Welcome admin !

It is currently Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:46 pm
Pathway:  Board index Zen Discussion Forum Zen Practice & Philosophy Zen Buddhism Practical Buddhism

Meditating Outdoors

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

Meditating Outdoors

Postby Pedestrian on Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:16 pm

For a while, when the weather was suitable and I could find a spot near my school, I was meditating outside during my midday work sit. I had a little list of nearby locations where I could walk, plop down, and sit relatively uninterrupted for a stretch. Since that time, most of them became untenable for one reason or another.

I've since developed a routine with my car -- it's outside of course but not quite outdoors -- and I miss the old spots. Does anyone do this regularly? I'm particularly interested in folks who work outside the home, but I'm eager to hear from any/everyone.
"Buddha, to liberate beings, cultivates practices everywhere." Avatamsaka Sutra.

Chris Seishi Amirault
Pedestrian
Benevolent Street Sangha
User avatar
Pedestrian
 
Posts: 1328
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:24 am
Location: Rhode Island USA

Re: Meditating Outdoors

Postby macdougdoug on Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:53 pm

The first time I meditated was at a 10 day vipassana silent retreat which produced very strong effects on my psyche - After the 10 days, I remember going outside the retreat center for the first time with a few companions, and stopping in a field we decided to sit quietly. The sensation was like being a blade of grass in a gentle breeze.
User avatar
macdougdoug
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 907
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:11 pm
Location: France

Re: Meditating Outdoors

Postby Pedestrian on Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:23 pm

What do you do? Where? How?
"Buddha, to liberate beings, cultivates practices everywhere." Avatamsaka Sutra.

Chris Seishi Amirault
Pedestrian
Benevolent Street Sangha
User avatar
Pedestrian
 
Posts: 1328
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:24 am
Location: Rhode Island USA

Re: Meditating Outdoors

Postby unsui on Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:45 pm

Pedestrian wrote:What do you do? Where? How?

When you write "meditation" I am supposing you mean zazen?

I go out to the hens, sit on the stoop of the coop, find a good posture and practice hen meditation! I do, really, I do. Just sitting with the 4 ladies clucking around me is a mind-opener.

In the apple/cherry grove, there is a very old tree with great branches. I climb up and sit on the most level one in a zazen posture. Sometimes 10 minutes, sometimes an hour. Likewise, there is an outcropping of bedrock in the field - great energy there, so I just sit.

Not at work, but during the night, I practice zazen on the porch of our small hut under the stars. Or under the clouds.
May we extend This Mind over the whole universe so that we and all beings together may attain maturity in Buddha's wisdom
User avatar
unsui
 
Posts: 1324
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2009 5:46 pm

Re: Meditating Outdoors

Postby Pedestrian on Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:49 pm

unsui wrote:
Pedestrian wrote:What do you do? Where? How?

When you write "meditation" I am supposing you mean zazen?


Yes. I sit shikantaza, but I wanted to use a more inclusive, generic term for the OP.
"Buddha, to liberate beings, cultivates practices everywhere." Avatamsaka Sutra.

Chris Seishi Amirault
Pedestrian
Benevolent Street Sangha
User avatar
Pedestrian
 
Posts: 1328
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:24 am
Location: Rhode Island USA

Re: Meditating Outdoors

Postby Guo Gu on Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:52 pm

there's a method called direct contemplation that we teach in our tradition> there's a thread about it: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=9640
guo gu
Founder and teacher of Tallahassee Chan Center of the Dharma Drum Lineage of Chan Buddhism
http://www.tallahasseechan.org/
Received inka from Master Sheng Yen (1930-2009) in 1995
User avatar
Guo Gu
Teacher
 
Posts: 1339
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:52 pm
Location: Tallahassee, FL USA

Re: Meditating Outdoors

Postby Kojip on Sat Sep 14, 2013 6:48 am

Pedestrian wrote:What do you do? Where? How?

Apart from sitting zazen (indoors almost always) there is no special moment or posture that is zazen. All the time throughout the day there are physical sensations, feelings, thoughts, and impulses. There is being caught up in them, or not. When caught up in them "my life" starts to grow and spin off. If it gets heavy (maybe when certain buttons are pushed) "I" get belched into the world as a dumb brute and trouble follows. But then there is seeing it, and that is automatically grounded in immediate presence. The anchor is sitting zazen.

Not sure if that is the kind of info you want. Richard /\
User avatar
Kojip
 
Posts: 2906
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2009 6:38 pm

Re: Meditating Outdoors

Postby StreifiGreif on Fri Nov 21, 2014 6:51 pm

I am unsure if it is a good idea to "revive" older topics, but then again it would destroy the flow of speech when opening up a new topic and I feel like answering some of those.

I recently took on a job not too far from where I live. I can walk to work within 20-30 minutes and am merely crossing parks. It's already too cold now, but I look forward to try out this park next year to meditate. After work I can walk for 15 minutes and then I'm on a small path, large meadows and trees around, all roads and buidlings away far enough to have nearly no noises. And that in a mayor city. I like that quite a lot.
Then I can enjoy the peace of nature and meditation there. I don't know how it will be, but I look forward to this as a new experience. And as a positive side-effect I will walk home by foot every day. :)
~ Experience the beauties of nature, and in doing so learn about yourself ~
User avatar
StreifiGreif
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2014 9:05 am
Location: Berlin < Germany < Europe

Re: Meditating Outdoors

Postby StreifiGreif on Mon Nov 24, 2014 6:56 am

Forget my statement from a few days ago, it was pleasantly warm yesterday and I took on the chance to sit outside for the first time. Not the place I described, but another one nearby. Even tho I live in a rather flatlanded area we have some small .. hmm, let's call them hills. :)

I went to one of these as I'm fortunate to have one nearby the place I reside.

After a while just looking at nature’s beauty I deciced that this will be a good spot for outdoor meditation. Even tho there was some wind and only 7°C around it felt great. I wanted to sit for a short period only, ended up with almost half an hour. During sitting I had no feeling for time at all. It just felt right and great to me.

My senses where sharp and I noticed everything around me so clear like barely ever before. Yet I was just there, sitting. Every now and then my mind seemded to cling to a sensation it felt, but I brought myself back to breathing every time I noticed and soon after I was all back to just sitting. A really pleasant experience.
~ Experience the beauties of nature, and in doing so learn about yourself ~
User avatar
StreifiGreif
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2014 9:05 am
Location: Berlin < Germany < Europe

Re: Meditating Outdoors

Postby chairmanMeow on Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:22 pm

Its very hard for me too... Busy household, busy city, grass full of flesh eating insects, my nearest zendo is 8 Miles away by bicycle... as I type this I hear my son's screeching a TV blaring... The only peace I find is at the weee hours in the morning and late evening. Those are the hours the world becomes my zendo.
Buddhism is to life, whats salt is to food.
Iv never walked into a restaurant and ordered a bowl of salt, have you?
User avatar
chairmanMeow
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2014 5:11 am

Re: Meditating Outdoors

Postby Michaeljc on Mon Jan 05, 2015 8:41 pm

DSC03509.JPG


Where I have lived alone over the last 12 years, when not working offshore. I sit on this deck looking out to the North. The closest neighbor is 1 km away. I only sit indoors when the rain drives in, which is seldom. During frosty winter I just muffle up.

I have trees of many varieties at every quarter. There is a backdrop of natives, hundreds of years in age, and many big deciduous that I planted 30 years ago. I am blessed with around 25 species of bird. Their morning chorus is something I intend to record one day and post here.

This environment lends itself to a Shikintaza approach IMO. Just listen to the sounds and feel the breeze.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
User avatar
Michaeljc
 
Posts: 3659
Joined: Fri May 06, 2011 3:36 pm
Location: Raglan New Zealand

Re: Meditating Outdoors

Postby punch on Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:17 pm

I hardly ever sit indoors. I Started sitting while living in a one room building with a few people living there. It was large but no privacy. It was in the woods though so I found a spot there and would go there once or twice a day. The place I livved in is now a yoga studio now.

When my son and I moved we lved in my van, I would sit outside by day, than at night when Id get him tucked in Id sit on the floor with all of our stuff piled up around me. That was challenging because the van was hardly ever level.

Since then I still usually sit outside. Places I like to sit vary on my mood and the conditions of the situation. I generally live in rural forested areas which afford a variety of conducive and challenging settings. If I am sitting near water I find it helpful because the sound of the water is relatively constant but also changing and it is good to rest the ears on.

I've sat on narrow pointed bluffs over the ocean where to the left, or right of me is a drop down to either two beaches, which begins to alter your sense of equilibrium, correcting this, and finding security through relaxation strengthens ones practice, also the waves crashing on either beach forces you to use two ears to hear.

Similarly along a river or creek at a bend where a swimming hole forms; that is to say, still water with water moving into stillness, and water moving out of stillness, but the still water is in front.

In that setting your two ears become apparent as you notice the sound of stillness in front of you and the sound of upstream coming toward you in one ear, and the sound of the downstream moving away from you out of the other ear. Hearing from two ears helps silence the mind.

Away from a water source I will focus my ears on cricket's chirping which when in the shade of a woodland is almost always present, but is on the same frequency as the blood circulating through my ears so I generally listen to both.

I also have come to be a regular visitor to graveyards for sits, and public parks. The first time I have ever seen a person meditate was in a park in Waikiki beach on Oahu at a park and I could feel the old mans peace, comfort and silence I felt connected and knew thats what I wanted to do, and about 10 years later I did.

In the parks the sound of children playing, tennis balls bouncing, all easy to rest the ears on.

With all that said I just visited a Sangha and found out that many people actually try to avoid noise when seeking meditation, and also found that on a nice level floor with all those cushions that off road/off-grid meditation makes sitting inside in cushy conditions pretty easy to find silence and peace within ones heart and mind.

Another challenge to sitting outdoors is bugs. I've had them crawling on me which becomes a challenge. I sat for almost 3 hours under a tree once during which I was Twice bitten,(not stung) by yellow jacket hornets. I could feel the enzymes from their bites spreading from the bite points to surrounding points and by relaxxing it became just an interesting if not almost pleasant feeling.

About two weeks ago there was a large mammal near me in the woods. I could see it moving, I could hear it thump on the ground but never made it out. Before it's presence had become apparent I could tell something big was coming because of the sound and activity of the birds, then sudden absence of all sound and activity; challenging.

About 3 days ago a family of 3 deer became entranced in my meditation for about 30 minutes. They were just out of my sight but I could sense them there, then when I was done I saw them not to far up the dry wash I was sitting in.

I think they had never seen a human just sitting. I believe that they were just like me at that moment in having no idea what they were looking at.
punch
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2015 2:59 am

Re: Meditating Outdoors

Postby chankin1937 on Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:43 pm

Hello All,
During my national service (round about 1958) I used to escape from the confines of the billet in England and meditate outside. At night I found an old tree stump to sit on, but the slightest noise would startle me. Later I was stationed in Bahrain and escaped to the surrounds of the airfield on my days of f . There was no wildlife there to distract me! Once discharged, I never tried it again.
Colin
chankin1937
 

Re: Meditating Outdoors

Postby desert_woodworker on Sat Nov 28, 2015 7:24 pm

My shifu used to teach that it's good to sit where it's not too bright, or too dark, whether indoors or out.

I followed that advice, and still do, since we sit with eyes open, taking-in the whole field in front and around us, eyes cast downwards somewhat, perhaps. "Too bright" is tiring, and painful, and "too dark" can enable sleepiness, while "too dark" also removes some of the visual cues and changes that can be relied on technically in some cases to be helpful to meditation.

Sometimes on retreat (or sesshin) a teacher may suggest one sit outside for a period or two. I occasionally enjoyed this, but was often glad to rejoin the quiet atmosphere of the Ch'an Hall, or Zendo, back inside, and appreciate the company of the others we were with.

--Joe
User avatar
desert_woodworker
 
Posts: 7055
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:09 am
Location: southern Arizona, USA

Re: Meditating Outdoors

Postby Meido on Sun Nov 29, 2015 7:22 pm

Since it hasn't been mentioned: the daily schedule during retreat periods in Rinzai training (Soto too?) often ends with yaza, a period of solo free practice after the day's formal schedule has ended. After lying down to bed, the trainees "sneak" out of the zendo to do this (sneak is in quotes because as it exists now it's a ritualized, mandatory sneaking). They may then find a suitable place to sit alone outside on the grounds. The monastery cemetery is often chosen for this.

Here is a cluster of rocks near our zendo in WI which seems to be the popular spot for this.

DSC_2916.JPG
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺]: http://www.korinji.org
Madison Rinzai Zen Community/Ryugen-ji [機山龍源寺]: http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community: http://www.rinzaizen.org
User avatar
Meido
Teacher
 
Posts: 951
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 12:22 am
Location: Madison, WI - USA

Re: Meditating Outdoors

Postby desert_woodworker on Thu Dec 03, 2015 12:41 am

Besides in Riverside Park, I used to sit outdoors in my early Ch'an practice under the thickly-planted pine trees in front of Low (Memorial) Library on the Columbia University campus, on the ground. I'd usually remove my (hoodie) sweatshirt and place it, folded, under me as I sat in good half-lotus form.

Within minutes, of course, the visual field would grey-out, but moving objects would stand out in startling relief and animation. What were the moving objects? Field-mice. In New York City! At 116th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, at one of the world's greatest universities, my Alma Mater.

(these were merely mice, not rats. Rats, we called "Manhattan Smooth-tail Squirrels", anyway). :PP:

That green oasis of a campus in the City provided HABITAT. For all beings.

"Dammit!": the lush pine-tree growths in front of Low Library were all rooted out and destroyed in the mid 1980s, by CU 'Buildings and Grounds'. Gone. No longer a fine place for outdoor zazen. But I was gone by then, too.

--Joe

Low_Lib_Columbia.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
User avatar
desert_woodworker
 
Posts: 7055
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:09 am
Location: southern Arizona, USA


Return to Practical Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

 
RocketTheme Joomla Templates

Who is online

In total there are 2 users online :: 0 registered, 0 hidden and 2 guests (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 2 guests