How to correctly perform prostrations

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  • forestree
    Member
    • Aug 2010
    • 18

    How to correctly perform prostrations

    I remember that almost one year ago I had watched a video where Jundo explained in great detail how to perform full floor prostrations. Things such as making fists with your hands as opposed to using them touching the ground with the palms, the correct position of the feet, etc.
    I can't seem to find that link anymore, there's some basic explaination in the library, under zazenkai preparation but it doesn't go into such detail and I'd really like to improve my sloppy prostrations, espacially to try to do them as decently as I can during the zazenkai.
    I'd really appreciate if someone could point me in the right direction.

    Gassho,
    Francesca
  • Daibh
    Member
    • Aug 2010
    • 68

    #2
    Re: How to correctly perform prostrations

    Would be interested also in seeing the link Francesca us refering to.
    [b:z5iv0uxu]Documenting the Ango - A Hat Full of Rain [/b:z5iv0uxu]
    http://ahatfullofrain.wordpress.com/
    [b:z5iv0uxu]My poetry blog - Subtle Drops[/b:z5iv0uxu]
    http://subtledropspoetry.wordpress.com/

    Comment

    • Shohei
      Member
      • Oct 2007
      • 2854

      #3
      Re: How to correctly perform prostrations

      Hiyas
      this is probably not it but its got some good pics and descriptions


      Scroll down some and you see Gassho, Shashu and Prostrating.

      Hope that helps some

      Gassho
      Shohei

      Comment

      • Taylor
        Member
        • May 2010
        • 388

        #4
        Re: How to correctly perform prostrations

        Originally posted by forestree
        , espacially to try to do them as decently as I can during the zazenkai.
        I'd really appreciate if someone could point me in the right direction.

        Gassho,
        Francesca
        I can't think of a better way to do them! Prostrating isn't about lowering your body, it about setting yourself down for a moment. Head touching the floor or not, what matter is how you bow on the inside. I can't do a prostration to the sunset, the forest, or the geese that frequent my campus this time of year before moving on, I would be considered more insane than I already am :mrgreen: but I can give them a bow from the inside.

        As far as actual advice goes, I make up the prostrations based on watching! Just sorta, you know, go with it but make sure you bow with your whole self! Not a self caught up in formalities and ridged ritual. Just as we just sit, just stand, just eat, just bow. No one's slapping a grade on your forehead :wink:

        A sloppy, messy bow,
        Taylor
        Gassho,
        Myoken
        [url:r05q3pze]http://staresatwalls.blogspot.com/[/url:r05q3pze]

        Comment

        • Daibh
          Member
          • Aug 2010
          • 68

          #5
          Re: How to correctly perform prostrations

          Originally posted by Shohei
          Hiyas
          this is probably not it but its got some good pics and descriptions


          Scroll down some and you see Gassho, Shashu and Prostrating.

          Hope that helps some

          Gassho
          Shohei
          Good link Shohei,

          thanks!
          [b:z5iv0uxu]Documenting the Ango - A Hat Full of Rain [/b:z5iv0uxu]
          http://ahatfullofrain.wordpress.com/
          [b:z5iv0uxu]My poetry blog - Subtle Drops[/b:z5iv0uxu]
          http://subtledropspoetry.wordpress.com/

          Comment

          • Seishin the Elder
            Member
            • Oct 2009
            • 521

            #6
            Re: How to correctly perform prostrations

            If you go up on the forum page to the "Library" tab there is a links to "Zazenkai Preparation" and within that there are a series of videos Jundo did about such things as how to : chant, walk, bow., etc, during Zazenkai and Retreat. The particular video Francesca is asking about can be found there.

            Oops...sorry I just reread Francesca's post and apparently she has already been to this place and thiese are not the videos she was looking for ops:

            Gassho,

            Seishin Kyrill

            Comment

            • Jinyu
              Member
              • May 2009
              • 768

              #7
              Re: How to correctly perform prostrations

              Seishin has been quicker than me!

              gassho,
              Luis/Jinyu
              Jinyu aka Luis aka Silly guy from Brussels

              Comment

              • forestree
                Member
                • Aug 2010
                • 18

                #8
                Re: How to correctly perform prostrations

                Thank you everyone for your help. I agree with Taylor that rigidity is not what I'm after and that bowing with sincerity and presence is more important than making it the "right" way. On the other hand I see some importance in zen rituals and in performing them with great care and diligence (such as oryioki for instance). In some way, I guess that if you need to concentrate on every movement because you are supposed to perform it in a certain way you really need to be focused on every action, moment by moment. Not sure about this but maybe it's one of the reasons why there is a "correct" way of holding your chant book as opposed to just grasping it randomly. And at the same time even sloppiness is ok, as long as you can notice that you are beeing sloppy and all the thoughs and sensations associated with that?

                Anyway, since I can be a pretty stubborn person sometimes, I seem to have found that video.
                By the way, some great advice in there:

                End to end video platform for media & enterprises. Live streaming, video hosting, transcoding, monetization, distribution & delivery services for businesses.


                Gassho
                Francesca

                Comment

                • Jundo
                  Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                  • Apr 2006
                  • 39450

                  #9
                  Re: How to correctly perform prostrations

                  Oh, I am not a beautiful, graceful bower ... but I try to be sincere, and to put my whole heart and mind into each bow (and into getting up again ... not so easy for my 50 year old knees).

                  Here is the text that goes with the video ...

                  .

                  I am often asked to whom or what we are bowing ... Is it to some thing, god, person or effigy?

                  I answer by saying that there is nothing that's true that is omitted from our bow. We might consider that we're simply bowing to the whole universe, and to ourself and the other people around us ... after all, 'All is One'! The hands, palms upwards, are raised in a gesture traditionally symbolic of lifting the Buddha's feet over one's head, but that truly means lifting all things of the universe over one's head (and that all things are, in turn, lifting and supporting us when seen from another angle). It's appropriate to cultivate an attitude of emptying, letting go, receptivity and gratitude in our bows.

                  If there is some physical or personal reason not to prostrate, a simple Gassho can be substituted.

                  However, there is greatness in the humility of the prostration.
                  ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                  Comment

                  • Jinyu
                    Member
                    • May 2009
                    • 768

                    #10
                    Re: How to correctly perform prostrations

                    Hi!
                    I was thinking about your post and the importance of bowing in our practice and it make me think of a "big moment" in my little life.
                    One of the first times I sat in the AZI Sangha in Brussels, an old nun I didn't really "care about" before that (almost everyone is quite old in this Sangha) was conducting the zazen practice this night. And at the end of kinhin she offered incense and then made sampai (3 bows) to the Buddha...
                    It was a terrible and wonderful moment for me, I remember that I stop walking to look at her (bad! :lol: ). But it was really a striking moment, this old women ,who was barely able to walk up the stairs to enter the zendo, barely able to make gassho (her fingers couldn't be all together because of arthritis) was there kneeling on the floor with so much difficulty and at the same time so much dignity!
                    The all world make so much sense when is little body was in the floor, her hands above his head... I learned a lot this day ... really striking...
                    After that I made everything to be with her as much as possible. She taught me a lot by not saying anything. It is a pity I didn't took pictures of her when sewing for example, her little tortured hands made the most beautiful kesas I've ever seen... She made the best genmai have ever eat (I hope I still will eat a lot of genmai to compare!)...

                    At the same time she was so funny... Always talking about the years she spent in the seventies with Deshimaru roshi. She used to say that we were a "bunch of mussels", and then she used to talk about the old days when they do a lot of crazy things during sesshins with Stephane Kosen Thibault and some other old fools from Deshimaru's Sangha... Deshimaru wasn't always happy with it but they were young and fools...

                    A lot of dignity and laughs in his blue eyes!
                    Really, that little Anne (was her name) is one of the persons I'll never forget!

                    Sorry for this, just wanted to share a bit of Anne's dignity when bowing.
                    She is now back in Germany (she said to me that she felt death coming and that she wanted to die in the house where she is born I respect that, but I "left" the Sangha at the same time)

                    gassho to everyone,
                    Luis/Jinyu
                    ps: When I said I left the Sangha it is not totally true because I do some one or two days sesshin like once a month with them ... but I'm not always in Brussels as I was before, so sitting regularly with them is now difficult... And on the other hand I'm Ok with things as they are... And so happy to have found this wonderful Sangha!
                    Anyway, sorry, seems that I needed to share things :roll:
                    I'll just drop body and mind ... and bow!
                    Jinyu aka Luis aka Silly guy from Brussels

                    Comment

                    • forestree
                      Member
                      • Aug 2010
                      • 18

                      #11
                      Re: How to correctly perform prostrations

                      Thanks for sharing Luis, a really touching story.
                      Deep bows to Anne for her sincere intention.

                      Gassho
                      Francesca

                      Comment

                      • Stephanie

                        #12
                        Re: How to correctly perform prostrations

                        Luis, thank you for the powerful story, and teaching. What an amazing woman, and a great teacher that you met! Thank you for introducing us to Anne.

                        Comment

                        • Shohei
                          Member
                          • Oct 2007
                          • 2854

                          #13
                          Re: How to correctly perform prostrations

                          Great teaching!! thank you Luis and all.
                          Bowing sincerely

                          Even if you cannot see it.
                          Shohei

                          Comment

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