Meditation Question.

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  • chicanobudista
    Member
    • Mar 2008
    • 864

    Meditation Question.

    Really short simple question and kinda feel dumb asking it ops: , but...here it goes.

    The Soto-zen.net sez this:

    Keep your eyes slightly open. Cast them downward at about a 45-degree angle. Without focusing on any particular thing, let everything have its place in your field of vision. If your eyes are closed, you will easily drift into drowsiness or daydreaming.


    Soooooo.... Should I only "stare" at one fixed point w/o letting my eyes wander or can I let my eyes wander w/i that "45-degree angle" range? :| :?:
    paz,
    Erik


    Flor de Nopal Sangha
  • Stephanie

    #2
    Re: Meditation Question.

    I think you're alright as long as they don't fall out of your head :shock:

    Comment

    • chicanobudista
      Member
      • Mar 2008
      • 864

      #3
      Re: Meditation Question.

      Originally posted by Stephanie
      I think you're alright as long as they don't fall out of your head :shock:
      :mrgreen:
      paz,
      Erik


      Flor de Nopal Sangha

      Comment

      • Jundo
        Treeleaf Founder and Priest
        • Apr 2006
        • 39450

        #4
        Re: Meditation Question.

        Originally posted by chicanobudista
        Should I only "stare" at one fixed point w/o letting my eyes wander or can I let my eyes wander w/i that "45-degree angle" range? :| :?:
        Originally posted by Stephanie
        I think you're alright as long as they don't fall out of your head :shock:
        Hi Erik,

        First, Stephanie is quite correct. Of course, Dogen has described true Zazen as "gouging out the eyeballs of the Buddhas and Ancestors and sitting in Zazen with their eyeballs". [Shobogenzo Zammai Ozammai] . That's quite the image! Perfect for a Roky Erickson Video.

        Second, I say that our eyes are focused (meaning, not fuzzed over, or crossed, or "out of focus" in that way), but we are looking at everything and nothing. Yes, they will wander around sometimes, or rest on a single point sometimes. But we do not let the mind become tangled in a chain of thoughts by that.

        For example, if the mind rests on a spot of dirt on the wall, we do not then say to ourselves mentally "Ah, a spot. The shape of that spot looks a little like a dog. I like dogs. I had better go walk the dog. I will walk the dog to the store and buy dog food." Nor do we say, "The wall is dirty, I had better clean the wall. How did the wall get so dirty? I need to paint the wall.". The eyes and mind just rest on the spot without categorizing or getting drawn into thought ... without judging. They might see the spot, or the whole wall, or nothing at all.

        They may stay there for a time, or they might naturally wander. Like a butterfly among the treeleaves.

        Did that help?

        Gassho, J
        ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

        Comment

        • Dojin
          Member
          • May 2008
          • 562

          #5
          Re: Meditation Question.

          yes it really did help.... i sometimes notice that my eyes focus on something and i just relax them and let them be focused but at nothing in particular. but i guess it is still judging and trying to control.
          i see now i should just let go.
          I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment
          - the Buddha

          Comment

          • Ryumon
            Member
            • Apr 2007
            • 1706

            #6
            Re: Meditation Question.

            As much as I try, I simply can't do this. I have amblyopia (also called "lazy eye". My right eye barely sees, as a result of its being out of alignment. But if I let my eyes relax too much, I start seeing double (well, a sort of ghost coming from the right eye). When I sit with my eyes open, if I relax, I see double, or to see not-double, I have to not-relax. Any ideas?

            Kirk
            ---
            Ryūmon (Kirk)
            流文

            SAT/LAH

            I know nothing.

            Comment

            • Jundo
              Treeleaf Founder and Priest
              • Apr 2006
              • 39450

              #7
              Re: Meditation Question.

              Originally posted by kirkmc
              As much as I try, I simply can't do this. I have amblyopia (also called "lazy eye". My right eye barely sees, as a result of its being out of alignment. But if I let my eyes relax too much, I start seeing double (well, a sort of ghost coming from the right eye). When I sit with my eyes open, if I relax, I see double, or to see not-double, I have to not-relax. Any ideas?

              Kirk
              Hmmm. Interesting question.

              How about, in this case, you focus on one spot ... but don't think about it as "one spot" or "not one spot". Keep you eyes focused on the spot, but still see "everything and nothing". Would that help your condition? So, keep your eyes a little relaxed but not too much to start seeing double.
              ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

              Comment

              • Ryumon
                Member
                • Apr 2007
                • 1706

                #8
                Re: Meditation Question.

                Yes, I've tried that, and, curiously, it works much better when I'm outdoors (such as sitting on pack benches). But I'm still aware of focusing on that spot no matter what I do.

                However, when I keep my eyes closed, I have no problems at all.

                It sucks to be physically screwed up sometimes...

                Kirk
                ---
                Ryūmon (Kirk)
                流文

                SAT/LAH

                I know nothing.

                Comment

                • Ryumon
                  Member
                  • Apr 2007
                  • 1706

                  #9
                  Re: Meditation Question.

                  I was just in the shower - a great place to think - and I realized that it might help to elaborate so Jundo can better understand my problem.

                  Amblyopia occurs when your eyes are misaligned, and the brain favors the stronger eye to prevent you from seeing double. In my case, the misalignment is too small to operate; in any case, it's been that way since I was little. It was discovered when I was about 6.

                  So, when I meditate with my eyes open, two things happen. The first is that my brain turns _on_ the bad eye. Normally, I only see peripherally from that eye; the rest is a "blind spot", which is just the brain turning off parts of the vision center to not process the center of what I see so I don't get double vision. But sometimes when sitting with my eyes open, that blind spot awakens, and I can see it; it is like a gray TV screen with static, and is disturbing. At other times, I see double, but just slightly; I'll see ghosts of images. Since I - believe it or not - don't have any bare walls in the area where I sit, I do have "things" that I see, even when trying to not see. So while I've often tried to sit eyes-open, I find that I can't really do it well; my vision is too distracting.

                  I know we're not supposed to sit eyes-closed, but is it that bad if I do?

                  Kirk
                  ---
                  Ryūmon (Kirk)
                  流文

                  SAT/LAH

                  I know nothing.

                  Comment

                  • chicanobudista
                    Member
                    • Mar 2008
                    • 864

                    #10
                    Re: Meditation Question.

                    Originally posted by kirkmc
                    I know we're not supposed to sit eyes-closed, but is it that bad if I do?
                    I seen various video purporting to be Zen Buddhist meditation videos and most state that the main issue is you may fall asleep. :|
                    paz,
                    Erik


                    Flor de Nopal Sangha

                    Comment

                    • Ryumon
                      Member
                      • Apr 2007
                      • 1706

                      #11
                      Re: Meditation Question.

                      Yet I've _never_ fallen asleep when sitting...

                      Kirk
                      ---
                      Ryūmon (Kirk)
                      流文

                      SAT/LAH

                      I know nothing.

                      Comment

                      • chicanobudista
                        Member
                        • Mar 2008
                        • 864

                        #12
                        Re: Meditation Question.

                        Originally posted by Jundo
                        Originally posted by chicanobudista

                        They may stay there for a time, or they might naturally wander. Like a butterfly among the treeleaves.

                        Did that help?
                        I guess my concern arises from that the fact that up to now (in my Sloppy Zen™ way), I'll keep my eyes consciously set on one spot. Of course, this gives rise to two general thoughts at minute 5 of meditation :P :

                        a) "OK....I am staring at this one spot.....Stop thinking that!"

                        or

                        b) "Oh-oh! My eyes and mind want to check out different spots to look at! Bring back eyes to focus! Bring back eyes to focus!"

                        Unfortunately, this creates too much "mind chatter."

                        But. Yes. Your advice does clarify a lot.
                        paz,
                        Erik


                        Flor de Nopal Sangha

                        Comment

                        • Dojin
                          Member
                          • May 2008
                          • 562

                          #13
                          Re: Meditation Question.

                          Kirk i know it might sound like a pointless question but have you tried a treatment that is not surgical?

                          usually it involves closing the good eye so the brain might learn to use the bad eye.
                          I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment
                          - the Buddha

                          Comment

                          • Ryumon
                            Member
                            • Apr 2007
                            • 1706

                            #14
                            Re: Meditation Question.

                            Yes, I've tried a number of things, including, recently, vision therapy. I saw a neuro-ophthalmologist who said that, given my age, it's impossible to do anything. Covering the good eye is what I did when I was six; even then it was too late.

                            Kirk
                            ---
                            Ryūmon (Kirk)
                            流文

                            SAT/LAH

                            I know nothing.

                            Comment

                            • Dojin
                              Member
                              • May 2008
                              • 562

                              #15
                              Re: Meditation Question.

                              well i dont know what to tell you. my knowledge of ophthalmology goes only so far...

                              i guess you should find what works for you and stick with it. maybe even sit with your eyes closed. i know we are supposed to sit with our eyes open but i think it is a trivial matter as long as you dont fall asleep and it doesnt impact your practice in anyway.
                              I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment
                              - the Buddha

                              Comment

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