Welcome admin !

It is currently Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:38 am
Pathway:  Board index Zen Discussion Forum Zen Practice & Philosophy Zen Buddhism Practical Buddhism

Bowing as Practice

Discussion of Zen Buddhism-in-action, application in daily life.

Bowing as Practice

Postby JessicaLeigh on Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:30 pm

Hello friends,

A few months ago I viewed one of Thich Nhat Hanh's dharma talks online. After the talk he received questions from the audience.

One question cam from a young Vietnamese girl. She asked him how she could deal with having a bad reputation at school. She was maybe 14 or 15 years old.

After Thich Nhat Hanh responded, the girl bowed. Now, customarily everyone bows after receiving an answer from the teacher, but for some reason, this girl's gesture struck me differently.

I remember thinking: oh, wow, that's a bow. Her movement was so natural and complete. In that moment, I saw clearly how the girl's bow fully embodied her practice; the flow of her limbs expressed something directly. It was beautiful... I felt this realization of, so that's what bowing is all about, yes, I see now.

Bowing as an aspect of practice... I'm curious, if fellow practitioners will indulge me and share your experiences: what is the significance of bowing in your practice? When, or under what circumstances do, you bow? What is it that are you expressing when you bow? How does it feel?

Thank you all,

Jessica
"One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." -Andrè Gide
User avatar
JessicaLeigh
 
Posts: 95
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2014 6:52 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: Bowing as Practice

Postby Chrisd on Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:38 pm

In the bowing there is just the giving up and into whatever is happening at that moment. I usually enjoy it. It seems to automatically trigger some release mechanism in the body/mind.

I do simple ones before and after meditation, it's a habit. Only at the zendo we do longer bows, they're nice.

I also do deep ones when I feel I need help. I do a couple of bows to the floor until the felt need is "fulfilled".

I personally think every bow is perfect. Like every sip of tea is perfect in and of itself. So there's no need to do it one way or the other, we just do it. It's a nice way of expressing our being. I'd like to think that if the girl fell over when bowing, that would not touch the bow one bit :)
Chrisd
 
Posts: 2293
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:49 pm

Re: Bowing as Practice

Postby Jojo on Mon Jan 19, 2015 7:50 pm

Hello Jessica,
thank you for offering this topic. My practice with bowing:
At home, before and after each sitting, I do three deep bows. Like Chrisd, I also do deep bows when I feel I need help, or when I feel overwhelmed in some way.
In the beginning of my regular practice, the bowing felt strange and I had to get used to it. In that time, I often did bows with palms together in my mind, to whoever or whatever annoyed me. That was very helpful to stop automatic re-action, and bring to mind that my "opponent" was like me :)
J.
User avatar
Jojo
 
Posts: 107
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:22 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Bowing as Practice

Postby fukasetsu on Tue Jan 20, 2015 1:33 am

JessicaLeigh wrote:When, or under what circumstances do, you bow? What is it that are you expressing when you bow? How does it feel?


Bowing is bowing back, so whomever I meet I bow, so bowing is an expression instead of a practise. (for me)
It can't be explained, in the recognition that no one's bowing and no one is boing back, we bow.
And That what we are together, is an expression of the deathless.
I've never since a lil kid not bowed at the shops cash register's eyes, it's an spontaneous expression.
There's no feeling or emotional reactivity involved for me.

Purely as a taught in religious practise it's a tool just like chanting is.

I do bow at females more open/direct/deep then to most males, it's a bit more subtle then. Most be some 'social' reason for that.
Everyone for President!
User avatar
fukasetsu
 
Posts: 7249
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:17 am
Location: The Netherlands

Re: Bowing as Practice

Postby JessicaLeigh on Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:26 am

Hi Chrisd, Jojo, and fukasetsu,

Thank you all for offering your thoughts. It's interesting and encouraging to hear your perspectives. Chrisd, yes, I like that: if the young practitioner had fallen over, it wouldn't have touched the bow at all :) Jojo, thanka for sharing your experience. I'll remember that when I notice myself getting annoyed or experiencing vexations! Fukasetsu, thank you for offering these observations. Despite the limits of language, I connect with what you've shared & your words have helped broaden my perspective.

Till recently, I've associated bowing with the social aspect of practice. Bowing feels nice and polite. It's recognizing the Buddha nature in us all, honoring and respecting members of the sangha. Bowing "to" a person felt authentic, real to me in a way that bowing, say, toward the wall did not. Now -- with regular group practice and mutual sharing here on the forum -- my attitude is changing. I just find I'm letting go of this strict association, this narrow idea of what bowing is or should be.

Thanks to all for reading, for engaging, and of course -- for continuing your practice!

:Namaste:
Jessica
"One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." -Andrè Gide
User avatar
JessicaLeigh
 
Posts: 95
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2014 6:52 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: Bowing as Practice

Postby Chrisd on Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:41 am

:Namaste:
Chrisd
 
Posts: 2293
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:49 pm

Re: Bowing as Practice

Postby Michaeljc on Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:09 am

:) I got to like the feel of bowing during my number of trips to Japan. The good thing is that one does not have to say anything!
User avatar
Michaeljc
 
Posts: 3659
Joined: Fri May 06, 2011 3:36 pm
Location: Raglan New Zealand

Re: Bowing as Practice

Postby lobster on Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:46 am

I bowed in prayer Mudra Hindu style, to a shop worker recently because they had been to temple that morning. However that was after another enquiry about opening times . . . :Namaste:

In a eastern martial arts situation we bowed a lot in Judo and Karate. In Buddhist temples and before my shrines a bout of prostration is good practice.

However bowing is on the internal manifest the receiving of energy by making oneself hollow, just as the assertive make themself more thrusting.

Bowing is not an effectuation but an inevitable subtle acceptance of other . . . :rbow:
User avatar
lobster
 
Posts: 445
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:01 am

Re: Bowing as Practice

Postby desert_woodworker on Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:29 pm

Jessica,

A topic near and dear to my heart. :)

Well, there's bowing, and there are prostrations. I gather you are concerned with bowing, here.

I like what Michael wrote: at least you don't have to say anything! It's an important observation, in formal practice (with teacher and sangha).

Prostrations, on the other hand, can be done slowly, for 20 minutes or half an hour, or for some fixed number of prostrations (e.g., 108). The effects on the body of course propagate to the mind (but I don't cut any clear distinctions there among, or there within).

My teacher was the late Ch'an Master Sheng Yen (1930 - 2009), and prostrations were/are a wonderful part of our training and practice. I am a lay practitioner, one of Sheng Yen's disciples from the late 1970s in New York City, USA.

--Joe

JessicaLeigh wrote:Hello friends,

Bowing as an aspect of practice... I'm curious, if fellow practitioners will indulge me and share your experiences: what is the significance of bowing in your practice? When, or under what circumstances do, you bow? What is it that are you expressing when you bow? How does it feel?
User avatar
desert_woodworker
 
Posts: 7046
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:09 am
Location: southern Arizona, USA

Re: Bowing as Practice

Postby Jok_Hae on Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:53 am

With regard to bowing, a friend once said that it is the act of placing our head below our heart. I thought that was interesting. He was talking about prostration practice, but this applies to the simple bow, as well. I admit that I am given to the occasional half-assed, kind of "palms together head nod" as I move around the temple. I would like to do better. :)
You make, you get

New Haven Zen Center
User avatar
Jok_Hae
 
Posts: 4098
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2009 1:53 am
Location: CT, USA

Re: Bowing as Practice

Postby lobster on Sun May 31, 2015 3:38 am

Jok_Hae wrote:I would like to do better. :)


:hugs:

Bent by words, bend by example, kneel on foot. Which way is heading down rather than up? :>.>:
User avatar
lobster
 
Posts: 445
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:01 am

Re: Bowing as Practice

Postby Jojo on Wed Nov 18, 2015 10:44 pm

I found this thread while digging for another one.
We can do with a lot of living bowing practice here these days, with all this heavy stuff going on.
I have been doing my bows a bit mechanically for a while.
User avatar
Jojo
 
Posts: 107
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:22 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Bowing as Practice

Postby Jok_Hae on Mon Nov 23, 2015 12:17 am

Jojo wrote:I found this thread while digging for another one.
We can do with a lot of living bowing practice here these days, with all this heavy stuff going on.
I have been doing my bows a bit mechanically for a while.


I believe the phrase "fake it till' you make it" applies here...

Thanks for practicing!
Keith
You make, you get

New Haven Zen Center
User avatar
Jok_Hae
 
Posts: 4098
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2009 1:53 am
Location: CT, USA

Re: Bowing as Practice

Postby Jok_Hae on Mon Nov 23, 2015 12:22 am

lobster wrote:
Jok_Hae wrote:I would like to do better. :)


:hugs:

Bent by words, bend by example, kneel on foot. Which way is heading down rather than up? :>.>:


Image
You make, you get

New Haven Zen Center
User avatar
Jok_Hae
 
Posts: 4098
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2009 1:53 am
Location: CT, USA


Return to Practical Buddhism

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