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Zen and introversion

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Zen and introversion

Postby TonyD on Thu Jan 07, 2016 6:38 pm

Hi,

I'm naturally a rather introverted person. Do you think that Zen meditation can increase introversion? I mean, all that sitting and watching the mind is definitely an inwardly directed activity. If so, I wonder how wise it would be for an introvert to increase his/her sitting time.

Gassho
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Re: Zen and introversion

Postby macdougdoug on Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:16 pm

One of the first blessings I received when some scales fell from my eyes (when first discovering meditation after a 10 day retreat) was the freedom to be whatever deluded fool I was; with the added benefit of being less enslaved by whatever delusions they happened to be (no longer being particularly interested by the particularities of the delusions themselves was also a big big plus)

Freedom, what a blessing! What lightness! Where had all the weight gone? Was it all just a dream?

PS - depends what actually this zen meditation you partake in is all about
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Re: Zen and introversion

Postby desert_woodworker on Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:47 pm

Tony, with a teacher and sangha as two of the Three Treasures (or Jewels) for you, you'll be OK, no matter whether introvert or extrovert. Have you got those (teacher and sangha)?

BTW, "introvert" or "extrovert" are conditions -- or "positions" -- which both can stand to be dissolved, or seen-though, by the effects of correct practice. The reason is that "introvert" or "extrovert" both come down to ...an "I". Neither introvert nor extrovert has an easier time with our practice, I wouldn't say, because both "types" are working against the same delusion ( ...an "I").

I'd say that the only way for either introvert or extrovert to make progress is to increase practice time, yes, but also to carry practice out correctly (I hope you have good relations and connections with a teacher and sangha, and can meet with them regularly).

best,

--Joe
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Re: Zen and introversion

Postby Carol on Fri Jan 08, 2016 2:51 am

Introversion isn't a bad thing. It's a natural direction that energy flows for some people --- introverts tend to recharge from their inner experience, while extraverts tend to recharge from their environment. Both are fine. Those of us who tend towards introversion (I am one) benefit just as much as those who don't from meditation. The identity we form as people begins to become more porous as a result of our meditation practice -- so we're not so stuck on the introvert/extravert identity and are more accepting of how we are without complaint or judgment. Also, the tag-alongs with introversion, the idea that we are shy or social misfits, starts to lose its grip, and I find it easier to spend time with others without feeling drained, withdrawn, awkward, etc., etc., due to that excess baggage.

Definitely, I recommend Zen practice for all types.
Practitioners who cultivate the personal realization of buddha knowledge dwell in the bliss of whatever is present and do not abandon their practice.
~Lankavatara Sutra
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Re: Zen and introversion

Postby chankin1937 on Fri Jan 08, 2016 1:22 pm

Joe wrote: Tony, with a teacher and sangha as two of the Three Treasures (or Jewels) for you, you'll be OK, no matter whether introvert or extrovert. Have you got those (teacher and sangha)?


Hello Tony,
Joe gives the impression that “teacher and sangha” are essential. They are not - they are optional.
There’s plenty of advice on the internet and you can ask teachers here if you have any problems. So don’t worry if you have no access to those “jewels”.

Joe wrote: BTW, "introvert" or "extrovert" are conditions -- or "positions" -- which both can stand to be dissolved, or seen-though, by the effects of correct practice. The reason is that "introvert" or "extrovert" both come down to ...an "I". Neither introvert nor extrovert has an easier time with our practice, I wouldn't say, because both "types" are working against the same delusion ( ...an "I").


Let me clear up what losing an “I” means:
In “The living thoughts of GOTAMA THE BUDDHA” Presented by Ananda Coomaraswamy and L.B.Horner we find on page 5:
Finally he (Gotama) taught them the doctrine of liberation resulting from full comprehension and experience of the proposition that of one and all of the constituents of the unstable psycho-physical individuality that men call “I” or “myself” it must be said, “that is not my Self” (na me so atta)---- a proposition that has very often , despite the logic of the words, been mistaken to mean that “there is no Self”.

Page 17: In the whole of the Buddhist canonical literature it is nowhere stated that “there is no Self”.
On the contrary the “Self” is both implicitly and explicitly asserted.
And: Buddha said ,”I have taken refuge in the Self .(Digha-nikaya ii 120)


When we use the pronoun “I” to refer to my “self” we can mean either of three things.
The first “I” (Self 1- -capital “S”) is our awareness. This Self is the observer of all the sense data we receive and the employer of all conscious mental activity we use. Importantly it is also able to abstain from these activities. It is a universally constant attribute in all creatures with our kind of central nervous system.

The second way we use “I” (self 2 small “s”) is to refer to that self which is accessible to the first self and is comprised of a collection of unique data relating to each individual - our experiences, our memories, our prejudices, ambitions, our morals (or lack of them)– the whole of our character and personality - our ego. It is a highly individual, personal, mental construct.

The third way we use the pronoun “I” (self 3) is to refer to the gross physical body which incorporates the other two.

The self we are advised to lose (or is denied existence), is certainly not the Self – Self 1. We need that one to experience anything – it is our original mind – our true face – who we were before we were born. The Tao.
Nor are we referring to self (3) (although we do lose contact with that in meditation).

The self we are advised to lose is self (2); that ever-changing and impermanent self; the mental construct of self. But we lose it not particularly because it does not exist – nor is it an illusion - but because it is a set of ideas and all of those must go in meditation.

All three are valuable concepts in daily life and all three certainly exist, even though 2 and 3 change over time, they are totally real.
Colin
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Re: Zen and introversion

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Jan 08, 2016 3:45 pm

Tony,

You understand the difference, I take it, between our true nature -- our original nature, our "original face before our parents were born" -- as classical sources have called it in Ch'an Buddhist circles (such as Colin is reading about in John Wu's book now), and... the small "I", or fictional being which is only a string of events, a residue of the past (store of karma), not an actual being.

Thus, the self-diagnosed "introverted" or "extroverted" party, or personality, is the fiction which is dissolved at awakening, in the midst of effective Zen Buddhist practice (or possibly other Buddhist practice of one's choice or inclination).

All schools of practice depend upon and credit the Three Jewels -- Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, as you may know. A reliable way to benefit from all three is to have a practice circle to connect with, just as all Ch'an and Zen Buddhist luminaries of the past (and present) have had.

In such circles, the Buddha of course is taken as our Original Teacher. And, the sangha teacher in residence -- Ch'an Buddhist shihfu, or Zen Buddhist roshi, etc. -- is Buddha's representative in the current day (through the lineage begun by Shakyamuni, Mahakasyapa, etc.).

Dharma and Sangha are also present in such circles. Dharma is the teaching or expression of the truth in words or actions, while the Dharma is also however most fundamentally the truth of things as they are, which truth we discover and uncover in ourselves as we practice and awaken (to true nature).

You may already know these skeletal fundamentals, and the fact that teacher and sangha are the sine qua non of genuine Zen Buddhist practice, or of practice in any Buddhist school of your choice. Accept no substitutes!, take no wooden-nickels. One can safely and effectively learn correct practice there, apply it together, and receive corrections (just as in a Tai Chi class or Yoga class), and take it home.

By the way, in the awakened state, a being is neither introverted nor extroverted. True Wisdom and true Compassion arise freely in the awakened person, in seamless response to circumstances, and one's unhesitating behavior is completely in accord with them, and not under the control any longer of personality-complexes (karma), nor delusion.

Well, if you have questions about these fundamentals, or other things, please ask your own teacher, or teachers here, or other experienced practitioners of your acquaintance whom you can trust, in such matters of Life and death.

best,

--Joe
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Re: Zen and introversion

Postby TonyD on Fri Jan 08, 2016 4:51 pm

Great, thanks. Really my only teachers/sangha right now are books and online teachers such as the very knowledgeable people in this forum. Better than nothing, no?
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Re: Zen and introversion

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Jan 08, 2016 5:09 pm

Best wishes, Tony.

Probably many or most of us start out reading, as I did also.

--Joe

TonyD wrote:Great, thanks. Really my only teachers/sangha right now are books and online teachers such as the very knowledgeable people in this forum. Better than nothing, no?
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Re: Zen and introversion

Postby Jok_Hae on Sun Jan 10, 2016 2:07 am

TonyD wrote:Hi,

I'm naturally a rather introverted person. Do you think that Zen meditation can increase introversion? I mean, all that sitting and watching the mind is definitely an inwardly directed activity. If so, I wonder how wise it would be for an introvert to increase his/her sitting time.

Gassho


Hi Tony...I recommend you read the book Quiet: The power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. In my small sample size of folks I have practiced with, I find most have been pretty introverted. Introversion is not a negative character trait...society just treats it that way. Embrace who you are and if you find practice useful to you, please continue!
You make, you get

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Re: Zen and introversion

Postby Jok_Hae on Sun Jan 10, 2016 2:12 am

Carol wrote:Introversion isn't a bad thing. It's a natural direction that energy flows for some people --- introverts tend to recharge from their inner experience, while extraverts tend to recharge from their environment. Both are fine. Those of us who tend towards introversion (I am one) benefit just as much as those who don't from meditation. The identity we form as people begins to become more porous as a result of our meditation practice -- so we're not so stuck on the introvert/extravert identity and are more accepting of how we are without complaint or judgment. Also, the tag-alongs with introversion, the idea that we are shy or social misfits, starts to lose its grip, and I find it easier to spend time with others without feeling drained, withdrawn, awkward, etc., etc., due to that excess baggage.

Definitely, I recommend Zen practice for all types.


Looking at my life in terms of where I get my energy was real eye opener for me. :)

Once I became aware of it, I started to challenge myself in social situations. I still suck at it, for the most part. But I also accept my situation and am okay with it.
You make, you get

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Re: Zen and introversion

Postby cam101+ on Fri Oct 07, 2016 2:05 am

If you are sitting zazen in order to attain anything, then it is not zazen. If you are sitting zazen and wish to not attain anything, then it also is not zazen. When sitting, just sit.
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Re: Zen and introversion

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Oct 07, 2016 5:55 am

Tony,

I doubt that Zen Buddhist practice will increase introversion. I think it generally tends to cultivate or inculcate in most people (by most people... ), a condition that is neither introverted nor extroverted, and neither friendly nor unfriendly. But, Wise, and Compassionate (such is the purpose of practice, as it happens).

Thus, I'd say you can continue to go about correct Zen Buddhist practice without reservation, and without fears or hopes.

For the real thing, books don't carry it, but a genuine teacher and the sangha surrounding the teacher do. So, after a period of reading, interested practitioners find a teacher, and pick up the work correctly, there. Whatever it takes to do so.

best,

--Joe
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Re: Zen and introversion

Postby cam101+ on Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:46 am

One cannot practice Buddhist meditation with any expectations of gain or loss. No results! When we practice this way, we will make progress. When we expect something from it, whether good or bad, we will get nothing. This is not self improvement, as there is no self to improve.
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