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About Practice

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About Practice

Postby Josham on Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:18 pm

Hi, I'd like to know a little more about practice in the Zen sense. Can it only be zazen, or are there other kinds of practice? What is the main objective of practicing?

Thanks, Josh
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Re: About Practice

Postby Michaeljc on Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:22 pm

Josh :heya: - I suggest you post this topic in Ask a Teacher section as well

Cheers

Michael
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Re: About Practice

Postby organizational on Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:28 pm

There are two kinds of practice;

Sudden and Gradual

I think we all know almost what they are.

A master for me intergrade the two

I just want to be the master of sudden ;

or a sudden enlightenment master

however you prefer

my thoughts;
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Re: About Practice

Postby Jok_Hae on Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:54 pm

Moment to moment (walking, sitting, lying down) - how is it just now?

good luck and thanks for practicing,
Keith
You make, you get

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Re: About Practice

Postby Avisitor on Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:23 am

Josham wrote:Hi, I'd like to know a little more about practice in the Zen sense. Can it only be zazen, or are there other kinds of practice? What is the main objective of practicing?

Thanks, Josh

For the beginner, it is often difficult to get a good answer about what practice is or what the aim is.
But, like anything we practice, we become good at what we do.
May be better concentration? Concentrating to be aware of each moment?
Could it be to become un-attached to thoughts? Let them come and go?

It is possible that doing Sitting Zazen, One can bring those moments of clarity to the present?
And then there is all those thoughts and realizations that keep popping up?
Such as realizing that suffering is a choice made by those who have the three poisons?

I don't know. And I am probably the worst one to ask ... sorry.
Disclaimer: There is no intent to be offensive in my posts. None was intended and none should be interpreted as such.
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Re: About Practice

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Sat Feb 25, 2017 4:11 am

Josham wrote:Hi, I'd like to know a little more about practice in the Zen sense. Can it only be zazen, or are there other kinds of practice? What is the main objective of practicing?

Thanks, Josh

Can practice only be zazen? No. Or yes, depending on what is meant by "zazen."
Are there other kinds of practice? Yes. Or no, depending on what is meant by "zazen."
What is the main objective of practicing? Awakening.
However, the problem with objectives is that they become obstacles to what is intended. When we objectify awakening, then the objectified objective becomes an obstruction. So it becomes necessary to say that practice is the practice of awakening without awakening being an objective. But in order for this to not just become intellectual entanglement, we need to do practice that unifies body and mind and dissolves the illusion of inside and outside, and zazen is a most efficient method for this. There are walking practices which have the same orientation, and eventually the types of methodical practice lose their edges and merge into the practice of life. Zazen is the anchor that arouses faith and raises our illusions and deceptions in a laboratory environment for us to study our selves as the first step in study of the Buddha Dharma.

Zazen means sitting meditation, but "sitting" and "meditation" are metaphors for practice. It says in the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Ancestor Huineng
The master taught the assembly and said, “Virtuous companions. What is called sitting meditation? Within this Dharma door, it is being without barriers and without hindrances. Outwardly, when, out of every good or evil state, thoughts do not arise in the mind, this is called doing ‘sitting.’ Inwardly, to see one’s own nature and not be stirred up is called doing ‘meditation.’


_/|\_
Gregory
Why you do not understand is because the three carts were provisional for former times, and because the One Vehicle is true for the present time. ~ Zen Master 6th Ancestor Huineng
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Re: About Practice

Postby Josham on Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:58 am

Thanks for these responses, everyone. It's been interesting and instructive to read and reflect on them. -Josh
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Re: About Practice

Postby lobster on Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:37 am

Avisitor wrote:I don't know. And I am probably the worst one to ask ... sorry.


Some of us are in a worse state but totally unapologetic :hide:

The best training is dharma ninja :ninja:

In other words mission commitment.

Mission goals:

- Find Buddha
- Kill Buddha
- Find a bigger Buddha

In other words relaxed attention :dance:
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Re: About Practice

Postby Michaeljc on Sat Feb 25, 2017 7:17 pm

Josham wrote:Hi, I'd like to know a little more about practice in the Zen sense. Can it only be zazen, or are there other kinds of practice? What is the main objective of practicing?

Thanks, Josh


Natural wondrous wisdom itself is true suchness
Why should we employ Confucian discourse and Buddhist texts?
Rely on sitting at ease at your place
and hang your mouth on the wall
Friends arrive here and are released from emptiness

Dogen
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Re: About Practice

Postby Avisitor on Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:34 am

Gregory Wonderwheel wrote:
Josham wrote:Hi, I'd like to know a little more about practice in the Zen sense. Can it only be zazen, or are there other kinds of practice? What is the main objective of practicing?

Thanks, Josh

Can practice only be zazen? No. Or yes, depending on what is meant by "zazen."
Are there other kinds of practice? Yes. Or no, depending on what is meant by "zazen."
What is the main objective of practicing? Awakening.
However, the problem with objectives is that they become obstacles to what is intended. When we objectify awakening, then the objectified objective becomes an obstruction. So it becomes necessary to say that practice is the practice of awakening without awakening being an objective. But in order for this to not just become intellectual entanglement, we need to do practice that unifies body and mind and dissolves the illusion of inside and outside, and zazen is a most efficient method for this. There are walking practices which have the same orientation, and eventually the types of methodical practice lose their edges and merge into the practice of life. Zazen is the anchor that arouses faith and raises our illusions and deceptions in a laboratory environment for us to study our selves as the first step in study of the Buddha Dharma.

Zazen means sitting meditation, but "sitting" and "meditation" are metaphors for practice. It says in the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Ancestor Huineng
The master taught the assembly and said, “Virtuous companions. What is called sitting meditation? Within this Dharma door, it is being without barriers and without hindrances. Outwardly, when, out of every good or evil state, thoughts do not arise in the mind, this is called doing ‘sitting.’ Inwardly, to see one’s own nature and not be stirred up is called doing ‘meditation.’


_/|\_
Gregory


Where the heck is the "like" button???
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Re: About Practice

Postby lobster on Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:33 am

Josham wrote:What is the main objective of practicing?


There ain't one. Aye carumba.
Dios te salve, María, llena eres de gracia, el Señor es contigo. Bendita tú eres entre todas las mujeres, y bendito es el fruto de tu vientre, Jesús. :p:

However there are conduits, or skilful life choices. Attention/mindfulness, yogic flower arranging, being kind to humans and animals (not Trump). Not upsetting baby Jesus. :heya:

:daisy:
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Re: About Practice

Postby Josham on Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:53 pm

Thanks for these further responses. They're interesting and informative.
Gregory Wonderwheel wrote: Can practice only be zazen? No. Or yes, depending on what is meant by "zazen."
Are there other kinds of practice? Yes. Or no, depending on what is meant by "zazen."
What is the main objective of practicing? Awakening.

That depends on what is meant by awakening! The teacher Denko in responding to a question of mine, talked about an awakening insight which would then be polished through practice. You're talking about practice resulting in awakening, which seems to be the opposite of Denko's response. I guess both ways of putting it could be valid, depending on how you define awakening.

In common with many of you (I would imagine), I've had a profound "awakening insight". It came through self-inquiry - a realisation about the nature of Self which has changed my whole outlook and my life. The process of self-inquiry that led to this awakening insight was initially a rational, logical process of dispassionate and deep examination of what's meant by the word "I". This process of rational self-inquiry included reading and continually reflecting on the words of the great non-dual teachers - Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta, for example.

Practice in Zen Buddhism may indeed lead to awakening, but also it may not, I presume. Would it not be wise to focus to some extent on a rational process of self-inquiry, to reflect on what the great teachers have said about the nature of the self, in conjunction with Zen practice? That way, some initial awakening insights might arise to augment the practice and make it much more effective.

- :heya: Josh
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Re: About Practice

Postby Michaeljc on Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:34 am

Practice in Zen Buddhism may indeed lead to awakening, but also it may not, I presume. Would it not be wise to focus to some extent on a rational process of self-inquiry, to reflect on what the great teachers have said about the nature of the self, in conjunction with Zen practice?


Josh -

"Who (or what) am I?" - is a koan commonly given to students

Just dont expect the result to provide the answer :lol2:

Cheers

M
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Re: About Practice

Postby jundo on Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:05 am

Josham wrote:Hi, I'd like to know a little more about practice in the Zen sense. Can it only be zazen, or are there other kinds of practice? What is the main objective of practicing?

Thanks, Josh


Hi Josh,

If I may offer a little something besides all the wise words here ...

There are many flavors of sitting Zazen and Zen Practice, so no one view on this. However, in the corner of "Just Sitting" Shikantaza where I sit, we sit each day because human beings truly do not know how to rest and be. Then, rising from the cushion back into the busy world, we take that stillness and wholeness into the chaos of the world, and then all our actions become "Zazen" in wider meaning. However, if one cannot learn to sit face the wall for even a little bit, how much harder to find such wisdom on the go.

I sometimes describe Shikantaza this way ...

Our small self, the body-mind, is always filled with countless desires ... the desire to be somewhere else, be getting somewhere, achieving some prize, some distant goal. Our body-mind is always judging this or that as somehow inadequate to what the body-mind wants, its likes and dislikes, needs, regrets and dreams.

Thus, when there is sat an instant of Zazen as wholeness in just sitting, the only place to be and act to do in that instant in all of reality that is required to fulfill life as life ... sitting as the Buddha and all the Ancestors just sitting in that instant of sitting, no other thing to attain or which ever can be attained ... no other place to go or in need of going ... sitting with all holes filled, whether full or empty or in between ... all lack and excess resolved in that one sitting, with not one thing to add or take away ... judgments dropped away, "likes and dislikes" put aside ... nothing missing from Zazen (even when we might feel that "something is missing", for one can be fully content with the feeling of lack!) ... the sitting of Zazen and all life experienced as complete and whole as just the sitting of Zazen ... the entire universe manifesting itself on the Zafu at that moment ... Image

... in other words, when the "little self" is thereby put out of a job by the experience of "just sitting" as whole and complete with nothing more to be desired or needed ... then the hard borders between the "little self" and the "not the self" (which is usually being judged and "bumped into" and divided into pieces) thus naturally soften, fully fade away ... only the wholeness of the dance remaining ...

... then "Zazen is in itself body-mind dropped off".


Human beings simply do not know how to engage an action pierced as naturally complete just by the engaging of the action itself, how to live life that is whole just by the act of living life.

This is not sitting 'on one's complacent rump like a bump on a log', but is instead whole ... vibrant ... alive ... fulfilled sitting.

Then, rising up from the Zafu to our day to day lives ... we realize that there is no place to go, even as we have so many places to go ... no holes in need of filling, even as we grab a shovel and get to work to filling holes ... nothing to fix in life, even as we try to fix what can be fixed ... no life or death or disease to cure, even as we take our medicine or head to the gym, all on the road to our own funeral ... aversions and attractions dropped away, even as we lightly hold onto those aversions and attractions necessary to ordinary human life ... nothing to attain, even as we follow the Precepts to keep a healthy and balanced life, manifesting the Teachings in each moment and choice ... fully knowing that each step of life's path is a total arriving, sacred in itself


So, one sits to realize that there was no place to go, one was here all along ... and as one gets up and gets going, that is just the truth too. There is nothing to attain not present all along, that is why we sit.

Gassho, Jundo

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Re: About Practice

Postby jundo on Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:16 am

Josham wrote:
In common with many of you (I would imagine), I've had a profound "awakening insight". It came through self-inquiry - a realisation about the nature of Self which has changed my whole outlook and my life. The process of self-inquiry that led to this awakening insight was initially a rational, logical process of dispassionate and deep examination of what's meant by the word "I". This process of rational self-inquiry included reading and continually reflecting on the words of the great non-dual teachers - Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta, for example.

Practice in Zen Buddhism may indeed lead to awakening, but also it may not, I presume. Would it not be wise to focus to some extent on a rational process of self-inquiry, to reflect on what the great teachers have said about the nature of the self, in conjunction with Zen practice? That way, some initial awakening insights might arise to augment the practice and make it much more effective.

- :heya: Josh


Hi Josh,

If I may add (and I think most folks around here will concur), such realizations are a doorway to the start of Practice, which has to be from here. It is not the end of the road, just the beginning. You have seen the mountain, realized that you and the mountain are not two ... but now must get to hiking. Many folks around here have had such insights and experiences many many times, and such is not the goal and stopping point, but only a profound insight along the way. Discovering that there is "no I and no place to go", we get going.

In Soto Zen, we speak of "Practice-Enlightenment" because it is not a matter of some onetime insight, or even simply realizing the falsity of the "I" or the profound interpenetrations and wholeness of all reality (although it is that too), but rather how your bring it to life, and integrate it with the rest of your daily doing. An insight of "no I" and no separation has no worth if it merely sits there, but it must be integrated into this life of "me and you and the other guy" and all the complexity and difference of this world.

We sit Zazen each day and bring our Practice out into daily life in order to refine and polish this jewel-like mirror, although truly it is never in need of polishing ... yet we polish constantly precisely in order to realize this "never need" on and on.

I hope that makes sense.

Gassho, J

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Re: About Practice

Postby Josham on Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:54 am

Hi jundo,

Thanks very much for these posts - I've greatly appreciated reading all you've written. Your description of Shikantaza makes it clear how necessary it is to spend time just sitting, if we're to be effective in facing the everyday challenges of manifest existence. It all makes perfect sense.

- Josh
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Re: About Practice

Postby desert_woodworker on Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:30 pm

Josham wrote:Hi, I'd like to know a little more about practice in the Zen sense. Can it only be zazen, or are there other kinds of practice? What is the main objective of practicing?

Thanks, Josh

If you're interested in it, learn Zen Buddhist practice, in all its varieties and vicissitudes, from a true Zen Buddhist teacher. And polish it with him or her, and with the sangha surrounding that teacher. This has been the way for two millennia.

Be safe (therefore; and thereby).

This is not learned from a book, nor at all available there. Nor from an online forum.

--Joe
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Re: About Practice

Postby Avisitor on Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:50 am

desert_woodworker wrote:This is not learned from a book, nor at all available there. Nor from an online forum.

--Joe

Really?
It needed to be said??
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Re: About Practice

Postby desert_woodworker on Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:45 am

Josh, I initiated a thread here a while back about "the Baker's-Dozen" of Zen Buddhist practices, of which our zazen is, as a part, as I like to say, "The indispensable One-Thirteenth part" of Zen Buddhist practice, that, err-r, cannot be dispensed with.

Search for the thread if you like. The board allows for and provides for that endeavor.

You'd know this full complement of practices if you were engaged in our practice.

Please, if you begin our practice formally, let's please, you and I, be in contact privately, until we die. Let's consult about it as you would like, should you choose to make a beginning. Dharma-brothers/sisters are valuable, even across the miles, and across the Big Salt.

Otherwise, "The Perennial Philosophy" is interesting, but goes nowhere. Huxley did it best in his fine book, but it's just a teaser. One must not think it's... anything. He didn't!

--Joe
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Re: About Practice

Postby desert_woodworker on Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:03 am

Josh,

If you're still with the board, the discussion of a "Baker's Dozen" of Ch'an and Zen ( & Son; and Thien) Buddhist practices began at this juncture:

http://zenforuminternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=64&t=11265

All the practices are synergistic. All are prob. necessary to include, and in the proper context (with teacher and sangha), as is traditional and efficacious.

Yet, of the practices, our zazen is taken (and given) as the sine qua non. But, which other(s) among the practices is not, also, if one wishes to wake up, and fulfill our Bodhisattva vows? Well, one can't know, in advance. Thus, go with the program. There's much true Wisdom and much true Compassion in it and behind it.

Oh, I suggest this to all reading, here, if there's interest.

rgds,

--Joe
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