Short Retreat...

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  • dharmasponge
    Member
    • Oct 2013
    • 278

    Short Retreat...

    hi everyone,

    I have managed to get some time off work and have booked into a Theravadin Monastery for a short week long retreat. There's nothing in terms of 'Zen' retreats here in my part of the UK - apart from a Western Ch'an Fellowship one but I can't get the time off - downside of being a clinician in Psychologies

    I am feeling a little anxious about practicing Shikantaza in a Theravadin Monastery - its daft I know but it feel a little, well disjointed.

    Any advice on how I can get my head around this...

    Tony...

    Sat today
    Sat today
  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39211

    #2
    Hi Tony,

    I would say to sit Shikantaza or to sit as they show you. Then do so thoroughly.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    Comment

    • Nindo

      #3
      Originally posted by Jundo
      Hi Tony,

      I would say to sit Shikantaza or to sit as they show you. Then do so thoroughly.

      Gassho, J

      SatToday
      Hi Tony,

      I've sat several Vipassana retreats, which are not exactly Theravadin, but close. When specific instruction was given for a period or part of the day, I followed along. If no instruction was given, I sat shikantaza. Just go with the flow and don't analyse. It'll be great

      Gassho
      Nindo
      sattoday

      Comment

      • Kyonin
        Treeleaf Priest / Engineer
        • Oct 2010
        • 6739

        #4
        Hi Tony!

        I have gone a couple of times to sit at a Khamlungpa (Tibetan) Centre here in the city. They don't sit shikantaza, but I just do what they do and the experience has been great so far.

        So, enjoy the retreat and when in Rome...

        Gassho,

        Kyonin
        #SatToday
        Hondō Kyōnin
        奔道 協忍

        Comment

        • Byokan
          Treeleaf Unsui
          • Apr 2014
          • 4279

          #5
          Hi Tony,

          yup, sounds like good advice from more experienced folk. Just wanted to wish you a great time at the retreat! Would love to hear your impressions when you get back, if you feel like writing about it.

          Gassho
          Lisa
          sat today
          展道 渺寛 Tendō Byōkan
          Please take my words with a big grain of salt. I know nothing. Wisdom is only found in our whole-hearted practice together.

          Comment

          • Mp

            #6
            Originally posted by Jundo
            I would say to sit Shikantaza or to sit as they show you. Then do so thoroughly.
            Hello Tony,

            I too have sat many retreats in different styles ... as Jundo also says, "When in Rome does as the Romans". Enjoy your retreat. =)

            Gassho
            Shingen

            #sattoday

            Comment

            • dharmasponge
              Member
              • Oct 2013
              • 278

              #7
              Thanks everyone, its a self led retreat. So apart from chatting to one of the monks there won't be any formal instructions.

              Sat Today
              Sat today

              Comment

              • Jundo
                Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                • Apr 2006
                • 39211

                #8
                I will say that I have sat Shikantaza when visiting places from Laos to Vietnam to Thailand to Tibet, and it was no problem at all. Nobody knows what happens within your head but you, so sit your sit. Other times I have sampled the local way.

                Of course, as a Shikantaza teacher I will recommend you to sit Shikantaza, but I am of course completely biased. :-)

                The Buddha Way is no biases right amid biases, boundless no matter the place or setting.

                Gassho, Jundo

                SatToday
                Last edited by Jundo; 06-04-2015, 06:38 AM.
                ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                Comment

                • dharmasponge
                  Member
                  • Oct 2013
                  • 278

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Jundo
                  I will say that I have sat Shikantaza when visiting places from Laos to Vietnam to Thailand to Tibet, and it was no problem at all. Nobody knows what happens within your head but you, so sit your sit. Other times I have sampled the local way.

                  Of course, as a Shikantaza teacher I will recommend you to sit Shikantaza, but I am of course completely biased. :-)

                  The Buddha Way is no biases right amid biases, boundless no matter the place or setting.

                  Gassho, Jundo

                  SatToday
                  Thanks Jundo (and everyone!)

                  I wonder if there are actually any practices in the Theravada that are similar to Shikantaza...?

                  Sat Today
                  Sat today

                  Comment

                  • Jishin
                    Member
                    • Oct 2012
                    • 4819

                    #10
                    Originally posted by dharmasponge
                    I wonder if there are actually any practices in the Theravada that are similar to Shikantaza...?
                    Yes.

                    Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

                    Comment

                    • dharmasponge
                      Member
                      • Oct 2013
                      • 278

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Jishin
                      Yes.

                      Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_
                      Like?
                      Sat today

                      Comment

                      • Jundo
                        Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                        • Apr 2006
                        • 39211

                        #12
                        Hi Tony,

                        There was an interesting book a few years ago by a Western Theravada teacher that I summarize here. PERHAPS Shikantaza is very much resonant of the so-called "Fourth Jhana" (the one the Buddha recommended as the ultimate path in this world) as described in the old Suttas before the Commentaries modified their interpretation. I have written about this before.

                        A book that should be mentioned is the recent "The Experience of Samadhi" by Richard Shankman, a survey of historical and modern Theravadan interpretations of Samadhi and Jhana. What is particularly interesting in reading the book is the extent of disagreement and widely varied interpretations from teacher to teacher, Sri Lankan vs. Burmese vs. Thai vs. Westerners, Lineage to Lineage even in that neck of the Buddhist world. Here is a Buddhistgeeks interview the author gave ... and as he discusses, there is little agreement, either currently or in centuries past, among the South Asian traditions either about "what the Buddha taught", or at least, how to interpret "what the Buddha taught" on the subject of Jhana. In the book, he interviews about two dozen teachers in South Asian traditions, and gets about two dozen, often very dissimilar interpretations.

                        We continue our discussion with insight meditation teacher and author, Richard Shankman. In this episode we continue to dissect the different kinds of samadhi and their respective fruits--what in the Theravada tradition are called jhana (or "meditative absorption"). According to Shankman there are two ways of approaching the attainment of jhana, one as was taught in the original canonical texts of the Theravada, the Pali Suttas, and the other from the later commentaries on the Buddha's teachings, the Vishudimagga. As a result we get two different forms of jhana--one called Sutta jhana and the other called Vishudimagga jhana. ...

                        http://personallifemedia.com/guests/...chard-shankman
                        Richard Shankman's book makes one very interesting point that, perhaps, can be interpreted to mean that practices such as Shikantaza and the like actually cut right to the summit of Jhana practice. You see, it might perhaps be argued (from some interpretations presented in the book) that Shikantaza practice is very close to what is referred to as the "Fourth Jhana in the Suttas" ... as opposed to the highly concentrated, hyper-absorbed Visuddhimagga commentary version. The Fourth Jhana in the Pali Suttas was considered the 'summit' of Jhana practice (as the higher Jhana, No. 5 to 8, were not encouraged as a kind of otherworldly 'dead end') and appears to manifest (quoting the sutta descriptions in the book) "an abandoning of pleasure, pain, attractions/aversions, a dropping of both joy and grief", a dropping away of both rapture and bliss states, resulting in a "purity of mindfulness" and "equanimity". Combine this with the fact that, more than a "one pointed mind absorbed into a particular object", there is a "unification of mind" (described as a broader awareness around the object of meditation ... whereby the "mind itself becomes collected and unmoving, but not the objects of awareness, as mindfulness becomes lucid, effortless and unbroken" (See, for examples. pages 82-83 here))

                        Dharma practice comprises a wide range of wise instructions and skillful means. As a result, meditators may be exposed to a diversity of approaches to the core teachings and the meditative path—and that can be confusing at times. In this clear and accessible exploration, Dharma teacher and longtime meditator Richard Shankman unravels the mix of differing, sometimes conflicting, views and traditional teachings on how samadhi (concentration) is understood and taught. In part one, Richard Shankman explores the range of teachings and views about samadhi in the Theravada Pali tradition, examines different approaches, and considers how they can inform and enrich our meditation practice. Part two consists of a series of interviews with prominent contemporary Theravada and Vipassana (Insight) Buddhist teachers. These discussions focus on the practical experience of samadhi, bringing the theoretical to life and offering a range of applications of the different meditation techniques.


                        A bit of the discussion of the highest (in Buddhist Practice) "Fourth Jhana", and its emphasis on equanimity while present amid circumstances (and a dropping of bliss states), can be found on page 49.

                        This is very close to a description of Shikantaza, for example, as dropping all aversions and attractions, finding unification of mind, collected and unmoving, effortless and unbroken, in/as/through/not removed from the life, circumstances, complexities which surround us and are us, sitting still with what is just as it is.
                        But even if not, all of Buddhism is precisely the same even when radically different, very different even though always the same.

                        Gassho, J

                        SatToday
                        ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                        Comment

                        • dharmasponge
                          Member
                          • Oct 2013
                          • 278

                          #13
                          ~Thanks Jundo, that is a great book. I think its a massive aspiration for anyone to consider even managing to experience the first Jhana let alone the fourth -my understanding anyway. I can however, see the parallels.

                          Sat Today
                          Sat today

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