Sitting with someone you love

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  • Don Niederfrank
    Member
    • Jul 2007
    • 66

    Sitting with someone you love

    I sat this morning with my son, who's 24. It was surprisingly distracting but revealing of how deeply attached I am to him.

    The small question is: Do you sit with someone you love? What is it like?

    A larger question: Is the love we have for friends and family compassion or attachment or, as it seems this beautiful Saturday morning, a dynamic mix?

    I think sitting makes me, allows me to be, more compassionate in all relationships.

    Thank you all for you notes here. It is good not to walk alone.
    Un otro mundo es possible, si...
  • cdshrack
    Member
    • Jun 2007
    • 50

    #2
    Hi Reverend! Just want you to know it's a pleasure to have you here!

    Regarding your thoughts here, I've never sat with anyone I love... actually, I've never really sat with anyone i know [outside this Sangha, and there could be some argument as to how much i could really know any of you, let alone sit "with" you].

    As for the attachment/compassion issue, i LOVE that question. i haven't thought about it a lot, but a bit, and i would say that it used to be a lot of attachment for me, and some compassion. I like to think that i'm a bit more compassionate now, and i think i'm less "attached", though there's still some of each.

    I think what pointed this out most directly to me was a few years back. I was dating a lovely young lady, but when she wasn't around it didn't make me sad, per se. she just wasn't around, but she was out doing whatever made her her, which was cool.

    then my grandpa died. and that was sad, but expected, and easy to work through and i figured that i had made a lot of peace with the living and dying thing, as well as the relationship/attachment thing.

    then my cousin died. and he was a good friend and a bit younger than myself, and it was very unexpected, and there was a significant grieving process. although i thought i got through a lot of it at his funeral, it wasn't until a year later that i think i really sorted through most of it. but a lot of it was realizing a deep and abiding love, not just for him but for all of my family, which surely involves some attachment, but mainly i'm just pleased that he (and all the rest) was/is out there.

    heheh. i'm so long-winded.
    gassho, cd

    Comment

    • Jundo
      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
      • Apr 2006
      • 39075

      #3
      Re: Sitting with someone you love

      Originally posted by Don Niederfrank
      I sat this morning with my son, who's 24. It was surprisingly distracting but revealing of how deeply attached I am to him.

      The small question is: Do you sit with someone you love? What is it like?

      A larger question: Is the love we have for friends and family compassion or attachment or, as it seems this beautiful Saturday morning, a dynamic mix?

      I think sitting makes me, allows me to be, more compassionate in all relationships.

      Thank you all for you notes here. It is good not to walk alone.
      Hi Rev. Don,

      I would say that it is "attachment" if we make it psychologically into an attachment, and pure "love" if we allow it to be love. The act of being a good parent is "compassion", and nothing to be chased away. There is nothing wrong with sitting, and being present with, any human emotion ... love being one of the most human. (I do not mean to sound like a wall poster from the '60s, but): "When you feel love, just feel love." The only question is how we handle that emotion in our lives, and whether there is balance in our attitude toward it.

      In my view (most Soto priests in Japan and the West are married and/or have partners), the Buddha certainly recommended - and seemingly insisted - that "home leavers" actually leave their home, family, etc., as a source of distraction and attachment. Now, as we teach forms of Buddhism to practitioners with homes and families (and have those homes and families ourselves), the emphasis is on "leaving home" as a state of mind, and "attachments" and strong emotions as an aid in our Practice. A wholesome "love" is not something to be pushed away, but is a key part of our comlpex human lives that we are embracing in our Practice.

      If the Buddha taught something else, well, the Teachings have moved on and the Buddha is out of date on that point. (If you have a chance, Don, please have a listen to a little talk I gave on the subject of a changing Buddhism):

      http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2007/06 ... wrong.html

      This is especially true when it is the love of a father for a son, a very pure love. But, it is also the wholesome love of a man and woman. You should just "sit with the emotion", allowing the love and strong emotions to be, open and aware of the sensations, neither pushing them away nor actively encouraging them during Zazen. And in daily life, I believe that our practice for such things in our day-to-day lives is to allow these powerful emotions to be, to nurture them, but not have them spread into attachment, clinging, unhealthy need, unbalanced dependence. Our Zen practice should allow us to bring balance into the emotion ... and to know a pure love without attachment, clinging, imbalance, etc. I think.

      It is a very powerful emotion, love ... so a very fine line to walk. You will know the line as you cross it.

      I was thinking that, on next Valentine's day, I would do a special "couple's sitting," even experimenting with some skinship contact during Zazen. (We try a lot of experiments around here).

      Gassho, Jundo
      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

      Comment

      • Jun
        Member
        • Jun 2007
        • 236

        #4
        Hello,

        My wife and I sit together everyday. We have always sat together. It's something we've always done together. Wether compassion for our loved one's is attachment, that is a good question worth thinking about.

        Gassho
        Gassho
        Jun
        The life and teachings of Suzuki Shõsan Rõshi - http://kongoshin.blogspot.com/

        Comment

        • Don Niederfrank
          Member
          • Jul 2007
          • 66

          #5
          Thank you

          Thank you each and all for your words and wisdom.

          From the bottom up...

          Jun,
          My wife and I sit and drink coffee by candle light as an important ritual of our marriage. Even on mornings when we don't feel like talking to each other!

          Jundo,

          I will listen. Beyond the Buddha?! I have been pretty traditional in my learning before now. This is very interesting. Just sitting with what/who is there. Thank you. I don't know if 'self-talk' is traditionally part of Zen practice but I think my mantra/re-minder/re-centerer is "Just count the next breath, Don." :-)

          I'm reminded of a story whose source I can't remember. The young son of the abbot of a Zen monastary died unexpectedly. When some of the monks came and found the abbot weeping, they said, "But you have always taught us that all is an illusion." "Yes," said the abbott, "but this is the most painful is illusions."

          What is there, is there. Thank you again.

          cd,
          My wife returned Wed. from 10 days in Chiapas, Mexico. "Wasn't around" was a mess for me! LOL! There's nothing like a change in routine to offer one a mirror. Your stories about grief remind of my own struggles with my mortality. (Alas, I've never quite bought the heaven concept...) And one day I was driving along enjoying the day until I became sad about having to leave this life sometime. And then a couple of thoughts occured--"You're not going anywhere, Don." and "Besides, you've always been here." So peace. And more peace when I can let go of "here".

          Thank you all for you welcome. FWIW, my parishioners call me "Don".
          Un otro mundo es possible, si...

          Comment

          • Justin
            Member
            • Jul 2007
            • 97

            #6
            This topic makes me feel warm and fuzzy. :lol:

            Comment

            • Keishin
              Member
              • Jun 2007
              • 471

              #7
              sitting with someone you love

              I've never sat zazen with a lover. None of my partners were interested in sitting, but were open handed in giving me free range to sit when and where I wanted to. I've sat at a sangha where quite a few couldn't sit regularly on Sundays because it was their day to spend with their partner. (Perhaps had I spent Sundays at home with my honey, I'd still have one?)
              I've been at a sesshin where I've sat next to someone I didn't particularly care for--it was interesting to feel that side of my body bristle in awareness--responding immediately to their every move.
              While it was distracting it was also very interesting practice and I recommend it heartily--perhaps even more so that sitting with someone you love!
              Even in that sesshin situation, after a while, I've found no matter where I am or who I'm with I sit alone and with all and everything--even when I sit by myself.
              It's just the best, even when it's lousy.
              gassho
              keishin

              Comment

              • Fuken
                Member
                • Sep 2006
                • 435

                #8
                I wrote a bit about sitting with my youngest daughter here:

                http://asuradharma.blogspot.com/2007/01 ... upted.html

                Shamless blog plug!


                In gassho,
                Jordan
                Yours in practice,
                Jordan ("Fu Ken" translates to "Wind Sword", Dharma name givin to me by Jundo, I am so glad he did not name me Wind bag.)

                Comment

                • Don Niederfrank
                  Member
                  • Jul 2007
                  • 66

                  #9
                  Maybe...

                  it's about loving the person(s) with whom we're sitting.
                  Un otro mundo es possible, si...

                  Comment

                  • Don Niederfrank
                    Member
                    • Jul 2007
                    • 66

                    #10
                    Speaking fo sitting with those we love...

                    Distraction


                    A clean zabuton

                    Shedding white cat visiting

                    Fifteen...sixteen...seventeen

                    Un otro mundo es possible, si...

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