake of experimenting. When outdoors, and no one controls you -- why not put aside for a moment everything you know about what is "right" and what is "wrong"? If it feels uncomfortable - just change the posture -- in any way it occurs spontaneously. Who the hell is the master, you or?.. Why should you follow anything or anyone?.. And I am not at all against any kind of formal practice you follow -- but, just for a quick moment, to have a taste of a complete freedom -- to be the master of your own Way..

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daibunny
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by daibunny » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:32 pm

el gatito wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:41 pm

In my experience -- the body is absolutely and totally being used.

Yeah i think so too. Its a kind of active relaxation, a sort of physical ongoing surrender.
I was having trouble for a while sitting for my usual 40 minutes, my back was hurting but thats nothing new, and i think that part of the problem for me was that i was trying to sort of put my body at arms length because of the pain and that pushing it away, so to speak, actually made it more distracting.
The bridge is flowing, not the water.

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Wayfarer
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:42 pm

El Gatito wrote: And I am not at all against any kind of formal practice you follow -- but, just for a quick moment, to have a taste of a complete freedom -- to be the master of your own Way..
Hey I used to be an enthusiastic reader of Krishnamurti.....
The most important thing is not at all important.

el gatito
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by el gatito » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:51 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:42 pm
El Gatito wrote: And I am not at all against any kind of formal practice you follow -- but, just for a quick moment, to have a taste of a complete freedom -- to be the master of your own Way..
Hey I used to be an enthusiastic reader of Krishnamurti.....
Ha-ha-ha, means, I sound like Krishnamurti?.. Who'd have thought -- no, no, this was unintentional! :mrgreen:

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Wayfarer
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:02 pm

Who is 'master'? I find that samskara are usually calling the tune. And they're baked in. 'Being natural' then amounts to allowing them free reign. If that wasn't the problem, then I wouldn't be in need of a solution!
The most important thing is not at all important.

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Wayfarer
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:23 pm

Keith has posted a ink to an excellent talk by Dosho Port :namaste: which contains the following:
James Myoun Ford Roshi recently wrote, “I’ve observed movement of the heart, actual changes in how one encounters life that can be associated with Zen meditation – if one sits at a minimum about half an hour a day, most days.”

He goes on to add occasional retreats, checking in with a spiritual director (aka, a Zen teacher), dharma study, and koan introspection.

In my view, James’ suggested minimum is right for a “movement of the heart, actual changes in how one encounters life.” They are sufficient to enter the Zen path, but not enough for most people to kenshō as clear as the palm of your hand, the standard Hakuin uses six times in CPB. In my experience, for most people, a clear kenshō usually takes considerably more than that. I recommend an hour a day of zazen and at least 20 days of sesshin a year. Maybe I’m just a slow learner and work with slow learners (no offense intended).

Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wildfoxzen ... WzsVpE3.99

Spot on! I am working towards daily morning and evening sessions, and in future also to attend sesshins regularly. It takes constant and diligent application. But at the same time, you can’t fall into thinking ‘hey I’m good at this. See what a good effort I’m making.’ That is self-centred thinking.’ That is the meaning of ‘no gaining idea’ - not that there is nothing to be understood, no great thing that needs to be seen, but that it is going to be of personal benefit to you. On the contrary, it needs to be realised so you can be of benefit to others!
The most important thing is not at all important.

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KeithA
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by KeithA » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:21 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:23 pm
Keith has posted a ink to an excellent talk by Dosho Port :namaste: which contains the following:
James Myoun Ford Roshi recently wrote, “I’ve observed movement of the heart, actual changes in how one encounters life that can be associated with Zen meditation – if one sits at a minimum about half an hour a day, most days.”

He goes on to add occasional retreats, checking in with a spiritual director (aka, a Zen teacher), dharma study, and koan introspection.

In my view, James’ suggested minimum is right for a “movement of the heart, actual changes in how one encounters life.” They are sufficient to enter the Zen path, but not enough for most people to kenshō as clear as the palm of your hand, the standard Hakuin uses six times in CPB. In my experience, for most people, a clear kenshō usually takes considerably more than that. I recommend an hour a day of zazen and at least 20 days of sesshin a year. Maybe I’m just a slow learner and work with slow learners (no offense intended).

Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wildfoxzen ... WzsVpE3.99

Spot on! I am working towards daily morning and evening sessions, and in future also to attend sesshins regularly. It takes constant and diligent application. But at the same time, you can’t fall into thinking ‘hey I’m good at this. See what a good effort I’m making.’ That is self-centred thinking.’ That is the meaning of ‘no gaining idea’ - not that there is nothing to be understood, no great thing that needs to be seen, but that it is going to be of personal benefit to you. On the contrary, it needs to be realised so you can be of benefit to others!
Isn't that interesting? You picked up on the one part I had a quibble with. I think Robert Aitken wrote somewhere that 10 minutes a day could be useful. He then qualified it by suggesting too much is impossible! :106:

I wonder about putting arbitrary numbers on sitting time and practice in general. I generally sit 30 minutes a day. At home I just light a stick of incense and get up when it's gone. But, I suspect we all have to find our own rhythm. I suppose it does help to give folks something to shoot for, as long as it made clear that practice is moment to moment, not separate from time on the cushion. I asked Dosho Port about that on facebook, but no response.

Anyway, definitely on board with avoiding making judgments about our personal practice. One way to avoid that is to consider why we are doing it in the first place!

_/|\_
You make, you get.

New Haven Zen Center

el gatito
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by el gatito » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:44 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:02 pm
Who is 'master'? I find that samskara are usually calling the tune. And they're baked in. 'Being natural' then amounts to allowing them free reign. If that wasn't the problem, then I wouldn't be in need of a solution!
This is by no means 'being natural' following the samskara. Nope. Other than that. Here is what I mean:

Just 'being natural' following the samskara means: "eat when hungry, rest when tired". This is not the Way, which is rather against the samskara: "when hungry - INVESTIGATE!!!, when tired - INVESTIGATE!!!". The miracle is: there is "that" which forces you to move "against the samskara". And only after a good while, when you KNOW that the heavy load you used to carry on your shoulders is no more, your fear is no more, the freedom is here (and this is neither a thought nor an emotional state but is "no resistance") you may want to start "eat when hungry, rest when tired".

But this is just my own understanding.

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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by fuki » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:53 pm

KeithA wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:21 pm
Anyway, definitely on board with avoiding making judgments about our personal practice. One way to avoid that is to consider why we are doing it in the first place!

_/|\_
Especially when not asked for advice or comments ;)

ps I have no mind for practise.
If I want to call it a name I'd say "non-dwelling" or "don't know" as they say in Korean Zen (btw how do you say it in Korean Keith?)
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen.
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KeithA
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by KeithA » Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:34 pm

fuki wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:53 pm
KeithA wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:21 pm
Anyway, definitely on board with avoiding making judgments about our personal practice. One way to avoid that is to consider why we are doing it in the first place!

_/|\_
Especially when not asked for advice or comments ;)

ps I have no mind for practise.
If I want to call it a name I'd say "non-dwelling" or "don't know" as they say in Korean Zen (btw how do you say it in Korean Keith?)
"Don't know" is something ZM Seung Sahn often said to his Kwan Um students. I am not sure there is a Korean equivalent term. The direction of it is one of non-attachment to ideas and opinions. Oftentimes, people equate it with the legend of Bodhidharma's response to Emperor Wu when asked by the emperor: Who is it that is before me? To which Bodhidharma replied: I don't know.

Mu Shim in Korean, means "no mind", and is popular Dharma name for monastics. It is as close as I can think of for "non-dwelling" If anyone is interested in a big list of Korean Buddhist terms, there is one here.

_/|\_
You make, you get.

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fuki
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by fuki » Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:53 pm

KeithA wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:34 pm
Mu Shim in Korean, means "no mind", and is popular Dharma name for monastics. It is as close as I can think of for "non-dwelling" If anyone is interested in a big list of Korean Buddhist terms, there is one here.

_/|\_
Thank you Sir, now I know what to call my next pet, Mu Shim! :D
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen.
https://meldpuntbg.nl/

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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by jundocohen » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:53 pm

Hi,

Hi posted something in another thread, but it connects here to "what I Practice," and also how I recommend that Shikantaza be sat. Folks sometimes still sit what they call "Shikantaza," but are looking for some peace or special state of mind or spiritual experience from it. The funny thing is that, in real Shikantaza, one finds a certain "Peace, Special State and Spritual Experience" by radically abandoning the seeking of any peace, special state or spiritual experience. :105: It is a radical finding by NOT seeking.
[R]adically dropping, to the marrow all need to attain, add, remove, or change in order to make life right and complete --IS-- A WONDROUS ATTAINMENT, ADDITION and CHANGE TO LIFE! Dropping all need to "get somewhere" is truly finally GETTING SOMEWHERE! Though "nothing to do, nothing to change," one simultaneously becomes free of the excess desire, frustration and divisive thinking that is fed by seeking. The True Home is here and everywhere! Abandoning all need in life's race to cross some finish line over a distant hill, is simply arriving at the finish line which is our every step!
posting.php?mode=edit&f=27&p=1381
Anyway, that is what I Practice, and also recommend to folks interested in real Shikantaza.

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

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KeithA
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by KeithA » Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:26 am

fuki wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:53 pm
KeithA wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:34 pm
Mu Shim in Korean, means "no mind", and is popular Dharma name for monastics. It is as close as I can think of for "non-dwelling" If anyone is interested in a big list of Korean Buddhist terms, there is one here.

_/|\_
Thank you Sir, now I know what to call my next pet, Mu Shim! :D
:cat:
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Wayfarer
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:33 am

Well, sat much better this morning. I decided to be mindful of my 'not wanting to sit', just to look closely at that exact feeling, and lo and behold, it dispersed.

:namaste:
The most important thing is not at all important.

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