The Zendo Has No Walls

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  • Yugen
    • May 2024

    The Zendo Has No Walls

    I've been exploring life on and off the zafu - trying to carry the attitude and comportment of zazen beyond thirty or forty minutes of formal sitting into my daily life, so that ultimately, it is all practice. I am particularly sensitive to this as a priest-in-training. My practice has a newness to it, like a newborn opening its eyes for the first time.

    Is there a point where the attitude of zazen is not limited to the cushion? Nanao Sakaki was once asked how long per day he sat, and answered "I used to do zazen three to four hours per day - and then while I was brushing my teeth I realized that was zazen too..."

    This is not to say that we stop doing "formal" zazen, but at some point life becomes zazen and zazen is life.

    As part of my Engaged Projects work, I have been volunteering at a nonprofit art project for adults with disabilities. Through our artistic expression, the (dis) drops away from 'ability' and we discover our common humanity - the only differences we have are the ones we impose with our discriminating minds. This place has become a zendo, a place of practice for me. The walls of my zendo are expanding to include my life's activities and interactions.

    I was picking my son up from school today, and I stopped to say hello to the crossing guard. I asked her how she was doing and she did me the privilege of being honest and saying "not so good." When I asked why, she told me her sciatica had been acting up for over a month and walking was painful. Despite this, she has been showing up for crossing guard duty morning and afternoon each day, walking back and forth in the crosswalk, in pain, because "these are my kids."

    The gifts and lessons of practice are available to us at all times - not just on the zafu - life living itself. Despite the pain, maybe because of the pain, we find the essential truth. Sometimes we just keep going because that's all we can do.

    My Zendo is boundless and wide, like the ocean, like the Dharma.

    Deep bows
    Yugen
    Last edited by Guest; 10-17-2013, 08:37 PM.
  • Kokuu
    Treeleaf Priest
    • Nov 2012
    • 6737

    #2
    Wise words, Yugen. Thank you for your practice. I guess the aim for all of us is to widen the walls of our Zendo until it includes all of life.

    Deep bows
    Andy

    Comment

    • Heisoku
      Member
      • Jun 2010
      • 1338

      #3
      Wonderful and inspiring Yugen.
      Our practice has to include the whole universe, everything here in this moment.
      Gassho.

      Sent from my BlackBerry 9790 using Tapatalk
      Heisoku 平 息
      Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. (Basho)

      Comment

      • Rich
        Member
        • Apr 2009
        • 2587

        #4
        Thank you. Wonderful to hear this.

        Sent from my RM-860_nam_usa_100 using Tapatalk
        _/_
        Rich
        MUHYO
        無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

        https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

        Comment

        • Kyonin
          Treeleaf Priest / Engineer
          • Oct 2010
          • 6739

          #5
          Yes, our zendo is a place called Universe and there's dharma everywhere.

          We just have to open our eyes and hearts and it is there.

          Whenever you see the crossing guard, please tell her she has many friends here.

          Gassho for you and for her,

          Kyonin
          Hondō Kyōnin
          奔道 協忍

          Comment

          • KellyRok
            Member
            • Jul 2008
            • 1374

            #6
            I was picking my son up from school today, and I stopped to say hello to the crossing guard. I asked her how she was doing and she did me the privilege of being honest and saying "not so good." When I asked why, she told me her sciatica had been acting up for over a month and walking was painful. Despite this, she has been showing up for crossing guard duty morning and afternoon each day, walking back and forth in the crosswalk, in pain, because "these are my kids."
            I can see her smile. I truly love teaching moments whether we are being taught, or are helping to instruct someone else. These give and take moments...just like the breath in zazen.

            Thank you so much for sharing and reminding us of this.

            Kelly/Jinmei

            Comment

            • Myosha
              Member
              • Mar 2013
              • 2974

              #7
              Thank you.


              Gassho,
              Edward
              "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

              Comment

              • Heishu
                Member
                • Sep 2012
                • 484

                #8
                Thank you so much for sharing your gift of practice with us.

                Gassho,
                Heishu


                “Blessed are the flexible, for they never get bent out of shape." Author Unknown

                Comment

                • Mp

                  #9
                  Wonderful Yugen ... "life living itself" ... love it.

                  Gassho
                  Shingen

                  Comment

                  • pinoybuddhist
                    Member
                    • Jun 2010
                    • 462

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Yugen
                    I've been exploring life on and off the zafu - trying to carry the attitude and comportment of zazen beyond thirty or forty minutes of formal sitting into my daily life, so that ultimately, it is all practice.

                    Is there a point where the attitude of zazen is not limited to the cushion? Nanao Sakaki was once asked how long per day he sat, and answered "I used to do zazen three to four hours per day - and then while I was brushing my teeth I realized that was zazen too..."

                    This is not to say that we stop doing "formal" zazen, but at some point life becomes zazen and zazen is life.

                    As part of my Engaged Projects work, I have been volunteering at a nonprofit art project for adults with disabilities. Through our artistic expression, the (dis) drops away from 'ability' and we discover our common humanity - the only differences we have are the ones we impose with our discriminating minds. This place has become a zendo, a place of practice for me. The walls of my zendo are expanding to include my life's activities and interactions.

                    I was picking my son up from school today, and I stopped to say hello to the crossing guard. I asked her how she was doing and she did me the privilege of being honest and saying "not so good." When I asked why, she told me her sciatica had been acting up for over a month and walking was painful. Despite this, she has been showing up for crossing guard duty morning and afternoon each day, walking back and forth in the crosswalk, in pain, because "these are my kids."

                    The gifts and lessons of practice are available to us at all times - not just on the zafu - life living itself. Despite the pain, maybe because of the pain, we find the essential truth. Sometimes we just keep going because that's all we can do.

                    My Zendo is boundless and wide, like the ocean, like the Dharma.

                    Deep bows
                    Yugen

                    Boundless indeed.


                    Rafael

                    Comment

                    • Ishin
                      Member
                      • Jul 2013
                      • 1359

                      #11
                      Grateful for your practice

                      Comment

                      • Myozan Kodo
                        Friend of Treeleaf
                        • May 2010
                        • 1901

                        #12
                        Fantastic, brother.
                        Deep bows.
                        Myozan

                        Comment

                        • Nindo

                          #13
                          Deep bows.
                          Nindo

                          Comment

                          • Joyo

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Yugen
                            I've been exploring life on and off the zafu - trying to carry the attitude and comportment of zazen beyond thirty or forty minutes of formal sitting into my daily life, so that ultimately, it is all practice. I am particularly sensitive to this as a priest-in-training. My practice has a newness to it, like a newborn opening its eyes for the first time.

                            Is there a point where the attitude of zazen is not limited to the cushion? Nanao Sakaki was once asked how long per day he sat, and answered "I used to do zazen three to four hours per day - and then while I was brushing my teeth I realized that was zazen too..."

                            This is not to say that we stop doing "formal" zazen, but at some point life becomes zazen and zazen is life.

                            As part of my Engaged Projects work, I have been volunteering at a nonprofit art project for adults with disabilities. Through our artistic expression, the (dis) drops away from 'ability' and we discover our common humanity - the only differences we have are the ones we impose with our discriminating minds. This place has become a zendo, a place of practice for me. The walls of my zendo are expanding to include my life's activities and interactions.

                            I was picking my son up from school today, and I stopped to say hello to the crossing guard. I asked her how she was doing and she did me the privilege of being honest and saying "not so good." When I asked why, she told me her sciatica had been acting up for over a month and walking was painful. Despite this, she has been showing up for crossing guard duty morning and afternoon each day, walking back and forth in the crosswalk, in pain, because "these are my kids."

                            The gifts and lessons of practice are available to us at all times - not just on the zafu - life living itself. Despite the pain, maybe because of the pain, we find the essential truth. Sometimes we just keep going because that's all we can do.

                            My Zendo is boundless and wide, like the ocean, like the Dharma.

                            Deep bows
                            Yugen

                            Yugen, thank you for sharing. I have been struggling with my youngest son's behaviour for months and months now. He is very, very defiant and strong-willed to the core. Today was an extra challenging day and I just felt like I did not know how I was going to go on anymore. But, your words give me the encouragement to keep going, despite the pain it feels to parent such a child, this too is my practice.

                            With deep bows,
                            Treena

                            Comment

                            • Jiken
                              Member
                              • Jan 2011
                              • 753

                              #15
                              Gassho Yugen

                              Daido

                              Comment

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