RECOMMENDED DAILY Nurturing Seeds PRACTICE

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39074

    RECOMMENDED DAILY Nurturing Seeds PRACTICE

    Hi,

    Sometimes the simplest of practices can be most effective.

    The following is based on teachings by Thich Nhat Hahn as well as many others. It's roots stretch back to the very origins of Buddhism. It is a simple and common sense approach to changing how we think and feel ... realizing that our experience of life is always shaped through the various thoughts and emotions that we impose upon life within our little heads, like a bit of mental theatre the script for which we are constantly writing for ourselves. This technique is an instantaneous means to replace harmful, negative, destructive thoughts and emotions with constructive, positive, wholesome thoughts and emotions.

    Of course, this practice is not meant as a substitute for "Zazen", our core activity. Far from it! All is hand-in-hand. Yet, just as with our other "Recommended Daily Practice", the recitation of Metta (Loving Kindness) ...



    ... this "Nurturing Seeds" practice should be undertaken daily and, in fact, in any situation in which harmful or negative thoughts and emotions begin to take control.

    Here is how it works ... very simple ...

    Traditional Buddhist psychology describes our thoughts, emotions and actions as arising from a kind of "Seed Consciousness" within us, which is said to hold the "seeds" of all our emotional and thought reactions to experiences (and our actions that arise from those) ... love, hate, peace, violence, calm, irritability, confidence, fear, you name it. Whether we take these "seeds" as literally existing, or (just as fine) merely as symbolic descriptions for the workings of the mind, each serves as a surprisingly elegant image for how thoughts and emotions arise within us. For example, when we are feeling anger in a particular situation or in reaction to some person, an "angry seed" might be said to be sprouting within us. If we water that seed, and allow it to take root and bloom, anger thus blooms. Further anger seeds may be planted within us for the future too. However, if we can instead replace that "angry seed" with, for example, a "loving kindness seed" and a "tolerance seed" ... watering those inner seeds instead, actually summoning such emotions within ourself ... then we may react to the very same situation and person with compassion and patience instead of anger.

    Simple as that.

    Thich Nhat Hahn has written the following ...

    In Buddhist texts, consciousness is said to be a field, a plot of land in which every kind of seed is planted--seeds of suffering, happiness, joy, sorrow, fear, anger, and hope. The quality of our life depends on which of these seeds we water. The practice of mindfulness is to recognize each seed as it sprouts and to water the most wholesome seeds whenever possible.

    ...

    In Buddhist psychology, we speak of consciousness in terms of seeds. We have a seed of anger in us [for example]. We have a seed of compassion in us. The practice is to help the seed of compassion to grow and the seed of anger to shrink. When you express your anger you think that you are getting anger out of your system, but that's not true. When you express your anger, either verbally or with physical violence, you are feeding the seed of anger, and it becomes stronger in you. It's a dangerous practice.

    That's why recognizing the seed of anger and trying to neutralize it with understanding and compassion is the only way to reduce the anger in us. If you don't understand the cause of your anger, you can never transform it.

    ...

    What is important is that you continue to plant new seeds, the kind of seeds that are both refreshing and healing.


    ---------------

    Here is how the recommended practice works
    :

    Step 1 - Become sensitive and mindful to the arising of harmful, negative seeds within you. For example, when feeling angry or resentful, do not simply fall into those emotions. Instead, learn to say to yourself, "Oh, now I see anger in me ... a seed of anger and a seed of resentment are welling up within me, so I am --temporarily-- feeling anger and resentment in this situation. It need not be so."

    Become good at spotting the emotions as they begin to arise within you, especially the harmful ones, before they really catch you and wrap you up. Before the emotion really gets hold of you (or even after, although it is harder), choose to go another way,

    Step 2 - Identify what would be the positive or wholesome seed which would be the opposite or counter-balance to the harmful, negative seed. For example, following is a list of common negative thoughts and emotions in Buddhist psychology, as well as several opposites and counter-balances (this list, by the way, is tentative and open to suggestions as we develop this daily practice) ... Maybe print the following on a little card and carry it in your wallet for easy reference! ...

    Greed - Contentment, Generosity
    Anger - Tolerance, Contentment, Loving Kindness
    Fear - Courage, Equanimity
    Discontent - Serenity, Contentment
    Sloth - Energy, Joyful Effort
    Jealousy - Respect
    Sadness - Joy, Acceptance
    Egotism - Modesty, Humility
    Frustration - Acceptance, Contentment


    Step 3 - Make the conscious choice not to "water" the harmful seed as you feel it begin to sprout within you, and instead to nourish and water the wholesome seed that can take its place. Actually feel that the harmful seed has been physically removed from its ground within you, and replaced by a wholesome seed. Actually try to feel within the emotion which the wholesome seed represents (for example, if feeling "greed" ... actually try to summon and hold feelings of contentment and generosity instead). Focus on the breath, and feel the sensation of the positive, wholesome emotion arise within you with each exhalation. Feel the positive, wholesome seed coming to flower.

    And that's it!

    At first, commit yourself to try your best to "replace a seed" 4 or 5 times a day. For example, if you start to sense a bit of anger, worry, discouragement or sadness wallowing up in you sometime during a normal day ... take that as an opportunity to do a bit of inner gardening! Try to replace that seed, visualizing and actually feeling the old seed being removed from you and the new sensations coming to flower. You may be surprised at the results! (It may not turn every weed in your garden into a rose, but it may more often than you think).

    Please keep us posted on this forum on how this practice goes for you.

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-11-2018, 03:25 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Daijo
    Member
    • Feb 2012
    • 530

    #2
    Thank you for this. For a long time I carried a little card in my wallet with this printed on it:
    Greed - Contentment, Generosity
    Anger - Tolerance, Contentment, Loving Kindness
    Fear - Courage, Equanimity
    Discontent - Serenity, Contentment
    Sloth - Energy, Joyful Effort
    Jealousy - Respect
    Sadness - Joy, Acceptance
    Egotism - Modesty, Humility
    Frustration - Acceptance, Contentment

    It was a helpful reminder and I think I'll start doing that again.

    Comment

    • Seimyo
      Member
      • Jan 2012
      • 861

      #3
      That's very helpful Chuck. I should almost get it tattooed to my wrist.

      G.
      Seimyo

      明 Seimyō (Christhatischris)

      Comment

      • Jundo
        Treeleaf Founder and Priest
        • Apr 2006
        • 39074

        #4
        Originally posted by Seimyo
        That's very helpful Chuck. I should almost get it tattooed to my wrist.

        G.
        Seimyo
        That is very helpful Chuck. Excellent suggestion.

        Chris, perhaps best to tattoo it right here, where the arrow points ...





        Gassho, J
        ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

        Comment

        • Matt
          Member
          • Oct 2012
          • 497

          #5
          Thank you for sharing this practice. I have printed the card and look forward to incorporating this into my daily life. Deep bows, Matt J

          Comment

          • Shonin
            Member
            • Apr 2009
            • 885

            #6
            I have practiced this in my own way for awhile. But a different version. I was in a way condemning myself for the negative feelings ( "I shouldn't be so irritable" blah blah) while trying to uproot the other. I think the way this is worded is more acceptance and saying it is normal and okay , but we are making a conscious decision to let it go and become something more positive. It's more being patient with one's self than how I was doing it. Was good to read it the way it's presented here. Sheds a new light on it. A slight mental change in attitude. I'll remind myself to be patient with "me" and see how it goes.

            _/\_ Dave

            Comment

            • bayamo
              Member
              • Nov 2009
              • 411

              #7
              It always gets me when I read things like this & I find myself saying 'why didn't I ever think of this before?!?!' thanks!

              Sent from my ST25a using Tapatalk 2
              Oh, yeah. If I didn't have inner peace, I'd go completely psycho on all you guys all the time.
              Carl Carlson

              Comment

              • 6yx
                Member
                • Jun 2011
                • 48

                #8
                I'm grateful I read this
                I'm grateful you wrote it

                I'll start my practice.

                Gassho
                Chris

                Comment

                • Theophan
                  Member
                  • Nov 2014
                  • 146

                  #9
                  Jundo,
                  Thank you for this excellent practice to turn around our negative thoughts. I needed this.

                  Gassho
                  Theophan
                  Sat Today

                  Comment

                  • Joryu
                    Member
                    • Jan 2014
                    • 106

                    #10
                    This was exactly what I needed to hear. I was thinking I could physically practice this when weeding my garden - naming the weeds then with love and tenderness towards them, pull them up. Once I have tossed the "weed" in the weed pile I could then consider that harmful thought weeded...in its place I can plant a sunflower seed....possibly, depending on daily situations, I could end up with a beautiful garden of sunflowers deep bows for all the above postings and in a few months I'll post some pics of my sunflower "field" gassho, sattoday/ nandi

                    Comment

                    • Shokai
                      Treeleaf Priest
                      • Mar 2009
                      • 6391

                      #11
                      Once upon a time I found this flower in a field. It is considered to be a wild flower; yet, it does have a name. It is called a yellow goat's beard.
                      20130615_100650_1_resized_1.jpg
                      Then some flowers grow in our garden that have names as well but they are not 'wild'
                      合掌,生開
                      gassho, Shokai

                      仁道 生開 / Jindo Shokai

                      "Open to life in a benevolent way"

                      https://sarushinzendo.wordpress.com/

                      Comment

                      • Shokai
                        Treeleaf Priest
                        • Mar 2009
                        • 6391

                        #12
                        Yet, the bee doesn't appear to mind
                        20130827_114847_resized.jpg
                        Attached Files
                        Last edited by Shokai; 02-13-2015, 03:16 AM.
                        合掌,生開
                        gassho, Shokai

                        仁道 生開 / Jindo Shokai

                        "Open to life in a benevolent way"

                        https://sarushinzendo.wordpress.com/

                        Comment

                        • Mp

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Shokai
                          Yet, the bee doesn't appear to mind
                          [ATTACH=CONFIG]2371[/ATTACH]
                          Wonderful Shokai! No division, just acceptance. =)

                          Gassho
                          Shingen

                          Sattoday

                          Comment

                          • Rich
                            Member
                            • Apr 2009
                            • 2587

                            #14
                            That's great Elgwyn. All these good things you are doing will help you be completely with this moment in joy and ease.


                            Sat today
                            _/_
                            Rich
                            MUHYO
                            無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

                            https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

                            Comment

                            • Risho
                              Member
                              • May 2010
                              • 3179

                              #15


                              Gassho,

                              Risho
                              -sattoday
                              Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com

                              Comment

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