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Proposed group

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Re: Proposed group

Postby desert_woodworker on Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:10 pm

I'd say, as the awakened state is not even imaginable, there's definitely no use in trying to engineer it.

If you (we... ) try to "engineer" it, we may get what we tried to engineer, but we will not "get" awakening.

Best, yes, is to align with teacher and sangha, and pitch-in with each other to practice. Then, what will come will come. Or, may come.

If there are obstacles to aligning with teacher and sangha, then that's what to work on in the interim.

IMO! (and probably for the 10th repetitive time; apologies).

:Namaste:,

--Joe
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Re: Proposed group

Postby bokki on Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:16 pm

And I do remember as someone said (was it you?) that there is no thread, just beads. I cannot reconcile the outcome of the investigation with the "there is no thread".

thank you flutemaker,
but why cant you reconcile with "no thread"?
maybe i misunderstood
so if my ? is of point, sry
thnx
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10,000 frogs singing in the rain
burst into flames

-Linda Anderson, aka LA
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Re: Proposed group

Postby flutemaker on Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:17 pm

Meido wrote:
desert_woodworker wrote:For his purposes, I hope flutemaster will follow through and start such a group at some other private URL as I think he means to.


partofit22 wrote:That said, there's nothing the matter when some companions share a specific interest and wish to discuss it without interruption -- and be a bit more intimate- Any individual might be inclined to speak a little more freely in a small closed group opposed to an open one-


Still wondering, though: what criteria to be invited?

I could see the usefulness of such a private group for folks sharing a common background, for example, students of the same teacher.

Will watch with interest to see what develops with this.

Joe: flutemaker will NOT start such a group at some other private URL (as you for some unknown reason think he means to).

Meido: I've heard as someone said, "first, get realization, then, you are free to be creative in selecting (or even engineering) tools, means, and methods that seem helpful for the others (as it is seen from where you sit)".

What if some teacher invited to such a group doesn't decline the invitation, but rather -- not only accepts it, but uses their skills to convert an imperfect, half-baked or useless idea into something better?

Can you put together a long "manifesto", merely in writing, just on a forum, that can however wound someone's heart deeply, almost to the level of physical pain? Yes you can.

Can the likes of you, when put in circumstances new, bad, or unfavorable, be anyway creative and transfer them into the ground where seeds can grow? I'd guess they can.

What if a video question is posted and then a video-answer is posted in reply, would it be a little bit more beneficial?
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Re: Proposed group

Postby flutemaker on Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:25 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:I'd say, as the awakened state is not even imaginable, there's definitely no use in trying to engineer it.
...

(and probably for the 10th repetitive time; apologies).

And who the hell is trying to engineer what? I have no slightest idea of what the awakened state is, and therefore no inclination to engineer any product of my [or anything else's] fantasy. Nor recommend it to others. If you're not getting me, you possibly cannot, and won't, whatsoever, and so what is the use of such exchanges for the reader. I am just curious.
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Re: Proposed group

Postby Meido on Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:44 pm

flutemaker wrote:What if some teacher invited to such a group doesn't decline the invitation, but rather -- not only accepts it, but uses their skills to convert an imperfect, half-baked or useless idea into something better?


That would be wonderful. As I said, I'll watch with interest to see this idea defined and developed.

flutemaker wrote:Can you put together a long "manifesto", merely in writing, just on a forum, that can however wound someone's heart deeply, almost to the level of physical pain? Yes you can.


Not my intent, certainly.

flutemaker wrote:Can the likes of you, when put in circumstances new, bad, or unfavorable, be anyway creative and transfer them into the ground where seeds can grow? I'd guess they can.


Now this IS precisely my intent, in this thread or any other at ZFI. Posting here really is my best attempt to meet somewhat more than halfway. Apologies in advance for times that I fail; this may be one of them.

~ Meido
The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺]: http://www.korinji.org
Madison Rinzai Zen Community/Ryugen-ji [機山龍源寺]: http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community: http://www.rinzaizen.org
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Re: Proposed group

Postby flutemaker on Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:22 pm

jundo wrote:(Even going overboard on proclaiming the the physiological effects of certain postures in Indian Yoga has been shown to be quite unsubstantiated for the most extreme claims too)

Jundo-sama:

Can you imagine something to the likes of the complete Koan Curriculum, but accompanied by the embodiment of the variety of that, which the Curriculum is thought to work with?

Can you imagine the "practice-enlightenment" model, where the entire process is neither the cause, nor the outcome, nor just the instrument, but an undivided unity?

When speaking of the "effects", or "meaning", of certain postures in Indian Yoga the majority of people are in the position of someone who have never heard about Zen training at all, yet judging about the significance of certain subtleties of advanced "post-awakening" work. Or someone judging about one heart's rate based on the manner their shoestrings are tied.

An external form of postures in Indian Yoga, as perceived by the majority, accompanied by all the absurdity of their "inner meaning" interpretation, is not the proper way to base one's views upon.

I am not an expert on Yoga, and am not going to go into more detail.

Disregard at will.

Blessings,

FM
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Re: Proposed group

Postby Michaeljc on Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:35 pm

Re specific group: My reservation relates to what I have observed on what has worked on ZFI and what has not.

According to my interpretation, ZFI was created primarily to assemble very committed practitioners from various formal training systems. A special group was created for them. Should one not have received a degree of formal training one could not join. It was poorly subscribed and gave way to the open discussions we now find.

The idea of a selective group is fine but I suspect it would go the same way as the founding concept. The perception of a degree of elitism does not go down well either.

In reality, we have 3 active teachers here and a 4th that contributes to “Ask a Teacher”. They all respond to a PM. We can also create a topic on any subject we desire. I sense, FM, that you feel more truth may come out of a less publicly exposed setting. I am not sure that this will occur.

My observation is that the deeper the experience of a student the less likely they are to talk about it directly. It defiles the waters. Therefore, open discussion - even within a group - can only go so far.

An awful lot of stuff has emerged from this very topic. I could spend days digesting it all. What is behind the the teachers' words? Is this someone I would like to train under? What are their methods? For me this is enough. The door is wide open.

All the answers are found on the cushion anyway

Just one view

m
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Re: Proposed group

Postby desert_woodworker on Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:59 pm

fl.,

flutemaker wrote:And who the hell is trying to engineer what?

Whatever outcome you dream is possible, and which you have for long and consistently here lamented as being evasive, and which you suppose might not be evasive if only you had more info about "technicalities" of 'methods'.

Whereas, what is needed is teacher and sangha. These constitute (causes and) conditions, not technicalities. So it's been for 2000-plus years of this path, and it's right to be dubious that the needed causes and conditions cannot be circumvented nor engineered-around by "technic". No use clouding the waters further.

I'd say that if you understand this, and others reading understand this, then very good.

Seeing one's way clear to such condition is what's useful as enabling steps on the Way, certainly, for all.

Very good,

--Joe
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Re: Proposed group

Postby Michaeljc on Fri Apr 21, 2017 4:23 am

Seeing one's way clear to such condition is what's useful as enabling steps on the Way, certainly, for all.


Gee Joe - Can you explain that again? :lol2:
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Re: Proposed group

Postby jundo on Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:15 am

Caodemarte wrote:[

As a person who can't even sit with crossed legs a "good enough" or the best I can stable posture of any kind is my goal, not the fetishization of posture! I have repeatedly heard introductions to zazen in the US that say sit as comfortablely as you wish, in the manner you wish, and offer no useful guidance. I have been told by others that they find the same. Most recently, at my local Zendo sangha meeting several people pointed out that help in physical posture was wanted, needed, and ignored at both that Zendo and generally in US Zen as a whole. At an out of state sesshin I recently participated in, the Japan-based teacher said he was struck by the same thing talking to Zen students across the US and that so many of the Americans had never been told not to slouch and of the benefits of posture or a "straight'" back (actually an S curve). The same teacher also noted that he had been sent many American students in Japan who had fallen down the other rabbit hole of obsession with posture or breathing. It was hard to get them to breathe without strain and effort or sit without forced rigidity. Others have noted more generally the uncomfortable relationship with the body that many in the US have (too stiffly rigid or too artificial in trying to be natural and relaxed).


Hmmm. I have never met a teacher who just let a student slouch (although, actually, on the continent, many slouch ... and I have discovered, especially with older and other people with certain rounding of the spine, that is actually quite comfortable for them). Here is video of a Retreat I participated in at the "6th Ancestors Temple" in Guangzhou, and if you look around the 4:30 to about 8:00 marks, you can see monks and lay folks sitting in a variety of slouches (I am in there somewhere too, doing my upright Japanese way. I make a little cameo as the lost waiguoren in the inside slow lane at the 00:20 and 02:50 marks :) ). Maybe Guo Gu has a comment? I am sure that this is not universal, and some put more value on an upright spine than others.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIsQ91b0xUg

What I have seen the few times I have been to Thailand and Laos, and also Tibetan regions ...

ImageImage

Well, the Middle Way. No two bodies just alike. Generally, don't slouch, but don't be rigid. Generally, upright spine is important for most folks. Be balanced, stable and comfortable!. Some folks perhaps make be "balanced stable and comfortable" with a curved back due to their own body needs. I do recommend that Will Johnson book on 'listening' to one's own body.

One fellow who I am slightly critical of is Rev. Issho Fujita, the present head of the Soto Shu International Center in San Francisco, who is a marvelous and wise teacher. He advocates the "Alexander Technique" as part of sitting, which has also helped many folks. However, I feel that he sometimes makes extreme claims, and also quotes some questionable science in an over-emphasis on posture. For example, he advocates:

The cranial sacral rhythm is created by the flowing movement of fluid in
the brain and cerebrospinal cord system. The brain and cerebrospinal cord
are not in direct contact with the cranial or sacral bones and spine. In fact,
they are wrapped in a bag-like membrane that is shaped like a tadpole.
The inside and outside of this membrane is full of a clear liquid called the
cerebrospinal fluid. This fluid is secreted from deep within the brain and
flows down the backside of the cerebrospinal cord to the sacrum and then
returns to the brain by flowing back up the front side of the cerebrospinal
cord. When the pressure within the membrane caused by the secretion of
the cerebrospinal cord reaches a fixed level, the secretion stops and the
fluid within the membrane is absorbed outside and so the pressure falls.
... This change in the pressure within the membrane is transmitted throughout the whole body:
not only places close to the cerebrospinal cord such as the head, face and
sacrum, but the cranial sacral rhythm also appears in the shoulders, ribs,
buttocks, legs, arms, and so forth.
...

If through the benefits of cranial sacral therapy it would be possible to
balance the smooth flow of cerebrospinal fluid and we could sit in a way
that the cranial sacral rhythm was balanced symmetrically left and right,
up and down, throughout the whole body, I think it would be much easier
to put the sitting posture and breath in order. I think it is necessary for
zazen practitioners to devise ways so that they can correct the body
irregularities and difficulties and can create the balanced and harmonized
body-mind for the better quality of zazen. It does seem that along with
yoga and diet cranial sacral therapy would be of great use in this regard.
Might it not be possible while sitting zazen to use cranial sacral therapy
in such a way that we could monitor and correct the cranial sacral rhythm
by touching our hands to the back of the head and coccyx or the
shoulders and the knees? Conversely, might it not also be possible to
bring about an improvement in the quality of cranial sacral rhythm by
sitting zazen for a certain amount of time? In other words, there may be a
definite aspect of cranial sacral therapy in zazen. It also seems possible to
get a firmer hold on the various medical benefits of zazen that have been
emphasized from long ago — such as improvement in energy, recovering
balance in the autonomic nervous system, improving blood circulation,
gaining courage and composure — by looking at these things from the
standpoint of cranial sacral therapy.
http://global.sotozen-net.or.jp/pdf/dha ... e14_08.htm



"Cranial Sacral Therapy" is a bit of quackery that is popular in some circles.

https://www.painscience.com/articles/cr ... herapy.php
http://skepdic.com/craniosacral.html

Mixing in Zazen posture with these kinds of extreme and unsubstantiated physiological claims is wrong, I feel. Folks seem to make similar extreme claims for posture all the time, however.

Gassho, Jundo

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Re: Proposed group

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:26 pm

Michaeljc wrote:
Seeing one's way clear to such condition is what's useful as enabling steps on the Way, certainly, for all.
Gee Joe - Can you explain that again? :lol2:

Yessirree, Michael, thanks (I see the need also): ;)

Working on the steps to see one's way clear to having the conditions of teacher-and-sangha is more useful than supposing that there's something like "a tweak of 'technique' " which could possibly be as enabling, or more enabling. These steps to make oneself presentable overseas (or to a Master in Chile) are Dharma steps, as important as any element of the canonical Buddhadharma. So, I suggest working steadily and stubbornly on making oneself fit to travel to a teacher's place. That is to be taken as one's key practice. No matter how impossible you draw the situation (that's illusion; delusion)... . If Dogen did it, well ...so can thee.

Or/and, form and develop a practice-circle there of your peers (the basis of a sangha), and invite a teacher to travel to your group there, to teach and to hold retreat, or sesshin. After that, invite a different teacher. See who you may most like to establish a long-term practice relationship with (we've done just this here in S. Arizona, BTW, and I can offer some history, if wanted).

No more whining. It's juvenile and tiresome, already (not you, Michael).

Let there be ... :peace:,

--Joe
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Re: Proposed group

Postby partofit22 on Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:09 pm

Meido wrote:
desert_woodworker wrote:For his purposes, I hope flutemaster will follow through and start such a group at some other private URL as I think he means to.


partofit22 wrote:That said, there's nothing the matter when some companions share a specific interest and wish to discuss it without interruption -- and be a bit more intimate- Any individual might be inclined to speak a little more freely in a small closed group opposed to an open one-


Still wondering, though: what criteria to be invited?

I could see the usefulness of such a private group for folks sharing a common background, for example, students of the same teacher.

Will watch with interest to see what develops with this.

Caodemarte wrote:At the risk of diverting a thoughtful discussion, may I ask Meido if his book introducing such practices will be published and if so when, or is it for internal use?


It will be published by Shambhala, should be available Feb/March of next year. Will keep folks posted.

~ Meido


According to the description offered it seems experience in the mentioned area/s- Whoever meets that criteria will be invited- Invited members could then invite other members if they wish to- That's the gist of it, I think -- a somewhat private discussion between people with similar experiences-

Years back, a member on this site suggested to accept all invites- :)
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Re: Proposed group

Postby partofit22 on Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:19 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:p., T.,

partofit22 wrote:Any individual might be inclined to speak a little more freely in a small closed group opposed to an open one-

Yes!

For his purposes, I hope flutemaster will follow through and start such a group at some other private URL as I think he means to.

--Joe


Hi, Joe- :)
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Re: Proposed group

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:35 pm

C.,

Caodemarte wrote:We can always tweak the technical aspects and improve the form of our practice, for example, posture. For many reasons, Zen students seem to often forget that this is a yoga, a physical practice (as well as the rest), and we have bodies.

"Hearing" such an appreciation from another really gladdens my heart (a Buddhist-yoga teacher, and zen-practitioner).

Caodemarte wrote:I was surprised to hear that that many US students have never been told that a non-slouching, erect, "straight" back is extremely useful in zazen and that "sit anyway you want" is not good advice.

This surprises me too, C., and I'm dubious, as I've never experienced such deficits in teaching.

In the several sanghas I've formally been a part and member of since Feb., 1979, posture was always properly taught, and enforced in communal gatherings (daily sits; retreats; lectures; study classes; etc.). This includes a Ch'an sangha (of the late Ven. Sheng Yen), the Diamond Sangha (Aitken Roshi; Patrick Hawk Roshi; Leonard Marcel, Roshi), and two sanghas of teachers who inherited Maezumi Roshi's dharma (Bernie Glassman, Roshi; and John Daido Loori, Roshi). I've also been a sporadic visitor at other places with other teachers, and zazen-suitable posture was always properly embraced and "supported" as fundamental.

I suggest that the deviations you witnessed may be just unfortunate and errant aberrations, unaccountably (perhaps... ) disconnected from proper teaching and practice. I can't imagine how that happens.

People of Earth, take note!: you will indeed find proper zazen posture in the US of A.

(if not, pul-ease always exemplify it, for others to emulate).

Strong practice,

--Joe

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Re: Proposed group

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:49 pm

Posture exercise? :tee: --Joe

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Re: Proposed group

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:06 pm

C.,

Caodemarte wrote:. For many reasons, Zen students seem to often forget that this is a yoga, a physical practice (as well as the rest), and we have bodies.

Further on the lovely reminder you tender there,

...I saw a pictorial ad for water-saving and efficient-cleaning and drying front-loading washing machines, and just had to spread it around, as a reminder of, "Zen practice is entirely for everyday-life". And, well, so is Yoga of all sorts for everyday-life.

--Joe

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