Welcome admin !

It is currently Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:12 pm
Pathway:  Board index Zen Discussion Forum Beginners Questions Forum

Starting Over

For beginners there is no such thing as a bad question. Feel free to ask any and all questions here. Member's responses should be made within the "beginner's mind" perspective.

Starting Over

Postby ph0kin on Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:36 am

Hello,

I am somewhat new to Zen. I have spent several years in another Japanese-Buddhist sect and finally left in exasperation, and after taking some time away from all things Buddhist, I have decided to take up the Zen path more seriously. Although, I have visited Zen centers before once or twice (even online sanghas), I don't feel I have a good grasp of Zen, and how to really follow the path. Thus, I would like to start over as a student.

So, this sounds like a naive question, but can folks here share advice on how to get started on the Zen path, and make the most of it?

One other point to bear in mind is that I am a parent of young kids, and can't devote much time to the more intense sesshins and such, but I can probably visit a local Zen center once a week. :buddha:

Thanks in advance!
Doug
User avatar
ph0kin
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:25 am
Location: That Jack N The Box around the corner.

Re: Starting Over

Postby jundo on Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:39 am

ph0kin wrote:Hello,

I am somewhat new to Zen. I have spent several years in another Japanese-Buddhist sect and finally left in exasperation, and after taking some time away from all things Buddhist, I have decided to take up the Zen path more seriously. Although, I have visited Zen centers before once or twice (even online sanghas), I don't feel I have a good grasp of Zen, and how to really follow the path. Thus, I would like to start over as a student.

So, this sounds like a naive question, but can folks here share advice on how to get started on the Zen path, and make the most of it?

One other point to bear in mind is that I am a parent of young kids, and can't devote much time to the more intense sesshins and such, but I can probably visit a local Zen center once a week. :buddha:

Thanks in advance!
Doug


Hi Doug,

We all are beginners, always, no matter how long we practice.

Go to that local center and see what they offer. Once a week is good.

You will find that Zen comes in a few different flavors, and varies among teachers too, so you may find different approaches (like going to the local martial arts studio and finding Karate, Judo, Aikido ... all the same at heart, sometimes very different in approach).

Read about basic Zen doctrines and practices, and then SIT! each day. Then, get up from the books and the cushion and bring it all into life!

In our Sangha, the core of our Practice is "Shikantaza" so-called Just Sitting Zazen. Our Sangha is primarily online for busy people with jobs and kids. Here is the description:

Treeleaf Zendo was designed specifically as an online practice place for Zen practitioners who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health concerns, living in remote areas, or work, childcare and family needs, and seeks to provide netcast Zazen sittings, retreats, Jukai, discussion, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Zen Buddhist Sangha, all fully online and without charge.But, really, we are a Sangha just about like any Sangha, and the place feels like a small, intimate group of people who sit together and support each other in practice. The focus is Shikantaza "Just Sitting" Zazen as instructed by the 13th Century Japanese Master, Eihei Dogen.
http://www.treeleaf.org


You are welcome to Practice with us any time. Do be sure to go to that local center in your area as well, and see what flavor of practice they offer.

Gassho, Jundo
SatToday

PS - A couple of good books to get you started ... The first is very basic general introduction ...

• Simple Guide to Zen Buddhism by Diana St. Ruth (Jundo: For folks who are completely new, puzzled and perplexed about Zen Buddhism's history and practices of various flavors. It is detailed in its explanation, balanced and quite comprehensive in the many topics it covers. I would not recommend the book for anyone who had been practicing for even a few months, but it may still answer some questions and be good to give to your dad or sister who is completely confused by what we are doing here ... and may think that we are wearing bed sheets while dancing in drum circles with the Dalai Lama during the Soltice. As with any book, it is not perfect. It could still do even a better job in explaining the various different approaches of Soto and Rinzai, Koan Centered Zazen and Shikantaza ... but they are touched upon. But compared to most other books on the subject, it is well researched, comprehensive, very balanced and gets it right.)


An excellent book, although coming from the Shikantaza approach to the approachless ...

Opening the Hand of Thought by Kosho Uchiyama Roshi
http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/opening-hand-thought
Last edited by jundo on Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:48 am, edited 4 times in total.
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
User avatar
jundo
Teacher
 
Posts: 198
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:47 am

Re: Starting Over

Postby Caodemarte on Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:43 am

Welcome to the forum from a fellow student! As a mere student I too suggest a visit a local Zen Center, as many as available, and no matter what you may already know of zazen, get some personal instruction. Sit at home and with others. Read reliable guides tested by time, like Uchiyama, but please take care to avoid "pop Zen." Hopefully, you will find a teacher. In any case, sit. Keep beginning again and again. Anyway, that's what I would do for what it is worth. Good luck.
Caodemarte
 
Posts: 381
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:18 am

Re: Starting Over

Postby macdougdoug on Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:32 am

ph0kin wrote:
I am somewhat new to Zen. I have spent several years in another Japanese-Buddhist sect and finally left in exasperation, can folks here share advice on how to get started on the Zen path, and make the most of it?



Zazen is the thing; an intense sesshin just once a year does wonders. Have you read huinengs stuff? http://terebess.hu/zen/HuinengCleary.pdf

Basically learn how to sit zazen correctly, then sit everyday.

PS. What Buddhism were you into before?
User avatar
macdougdoug
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 829
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:11 pm
Location: France

Re: Starting Over

Postby macdougdoug on Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:17 pm

ph0kin wrote:Hello,

I am somewhat new to Zen. I have spent several years in another Japanese-Buddhist sect and finally left in exasperation, and after taking some time away from all things Buddhist, can folks here share advice on how to get started on the Zen path, and make the most of it?



I'd say buddhas are (rare but) present in all walks of life - the crux of the matter would seem to be the attitude of the practitioner more than the path followed. In my sangha we are told to practise zazen without any objectives. If there is a desire it should be to put the liberation of all sentient beings before our own. One reason being that this attitude is more in tune with the reality of interdependance (as opposed to an independant self) and it is also a koan (another aspect of some zen schools).

The first teachings that influenced me were those of Jiddu Krishnamurti, nothing to do with zen. He proposed that any method one used to escape from reality was the spiritual equivalent of a dog chasing its tail.
User avatar
macdougdoug
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 829
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:11 pm
Location: France

Re: Starting Over

Postby macdougdoug on Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:40 pm

That last sentence striking me as being too close to absolute nonsense, I'd like to change it to : Any method used to escape from our own suffering being the spiritual equivalent of a dog chasing its own tail.

:Namaste:
User avatar
macdougdoug
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 829
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:11 pm
Location: France

Re: Starting Over

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:47 pm

:train:
Hop on board, you don't need a ticket.


ph0kin wrote: I don't feel I have a good grasp of Zen,

LOL. Join the club. Grasping Zen is like grasping water. Good luck with that.
ph0kin wrote: and how to really follow the path.

Zen people laugh at ourselves because there is No Way to really follow the Way.

ph0kin wrote: Thus, I would like to start over as a student.

Beginner's mind is true mind.
We are all students here. Even teachers are students of their students.
ph0kin wrote: So, this sounds like a naive question,

Those are the good questions.

ph0kin wrote: but can folks here share advice on how to get started on the Zen path, and make the most of it?

Just begin from wherever you are, and you are already on the path. This is not a flippant response, it is the direct truth. If you have a sincere mind aimed toward awakening, then this is truly the arousing of the bohdicitta. Following this commitment of intention and listening to the inner voice that guides you in this way is sufficient to bring you into contact with every teacher and bodhisattva of the universe with whom you have affinity according with the fruit of past karma, and the ability to sow seeds today.

The rest of the details will come to you as you open your mind to receive them.
It really is the case of taking the first step, and following it with the next step.

ph0kin wrote:One other point to bear in mind is that I am a parent of young kids, and can't devote much time to the more intense sesshins and such, but I can probably visit a local Zen center once a week. :buddha:

Thanks in advance!
Doug


Chinese Zen master Dahui taught koan inquiry using the "huatou" or "head of the word" method for laypeople who had difficulty getting sitting time, since it can be done throughout the day such as when washing dishes, etc.

As a practical matter, I suggest minimally starting by
1. sitting for ten minutes per day,
2. reading one page a day from a Mahayana Sutra, such as the Lankavatara, Diamond Cutter, Vimalakirti, Lotus, or from the Zen masters such as Huineng's Platform Sutra, Andy Ferguson's Zen's Chinese Heritage, or works by Dogen or Hakuin, or the koan collections or the modern Zen teachers.
3. Connecting with a sangha for at least bi-weekly participation.

The fundamental essence of Zen is to turn the light around to shine it on yourself. Every practice method and teaching word is only for this. No other person can do this for you. Others can only encourage and support you in this.
_/|\_
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
User avatar
Gregory Wonderwheel
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 4238
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:07 am
Location: Santa Rosa, California

Re: Starting Over

Postby lobster on Sat Mar 11, 2017 7:15 am

:daisy:

How wonderful - Eh ma ho, as the Tibetan Zenniths say ...

Good advice from everyone. :)X

It is important to follow the advice, experience and inspiration of our fellow travellers. :ghug:

Do learn as well as sitting, walking meditation and mindful practices, such as slowing ones daily mindlessness into mindful being ... :O:

Most of all do not forget to ask questions, find and share answers and spread the occasional experience/joke/insight.

:peace:
User avatar
lobster
 
Posts: 426
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:01 am

Re: Starting Over

Postby Avisitor on Sun Mar 12, 2017 5:02 am

There really is no such thing as pure Zen. Or Zen doctrine or teachings.
There is, however, Zen Buddhism. And since you do have a background with Japanese Buddhist sect,
You have some exposure to Buddhist doctrine and teachings.

What is it that you are looking for?
Are you seeking enlightenment?
Are you looking for a better path?
Are you looking for a teacher and sangha?
Are you just looking?

What one seeks determines the shape of the lessons learned.
And also, it determines the effort that one is willing to put into such endeavors.
As you said, "... I can probably visit a local Zen center once a week."

Well, whatever it is you seek, once a week is a beginning
And probably lead you further as your practice matures
One will usually change according to one's understanding and practice
Or, stagger when a challenge becomes more than one is willing to deal with

I wish you much luck and joy along this path that you have chosen.
Disclaimer: There is no intent to be offensive in my posts. None was intended and none should be interpreted as such.
Sorry, got a message that I was not being PC.
User avatar
Avisitor
 
Posts: 1671
Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:43 pm
Location: Albany, NY

Re: Starting Over

Postby Jok_Hae on Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:15 pm

ph0kin wrote:Hello,

I am somewhat new to Zen. I have spent several years in another Japanese-Buddhist sect and finally left in exasperation, and after taking some time away from all things Buddhist, I have decided to take up the Zen path more seriously. Although, I have visited Zen centers before once or twice (even online sanghas), I don't feel I have a good grasp of Zen, and how to really follow the path. Thus, I would like to start over as a student.

So, this sounds like a naive question, but can folks here share advice on how to get started on the Zen path, and make the most of it?

One other point to bear in mind is that I am a parent of young kids, and can't devote much time to the more intense sesshins and such, but I can probably visit a local Zen center once a week. :buddha:

Thanks in advance!
Doug


Hello Doug,

As an old friend from 'round here used to say: "Just practice and see what happens." Whatever one thinks practice is, it's not that.

To get started, stop by that local group, sit with them for awhile and see how it goes. To be honest, I have seen more sincere efforts at practice derailed by false expectations than anything else.

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

New Haven Zen Center
User avatar
Jok_Hae
 
Posts: 4067
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2009 1:53 am
Location: CT, USA

Re: Starting Over

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:28 pm

Welcome!, p. (Doug),

There's no "zen". So, nothing to "grasp".

Best is to begin and continue genuine Zen Buddhist practice, with teacher and sangha. Just concentrate on practice.

Practice is medicine. It strips layers of habit and layers of accretion and sedimentation of unnatural blinders and blockages.

The benefits of practice are for the practical and harmonious living of everyday-life, both for oneself and for others. So, again, nothing to grasp! Grasping would be adding; Practice is actually "subtracting".

The ordinary Human being, and all our original inheritances, is/are all that's needed for daily-life. Practice uncovers these, and frees them to be used freely.

Onward!, with Zen Buddhism's effective Arithmetic!,

and, once more, Welcome,

--Joe

ph0kin wrote:Although, I have visited Zen centers before once or twice (even online sanghas), I don't feel I have a good grasp of Zen, and how to really follow the path. Thus, I would like to start over as a student.

'Sounds' great!

Just follow what the teacher teaches, and just fall in line with practice the way that they practice at the place you go to (and take that practice home). --J.
User avatar
desert_woodworker
 
Posts: 6372
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:09 am
Location: southern Arizona, USA


Return to Beginners Questions Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

 
RocketTheme Joomla Templates

Who is online

In total there is 1 user online :: 0 registered, 0 hidden and 1 guest (based on users active over the past 5 minutes)
Most users ever online was 157 on Mon Sep 19, 2016 8:44 am

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest