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on what are you sitting on?

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on what are you sitting on?

Postby bokki on Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:11 am

Id like to ask this to my Soto bros, when they sit shikantaza, but anyone welcome to comment.
WHEN YOU SIT, WHAT ARE YOU SITTING ON?
zafu,zabuton, or whats your stile?
cross legs and sit on a zafu, is that your idea?
When you sit, what are you sitting on?
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Re: on what are you sitting on?

Postby jundo on Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:49 pm

bokki wrote:Id like to ask this to my Soto bros, when they sit shikantaza, but anyone welcome to comment.
WHEN YOU SIT, WHAT ARE YOU SITTING ON?
zafu,zabuton, or whats your stile?
cross legs and sit on a zafu, is that your idea?
When you sit, what are you sitting on?


Hi,

One can sit in many balanced ways. A chair or seiza bench can also be fine.

However, I usually sit on a Zafu on top of a tatami floor (because I happen to live in Japan where there are many tatami floors). I sometimes use a Zabuton as well, with the Zafu on it.

Gassho, J
Founder Treeleaf Zendo, Japan. Member SZBA. Treeleaf is an online Sangha for those unable to commute to a Sangha, w/ netcast Zazen, interaction with other practitioners and teachers & all activities of a Soto Sangha, fully online without charge (http://www.treeleaf.org) Nishijima/Niwa
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Re: on what are you sitting on?

Postby macdougdoug on Tue Jun 13, 2017 3:27 pm

At home I sit on the edge of a chair. At the zendo I usually start out seiza on a zafu and zabuton, then after the kinhin I sit burmese stlye. This is because if I sit cross legged before the kinhin I'm unable to walk as one of my legs always goes dead.

The abbot was quite strict about "proper" sitting for a very long time, and anyone who felt they had to sit on a chair was not allowed to sit in the zendo, but just outside. I think he's calmed down a bit now since having some problems with his knees in his old age (he uses a little seiza bench these days)
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Re: on what are you sitting on?

Postby Caodemarte on Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:15 pm

Kneeling on a zafu on a zabuton. On retreats I will change to a kneeling on two zabutons and eventually switch to a bench over time. I have never been able to sit cross-legged, let alone even Burmese. It is very difficult foe me to keep an erect back and posture in a chair so I respect people able to keep mentally alert sitting that way.
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Re: on what are you sitting on?

Postby jundo on Wed Jun 14, 2017 3:03 am

macdougdoug wrote: This is because if I sit cross legged before the kinhin I'm unable to walk as one of my legs always goes dead.



Hi Doug,

This is probably because you are pressing on the sciatic nerve while sitting. You may be sitting too far back on the Zafu so that the Zafu itself is pressing that point. It depends on the circumference of the Zafu, but generally you should be sitting on the front half or third of the Zafu so that it forms a wedge, and is not pressing the leg so. In any case, if you leg starts to go dead, you can gently shift your weight by leaning very slightly to the side so that the pressure is taken off that leg. Feeling should fully return in a minute.

Gassho, Jundo
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Re: on what are you sitting on?

Postby desert_woodworker on Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:26 am

I'm not specifically a Soto practitioner, but am no stranger to that practice.

One of the very great things is that posture can be worked-on and modified over a period of weeks and months (and of course years).

It's usually the connective tissue which needs to lengthen. The connective tissue lengthens by growing. It does not "stretch" (well, very little). The connective tissue is encouraged to grow -- and is given the conditions to grow -- by stretching it, but the "stretching" (tensioning, really) must continue for about three minutes or more for results to begin. The growth is quite slow: Connective tissue is not well supplied by nutrients and blood; note that connective tissue is WHITE in color(!) The ends of the connective tissue are the sites supplied by blood, and it is from the ends that the connective tissue grows (where it connects to red muscle).

A ready proof of the relative inertness of the connective tissue is the very long time it takes to heal itself following an injury (six months to a year, say).

Variations of "head-to-knee" pose are great yoga poses or yoga-like poses to hold for three minute periods. A yoga class could be a good place to learn a battery of such poses, and apply them. Certain ones or modifications of them can be practiced at home specifically to help with zazen posture. You'll know what's helping as you continue, and your discernment about how to work will grow.

Such work on posture yields good results in giving us a progressively more stable and comfortable posture, and it is also a good practice in itself by yielding increases in our stamina and our resolve, as well as in our relaxation (learned during the "holding" of the postures, and sinking into them).

I can't say enough about this physical work for posture-improvement and posture-enabling, and so will stop here.

This is one of the things I teach, and have taught since 1980, and continue to practice myself. I think that some or many of the Zen Buddhist teachers here and elsewhere teach these things, too, so I am not alone in this, and I suspect (and have experienced) too that there is a gradient of understanding and emphasis of these things among them. It may thus not happen "automatically" that one is helped in these things at any practice center, so I'd recommend taking the initiative, and getting help where you can find it. Likely places are yoga schools.

--Joe
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Re: on what are you sitting on?

Postby desert_woodworker on Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:55 am

I find it's good to use a cushion as a "wedge", rather than to be sat on flat as a "lozenge", in cross-legged sitting. This keeps the back-muscles from engaging.

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Re: on what are you sitting on?

Postby [james] on Wed Jun 14, 2017 4:36 pm

bokki wrote:When you sit, what are you sitting on?

When leaning against a door frame or a column, observing being in the world, I sit on the soles of my feet and the side of one shoulder.
When ... etc.
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Re: on what are you sitting on?

Postby bokki on Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:33 pm

When leaning against a door frame or a column, observing being in the world, I sit on the soles of my feet and the side of one shoulder.
When ... etc.
lol lol lol well at least 1 lapping tongue
im up 2 sleep now but that was nice , c u when i answer
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Re: on what are you sitting on?

Postby macdougdoug on Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:45 pm

Ok - there's squatting, theres kneeling and theres sitting. I suppose the correct answer must be "on me arse"
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Re: on what are you sitting on?

Postby flutemaker on Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:52 pm

Usually I sit in the left sided half lotus posture.
2017-06-14 12.21.21.jpg

Putting the hands in the following manner.
2017-06-14 12.20.30.jpg

Covering the legs to stay warm.
2017-06-14 12.20.06.jpg

Interchanging to the right sided half lotus or a full lotus.
2017-06-14 12.19.16.jpg

2017-06-14 12.18.37.jpg
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Re: on what are you sitting on?

Postby flutemaker on Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:57 pm

Or putting the hands in this way.
2017-06-14 12.17.51.jpg

But this is after about one year recovery from the damage to the right knee. The injury I caused myself trying to increase the time of uninterrupted sitting in the right sided half lotus through reasonable discomfort. But this is another story. In brief, I have successfully made my left sided half lotus comfortable for up to 60 to 70 minutes sittings through persistently increasing the time. Which practice eventually ended up with sort of a physiological and energetic transformation that "opened" and "purified" something related to this posture (which process lasted about 3 or 5 days). My attempt to repeat it with the right side failed.

I sit on a folded blanket.
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Re: on what are you sitting on?

Postby ed blanco on Wed Jun 14, 2017 7:39 pm

Kapok.

Finally I found a cushion that keeps my back straight and my butt happy.
I recommend it.
I practice Soto.
The 3 points steady posture is necessary for us, and so I found that kapok erects my spine better than anything else. One can really hang down and relax into the posture.
It gives the feel of being hard but isn't . It isn't soft either :<.<: more of a pliable material that stays firm.

I realized that the tree at the very entrance of the farm where I live is a Kapok trees, or CEIBA, a very Caribbean plant. THE SACRED CEIBA TREE OF THE MAYANS.
The fruit is a beautiful big ball that has this soft material inside all it needs is to have the seeds taken out and it can be used to stuff anything really. The dictionary calls it SILK-COTTON...
It is strange material in that it ought to fall apart but doesn't easily scatter.
The Ceiba is the issue of many legends for Caribbean folk.

To me its just a good sit.

:O:
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IN SPEECH YOU HEAR ITS SILENCE

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Re: on what are you sitting on?

Postby desert_woodworker on Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:06 pm

hi,

ed blanco wrote:... I found that kapok erects my spine better than anything else.

Kapok is good. It's the fiber that "stuffs" most of the cushions you'll find at practice centers. Or, purchase.

Buckwheat hull is also good. Very good. Getting better and better (for me) ;) .

Don't overstuff (either one).

I buy the empty buckwheat hulls in bulk by the pound (or kilo), and buy empty cushion shells sewn by a Zen Buddhist seamstress in New Mexico, and stuff them at home, and sew-up the tail-flap. I've made about a dozen buckwheat hull cushions and some kapok cushions for our upcoming Chan practice group.

If you have a kapok cushion, or a buckwheat hull cushion, it's good to have extra "fill" (kapok or buckwheat hull) to stuff it with, because the "loft" of the fill decreases with time (use... ). Best to fill kapok cushions outdoors, and use a respirator- mask (you'll see!): the loose fibers love to become airborne.

For use of a kapok cushion, it's good to "punch it up", and then punch it down (say, to a wedge) before each use. Keeps it lively.

And of course sit only on the front third of any cushion, if sitting a cross-legged posture.

Common-knowledge, "I know" (some don't).

--Joe

buckwheat_hulls.jpg
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Re: on what are you sitting on?

Postby flutemaker on Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:26 am

desert_woodworker wrote: (tensioning, really) must continue for about three minutes or more for results to begin.

Unfortunately, this point is quite often missed. People are commonly either asked to hold posture for a while, but to not apply effort -- or to apply effort but for only a very short time, or insufficiently. Further, only consistent, systematic (day by day), prolonged (months to years) practice in this manner would seem actually productive.
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Re: on what are you sitting on?

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Jun 16, 2017 1:34 pm

flutemaker wrote:
desert_woodworker wrote: (tensioning, really) must continue for about three minutes or more for results to begin.

Unfortunately, this point is quite often missed.

I agree. And I'm not sure how this happens. It may be that, in yoga classes, teachers do not use sufficient class-time for the actual holding of postures for sufficient length of time. It may be that this is in order simply to demonstrate, and give short experience with an asana, and asana-series, so that a practitioner may take the asana home, and practice to sufficient length at home in one's daily practice. Thus, a class may at such times be a "survey" session, and not truly a practice session. I'm guessing at this reason, but it seems reasonable and likely. It's further suggested by the fact that teachers will very often state in class for any asana that it is good in one's daily practice to hold the posture longer than we do in class!

But a fellow I know about (and his cadre of trained teachers in his style) teaches classes in which postures are held the full three-minute (minimum) time to begin to become quite effective physically and otherwise. This is the teacher of the style called "Yin Yoga", Mr. Paul Grilley, and his wife Suzee.

Grilley and his wife have a nice small book, and probably have some web resources and DVDs, also.

"Yin Yoga" is specifically not for the muscles, but is for the connective tissue. The "Yin" part of the name is Grilley's way of distinguishing the "Yin" approach from so-called "power-yoga", the rather jumpy, muscular, aerobic yoga often found being taught in studios in the West (which is great for fitness; there are many great accessible resources on this "Ashtanga", and "Flow" yoga).

flutemaker wrote:People are commonly either asked to hold posture for a while, but to not apply effort -- or to apply effort but for only a very short time, or insufficiently. Further, only consistent, systematic (day by day), prolonged (months to years) practice in this manner would seem actually productive.

Agreed!

:Namaste:,

--Joe
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Re: on what are you sitting on?

Postby bokki on Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:41 pm

i think the OP posted a zen q?
i really don't mind u not knowing, at least recognize what the ? is about.
so, ill b more direct.
what r u walking on? tatami, wood, concrete?
what r u sleeping on? futon, bed, dreams?
what r u eating? gohan, bread, minced animal parts?

but it was nice and informative reading this. Tank You All, post some more!
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Re: on what are you sitting on?

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:07 pm

There was a short thread here on prostrations, once. And, an amazing photo. The floor was of very wide boards (wood). From prostrations, it was worn deeply in two places by people who prostrated at those two positions.

(I'm supposing it was two masters of the temple, of successive generations, one inheriting from the other, and one still living when the photo was made).

viewtopic.php?f=129&t=10503&p=161699

prostrations.jpg


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Re: on what are you sitting on?

Postby [james] on Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:47 pm

bokki wrote: a zen q?

"zen q?" ?
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Re: on what are you sitting on?

Postby bokki on Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:42 pm

"zen q?"
zen q?
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