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Internal-Impersonal External-Personal

A place to share and discuss the practice of Zen Buddhism without teachers. Debates about whether practicing without teachers is possible or desirable are not appropriate here, nor are criticisms of Zen Buddhist practice with teachers.
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A place to share and discuss the practice of Zen Buddhism without teachers. Debates about whether practising without teachers is possible or desirable are not appropriate here, nor are criticisms of Zen Buddhist practice with teachers.

Re: Internal-Impersonal External-Personal

Postby fukasetsu on Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:51 am

Nisargadatta_fan wrote:The neti-neti shikantaza approach seems very natural for me.
It is very important for me to avoid any kind of dogmatism about method but at the same time consistency with what works is important also.


Sorry for saying something I did a thousand times probably, but due to studying/practising different 'schools' over the years it might be noteful to point out (to you since you're 'new') that "neti neti", is the 'same' as Kwan Um's "don't know mind" or Hui Hai's "non-dwelling mind"

Whenever you're interested regarding 'non-dwelling' here's one of my all time fav's from Hui Hai. (entering the tao of...)
First reading it in 2006 I think it had a enormous impact on me.
http://www.ymba.org/books/entering-tao- ... ightenment

(not that I advocate "mixing" as a note to friend Joe, but it's just something I noticed, meaning the similarities)
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Re: Internal-Impersonal External-Personal

Postby Michaeljc on Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:35 am

In respect to anything I/we advocate there remains: "Not Always So'

At this point in time I am just saying that for anyone starting out with little personal guidance the 'Just Sit' method is a safe foundation. Many may benefit from a more pro-active method further down the track. That is beyond my brief :)
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Re: Internal-Impersonal External-Personal

Postby desert_woodworker on Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:58 pm

In sitting without any guidance from a 3-Dimensional teacher, I'd advocate a method that is more of a method than "just sitting".

"Just sitting" is more of a result than a practice. And easy to get wrong. You know how hard simple-seeming things are, and the pitfalls one may pitch-over into. Rostropovich made 'cello playing look like a cinch. " 'Just' don't play any wrong notes", he taught. :peace:

Just sitting is the method of "no method". Better to learn that from a teacher. ;)

Body-based methods are safest, I opine. Everybody has a body. Bodies feel pretty concrete. Just-sitting is not as concrete.

Methods involving breathing are body-based methods. They involve the breath. Counting the breath is always a good method. Books even describe and suggest how one might go about it! Have a look?

Strong practice,

--Joe

Last edited by desert_woodworker on Wed Jun 03, 2015 11:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Internal-Impersonal External-Personal

Postby fukasetsu on Wed Jun 03, 2015 11:08 pm

Michaeljc wrote:In respect to anything I/we advocate there remains: "Not Always So'

At this point in time I am just saying that for anyone starting out with little personal guidance the 'Just Sit' method is a safe foundation. Many may benefit from a more pro-active method further down the track. That is beyond my brief :)


Those starting out cannot "just sit", just like they cannot just eat, or just sleep, they're always occupied elsewhere, and even when just sitting, it's not just sitting for they're dwelling on the notion of just sitting (and fall into duality and thereby the chain of illusions), so they require methods of practise, as long as one has a mind for meditation, it's not true meditation. Any 'starter' should focus on not letting illusions multiply, "just sitting" cannot be done, for it's not an activity of mind.
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Re: Internal-Impersonal External-Personal

Postby Michaeljc on Thu Jun 04, 2015 2:58 am

Those starting out cannot "just sit", just like they cannot just eat, or just sleep, they're always occupied elsewhere, and even when just sitting, it's not just sitting for they're dwelling on the notion of just sitting


Fuki - you'r not getting it :)

Dwelling on the notion of just sitting is PART of just sitting. It HAPPENS!! - embrace it too

This, in my case, required a mini-realisation :heya:

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Re: Internal-Impersonal External-Personal

Postby clyde on Thu Jun 04, 2015 4:46 am

Michaeljc wrote:As long as you keep sitting regularly the fog will clear


:rbow:
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

DO NO HARM
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Re: Internal-Impersonal External-Personal

Postby Michaeljc on Thu Jun 04, 2015 5:43 am

Thank you Clyde

This practice is so simple. All we need is a cushion and a mat, plus the discipline to use them. Anyone can find the time, if they try
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Re: Internal-Impersonal External-Personal

Postby Michaeljc on Thu Jun 04, 2015 5:54 am

Just sitting" is more of a result than a practice. And easy to get wrong


Joe - I disagree. It is impossible to get Just Sitting wrong. Just sitting includes anything that occurs during a sit. This embrace is linked to a realisation that the sitter has everything that is required, nothing is superfluous or lacking, and can lead to the experience of universal oneness

Here we have another example of a Zen practice that is too simple to be credible - by many

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Re: Internal-Impersonal External-Personal

Postby fukasetsu on Thu Jun 04, 2015 2:38 pm

Michaeljc wrote:Dwelling on the notion of just sitting is PART of just sitting. It HAPPENS!! - embrace it too


Well ofcourse it happens, but it's momentary because it occurs due to conditions, basic insight stuff.
No need of embracing or shunning any of it, for it liberates itself into its own condition.
Whatever happens is a passing event, no need to fabricate it into a personal experience of a sitter.

The experience of universal oneness, is the 'highest' an individual can reach, but this needs to melt away too, in order to 'advance'
The 'mind', it cannot touch this.
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Re: Internal-Impersonal External-Personal

Postby desert_woodworker on Thu Jun 04, 2015 3:36 pm

Michael,

It's a credible practice. It's not simple. For someone new to it.

This is why it's introduced by teachers to students -- if at all -- sometime after they've worked with body-based methods, usually the breathing.

Of course, a person without guidance is going to do what they will do. That too is credible.

So, all's as it was. And I hope well.

--Joe

Michaeljc wrote:Here we have another example of a Zen practice that is too simple to be credible - by many
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Re: Internal-Impersonal External-Personal

Postby Michaeljc on Fri Jun 05, 2015 9:49 pm

It's[Just sit] a credible practice. It's not simple. For someone new to it


It is deadly simple. Finding its’ simplicity is an important part of the process

I remind you guys that this topic is under Practicing Zen Buddhism without a Teacher. Establishing a sound foundation of Zazen is crucial to this practice, with or without a teacher. How to encourage this in a beginner who has not had exposure to a teacher? Spouting deep theory with objectives or telling them that have little chance without a teacher is not helpful

I believe in them and the power of the Zen posture. Usually they go the cushion with minds un-contaminated by ideas and objectives. This is a treasure so easily lost. It is not for us to say where their path should lead

Adopt the recognised posture for at least 40 minutes each day and just sit allowing the mind to go where it will. Out of this the essential foundation will build. "Methods" such as following breath may well develop naturally

As I see it right now

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Re: Internal-Impersonal External-Personal

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Jun 05, 2015 10:35 pm

I'm not a teacher and am not teaching, but I'd advocate counting the breath. If one tires of that after a long while, then one might just allow "just sitting" to come on.

I agree that 40 minutes a day can be a good and effective span. And that the posture of zazen is itself a great teacher, and I'd say excellent physician, too. Rather miraculous.

When I was starting, I did 20 minutes in the morning, and 20 minutes in the evening. I preceded and followed each 20 minute sitting span with Yoga exercises (which at the time was my primary practice -- Hatha Yoga). It was hard for me just to sit down "cold", that is, say, just in off the street, or first thing in the morning before breakfast. Things always went better, smoother, deeper, after some stretching, and deepening and calming of the breath by the exercises. I also found that sitting after a bath or shower is conducive to even deeper relaxation, still.

There's a big literature on "Seiza", BTW, All. It's not just a posture, but is a practice, and there is a tradition of it. This is a Japanese practice (probably influenced by Zen Buddhist practices) which is very simple. People might like to look into it. We don't have to assume it has anything to do with Zen Buddhism. And it can be practiced with others in a group, with no one assigned to be a teacher or leader. There might be a volunteer time-keeper, though.

Glad to share these reminiscences of the good-old days.

:Namaste:,

--Joe
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Re: Internal-Impersonal External-Personal

Postby another_being on Fri Jun 05, 2015 10:43 pm

"It is deadly simple. Finding its’ simplicity is an important part of the process."


:Namaste:

"I remind you guys that this topic is under Practicing Zen Buddhism without a Teacher. Establishing a sound foundation of Zazen is crucial to this practice, with or without a teacher. How to encourage this in a beginner who has not had exposure to a teacher? Spouting deep theory with objectives or telling them that have little chance without a teacher is not helpful

I believe in them and the power of the Zen posture. Usually they go the cushion with minds un-contaminated by ideas and objectives. This is a treasure so easily lost. It is not for us to say where their path should lead."


:peace:
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Re: Internal-Impersonal External-Personal

Postby [james] on Sat Jun 06, 2015 12:16 am

desert_woodworker wrote:There's a big literature on "Seiza", BTW, All. It's not just a posture, but is a practice, and there is a tradition of it. This is a Japanese practice (probably influenced by Zen Buddhist practices) which is very simple. People might like to look into it. We don't have to assume it has anything to do with Zen Buddhism. And it can be practiced with others in a group, with no one assigned to be a teacher or leader. There might be a volunteer time-keeper, though.

Glad to share these reminiscences of the good-old days.

:Namaste:,

--Joe


"Ah, but I was so much older then: I'm younger than that now."

Actually we don't have to assume that anything has anything to do with Zen Buddhism, nor Zen, nor Buddhism. We could put aside or take up traditions with graceful ease and unburdened gratitude for our freedom.
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Re: Internal-Impersonal External-Personal

Postby desert_woodworker on Sat Jun 06, 2015 12:47 am

Hi, James,

On "Seiza", what falls from the shelf here first is K. von Durckheim's book, HARA (1980, reissued). It had to be in there. And it is. ;) This is a very versatile book.

In the Appendix are several texts from Japanese sources. The first is of an early 20th Century Japanese Seiza practitioner, one Okada Torajiro. Torajiro's seiza is said to be a practice propagated by one Okada. In this text in von Durckheim's book are sayings of Torajiro, which comprise descriptions of the practice, some suggestions on details of the posture and practice, and mention of some commonly noted benefits of seiza. Each phrase is concentrated and compact and full of content for a practitioner. No, there's no mention of Zen Buddhism in the fourteen pages.

best,

--Joe

[james] wrote:Actually we don't have to assume that anything has anything to do with Zen Buddhism, nor Zen, nor Buddhism. We could put aside or take up traditions with graceful ease and unburdened gratitude for our freedom.
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Re: Internal-Impersonal External-Personal

Postby Michaeljc on Sat Jun 06, 2015 5:10 am

Thanks Joe for the contribution

Glad to share these reminiscences of the good-old days


Yes, I too recall the joy at finding something that I knew that was real. A bit like falling properly in love for the first time :)

I suspect that the greatest challenge for someone beginning alone without personal guidance will be the physical aspects of sitting: what to do with those God-damned legs :blush:

There is plenty of guidance on YouTube nowadays but this cannot deal with specific body-types and ages. There is also the tendency within beginners to think that the inevitable numbness will do harm. Those of us who have been at it awhile set our own standards on how much discomfort is tolerable when practicing alone. This is where a forum like this can be so useful. There are plenty of experienced people who can help - even teachers if they are asked

:Namaste:

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Re: Internal-Impersonal External-Personal

Postby desert_woodworker on Sat Jun 06, 2015 6:02 am

Michael,

Contribution, sure, I'm counting on it being tax-deductible. :lol2:

Your reply is very kind. Thank you!

I'm picking sand-flakes from my eyes, while the Sand Man is unrelenting in tossing more. Night-night!

May all beings be clothed safely in the Great Earth's cool shadow, and rest-up. And may the sky of Samadhi and the moonlight of Wisdom always be the temple of our practice.

Warm night in the desert, after a day of extremely rare June drizzle; tropical storm south of us. It rained, up in Phoenix today (June 5) for the first time ever in the history there of weather records for June 5. Down here in Tucson, I recorded 0,02 inch rain (0.5 mm). Almost better than nothing! ;)

:Namaste:,

--Joe (tuckered-out)

Michaeljc wrote:Thanks Joe for the contribution
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Re: Internal-Impersonal External-Personal

Postby Nisargadatta_fan on Sat Jun 06, 2015 8:40 am

The Seiza postrure is the one I use.
"Who understands the mind? What is there prior to mind?" Nisargadatta Maharaj
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Re: Internal-Impersonal External-Personal

Postby Michaeljc on Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:17 am

The Seiza postrure is the one I use


N f -

Nothing wrong with that :)

Meido introduced a very helpful topic on posture a few weeks back. If you did not see it It is worth going back to. It is rather relevant to Seiza, as if the cushions are too high there can be a problem. Seiza also requires some type of support for the hands.

Cheers

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Re: Internal-Impersonal External-Personal

Postby fukasetsu on Sat Jun 06, 2015 2:14 pm

Michaeljc wrote: Finding its’ simplicity is an important part of the process


There ya go :)

One's nature is not modified by practise, and yet we practise.

Key difference is for those who have a mind for zazen, it ain't simple at all, but might as well forget about interpretation upon perception of 'simple' and 'difficult'
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