Buckwheat filled zafu - substitute

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  • Jinho
    • Jul 2024

    Buckwheat filled zafu - substitute

    Hi,

    I think someone was asking about getting buckwheat hulls to fill a home-made zafu - someone suggested (un-popped) popcorn. Of course you need to close the overlap, you can sew it closed or use velcro?

    your frugal buddhist (usually),
    rowan
    who will try to fix her avatar so her pic shows!
  • roky
    Member
    • Jul 2008
    • 311

    #2
    Re: Buckwheat filled zafu - substitute

    i don't know, wouldn't popcorn kind of pack together like a beany bag? -- i've got buckwheat hulls in mine, really like it, but i think the buckwheat hulls are able to slide over each other, allowing you to "rearrange" your zafu, kind of dig your butt into it til its comfy

    would love to find a cheap source of new hulls, as mine have leaked out over the years

    gassho, bob
    "no resistance"
    thaddeus golas

    Comment

    • Stephanie

      #3
      Re: Buckwheat filled zafu - substitute

      Another concern is, given I don't know much about the properties of unpopped popcorn, whether that would start to stink and/or attract pests at some point?

      I'm not one to advocate mindless consumerism, but I think a well-made buckwheat filled zafu is a worthy investment. Of all the crazy stuff people try to sell "spiritual seekers" and "Buddhists" in the back of New Age magazines, I think meditation cushions are one of the very things that are practical and worth buying rather than trying to cobble one together on your own. If you get a good one, it will be much better made than what you're likely to come up with at home with a needle, thread, and your old sofa pillows :wink: I got mine in 2003 and it's still in great shape in 2008. I dropped $80 on the zafu and zabuton, and it has definitely been worth the investment. If you buy a good zafu and zabuton, it's also a great way to support a company or institution you think is a good one by purchasing a good product from them.

      Comment

      • Undo
        Member
        • Jun 2007
        • 495

        #4
        Re: Buckwheat filled zafu - substitute

        Another concern is, given I don't know much about the properties of unpopped popcorn, whether that would start to stink and/or attract pests at some point?
        Not to mention if too much heat is generated :shock:

        Comment

        • Stephanie

          #5
          Re: Buckwheat filled zafu - substitute

          Originally posted by plankton
          Another concern is, given I don't know much about the properties of unpopped popcorn, whether that would start to stink and/or attract pests at some point?
          Not to mention if too much heat is generated :shock:
          LOL!! None of those Tibetan tummo (body heat raising) practices on a popcorn zafu! Unless you're just trying to show off! :mrgreen:

          Comment

          • roky
            Member
            • Jul 2008
            • 311

            #6
            Re: Buckwheat filled zafu - substitute

            i'm beyond frugal and way into cheap -- my main vehicle is a '77 chevy van(overheard comment in parking lot, "someone drove that from arizona? - i wouldn't drive that across town") -- i stll remember when my dad gave me my first roll of duct tape(really, he stole it off the job, where they actually used it on ducts),but i have to admit that even i put the bucks down for a decent zafu -- got mine at snow lion, in ithaca, a worthy cause -- i love how you can adjust it by how much hulls you've got in it -- i found that somewhere in between hard and too soft is good(well, that really narrows it down)

            true, you can sit on anything for a daily half hour sit -- its when you do a longer one that you want the right one for you -- i used to clean on the retreats, and i would see how people would start "modifying" their sitting set-up after a few days -- kind of like the princess and the pea

            yes, if you're gonna log a lot of miles, its worth it to get the best you can -- it helps if you are at a center where they provide a lot of different types of cushions, like at ims -- that way you can try different types out, under real conditions

            surprisingly, i spent one retreat on an inflatable zafu, and it was pretty good -- just a beach ball inside a zafu cover -- packs real nice for trips and hiking

            bob
            "no resistance"
            thaddeus golas

            Comment

            • Jinho

              #7
              Re: Buckwheat filled zafu - substitute

              Hi again,

              Carolina Morning sells buckwheat hulls for any who wish to get them:

              http://www.zafu.net/

              When people talk about "really well-made zafus" I guess it's that since I sew, I know that a cushion cover is really a very simple thing. And decently sewn hand seams (done with strong thread) will outlast the fabric.

              "sofa pillows" I think were mentioned. Foam and polyester batting (what you find in most decorative and bed pillows) is not such a good choice for a non-buckwheat filling as they are meant to be poofy and relatively soft, which is why I suggested old clothes (also, part of an old blanket). Actually I had thought most people use kapok/cotton filled zafus at home. I am surprised that so many people prefer buckwheat. Myself, I use a floor chair at home and a short (because I am short) stool at retreats. I never have any pain at retreats and feel quite solid on my stool because it is short enough that my feet are firmly on the floor (about 12 to 14 inches apart, it gives a nice firm tripod effect). So I don't need to think about "should I change my position/cushion, etc for the next zazen period" when I am at a retreat.

              Also, extended sitting (one day,etc). I think most people find that a position that is comfortable for one to three sitting periods suddenly becomes excruciating later on. Don't know why.

              I think it would be good to point out that the cost of a commercially made zafu is one months (or more) wages in many parts of the world.

              gassho,
              rowan

              Comment

              • Jundo
                Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                • Apr 2006
                • 39392

                #8
                Re: Buckwheat filled zafu - substitute

                Of course, Zen Mountain Center has their space age version ... never used it myself, but I have heard good things ...

                http://www.dharma.net/monstore/category ... age=design
                ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                Comment

                • lindabeekeeper
                  Member
                  • Jan 2008
                  • 162

                  #9
                  Re: Buckwheat filled zafu - substitute

                  Hi all,

                  I got my buckwheat hulls from Burkitt Mills http://www.thebirkettmills.com/ and used a basic pattern like this one http://www.michiganbuddhist.com/zafu.htm. The nice thing about making your own is that you can fill it according to your comfort level. But of course, you may want to save your sewing skills for the rakusu. Of course, you can sew your zafu on a sewing machine if you have one.

                  Gassho
                  Linda

                  Comment

                  • Jinho

                    #10
                    Re: Buckwheat filled zafu - substitute

                    Thank you Linda for the zafu instructions referral.

                    gassho,
                    rowan


                    Originally posted by lindabeekeeper
                    Hi all,

                    I got my buckwheat hulls from Burkitt Mills http://www.thebirkettmills.com/ and used a basic pattern like this one http://www.michiganbuddhist.com/zafu.htm. The nice thing about making your own is that you can fill it according to your comfort level. But of course, you may want to save your sewing skills for the rakusu. Of course, you can sew your zafu on a sewing machine if you have one.

                    Gassho
                    Linda

                    Comment

                    • Shohei
                      Member
                      • Oct 2007
                      • 2854

                      #11
                      Re: Buckwheat filled zafu - substitute

                      Yeah ummm... so my poor wonky zafu was suffering due to my poor design(and poor choice of stuffing).
                      After reading here about a substitute filler i decided to try the popcorn kernels
                      Yeah ... 20lbs of popcorn to be exact! it was the coolest toy my daughter ever had and it was Very comfy and quite supportive.
                      that is until lastnights zazen... when It let go I finished my sitting then got up and put all the escaped kernels back in, fixed the hole, and then went on line and ordered a new one. im going to use the current one until its unrepairable and use the new one for when ever i travel or if i ever sit with a group.

                      as always no point just thought I would share that

                      Gassho
                      Dirk

                      Comment

                      • disastermouse

                        #12
                        Re: Buckwheat filled zafu - substitute

                        I sat for years on two bedpillows folded up, then finally a zafu (dunno if it's kapok or buckwheat hulls). After years of weightlifting and not sitting zazen, I'm not limber enough for a zafu. I think that technically, I never was. My legs went numb and painful in 25 minutes on the zafu in the past - and when I started sitting again, I could not even get my knees on the ground. Besides that, my hips and back were always crooked on a zafu.

                        So...I wussed out and bought a bench. It's so nice to not have to grit and bear the pain at 25 minutes anymore. My girl calls it the 'lazyboy of zazen, though.

                        Comment

                        • chessie
                          Member
                          • Jun 2008
                          • 266

                          #13
                          Re: Buckwheat filled zafu - substitute

                          I found a curious item that caught my eye. I recently purchased the 2009 Old Farmers Almanac. There is an article on milkweed therein, and quoting pg 54

                          "Prior to the capture of Java and the Phillippines by the Japanese military in 1941, those islands provided the United States with kapok, which is silk floss derived from the silk-cotton trees that was used to stuff life preservers. In their search for substitute stuffing, American scientists learned that bunched milkweed floss floats and is warmer and much lighter in weight than wool." The government had citizens collecting milkweed pods, and it says further that a life jacket containing 1.5 pounds of milkweed floss could keep a 150-pound man afloat for up to 10 hrs.

                          With the talk of buckwheat and kapok, I had thought kapok was another seed, rather than a silk floss type deal. I know it's probably not practical to collect milkweed pods, and I only have a handful of plants in the back of my lot; but just the same it's an an intriguing idea. :mrgreen: Ann

                          Comment

                          • Jinho

                            #14
                            Re: Buckwheat filled zafu - substitute

                            Originally posted by chessie
                            I found a curious item that caught my eye. I recently purchased the 2009 Old Farmers Almanac. There is an article on milkweed therein, and quoting pg 54

                            With the talk of buckwheat and kapok, I had thought kapok was another seed, rather than a silk floss type deal. I know it's probably not practical to collect milkweed pods, and I only have a handful of plants in the back of my lot; but just the same it's an an intriguing idea. :mrgreen: Ann
                            Hi Ann!

                            Actually, I am planning on getting some kapok and using it as batting in a comforter (the only local retailer only sells it in 30 lb bales for about $100 a bale so I have to budget this in). Kapok is harvested off trees and is, from all I have read, great stuff ecologically. It looks like silk batting when you pull it out of the bag.

                            back to your regularly scheduled zennie talk,
                            rowan

                            Comment

                            • lindabeekeeper
                              Member
                              • Jan 2008
                              • 162

                              #15
                              Re: Buckwheat filled zafu - substitute

                              Originally posted by chessie
                              I found a curious item that caught my eye. I recently purchased the 2009 Old Farmers Almanac. There is an article on milkweed therein, and quoting pg 54

                              "Prior to the capture of Java and the Phillippines by the Japanese military in 1941, those islands provided the United States with kapok, which is silk floss derived from the silk-cotton trees that was used to stuff life preservers. In their search for substitute stuffing, American scientists learned that bunched milkweed floss floats and is warmer and much lighter in weight than wool." The government had citizens collecting milkweed pods, and it says further that a life jacket containing 1.5 pounds of milkweed floss could keep a 150-pound man afloat for up to 10 hrs.
                              Hi Ann, My parents talk about collecting milkweed pods for life preservers during WWII. As far as using them for zafus, I think they probably would compress too much. You might have better luck with wool roving if you are going that direction. It's not free though.

                              Gassho,

                              Linda

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