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practice in daily life

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practice in daily life

Postby Guo Gu on Tue Aug 06, 2013 4:25 pm

it may be a good idea to help each other by sharing how you practice in daily life, what it means to you, what works for you, what doesn't, etc. it's an open ended invitation. this thread may become a very useful resource for people. some of you have a lot to share; others are just curious how others incorporate practice in daily life; some may want to experiment with what you say, so providing a real story and a context will help bring what you share down to earth; honesty and being practical will help. thank you all!
be well,
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Re: practice in daily life

Postby Avisitor on Tue Aug 06, 2013 4:52 pm

Practice in daily life ... means what else do we do (other than regular practice like sitting in the morning or evening).

When waiting for the bus, or at the doctors office, or just waiting for something, I often try to remember to look at my breathing.
I'm not trying to not think of things. Just to put my attention upon my breath and release other things.
I have found that there were times when someone would be talking to me and my mind would be else where.
I could reply without a problem but my focus wasn't at one place.
This practice in daily life has helped me perform better in daily life.
It has allowed me to remain calm and function in otherwise difficult situations.

I use to think that I am wasting time at the ... waiting for whatever it was.
Now there is this moment ... this is my life ... it won't get any longer (I won't live more years from this practice) ... But, I experience what there is as my life.
At work, I use to watch the clock .. just waiting for the time to pass so I could go home.
Now, it is all part of my life and I try to live each moment.
It hasn't changed my life but has given me a different way to look upon my life.
Well, sorry for wasting your time ... hahaha
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: practice in daily life

Postby Pedestrian on Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:35 pm

I have a lot of structured daily life: I'm a dad and husband, run a school, have two older parents with health issues, do a lot of volunteer work that involves meetings, and do most of the laundry, shopping, and cooking for the family each day and week. Given that, I have many, many informal opportunities for practice with the ten thousand things every day.

As for more formal practice, I am a member of the Boundless Way Zen sangha, both of the Temple in Worcester MA and as part of a regular sitting group in Providence RI which meets on Monday evenings; I miss that more than I'd like. I try to attend events and help out at the Temple when I can.

I regularly attend dokusan with my teacher, James Ford, on the first & third Monday morning at 7a. I'm engaged in intensive koan study with him and, when I am able to meet with them, the other three teachers in the sangha. Under James's shoken guidance I do quite a bit of reading in the Japanese and (lately, especially) Chinese traditions.

On my own, I sit in the morning for at least 25m whenever possible and nearly always on weekends; on weekdays I try to sit for a full 25m but sometimes have to settle for less. (After I post this I'm going to sit in my car for 20m, for example.) My initial liturgy sequence starts with the Verse of the Kesa if I'm wearing my rakusu, then includes the Gatha of Atonement, the Three Refuges, and the Five Remembrances, after which I usually chant the Heart Sutra with the "ants, sticks, & grizzly bears" dedication preceding. My closing liturgy is the Four Great Vows and a paragraph from Dogen's Kaiin Zammai, a good kick in the pants as I get up off the cushion. Each Saturday I repeat my jukai vows as part of my longer morning sit, and I often read from a selection that seems apt (often the first five chapters of the Diamond Sutra but other things too).

Yes, everything is practice, of course! But I have found that both formal/structured and informal/responsive practice are indispensable, each supporting the other. Each affords an opportunity to see where my practice stands in different, ever-changing situations, which I take to be the point of this endeavor.

Thanks for asking, Guo Go. Good topic -- if we all chime in!
"Buddha, to liberate beings, cultivates practices everywhere." Avatamsaka Sutra.

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Re: practice in daily life

Postby fukasetsu on Tue Aug 06, 2013 6:48 pm

others are just curious how others incorporate practice in daily life; some may want to experiment with what you say, so providing a real story and a context will help bring what you share down to earth; honesty and being practical will help. thank you all!


When I wake up I take a dump, when the shit drops in the toilet I am not the odeur coming from the shit.

In the same way, I am nothing perceivable or conceivable, yet “I abide” at the very nature of perception, in its “voidness” without grasping and turning away, I practise “non-dwelling”

In daily affairs I take part in the world without the notion of being something in particular,
there’s just a subtle sense of observing or witnessing “daily life”
So it’s like being in the world (daily life) but not of it, it’s just natural to see the rise and fall of things, as it comes and goes. All notions of “I” included, which is part of the observation of rising and falling. So the entire waking state is what I would call daily life. That’s the basics,

Now the contents of “daily life” is something else, being involved in an act, a role, a job, whatever daily life affair. There is a “natural identification” which is just a chemical process of the brain, like: “I have an appointment, I am going to work etc” I watched that chemical-I for a long time and saw that it was not that which needed to be removed or (not-selved) even though “it” ofcourse is “not-self” since it is merely a compositon of the elements.
But in grasping at concepts of spirituality based on that chemical-I, it took me some years to find out the difference between the word-teachings, and the actual “experience” and that “not-self” does not mean conceptually denying this very Being. Now finally “just being” practise, whether on or off the cushion, really has “begun” since I’m very much attached to “Being-as-is” (anything, everything, nothing)

Daily life to me is just observing the play of elements, of compositions, even in the midst of activity, of how things appear prior to the ID-concept. It’s rudimentry energy so to speak.
On the cushion it is a bit different, in daily life it’s just a natural state of observing, which is ofcourse related to years of practise and contemplation. But there is no sense of “lets carry practise into daily life” Also there’s nothing fixed about it.
Sometimes I spontaneously recite mantras, koans, huatou’s during daily life activities, it just happens, I do not grant attention if the mind comes into being with concepts as “how, why, causality” etc I dunno how to explain it, it’s “just observing” without the notion of “observing” Also the ancient words when heared in the right state so assimilate, do their work on a “deeper” level then the mind can scrutinize. Hence practise in daily life is a fruitation of “past efforts”, it just happens. Sometimes I’m compelled to go somewhere, or do some thing which is not part of a regular schedule thingy, that ‘compulsion’ is prior to thoughts, but thoughts tell me where to go, hence I just obey. The body/mind is a good servant, but a bad master. Hence “my master” or “guide in life” I simply obey, and stuff happens. :lol2:

Also at night if dreaming, I am just as aware as in the daily state, practise continues.
I have to confess that before falling adream instead of asleep I "deliberately" since I practised this as a kid, remain aware when "entering the dream state" so during this, I dream up entire universes which are like temples of "spirituality", even dead masters appear (they have such a sense of humour) and practise continues, it is like using imagination [as an image] to investigate "Beingness" for the same "state of presence" as in the waking state, simply continues, only the enviroment is different and purely "imaginative" it are no forms or colours or even sensible objects as in the waking state, more like psychadelic Buddha-lands, all the while being aware that they are my projections.

But ofcourse there are times when practise is "weak" too, then observation in the waking state continues, yet more involved in daily affairs (objective entertainment stuff) yet I never forget what's really important.
Just enjoying the show a bit more and for entertainments sake, identify to it (the heretic I am) :PP:

Just words. :peace:
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Re: practice in daily life

Postby Nonin on Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:14 pm

We at Nebraska Zen Center / Heartland Temple are a small group, about 15 to 20 hardcore members, with always a few others coming in and out. We have sitting and services six mornings a week (6:00 -- sitting for an hour, then 20 min. service) and sitting three evenings a week (at 7:00 -- sitting for 1 /12 hour). We are closed on Monday. We have Open Services every Sunday morning at 9:00 am -- 25 min. zazen, 10 min. kinhin, 25 min. zazen, 10 min. service, dharma talk or group discussion, and then, coffee or tea with baked goods.

I encourage all sangha members -- the regular hardcore are my students (all lay people at this point) -- to sit regularly, on at least five days a week (preferably after rising in the morning) for 1/2 hour or 40 minutes, followed by a short chanting and bowing service of about 10 minutes. This is considered a formal practice commitment. Most of our members do this at home, only one or two (plus me) come on weekday mornings and maybe 2 or 3 (plus me) on weekday evenings. I encourage all members to come to the temple once during the week and on Sunday mornings, and people make this part of their five days a week formal practice commitment. Usually, 15-25 people attend Open Services on Sunday morning. Some of our members have been practicing seriously like this for many years.

My serious students (the hardcore) attend sesshins, precept ceremonies, study groups, etc. and perform a job at the temple that takes about 1-1/2 hours a week -- arranging flowers, cleaning altars, office work, etc. These jobs rotate once a month.

Formal Zen Buddhist practice takes serious commitment and regular involvement (I say at least 5 days a week), regular connection with a teacher, and connection with and participation in a sangha.

Hands palm-to-palm,

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Re: practice in daily life

Postby Ko_Shin on Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:29 pm

The more formal aspects of my practice include attending sangha practice twice a week at Greater Boston Zen Center (part of Boundless Way Zen), I lead the Wednesday evening one and also I attend on Saturday Mornings.

I also attend BoWZ and GBZC events, one day and multi-day retreats, talks and programs, I typically do at least one sesshin a year, often go to the GBZC book group and precept groups.

I sit at home, 20 to 30 minutes a day, and I will chant some before and after.

I'm also on the board for GBZC and LC for BoWZ as well as the facilities manger for GBZC so my day often includes tasks that keep reminding me that my practice is not for me not me alone anyway.

And going through the rest of my day the precepts are often what I bring to mind when I notice I'm getting got up in the idea of me being the center or all of :) the Universe. Or when I notice that simply asking myself "And how is this serving the dharma?"

When things happen to fast or even recalling the precepts or that question I just practice keeping my mouth shut or my hands still :)
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Re: practice in daily life

Postby ed blanco on Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:39 pm

"When the student is ready the teacher shows up."
I really don't know how ready I am now but a practitioner did suddenly showed up in my life like 6 months ago and only 3 miles from home.
My regular sangha is 60 miles away, and I still go once a month, but now I have found a friend and his wife and two more co-practitoners so close by that my practice has become so much more formal.
I am getting up at 5 am often thinking of Suzuki roshi's "mind weeds" He says to use the recalcitrant feelings of staying in bed as the fertilizer one may use in a garden to strenghten practice. I sit the same 30 minutes I have always sat but practicing and studyng with Manolo now I do more mornings: 4 x's a week. As I sit it's gotten to be a routine, his advice and encouragement has helped inmensely like "if you don't have time just say the Heart Sutra and Boddhisatva vows...that already is a practice."
We also sit at his house on Fridays 2x40m at 7:30p and have a study period 'til 11pm. On Sundays we sit the same s periods adding a service of dedication of merits and Heart Sutra all in Japanese....there are usually the 3 of us but we got mokuyo, bells and the whole enchilada.
He studies with Okamura roshi and was ordained in the Deshimaro roshi line. His dedication makes him a teacher for me although he insists he is not a teacher something I respect and understand. What a find.
We read mostly Dogen and a lot of Chinese masters.
Using the Uchiyama roshi insistance on pure zazen and reading Okamura and Dogen zenji has brought me full circle to sitting for the sake of the Buddha-Dharma...sitting and practicing for its own sake. We are empahtic on the posture and regularity of zazen and the Just Sitting mind-in-the-moment set of this line. It is practice founded on the ordinariness of us all and the-this-is-enlightement here and now supportded by Vows and Precepts.
Shikantaza is finally openning up, maybe not.
Whatever arises is me.

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IN SPEECH YOU HEAR ITS SILENCE

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Re: practice in daily life

Postby partofit22 on Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:45 pm

No matter what I'm doing, I more frequently bring my attention to the moment at hand and simply allow each moment to unfold not as I might have imagined or planned but simply as it happens-

I'm slowly realizing that no matter what anyone has to say, be it a lengthy story or a few words in passing, they're saying they're suffering- Which makes joyful moments even sweeter-
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Re: practice in daily life

Postby Pedestrian on Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:48 pm

These are wonderful. I'm treasuring each one and their collective diversity.
"Buddha, to liberate beings, cultivates practices everywhere." Avatamsaka Sutra.

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Re: practice in daily life

Postby Guo Gu on Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:27 pm

avisitor, practice at work/job is so important as we spend a large portion of our time there.... glad you're able to transform that into an opportunity to practice. i usually tell my students that upon entering their work place, take a deep breath, smile, and then say to themselves "i'm entering the chan hall now." in other words, their work is the chan hall. this has helped some people. avisitor (or anyone), is there any particular way you look at your work to integrate it into your life? or did it just changed naturally for you?

many of you mentioned structured committed practice (regular sitting, building a teacher-student relationship, reading buddhist/zen texts, mindful of precepts), and that is good. i find that only the dedicated are able to do this. for most people, they need a transition to that committed practice. in another thread i suggested the "one minute mahattan chan" method. but perhaps someone can share how they gradually integrate, little by little, practice into their life? maybe the little things you do during the day? aside from work place, another large chunk of our daily life is interacting with people. anyone want to share concrete ways/methods you use?

i find that ppl act differently at dharma centers than their daily life. they put on their "practice" hat on and bahave nicely. but they don't or can't bring their practice outside of the center. i realized this when i was a young novice.

here's a fun story: being in the monastery all the time one can loose touch with "reality" outside. my teacher's always emphasized frugality and all the devoted lay students also promote this. then one day, i was outside of the monastery in the city getting something. walking down the street, at a red light, i saw one of our most devoted lay students... she was in her bright yellow convertible corvette, latest model (it seems)! waiting at the light. i was shocked! she turned around and saw me... embarrassed. :blush: i walked up to the car, and said, "wow, this must be an expensive car..." she was speechless. the light turned green and i said you should go. after that i had a more realistic view about how some lay students "practiced." nothing wrong with a convertible corvette but she was always talking about being frugal. what we need to have we should have; but we have to discern "need" and "want"; otherwise, we will eventually bring ourselves suffering. later, her restaurant bankrupted... i never asked but i think she must have sold that car.

there are so many enticements, etc. if practiced is left at the center and not integrated into daily life--work, family, interactions with others, and our values and deep seated beliefs--then it's like cooking rice and unplugging the electric plug every few minutes, the rice would never be cooked! :lol2: worse some people even mix "sand" with rice and cook it... totally uneatable.

everyone's posts so far has been very inspiring. is there anyone else who like to share? ani? kojip? gregory? carol? joe?

be well,
guo gu
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Re: practice in daily life

Postby Pedestrian on Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:54 pm

Guo Gu wrote:i usually tell my students that upon entering their work place, take a deep breath, smile, and then say to themselves "i'm entering the chan hall now." in other words, their work is the chan hall. this has helped some people.


It's also true! If you don't recognize that your place of work -- and your home, and your store, and the long line at the Department of Motor Vehicles, and your parents' house, and the gas pump, and... -- is a Ch'an hall or zendo, then you're missing endless opportunities for practice! At least, that's true for me.

Guo Gu wrote:avisitor (or anyone), is there any particular way you look at your work to integrate it into your life? or did it just changed naturally for you?


When I took my recent job a decade ago (I'm a preschool principal), I had never run a school, and my previous jobs were all pretty predictable in comparison. In this work, every single day, dozens of times, the moment's myriad things arise and I have to drop whatever I'm doing to address them as best I can whether I want to or not.

It used to make me pretty anxious and often angry until I realized that I could incorporate every one of those moments as practice. I still get anxious or angry now and then, though I hope I'm more aware of those feelings when they arise, enabling me to pause in them instead of reacting through them. And long ago I gave up the idea that I'd break on through to some other side where peace, calm, and tranquility reign o'er all! ;)
"Buddha, to liberate beings, cultivates practices everywhere." Avatamsaka Sutra.

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Re: practice in daily life

Postby fukasetsu on Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:04 pm

Guo Gu wrote:i find that ppl act differently at dharma centers than their daily life. they put on their "practice" hat on and bahave nicely. but they don't or can't bring their practice outside of the center. i realized this when i was a young novice.

here's a fun story: being in the monastery all the time one can loose touch with "reality" outside. my teacher's always emphasized frugality and all the devoted lay students also promote this. then one day, i was outside of the monastery in the city getting something. walking down the street, at a red light, i saw one of our most devoted lay students... she was in her bright yellow convertible corvette, latest model (it seems)! waiting at the light. i was shocked! she turned around and saw me... embarrassed. :blush: i walked up to the car, and said, "wow, this must be an expensive car..." she was speechless. the light turned green and i said you should go. after that i had a more realistic view about how some lay students "practiced." nothing wrong with a convertible corvette but she was always talking about being frugal. what we need to have we should have; but we have to discern "need" and "want"; otherwise, we will eventually bring ourselves suffering. later, her restaurant bankrupted... i never asked but i think she must have sold that car.


If I would hat different hats in life, I'd consider myself unworthy as a student (to a teacher like you)
and wouldn't even appeared at the center once.

I remember when I started around the age of 18, you know the first era of "I want to be a Buddha" "I want to be enlightened, wise, people will love me" all based on the making the I-into-something-better, instead of actually contemplating the 'origin' of this "I"-coming-to-be (or the Great Matter). I perhaps practised a hour per day, but it was just a character ID, "I am spiritual, I am Buddhist"... besides that 1 hour I was thinking about having sex, drinking, eating, imagining what stuff I need to make me happier or my life better (form or formless)
But I knew it was like that, I either would have left "my life behind" and searched a Teacher to live with 24/7 or nothing at all, why would I be so ashamed waisting a teachers time and service just to amplify my own sense of "I am spiritual"? I have found throughout the years that the "sinners" (non-spiritual and all) were often more honest to themselves then the "spiritual folks" taking seats at centers they're not worthy of, and the few earnest ones there, would have to listen to "regular folks dharma talks" because they are the mass in the dharma centers.
This is not a global judgment or view regarding dharma centers, just sharing what I found to be so regarding my 'local' enviroment.
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Re: practice in daily life

Postby Ko_Shin on Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:26 pm

I recently heard someone quote a catholic nun (I'm sorry I don't recall her name, someone fairly well known) who said "If I want to understand what I believe I look at my actions."

Thought that was pretty good.

This might still seem to fall into the more committed field but for me it was really part of my progression. The largest component of my life that I help bring more awareness of practice in my life if my choice to follow a vegetarian diet.

Prior to coming to zen practice I was already drastically reducing my meat consumption, for health and environmental concerns primarily. And it's hard to put into words what a drastic change this seemed to people, myself included. I was the guy you came to for grilling and smoking (smoking meat in a smoker) advice. My real chill, no beans and meat I smoked myself, was famous. I'm probably the only vegetarian who will still get into a deep discussion on the best grilling and smoking methods. :) Anyway.

After a few months of practice compassion became more and more part of that equation to reduce meat intake to the point I just realized that I'm fortunate enough to be in a position with my health, finances, availability of food, that I can make the choice just not to eat meat.

And for me it has helped make my eating much more mindful, each time I put together or choose a meal I can't help but remember the consequences of my need for the food, what it took to get to me, and the compassion for the food and myself. It is also an important practice point in my life when I run into situations where choosing to not eat meat isn't an option. Not long after I decided to go vegetarian my son made a pasta sauce using sausages. He was quiet proud of it, he likes to cook (doesn't do it enough IMO though) and there was no way I was going to refuse not to have it that evening with our pasta.

So a persistent reminder all during my day and a point to practice in not being to attached to "I'm a vegetarian"
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Re: practice in daily life

Postby Guo Gu on Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:06 pm

pedestrian, we need to incorporate meditation into the curriculum of preschoolers! there's a charter school around where i live that teaches kids meditation. although pre-k kids are a bit young... maybe introduce meditation to the teachers?

fukitetsu, the gateless gate of dharma centers is open to all; better to have dharma centers than no centers at all. the day you return to your local center and learn something is the day you're free. :lol2: if i was your teacher i'd ask you to go to the center every week to be a beginner and learn.

ko_shin, that line is pretty good. thank you for sharing!

thank you all.
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Re: practice in daily life

Postby ed blanco on Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:12 pm

At work, or at home, anytime off the cushion, practice is by self-tapping, like a doctor examining a patient. Anger or irritation surge and I cut them off at the entrance....almost like a warning bell, an advisory goes off: watch the idiot rise, stop him. It seems that practice makes room for the cut off action. It all goes to letting the real Ed rise above the illusions, a life time endeavor I'm sure.
I do live in illusion and practice is also in samsara. I stopped looking for "progress." Absolute and relative seem not two anymore. What they are I have no idea, but do hope to sense it someday. Take-it-as-it-comes and react little, on and on.

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Re: practice in daily life

Postby Chrisd on Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:39 pm

Maybe I could say I navigate on feeling, almost constantly.
If I feel tense it's a sign something is not right so I adjust in whatever way I can.
Almost automatically now, but sometimes it takes some feeling/thinking.
I just don't want to be unhappy anywhere, and don't see the point to it.
So I would argue that there is not a big distinction between my life at the centers and at home.
Sometimes I pay attention to breathing when standing at a stop. Or do a body scan.
Because of the aversion to suffering I'm watching my mind whenever I can. I find that when I don't, I get miserable quickly.
When there's people I don't watch though. I feel.
I used to be a lot more tense about it. Every moment not watching was a moment wasted.
Maybe that was a better approach.

"one minute mahattan chan" method
Could you post a link to this thread Guo Gu?
Thx for this one.
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Re: practice in daily life

Postby Chrisd on Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:50 pm

Pedestrian wrote:It used to make me pretty anxious and often angry until I realized that I could incorporate every one of those moments as practice. I still get anxious or angry now and then, though I hope I'm more aware of those feelings when they arise, enabling me to pause in them instead of reacting through them. And long ago I gave up the idea that I'd break on through to some other side where peace, calm, and tranquility reign o'er all! ;)


You don't believe that this other side exists?
Or you don't believe you will "get" there?
Or you just don't think it's worth holding onto such an idea?
:heya:
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Re: practice in daily life

Postby fukasetsu on Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:51 pm

Guo Gu wrote:fukitetsu, the gateless gate of dharma centers is open to all; better to have dharma centers than no centers at all. the day you return to your local center and learn something is the day you're free. :lol2: if i was your teacher i'd ask you to go to the center every week to be a beginner and learn.


I never implied that is should be 'closed' for anyone, and dharma centers are a blessing.
Let me too state the obvious, for the sake of "misinterpretation"
[/obvious]
Bodhisattvas 'magically appear' here all the time, in the form of what is applicable and necessary for my "learning." You (Guo Gu) appear here too, and your 'instructions' are nothing like this fluffy talk.
Where this meat jacket goes is of no concern of mine, it's not something I decide or undecide.
Things unfold as they unfold, there's no benefit in adding stuff to perception, it's not a practise,
but apparently "on-topic"
You "taught" me two things, "it's all about conditions (PM)" and "when the flowers blossom, spring remains" (True function) the direction is clear, if you take me for a fool, then at least throw in a fart. :lol2:
This is "daily life" I have nothing to impart.

At your feet always.
Mijn Oude Vriend uit de woestijn begrijpt geen Nederlands. <3
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fukasetsu
 
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Re: practice in daily life

Postby ed blanco on Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:09 pm

Hey Fukster. How do you like my avatar?

Am I growing old gracefully? I recently almost lost part of my nose to an infection.

That would have made my practice quite interesting.

Ok now.

:heya:
IT SPEAKS IN SILENCE
IN SPEECH YOU HEAR ITS SILENCE

Yongjia Xuanjue
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ed blanco
 
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Re: practice in daily life

Postby fukasetsu on Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:35 pm

ed blanco wrote:Hey Fukster. How do you like my avatar?

Am I growing old gracefully? I recently almost lost part of my nose to an infection.

That would have made my practice quite interesting.

Ok now.

:heya:


I love it Ed, perfectly created in my image! :heya:

I'm very happy that you were able to keep your nose though!
Would have made practise interesting, breathing wise, and part-chariot wise also :lol2:
Mijn Oude Vriend uit de woestijn begrijpt geen Nederlands. <3
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fukasetsu
 
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