Question about the way I do Zazen

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  • Shui_Di
    Member
    • Apr 2008
    • 210

    Question about the way I do Zazen

    Hi Jundo and everyone :mrgreen:

    Because I'm a beginner, that's why I want to ask for your opinion about my practice.

    Jundo said that in Zazen there is nothing to achieve. Because Zazen can't be separated with enlightenment itself.

    So, When I do Zazen, I just let everything as it is, because everything was complete, the reality was complete.

    But, then the problem occur.
    When I just let the body and mind as it is, then my mind is like a monkey. Well, I just let it become like a monkey, as it is. I try to let it go and come, so it doesn't disturb me again.
    But, some times it can make me lose my awareness.

    So, is it right for me to just continue the way I practice?

    Is "losing the awareness" also the reality itself?

    I really hope your opinion.... and Thanks

    Gassho, Shui Di.
    Practicing the Way means letting all things be what they are in their Self-nature. - Master Dogen.
  • Kelly M.
    Member
    • Sep 2007
    • 225

    #2
    Re: Question about the way I do Zazen

    Hi Shui Di and Welcome,

    I think this is something we all experience. I know I do.

    When I first began sitting Zazen, nearly a year ago, I would try to force myself into letting go of all thought, forcibly keeping my mind clear, which would make the whole experience unproductive. Since then I have learned to let go of my thoughts; to relax my mind instead. I don’t mean relaxing as in letting my thoughts run where they please, but instead relaxing as in dropping my need to think them in the first place. I find this helps me drop my monkey mind in a much gentler way, and return to the present.

    I do think we should aim to remain in the present, but knowing that the target my not be possible to obtain for any extended period at this point in our practice. But we aim anyways. Yet despite this, and perhaps contrarily, I think we need to accept what thoughts do come to mind.

    Uchiyama teaches that these thoughts are only the scenery of Zazen, and nothing but a stone could remain thoughtless indefinitely. Uchiyama defines Zazen not simply as sitting in the present moment, but also as the act of returning to the present moment. Just like the weather, your mind will have clear days and cloudy day. Accept both, yet aim for the present anyways.

    I don’t think that our thoughts are a curse; I suspect they are the riddle we sit with.

    Those are my thoughts anyways, I hope others will correct me if I’m mistaken.

    Gassho,
    Kelly
    Live in joy and love, even among those who hate
    Live in joy and health, even among the afflicted
    Live in joy and peace, even among the troubled
    Look within and be still; free from fear and grasping
    Know the sweet joy of living in the way.

    Comment

    • Damian
      Member
      • Jan 2008
      • 84

      #3
      Re: Question about the way I do Zazen

      For myself a high point in my zazen is when I realize that my mind has wandered. because that means I am aware that my mind has wandered and can refocus. I just try to not get stressed about my thoughts and continue on. No matter what happens I take Jundo's advice and think this is all "perfect as it is" foul ups and everything.

      Gassho,
      Damian

      Comment

      • Jundo
        Treeleaf Founder and Priest
        • Apr 2006
        • 39221

        #4
        Re: Question about the way I do Zazen

        Originally posted by Shui_Di
        Hi Jundo and everyone :mrgreen:

        Because I'm a beginner, that's why I want to ask for your opinion about my practice.

        Jundo said that in Zazen there is nothing to achieve. Because Zazen can't be separated with enlightenment itself.

        So, When I do Zazen, I just let everything as it is, because everything was complete, the reality was complete.

        But, then the problem occur.
        When I just let the body and mind as it is, then my mind is like a monkey. Well, I just let it become like a monkey, as it is. I try to let it go and come, so it doesn't disturb me again.
        But, some times it can make me lose my awareness.

        So, is it right for me to just continue the way I practice?

        Is "losing the awareness" also the reality itself?

        I really hope your opinion.... and Thanks

        Gassho, Shui Di.
        Hello Shui Di,

        I believe I can answer this as follows:

        In our day to day life, we have "monkey mind", which jumps all over his cage with wild thoughts and emotions. The monkey's passions run to extremes, he bangs his head against the hard bars, and he clutches for bananas.

        In Zazen, we just let things be "as they are" with "nothing to achieve". All is complete in the moment of Zazen, with nothing to add or take away. Now, the trick (monkey trick?) is that, what is achieved by this "no achievement", and attained by this "no attainment", is a quiet monkey who no longer feels the need to run around the cage, and instead, can sit perfectly still. The monkey is now calm and balanced, at peace and not banging his head against the world-cage (in fact, the cage bars may be said to vanish!!), excess or all thoughts and emotions drop away. In fact, even all thought of monkey, cage, jumping and running, and bananas may drop fully or partly away ...

        However, because we let Zazen to be "just as it is", and monkeys to be monkeys, not every day of Zazen will be so peaceful. Somedays monkey mind will simply not be calm, and the mind during Zazen will be filled with thoughts and wild emotions. The important thing, I think, is that we must not reject one monkey over the other, we must not think (in dropping all thought of "good" or "bad") that quiet and forgotten monkeys are "good" while noisy monkeys are "bad". WE JUST LET MONKEYS BE MONKEYS EVEN AS WE RETURN AGAIN AND AGAIN TO ALLOWING THE MONKEY TO SETTLE DOWN IN STILLNESS.

        Is that clear (or am I just making a monkey of myself)??

        Eventually, I believe, in our Practice we learn how to allow even the noisy, disturbed monkey to be not so noisy or disturbed, and how to run around his cage with greater calm and balance, avoiding emotional and thought extremes. This is the Monkey Middle Way!

        And, further, we also learn that the "still" monkey and the "moving" monkey exist at the very same time, without conflict. That's "Stillness" beyond "stillness" or "motion", "Non-attainment" holding "attainment" and "no attainment" without the slightest conflict.

        I am not fully clear on what you meant, Shui Di, by the monkey mind causing you to "lose your awareness", but I hope the foregoing answered what you mean.

        Kelley, I have a very good feeling from the words you wrote, and I think you are describing things nicely.

        Damian, yes, there are absolutely no foul ups ... even the foul ups! :wink:

        Gassho, Jundo

        ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

        Comment

        • will
          Member
          • Jun 2007
          • 2331

          #5
          Re: Question about the way I do Zazen

          Yep. What they said sounds good Shui di.

          So, When I do Zazen, I just let everything as it is, because everything was complete, the reality was complete.
          Yep. But don't think about it too much.

          Just sit your butt down and let it be

          Do that for about 40 years and you'll be alright I think.


          G,W
          [size=85:z6oilzbt]
          To save all sentient beings, though beings are numberless.
          To penetrate reality, though reality is boundless.
          To transform all delusion, though delusions are immeasurable.
          To attain the enlightened way, a way non-attainable.
          [/size:z6oilzbt]

          Comment

          • Shui_Di
            Member
            • Apr 2008
            • 210

            #6
            Re: Question about the way I do Zazen

            Thanks Jundo, Kelley, Will and Damian for the replies.

            For Jundo...What I meant as "lose awareness" is just like "blank". So, I just feel "blankness".

            But, now I understand. It's "just as it is" foul ups :mrgreen:

            Thank you very much every body...

            Gassho, Shui Di
            Practicing the Way means letting all things be what they are in their Self-nature. - Master Dogen.

            Comment

            • Shui_Di
              Member
              • Apr 2008
              • 210

              #7
              Re: Question about the way I do Zazen

              Thanks HezB and Will....

              It's helped....

              Thanks...
              Practicing the Way means letting all things be what they are in their Self-nature. - Master Dogen.

              Comment

              • Skye
                Member
                • Feb 2008
                • 234

                #8
                Re: Question about the way I do Zazen

                How delightful and mysterious that such a simple practice can both encompass the totality of the inner and outer universe and simultaneously sweep it away.
                Even on one blade of grass / the cool breeze / lingers - Issa

                Comment

                • Shindo
                  Member
                  • Mar 2008
                  • 278

                  #9
                  Re: Question about the way I do Zazen

                  Great thread and some lovely responses.
                  For me the biggest impact has been to practice with my eyes open. I find it takes longer to settle, but when I leave the cushion echos of my practice ripple throughout the day.
                  Kindest regards
                  Jools
                  [color=#404040:301177ix]"[i:301177ix]I come to realize that mind is no other than mountains and rivers and the great wide earth, the sun and the moon and star[/i:301177ix]s". - [b:301177ix]Dogen[/b:301177ix][/color:301177ix]

                  Comment

                  • Jundo
                    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                    • Apr 2006
                    • 39221

                    #10
                    Re: Question about the way I do Zazen

                    Originally posted by Jools
                    Great thread and some lovely responses.
                    For me the biggest impact has been to practice with my eyes open. I find it takes longer to settle, but when I leave the cushion echos of my practice ripple throughout the day.
                    Kindest regards
                    Jools
                    Yes, this is one reason behind our sitting with eyes half open,

                    Gassho, Jundo
                    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                    Comment

                    • Shui_Di
                      Member
                      • Apr 2008
                      • 210

                      #11
                      Re: Question about the way I do Zazen

                      Thanks every body...

                      yesterday night and this morning, I did my Zazen. And I think, all of your suggestions works...

                      I just sit, and keep my posture right and keep my eyes to half open. Then, I just don't care about everything.
                      Just Sit, and let everything as it is. Then the worried feeling of "failed Zazen" disappear itself. Just as it is... :wink:

                      Btw, thanks Jundo for the sweet monkey... :lol:

                      Well, thank you for your great suggestions.... .

                      Gassho, Shui Di.
                      Practicing the Way means letting all things be what they are in their Self-nature. - Master Dogen.

                      Comment

                      • TracyF
                        Member
                        • Nov 2007
                        • 188

                        #12
                        Re: Question about the way I do Zazen

                        Originally posted by Jools
                        Great thread and some lovely responses.
                        For me the biggest impact has been to practice with my eyes open. I find it takes longer to settle, but when I leave the cushion echos of my practice ripple throughout the day.
                        Kindest regards
                        Jools
                        Nice way to put it, Jools. Thanks.

                        BTW, Jundo. Love your little zazen monkey. I sketched a zazen monkey not too long ago and thought I was being clever. Figures, it wasn't an original idea. Well, I cracked myself up when I was drawing it. :lol:



                        Notice, the zazen monkey is a Japanese snow monkey. (his thumbs are sticking up to high just like me) :wink:

                        Comment

                        • Aswini
                          Member
                          • Apr 2008
                          • 108

                          #13
                          Re: Question about the way I do Zazen

                          Hi,

                          This eyes closed thing caught my attention.

                          Jools wrote:Great thread and some lovely responses.
                          For me the biggest impact has been to practice with my eyes open. I find it takes longer to settle, but when I leave the cushion echos of my practice ripple throughout the day.
                          Kindest regards
                          Jools



                          Yes, this is one reason behind our sitting with eyes half open,

                          Gassho, Jundo


                          I might try this out with the eyes half open.

                          Jools - Do you sit with your eyes fully open or half open.

                          Of course I have not tried it out yet, but If you are sitting facing a wall I don't get why the eyes should be open, it seems to be similar in that situation as to have the eyes closed. When I first given a guided-meditation/group sit on this practice it was up to the individual if they should sit with their eyes closed or half open, we weren't facing walls.

                          The other thing, often I get a 40 min public transport ride twice daily in which I sit (on the seat) and zazen. I don't having eyes open would be feasible, all the passengers would think i'm weird (which i am) 8) whereas with my eyes closed ppl think I'm just sleeping.

                          Mettha/Gassho?

                          Comment

                          • will
                            Member
                            • Jun 2007
                            • 2331

                            #14
                            Re: Question about the way I do Zazen

                            how to quote:

                            [quote*]text here[/quote*]

                            remove the ( * )
                            G,W
                            [size=85:z6oilzbt]
                            To save all sentient beings, though beings are numberless.
                            To penetrate reality, though reality is boundless.
                            To transform all delusion, though delusions are immeasurable.
                            To attain the enlightened way, a way non-attainable.
                            [/size:z6oilzbt]

                            Comment

                            • lindabeekeeper
                              Member
                              • Jan 2008
                              • 162

                              #15
                              Re: Question about the way I do Zazen

                              Originally posted by Aswini
                              The other thing, often I get a 40 min public transport ride twice daily in which I sit (on the seat) and zazen. I don't having eyes open would be feasible, all the passengers would think i'm weird (which i am) 8) whereas with my eyes closed ppl think I'm just sleeping.
                              You can always do like the spies do and wear dark shades. 8)


                              Linda

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