Whats your practice?

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

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SunWuKong
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by SunWuKong » Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:19 am

I don't know what they call "kensho" "kenshoed" "kenshoing" - whats the generally accepted sound bite definition?
--- Eric H., also know as Sun Wu Kong, "an authentic genuine human being"
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bokki
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by bokki » Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:24 am

Sir, :waving: ,
i must apologise to you..
but..
I don't know what they call "kensho" "kenshoed" "kenshoing" - whats the generally accepted sound bite definition?
you dont know..well, ok, you know, its just a start into zen..what u call it...Buddhism, i think
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burst into flames.
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bokki
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by bokki » Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:30 am

lol, Sir,
Ta Hui parting verse in your signiture
and you doubt the core of zen..
you do not know? y speak, dang? y!
Another log on the fire,
10,000 frogs singing in the rain,
burst into flames.
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:12 am

I didn't much like the way the Dosho Port article uses 'kensho' as a verb, e.g. 'he kenshoed'. On similar grounds to not liking the use of the word 'action' as a verb for instance 'she will action it tomorrow'. I think it is inelegant English usage.

(But the term, generally, means 'awakening' or 'realisation'. I think it is equivalent to, or related to 'satori'.)
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by KeithA » Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:56 pm

SunWuKong wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:19 am
I don't know what they call "kensho" "kenshoed" "kenshoing" - whats the generally accepted sound bite definition?
I like the word "opening". In my tradition, we never mention it. Like, ever. Except, possibly, in the interview room with a teacher. I am not saying that's a good or bad thing, it's just how it's done.

It's an event that happens, so I guess the action form of the word appears. I have also seen "attained kensho", which is probably a better way to say it, imho.
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by fuki » Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:51 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
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:
That's the beauty of it, since nothing which arises or appears is actually created in reality everything is spontaneously liberated into its own condition. Only when one grasps at whatever arises do errors come into existence, when we realize all phenomena are empty and thoughts are just insubstantial breezes wanting and not wanting also are not granted the stamp of reality. Whatever arises is simultaniously liberated so we just sit and observe instead of entertaining the contents of mind.
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by fuki » Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:54 pm

bokki wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:30 am
lol, Sir,
Ta Hui parting verse in your signiture
and you doubt the core of zen..
you do not know? y speak, dang? y!
Pretty sure he was being sarcastically humorous lol
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SunWuKong
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by SunWuKong » Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:57 pm

bokki wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:30 am
lol, Sir,
Ta Hui parting verse in your signiture
and you doubt the core of zen..
you do not know? y speak, dang? y!
LOL no I was kept in the dark and fed like a mushroom. I think kenshonis like a momentary enlightenment event, authentic but leaves no trace? I don’t know the Japanese lingo my tradition is Vietnamese but refsngled into a modern institutional systematic mindfulness thingy. So forgive my lack of not knowing the knots.
--- Eric H., also know as Sun Wu Kong, "an authentic genuine human being"
Birth is thus
Death is thus
Verse or no verse
What’s the fuss?

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bokki
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by bokki » Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:44 pm

sir, u, u, you think kensho is a momentary enlightenment thingy that leaves no trace?


how about u dont think of it, thank u very much.

no trace?
lol
Another log on the fire,
10,000 frogs singing in the rain,
burst into flames.
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bokki
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by bokki » Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:53 pm

lol, just a joke sir...

LOL unknot my knot, Alexander

lol
gordie



lol
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10,000 frogs singing in the rain,
burst into flames.
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Meido
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by Meido » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:20 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:12 am
I didn't much like the way the Dosho Port article uses 'kensho' as a verb, e.g. 'he kenshoed'. On similar grounds to not liking the use of the word 'action' as a verb for instance 'she will action it tomorrow'. I think it is inelegant English usage.

(But the term, generally, means 'awakening' or 'realisation'. I think it is equivalent to, or related to 'satori'.)
As you know translation of kensho is usually "seeing nature," but with this I think it important not to express kensho as an action, or to emphasize it as a discrete extraordinary or peak experience. It is the arising of a kind of experiential knowledge or certainty; that knowledge is what is meant by the "seeing" or recognition of one's nature. It does not mean that there is some object seen or grasped, in other words, but rather the knowing that accompanies a fundamental shift in the manner of seeing. Satori also has more this meaning of knowing, realizing.

Since "awakening" can translate bodhi, and has a not inaccurate feeling to it, I do use it as a descriptor for kensho.

~ Meido
The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by KeithA » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:23 am

It's possible James say a little too much here, but his discussion about kensho here is just too spot on not to share.

_/|\_
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by SunWuKong » Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:05 am

KeithA wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:23 am
It's possible James say a little too much here, but his discussion about kensho here is just too spot on not to share.

_/|\_
1.
It is an important part of Zen heritage, but precisely what it is is a bit elusive. Anyway thanks all !

2.
on further review:
i'd word it "glimpsing the true nature"

3.
Keido Fukushima, a 20th-century Rinzai abbott, gives the following description: "At Nanzenji there is a small hill. I used to walk near there, look at it, and often smile at the high school students who walked by there as well. One day as I walked by, I looked at the hill and it was truly amazing. i was totally lost as if there was no 'me'. I stood gazing at the hill. Some students walked by and one of them said something like 'look at that crazy monk'. Finally I came out of it. Life was never the same for me. I was free."

4.
http://www.fas.x0.com/writings/hisamats ... ofself.htm 久松真一 Hisamatsu Shin'ichi (1889-1980)
--- Eric H., also know as Sun Wu Kong, "an authentic genuine human being"
Birth is thus
Death is thus
Verse or no verse
What’s the fuss?

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Wayfarer
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:38 am

Well, that's a relief! :109:

My notes about 'difficulties with sitting still' and Anders' and El Gatito's gracious responses to same seemed to have vanished, but all things considered, not a major loss.
The most important thing is not at all important.

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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by Anders » Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:49 am

I anticipated there might be some data loss when it went down, so I kept open the two tabs I had open already. Here are the lost posts in this thread, up until my last one. I don't know if anything came after.


Wayfarer wrote: Nothing ever happens that seems connected to understanding 'dependent origination' (pratityasamutpada). I have studied abhidharma and been to talks and sessions about it, and I understand the theory. And I'm also aware of the theory behind 'insight meditation', how 'insight' into the causes of suffering is supposed to operate.

But the way zazen 'works' for me seems to have nothing to do with such theories or ideas. What it triggers in me is a sense of peace, contentment and compassion. I feel like there's some change going on, on a deep level, 'behind' or 'underneath' the ego consciousness. And since about 30 years ago, I have been prone to tearing up whenever I hear something true or beautiful (which is sometimes a little embarrassing, like I'm the archetypal 'new age guy' :oops: )

So all this is good, but as I say, doesn't seem to have any relationship with what I understand as the theory. And it's not that I am worried about it, but sometimes I would like to have more of a sense of where I'm at, in terms of that theory.

Wayfarer wrote: Actually one theory I can relate to is Master Sheng Yen’s three levels of Zen. It feels like I’m somewhere in Level 2.

SunWuKong wrote: Isn’t it strange how something you do in your mind changes your heart?

KeithA wrote: ZM Seung Sahn taught something similar. And of course, there is the Ox Herding pictures. Barry Briggs has an interesting collection of links about them here. They are over to the right of the page.

While these all appear linear, "I was there, now I am here", I think it is useful to think as all the various stages and steps as also being possible this very moment.

Anders wrote:
Wayfarer wrote: 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 can relate - I spent many years feeling the same way and struggled badly to break the 30 minute barrier. I assumed it was normal and tried to just live with it. When I get eventually knee damage in a retreat, I decided I no longer wished to just live with the discomfort and retrained half lotus (this time with left foot up since my usual right foot up would impact me for days due to the knee injury) the proper way - listening to my body and appllying the same principles for meditation in the mind as for the body.

I only sat when my body was relaxed (and would apply weight to my left thigh if the knee didn't touch the ground), so that the stretch could be relaxed. I would frequently be doing body relaxation meditation, or scanning for tensions (I still do) and would rather let my foot slide than tense to hold the position. And above all, I would open up the hips and let those do the stretch instead of holding with thighs and knees.

Now, some years later, I am happy to report that sitting for 90 minutes is, physically, not that hard to get to - I actually leapfrogged from barely 30 minutes to 90 being more comfortable than my former 30 in less than six months. Even though I was starting from a lower base of flexibility due to starting afresh with left foot up (actually, my right knee became hypermobile from this wrong position - I still can't sit with right foot up for very long without it wrongly compensating for the stretch that should come from the hip - it's getting there though - Taken 5 years for it to heal though!).

But more importantly: Zazen is supposed to be physically relaxing. 'learning to live with the discomfort' isn't going to help you settle physically nor extend your sitting capacity. 45 minutes of proper half or full lotus should loosen knots and tensions, not add to them.

Of course there are some pains in meditation when you sit for extended periods, such as retreat or upping your session lengths. Your butt gets sore, the muscles feel the stretch, bones may ache. Accumulated and stored tensions and stiffness may hurt as they loosen (I higly recommend starting some chiropraxy for a few weeks before retreat for the same reason). But these are, I think, different to the pains of simply sitting. A simply 45 minute session, especially if you do it regularly, should not be painful.

The last retreat I did was actually almost completely painless until the 4th day when I got pains on my right thigh due to the trouser fabric scrubbing down the skin between my feet and thigh, making skin burn like fire where the foot rested. ouch! Better trousers next time, or skin on skin. Once I went to quarter lotus, shoulder and neck pains started up.

But in a half lotus that is relaxed and unforced, you can sit for very long periods with a minimum of discomfort. The reasons for sitting like this are very practical. The body is responsively alert, upright, stable yet eminently relaxed (in full lotus, you can relax almost all muscles in the body and simply let the body rest on its own skeletal frame).

Which is, I think, also why I was struck by your 'park the bike' comment. The qualities of the body in meditation, as described above, should reflect those of the mind - in fact, they are in symbiosis to a large extent.

I think where I am going with this is is basically - if you find zazen generally uncomfortable, please don't learn to live with the discomfort. That's not the prescription. Train your position properly - by relaxing into the stretch! See a yoga instructor - I find they are generally much better attuned to how to develop a proper lotus (or half) and how it is meant to be held than many meditation teachers. Zazen is meant to be comfortable and relaxing for the body. Please don't believe your past experience on this. Once you actually start doing it right, progress will come much faster than you would believe.

And I still 'cheat' when my muscles are stiff - I have a nice bag of petanque balls nearby that I can place on my thigh for those days where the knee won't touch the ground without me forcing it. I wish a meditation teacher would have told me that was a good way for a relaxed thigh stretch - I learned years later that it is not uncommon in yoga to use sandbags for the very same effect. For me, that revolutionised my ability to develop the stretch properly and relaxed.

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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:05 am

Great Anders! And in response, I had posted a link to the Beginners' Guide to Sitting that I created for Matthew on a Vipassana Forum a few years back. Any comments or feedback welcome.
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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by Anders » Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:23 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:05 am
Great Anders! And in response, I had posted a link to the Beginners' Guide to Sitting that I created for Matthew on a Vipassana Forum a few years back. Any comments or feedback welcome.
It's a fine intro to the basic concepts for beginners. There's lots left out of course for the meditator that wants to develop a position for longterm use - For me, a 'long period' position starts at half lotus. Quarter and less will not have proper shoulder and back alignment and is likely to cause tension when used for long periods such as retreat.

But there is a big difference between being able to sit in half lotus and being able to sit comfortably in it. By comfortable, I mean hips and thighs fully relaxed and both knees touching the ground without your position sliding apart. The problem is few articles answer the question of how you should train your position if you can sit in it, but it is not yet comfortable in this way.

'More sitting' is to me, only a part of the answer. I don't believe in pushing your knee down to reach the ground or any other form of muscular tension required to hold your position. For the purpose of a meditation session, I would say it is better then to assume a position that you don't need to 'hold' together like that, but can assume in a properly relaxed position.
For the purpose of mastering the position however, you need to do more stretches to develop it rather than just sitting more- stretches in the proper areas mind, which is to say primarily the hips (and most definitely not at the knees).
Applying weight to the thigh so that the knee touches the ground without needed to tense to hold the position while sitting is one way of performing the stretch in a proper manner. Youtube has some good videos on good hip stretches for developing the lotus position.
At any rate, when it comes to developing the position, it is much better to apply yoga principles of listening to your body, relaxing into the stretch, not forcing it, etc. The more macho approach of 'sitting with the pain' that is common may be applicable for training your mind, but not the body.

For meditators accustomed to having to 'hold' their position, retraining to a properly relaxed position will feel very unnatural. To begin with, there will probably be many cases of your position just falling apart when relaxing the muscles (early on, besides weights, I also experimented with sitting next to a wall to prevent my left leg from just sliding out when I relaxed) - And the kind of relaxed posture that comes from opening up your hips and not holding your spinal posture will likely feel like slouching - which is why it can be helpful to be able to examine experienced sitters posture and see that it is actually not at all as slouching as it feels.

PS. Full lotus is actually in itself a stretch for mastering full lotus since it locks in your legs and allows them to just relax. But it is very important that the rotation and stretch happens at the hip, not the knees.

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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by SunWuKong » Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:04 pm

Somebody at Dharmawheel was asking about counting practice. It’s very handy when in the midst of total chaos. I was counting breaths from 1 to 108 again lately. It’s very transparent as to when distractions and obstructions occur, very good beginner training for the mind. You can get to quiet stillness quite easily. That deep calm beneath the ego - that’s a great introduction to breath awareness.

Naturally one can discard the counting raft when it’s no longer needed and even the breath raft when it’s no longer needed. What isn’t discarded is quiet, stillness, being centered and solid in the body and mind. Dogen said very plainly non-thinking consists of not thinking. I’ve been told it’s impossible to transcend thought but hey, that’s not exactly the goal. The goal if you want to call it that is WAKE UP
--- Eric H., also know as Sun Wu Kong, "an authentic genuine human being"
Birth is thus
Death is thus
Verse or no verse
What’s the fuss?

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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by jundocohen » Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:33 am

Meido wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:32 pm
Certainly. Again, I think it important - especially given technological and cultural trends - for a Zen forum to stand strongly on the fact of Zen as something learned, practiced, and actualized in relationship with a teacher. Practice is not something one can bring to fruition completely on one's own.
Oh, I so much agree with this. I would simply add "teacher" (as a "friend along the way") and Sangha of helpful and experienced companions. One should also dive into one's Zen Practice, not pick and choose too eclectically in the "cafeteria of Eastern teachings." Folks on their own tend to head off in all manner of strange directions, like someone trying to teach themself to fly a jetliner without bothering with flight school.

It is good to mix and match a bit (our Soto Sangha, for example, incorporated the Tibetan Practice of Tonglen), but one has to be careful and discerning ... like a wise cook who avoids to toss everything on the kitchen shelf into one pot. Folks have to look at their own life, and own practice, to see if they are being discerning cooks. Ketchup is good, as is sushi and vanilla ice cream, but they don't mix very well in ordinary hands.
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.
Sitting (at least as I explain it) is not about quantity of time. One must actually sit beyond all thought of the clock, long vs. short. Each moment of sitting embodies endless Kalpa. Nor is "sitting" simply only on the cushion, but is all of life. Yes, don't treat time like racking up points, that is the meaning of ‘no gaining idea.’

That being said, sometimes we sit long and sometimes short on the cushion each day, sometimes for a few seconds or minutes, and sometimes for day after day. It is a Koan.

I recently posted on not being a slave to posture either, and finding the changing posture(s) right for you ...

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=144

Oh, and this little comment I posted elsewhere today on "Kensho-ing" in the Soto way, and why we neither emphasize nor do not emphasize such "experience" ("experience" is a strange word since no experience or experiencer, yet just the Whole Flowing Enchilada) One might say that Kensho isare both vital and not at all ... many ways to "realize the nature," which can be in a moment, subtle and slow, or can fill one's marrow unnoticed.
Some folks come to meditation like they are rushing up a beautiful mountain to get to the shopping mall of "spiritual experiences" at the top, thereby missing the beauty and wonder of the mountain that is in every inch along the way. Our way is to rest thoroughly, and to realize that every step up and down Buddha Mountain is Buddha Mountain.

Along this path, one may have many good insights. Some last for a small time, then fade away. Some really stick to the bones and are with you for life. Some may sneak into the bones so subtly that one is not even aware of a single insight, yet neither is anything the same as before. All of these good insights are treasures (One knows a good insight from a harmful delusion simply by the wise and positive effect on one's life, like one knows good medicine from bad drugs). Our rule is cherish this, but don't chase after it.
...

To the marrow sitting free of seeking ... is a dandy way thus to find that which can only be found by sitting radically free of seeking. Realizing that there is no where to "get to", and no place you can get or need get ... is finally getting somewhere that will revolutionize life, and put your "you" out of a job. One gets very far, one finally arrives ... by sitting still.

"Shikantaza" Zen practice is a radical, to the marrow, dropping of the self's demands that something needs to be attained to make this world "right", that something must be added or removed from our lives to make life complete, that something is defective and needs to be changed., that we need to get some place to find our "True Home".

HOWEVER, radically 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! Through "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!

By being "goalless" we hit the goal ... a goal which is hit by being thoroughly goalless in each step by step forward.
Anyway, that is my Practice and what I encourage for many others.

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

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Re: Whats your practice?

Post by Wayfarer » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:26 am

Jundocohen wrote:Sitting (at least as I explain it) is not about quantity of time. One must actually sit beyond all thought of the clock, long vs. short.
Thank you for your considerate reply!

:namaste:
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