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Work Practice/Practice at Work

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

Work Practice/Practice at Work

Postby JessicaLeigh on Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:09 am

Hello friends,

Let's talk about work practice. What practices do you do at work? What challenges do you face? How does your practice look in the workplace?

I work in retail so much of my work day is spent stocking product, building displays look pretty, and interacting with customers. I spend a lot of time at work, and it's becoming increasingly important to me that I learn a way to make use of this time for my practice.

One common suggestion is to practice single-minded focus on the task at hand. Another way I've heard this articulated is: be aware of the movements of the body. Anyone have experience with this? This is really challenging for me. I try to bring myself back when I notice wandering thoughts. I can do that for a while. But after the first hour or two at work, I don't notice the wandering thoughts anymore. I just get carried off by them, by my internal monologue, and so I loose my awareness, my ability to return.

Please share your experiences/thoughts/comments/suggestions :)

Jessica

(By the way, Whole Foods Market has awesome quality standards and business practices, and you guys should totally shop there :) If you're in the DC area, come by Tenlytown & see me. You can sample some body scrubs or moisturizers, and look at our really cool signs that say things like: "Treat Your Body Like it Belongs to Someone You Love.")
"One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." -Andrè Gide
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Re: Work Practice/Practice at Work

Postby desert_woodworker on Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:55 am

Jessica,

I have no suggestions for practices to carry out at work. But let me suggest that perhaps intensifying one's practice at home might lead to awareness of ways to benefit one's work. It could also lead to awareness of ways to benefit one's practice while at work.

Can you see how this might happen?

Of course, if you have the opportunity to attend sesshin, that is a great way to bolster one's overall practice.

Sesshin, too, in many ways, is "a model of life". Everything is in it, from zazen, to work, to eating, to sleeping. Sesshin can help in many ways, and this might be one of them.

best,

--Joe

ps A couple of rather slow, deep breaths, here and there, with long exhales, is a good way to break the tyranny of wandering thoughts, anytime. ;)
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Re: Work Practice/Practice at Work

Postby Avisitor on Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:50 am

When much younger, there was an early desire to practice as much as possible
During the sessions with others and at other time
Whether it was work or relaxing in the park or playing sports
There was that thought of wanting to practice

Driving a car going 40 miles per hour and following breath
Thoughts not flowing. On task. Concentration high .. focused
A curve comes ... but the mind is focused on breath
Run smack into a light pole .. vehicle is a total lost
How is it possible to not avoid a light pole???
Well, told the police that the pole jumped out in front of the vehicle and could not avoid it
They didn't laugh. Lesson learned.
Found out that sitting meditation shouldn't be forced upon daily activities

Regular daily practice .. when done with right effort and at the right time
Can carry over to daily activities without interfering with it
Life expands .. there is time before thoughts arise and there are choices in actions in response to circumstances
Just general stuff about life seems to arise .. sometimes insights ... sometimes details
Change seems to happen without wanting them

Where's my coffee ... :coffee:
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.
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Re: Work Practice/Practice at Work

Postby Monk Rob on Thu Jun 18, 2015 6:11 am

I like to remember this one:

"When I chop wood, I chop wood. When I carry water, I carry water."-Layman Pang

When you work, you work :)
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Re: Work Practice/Practice at Work

Postby Chrisd on Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:25 am

Great that you're trying to integrate practice with work.

I remember Guo Gu giving good advice this direction, I hope he can chime in for you.
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Re: Work Practice/Practice at Work

Postby fukasetsu on Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:17 am

Hi Jessica,

Here's a bit from the Tsung Ching record;
Once a Vinaya Master came and asked: "In your practice of the Tao, do you still work hard?"

The Master answered: "Yes, I still work hard."

The Vinaya Master asked: "How hard?"

The Master retorted: "If I'm hungry, I eat. If I'm tired, I sleep. "

The Vinaya Master asked: "Do all other people work hard just as you do?"

The Master answered: "No, not in the same way."

The Vinaya Master asked: "Why not?"

The Master answered: "While they are eating, they are not really eating due to too much thinking. While they are sleeping, they are not really sleeping due to too much mental agitation. Therefore, they do not work in the same way I do."

The Vinaya Master, on hearing this, fell silent.


Regarding daydreaming, I wouldn't beat yourself up too much over it, it cannot be a volitional act of mind to be without wandering thoughts, that itself is nothing but a wandering thought, it's like trying to still the water by the act of movement. Just do your choirs and notice that whatever arises (like wandering thoughts) is momentary and arises due to conditions. I don't see why one would have to be aware of the movements of the body, this sounds like another distraction or avoiding strategy to what arises naturally due to conditions, just be insightful to every event, and carry on with whatever work needs to be done. In that way there's no exchanging of an internal narrative for a new narrative.

There's only so much you can 'do' while at work, so to me just working and noticing that everything is temporary and arises due to conditions is enough, you'll see then that everything liberates itself into its own condition. One may call that 'practise' but it's just being observant.

Best wishes.

ps customers are great teachers, everything teaches everything, not in words though.
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Re: Work Practice/Practice at Work

Postby Jojo on Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:05 pm

JessicaLeigh wrote:Let's talk about work practice. What practices do you do at work? What challenges do you face? How does your practice look in the workplace?


Dear Jessica,
thank you for this interesting question. I am not very expert on the path concerning either literature or realizations, so I have a rather housewifely approach to practice :blush:
A few years ago, when I was in real trouble, I used to practice very intensely with the precepts at work. We had been taught the Soto precepts which are rather simple:

The ten grave precepts:
1. Respect life – Do not kill
2. Be giving – Do not steal
3. Honor the body – Do not misuse sexuality
4. Manifest truth – Do not lie
5. Proceed clearly – Do not cloud the mind
6. See the perfection – Do not speak of others errors and faults
7. Realize self and other as one – Do not elevate the self and blame others
8. Give generously – Do not be withholding
9. Actualize harmony – Do not be angry
10. Experience the intimacy of things – Do not defile the Three Treasures

We were taught these together with the Three pure precepts:
1. Do not create Evil
2. Practice Good
3. Actualize Good For Others

You will find a nice article on this in the Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhisattva_Precepts

When I first learned about the precepts, I was put off. Coming from a Christian Background, I had misunderstood them as rules: "Do not..."
I did not see how I could ever put this into practice. Moreover, at that time, I hated and rejected all kinds of rules. i felt cornered by them; i knew that in many aspects I was unable to give myself rules and follow them, organize my life; and on the other hand I didn´t accept others to set the rules for me.

Then I was encouraged to consider the precepts as a kind of koan practice, to use them as a lens through which I could simply observe my interaction with others, simply observe if my thoughts, words and actions had a nourishing/constructive or a destructive effect on the given situation; nothing else, not trying to correct my behaviour in any way.

In addition, someone alerted me that the Three Pure Precepts can be applied to each one of the Ten Grave Precepts like a kind of gear system : that is one may use each of the Ten Grave Precepts at three different levels of competency, according to one´s personal set of causes and conditions. Gear 1: let go of evil (if you like to experiment with this). This is something I can do in nearly every situation; most times I know very well what is "evil", what will have a destructive effect to the situation. Gear 2: Do the good. That one is much trickier: oftentimes I do not know actually what is "the good". What seems "good" at first sight, may in fact be quite destructive to oneself and others (cf. helper syndrome, or trying to be nice and lovely to everybody). Gear 3: Do the good for the others - that one may lead straight to hell, if one doesn´t have a VERY clear understanding of the whole situation and all its implications!

I found this new perspective on the precepts intriguing and interesting, but was a bit lazy at first. However, in 2008 I got into real trouble at work, and then I set myself to practice on this deliberately and very systematically, especially on numbers 4, 6, 7, 9; which are all concerned with right speech. I did this for nearly four years, and it taught me a lot about myself and my automatic reactions and their effects!

In the meantime I have stopped practicing the precepts consciously and systematically, but they keep popping up in my mind if a situation gets tricky. And after all those years, I find myself still sticking to mostly 1st gear practice :)

What practice are you doing at work?
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Re: Work Practice/Practice at Work

Postby JessicaLeigh on Fri Jun 19, 2015 11:32 pm

Avisitor, that's quite a story! Thank you for sharing.

Joe, sesshin... I'm not ready :blush:

Fukasetsu and Jojo, thank you for your comments. They're useful things to think on/be reminded of. Monk Rob, of course :)

I'm not sure what I'm trying at practice at work. After reading your comments I think, just practice working. And awareness, as Fuki said. Hmmmm, I don't know. These days I spend a lot of time getting myself all worked up and confused regards my "practice." That's why I like coming to you guys, you help me keep things simple :rbow:

Jessica
"One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." -Andrè Gide
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Re: Work Practice/Practice at Work

Postby fukasetsu on Sat Jun 20, 2015 12:39 pm

JessicaLeigh wrote:These days I spend a lot of time getting myself all worked up and confused regards my "practice."


I remember the first few years always carrying my practise around in my head, analyzing, doubting, checking...exhausting.
Until one day I was lying in the grass looking up at the sky, noticing the clouds would appear and disappear with no inviting or pushing needed from me. These days everything just stays as long as its needed, I don't sit around inviting fleeting mind states for a cup of tea.
Its an aspect of nature to watch things come and go, all phenomena are liberated spontaneously as they appear, if you do not brand them, it's cool. :peace:
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Re: Work Practice/Practice at Work

Postby Seeker242 on Sat Jun 20, 2015 12:46 pm

Zen work practice is often called an extension of the sitting practice as the dynamics are basically the same. You place your attention, you lose it and then bring it back. It's exactly the same thing really. So the first thing to address I think is how is your sitting practice is going? Is it strong? Do you do it consistently, every day? If not, then the best way to improve your work practice, is to improve your sitting practice. :)
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Re: Work Practice/Practice at Work

Postby Ted Biringer on Sun Jun 21, 2015 7:35 am

JessicaLeigh wrote:Hello friends,

Let's talk about work practice. What practices do you do at work? What challenges do you face? How does your practice look in the workplace?

I work in retail so much of my work day is spent stocking product, building displays look pretty, and interacting with customers. I spend a lot of time at work, and it's becoming increasingly important to me that I learn a way to make use of this time for my practice.

One common suggestion is to practice single-minded focus on the task at hand. Another way I've heard this articulated is: be aware of the movements of the body. Anyone have experience with this? This is really challenging for me. I try to bring myself back when I notice wandering thoughts. I can do that for a while. But after the first hour or two at work, I don't notice the wandering thoughts anymore. I just get carried off by them, by my internal monologue, and so I loose my awareness, my ability to return.

Please share your experiences/thoughts/comments/suggestions :)

Jessica

(By the way, Whole Foods Market has awesome quality standards and business practices, and you guys should totally shop there :) If you're in the DC area, come by Tenlytown & see me. You can sample some body scrubs or moisturizers, and look at our really cool signs that say things like: "Treat Your Body Like it Belongs to Someone You Love.")


Dear Jessica,

Thank you for your post.

In my own experience and understanding it is crucial to continuously enhance and develop your capacity to actualize (make actual) the Way in every aspect of your life experience - definitely including work. Taking out the garbage, making lunch, or changing diapers are all excellent opportunities for actualizing the universe (genjokoan). Each moment from the time the alarm goes off (calling us to our Buddha mind) until our last breath as we fall off to sleep is opportunity for either enlightenment or delusion - even in our dreams we may find an opportunity to 'turn the wheel.'

Robert Aitken Roshi compiled a book of 'gathas' (four line verses) called The Dragon Who Never Sleeps - it is full of little touchstones for cultivating the Zen mind in all manner of activities, from conversing with someone, to stepping into the shower.

Dogen often speaks of Zen practice-enlightenment as 'solely sitting' which, in my understanding, means 'solely actualizing Zen' - that is, for the Zen practitioner there is no 'working' as opposed to 'meditating', one 'solely sits' solely actualizes Zen (though popularly Dogen's 'solely sitting' is understood literally to be 'just sitting').

In any case, for me if Zen practice-enlightenment was simply something I did on Sundays, or in the zendo, or only when I formally meditated, I would not be interested - if it cannot be applied to the whole of our lives, what is the point? In short, being able to engage in the realization of Zen in all aspects of my life has always been important to me, and effective. And while some may see 'Zen' as something that cannot be actualized in every corner of our lives, the classic Zen masters are very clear that it must - thus, here are some encouraging words from a handful of those worthies.

…[W]orldly passions are like a blazing fire: when will they ever end? Right in the midst of the hubbub, you mustn’t forget the business of the bamboo chair and reed cushion (meditation). Usually (to meditate) you set your mind on a still concentration point, but you must be able to use it right in the midst of the hubbub. If you have no strength amidst commotion, after all it’s as if you never made any effort in stillness.
Ta Hui, Swampland Flowers, JC Cleary p.27-28

Buddhism is an easily understood, energy-saving teaching; people strain themselves. Seeing them helpless, the ancients told people to try meditating quietly for a moment. These are good words, but later people did not understand the meaning of the ancients; they went off and sat like lumps with knitted brows and closed eyes, suppressing body and mind, waiting for enlightenment. How stupid! How foolish!
Foyan, Instant Zen, Thomas Cleary, p.69

You must find the nondiscriminatory mind without departing from the discriminating mind; find that which has no seeing or hearing without departing from seeing and hearing.

This does not mean that “no seeing” is a matter of sitting on a bench with your eyes closed. You must have nonseeing right in seeing. This is why it is said, “Live in the realm of seeing and hearing, yet unreached by seeing and hearing; live in the land of thought, yet untouched by thought.”
Foyan, Instant Zen, Thomas Cleary, p.29

Q: Are we to make this effort only when we are sitting in meditation, or also when we are walking about?

A: When I spoke just now of making an effort, I did not mean only when you are sitting in meditation; for, whether you are walking, standing, sitting, lying, or whatever you are doing, you must uninterruptedly exert your-selves all the time. This is what we call ‘constantly abiding’ (in that state).
Hui Hai, The Zen Teaching of Instantaneous Awakening, John Blofeld

Man-an wrote to a government official: “People in all walks of life have all sorts of things to attend to. How could they have the leisure to sit silently all day in quiet contemplation? Here there are Zen teachers who have not managed to cultivate this sitting meditation concentration; they teach deliberate seclusion and quietude, avoiding population centers, stating that ‘intensive meditation concentration cannot be attained in the midst of professional work, business, and labor,’ thus causing students to apply their minds mistakenly.

“People who listen to this kind of talk consequently think of Zen as something that is hard to do and hard to practice, so they give up the inspiration to cultivate Zen, abandon the source and try to escape, time and again becoming like lowly migrant workers. This is truly lamentable. Even if they have a deep aspiration due to some cause in the past, they get to where they neglect their jobs and lose their social virtues for the sake or the Way.

“As an ancient said, if people today were as eager for enlightenment as they are to embrace their lovers, then no matter how busy their professional lives might be, and no matter how luxurious their dwellings, they would not fail to attain continuous concentration leading to appearance of the Great Wonder.

“Many people of both ancient and modern times have awakened to the Way and seen essential nature in the midst of activity. All beings in all times and places are manifestations of one mind. When the mind is aroused, all sorts of things arise; when the mind is quiet, all things are quiet. When the one mind is unborn, all things are blameless. For this reason, even if you stay in quiet and serene places deep in the mountains and sit silently in quiet contemplation, as long as the road of the mind-monkey’s horse of conceptualization is not cut off, you will only be wasting your time.

“The Third Patriarch of Zen said, ‘if you try to stop movement and resort to stillness, that stopping will cause even more movement.’ If you try to seek true suchness by erasing random thoughts, you will belabor your vital spirit, diminish your mental energy, and make yourself sick. Not only that, you will become oblivious or distracted and fall into a pit of bewilderment.”
Man-an, Zen Antics, J.C. Cleary & Thomas Cleary p.94-96

Zen master Man-an wrote to a lay student of Zen, “If you want to quickly attain mastery of all truths and be independent in all events, there is nothing better than concentration in activity. That is why it is said that students of mysticism working on the Way should sit in the midst of the material world.

“The Third Patriarch of Zen said, ‘If you want to head for the Way of Unity, do not be averse to the objects of the six senses.’ This does not mean that you should indulge in the objects of the six senses; it means that you should keep right mindfulness continuous, neither grasping nor rejecting the objects of the six senses in the course of everyday life, like a duck going into the water without its feathers getting wet.

“If, in contrast, you despise the objects of the six senses and try to avoid them, you fall into escapist tendencies and never fulfill the Way of Buddhahood. If you clearly see the essence, then the objects of the six senses are themselves meditation, sensual desires are themselves the Way of Unity, and all things are manifestations of Reality. Entering into the great Zen stability undivided by movement and stillness, body and mind are both freed and eased.
Man-an, Zen Antics, J.C. Cleary & Thomas Cleary, p.20-21

Those who leave home mentally do not shave off their hair or wear special clothing. Though they live at home and are in the midst of the troubles of the world, they are like lotuses unsoiled by mud, like jewels unaffected by dust. Even though they may have spouses and children according to circumstances, they are not attached to them. Like the moon in the sky, like a pearl rolling in a bowl, they see the one who is free in the midst of a bustling city, they understand beyond time while in the world, they know that “even cutting off passions is a disease,” and realize that “aiming for true thusness is also wrong.” To them, nirvana and samsara are both illusions; they are concerned with neither enlightenment nor affliction. These are people who leave home mentally.
Keizan, Transmission of Light, Thomas Cleary, p.22

Question: “What is comprehending all dharmas?” Answer: “When in the midst of things you do not give rise to views, it is called comprehension. Comprehension means not engendering thought in relation to things, not engendering covetousness for things, and not engendering defilements in connection with things. When forms are formless, it is called comprehending forms. When existence is existenceless, it is called comprehending existence. When birth is birthless, it is called comprehending birth. When Dharma is Dharmaless, it is called comprehending Dharma. No matter what he meets, he directly comprehends. This person’s wisdom eye is open. No matter what may come, he is incapable of seeing differences or sameness in characteristics. This is called comprehension.
The Bodhidharma Anthology, Jeffrey L. Broughton, p.28

All dharmas are innately amazing beyond description. Perfect vision has no gap. In mountain groves, grasslands, and woods the truth has always been exhibited. Discern and comprehend the broad long tongue [of Buddha’s teaching], which cannot be meted anywhere. The spoken is instantly heard; what is heard is instantly spoken. Senses and objects merge; principle and wisdom are united. When self and other are the same, mind and dharmas are one. When you face what you have excluded and see how it appears, you must quickly gather it together and integrate with it. Make it work within your house, then establish stable sitting.
Hongzhi, Cultivating the Empty Field, Taigen Dan Leighton, p.12

Is it that mind is buddha, or that mind makes buddha? We must realize that mind is buddha—outside of mind there is no other buddha. In brief, there are five types [of approaches to this truth].

One: By realizing that the mind-essence is by nature pure and clean, that this essence is the same as buddha.

Two: By realizing that the mind-function produces Dharma jewels and creates eternal quiescence, that the myriad forms of delusion are all Thus.

Three: By always awakening without stopping, so that the awakened mind is always present, aware that Reality is formless.

Four: By constantly contemplating bodily existence as empty and still, inner and outer pervaded and equalized, entering bodily into the realm of reality without obstruction.

Five: By preserving unity and not stirring, always abiding through motion and stillness, enabling the learner to clearly see buddha-nature and quickly enter the gate of concentration.
Zen Dawn, J.C. Cleary, p.56-57

When your glance falls upon a grain of dust, what you see is identical with all the vast world-systems with their great and mighty hills. To gaze upon a drop of water is to behold the nature of all the waters of the universe. Moreover, in thus contemplating the totality of phenomena, you are contemplating the totality of Mind. All these phenomena are intrinsically void and yet this Mind with which they are identical is no mere nothingness. By this I mean that it does exist, but in a way too marvelous for us to comprehend. It is an existence which is no existence, a non-existence which is nevertheless existence. So this true Void does in some marvelous way ‘exist’.
Huang Po, The Zen Teaching of Huang Po, John Blofeld, p.108

Having a mind neither stilled nor disturbed in the presence of all things in the environment, neither concentrated nor distracted, passing through all sound and form without lingering or obstruction, is called being a wayfarer.

Not setting in motion good or evil, right or wrong, not clinging to a single thing, not rejecting a single thing, is called being a member of the great caravan.

Not being bound by any good or evil, emptiness or existence, defilement or purity, striving or nonstriving, mundanity or transcendence, virtue or knowledge, is called enlightened wisdom.

Once affirmation and negation, like and dislike, approval and disapproval, and all various opinions and feelings come to and end and cannot bind you, then you are free wherever you may be. This is what is called a bodhisattva at the moment of inspiration immediately ascending to the stage of buddhahood.
Pai-chang, Zen Teachings, Thomas Cleary p.18-19

Here, I always urge people simply to live in the unborn Buddha-mind. I don’t try to make anyone do anything else. We haven’t any special rules. But since everyone got together and decided that they wanted to spend six hours each day (for a period of twelve sticks of incense) doing zazen, I let then do as they wish. That amount of time has been set aside for zazen. But the unborn Buddha-mind has no connection with those sticks of incense. It’s just being at home in the Buddha-mind, not straying into illusion, and not seeking enlightenment beyond that. Just sit in the Buddha-mind, stand in the Buddha-mind, sleep in the Buddha-mind, awake in the Buddha-mind, do everything in the Buddha-mind—then, you’ll be functioning as a living Buddha in all that you do in your daily life. There’s nothing further.

Now, in zazen, it’s a matter of the Buddha-mind sitting at rest. It’s the Buddha-mind doing continuous zazen. Zazen isn’t limited to the time you sit. That’s why, around here, if people have something to do while they’re sitting, they’re free to get up and do it. It’s up to them, whatever they’ve a mind to do. Some of them will do kinhin for one stick of incense. But they can’t just continue walking, so then they sit down and for another stick of incense they do zazen. They can’t be sleeping all the time so they get up. They can’t talk constantly, so they stop talking and do some zazen. They aren’t bound by any set rules.
Bankei, The Unborn, Norman Waddell, p.57

People meditating on the fundamental carry out their ordinary tasks and activities in the midst of meditation and carry out meditation in the midst of ordinary tasks and activities. There is no disparity between meditation and activity.

It is for those as yet incapable of this, those weak in focusing their intent on the Way, that special meditation periods were set up. The practice of meditating four times a day in Zen communities began in this manner during the twelfth century.

In ancient times, Zen mendicants meditated twenty-four hours a day. In later times, however, there were those who became monks to avoid the trouble of making a living in the ordinary world. Their appetites distracted them from Buddhism, and when they participated in rituals their attention was taken away from the fundamental. Since these and other things inhibited them from work on the fundamental, they would have wasted their lives had not some other expedient been devised. This expedient was the rule of four daily periods of sitting meditation.

People who really have their minds on the Way, in contrast, do not forget work on the fundamental no matter what they are doing. Yet if they still distinguish this work from ordinary activities even as they do them together, they will naturally be concerned about being distracted by activities and forgetting the meditation work. This is because of viewing things as outside the mind.

An ancient master said, “The mountains, the rivers, the whole earth, the entire array of phenomena are all oneself.” If you can absorb the essence of this message, there are no activities outside of meditation: you dress in meditation and eat in meditation; you walk, stand, sit, and lie down in meditation; you perceive and cognize in meditation; you experience joy, anger, sadness, and happiness in meditation.

Yet even this is still in the sphere of accomplishment and is not true merging with the source of Zen.
Muso, The Roaring Stream, Nelson Foster p.243

The patriarch [one day] preached to the assembly as follows:

In our system of meditation, we neither dwell upon the mind [in contradistinction to the essence of mind] nor upon purity. Nor do we approve of nonactivity. As to dwelling upon the mind, the mind is primarily delusive; and when we realize that it is only a phantasm there is no need to dwell on it. As to dwelling upon purity, our nature is intrinsically pure; and so far as we get rid of all delusive idea there will be nothing but purity in our nature, for it is the delusive idea that obscures tathata [suchness]. If we direct our mind to dwell upon purity we are only creating another delusion, the delusion of purity. Since delusion has no abiding place, it is delusive to dwell upon it. Purity has neither shape nor form; but some people go so far as to invent the “form of Purity,” and treat it as a problem for solution. Holding such an opinion, these people are purity-ridden, and their essence of mind is thereby obscured.

Learned Audience, those who train themselves for imperturbability should, in their contact with all types of men, ignore the faults of others. They should be indifferent to others’ merit or demerit, good or evil, for such an attitude accords with the imperturbability of the essence of mind. Learned Audience, a man unenlightened may be unperturbed physically, but as soon as he opens his mouth he criticizes others and talks about their merits or demerits, ability or weakness, good or evil; thus he deviates from the right course. On the other hand, to dwell upon our own mind or upon purity is also a stumbling block in the Path.

The patriarch on another occasion preached to the assembly as follows:

Learned Audience, what is sitting for meditation? In our school, to sit means to gain absolute freedom and to be mentally unperturbed in all outward circumstances, be they good or otherwise. To meditate means to realize inwardly the imperturbability of the essence of mind.

Learned Audience, what are dhyana and samadhi? Dhyana means to be free from attachment to all outer objects, and samadhi means to attain inner peace. If we are attached to outer objects, our inner mind will be perturbed. When we are free from attachment to all outer objects, the mind will be in peace. Our essence of mind is intrinsically pure, and the reason why we are perturbed is because we allow ourselves to be carried away by the circumstances we are in. He who is able to keep his mind unperturbed, irrespective of circumstances, has attained samadhi.

To be free from attachment to all outer objects is dhyana, and to attain inner peace is samadhi. When we are in a position to deal with dhyana and to keep our inner mind in samadhi, then we are said to have attained dhyana and samadhi. The Bodhisattva-sila- sutra says, “Our essence of mind is intrinsically pure.” Learned Audience, let us realize this for ourselves at all times. Let us train ourselves, practice it by ourselves, and attain buddhahood by our own effort.
Hui-Neng, The Diamond Sutra & The Sutra of Hui-Neng, A. F. Price & Wong Mou-lam, p.98-99

Thanks again.

Treasure yourself.

Ted
Do not misunderstand Buddhism by believing the erroneous principle ‘a special tradition outside the scriptures.’ Zen Master Dogen, Shobogenzo, Bukkyo (trans. Hee-Jin Kim)
Ted Biringer Author The Flatbed Sutra
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Re: Work Practice/Practice at Work

Postby bubuyaya on Mon Jun 22, 2015 3:10 am

JessicaLeigh wrote:
Let's talk about work practice.
I work in retail so much of my work day is spent stocking product, building displays look pretty, and interacting with customers. I spend a lot of time at work, and it's becoming increasingly important to me that I learn a way to make use of this time for my practice.

One common suggestion is to practice single-minded focus on the task at hand.
Another way I've heard this articulated is: be aware of the movements of the body.
I try to bring myself back when I notice wandering thoughts.


Hi, Jessica.
Right practicing must lighten your life.

Then, what is right practicing?
For you to be returned to you is just right practicing.

When you completely returned to you, what will happen to you?
Whereever whenever whatever you do, whole each whatever everything is just only you.

Therefore, when you work, assume that working you to be you is just working practice.

When you walk you are the walking, and the walking is you, so you walk by no walking, because you are always the same you.
When you work you are the working, and the working is you, so you work by no working, because you are always the same you.
When you do single minded focusing you are the doing single minded focusing, and the doing single minded focusing is you, so you do single minded focusing by no doing single minded focusing, because you are always the same you.
When you aware you are the awaring, and the awaring is you, so you aware by no awaring, because you are always the same you.
When you do any try you are the trying, and the trying is you, so you try by no trying, because you are always the same you.
When you are wandering you are the wandering, and the wandering is you, so you wander by no wandering, because you are always the same you.

Therefore, right understanding and right belief about working you is essential for right working practicing.
When any qwestion, see Buddha's Bahiya Daruchiriya Sutra.

Trying and reapeating shall deepen understanding.

Then how can you assume?
You assume to be come home, so you come home.
You assume to be come work place, so you come work place.
Likewise you can do your working practice rightly.
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Re: Work Practice/Practice at Work

Postby Anders on Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:08 am

JessicaLeigh wrote:
Joe, sesshin... I'm not ready :blush:


Everyone is ready for it. Though, if there are conditions to be met first, the opposite is true. You will never be ready.

I've sat 5 day retreats with many scores of people whose first taste of meditation was only three weeks before. They weren't ready but they still managed just fine.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"
--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Work Practice/Practice at Work

Postby fukasetsu on Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:40 am

Anders wrote:
JessicaLeigh wrote:
Joe, sesshin... I'm not ready :blush:


Everyone is ready for it. Though, if there are conditions to be met first, the opposite is true. You will never be ready.


Thanks Anders, a very astute comment.
Mijn Oude Vriend uit de woestijn begrijpt geen Nederlands. <3
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Re: Work Practice/Practice at Work

Postby Anders on Mon Jun 22, 2015 10:14 am

Regarding the OP, I haven't found a magic pill either.

I find that anything more than cognitively light activity, such as walking, eating, gardening, dishes and such, lends itself very easy to forgetfulness. I work 3rd level IT, meaning I solve problems normal IT people can not, basically IT detective work, so it is not exactly 'light cognitive' work. Neither is socialising for me.

Fortunately, I can set my own pace - I find that if I take a moment to have a good idea of what to write on the keyboard beforehand, there can be a light mindful dance of fingers across the keys. When I go for coffee or tea, I really drink my tea. When walking from here to there, I try to remember to really walk, even if it is only for 30 seconds. Also, though it is not exactly 'practising with activity', when I am staring blankly at my screen, no one else knows where I am absorbed in some grinding conundrum or simply meditating. :tee:

I agree with Joe that the best way I've found to do it, is to power charge your mind on the cushion. The greater the charge, the more the glow will continue into daily activities and the more likely practise is to spontaneously switch itself on.

Other than that, I think a clear acceptance that practise in daily activities entails freedom from thought in the presence of the steady stream of thought (as opposed to freedom from thought -> absence of thought) will go a long way towards finding the sweet spot.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"
--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Work Practice/Practice at Work

Postby JessicaLeigh on Mon Jun 22, 2015 4:36 pm

fukasetsu wrote:I remember the first few years always carrying my practise around in my head, analyzing, doubting, checking...exhausting.
Until one day I was lying in the grass looking up at the sky, noticing the clouds would appear and disappear with no inviting or pushing needed from me. These days everything just stays as long as its needed, I don't sit around inviting fleeting mind states for a cup of tea.
Its an aspect of nature to watch things come and go, all phenomena are liberated spontaneously as they appear, if you do not brand them, it's cool. :peace:


Fuki, ah, thank you for sharing!
"One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." -Andrè Gide
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Re: Work Practice/Practice at Work

Postby JessicaLeigh on Mon Jun 22, 2015 4:43 pm

Anders wrote:I agree with Joe that the best way I've found to do it, is to power charge your mind on the cushion. The greater the charge, the more the glow will continue into daily activities and the more likely practise is to spontaneously switch itself on.

Other than that, I think a clear acceptance that practise in daily activities entails freedom from thought in the presence of the steady stream of thought (as opposed to freedom from thought -> absence of thought) will go a long way towards finding the sweet spot.


Two critical peices Anders, yes. I'm starting to see... In zazen, I need to come 100% into my method. I've been too easy on myself there I think. Or, rather, at this point I seem to have a greater reserve of energy to invest, and greater motivation to really sit when I sit down, not just go through the motions.

Freedoms from thought in the presence of the stream of thought - yeah. Important. Cool beans :)
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Re: Work Practice/Practice at Work

Postby partofit22 on Tue Jun 23, 2015 1:54 am

JessicaLeigh wrote:Hello friends,

Let's talk about work practice. What practices do you do at work? What challenges do you face? How does your practice look in the workplace?

I work in retail so much of my work day is spent stocking product, building displays look pretty, and interacting with customers. I spend a lot of time at work, and it's becoming increasingly important to me that I learn a way to make use of this time for my practice.

One common suggestion is to practice single-minded focus on the task at hand. Another way I've heard this articulated is: be aware of the movements of the body. Anyone have experience with this? This is really challenging for me. I try to bring myself back when I notice wandering thoughts. I can do that for a while. But after the first hour or two at work, I don't notice the wandering thoughts anymore. I just get carried off by them, by my internal monologue, and so I loose my awareness, my ability to return.

Please share your experiences/thoughts/comments/suggestions :)

Jessica

(By the way, Whole Foods Market has awesome quality standards and business practices, and you guys should totally shop there :) If you're in the DC area, come by Tenlytown & see me. You can sample some body scrubs or moisturizers, and look at our really cool signs that say things like: "Treat Your Body Like it Belongs to Someone You Love.")


:heya: I like Trader Joe's too .. A few of my favorite items are .. the French honey orange liquid soap, roasted seaweed snacks, organic tomato and roasted red pepper soup ..

I think everybody floats away, that nobody maintains focus 24-7 -- and I find comfort in that- Even if it isn't true :)

Linda Anderson, another ZFI member, gently reminds people to be kind to themselves, not beat themselves up- And that simple suggestion has helped me time and again when I've noticed I've drifted into my inner dialogue, doing so without adding frustration into the mix and simply do as you as you do and bring myself back to the task-
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Re: Work Practice/Practice at Work

Postby bubuyaya on Wed Jun 24, 2015 12:57 am

bubuyaya wrote:
JessicaLeigh wrote:
Let's talk about work practice.
I work in retail so much of my work day is spent stocking product, building displays look pretty, and interacting with customers. I spend a lot of time at work, and it's becoming increasingly important to me that I learn a way to make use of this time for my practice.

One common suggestion is to practice single-minded focus on the task at hand.
Another way I've heard this articulated is: be aware of the movements of the body.
I try to bring myself back when I notice wandering thoughts.


Right practicing must lighten your life.

When you walk you are the walking, and the walking is you, so you walk by no walking, because you are always the same you.
When you work you are the working, and the working is you, so you work by no working, because you are always the same you.
When you do single minded focusing you are the doing single minded focusing, and the doing single minded focusing is you, so you do single minded focusing by no doing single minded focusing, because you are always the same you.
When you aware you are the awaring, and the awaring is you, so you aware by no awaring, because you are always the same you.
When you do any try you are the trying, and the trying is you, so you try by no trying, because you are always the same you.
When you are wandering you are the wandering, and the wandering is you, so you wander by no wandering, because you are always the same you.


Let's see what Jesus said,
(17) Jesus said, "I shall give you what no eye has seen and what no ear has heard and what no hand has touched and what has never occurred to the human mind."
(77) Jesus said, "It is I who am the light which is above them all. It is I who am the all. From me did the all come forth, and unto me did the all extend. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there."
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Re: Work Practice/Practice at Work

Postby another_being on Wed Jun 24, 2015 7:34 pm

JessicaLeigh wrote:Hello friends,

Let's talk about work practice. What practices do you do at work? What challenges do you face? How does your practice look in the workplace?...


Hi, Jessica. Good question. For me, I also have a lot of interactions with fellow employees and guests coming in and out of the office each day and it seems to me that work is a perfect place for practice. Mainly this practice presently is noticing in myself when I become frustrated with something or impatient with people. That's an opportunity to notice my clinging and/or self-absorption and drop it, put it down, and open myself for the unique interaction that's before me at that time. Sometimes I notice that I continue to resist and maintain annoyance. I take a look at that from a curious viewpoint. Ted's response is worth noting here, I think.

:peace:
"Some people think they are enlightened, some people think they are not enlightened." -- Denko
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