The Experience of Zazen

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

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ol' spikey
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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by ol' spikey » Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:02 pm

After bingeing this thread, it could be helpful to have a comment from Meido on how to differentiate/handle makyo.

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desert_woodworker
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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by desert_woodworker » Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:22 pm

el g.,
el gatito wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:44 pm
desert_woodworker wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:15 pm
and whip-like movements of the spine.
Periodic and soft (like once every several seconds, forming almost continuous movement) -- or infrequent, strong and one-time (like once in 10 - 30 minutes)?
Well, dare I say it may be irrelevant, since "everyone's practice is different", and so is the condition and history (and future) of the body.

Now, the quick movements, which can be so strong and sudden that you may actually come close to being knocked out of your seated position (I really do mean "whip-like", above; the rapid movement seems to be at the rate of 5 to 10 Hz, and to last about 1 second), are said by some to relate to some sort of "kundalini" development, where energy or signals shoot up the spine to the head. I have no theory of this, and no theory to offer. It seems to have run its course and served its function, whatever that was.

For me, no: no soft, almost continuous movements, that I'm aware of (they were quick, very hot, bursts, rapid and almost strong enough to dislocate vertebrae ...if that's possible).

best,

--Joe

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michaeljc
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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by michaeljc » Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:28 pm

Given that I am an instigator of this topic, I guess I have some rights

I feel that I made it very clear from the beginning that condescending advice is best kept for other topics

Here is a space where personal experiences are expressed without any fear of correction, judgement, or categorisation

This is not so difficult, right?

cheers

m

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fuki
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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by fuki » Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:53 pm

michaeljc wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:28 pm
Given that I am an instigator of this topic, I guess I have some rights

I feel that I made it very clear from the beginning that condescending advice is best kept for other topics

Here is a space where personal experiences are expressed without any fear of correction, judgement, or categorisation

This is not so difficult, right?

cheers

m
Wholeheartedly agree.
I'm enjoying what everyone is willing to share regarding their observations/experiences.
:bow2:
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https://meldpuntbg.nl/

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

el gatito
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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by el gatito » Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:26 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:15 pm
I'd encourage you to sit with a group anyway.
Do not insist, for I am too old for this. Old people tend to fart, episodically, old yogis including, as you probably know.

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desert_woodworker
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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by desert_woodworker » Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:41 pm

el g.,
el gatito wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:26 pm
desert_woodworker wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:15 pm
I'd encourage you to sit with a group anyway.
Do not insist, for I am too old for this. Old people tend to fart, episodically, old yogis including, as you probably know.
Insist?, no. I only encourage you to believe and trust that seasoned Teachers and sanghas will not be at all ruffled by oscillations of the spine, nor rough breathing, in intensive gatherings for intensive practice. It happens, I'd say, commonly. I think these are potentially good signs, and can be worked-with, by student and Teacher. This is my experience, in diverse sanghas. So, I mean, rest assured.

"Too old" is relative, Old Relative. Again, just meaning to encourage, and also to say that you have company, plenty of it. Our practice(s) require a certain "maturity", anyway, it's said.

Also, BTW, in America at least, there has been a phenomenon noted, one referred to as "the Greying of the Sangha": It's more a matter of not so many younger people coming in, than of not enough older people going out.

I myself started with fading hair-color early, though, so don't let the grey-hair fool you: it's not my natural hair-color. :lol:

Thanks very much for the words about the physical phenomena, always very interesting to me, and glad I could match some of those words (I hope).

:namaste:

--Joe

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desert_woodworker
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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by desert_woodworker » Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:04 am

In zazen, and in some forms of Hindu Yogic sitting I practiced in the early 1970s, there's a point at the turn-around of the breath that I have always felt to be important.

Sometimes it feels as if, at the turn-around of the in-breath to out-breath, one "loses consciousness", experiences a break in the smooth continuity of awareness, that is (where, sometimes the open eyes even blink, or feel a subtle disturbance).

I have found it an interesting facet of practice sometimes to make that transition of in- to out-breath not only very smooth physically, but otherwise, too, meaning that there is an easy maintenance and continuity in the quality and sensation of consciousness or awareness, without disturbance. In this way, the awareness is not punctuated or cut by an influence of the breath, but the awareness flows, and continues to flow, silently, like a deep river, without the awareness "sloshing". Long, long, long, silent "sentences" of awareness can be experienced without intermission or division.

I feel confident that this is a condition that helps to lead one to drop into samadhi states in sitting. As relaxation is important in most forms of zazen and other forms of sitting, some writers on the subject of samadhi write that one can continue to drop disturbances or "distress", as you come to notice them, one after the other. I suppose that's right, though I have thought of this as simply "relaxing", and relaxing perhaps more deeply with each breath. And sinking down.

I suppose too that these are just little exercises, not too important positively (nor negatively) in the scheme of things. But, some say that "To study the Way is to study the self" (and so on). So, each of us may go ahead and be the judge about studies that suggest themselves.

Glad to share some more glosses that come to mind. And thanks Michael and all writers/readers for an interesting thread,

--Joe

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michaeljc
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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by michaeljc » Sun Jun 10, 2018 2:03 am

As relaxation is important in most forms of zazen and other forms of sitting, some writers on the subject of samadhi write that one can continue to drop disturbances or "distress", as you come to notice them, one after the other.
Joe -

I have found this to be true. I talked before about searching out issues generating mental distress and immersing in the unpleasant associated feeling. A state can come along, when each issue can be identified and dissolved with each breath cycle i.e. if the issue is not a major. These are harder nuts to crack but IME can be worth gold

and

Many students report the phenomenon of of old forgotten memories and associated feelings popping up during Zazen. This is common in my practice. However, there has been occasions when a new memory would flood in and then disperse at every breath. This can go on for 20 breaths or more. It occurs naturally

No big deal but interesting just the same. It hasn't happened for some time

Cheers

m

ol' spikey
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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by ol' spikey » Sun Jun 10, 2018 2:06 am

michaeljc wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:28 pm
Given that I am an instigator of this topic, I guess I have some rights
You do not have moderator rights, or the right to abridge free speech.
michaeljc wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:28 pm
I feel that I made it very clear from the beginning that condescending advice is best kept for other topics
Here is a space where personal experiences are expressed without any fear of correction, judgement, or categorisation
I resemble that remark! But that's just me . . .

"Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"

My background academically is an MSW from CUA in 1999. Professionally: psychotherapist running groups at The Next Step, a drug and alcohol rehab clinic for mainly black, mainly male, ex-offenders, with whom I shared an affinity based on team athletics; College Park Youth and Family Services, mainly poor families, and being the only male on staff getting some choice clients that I loved working with; private practice. I am now retired for 12 years, during which I drive a school bus.

I would never attempt to diagnose anyone virtually.
ol' spikey wrote:After bingeing this thread, it could be helpful to have a comment from Meido on how to differentiate/handle makyo.
"Differentiate" just means to recognize or ascertain what makes something different, ie., what makes makyo different from some reported experiences here. "Handle" means how to deal with an instance that might actually be makyo.

This is based on ethics and compassion. A respected teacher ("Meido") is best suited to offer clarification.
michaeljc wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:28 pm
This is not so difficult, right?
You tell me!

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fuki
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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by fuki » Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:48 pm

michaeljc wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:11 pm

Pain has always been a major factor in my practice. I will discuss this later
Please do Michael I am very much interested in this.

A few years ago there was a pain experience which lasted for 48 hours straight which was so severe that I had a few OBE's where during the OBE's there was only bliss and the pain was in the background, the pain was present but it was witnessed instead of experienced if that makes sense. But this drained energy completely to the point "my being" couldn't make the OBE's happen anymore, then when I couldn't fight or escape the pain anymore I had no more options and I surrendered without any desire to change or alter the experience, all that was left was pain itself at that point, no concept of pain or painlessness, coming or going, being with or without. Then all of a sudden "I" was millions of lightyears "away" in dark liquor space, interestingly enough eventhough I cant describe this as it wasn't the usual sensory perception we describe or experience things; those "millions or unmeasurable amounts of distance" I could "cross" at will. A "thought" covered that distance and I could look at myself/body/world through a kind of glass warped peephole (in the vastness of space) similair to a front door, through which I saw myself sitting.
I could at "will" shift between pain, where pain and bliss is not seperate or beyond alltogether. I played with this freedom for a while though no concept of time or freedom, then fell asleep as a usual nightly sleep. This is a poor description btw words dont cover it.

A few hours later I went to the hospital and got the right treatment/medicine and all was good. (they made a mistake the first time) I'm sharing this because not because I say it has anything to do with "Zen" (so no comments relating to Zen regarding "makyo" "projections of mind" etcetera) but because it completely changed my perception in regards to not worrying or fearing whatever comes or goes in the future, nor inviting anything ofcourse. Eventhough sadly many ppl I know experience pain far beyond what I have experienced on a daily basis it saddens me that they take their experience to be their identity, and suffer (mentally) from their physical pain.
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boda
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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by boda » Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:54 pm

michaeljc wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:11 pm
I continue to sit because of the immense benefit I have gained by doing so. My sitting consists of putting my bum on a cushion for 40 m. That’s my method (mostly). There is almost always the same pattern: tension with associated everyday issues that are bugging me, followed by a deep calm kicking in at about 30 m. Thinking stops for considerable lengths of time, and yet I am aware that thinking has stopped. I will commonly be just following breath or sounds. This is not forced. It comes naturally. I have noticed that the mind simply does not want to think and that it would be an effort to do so. This state is the basis to the great benefit I gain from sitting. It lasts for several hours after I rise. It’s a re-set button
My experience is very similar to this.
As for personal method. On first sitting I often go looking for the mental tension and are often quite shocked at how much there is and the fact that I had been trying to operate (work/live) in this state. I then look deep into the FEELING associated with this stress and dive right in and keep returning there. For me this method is magical – until I strike a real gut wrenching issue. These take longer to dissolve, sometimes weeks
I've just recently heard of a method like this. I'll try it next time I get stuck on something.

Great topic, thanks for starting it.

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Larry
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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by Larry » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:56 am

What is the method?

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michaeljc
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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by michaeljc » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:13 am

It ain't a method. It is house cleaning :)

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Larry
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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by Larry » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:45 pm

Mindfull vacuuming :lol:

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lindama
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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by lindama » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:38 pm

Larry wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:45 pm
Mindfull vacuuming :lol:
Plezzzz come right over!

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Fruitzilla
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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by Fruitzilla » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:18 pm

lindama wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:38 pm
Larry wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:45 pm
Mindfull vacuuming :lol:
Plezzzz come right over!
Come to my place first!

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Larry
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Re: The Experience of Zazen

Post by Larry » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:47 pm

Please don't give my wife too many ideas :102: :lol:

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